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March
13

Which Season Is The Best For Selling?

It's a well-known fact that the real estate market cools off in the fall and winter and picks up in the spring, but what is really the best season to sell your property? The answer ultimately depends on your situation and location. The reality is each season comes with its own unique advantages and challenges. To help you determine the best season for selling, we'll break down the top advantage and challenge of each season below:

Selling In The Spring

Many people believe spring is the best time to sell your home, but that really depends on where you live. While spring is often the most popular time to shop, some southern states experience intense weather in late spring. Competition is also at its peak. Here are some of the benefits

  • Advantages: Warmer weather in most areas and tax refund checks mean more buyers are hitting the market.
  • Disadvantages: More buyers also means more sellers, so the competition begins to really pick up. Kids are also still in school, so moving is more difficult.

Selling In The Summer

Statistics show that late June has the highest number of closings, indicating summer is an ideal time to sell. It's also the most popular time to move, especially because school is out. However, extreme heat in some areas of the country coupled with vacation times can drag out the closing process.

  • Advantages: Longer days and warm weather means more buyers are hunting. Many buyers are also motivated to find a home before school starts.
  • Disadvantages: Weather, vacations, and busy schedules may delay closings. Plus, competition is likely still very high.

Selling In The Fall

Once school starts, there is a noticeable decline in real estate activity, but that doesn't mean fall is a bad time to sell. There are still many buyers on the market that couldn't secure a home in the spring or summer. Selling in late September / or early October has both pros and cons:

  • Advantages: Fewer listings mean less competition, and many buyers are extra motivated to close before winter. It's also easier to find home repair professionals.
  • Disadvantages: Cooler weather might keep buyers away. Those who are shopping may be more demanding due to less competition. Curb appeal also generally declines in the fall as landscaping begins to deteriorate. 

Selling In The Winter

December is often considered to be the slowest month for real estate closings. Cold weather means fewer shoppers in most of the country, but competition is probably at its lowest point of the year. If you live in Florida, Arizona, or Southern California, winter is likely a great time to sell.

  • Advantages: There is less competition, and buyers are likely highly motivated. 
  • Disadvantage: There are fewer shoppers, especially around the holidays. Depending on location, it can be a difficult time to make renovations. Many buyers are looking for a deal.

It's certainly possible to sell your home any time of the year, and so often the right season depends on your property, location, and situation. Your real estate agent is a great resource to help you assess the market and determine the best time to list your home. When you are ready to list your home, let's connect!

February
10

Want Top Dollar for Your House? Now's the Time To List It.

Want Top Dollar for Your House? Now's the Time To List It. | MyKCM

When you're selling any item, you usually want to sell it for the greatest profit possible. That happens when there's a strong demand and a limited supply for that item. In the real estate market, that time is right now. If you're thinking of selling your house this year, here are two reasons why now's the time to list.

1. Demand Is Very Strong This Winter

A recent article in Inman News explains:

"Spring, the hottest time of year for homebuyers and sellers, has started early, according to economists. . . . 'Home shopping season appears to already be in full swing!'"

And they aren't the only ones saying buyers are already out in full force. That claim is backed up with data released last week by ShowingTime. The ShowingTime Showing Index tracks the average number of monthly buyer showings on active residential properties, which is a highly reliable leading indicator of current and future trends for buyer demand. The latest index reveals this December was the most active December in five years (see graph below):

Want Top Dollar for Your House? Now's the Time To List It. | MyKCM

As the data indicates, buyers are very active this winter. Last December saw even more showings than December of 2020, which was already a stronger-than-usual winter. And remember – you want to sell something when there's a strong demand for that item. That time is now.

2. Housing Supply Is Extremely Low

Each month, realtor.com releases data on the number of active residential real estate listings (listings currently for sale). Their most recent report reveals the latest monthly number is the lowest we've seen in any January since 2017 (see graph below):

Want Top Dollar for Your House? Now's the Time To List It. | MyKCM

And don't forget, the best time to sell an item is when there's a limited supply of it available. This graph clearly shows how extremely low housing supply is today.

Even Though Supply Is at a Historic Low, Home Sales Are at a 15-Year High

According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), existing-home sales totaled 6.12 million in 2021 – the highest annual level since 2006. This means the market is hot and homeowners are in a great place to sell now while sales are so strong.

NAR also reports available listings by calculating the current months' supply of inventory. They explain:

"Months' supply refers to the number of months it would take for the current inventory of homes on the market to sell given the current sales pace."

The current 1.8-months' supply is the lowest ever reported. Here are the December numbers over the last five years (see graph below):

Want Top Dollar for Your House? Now's the Time To List It. | MyKCM

The ratio of buyers to sellers favors homeowners right now to a greater degree than at any other time in history. Buyer demand is high, and supply is low. That gives sellers like you an incredible opportunity.

Bottom Line

If you agree the best time to sell anything is when demand is high and supply is low, let's connect to begin discussing the process of listing your house today.

January
26

Are You a Homeowner Thinking About Climate Change?

Are You a Homeowner Thinking About Climate Change? | MyKCM

Americans are more aware than ever of the effects climate change and natural disasters can have on their homes. According to a report from realtor.com:

"More than 3 in 4 recent buyers, 78%, took [natural disasters] into account when choosing the locations of their homes, . . ."

The study also found that many existing homeowners (34%) have already considered selling their houses and moving to a new location because of the changing climate. If you're like those homeowners and are weighing your options about what to do next, here's some information to keep in mind as you begin the process of selling your existing house and searching for your new home.

Do Your Research and Work with a Real Estate Advisor To Find a Home That Meets Your Needs

As a homeowner, it's impossible to control what types of weather events your home is exposed to. As Maiclaire Bolton Smith, Senior Leader of Research and Content Strategy for CoreLogic, says:

"You can't necessarily remove the location from around you, but there are things you can do to mitigate damage that can happen."

The first step is understanding how to navigate your home sale and purchase with these specific issues in mind. While that can seem like a difficult undertaking at first, with the appropriate resources and experts on your side, you can simplify the process.

The Mortgage Reports provides some tips for purchasing your next house, including, but not limited to:

  • Vetting the location before you buy
  • Researching Climate Action Plans and learning if the city or state has one
  • Working with professionals for additional assessments on the home's ability to withstand natural disasters

Ultimately, your best resource throughout the process is a trusted real estate professional. An agent will help you navigate the sale and required disclosures for your existing home, be your expert advisor on local guidelines and information, and keep your goals and concerns top of mind. Even if your advisor doesn't have the answers to all your questions about how your next home will stand up to natural disasters, they can help connect you with experts and resources who will.

Bottom Line

If you're becoming more mindful about the effects of climate change and you're ready to make a move, you're not alone. Let's connect so you have a trusted advisor on your side to help you navigate the sale of your current house and find the perfect spot for your next home.

January
20

Buyers Want To Know: Why Is Housing Supply Still So Low?

Buyers Want To Know: Why Is Housing Supply Still So Low? | MyKCM

One key question that's top of mind for homebuyers this year is: why is it so hard to find a house to buy? The truth is, we're in the ultimate sellers' market, so real estate is ultra-competitive for buyers right now. The number of buyers searching for a home greatly outweighs how many homes are available for sale.

While low inventory in the housing market isn't new, it's a challenge that continues to grow over time. Here's a look at two reasons why today's housing supply is low and what that means for you.

1. New Home Construction Fell Behind for Several Years

The graph below shows new home construction for single-family homes over the past five decades, including the long-term average for housing units completed. Builders exceeded that average during the housing bubble (shown in red on the graph). The result was an oversupply of homes on the market, so home values declined. That was one of the factors that led to the housing crash back in 2008.

Since then, the level of new home construction has fallen off. For the last 13 straight years, builders haven't been able to construct enough homes to meet the historical average (as illustrated in green on the graph). That underbuilding left us with a multi-year inventory deficit going into the pandemic.

Buyers Want To Know: Why Is Housing Supply Still So Low? | MyKCM

2. The Pandemic's Impact on the Housing Market

Then, when the pandemic hit, it fueled a renewed appreciation and focus on the meaning of home. Having a safe space to live, work, school, and exercise became even more important for Americans throughout the country. So, as mortgage rates dropped to at or below 3%, buyers eagerly entered the market looking to capitalize on those low rates to secure a home that would fulfill their changing needs. At the same time, sellers hesitated to put their houses on the market as concerns about the pandemic mounted.

The result? The number of homes available for sale dropped even further. A recent article from realtor.com explains:

"Last month, the number of home listings dropped 26.8% compared with the same time a year earlier. This meant there were about 177,000 fewer homes listed in what's already typically a slower month due to the holidays and colder weather. . . ."

What Does All of This Mean for You?

For a buyer, low inventory can be a challenge. You want to find the home of your dreams, and you don't want to settle. But what if there just aren't that many homes to choose from?

There is some good news. Experts are projecting more homes will soon become available thanks to sellers re-entering the market. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, shares this hope, but offers perspective:

"We expect that we'll start to see a turnaround and inventory will stabilize and start to go up a little bit in 2022. . . . But that means we're looking at inventory levels of roughly half of what we saw before the pandemic. For buyers, the market is likely to continue to move fast. If you see a home you like, you want to jump on it right away."

Basically, inventory is still low, even though more homes are coming. But you shouldn't put your plans on hold because you're waiting for those additional houses to hit the market.  Instead, stick with your search and persevere through today's low inventory. You can find your next home if you're patient and focused.

Remember your goals and why finding a home is so important. Those things should be the driving force behind your search. Share them with your agent and be clear about your priorities. Your trusted advisor is your greatest support as you navigate today's low housing supply to find the home of your dreams.

Bottom Line 

If you're planning to buy this year, the key to success will be patience given today's low inventory. Let's connect to discuss what's happening in our area, what homes are available, and why it's still worthwhile to prioritize your home search today.

January
10

How To Hit Your Homebuying Goals This Year [INFOGRAPHIC]

How To Hit Your Homebuying Goals This Year [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

  • If you're looking to buy a home, you may want to put these items on your to-do list to ensure you hit your goals.
  • It's important to start working on your credit and saving for a down payment early. When you're ready to begin your search, work with a real estate professional and get pre-approved so you know how much you can borrow.
  • Let's connect so you have the guidance you need to achieve your homebuying goals this year.
January
3

Selling In 2022: What You Can Expect

2021 was a great year for home sellers. Record low inventory combined with low interest rates sparked the hottest seller's market in several decades. It wasn't uncommon to see homes fly off the market in less than a day, while bidding wars often drove sales 10-15% over asking price.

While typical real estate seasonality has cooled things off just a bit over the last couple of months, many sellers are wondering what to expect in 2022. If you weren't ready to list your home this year, you might be wondering if you missed the boat.

While there are most certainly changes ahead in 2022, it's still likely to be a great time to list your home. Here is what to expect:

  • Mortgage Rates Will Rise
    In order to combat record inflation, the Fed is expected to make raise interest rates multiple times throughout 2022. Last year's record low interest rates were a major factor in the heightened level of buyer demand, so it's realistic to expect interest rate changes to slow the market down just a bit, especially in the back half of the year.

  • Price Increases Will Slow Down A Bit
    Homes prices rarely fall, and there is no expectation that they will in 2022; however, it's safe to assume price gains will cool off a bit. The national median home price jumped 16% in 2021, and it's unrealistic to expect we'll see the same type of increase next year. It's probably safe to assume price appreciation will be in the ballpark of 4% to 6%.

  • Strong Demand From First-Time Buyers
    Many first-time homebuyers were priced out of the market in 2021, so it's no surprise that many are looking to try again in 2022. This means competition will be fierce for starter homes at entry-level price points. First-time buyers still likely have some uphill challenges as rates climb and prices remain at all-time highs; however, we expect to see many first-time buyers return to the market in early spring.

  • Inventory Will Start To Increase
    Sellers may face more competition in 2022, as a lot of this year's inventory challenges are likely to abate. The pandemic made some owners more reluctant to sell in 2020-2021, but a lot of those fears have started to dissipate. Additionally, worker shortages and supply chain issues caused major disruptions to the home building market in 2021. As these issues begin to normalize, we'll see an increase in inventory in the coming years.

  • Buyers Will Still Prefer The Suburbs
    As more and more companies adopt a remote work model, employees are no longer tied to a physical location. Consequently, more and more young consumers are migrating to suburbs, rural areas, and even popular vacation destinations. Since remote work is here to stay, we should expect to see this migration continue well into the new year.

How Sellers Can Prepare for 2022
The hot seller's market of 2021 is likely to cool off in 2022. Despite increases in inventory and higher interest rates, we're still likely to see a seller's market next year. As home prices continue to appreciate, it's likely still a great time to list your home. Let's connect when you are ready to list your home!

December
3

Home Is Where the Heart Is More than Ever This Year

Home Is Where the Heart Is More than Ever This Year | MyKCM

There's no denying the financial benefits of homeownership, but what's often overlooked are the feelings of gratitude, security, pride, and comfort we get from owning a home. This year, those emotions are stronger than ever. We've lived through a time that has truly changed our needs and who we are, and as a result, homeownership has a whole new meaning for many of us.

According to the 2021 State of the American Homeowner report by Unison:

"Last year, staying home became a necessity and that caused many homeowners to have renewed gratitude for the roof over their head."

As a nation, we continue to work through the challenges of a pandemic that's pushed us all to new limits. Over the past year and a half, we've spent more time than ever at home: working, eating, schooling, exercising, and more. The world around us changed almost overnight, and our homes were redefined. Our needs shifted, and our shelters became a place that protected us on a whole new level. The same study from Unison notes:

  • 91% of homeowners say they feel secure, stable, or successful owning a home
  • 64% of American homeowners say living through a pandemic has made their home more important to them than ever
  • 83% of homeowners say their home has kept them safe during the COVID-19 pandemic

It's no surprise this study also reveals that homeowners are now more emotionally attached to their homes as well:Home Is Where the Heart Is More than Ever This Year | MyKCMAs we've learned throughout this health crisis, homeownership can provide the safety and security we crave in a time of uncertainty. That sense of connection and emotional stability genuinely reaches beyond just the financial aspect of owning a home. As JD Esajian, President of CT Homes, LLC, says:

"Aside from the financial factors, there are several social benefits of homeownership and stable housing to consider. It has long been thought that buying a home contributes to a sense of accomplishment. Still, most individuals fail to realize that homeownership can benefit your mental health and the community around you."

Whether you're thinking of buying your first home, moving up to your dream home, or downsizing to something that better fits your changing lifestyle, take a moment to reflect on what Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, notes:

"Buying a home is not just a financial decision. It's also a lifestyle decision."

Bottom Line

If you're considering buying a home, it's not entirely about the dollars and cents. Let's connect so I can help you when it comes to weighing the non-financial benefits that may truly change your life when you need them most. 

November
9

How Sellers Win When Housing Inventory Is Low

How Sellers Win When Housing Inventory Is Low | MyKCM

In today's housing market, the number of homes for sale is much lower than the strong buyer demand. As a result, homeowners ready to sell have a significant advantage. Here are three ways today's low inventory will set you up for a win when you sell this season.

1. Higher Prices

With so many more buyers in the market than homes available for sale, homebuyers are frequently getting into bidding wars for the houses they want to purchase. According to the latest data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), homes are receiving an average of 3.7 offers in today's market. This buyer competition drives home prices up. As a seller, this certainly works to your advantage, potentially netting you more for your house when you close the deal.

2. Greater Return on Your Investment

Rising prices mean homes are also gaining value, which increases the equity you have in your home. In the latest Homeowner Equity Insights ReportCoreLogic explains:

"In the second quarter of 2021, the average homeowner gained approximately $51,500 in equity during the past year."

This year-over-year growth in equity gives you the ability to sell your house and then put that money toward a down payment on your next home, or to keep it as extra savings.

3. Better Terms

In a sellers' market like we have today, you're in the driver's seat if you make a move. You have the power to sell on your terms, and buyers are more likely to work with you if it means they can finally land their dream home.

So, is low housing inventory a big deal?

Yes, especially if you want to sell on your terms. Moving now while inventory is so low is key to maximizing your opportunities.

Bottom Line

If you're interested in taking advantage of the current sellers' market, let's connect today to determine your best move.

October
22

Celebrate Fall With Family Fun Activities

Autumn is sometimes that overlooked period between the last of summer's outdoor activities and hectic preparations for the holidays. But fall offers its own opportunities for rewarding family fun. Check out these leisurely ways to make some happy autumn memories.  

  • Check Out the Foliage In most areas of the country, you are no more than a couple hours drive away from some vibrant fall foliage. If you need ideas, get online to find out where you can best view the best of fall's amazing colors. Pack a picnic and head out for an afternoon of splashing about the falling leaves.
  • Pick Pumpkins …but not from the local market. Look for a fall festival or farmer's market where you can get your fill of fun activities and head home with the best of autumn's harvest, including the perfect pumpkins.
  • Go Apple Picking Apple picking season usually starts in August and peaks through September, but there's still time to squeeze in a trip to a nearby apple orchard during the first half of October. You can take photos, pick apples, eat cider doughnuts and stock up on homemade apple cider.
  • Enjoy Oktoberfest Somewhere in your area, you can probably find a commercial or sponsored Oktoberfest celebration, featuring authentic German foods, a beer and/or cider garden, guides in German folk dress and a variety of games and shopping opportunities the whole family can enjoy.
  • Take a Haunted Road Trip For a good, friendly scare, find a haunted house to explore during the month of October. If all else fails, tour a cemetery at night and make up your own ghost tales.
  • Make Costumes Forget the commercially-made costumes at the store and brainstorm some ideas of your own. Find the fabrics and accessories you need and spend some happy family hours making your costume wishes come true.
  • Get Cooking Spend some time in the kitchen together making pumpkin spice muffins, pumpkin pies or even some pumpkin-based soup. You'll be making memories your kids will remember all while enjoying the fruits of your labor.
September
22

Little-Known Secrets to Buying a Luxury Home

Buying a home is an involved process, regardless of your price point. However, the luxury market comes with a different set of conditions. From working with a specialized real estate broker, less available inventory and a more discerning list of requirements, investing in a luxury property can be more involved than purchasing a mid-level home. Here are some of the little-known secrets of the luxury home buying process.

Work With a Luxury Broker
Working with a well-versed broker in the luxury market is key to ensuring a smooth home searching and buying process. A luxury broker will be familiar with the areas in which you're looking, will be up to speed on the latest trends, will be able to identify potential issues in properties you view and will know if a property is worth its listing price. Additionally, a luxury broker will have access to homes that might not be listed publicly or on the MLS. Many luxury listings are private to protect the seller's privacy, so only luxury brokers within the inner circle are privy to these listings.

Have a Knowledgeable Team in Place
In addition to working with a broker who specializes in the luxury market, making sure your financial advisor is involved in your purchase decision will ensure you're making an intelligent investment. Taking it a step further and arranging a meeting between your broker and financial advisor will safeguard your purchase.

Exercise Patience
Patience is the name of the game when buying luxury real estate. Because of limited inventory, the time it takes to conduct research and a discerning list of must-have features, it can take longer to find the property that is a perfect match for your specifications.

Know the Neighborhood
Familiarizing yourself with the neighborhood and its future plans is an important part of the luxury home buying process. From the school district to the area's downtown amenities to recreational opportunities, the neighborhood can be just as important as the home. Additionally, suppose you are buying a property for its views. In that case, it's important to understand any plans for the area and any possibilities of new construction that could impact any waterfront, golf course or sunset views.

Don't Discount Properties Based on Photos
Based on the photos, if you don't fall in love with a property, it's still worth an in-person visit to see the home. For example, a house may require interior updates but have one in a million waterfront views. If you discount the house based on the listing photos, you will miss out on your opportunity to own a property with those views.

Have Proof of Funds
Being able to prove you have the funds to purchase a luxury property can be more involved than if you're buying a mid-level home. Therefore, it's important you have the documentation to prove you have the funds before making an offer. You may even need this documentation before you view the property. If you're interested in buying or selling, let's connect!

September
21

5 Tips for Frugal Urban Living

Urban living is expensive—especially for recent college graduates who are living their dream of getting a good first job in the big city. But successful urban living, financial advisors say, is all about being thoughtful and learning to spend wisely and well.

  • Know the 3 Ns: Necessities, Nest Egg and Non-Essentials – Necessities, like rent, food, clothing and transportation, should take no more than 50% of your income. Aim for a nest egg—savings in an interest-bearing account that includes cash enough for three month's expenses or emergencies, plus a chunk of your monthly income going into a retirement account—and designate no more than 20% of your income for discretionary items such as entertainment, dining out, vacations and other non-essentials.
  • Know the 4 Rs: Reduce, Repair, Reuse, Recycle – Before you buy something, ask yourself: Do I really need it? Can I buy it second-hand or trade for it? Can I recycle or repurpose something I already have? Can I find it on the cheap? Get acquainted with local websites devoted to buying and trading used merchandise.
  • Stick to a List – Resist impulsive buying. Whether it's groceries, clothing, household goods or non-essentials, make a list of what you need and do your best to stick to it when you shop. And a good piece of advice…never do your grocery shopping on an empty stomach!
  • Try Not to Pay Full Price – Clip coupons, download apps and sign up for loyalty programs. Check the internet for books and tips on purchasing almost anything you need at a discount. Facebook Marketplace is a good place to start looking for preowned items at affordable prices.
  • Put People Over Things – Money can't buy relationships. Even casual conversations can lead to friendships, and friends can be your greatest asset. Apart from the emotional support that friends provide, you can live more frugally by cooking together instead of eating out, playing games at home instead of spending on expensive entertainment, and keeping each other on the straight and narrow when it comes to spending wisely.
September
9

When Should You Hire a Surveyor?

A surveyor is a professional who determines the exact location of a property line. Many homeowners don't know the boundaries of their yards and operate under erroneous assumptions. That can lead to disputes between neighbors that are stressful, costly and preventable. 

You Need to Know the Location of the Property Line Before You Build
If you're thinking about building an addition or constructing a fence, you need to know exactly where the property line is so that you don't accidentally encroach on your neighbor's land. If you don't have your property surveyed and you inadvertently build in your neighbor's yard, you can find yourself in legal and financial trouble. You may be required to move a fence or have an addition torn down, or you may have to purchase a piece of land from your neighbor to rectify the situation and avoid a lawsuit.

Local zoning laws typically require that additions and other structures be located a minimum distance from a property line. You'll need to know precisely where that line lies before you begin building, or even designing, an addition. You don't want to spend time and money to develop a plan, then learn that you don't have the legal right to follow through with it.

You Need to Know Who Owns a Tree
Trees are often located on or near property lines. The location of the property line is important because it determines who is responsible for maintaining a tree. It can also impact liability if a tree falls in a storm. If the tree is located in your yard and it falls on your neighbor's property because you failed to have dead branches trimmed, you may be held liable for repair costs.

You Need to Know If There Are Additional Factors That Affect Land Ownership
Sometimes a property owner is granted an easement that gives that party permission to use a portion of someone else's land for a particular purpose. If an easement exists, you may not be aware of it, but it can affect your rights to build in your yard. A surveyor can research the issue and note any easements in a report.

You Need to Know Where Utilities Are Located
Pipes, gas lines and cables are often placed underground. It's critical to know what's beneath your property and where it's located before you or a contractor begins digging for any type of project. A surveyor can find and mark the locations of underground utilities to help you avoid an accident.

Get Accurate Information So You Can Make Informed Decisions and Prevent Disputes
When neighbors get into disagreements about property lines, things can get heated. Often, a dispute stems from a misunderstanding. If you want to build on your property or if you think your neighbor may be violating your rights, hiring a surveyor is a good first step. Once you have accurate, unbiased information, you'll be able to decide how to proceed. 

August
28

5 High-End Front Porch Ideas

Whether it's a wraparound, screened-in, a loggia or a veranda, porch designs are endless. A porch can be a place to make a first impression on guests, a location for your morning coffee, a destination for sunset cocktails or even a place to enjoy an evening fire. Read on to learn how to create a well-designed front porch that will be sure to wow guests and become your own luxurious oasis.

Fireplace Focal Point
Incorporating a stone fireplace into your front porch design creates both a stunning visual focal point and is a destination to warm up and unwind. Both practical and beautiful, it can be used year-round and will impress anyone who visits your home. Accentuating the space with ambient lighting, comfortable seating and a cozy rug underneath will make this the most used area of the house.

Indoor-Outdoor Inspired Living
A porch isn't solely a place for guests to enter your home, but it can be an additional living space. Creating an outdoor living room on your porch means bringing in a beautiful rug, sofa and chairs, and filling the area with abundant blooming flowers and lush greenery. Spend your evenings lounging with a crisp beverage while watching the sunset or welcome passing neighbors for an impromptu chat.

Private Sitting Space
Since a porch is typically in the front of the house, it doesn't offer the same level of privacy a backyard does. However, you can create a private sitting area with a wall of wall-placed shrubs to create a natural privacy screen without interrupting the existing porch design.

Front Door Technology
Equipping your front porch with the latest home technology trends will give you insight into who's coming and going, even when you're not around. A video doorbell gives you the luxury of seeing who is at your front door, detects motion and provides two-way audio—all from the convenience of your smartphone. Having a keyless entry keypad on your front door gives you the option of distributing the code for anyone who may need easy access, whether it's a dog walker, cleaning service, etc.

Delivery Drop-Off Station
In a world where nearly everything is available with a few taps on a smartphone, having packages pile up on the front steps can be unsightly. A valet closet, a closet designed to drop off packages, dry cleaning, food delivery, groceries or any other items delivered by delivery personnel, can keep parcels secure until you're able to retrieve them. In addition, installing a keyless entry code on the door will allow delivery personnel to safely leave your items if you're unavailable to receive them directly.

Whether you're building a space to rest or adding additional levels of convenience, your front porch is responsible for your home's first impression.

August
5

How to Prepare Your Home for Flooding

While no one ever wants to imagine their home filling with water, for many areas of the country, flooding is a scary reality for many homeowners. Whether a natural disaster is on the way or you simply want to be aware of how to protect your home when flash flood warnings sound, we have five steps to preparing your home for flooding.

Clear gutters. If flooding is predicted in your area, help your home out by clearing all gutters, downspouts and drains so your home can battle the rising water.

Elevate outdoor electric units. Outdoor generators, fuel tanks and air-conditioning units should not be left on ground level outdoors. Elevate them as best you can and securely anchor them so they don't float away if flooding occurs.

Power down. Shut off your electricity via your breaker panel to stay safe.

Move items upstairs. When flooding is likely, take charge by moving items upstairs and further from the flood zone. Furniture, rugs, electronics and important paperwork should all be moved to the highest ground possible. Make copies of important paperwork and store them digitally so you don't lose them.

Raise appliances. While you likely can't lug your refrigerator upstairs, you can elevate your appliances on concrete blocks to minimize damage if only a few inches of water floods in.

July
9

Understanding What Flood Insurance Does and Doesn't Cover

Flooding can happen anywhere—and even an inch of water can cause major damage to your home. If you're looking to take out a mortgage on a house in a high-risk flood zone, the lender will require you to purchase flood insurance. Before you buy a policy, though, it's important to understand what flood insurance does and doesn't cover.

National Flood Insurance Program 
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) offers two types of policies. One covers the cost to rebuild a house or its actual cash value, whichever is less, with a maximum coverage amount of $250,000. The second type of policy covers the actual cash value of personal property, up to a maximum of $100,000. You have the option to purchase one or both policies. Be aware that these policies have separate deductibles.

A flood insurance policy will only cover losses that are a direct result of flooding. "Flooding" means that water must cover at least two acres or must have damaged your home and at least one other property.

Federal flood insurance will cover the plumbing and electrical system, furnace, fuel tank and fuel, water heater, heat pump and air conditioner. It will often cover a refrigerator, stove and built-in appliances, such as a dishwasher, as well as permanently installed carpeting, curtains, blinds, damaged cabinets, foundation walls and staircases. These policies can also cover a detached garage and personal property, as well as mudflow, groundwater seepage and a sewer backup.

NFIP limits coverage for a basement, crawlspace or living space with a floor below ground level and will not cover damage caused by mold, mildew or moisture unrelated to flooding or that the homeowner could have prevented. These policies will not pay for damage caused by the movement of the earth, even if the movement was a result of flooding. They will also not cover loss of use, additional living expenses, financial losses due to business interruption, most vehicles or property located outside of an insured building.

Thousands of agents across the country sell NFIP policies, even to homeowners who don't live in a flood plain. Coverage takes effect 30 days after a policy is purchased, meaning if a hurricane is in the forecast, you can't purchase flood insurance at the last minute and expect to be covered. Be sure to be proactive to protect yourself and your home, especially in a high-risk area.

Private Flood Insurance
Some private insurance companies also offer flood insurance policies that can provide supplemental coverage above the federal limits or serve as a primary flood insurance policy. In some cases, private flood insurance may be less expensive than an NFIP policy and it may cover additional living expenses if your home is uninhabitable. 

Do You Have the Right Flood Insurance Coverage?
Many homeowners don't think they are at risk of flooding or assume their homeowners insurance policy covers it. A flood insurance policy can cover many of the costs associated with flood damage and is worth the cost if you live in an area where flooding is more common. If you don't have flood insurance coverage, you can discuss your options with your insurance agent, or your Real Estate Agent can offer smart suggestions based on your neighborhood and risk.

July
8

Laundry Tips for After Your Vacation

Vacations may mean family fun and lasting memories, but between travel and cleaning, coming home from a vacation can make you more tired than before you left. After some much-needed time off, no one wants to spend days catching up on dirty laundry. Thankfully, a little planning before and during your vacation can make all the difference when you come home. 

Keep a Laundry Bag in Your Suitcase
Avoid the need to wash clothes unnecessarily by keeping a laundry bag in your suitcase. This will ensure you can easily sort through dirty items during your trip, allowing you to keep your hotel space clean while preventing dirty and clean clothes from mixing together. Going on a beach or waterpark trip? Purchase a waterproof bag to ensure that your soggy clothes don't leak on the rest of your items.

Start a Load of Laundry Right When You Come Home
After a long trip, it can be tempting to relax as soon as you arrive home. Resist this urge and immediately start a load of laundry. This will ensure that you're not bogged down by a huge to-do list in the form of dirty clothes, and if you pack your dirty clothes well, starting a load quickly is a simple task that will have a big impact.

Families Designate One Suitcase for Dirty Clothes
If you're traveling with a few family members, particularly if your party includes children,  dedicate one suitcase at the end of your trip to exclusively put all the dirty clothes into. Once you arrive at home, you can have each family member put their respective suitcases and clean items away, while the suitcase with dirty items is placed in your laundry room. This way, you're not going to each family member requesting their dirty items and a load of laundry can be done upon arrival back home.

Wash Swimsuits First
Wet swimwear can get stale or sour if they're not addressed quickly. When you arrive home, be sure to prioritize any wet or soiled items in the first load. If you must leave any loads for the next day, you've already tackled the items that should be taken care of quickly. If you brought along any beach towels, be sure to include these in the wash with your swimsuits.

Wash Clothes as You Go
If you are taking an extended trip, take advantage of your hotel or rental home's laundry amenities. This can prevent the need for loads of laundry once you've arrived at home, and can also help you pack lighter, which could save on luggage costs. 

July
4

June
29

7 Energy-Saving Tips for Staying Cool at Home This Summer

As summer temperatures soar, it's tempting to turn on the air conditioning full blast—assuming you have such a system. But whether you do or not, electric air conditioning isn't cheap to run, nor is it eco-friendly.

Given that Americans use more than double the electricity than many other nations do, sustainability experts suggest energy-efficient ways to stay cool in your home this summer, no matter how hot it gets outside.

  1. Use Fans – Standing or table-top, circulating fans are quiet, effective, and economical for cooling small areas. Keep one in each of the rooms you regularly use and chill out in comfort for less
  2. Mist Your Bed – At bedtime, mist your bed with cold water from the fridge, then turn a fan nearby. This will create an evaporative cooling effect, allowing you to sleep more comfortably even on very hot nights.
  3. Turn Down the Lights – Lights generate heat, so turn them down or off whenever you can do without them. 
  4. Use Light Blocking Curtains – In sunny rooms, light-blocking drapes or curtains can help keep a room from building up heat.
  5. Be Mindful of Oven Use – Oven heat lingers, and nobody wants too much hot food when it's sweltering out. Eat colorful, protein-based salads for optimal nutrition and if you must turn on the oven, do so mainly in the early morning.
  6. Don't Linger at the Fridge – Refrigerators work harder in hot weather. Standing by an open fridge door while you debate what to eat lets out the cool air and makes the fridge work even harder and use more energy.
  7. Take Shorter, Cooler Showers – A short, cool shower is a great way to cool your skin and help you feel fresh. You can also cool down (along with the kids) under a refreshing garden hose sprinkle.
September
9

Hurricanes aren't something that anyone likes to think about, unless they come in a tall frosty glass with an umbrella. As the approach — and eventual near miss — of Hurricane Dorian showed, owning a home in Savannah, Beaufort, Bluffton or Hilton Head Island, can be a little more threatening than to someone living in, say, Nashville. And while hurricanes are powerful forces of nature, you can be proactive and prepare, and give yourself peace of mind.

Be Smart

The first step is to gather information. Where is your home located? Is it in an evacuation area? Will it be affected if there is a storm surge? What is a storm surge? These are all questions for which you should have answers. Bone up on your weather knowledge and make sure that you know the difference between a "warning" and a "watch" in terms of severe weather. Being able to differentiate between these terms will help you understand severe weather reports and help you respond accordingly. Also, check with the local emergency management agency — they can also assist you with how you should respond to hurricanes and the conditions that accompany them, such as heavy rain, high winds, and flooding. Make sure you have a list of contact numbers for not only your local law enforcement/public safety agencies, but also for your utility company, local TV/radio stations, and your insurance agent(s).

Assess

Before a storm gets here do a walk through of your home recording a video and taking note of art, jewelry, appliances and furniture. This can be crucial in filing an accurate insurance claim. Take a look at your yard — how many trees do you have? Will high winds wreak havoc on your landscape? Make sure to know how many windows you have, in the event that you will need to board them up. You can also use online tools to check your hazards, including flooding, risks. And be sure to keep tabs on the important parts of your home by evaluating your home at least once a year by getting:

  • Complete Roof Inspection
  • Siding and Entry Inspection
  • Window inspection
  • Comprehensive Plumbing and HVAC Check

Have an Evacuation Plan

Even though nobody really wants to entertain the idea of being separated from family or friends, especially in a hurricane, it's important that you do exactly that, and make an emergency plan with your family. Be sure to plan for locations to meet/stay away from home and make sure that your schools, daycares, and business owners have emergency plans in place. And don't forget about the four-legged family members of your family — if you have a pet, make sure to include their care in your emergency plan. 

Stock Up

Most people think that they are prepared for hurricanes in terms of supplies and necessities, or that they will have time to stock up on supplies. Don't wait until the last minute to fight the crowds  buying emergency candles and bottled water. Instead, go ahead and put together a basic disaster supplies kit, and consider storage locations for the kit for different locations.

Putting this much time and effort into planning for hurricanes that might not even make landfall on the Coastal Empire's shoreline might seem a bit much, but remember — nobody has ever survived a natural disaster and then complained that they were too prepared. If you take the time now to make sure you are ready for hurricane season, you will be avoiding even more stress when one comes our way this hurricane season, and rest a little easier for it.

September
9

Picnic in the Park is the first Sunday in October and is held at Savannah's famous Forsyth Park. This year, Picnic in the Park will be on Sunday, October 6th. Live music performances are scheduled throughout the evening at the park's concert bandshell, beginning at 3pm. Musical acts include those from local schools, the U.S. Army Band, 3rd ID, and the Savannah Philharmonic Orchestra. While you can wait until the music begins before you show up, those in the know will tell you that it's better to arrive early, especially if you're looking to secure a prime picnic spot. 

Which leads us to our next tip: don't be fooled by the term "picnic." If it's one thing Savannahians can do, it's have a good time, and they do so with both flair and gusto. Groups of families and friends will gather together under tents with lavishly decorated tables, fresh flowers and chandeliers. Cold cans of craft beer keep company with cans of sparkling wine in metal tubs packed with ice. Silver trays, bedecked with doilies, are topped with tomato sandwiches, wedges of cheese, or bits of summer sausages, and flank chafing dishes of fried chicken fingers and boiled shrimp. Cakes, pies, and cookies are in abundant supply, because no party is complete without a good dessert.

Some will dress in costume according to the theme, which for this year is "Paint Your World with Music." Others will keep it simple and just add a layer of bug spray to their normal attire. Ballgowns, glow necklaces, and flower crowns are a common sight, no matter what the theme of the year may be. One can say that, no matter what the theme of Picnic in the Park is, the event will always be the quirky joy of the simple pleasures. And that is an idea that truly embodies Savannah.

July
16

The Cora Bett Thomas Realty & associates team announces Lisa Snipes advancement to sales associate. Previously, Snipes worked for the company in an administrative role, organizing client and agent interactions. In this new role, Snipes will guide buyers through the lengthy process, and provide homeowners a well-planned process when selling their home.

Snipes has been involved in personal corporate relocations, dealt with the buying and selling of more than a dozen of her own homes. With a huge sense of community and love for people, Snipes is excited about this new opportunity. 

Snipes believes that empathy plays a major role in her day-to-day career with Cora Bett Thomas Realty. She enjoys figuring out what buyers are searching for and understands the stressful process, so she works to relieve the majority of stress for buyers or sellers.

July
12

Whether you are selling your home, just purchased your first home or are a homeowner planning to stay put for a while, there is value in knowing which home improvement projects will net you the most Return On Investment (ROI). Here are our top 4 Home Improvements For Max ROI. 

 


 

#1 Minor Bathroom Remodel

It costs about $10,500 to replace the tub, tile surround, floor, toilet, sink, vanity and fixtures. All manageable projects that update the new look of a dated bathroom. You'll get back an average of $10,700 at resale, a recoup rate of 102 percent.

Cost to Complete: $10,500 | Return on Investment: $10,700 or 102%

#2 Upgraded Landscaping

A splash of color at the front of the house is an eye-catching plus. Not sure where to start? Local garden centers often offer free design services, or ask the neighbors what works for them. A charming focal point like a walkway and fountain adds major value to your property.

Cost to Complete: $5,000 | Return on Investment: $5,000 or 100%

#3 Minor Kitchen Remodel

If your kitchen's floor plan is good but requires a new look, refacing cabinets, adding a tile backsplash. changing the countertop, or adding under cabinet lighting is a great place to start. Add professional detail without the cost by changing drapes, fixtures and window molding.

Cost to Complete: $15,000 | Return on Investment: $14,913 or 98.5%

#4 Exterior Improvements

Outdoor spaces add curb appeal and a place to enjoy the aforementioned landscaping improvements. Consider repainting your house or investing in vinyl siding. For an updated look, remove old awnings from windows and doors. A new front door will add a welcoming feel .

Cost to Complete: $7,000 | Return on Investment: $6,700

Source: HGTV

 

June
28

 

Buying a Home is a Big Deal

It's a life event, and it's an important decision. If you're looking to buy, you'll want to find the right neighborhood, right mortgage, and perfect home. If you're looking to sell you'll want to find the right price and the right time to put your home on the market. But this important step is often overlooked … Searching for the perfect agent for yourself.

This person should be someone compatible with you (and your family), but also someone who has the experience to make the process enjoyable. Cora Bett Thomas suggests that you interview your agent, asking them these 5 key questions for finding the perfect agent:

What do you do differently than anybody else?

Find out what sets them apart. What type of Brokerage to do they work for? How are they going to go above and beyond for you and the service you need?

What experience do you have?

Have them tell you about the most interesting listing or sale they've ever made. How long have they been in the business in your area? If they are new to the market they may still be learning the area. Have they helped sell your type of property before? Have they helped a buyer in your situation? All real estate transactions are different, so you want to make sure your agent knows how to guide you through the process, or has the resources behind them to support your needs.

How do you communicate?

Communication is a big deal. Some people prefer phone calls, others a text or an email. The frequency of communication is also a deal breaker. You should have your choice of how you like to be communicated with, but no matter the case they should be communicating with you very often and very clearly.

How active are you as an agent?

Are they actively soliciting listings and going out and finding customers? That is the key. This is not a 9-5 job, this is a smart job. Your agent needs to know more than just the transaction at hand. Are they caught up on the national market as well as your local market? Be sure to ask about community involvement. An agent who has relationships around your town will help get you connected.

How are you going to market my property?

There's more to it than just putting the For Sale sign in the yard. Your agent should be explaining what your property offers to a wide audience. They should be using videos, digital marketing, Instagram, Facebook, and all social media platforms to help sell your home.

Ready to Sell or Buy a Home?

You want the home buying and selling process to be just as important to your agent as it is to you. Come see us at Cora Bett Thomas Realty, because we have the right agent for you!

June
26

The Grey Market

Downtown Savannah has been in desperate need of a "little shop to grab a few things." Most of us who were born and raised in the South might equate this with a grocery store or a five and dime. But, there is a more accurate term for what has been missing in the ever-expanding Downtown Historic District: a bodega. A bodega is, at its simplest, part neighborhood diner and part convenience store. The Grey Market is Savannah's bodega.

The Grey Market 

The Grey Market is the second and latest offering from Johno and Chef Mashama, the geniuses behind Savannah's The Grey. Johno and Mashama, recently awarded a James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Southeast, have taken their love of New York bodegas and created The Grey Market. The Grey Market is located on Jefferson Street and is open Monday-Saturday from 8am to 8pm, and on Sundays from 9am to 5pm. Better still, it's open 30 minutes early for coffee and pastries, which is ideal for those of us who work downtown and want a tasty treat. Besides outdoor seating, a few high top tables are scattered indoors, as well as prime spots at the diner counter. 

The Grey Market offers a bevy of baked goods, courtesy of beloved local baker Natasha Gatskill. The bakery case is filled with sweet and savory croissants, the biscuit of the day, and sweet rolls. Some of our favorites include the blueberry and cream cheese croissant and the pimento cheese biscuit. If you're looking for something  a little more substantial to start off your day, try The NYC or The Smoky Pig. The NYC is a classic breakfast sandwich on a kaiser roll. The Smoky Pig offers the same, but with pulled pork and pickle relish. The Miami is also a great breakfast option if you're looking to fuel up for the day without overdoing it. It is chicken, egg whites, and spinach wrapped on roti bread. 

The Grey Market

For lunch and dinner options, try one of Chef Mashama's take on Southern classics, such as the Blue Plate Special and the Fried Catfish Po'Boy and Fish 'n' Grits. Looking for a little snack? Grab a side of potato wedges and a "pup" of beer. The Grey Market Burger is also a must-try. It made our recently updated list of favorite burgers in Savannah. The lunch and dinner menu features daily specials, including a Melt of the Day.  We have had the Mortadella and it was fantastic. The Grey Market also comes to the rescue for at-home dinner plans. With its Daily Chicken Dinner, you get a rotisserie bird (roasted in-house daily), two sides, bread, and a bottle of red or white wine, all for $39. As stated, it will "feeds two people well."

Thirsty? Besides NYC diner classics such as ice cream floats and egg creams, The Grey Market has a selection of wine, cocktails, and beer. Canned wine and beer are available, too. Grab one to go with one of the fresh deli sandwiches available in the to-go case, and you have yourself a ready-made picnic. The Market also sells baguettes and cheese and meats by the pound. 

Shirts, hats, cookbooks, coffee cups, water bottles, are all available for sale. The Grey Market offers sundries and toiletries for the weary traveler or for the local who might have missed a trip to the store before work. The Grey Market is not one-stop shopping, but regardless of what you need, it's a stop that you definitely need to make. 

The Grey Market

109 Jefferson St, Savannah, GA 31401

 

June
14

Tips for Tree Risk Assessment and Limb Failure.

Tree Risk Assessment

While not a perfect science — given the unpredictability of nature — there are many signs to look for that could indicate the potential for tree failure. Some caused by improper pruning practices, and others occur naturally. In this article we will discuss signs and growth patterns that may indicate a trees potential likelihood for failure, along with how you — as the manager of your own little slice of our urban forest — can be educated when hiring a tree service contractor in hopes of mitigating these potential risks.

It's easy and understandable to be concerned about large trees near or over your home with the annual threat of hurricanes. As long as your house is within striking distance of a tree, there is the potential for impact if such a storm does occur; or, if structural problems with the tree go unnoticed or untreated. The goal of this article is to familiarize you with some common defects so you can be informed and are able to address potential issues. Also knowing how to identify some of these problems and understanding mitigation options will help you weed out potential "tree choppers."  These individuals may feed off of your fear of property damage and make unnecessary recommendations that can cost you significant money and oftentimes be damaging to your trees.

Tree Risk Assessment

First off, check to see if your tree is over or within striking distance to any targets. These include structures, high traffic areas, playgrounds, etc. If it isn't, move on to others. If it is, let's take a closer look:

Does the tree have any large, dead limbs? These are most easily spotted in summer when healthy limbs generally have leaves.

Do you notice a lean in the tree? Has the lean noticeably worsened over time? You could see heaving of the ground/roots on the opposing side of the lean. Are the majority of the limbs (weight) on the side of the lean, or does the canopy balance out the lean?

Now let's look at the larger branches, leads (large tree parts that grow from the truck off of which branches are attached), and trunk. Do you see any decay on these? Binoculars may be helpful. Keep an eye out for cavity dwellers: bees, raccoons, etc.. These are an obvious sign of hollow areas. Look at the "forks" of the large limbs. This is the area where the trunk branches out to smaller sized leads and limbs and often times where limbs break in high wind. The optimal fork will have somewhat of a "U" shape on the top side. Spread your fingers wide, and look at the base where they meet your hand. Notice the small webbing like appearance — that is what we are looking for in an optimal tree fork. This is the strongest growth form. If you instead see a harder, more "V" like connection, often times with swollen or discolored bark — this could be included bark.

Included bark will cause a weakened attachment of the leads predisposing them to possible failure. A supplemental support system (Cables and/or braces) may be necessary to prevent failure.

Moving on, let's look at the trunk and base of the trunk, "root flare" (Root flare is the base of the trunk where the trunk meets the roots)- do you see any cracks, cavities, loose or missing bark, conks or water Stains? Do you see flat areas as opposed to the mostly uniform roundness? Do you see any deep recesses or ridges at the lower portion of the trunk near the root flare? These are often times an indicator that the trunk may be hollow. If you don't spot any of these, let's move on to the roots.

Do you see any mushrooms or other such fruiting bodies? These could indicate root rot issues. Has there been a driveway recently installed, or other such disturbances that may have damaged the anchoring system of the tree? Do you see any lifted areas of soil or roots? Is the area a low spot? Oversaturated soil due to poor drainage could cause a tree to uproot easier in high winds and is also a breeding ground for root rot causing pathogens further weakening roots.

Risk Assessing Multiple Trees on Your Property

Now let's take a broader look at all of the trees on your property that could be a risk. Here is a list of potential hazardous trees and the risks they pose.

  1. Trees left after development. Often densely wooded lots are cleared with the exception of just a few trees. These trees are more likely to fail in high winds, given they previously shared wind load with other trees. They are usually tall with very thin trunks, low live-crown ratio, and lack a root flare. Root flare is swelling at the base of the trunk caused by added structural wood as a result of wind loading and is a desirable structural feature.
  2. Water Oaks and Laurel Oaks. These trees have a short life span and often develop decay and included bark with age. Keep in mind that just because the leaves are green and appear healthy, the trunk may still be largely hollow. Further inspection may be necessary by an ISA Certified Arborist if the tree is in a critical location.
  3. Trees that have previously been topped or lions tailed. We will dive further into this later in this article.
  4. Large limbs that extend well past the crown of the tree.
  5. Trees in low lying areas. Soil may provide poor anchoring, upping the potential for uprooting in high winds.
  6. Trees with excessive leans.
  7. Trees with low live-crown ratio - usually Pines. Live-crown is measured from the lowest limb to the top of the tree. Optimally this just be about ⅔ of the total height of the tree. The more limbs are concentrated above the halfway mark of the tree, a lever arm action is created in high winds.
  8. Bradford Pears. These are the perfect candidate for limb failure given all of the limbs generally grow from the same area on the trunk, resulting in weak attachment.

How Improper Pruning Practices May Result in Tree Hazards

Topping

Topping is the indiscriminate cutting of tree limbs to stubs or to lateral limbs that are not large enough to assume the terminal role. Often times people assume that by shortening a tree they are ensuring it is receiving less wind load or is less of a hazard because it now won't reach the target if it falls. While the immediate result of topping is just that, many more problems arise down the road. Depending on the severity of the hack job, the tree may die shortly after. Remember — trees need leaves to supply food to sustain. If the tree does survive this travesty, it will sprout out numerous shoots all from one area at the end of the nubbed off limbs. These shoots grow to large limbs over a few years and are weakly attached and prone to break much more than before. Compounding this issue is the trees reaction to topping. It will allocate all of its energy to putting out new shoots/leaves and very little energy to the sealing process, leaving the end of these limbs open for decay. The newly grown limbs will be even more prone to failure. Avoid topping trees.

Lions Tailing

Lions Tailing is when all of the inner limbs of a tree are removed, leaving only the foliage near the ends of the large limbs - resembling a lion tail. The misunderstanding is that by doing this the wind will more easily flow through the tree reducing its wind resistance; however there is actually the adverse effect. Now that all of the wind resistance is at the tip of the limb, a lever arm is created and forces are amplified. Instead of removing this interior growth, weight/limbs should be shortened. As an example, try holding a 5-pound weight with your arm fully extended. Now rest the 5-pound weight directly on your bicep. The latter is much easier. Furthermore, the tree will react to lions tailing by exponential sprouting where the limbs were just removed in an effort to replace lost leaf area. You will hire someone to do it all over again and again. Avoid lions tailing limbs.

Making Large Pruning Cuts on Mature Trees

Large limbs/leads of trees over your house or valuables can be nerve wracking. The first thought is often to remove the entire tree part (i.e limb or lead) all the way back to the trunk. This may not be the best choice. It's important to know that every cut is a wound. The larger the wound, the longer it takes to seal - if ever. Open wounds from large cuts are the perfect opportunity for decay causing pathogens to enter the tree. Instead of having large limbs removed, consider removing weight/limbs from the tip to lighten the load.

Hiring a Tree Professional

Now that you are informed, this should be much easier. Avoid "point and cut" companies. These are the ones who know little about arboricultural practices but have a chainsaw and are willing to cut wherever you point. Find an ISA Certified Arborist — preferably with a Tree Risk Assessment Qualification. They have the knowledge to guide you on what is best for both you and your trees. Yes the initial cost may be a little more, but the results will save you far more down the road. My hope is that this brief "do it yourself" tree risk assessment is helpful. Importantly, this is a very watered down version as a guide to help you spot defects and hazards and should not be a substitute for a tree professionals thorough inspection and advice.

By Shem Kendrick
ISA Certified Arborist SO-7151A
Tree Risk Assessment Qualified
TCIA Tree Care Specialist

Coastal Arbor Care

912-272-0175
www.Coastalarbor.biz

June
10

summer maintenance tips

Technically, the first day of summer is June 21st, but as we in the Lowcountry know, summer has already arrived. Long days of sunshine, heat, and humidity are already upon us. No need to worry, though — with these easy summer home maintenance tips, you can have your home ready for summer in less time than it takes to heat up the grill. 

Indoor Summer Home Maintenance Tips:

1. Check your smoke detectors and your carbon monoxide detectors. 

  • Replace the batteries if needed.

2. Get your cooling system ready.

  • Consider getting your air-conditioning system serviced. Proper air conditioner maintenance can help your AC last longer and prevent air conditioner fires. In Savannah and the Lowcountry, life without AC is just about unthinkable. Don't wait until the dog days of summer to make sure your cooling system is up to par.

3. Dust the ceiling fan blades and check that the fan is balanced and working properly.

  • Attach a dryer sheet to a paint roller so you can reach easily and dust away. Or, my personal favorite, grab an old sock (b/c how often do you need socks in Savannah, anyway?) and dust the blades. After you use it, toss it in the washing machine and it's as good as new.

4. Get your chimney cleaned.

  • This isn't applicable to everyone, but many homes in the Historic District have chimneys, and they shouldn't be neglected. Yes, you might not use your fireplace again until fall or winter, but that's exactly why this is the perfect time to call a chimney cleaning service. They won't be as busy!

5. Clean or replace your shower heads. 

  • Most shower heads can be easily cleaned. Don't be deterred by scaling from hard water, vinegar can easily take care of that problem for you.

6. Clean bathroom drains.

  • Whatever method you choose, clean them! With so many affordable options available, there's no excuse to put this chore off another day.

7. Reverse the direction of your ceiling fans.

  • If your fans spin counterclockwise, they'll push the air straight down to your home will stay nice and cool. To do this, turn off the fan, wait for it to stop, and find the direction switch and check that your fans are spinning counterclockwise.

8. Clean the baseboards of your home. 

  • Use a damp cloth and wipe away all the dust and grime. Disclaimer: I will be the first to admit, this is one of my least favorite chores. But man, is it satisfying once I've done it!

9. Check your attic and basement.

  • In your attic, look for signs of dampness, mildew, leaks, holes in the roof, and pests.
  • Basements are uncommon in the Lowcountry, but if you have one check for leaks, pests, mold, and mildew.

10. Clean the vents of your bathroom fans.

11. Clean the dryer vent and exhaust duct.

  • Clean out all of the dust and lint trapped in the vent and exhaust duct. Call in a professional to clean and service your washer and dryer if needed. Clothes dryers can be a fire hazard if they're not cleaned and maintained.

12. Change the filter in the air conditioner.

  • If you have a smart thermostat, such as Nest, it should be automatically reminding you when it's time to change the filter. Pay attention to that reminder. Also, make sure to keep the vents around your air filters clean.

Outdoor Summer Home Maintenance Tips:

13. It's grillin' time! Are you and your grill ready?

  • Charcoal grills: Empty the grill and wipe away any dust or residue. Use hot water, dish soap, and a scrub brush or sponge to clean both the outside and inside of the grill. Be sure to let your grill dry off before using it next.
  • Gas grills: Close the lid, turn the heat up high, and let the grill cook for about half an hour. Let the grill cool. Use a grill brush to sweep the grill. Wipe down the outside with a sponge and cleaner. Then clean out all of the drip trays.

14. Wash down your porch. You should sweep the porch thoroughly, then wash it with a cleaner. Remove any embedded dirt by scrubbing with soap and water.

15. Give your deck a once-over. This is a summer home maintenance must, especially with the amount of late-afternoon thunderstorms we experience here in Savannah and the Lowcountry.

  • Check your deck to see if there are any boards that look like they're rotting, loose, or feel soft. If they appear to be any of these, replace them now. Summertime weather conditions will only make them worse.
  • Hammer any loose nails.
  • You can also check if your deck needs to be resealed by pouring a little water on it. If the water beads into little puddles, you're good. If it sinks into the wood, you should get your deck resealed against water.

16. Wash the windows.

  • Why not? Clean windows are nice. Use warm water and soap to get those windows sparkling, or go old school with vinegar and newspaper. 

17. Wash or change your window screens.

  • Use hot soapy water and a brush to gently wash your window screens.

18. Add a layer of mulch.

  • If you have plants, the extra mulch will help fight off weeds and help your soil retain moisture during these scorching summer months.

19. Check for outdoor leaks. 

  • Go on a hunt for leaks by checking all outdoor faucets. Then look at your hose. You can waste a lot of water if there's even a tiny hole in your hose. Use electrical tape to repair any small holes in your hose.

20. Check your outdoor play equipment. 

  •  Repair or replace anything that's damaged or possibly hazardous and make sure that the structure is still sturdy and strong. This includes rust, missing pieces, or tears in any parts of your play equipment. Safety is key.

21. Protect your home against unwanted guests. 

  • Yes, unfortunately sometimes critters decide that your house is the place to be. From snakes to squirrels, take steps to close off your home to non-pet animals.
  • Cover any holes that are more than a quarter-inch wide.
  • Get your tree branches trimmed back so they don't create a highway for squirrels to your attic. Branches should be at least 8 feet from your roof.
  • Make sure your outdoor trash bins are tightly sealed to prevent a buffet for pests.
  • Do away with yard debris. Leaves and twigs are a haven for animals that might decide to invade your home.
  • Tend to your lawn frequently by mowing.

22. Clean out the gutters and downspouts. 

  • You should clean the gutters at least once a year, perhaps twice if you have a lot of trees around your home.

23. Inspect the caulking around the windows and doors of your home. 

  • Keep ants and bugs at bay in the kitchen by adding fresh caulking to your windows and doors.

24. Consider having your driveway and walkway pressure washed.

25. Repair cracks or holes in your driveway and front steps.

26. Trim bushes and plants. 

  • Pay special attention to the area around the AC unit.

27. Touch up the paint on the outside of your home.

28. Check over your fence. 

  • Have it repainted, resealed, or repaired as needed.

29. Look at the outside of your house. 

  • Check for rotted, dirty, or loose siding.

30. Consider getting your roof inspected.

This summer home maintenance tips list may seem daunting, but honestly, most of these tasks take no time at all. Preventative maintenance will pay off by helping you avoid costly home repairs later. The priceless peace of mind that you can enjoy knowing that your home is ready for the summer is also invaluable, and will make that piña colada you're enjoying on your porch even more delicious.

June
5

Cora Bett Thomas Realty is a Proud Leading RE Member

When you think of Cora Bett Thomas Realty you think of the 100 mile coast and the Low Country, but did you know the agency has a world-wide connection? Cora Bett Thomas Realty & Associates is the Savannah representative for Leading Real Estate Companies of the World ("Leading RE"). As a member of Leading RE, Cora Bett Thomas Realty & Associates provides global accessibility with a local focus.

Leading RE has a global membership that spans six continents and 70 countries. Each year, Leading RE connects more than 565 firms and 130,000 sales associates who produce over 1.2 million real estate transactions. Membership to Leading RE is by invitation only, so the network of real estate professionals all uphold the highest standards and strive for exceptional experiences for all clients.

As a member of Leading RE, Cora Bett Thomas Realty & Associates provides a quality real estate experience, global marketing reach and access to top real estate professionals in virtually any market worldwide. Listing your home with Cora Bett Thomas Realty & Associates connects your for sale sign to firms all around the world, thanks to Leading RE.

Cora Bett Thomas Realty is a charter member of its Luxury Property division, Luxury Portfolio International. Your home will be featured on the very best websites and get exposure from more than 150 websites, because of this connection. Cora Bett Thomas Realty & Associates has set the standard for marketing, professionalism and growth among luxury brokers in the region.

Contact Cora Bett Thomas Realty Today for more information on what our Membership in Leading RE means for you as a buyer or seller.

June
5

Savannah Summer Fun

Hot… that's certainly one way to describe summers in Savannah! But you're never too far from the water or a good time to truly enjoy the Hostess City. We've compiled a list of Summer "Hot Spots" perfect for locals to enjoy, or for those just passing through to get a taste of Savannah.

 Savannah Summer Fun

Unwind and Sunshine

What says summer more than a trip to the beach? A 20-minute drive from downtown Savannah gets you to a little slice of paradise, also known as "Savannah's beach", Tybee Island. Feel the ocean breeze, the sand between your toes, and the time slow down just enough. If you're visiting without a car, hop on a shuttle, and it'll get you to and from the beach with ease!

A Grand Slam Experience

Conveniently located and fun for the whole family, a Savannah Bananas Baseball game is a summer must, and you don't even have to like baseball to enjoy it. Their season runs from June through August, but tickets sell out fast! It's truly just a fan-first experience: you'll be dancing and singing, eating and drinking, and truly enjoying every inning… while cheering on the home team.

Savannah Summer Fun

Ice Scream, You Scream, We all Scream for Leopold's

There's no better way to cool off, than with a scoop of your favorite ice cream. Award-winning, homemade ice cream that will melt in your mouth (or on the cone, if you don't eat it fast enough). Located on Broughton Street, Leopold's Ice Cream is a perfect place to take a break from all the shopping and indulge in a sweet treat that's been a Savannah tradition since 1919.

Savannah Summer Fun

Boat Ride with a Porpoise

Soak in Savannah from its historic waterways. Hop on a boat from River Street, venture through the water towards Tybee Island, and don't forget your camera! Dolphin Magic guides guarantee you'll catch a glimpse of our friendly dolphins and leave with a rich history lesson too. What's better than a sunset cruise, dolphins, and entertainment along the way?

Good Eats & Drinks

No matter the season, Savannah has a food scene that's perfect for any palate. Fresh caught seafood, fried chicken with buttermilk biscuits, pasta dishes to die for, fried green tomatoes, and plenty of dining options for that sweet tooth. Locally sourced and locally owned Savannah restaurants are easy to come by and certainly a must. We also suggest that you "rooftop bar hop"! From Peregrin in the historic district to Top Deck right along the Savannah River, and everywhere in between… be sure to catch the Savannah sunset with a drink in hand.

May
31

Based on Rigorous Science

We have previously listed our top 5 burgers in Savannah north of Gaston, but because the dining scene in Savannah is always evolving, we try to update our list accordingly. Some things don't change though. We still realize that the best burgers in Savannah is a pretty hotly contested topic, which is why this isn't some sort of definitive ranking. This is just a new list of our favorite places to get amazing burgers based on a variety of factors such as service, atmosphere, the bun, and, of course, the burgers. Again, this list is in no particular order, so don't fret if your favorite place is near the bottom of the page. 

The People's Champs

We'll start with 3 places that according to many Savannians, arguably have THE best burgers in Savannah. On the weekend — well, just about any day really — you can encounter a lengthy wait depending on the size of your party at  The Crystal Beer Parlor and Green Truck Pub. The list of available beers are both of these local pubs is great and the food quality is excellent and consistent; and in Savannah, consistency matters. Circa 1875 is a French bistro and pub; while the bistro side is lovely, the pub is where we go to get one of our favorite burgers in town. The 1875 Hamburger Au Poivre is a treat — just be sure to order the green peppercorn brandy mustard sauce on the side, and dip your burger into it.  These restaurants have burgers ranging from simple to extraordinary and are always at the top of Savannians' favorite burger lists..

 
 
 
 
 
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Mountain Jam Burger! #localburger #localbeer #southboundbrewery #cbp#eatndrinklocal

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Simply Smashing.

Smashed burgers are some of latest, and in our opinion, greatest burgers to grace food menus. In the interest of providing quality research and informed opinions, we've tried a couple of versions of this diner classic. The Grey Market, which is the latest and greatest from Johno and Mashama of The Grey fame, is Savannah's answer to a neighborhood bodega. Among other tasty offerings, the menu at The Grey Market features The Grey Market Burger. This burger has a smashed beef patty, caramelized onions, and comeback sauce, and is served on a housemade potato bun. Belly up to the counter and order one with potato wedges and a cold beer.

Rhett is one of the newest restaurants in Savannah and is housed in The Alida Hotel off of River Street. The restaurant's sleek retro-diner vibe is echoed in its menu, especially in the Burger American. 2 double smashed-beef patties are served with cheddar cheese, red onion, pickles, and Norfolk sauce. This particular burger is incredibly delicious, but unless you're especially ravenous, I recommend sharing with a friend. 

 
 
 
 
 
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Hey baby, it's me... your favorite burger.

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Winner Winner Burger Dinner.

The Fitzroy, sister restaurant to The Collins Quarter, was recently awarded "Best Burger in Savannah 2019." The Aussie Burger is so popular that it's on both the Brunch and Dinner menus. The patty is an 8 oz. Certified Angus Beef patty. Like The Collins Quarter, The gang at The Fitzroy hand-patties their burgers. The Aussie Burger comes topped with cheddar, arugula, tomato, an over-easy egg, sweet pickled beets, bacon, pineapple, yellow onion and BBQ Sauce.  

 
 
 
 
 
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Did you hear? Our Aussie Burger won the Eat it and Like it best Burger in Savannah award!

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As with The Collins Quarter, The Fitzroy's space has been transformed from its former self. The restaurant is located on Drayton Street. While the space has been home to other bars and restaurants, they were nothing like The Fitzroy in terms of atmosphere. Dark blue walls and turquoise banquettes gives the feel of easy sophistication. The Fitzroy also features live music and an upstairs, rooftop patio. Like its sister restaurant, The Fitzroy is one of those places where if you do have to wait for your food, you don't mind too much because you can't stop admiring the craftsmanship surrounding you.

A Little Different, A Lot Delicious.

Our friends over at Fork & Dagger Eatery have recently expanded and opened a new location. Fork & Dagger Latin Diner is housed in the old Bobbie's Diner, off of Habersham. The menu echoes the visual aesthetic of the diner, but still has that Latin twist that has made Fork & Dagger so popular with locals. The Hamburguesa is a 1/3 pound beef and chorizo patty topped with pepper-jack cheese, grilled onions, Kachina Farm greens and tomato. It also comes dressed with Bravas sauce housemade Sofrito ketchup.  The result is a delightful combination of unusual and yet somehow familiar flavors. Perfect for those times when you're craving something a little out of the ordinary.

 
 
 
 
 
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#forkanddagger #forkanddaggerlatindiner #burger #savannahga #visitsavannah #dinesavannah #bobbiesdiner

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The Bottom Line

So there you have it — as I said earlier, this is by no means a definitive list of the best burgers in Savannah,  and we didn't use a set standard to judge all of the places that we've tried. Instead, we looked for what tasted good, sides offered, bun, price point and the atmosphere in which they were served. Simply put, we wanted to share our favorite places to enjoy one of our favorite foods. But don't take our word for it — get out and try these places for yourself and see what you think. Get out, eat, and decide which place has your favorite burger in Savannah.

Do You Want to Live in Historic Savannah?

Contact Cora Bett Thomas Realty & Associates today.

912.233.6000

May
24

Emporium Kitchen and Wine Market

As we've mentioned before, just because you live in Savannah, doesn't mean that you can't play at being a tourist while being at home. Our favorite way to do this is to stop in at one of the restaurants at the local hotels. Unlike the hotel restaurants of yesteryear, the new kids in the Historic District of Downtown Savannah focus on creative dishes featuring locally sourced ingredients.  

Emporium Kitchen and Wine Market is located in the ground floor of the Perry Lane Hotel. This boutique hotel is located on Drayton Street, in the heart of the Historic District, and is also home the Peregrin Rooftop Bar. The location of  Emporium makes it a hub of the Historic Downtown District. The dining space of the Emporium is usually abuzz with activity, but this makes it no less inviting. Both tables and bar seating are available, and meals can be enjoyed at the bar, too. 

 
 
 
 
 
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Who's been loving our new menu items and weekly specials?! #wesurehave #emporiumsavannah

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The Emporium serves breakfast, lunch and dinner 7 days a week, as well as a weekend brunch. The Emporium also offers a Happy Hour menu Monday-Thursday. The menu at Emporium offers signature classic dishes such as Bouillabaisse and Buttermilk Fried Chicken. More eclectic options like mushrooms from local forager Swampy Appleseed, Duck Liver Mousse, and Grilled Octopus are also available. The menu showcases the seafood of the Lowcountry with dishes like Roast Barbecue Oysters, Smoked Fish Rillettes, Pickled White Shrimp, and the Fruits de Mer Tower.

Besides a full bar and a menu of seasonal craft cocktails, Emporium also features local craft beers and wine selection covering a variety of price points and palates. The wine list at Emporium is carefully selected to pair well with the menu. But many of the wines available can also be purchased by the bottle and enjoyed outside the restaurant. 

Besides a memorable dining experience, Emporium also offers cooking classes and wine tastings. Whatever you're looking for, whether it's brunch with some friends, a glass of wine and a cheese board, people watching or dinner for two, Emporium Kitchen and Wine Market is a place worth checking out. 

254 E Perry Street
Savannah, GA 31401

May
8

Painting a Picture for Savannah's Future

Cora Bett Thomas Realty welcomed a special guest last week. Robert Morris, Senior Director for Corporate Communications at the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA), took some time to explain the impacts and the future of the port of savannah to our agents.

The ports are Georgia's gateway to the world, and with its growth, right here in Savannah, real estate sees a positive impact.

The Georgia Ports Authority brings 42,500 jobs to Chatham, Bryan, Liberty, and Effingham counties. As you may know, our terminal here in Savannah is a record-setter. It's the single largest and the fastest growing U.S. Container Port. That growth isn't stopping anytime soon, as they are working on an estimated $1.019 billion project to deepen the Savannah River by 5 feet. Right now that project is 50 percent complete.

Robert presented these outstanding numbers to Cora Bett's team through his passion for art. Interestingly enough, Robert studied art at the Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C. and Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. His art has been widely exhibited in major American museums, galleries and libraries. His paintings were displayed throughout his presentation.

From May 22 through January 12, the public will have an opportunity to see his artistic side at the Ships of the Sea Museum. 2019 marks the 200th anniversary of the SS Savannah's groundbreaking trans-Atlantic crossing.

The numbers speak for themselves and truly show the impact that GPA have on our community, but it is Robert's artwork that really paints a beautiful picture and captures the aesthetic impact it has on the port of Savannah.

May
6

Hurricane Preparedness Week 

In the Lowcountry, we are less than a month away from the beginning of the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season, and now is the time to make sure you are prepared. We have recently had two seasons with close calls and you can read what  we learned about preparing here 

The 2019 Atlantic hurricane season is an upcoming event in the annual formation of tropical cyclones in the Northern Hemisphere. The season will officially begin on June 1, 2019, and end on November 30, 2019. These dates historically describe the period each year when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic basin and are adopted by convention. 

While predictions right now favor average activity for hurricanes in the Atlantic, it is still important to be ready. Don't wait until the last minute to make preparations. One of the most important things you should do, and do immediately, is to check your homeowner's insurance. Most standard homeowner's insurance policies do not cover flood damage. Check your flood zone at the Georgia Department of Natural Resources DFIRM Flood Map. Then, make sure to have adequate flood insurance for your home. Flood insurance coverage usually takes 30 days to go into effect.

Make sure that you are aware of your community's  evacuation plan and evacuation route. A great way to be prepared for a hurricane and to stay informed during a hurricane is to sign up to receive local alerts and warnings.

Pay attention to local weather forecasts. Storm paths change quickly and without much warning, so listen out for local weather alerts. Also listen to local officials for warnings and instructions, such as evacuation orders. Follow the Chatham Emergency Management Agency, or CEMA, on Twitter and Facebook and check in often for updates.

The FEMA mobile app is also a great resource for hurricane preparation, and includes checklists for hurricane preparation. The FEMA mobile app also provides weather alerts from the National Weather Service and maps of open hurricane shelters and recovery centers. 

Create and review your family's emergency communication plan and make sure that your family is all aware of the contents and location of your emergency supplies. Another important way to be prepared is financially. Strengthen your financial preparedness in the event of a hurricane by collecting and securing important financial, insurance, medical, and other personal records. 

Protect Your Investment

If you have an investment and/or rental property, do not neglect it, even if it is vacant. Instead, make sure to conduct a full hurricane preparedness check on the property every year. This ensures that your property is ready to withstand the high winds and heavy rainfall that is common during the Atlantic Hurricane Season. The staff at Cora Bett Thomas Property Management are available to conduct a Full Weather check on your property, which includes:

  • Complete Roof Inspection
  • Siding and Entry Inspection
  • Window inspection
  • Comprehensive Plumbing and HVAC Check

Once the check has been completed, you can approve any work or repairs that need to be done to ensure that your property is ready to withstand the forces of Mother Nature. The peace of mind that comes from having your property ready will be worth the effort and expense.

These are just a few tools and resources that can help you and your family get prepared, and offer some peace of mind as we approach the 2019 Hurricane Season. 

April
30

Staging a Home is Key to Presenting Properties

By: Catherine James

When selling a home, there are infinite approaches and scenarios. Some sellers completely move out before putting their home on the market, others live there permanently until they sell it, and then there are those that are a brand new build. Whatever the case may be, the goal is the same: to sell the home.

In order to do so, there is one very important step in the process that sometimes gets overlooked: staging. Staging a home is professionally decorating, furnishing, or rearranging so that the buyers can see the potential in the space. It's the secret ingredient that helps a home sell quickly, and at a potentially higher value.

What's not a secret, though, are the numbers. According to the National Association of Realtors, nearly one third (29%) of selling agents believe staging increases the value of a home by 6% to 20%. They also found that staged homes sold 72% more quickly than empty homes.

People don't realize once they put their home on the market, it's no longer their home, it's a commodity. It's time to declutter, depersonalize, and truly make it easier for an outsider to picture themselves living there

This process can be difficult for some homeowners, as they have to detach from the memories and appeal to a larger audience. The bubblegum pink wall they raised their daughter in, the collage of family photos that covers their living room wall, and excessive furniture that shrinks the space … they all have to go.

A professional stager is hired to help you see everything, from curb appeal to the small details that you may have never noticed! They do the research on the area and the current trends. They help you decide color palette, furniture, and props. They get movers to make it happen and help attract your space to more sellers.

So what is the secret to staging? It's not about covering up the negative… it's truly about highlighting the best features in your home. It's all about painting a picture for the lifestyle of a potential home buyer! Show them that they can kick back, relax, and sip a glass of lemonade or a cocktail on their new screened porch. Portray to them that they can wake up to a cup of coffee at their breakfast bar. Set up the space so that it's spacious and they see that they have room for growth.

Staging isn't a secret, it's a necessity.

Contact Cora Bett Thomas Realty Today for more information on Staging and Selling Your Home. 

April
30

Bonaventure Cemetery

"Looking at these old graves makes me think how generation after generation of the same family are all gathered together. And that makes me think about how life goes on, but not about dying."

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

One of Savannah's must-see places isn't in the Historic District, or even in Downtown Savannah. Bonaventure Cemetery is located in the community of Thunderbolt, between Savannah and Wilmington Island. Bonaventure Cemetery first gained publicity on a worldwide scale when it was featured in John Berendt's Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. But the fact is, Bonaventure has been a part of the fabric of Savannah for as long as anyone can remember. 

Bonaventure Cemetery was originally a private commercial enterprise and was named "Evergreen Cemetery." The cemetery was first established in 1846 on the original Bonaventure Plantation. The cemetery first started out as 70 acres and was created as a result of Savannah's other cemeteries approaching capacity. The Evergreen Cemetery was patterned after the Victorian design of cemeteries, with curving paths, grassy lots, and plenty of shade trees. Evergreen Cemetery was frequented by those who sought solace during times of bereavement. But the cemetery also served as a place for families to meet and gather for picnics.

In 1907, the City of Savannah purchased Evergreen Cemetery, making it the 4th of the 5 cemeteries that the city owns. The City of Savannah had the cemetery redesigned for more efficient maintenance and for more gravesite spaces. Bonaventure Cemetery has also expanded to 103 acres since its purchase. 

Part of what makes Bonaventure Cemetery so special is the natural beauty of the space that it inhabits and that surrounds it. Located on a bluff overlooking the Bull River, Bonaventure Cemetery is home to majestic live oaks draped with Spanish moss and azalea bushes that bloom with riotous color in early spring. 

Trails wind through Bonaventure Cemetery and along the bluff, and benches and seating areas are scattered throughout the cemetery. An entire day can easily be devoted to strolling among the graves and admiring the monuments, some of which are quite ornate and impressive. Bonaventure Cemetery is open year-round, and offers special after-dark tours during the Halloween season. To truly appreciate Savannah's past and present, visit Bonaventure Cemetery.

Bonaventure Cemetery

330 Bonaventure Rd

Thunderbolt, GA 31404

Website

April
22

Visit The Hotel Bars and Restaurants

It's no secret that Savannah is a great place to visit and and an even better place to live. Savannah's boutiques, historic architecture, restaurants and live music shows mean that there is never a dull moment. And when locals want to feel like they're on vacation, they can visit any one of the hotel bars scattered throughout the Historic District of Downtown Savannah. Read on to discover some of our favorite places to visit when we want to play tourist in our home.

Rue de Jean

Rue de Jean is located in the Embassy Suites, off of Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive and West Oglethorpe Avenue. This French cafe' and bar offers its take on a classic French brasserie menu. Rue de Jean is one of our favorite places to enjoy Happy Hour, as they offer some truly great wines on special, as well as a food menu that features mussels for $8 (and with 6 varieties of preparation). The Happy Hour menu also features a burger and short rib sandwich that are both equal of Saturday-night dining acclaim.

 
 
 
 
 
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Order up!

100 Mile Coast, Savannah, Coastal Georgia, Downtown, General News, Historic District, Fun, Restaurants, Savannah Restaurants, Wine
April
22

Wax and Wane Waxing Salon

In Savannah, we believe in a good time and in pampering ourselves. Unfortunately, in today's world, sometimes pampering can take a backseat to everything else. But that's where Wax and Wane Waxing Salon comes to the rescue. At Wax and Wane, pampering feels special, and like something that you absolutely should be doing for yourself. Wax and Wane is located in the Historic District of Savannah, on Bull Street. The salon is in one of Savannah's famed Victorian houses.

When you first walk into Wax and Wane, you are immediately and warmly greeted. These ladies have mastered the art of professionalism without sacrificing any measure of hospitality. Somehow you feel less like you are keeping any kind of appointment and instead have stopped by a friend's house for a chat. The interior is beautifully decorated with painting by owner Jena Berenburg. Even during the cold winter days, every room is warm and cozy, which, in an old Victorian home, is no small feat. And, this salon always smells so good and has the best music playing. And yet, no measure of cleanliness is sacrificed, and only the best products and tools are used for these hair removal services. 

According to Jena, Wax and Wane Waxing Salon is named for the both the moon and the hair removal services that the salon provides. "Wax" refers to both the illuminating phases in the lunar cycle, as well a technique of hair removal that the salon offers. "Wane" refers to the diminishing phases of the lunar cycle, as well as the decrease in unwanted body hair, achieved through the salon's waxing services. 

The estheticians at Wax and Wane Waxing Salon have an abundance of product knowledge.They also have established a variety of techniques. One of the best things about the staff at Wax and Wane is their willingness to both learn and in turn, share that knowledge with clients. No question is too trivial to ask, and the estheticians all work to make certain that their clients are clear on the service from beginning to end, including self-care and maintenance between appointments. 

In addition to products related to hair removal, Wax and Wane also features a shop full of curated home and beauty items. I recommend arriving at least a half hour before an appointment, just so you have the time to look at everything. Jewelry, candles, perfume, and handbags are just a few of the items offered in the shop. Jena and her team work with artisans and small business owners all over the country to carry these items, most of which can't be found anywhere else in Savannah. 

Whatever your concerns may be about hair removal, forget them. Make an appointment at Wax and Wane and discover the pure joy of pampering yourself and supporting a fantastic local business here in Savannah. 

Wax and Wane Waxing Salon

For more information, visit www.waxandwanewaxing.com

April
9

Savannah Rooftop Bars

Spring is arriving in Savannah. This means longer days full of sunshine and warm weather. This also means that drinking outside tops everyone's list. Historic Downtown Savannah has no shortage of  places to enjoy a beverage alfresco. More and more, locals and visitors alike are seeking higher ground for fun. And Savannah has answered the call with rooftop bars. Besides, of course, beverages, these bars offer comfortable seating and views. Some of the bars below offer views of the Savannah River, while others offer a view of the rooftops of the Historic District. Both are equally lovely in their own way. 

Peregrin Rooftop Lounge 

The Peregrin is located atop the luxurious Perry Lane Hotel. The hotel is on Drayton Street, in the heart of the Historic Downtown District. As such, The Peregrin provides a rich view of the cityscape of Savannah. Besides craft beer and bar snacks, the bar offers cocktails, a carefully curated wine list, and frozen beverages. The Peregrin has a dearth of seating, from barstools to comfy couches. 

 
 
 
 
 
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Our favorite color is sunset #rooftopvibes #drinkswithaview #cocktailsonice #weekendvibes #savannahgeorgia #peregrinsavannah

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The Grove

The Grove's Rooftop Bar overlooks City Market--perfect for people watching. With a full food menu and fun beverage options like the shareable The Grand Mule and the Prosecco Pop (a glass of prosecco served with a King of Pops popsicle), The Grove is a great place to kick back and enjoy observing the bustle of Downtown Savannah. Happy Hour specials are available 5 days a week and a brunch menu is offered on the weekends. 

100 Mile Coast, Savannah, The Lowcountry, Coastal Georgia, Downtown, General News, Historic District, Waterfront, weather, Fun
March
26

A Musical Rite of Spring

Every spring, the Savannah Music Festival arrives. Held in various venues throughout Downtown Savannah, the 2019, Savannah Music Festival will be from March 28th to April 13th, and will feature a variety of performers who will playing at all hours of the day

Established in 1989, the Savannah Music Festival is a non-profit organization that is responsible for educational initiatives and musical arts programs throughout Savannah and six surrounding counties, and also includes educational activities such as theater field trips, in-school lessons, and public library performances.

The venues that serve as hosts for these performances are scattered throughout Historic Downtown Savannah, and include the Johnny Mercer Theater (at the Savannah Civic Center), the Lucas Theatre, the Ships of the Sea Museum, the Rousakis Plaza (located on River Street) and Trinity United Methodist Church.

This year is the festival's 30th anniversary, which will be celebrated on March 23, 2019 at the Metal Building at The Trustee's Garden with a cocktail buffet, remarks, and live Gypsy Jazz music.

New for the 2019 Savannah Music Festival

This year, the Savannah Music Festival's Lineup Spotlight is "A Bluegrass Lover's Paradise."

In addition to the myriad of acts making up the Savannah Music Festival, 7 different bluegrass acts will be featured during the festival. These acts include The Punch Brothers, Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, and a double-feature of The Del McCoury Band and The Steep Canyon Rangers. Whether you are a devoted bluegrass fan, or just looking to check out a different sound, any one of these bands will fit the bill.

[caption id="attachment_2170" align="alignnone" width="640"] Fatoumata Diawara; Performing Thursday, March 28 at 8 pm North Garden Assembly Room at Ships of the Sea Museum[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_2169" align="alignnone" width="640"] John Medeski's Mad Skillet; Performing Saturday, March 30 4:00 PM at the North Garden Assembly Room at Ships of the Sea Museum[/caption]

 The Savannah Music Festival will feature acts from all over the world and from all genres, including SMF favorite and Associate Artistic Director Daniel Hope, Asleep at the Wheel, Fatoumata Diawara, and Jeff Tweedy. Those looking to do a little dancing while listening should check out the the Late Night Jazz Jam or the Latin Dance party featuring El Septeto Santiaguero.

The Closing Night Party will feature a performance by renowned saxophonist Maceo Parker. Maceo Parker has developed and honed his own sound while performing with the likes of Prince, George Clinton, and James Brown. This is one funk-dance party that you don't want to miss, and is a great way to close out the 2019 Savannah Music Festival.

For More Information Visit the Savannah Music Festival website.

March
19

Our Favorite Off the Beaten Path Outdoor Dining

Th

The weather is warming up and the sun is sticking around a bit longer. Naturally, we start looking around for our favorite outdoor dining spots. The Wyld Dock Bar is one of our favorite places to enjoy the very best of sunny Savannah days. The Wyld is located on the banks of Country Club Creek and is close to both Downtown Savannah, Thunderbolt and Midtown. The restaurant is also accessible by boat.

The Wyld Dock Bar is tucked away at the end of a quiet little road on the southeast edge of Savannah. The restaurant itself is a cozy shack of weathered wood. The front lawn features an oyster roast area and is dotted with wooden picnic tables — perfect for resting with a cold beverage while waiting for a table. Waiting diners can also gather around the fire pit or enjoy a quick game of bocce ball.

The Wyld offers indoor seating and outdoor deck seating. The decks are comfortably shaded and are a great place to watch the changing waters of the tidal creek and the vibrant green marsh grasses. One section of the deck at The Wyld is a designated seating area for diners with their four-legged friends. 

The Wyld Dock Bar offers lunch and dinner, and the menu features fresh and locally caught seafood. The dishes are simply presented New American offerings, but all highlight the natural flavors of the seafood. The scallop corn fritters are lightly breaded and are a tasty twist on plain ol' hushpuppies. Two of our favorite dishes feature fresh caught fish. The local crudo, made with sheepshead and topped with fresh shaved jalepenos, is a perfect snack. The steamed banana leaf fish taco has grouper steamed in a banana leaf and topped with basil-dill chimichurri and spicy tomato jam. The tacos are served with black beans and warm tortillas.    

The Wyld also offers a variety of liquid refreshment, including local craft beers, craft cocktails, and wines. The Wyld also features a frozen slushie with a rotation of flavors. A few sips of a frozen Painkiller, some light breezes over the water, good conversation with friends, and freshly-caught fish tacos. Now that's the way to enjoy a Savannah day. 

The Wyld Dock Bar

2740 Livingston Ave

Savannah, Georgia 31406

www.thewylddockbar.com

March
6

Savannah Tour of Homes and Gardens

Savannah is a wonderful place to explore, especially historical homes and architecture. For those who appreciate history and architecture, The Savannah Tour of Homes and Gardens is a perfect way to take in the beauty of Savannah's historic homes and gardens.

The Savannah Tour of Homes and Gardens affords visitors and locals alike a rare opportunity to appreciate the beautiful architecture, interiors, and gardens of Savannah's Historic Landmark District and Historic Ardsley Park.  Participants of the tour can visit private homes and gardens that are usually not open to the public.

Home & Garden Walking Tours are self-guided and feature a different historic neighborhood each of the four days.  Each Home & Garden Walking Tour offers five to eight homes and/or garden sites.  What each homeowner has offered to share is different. Some sites are one floor of the home or only a garden. Other sites might include multiple floors and a garden.  Occasionally, businesses are included in the tour. But they are typically in addition to the homes and gardens, and are listed as a Point of Interest on the Tour.

Savannah Tour of Homes and Gardens

Savannah Tour of Homes and Gardens

Each guest will receive an Official Tour Guidebook with their tickets.  The address of each site is included in the Guidebook and marked on a color-coded map. Volunteer Street Guides will be on hand to assist with direction. These guides will be located throughout the neighborhoods and can be identified by their red sashes. Each Home and Garden Tour site and Special Event has a sign and balloons to mark the entrance. Docents will be greeting participants at each tour site. Docents will have additional information about the home and furnishings.  

The Tour is presented by the Women of Christ Church Anglican, in cooperation with the Ardsley Park-Chatham Crescent Garden Club. The 84th Annual Savannah Tour of Homes and Gardens will be held Thursday March 28, through Sunday, March 31, 2019. Whether you're visiting Savannah or a local, The Savannah Tour of Homes and Gardens is a great way to see some of the most beautiful homes in Savannah.

The 84th Annual Savannah Tour of Homes & Gardens

Thursday, March 28 – Sunday, March 31, 2019.

Tickets are on sale online now.

March
5

Azaleas Mean Spring in the Lowcountry. 

Azaleas

The South is known for its variety of flora, and few flowers say "Savannah" quite like azaleas. This evergreen shrub thrives in areas with partial sun making it common underneath trees. It is an ideal inhabitant of the squares in Historic Downtown Savannah. Azalea bushes can be pruned to smaller sizes, or can be larger, covering areas of quite a few feet. Smaller azalea bushes can be spotted along Savannah sidewalks, while larger versions inhabit the squares of the Downtown area.  

Botanically, azaleas are members of the Ericaceae (Heath) family. The Heath family includes blueberries and mountain laurel. Several species of azaleas are native to Georgia and the Southeast. Their flower color ranges from white to pink, yellow, orange, scarlet or crimson, with several shades in between. Plant size is also variable, ranging from 3 feet to more than 20 feet. Although native azaleas are considered more adaptable and more hardy than introduced species, it is important to approximate their native growing environment if they are to be grown successfully.

Most people associate blooming azaleas with spring, but several varieties bloom in summer and fall. This means by selecting certain varieties, it's possible to have azaleas blooming all year long. Azaleas can be grouped by whether they bloom early, mid-season or late. Early flowering types generally bloom from mid-February through March, mid-season types bloom in late April and May, and late-flowering types bloom from June through October. 

Looking for tips on growing and caring for azaleas?

Here's a great article on Southern Living

The larger azalea bushes can be found in the medians of Liberty and Oglethorpe Streets in Historic Downtown Savannah. Azaleas of all sizes and colors can also be found in many of the squares, including Columbia Square and Monterey Square. But, azaleas are not exclusive to the downtown area. Their vivid displays of color can be appreciated in Forsyth Park and in Bonaventure Cemetery

Looking to Buy or Sell a Home This Spring?

Contact Cora Bett Thomas Realty Today!

March
5

During Springtime, Savannah Comes Alive With Bursts of Color.

springtime flowers

Visitors to Savannah come from all over the world to admire the charm of the city. The appeal of Savannah's historic architecture draws admiration from tourists and locals alike. Savannah's elegant homes and cobblestone streets are enhanced by the botanical beauty that abounds in the Historic District of downtown Savannah.

As the the weather warms up, the natural beauty of Savannah awakens. The budding and blooming flowers infuse the squares and sidewalks of Historic Downtown Savannah with bursts of color. While many of the springtime flowers in Savannah are not unique to the South, there is something about them that is undeniably Savannah. Better still, Savannah's springtime flowers tend to start blooming at the beginning of the year, giving the feeling that spring is just around the corner here in the Lowcountry.

Camellias are one of the most distinctive flowers in the South, occupying many of the squares in the Historic District. These shrubs feature glossy leaves and large blooms. Some of the most popular camellia flowers in Savannah are white, pale pink, and ruby red. 

Savannah's springtime flowers

Azaleas are also distinctively southern plants. Like camellias, azaleas are shrubs of varying sizes. Also like camellias, azalea bushes burst into a profusion of colorful blossoms. Azalea blooms are also colorful, and it is not uncommon to see groups of different-colored azaleas bushes in yards, medians, and squares of the Historic Downtown District. One of our favorite places to enjoy azaleas is Bonaventure Cemetery.

Japanese magnolia trees may not be shrubs like camellias and azaleas. But, this tree puts out blooms at the same time that camellias and azaleas begin to blossom, and the flowers of this delicate tree are no less striking. The most common shades for the flowers of  Japanese magnolia trees put out blossoms are deep glossy fuschia, or white with a deeper purple center. 

The beauty of Savannah's springtime flowers is by no means restricted to these 3 flowers. But, they bloom around the same time to herald the approach of spring. And these plants are often spotted throughout the Historic and Victorian Districts, as well as popular spots like Bonaventure Cemetery and Thunderbolt. It is nearly impossible to see camellias, azaleas and Japanese magnolias and not think of springtime in Savannah. 

Looking to Buy or Sell a Home This Spring?

Contact Cora Bett Thomas Realty Today!

February
21

2019 Savannah Antiques and Architecture Weekend

Visitors and local Savannah residents appreciate the unique and storied architecture of our city. The Savannah Antiques and Architecture Weekend is the perfect way to enjoy a bit of Savannah's sophisticated past and present. Set for the last weekend in February 2019, the events of the Savannah Antiques and Architecture Weekend celebrate the history of some of the most famous Savannah families and how their homes contributed to the architecture that has made Savannah famous.

The first annual Savannah Antiques and Architecture Weekend was created in 2017. The Savannah Antiques and Architecture Weekend was first created to focus on the fascinating connections between the Andrew Low and Green-Meldrim Houses, and the families who occupied them. It was conceived by The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in the State of Georgia (NSCDA-GA).  The Savannah Antiques and Architecture Weekend aims to foster and promote interest in our nation's history through the study of the buildings and objects that are part of our cultural inheritance. The Savannah Antiques and Architecture Weekend also provides education on historic preservation. 

The NSCDA was founded in 1891 and is an unincorporated association of 44 Corporate Societies with more than 15,000 members. The National Society of Colonial Dames has been a leader in the field of historic preservation, restoration, and the interpretation of historic sites since its New York Society first undertook the preservation of the Van Cortland House in 1897. The Society headquarters is located at Dumbarton House, a Federal period house museum in Washington, D.C.  The association currently owns or operates more historic properties than any other organization in America other than the Federal Government. 

Don't be fooled into thinking that this is a group of the same old Savannah walking tours. The events making up this special weekend include lectures, tours, and live jazz music. The Special Event of the Savannah Antiques and Architecture Weekend includes a Private Tour celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Armstrong-Kessler mansion.  The magnificent mansion ushered the Jazz Age in to Savannah, and is the inspiration for the title of the 2019 Weekend: "Antiques, Architecture and All That Jazz!"  

Thursday, February 28

Cocktails and book signing with world-renowned Interior Designer, Carleton Varney

Decorator to the stars such as Joan Crawford and to U.S President Jimmy Carter along with many other prestigious clients, Carleton Varney is also the President and Owner of Dorothy Draper & Co. and carries on the amazing legacy of Draper's iconic work in the '30s and '40s.  Author of several books on decorating and great houses, he also hosts a wide line of products on the Home Shopping Network and his regular appearances on the show always sell out!

Friday, March 1

Lunch & Learn Keynote Speaker: Carleton Varney, President of Dorothy Draper & Co., Inc. Dorothy Draper and the Jazz Age followed by book signing

Dorothy Draper was a woman way ahead of her time, taking on huge corporate work for hotels around the world when women were supposed to be at home raising families!  Her work for The Greenbrier Hotel, the Quintandhina in Brazil, the Hampshire House, the Carlyle Hotel and many others in the jazz era is iconic and instantly recognizable.  Her protégé, Carleton Varney, continues her work today as owner of Dorothy Draper & Co..  Like Draper, Varney uses big bold patterns, tons of color and rejects all things drab, uncomfortable and impractical.  

Friday, March 1

The Gala

The glittering Gala honoring our Sponsors, Speakers and Appraisers is always a highpoint of the weekend. Topped off by an exciting Silent Auction, it will be held in the splendid surroundings of the historic Green-Meldrim House.  An evening to remember!

Saturday, March 2

What's in Your Attic? 

Back by popular demand is the "What's In Your Attic?" event with TV Celebrity appraisers and experts in decorative arts and antiques, Lark Mason, Amanda Everard, and Jane Mullino. They will help you Jazz things up at your house when you discover the value of your own treasures. 

2019 Savannah Antiques and Architecture Weekend

Saturday, March 2

VIP Historic Tours

The VIP Historic Tours are being jazzed up as well this year. They will include colorful costumed reincarnations of the Andrew Low and Green-Meldrim families who will bring life to the stories of their lives and times.

The 2019 Events will celebrate the Architecture, Design, and Music of the Jazz Age, so grab your friends and come Jazz It Up in beautiful Savannah, Georgia, February 28 – March 2, 2019!

February
21

Prepare Your Home For Sale

Ready, Set ... For Sale!

BY ANN TOHILL

It's time to upgrade, find a better school district, move cities for a new job, or make room for more! Whatever the case may be, selling your home should be an exciting time. It's out with the old, and in with the new. It's time for a reset. But for some homeowners, it can be overwhelming. To ease stress ahead of one of the hottest home selling seasons, here are some tips for preparing your home… so that "For Sale" sign can be added to the front yard.

1. Curb Appeal

Curb appeal is so important — and so are first impressions! Start with the lawn. Freshen up the mulch/pine straw, add colorful flowers to the flower beds, mow the lawn, get rid of those pesky weeds, sweep off the pollen from the front porch, and make sure your front door is sparkling from afar. Catch their attention right away.

2. Take a Deep Breath

When you open your door, take a deep breath in… What does it smell like? Wet dog, cigarettes, food, bleach, cleaning supplies, or too much air freshener? You want that fresh scent, but nothing that's too overbearing. The smell of your home will make or break the deal. Diffusers are a wonderful investment or throw a batch of cookies in the oven just before a showing.

3. The Details

Make sure batteries are replaced in your smoke alarm and all light bulbs are working. You want the potential buyer to get a true feel for your home!

4. Clean, Clean, Clean

Wipe down your baseboards, wash your walls, clean your carpets, scrub your bathrooms, dust your fans, and don't forget your curtains and blinds.

5. De-personalize Your Space

Potential buyers want to be able to picture themselves in your home. Take down personal photos, artwork, and collectibles. Declutter your space, but don't throw items in a closet or the oven... people will look in all of those places when touring your home.

6. Touch up Your Paint

Think about using only neutral colors. Consider painting your daughter's hot pink room or your bright orange kitchen, a light tan or a faded gray. That's an easy fix for new home buyers, but some can't picture the potential, they actually want to see it.

7. Give Your Home an Easy Flow

Make sure your furniture is moved around so that it's comfortable. If you can afford it, think about renting a storage unit for excess furniture.

8. Set the Stage

It's good to have your home staged. You can hire a stager and get them to spruce up your home, so people can dream up what it can look like.

9. Make Repairs

That loose handle, the faucet that always drips, or the closet door that doesn't shut all the way… fix that!

10. Hire a Home Inspector 

If you've lived there a while, it's a good idea for you, as the seller, to hire a home inspector before putting your home on the market. This is to make sure it passes all inspections and is 100% ready to sell.

Are You Ready to Sell?

These 10 steps are all affordable and worth the time and effort. The homes with neutral colors that are sparkling clean and inviting to a stranger, don't last long on the market. There's no specific ideal time to sell your home, but if you're considering attracting springtime buyers, now is the time to start to prepare your home for sale.

If you have any additional questions or are looking to sell, visit our website at www.corabettthomas.com or call us at 912.233.6000 and we will connect you with a licensed agent.

February
13

The 12th Annual Savannah Book Festival will continue to celebrate nationally-recognized and local authors through their contributions to literacy, ideas, and imagination. Festival Saturday is a free and open to the public event that features solo author presentations in seven venues around Telfair, Chippewa and Wright Squares in historic downtown Savannah.  Our headlining authors events, featuring some of the biggest names in the book world, are ticketed at a nominal fee.

Savannah Book Festival celebrates books and the written word and brings authors from around the country to Savannah. The authors will present their work to audiences of book lovers eager to hear what they have to say. The guests include bestselling authors of popular fiction and non-fiction, as well as historians, lifestyle experts, and other critically acclaimed authors.

The festival's annual Festival Saturday will take place on February 16, 2019 at venues in and around Telfair Square in beautiful downtown Savannah. The Festival, which runs from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., is free and open to the public. On Saturday, Author Silas House brings his novel Southernmost To Savannah Book Festival. The novel Southernmost begins with a flood of biblical proportions. The aftermath is set in a Southern Appalachian town where a fundamentalist preacher struggles with his rigid beliefs. 

Savannah Book Festival Children's Tent

SBF and Live Oak Libraries (LOPL) are pleased to announce the SBF Children's Tent event, which is taking place on Sunday, February 17 from 1-4 pm in Reynolds Square. The SBF Children's Tent will feature author appearances, activities and book-signings. For more information, please click here.

"...Eleven hundred men went into the water. Vessel went down in twelve minutes..." 

You may recognize those words as part of Robert Shaw's monologue in the movie "Jaws," but a new book exposes what really happened that day. Indianapolis: The True Story of the Worst Sea Disaster in U.S. Naval History and the 50-Year Fight to Exonerate an Innocent Man. The authors, Lynn Vincent and Sara Vladic, will present the closing address on Sunday, February 17. Indianapolis is the culmination of years of research and tells the story of — and those surrounding — what is arguably the United States' most famous naval warship. There was a great interview with authors Vincent and Vladic on GBP's "On Second Thought" that you can listen to here.

For More Information Visit 12th Annual Savannah Book Festival website

January
29

Make Your Plans for Super Museum Sunday!

Super Museum Sunday

Georgia, and Savannah in particular, has an impressive variety of museums and historical markers. On Sunday, February 10th, Georgians and visitors alike can experience our state's rich history and cultural life. Historic sites, house museums, art museums, and other points of interest in Savannah and throughout Georgia will open their doors to the public, providing an exceptional opportunity to experience the history in our own backyard.

Check Out the 2019 Super Museum Sunday Printable Map

An impressive list of Savannah's Museums and cultural heritage sites for showcasing knowledge and education will be free to the public from noon to 4 p.m. The Coastal Heritage Society's five museums will participate in the 2019 Georgia History Festival's "Super Museum Sunday" on Feb. 10th. Those sites include Georgia State Railroad Museum, Old Fort Jackson, Pin Point Heritage Museum, Savannah Children's Museum, and Savannah History Museum. Guests can enjoy free interactive exhibits and engaging tours at each site through hands-on, immersive activities that illustrate the narratives of Savannah's past.

In addition to the museums that are part of the Coastal Heritage Society, the Telfair Museums will open all three of their sites — the Owens-Thomas House, the Telfair Academy and the Jepson Center. However, because of the crowds that are expected for Super Museum Sunday, you might want to go ahead and get that visit  to see the French Impressionism exhibition Monet to Matisse taken care of before February 10th (which is also the last day of this unforgettable exhibition).

Super Museum Sunday

Pin Point Heritage Museum, located in the old A.S. Varn & Son Oyster and Crab Factory, is your chance to experience the Gullah/Geechee culture firsthand. For nearly 100 years, the community of Pin Point was quietly isolated on the banks of the Moon River just south of Savannah. Now, you can explore the refurbished museum complex and experience multimedia presentations, exciting exhibits and unparalleled views of the marsh. If you are looking to have a more adventurous  Super Museum Sunday, you can also kayak to the Pin Point Heritage Museum. 

We Love Super Museum Sunday.

Many museums participating on Super Museum Sunday plan to offer free guided tours and live reenactments for the special occasion. The free admission provides the opportunity for those who otherwise  cannot afford the chance to visit one of their local community museums. It is also an affordable way to explore a museum in your neighborhood that you may have never considered visiting before. Below is a list of participating Chatham County Museums. If you won't be in Savannah on Super Museum Sunday, visit the Georgia Historical Society website for more information and the complete list of participating museums, parks and historical sites throughout Georgia.

Super Museum Sunday Chatham County

  • Bloomingdale History Museum & Visitors Center
  • National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force
  • Andrew Low House Museum
  • Beach Institute African American Cultural Center
  • Bonaventure Historical Society
  • Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens
  • Congregation Mickve Israel
  • Davenport House Museum
  • First African Baptist Church
  • First Bryan Baptist Church
  • Flannery O'Connor Childhood Home
  • Fort Pulaski National Monument
  • Georgia State RailRoad Museum
  • Girl Scout First Headquarters Museum and Program Center
  • Green-Meldrim House
  • Harper Fowlkes House
  • Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace, National Historic Landmark 
  • King-Tisdell Cottage
  • Massie Heritage Center
  • Mother Mathilda Beasley Cottage
  • Oatland Island Wildlife Center
  • Old Fort Jackson
  • Ossabaw Island
    Call Ossabaw Island for ticket/wait list information.
  • Pin Point Heritage Museum
  • Savannah Children's Museum
  • Savannah History Museum and Battlefield Memorial Park
  • Savannah-Ogeechee Canal Museum & Nature Center
  • Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum
  • St. John's Church
  • Telfair Museums' Jepson Center for the Arts
  • Telfair Museums' Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters
  • Telfair Museums' Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • Thunderbolt Museum
  • Tybee Island Light Station and Museum
  • UGA Marine Education Center & Aquarium
  • Webb Military Museum
  • Wormsloe State Historic Site
January
25

A Few of Our Favorite Places for Date Night.

Valentine's Day

Eating is always a good time in Savannah. Most Savannahians will use any special occasion or holiday as an excuse to go out and good meal. Valentine's Day is no exception. Before you know it, Valentine's Day will be here, so it's not too early to start planning. Read on to discover some of our favorite places to enjoy a meal with that special someone on Valentine's Day (or any other day, for that matter). 

The Hot Spots

The Grey 

This beautiful space occupies what was once a Greyhound bus station. The menu, lovingly crafted by beloved chef Mashama Bailey, offers sophisticated dishes such as foie and grits, king mackerel, and smoked collards. These offerings feature the best local meats and produce, and are a nod to Chef Bailey's Southern roots. If you're looking for just a bite and a drink, check out the Diner Bar. The Diner Bar is cozy and nostalgic and offers a pared-down version of The Grey's menu. Whether you decide to go all in and make reservations in the main dining room, or stop in for a quick sip at The Diner Bar, you will definitely enjoy time spent at The Grey

Collins Quarter

Collins Quarter is located in the heart of the Historic District of Downtown Savannah. The menus is simple, and many dishes give a nod to owner Anthony Debreceny's Australian heritage and travels. But, every dish is designed to showcase fresh and local ingredients. A carefully curated wine list and cocktail menu, as well as an invitingly intimate dining space make for a memorable meal. And we challenge you to find a restaurant with more romantic lighting than an evening at CQ.

Husk

The Savannah location of this Charleston-based restaurant group does not disappoint. Husk Savannah is located on Oglethorpe Avenue in a renovated historic mansion. Husk prides itself on working with local farmers and purveyors to get the freshest ingredients and showcase them in dishes that are elevated versions of Southern classics. The Warm Octopus Salad and the Bear Creek Farm Beef with Bone Marrow are 2 of our favorite dishes. Husk's raw bar is also amazing, and you know what they say about oysters ...

The Classics

Noble Fare 

Locally owned and operated by husband and wife team Patrick and Jenny McNamara, this restaurant is ideal if you're looking to get away from the crowds. Noble Fare is in the rapidly-expanding North of Gaston (NOG) neighborhood, and is a favorite spot for locals to grab a meal that is a much more than ordinary. The menu at Noble Fare changes on an almost daily basis, but some of the more popular dishes include Diver Scallops and the Braised Beef Short Rib. 

Elizabeth on 37th

Elizabeth on 37th, located between the Historic District and Ardsley Park, has long set the standard in Savannah for fine dining. The 1900s Southern mansion oozes refinement. And romance. The sense of elegance is echoed in the hospitality and efficient service of the dedicated staff, as well as in the dishes offered in the Southern coastal menu. 

Garibaldi 

One of our personal favorites. Locals go way back with Garibaldi — Cora Bett herself has used the restaurant's busy bar to network on may occasion. It's no surprise that Garibaldi, with its dimly-lit dining room, filled with tufted leather banquettes, is a popular romantic dining spot. The menu at Garibaldi features seafood and pasta dishes. Furthermore, the daily specials really are, well, special. The Diamond-Scored Flounder is always a popular dish, and pasta lovers relish the Lobster Rabini. 

The Non-Traditional

Atlantic 

This popular neighborhood eatery has an extensive wine selection (and a knowledgeable staff), and a menu that never fails to disappoint. Atlantic doesn't take reservations, and it has a laid-back, albeit effortlessly elegant, vibe. If you're looking to enjoy a great meal without the special occasion expectation, Atlantic is the place. Here, every meal is a special occasion, so there is no pressure. 

1540 Room 

Ditch tradition and the idea of "couples only" and grab a group of friends for family dinner. Head over to the 1540 Room (located in The DeSoto) and grab one of their large family tables. An extensive menu of shareable plates and sides make for great evening of tasting and passing plates. Show up early — or stay late — and get a cocktail at the bar at Edgar's Proof and Provisions and have a toast an evening among friends.

And of Course ...

Lulu's Chocolate Bar 

This dessert bar has been a downtown staple for over 10 years. One visit and you'll know why. Lulu's normally doesn't take reservations but makes an exception for Valentine's Day. You cannot go wrong with any one of the homemade desserts, such as the Strawberry Suspension Cake (pictured) or the Triple Chocolate Mousse Tower. Or, keep it simple and opt for Hand-Dipped Chocolate Strawberries. The bar offers a selection of dessert martinis and champagne cocktails for liquid refreshments. Whether you begin here with a cocktail, or end the evening with a coffee and slice of pie, you'll leave feeling satisfied. 

These are only a few of our favorite places to visit for Valentine's Day dining in Downtown Savannah. Each are special in their own way, and each and every one of them are worth visiting, again and again. And, each of them fully embrace the idea of enjoying good food and fun, that spirit which is the heartbeat of Savannah.

January
24

Is Your Retirement One Dimensional?

In an uncertain world, why not diversify into real estate for your retirement?

Most retirement accounts are invested in stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. Given the volatility in the markets, holding real estate is a safe bet in the long term. For many years IRS regulations have allowed 'self-directed IRAs' to hold alternative investments such as secured notes, precious metals, and real estate.

Opening a self-directed IRA will allow you to hold real estate investments for retirement. This could be land purchased for future value appreciation, or property with an income stream such as multi-family apartments, retail or office. The income accumulates in your account, as will the proceeds when the property is sold, and taxes are deferred until distribution. Alternately a Roth IRA can be used, set up with after tax funds, and the income profits will be tax free.

To set up an account, funds can be transferred from an existing retirement account — perhaps a 401(k) from a former employer — and annual contributions can be made, according to your age bracket. Real estate is purchased by the IRA, and all expenses for the properties are paid from the account.

The IRA account can also get a loan to purchase the real estate, or the IRA can partner with other individuals or entities to purchase property. A self-directed IRA offers freedom and flexibility for a real estate purchase.

Of course, there are rules, regulations to be followed in order to maintain your tax advantages. As well as risk. The Securities and Exchange Commission has released an investor alert addressing Self-Directed IRAs and the risk of fraud. Consequently, it's important to work with a reputable real estate broker, closing attorney — and an IRA custodian — who understand how self-directed IRAs work. 

Contact the experienced team at CBT Commercial today to learn more.

January
24

Whether you are thinking of selling your house or buying a home, today's real estate headlines can be confusing – perhaps even concerning. What is actually happening with mortgage rates? Are home values dropping or are they just rising at a slower pace? What impact will the economy have on the housing market?

If you are either a buyer or seller (or both), you need to know what it will mean to your family if you go ahead with the move. You need to understand three things:

1. What is happening in the housing market right now?

Consumers must get past those fear-mongering headlines and gain a deep understanding of what is truly happening. How strong is buyer demand right now? How much competition do listings have today compared to what they will have in the spring? People want to make an educated decision on what is probably their family's greatest financial asset.

2. Why is it happening?

Understanding the individual pieces that impact the sale or purchase of real estate is important. Understanding how those pieces impact each other is critical. How does the amount of a down payment impact the mortgage rate a buyer will be offered? Can you still price your house a 'little ahead' of the market and still be sure it will sell?

3. How do the first two affect your local market?

Basically, you want an understanding of the overall housing market and a simple and effective explanation of how it will impact your personal real estate goals.

Bottom Line

The best way to get all three is to work with a professional at Cora Bett Thomas Realty who understands this shifting real estate market and can expertly guide you on the journey to reach your housing goals. Let's get together to discuss what today's market means for you.

Contact Cora Bett Thomas Realty & Associates today.

From KCM 

January
18

Plantation Carriage Company

One of the first things visitors to Historic Downtown Savannah notice are the horse-drawn carriages. Some carriages are canopied. Some carriages are bedecked in flowers and ribbons. The horses in front are a variety of colors. But, they all share the privilege of being a staple of Historic Downtown Savannah.

The horse-drawn carriages provide a unique mode of transportation for special events. Or, for Savannah visitors, these carriages are a way to tour the Historic Downtown area. Most locals are used to sharing the roads with these proud horses and their carriages. But, just like the folks you may see every day in passing and never really know, most Savannahians know little about the horses and their carriages. So, we sat down and talked with Jennifer Thompson of Plantation Carriage Company to learn a little bit more about our four-legged friends and their jobs. 

Contrary to popular belief, walking on paved roads is not harmful to the horses and is actually easier going for them than dirt paths. In fact, the first paved road in Georgia was in Savannah, and it was created to make the going easier for the horses. All employees at The Plantation Carriage Company are professionals with experience in working with horses.  The staff includes a team of farriers who routinely trim/balance the horses' hooves and shoes. The Plantation team has built deep connections with each horse in the stable.

Draft horse breeds such as Belgian, Percherons, and North American Spotteds are used to pull carriages. These are all breeds of work horse used to pulling heavy loads for long periods of time. Most of the horses at Plantation Carriage are in a second phase of their "careers" now. Many of them have spent the early years of their lives doing work for logging companies or on Amish farms. Now, these horses are able to enjoy a more leisurely schedule and far less strenuous work. These horses usually live into their 30s, but normally work until they are into their 20s. Plantation Carriage conducts general fitness evaluations everyday and more extensive evaluations monthly. 

The company rotates the shifts of the horses to ensure that they are able to take breaks and get plenty of rest, even during the busy season. If you have seen horses on a farm on rainy days you know they don't huddle in the expensive barns. Instead, they play in the rain. So if you see horses out in the rain do not be concerned. However, in the event of storms, tours are cancelled due to the threat of lightning. This means that the team at Plantation Carriage diligently keeps an eye on weather radar forecasts, so as not to put the horses, drivers or tour groups in any danger due to lightning. 

Besides a pretty sweet work schedule, routine medical evaluations and care, and vacations, the horses also get treats. Lots of treats. Of course, the horses get apples year round. But, they also get seasonal treats. In the colder months, the horses are given soft peppermint candies as treats. In the summer, they are given watermelon, which provides much needed hydration. The horses also get their fetlocks on some Guinness a treats. Sound crazy? It's not — the beer helps replenish the B-vitamins that the horses lose through their sweat. 

One of our favorite horses at Plantation Carriage is Cinder. Cinder is a sassy little Percheron, and proof that each of these horses have their own unique personality. Cinder has Arab blood, which, according to Jennifer, is part of why she is so feisty. Everyone loves Cinder. When she passes other horses on the street, they will whinny at her. And Cinder loves Cinder, too — she has been caught more than once staring at her reflection in a window or puddle and giving herself a whinny. 

horse carriage tours

Jennifer and her team at The Plantation Carriage Company do a fantastic job of caring for these horses. They also do a fantastic job of providing hospitality to Savannah visitors, acting as carriage drivers and as tour guides. City ordinances restrict where horse-drawn carriages can pull over. So, if you see them out and about while in your vehicle, be patient and do your best to indicate your direction. The carriage drivers and horses have no desire to hold up traffic, so show these 4-legged ambassadors of Savannah some love. They may be pampered, but they are working just as hard as any of us to make Savannah a great place to visit and to live.

Plantation Carriage Company

Plantation Carriage Company is a wonderful source for carriage rides around Savannah's historic district, weddings, and other special occasions. Tours depart daily from the southeast corner of Ellis Square.

Find out more information or book a tour online here 

(912) 659-9005

info@plantationcarriagecompany.com

January
14

Another year older, another year wiser...

parking

As we jump into 2019, we are all about fresh starts and resolutions. While New Year's resolutions can vary wildly from person to person, we have one that appeals to all Savannahians. This year, let's resolve to make it through with no parking tickets. To some, this seems a simple feat, but local Savannahians, especially those living and/or working in the Historic Downtown District, can attest that this resolution sometimes seems nearly impossible to keep.

In recent years, the City of Savannah's Parking and Mobility Services has expanded the zones covered by parking meters. Parking Services has also extended the hours for paid parking to run from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Note: These are approximate times — check out the links provided for specific hours/zones) And while paying to park feels like a huge hassle, let's face it, paid parking is a pretty common thing in most cities now. 

Lucky for us, Parking Services has made strides in making the process paying to park pretty darn easy. The simplest way is to download the "Park Savannah" app to your phone. The app allows you to pay your meter through your phone and eliminates the need to revisit meters to add more money/time.  

Residential Benefits

Another way to avoid parking tickets as a resident of the Historic District is to have a Residential Parking Decal. Savannah residents living in metered zones can apply for a Residential Parking Decal to be used for on-street parking near their home. These decals are not a pass for free parking in the entire Downtown Savannah area. But, the decals are useful nonetheless. 

Those dealing with on-street parking in the Downtown Savannah area are also familiar with the street sweepers. Check posted signs for sweep times. Then, make sure that you are not parked in a sweep zone during the posted time. Residential Parking Decals do not override sweep zones. Also, tickets received for sweep zone violations cannot be appealed.

When it comes down to it, parking in Downtown Savannah can be easily handled by utilizing the resources that Parking Services has made available. 

Savannah Parking Services

Website

100 E Bryan St. 

Savannah, GA 31402

Office Hours 

Monday - Friday 

8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Meter Information and Maps

For information on Savannah's DOT Downtown Shuttles, click here.

December
27

Historic Homes - Are They Your Calling?

Historic homes

One of the biggest draws to living in the heart of Savannah is the Historic District. Originally the historic district was the 2.2 square mile area that runs from East Broad Street to Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., and from the Savannah River to Gaston Street. Savannah's historic district is one of the largest in the country and there are many people involved in preserving its legacy. There are more than 1,100 historically and architecturally significant buildings, including examples of Federal, Victorian Regency, Greek and Gothic Revival, and Italianate architecture. Savannah is well known for its diversification of residents. We have everyone from teachers and students to dignitaries and millennials working to live where they choose, so it's no wonder people are choosing to live in this area.

Why a Historic Home?

Historic homes offer a few characteristics that more modern homes do not – the most prominent being character itself. Homes from different historical periods showcase a variety of architectural trends that may not be featured in the newer home builds today. The charm of historic homes include high ceilings, crown molding, archways, and original flooring and windows.  

Another enticing feature of a historic home is the location. Historic Savannah is home to several local shops such as City Market and all of the shops along Broughton Street. Residents are also able to enjoy restaurants such as Garibaldi Café for fine dining and Crystal Beer Parlor for burgers and beer. The town is set up to for the ease of walking from place to place or you could always jump in a pedicab. You'll be pleasantly surprised by the people you meet and the conversations you will have as you stroll through any of downtown's 22 squares. Historic living is the best living, but hey we may be a bit biased.

However, don't rush into buying your dream historic home until you know what you may be up against. You always need to remember the context of the time when these houses were originally built. While we may love the details and considerations of a certain time period, we also have to keep in mind that an ensuite bathroom did not gain popularity until the 1950s. The indoor kitchen was much smaller than we are accustomed to today. Large walk-in closets were unheard of, people used armoires instead. And though we may rave about the original hardwoods, we are not as often excited by the thought of original electrical or plaster walls.  

Not to fear, this lack of luxury can be overcome! Savannah is home to many talented artisans who can help bring your vision to life. Savannah is not just a place to live – it is a way of living in the real South.

December
17

Holiday Shopping Along the 100 Mile Coast.

The holiday season has officially begun, and many folks have already started their holiday shopping. The 100 Mile Coast  is filled with shops and boutiques. These places offer unique gifts, and create a shopping experience that is as enjoyable as giving the gift itself. We've asked the Cora Bett Thomas Realty & Associates team for their favorite places to do their holiday shopping in Savannah, Bluffton, and Beaufort. Check out our list of our top shops in Savannah. 

Satchel.

A leather-goods shop located in the heart of Historic Downtown Savannah, on Liberty Street. Satchel. is locally owned and operated and offers both ready and custom made leather bags and accessories. The studio is no longer taking orders for the 2018 holiday season. But, there are still plenty of dazzling bags  in a number of styles, hides and colors available for purchase.

One Fish, Two Fish 

This boutique is located in the Downtown Design District and is practically a one-stop shop that sells jewelry, accessories, clothing and home decor. One Fish, Two Fish is an ideal place to pick up a gift, whether it is a necklace or an oyster shell Christmas ornament. Don't miss the other shops in the Downtown Design District either!

PW Short General Store

Owner Scot Hinson wanted to recreate the feeling of a small town community meeting place where you could find everything from French copper pots to smart phone chargers with utilitarian design in mind. This shop has a great selection of goods to furnish your home bar and is also a great place if you are looking for unique gear for a picnic in the park. The vibe is eclectic with a good dose of Midcentury Modern.  

The Paris Market   

This elegant market and brocante is located on Broughton Street. One part boutique, one part flea market, and one part museum, this shop is an ideal place to stop in and "take a look." But if you walk out of The Paris Market empty-handed, then you weren't looking hard enough. Lower levels feature home decor and furnishings, including custom-made lighting. The upper level features all manners of treasures and troves, including perfumes, jewelry, and paper goods. 

Smith Brothers Butcher Shop

Smith Brothers Butcher Shop 

One of our favorite places to get both gifts and holiday dinner supplies. Smith Brothers is located on Liberty Street in Historic Downtown Savannah. An affordable wine, deli, and fresh meat selection make for fuss-free holiday party planning. Better still, Smith Brothers offers unique and local gifts such as handmade oyster knives and etched glassware from local artisans. 

Le Chai 

Speaking of planning for parties, no party in Savannah is complete without the perfect bottle. Le Chai galerie du vin is located off of Forsyth Park. This wine shop is a local favorite and truly embodies Savannah. The polished facade of Le Chai belies the accessibility of the wines it houses. Le Chai does specialize strictly in Old World wines, but these wines are available in every price point and for every palate. We recently stopped by to get owner Christian Depken's recommendations for wines this holiday season.

E. Shaver, Book Seller 

Savannah's oldest bookstore, located on Madison Square in Historic Downtown Savannah. E. Shaver has seven rooms devoted to all things books, including local and regional topics. If you can't find what you are looking for at E. Shaver's, then they will be happy to order it for you. E. Shaver also offers non-book gifts, such as bags, mugs, stationery and journals. E. Shaver also houses The Savannah Tea Room. The Savannah Tea Room sells tea by the cup, as well as prepackaged tea and handmade mugs. 

The Book Lady Bookstore

The Book Lady, located on Liberty Street next to Satchel., is a local favorite. The book Lady has been offering new and "gently used" books to Savannians since 1978. They have every genre you can think of as well as a nice collection of harder to find and first editions. This is a cozy shop with a great selection of Savannah based literature and rare finds to spend an afternoon exploring. This is one of Cora Bett's favorite shops and you can find several tomes from the Book Lady on her shelves at home. 

This list is some of the holiday shopping that can be done in Downtown Savannah. See a list of some of our other favorites places to shop in the 100 Mile Coast below. Shopping at these stores will not only support local merchants but will also prove to be a pleasant shopping experience for you and put you at the top of the "Best Gift-Giver Ever" list. 

Beaufort Favorites

Don't let the size and serenity of Beaufort fool you — there are some places that you absolutely have to visit, and there's a good chance that you'll enjoy one so much that you might not make it to the others in one go. Here are some of our favorite places in downtown Beaufort, and we think you'll love them too.

Scout Southern Market
M Home & Garden & Interiors
Carolina Me Crazy
Grayco Hardware and Home
Island Lavender Company

Bluffton Favorites

It's common knowledge that Bluffton is a great place to live. It turns out, it's a pretty great place to shop for gifts, too. 

Markel's Card & Gifts
Corner Perk
Gigi's Boutique 
Bluffton General Store
Al-Harry Furniture Design
May River Excursions
May River Gallery

Happy Holidays!

December
17

Savannah's New Luxury Residential Community

[caption id="attachment_2051" align="alignnone" width="640"]Upper East River Patrick Malloy, of Patrick Malloy Communities, with Cora Bett Thomas.[/caption]

Patrick Malloy Communities recently announced their partnership with Cora Bett Thomas Realty on the new Upper East River luxury residential community. Upper East River is the single-family, luxury residential neighborhood at Eastern Wharf, a world-class, mixed-use development on the Savannah River. Eastern Wharf's $600 million mixed-use commercial community, is expected to open by Spring 2020. It includes more than 300 apartments, 40,000 square feet of dining, entertainment, service and retail space, about 80,000 square feet of Class A office space, and a 200-room boutique hotel.

Upper East River

Upper East River homes are located on the last piece of waterfront property along the Savannah River. In the residences of Upper East River, Architect Jeff Hamilton is reclaiming Savannah's heritage, the 18th, 19th and early 20th century architectural styles at the heart of Savannah life and lore.

"I am proud to be a part of creating and selling the ongoing history of Savannah. It's an honor to have the exceptional reputation and expertise of Patrick Malloy joining our community," said Cora Bett Thomas, CEO/Founder of the Savannah-based luxury real estate firm of the same name. "This project will bring more homes to a highly desirable area of Savannah with pedestrian-friendly access to downtown. When the project is complete, I know that it will be a vibrant addition to our beautiful city."

Upper East River Vision

Five distinct but patently blended residential sectors honor the Upper East River waterside legacy with 156 homes offering singularly elegant, high-style, entirely modern living in a walkable community; from stacked-flats with concierge service to multi-level brick homes with two-car garages and most homes with elevators. The entire neighborhood has access to the Geo. Meyer House on the river with a pool, fitness center, bar and space for socializing. This maintenance free living with rooftop piazzas, classic courtyards, city squares, Savannah's famous river walk, all carefully and thoughtfully developed, is all just steps away from historic Savannah's premier shopping, dining, and entertainment.

More details about the Upper East River community are expected in early 2019. For more information Click Here.

December
9

Eat, Drink and Be Merry.

We are pushing full speed ahead into the height of the holiday season. That means it's time to get the bar fully stocked up and ready for the festivities. We all want our holiday parties to be full of fun and good food and drink. You may be the host serving up glasses of vino, or the guest bringing a bottle. Either way, it's important to make sure that good wine is a part of the party. We checked in with our one of our favorite wine shops, Le Chai galerie du vin. Read on for owner Christian Depken's suggestions for wines. We've included 2 each of bubbles, whites, and red, from affordable to "holiday splurge." 

Bubbles

Domaine de Nerleux, Brut Rose Cremant de Loire "La Folie des Loups." This sparkling rosé wine is made with cabernet franc grapes from the Loire Valley. The wine is dry and clean, with a slightly earthy yet fresh taste. A sparkling wine that is as easy on the palate as it is your pocketbook.

Splurge: Roger Coulon, Heri-Hodie Premier Cru.  This is what is considered a "proper" champagne. A blend of 50% Pino Meunier, 25% Pinot Noir, and 25% Chardonnay. The resulting flavor is one that is fresh and floral, but still full-bodied. If you are a lover of true Champagne, this is the bottle for you. Christian described this one as "badass."

 

Reds

Iuli Rossore. This red wine is derived from 100% Barbera grapes, and hails from the Piemonte region of Italy. Rossore, named after the color Barbera puts in your cheeks, has a fruit forward palate, but is not sweet. Rounded, medium-bodied, and a crowd-pleaser for red drinkers, especially those on a budget. Buy one or two for a party and maybe one for yourself!

Splurge: Lopez Heredia Rioja Vina Tondonia Reserva. This wine is considered a blend, but it's mostly Tempranillo. The finish is long and refined, with clean flavors. But make no mistake — this is a "serious" wine. It is full-bodied, and as such, should be paired with a meal.

Our Favorite: La Coartada. One of our favorite red wines. This comes from the Alentejo region of Portugal and is a blend of Aragonez (Tempranillo), Alicante Bouschet, and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. A complex wine that somehow manages to be elegant and rustic at the same time. Best enjoyed with food, and definitely worth a try if you're looking for a new red. Beyond the taste, the bottle's shape and label are unique and make it a great looking bottle to bring to dinner.

Whites

Tegerneseerhof 2017 Durnstein Federspiel Riesling. If you're averse to sweet wines, don't be put off by "Riesling," especially in this case. From the Wachau region of Austria, this wine is bone dry, with a high acidity and minerality. Pairs perfectly with turkey, pork, or goose.

Spend: Kozlovic Malvazija. This white wine comes from the Istria region of Croatia. It is highly aromatic. While this wine is fruitier than Riesling, it is still dry and has both a sharp acidity and a mineral complexity that makes it mouth-watering. Hands down, this is a wine to be enjoyed with food.

December
6

Hand Made Leather Goods

Savannahians love accessories. True Savannahians pick quality over quantity, and love supporting local artists. Many stores in Savannah embody this ideology. But, few do it with the panache of Satchel. This leather-goods boutique is located on Liberty Street in the heart of Savannah's Historic District. Satchel. is owned by SCAD alumni. The shop is  run by a group of effortlessly chic designers and sewers. Satchel. is a shopping staple for visitors and Savannahians alike.  

satchel

The store is, in and of itself, a delight. The layout of Satchel. is an open floor plan. Visitors can peruse any number of ready-made selections on the sales floor and have a full view of the production area. The atmosphere has all the welcoming intimacy of a home studio. The walls of Satchel. are adorned with all manner of bags available for sale, as well as paintings and prints from local artists. 

Satchel. has a catalog of designs for bags, but the Satchelettes are by no means restricted to those designs. Existing designs can be customized with different leathers, linings, and hardware. The ladies of Satchel. encourage custom design work and enjoy collaborating with customers to create the perfect accessory. Styles such as cross-body, clutch, carry-on are displayed throughout the shop. Bags are available in hides such as pebbled ostrich hide, metallic acid-washed cowhide, and python. And the colors! The color and texture possibilities are endless. Shades range from rose gold to lipstick pink, and of course classics such as camel, oxblood, and navy are all available. 

Satchel. also offers cuff bracelets, tassel keychains, wallets, and passport covers, as well as coasters and koozies for both cans and the ubiquitous to-go cup. For gifts that stand apart from the rest of the pack, and will also stand the test of time and trends, Satchel. is the easy choice. 

Satchel.

4 E. Liberty Street
Savannah, Georgia 31401
(912) 233-1008

Website

November
30

Walking into the dimly-lit interior of the bar at Circa 1875 is an escape from the outside world. At both the front and the back of the space, plump banquettes beckon and encourage long conversations and lingering glances. The smell of fresh bread softly permeates the air, as does the melody of jazz and French music.

A glass of Cotes du Rhone, from the Famille Perrin, drinks easily, pairs well with almost everything on the menu, and is affordable enough that 2 or 3 glasses won't break the bank. A bread basket's bundled napkin is opened to reveal slices of rustic French bread and warm brioche rolls. A side of herb butter is provided but seems almost unnecessary. 

Circa 1875

The Plateau du Chef, literally a platter of meat and cheeses, can serve as an appetizer or as a meal in itself. The flavors may vary based on seasonal availability, but some of the favorites include pork rillette, saucisson sec, Port Salut, and Red Dragon. Accompanying the meat and cheeses are more bread and fresh preserves. This is a platter made for sharing, as one finds it easy to engage in conversation, or even just thought, while savoring the flavors.  

An order of the Foies de Poulet is a perfect blend of Paris and Southern cuisine, as fried chicken livers are served atop brioche and topped with apple demi-glace and caramelized onions. The meat is tender and juicy, while the brioche manages to absorb the demi-glace without ever becoming unattractively soggy. 

Ordering a burger in a place like Circa 1875 may seem, to the uninitiated, like a rookie move. Rest assured, it is quite the opposite. The 1875 Hamburger Au Poivre is one of the best hamburgers in Savannah. This burger is cooked to perfection and covered with a green peppercorn brandy mustard sauce. The decadent  flavor of the burger is enough to have it serve as the final course of the evening. Follow it up with a digestif, or one more glass of wine, and suddenly you're fortified enough to face the evening once again. 

Circa 1875

48 Whitaker St,

Savannah, GA 31401

November
15

Circa Lighting

Lighting can make all the difference in the space you inhabit. And while the right amount of light can infuse you with a good mood, the right amount of light from just the right light fixture will make your good mood great. A truly stylish home focuses on the details, and lighting is one of those inherent details that must always be just right.

Circa Lighting was founded in Savannah in 1998 by Gale Singer. Gale had a vision for a curated lighting selection presented in a boutique-like showroom. Through the first showroom Gail reached out to interior designers, architects and builders to have a similar experience locally and online with well curated offerings.

Located in Savannah's Downtown Design District, Circa offers lamps and fixtures of all kinds, for both interior and exterior lighting uses. Floor lamps, table lamps, and ceiling lamps are all available, as well as wall-mounted lighting fixtures. Circa Lighting also offers fans, also for both interior and exteriors. And to help keep the air circulating in your home or business, fans and floor fans are available too.

Floor to Ceiling

Ceiling lamps include chandeliers, flush mounted lamps, lanterns, hanging shades, and linear lamps. A ceiling lamp is a great way to make a statement with your lighting, without sacrificing living or surface space. Both table and floor lamps are divided into 2 categories, decorative and task. Table and floor lamps come in any number of shapes, sizes and materials. In most cases, the only limitation to what you can have is either what you can afford or what can fit into your home.

Wall-mounted lighting fixtures include decorative, bath, task and picture lamps. Most wall-mounted lighting is more functional than fun, but the pieces at Circa still, nonetheless, have pizazz. The same goes for fans, which are more of a necessity than a luxury in Savannah. The fans at Circa can very nearly be considered art, and can add panache to any dwelling. 

Whatever style of lighting you are looking for, Circa has it. Understated, overstated, modern, traditional, dramatic, if you can think of it, Circa has something that will fit your description. Better still, if you are struggling to come up with what exactly you do want, Circa can help with that, too. Circa Lighting's expansive and beautifully designed showrooms are full of inspiration, and their knowledgeable staff are there to help you. 

Circa Lighting |  Savannah Showroom
405 Whitaker St
(912) 447-1008

November
12

Christmas in Savannah

It seems like not so long ago, the months of November through February signaled a quieter time in Savannah.  That has since changed. It's time for the holidays in Savannah and there is no shortage of things to do, beauty to behold and places to go. So as we enter this season, let's take a look at what the season has to offer to residents and visitors alike. 

Holidays in Savannah — Walk and Shop

The fun is about to start in a matter of days. On Thursday, November 14th is the East End Holiday Block Party. This is a charity event supporting 2 great causes: Coastal Pet Rescue and Second Harvest Food Bank. The event will be from 5pm-8pm and will offer food, music, shopping and cocktails, as well as raffles.

On November 15th, head on over to the Liberty Street Holiday Block Party. Don't miss one our favorite shops in town, Satchel. Then, head next door to vintage clothing store East + Up, which will also be hosting a pop-up shop from local boutique Mamie Ruth. Once you get tired of shopping, head across Liberty to Edgar's Proof and Provisions. This bar is located in the DeSoto Hilton and will be featuring live music, nibbles, and drink specials.

Few things get the holiday spirit going like gingerbread ... unless it's Christmas lights. The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort and Spa can easily help you get your holiday fix on with its Gingerbread Village and the Savannah Boat Parade of Lights. The hotel is located across the Savannah River from Historic Downtown Savannah. If you don't feel like driving, grab an Uber or hop on the free ferry. 

Another much-anticipated event for local Savannahians in the know is the Design District Holiday Walk, on November 29th. This is a great way to visit the shops of the Design District, support local Savannah merchants, and enjoy the holiday vibes. Many shops will have complimentary cocktails on hand, and this year Big Bon Pizza will be serving delicious, made-to-order pizzas in the Annex.

If you're out and about in the Bluffton area on December 8th, check out the Bluffton Coffee and Chocolate Fest. This event will be held at The Cottage in Bluffton, SC and will host yummy offerings from local vendors, including gourmet coffee and scrumptious desserts. Those sticking closer to Savannah can also check out Picker Joe's Annual Christmas Party, also on December 8th. 

See Something Pretty.

People come from all over to take in the architecture and natural beauty that makes Savannah so special, so you can bet that we take our Christmas decorations seriously. To behold the glory that is Old Savannah bedecked in all its holiday finery, behold the majestic solemnity of Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, a candlelit tour of  The Davenport House, or the refinement of The Owens-Thomas House; all are open to the public and available for tours.

Another great way to experience the elegance of the Historic District during the holidays is The Holiday Tour of Homes; while a tour of Savannah's historic inns is available, the most popular tour is that which includes 8 (count 'em, EIGHT) private Savannah homes and 2 museum houses in the Landmark Historic District. Word of warning: if you aren't already in love with the historical houses of Savannah before this tour, you will be after.

Enjoy A Show.

There's just something extra special about catching a holiday show, and Savannah offers something for everyone when it comes to holiday entertainment. Those hardworking performers over at The Savannah Theatre will be presenting "A Christmas Tradition," a 2-hour extravaganza of music, dance, comedy, and a little bit of audience participation. The renowned Savannah Philharmonic Orchestra will be returning with its 8th season of its "Holiday Pops" show, beloved by Savannahians and visitors alike. 

There is so much holiday fun to be had in Savannah and the Lowcountry, and this is just a bit of it. Get out, have fun, and enjoy the holiday spirit. Happy Holidays!

November
5

Homeowners Associations:
A Blessing and a Curse 

Homeowners Association

Make sure your agent has knowledge about the Homeowners Associations where you are interested in buying. 

First things first, let's make sure we all know what and why HOA Fees exist. The Homeowners Association (or HOA) is an organization within a subdivision, planned community, or condominium that creates and enforces the rules for the properties in their jurisdiction. When you purchase property within an HOA's jurisdiction you are often required to pay dues - the infamous HOA fees. There are both advantages and disadvantages to living in communities that have an HOA - we talk more about that in this article. But first let's look at 5 questions you should ask when talking to your agent about a property that would come with an HOA fee.

Is the HOA mandatory?

Do not be fooled by thinking just because a community has an HOA it is mandatory.  There are mandatory and voluntary Homeowners Associations. A mandatory membership requires every owner in the community to be a member, otherwise they could face penalties for not complying with rules and dues. However, some communities have a voluntary associations.   An example of a voluntary HOA may be a neighborhood that asks members to be apart of their civic organization or club to help maintain community spaces or the neighborhood entrance.

What does the HOA fee cover?

Some HOA fees can be quite steep depending on the community or area you live in, therefore it is wise to have a clear understanding of what the fee is covering. Make sure your money is being put to good use. Here are a few items that an HOA fee may cover.

  • Amenities: Pools, clubhouses, tennis courts, gym facilities
  • Lawn Care: This could cover anything from general lawn maintenance to snow removal
  • Maintenance and Repairs: Oftentimes condominium HOA fees cover interior, like the lobby or community space of a condo, and exterior maintenance.  They will also keep a set amount on reserve for bigger projects like replacing water heaters or community floors.
  • City Services: Trash pickup, water, sewage

How often are the HOA fees collected?

Homeowners Association fees can be collected, yearly, monthly or quarterly. Once you know when your HOA fees are expected it's a good idea to put a reminder on a calendar or budget accordingly so that the fees do not catch you off guard.

What is the penalty for not complying with the HOA?

In most cases if you do not pay the fee, the HOA has the power to place a lien on your property.  A lien is placed on the properties title, and restricts the owner from legally selling, refinancing, or transferring the title of ownership to the home. This could lead to a foreclosure, with the understanding that if one is not financially secure enough to pay an HOA fee, they could fault on their mortgage payment as well. If you are able to get caught up and pay the overdue fees the lien will be removed.

Do you have an HOA website or Facebook group that is regularly updated?

The Homeowners Association should have a website that hosts the community covenants and restrictions.  Often HOAs will have a website that has their bylaws, but then an additional Facebook page to showcase community events or ways to get involved.  One of the benefits of moving into a community that has an HOA is the community bonding opportunities available.

A sign of a good agent is someone who has already asked these questions and then some! Contact Cora Bett Thomas Realty & Associates today.

November
5

Commercial Real Estate as an Investment

Home Is Where Is the Heart Is, But Is it Where the Investment Is?

By Graham Sadler, Cora Bett Thomas Realty

The term real estate naturally leads one to think of buying and selling homes or even renting out residential property. While there are many advantages to residential investments, commercial properties have even more financial gain.

The term commercial property refers to buildings such as: retail space, offices, warehouses, industrial buildings, land, and even multi-family housing (such as duplexes or apartment buildings). That ranges from a luxury hotel buildings, to your favorite coffee shop.

Owning real estate, in general, can increase your long-term wealth, but why add specifically commercial to your investment portfolio? There are several benefits: higher incomes, less competition, longer leases, professional relationships, and, of course, tax advantages.  

Advantages Commercial Real Estate as an Investment

Let's start with the most distinct advantage: financial reward. Commercial real estate gives you a better return on your investment. It will allow you to avoid stock market volatility and bring in steadier returns.

The commercial field is also less competitive because it seems unattainable. Investing in a shopping center or a warehouse is a major endeavor and a big expense, thus many assume it is out of their purchasing power. The solution: competitive loan programs. This option is available for nearly all investors, and taking out a loan can be an even greater advantage due to the long term gain and relatively low interest rates.

Vacancy, maintenance, and management issues are a lot less common when it comes to commercial properties than residential. Commercial tenants have a vested interest in keeping up their space, because if they don't, it could have a negative impact on their personal business. However when it comes to tenants renting out a home, the only thing at stake is the loss of a security deposit.

Commercial properties typically have much longer leases (some tenants sign on for multiple years) and most have more than one tenant, which means you benefit from consistent cash flow and multiple streams of income.

There are also tax advantages. With commercial real estate you can write off loan interest, property depreciation, and expenses related to operation of the building. The tax benefits differ from investor to investor.

As for me, I want investments that are close to home, and thankfully Savannah has a strong economy. The growth in our area has been steady, very few highs and lows in comparison to other markets, which means real estate values will appreciate. Thanks to tourism and industry, there's also commercial investment money being brought in from outside of Savannah. And truly, there's no place like home to start investing.

So if you're looking to take the first step, think bigger than renting out a single family home. Diversify your investment portfolio to include commercial real estate, your potential for financial reward is that much greater and the hassle is that much smaller.

Graham Sadler, a commercial real estate market leader with over 18 years' experience in the industry, is an Associate Broker at Cora Bett Thomas Commercial. He can be reached at 912-398-0932 or gsadler@cbtcommercial.com.

October
16

Take Time to Experience Savannah's Brew Scene

Celebrating beer in October didn't originate in Savannah, but that is no reason to not celebrate this month here in the Lowcountry. Savannah breweries offer unique beers and locales that embody the eccentricity of the city. With the weather becoming more pleasant there is not a better time to visit Savannah's imbibing experts. Here is a nice walking itinerary to get started. 

[caption id="attachment_1941" align="alignnone" width="640"]Savannah breweries Photo Credit: Moon River Brewing Company[/caption]

Start the afternoon off at Moon River Brewing Company. Moon River is one of the oldest brewpubs in Savannah, opening in 1999. Moon River's beer list runs the gamut from porters to pale ales to specialty and seasonal selections. Moon River offers a large food menu and don't miss the large, pet-friendly, beer garden. Also, this centrally located brewery makes for a good spot to grab a to-go cup of local brew. Those looking for a little Halloween fun can also take a nighttime tour of Moon River's building. The building was built in 1821 as the City Hotel and is, according to both guests and Moon River employees, haunted.

[caption id="attachment_1943" align="alignnone" width="640"]Savannah breweries Photo Credit: Service Brewing Company[/caption]

With to-go cup in hand, head towards Service Brewing Company, a veteran owned and operated brewery that has become a favorite of local Savannahians since its opening in 2014. Opening at 4pm Wednesday through Friday, and at noon Saturdays, Service Brewing is a great spot for Happy Hour. Favorite year-round Service brews include the Ground Pounder Pilsner and the Compass Rose IPA. Seasonal brews such as Gun Bunny Witbier and Lincoln's Gift Oyster Stout are always highly anticipated among Service Brewing's loyal following. The large, open, tasting room, located on Indian Street in Historic Downtown Savannah, is designed as an homage to service, and is an ideal venue for the live music the brewery often hosts. 

[caption id="attachment_1942" align="alignnone" width="640"] Photo Credit: Ghost Coast Distillery[/caption]

For something a little less hoppy, end the walk at Ghost Coast Distillery. Ghost Coast is located just a few blocks down the street from Service Brewing. This distillery currently offers varieties of rum, vodka and whiskey, all distilled in house and with locally sourced ingredients. Stop in for a free tour of the production area, and stick around in the cocktail room for one of the craft cocktails from Ghost Coast's head mixologist Sidney Lance. Sid has concocted an impressive list of hand-crafted cocktails made exclusively with Ghost Coast products. You will often find small batch spirits here that are not available anywhere else.

While the spots mentioned above are within walking distance of each other, and make for a lovely afternoon of exploring, don't forget about our other beloved Savannah breweries: Southbound Brewing Company, Coastal Empire Beer, and Two Tides Brewing. All have great tasting rooms and are just a quick Uber ride away. And you can always find our local beer in shops downtown like Smith Bros. Butcher Shop and Johnnie Ganems

 

October
14

Today's Real Estate Market

Interest Rates & Home Inventory

When it comes to buying or selling a home there are many factors you should consider. Where you want to live, why you want to buy or sell, and who will help you along your journey are just some of those factors. When it comes to today's real estate market, though, the top two factors to consider are what's happening with interest rates & inventory.

Interest Rates

Mortgage interest rates have been on the rise and are now over three-quarters of a percentage point higher than they were at the beginning of the year. According to Freddie Mac's latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, rates climbed to 4.72% for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage last week.

The interest rate you secure when buying a home not only greatly impacts your monthly housing costs, but also impacts your purchasing power.

Purchasing power, simply put, is the amount of home you can afford to buy for the budget you have available to spend. As rates increase, the price of the house you can afford to buy will decrease if you plan to stay within a certain monthly housing budget.

The chart below shows the impact that rising interest rates would have if you planned to purchase a $400,000 home while keeping your principal and interest payments between $2,020-$2,050 a month.

Today's Real Estate Market

With each quarter of a percent increase in interest rate, the value of the home you can afford decreases by 2.5% (in this example, $10,000). Experts predict that mortgage rates will be over 5% by this time next year.

Inventory

A 'normal' real estate market requires there to be a 6-month supply of homes for sale in order for prices to increase only with inflation. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), listing inventory is currently at a 4.3-month supply (still well below the 6-months needed), which has put upward pressure on home prices. Home prices have increased year-over-year for the last 78 straight months.

The inventory of homes for sale in the real estate market had been on a steady decline and experienced year-over-year drops for 36 straight months (from July 2015 to May 2018), but we are starting to see a shift in inventory over the last three months.

The chart below shows the change in housing supply over the last 12 months compared to the previous 12 months. As you can see, in June, July, and August, inventory levels have started to increase as compared to the same time last year.

This is a trend to watch as we move further into the fall and winter months. If we continue to see an increase in homes for sale, we could start moving further away from a seller's market and closer to a normal market.

Bottom Line

If you are planning to enter the housing market, either as a buyer or a seller, let's get together to discuss the changes in mortgage interest rates and inventory and what they could mean for you.

From the KCM Crew

October
9

Fall Home Maintenance

Fall is here! Well, at least according to the calendar, fall is here. The weather in Savannah may not feel like summer's over, but now is the time to get to work on some colder-weather maintenance for your home. This way, you can have everything ready before the weather changes. Read on for our handy list of home maintenance to-dos for fall home maintenance.

Exterior Fixes

Regularly clean gutters and downspouts.

Fall is when gutters can fill up quickly and we still have a few weeks of hurricane season so keep them clean to protect your property. Make sure all drainage areas are unblocked by leaves and debris. Consider installing gutter guards to make the job a lot easier.

Check for rotting wood.

Check for soft spots, which can indicate rotting wood. Use a screwdriver to probe the wood trim around your windows, doors, railings and deck. Use caulk to fill the holes, or completely replace the wood if it is rotted.

Paint.

Lower humidity and cooler (not yet cold) temperatures make fall a good time to paint the exterior of your home.

Roof.

Inspect your roof, or hire a licensed professional to examine your roof for wear and tear. If the shingles are curling, buckling or crackling, replace them. If you have a lot of damage, it's time to consider replacing  the entire roof.

Garden

Split.

Fall is the perfect time to divide or move perennials. Remove your dead annuals and mulch hardy perennials.

Clean.

Clean your gardening tools before storing for the winter. Better still, make sure your storage area/shed is clean before storing your tools.

Trim.

Cut dead branches out the trees to prevent them from coming down and causing damage in a late tropical storm or future winter storm. Wait until late winter to prune healthy trees and shrubs though.

Fertilize.

Fall is a good time to aerate your lawn; it will allow moisture and nutrients to get into the roots. When you're done, spread fertilizer then grass seed. It's also the right time to fertilize turf grasses, preferably with slow-release, all-natural fertilizer. When given adequate nutrients, turf grasses have the ability to store food in the form of carbohydrates during the winter months. That will mean a better-looking lawn come spring.

Interior

Pest prevention.

Pests love attics because they are full of nice warm insulation for nesting, and they offer easy access to the rest of the house. If you have gable vents that lead into your attic, it is a good idea to install a screen behind them to keep those critters out.

Check the important gadgets.

Each fall, check carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms and put in fresh batteries. These are very important detectors to have in a home and their importance can't be overstated. Check your furnace filters and check for drafts.

fall home maintenance

Clean out your fireplace and chimney.

A wood burning fireplace is a wonderful feature to have in your home. However, unless you are well versed in chimney construction, contact a reputable chimney sweep service to do a check before the cold weather sets in. Items such as bird or animal nests built during the summer, as well as excessive soot deposits from the previous winter, can easily obstruct flues and dampers, thereby increasing the chances of chimney fires. 

Take a few hours here and there for some basic fall home maintenance. It will help you spot developing problems, and, consequently, prevent costly repairs. For best results, use the tasks above as a guide; everyone's home is different and over time you will develop a fall home maintenance routine specific to your property.

October
7

But the World Goes On...A Birthday Celebration

For lovers of talented singers and musicians, the Sip, Savor and Song Cabaret is not to be missed. Roger Moss and Kim Steiner host an evening of song, music, and stories at Lot 33, below East End Provisions. We had the pleasure of attending one of their shows a couple weeks ago, and it did not disappoint. Good wine, good food, and some magnificent performances of the songs of Duke Ellington made for an excellent Saturday evening.

Roger Moss Sip, Savor and Song Cabaret

One of my favorite things about this show? Its location, at Lot 33 of East End Provisions. Exposed brick walls, soft lighting and dark wood furniture create a spot of quiet sophistication and is the perfect setting to enjoy the sounds of Steiner and Moss.

Lot 33 offers a pared-down version of the menu of East End Provisions for the show. The menu includes appetizers such as wings, calamari, crab cakes, and pork fondue. I recommend the crab cakes, as they are some of the best that we have had in Savannah. The dinner menu also includes East End classics such as the The Entelman and East End's Wood-fired Chicken Sandwich. Diners can begin ordering food and drink at 6pm. In addition to food, guests can also order cocktails and wine at Lot 33, and beverages are available from the bar throughout the show. 

Roger Moss is one of Savannah's most beloved singers. As co-founder of the Savannah Children's Choir, he delights in sharing his love of song. Kim Steiner, a Broadway veteran and teacher at SCAD, accompanies Moss on piano. The easy camaraderie that these two share makes listening to the beautiful sound that they create all the more enjoyable. 

This Saturday, Sip, Savor and Song will be hosting a special performance in honor of Roger Moss's birthday. Roger and Kim will be performing songs from Fats Waller, Hoagey Carmichael, Duke Ellington, Johnny Mercer, and more. 

For more information and ticketing, click here.

What
Sip, Savor and Song Cabaret

When
Sat, October 13, 2018, 6PM – 9PM

Where
East End Provisions
420 East Broughton Street
Savannah, GA 31401

September
27

Picnic in the Park is the first Sunday in October

Picnic in the ParkPicnic in the Park

As summer and its memories fade into the past, Savannahians turn their attentions to the pleasures of the fall season. October beckons in all its autumnal glory and brings with it the promise of diversion. Locals flock to the Historic Downtown area of Savannah to revel in some of Savannah's most-beloved gatherings, such as the Savannah Greek Festival and the Shalom, Y'all Jewish Food Festival. Heralding this season of festivity is Savannah's Picnic in the Park.

Picnic in the Park is the first Sunday in October and is held at Savannah's famous Forsyth Park. Live music performances are scheduled throughout the evening at the park's concert bandshell. Musical acts include those from local schools, the U.S. Army Band, 3rd ID, and the Savannah Philharmonic Orchestra.

Do not be mistaken by the term "picnic." If it's one thing Savannahians can do, it's have a good time, and they do so with both flair and gusto. Many families and groups of friends will gather together under several tents fully dressed tables, fresh flowers and chandeliers. Cold cans of craft beer keep company with cans of sparkling wine in metal tubs packed with ice. Silver trays, bedecked with doilies, are topped with tomato sandwiches, wedges of cheese, or bits of summer sausages, and flank chafing dishes of fried chicken fingers and boiled shrimp. Cakes, pies, and cookies will also be available, because no party is complete without a good dessert.

Some will dress in costume according to the theme. Others will keep it simple and just add a layer of bug spray to their normal attire. Ballgowns, glow necklaces, and flower crowns are a common sight, no matter what the theme of the year may be. Perhaps one can say that, no matter what, the theme of Picnic in the Park will always be the quirky joy in the simple pleasures. And that theme is truly Savannah. 

September
27

Falling Home Prices

We are beginning to see reports that more housing inventory is coming to the market and that buyer demand may not be increasing at the same pace it did earlier this year. The result will be many headlines written to address the impact that these two situations will have on home values.

Many of these headline writers will confuse "softening home prices" with "falling home prices," but there is a major difference between the two.

The data will begin to show that home values are not appreciating at the same levels as they had over the last several years (softening prices). This does NOT mean that prices are depreciating (falling prices).

Here is an example: Over the last several years, national home values increased by more than 6% annually. If you had a home worth $300,000 at the beginning of the year, it would be worth $318,000 by year's end. If the appreciation rate "falls" to 4%, that $300,000 house would be worth $312,000 at the end of next year – a $6,000 difference.

The price of the home did not fall. It just didn't increase at the level it had the previous year.

Appreciation rates are projected to end this year at approximately 5%, and then drop to somewhere between 4-5% next year. This drop in appreciation rate will cause home price increases to soften.

Again, this does not mean that home prices will depreciate, but instead that they will appreciate more slowly.

Bottom Line

Be careful when reading headlines that discuss home values. Some headline writers will be legitimately confused and will use the word falling in place of softening. Others will realize that the headline "Home Prices are Falling!" will get more clicks than "Home Prices are Softening" and will intentionally write the more compelling headline. Read the article. If the word depreciation is not mentioned, home values are not falling.

Contact Cora Bett Thomas Realty & Associates today.

From KCM 

September
26

savannah downtown design district

Unique Shopping in the Hostess City

Savannah's Downtown Design District is tucked in the Southern portion of the Historic District between Liberty and Gordon Streets, and between Whitaker and Drayton Streets near Forsyth Park and Historic Jones Street. This charming cluster of locally owned shops and boutiques are within walking distance of the rest of Downtown Savannah yet are just far enough away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of Downtown Savannah shopping and traffic to allow for a relaxing day of strolling and shopping. For those who work up an appetite, Savannah's Downtown Design District is also within walking distance of the famous Ms. Wilkes Boarding House, the Diplomat Luncheonette and The Gryphon Tea Room. 

One Fish Two Fish is housed in an elegant stucco building and is perfect stop for those looking for something a little beyond the usual tchotkes. The shop offers upscale souvenirs, as well as home decor, jewelry and accessories. It's all too tempting to pick up a little something to dress up the house, and then something to dress up yourself at this store.

Next door to One Fish Two Fish — is Circa Lighting. With antique reproductions, vintage modern lights, and eye-catching fixtures, Circa Lighting is the place to grab a little something to brighten your home and make it truly stand out. The Annex, which is located across the street, houses overstock and reduced priced fixtures from Circa, as well as resort clothing and accessories from One Fish Two Fish.

savannah downtown design district

The art of letter writing has never really gone out of style, as La Paperie can attest. This charming little shop is ideal for custom-designed invitations and stationery. La Paperie also sells a number of pre-designed notecards, cocktail napkins, and assorted gifts. 

A local favorite for unique jewelry is Custard Boutique. Custard embraces the concept of helping every woman embrace her best self and highlight what makes her unique. With an emphasis on eco-friendly, fashion-forward clothing and accessories that are locally and regionally made, Custard strives to help women appreciate their uniqueness. 

Savannah's Downtown Design District

Don't miss out on the PW Short General Store. Owner Scot Hinson wanted to recreate the feeling of a small town community meeting place where you could find everything from French copper pots to smart phone chargers with utilitarian design in mind. This shop has a great selection of goods to furnish your home bar and is also a great place if you are looking for unique gear for a picnic in the park. The vibe is eclectic with a good dose of Midcentury Modern.  

Savannah's Downtown Design District

Check out Savannah's Downtown Design District for unique housewares, a variety of jewelry, art, and more. Many of the stores feature goods created by locals, have a decidedly Southern flare, and all have a cared for and carefully curated presentation.

September
7

Blue Heron Bluff Neighborhood

Blue Heron Bluff Neighborhood

The Blue Heron Bluff neighborhood is designed to fully embrace the beauty and low country lifestyle of living on the beautiful 100 Mile Coast. The private community boasts stunning views of both the Intercoastal Waterway and the marshlands, and these can be seen from every lot. The neighborhood consists of 12 single family lots that will feature low country architecture, and welcoming porches--perfect to enjoy the sunrise and sunsets of each day.

The single street brick paver neighborhood will be gated and will feature the future amenities of a clubhouse and pool. Elegance, grace, and beauty all perfectly describe this neighborhood. It seems nearly impossible to be able to live on the water in a custom home neighborhood where no lot has a bad view. But Blue Heron Bluff is making this possible.

The neighborhood is located on Islands Expressway and is within 5 minutes to the Historic District, 5 minutes to the Truman Parkway, 15 minutes to Tybee Island. Neighboring communities include Emerald Pointe, Causton Bluff, and The Bluff. Living in Blue Heron Bluff gives you the luxury of living on the water while still allowing you to be anywhere in Savannah within a matter of minutes.

For Lot Pricing, Availability and More Information:

Call 912.233.6000 or send us an email. We'd be happy to help you.

 

September
5

National Preparedness Month. 

Preparing for an emergency

2018 has been a quiet year in general throughout the 100 Mile Coast. However, the rest of country has seen its share of fires, storms and flooding. So, with September being National Preparedness Month, it is a good time to check up on your preparedness level. Although never really wants to sit down and consider worst-case scenarios that we can face, by taking the time to make sure that you and your family are preparing for an emergency, you are giving yourself peace of mind and staying one step ahead. Preparing for an emergency may sound like a daunting task, but it can be reduced to 3 easy steps: Get a kit. Make a plan. Be informed.

Get a Kit.

While most of us automatically reach for bottled water and flashlights in an emergency, there are some other items to consider as necessities in your emergency kit, such as:

  • A stocked first-aid kit (There are many options on Amazon) 
  • A radio (either battery-powered or hand-cranked)
  • A multi-tool
  • Cell phones and chargers
  • An emergency blanket
  • Sanitation and hygiene items
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Copies of personal and important documents (deed/lease, birth certificate, passport, insurance policies, etc.)
  • Medications (7-day supply) and any necessary medical items
  • Extra cash
  • Map(s) of the area

You'll want to make sure that you have these items in an easy-to-carry container that you can use either at home or take with you in case of an evacuation. This is just a list of necessities that you should have on hand in your kit, but it is by no means a definitive list. You will want to make sure that you pack additional items based on the types of natural disasters common to your area (i.e., rain gear, surgical or N95 masks, plastic sheeting, etc.), as well as your family members (extra supplies for infants and the elderly).

Make a Plan.

One of the most important things that you can do to remain safe for an emergency and/or natural disaster is to meet with your family members and discuss how you will respond to emergencies that are most likely to happen where you live. This includes:

  • Assigning specific responsibilities to each family member
  • Choosing a place outside of your home to meet, in the event of a sudden emergency such as a fire
  • Choosing a place outside your neighborhood to meet, in the event that you cannot return home and/or must evacuate immediately
  • Choosing an out-of-state emergency contact person, and making sure that each family member has that contact information in writing and/or saved to their cell phones.
  • Planning what to do if you are forced to evacuate: determine whether or not you will stay with friends/relatives in a safe location, go to a hotel/motel, or to an evacuation shelter. You will also want to make sure that you are familiar with not just your evacuation route but also with an alternate evacuation route.
  • Don't forget your pets; you will want to make sure that you have a list of pet-friendly hotels/motels and shelters if you have to evacuate with your pet.

Be Informed.

Don't wait until it's too late. Learn about the types of disasters that are more likely to occur in your area, whether it's something that affects only you and your family, such as a house fire or medical emergency, or something that affects your entire community, such as a hurricane or flood.

  • Identify how local authorities will notify you of a disaster and relay subsequent information — radio, tv, etc.
  • Know the difference between different weather alerts, such as watches or warnings, and the appropriate actions to be taken for each.
  • It's a good idea to make sure that at least one person in your family is familiar with first-aid, especially CPR, and can operate an automated external defibrillator (AED), since disasters can affect emergency response times from ambulances, police officers  and firefighters.

Make good use of the resources available to help you prepare yourself and your family members for disasters/emergencies, such as those offered by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), CEMA (Chatham Emergency Management Agency), and the American Red Cross. Preparing both yourself and your family for emergencies and disasters takes only a little bit of your time, and should you ever find yourself in need, that time will have been well worth it.

August
28

Savannah Craft Brew Fest

One of the most anticipated summer events in Savannah is the Savannah Craft Brew Fest. SCBF is takes place every Labor Day weekend in the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center. Those choosing to drive over from Savannah will find ample parking on Hutchinson Island. However, those looking to leave the keys behind can easily Uber over or take the free Savannah Belles Ferry from River Street. Find out more here

The Savannah Craft Brew Fest focuses on quality, not quantity, and to that end no alcohol is sold on the premises. Instead, attendees are allowed two ounce samples of craft beers from all over the world. Aside from pretzel necklaces, which are a huge hit with veteran SCBF attendees, no outside food is allowed into the festival.

The Savannah Craft Brew Fest has both indoor and outdoor craft beer gardens, so that you can enjoy the views of Historic Downtown Savannah and the Savannah River while sampling craft brews. With an emphasis on the education and appreciation for craft beers, the Savannah Craft Brew Festival also offers a variety of educational sessions and the Samuel Adams Brew University. The Savannah Craft Brew Festival will also have an Import Garden, Cider Garden, Mead Garden, and Mixology Garden featuring craft beer cocktails. Those looking for activities to accompany the beer sampling can enjoy a Cornhole Tournament and a Silent Disco, as well as live music. 

In addition to the festival itself, local Savannah establishments such as The Crystal Beer Parlor in Savannah's West NOG neighborhood, Atlantic and Green Truck Pub will also be celebrating the Savannah Craft Brew Fest. There will be tap takeovers, featured menus and special craft beer nights turning the Savannah Craft Brew Fest into more of Savannah Craft Brew Week! Don't miss out on your chance to support local breweries, see what your favorite restaurant is offering, educate yourself about craft brews, and enjoy a great holiday weekend in Savannah. 

August
22

A Dog Friendly Beach in Savannah

A Dog Friendly Beach in Savannah | Southern Realty News

In Savannah, it's no secret how much we love dogs. In the past, we have mentioned several places in Historic Downtown Savannah where our four-legged friends are welcome. But if you're looking to get outside of town and have a romp with your pooch, check out Fort Pulaski National Monument. It is the only dog friendly beach in Savannah accessible by car.

Fort Pulaski is located 15 miles from Savannah, down Highway 80 East. Fort Pulaski has many trails surrounding it that make it ideal for walking your dog. Several hiking trails surround Fort Pulaski. These trails include the Lighthouse Overlook Trail, the Historic Dike System, and McQueens Island. All of these trails are easily walkable, and your dog is welcome so long as he/she is leashed.  

The McQueens Island Rails to Trails follows the old Tybee rail line, which once spanned the distance between Savannah and Tybee Island. This is a gravel-packed trail, but a pleasant walk nonetheless with plenty of expansive view of the Savannah River. Both the Lighthouse Overlook Trail and the North Pier Trail lead through the scenic wooded areas surrounding the fort. The Historic Dike System is a two mile trail that circles around Fort Pulaski and offer stunning views of the historic Cockspur Lighthouse.

Access to the Savannah River is also available via Fort Pulaski, and trails will lead back to a small sandy embankment along the river — perfect for letting your pooch cool off for a minute. These trails are packed with native flora and fauna, which are sure to delight.

Fort Pulaski is open daily from 9am to 5pm and is closed on major holidays. All vehicles must be over Cockspur Island Bridge by closing time. Daily passes into the park are $7 for adults, and annual passes are a great value at just $30. 

August
9

HERB CREEK

Along the 100 Mile Coast, there is no shortage of natural beauty. Many plants, flowers, shrubs and trees native to the Southeast readily pop up on lawns and require little attention. But, if you are someone looking to exercise a little more devotion to your yard, then Herb Creek Landscape Supply is the place for you. Herb Creek is locally owned and operated, and has two locations, one in Sandfly and one in Thunderbolt. Both locations offer shrubs, plants, trees and flowers of all kinds, as well as gardening tools and accessories. 

The staff at Herb Creek are highly knowledgeable of plants specific to the Lowcountry. More importantly, they understand the differences in what a resident of Historic Downtown Savannah would need in their garden, as opposed to what someone who lives on Isle of Hope might need. We recently visited Herb Creek (in Thunderbolt) to try and find out what exactly we could put in the small flower beds which line the sidewalk in front of our house. 

After visiting Herb Creek and talking to Lori, we decided that barberry bushes would be perfect. Barberry bushes have vibrant red leaves, as well as spines--ideal for deterring those who may want to take shortcuts. Lori assured us that while barberry bushes can grow large in size, the ones we chose would remain smaller and would only require minimal pruning. She's right. They look great!

We still have one more, larger flower bed to fill, so a trip back to Herb Creek is coming up soon. We know that the folks at Herb Creek will help us choose some great additions. Stay tuned!

Herb Creek Locations

Downtown Sandfly

Monday - Saturday

7:30 AM - 5:30 PM

Closed Sunday

Historic Victory Drive

Monday - Saturday

8:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Closed Sunday

Visit Herb Creek online for more information.

August
9

Supply & Demand Will Determine Future Home Values

Supply & Demand Will Determine Future Home Values

Will home values continue to appreciate throughout 2018? The answer is simple: YES! – as long as there are more purchasers in the market than there are available homes for them to buy. This is known as the theory of "supply and demand," which is defined as:

"The amount of a commodity, product, or service available and the desire of buyers for it, considered as factors regulating its price."

When demand exceeds supply, prices go up. Every month this year, demand (buyer traffic) has increased as compared to last year and for the first five months of 2018, supply (the number of available listings) had decreased as compared to last year. However, a recent report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed the first year-over-year increase in supply in three years.

Here are the numbers for supply and demand as compared to last year since the beginning of 2018:

Home Prices are Still Rising

The increase in the June numbers doesn't mean that prices won't continue to appreciate. In that same report, Lawrence Yun, NAR's Chief Economist, explained:

"It's important to note that despite the modest year-over-year rise in inventory, the current level is far from what's needed to satisfy demand levels.

Furthermore, it remains to be seen if this modest increase will stick, given the fact that the robust economy is bringing more interested buyers into the market, and new home construction is failing to keep up."

Bottom Line

The reason home prices are still rising is that there are many purchasers looking to buy but very few homeowners ready to sell. This imbalance is the reason prices will remain on the uptick.

From KCM

August
8

millennial home buying

Many have written about the millennial generation and whether or not they, as a whole, believe in homeownership as a part of attaining their American Dream.

Comparatively speaking, millennials have taken longer to obtain traditional milestones (like getting married, having kids and buying a home) than generations before them, but that does not mean that they do not aspire to still achieve those things.

For older millennials (aged 25-34) who have established themselves in their career and are starting to build their families, homeownership is the next logical choice.

According to the Urban Institute's State of Millennial Housing, the probability of a millennial home buying increases by 17.9% if they are married, and by an additional 6.2% if they have children.

Last year, according to the US Census Bureau, the average age at first marriage was 30 for men and 27 for women, while the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports that the average first-time homebuyer was 32 years old.

With most of this generation having yet to age into the 'Responsibility Zone' (the time in their lives when their responsibilities start to dictate their behaviors), there will be a steady wave of buyers for years to come!

Those who are currently out in the market searching for a home are being met with a strong, highly competitive seller's market. NAR's Chief Economist Lawrence Yun recently commented,

"Realtors® throughout the country continue to stress that there's considerable pent-up demand for buying a home among the millennial households in their market.  

Unfortunately, they're just not making meaningful ground, and continue to be held back by too few choices in their price range, and thereby missing out on homeownership and wealth gains."

Bottom Line

Millennial home buying is on the rise. If you are currently renting and thinking about jumping into the real estate market, let's get together to help you navigate our market.

Contact Cora Bett Thomas Realty & Associates today.

From KCM

 

August
3

Ensure That You, Your Family And Property Are Protected.

Flood

Nobody ever really wants to stop and consider the possibility of bad weather, but anyone who is looking to buy a home should consider the impact of bad weather on a potential purchase. Realistically speaking, any place in the world that you choose to live is going to have some sort of weather condition that isn't necessarily favorable, and the local governments have invested considerable time and money over the past 20 years to lessen the risk of structural flooding our communities. However, all of the effort in the world will never fully eliminate such a risk, and that is why it is important to understand and make sure that you are proactive in flood preparation

That being said, potential and new homeowners in Savannah and the Lowcountry should make sure to consider the possibility of flooding. Since the region is a low-lying coastal region, various areas are susceptible to flooding during long periods of moderate rainfall or during high-volume, short duration rainfalls. If you plan on buying property that is waterfront, you'll want to make sure that you not only keep an eye on the weather and rainfall, but also tide levels.

One of the most important things that you can do, but is often overlooked by many homeowners is purchase flood insurance. In the course of a 30-year mortgage, there is a 26% chance that you might experience a 100-year flood. Since most policies have a 30-day waiting period before going into effect, you want to make sure that you plan ahead and purchase coverage accordingly. You also may want to consider scheduling a flood preparation site visit from the City or the County (depending on where your property is located); staff can help you with issues related to flooding and stormwater drainage, and can also address any flooding concerns specific to your home and property. You should check with the Chatham County Department of Engineering or City of Savannah Development Services to find out what flood zone you are in and what the Base Flood Elevation is for your lot.

What You Can Do

You can check out the resources available at your local library to determine if retrofitting your property would be beneficial. Retrofitting is altering a building to reduce or eliminate or reduce flood damage and includes several options such as elevation, flood barriers, dry flood proofing and wet floor proofing. You can also consult the FEMA guide for more information on retrofitting your home. Even if you decide not to retrofit your home, it's still a good idea to keep materials such as sandbags, plywood, lumber and plastic sheeting in case of a serious flooding threat; not only can these materials help minimize flood damage, they can also be useful in minimizing damage caused by hurricane-force winds.

An easy way to help prevent localized flooding in your neighborhood is to make sure that ditches, culverts, and storm drains are kept clear of yard waste, leaves, trash and other debris. It is illegal to dump trash, grass clippings, leaves or other materials including chemicals, oil, gasoline or household products into ditches or other drainage systems, so if you see illegal dumping, report it to the local public works department or local law enforcement agencies. 

Make sure that you understand the flood warning system (you can get more information on this from the Chatham Emergency Management Agency), know how to turn off the utilities at your house, and know evacuation routes and emergency shelter locations. Move to higher ground if you can do so safely, but do not attempt to drive or walk through moving water or flooded areas. If you are caught at home and have no way to leave, avoid rising water by moving to the second floor or roof of your home — seek out higher ground, and take your disaster supply kit with you.

If you are instructed to evacuate due to a hurricane, and are able to do so, make sure that you return home only when authorities have indicated it is safe to do so. Check your home for structural damage. Check your heating and electrical systems, as well as appliances prior to using them again after a flood. Don't consume any food or water that was exposed to floodwater.

The Bottom Line

The trick is to be ready, but not afraid. Be prepared and not in denial that such a thing can happen. By making proper flood preparation and making sure that you and your family are protected, you are ensuring the safety of your loved ones and the durability of your property should flooding occur. If you want to learn more about waterfront property on the along the 100 Mile Coast, contact Cora Bett Thomas Realty & Associates.

July
25

savannah canoe and kayak

As we've already mentioned, we've been bitten by the kayaking bug. An awesome kayaking tour through Jack's Cut and Little Tybee is what started it, but what sealed the deal was a Sunday afternoon spent at Savannah Canoe and Kayak checking out gear and getting about a million questions answered. Not to mention sitting in some boats at the store. After spending some time with Nigel Law, the owner of SC&K, we decided to find out just exactly how this little hidden gem of a shop wound up over by Bonaventure Cemetery. 

A Long Journey

Nigel and his wife Kristin paddled from Wisconsin to the Florida Keys, and after that, had to decide what to do next. After some research on coastal areas they settled on Tybee Island. After a couple phone calls Nigel scored an interview at a canoe/kayak shop on Tybee Island. He got that job. The natural beauty of the Lowcountry beckoned, and Tybee's proximity to Savannah was a bonus for Nigel so could easily purchase photography equipment as needed. Tybee also provided an ideal location for Nigel and Kristin to continue their adventures kayaking and canoeing without as many tourists as they seemed to encounter while living in the Keys.

savannah canoe and kayak savannah canoe and kayak

Nigel enjoyed the work he was doing at the Tybee shop, but grew tired of interacting mainly with tourists, which seemed to be the case as time passed. He and Kristin also looked to do more with avid kayakers and the community. Especially in terms of bringing people closer to nature. They created a kayak program working with the city's youth, but as time passed they realized that there was a lack of a dedicated kayak outfitting store with a focus on locals. Eventually, they opened their own business, and Savannah Canoe and Kayak was born.

A Brick and Mortar

The shop was initially an online store and was run out of Nigel and Kristin's home, but seven years ago they found the building on Bonaventure Road. SC&K has been housed in this location since that time, and has proven to be a great location for those heading out to the water or back home from a day on the water. In the store you fill gear for kayaking, paddleboarding, canoeing and camping. There is gear for day trips, long expeditions and casual paddling. 

Our favorite thing about Savannah Canoe & Kayak is its people. Is it easy to see Nigel and Kristin's passion for kayaking, but it is also apparent in all the SC&K team members. From helping customers to running tours, the SC&K crew is patient, professional and welcoming. You never feel out of place or intimidated at SC&K — which is amazing considering the amount of experience that the guys and gals have at the shop.

It is truly a place where those who love nature and being on the water can stop in, hang out, pick up gear, or just say hello and move on to the next adventure. With Savannah Canoe and Kayak, Nigel and Kristin have definitely achieved their goal of being not just a place that encourages community, but one that is a fixture of the community. 

Savannah Canoe & Kayak

414 Bonaventure Rd
Savannah, GA 31404

Tuesday - Saturday:10-5
Sunday: 12-5
Closed Mondays

Call 912.341.9502 or Visit Online for more information.

July
21

Getting Started Kayaking.

Kayaking

Savannah, Georgia is a beautiful place to live and to play, especially for those that love the outdoors. The coastline and the tidal marshlands of the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry make it ideal for those who want to explore. One of the best ways to get out and truly experience the beauty of the 100 Mile Coast is certainly kayaking. 

Why It's Special Here

There are a number of aspects of our region that make it an outstanding kayaking destination. The geology of the Georgia coast is unique and has an amazing geologic story you can read more about here. First, the most notable feature you will discover once you get on the water is not its beauty. It's the large tide range that occurs here on the coastal plain. The tide fills and empties the marshes and creeks, changes water direction, and more simply, gives kayakers a dynamic natural playground. From kayaking through Jack's Cut into the interior of Little Tybee Island or traversing the many creeks and rivers, there is plenty of reason to get out and explore in a kayak.  

Kayaking

Get Educated

"The better prepared you are, the more you can really enjoy being in your kayak and taking in the natural beauty of your surroundings."

Nigel Law, Owner
Savannah Canoe & Kayak

The key to making the most of your kayaking experiences is education and preparation. Luckily there are some passionate kayaking and outdoors-loving-people around here. We talked to our friends at Savannah Canoe and Kayak, and picked their brains on tips for those of us just starting out in a kayak.

Here's what we learned:

  1. Take a tour. I can vouch for this. Taking a half-day kayaking tour to Little Tybee and Jack's Cut got me hooked on kayaking. Savannah Canoe and Kayak offer a variety of tours: private, groups, half-day, full-day, the coast or inland. The crew is knowledgeable and will provide you with everything you need for a fantastic day on the water. Check out their website for dates and times of various tours.
  2. Stop by the store. Savannah Canoe and Kayak offers tours and classes as well as a slew of equipment for kayakers, canoers, and paddleboarders of all levels. So, don't go to the shop planing to buy everything right off the bat. Rather, walk around, check out equipment. See what fits you and your goals, and above all, ask questions. 
  3. Pack a kit of necessities. Remember, whether you decide to take on a placid lake, a lazy river, or a little bit of rolling surf, you are on the water, and that means practicing good common sense and safety measures. Some key items you must include in your kit for any trip on the water are a bilge pump, a personal floatation device and plenty of drinking water. Other items you will wan to have are a sponge, a dry bag, a safety whistle, sunscreen, and bug spray.

This is just a guide to getting started. Do some research. Take a tour. Get out there and enjoy the 100 Mile Coast. 

July
18

Husk Savannah

Few restaurants have been greeted as eagerly as Husk Savannah. The work that has gone into remodeling the restaurant's space at 12 West Oglethorpe was enough to pique the neighborhood's interest. Add to that the notoriety of Husk's founder, Sean Brock, and the rapidly improving and evolving Savannah food scene, and you have all the ingredients for super high expectations. And believe me, the results were worth the wait. The building was beautifully restored, especially the upstairs level featuring a large u-shaped bar and high ceilings. Conveniently, Husk's raw bar is also on the second floor.  

We decided to pay Husk a visit on this weeknight for a round of celebratory drinks and to try a few of the menu's offerings. We had been waiting to visit Husk after it first opened — mostly due in part to the previously mentioned expectations — and  also we had heard that there were some adjustments occurring internally. We are glad we waited. Upon arriving we were greeted by a number of familiar Savannah faces. We opted for seats at the bar and I immediately remembered that it was Negroni Week. Husk decided to take simple yet sophisticated approaches to their takes on Negronis: the classic Negroni and a frozen Negroni slush. I opted for the classic, which did not disappoint. The hubs elected to try one of Husks's original cocktails, the Boogie Shoes, a tequila-based drink featuring egg white, melon liqueur, Chartreuse and shiso. Let me state that the beverage program at Husk is on point. 

Husk Savannah

Husk Savannah

We started our  menu sampling with some offerings from the raw bar, with, of course, raw oysters (that were delightfully delicate and briny). The oysters were accompanied by the some of the best homemade cocktail sauce that I've ever had. We also decided to sample the swordfish crudo — after the rave review of our bartender Eric — which is topped by peaches and padron peppers. Divine, especially with the Cava we had with the course. 

Next we tried General Tso's pork belly lettuce wraps, which did not disappoint. We also tried, again at Eric's suggestion, the Carolina ham with pepper biscuits. This ham is cured and served in paper-thin strips, much like proscuitto, and the biscuit was dense yet still fluffy — just the way I like them. We also discovered that rosé pairs really well with this ham and the peppery biscuits. 

For dinner we decided to share an entreé: the duo of beef with peas, sweet peppers and horseradish. Both cuts of beef were cooked perfectly, and the glasses of Slovenian red wine enhanced the flavors of the beef. A couple of amari, and slice of buttermilk pie, and we headed out into the Savannah twilight with full bellies and an air of satisfaction.

Husk Savannah

12 W. Oglethorpe Ave.

Savannah, GA 31401

912.349.2600

July
3

Starland

The Starland District of Savannah has been growing for some time now, but in the last few years this beloved neighborhood has truly started coming into its own. With a reputation for the eclectic and a nod to the concept of responsible consumerism, Starland is gaining popularity with visitors and is beloved by local Savannahians. 

Starland embraces quirkiness and eschews conventional labels. This attitude extends to the location of this neighborhood. There are no established boundaries for the Starland District, although it is commonly considered to be comprised of the blocks centered around Bull Street and north of Victory Drive. These blocks, numbering about 35, are those bordered by Barnard, Drayton, and 37th streets. However, there are many who consider the streets beyond these boundaries to be included in the Starland District, as they embrace the free-spirited attitude that is prevalent in this neighborhood. 

The Starland District's origins can be traced back to over a 100 years ago, with the founding of The Starland Dairy. The boom and bust of this milk processing factory had a significant impact on the neighborhood, which saw a decline with the closing of the dairy in the 1980s. Restoration of the dairy began in 2000, and is still in progress. 

Starland

Some of Starland's popular places include Bull Street Taco, Back in the Day Bakery, Atlantic, El Coyote, and Two Tides Brewing. Starland also hosts a First Friday Art March — a celebration of culture, art, food and music that is accessible by trolley. First Friday Art March emphasizes the importance that art has in Starland. This movement, coupled with the support that Savannahians continue to give to businesses in the Starland District, show that the Starland District will continue to grow and develop as a vital part of the city of Savannah. 

Are You Looking for Homes in Starland?

Contact Cora Bett Thomas Realty & Associates today.

July
3

Two Cora Bett Thomas Realty Listings Featured on HGTV Ultimate House Hunt. 

HGTV.com editors recently chose not one, but two Cora Bett Thomas Real Estate listings as finalists for its online contest, the Ultimate House Hunt.

The month-long contest, held now through July 17 features 88 homes from around the world in eight different categories. Visitors to the site are asked to vote for their favorite for a chance to win $10,000.

Both listings, one in Savannah and one in Beaufort, are featured in the Homes with History category. Editors selected these homes based on striking photographs of their extraordinary features and inspirational design. Other categories include Amazing Kitchens, Curb Appeal, Extreme Homes, Global Homes, Modern Masterpieces, Urban Digs and Waterfront Homes.

Voters can vote for one house in each category once per day at www.HGTV.com/househunt

"I am so honored the editors at HGTV.com chose both of these beautiful, historic homes," said Cora Bett Thomas. "I am excited for the world to see the beauty and charm of Historic Savannah and the South Carolina Lowcountry and how we preserve nostalgic classic architecture without sacrificing modern conveniences. Please go out and vote for our beautiful homes!"

This is the seventh consecutive year HGTV has aligned exclusively with Cora Bett Thomas Real Estate's global real estate network Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® and its luxury marketing division Luxury Portfolio International® to host the Ultimate House Hunt, which is one of the most popular contests on HGTV.com.

The Savannah finalist is a Federal-style townhome in the desirable Jones Street neighborhood. Built in 1853, the three-story, brick home has housed a number of high-profile individuals, including August Coppola, brother of director Francis Ford Coppola.

The 4,000-square-foot home has several unique features including high ceilings, six fireplaces, exposed brick walls, and stained glass windows, combined with a recently renovated and thoroughly modern kitchen. The first floor, with its own private entrance, can function as additional bedroom space or be rented as an apartment, vacation rental, or business. A second-floor balcony overlooks a private courtyard complete with a fountain and an iron gate that leads to three parking spaces in the rear lane.

The Beaufort finalist is the Robert Smalls House, a National Historic Landmark built in 1843. The house is named for Robert Smalls, an enslaved African American man who commandeered a Confederate ship and delivered its passengers to freedom during the Civil War. Smalls later returned to Beaufort, was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and bought the house, which had been owned by his slave master.

The two-story, antebellum home features a wood frame structure, gable roof and two porches. Palmetto and magnolia trees shade sitting areas and brick walkways in the formal front garden. Around the back of the house waits a two-story guest cottage with a full kitchen, one and a half baths and a loft. The 4,264-square-foot house features six fireplaces, hardwood floors, crown molding, built-in bookshelves, a butler's pantry and a recently renovated modern kitchen with a large island, granite counters and a green subway tile backsplash.

About Cora Bett Thomas Realty

Cora Bett Thomas and Associates has more than 35 years of experience helping clients buy and sell, both residential and commercial properties in Savannah and its surrounding areas, Beaufort, Bluffton, Hilton Head Island, Palmetto Bluff and the Lowcountry. 

June
30

Two Tides Brewing

The Starland District is becoming more and more popular in Savannah. Two Tides Brewing Company is one of the many places to open recently in this neighborhood. Two Tides Brewing has been open for only a short time but has rapidly become a popular destination for beer lovers. Two Tides Brewing is located on West 41st street in a 2-story house that has been renovated. The brewery itself is located on the ground floor, while customers can head upstairs via an outdoor staircase to enjoy the taproom.

The taproom is charming and radiates classic Savannah with a touch of modernity. Hardwood floors, tiled fireplaces and clean white tiled walls make the second floor inviting and intimate. Murals and other artwork from local Savannah artists adorn the walls. You can walk in, grab a beer, and then grab a seat on the front balcony. Or, if you prefer, cozy up in one of the chairs in the back room. If you're feeling like a little more action, Two Tides also has pinball machines. 

 

The brewery specializes in small batches of handcrafted beers that are fresh takes on modern classics. The menu features a core group of flavors, such as TanLines, which is a dry-hopped pilsner, or Chromatose, a blackberry sour ale. Two Tides also rotates seasonal flavors. For those looking to try a little variety, the taproom offers flights, served in branded tasting glasses on a terracotta tray and accompanied by a "Flight Manifesto." 

The laid-back atmosphere, combined with Two Tides Brewing Company's attention to detail, makes this brewery a welcome addition to Starland. As a neighborhood gathering spot, it can't be beat. Whether you stop in for one brew or a few, you'll be glad that you swing by and check out Two Tides for some summertime refreshment.

Two Tides Brewing

12 West 41st Street

(912)667-0706

  • Tuesday & Wednesday: 5pm-10pm
  • Thursday & Friday: 5pm-12am
  • Saturday: 12pm-12am
  • Sunday-Monday: Closed

Visit Cora Bett Thomas for  Homes Around Two Tides Brewing!

June
30

Why Millennials Choose to Buy

According to NerdWallet's Millennials & Home Buying Study, the top 5 reasons young renters choose to own are:

5 Reasons Millennials Choose to Buy a Home

The majority of millennials said they consider owning a home more sensible than renting for both financial and lifestyle reasons — including control of living space, flexibility in future decisions, privacy and security, and living in a nice home.

The top reason millennials choose to buy is to have control over their living space, at 93%. Many millennials who rent a home or apartment prior to buying their own homes dream of the day when they will be able to paint the walls whatever color they'd like or renovate an outdated part of their living space.

From KCM 

June
26

Jefe Has Good Taste in Tacos

Bull Street Taco is one of the newest restaurants to open in the Starland District of Savannah. This addition has become one of our favorite places, because, no, you cannot have too many places to grab tacos in Savannah. Better still, Bull Street Taco has a large outdoor patio and is dog-friendly. They even have an Instagram account devoted entirely to their canine customer. The restaurant shares space with a couple other businesses in a renovated warehouse, and has indoor table seating, a bar, and a stand-up taco bar. The atmosphere has a cozy and funky neighborhood feel that is very Savannah with West Coast style. 

Of course, the best thing about Bull Street Taco is the food. The tacos are served on organic masa and flour tortillas made from scratch. The crew uses traditional ingredients and methods to make their food, incorporating their own flair and quirks here and there making for unique and extremely crave-able flavor combinations. Taco varieties include classics such as Carnitas, house-made Chorizo, and Chicken, as well as non-meat options like Roasted Mushroom and one of our favorites, the Red Chile Tempura Roasted Cauliflower. The tempura cauliflower is topped with roasted poblano peppers, chile de arbol salsa, basil crema and sesame seed. The tuna poke tostada has onion, cabbage, lime zest, jalapeño and sesame ginger dressing and is not to be missed. If you're feeling like sharing — or you are simply very hungry — go for the "Taco Party," which features 10 tacos of "Jefe's Choice." Trust us, Jefe has good taste in tacos. 

tacos

If you're feeling like something other than tacos, there is a wide selection of equally delicious non-taco options such as salads, tortas, quesadillas and rice bowls. So far, on several visits, a salad along with a cold drink on the patio has been a wonderful lunch time escape. Classic appetizers of chips and salsa, queso fundido, and street corn do not disappoint. 

If you're feeling thirsty, Bull Street Taco has a variety of beers, as well a selection of craft tequilas and mezcals. If you're feeling especially classic, try one of the specialty cocktails or margaritas, such as the Smoke and Fire Margarita or the Basil Paloma. Spanish wines are also available by the glass and bottle.

Whatever you're looking for, a casual dinner, a snack, or a happy hour drink (or 2 or 3), Bull Street Taco is definitely worth checking out. Your wallet, stomach, and taste buds will all thank you. 

Bull Street Taco

Located at 1608 Bull St.

Bull Street Taco is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday

Photo Credit www.BullStreetTaco.com

 

June
21

Protect Your Dog on Hot Pavement.

Dog on Hot Pavement

Summertime is nearly here in the Lowcountry. This means longer days full of sunshine, which is great if you're at the beach, but not so great if you're trekking across hot pavement. It's always fun to go shoe shopping for summer sandals, but don't forget about your four-legged friends' feet. Sure, shoes are available for dogs, but those can be uncomfortable (and hot!) in the summer. A cheaper and more comfortable option is a paw protection wax . 

Paw protection wax is an all-natural product that forms a barrier on dog's paws. Formulated with vitamin E to moisturize, help soothe wounds and keep paws healthy paw wax is nontoxic, hypoallergenic, and easy to apply. The wax is absorbed into the paws and forms a semipermeable shield, which allows perspiration to escape through the toes. In addition to snow, ice, and hot pavement, paw protection wax also protects from irritants such as sand, salt, and rough terrain. 

Paw protection waxes are made from food-grade waxes that are non-toxic and non-allergenic, so it's ok if your dog licks their paws after an application of the balm. You can even use it on yourself as a protective balm against windburn. 

One of our favorite paw protection waxes is Musher's Secret, a dense, but breathable wax originally developed in Canada for sled dog races and it's ideal for protecting your dog's paws from extreme temperatures — hot or cold. While any paw protection wax will need to be reapplied depending on your dog's activity, a little bit of the product goes a long way. Just a small amount on each paw is good for a week's worth of walking.

Make the most of the summer days in Savannah for you and your pooch, and keep their paws protected. 

Where to Find Paw Protection Wax

Locally, find paw protection wax at Woof Gang Bakery locations. But just call ahead to make sure paw protection wax is in stock at your nearest location because of its popularity. Find your nearest store here.

You can find Musher's Secret online at Amazon.

And don't forget to pick up a travel dog bowl to keep your pal hydrated too!

June
16

Whether you are selling your home, just purchased your first home or are a homeowner planing to stay put for a while, there is value in knowing which home improvement projects will net you the Return on Investment, or, ROI

Home Renovations for Max ROI

Some Highlights

  • Whether you are selling your home, just purchased your first home or are a homeowner planning to stay put for a while, there is value in knowing which home improvement projects will net you the most Return On Investment (ROI).
  • Minor bathroom renovations can go a long way toward improving the quality of your everyday life and/or impressing potential buyers.
  • Upgrading your landscaping or curb appeal helps get buyers in the door. These upgrades rank as the 2nd and 4th renovations for returns on investment.

From KCM

June
6

save money on your summer power bill

It's that time of year in Savannah when the temperatures start to rise, and love it or hate it, it's hot outside, folks. While hot summer days certainly aren't exclusive to Savannah and the Lowcountry, the high temperatures combined with the high humidity are hard for anyone to ignore. And the solution for most everyone is simple: escape to a place with some air-conditioning. Trying to beat the heat during the summer months (May through September) without air-conditioning is nearly impossible and can even be dangerous. The biggest challenge that many face as during the dog days of summer is trying to stay as comfortable as possible without spending an arm and a leg on utility costs. But don't fret — there are some easy ways to beat the heat and save money on your summer power bill without sacrificing your comfortable cool air.

1. Change your air filter(s).

This should be a no-brainer, but I have seen some really disgusting air filters before, and I will admit that some of those have been in my own home. I absolutely understand and agree 100% that this is one of those tasks that you always think of at the most inopportune time, and never with regularity. My solution? Plan ahead. Determine when your filter will need to be changed next (you should change it monthly), and then set an alarm or a calendar reminder on your phone, computer, etc.; just make sure you will be reminded in a month in some way that you need to change your air filter.

2. Clean your air filter(s).

Again, a no-brainer, or either this is something you have thought of and dismissed it as too much work. Don't think that way. Halfway through the month, check your filter and if it need a few swipes with a dusting cloth or a vacuum attachment, go for it. You will be surprised at how much of a difference this can make to save money on your summer power bill. An air filter that is dirty will have to work twice as hard, and that means more energy that your HVAC unit is exerting.

3. Fans are your friends.

Both ceiling fans and upright (floor) fans help keep the air circulating and can make your home feel more comfortable without you having to keep your HVAC running at a low (colder) temperature. Also, using fans to keep the air circulating while you aren't home will mean that HVAC doesn't have to run twice as hard when you come home and turn it down. 

But Which Direction?

During the summer, you want the air blowing directly on you so you will feel cooler from the wind chill effect (which is how fans cool you off). Stand under the fan and turn on high speed. If you don't feel the air moving at you well, then turn the fan off and flick the reverse toggle switch. Turn it back on high speed. If you feel more air, you have it in the right position. Whichever position you feel the most air movement when standing directly under the fan is the correct position for summer. 

4. Give the thermostat space.

If you can, avoid having lamps and appliances near your thermostat--its heat sensor will pick up the heat that is put out by these items and will think that it needs to work harder to cool the house, which means a higher utility bill for you.

5. Turn it all off.

If you're leaving your house, make sure to turn off all of your lights and turn up the temperature on your thermostat. This way, your HVAC isn't working to cool an empty house but it won't have to work as hard when you return home and turn the temperature back down. Better still, invest in a smart system to save money on your summer power bill, such as a Nest, which we've mentioned before. This system can be controlled from the wall-mounted thermostat and through an app on your phone, so if you forget to turn the thermostat up before you leave, you're still covered — you can use your phone to adjust your thermostat. Better still, over the course of a few weeks, Nest will acclimate to your usual HVAC temperature settings and will begin to automatically adjust itself to those settings, saving both energy and money on utility bills.

These are just a few things that can be done to help save money on your summer power bill without sacrificing your comfort, but doing so not only guarantees that you will have a more comfortable and consistently cooled home, but you will be able to do without having to spend all of your summer fun money on your utility bills. 

May
31

The 2018 Atlantic hurricane season will officially begin on June 1, 2018, and end on November 30, 2018. These dates historically describe the period each year when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic basin. However, the formation of tropical cyclones is possible at any time of the year, as shown by the formation of Subtropical Storm Alberto this spring. Alberto marked the fourth consecutive year a storm developed before the official start of the season.

2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season

Last year's season ended with 10 hurricanes and six major hurricanes. The Atlantic basin annually averages 12 named storms, with six hurricanes and three major hurricanes. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, has stated that there is a 75% chance that the 2018 season will see near or more than the average number of storms in the basin. In addition to the NOAA prediction, most meteorologists agree that the 2018 season will be near or above average. The 2017 hurricane season was very active, in part, because of a weak La Niña that developed last year.

La Niña is a natural weather phenomenon defined by cooler than normal water in the eastern Pacific equatorial region. Despite occurring in the Pacific, La Niña affects global weather patterns. One affect is decreased wind shear across the tropical Atlantic, which creates conditions more favorable for tropical storm development. 

The La Niña has since disappeared and according to NOAA some weather suggest that the opposite phenomenon of La Niña, El Niño could possibly develop later in the season. El Niño features warmer water in the eastern Pacific equatorial region, creating greater wind shear in the Atlantic and fewer tropical storms.

Even though there is appears to be a small chance we will see El Niño and subsequently have below average Hurricane Season, most meteorologists agree that the 2018 season will be near or above average. Historically, Savannah has been spared direct hits from hurricanes. As you can see from our map, the frequency of hurricanes directly impacting the 100 Mile Coast is very low. However, we did have to deal with Hurricane Matthew, a Category 2 storm in 2016. There was an evacuation, and Savannah residents, politicians and emergency workers learned many lessons. But rather than just hoping that a hurricane doesn't make landfall on our fair coastline, go ahead and prepare yourself and your property for severe weather.

Home Hurricane Preparedness Checklist

What We Learned in 2016

May
21

Home maintenance reminders

Owning your own home is an investment as well as a big responsibility. By identifying and addressing a few routine and simple maintenance issues, you can ensure you and your family's safety, as well as save time and money on costly repairs.

AC Service and Filter

Make sure to change your AC filter regularly. Better still, spend a few extra bucks and spring for quality filters that are designed to filter allergens. If you are using a smart thermostat such as Nest, the system will give you reminders when you're due to change your filter. It's also important to make sure that you keep the grate around the filter clean and as free of dust and dirt as possible.

Dryer Duct 

By keeping your dryer duct clean, you not only reduce the risk of a lint fire, you can also reduce the risk of mold buildup. The U.S. Fire Administration reports that every year more than 2,900 home fires are started by clothes dryers, and the leading cause of these fires is a buildup of lint due to lack of simple maintenance on the part of the owner. 

Lint Trap

This seems like a no-brainer, right? And yet, people overlook this easy step, or either put it off for far too long, leaving dryers with lint traps that are full to the brim. An overfilled lint trap, like a clogged and dirty dryer duct, can be dangerous, not to mention a waste of energy. A lint trap that is too full prevents your dryer from working to its full capacity, which means your dryer is using more energy and costing you more money.

Wood-burning Fireplace

If your home has a wood-burning fireplace, it's a good idea to have both the fireplace and chimney inspected and cleaned by a professional. A professional will have the necessary tools for inspecting your flue and making sure that no debris or animals are in your chimney.

Pressure Washing

Regularly scheduled pressure washings will prevent grime and mildew from breaking down your home's exterior, causing you to worry less about having to replace rotted wood, chipped paint and premature aging of your home. It will also raise your home's curb appeal and can help addd value to your home.

These items are by no means a comprehensive list. But, by including these things in your maintenance routine, you can avoid possibly costly repair bills in the future and ensure a positive impact on your health, safety and wallet.

Thinking About Selling Your Home?

Contact Cora Bett Thomas Realty if you are looking to get your home on the market this spring. 

May
4

May is the Best Month to Sell Your Home

According to a newly released study by ATTOM Data Solutions, selling your home in the month of May will net you an average of 5.9% above estimated market value for your home. This makes May the best month to sell your home.

For the study, ATTOM performed an "analysis of 14.7 million home sales from 2011 to 2017" and found the average seller premium achieved for each month of the year. Below is a breakdown by month:

May is the Best Month to Sell Your Home

ATTOM even went a step further and broke their results down by day.

Top 5 Days to Sell:

  • June 28th – 9.1% above market
  • February 15th – 9.0% above market
  • May 31st – 8.3% above market
  • May 29th – 8.2% above market
  • June 21st – 8.1% above market

It should come as no surprise that May and June dominate as the top months to sell and that 4 of the top 5 days to sell fall in those two months. The second quarter of the year (April, May, June) is referred to as the Spring Buyers Season, when competition is fierce to find a dream home, which often leads to bidding wars.

One caveat to mention though, is that when broken down by metroATTOM noticed that while warmer climates share in the overall trend, it turns out that they have different top months for sales. The best month to get the highest price in Miami, FL, for instance, was January, and Phoenix, AZ came in with November leading the charge.

If you're thinking of selling your home this year, the time to list is NOW! According to the National Association of Realtors, homes sold in an average of just 30 days last month! If you list now, you'll have a really good chance to sell in May or June, setting yourself up for getting the best price!

Bottom Line

Contact Us Today! Let's get together to discuss the market conditions in our area and get you the most exposure to the buyers who are ready and willing to buy! 

From KCM

April
23

Savannah's New Tex-Mex Spot

Many people may recognize the location of El Coyote as the former home of The Florence, which was a place that Savannah either loved or barely regarded. These 2 restaurants have shared a building, and that is where the similarities end.

El coyote savanna

El Coyote is brought to you by the team that has been providing delicious food with a view at the Wyld Dock Bar the past several years. El Coyote's interior is nicer than that of your typical Savannah Mexican restaurant, but not so nice that you feel underdressed in shorts and a T-shirt. Think large, open dining room with the over-popular exposed-filament-edison bulbs, dark and distressed wood and stone. This along with Tex-Mex curated knickknacks and a retro, 70s-style multicolored graphic  visually tie it all together. Nothing terribly original, but it works well, giving the space a livelier feel than the previous inhabitant. And to be honest, I prefer a restaurant with less emphasis on style and more on the delicious food rather than vice versa.

An extensive list of tequilas and mezcals dominate half of the drink menu. The Mezcal Old Fashioned is not be missed. Those looking for something milder can indulge in a glass of Spanish wine or choose from a nice selection of Mexican beers. Margaritas and craft cocktails are of course, also available. I will say that the $8 I paid for the best paloma I've recently had the pleasure of drinking, was well worth it. 

El coyote savanna

Many of the appetizers are in the $3-$10 range and feature classics such as corn elote (aka street corn) and queso fundido. Another must-have appetizer are the Sappelo Bay Clams. For $15, you are served a heaping mound of clams in a michelada broth flavored with chorizo and sofrito. Also not to be missed is the Philli Relleno, El Coyote's cheeky take on a chile relleno and consists of a local blistered poblano pepper stuffed with cheesesteak and topped with mushroom mole.

The street tacos are $4 each and are served a la carte, mostly because there is no need for these tacos to be accompanied by a heap of gluey beans or dry rice. For those with larger appetites, traditional and seasonal sides such rice and black beans — or charred spring onions — are available and they are neither gluey nor dry. A tasty and unexpected side dish is Pam's Hot Pickled Mexican Carrots — for $2, you get a spicy condiment that tastes great with anything else on the menu.

The fajitas, a classic Tex-Mex dish, was hands down better than anywhere in the city. The steak version was an actual grilled steak, cooked medium rare and then cut and served on a hot cast iron plate. Accompanied by roasted poblanos, onions, portabella mushrooms, blistered tomatoes and house made tortillas, this was a welcome return to steak fajitas' roots.

We see El Coyote becoming a local favorite and a new staple for many in Midtown and Downtown Savannah. The cost of grabbing a delicious taco and a cold beer at El Coyote may not be the cheapest taco and beer you've ever seen, but it is without a doubt among the tastiest in Savannah.

El Coyote

1 W Victory Drive

Savannah, GA 31405

www.elcoyotesav.com

April
23

Take a look inside some of the most beautiful homes on Tybee at the 21st Annual Tybee Island Tour of Homes Saturday, May 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

tybee island tour of homes

The eccentricity that permeates this community is echoed throughout its residential buildings. Tybee Island is home to great restaurants and boutiques, and because of the size of the island many of these are accessible by bicycle or golf cart. The solidarity of the residents of Tybee Island have attracted many a permanent visitor, and the homes range from beachfront condos to small bungalows tucked away in the pines. The Tybee Tour of Homes features beautiful homes all over Tybee Island, the renovated 1930s Tybee Post Theater and more.

For more information Click Here.

Are You Interested in a Home on Tybee Island?

Browse Tybee Island homes for sale!

April
22

In the majority in the US, buying a home is more affordable than renting.

buying a home

The results of the 2018 Rental Affordability Report from ATTOM show that buying a median-priced home is more affordable than renting a three-bedroom property in 54% of U.S. counties analyzed for the report.

The updated numbers show that renting a three-bedroom property in the United States requires an average of 38.8% of income.

The least affordable market for renting was Marin County, CA, just over the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, where renters spend a staggering 79.5% of average wages on rent, while the most affordable market was Madison County, AL where 22.3% of average wages went to rent.

Other interesting findings in the report include:

  • Average rent rose faster than income in 60% of counties
  • Average rent rose faster than median home prices in 41% of counties
  • While median home prices rose faster than average rents in 58% of counties

Bottom Line

Buying a home makes sense socially and financially. If you are one of the many renters out there who would like to evaluate your ability to buy this year, let's get together to find your dream home.

April
20

In many markets across the country, the number of buyers searching for their dream homes greatly outnumbers the number of homes for sale. This has led to a competitive marketplace where buyers often need to stand out. One way to show you are serious about buying your dream home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage before starting your search.

Even if you are in a market that is not as competitive, understanding your budget will give you the confidence of knowing if your dream home is within your reach.

Freddie Mac lays out the advantages of pre-approval in the 'My Home' section of their website:

"It's highly recommended that you work with your lender to get pre-approved before you begin house hunting. Pre-approval will tell you how much home you can afford and can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets."

One of the many advantages of working with a local real estate professional is that many have relationships with lenders who will be able to help you with this process. Once you have selected a lender, you will need to fill out their loan application and provide them with important information regarding "your credit, debt, work history, down payment and residential history."

Freddie Mac describes the '4 Cs' that help determine the amount you will be qualified to borrow:

  1. Capacity: Your current and future ability to make your payments
  2. Capital or cash reserves: The money, savings, and investments you have that can be sold quickly for cash
  3. Collateral: The home, or type of home, that you would like to purchase
  4. Credit: Your history of paying bills and other debts on time

Getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and it often helps speed up the process once your offer has been accepted.

Bottom Line

Many potential home buyers overestimate the down payment and credit scores needed to qualify for a mortgage today. If you are ready and willing to buy, you may be pleasantly surprised at your ability to do so. 

Contact Us Today!

April
13

Rosemary Cocktail

While some herbs and spices might be considered trendy, there is no denying that rosemary is one herb that stands the test of time. Rosemary is native to the Mediterranean region, but the temperate climes of the 100 Mile Coast have also provided a place to flourish to this hardy member of the mint family.

If you venture out into the Historic District of Downtown Savannah, you'll spot rosemary tucked into window boxes and dominating flower boxes along weathered sidewalks. The rosemary plant is an attractive evergreen and can be easily shaped. Besides having pretty blossoms, the rosemary plant also has a pleasant smell.

Perhaps one of the best things about rosemary is its versatility. The ease of growing the plant is appealing to horticulturists new and old alike. But a green thumb is not necessary to appreciate all of the uses of this herb. Rosemary is used in a variety of cosmetic and culinary applications.

Rosemary essential oil is believed to aid any number of maladies. Common uses of rosemary essential oil include thickening hair, improving memory function, and aiding with digestion. The fragrance of rosemary is used in household products such as shampoos, soaps, and candles.

Rosemary is also widely used as a flavor-enhancing herb in both food and beverages. With warmer weather very nearly upon us here in the Lowcountry, we are always looking to expand our recipes with local ingredients that are easily found here in Savannah. So of course, this being Savannah, when we started thinking  about using Rosemary in the kitchen, we immediately thought about a rosemary cocktail.

We contacted our good friend — and cocktail and spirits expert — Jason Owenby, over at Alley Cat Lounge. He happily recommended a gin and rosemary cocktail using a Rosemary simple syrup you can make easily at home. 

The syrup requires minimum effort to make, but the payoff is worth it, since this syrup will elevate any cocktail without the hassle of muddling or straining your cocktails. Best of all, the rosemary syrup lends an aromatic, woodsy flavor that is evocative of the South. So, cheers!

Rosemary Gin Fizz

It's super simple.

2 oz London dry gin like beefeater

.75 oz rosemary syrup (recipe follows)

.75 to 1oz fresh squeezed lemon juice

Cold soda water

Add the first three ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Short shake everything and strain over fresh ice in a double rocks glass, and add soda.

Garnish with fresh blueberries and a rosemary sprig

Rosemary Simple Syrup

Bring 1 cup of water, 10-12 long stalks of rosemary and one 1 cup of white sugar to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove heat and allow to steep for 30 minutes. Make sure that the stalks stay totally submerged. Cover and let sit for up to 12 hours, but at least for 2 hours. Strain the mixture before using. Refrigerate any extra syrup for up to two weeks. But we cannot imagine it will last long!

March
30

Neighborhood Eatery and Imbibery

Few places have so rapidly earned the love of local Savannahians like Atlantic. Located at the corner of Victory and Drayton Street, this cozy neighborhood restaurant appeals to residents of Ardsley Park and Historic Downtown Savannah alike.

Large windows add the impression of a large dining space, when in reality the entire is building is quite small. Don't be fooled, though — all of the available space is efficiently used and none is wasted. An excellent example of this are the two outdoor patio areas flanking the building. Small dining tables dominate the main space of the area. A large white marble bar seats about 8 diners, while another bar, with no seats, allow diners to casually lounge with a beverage.

In addition to lovingly curated wine list, the bar boasts an impressive list of craft cocktails, liquors, and local craft beers. Our favorite feature of Atlantic is the wine by the glass selection that changes daily. Owner, and Savannah wine guru, Jason Restivo, always has some interesting picks on the board that you rarely find by the glass. 

Local and seasonal ingredients are the foundation of Atlantic's menu. The menu is ideal for sharing — we usually order several dishes and share, and this night was no exception. We started out with a local cheese plate and the mushroom paté, both of which paired nicely with my "Champagne of the Day" selection and the various reds my dining companions were enjoying.  

ATLANTIC

ATLANTIC

Savannah should not be overlooked for its seafood offerings. And Atlantic delivered with a crab toast that was a thing of beautiful. Simple, with luscious fresh crabmeat and peppers topping Chef Lauren's homemade bread, and seasoned with only a bit of herbs and citrus. Equally simple, yet still incredibly decadent was the five spice pork belly confit with brussels sprouts and roasted grapes.

In fact, the pork belly was so good that we had no reservations in ordering an entreé that also featured pork belly along with scallops. The scallops and pork belly were perfectly cooked and served simply over a pea purée.  We also ordered the beef tenderloin with broccolini and garlic mash. The tenderloin was perfectly cooked and juicy, and its flavor was not at all distracted by the tangy mustard sauce that accompanied it. 

Each dish seemed to taste better than the next, which seems an impossible feat in and of itself. Every wine we sipped paired perfectly with the food. The shareable food, the accessible wine list and pours, incredible value, attentive service, and the atmosphere of community within the space itself truly lend to Atlantic's image as a neighborhood eatery and bar. And one of Savannah's best. 

Atlantic

102 E Victory Dr Savannah, Georgia
(912) 417-8887
 
 
March
25

Charcuterie & Cocktails

This Thursday, the 1540 Room will be hosting their second Charcuterie & Cocktails. Chef Kyle Jacovino and his team are making all the charcuterie using  a hog from Holy City Hogs. The guest bartender for the evening is Tart Johnson. Guests will enjoy two cocktails to accompany a curated charcuterie board.

Formerly the DeSoto Grille, 1540 Room is the newly renovated fine dining restaurant located inside of The DeSoto Hotel exhibiting Southern influence on Italian and Latin cuisine. Accenting ingredients from local farmers and purveyors, the menu changes seasonally to deliver a fresh farm-to-table experience. Executive chef, Kyle Jacovino, brings culinary foresight from his tenure at The Florence and the mentorship of Ryan Smith at Empire State South in Atlanta. Complete with a show kitchen and open dining room, 1540 Room is open Tuesday through Sunday for brunch, lunch, and dinner.

Charcuterie & Cocktails

Thursday, March 1, 2018, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

1540 Room 15 East Liberty St.

Savannah, GA 31401

March
5

housing

Just like our clocks this weekend in the majority of the country, the housing market will soon "spring forward!" Similar to tension in a spring, the lack of inventory available for sale in the market right now is what is holding back the market.

Many potential sellers believe that waiting until Spring is in their best interest, and traditionally they would have been right.

Buyer demand has seasonality to it, which usually falls off in the winter months, especially in areas of the country impacted by arctic temperatures and conditions.

That hasn't happened this year.

Demand for housing has remained strong as mortgage rates have remained near historic lows. Even with the recent increase in rates, buyers are still able to lock in an affordable monthly payment. Many more buyers are jumping off the fence and into the market to secure a lower rate.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently reported that the top 10 dates sellers listed their homes in 2017 all fell in April, May, or June.

Those who act quickly and list now could benefit greatly from additional exposure to buyers prior to a flood of more competition coming to market in the next few months.

Bottom Line

If you are planning on selling your home in 2018, let's get together to evaluate the opportunities in our market.

Contact Cora Bett Thomas Realty Today!

March
3

Savannah Pedicab

In 1994, Rusty Browne launched Savannah Pedicab to provide transportation throughout Historic Downtown Savannah. Local Savannahians will tell you that Savannah Pedicab is THE way to get around the Historic Downtown area of Savannah.

In Downtown Savannah, sometimes the distance between Point A and Point B aren't long enough to drive; but the distance may also be just a bit too far to comfortably walk. That's when Savannah Pedicab comes to the rescue.

For those unfamiliar with this mode of transportation, a pedicab is a small two-to-three person taxi operated by a person pedaling. Think of a bicycle crossed with the chariots of old, and you're close to having a pretty accurate picture of a pedicab in your head.

 Taking a pedicab is a great way to take in the sights and sounds of Historic Downtown Savannah. Many pedicab drivers not only know their way around Downtown Savannah and the Historic District, but they also have a vast reserve of knowledge about Savannah's past and present. 

Savannah Pedicab for All

If you have a group of folks looking to get around, don't be daunted. Savannah Pedicab will send pedicabs to your party and transport you all by twos to your destination. Many people use Savannah Pedicab as transportation to and from events.

This favorite mode of transportation is enjoying an ever-increasing demand for events and weddings, and even offers special services for weddings. These services include formally dressed drivers, signs, and white drapes for the cabs. There are even trailers designed especially for the wedding pedicabs so that Savannah Pedicab can serve those in Hilton Head, Palmetto Bluff, and the surrounding areas. 

It's easy enough to find a Savannah Pedicab in the Downtown area if you need one unexpectedly. You can also call ahead to make arrangements as needed. Contact Savannah Pedicabs today, and experience Savannah like a local. 

Savannah Pedicab

(912) 232-7900

Do you want to live in Historic Savannah?

Contact Cora Bett Thomas Realty Today!

February
13

Every spring, the Savannah Music Festival arrives. Held in various venues throughout Downtown Savannah, the 2018 Savannah Music Festival will be from March 29th to April 14th, and will feature a variety of performers who will playing at all hours of the day.

Established in 1989, the Savannah Music Festival is a non-profit organization that is responsible for educational initiatives and musical arts programs throughout Savannah and six surrounding counties, and also includes educational activities such as theater field trips, in-school lessons, and public library performances. The venues that serve as hosts for these performances are scattered throughout Historic Downtown Savannah, and include the Johnny Mercer Theater (at the Savannah Civic Center), the Lucas Theatre, the Ships of the Sea Museum, the Rousakis Plaza (located on River Street) and Trinity United Methodist Church.

New for the 2018 Savannah Music Festival

This year there are two new venues. According to Rob Gibson, Executive and Artistic Director of the Savannah Music Festival, "This season is our most ambitious to date due to the addition of 2 new festival venues that are completely distinct from one another: Yamacraw Center for the Performing Arts and Trustees' Garden."

The former is located on the campus of the Garrison School for the Arts and is the first ever concert hall built in Downtown Savannah. The latter is an outdoor location that will be the site for the final day of the festival. For the first time, the Savannah Music Festival finale will be an all-day festival featuring continuous live music on three stages and a vendor marketplace with local and regional food and refreshments

The artists performing at the Savannah Musical Festival are as varied as you can imagine, and musical genres of every sort are explored within the 17 days of the festival. The appeal of the music festival is that there is truly something for everyone, and everyone who attends is clearly a lover of music, so you find yourself surrounded in an atmosphere of appreciation and joy for the performance at hand. 

Find out more online at www.savannahmusicfestival.org

January
26

The Coffee Fox

The Coffee Fox is located in the heart of Historic Downtown Savannah. The innocuous café is perched neatly on the corner of Whitaker Street and Broughton Street. On busy mornings, patrons waiting in line watch the space with darting eyes. Their hope is to snag an empty stool at the bright red bar, or possibly one of the rustic banquettes along the far wall. 

 Coffee Fox features locally-roasted PERC coffee in a variety of beverages. But those looking for a flavored beverage "a la' Starbucks," beware. You won't find any blended drinks or flavored syrups on this menu. The Coffee Fox serves, as I once heard a barista eloquently put it, "Coffee-flavored coffee." That's not to say that there isn't a variety of coffee drinks on the menu. The café menu features coffee-shop standards like Cortaditos, Americanos, Mochas and Lattes. The Coffee Fox even has Matcha Green Tea and Chai Lattes, as well as a Horchata Latte which features horchata made fresh on premises daily.

The Coffee Fox

The Espresso Tonic has gained something of a cult following with locals. Made with PERC espresso, Fevertree tonic water and garnished with a fresh orange twist, the beverage is admittedly an acquired taste, but those in the know can tell you that it's ideal for beating the heat and getting a bit of caffeine buzz at the same time. An added bonus is how the drink looks — served in a snifter glass emblazoned with The Coffee Fox brand, the tonic and espresso separate into individual layers, while the fresh orange twist rests jauntily on top of the beverage.

Those looking for something to drink with a little more punch can find solace in a selection of wine and craft beers. The Coffee Fox also offers its own version of a mimosa, made with guava nectar and champagne. Another Coffee Fox favorite is the Eye Opener, which is PERC espresso and Left Hand Milk Stout beer. Not for the faint of heart or appetite, this rich beverage delivers a double buzz. 

The case at the front of the café houses a dazzling display of freshly-baked goods. The kolache, of which there are usually 5 or 6 different flavors, are prominently displayed on the top shelf. The case always holds egg, sausage and cheddar, bacon and cheddar, and cream cheese kolache. A savory variety, as well as a fruit and cream cheese variety, rotate every few days. Some of the more popular savory flavors are bar-b-q pulled pork and cheddar, the sunrise scrambler, and sausage and Vidalia onion with thyme. The fruit and cream cheese variety run the gamut from cherry and cream cheese to the ever-decadent Nutella and cream cheese. 

While sometimes the line in the limited space of the café can seem daunting, the efficiency of the baristas along with a mostly paperless transaction, keep people moving, cup in hand. With locals grabbing a cup before heading into the office, tourists sleepily scanning the menu, or SCAD students hunched over sketchbooks,  the Coffee Fox has managed to capture that feeling of quirky community that makes living in Historic Downtown Savannah enviable.

The Coffee Fox

102 W Broughton St, Savannah, GA 31401
Open Daily at 7 a.m. (8 a.m. on Sundays)
(912) 401-0399
 
January
12

What Did You Discover During the Snowpocalypse?

Winterizing Your Home | Cora Bett Southern Realty News

Savannah doesn't always experience winters that are as harsh as other parts of the country. Every winter in Savannah there will be a few days when you discover an extra draft or two around the house. But as this season has already shown us, it's always good to have strong plan to winterize your home. A draft or two during a typical cold snap is pretty tolerable, but a few days and nights well below freezing can make a older Southern home more uncomfortable. Here are a few tips for making sure your home is ready for whatever the rest of this winter throws at you.

4 Easy Post Storm Winterizing Your Home Tips

Winterizing Your Home | Cora Bett Southern Realty News

Run Fans in Reverse

Many homes in Savannah have ceiling fans, which are absolutely necessary in the sultry summer weather. But many people don't realize that running fans clockwise will change the distribution of the air in your house produce a warming effect. Most ceiling fans come with a handy little switch that will reverse the direction of the fan blades from counterclockwise (cooling by driving air down) to clockwise (warming by drawing air up).  Just don't forget to switch them back!

Reduce Drafts

Drafts can waste anywhere from 5%-30% of your home energy use. This is a problem that can be easily remedied with a draft snake. Make one of your own by using a rolled bath towel, or get creative with scraps of cloth and fillings such as sand or kitty litter for added heft.

Mind Your Thermostat

It's easy to forget to turn down the heat when you're leaving your house, but doing so is one of the easiest ways to save money. Most houses shell out 50%-70% of their energy budgets on heating and cooling. For every degree that you lower your thermostat during the winter, you will save between 1% and 3% on your heating bill. Better still, invest in a programmable thermostat such as a Nest.

Put Up Some Plastic

Like the draft snake, this is an easy and inexpensive and temporary method for winterizing your home. Pick up a window insulation kit at your local discount or hardware store. If properly installed, the plastic will be virtually invisible. A little patience, the kit and a hair dryer and you will have less drafty and more efficient home. Speaking from experience, you will notice a difference in the amount of heat that your home retains from insulating your windows with one of these easy-to-use kits. 

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