Things to consider if you are thinking about moving to Charleston, South Carolina

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One of the most challenging decisions an individual, couple or family can make is the decision to move.? It takes a tremendous amount of research to determine the feasibility of happiness and success in a new geographic region.? We want to do our part to help by providing a simple checklist of things to think about as you make this big life changing decision.

Will we move to Charleston, South Carolina Checklist

  • Are you comfortable with a consistent stream of construction (Commercial, residential and highway)? – Since 2012, cranes have been a part of the Charleston skyline and will continue for a number of years to come.? The traditional Holy City skyline has been replaced with the new look and feel of modern Charleston.? With Charleston being part of the Southern migration, this has resulted in new housing and expansion west with additional bridges, highway repair, new hotels and housing development as a new way of life.
  • Can you deal with average commuter traffic in excessive of 30 minutes or more for under 10 mile commutes?? Charleston does not have the volume numbers of drivers as Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Houston or Chicago, but it is a coastal community.? Therefore, waterways are a part of the structure of the Lowcountry and it has made for some unique, narrow and singular roadways.? Structurally, this region is not designed well for this level of growth, so expect delays.
  • Is your vehicle water tolerant?? I am sure you have heard the stories of flooding in Charleston.? These are not exaggerations, but a very big reality.? Pockets of flooding can be found in various places of the area due to rain or high tide.? Ensure your car is made for high flood areas.
  • Do you value change in seasons?? Charleston is not a four season area.? There has been two snowfalls in 8 years and only one significant snowfall in over a decade.? If you love the changing leaves of New England, you will have to head west toward the mountains to find that type of foliage.? Expect Summer (Long), a brief cold period of Winter and a short Spring in the Lowcountry.
  • Do you love professional sports and attending games/matches?? Perhaps in a few years that may change, but Charleston does not have a major sports team in football, baseball, hockey or basketball (Before folks jump in and say we have the RiverDogs, Battery and the Stingrays), I am referring to NFL, MLB, NHL and NBA.? If you want to watch those leagues live, you will need to travel to Atlanta (5.5 Hours) or Charlotte (3.5 Hours).
  • Do you thrive in a diverse community?? Charleston is not an ethnically balanced region.? White and black residents make up the mass majority accounting for over 95% of the total population.? (Census Analysis)
  • Can you afford to live here? For a family of 2 adults and 2 children, a recent study revealed you need to make $60,067 annually (Study Results)
  • How Liberal do you want your community?? Many consider the Lowcountry a liberal area, but you must keep this in perspective.? Compared to the rest of South Carolina, which is very conservative, yes, this area is liberal, but if your barometer of liberal is San Francisco, New York, Austin or Chicago, then this area is not of the same political and cultural thinking as you are accustomed to.

We hope these insights help as you begin to make some decisions about considering this area your new home.

Charleston, South Carolina Entitlement Bill of Rights

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We ordain these words to the people of Charleston as the standard rights of entitlement as a Charleston citizen

Charleston, South Carolina Entitlement Bill of Rights

  • We shall always remain the Number 1 City in the United States and World under the doctrine of Conde Nast and no other publication, survey or list shall matter.
  • We shall continue to abolish homelessness and drive the poor black and white communities out of the proper
  • Cranes will serve as worship deities from above ruling the skies of the once Holy City
  • The history books will remember us as a city of racial injustice (Walter Scott / Emanuel AME) and weep for us
  • We shall be the leader in Instagram instant gratification filling the social platform with pretty people, pretty food and pretty things
  • We shall rejoice for Christmas with holiday parties, theater, comedy, dining and parades and shun the thought of cold weather
  • We will develop and praise the birth of the $500 a night hotel with butlers, carriages and $20.00 cocktails, yet not offer up a professional sports franchise for the locals to rally around
  • We shall drink on every occasion and every non-occasion, declaring all Charleston festivals a time of spirits and beer
  • The weekends of September through January will be National Holidays celebrating the piety of the Gamecocks, Tigers and Panthers
  • We will pray on rooftop bars bringing us closer to the heavens. I’ll toast to that
  • The beaches will be worship palaces of the flesh
  • Humidity will cleanse the soul by releasing all the inner toxins

In Charleston, we trust

 

9 More Cultural Things You Need to Know About Charleston, SC

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By Mark A. Leon

It is time for our second installment of Charleston awareness.? In our first piece, we provided informative tips about the culture of Charleston, SC, the element rarely found on visitor bureau websites or brochures (See Link Below).? We would like to add some additional cultural nuances to assist as you consider Charleston as place to visit or live.

  • Charleston loves to brag about themselves. Anytime there is an honor for “Best of”, we promote it with diligence and vigor.? Whether that is a banner streamed across a fence, a press release or abundant social chatter, Charleston loves to taut its own horn.? On the opposite end of the spectrum, it is also an area that brushes bad news under the rug (poor academic ranking, dangerous driving conditions or high taxation)
  • Outsiders are not welcome. There is a notion of “Southern Charm” and “Southern Hospitality” that comes with the territory, but make no mistake, locals born and raised in this Southern area, do not welcome outsiders well. ?Look closely at Meetup groups, Facebook social and singles groups, and comments about Northerners being the blame for everything.? You will find that the most that struggle to gain social acceptance are outsiders trying to fit in with the locals.
  • We speak very openly about acceptance and how we bonded together after Emanuel Nine regardless of race or background. Yet, our mayor and the media speak animatedly spoke of the injustices in Charlottesville.? This type of behavior is consistent with a geography that struggles with similar issues.? As the wealth and poverty gap continues to widen with the heaviest wealth among white residents, the tensions will continue to mount.
  • Flooding is not a rarity, but an everyday part of our lifestyle. It is not exclusive to rain or tropical storms, but can be induced by even high tide.
  • Charleston does not embrace conservationism or recycling well. It exists, but the percentage of people that adhere to it completely, is limited.
  • The Lowcountry has a prominent and extremely talented theater scene, but it is not embraced as well as it should. For many theaters, patronage struggles.
  • Food is celebrated in Charleston, but it lacks variety with a huge gap in the ethnic food space.
  • Charleston is well behind in parking reform with parking meters lacking pay and reloading apps or credit card options and the city is filled with inconsistent parking rules and times for the residential streets.
  • Brunch is a holiday both on Saturday and Sunday. On either day, you can find 120+ brunch options.

Thinking about moving to Charleston? Get to know the culture first

Thinking about moving to Charleston, SC? Get to know the culture first

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By Mark A. Leon

All decisions in life come with a level of risk.? Most often the biggest decisions take on the most risk.? The best way to minimize the risk is to gather as much information as you can.? Some of the biggest changes one can make is to move, get married, start a family or a new career.? All have a common variable and that is culture.? Culture is all around us and so difficult to define.? You can’t find culture in a job description or housing spec sheet.? It is something that takes time and experience to understand.

Culture can also be shared.? As some of you make that major life decision to move away from home and settle into a new life in the Charleston area, it is important to know as much as you can about our culture.

Here are a few cultural traits you should know before you make your final decision

  • If you are looking for a quiet historic city located on the harbor, you missed us by four years. If you move here, you will expect major construction and development for the next five plus years in most parts of historic Charleston, including the lot across from Joe Riley Stadium, Upper King Street, Lower King Street, Upper Meeting Street, Battery home renovations, Colonial Lake and MUSC: Though there are pockets of quiet beauty.? Colonial Lake went through a multi-million-dollar rejuvenation project and it is beautiful, but Sgt. Jasper right next door may be torn down for a new community which will involve massive construction.? Be prepared for cones, cranes, potholes, road closures and an evolving skyline that will resemble the Holy City less and less.
  • We are a drinking community. A few facts:? There is a brewery in the Lowcountry for approximately every 2700 citizens.? Yes, one brewery for every 2700 people.? Next, The Recovery Room is the #1 seller of PBR in the United States.? Finally, the state of South Carolina brought in 3.2 billion dollars in beer revenue in 2016.? I think those facts tell a convincing story.
  • Driving and insurance rates are real issues. We are ranked as the 47th worst driving state in the United States.? As a result, insurance rates across the board have increased 10% or more in the last year.
  • We are a festival / event driven community. If you come from a small town with five or ten major festivals each summer or year, you will feel overwhelmed.? On a given week, there are 40 – 80 festivals, events, concerts, fund-raisers, pop-up sales or farmers markets.? Events are not isolated to weekends.
  • We have lots of live music. ? Now we are an easy going coastal community, so much of it is cover bands, flip flops and tee-shirts, but we do get quality national acts that come through the Charleston Music Hall, Charleston Music Farm, The Charleston Pour House and The Royal American to name a few.
  • We have one winery. If you are coming to the Southeast to experience a beautiful winery experience, you are four hours away from the western Carolina, Georgia area where most reside.? We have one (Deep Water Winery).? It is a nice place, but more rustic than Napa.
  • No Carnivals. In the north, there is a love for carnivals.? They are a community tradition.? Not here.? The Annual Ladson State Fair is the closest you will come.
  • Our unemployment is low, but the quality jobs are limited. If you go to Facebook jobs for Charleston, you will see that 85% are culinary, hospitality and maintenance positions.? We have had a surge in small start-up technology jobs and growth from Volvo, Boeing, Blackbaud and BenefitFocus, but overall, we suggest locking a career opportunity before you move here.? This area can burn you out if you are not prepared.
  • Beach life is amazing. There is no question.? Within 45 minutes in any direction you can get to Edisto, Kiawah, Folly, Sullivan’s Island or Isle of Palms.? We embrace our beach communities with restaurants, shopping and dining.? Let us not forget the events.? Lunar beach festivals, movies by the ocean, shag dancing, jazz festival and so much more.
  • Cookie cutter apartment and condos are being built daily throughout the Lowcountry. Do your research.? You may choose West Ashley, James Island, North Charleston, Hanahan, Summerville or Mount Pleasant, but each has its own economic standing, culture and personality.? Do your research.
  • Though the Charleston area has one of the best educational systems in the state, the Southeast is still falling far behind on quality education.? The student to teacher ratios are high, some schools are building shed extensions for additional classroom space and graduations rates are lower than the US standard. ?If you have children, be very careful where you move.
  • If you have comfortable store and restaurants you are used to, make sure we have them too. There are some places you will not find here including:? Macy’s, Fuddruckers, Tiffany & Co, Sprouts, Lidl and The Cheesecake Factory to name some.? We do have one Trader Joe’s.
  • Great church life. Whatever your denomination, you will have options and our church communities are very welcoming.? There are also two large facets of Jewish membership in the area as well.
  • Ethnic food – If you plant yourself in Charleston County, you will need to go to North Charleston to find ethnic food. There are small pockets on James Island, Folly Beach, West Ashley and Mount Pleasant, but very small.
  • Diversity – Charleston County is not diverse. It is evolving, but currently our diversity breakdown is:? 64% White / 27% African American / .002% Native American / .013% Asian / .00032% Pacific Islander / .017% Two or more races / .048 Hispanic (2015 Census Data)
  • Incredible Patriotic Pride. There are 48,000 plus veterans, a well-managed VA Hospital and a community that embraces pride in our soldiers and veterans.
  • We try, but as you would expect, Christmas is not celebrated in the traditional way. One year, it was 80 degrees for our holiday parade downtown.? To our credit, we do try hard, but, by Christmas, historic downtown Charleston is a desert as the College of out for the season and many downtown residents go back to their original homes for the holidays.
  • Travel – The Charleston International Airport is a 15 – 25-minute drive from almost anywhere. With the additional of JetBlue and Southwest Airlines and a massive renovation, the ability to travel is exceptional here with a beautiful airport and competitive fares.? There are some cities including Washington, D.C., New York, Newark, Atlanta and Miami where you can fly for just over $200 round trip with advanced purchase.
  • The cost of living in South Carolina is 80% of the national average. Charleston is 131% of the national average.? Though the cost of living in the Southeast is lower in most areas than most urban sectors in other parts of the United States, Charleston is becoming a very expensive city to not only visit, but to live in.
  • Small and individually owned businesses are a huge part of our culture. There are thousands of small business owners with 10 or less employees that rely on the locals, tourists, farmer’s markets and customer loyalty to stay in business.? We urge support of buying local, but competition is high and we do see many local businesses fall to the pressure.? Be prepared to be asked to help support your own.
  • We have a traditional art scene. We have a few very influential liberal and post-modern artists, but our art scene is built around traditional coastal, nature and scenic art.
  • History is all around. If you are a history buff, you can pick a new place every day for a decade and still discover something new about our history.
  • Average commute time to work is 24 minutes.? Do your research on traffic patterns.? There are areas (Bee’s Ferry, Ashley Phosphate, Savannah Highway, Maybank Highway, Folly Road, Highway 17, Highway 526) that have repetitive patterns of clustered traffic patterns.
  • A popular statistic that has been twisted is the ratio of females to males. I have heard 7:1, 6:1, even 8:1.? The truth is the area population is 52% female / 48% male
  • 14.7% of our population is under the poverty level
  • We love dogs. I cannot emphasize that enough.? We love dogs.? We have dog parks and even dog friendly bars and beach areas.? We love dogs.
  • Road Trips: We have our share of attainable day trips or weekend getaways.? Some great trips you can take with a short car ride include:? ?Savannah (1 HR 45 Minutes), Asheville (4 Hours), Myrtle Beach (2 Hours), Beaufort (1 Hour 25 Minutes – Including a Drive-In and only Lighthouse you can walk to the top in the state), Atlanta (5 Hours), Charlotte, NC (3 HR 25 Minutes), Augusta, GA (2 Hours 45 Minutes), Columbia, SC (1 HR 30 Minutes – Great Zoo) and Walterboro, SC (45 Minutes – Annual Rodeo).
  • Biking and Hiking – We have a thriving community of bikers and runners, but face challenges to widen roads and offer safe biking paths.? Also, we are called the Lowcountry for a reason.? If you want good mountainous hiking, you will be traveling 4 plus hours to the Appalachian or Blue Ridge Mountain Ranges.

This is a good start.? We hope this helps paint a clearer picture of the Lowcountry.? We expect to share more cultural insight with future articles.

Please leave any comments or questions below.