How do you celebrate Christmas in Charleston and where did those traditions originate? The South is rich in history, and Charleston is no exception. Did you know that Southern states were the first to adopt Christmas as a legal holiday? (Alabama in 1836, followed by Louisiana and Arkansas in 1838.) Over the years, it’s no surprise that many regional Southern holiday traditions have spread around the country.
CHARLESTON’S POINSETTIA ROOTS
Today we hail the poinsettia as the official plant of the Christmas season. Did you know this is thanks to a South Carolina gentleman by the name of Joel Robert Poinsett? Poinsett was in the United States House of Representatives and also served as the Minister to Mexico. While on a trip to Mexico in 1925, he discovered the festive red-colored flower. He brought it home to Charleston and introduced it as a holiday adornment. The rest is history. Today, throughout the South and the nation you will see these beautiful flowers displayed on the inside and outside of homes during the Yuletide season.
CITRUS FOR THE SEASON
To this day, it’s a Southern holiday tradition for Santa to leave some citrus fruit in children’s stockings. No, it’s not a gimmick to take up space. Years ago, finding citrus in your stocking in the middle of winter was a luxury. Citrus fruits were only available during certain seasons of the year, so receiving an orange at Christmas was a special and expensive treat. Decorating wreaths, trees, and holiday decor with different citrus fruits is still a tradition today. In fact, take a tour around downtown Charleston or visit one of the museum houses to see citrus and evergreen decorations on the outsides as well as interiors of historic Charleston homes. To view some beautiful examples, try one of these tours. Or if you can’t make it in person, you can watch the Garden Club of Charleston create their annual traditional holiday decorations at the Joseph Manigault House.
FRIED TURKEY, OYSTERS, & PECAN PIE
What would a Southern meal be without any of these delicacies? Fresh oysters are popular during the holiday season because their harvest is best during the coldest time of year. (Remember the old adage that oysters are good during months that have an “R” in their names.) Deep frying as a preparation for turkey also originated in the South. And don’t forget the pecan pie for dessert. The documented history of this recipe dates back to the 1880s. Legend says the French in New Orleans made a version of it after Native Americans introduced them to the pecan tree. Today this gooey, delicious Southern treat has spread across the country and is a staple this time of year. Visit Southern Living for a variety of delicious pecan pie recipes and other traditional Southern holiday foods.
What holiday treats and traditions does your family celebrate? Please share in the comments. Disher, Hamrick & Myers wishes HAPPY HOLIDAYS to all!
If this discussion of Southern holidays makes you yearn for a home in beautiful Charleston, SC, give us a call at 843.577.4115. Disher, Hamrick & Myers has been a leader in Charleston real estate since 1984. From historic downtown to the islands, we will help you find your dream property!
Historic homeowners are custodians of our architectural heritage. The houses they live in and care for have stood the test of time, and often come with unique features and storied pasts. As such, the prospect of moving in to or out of a historic home can be filled with challenges that ordinary homeowners may not face. Fortunately, DHM Real Estate agents are experts with decades of experience helping clients with all aspects of owning a historic property. In this article, we’ll explore essential tips for moving to or from a historic house.
The first moving tip for historic homeowners is to carefully assess your situation.
1. Create a detailed moving plan with a timeline and budget. Take into account any necessary permits and approvals, which may be more complex for historic properties.
2. Hire professionals with historic home expertise. Relocating historic treasures requires a delicate touch. Be sure to enlist the services of long-distance moving experts that have the specialized knowledge and experience to transport your cherished artifacts and heirlooms safely.
3. Communicate with local historic preservation authorities to understand the regulations and requirements affecting your move and obtain any necessary permits. Some historic districts may allow moves only during certain hours to maintain the peace of the neighborhood, or they may regulate when and where moving vans may park. Be careful of local noise ordinances as well.
PACK YOUR TREASURES
Packing up a historic home is a delicate process that requires extra care and attention.
1. Prioritize delicate and historical pieces such as antiques, family heirlooms, and fragile items for special handling.
2. Use archival-quality packing materials. In addition, carefully label each box and its contents. Document everything in case of damage or loss, and to make unpacking easier.
3. Consider temporary storage if there is a gap between leaving your old home and settling into your new one.
SAFEGUARD HISTORICAL INTEGRITY
Preserving the architectural integrity of historic homes is key.
1. Prevent damage to walls, floors, windows, and moldings. Use protective coverings and padding if necessary to safeguard the home’s architectural elements from your furniture and vise-versa.
2. Measure. Historic homes may not have the same door or window dimensions as more modern homes. In addition, they may not be consistent throughout the dwelling. Be aware of this when moving large pieces of furniture. Measure openings to be sure your existing pieces or new purchases will fit.
3. Maintain documentation and photographs of the home’s condition both before and after your move. This will be helpful for insurance purposes as well as historical records.
4. Comply with local regulations for renovations. While preserving authenticity is crucial, you may need to modernize parts of your historic home for comfort and functionality. If you plan any alterations, ensure they comply with local historical preservation regulations and obtain necessary permits.
Moving as a historic homeowner comes with challenges. However, with these tips, the transition can be a seamless and rewarding experience. Assess the situation, plan meticulously, safeguard historical integrity, and confidently embrace your new chapter! Remember, living in a historic house makes you not just a homeowner, but a steward who protects its legacy for the next generation of caretakers.
Are you considering investing in a second home? If so, Charleston, SC should be at the top of your list. This charming city is known for its rich history, beautiful beaches, and vibrant culture. The Holy City has something for everyone, from the stunning natural landscapes to the thriving arts scene. Let’s countdown the top 10 reasons to own a second home in Charleston.
No. 1: RICH HISTORY & ARCHITECTURE
Charleston is renowned for its well-preserved historic district, with cobblestone streets, antebellum houses, and charming gardens. The city’s architectural diversity, from historic mansions to modern marvels, is truly captivating. Owning a second home here means immersing yourself in the city’s fascinating history and unique architecture. Stroll along Rainbow Row, a series of colorful historic row houses. Then visit iconic landmarks like Fort Sumter and the Battery to appreciate their historical significance.
As a local, don’t forget to seek out the hidden gems of the city’s historic district. These include cobblestone streets, hidden courtyards, secret gardens, and tucked-away alleyways. Experience a sense of discovery as you wander these lesser-known spots.
No. 2: BEAUTIFUL BEACHES
Imagine waking to the sound of waves crashing against the shore and stepping outside to enjoy miles of sandy beach. The Lowcountry provides access to several breathtaking beaches, including the friendly Isle of Palms, funky Folly Beach, and exclusive Kiawah. Having a second property here allows you to indulge in beachfront living whenever you desire, whether for a weekend getaway or an extended vacation.
No. 3: CULINARY DELIGHTS
Food lovers will be delighted by the city’s thriving culinary scene, which offers a wide range of delectable dishes and a unique farm-to-table experience. Charleston chefs pride themselves on locally sourced ingredients and a commitment to sustainable and organic practices.
Be sure to explore the vibrant farmers’ markets that dot the area, where you can find fresh produce, artisanal cheeses, and homemade preserves. Visiting these markets allows you to connect with local farmers, taste seasonal delights, and gain a deeper appreciation for the farm-to-table movement. Whether exploring the bustling Charleston Farmers Market in Marion Square downtown, or the Sunday Brunch Farmers Market at the Pour House on James Island, you’ll discover a wealth of flavors and a true celebration of Lowcountry foodways.
No. 4: FESTIVALS & CULTURAL EVENTS
Getting bored in Charleston is nearly impossible, as the city hosts yearly festivals and events. Something exciting always happens, from the renowned Spoleto Festival that showcases world-class performing arts, to the Charleston Wine + Food Festival that samples the region’s culinary excellence. Other festivals celebrate Caribbean or Greek heritage, jazz, antiques, and wildlife. In the spring and fall, you have the opportunity to glimpse inside historic homes and support local historic preservation groups. Owning a second home allows you to immerse yourself in the city’s cultural offerings fully.
No. 5: VIBRANT ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT SCENE
Charleston boasts a vibrant arts and entertainment scene with numerous art galleries, theatres, and music venues offering diverse cultural experiences. From theatrical productions, to live musical performances, to local artist exhibitions, you’re bound to find something to satisfy every artistic inclination. Owning a second home here means having easy access to a thriving arts community and the opportunity to immerse yourself in the city’s creative energy.
No. 6: OUTDOOR RECREATION
Whether you enjoy fishing, boating, kayaking, biking, or simply exploring scenic trailways, there are many ways to enjoy the outdoors in Charleston. With abundant beaches, parks, gardens, and waterways, you’ll never run out of places to connect with nature or embark on exciting outdoor adventures.
Explore the breathtaking gardens and plantations throughout the region to combine nature with history. See the world-famous Magnolia Plantation and Gardens with its stunning azaleas and camellias. Then visit the Middleton Place with its majestic oak trees and vibrant floral displays. These gardens provide a tranquil retreat where you can immerse yourself in the beauty of nature, while learning about the city’s past.
Enjoy a stroll through meticulously manicured landscapes, take in the fragrant blooms, and embrace the serenity of these enchanting spaces. Whether you’re a nature lover, an avid hiker, or simply seeking a peaceful escape, a top reason to own a second home in Charleston is the abundance of outdoor wonders.
No. 7: THRIVING ECONOMY
Charleston’s economy is thriving, making it an ideal location for investment. The city has experienced growth in various sectors, including manufacturing, technology, tourism, healthcare, logistics, and aerospace engineering. The area’s housing market also remains strong. Owning a property here allows you to enjoy the city’s amenities and offers the potential for a sound financial investment.
No. 8: SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY
The Holy City is known for its warm and welcoming atmosphere, epitomizing the true essence of Southern hospitality. Friendly locals, charming neighborhoods, and tight-knit communities make this a place where you’ll feel right at home.
No. 9: EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES
Charleston is home to several prestigious institutions of higher learning, including the College of Charleston and the Medical University of South Carolina. There are also many excellent secondary schools (private, public, and charter), including the #2 nationally-ranked Academic Magnet High School. If you have children or are considering furthering your education, buying a property here provides access to excellent academic resources and various educational opportunities. Purchasing a home for your student, in place of a dormitory or renting, can also be a sound financial decision.
No. 10: PROXIMITY TO OTHER DESTINATIONS
Charleston’s location makes it an ideal base for exploring nearby destinations. From the charming coastal towns of Hilton Head Island and Beaufort to the historic city of Savannah, Georgia, there’s no shortage of places to visit within a reasonable drive. Therefore, you can easily embark on exciting day trips and discover the beauty of the surrounding areas.
ADVICE FOR OWNING A SECOND HOME IN CHARLESTON
Take precautions while away from both your primary and secondary homes. First, be sure to install a security system in each to discourage break-ins. There are many smart home devices that can help your house look lived-in even when you are not there. Second, consider renting storage to keep your belongings safe while spending time in Charleston. This way, you can have peace of mind knowing your possessions are well-protected until you return.
As you can see, you’ve got plenty of compelling reasons to own a second home in Charleston, from the stunning beaches and rich history to the thriving culture and warm hospitality. Whether seeking a relaxing beachfront retreat or a vibrant downtown with endless opportunities, Charleston has it all. With its unique charm and abundant offerings, Charleston, SC is an ideal destination for those looking to invest in a second home.
Disher, Hamrick & Myers has been representing buyers for over 40 years and we can help you through the process of finding your perfect second home. Give us a call at 843.577.4115 or visit our website to see our current listings and search the MLS.
Choosing the right Charleston house type is a delightful journey that allows you to explore the city’s diverse architectural heritage. Downtown Charleston offers a range of dwellings to suit every taste and lifestyle. From historic mansions of the city’s past, to modern marvels of contemporary design, to serene waterfront retreats, there’s a Charleston house type to suit everyone. Be sure to take the time to explore each, visit our neighborhoods, and consult with real estate professionals who can guide you through the process.
Let’s delve into some of the considerations that will help you find your downtown Charleston dream home.
Do you value a property’s historical significance and wish to immerse yourself in Charleston’s past? Historic mansions and row houses, like those found South of Broad, should top your list. These properties allow you to experience the city’s heritage firsthand and become a part of preserving its rich culture.
Charleston’s architectural landscape is diverse, ranging from Colonial and Victorian, to Greek Revival and contemporary designs. Determine your preferred architectural style and explore houses that align with your aesthetic tastes.
Are you drawn to a close-knit neighborhood feel? Single-family homes and row houses offer a strong sense of community, with neighbors living in proximity and opportunities for social interactions.
LIFESTYLE & AMENITIES
Consider your lifestyle preferences and the amenities that are important to you. Do you want easy access to restaurants, shops, and cultural attractions? Are you a nature enthusiast who desires proximity to parks and outdoor activities? Do you dream of waking up to panoramic water views and indulging in coastal living? Downtown Charleston’s different parts of town offer varying degrees of convenience and access to amenities, so choose accordingly.
Consider your long-term goals and be sure your house type aligns with them. Are you planning to expand your family and need a home with ample space? Do you enjoy outdoor living and gardening? Or do you want a low-maintenance property that accommodates your busy lifestyle? Factor in your future plans to ensure your new home will adapt to your evolving needs.
Once you have considered your current and future needs, determined your preferred architectural style, and found the right part of town for you, here are some of your options for a new Charleston home:
Charleston’s historic mansions embody the city’s storied past with architectural elegance and timeless appeal. These homes often feature intricate details, expansive gardens, classic columns, and spacious piazzas. An updated historic home allows you to immerse yourself in the city’s past while indulging in luxurious modern living.
SINGLE FAMILY HOMES
Charleston’s single family homes, including the iconic Charleston single house, offer a sense of community. Many have traditional wraparound porches, colorful shutters, and vibrant gardens that capture the essence of classic Southern living. You’ll find various architectural styles, including Colonial, Victorian, and Greek Revival, each with its unique charm.
Charleston’s proximity to the water offers an opportunity to experience coastal living at its finest. Whether it’s a luxurious harborview estate or a cottage on the marshes, these homes provide breathtaking views, access to water activities, and a serene atmosphere. Waterfront properties in Charleston offer a chance to embrace a relaxed lifestyle where the beauty of nature merges seamlessly with architecture.
Charleston row houses, also known as townhouses, are a popular choice for those seeking a blend of historic charm and urban living. These attached homes line the downtown city streets. They showcase architectural details including ornate ironwork, colorful facades, and seasonal window boxes. Charleston row houses provide easy access to the city’s amenities, making them an excellent option for those who desire a cosmopolitan lifestyle.
Charleston’s architectural landscape has expanded to include modern abodes that incorporate innovative and forward-thinking designs. These contemporary homes boast sleek lines, large windows, and open-concept floor plans. They tend to emphasize natural light and seamless indoor/outdoor living. Sustainable materials and smart features cater to those with a penchant for modern aesthetics and eco-conscious living. These residences showcase the city’s evolving architectural identity.
MOVING TO CHARLESTON, SC?
If you are planning a move to Charleston, SC, be sure to work with a local real estate agent who will help you narrow down your choices and show you around the different parts of town. Once you have chosen your dream house style, hiring interstate movers is a wise decision to ensure a smooth and hassle-free transition. An experienced team can help facilitate your relocation, providing expertise in navigating the logistics, packing your belongings securely, and ensuring a seamless transport of your possessions. Entrusting your move to professionals allows you to focus on the excitement of starting a new chapter in Charleston!
Spring has sprung in Charleston, as evinced by all the beautiful blooms sprouting in area gardens and parks. When planning your own landscape design, be sure to include plants that are well-adapted to the area. They not only blend well aesthetically with other local flora, but more importantly, thrive in the environment.
The South Carolina Lowcountry is conducive to many plant types, from massive Live Oak trees adorned with Spanish moss that add a canopy of shade, to Southern Pines, to a number of spectacular ornamentals and unique grasses. Here are a few excellent choices for plants that not only do well in the Charleston-area climate, but also add beauty to your home.
These moderately tall shrubs boast colorful flowers that bloom in the winter. One of the most appealing attributes of the camellia family is that they are evergreen. In the Lowcountry climate, the leaf portion of stays green year-round.
While there are more than 3000 individual varieties across the US South, the Japanese Camellia (Camellia japonica) is most popular around Charleston. It was brought to the New World late in the 18th century by French botanist Andre Michaux and earned the name the “Rose of Winter.”
The camellia proves hardy in hot Lowcountry summers, and supplies a vibrant show of color through the winter months. You’ll see versions in hot pink, to pale pink, to white, and combinations of those colors. Many of the shades are the perfect landscape compliment to the primary colors of azaleas. Camellias also come in varieties that produce double flowers.
If you would like to see thousands of camellias in bloom, be sure to attend one of Middleton Place’s camellia walks. These free guided tours take place in early February each year, when the flowers are at their most spectacular. You’ll even visit the 1786 Reine des Fleurs, one of the first camellias planted in America.
Did you know that tea leaves come from a camellia? The Camellia sinensis also grows well in the Lowcountry. You can even tour America’s only tea producer, the Charleston Tea Plantation on Wadmalaw Island. Here, you’ll see fields of the plants growing – and if you come at the right time, even being harvested. While there, be sure to sample some American Classic Tea.
The azalea has provided the most popular spring color display in South Carolina for centuries. Each spring, thousands of avid fans across the south flock to Summerville’s Flowertown Festival to see the blossoms at their peak.
While some cultivators across Charleston are indigenous, others were imported from the Orient. The azalea finds an ideal home in the shade under native Live Oak trees. The pH soil levels in the Lowcountry are also next to perfect for growing massive clusters of azaleas.
The shallow root systems of nearly all azalea varieties are excellent for providing quick moisture from minimal rainfall. In isolated landscape planters, some irrigation can be helpful during long dry spells. They rarely need pruning, except in situations where shaping or containment are desired.
The crepe myrtle is a flowering shrub that can also grow to heights classified as a tree. Like the camellia and azalea, Lagerstroemia indica has a number of cultivators, many brought to the US from parts of Asia.
The name is indicative of the crepe paper-like bark that covers the tree’s trunk. As a crepe myrtle grows more mature, the light and dark spots on the trunk become an important part of its visual appeal. The pink, purple, or white flowers are equally as breathtaking.
Frequently, crepe myrtles are cut back in the late fall and allowed to winter over with virtually no top portion. During the next spring, shoots of limbs multiply. As the smaller crepe myrtles grows into trees, they provide a color spectacle that can last the better part of the Lowcountry summer.
Another species of flowering landscape foliage prevalent in the Lowcountry is the dogwood tree. Many native species grow wild in surrounding wooded areas. The two most common colors of its flowers are pink and white. Old dogwood trees often have an under layer of azaleas augmenting their spring display. The dogwood’s flowering is a signal of spring.
While not quite as visible as the bark of the crepe myrtle, the dogwood also has a unique texture to its trunk. As the trees mature, definitive bark grain begins to help foretell the years the tree has been alive.
Many historic homes in and around Charleston are as known for their fantastic gardens as they are for the actual house. Next time you are strolling through downtown Charleston, be sure to notice these popular landscape trees. Together with annual and perennial flowers, they keep Charleston blooming in vibrant color.
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Now is the opportunity to pamper your loved ones – and yourself – with some of the best that Charleston has to offer. Here are our real estate agents’ recommendations for the most romantic spots to celebrate your Valentine’s Day in Charleston. Just click on each name to be linked to the individual businesses’ websites for more information.
MOST ROMANTIC RESTAURANTS IN CHARLESTON
Tempest– when it opened, this upscale seafood eatery on Market Street was named the #1 Best New Restaurant in the USAToday 10Best Readers’ Choice awards. The historic Harriott Pinckney Home for Sailors building in which they reside has undergone a beautiful transformation, including a custom-designed stained glass ceiling. Try out their special Valentine’s Day prix-fixe menu.
Middleton Place Restaurant – Once the daytime crowds have left, enjoy strolling the moonlit pathways of Middleton Place gardens before or after your traditional Southern meal at the restaurant. Don’t miss the Huguenot Torte for dessert! To top your evening off, book a romantic room in the Middleton Inn where you can enjoy champagne and chocolates in a soaking tub or beside the wood-burning fireplace.
Zero Restaurant + Bar – Located in a boutique hotel in Ansonborough, this small fine dining spot is the reason why Zero George was named one of Conde Nast’s Top 5 Foodie Hotels in the World.
Circa 1886 – Tucked in the former carriage house of the Wentworth Mansion, enjoy the seasonal menu or splurge on the 5-course tasting menu. After dinner, be sure to tour the Wentworth Mansion. If you are lucky, catch a glimpse of the city at twilight from atop their cupola.
Christophe – Treat yourself to handmade chocolates as well as delicious pastries from French Artisan Chocolatier-Pâtissier Christophe Paume.
Market Street Sweets – If chocolate alone isn’t your thing, indulge your sweet tooth with warm pecan pralines and fresh Bear Claws. Originally from River Street in Savannah, this shop also has locations on the Market and King Street. I dare you to walk by the smells wafting out of these shops without stopping for at least a sample!
Lotus Flower – Since 2000, the owners have been making some of the most creative arrangements in Charleston.
Tiger Lily Florist – The converted service station on Spring Street has become one of downtown Charleston’s premier flower shops, plus they deliver throughout the area.
Charleston Flower Market – This long-time shop on Maybank Highway on James Island advertises “uniquely creative” cut flowers and arrangements.
The Spa at Charleston Place– This European-style retreat is located in the Charleston Place Hotel in downtown Charleston. Guests have access to a rooftop pool with retractable glass ceiling. After your appointment, enjoy a poolside lunch. Or have a mommy and me day, treating your daughter to a “Lollipop Manicure.”
Earthling Day Spa – Another stalwart of the downtown spa scene, Earthling also houses a Pilates studio.
Charleston, SC is a highly desirable place to live, with beautiful scenery, rich history, and a strong sense of community. However, the climate and soil in and around the city tend to promote foundation problems, which may lead to costly repair bills. Fortunately, if you know what to lookout for, and with the help a reputable home foundation inspection, you can prevent or remedy these problems.
Below, we’ll discuss common foundation problems, along with the likely underlying cause, the most appropriate solution, and the cost of foundation repair in Charleston. We’ll also point out some red flags that can help you identify problems before they become severe.
COMMON HOME FOUNDATION ISSUES IN CHARLESTON, SC
Cracks appear in nearly every home foundation after construction. Most are the result of ordinary, healthy settling of the concrete. Settling cracks are typically less than ⅛” thick and run vertically on the side of the slab or spread out across the surface. These aren’t cause for alarm in most cases, but many homeowners choose to seal them for cosmetic reasons and to prevent water intrusion.
Wider or uneven gaps in the slab and those crossing over the corners of your foundation are more severe and often indicative of structural damage. They develop because of soil movement. Charleston is underlain by expansive Bohicket soil, which is high in clay content. It swells and shrinks in response to moisture changes, exposing your foundation to uneven support and dangerous shifting.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT FOUNDATION CRACKS
If you have hairline cracks from normal settlement, you can have them sealed to keep water and moisture from coming through. In Charleston, this typically costs around $250 per crack.
If you have structural cracks that are wider, uneven, or spanning the corners of the slab, you likely need stabilization in the form of underpinning. This process involves placing supports, called push piers, under your slab to provide additional support where the soil is shifting. Push piers usually cost between $1000 and $3000 each, depending on the type you need. You can expect your total cost to fall between $3000 and $20,000.
Water intrusion is a the most common type of foundation damage in Charleston. A few factors contribute to this problem.
First, the city receives an average of 48 inches of rain annually, which is more than 1.5x the national average. Rainfall frequently saturates the soil, leaving home foundations exposed to moisture for extended periods. Runoff wicks through foundation cracks or directly through undamaged, porous concrete and enters your home.
Second, Charleston has very shallow groundwater, as it’s located so close to the coast. The average height above sea level throughout the city is just 19 feet, meaning there is little room for runoff to drain before it backs up to the surface.
This low elevation in combination with above-average rainfall leaves the city prone to flooding. Floodwater interacting with your foundation and the surrounding soil can contribute to shifting, and it promote water and moisture issues in your home.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT WATER & MOISTURE
One of the best and most permanent solutions to water and moisture issues is a waterproofing system. In Charleston, these typically include gutter systems, French drains, crack sealing, and soil gradation. For those rare homes with basements, the system may also include sump pumps, other interior drainage systems, or footing drains.
A waterproofing system in Charleston typically costs between $2000 and $7500, depending on the extent of the moisture issue. Your foundation repair specialist might recommend more extensive measures if your property experiences flooding regularly.
HOME FOUNDATION RED FLAGS AND FIXES
Home foundations are under a lot of pressure from the weight of your house and the expansive soil underneath. As such, it’s imperative to identify minor problems and have them professionally repaired before they become severe. Even a DIY foundation inspection can help unearth foundation problems before they develop into structural instability. Of course, you’ll want to follow up with a professional assessment of any concerns you might find.
Foundation cracks are the most prevalent foundation problem in the Charleston area. Most homes in the area are built slab-on-grade with limited access to the concrete. Still, you can inspect the visible strip of concrete under your home from outside. Look for cracks wider than ⅛” or those that wrap around the corners of your home. It’s best to have a structural engineer inspect these larger gaps. They can advise if the issue is structural in nature and requires stabilization.
Even if you don’t notice cracks, keep an eye out for signs of a shifting foundation inside your home. Typical symptoms include cracks in the sheetrock around windows, doors, and the corners of rooms, sloping floors, and nail heads popping through the sheetrock. You may also notice windows and doors that stick when you open or close them, indicating the framing has shifted in response to foundation movement.
MOISTURE IN YOUR HOME
Since most homes in Charleston don’t have basements, identifying water intrusion can be tricky. Homeowners likely won’t find visible water damage, but instead will notice changes in moisture. Moist air typically feels colder in the winter and hotter in the summer, so uncomfortable indoor temperatures can indicate a water intrusion problem.
Moisture trapped between your slab and your flooring can also promote mold growth. You might notice musty odors, non-seasonal allergy symptoms, itchy eyes, or difficulty breathing. These all suggest a moisture issue beneath your home.
Any signs of moisture should trigger you to contact a foundation waterproofer or repair specialist. They can help you decide if a waterproofing system will solve the issue or if simply sealing foundation cracks will rectify the problem.
THE IMPORTANCE OF A HOME FOUNDATION INSPECTION
Owning a home in Charleston, SC is a rewarding experience. Do be aware, though, that the local geology and climate can lend themselves to foundation damage. As such, a foundation inspection should be a part of your home-buying process. Afterward, you should regularly monitor your foundation for symptoms of damage, as outlined in this guide. Keeping a vigilant eye out will allow you to implement a professional fix before the issue becomes more severe and more expensive to repair.
If your daughter or son is attending one of the many colleges in Charleston, SC, you have several housing options. While many students will choose to live in a dormitory or rent an apartment, you should also consider buying a home near campus. Owning a rental home can be a worthwhile financial investment, as well as an educational experience for your child. Purchasing the property your student lives in while attending school offers many benefits:
Stability. Your student will be in the same location during their college years. There will not be a need for yearly apartment hunting.
Storage. Furniture and other belongings can remain in the home while you own it, saving both time and money.
Fixed expenses. Generally, rent in Charleston increases every year. The average rent in the downtown area is nearly $3200 per month. By buying your property with a fixed rate mortgage, the housing expense will be fixed for the duration of ownership. Keep in mind, you will also avoid paying security deposits and moving utility services.
Responsibility. Your child receives a lesson in real estate investing as well as the responsibility that comes with owning property.
Financial benefits. Your financial gains include possible appreciation in value, equity build up and the opportunity to charge rent to housemates.
Of course, there are some things to watch out for when considering buying a home for your student. College students are generally on the move, so staying in one location for four or five years could present a challenge. If you rent rooms in the home, you become landlords and your student may have to deal with irresponsible housemates. General maintenance costs are also something to remember when purchasing an investment property. Be sure to factor additional expenses into your formula.
When it comes to the actual purchase of your investment property, there are many options available for the title and financing. Some parents include the student’s name on the title for owner-occupied tax benefits, while some opt to buy strictly as a rental property. There are several ways to hold the title, so speak with your attorney and tax advisor to determine the best route for you.
When you have decided to move forward with a purchase, your lending institution should offer several strategies. If your student will be named on the title of the property, using a FHA “kiddie condo” loan is a good option. This program allows your student to qualify for the loan as a co-borrower with a blood relative. There is a maximum loan amount, so check here for limits in the location of interest. Another option is to use a non-owner occupied loan with conventional financing. Interest-only loans are also available that may have a lower monthly payment.
Should you wish to rent extra rooms to supplement the mortgage payment and share expenses, have each housemate sign a written agreement. Standard rental agreements can be obtained through your real estate agent or lawyer. The rental document needs to address the term of the lease, rate and due date for payments, security deposit, parking, pets, utility payments, maximum occupancy and notice to vacate.
When your student graduates or is moving on, you have several options. You can keep the property as an investment rental. If you have another child who attends the same school, you can make a similar arrangement with him or her. You can also exchange the home for another investment property in another location in a 1031 exchange. Or you can always sell the property and realize any profits from increased value.
Disher, Hamrick & Myers has homes for sale near the College of Charleston and MUSC that would make ideal student residences or investment properties. Buying a house for your college student has many advantages. To learn more and decide if this is the right strategy for your family, call us at 843.577.4115 today.
If you are looking to relocate to Charleston, you are not alone. Young professionals, couples, and families alike are all flocking to the picturesque South Carolina Lowcountry. Our weather, beaches, job opportunities, and historic charm all draw new residents to Charleston. If you are among them, here are some important considerations when searching for your new home.
DISCOVER CHARLESTON’S NEIGHBORHOODS
The first thing you’ll want to do is narrow your search by exploring Charleston’s neighborhoods and surrounding areas. DHM provides a convenient Neighborhood Guide to help you determine which part of town is right for you. Each location offers its own perks. For example, if you are looking for a historic home, South of Broad is a beautiful, walkable area rich in history. If you prefer a bungalow in an up-and-coming area, North Central may be the right fit. If you want to live on the water or close to the beach, then you are going to want to check out Folly Beach or one of our other coastal islands. Is it important to you to be near a park, a bike path, or a recreational activity? What community amenities does your family want? Charleston has something to offer everyone. So prioritize your lifestyle wishes, then tour the town to find your best fit.
RESEARCH THE COST OF LIVING
The local cost of living is important to consider when moving to Charleston. While the state of South Carolina tends to be less expensive than the national average, Charleston tends to be a bit higher. This is especially true when it comes to housing. Home prices vary greatly depending on the part of town you choose. In order to better determine what you can afford, you’ll want to get preapproved for your mortgage. Completing this process will help you focus your search to areas and homes that fit within your budget. In addition, you’ll need to account for costs that may not be necessary where you live now — such as flood, hurricane, and earthquake insurance, as well as pest control.
WORK WITH AN EXPERIENCED LOCAL REALTOR®
To successfully navigate the busy Charleston market, you’ll want to seek the advice of an experienced local real estate agent. A professional that knows Charleston inside and out will help you find your perfect home with confidence. Especially in a hot seller’s market, working with a local expert is a must. Your Realtor® will present your offer quickly and negotiate on your behalf in the case of a bidding war.
CONNECT WITH LOCAL COMMUNITY GROUPS
A great and often overlooked way to learn about homes in Charleston is to reach out to local social groups, clubs, and organizations. Like-minded members can tell you firsthand what it is like to live in a particular neighborhood. They can also provide personal insights or make suggestions that you might not be able to find otherwise. As an added bonus, once you get here, you’ll already have friends and a social support network to help you quickly become part of the community.
CONSIDER EMPLOYMENT AND EDUCATION
Don’t forget to think about your new home’s proximity to your job, employment opportunities, and schools. How much of a commute are you willing to trade for outdoor space in the suburbs as opposed to a downtown condo? Also, if you are looking to further your education or have children, be sure to research Charleston’s many great public and private schools, colleges, and universities. You may even want to consider investing in a home or condo for student housing.
When looking for your ideal home in one of America’s most popular cities, it’s essential to do your homework. Charleston has so much to offer, there truly is something for everyone. From historic downtown to the beaches, you’re sure to find your dream home. And DHM is here for you every step of the journey. To get started, give us a call at 843.577.4115 or click here:
Today, Americans are buying homes for new reasons. The recent health crisis has truly reshaped our lifestyles and our needs. Spending extra time where we currently live is enabling many people to reevaluate what homeownership means and what they find most important in a home.
According to Zillow:
“In 2020, homes went from the place people returned to after work, school, hitting the gym or vacationing, to the place where families do all of the above. For those who now spend the majority of their hours at home, there’s a growing wish list of what they’d change about their homes, if possible.”
With a new perspective on homeownership, here are some of the top reasons people are reconsidering where they live and thinking differently about what they need in a home.
WORKING FROM HOME
Remote work is becoming the new norm, and it’s continuing longer than most initially expected. Many in the workforce today are discovering they don’t need to live close to the office anymore, and they can get more for their money if they move a little further outside city limits. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors (NAR), notes:
“With the sizable shift in remote work, current homeowners are looking for larger homes and this will lead to a secondary level of demand even into 2021.”
If you’ve tried to convert your guest room or your dining room into a home office with minimal success, it may be time to find a larger home. The reality is, your current house may not be optimally designed for this kind of space, making remote work and continued productivity challenging.
VIRTUAL & HYBRID SCHOOLING
Many school districts are using a model of virtual or hybrid learning, turning their curriculums into digital formats for students. If you have school-age children, they may need a dedicated learning space. If so, it might be time to find a larger home to provide your children with the same kind of quiet room to focus on their schoolwork, just like you need for your office work.
Staying healthy and active is a top priority for many Americans. With concern around the safety of returning to fitness facilities, dreams of space for a home gym are growing stronger. The Home Builders Association of Greater New Orleans explains:
“For many in quarantine, a significant decrease in activity is more than a vanity issue – it’s a mental health issue.”
Having room to maintain a healthy lifestyle at home – mentally and physically – may prompt you to consider a new place that includes space for at-home workouts.
Especially for those living in an apartment or a small townhouse, outdoor space is a new priority. Zillow notes the benefits of being able to use your yard throughout the year:
“People want more space in their next home, and one way to get it is by turning part of the backyard into a functional room, an outdoor space for play as well as entertaining or cooking.”
You may, however, not have the extra square footage today to have these designated areas – indoor or out.
MOVING MAY BE YOUR BEST OPTION
If you’re looking for extra room to accommodate your changing needs, making a move may be your best bet – especially while you can take advantage of today’s low mortgage rates. It’s a great time to get more home for your money, just when you need it most. To find a Charleston home that fits your family’s needs, give us a call at 843.577.4115 or start your search below: