Time to Get Creative!

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OK – so clearly 2020 wasn’t stellar by any means; however, one thing is certain… people are getting creative! Whether it’s creative ways to pass time, creative ways to approach tasks or creative ways to tackle major life changes, YES… creativity is key! What do we mean by creativity? While we love the arts, we are really referencing thinking differently, unconventionally or from a new perspective.

After COVID hit in March, many of us went through a variety of stages before getting to a point of acceptance… disbelief, denial and fear were at the forefront. But after the initial acceptance phase, we began to realize that this was not going away quickly and so we could sit in despair or get creative. And while some of our options were still way out of our comfort zone, it became clear that having an option was better than none at all.

So how do we carry that approach into the future? One simple statement… “Do something different.” The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result… and quite frankly, we’re all for avoiding insanity! By looking at whatever is in front of us – the task at hand, the goal, an attitude – assessing our “norm” and then looking at how we can “do something different”, we are getting creative and pressing into the “C” word… CHANGE. Yes, we’ve written about change before and will continue to do so because without it, there is no growth. And no growth means we’re stagnant. And stagnant means stuck. And stuck is… well… stuck.

The COVID-filled world is filled with fear and restraints. Do something different…. Yes, mask up and be safe. But don’t allow the fear to shackle your dreams and goals for the year. We are seeing so many clients get creative and turn the challenges into opportunities for their families. New homes, new dreams, new area, new beginnings. Making moments count… not tomorrow or whenever this current crisis passes. Right now. This very moment.

Time to get creative and see where it takes you.

You Can Lead A Horse To Water…

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Have you ever been in contact with someone who radiates disfunction and no matter how hard you try to encourage them, they prefer to sit in their world of woe? Yep… we’ve all been there. And some of us (and by “us” I’m totally calling myself out and really mean “me”), have actually crawled out of the muck and prefer to live in a brighter place. I was in my 20’s and hit a season of bleck. Challenges from my childhood, a disconnected relationship with my Dad and addiction issues that I still had not really yet identified, swirled me into a very dark emotional place. I remember a good friend of mine who had about 10 years on me point out in a very gentle way that I needed help. That was my first stint with therapy and the first step into a better version of me. Now granted, I am a work in progress. But I sure am grateful that my friend Patti nudged me in the right direction so many years ago so that I could see that I was responsible for 99% of my emotional state (I give the weather the remaining 1%). It’s not what happens to us in life, it is how we respond to it.

Unfortunately for some, they live most of their lives paralyzed by their fears, their issues and they play the victim card ad nauseam. And no matter what anyone says, nothing can penetrate their bubble of bleck. I recently had to gently release a long-distance client because no matter my encouragement, this person was simply not ready to make what was clear to me as a much-needed change. Two years of providing service, two years of offering solutions to the objections and just trying to be a positive influence on this person’s life and woe continued to prevail.

While our career category is “Sales”, we truly don’t sell anything. We are here to provide guidance, answer questions and help folks that truly want an amazing lifestyle make up their own mind based on what we provide. Financial outlines and spreadsheets,  community details, market comps and of course all of the property specs… each component is part of the equation but at the end of the day, we are not about to twist someone’s arm to make a decision simply because we feel it is the best one. As the old adage says, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.”

For me to stay in a positive place and keep my battery charged, sometimes it’s best to release those who are draining it (it also helps to write about it!). I need to accept that despite my very best efforts, I can’t help everyone. Our time is short on this lovely earth. And we are here now and actively helping many folks who want to journey to our amazing area. That’s where my energy is best used.

Whatever you are dealing with today, someone else is dealing with something as well. You are not alone, you are not a victim and you can shift your mindset in this very moment by finding one thing to be grateful for. Be a blessing to others, be a light, be patient, be kind but don’t be a doormat.

No Time Like The Present

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So here it is… the last day of 2018. Sitting on the cusp of a new year, we are bombarded by messages about the year to come. “New Year, New You”, “New Goals”, “New Dreams”, “New…”, “New…” But when that last second of 2018 catapults us into 2019, what actually is new? Nothing. In that very moment, nothing has changed but the date. But don’t be discouraged… it’s just time to jump off the New Year party train, breathe deep and embrace the journey.

Now don’t get me wrong… the end of a year brings about much reflection and thought. What transpired, how I responded well, how I could have responded differently and the things I really want to continue to work on. What I try not to do though is believe that when the clock strikes midnight, I’m suddenly going to be everything that I feel I wasn’t in 2018. It’s just not going to happen. The reality remains that whatever baggage I was carrying in 2018 will get dragged along with me into 2019. But the good news is, the baggage that I drag into this year, is much different than what I dragged into 2018, 2017, 2016… you get the picture. I am an imperfect and ever-evolving soul that with each passing day, can continue to work on staying aware of my choices, managing my emotions, counting my blessings and growing just a little bit more. And that will continue to be the case whether it be January 1st or July 12th. And when I fall down, I can pick myself up and start again. It doesn’t have to wait until I buy a new calendar.

The long and short of it is to continue to strive for whatever fulfills your soul… no matter what the date. Making healthier choices, working less, working more, laughing more, giving more, saying “no”, worrying less, decluttering, downsizing, upsizing, simplifying, unplugging, learning something new, committing more, letting go… whatever your heart desires, there is no time like the present.

So Happy New Year! May each day of it offer a new beginning.

A New Chapter

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I don’t think I’ve met one person who is truly excited to go through a move… yes, we work with clients who are excited about their new home but the actual sorting, purging, packing and moving? Nope. Life gets put on hold and suddenly anything that previously resembled a peaceful living space is quickly replaced with a tower of boxes, stacks of packing paper, rolls of tape and Sharpies that are never where you left them.

We were reminded of the chaos when we moved at the end of May. I started the process back in early April with a resolve like never before. I was going to start early, thoughtfully pluck out unused or dated items from our home and carefully pack the items joining us. I numbered each box which then was found on the corresponding spreadsheet where I could easily be reminded of the contents and in what room they should land. I was not going to stress, I was not going to get exhausted and frazzled and by the end of May, it had all unraveled. In desperation, I reached out to a dear friend from church and she called in backup… when I saw them all, I literally wept. They were a gift from above and it was the ultimate act of kindness… months later, I still get choked up. I guess my point is that even with the best intentions and professional movers, we were still trying to get it finished in the 11th hour and needed my Super Hero friends to get us over the finish line. So now it is a few months later and we are settled in but I am once again facing a move. This time it is my Mom.

My Mom & Stepdad lived in Florida for many years and after a long battle with cancer, my dear Stepdad Skip passed mid-August. My Mom is now alone for the first time in about 30 years. We have been navigating through so many details and she decided that a move closer to us would be best… it has all happened so quickly and over the next couple of days, the POD will be delivered, the movers will arrive and we’ll start a new chapter with Mom here in Bluffton.

There’s a flood of feelings… I’m nervous for her, I’m excited, I’m sad for her just because I’m sentimental and it’s been her home for a long time… and like Red says at the end of “Shawshank Redemption”, “I hope…”.  I hope this is healing for my Mom. I hope she likes our area as much as I think she will. I hope she makes new friends quickly. I hope we can create beautiful new memories together. I hope…

A new chapter. Just part of the story of our lives. Unexpected twists and turns; closed doors replaced by open doors; beauty found in heartbreak; new beginnings; new joys… may whatever chapter you are “writing” now be filled with courage, acceptance, love and hope… always hope.

Embrace Change!

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On the eve of a journey down to Florida to help my Mom & Stepdad move into an assisted living facility, I can’t help but think about change. Not just in personal situations but how much of it we deal with in our daily lives as Realtors. Change is hard. It moves us out of our comfort zone and even if our comfort zone isn’t all that comfortable, it is still hard. We fight it; often for much longer than necessary, and through the process, we are generally wrapped up in emotions that keep our stomachs in knots until an undetermined period of time passes and we are once again in some sort of zone of comfort.

Change comes at us in different ways… sometimes we willingly seek it out, sometimes there is an undeniable need (like my Mom & Stepdad’s situation) and sometimes it just sneaks up on us. And even if willingly sought, there are moments of doubt, question and resistance; generally followed by efforts to breathe deep, close eyes and take the inevitable leap.

Change is tiring. There are usually many, many tasks associated with the change… and roadblocks… and red tape… and more roadblocks. Emotionally and physically exhausted, we trudge through the “to do” list, wishing for it to be behind us.

Hard. Scary. Uncomfortable. Tiring. Yep… if that is what comes with change, you can keep it. But what if we could change, change? Or at least our perspective on it…

Daniel and I have learned that the only thing that we really can control is how we respond and react to situations in our lives. We truly work at changing our perspective on what life throws our way and while some situations remain less-than-peachy, acceptance and a more positive spin certainly helps make the journey more enjoyable. We encourage our clients to do the same. Turn “Hard. Scary. Uncomfortable. Tiring.” into “Exciting. Inspiring. Do-Able….” OK – more than likely it will still be tiring but it will be a GOOD tired!

What change are you facing? Don’t turn away and cower. Lock your eyes on it and be excited for it. Find gratitude in the adventure. And know that someone always has your back. We only have one life to live… make sure you enjoy the journey and fill it to the brim with adventure and not regret.

Investing in the Future

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Investment… for some, this word still conjures up a queasiness in the center of their being; a reaction to a financial wound that may still be healing.  For others, it’s a new confidence… an openness and availability to opportunity. An acknowledgment of the financial fallout but a refusal to be held prisoner by the fears of yesterday as one observes the undeniable uptick seen in the market.

We’d have to say in the last six months, when it comes to our clients, we have definitely seen more of the latter. From locals who keep a watchful eye on the market to visitors who can’t deny the unique character of the area, we hear it nearly every day… “we’re interested in an investment property.”

Now mind you… we are not financial planners. We don’t guarantee a return but with the help of a simple calculator, the math is pretty easy.  Start with interest rates that are still ridiculously low, add in the HOA and/or regime fees, taxes, insurance and with a little help from a rental management company or a website like VRBO, you can quickly see that a property on Hilton Head can pay for itself while appreciating in value. Of course, there are additional expenses to keep in mind including accommodations tax, housekeeping fees, maintenance, etc. but working through the purchase scenario with your accountant can quickly show that there are stellar opportunities on this island ranked #1 in the Continental United States by Travel & Leisure Magazine. A world-class resort destination, a semi-tropical climate, amazing beaches, arts/culture, golf, tennis, biking, restaurants… it’s all a part of the magnetic charisma we call home.

And you don’t need deep pockets to stake your claim… villa complexes start from 1-bedroom oceanfront complexes in the low $100K’s on up, and there are plenty of single-family, beach-oriented home options as well.  Gated, non-gated, various regime fees, some with POA’s, some without, amenities, lender-friendly complexes… we can help you navigate through the options to hone in on just the right piece of paradise for your portfolio.

Investment. An exciting word… an exciting area… an exciting future.

Our Little Piece of Paradise

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A little over a week ago, I was contacted by a high school friend in Pennsylvania who is planning a move to our area sometime next year. Not clear on exactly where they wanted to be, they embarked on a 4-day adventure to see what spoke to their souls. Beaufort, Charleston, Bluffton, Hilton Head… they were all included in the tour. Not a “formal” tour mind you; just a get-in-the-car-and-see-where-it-takes-us kind of exploration process that landed them solidly in… Bluffton.

So before they flew back up North, we were able to show them a few home options in neighborhoods closer to the Old Town Bluffton area, where they, like many, found themselves drawn to the creative energy, scenic beauty (have you ever stood under a majestic live oak bathed in Spanish Moss and sunlight?), restaurants, shops and overall local scene. They quickly realized that everything they love (including golf and boating) was accessible in this little town by the May River. We lunched at The Cottage on Calhoun Street, peeked at the Farmer’s Market and were given countless reminders of why we love this area. They shared conversations they had with “locals”; folks who have also hailed from elsewhere but have wrapped their hearts around their new hometown, eager to communicate their enthusiasm and insider tips with the “newbies”. Feels good to know that our joy is shared and that we can in turn share it with others.

That’s how our little piece of paradise is growing into quite a revered destination… and for those ready to escape whatever holds your soul hostage, c’mon down ya’ll!

The Importance of Staging Your Home

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Hello everyone! Debbie Cort here with Charles Sampson’s real estate group of Charter One realty, writing about the importance of staging.

If you’re interested in selling your home, it’s super important to get your house ready for the folks that will be coming through and trying to envision it as their own. It’s so important to declutter, depersonalize the house in a way where you don’t necessarily need to bring in a lot of things from the outside.  It’s best to relocate some of the things that are already in your home to help showcase the functionality of the space, and help people envision the best use of the space in your home.

We did this recently with a house in Pine Ridge, and the property sold in one day! So it really is a testimony to the fact that the work and heavy lifting up front will get you a quick close and great results very quickly.

So again, staging is something to consider if you’re interested in selling your home. If you’re selling or buying property in Hilton Head or Bluffton, check us out online at We’re happy to come by and give you an evaluation and guide you through the steps so you can also experience a quick sale of your property.

It’s All About the Lot!

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So about a month ago, a client of ours purchased a home in Hilton Head Plantation that needed a little love.  The home has great space, a really nice layout and flow, master bedroom downstairs and even walk-in storage space upstairs (if I don’t have to pull down a staircase from an attic, I’m plenty happy).

Backup to early spring, I was the Realtor assigned to this home on the Open House Tour and everyone’s reaction was pretty much the same… a wide-eyed, nod of approval as they entered and saw the lagoon view, a scrunched nose and audible “ugh” as they rounded the corner into the kitchen to see the oh-so-dated wallpaper and a little smirk as they navigated the path through the sunken living room (a cocktail party liability).  “But this lot…” they would comment with a pining tone in their voice.  The lot.  Something that can’t be updated, renovated or repainted… it is the blessed piece of land that can make or break a purchase decision.

Much like the platter on which the Thanksgiving turkey is served, the lot can turn a “meh” home into a “wow”.  And it can turn an amazing home into something unforgettable.  This lot at 15 Fox Den is that lot.  Set within Hilton Head Plantation, this hallowed piece of ground is situated at the end of a peaceful street with privacy on three sides and a lagoon view.  It is such a special parcel that back in the day, the original developer of Hilton Head Plantation hand-picked it as his own.

15 Fox Den Map

And as I type, the 4 bedroom, 2,500+ square foot home on this amazing piece of property is being given a huge hug… ceilings have been scraped, new flooring selected, that sunken living room floor is no longer a liability and yes, the wallpaper in the kitchen is already gone.  It will truly be something special and we can’t wait to share it with you.  It awaits its new owner who is looking for peace, privacy and something unique in a beautiful plantation with incredible amenities (including a new $2.2 MM lazy river pool).  Yes, the house will be special too but it’s all about the lot.