By Terry Bell-Aby, Realtor, CNE, Luxury Simplified Real Estate
A couple who had just one rule when we started looking for a new home in Charleston - absolutely no flood insurance - bought a charming house on a lagoon that they know will occasionally spill over its banks into the house. As it turned out, the flood insurance was assumable. The sellers even gave them the wooden blocks they had used to elevate the furniture when needed during a particularly bad storm. The setting is so idyllic – what’s a little water after all?
I helped a single guy who wanted a fixer upper out in the country with acreage who ended up buying a new construction townhome in West Ashley. He loves it and it was, as it turned out, the perfect home for him.
My clients who absolutely wanted a water view are going see a carriage house in downtown Charleston that looks down a narrow driveway to Rutledge Street.
The point is that sometimes things change and it’s important to be receptive to suggestions that might be "outside the box." Viewing property online using search criteria is immensely efficient, but the charm of a place or sense of spaciousness can be misleading. Working with an experienced agent can often bridge what seems like an insurmountable gap between what is on your wish list, and what is actually available on the market.
It can also sometimes be difficult to understand a neighborhood until you are there to experience it for yourself and help change minds in the process. People who are unfamiliar with an area may have preconceived ideas about neighborhoods they have never explored. Realtors often know about hidden gems and unique opportunities. Before ruling out a home that, on a map, appears to be close to a busy road, you might find that it is positioned perfectly to reduce sound if the garage serves as a buffer on the side with traffic. Getting inside the home can also tell you if you hear road noise or not.
There are just some things that must be seen or experienced in person. When showing a home, I will point out where there is evidence that it has been well-maintained ... or subtle signs that perhaps it hasn't been. I look for baseboards and trim. If these have been neglected, it makes me wonder what other day-to-day repairs or systems have been ignored. In addition to trim and minor repairs, I always look at the return vents and heating and air conditioning vents. If these are dirty (and it won’t show up in photos) it tells me that the owners have not taken care to replace filters regularly or have the HVAC serviced and maintained. That can be a big ticket item down the road. These are the kinds of things that might make a “perfect” house on paper (or a computer screen), less than perfect.
While it is important to prioritize needs and wishes, I encourage you to "never say never," especially in the diverse and ever changing Charleston SC real estate market, you just might find that perfect house was hiding in plain sight all along.
Note: With "never" set outside your vocabulary, the opportunities to find your dream home in Charleston are endless. Start searching for your next Charleston dream home today...