Thursday, January 3, 2019

The Home-buyer's Guide to Natural Lighting

Are the 3 L's of real estate changing? When looking for a new home, there are many factors to consider. Location is likely the first item on your list. It could be in the second and third position as well. Is the neighborhood safe? How far will you need to commute? What are the schools like? Then there's the age of the house, number of bedrooms, the layout, and the size of the kitchen. With all the considerations, you may not realize you are overlooking an important feature: lighting, lighting, lighting.

How Important Is Natural Light?

Natural light offers many lasting benefits for you and your family. This guide will provide valuable information about natural lighting and its role in the home-buying process. Let's begin with the basics.

What Is The Difference Between Natural and Artificial Light?

While no one decries the invention of electricity and the ability to see in the dark, manufactured light differs from natural light in wavelength and color. You may have learned the colors of the rainbow as a child: red, orange, yellow, blue, green, indigo, and violet. These are the colors of light, and nature has placed them in the sun in a particular order and intensity that changes as the sun moves through the sky (from our vantage point).

In an attempt to replicate solar light, man has invented fluorescent, incandescent, and LED light sources. These bulbs successfully create the illuminating factor of the sun but without duplicating the full spectrum and variations of intensity and wavelength. The bright side is that humans can now function in the evenings with enough light to do almost any activity under the sun. The downside is that artificial light may have adverse effects on sleep cycles, mood, and productivity.

No one is going to suggest throwing out your light fixtures, but you can benefit from natural light by allowing more of it into your home. If you are looking for a new home, you may want to add natural light to your checklist of necessities.

Why Is Sunlight Important for a House?

According to studies, natural sunlight influences more than what our eyes behold. The illuminating effects of the sun shining its light into a room can have an impact on the emotions, behaviors, and productivity of those inside.

You've probably experienced this firsthand without translating it into thought. You walk into a bright room and suddenly feel refreshed and invigorated. It just "feels" right. A dark room can have the opposite effect. You walk in and suddenly feel a heavy weight fall upon you.

There is science behind this phenomenon, and the range of benefits reach farther than feelings.

Seven Benefits of Natural Lighting in Your Home

Consider these seven reasons why you should place natural lighting on your home-buying checklist.
  1. Hold property value. Many people desire natural lighting in their homes. If you purchase a home with more sunshine, the house may be more marketable in the future, commanding a higher price when you decide to sell.
  2. Save on utilities. More light harnessed from the sun means lower lighting costs. Studies estimate that lighting your home costs about $200 a year on average. Turn to natural light, and you could put that money toward a new window.
  3. Improve sleep. The National Institute of Health (NIH) reports a direct correlation between indoor natural sunlight and better sleep. In one study, those with more indoor sunlight exposure experienced longer sleep duration and better sleep quality compared to those with less light exposure.
  4. Be more productive. The same study showed that people exposed to natural light were also more productive throughout the day.
  5. Improve vision. Research has shown that LED, fluorescent, and incandescent light bulbs operate on different wavelengths than what is considered ideal for human eye health. Extra natural light in your home could be a sight for sore eyes.
  6. Fight depression. Sunlight has the power to release the neurotransmitter serotonin. According to studies by the NIH, sunlight can increase cognition in depressed persons. However, you don't need a government study to know that sunshine on your shoulder makes you happy.  Allowing more natural light into your living space can boost your mood and fight off those seasonal blues.
  7. Enjoy the view. More light means more opportunities to see the landscaping, trees, mountains, lakes, or other natural features of the area. When you invest in a home, you are investing in the surroundings too. Get the most out of your view with more glass.

Every Buyer Can Benefit from Natural Lightning

Wherever you are in your home-buying experience, natural light is worth factoring into your buying decision. Where are you in your journey?

First Time: If you are a first-time home-buyer, you are eager to find the right house at the right price. You may be tempted to sacrifice a little light to keep your mortgage payments down. While staying within budget is essential, so is the future value of your home.

Upgrading: When you are at the stage in life where you are ready to move to a larger house (or downsize), it is the perfect time to find a home with natural lighting. You may find yourself more productive, sleeping better, and happier.

Second Home: Your second home or vacation retreat is a place for you to get away and relax. The right balance of natural lighting is vital to make it the sanctuary that you desire with plenty of outdoor views.

Rental: If you are considering investing in rental property, natural lighting is just as important to a quality renter as it is to a homebuyer. Seek for the light, and you may find a better tenant.

How to Increase Natural Light in Your House

If you have found the perfect home or are preparing to sell your house, here are some helpful tips to bring more of the outside light indoors (or brighten up a darker house).

Remodel: The most obvious way to increase the natural light in a house is to include more transparent openings. Installing new windows or a skylight, including a transom or sidelight window near the door, or adding exterior sliding glass or French doors can increase the ambiance in any home. While these options may incur costs, a more affordable option is to switch out the exterior doors with those with more glass.

Re-treat: The curtains and other window treatments in your home can have a powerful effect on the light in a room. Remove light-blocking curtains and replace them with something airy and sheer.  If you want to brighten up your space dramatically, remove all curtains and drapery to bring in the full spectrum. Another option is to meet in the middle and install café or half curtains that provide peek-a-boo light with a little privacy. Shutters and blinds are another practical option, allowing you to control how much light you let into your space at any given time.

Reflect: According to interior designer Ashley Whittaker, “Adding a mirror is like adding a window to a room. It brings in light and creates more depth.” Not only does it expand space and increase light, but it also improves the overall aesthetic interest in a room, she says. Reflection is a creative and affordable tool to enhance the luminescence in any space that you want to brighten up.

Re-create: If there is no other way to bring the sun into your home, but you are desperate for some of the benefits, you can install a full spectrum fixture or bulb in any room. Though the frequency will not be identical to the light from outdoors, it will be close, allowing you to enjoy a bit of brighter side.

Words of Caution on Lighting

Natural lighting does come with a few disadvantages. Here are a few words of warning to balance the benefits.

First, natural light can impinge on your privacy. If you can see out, others may be able to peer inside your home. Make sure that you factor safety into your decision-making process.

Second, direct sunlight through your windows can discolor and compromise your furniture, rugs, carpets, and clothing over time. Light colored carpets and upholstery can hold up to the task better than bright or dark colors. Check the orientation of the house in relationship to the sun, and view the house at different times during the day to see where the light shines in.

Third, if you don't like the view outside your house, natural light may exacerbate the problem. The Cunningham Team believes that your home is an extension of your environment. Buying the right home is not just about the house, it's also about your surroundings. We want you to enjoy every part of your new residence inside and out.

If you are looking for a home in the Greenville, South Carolina, area, we will do everything to help you find the perfect one, natural lighting and all.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Greer SC Current Growth and History

A Quick History

Everyone has heard of Greenville and the vibrancy of the downtown area, but Greer is the little sister right next door that is growing fast and putting together an attractive downtown area of its own. Greer Station, as the downtown area is now called, covers an area of about 12 blocks and got its name from the railway station that came along with the creation of the city in 1876. There was one railway coming through town and that put Greer on the map, however a second railway line appeared in 1914 and the town became an agricultural hub that spawned into a major textile community.

Greer south carolina real estate development
Greer, South Carolina 12-acre downtown park
Several textile mills sprung up in the early 1900’s as the upstate solidified itself as a textile mecca. Apalachee Mill, Franklin Mill, Greer Mill and Victor Cotton Mill were the main mills and had a tremendous economic impact on the area. In addition to textiles, the railroads shipped off-products such as cotton seed oil and fertilizer, as well a prolific peach industry that became known nationwide.

The mill infrastructure was like a small town, and offered workers a place to live, recreate and socialize. Inter-mill baseball team tournaments were a common pastime. Around the workplace itself were mill village housing that typically consisted of small one-story homes on small lots within walking distance of work. The mill village structure became important with redevelopment.

During the heyday of the mills, the downtown area changed character becoming all brick. Commercial buildings were built along the main streets, which still stand today. In 1946 Highway 29 bi-passed the main downtown area of Greer on its route to Greenville, diverting much of the traffic from Greer Station.  With the decline of the textile industry in the latter part of the century, the mills closed down, with Victor Mill shuttering their doors in 1989. 


In the late 1999 the Partnership for Tomorrow (PFT) was created. A community master plan was launched to revitalize the downtown area. Ten years later businesses were flourishing, and new restaurants were attracting diners from the local area as well as others who looked for something other than Greenville. The Greer City Park was added and features a 12-acre park with an amphitheater that can seat 800 for popular events. Picnic shelters and the gazebo have a great view overlooking the pond and fountain – this park is very popular and has become a central hub for those relaxing in the city.
Fast forward another 10 years and past the slowdown of the Great Recession, and you will immediately see that the City has been diligent in making progress. Restaurants have come and gone but there has been a steady improvement of the older buildings and new businesses coming in to set up shop. Currently, the city hub is undergoing a face-lift that will convert it into a pleasing pedestrian-friendly commercial zone.  The design is reflective of old town Montreal with a European plaza look and open to traffic. On the main Trade Street corridor, pavers will replace the existing surfaces and the curbs are being eliminated for easy walking.  Landscaping with arbor bollards will soften the look of downtown Greer. This project started in the spring of 2018 and should be finished in 2019.

A new Hilton brand hotel is being constructed at the site of the Tire Exchange on North Main street, with demolition starting in January of 2019. The development will also include commercial and retail space and ushers in a new era of hotels to the Greer downtown area. The City of Greer has agreed to $1.8 million of infrastructure reimbursements to the developer. The City has also agreed to build a parking garage that will remain public ownership.

Victor Mill

The mill was closed it sat empty until it burned in 2006. An issue of ground contamination has inhibited further development at the site. In this case, as with many other mills from that era, it was contaminated with heavy metals and PCBs from the milling process, and cleanup was expensive. However, the 24.2-acre site got a $200,000 grant from the an EPA, called the Brownfields Program, designed to clean up sites where redevelopment is complicated by hazardous substances. Not to be confused with a Superfund site that has a higher concentration of hazardous waste, a brownfield site is more manageable in nature. Victor mill cleaned up in 2009 -2010 and has sat empty for a decade. 
Post cleanup testing revealed that most of the contaminants had been reduced to acceptable levels.  However, there are a few restrictions on the land use. Ground water use will not be permitted on the property. A ground cover must be installed over the soil in residential and recreational areas, which must be managed by a property manager. Access to Victor Creek needs to be minimized by using landscaping. Traditional single-family housing is also prohibited.

Now the site is under contract by developer Chris Hill who intends to put in some affordable, high density housing. Chris Hill has done a similar project at Judson Mill near downtown Greenville and thinks this Victor Mill will be a viable project as well. Of course, there are hurdles to overcome, like getting annexed and rezoned by the City of Greer, as well as any additional cleanup that might be needed at the site. But it seems like a slam dunk proposal to revitalize a portion of the city so close to the downtown area, just a few minutes’ walk to the park and downtown.

New Development

The City of Greer has grown more than twice as fast as the nearby Greenville-Spartanburg area, adding 22,000 people in the last 18 years, with a population of 79,000 in 2015.  The city expects to have more than 100,000 residents by 2030. The main areas grow is occurring include the downtown area of Greer, Wade Hampton Blvd (Hwy 29) corridor, rural areas north by Lake Robinson, south along Hwy 101 and along the Hwy 14 corridor that runs up to and past I-85.

The latter two of these areas southward toward I-85 house two big employers that are having a huge effect on the local economy – BMW and the SC Port Authority’s Inland Port. BMW employs more than 10,000 and produces more than 1,400 vehicles per day. The company has committed to investing $600 million at the plant through 2021, which will add another 1000 jobs at the plant. Plus, BMW has generated another 70,000 related jobs in the state with about 87% of their vehicles being exported through the Port of Charleston. That makes BMW the “nation’s leader of export sales of completed passenger vehicles”, according to Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt. With the Inland Port nearby and future expansions of BMW likely, Greer has a fantastic base to continue their growth.

Lee’s Real Estate Lens

So where are all these employees living and which areas are ripe for housing? 

The City of Greer as well as Greenville and the surrounding cities of Simpsonville, Mauldin, Duncan, and Spartanburg have all done their share for housing. Much of the land southwest and near to Greer has filled in with residential housing around the coveted Riverside High School district, but there is some land still be developed. 

The Greenville – Spartanburg International Airport (GSP) is located very close to the BMW plant, so residential growth there will be limited in the short term. But you can expect to see an explosion of development of new subdivisions in the “Golden Box” area south of I-85, where rural land is available and new housing developments are starting to take shape. Housing prices and manufacturing costs have risen in the past couple of years, so you can expect starting prices in this area to be around $225,000. 

The central area of downtown Greer is on the precipice of revitalization. Most of the properties are older and often related to the mill villages. But Greenville prices have risen, and Greer is starting to be popular for fixer up buyers who want proximity to a downtown area, BMW, and a reasonable distance to Greenville (20-30 min). Old mill village homes in need of major updating can be found for $60-80,000; ones that are fixed up are selling $100-130,000. In other non-mill village areas of the downtown area, you will find more older homes, but larger and with larger lots with an average sales price of $158,000. I expect those values to go up as more of these homes get remodeled and downtown Greer begins to take off with increased popularity.

Look for more infill and new subdivisions north of Hwy 29. This area is more rural in nature and have great mountain views looking into the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, which are only about 15 miles from downtown Greer. Lake Robinson, one of the few lakes in the area is here, and offers great scenery, fishing, and a quiet setting, but has a limited amount of homes on the lake itself. Typical subdivisions in this northern area have lots a little over an acre and have septic systems. Larger parcels not associated with a subdivision are also available but may take longer to find. 
Sources: Greenville News,, and GSA Business

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Vino Volo to open wine bar at GSP Airport

Greenville-Spartanburg International will be the first airport to feature a Vino Volo "MarketBar." Vino Volo runs a nationally recognized wine bar and will open the GSP "MarketBar" concept in the spring of 2019.

Vino Volo MarketBar will offer wine, beer and gourmet food in a modern, wine country casual ambiance. Marco Di Bernardo, Vino Volo’s vice president of development had this to say “GSP is the gateway to a burgeoning food and wine-savvy region and we intend to represent the best locally-inspired products and food menu items. We can't think of a better airport partner to work with to launch our new brand in 2019.” 

The Vino Volo MarketBar will be located in the Grand Hall. The location will be 824 S.F. Wine will be sold by either bottle or glass. The location will also host events with winemakers. Both GSP and Vino Volo have been recognized by Airport Revenue News(ARN) and are excited to be working together according to Scott Carr, GSP's vice president for commercial business and communications. 

Earlier this year GSP won ARN's Best Concessions Program Design award. Vino Volo won ARN's award for Food Operator with the Highest Reqard for Customer Service 11 years in a row! Their new location will be a welcome retreat for the nearly 2.2 million passengers that travel through GSP yearly. 

View Solds & Active Homes in your Neighborhood.

For more info on Greenville, South Carolina Real Estate and Homes for sale.

Contact us!  (864) 679-0707

Sources: Greenville News,, and GSA Business

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Greer Station's Vintage Christmas Marketplace is this weekend!

Greer Station 2018 Vintage Christmas

Friday evening is the Greer City Christmas Tree Lighting and photos with Santa will take place after. Loads more vendors and great entertainment have been added to this already wonderful 3 day event.

Thursday, Dec. 6th  at 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Ladies night out! Indoor boutique - Food, wine and discounts! $5 donation to Saved by the Heart to attend. VIP Bag to the first 50 people in the door!

Friday Dec. 7th at 12:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Community Brunch! Indoor boutique and outdoor village - Breakfast & discounts! $5 donation to Greer City Relief to attend. VIP Bag to the first 50 people in the door!

Friday Dec. 7th at 12:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Open to the public! Indoor boutique and outdoor village – FREE admission

Saturday Dec. at 8th 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
Open to the public! Indoor boutique and outdoor village – FREE admission

Marketplace Village
Victoria Street between Trade Street and Greer City Park.

Indoor venue
Grace Hall | 108 Trade St, Greer, SC

Sources: Greenville News, and GSA Business

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

New Development for Victor Mill in Greer, SC

Downtown Greer is one of the fastest growing downtown's in the nation. Close the the heart of the city are the remains of Victor Mill an abandoned textile mill. Now there is a proposed development for Victor Mill and nearby residents welcome the prospect of new housing.

Homes for Sale Greer, South Carolina
Greer, SC City Park

The new development in Greer, South Carolina will be within a 10 minute walk of downtown Greer. Greer, if you haven't visited lately, has a growing, thriving downtown area with home grown shops, restaurants and businesses. There is a mix of national chains as well to add polish to the charm already existing.

The Victor Mill location is ideal as the property is currently under-developed with debris and old buildings decaying. The development would clean up the area and provide new apartments and homes. The additional resident would be a boon to the downtown area as well providing a win-win for Greer.

Single-family homes, and town homes are proposed to be in the $120,000-$150,000 range, which is a good starter home price range. Apartments are also proposed and rent will be "the market rate" according to the developer Chris Hill.

 Contact us! (864) 679-0707

 Sources: Greenville News, and GSA Business