Isle of Palms Office

1400 Palm Boulevard Ste. M
Isle of Palms, SC 29451

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Folly Beach Office

31 Center Street
Folly Beach, SC 29439

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Dunes Downtown

11 Fulton Street
Charleston, SC 29401

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Kiawah Seabrook Office

1887 Andell Bluff Boulevard
Johns Island, SC 29455

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Mount Pleasant Office

835 Coleman Blvd Ste. 200
Mount Pleasant, SC 29464

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Category: Mortgages

To Buy or to Rent?

That is the question! Many often wonder which is less expensive, to rent a home, or to own a home? The answer helps families make the decision whether or not to buy. There are some obvious reasons to own instead of rent, like being able to customize the space and not having a landlord. When you are renting, the space is not actually yours, so if you want to paint some of the walls or do some minor renovations, that is not an option. You also have a landlord, which means that when something is broken, it is out of your hands.

Some benefits of becoming a home owner in today’s market include low mortgage rates and tax deductions. A huge benefit of home ownership is being able to deduct things like mortgage interest payments and property tax payments. Itemizing deductions, or even taking the standard deduction, saves money and makes buying cheaper than renting in some cases.

Interest rates have risen, but still remain historically low. If you choose a fixed mortgage rate then your monthly payment will not change, unlike most rents, which tend to rise every year.

Another factor to consider is how long you plan on living in the home. If you are uncertain about whether or not you may want to move again soon, then renting is probably the route to take. If you are certain that you will stay put and decide to purchase, then the longer you stay in that location, the lower the cost of owning, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

“The numbers on housing have an important message for American families today, and particularly young families setting out on life’s great adventure: Five years ago, at the peak of the home buying euphoria, it was emphatically a time to rent. Today, when home ownership is depreciated more than ever before, the numbers tell us it is time to buy. Before it increases by leaps and bounds as predicted.” — Keeping Current Matters

If you’re thinking about buying in the Charleston area, we would love to hear from you! Whether it’s to chat or to browse our real estate listings, dunes properties has over 40 licensed, experienced real estate agents that are here to help.

First Quarter Real Estate Update

Charleston Trident Association of Realtors puts out quarterly video updates on the real estate market.  It’s quick and informative so check it out!

Sales are up 8.2% from last 2010’s first quarter’s end, prices experienced a  6.1% dip.  We’ve posted year over year gains, increasing sales, unemployment is declinging, we’ve had 13 consecutive months of private job growth and all this is cause for optimism. 


Betty Poore’s November Update

Good chilly morning! We have had all the rain we need, thank you! It finally cleared up here and for the next week we are going to have sunshine, blue skies and temperatures in the mid seventies. Life is pretty darn good here on the Charleston Coast.
Real estate activity lately has been on the rise. We are seeing an increase in the number of properties sold, but a decrease in sales prices. There is plenty of interest in foreclosure and short sale properties, but why go through all the hassle when there are properties on the market priced even lower that are neither? Just smart sellers getting in front of the decline in the market. If you would like a list of some of my best buys just shoot me an email or go to my blog. I’ll be updating that list this afternoon (they are not just my listings.)
There is some good reading in this month’s E-Newsletter. The three main articles of interest  include:  “Knowledge is Power When Buying a House”, “Five tips to Increase Your Home’s Appeal, and “Four Questions Help Determine Improve or Move”.
And, pay attention to interest rates! Mark and I are re-financing because the rates are incredibly low! Call your lender this week to see if you can take advantage of the rates before they go back up.
As always, I hope you’ll give a call or stop by when you are in the area.  Talk with you soon.
 Betty Poore – Realtor
Your Connection to the Charleston Coast
(p)  843-608-9362
(f)   866-279-2260

Can You Time the Real Estate Market?

Plot of U.S. home prices, population, building...

Image via Wikipedia


A few weeks ago I was talking with a Financial Advisor. The conversation moved around to a discussion of timing the market. If you have ever talked with a Financial Advisor, you can probably guess what I was told about timing the stock market…It cannot be done. There is plenty of data that supports that position. I started think about the real estate market and whether or not anyone can time the perfect time to buy or sell.

I’ve read a fair number of real estate books and listened to my share of experts on the subject and the answer I come away with is NO, you cannot time the real estate market to produce the best result for either a buyer or a seller. There are plenty of data that support my conclusion. But we don’t have to pour through years of facts to realize that markets are volitile and not easy to predict, even for the so called experts. Like it or not real estate is a market like stocks, bonds or futures.

Sellers must recognize the ebb and flow of the market determines the value of their home. Location and condition play a slight role in the overall, but what a seller paid for the house when they purchased it does not. As much as you might be attached to your home now, it is only a house on the market to the buyer.

Speaking of buyers, so many are trying to time the market to get the best price. But is that is not all that goes into a house search. Once a buyer is settled on the size house they need, location and condition are important. Do you consider the importance of the mortgage interest rates if you are borrowing money to buy? You should. But not necessarily for the reason you think. How much influence does your interest rate have on your buying power? If listing prices go down, but interest rates go up, where does that leave you?

Here is a chart that might help you see how interest rates and selling prices can influence your buying decision.

Put 20% down on a 30-year Fixed Rate

SCENARIO 1 SCENARIO 2Home Prices decrease by 5.0% and Interest Rates increase by 0.5% SCENARIO 3Home Prices decrease by 10.0% and Interest Rates increase by 1.0%
HOME PRICE $500,000 $475,000 $450,000
Financed $400,000 $380,000 $360,000
Interest Rate 4.0% 4.5% 5.0%
Monthly P/I $1,909.66 $1,925.40 $1,932.56

The purchase price dropped and the interest rates went up and what was the net result to your monthly payment? The selling price dropped by 10% and the interest rate increased 1% resulting in a monthly payment of principle and interest to go up by aver $20! Did it make sense for you to wait?



Why Isn’t My House Selling?

Is that a question you’ve asked your real estate agent? It seems this question is being asked more and more these days. While there are many factors that go into the answer to that question, one reason that is the most frequent reason is the listing price. How is the listing price of your home so important in getting your home sold within 90 days?

Your goal is to sell your home for the best price in the shortest time. That is also the goal of your real estate agent since your agent only gets paid when your home sells. That poses a very delicate balancing act. What is the best price to get your home sold in 90 days? What relationship does that price have with what you paid for your home, or more importantly, what you owe on your mortgage? As a homeowner, these  are important factors to you, but a potential buyer is not interested in what you paid for your house and what you owe on your house! To a potential buyer the only thing that is relevent is what is your house worth in this market. Isn’t that what was important to you when you bought your house?

Is your house worth more to a buyer than your neighbors?

When your home is listed, the first two weeks tell the tale of list price. If your house is shown often during that time you are probably in the right price range of comparable homes. If you haven’t received an offer, your list price could be high. If your house has only a few showings in the first two weeks that is a clear indicator that you need to take immediate pricing action to get in the range price of comparable homes in the area. If you do not act immediately another reason comes into play. What’s that?

If you’ve listed your house at a price that is above the selling price of houses that are comparable to yours and you aren’t getting showings within the first two weeks of listing your house, your house will be ‘old’ in the minds of buyers. Even worst, buyers might feel that it would be difficult to negotiate a deal on your house because the listing price is above the market. That puts you in a difficult position. By the time you lower the price to where the market was, you’ll find that the market has changed. You end up chasing the market and your house has lost its luster. Some agents may tell you that the price reduction will cause your house to show up on the MLS hot sheet notifying all local agents of the price reduction. But remember, these agents saw the first listing with a price that was above market. And there are newer listings that their clients might want to see!

Avoid the hassle! Selling your house is a business transaction and there is little room for emotion. What ever your reason for selling your house your goal is to sell it at the best price (fair market value) in the shortest time possible! While you cannot do this with price alone, one thing is sure: If you price above the market you will not sell your house in the shortest time possible.

If you have questions on this, or other real estate topics, call us.

Too Much Regulation?

Do you think there is too much regulation in the financial industry?  My husband, Mark, sent me a link to an interesting article in the NY Times.

The premise is a good one: spell out for the consumer, in plain English, what he is getting.  I am amused by the author’s refinancing tribulations as Mark and I are going through that now. I’d give anything to have it streamlined and in consumer English. Heck, I am in the business and am sometimes overwhelmed by the sheer volume of paperwork and foreign sounding words.

 Money, money, money. You have to love his comment : “For as long as there has been money, people have been doing stupid things with it.” Here’s a link to the article: The Way We Live Now

– Betty Poore, ,

Are You Thinking About a 1031 Exchange?

Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code is most often used in connection with the sale of real property.  If you have been in the real estate market looking for a way to invest money and defer taxes, you may have heard about ‘Like-kind exchanges’ or ‘Tax Deferred Exchanges’ as a possible means to accomplish your goals. These are alternate names for what is commonly known as a 1031 Exchange.

United States Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. § 1031)

This is a simple transaction that allows you to exchange properties of like-kind and defer the taxes. The transaction is simple, but understanding the process may not be! What property qualifies? Here are a couple of examples of what does not qualify:

  • 1031(e) livestock of different sexes do not qualify for like kind exchange.
  • 1031(h)(1) real property outside the United States and real property in the United States are not of like kind.

I was surprised about 1031(e) and I’m sure you are.

This might be your 1031 “Like-Kind”.

What is the difference between a second home and a vacation home? What taxes are being deferred? How long are taxes deferred? How does this benefit me? As a buyer, should I consider entering into an identified 1031 Exchange?  Do qualified exchanges have to be simultaneous? If not, how long do I have to complete a qualified exchange?

There are many more questions depending on each circumstance and it is in your best interest to get correct answers to the questions for your circumstances and not depending on an overview to make your decision. Your professional Realtor® will be able to give information, but a Realtor® is only part of the resources you need. Your Realtor® will identify properties for your consideration. Another team member should be a tax attorney and a CPA who are experienced with 1031 Exchanges. They can give answers to how a 1031 Exchange fits into your portfolio, and how a 1031 Exchange fits into your estate.

If you are interested in a 1031 Exchange in on the Charleston Coast, contact Dunes Properties.

Home Buying and Baskin-Robbins

I remember my first visit to a Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream store when I was a child. There were more flavors than I had ever seen before all at a price my parents were willing to pay! How could I decide which was best? I was used to vanilla, chocolate and strawberry, but now there was mango, peach, caramel and cream, and about 27 other flavors to choose from. What was I to do?

Today’s real estate market is kind of like that. There are so many homes and neighborhoods available at great prices. How can a person decide on what to choose? If you are in the market for a new home, how can you avoid being mesmerized by the 33 flavors of homes available to you? Before you start looking, know what you need! Answer some questions before you go. The first answer you need is to the question of what you can afford. Here are a few others to consider:

  • How big of a home do we need?
    • Will three bedrooms and two bathrooms work? Or do we need more?
    • How many square feet of air-conditioned space do we need?
  • What size lot do we need?
    • Do we want a large lot?
    • Are we interested in a small lot?
    • How much yard work am I willing to do?
  • Are we interested in a townhome or condominium?
  • What schools are nearby?

Once you’ve established your needs and balanced them with your wants, your Realtor® can focus the search on that target. Your Realtor® will preview a selected group of homes before spending your time in actually visiting everything in the mix. You should be able to find your home within 5 to 10 homes that you visit.

Remember Baskin – Robbins? I got sick sampling as many flavors as I could and never bought one scoop. Avoid the stomach-ache in your search by knowing what you want before you go to market.


Mortgage Rates Decline-front page Wall Street Journal article

Read this interesting Wall Street Journal article on the front page of today’s issue Mortgage Rates Decline .

The article, written by Nick Timiraos, states international money seeking a safe haven is coming into the US and pushing domestic mortgage rates to the lowest levels of the year and back near 50 year lows.  Many in the industry say rates could drift as low as 4.5% this summer and not rise to 6% as some economist projected.  Rates on 30-year mortgages averaged 4.84% last week according to a survey by Freddie Mac.  Rates late last Friday were quoted at 4.86%, the lowest since December 2009 according to a survey by financial publisher HSH Associates, and down from a high of 5.27% for the week ended April 9.

Looking For a Good Deal?

We all know the sad news, foreclosures are up in South Carolina as well as most of the country. However, if you are interested in purchasing property in Charleston, now could be the time to look. There are some great deals to be had.

Our agents are educated about buying and selling short sale properties and they have the tools, skills and information needed to navigate those tricky waters.

Give us a call 800.476.8444 or stop by one of our three offices (31 Center St. on Folly, 214 King St. downtown, or 1400 Palm Blvd. on the Isle of Palms). Nobody knows the Charleston Coast better.