Charleston Real Estate and Community News!

Feb. 14, 2020

Set Yourself Up for Success on Your First Investment Property

Blog Photo 021420


How to Set Yourself Up for Success When Buying Your First Investment Property


You’ve decided to get into the real estate investment game. Chances are, you’ve read up on the potential benefits of owning a rental property. Now, it’s time to plan and prepare so that you can make sure your first investment property purchase is a true success. Here are some quick tips to consider when buying a property (and managing it once you own it).


Seek Advice from Other Landlords


No matter how much you study up on the art of buying and managing investment properties, nothing can help you prepare more than talking with someone who has experience. Finding a successful landlord to give you advice can help you to make good decisions throughout the whole process — from choosing a property to attracting good tenants. If you have trouble finding someone, consider joining a landlord association.


Think of Proximity


Anyone will tell you how essential it is to choose the right location for your property. And nothing makes for a hot location more than proximity to attractions and activities. If you get a property near the beach, mountains, lakes, or other natural attractions, it’s hard to go wrong. Even if your property isn’t surrounded by natural attractions, it can still be profitable if there are plenty of nearby activities for your target audience (e.g., national parks, restaurants, etc.).


If you’re looking specifically at Charleston as the location for your property, there are many attractions and activities to consider as you try to determine the best neighborhood. As Turnkey points out, there are many boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants in King Street Historic District, as well as swimming and family-friendly activities at Folly Beach. Whichever area you choose to purchase a property, just make sure you showcase the nearby attractions so that you can appeal to more renters.


Go for a Single-Family Home


Single-family homes are the most practical kind when it comes to starting off your real estate investment portfolio. They are much easier to maintain than multifamily or commercial homes, and you have fewer tenants to deal with at one time. Also, there is typically less damage and wear that comes with single-family homes.


Choose a Property with Outdoor Space


A lot of potential tenants will want to know if your property offers an outdoor area. In fact, this is one of the most important factors for some tenants, as they want a place where they can relax outside or invite friends over for barbecues. If your property has an outdoor space, make sure it’s private, and keep the landscaping well maintained.


Market the Property Well


Once you’ve chosen a property, you will need to start thinking of how you will market it. As previously mentioned, you will want to highlight the property’s access to nearby attractions. You will also want to stage the property and get professional photos taken. The better you market your property, the more likely you will keep it occupied.


Get Help from Property Managers


Finally, don’t try to do everything yourself. Hire a property management company to help you with regular maintenance, screening tenants, collecting rent, responding to tenant complaints, and many other important tasks. Working with property managers will help to relieve a lot of the stress that comes with owning a rental property.


If you prepare the right way, buying a rental property can turn out to be a great start to your investment portfolio. Find another landlord (or two) who can offer good advice, and make sure you get a property in a good location. Also, consider starting with a single-family home, get a place with an outdoor area, and devote the necessary time and energy to marketing. Lastly, bring in property managers to carry some of the load of maintaining the property.


Photo Credit: Pexels

June 14, 2019

Charleston's Rainbow Row For Rent! 103 East Bay Street, Charleston, SC 29401

Who has always wanted to live on the famous Charleston Rainbow Row????  NOW YOU CAN!!

This Circa 1787, 4 bedroom, 3.5 bath, 3800 SF home on rainbow row is now available for rent ~ $7900/Mo!

Give me a call if you would like to view!!!  843.806.7971


Rainbow Row

June 5, 2019

Amy's Pick of the Day! 2617 Bohicket Road, Johns Island, SC 29455

This is one of my favorite homes and I am not a big fan of contemporary!!  The details really make this home fabulous! Let me tell you a little about it.  4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, just under 2800 SF situated on a tropical 1.6 acres of paradise! Knotty pine floors, wooden ceilings, shiplap accented walls, beautiful custom wooden front door, textured pillars (not your typical columns!), completely updated with granite and tile baths, kitchen to die for (might actually make me want to start cooking again!  LOL), windows in every room throughout the entire home!, enclosed sunroom with breathless views, wonderful greenhouse (not your flimsy put together yourself greenhouse, but a real greenhouse!), workshop, pond and did I mention the inground pool and spa??????


2617 Bohicket Road


Priced at $740,000



March 22, 2019

20 Tips For Preparing Your Home For Sale


Let me design the best marketing plan for your home!  Call/text or email me to discuss!  843.806.7971


Tips For Preparing Your Home For Sale

March 15, 2019

Amy's Friday Charleston Home Pick! 1618 Regimental Lane, Johns Island, SC 29455

Beautiful home with expansive marsh view.  3 bedrooms, 3 baths, 2 car garage elevated home on .86 acres in the gated community of Headquarters Plantation.  Over 2400 SF and updated.  Sunroom off the master.  Nice large media room.  Johns Island mailing address, but actually located off the Stono Bridge between Johns Island and James Island.


On The Marsh   Front View


  Living Area


Deck View



March 15, 2019

Ellen DeGeneres Announces Scholarships to Two Charleston Seniors

How cool is this!!!  Good luck to Jaheim and Darius!!!


Ellen and Charleston



March 15, 2019

Spring Is a Great Time to Buy a Home!

Don’t Let Your Luck Run Out! Buy A Home This Spring!!!

Don’t Let Your Luck Run Out! Buy A Home This Spring [INFOGRAPHIC] | My KCM

Some Highlights:

  • Interest Rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage have dropped to 4.41% from near 5% in 2018.
  • Take advantage of more inventory coming to market in the spring to find your dream home!
  • Buying now will allow you to start earning equity today!
March 8, 2019

Transforming Your Home Into a Profitable Vacation Rental

Beach Vacation Home

How to Transform Your Home
Into a Profitable Vacation Rental

Turning a house into a profitable vacation rental requires more than taking a few photos and creating a listing on VRBO or Airbnb. To run a successful short-term rental, you need to cater to vacationers’ tastes and keep the property clean and tidy between guests. These five steps will help you transform your residence into a thriving vacation rental that travelers love to visit.

1. Declutter and Depersonalize

Travelers want to feel like they’re staying in a suite designed just for them, not crashing in a stranger’s home. Perform a thorough decluttering and remove anything that isn’t useful to guests. This especially applies to personal décor like family photos and items with sentimental value. If you’re not willing to have strangers use it (and potentially break it), take it out. If you need to keep some personal items in the property, install a safe.

2. Simplify Cleaning and Upkeep

Renting a dirty home is the fastest way to garner bad reviews. Once you have bad reviews on your profile, it’s harder to attract guests and demand a profitable rental fee. If you want to protect the reputation of your vacation rental, cleanliness is paramount.


Hiring a cleaning service is one way hosts can guarantee a spotless home for guests, but not everyone wants to spend money on professional cleaning. If doing your own cleaning, keep cleaning products well-stocked so you never have to make a last-minute supply run. You should also invest in a high-quality vacuum cleaner. Check reviews to find the best model for your needs.

3. Create a Low-Maintenance Landscape

You don’t want to spend hours mowing your vacation rental’s lawn every weekend. Install hardscaping, mulch, and decorative pebbles to shrink the size of your lawn and create spaces where guests can socialize without trampling plantings. For color and interest, install shrubs, ornamental grasses, and native plants. has more tips for designing a low-maintenance landscape.


If you don’t know where to start, consult with a landscape designer to plan your rental’s outdoor living space. You’ll recoup what you spend on design and installation by not paying for a lawn service.

4. Install Security Features

Security should be a top priority for any vacation rental host. A secure home ensures guests feel safe and protects the property against break-ins. A smart keypad lock is essential for vacation rentals. Smart keypad locks let you issue access codes to guests, change codes between bookings, and lock the doors if your guests don’t. A monitored security system is another must-have, especially if the property is vacant between guests. If you want security cameras, keep them outdoors to protect guests’ privacy.


Don’t forget insurance! Vacation rental businesses aren’t covered by homeowner’s insurance, so you’ll need additional coverage.

5. Stock the Essentials

Travelers expect certain amenities when staying in a vacation rental. Clean towels and sheets are an obvious one, but a lot of hosts forget to stock other basics like toiletries, cleaning supplies, and kitchen essentials. Stocking these items isn’t strictly necessary, but it’s a cheap way to land glowing reviews for your vacation rental property.


The guidebook is another item hosts shouldn’t overlook. Whether it’s a physical book or an app, your guidebook lays out house rules, shares insight into the local area, and provides guests with basic information like the WiFi password.


Don’t let these steps dissuade you from turning your house into a short-term rental. It’s true that it requires investment to get a vacation rental up and running, but after designing a rental property that’s clean and attractive, it won’t take long to turn a profit!

March 7, 2019

Amy's Charleston Home Pick! 2828 River Vista Way, Mount Pleasant 29466

This is actually a great buy in Mount Pleasant!  6,000 + SF home ~ 4 large bedrooms, 5 full baths, 4 car garage and beautiful inground pool!  This home is a 2012 custom built home on the Wando River with boat slip.  It has easy access to Charleston Harbor and the intra coastal waterway for all of you boating/fishing lovers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

This beauty has a price tag of only $1,375,000.  

Give me a call @  843.806.7971 if you would like more information or to view this home!


Mount Pleasant Home


Feb. 20, 2019

Are Closing Costs Tax Deductible Under the New Tax Law?

Here’s the Scoop on What’s Tax Deductible When Buying a Home


Are closing costs tax deductible? What about mortgage interest? Or property taxes?  The answer is, maddeningly, “It depends.”

Basically, you’ll want to itemize if you have deductions totaling more than the standard deduction, which is $12,000 for single people and $24,000 for married couples filing jointly. Every taxpayer gets this deduction, homeowner or not. And most people take it because their actual itemized deductions are less than the standard amount.

But should you take it?

To decide, you need to know what’s tax deductible when buying or owning a house. Here’s the list of possible deductions:

Closing Costs

The one-time home purchase costs that are tax deductible as closing costs are real estate taxes charged to you when you closed, mortgage interest paid when you settled, and some loan origination fees (a.k.a. points) applicable to a mortgage of $750,000 or less.

But you’ll only want to itemize them if all your deductions total more than the standard deduction.

Costs of closing on a home that aren’t tax deductible include:

Real estate commissions


Home inspections

Attorney fees

Title fees

Transfer taxes

Mortgage refi fees

Mortgage interest and property taxes are annual  expenses of owning a home that may or may not be deductible. Continue reading to learn more about those.

Mortgage Interest

Yearly, you can write off the interest you pay on up to $750,000 of mortgage debt. Most homeowners don’t have mortgages large enough to hit the cap, says Evan Liddiard, CPA, director of federal tax policy for the National Association of REALTORS®. But people who live in pricey places like San Francisco and Manhattan, or homeowners anywhere with hefty mortgages, will likely maximize the mortgage interest deduction.

Note: The $750,000 cap affects loans taken out after Dec. 17, 2017. If you have an loan older than that and you itemize, you can keep deducting your mortgage interest debt up to $1 million. But if you re-fi that loan, you can only deduct the interest on the amount up to the balance on the day you refinanced – you can’t take extra cash and deduct the interest on the excess.

Home Equity Loan Interest

You can deduct the interest on a home equity loan or a second mortgage. But — and this is a big but — only if you use the proceeds to substantially improve your house, and only if the loan, combined with your first mortgage, doesn’t add up to more than the magic number of $750,000 (or $1 million if the loans were existing as of Dec. 15, 2017).

If you use a home equity loan to pay medical bills, go to Paris, or for anything but home improvement, you can’t write off the interest on your taxes.

State and Local Taxes

You can deduct state and local taxes you paid, including property, sales, and income taxes, up to $10,000. That’s a low cap for people who live in places where state and local taxes are high, says Liddiard. To give you an idea of how low: The average amount New Yorkers have taken in state and local tax deductions in past years is about $22,000.

Loss From a Disaster

You can write off the cost of damage to your home if it’s caused by an event in a federally declared disaster zone, like areas in Florida after Hurricane Michael or Shasta County, Calif., after a rash of wildfires.

This means standard-variety disasters like a busted water pipe while you’re on vacation or a fire caused because you left the toaster on aren’t deductible.

Moving Expenses

This deduction is also only for some. You can deduct moving expenses if you’re an active member of the armed forces moving to a new station.

And by the way, no matter who you are, if your employer pays your moving expenses, you’ll have to pay taxes on the reimbursement. “This will be a real hardship to many because it’s non-cash income,” says Liddiard.  Some employers may up the gross to provide cash to pay the tax, but many likely will not.

Home Office

This is a deduction you don’t have to itemize. You can take it on top of the standard deduction, but only if you’re self-employed. If you are an employee and your boss lets you telecommute a day or two a week, you can’t write off home office expenses. You claim it on Schedule C.

Student Loans

Anyone paying a mortgage and a student loan payment will be happy to hear that the interest on your education loan is tax-deductible on top of the standard deduction (no need to itemize). And you can deduct as much as $2,500 in interest per year, depending on your modified adjusted gross income.

Ways to Increase Your Eligible Deductions

There are some other itemize-able costs not related to being a homeowner that could bump you up over the standard deduction. This might allow you to write off your mortgage interest. Charitable contributions and some medical expenses are itemize-able, although medical expenses must exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income.

So if you’ve have had a hospital stay or are generous, you could be in itemized-deduction land.

Also, if you’re a single homeowner, it could be easier for you to exceed the standard deduction, Liddiard says. The itemized deductions on your house will probably more quickly break the $12,000 standard deduction threshold than a couple’s similar house will break their $24,000 threshold.

Tax-Savvy Home-Buying Ideas

If you’re a prospective homeowner with an eye to making the most efficient use of your tax benefits, here are a few ways to buy smart:

Especially in expensive areas, buy a less expensive home so you don’t hit the cap on mortgage debt and local and property taxes, says Lisa Greene-Lewis, a CPA and tax expert for TurboTax.

If you’re buying a higher price home, make a bigger down payment so your original mortgage doesn’t exceed the $750,000 cap.

How to Decide If You Should Itemize

To see whether you should consider itemizing, plug your numbers into this clever tool from TurboTax and you’ll get their recommendation in just a few seconds.

Though every homeowner’s tax benefits will be a little different, in the end, you’re building equity, you’ll likely make money when you sell, and you have the freedom to paint your walls any color you want and get a dog.