Thursday, May 15, 2014

How to show homes

I have been showing homes for about a year now.  I have seen beautiful homes, messy homes, and everything in between.  I am always conscious of the fact that I am entering another person’s living space.  This is not a model home or an empty building; this is that person’s home.  They live here.  They are trusting me, as the realtor, and my clients, as potential buyers, to enter and walk through their home while they are not there.  They have placed a level of faith in us, and in the system, to protect and respect their place.

I always leave the home as I have found it.  I double-check that doors are locked, lights are on or off as wished, and pets are where they should be.  We do not touch their personal belongings; we do not look through dresser drawers or medicine cabinets.  Children do not play with the toys they find.   At the same time we have to spend some time looking at the size of the closets and the cleanliness of the stove.  We need to see what the refrigerator is like on the inside, if it is included in the offer.  We need to walk around outside, and to check out the garage.  We are not pet sitters, and although we do our best to keep the animals either inside or outside, we can’t guarantee the animal’s behavior.  So far no animals have escaped on my watch, and I hope to keep it that way. 

Just remember, when you are selling a house that many people will be walking through the home and looking at everything.  When you are buying a home, and walking through, treat that home as if it were your own.    Happy House Hunting!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Caw Caw Nature Center


    The Charleston low country has so many wonderful places to visit, it can be easy to overlook the local parks.  Caw Caw Nature Center is located along Highway 17 in Ravenel, SC, and it was created on top of several old rice plantations.  Last year my daughter and I enjoyed a guided bird walk at Caw Caw, and still today the experience is one of our favorite memories.
            Laura and I arrived a few minutes after the walk had started.  We paid our fee in the main office.  The ranger told us, “You can’t go on a bird walk without binoculars,” and he opened a drawer and handed one to each of us.  We joined the group nearby gathered on the trail.  The guide was a young man, but except for my daughter and I, all the participants were of retirement age.  A few had bird books, mostly downloaded on tablets and phones.  Everyone wore binoculars, carried water bottles and bug spray.  One older man joined us on a Segway.  The trails were wide and even, and he had no problems. 
We saw ospreys, herons, ibis, and many red winged blackbirds, but the greatest excitement came from seeing the momma gator and her babies.  On the entire walk I think we counted 9 gators, mostly young.  It was amazing how we could be standing beside a marshy canal, relaxed and listening to birdsong, and the guide would point and say, “Gator number 5.”  We had to learn how to see them, then suddenly gators were everywhere.

            I loved the beauty of the park, the excitement of the alligators, and the help in identifying birds, but I struggled with being in a group and moving so slowly.  I grew impatient every time we heard a new song or rustle of leaves.  Each birdwatcher whipped out his or her phone, pulled up the bird books and began discussing coloration of the crest, size of the beak, and style of the song.   I wanted to say, “the bird is beautiful whether identified, placed on a life list, quantified, or not.  Just enjoy!”  And really, we did enjoy.  My family has been back many times to walk, in various seasons.  And now, I can point out the alligators.

            Caw Caw is open Wednesday through Sunday 9-5.  Admission is $1 per person, and if you want to attend the bird walks on Saturday or Wednesday starting at 8:30 the cost is $5.  Caw Caw is a beautiful and historical place, and worth taking the time to visit.