Moving Tips for Historic Homeowners

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.

 

PLAN EVERYTHING

The first moving tip for historic homeowners is to carefully assess your situation.

Black front door to a historic house with fanlight above and detailed white molding around.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.

Fireplace in a historic house with detailed molding, antique chandelier, and family heirloom painting above the mantle.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.

Arched doorway in a historic house with detailed molding.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.

 

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9 Tips for Ensuring the Security of Your High-End Investments

In the world of high-end investments, privacy and security are paramount. Whether you’ve invested in luxury real estate, high-end art, or rare collectibles, protecting your valuables requires a comprehensive approach. Ensuring the safety of your assets encompasses physical security, cybersecurity, and discretion. Today’s DHM Blog brings you 9 essential tips to safeguard your high-end investments and give you the peace of mind of knowing they are well-protected.

 

1. CONDUCT A COMPREHENSIVE RISK ASSESSMENT

clipboard with a hand conducting a security risk assessment checklistBefore diving into the specific security measures, it’s crucial to conduct a thorough risk assessment. Consider factors such as location, market conditions, and the nature of your asset. Consult with experts who can offer valuable insights and help you identify any vulnerabilities you might have overlooked. Then tailor your strategy to implement the recommended measures.

 

2. INSTALL ADVANCED SECURITY SYSTEMS

hand holding a cell phone that connects to various advanced home security systemsInvest in cutting-edge security systems including surveillance cameras, state-of-the-art alarms, and access control measures. Ensure they are regularly maintained and upgraded to keep up with evolving threats. In addition to advanced technology, consider integrating smart home automation into your setup. Smart systems allow you to remotely monitor and control your security measures, providing real-time updates and alerts to your mobile device. This added layer of convenience and control can significantly enhance the safety of your high-end investments.

 

3. INVEST IN SECURE STORAGE

home safe to secure storage of high-end investmentsHaving a secure storage solution is vital for physical assets like art, jewelry, or collectibles. Use a fire-resistant, high-end safe or vault with a robust locking mechanism. If storing possessions off-site space, choose a location with a reputable track record for security. Either way, document and catalog your items meticulously. Create an inventory with detailed descriptions and photographs, and keep this information in a separate, secure location. This documentation will assist in recovery efforts in case of theft or damage and also with insurance claims.

 

4. SECURE YOUR DIGITAL FOOTPRINT

laptop computer with VPN on the screen to secure your digital footprintIn today’s digital age, privacy extends beyond physical security. Take steps to secure your online presence. Use strong, unique passwords for all accounts and enable two-factor authentication. Be cautious about sharing sensitive information online. It’s also wise to invest in a reputable virtual private network (VPN) to encrypt your internet connection and shield your online activities from prying eyes. Also be sure regularly to update your cybersecurity measures.

 

5. MAINTAIN DISCRETION

cell phone with social media on the screen on top of a keyboardWhile it’s natural to be proud of your high-end investments, exercising discretion can go a long way in ensuring their security. Avoid flaunting your assets in public and be mindful of who you share information with. This includes posting about your assets online, for example in social media – especially if your post would disclose the location of your assets. The more discreet you are, the less likely you are to attract unwanted attention.

When selling your home, you may want to keep certain works of art away from the public eye in listing photography. You’ll also want to secure valuables such as jewelry when potential buyers tour your home. And of course, you’ll want to use a reputable real estate agent who has experience in luxury properties. They will guide you through the home-selling process and serve as a trusted gatekeeper between your possessions and potential buyers.

 

6. HIRE REPUTABLE MOVERS

reputable movers with a clipboard checking boxes for a secure move of high-end investmentsWhether you’re relocating to a new home or transferring your assets to a different location, it’s imperative to maintain a high level of security throughout the process. Ensure your valuable possessions are carefully packed, transported, and unpacked. Once you’ve settled into your new space, take the necessary precautions to secure it. Moving should not be a vulnerability in your investment’s security, but rather an opportunity to enhance and reinforce it. Reevaluate systems, change access codes or locks, and verify the integrity of your storage.

 

7. EMPLOY PROFESSIONAL SECURITY PERSONNEL

2 professional security guardsFor particularly valuable or sensitive investments, hiring professional security personnel can be indispensable. Trained guards can provide on-site protection, monitor security systems, and respond swiftly to any potential threats. Their presence alone can act as a deterrent to would-be intruders.

 

8. IMPLEMENT ACCESS CONTROLS

laptop computer with blank username and password fields for acess control on the screen Carefully control who has access to your high-end investments. Only allow trusted individuals and prevent unauthorized people from compromising your asset’s security. Ensure clear protocols are in place for granting and revoking access.

 

9. STAY INFORMED ABOUT SECURITY TRENDS

Stay informed about the latest trends and technologies. Security is an ever-evolving field, but by staying up-to-date, you can adapt your security measures to address emerging threats effectively. Remember that safeguarding your high-end investments is an ongoing process. With the right precautions in place, you can stay a step ahead of potential threats and enjoy the privacy and security of your high-end investments with confidence.

 

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Benefits of Working with a Real Estate Agent as a Cash Buyer

In this current sellers’ market with high interest rates, being able to buy a home with cash can be advantageous. However, navigating the process alone can be overwhelming. That’s why even cash buyers need a real estate agent. In fact, working with an agent who is experienced in cash transactions can significantly improve your home-buying journey. Let’s look at some of the ways a real estate agent helps cash buyers:

 

MARKET EXPERTISE

When you work with a real estate professional, you gain access to their years of expertise. DHM agents have in-depth knowledge of the local real estate market, including current trends, property values, and investment opportunities. They help you make informed decisions and ensure you get the best value for your investment. Real estate agents assist buyers at every step, from identifying suitable properties that meet your criteria, to guiding you through the intricacies of the buying process. Their assistance proves invaluable throughout the entire journey.

 

ACCESS TO LISTINGS

Hand with magnifying glass looking for home in Charleston, SCReal estate agents have access to all properties in the MLS, as well as off-market (or “pocket”) listings not yet available to the general public. They keep you ahead of the competition by sharing quick notifications about new listings that align with your preferences. They also work their personal and industry connections to find homes that fit your needs if none are currently on the market. This exclusive access gives you a significant advantage in finding the perfect property for your cash purchase.

 

LOCAL INSIGHTS

Real estate agents possess in-depth knowledge of the local community, including amenities, schools, neighborhood dynamics, and other factors that may impact the value and desirability of a property. They stay updated on future trends and market changes crucial for making informed decisions about investment properties. A good agent can identify areas with high appreciation potential. They also understanding the rental market for income-generating properties.

 

NEGOTIATION SKILLS

Hands of two men shaking hands in front of a houseOnce you have found that perfect property, real estate agents negotiate on your behalf. They will use knowledge and experience to protect your interests and secure your best possible deal. Once you’ve submitted a compelling offer backed by proof of funds from your financial institution, they will continue to advocate for you, ensuring your needs and goals are met. With such expert guidance, you can confidently navigate negotiations.

 

EFFICIENT CLOSINGS

You may think a cash closing is a simple process. In fact, there are still many steps to take and details to keep track of. Real estate agents facilitate and streamline this. One of the key benefits buying a home with cash is the reduced closing costs. Cash buyers do not carry the burden of mortgage application fees, loan origination fees, and other expenses that make up a significant portion of closing costs. Your real estate agent will make sure you get all the discounts you are entitled to.

Your agent will also guide you through gathering necessary documentation, ensure accurate and timely completion of paperwork, and keep track of deadlines. She or he will coordinate inspections, appraisals, and other due diligence tasks. If financing becomes necessary, they can actively assist in arranging it and liaise with lenders on your behalf. Their involvement saves you valuable time, effort, and stress.

 

NETWORK OF PROFESSIONALS

Professional movers putting boxes in a moving van.As you can see, even in all-cash deals, there are many third parties involved in real estate transactions. Fortunately, real estate agents have connections with appraisers, inspectors, contractors, and other service providers who play a crucial role in home buying. Your agent will recommend reliable professionals to assist with all of your property-related needs, taking that burden off of you.

If you are moving from out of state, they can help you find a reliable cross-country mover to safely pack, transport, and deliver your belongings to your new destination. A good agent will even recommend restaurants, clubs, and civic activities you’ll enjoy in your new home!

 

In conclusion, collaborating with a real estate agent brings a cash buyer many benefits. From expert guidance and exclusive access to listings, to streamlined processes and a network of professionals, working with a real estate agent simplifies your home buying experience. DHM’s expert team of real estate agents are all well-versed in cash sales and are here to give you a seamless and successful buying journey!

 

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Top 10 Reasons to Own a Second Home in Charleston, SC

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

Cobblestone street and row houses in Charleston, SCCharleston 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

Man lying on the beach beside an Isle of Palms sun umbrellaImagine 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

Person grabbing a sample of food at the Charleston Wine and Food festivalFood 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

Charleston City Hall with banner for Spoleto Festival and a crowd in frontGetting 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

Father and son biking across a beach in Charleston, SCWhether 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

female healthcare worker holding stethoscopeCharleston’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

basket of magnolia flowers with a welcome signThe 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

three women in black caps and gown with red scarfs at a college student graduationCharleston 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

map of the US east coast around Charleston, SCCharleston’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.

 

CONCLUSION

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.

 

 

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Spoleto Festival Insider Tips & Tricks

The annual Spoleto Festival USA runs from May 26-June 11 this year. Charleston residents and visitors alike will have the opportunity to enjoy world-class theatrical and musical performances. Want to know how to enjoy the festival like a local? Whether this will be your first Spoleto or you are a regular, here are some insider tips and tricks to make the most out of your visit to the festival.

 

SPOLETO ON A BUDGET

  • Piccolo Spoleto poster 2023Tickets are less expensive for weekday performances than for those on the weekends.
  • Some city garages offer free parking during the performances.
  • Select events offer senior, military, student, and group discounts.
  • Piccolo Spoleto is a complementary festival with regional rather than international artists. Many Piccolo events are free, such as the opening weekend concert at the Customs House, the Marion Square outdoor art exhibition, and the Festival Finale at Hampton Park. Others have only a minimal charge.
  • Select performances have tickets starting at $25. Be sure to check these out.

DINING CONSIDERATIONS

  • Restaurants and bars tend to be full before and after performances. Take this into consideration when scheduling your meals out and plan accordingly.
  • Allow more time than you think you need if dining before a show.
  • If you’re not attending a performance, choose to dine during those hours. Reservations are much easier to get at those times.

DOWNTOWN PARKING

  • Parking is always difficult. Be prepared to drive around to find a spot and then walk a good distance to the venue. The earlier you arrive, the better chance to find a good parking spot.
  • On-street parking meters are free after 6:00pm and on Sundays.
  • Neighborhood parking is usually limited to an hour or two. If you park in a residential area, you will be ticketed if you stay longer.
  • Some garages offer flat rates for the evening.
  • If possible, leave the car at home and walk or Uber.

 

SPOLETO VENUES

Spoleto poster 2023

  • Indoor venues tend to be very cold, despite the usual Charleston heat and humidity outside. Be sure to bring a wrap or a jacket with you.
  • You can purchase last-minute tickets at the venue an hour before the show. They are not discounted, but are often available, especially for shows at larger venues such as the College of Charleston Cistern and the Gaillard Center.
  • Go to the festival office at the Gaillard Center to get information and brochures on Spoleto and Piccolo Spoleto. They will provide all the information on times, dates, length of productions, maps, etc.

 

And if you enjoy your trip to Charleston so much you’d like to move here permanently or invest in a vacation home, Disher, Hamrick & Myers can help you find the perfect place! Call us at 843.577.4115 to start your Charleston home search.

 

Do you have any additional insider tips for Spoleto? If so, please add them in the comments.

 

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5 Tips to Keep Your South Carolina Lawn Healthy All Year

It’s important to take care of your lawn in all seasons, not just spring and summer. Since the weather in South Carolina doesn’t get cold enough to completely kill off grass, prepping in winter will lead to a greener, healthier lawn come springtime. As winter approaches and your turf looks less and less appealing, you can take some simple steps to return it to health and bring back its color. Just follow these 5 tips, and you’ll have the yard of your dreams year-round.

1. CONTINUE TO MOW

The most important thing you can do for your lawn is continue to mow until it goes dormant. This will keep the grass at a manageable height, as well as remove any excess debris that has built up. Be sure not to scalp your lawn, however; removing too much of the blade can damage your grass and hinder new growth. Warm season grasses found in the Southeast (like Bermuda, Centipede, and Zoysia) should be mowed to around 1-2 inches tall, depending on type. And remember the rule not to cut more than a third of your grass’s height at one time. Your lawn will continue to grow throughout the winter, albeit at a much slower rate, until the temperature drops below 40 degrees.

2. RAKE LEAVES

Raking is no one’s favorite task, but it does create a healthier environment and prevents fungal disease. Always rake before rain is expected. If leaves are left to create a wet mat, they will invite insects that may travel into your home. Be sure your last rake of the year isn’t too early (before all leaves have fallen) or too late (when they’ve started to decompose).

3. AERATE

Aerating is the process of punching holes in your lawn to allow nutrients, air, and water to reach the core of your soil. Doing this before applying fertilizer or weed killer helps those products absorb, rather than being washed away.

 

4. FERTILIZE

If you only fertilize your lawn once a year, the best time to do so is fall. This will give your lawn the right amount of nutrients, oxygen, and moisture to grow come spring. If you wait until spring, your lawn will miss out on the nutrients it needs to survive through winter. Be sure to allow enough time for nutrients to absorb into the ground, where grassroots need them most, before watering your lawn, which can wash them away.

5. HIRE A PROFESSIONAL LAWN CARE TECHNICIAN

Maintaining your lawn year-round takes a lot of time and effort, and can be a daunting task. You may prefer to trust a local lawn care company. Coastal Turf, for example, specializes in services including core aeration, sod installation, weed control, and more. If you have questions, call a local technician to discuss specifics in your yard and what you can do to have the best curb appeal in the neighborhood!

BONUS REAL ESTATE TIP

If you’re selling your house in the winter, curb appeal remains crucial. Fortunately, Disher, Hamrick & Myers includes virtual landscaping in all our listing photography. Regardless of the time of year, we keep your yard tidied of leaves, your flowers blooming, and your grass as lush and green as it is during its peak. Take a before-and-after look at the possibilities:

 

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Colorful Landscape Staples that Keep Charleston Beautiful

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.

 

CAMELLIA

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.

 

AZALEA

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.

 

CREPE MYRTLE

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.

 

DOGWOOD

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.

 

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Have Your Best Valentine’s Day in Charleston

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.
  • R. Kitchen – Chef Ross Webb creates a new four-course menu every night for the 16 lucky guests who sit at the counter in his kitchen in Cannonborough-Elliotborough.
  • 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.

 

BEST CHOCOLATES:

Charleston Valentine's Day chocolates & flowers

  • 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!

 

BEST FLORIST:

  • 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.

 

BEST SPA:

  • 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.
  • Woodhouse Day Spa – This luxurious spa across the Ravenel Bridge in Mt. Pleasant receives rave reviews. They also have a second area location in the WestEdge development on the peninsula.

Remember when two people love each other, anything can be romantic! And if you’re single this Valentine’s Day, why not pamper yourself?

How will you spend your Valentine’s Day in Charleston? What are your suggestions for the most romantic spots? Let us know in the comments.

 

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Best Pets For Small Homes

Disher, Hamrick & Myers’ Marketing Director, Avery Edwards, was recently quoted in Redfin’s blog, “The 8 Best Pets for Apartments.

While many people enjoy the companionship of pets, animal lovers living in smaller spaces can have a hard finding the right one. Whether you lease or own an apartment, live in a rented room, small home, or even student housing, there’s a lot to keep in mind. You’ll need to consider available space, your building’s restrictions, noise levels, your budget, and time commitment,. In addition to cats and dogs, you may want to look into “exotic” animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs, birds, turtles, or even fish.

Per Avery’s suggestion, a domestic rabbit can be the perfect apartment pet. Already the third most popular pet in America, they are well-suited for indoor living. Bunnies are smaller in size that most cats and dogs, weighing as little as 2 pounds. They are quiet, clean, and odorless — making for happy neighbors. You can even easily train them to use a litter box. You will need to rabbit-proof your space until you know your bunny’s personality and behavior. Since they do tend to exhibit natural activities like chewing and digging, you won’t want to be making repairs to your baseboards or risking your security deposit.

Be sure to check out the full article for more options, advice, and tips. And for all your Charleston real estate needs, give DHM a call at 843.577.4115.

 

 

 

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Guide to Charleston Home Foundation Issues and Solutions

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

 

FOUNDATION CRACKS

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

home foundation crack in concrete

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

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.

 

PROPERTY DAMAGE

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

crack in a wall above a doorSince 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

man repairing a concrete on a home foundation

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.

 

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