This is a great question that has left me perplexed and makes me question why someone would pack up and move here. This may seem like a strange concept to focus on, but being a Realtor in Charleston; I am essentially an ambassador of the city and have the conversation frequently with myself and others.
I approach the topic a little differently. Having been in Charleston, SC my entire life, I many times try to pretend to look at the city as if I am a new visitor, as if I had never seen the area before. I try to envision what makes Charleston, SC so attractive. Why do people decide to come to Charleston for their vacation? I sometimes try to visualize streets I have traveled down a million times, as if I had never seen them before. I try to become a tourist in my own hometown, so the sights and views that I am so familiar with become new discoveries.
By going through this little exercise, I have found that it gives me a new appreciation for Charleston, SC and what it has to offer tourists and even why it is a magnet for relocating families.
Living in Charleston, SC must really be a treat because over 4 million visitors flock to the area to visit each year. But why do they come? Is it the temperate weather? Is it the charming cobblestone streets of Historic Downtown Charleston? Is it the history of the south that draws the attention of Civil War buffs? Maybe it is the warm sand at one of the easily accessed beaches that draws the attraction. Having lived here my entire life, I cannot really make claim as to why someone visits, but I can comment on what makes Charleston a good place to call home.
Living in Charleston, SC has its benefits. One of the primary reasons is not really something you can grasp onto in a travel magazine. It is more something you have to experience.
Charleston, SC has been named again and again the politest city in America to live in. In fact, there is a Southern Charm associated with daily interactions. Sure there are periods of the year where you can see a few seersucker suits walking up and down the streets of Charleston, but not everyone sips lemonade on their piazza and speaks in an eloquent southern drawl. There are people from all over the World here in Charleston. It seems to be an international destination for tourists, and a continental destination for people relocating to the area.
Being a Realtor in Charleston SC, I have had the good fortune of meeting people from all walks of life that have decided to move to Charleston. Living in Charleston has its appeal and for many it has been the weather. For some, it has been the building of the new Boeing plant designed for the construction of the new 787 Dreamliner. But for most, it has been the slowed down pace. This is the reason Charleston has been named the politest city so many times. The people that enjoy living in Charleston are not in a rush all the time. This makes them slow down a bit, enjoy life, have a conversation and not have to feel like they are too busy to be friendly. I would say this is the first perk and one of the main reasons why people enjoy living in Charleston, SC.
Now that we have concluded that the people are good people and that the friends and neighbors that live in Charleston are good to have, let’s just discuss the area.
In order to help someone make the right decision, it really is important to educate buyers on just how to approach living in Charleston. My main advice centers around getting to know the areas of town first so one can make a decision on where they ultimately want to be each day. After what part of town is established, then focus in on the neighborhood and the house. This breaks it down fairly easily into a 2-3 step process that can surprisingly be achieved in one day.
The area is divided by the Ashley River and the Cooper River, both of which meet at the tip of the historic downtown peninsula. Johns Island is a rural island close to James Island, and of course there are other areas that are just as easy to define. The fact that it is fragmented geographically makes it simple to deductively decide where one wants to be. The geography has also shaped the types of homes that can be found in each area.
Since James Island is in fact an island, there are primarily older homes because the area was heavily developed in the 1960’s, 70’s and 1980’s. Of course, some new construction can be found there, but for the most part it is primarily an older, more established area. Mount Pleasant is a different story and seems newer because there are not geographical limitations. This resulted in more space to develop throughout the 1990’s and up until today, there has been quite a bit of growth.
Both the Ashley and Cooper Rivers meet to form the harbor, which can be viewed from the tip of the Charleston Peninsula. This is commonly referred to as The Battery. Yes, this is the same battery where the first shot of the Civil War occurred. Yes, it is the same battery that was pummeled with over 11,000 bombs being hurled from nearby James Island so long ago. Yes, this is the same battery that offers a constant breeze and a glimpse back in time with mansions that reflect a bygone era. And yes, it is the same battery that attracts tourists and buyers alike.
Being a Realtor in Charleston is very rewarding. I get to show off the place I have come to love more often than anyone I know, (which I like).
There are many things to do while living in Charleston, but it seems the most important thing is to simply take the time to enjoy life. This is what makes the people somewhat relaxed and laid back. There are not millions of people living here, but there are enough to make it more than just a small town without feeling lost in a herd of cattle. This gives the people time to get to know one another and enjoy the flavors of not only all that living in the south has to offer, but it provides a sense of community, a sense of belonging and an appreciation of "being here" that can only really be experienced by living in Charleston, SC.
If you want to dig deeper, why not try my Google Earth Charleston Video Tour?
Nat Wallen is a Realtor in Charleston SC specializing in residential property sales. He has been licensed since 1995 and is the top listing agent with Carolina One Real Estate. Carolina One Real Estate is the largest company in the Charleston SC area of 700 plus agents. NOTE: Nat Wallen never solicits consumers interacting with his blog unless requested. YOUR comments are encouraged and welcomed. Thanks!