Isle of Palms Office

1400 Palm Boulevard Ste. M
Isle of Palms, SC 29451
843.886.5600

Real Estate Inquiries:
realestate@dunesproperties.com
Vacation Rental Inquiries:
vacations@dunesproperties.com


Folly Beach Office

31 Center Street
Folly Beach, SC 29439
843.588.3800

Real Estate Inquiries:
realestate@dunesproperties.com
Vacation Rental Inquiries:
vacations@dunesproperties.com


Dunes Downtown

11 Fulton Street
Charleston, SC 29401
843.722.5618

Real Estate Inquiries:
realestate@dunesproperties.com
Vacation Rental Inquiries:
vacations@dunesproperties.com


Kiawah Seabrook Office

1887 Andell Bluff Boulevard
Johns Island, SC 29455
843.768.9800

Real Estate Inquiries:
realestate@dunesproperties.com
Vacation Rental Inquiries:
vacations@dunesproperties.com


Mount Pleasant Office

835 Coleman Blvd Ste. 200
Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
843.881.5600

Real Estate Inquiries:
realestate@dunesproperties.com
Vacation Rental Inquiries:
vacations@dunesproperties.com


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Tag: charleston

Is Charleston, SC, a Good Place to Live?

Charleston SC, a good place to live

Ask any resident of the Holy City, “Is Charleston, SC, a good place to live?” and you’re sure to be greeted with resounding affirmative responses. But, there are many factors to consider before moving to a new area. Generally speaking, Charleston is one of the best places to live in the country. In fact, the city has received an extensive list of accolades over the last decade, topping Travel + Leisure’s Best U.S. Cities since 2013. But, before permanently relocating, you should have a good understanding of the city, its culture, climate and cost of living to ensure it will be the best fit for your lifestyle.

Fortunately, Charleston has an abundance of beautiful areas to reside–from the bustling downtown homes to the beachside Isle of Palms real estate. Learn more about this flourishing coastal town in South Carolina and figure out which area your new dream home will be located.

What Is Charleston Like?

The Weather

Perhaps one of the most enticing reasons to move to Charleston is the gorgeous weather year-round. The summers may reach scorching temperatures from time to time, but the winters are mild and pleasant. Plus, with so many beaches and outdoor water activities in the area, it’s easy to escape the summer heat while enjoying all the city has to offer. On average, the temperatures usually remain between the low 50s and 70s in the fall and spring, dropping down briefly to the mid-40s in the winter and rising back up to the 80s and 90s in the hottest of the summer months. With such a temperate climate, it’s no surprise an abundance of outdoorsy adventurers and beach bums gravitate towards this sunny little city.

The Food

Charleston, SC, is one of the greatest culinary destinations in the country right now with new restaurants popping up all the time. Many travelers come to the area to experience authentic Southern cooking, but stay for the surprising variety of cuisines available from classic French cooking to Sichuan joints. Of course, if you’re looking for good Carolina barbecue, you’ll have no trouble finding smoked meats from some of the most renowned pit masters in the state like Rodney Scott, but the adventurous eater will love all the other options available for exploring.

Food in Charleston SC

Though the downtown area has the greatest concentration of high-quality restaurants, you’ll find delectable dining throughout the area–from unexpectedly divine hidden fish shacks like Bowens Island Restaurant to decadent dining experiences at places like The Obstinate Daughter on Sullivan’s Island. Believe us, you’ll never be hungry when you’re living in Charleston.

The History

Originally part of the first 13 British colonies, Charleston and the surrounding areas have a deep, rich history that spans from the Revolutionary War through modern times.

Although some of the city’s past is dark, with slavery playing a major role in the pre-Civil War economy, Charleston has become a flourishing, progressive hub of forward thinking and modernity. From the mix of historical events that can take place here, including pirate endeavors and the creation of the first playhouse in the country, there is so much unique history to learn and experience.

The Outdoor Activities

With such beautiful year-round weather, it’s no surprise Charleston is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream place to live. Avid golfers look for Kiawah Island homes for sale to stay close to some of the top-rated championship courses in the country, while others prefer the bohemian vibe of Folly Beach. You’ll find exciting things to do in nearly every corner of Charleston. Visit the Francis Marion National Forest for a daytime hike along the Palmetto Trail, a cross-state trail that extends 350 miles with the goal of expanding to 500 miles. The Caw Caw Interpretive Center is another resource for experiencing and learning more about the Lowcountry’s environment and the beautiful creatures that inhabit it. And, in Charleston, anytime is a good time to go to the beach.

Outdoor activities in Charleston SC

The Architecture

Downtown Charleston is home to some unique and very specific styles of architecture, ranging from Colonial and Federal styles to Classical Revival and even Art Deco. With more than 2,800 historic buildings, the area is teeming with unique designs and stories to match. You could spend days exploring the streets of downtown, discovering new, incredibly built houses. One of the most admired styles is the traditional Charleston Single, which is typically a two-story home featuring a covered porch off the side of both stories, a setup unique to Charleston developed prior to modern air conditioning to allow for air flow in the scorching summers.

The Best Areas to Live in Charleston, SC

If you’re still wondering, “Is Charleston, SC, a good place to live?” then you’re asking the wrong questions. Charleston is one of the most beautiful places to live along the coastline, and it encompasses so many different areas that there are plenty of different types of environments to choose from.

Downtown Charleston

Most downtown residents consist of college students, young professionals or wealthy adults, with the South of Broad area being home to some of the richest residents in the area. The remainder of the peninsula welcomes the younger population, with many young families choosing to find homes further up the neck in the Wagener Terrace area. Close to Hampton Park and filled with adorable cottage-style homes, Wagener Terrace is close enough to the action of downtown while keeping a safe distance from the noisy bars and restaurants.

Mount Pleasant

Just over the iconic Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, you’ll find yourself in Mount Pleasant. In the last 10 years, this town has grown exponentially as more people fall in love with Charleston and decide to relocate here. Regardless of what area you’re in, Mount Pleasant allows you to remain fairly close to downtown while having a more suburban surrounding. There are two beaches in Mount Pleasant—Sullivan’s Island and Isle of Palms—so you have plenty of options when it’s time to hit the shore.

Mt Pleasant, SC a good place to live

For families looking to move to the area, Mount Pleasant is highly touted as having many of the best public schools in the entire state, a much sought-after characteristic. Enjoy spending your weekends walking through the outdoor town center, lounging by the beach or taking a walk over the bridge for unparalleled views of the surrounding area.

Folly Beach

Heading southwest of downtown, the opposite direction of Mount Pleasant, you’ll discover James Island, home to the charming little area of Folly Beach. Known as the Edge of America, this shoreside locale is known for being a bit more bohemian than the other beaches in the area, but nonetheless a favorite haunt for locals and visitors alike. Here, you’ll discover hidden gems of the culinary world like Jack of Cups Saloon and Chico Feo. You can opt to take a sunset walk along the pier, or drive farther down the beach to the Lighthouse Inlet Heritage Preserve, a more secluded area of the beach where you can marvel at unique graffiti drawings and the abandoned Morris Island Lighthouse.

West Ashley

This area of Charleston was named for its geographical location as west of the Ashley River, which is also directly west of downtown. This charming town has plenty to offer, including proximity to downtown and its own hopping little area known as Avondale where you can explore funky tiki bars like Voodoo and even the oldest bar in Charleston, Gene’s Haufbrau. Though this area of Charleston is mainly residential, residents have easy access to the Citadel Mall, Magnolia Plantation and Gardens and Johns Island’s Angel Oak Tree.

Park Circle

Located in North Charleston, Park Circle is a short 15-minute drive from downtown. Considered a trendy, up-and-coming neighborhood, Park Circle is home to young professionals and families. The strip of bars, restaurants and shops along E. Montague Ave. is the hub of this charming neighborhood, along with the adjacent Spruill Ave. businesses like brunch spot The Junction and the new Chinese-American joint called Jackrabbit Filly. Living in this area allows easy access to nearly every area of the city from downtown to the many beaches, while also harboring its own unique little culture of art and food.

Johns Island, SC a good place to live

Johns Island

Considered slightly more rural than other parts of Charleston, Johns Island is a gorgeous area surrounded by typical Lowcountry scenery of marshlands and live oaks draped in Spanish moss. The island itself is home to the Angel Oak Tree, what is believed to be one of the oldest living trees east of the Mississippi, as well as renowned restaurants, the Fat Hen and Wild Olive, and the charming Low Tide Brewing. From this location, you’re just a short drive to the James Island music venue called the Pour House as well downtown.

Seabrook Island

As you move farther away from the city, you’ll begin to feel more entangled in the natural landscape of the Lowcountry. Seabrook Island is only about a 45-minute drive from downtown Charleston, but offers serene backdrops of marshlands and the quiet relaxation of the barrier islands. Here, you’ll be close to the many championship golf courses on Kiawah Island, while remaining slightly closer to the city of Charleston. One of the major differences between Kiawah and Seabrook is that Kiawah is a gated community. Some people prefer this type of privacy, while others find getting guests and visiting relatives in and out of a gated community to be a bit of a burden.

For those who love outdoor adventure, this area might be a better fit as the island’s surroundings are ideal for kayaking, paddleboarding, horseback riding and much more. If you’re in the market for a boat or you already own one, the advantage to living so close to the water is clear. And, with such a gorgeous climate, you’re able to sail across the water almost any time of the year. Just imagine a New Year’s Eve sunset boat ride before the festivities begin.

Kiawah Island

As the barrier island located right next to Seabrook Island, Kiawah is similar in surroundings with lush live oaks flourishing across the island and thriving marshlands providing homes for the unique Lowcountry wildlife. For those who are interested in birdwatching or other types of wildlife observation, the island is the perfect environment for such endeavors. You can visit the Beachwalker Park or Night Heron Park to look for native species or simply enjoy the surroundings.

While Kiawah Island is a bit farther south than Seabrook, it is still under an hour from Charleston, making it possible to take a day trip into the city at any given moment. But, the island itself provides a variety of entertainment options as well as top-notch dining available at The Ocean Room and lovely cocktails at the Ryder Cup Bar. For golf lovers, this island is truly a paradise with access to five public courses and two private courses, many of which have been created by top golf designers and offer a challenge to players of all skill levels.

If you’re looking for Kiawah Island homes for sale, you’ll find a plethora of gorgeous properties that offer privacy and proximity to desirable activities nearby. Anyone looking for a slower pace of life will be attracted to the atmosphere of Kiawah.

Experience the Lowcountry Life

charleston, a good place to live

People who haven’t visited the area often wonder, “Is Charleston, SC, a good place to live?” and the answer is a resounding, “Yes.” Between the uniquely gorgeous natural landscape, abundance of activities and world-class culinary dining, what more could you ask for? If you’re thinking about relocating and looking for Seabrook Island real estate or property in the surrounding areas, consider the activities you’d like to be closest to. Seabrook and Kiawah offer the serenity of quiet island living, while areas closer to downtown Charleston provide the bustle of a small city and the promise of nightlife. Browse some of the available properties in the area and inquire with Dunes Properties to learn more about your next dream home.

5 Festivals to Look Forward to this Season

Looking for some plans outside the house this fall? A simple scroll through the charlestoncvb.com calendar will render a long list of possibilities. Here are just a few of the events we’re looking forward to this season.

Charleston Fall Festivals 2016

photo courtesy of Charleston Arts Festival

Charleston Arts Festival | Oct. 5-8

The first annual Charleston Arts Festival is brought to you by the creator of Jailbreak. Though Jailbreak’s technically defunct, the CFA finale will take place at the Old Jail on Magazine Street, so it’ll be like a Jailbreak reincarnated. Also on the agenda for CFA is Pecha Kucha 25 (8 presentations by local members of Charleston’s music community and Women & Radiohead, where local female musicians will perform Radiohead songs. Both of the latter events take place at the Music Hall, while the other facet of CAF, a Culinary Evolution, will go down at High Wire Distillery. For tickets, dates, and further details, go to charlestonartsfestival.com.  

MOJA Arts Festival | Sept. 29-Oct. 9

This will be Charleston’s 33rd year with the MOJA Arts fest, a celebration of African-American and Caribbean Arts. The city will be taken over by isual arts, classical music, dance, gospel, jazz, poetry, R&B music, storytelling, theatre, children’s activities, traditional crafts, ethnic food, and much more. Guess what else — most events are free! Ticketed events are priced modestly.  For further details, see mojafestival.com.

Charleston Fall Festivals 2016

photo courtesy of MOJA Arts Festival

Lovin’ the Lowcountry Fall Festival | Nov. 3

The Footlight Players will bring their own festival to life on Nov. 3 at Pierce Park Pavilion (1801 Pierce Street, Daniel Island). Celebrating all that is fall, the fest involves a heapin’ helping of Lowcountry boil, plus bee, wine, and a silent auction. The Shem Creek Boogie Band will provide the beach music soundtrack, while SC Shagging Hall of Fame dancer Claude Robertson and dance partner Linda Ouzts cut a rug. Tickets are $35 and will benefit the Footlight Players, one of the oldest community theaters in Charleston. 

Y’allFest | Nov. 11-12

Something for the teens or any young adult fiction lover, Y’allFest celebrates YA fiction, welcoming best-selling authors to the city for a series of events at Charleston Music Hall, the Charleston County Library. This year’s featured authors are many, and they include Beautiful Creatures’ Kami Garcia, Sara Shepard (Pretty Little Liars), and Renee Ahdieh (The Wrath and the Dawn). Check yallfest.org for a complete list and schedule of events, like book signings and forums.

Charleston Fall Festivals 2016

photo courtesy of @colourofmusicfestival

Colour of Music Festival Masterwork Series | Oct 19-23

Colour of Music celebrates black classical musicians. This year’s edition brings renowned artists from around the world to Charleston for the occasion. Some notable events include the debut of18th-Century African-American French composer Chevalier de Saint George’s only discovered opera as well as “The Anonymous Lover,” featuring Magali Leger, native of Saint George’s birthplace, the Isle of Guadeloupe, showcasing the festival’s All Things French theme. The Masterworks series opens with the petit opera on Thurs. Oct. 20 at the Gaillard Center downtown and will also include Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 2, Op. 44 in G Minor.

What are you looking forward to this season?

 

 

It’s Beach Season in Charleston – Isle of Palms

It’s beach season and there is no doubt that each one of Charleston’s beaches has it’s own charm. I would say that all are worth a visit, and you can pick one that suites your mood! If you’re looking for surf and are feeling adventurous, Folly is for you. If you’re looking for a great beach to take the kids to, Isle of Palms is where you should be. Want to go kiteboarding? Head on over to Sullivan’s. Each week we will be featuring a different local beach, and this week it’s all about Isle of Palms! Read on to see some rules, guidelines, and what to expect at Charleston’s most family-friendly beach.

Isle of Palms

Out of all the beaches in Charleston, Isle of Palms offers the most family-friendly shores (and is my personal favorite!). Because this beach has a bucket of rules and a ton of tourists, there are a few things you should know before packing up the family and heading out for a day of fun in the sun. Isle of Palms beach doesn’t allow alcohol, glass bottles, bonfires, camping, fireworks, or, of course, littering. So if you’re a college kid looking for a party, this beach probably isn’t for you. Dogs are allowed on the Isle of Palms beach as long as they are kept on a leash at all times (even when they are in the water) except from 5 am to 8 am, making it able to get your morning walk with your pooch in.

Holes that your children may dig while making mystical castles must be filled in when they are done. This keeps baby sea turtles from getting stuck on their way to the water and grandma from falling in and breaking a hip. Isle of Palms safety officers and lifeguards also need to be able to get around on their beach carts without breaking an axel.

The beaches on Isle of Palms are open and windy, making this the perfect place for kitesurfing. There aren’t many surfers here, since the waves are pretty small. You will occasionally see surfers here, although usually beginners. If you do want to take a crack at surfing, make sure you stay 100 feet from swimmers and 200 feet from the pier if you don’t want a hefty fine.

If you’re looking for a beach with a lifeguard, head to the Isle of Palms County Park on 14th Street. You can park here for $5 and you will find restrooms, showers, picnic tables, ice cream, and chair and umbrella rentals (although I recommend you bring your own – it’s rather pricey). Make sure you pop into our dunes properties office right there on the corner and say hi!

There are plenty of things to do on Isle of Palms if laying in the sun and playing in the sand isn’t for you. Aside from kitesurfing, you could make your way to the back side of the Island where you will find the IOP Marina and you can rent wave runners, go parasailing, or go on a fishing charter. If you’re in need of any beach gear, pop in to Isle Surf Co.

For lunch, check out Windjammer, where you can eat, drink, listen to live music, and even sing a little. Banana Cabana has great seasonal food and a beachfront bar, and Coconut Joe’s offers Island-inspired dishes and a rooftop bar. If you’re looking for pizza, ice cream, or some cute shops to browse in, stroll around The Front Beach Area.

Overall, the Isle of Palms beach is a family-friendly, clean, pleasant beach where you don’t need to worry about alcohol, rowdiness, or parties. Get ready for a day full of relaxation or adventure, whatever you choose! If you decide that Isle of Palms beach isn’t for you, check out the blog post we did last week on Folly Beach and make sure you stay tuned, next week we are featuring Sullivan’s Island.

dunes properties vacation rental guest’s grandchildren

It’s Beach Season in Charleston – Folly Beach

It’s beach season and there is no doubt that each one of Charleston’s beaches has it’s own charm. I would say that all are worth a visit, and you can pick one that suites your mood! If you’re looking for surf and are feeling adventurous, Folly is for you. If you’re looking for a great beach to take the kids to, Isle of Palms is where you should be. Want to go kiteboarding? Head on over to Sullivan’s. Each week we will be featuring a different local beach, and this week it’s Folly Beach! Below are some guidelines, rules, and what to expect at Charleston’s most laid-back beach.

Folly Beach

Collage

Folly Beach is known for it’s surf, college-aged eye candy, fun festivals, and eclectic lifestyle. Just 15 minutes from downtown Charleston, the locals like to call this The Edge of America. The bumper to bumper traffic (totally worth it!) is proof that Folly Beach is the only place to be on a hot summer day.

Folly Beach is probably the favorite beach among the locals. The beach is always open to the public and if you’ve got some cash, you can park at one of the beach’s access points. You can also park for free on the island streets – as long as all your tires are off the road and you don’t mind the walk. Folly is a great place to play volleyball, cornhole, and frisbee but there are some key rules to follow at this beach. There is no drinking or glass allowed on this beach. Trying to sneak it and getting caught will land you a $500 fine, so it’s best to just avoid it in my opinion. Also, starting Memorial Day, dogs are not allowed on the beach between 10AM and 6PM, and they must always be kept on their leash at all times and of course pick up their waste. Littering will get you a hefty $1000 fine and bonfires, fireworks, playing on the sand dunes, disturbing turtle nests, and possessing glass bottles will cost you close to that. For an official guideline of the rules, click here. Just be respectful and have fun!

It’s not just the sun, sand, and surf that brings people to Folly. It’s strip of locally owned shops and restaurants matches the laid back life style of this island town. Head over to Center Street for the best margarita at the original Taco Boy, a local favorite. You could pop in to Lost Dog Cafe for a massive breakfast made island style or get a sandwich, salad, or even sushi delivered beach-side by Drop In Deli.

Check out the Post and Courier to see what fun events are happening at Folly, whether it be Taste of Folly, Folly Beach Pub-crawl, Flip Flop Drop, the sand sculpture contest, or Follypalooza. There is always something happening at Folly and there is plenty of things to do for any kind of person. Explore a maritime forest, drink at the Morris Island Lighthouse, build a giant sand castle, ride bikes, fish off the pier, parasail, watch the sunset, dine out, dine in, and of course, surf! Weddings are also very popular on Folly, with an event permit costing only $25, even though you would have to go inland for your reception.

So grab a surfboard, paddleboard, or even a kiteboard, and head to the Washout. McKevlin’s offers boards for sale on consignment and 1-hour surf lessons for $40. If surfing isn’t your thing, bring your fishing rod and cast on the Folly Pier, where you can fish for $3 – $10 from 6AM to 11 PM. Either way, pack that cooler and get ready to spend one of the most relaxing afternoons you’ve ever spent on a beach.

Surfer2

Charleston City Council Approved 4,500 Residential Development

Last night, City Council members deliberated on the proposal of a 4,500 residential development in the Bees Ferry area of West Ashley. According to William Joy of WCSC, The Long Savannah Project was approved and will cover 3,000 acres, 1,200 of which will be used for homes and 400,000 square feet will be used for retail and office space. Long Savannah Project

The approval of this major residential project is great news for the people who live in West Ashley, myself being one of them. The community is really hoping this area is going to be revamped and this project should show everyone that West Ashley is on track to developing for people that are moving to the area.

Traffic studies done on this project show that the entire area will be gridlocked, along Bees Ferry and Glenn McConnell (didn’t the Bees Ferry construction just end?!), but this should be a small price to pay for the major development.The project was originally approved in 2007, but was foreclosed on. We should expect to see around 500 homes in the next two years and the entire project to be complete in the next 20.

“In House” Services Lack Transparency For Vacation Rental Home Owners

What Are “In-House” Services in Vacation Property Management?

I’m often asked by potential clients, “What ‘in-house’ services does your company provide?” This is a great indication a sales pitch has been provided by another vacation property management company. ‘In-house’ refers to services provided by staff or employees of the vacation management company such as cleaning, HVAC repair, handyman work, and many others. It is specific work completed by the staff of the company… and billed by the company to the home owner. These services are not provided by 3rd party, independent providers like outside cleaning companies and HVAC repair companies. The services operate and originate within the management company.

How “In-House” Services Could Be Problematic

When a home owner selects a property management company, the relationship shares the same responsibilities as that of a real estate agent. Those legal responsibilities are Obedience, Loyalty, Disclosure, Confidentiality, Accounting, and Reasonable Care as written in SC Real Estate License laws. We, as licensed professionals, have a fiduciary responsibility to represent our client’s best interest first.

How can management companies represent a client’s best interest if the company decides how much a service, provided within their company, should cost for their client, the home owner? It seems like an obvious conflict of interest and a lack of transparency and the fiduciary responsibility previously mentioned.

Remember, your vacation management company should be working for you… and not vice versa. You are hiring someone to represent your best interest as the client and home owner. At dunes properties, we do not staff maintenance personnel, HVAC repairmen, or cleaners. We coordinate 3rd party providers so prices can be negotiated lower for our clients. It is the correct way to offer vacation property management and offers transparency to clients.

Similarly Troubling…

Unfortunately, it has become commonplace for legacy management companies to charge their clients a percentage of invoices. In my opinion, it is a terrible practice and also seems to be a conflict of interest. How can a company represent a home owner’s best interest if the company orders service and then receives a percentage of “mark up” on the work performed? It is arguably a legal kick back. Always check your management agreement for counter-intuitive inclusions like invoice mark ups.

by Wes Walker
Vice President of Vacation Rentals
Dunes Properties of Charleston
(843) 513-1604

 

 

 

Related Reading for Vacation Rental Home Owners…

The Most Costly Vacation Rental Furnishings

The Most Costly Vacation Rental Furnishings

In the past, homeowners would fill their rental homes with low price furnishings. It was a great way to save a few bucks, right? Grab a few tables, dressers, bed sets, and wall pieces from a thrift store and voila… a full furnished vacation rental!

This is no longer a good idea. In fact, the thrift store approach is a very, very poor one and extremely costly for vacation home owners.

furniture

Today’s guests have an endless list of vacation options thanks to the web and growing vacation rental marketplace. While online, guests quickly compare properties’s furnishing. Poorly furnished properties are skipped… and quickly skipped.

Owners still using the “thrift store” approach often forget why people are thinking of vacationing. Guest want to rest and relax. Yes, the beach and water are a big part of the interest, but rest & relaxation are the keys to great vacations. Without a good presentation of a comfortably furnished property, “thrift store” properties are doomed to a wildly poor rental schedule.

What To Avoid – The Big Three

  • Light Tan Woods – looks like it was just in a dorm room
  • Everything Wicker –  color doesn’t matter but white is the worst
  • Gold & Brass – this is more about hardware but gold/brass takes 20 years off your property

How costly is the “thrift store approach” in vacation rentals?

A strong example can be made for two side-by-side condominiums we managed years ago. The first condo was comfortable, colorful, and updated. The second was decorated by an owner with a thrift store preference. The first condo owner generated $30,000 more in a year than the second condo owner. The investment of a few thousand in good furniture generated 10x the return. Other hidden loss also includes the maintenance to repair and patch old furniture.

It is important to mention that furniture price is not the key. Affordable, comfortable, and replaceable is the best approach. Pricey and custom furniture is the same mistake as buying thrift.

by Wes Walker
Vice President of Vacation Rentals
Dunes Properties of Charleston
(843) 513-1604

 

Related Reading for Vacation Rental Home Owners…

Family Visits Equal Falling in Love With Charleston, Again

With all there is to do in Charleston, South Carolina, it’s easy sometimes to just keep from getting overwhelmed and stay home. It can be exhausting deciding from your upteenth favorite restaurants, landmarks, stores, parks, activities, and more! But when the family comes visiting, you have to do some choosing.

When we loaded up the car with my sister and her two teenage sons, I started seeing Charleston through fresh eyes as we drove around. The beautiful points of the Ravenel Bridge among the fluffy clouds and blue sky, the excitement of seeing pelicans roosting or their vertical dive into the water for food, and witnessing a pod of dolphins swimming their way through the wake of a boat. I forget how clear the air is and that you can see for miles from nearly any point. Everywhere we went I remember saying “There’s the Sullivan’s Island lighthouse, the flags from Fort Sumter, the Ravenel Bridge, the spire from St. Philip’s Church downtown,” etc.

There is a view from almost every corner of something you want to take a photo of. There is so much American history (my sister put it so eloquently “Man, a lot of stuff happened in Charleston”) and  a feeling of “anything can happen here!” And the simplest, best, and free pleasure here is the beach. The beach kept us all, children and adults, entertained for hours three sunny days straight.

For a week straight I was overwhelmed with awe over all that is contained in this city that is really fairly small. The picture perfect beauty, the different characters walking the streets in the footsteps of history, and just all that Charleston ecompasses. The palmetto trees, the wildlife, the water, and the marshes. So much is here that is not found elsewhere. I guess you can say the same about almost every city, that there is something about it that makes it wonderful. But it’s more than wonderful. Charleston is magical. A gateway where the past, the present and future coexist and inspire.

After a week of eating copious amounts of awesome food, lounging on the beach, driving around  scoping out Army Wives filming locations, going on ghost tours, wandering around the alleys of downtown, visiting historical landmarks and more we were beat. But as my sister and the boys got into their car after a final goodbye, my husband and I thought to ourselves “We really need to do [all of that] more often.” But not after a week of long recuperative naps!

Flower box on Queen St. dowtown

Waterfront Park downtown Charleston  (beautiful on even a stormy day)

Pitt Street bridge park in Mt. Pleasant

-Rebecca Narkiewicz

The Importance of Professional Photography

The Importance of Professional Photography

Although this may seem like common sense, it is surprising how many legacy property management programs overlook this #1 in marketing a vacation rental home or condominium. The web has changed how customers absorb information. The importance of visual has not changed, but the speed in which a customers needs to experience the vacation home through photograph has changed dramatically.

501 Palm Blvd - Sleek Seafarer


Kerrin Sheldon with Fast Company suggests we have 20 seconds to capture an audience with visual. Other web specialists suggest this number as close to 5 or 6 seconds. Still, the argument and statistics support the claim; a web visitors needs to experience your vacation property almost instantly. VRBO & Homeaway have always supported this concept as these sites originally charged property owners by the number of photos uploaded. The more vacation rental photos, the higher your listing would place. Flipkey, a vacation rental search platform purchased by TripAdvisor, completed a study revealing HD photography increased bookings by 98%.

Still, the number of vacation rental photos alone will not guarantee success. More is not always better… if the photos are not fantastic. Photos must be attractive, accurate, and present not only the vacation rental, but the experience the vacation rental home or condominium offers to the guest. Professional photos often convey the message, “this vacation rental property receives lots of attention and therefore care.” This is vital to capturing vacation rental guest interest. Also, many traditional management companies forget the potential guest’s perspective. Guests wish to see amenities, decor, and styles… not just the view and the beds.

Most professional photographers will provide dozens of great, high definition pictures for only a few hundred dollars. Considering the potential return of tens of thousands… it is a wise investment. One which can make or break a vacation rental strategy.

by Wes Walker
Vice President of Vacation Rentals
Dunes Properties of Charleston
(843) 513 1604

Related Reading for Vacation Rental Home Owners…

TV Pilot Filming In Charleston

You never know who you might see around the next corner or at the local watering hole in Charleston. A surprise music gig by Kevin Costner, Kiefer Sutherland putting back a few with some local fans on the Isle of Palms, Anthony Kiedis with bodyguard in tow at the City Market, Elvis Costello at the hat shop, and the one celebrity spotting I’m sad I missed, Guy Pierce just hanging out at the City Market too.  Oh and how can I forget Bill Murray who is seemingly everywhere around town.

Most know by now that Lifetime TV’s Army Wives shoots in Charleston and we have a rich history with big feature Hollywood films too.  For instance, Cold Mountain, Dear John, and The Notebook just to name a few have used Charleston’s diverse locales to their advantage. Now, the latest is a potential 2013 CBS pilot that will be set in Charleston called Reckless.

From Deadline TV “The Charleston, SC-set project centers on Jamie (Anna Wood), a gorgeous Yankee litigator, and Roy (Cam Gigandet), a Southern City Attorney, who struggle to hide their intense attraction while clashing over a police sex scandal. Rodriguez plays Preston, a well-respected police detective who works on the Charleston Pd alongside Trey (Shawn Hatosy).”

Even though there are consistently projects being filmed here, it’s still exciting to see local places on television as well as the occasional familiar face or friend who plays an extra.

 

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