02 November 2010

Create Construction Sketches and Floorplans With Placepad

When you first begin working with a builder, it is a good idea to come prepared with some idea of what you are wanting to build. Creating these sketches can be a time consuming process...well at least it used to be...enter Placepad. I recently ran across Placepad- an interesting and useful tool for creating sketches and interactive floorplans on the fly, including pictures and multimedia.
Example of custom placepad drawing

View a sample plan here

If you need any help putting this together, simply let me know your troubles in the comments below. When you have your plan together feel free to call Jimbo Thompson, Custom Home Builder in Charleston and discuss the master plan.  843-296-5006,

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13 October 2010

Construction Begins with A Land Survey

Before the breaking of the ground...before the first nail is driven and even before actual plans for a building can be finalized, there's always a land survey which must be completed. We've spoken briefly on the importance of a land survey when buying property in the past, but lets take a closer look at how land surveying and construction are related.

Construction Surveyor
Think of land surveying as the backbone of construction. Surveying is the oldest profession known to man.  All value assessment and appraisal of property aside, a land surveyor's method and data must be exact-more exact than 'nail on the head'- because everything which comes afterwards is somehow intimately tied to the calculations within that data.  With that said, construction begins when such data has gone through enough rigorous scrutiny that it has become elevated to a level which is best described as "fact."

Land Surveyors Are Artists with Scientific Expectations
Courtesy of Land Surveyors United
A land surveyor must use the tools that he takes into the field and produce precise measurements.  Those measurements must be so precise that everything which gets built is constructed in accordance to those results. It's definitely not too far- fetched to state that even the placement of your sofa inside your living room is in some way dependent upon the measurements taken by a land surveyor, on your property, before your house was built.

Details and Data

Surveying Data
Land surveying is an accumulation of facts which are ultimately deduced from their method. Details of the land and its sustainability, possible susceptibility to various natural hazards such as flooding as well as earth quakes can be found and duly noted. Such appraisal are extremely vital before investing money in construction as said study helps one to curtail unexpected expenses by land survey and other requirements. An up to date land survey will provide the accurate data and measurements of the land in question. Ultimately, this survey will be essential in several activities apart from the actual construction of a home, roadway or otherwise. Currently their service are preferred in all fields of construction and necessary for all future measurements and structural placement related to the land.

The Role of the Engineer
The relationship of a professional engineer and a land surveyor are both complimentary to one other as well as necessary. Their respective fields of expertise are vastly different, yet both of their services are essential for any successful project completion.  Thus, a surveyor will always be important for an engineer in which ever field he may work because the crucial information of surveyor will enable the engineer to plan out the design and execute the project construction in the most precise fashion. Surveyors can provide the needed information related to aspects of the land such as the soil and advice the load factor which the land can resist. All in all, land surveyors assess the safety and are responsible for planned development of construction, engineers develop the plans which will be used in the actual construction process.

These days, most who are involved with large construction projects will employ the services of multiple surveyors for many purposes. Virtually every step of the construction process will involve a surveyor and/or his data from the field. So whether you are talking about construction of residential or commercial real estate, a company project or even a mortgage survey for a home, land surveyors are thought of as priority.

Property Markers
Fundamentally, knowledge of existing property corners (as indicated with property markers) is necessary before purchasing a piece of property.  Knowing how to find your own property markers can save you time, expense, and trouble. But be aware that there's a big difference between finding established lines and setting new ones (or adjusting incorrect old ones). Only a licensed surveyor is legally qualified to set or move lines.

Below is a short video (for example purposes only)explaining many of the aspects of land surveying which make it important in the construction process:

Note: this video was shot in Missouri.  Here in Charleston, our favorite real estate firm is of course, SC Property Pros.

Guest Post by Justin Farrow Creator of Land Surveyors United.

Special thanks to our friends at Land Surveyors United Global Social Support Network for Professional Land Surveyors for lending us a hand with this information and photos.
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13 August 2010

The Perfect Handshake is a Scientific Matter

A Firm Handshake is a Matter of Science
Shake This!
I, for one, am a firm believer in both eye contact and a firm handshake when it comes to maintaining meaningful relationships in both business
and personal spheres. For the longest time, I always had a hunch that there must be something specifically psychological and deeply embedded in man's primitive nature that makes these elements of human communication so important to long lasting and functional interpersonal communication. That's why I am sharing with you an article that i
stumbled up which explains the scientific significance of a firm handshake (we'll get to eye contact in a later post). You see, you can tell a lot about a person from the way that they shake your hand when given the opportunity-or rather, who is the first to initiate this gesture of trust and acknowledgement. You can either shake hands like the Incredible Hulk or like Pee-Wee Herman, but the point is that both of these types of shaking hands would most likely convey a sentiment which you are not intending to extent to another, especially a stranger. If you want to shake hands effectively, you might like to look into the lessons which have been taught by science.
A Hand Shake is a Mathematical Formula
I found that there is actually a mathematical formula which explains the process of shaking another persons hand-and here it is:

Click to
= v (e2 + ve2)(d2) + (cg + dr)2 + p{(42)(4
2)}2 + (vi + t + te)2 + {(42 )(42)}2"
(e) is eye contact (1=none; 5=direct) 5; (ve) is verbal greeting
(1=totally inappropriate; 5=totally appropriate) 5; (d) is Duchenne
smile - smiling in eyes and mouth, plus symmetry on both sides of face,
and slower offset (1=totally non-Duchenne smile (false smile);
5=totally Duchenne) 5; (cg) completeness of grip (1=very incomplete;
5=full) 5; (dr) is dryness of hand (1=damp; 5=dry) 4; (s) is strength
(1= weak; 5=strong) 3; (p) is position of hand (1=back towards own
body; 5=other person's bodily zone) 3; (vi) is vigour (1=too low/too
high; 5=mid) 3; (t) is temperature of hands (1=too cold/too hot; 5=mid)
3; (te) is texture of hands (5=mid; 1=too rough/too smooth) 3; (c) is
control (1=low; 5=high) 3; (du) is duration (1= brief; 5=long) 3. [via]

I'm Trying to
Use the PHONE!
If you want to avoid being a Pee Wee Herman (or worst yet, exercise
an obnoxious Incredible Hulk), here's some HowTo tips:
  1. Use the right hand.
  2. Use a complete
    grip and a firm squeeze (but not too strong!)
  3. Make sure your
    palm is cool and dry.
  4. Use approximately
    three shakes, with a medium level of vigor.
  5. Hold for no
    longer than 2-3 seconds.
  6. Use eye contact
    and smile naturally!

My History with the Handshake

When I moved from Charleston, SC to Brooklyn, NY back in 2003 and began working in real estate, I was almost immediately confronted with the cultural differences that exist in the ways that other people value or de-value a handshake in the realm of business. For example, in 2003-4 I found myself constantly trying to shake the hands of certain landlords and property managers who are of the Orthodox Jewish faith and found that it was/is less important to them for us to shake hands than it is/was for me. I had the hardest time wrapping my mind around the perceived disrespect that I was receiving and even worse, I felt like they weren't taking me serious. The fact of the matter was they weren't. It had nothing to do with the handshake itself and more to do with our differences in cultural values, but because the value wasn't there, I had to realize that those in this example had their own gestures of acknowledgement and communication which I had to learn if I expected to communicate with them effectively in the realm of business.
Scientists have recently released a mathematical breakdown of the perfect handshake. The University of Manchester researchers discovered that nearly one-in-five people hate the handshake, listing complaints such as sweaty palms, limp wrists, gripping too hard and no eye contact.
Professor Geoffrey Beattie says:
"The human handshake is one of the most crucial elements of impression formation and is used as a source of information for making a judgment about another person.A handshake reveals aspects of the personality of the person giving it- for example, a soft handshake can indicate insecurity, whilst a quick-to-let-go handshake can suggest arrogance.”

A Handshake is Cultural

Without going too deep on this subject, I would like to add just one more note to this discussion regarding the formula above. It is difficult to quantify cultural differences with mathematical formulas such as this, so my advise is to take the equation given not with a grain of salt, but rather as a starting point for figuring out your own working equation. What best works for you in the relationships that you involve yourself in is the
most important aspect for you to consider when shaking hands with new people and engaging in relationships which you hope to maintain. In other words, handshaking (and eye contact) are both subjects which (in
my opinion) are both matters of anthropological investigation as well as mathematical. There may be pieces of the equation above which only you can add, as there are matters which can not be accounted for on a
personal level.
Why is this Relevant to a Real Estate Blog?

You tell me. Why do you think it is important to understand the significance of the handshake you are receiving from your real estate agent, seller of a property or a property manager? I think it should be fairly obvious that the types of messages that you are receiving from these encounters may have a significant impact on the decisions that you make in respect to them and the overall success or failure of such shared adventures.
Do You have any Handshake Stories that you'd like to share? I'd love to read them in the comments

This is a Guest Post from justiNYC, real estate blogger, artist, photographer. Justin Farrow (justiNYC) is originally from Charleston, SC and has spent years blogging about gentrification in North Brooklyn,documenting changes in culture in respect to real estate change. You can find archives of his blog and photography on justiNYC blog.
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12 August 2010

Rumors of Google Me Social Network May In Fact Be True

Faster than a Short Sale
Faster than a property search engine-More Powerful than a Jackhammer operator after two caramel lattes-Able to build 3 story homes without a blueprint...If you don't believe me, just Google Me!

No but seriously...all jokes aside I have been hearing rumors for close to a month now about the Google folks are all getting ready to set up a social network all it’s own in direct competition with the likes of Facebook and Twitter etc.  Although I'm not always one to listen (or read) rumors offline, this type of gossip may actually get kind of interesting.  But where the heck do these rumors come from?  As you know, The unRealtor likes to get to the source and work his way from the inside out.    Where did this rumor start?

It wasn't Perez Hilton..that's for sure.  How about Kevin Rose, CEO of Digg via Tech Crunch.  It all started with a tweet, as most rumors do these days.
People just don't what to think anymore..

Ok...so it's Not a Rumor.  Its a Real Project...
I mean, it's already got its own movie for goodness sake. So what might the rumored social experiment Google Me actually be? No one seems to really know. But it does appear to be somehow related to one's Google Profile, a service that got a shot in the arm with the debut of Google Buzz earlier this year-which has turned into a gigantic flop, according to the so-called "experts." Google Buzz lets users share links, pictures, and thoughts with friends who find them through their Google Profile, but Buzz hasn't exactly put a dent in Facebook's growth.  Will it?  Can it?  Mashable Blog does a pretty good job of ironing out these details.

What will Google Me Mean for Real Estate Professionals?
We'll just have to wait and see.  My guess is we shall see a shift in paradigm where agents who create the best and most content related to their business will leave their competition in the dust. In other words, more focus on the more social agents and brokers and a social networking approach to the ways that consumers receive and/or stumble upon listing data.

A Whole New Meaning attached to "Just Google It"
An interesting related story:  My buddy, the Loftninja used to be an unreal estate agent/blogger in Brooklyn, NY and refused to carry business cards.  When he met people who were looking for property to buy or sell, he would just tell them "Google Me."   Never once did anyone come back to him and say that they couldn't find him.  That in itself can attest to the power of those two words, even back in 2003.  I'm not ashamed to say that I look forward to seeing how Google Me pans out.  I'll keep you all in the loop.

If you'd like to stay on top of subjects like this, Subscribe to my RSS feed and skip all the work of typing in URLs.

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23 July 2010

More Dirt Cheap Properties in the Charleston Area

Remember a couple of weeks back when we posted about dirt cheap properties that can be found on the MLS? Of course you do... We'll we've got more and yes, they are dirt cheap.

This Full Post can not be found on the SC Property Pros Blog.

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Who Wants to Buy the White House?

If you've been thinking about visiting 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue (aka "The White House"), don't bother. Instead just get together around $10 million and just buy the sucker!  Found via Slashdot, I stumbled across the mention of The White House being for sale and thought "Are we (United States) really in that much financial trouble?" Well, the short answer is yes, but that is certainly not the reason behind this executive lodging being offered up for sale on Redfin.  Basically, it was a mistake.  We all make them. Apparently, Redfin software pulled an example listing from the website Owners.com by mistake. That example listing was the White House and it was listed for sale by owner.

 Two Words: Good Grief

Not to worry, America.  Redfin has been notified of this real estate boo boo and Obama has decided not to sell.
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18 July 2010

Hey Charleston, Is Twitter Dead?

Is Twitter Dead?
I know this is a little off topic, but according to the Twitpocolypse, twitter will soon will be gone.  According to them...

The Twitpocalypse Redux is similar to the original Twitpocalypse event. Very soon the unique identifier associated to each tweet will exceed 4,294,967,2951
For some of your favorite third-party Twitter services not designed to handle such a case, the sequence will suddenly rollover and restart from zero. At this point, they are very likely to malfunction or crash.

Values updated every 5 minutes. Current rate is 790 tweets per second
If it does, @theunrealtor will survive.   I mean, we still have all of these services right?
Social Media will never die!

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16 July 2010

Helpful Maps of Charleston Area Local Parks

Charleston Area Parks Maps
Its looking like it may be a nice weekend here in Charleston. Many of you may be taking your kids to the local parks, but if you just moved to the area, I have something helpful for you to use. Below are Maps of Parks in the Charleston Tri-county Area:

Or download the maps here:
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Emergency Tips for Water Intrusion in Your Charleston Home

In the past, we've covered all sorts of topics surrounding moisture analysis and water damage in your home. Today, we're gonna keep it short and give you a printable/downloadable document about Emergency Tips for Water Intrusion in your home.

Download the Goods here:

And if you do in fact have water damage issues in your home, you may want to consider reading our post on Weatherproofing your Home 101 before the storm season arrives. Subscribe to this blog's feed for more helpful advice on Charleston real estate, custom home building and property inspections
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13 July 2010

Your dream home in Dunes West / Real Estate for sale in Mount Pleasant SC

Real Estate for Sale in Mount Pleasant SC

Your Dream Home in Dunes West

 Looking for your dream home? It’s located in Dunes West Mount Pleasant SC! This beautiful home has cathedral ceilings in foyer, study, master bedroom, and playroom. All bedrooms in the home should be considered master suites as each bedroom has its own walk-in closet and  very own spacious bathroom.  A radiant heating tile flooring system has been installed in the master bath for those cold winter nights. Included as well in the master bath, is a built in plasma TV to enjoy while soaking in the lavish tub! 
There is a lighting control system in kitchen, master bedroom and bath, and throughout the porches. Beautiful custom hardwood floors run  throughout the entire house as does extensive moldings and trim work. 

 A gourmet dream kitchen includes a Dacor gas cook top, custom granite counter tops, fine detailed kitchen cabinetry, brushed nickel plumbing fixtures and  a Chef's pantry. Both the kitchen and bathroom floors are decorated with the finest ceramic tile.There is a  surround sound system found in the family room, playroom, game room, media room and garage.  Satellite radio (XM/Sirius) throughout 1st floor, media room, outside porches,garage and 3rd floor game room. A built in plasma TV completes the back porch- perfect for those cookouts come game time.This home has plenty of storage. All storage rooms are heated spaces and are completely finished with carpet and A/C vents. For families that are “going green" , this home features a Built-In Pest control system called Taexx.  

 The backyard retreat has an in-ground swimming pool with a unique waterfall which will refresh those hot summer days. The well designed pool area  includes a cabana with a custom built GE Monogram stainless steel gas grill and kitchen area for entertaining. There is a mosquito control system installed in the backyard area and an irrigation system with private well. Manicured landscaping and much more! No detail has been overlooked in this wonderfully appointed Dunes West home. So when your ready to view this beautiful piece of real estate for sale in Mount Pleasant SC pick up your phone and give us a call.
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