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Mortgage Broker in Valley Falls, SC

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Classic Home Mortgage Providing Trustworthy Mortgage Guidance for Over 30 Years

Buying a home is one of the most significant investments that you will ever make. Like most good things, finding the perfect home comes with a lot of work. From your initial search online to your home tour and finally closing, there are many difficult decisions to make along the way. The bottom line is that the entire home buying process can be very stressful, especially when it comes to finding the right mortgage broker and loan for your new home. Since market conditions and mortgage programs change frequently, you have a lot riding on your broker's ability to provide quick and accurate financial advice. Whether you're a first-time homebuyer or own several residential properties, you need a mortgage broker in Valley Falls, SC, who can educate you on mortgage rates and provide trustworthy guidance to help you make an informed decision.

My name is Dan Crance - Valley Falls's most trusted mortgage loan officer with more than 30 years in the mortgage industry. I bring unparalleled insight and decades of experience into your home loan process. If you're looking for a new home loan, are interested in refinancing your current mortgage, or need information regarding FHA, VA, or other types of loans, Dan Crance is Your Mortgage Man.

Unlike some mortgage loan officers in Valley Falls, my primary goal is to help you make the right mortgage choice for you and your family. Mortgage lenders have a horrible reputation for turning over clients quickly to expedite cash flow and make the most money possible. While some mortgage brokers come off as pushy and impatient, I encourage my clients to take as much time as they need to ask questions and review their mortgage agreements. I'm here to help answer those questions and provide you with easy-to-understand advice so that you can rest easy knowing you made the right choice. I could say that I strive to provide service that exceeds your expectations, but I'd rather show you. In the end, I want you to leave feeling confident in the loan you've selected, as well as in your choice of broker.

Service Areas
Mortgage Broker Valley Falls, SC
 Refinance Valley Falls, SC

Why Choose Dan Crance As Your Mortgage Lender in Valley Falls, SC?

Clients choose my mortgage company because I truly care about helping them navigate the often-confusing landscape of the mortgage process. I am fiercely dedicated to my clients and make every effort to provide them with trustworthy advice and an open line of communication.

In my business, I work for two different customers. On one hand, I have the buyer: the person entrusting me with the responsibility of guiding them through one of the most important decisions ever. Serving homebuyers is not a task that I take lightly. I work with them daily to help them through the process and provide timely updates and news on their mortgage status. On the other hand, I have the realtor: the person who works with my client to find their dream home. Since their commission is in my hands, working with realtors is also a very important task. I update these agents on the status of their customers weekly. Only when I take care of both parties can I say my job as a mortgage loan officer is complete.

As a mortgage broker with more than 30 years of experience, I pledge to give you the highest level of customer service while providing you with the most competitive loan products available. That way, you can buy the home of your dreams without second-guessing your decision.

 Conventional Mortgage Valley Falls, SC

Home Financing in Valley Falls, SC

At Classic Home Mortgage, our team works diligently to close on time without stress or hassle. Whether you're a seasoned homeowner or are buying your new home in Valley Falls, we understand how much stress is involved. Our goal is to help take that stress off of your plate by walking you through every step of the home loan process. Because every one of our clients is different, we examine each loan with fresh eyes and a personalized approach, to find you the options and programs you need.

With over 30 years as a mortgage professional in Valley Falls, Dan Crance will help you choose the home loan, interest rate, term options, and payment plans that fit your unique situation.

 FHA Mortgages Valley Falls, SC

When you work with Classic Home Mortgage, you can always count on our team to:

  • Put your needs first.
  • Work efficiently and quickly. Many of our home loans close in 30 days or less.
  • Offer you a variety of home loans to choose from, and help you make an informed decision.
  • Provide you with competitive rates that make sense for your budget and lifestyle.

While no two loan terms are the same, a few of the most common loan types include:

30-Year Loan - This loan is often considered the most secure option to choose. With a 30-year loan, you can lock in a low payment amount and rest easy knowing your rate won't change.

FHA Loan - If you're not able to make a large down payment, an FHA loan could be the right choice for you. With an FHA loan, many of our clients have successfully purchased a home with less than 4% down.

VA Loan - This loan is reserved for military veterans and active-duty men and women. Those who qualify may be able to purchase a home with no down payment and no Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI).

Choosing a home loan is an important step in the home buying process. At Classic Home Mortgage, we are here to make choosing a loan as easy as possible, so you can focus on the joys of being a homeowner. Contact our team of experts today and ask how you can get pre-qualified for your home loan in Valley Falls, SC.

Refinancing in
Valley Falls, SC

Because home mortgage rates in the U.S. have been so low over the last year, many current homeowners are opting to refinance their home loans. Simply put, refinancing is replacing your existing mortgage with a different mortgage under new terms. Homeowners who refinance their homes enjoy lower interest rates, lower monthly payments, and even turn their home's equity into cash. If you're interested in refinancing your home, it all begins with a call to your mortgage broker in Valley Falls, SC - Dan Crance.

Here are just a few reasons why more homeowners in the U.S. are taking advantage of lower rates and refinancing their homes:
 Home Ready Mortgages Valley Falls, SC
Shorter Term Loan

Shorter Term Loan

Refinancing from a 30-year to a 15-year mortgage might seem counterproductive on the surface because your monthly payment usually goes up. However, interest rates on 15-year mortgages are lower. And when you shave off years of your previous mortgage, you will pay less interest over time. These savings can be very beneficial if you are not taking the mortgage interest deduction on your tax returns.

Do Away with FHA

Do Away with FHA

FHA loans are notorious for paying premiums for the life of the loan. Mortgage insurance premiums for FHA loans can cost borrowers as much as $1,050 a year for every $100k borrowed. The only way to get rid of mortgage insurance premiums is to refinance to a new loan that the Federal Housing Authority does not back.

Switch to Fixed Rate or Adjustable-Rate Home Loan

Switch to Fixed Rate or Adjustable-Rate Home Loan

Sometimes, borrowers with adjustable-rate mortgages refinance so they can switch to a fixed rate, which lets them lock in an interest rate. Doing so is beneficial for some homeowners who like to know exactly how much their monthly payment is each month. Conversely, some homeowners with fixed rates prefer to refinance to an adjustable-rate mortgage. Homeowners often go this route if they plan on selling in a few years and don't mind risking a higher rate if their plans fall through.

 Mortgage Banker Valley Falls, SC

Common Questions About Home Loans

Finding the right loan can be a difficult proposition, even if you have been through the process before. This is especially true since mortgage rates and market conditions change frequently. If you're like most of my clients, you probably have questions about interest rates, refinancing options, and a litany of other topics. To help alleviate some of your stress, here are just a few common questions with answers so that you can better educate yourself as we work our way to securing your loan.

Generally speaking, you should consider refinancing when mortgage rates are 2% lower than the current rate on your home loan. For some homeowners, refinancing makes sense when there is only a 1% difference. Reducing your mortgage rate is a great way to save money or apply your savings to a home upgrade. The money you save on your refinanced loan depends on your loan amount, budget, income, and charges from interest rates. It's crucial that you work with a trusted mortgage loan officer in Valley Falls, SC, to help calculate your refinancing options.
This is one of our most frequently asked questions at Classic Home Mortgage. In simple terms, points let you make a tradeoff between the upfront costs of your loan and your monthly payment amount. Points are essentially costs that you have to pay to your mortgage lender to get financing under specific terms. A point is defined as a percentage on your loan amount. 1-point is equal to 1% of the loan. So, 1 point on a loan worth $100,000 is equivalent to $1,000. When you pay some of the interest on your home loan upfront, you use discount points to lower your interest rate.
If you plan to live in the property for a few years, it makes a lot of sense to pay points to lower your interest rate. Doing so will help lower your monthly loan payment, which you can use to save money. Paying points may also increase the amount of money that you can borrow. If you do not plan on living in the property for at least a few years, this strategy might not make financial sense because you might not be able to make up the amount of the discount points you paid up-front.
In short, yes, your mortgage lender will need to know your credit score. Credit scoring is a system that creditors use to decide whether they will give you credit. Your credit score helps creditors decide how creditworthy you are or how likely you will repay your loan. In most circumstances, creditors will use your FICO scores during the loan process. Your score will fall between high risk (350) and low risk (850). Your credit score plays a big role in the loan process, and as such, your score must be accurate before submitting a credit report when applying for a loan.
The answer to this question depends on how money you choose to put as a down payment on your home. On a conventional loan, if your down payment is less than 20% of the price of your home, your mortgage broker in Valley Falls may require you to get Private Mortgage Insurance or PMI for short. This insurance protects your lender in the event you default on your mortgage. The best way to avoid paying for this insurance is to make a down payment of 20% or more of the purchase price of your home.
 Mortgage Company Valley Falls, SC

Trust Dan Crance

Your Mortgage Lender in Valley Falls, SC

Whether you're selling, buying, refinancing, or building the home of your dreams, you have a lot riding on your home loan specialist. When you need a mortgage broker who works tirelessly for you, answers your questions, provides guidance, and does so with a genuine smile, Dan Crance is your mortgage man. Contact Dan today at 843-478-5612 to get pre-approved and discover why Valley Falls loves Classic Home Mortgage.

After hours by appointment only. CONTACT DAN

Latest News in Valley Falls, SC

SCHSL AAAA: North Augusta football falls to Midland Valley for first time in 25 years

Graniteville, S.C. – A quarter century.Before Friday, that’s how long it had been since Midland Valley had defeated North Augusta.The Mustangs prevailed 49-48 in what is arguably the best high school football game the Augusta area has seen in the last decade.Trailing 49-42, quarterback Corey Tillman scrambled for a touchdown with just 33 seconds remaining in regulation. Opting for the win instead of sending the game to overtime, North Augusta coach Richard Bush decided to go for the two-point conversion. The ...

Graniteville, S.C. – A quarter century.

Before Friday, that’s how long it had been since Midland Valley had defeated North Augusta.

The Mustangs prevailed 49-48 in what is arguably the best high school football game the Augusta area has seen in the last decade.

Trailing 49-42, quarterback Corey Tillman scrambled for a touchdown with just 33 seconds remaining in regulation. Opting for the win instead of sending the game to overtime, North Augusta coach Richard Bush decided to go for the two-point conversion. The Mustangs stuffed the attempt, leaving the Yellow Jackets down 1 with a hope and a prayer.

That prayer was answered as North Augusta recovered the ensuing onside kick, staring victory in the face with senior kicker Jack Stevens warming up on the sideline. The Yellow Jackets are suited for these situations better than most area teams, and Bush knows he has a weapon in Stevens.

Lining up for a 36-yard field goal to seal the game and the region, disaster struck in the form of a false start penalty with 0:05 left on the clock. After his 36-yard field goal attempt turned into a 41-yard attempt, the kick was ultimately deflected to the right, and Midland Valley held onto its perfect record, a Region 4-AAAA championship and its first win over the Jackets since 1998.

North Augusta at Midland Valley was a football offensive showcase

After North Augusta (7-3) and Midland Valley (10-0) tore through the rest of their Region 4-AAAA competition, Friday's meeting with the championship on the line was inevitable. Following last year's 48-22 Yellow Jacket win, both fan bases had this one marked on their calendar since schedules were released.

North Augusta quarterback Corey Tillman was on a mission Friday, racking up over 300 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns (three rushing). Senior playmaker Beans Hunt also scored twice in the effort, once on a 29-yard pass and again on a goal-line carry.

For Midland Valley, Friday served as an historic moment in program history. The gates opened two hours before kickoff, and lines of fans were already wrapping around campus. Both bleachers were completely filled, and the rest of the attendees lined the fence outside the football field, getting a glimpse of the action on the field. Even though it was a regular-season game, state championships have come and gone with less energy than what we saw in that stadium Friday night.

Super tailback prospect Traveon Dunbar was as good as advertised. The senior rushed for over 300 yards and four touchdowns in the win, including a pair of 80-yard scampers.

The Yellow Jackets may have failed to repeat as region champions, but they’re going into the South Carolina High School League 4A state playoffs as a strong No. 2 seed. The problem is that somebody had to fall short in Friday’s back-and-forth contest.

The SCHSL state playoffs begin next Friday, Nov. 3.

Spartanburg County opens new recycling center in Boiling Springs

BOILING SPRINGS — Spartanburg County has opened an expanded recycling center on Valley Falls Road, a response to significant growth in the Boiling Springs area.The previous facility in the area, located on the same road, will be closed. The relocated and redesigned collection center will be at 8278 Valley Falls Rd.The project cost the county about $3 million, according to a news release. The site was purchased in 2018 and built beginning in the spring of this year. The 4.5-acre center includes 40 parking spaces and five w...

BOILING SPRINGS — Spartanburg County has opened an expanded recycling center on Valley Falls Road, a response to significant growth in the Boiling Springs area.

The previous facility in the area, located on the same road, will be closed. The relocated and redesigned collection center will be at 8278 Valley Falls Rd.

The project cost the county about $3 million, according to a news release. The site was purchased in 2018 and built beginning in the spring of this year. The 4.5-acre center includes 40 parking spaces and five waste compactors, which are capable of more than doubling the collection capacity of the old facility.

In addition to standard recyclables like cardboard, mixed paper, certain plastics, juice or milk cartons, aluminum and steel, the center will accept hazardous materials that should not be thrown away, such as car batteries, motor oil, antifreeze, paint, cooking oil and more.

Additional information on recycling and waste disposal in Spartanburg County can be found on the county website.

The county officially opened the new facility the morning of Dec. 15. The center will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

SPARTANBURG — The new Spartanburg County Courthouse is scheduled to open to the public on Jan. 22 with construction now complete on the 344,000-square-foot building.

The $120 million facility at West St. John and Magnolia streets includes 17 courtrooms, one hearing room, a jury assembly room, jury deliberation rooms and other space for future use. Funding for the project was approved by voters in 2017 when they passed a 1-cent sales tax increase. The building’s highest point reaches 124 feet. The new courthouse is more than three times the size of the existing courthouse.

“It is spectacular, not only in appearance, but makes a statement about who we are and where we are going,” Spartanburg County Councilman David Britt told The Post and Courier. “The old courthouse opened in 1957, and it was built when the county’s population was just over 100,000 people. We needed a new courthouse in the ’90s but couldn’t afford a new courthouse at that time due to finances.”

Judicial Planning Associates reported in May 2017 the Spartanburg Judicial Center at 180 Magnolia St., Spartanburg, needed to be replaced because it no longer met the required standards for technology or security required for courts. The old county courthouse will be demolished in 2024, and a plaza will be built in its place. The new courthouse design includes white precast exterior with classical architecture. A parking deck garage with 700 spaces was completed in 2021 at Library Street as part of the overall construction project.

Spartanburg County Clerk of Court Amy Cox said in a statement the current courthouse will be closed from Jan. 8 through Jan. 19 to normal traffic during staff’s transition to the new building.

“Our staff members will still be working, answering phones and emails, processing filings and sending required notices,” Cox said. “There may be times when our phones and computers are in transition.”

The only non-employees who will be allowed in the old building during the move will be attorneys, litigants and witnesses who are on the small family court docket. No one else will be allowed in the building for any other reason. A drop box will be located at the front entrance for any paper filings for any court located in the building.

Massive Confederate flag raised over I-85 violates Spartanburg County law

SPARTANBURG — The raising of a massive Confederate battle flag that towers over Interstate 85 has Spartanburg County threatening legal action to take it down.The flag pole, erected on private property near where I-85 and I-85 Business converge northeast of Spartanburg, is in violation of county zoning law, County Councilman David Britt told The Post and Courier on Oct. 27.“The flag pole has to come down,” Britt said.A Spartanburg chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans claims responsibility for the ...

SPARTANBURG — The raising of a massive Confederate battle flag that towers over Interstate 85 has Spartanburg County threatening legal action to take it down.

The flag pole, erected on private property near where I-85 and I-85 Business converge northeast of Spartanburg, is in violation of county zoning law, County Councilman David Britt told The Post and Courier on Oct. 27.

“The flag pole has to come down,” Britt said.

A Spartanburg chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans claims responsibility for the flag, which the group said is the largest Confederate flag in South Carolina. A video posted Oct. 23 to the organization’s YouTube account depicts a flag-raising ceremony the day before on vacant private property.

The county has issued the property owner an order demanding removal based on a 1999 zoning law that in part bans flag poles that have no accompanying uses such as a home or a business. The county’s order demands removal within 20 days before officials seek remedy through the ordinance.

“We will go through court proceedings and follow due process like we do with anyone who doesn’t follow the county’s laws,” Britt said.

In his interview with the newspaper, Britt didn’t offer his views on the Confederate symbol when asked and said “the flag pole is in violation, and that is where the focus is.”

Reached Oct. 27, County Council Chairman Manning Lynch said: “I was aware of it, of course, and understand they are in violation of our land-use ordinance. Our staff is handling it.”

The Spartanburg chapter refers to itself as the Adam Washington Ballenger Camp 68 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

In response to a request for comment, an attorney representing Camp 68 provided an emailed statement that discusses the history of a July 1864 Civil War battle in Virginia known as the Battle of the Crater, during which the Confederacy suffered heavy losses. The group said many of them hailed from Spartanburg County.

SPARTANBURG — The new Spartanburg County Courthouse is scheduled to open to the public on Jan. 22 with construction now complete on the 344,000-square-foot building.

The $120 million facility at West St. John and Magnolia streets includes 17 courtrooms, one hearing room, a jury assembly room, jury deliberation rooms and other space for future use. Funding for the project was approved by voters in 2017 when they passed a 1-cent sales tax increase. The building’s highest point reaches 124 feet. The new courthouse is more than three times the size of the existing courthouse.

“It is spectacular, not only in appearance, but makes a statement about who we are and where we are going,” Spartanburg County Councilman David Britt told The Post and Courier. “The old courthouse opened in 1957, and it was built when the county’s population was just over 100,000 people. We needed a new courthouse in the ’90s but couldn’t afford a new courthouse at that time due to finances.”

Judicial Planning Associates reported in May 2017 the Spartanburg Judicial Center at 180 Magnolia St., Spartanburg, needed to be replaced because it no longer met the required standards for technology or security required for courts. The old county courthouse will be demolished in 2024, and a plaza will be built in its place. The new courthouse design includes white precast exterior with classical architecture. A parking deck garage with 700 spaces was completed in 2021 at Library Street as part of the overall construction project.

Spartanburg County Clerk of Court Amy Cox said in a statement the current courthouse will be closed from Jan. 8 through Jan. 19 to normal traffic during staff’s transition to the new building.

“Our staff members will still be working, answering phones and emails, processing filings and sending required notices,” Cox said. “There may be times when our phones and computers are in transition.”

The only non-employees who will be allowed in the old building during the move will be attorneys, litigants and witnesses who are on the small family court docket. No one else will be allowed in the building for any other reason. A drop box will be located at the front entrance for any paper filings for any court located in the building.

Spartanburg County is spending more on roads, bridges. Here’s what is underway.

SPARTANBURG — Multiple road and bridge repairs in Spartanburg County are underway, including intersection improvements at Valley Falls Road near the entrance of the county’s recycling center in Boiling Springs.Curb and gutter work preceded removal of a top layer of asphalt on Valley Falls Road between Third Street and Upper Valley Falls Road. The project is scheduled to be completed by July 15 with new asphalt on the road. Spartanburg County Inspector Robert Jones said the intersection improvement was needed to provide bet...

SPARTANBURG — Multiple road and bridge repairs in Spartanburg County are underway, including intersection improvements at Valley Falls Road near the entrance of the county’s recycling center in Boiling Springs.

Curb and gutter work preceded removal of a top layer of asphalt on Valley Falls Road between Third Street and Upper Valley Falls Road. The project is scheduled to be completed by July 15 with new asphalt on the road. Spartanburg County Inspector Robert Jones said the intersection improvement was needed to provide better access to the recycling center. A traffic signal and new turning lane into the recycling center will be added.

“People were trying to turn into (the recycling center) and backing up traffic,” Jones said. “It will be a lot smoother intersection with traffic signals up.”

Work also continues on the relocation of 4th Street and realignment of the street with Hanging Rock and Valley Falls roads. The $3 million 4th Street project in Boiling Springs includes constructing a new stretch of the street, removing a sharp curve. The project’s second phase will begin in 2023 reconfiguring 4th Street heading toward Highway 9.

The county is responsible for maintaining 1,750 miles of roads and 157 bridges. On average, the county spent between $8 million and $10 million annually on road and bridge maintenance over the past five to six years. Over the next five years, the county plans to spend at least $113 million to repair and improve its network of roads and bridges.

“We made a commitment to improve our roads,” County Councilman David Britt told The Post and Courier. “In the past, we didn’t have the money. We now have the funding that we can put into roads and fixing roads like the roads in Boiling Springs is a great example. We are fixing them as fast as we can.”

The county expects to spend an average of about $25 million annually to pay for road repair and widening projects. The county is borrowing money through general obligation bonds in 2022 and 2024 to help pay for the projects. The general obligation bonds combined will provide the county with an additional $60 million over the next five years to improve road and bridge infrastructure.

SPARTANBURG — The new Spartanburg County Courthouse is scheduled to open to the public on Jan. 22 with construction now complete on the 344,000-square-foot building.

The $120 million facility at West St. John and Magnolia streets includes 17 courtrooms, one hearing room, a jury assembly room, jury deliberation rooms and other space for future use. Funding for the project was approved by voters in 2017 when they passed a 1-cent sales tax increase. The building’s highest point reaches 124 feet. The new courthouse is more than three times the size of the existing courthouse.

“It is spectacular, not only in appearance, but makes a statement about who we are and where we are going,” Spartanburg County Councilman David Britt told The Post and Courier. “The old courthouse opened in 1957, and it was built when the county’s population was just over 100,000 people. We needed a new courthouse in the ’90s but couldn’t afford a new courthouse at that time due to finances.”

Judicial Planning Associates reported in May 2017 the Spartanburg Judicial Center at 180 Magnolia St., Spartanburg, needed to be replaced because it no longer met the required standards for technology or security required for courts. The old county courthouse will be demolished in 2024, and a plaza will be built in its place. The new courthouse design includes white precast exterior with classical architecture. A parking deck garage with 700 spaces was completed in 2021 at Library Street as part of the overall construction project.

Spartanburg County Clerk of Court Amy Cox said in a statement the current courthouse will be closed from Jan. 8 through Jan. 19 to normal traffic during staff’s transition to the new building.

“Our staff members will still be working, answering phones and emails, processing filings and sending required notices,” Cox said. “There may be times when our phones and computers are in transition.”

The only non-employees who will be allowed in the old building during the move will be attorneys, litigants and witnesses who are on the small family court docket. No one else will be allowed in the building for any other reason. A drop box will be located at the front entrance for any paper filings for any court located in the building.

A North Carolina Waterfall Haven

In a placid patch of Cashiers mountainscape, design and nature happily comminglephoto: TIM ROBISONYou probably know homeowners who’ve come across a small but pleasant surprise they had no idea awaited them when they bought their property: tulips popping up where a previous owner planted bulbs, maybe, or the overgrown traces of a footpath through the woods. But there are surprises, and then there are surprises.“We didn’t even know the waterfall was there when we bought it,” says Mary Palme...

In a placid patch of Cashiers mountainscape, design and nature happily commingle

photo: TIM ROBISON

You probably know homeowners who’ve come across a small but pleasant surprise they had no idea awaited them when they bought their property: tulips popping up where a previous owner planted bulbs, maybe, or the overgrown traces of a footpath through the woods. But there are surprises, and then there are surprises.

“We didn’t even know the waterfall was there when we bought it,” says Mary Palmer Dargan, of the ferny Rivendell of woods and streams that surround the homestead she and her husband, Hugh, gradually jigsaw-puzzled together in Cashiers, North Carolina. “We didn’t know we owned it.”

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These days, it’s hard to miss what’s now the star attraction of this tract of steep and secluded valley, a calming, two-plus-acre oasis of temperate Southern Appalachian rainforest with a thousand feet of stream bank amid the headwaters of the upper Horsepasture River. The windows and deck of the two-bedroom cottage, perched on the edge of the watershed, all face out toward the cascade across the ravine. When they first acquired the property, though, the couple encountered “a huge, dense, impenetrable rhododendron hell,” Dargan recalls. Fourteen years and two house renovations later, the spread, which they named Fernwood Falls, is far more accommodating: There’s a sunny, cocktail-party-sized expanse of “great lawn” by one end of the house, a network of stone steps and mowed paths serving as navigable slopes to the valley floor and streambed below, and (by Dargan’s estimate) at least nine little seating nooks tucked throughout the grounds, coaxing a visitor to dawdle awhile. But the spot suggests not so much a conquest of nature as a collaboration. “It’s not manicured,” Dargan says, “and it doesn’t want to be.”

Something of a force of nature herself, Dargan knows a thing or two about what a residential landscape does and doesn’t want. A Tennessee native and descendant of Pocahontas’s sister Cleopatra, she and Hugh both worked in that field even before they married almost forty years ago, and hundreds of designs by Dargan Landscape Architects appear in Atlanta, New Orleans, the South Carolina Lowcountry, and beyond. Along the way she’s written books—Timeless Landscape Design: The Four-Part Master Plan, Lifelong Landscape Design, and others—taught landscape architecture and planning at Clemson, and created an online design course for hobbyists and homeowners called the Placemakers Academy. She’s also an amateur dog handler, entering her and Hugh’s two Boykin spaniels, Henry and a sweetly energetic one-year-old named Meade, in hunt tests and field trials.

An afternoon stroll with her around Fernwood Falls, not surprisingly, becomes both a crash tutorial in botany and purposeful design and a window into her passion for landscapes, and this landscape in particular. Dargan points out a hedge of Limelight hydrangeas atop a rock wall bordering the lawn: “It creates a green wall. We didn’t want to see headlights.” A cluster of tall tiger lilies are “the bomb”; a Flame Thrower redbud at a corner of the lawn is “a real rock star”; a cardinal flower beside the stream is “one of my pets.” The stems of a Pacific Fire vine maple turn bright red in wintertime, for a blast of off-season color. There are enormous hostas transplanted from their previous home in Cashiers, and little natural wonders the Dargans have named over the years: the “bear’s den,” a grotto under a creekside boulder; and “the meditation log,” a mossy stump that settled here long before the Dargans did. The stream and its banks are home to brown and native brook trout, salamanders, bright orange crawfish that scurry away the instant you spot them.

Pockets of man-made habitat appear in the watershed, too. The Dargans installed a pair of safari-style platform tents across from the waterfall: the “sleeping tent,” guest quarters complete with a separate shower enclosure and a propane pizza oven (which is also “the bomb”); and the “Out of Africa tent,” which they furnished with souvenirs brought home from visits to Dargan’s brother who lived in Cape Town. “A property has a story to tell,” she says. “You just have to unravel it.”

Inevitably, the rambling garden tour leads to a perch on a granite boulder at the base of the waterfall, its rocky flume angling obliquely for perhaps seventy feet or more along the slope, and terracing hundreds of feet more up out of sight. Come summer, the falls’ torrent slows to a relative trickle, but the gurgle and splash of the tumbling current are no less mesmerizing. “I love the sound of water,” Dargan says. “I guess it puts your brain in a delta state”—the frequency of brain waves linked to deep meditation and dreamless sleep. As it happens, another chapter in the story of Fernwood Falls is about to unfold; the couple is selling the spread to help them tend to Hugh’s health. But even so, in this spot it’s hard to imagine feeling anxious or apprehensive. Humbled, possibly. At peace, almost certainly.

“The words ‘the spirit of place’ come up a lot,” Dargan says quietly as thunder rumbles somewhere in the distance. Even as the couple prepares to move on, it seems clear this little valley will never quite leave them. “Certain places just make you feel enlightened. This feels like that to me. It takes you out of yourself. There aren’t that many places that let you do that.”

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