The Charleston Coast From Our View...
I have always loved household furnishings. From dishes to sofas and everything in between, I have very serious ideas about style and function. When I was looking for dishes, the set had to have a pleasing coffee cup – definitely not a mug but also, not a tea cup. I looked for three years to replace the light fixture for my kitchen, 10 years for the bedroom pendant light, and since I moved here 15 years ago I have yet to find the right exterior sconces. To be sure, I do love the thrill of the hunt.
There are so many brave and loving people helping others in this world that I admire like nurses and firefighters and teachers. I hope that in my way, I am truly helping people achieve their dreams. I never have felt I was “selling” anyone a home, but rather helping them navigate the complicated and emotional path to ownership. In some cases I am more of a counsellor and stress management advisor than a sales agent. Clients frequently try to think for both sides of the equation and do not consider that their risk tolerance is not the same as the other party’s. Helping people think about what they can and cannot control is one of my functions. One of my sellers once said “it’s an old house, of course there will be wood rot.” A perfectly reasonable assumption. The wood rot however, will never pass the termite inspection and the buyer’s financing will likely not be approved without a clear report. Fixing the wood rot was a no brainer in the big scheme of things and was not going to be negotiable. Most importantly, I believe in staging! As a consequence, I will jump in to help with the physical labor working alongside clients to make sure we have the best photos. My grey/blue pillow from my own home has appeared in numerous photo shoots and anything I can offer to maximize the online clicks is worth it to get top dollar for them.
Every client is surprised when problems with the sale arise. I am always on the lookout because I know they are coming and it’s only a matter of what new issues will arise and when. In one instance after a hurricane, my buyers were getting close to closing but the neighbor’s tree had fallen on the property they were to purchase. Tree experts were booked up with life threatening emergencies, but this precariously leaning tree threatened their new home. The neighbor was renting the property and reaching the owner was not easy but, through persistence and insistence we got it done in time to close on our scheduled date.
Working with first-time home buyers on a tight budget gives me the opportunity to play auntie and take care of them. Working with middle-aged clients with similar life experiences often creates new friendships. Many of my clients are from among my church friends and working together deepens that friendship as we weather the inevitable storms. I so enjoy out of town clients and showing them the ropes of Charleston. It captured my heart on a long weekend 15 years ago and I hope the same for my buyers. Folks looking for a second home often appreciate the thorough, and prompt follow up to their questions from afar as they negotiate long-distance. I love the interaction and learning about their personalities and why they love what they love about a home.
How could I not love this job?
“November saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average top 30,000 for the first time, while mortgage rates reached new record lows again. These new records have provided encouragement for buyers to move forward on home purchases, which continued to remain strong overall for the month. Showing activity remains higher than the same period a year ago across most of the country, suggesting that strong buyer demand is likely to continue into what is typically the slowest time of year. With inventory remaining constrained in most market segments, sellers continue to benefit from the tight market conditions.”
~ Charleston Trident Association of Realtors® (CTAR)
Market Statistics by Area:
Closed Sales +34.5% | Median Sales Price +18.4% | Months Supply -61.5%
- Downtown Charleston
- Upper Charleston Peninsula
- Upper Mount Pleasant
- Lower Mount Pleasant
- Daniel Island
- Folly Beach
- Isle of Palms/Wild Dunes
- Sullivan’s Island
- Kiawah Island
- Seabrook Island
- James Island
- West Ashley
- Johns Island
- North Charleston
- Goose Creek
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4 bedrooms, 4.5 baths | 2,810 sq ft | Offered at $1,599,000
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Top 9 of 2020
Charleston Coast Vacations
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One of the reasons I made the decision to move to the island of Martha’s Vineyard from Pennsylvania years ago was the fact that the winters were milder than mainland New England, largely because water tempered the atmosphere and it was not subject to the kind of snow the rest of the northeast received. As time wore on however, the winters became increasingly severe. My last winter required hiring a front loader to open my driveway after snow plows stacked it more than 10’ high. I was over it, and began looking for a new adventure. I had criteria of course, my next home had to be near a beach, on the east coast in order to be near family in PA, and it had to have a lively arts community. It also had to have an economy that would support more than just the hospitality industry as we were coming with no firm employment. We studied cities up and down the Atlantic coast, and decided our first visit would be to Charleston. We took the longish holiday over Thanksgiving to make our first investigation to do some exploring on our own as well as arranging with a local REALTOR® to see some properties.
We drove around a bit and loved what we saw. It did not take long to know Charleston would be our next home. I found myself sitting in Waters Edge restaurant overlooking Shem Creek on Thanksgiving Day and that sealed the deal. It was 75 degrees and sunny, I ordered a rare tuna steak and declared this was the best Thanksgiving ever!
The next day we began looking at homes. We were moving from a very remote location only accessible by boat or plane, so the idea of just running to Home Depot on a whim rather than planning it weeks in advance was an idea we needed to wrap our minds around again. We looked at homes in Mt. Pleasant, West Ashley, and Hanahan. They were very nice homes, but the neighborhoods were more suburban than we preferred. We had been living next to a 10 acre meadow and just two blocks from a state forest. Still, seeing them and their relative convenience helped us refine our requirements. Perhaps even tougher than the neighborhood feel, was the architecture. As a REALTOR®, every week I talk to people about growing older and wanting a master on the first floor at a minimum, and preferably eliminating most stairs altogether. Our New England saltbox was fine for our younger selves but in our forties, we knew that those days were numbered. Finding a single story, contemporary home where most folks want the elevated and more traditional architectural vernacular of the Lowcountry was not easy. Nothing seemed to fit the bill.
After a few weeks of searching I found a contemporary house on Johns Island. Rural to be sure, but just a 15 minute trip to Costco – by car! Anxious as we were, we had to wait until after Christmas to see it in person. We feared it would be snapped up but, it was just not feasible to get there sooner. Fortunately for us, because more people wanted the true Charleston character it had not yet been sold. We walked in the door and I knew it was my house. New construction – a spec home, and it backed up to wetlands and woods. We wrote an offer sitting on the floor in the empty living room. Now, I did have to give in on some things I thought I needed like a larger kitchen, but everyone does – no home is perfect and even if you build it yourself, there will be things that don’t turn out as planned. Remember, everything is a trade-off! Sometimes you get tuna instead of turkey and you can be very thankful.
If you are thinking about making the Lowcountry your home, take it from a transplant – best decision ever! I’d love to help you find your next home.