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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.

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

Few delicacies evoke emotions quite like oysters. These magical mollusks are loved and hated, and are the subject of lore and legend all over the world. We've rounded up some of our favorite tidbits that we've learned about oysters.

 oysters

Oysters have many health benefits

Most people think "health benefits" mean "increased libido." But don't think that the way oysters can benefit your body stops there.  The bivalves pack a wallop of zinc, which is great for making you feel good and for keeping up your energy. Besides boosting your immune system, zinc can also help get rid of acne, ease rashes and build up bone strength. And yes, the increase in energy from the zinc in oysters can also help you with other activities.

There are five species of oysters

I know what you're thinking, "Only five? That number can't be right" But it's true. While there are over 100 varieties of oysters, those varieties are all derived from 5 species. These 5 species include Pacific Oysters (or Japanese Oyster), Kumamoto Oysters, European Flat Oysters, Atlantic Oysters and Olympia Oysters. The differences between these bivalves are the water they grow in, and their shells. The European Flat has a large, straight shell with fine ridges. Kumamotos and Olympias are similar in that they are both smaller than the European Flats, and their shells are rounder and paler. But, Olympias have a slightly smoother shell with a bit of iridescent coloring. Pacific Oysters are smaller with wavy casings. Last, but not least, the Atlantic species looks like a teardrop and tends to be on the larger side.

Oysters are good for the environment

In one day, an oyster filters about 30 to 50 gallons. Not only are oysters delicious, but they are good for the environment, too! And once oysters have been joyfully consumed, they are still useful. The shells are great for helping your garden flourish. The calcium in oyster shells can improve the soil's pH balance, adds nutrients to the plants and strengthens their cell walls, all of which leads to healthy produce and brighter flowers. 

In the Lowcountry, and especially in Savannah, oysters are celebrated as beloved local cuisine and enjoyed in a variety of ways, such as raw, steamed, or fried. Oysters Rockefeller are a popular preparation, and you can rarely go wrong with a fried oyster po'boy or basket. Some of our favorite places places to grab these bodacious bivalves in Savannah include Sorry Charlie's Oyster Bar, Husk, The Grey, and Chive Sea Bar and Lounge. We're also huge fans of the Lady's Island Oysters at Saltus River Grill in Beaufort, South Carolina. 

That "er" myth

The best thing about oysters is that, despite popular belief, you don't have to restrict your oyster consumption to months ending in "-er." Oysters are generally thinner in the summer because they devote their energy to reproducing. However, if the oysters are being farmed, this may not even be an issue. There are many farmed oysters varieties making oysters available year round. Your best bet is to contact purveyors and restaurants serving oysters to determine what kind they have available. So pop out today and find out what place has your favorite mollusk!

 

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
28

South Carolina Fourth of July Events

July 4th fun abounds in the Lowcountry, and not just in Savannah. From Beaufort to Hilton Head Island, there are plenty of Lowcountry fireworks and fun for the whole family to enjoy.

If you're on Hilton Head Island, Check out Shelter Cove Harbour and Marina for the biggest 4th of July fireworks show. Besides a variety of shopping and dining options in the Harbour Town area, you can enjoy the Harbourfest July 4th Festivities. Start the day off with a parade. Decorate your bicycle, wagon, dog or kids in red, white and blue and join the parade. Meet in the parking lot by the lighthouse at 8:30 a.m. to register and pick up decorating supplies — limited to the first 100 participants. The parade will start at 9:30 a.m. You won't want to miss Shannon Tanner's special patriotic family show at 6:30 & 8pm. There's also plenty for the kids to do, including bouncy houses and train rides. 

For a truly patriotic experience, head over towards Beaufort and enjoy Independence Day at Parris Island. Free and open to the public, this family-friendly event will feature a kid's fun zone and The Parris Island Band. And, of course,  an incredible fireworks celebration. Food and beverages will be available. Patriotic glow sticks, bracelets and headbands also will be available for purchase. Gates open at 5 p.m. The Parris Island Band will perform at 6:30 p.m. Fireworks will start at dark, or around 9:20 p.m.

Lowcountry Fireworks

The 4th of July Celebration & Fireworks at The Sands of Port Royal begins at 5 p.m. Fireworks will begin around 9 p.m.  The Port Royal Independence Day celebration will include food booths, refreshments, vendors, entertainment, face painting, a water slide, bounce houses and more. This event is sponsored by The Port Royal Historic Foundation.

Fourth of July Flyover

Another way to truly embrace the pride in our country is to participate in the Salute from the Shore. Every year on July 4th, hundreds of thousands of people gather on the beaches of South Carolina in patriotic attire to wave the red, white and blue and to demonstrate their gratitude to America's finest for their bravery and commitment. The flyover of military aircraft will start at 1 p.m. in Myrtle Beach. Salute from the Shore encourages participants to share their stories about why they love America and those that protect it by posting their own video and images of the event on social networks to be seen by American Armed Forces deployed throughout the world. For a full schedule of flyover times in the Beaufort area, visit salutefromtheshore.org

Keep the Fun Going

And after the 4th, keep the fun going by visiting the May River Shrimp Festival Sunset Party. This event, held in beautiful Bluffton, South Carolina, features an arts and crafts village, as well as a craft beer garden and wine. The Bluffton Sunset Party is a great way to make the most of summertime fun. Come grab a delicious beverage and enjoy the sunset with friends and neighbors at this beloved community event. 

[caption id="attachment_2305" align="alignnone" width="640"]Bluffton Farmers Market Image Credit: Bluffton Farmers Market[/caption]

As long as you're in the Bluffton area, stop in and check out the Bluffton Farmers Market. The BFM is open every Thursday from 1pm to 6pm. The Bluffton Farmers Market is an ideal stop for grabbing fresh produce and wares from local vendors who are passionate about their goods and love sharing their stories. The BFM also features local entertainment. Stop in, grab some goodies and enjoy the company of friends, family and community at the Bluffton Farmers Market. 

The July fun continues in Beaufort as well with the 64th Annual Beaufort Water Festival. This 10-day event is one of the longest running events in the Lowcountry, and features arts and crafts, live music, air shows, and the Grand Parade. If you want to make the most of your summertime fun in South Carolina, then the Beaufort Water Festival should be on your to-do list. 

Harbourfest at Shelter Cove isn't limited to July 4th fun, either. This event runs throughout the summer until Labor Day. The events of Harbourfest will continue to feature live music, fireworks, and plenty of activities for the kiddos all summer long. Check out the schedule and find out more information at the Harbourfest website.

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