Welcome to The Dunes Realty Blog

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

TripAdvisor names Brookgreen Gardens as one of the 2013 Top Ten Public Gardens in the United States

Frequent visitors to the Myrtle Beach area don't have to be reminded just how special a place we have in Brookgreen Gardens.  Located between Murrells Inlet and Litchfield and just minutes from the Dunes Realty office, this National Historic Landmark has the most significant collections of figurative sculpture in the country and only accredited zoo on the South and North Carolina coasts.  Now, Brookgreen can add one more accolade to its lengthy resume: holding the #6 spot on TripAdvisor's list of the Top Ten Public Gardens in the United States!


For 83 years, Brookgreen Gardens has been an inspiration, refuge and retreat for residents and visitors, where art meets nature. Designed in 1931 by Anna Hyatt Huntington in the shape of a spread-wing butterfly, the 9100-acre property is a testament to natural landscapes. A thriving rice plantation in the early 1700’s is now home to over 1200 works by 350 artists.
Countless awards, honors and accreditations guarantee a most pleasant and memorable experience for its guests of all ages. Seasonal events and exhibits make Brookgreen “ever changing, simply amazing”. The Butterfly House, Nights of a Thousand Candles, Cool Summer Evenings concerts, Creek Cruises, Children’s Discovery Room, Sculpture Workshops ~ the options are endless!


Open daily, Brookgreen has so much to offer that it would be nearly impossible to see and do it all in one day... that's why the regular admission ($14 for adults 13-64, $12 for seniors 65+, $7 for children 4-12 and free for children 3) is one of the Myrtle Beach area's best values: it's valid for seven consecutive days! 
For more details and an event schedule, just visit www.brookgreengardens.org.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Replacement Schedule for Vacation Rental Fixtures

First-time owners of vacation rental properties (and even some veterans) are often shocked by how quickly furniture and fixtures can wear out, even in family-friendly atmospheres like Garden City Beach and Surfside Beach.  Some are quick to point to misuse or intentional damage as the cause, but the truth of the matter is usually much less dramatic.

We've seen just about everything in our almost-45-years in the business, and the single biggest cause of faster-than-normal wear and tear isn't partying teenagers, bikers or the Beverly Hillbillies... it's simply the environment in which your property is located.  Salt and sand are enemies of almost anything man has ever invented, and both are found in abundance at the beach.  Whether it's a wet head on a couch, sandy toes on carpet or salt spray on an air conditioner, these two items find their way into, onto and under nearly everything, and the results are infallibly surprising to those unfamilar with the area.

Because of this, our recommended replacement schedules for furniture and fixtures can also come as a surprise.  While these timeframes certainly include some "wiggle room," homeowners should definitely begin the evaluation process when these dates are reached.


Furniture:
Upholstered couches and chairs: 3-5 years, although recovering often accomplishes the same goal
Carpet: 5 years
Dining Chairs: this depends on whether or not they have cushions; if so, 3-5 years, if not, replace as necessary

Kitchen:
Appliances: Replace as needed, but expect no more than 10 years maximum
Kitchen Cabinets: 10-12 years
Laminate countertops: 5-7 years; granite, Corian and other materials may last significantly longer
Cookware: Good quality (Calphalon, etc.,) 5 years, otherwise as needed

Kitchen Inventory/Utensils: Annually as necessary

Bedrooms:
Bedspreads or comforters: 2 years
Mattress and Box Springs: 5-10 years maximum

Bathrooms:
Shower Liner: Annually or as needed.
Bathroom Fixtures: 10-15 years or as needed.

General:
Vinyl Flooring: 5 years.
Color Schemes: Review every 5 years
Paint: Touch-up as needed, complete re-painting every 3-5 years.
Soft Goods: 5 year maximum
Case Goods (furniture, etc.:) 7 year maximum

Following these guidelines will ultimately result in happier guests, higher incomes and fewer hassles: three things that certainly rate high on any vacation rental homeowner's list.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Our Housekeeping Department has been anxiously awaiting the upcoming rental season... things are starting to get busy, and our inspectors are gearing up to ensure that our vacation homes and condos are ready for occupancy.


Many homeowners may not be aware of our procedures for Pre-Arrival Checks, but they play an important role in ensuring guest satisfaction. All rental properties that have not been serviced by housekeeping or have been vacant for more than 7 days are inspected by a member of our Housekeeping Service team prior to a guest's scheduled arrival. This process is especially important early in the rental season when many properties have been vacant for an extended period of time, but is necessary at other times as well.

Inspectors are trained to check for cleanliness, to make sure appliances are operational, utilities are functioning and to ensure that any maintenance issues can be addressed before the guest’s arrival. This service is provided at no cost to the homeowner, and the majority of the time our inspectors are able to handle this free preparation service for your properties themselves by doing some light dusting or sweeping up the occasional “palmetto bug” (incoming guests never appreciate our state bug.) If your property needs additional service from a housekeeper or a member of the Property Care Team, the inspector will notify the office of what's needed and we will make sure the concerns are handled and the property is readied for the guest.

If you (or your guest) is departing with a renter expected to arrive in the near future and would like us to come and complete an inspection before you head back home, please call our office and we will arrange for that inspection at no charge to you. Many owners have found that this can avoid additional charges for items that may need to be taken care of before an arrival that they can handle themselves before leaving.





TripAdvisor names Brookgreen Gardens as one of the 2013 Top Ten Public Gardens in the United States

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Frequent visitors to the Myrtle Beach area don't have to be reminded just how special a place we have in Brookgreen Gardens.  Located between Murrells Inlet and Litchfield and just minutes from the Dunes Realty office, this National Historic Landmark has the most significant collections of figurative sculpture in the country and only accredited zoo on the South and North Carolina coasts.  Now, Brookgreen can add one more accolade to its lengthy resume: holding the #6 spot on TripAdvisor's list of the Top Ten Public Gardens in the United States!


For 83 years, Brookgreen Gardens has been an inspiration, refuge and retreat for residents and visitors, where art meets nature. Designed in 1931 by Anna Hyatt Huntington in the shape of a spread-wing butterfly, the 9100-acre property is a testament to natural landscapes. A thriving rice plantation in the early 1700’s is now home to over 1200 works by 350 artists.
Countless awards, honors and accreditations guarantee a most pleasant and memorable experience for its guests of all ages. Seasonal events and exhibits make Brookgreen “ever changing, simply amazing”. The Butterfly House, Nights of a Thousand Candles, Cool Summer Evenings concerts, Creek Cruises, Children’s Discovery Room, Sculpture Workshops ~ the options are endless!


Open daily, Brookgreen has so much to offer that it would be nearly impossible to see and do it all in one day... that's why the regular admission ($14 for adults 13-64, $12 for seniors 65+, $7 for children 4-12 and free for children 3) is one of the Myrtle Beach area's best values: it's valid for seven consecutive days! 
For more details and an event schedule, just visit www.brookgreengardens.org.

Replacement Schedule for Vacation Rental Fixtures

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

First-time owners of vacation rental properties (and even some veterans) are often shocked by how quickly furniture and fixtures can wear out, even in family-friendly atmospheres like Garden City Beach and Surfside Beach.  Some are quick to point to misuse or intentional damage as the cause, but the truth of the matter is usually much less dramatic.

We've seen just about everything in our almost-45-years in the business, and the single biggest cause of faster-than-normal wear and tear isn't partying teenagers, bikers or the Beverly Hillbillies... it's simply the environment in which your property is located.  Salt and sand are enemies of almost anything man has ever invented, and both are found in abundance at the beach.  Whether it's a wet head on a couch, sandy toes on carpet or salt spray on an air conditioner, these two items find their way into, onto and under nearly everything, and the results are infallibly surprising to those unfamilar with the area.

Because of this, our recommended replacement schedules for furniture and fixtures can also come as a surprise.  While these timeframes certainly include some "wiggle room," homeowners should definitely begin the evaluation process when these dates are reached.


Furniture:
Upholstered couches and chairs: 3-5 years, although recovering often accomplishes the same goal
Carpet: 5 years
Dining Chairs: this depends on whether or not they have cushions; if so, 3-5 years, if not, replace as necessary

Kitchen:
Appliances: Replace as needed, but expect no more than 10 years maximum
Kitchen Cabinets: 10-12 years
Laminate countertops: 5-7 years; granite, Corian and other materials may last significantly longer
Cookware: Good quality (Calphalon, etc.,) 5 years, otherwise as needed

Kitchen Inventory/Utensils: Annually as necessary

Bedrooms:
Bedspreads or comforters: 2 years
Mattress and Box Springs: 5-10 years maximum

Bathrooms:
Shower Liner: Annually or as needed.
Bathroom Fixtures: 10-15 years or as needed.

General:
Vinyl Flooring: 5 years.
Color Schemes: Review every 5 years
Paint: Touch-up as needed, complete re-painting every 3-5 years.
Soft Goods: 5 year maximum
Case Goods (furniture, etc.:) 7 year maximum

Following these guidelines will ultimately result in happier guests, higher incomes and fewer hassles: three things that certainly rate high on any vacation rental homeowner's list.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Our Housekeeping Department has been anxiously awaiting the upcoming rental season... things are starting to get busy, and our inspectors are gearing up to ensure that our vacation homes and condos are ready for occupancy.


Many homeowners may not be aware of our procedures for Pre-Arrival Checks, but they play an important role in ensuring guest satisfaction. All rental properties that have not been serviced by housekeeping or have been vacant for more than 7 days are inspected by a member of our Housekeeping Service team prior to a guest's scheduled arrival. This process is especially important early in the rental season when many properties have been vacant for an extended period of time, but is necessary at other times as well.

Inspectors are trained to check for cleanliness, to make sure appliances are operational, utilities are functioning and to ensure that any maintenance issues can be addressed before the guest’s arrival. This service is provided at no cost to the homeowner, and the majority of the time our inspectors are able to handle this free preparation service for your properties themselves by doing some light dusting or sweeping up the occasional “palmetto bug” (incoming guests never appreciate our state bug.) If your property needs additional service from a housekeeper or a member of the Property Care Team, the inspector will notify the office of what's needed and we will make sure the concerns are handled and the property is readied for the guest.

If you (or your guest) is departing with a renter expected to arrive in the near future and would like us to come and complete an inspection before you head back home, please call our office and we will arrange for that inspection at no charge to you. Many owners have found that this can avoid additional charges for items that may need to be taken care of before an arrival that they can handle themselves before leaving.