As we start to wrap-up our business this year and look to next, I stumbled across a list of questions that I have been compiling over the year in my handy-dandy planner. These are questions that we are frequently asked about real estate and the Lowcountry, and they really vary! We thought it might be helpful as we review this year, to post and address a few of these frequently asked questions: (please note that most of these are asked of us as we sit in The Real Estate Studio located at 214 King Street, daily)
Question: We are thinking about buying a condo. What do you have to offer?
Response: The Charleston peninsula is home to multiple condominiums located in the heart of our historic city and can offer some of the most sought-after locations within walking distance to select restaurants, the King Street shopping district, old city market, multiple Universities, and parks. Maintenance-free living and luxurious amenities offer a great alternative to higher cost historic homes. Downtown condos include: Dockside Condominiums which are situated overlooking beautiful Charleston harbor; The Bristol is built along the Ashley River with deep-water access, swimming pool, covered garage, and a full-service marina; and XXI George Street Condominiums offer high-end finishes with oversized terraces with some providing up to 900 sq. ft. of outdoor living space that present views of the city skyline from every angle, just to name a few.
Question: Can you take our photo under this sign?
Response: You may not realize this about our fair city, but the sign for King Street and Princess Street has to be one of the most photographed signs in all of Charleston (also happens to be near the corner where our office is located). We watch folks stop for a photo-op under this sign multiple times a day!
Question: Where are the best places to live around here?
Response: There is no simple answer to this question. Charleston is made up of many different communities, all with their own unique characteristics. When thinking about moving into any new area, you should take into consideration some of these questions: 1)What is important to you? 2)Do you prefer new construction or a more established neighborhood? 3)What amenities are desirable? 4) Do you prefer a historic neighborhood, the beach, golf community, walkable community, a shorter or longer commute, a specific school district? For your first visit, if possible, we recommend that you allow a day or two to explore the area. We will be able to offer suggestions about neighborhoods and areas that may be a good fit. This will help you rule out areas that do not meet your criteria and save you time.
Follow @angelawicke on Instagram to see some great shots of communities around the Lowcountry. Below is a picture taken in Riverland Terrace after the torrential rainfall experienced this past October 2015.
Question: Where can we get lunch?
Response: We like to provide folks with an array of choices. Charleston is known for it's delicious food scene. We tend to steer people to places that are frequented by locals and use local food sources for their menu items. A few of our favorites within walking distance of The Real Estate Studio are Gaulart & Maliclet Fast and French Inc., Minero, and Blind Tiger. Note: if it's 2pm on a week day, Brasserie Gigi is your best option! They serve food and drinks starting at 11:30am every day and never disappoint!
Question: What are the taxes like here?
Response: Our taxes are some of the lowest in the country (The Tax Foundation found that South Carolina ranked in the lowest percent in tax burdens as compared across the country). The Charleston County Tax Estimator is a great tool that we use to estimate taxes for properties. Rates are around 4% (primary residence) vs. 6% (second homes, investment properties). Homeowners at age 65 or older may benefit from some exemptions from property tax once they apply for the Homestead Exemption at their local county auditor’s office.
Question: Where can I rent a bike?
Response: The Bicycle Shoppe or Affordabike are great options. Also be sure to ask your hotel, as most provide bicycles for free! And while at The Real Estate Studio, we do not rent out bicycles, we do have a few that we occasionally show property on (pictured below).
Question: Does it really flood here? What is the flood insurance like?
Response: Since the Lowcountry is made-up of coastal communities, at times, we are prone to flooding. Flood insurance requirements will vary from home to home. The best way to be sure that you completely understand the risks associated with purchasing property located in a flood zone is to work with a licensed real estate agent.
As you can see, our time in The Real Estate Studio often is so much more than discussing the real estate market. If you are ever in the area, please feel free to drop by and say "Hello!" at 214 King Street. We love a good chat!