The Charleston Coast From Our View...
By now, most people know what it means to “buy local.” In Charleston for instance, it’s known that buying local seafood ensures the upmost freshness, and similarly by supporting local book stores, your dollars circulate in the community. But what difference does it make in real estate transactions? In my experience, the local providers make transactions go more smoothly every step along the way.
You might ask “what difference does it make if I use some nationally known lender that I can access online versus a local lender?” The convenience of logging on at 10:00 pm and typing in information might seem like an easier option than meeting face to face, or even scheduling a call with a local lender. In the long run however, the convenience on the front end might turn out to be less convenient once the process begins in earnest. One out of state lender told my client that she did not need a CL-100 (letter indicating no termites or damage) and she nearly cancelled the appointment to inspect. This lack of knowledge about the specifics of SC real estate transactions can create speed bumps when closing a deal, and even the difference in time zones have caused problems with closing on time. Most importantly, I find local lenders also understand the pricing in this market better than national companies and tend to approve loans for higher price point because they know the market will support it.
Living in the Lowcountry means risks and hazards that may be unfamiliar in other areas of the country. An insurance provider based in Kansas may not be aware of our flood insurance risks, wind and hail issues, and even earthquakes here. For example, there was a tremor in Summerville in June, and they happen regularly. Local agents know this, and can advise you accordingly.
Appraising real property is not an exact science. It takes judgement, discernment and experience. The difference between Folly Beach and Johns Island is not just 15 miles of travel. It can be the difference between a quirky beach house and a horse farm – with the same price tag. Appraisers may be well-qualified in Columbia to make a judgement about different kinds of property, but may be geographically incompetent here. Appraising homes in a subdivision in a more homogeneous area is also a different challenge than the many diverse types of homes and lifestyles here in the Charleston market.
So often I work with clients who are getting advice from a family member or friend who is a real estate agent in another part of the country, or even this state. It’s only natural to seek that advice from family members who only have their best interests in mind, to help them make a big decision. More often than not, that advice does not apply in this particular market. The market in New Jersey is very different than Mt. Pleasant. An experienced, local Realtor® knows that a well-priced home in Riverland Terrace is not going to last long, and offering 20% below asking price will not get the job done. I’ve had more than one client lose an opportunity because of advice they received that does not apply to this unique market with its many equally unique sub-markets. Similarly, in North Carolina, it is customary to have the appraisal done before the home inspection, where here it is the opposite. My clients who moved to Iowa, learned that finished space that is heated and cooled but in the basement is not counted in the total square footage. We don’t have basements for the most part, but here all heated and cooled space is counted.
There are so many things that can affect real estate transactions on all fronts, and working with local experts can make all the difference in getting to closing.
As we move into February, the question remains – will inventory suffice? While many see the housing shortage as a negative, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun sees this as good news for home prices. “National median home price growth is in no danger of falling due to inventory shortages and will rise by 4%,” he predicts. Yun and others would also like to see home builders bring more affordable units to market, which I think we can all agree with, especially in the Charleston market.
Closed Sales +20.6% | Median Sales Price +8.1% | Months Supply -25%
Market Statistics by Area
- Downtown Charleston
- Upper Charleston Peninsula
- Upper Mount Pleasant
- Lower Mount Pleasant
- Daniel Island
- Folly Beach
- Isle of Palms/Wild Dunes
- Sullivan’s Island
- Kiawah Island
- Seabrook Island
- James Island
- West Ashley
- Johns Island
- North Charleston
- Goose Creek
WOW does this property have it all! This stunning waterfront home on the Isle of Palms boasts 5 bedrooms and 4.5 baths, gorgeous elevated pool, and a 50′ private dock that includes power, water, a fish cleaning station and two drive on jet ski docks…plus, all of the privacy and amenities of Wild Dunes! For more information, visit: bit.ly/46WaterwayIsland
In the News
New Vacation Rental!
There’s still time to book your summer vacay. You could even stay at our newest vacation rental, “BodSEA” on the Isle of Palms! Check out our newest rentals, search by location and book direct at CharlestonCoastVacations.com.
Lights of Magnolia | November 15 – March 15
Join us for “Lights of Magnolia: Reflections of a Cultural Exchange.” The lantern festival will feature custom-designed installations of large-scale lanterns, a fusion of historic Chinese cultural symbols, and images that represent the flora and fauna of Magnolia Plantation. or more info, CLICK HERE.
Charleston Wine + Food Festival | March 4 – 8
Join us for the 15th installment of the Charleston Wine + Food festival as we celebrate the city’s local food culture. Join us in Marion Square, various locations downtown and around Charleston for exclusive dinners, wine tastings, workshops, excursions, and seminars. For more info, CLICK HERE.
Festival of Houses & Gardens | March 11 – April 18
Step inside the private houses and gardens of some of the city’s most stunning properties, learn about Charleston’s distinctive architecture and history and celebrate our unique culture at luncheons, musical concerts and other Lowcountry lifestyle events. For more info, CLICK HERE.
In the previous installments of this blog on hidden gems, I made it clear these locations are not secrets but rather places that even some long-time Charleston residents have yet to find and explore. Here is one more delightful neighborhood and two surprises hidden in plain sight.
Shellring at St. Thomas Island
Do you love the Daniel Island lifestyle but find it is beyond your budget? Shellring offers the same easy, bikeable access to Daniel Island shops, restaurants, grocery and tennis center but, with lower HOA fees and the added benefit of super quick access to I-526. The neighborhood connects to everything Daniel Island offers via bike or golf cart at a significantly lower cost for home ownership. The charming neighborhood pool, Daniel Island schools, and highly walkable streets make this a great family neighborhood.
Beachwalker County Park
The Travel Channel lists the beach at Kiawah as one of the best beaches on the east coast and I couldn’t agree more. The dunes and the sugary white sand make for a relaxing day at the beach. But, even if you are not staying in a pricey beach house behind the gate at Kiawah Island, the south end of the beach is open to the public at Beachwalker County Park. Our county park system in Charleston is excellent and provides a ton of amenities including charcoal grills and picnic tables, restrooms and showers, food concessions, and my mom enjoyed using their beach wheelchair free of charge. Lifeguards are available, as are umbrellas and chairs for rental. Take your dog (on a leash of course) and watch the dolphins and children play in the surf.
The Island Trail at Grimball Gates
Looking to the southwest from the Limehouse Bridge as you travel to Johns Island, you will see a sandy strip running along the Stono River. A glimpse of this bike/ped/golfcart path disappears under the canopy of trees and you might wonder where it leads. It leads through the marsh, tidal creeks, and along the Intracoastal Waterway in a 1.63 mile loop around the island putting the great beauty of the Lowcountry right at your fingertips. The newly refurbished Grimball Gates community dock is a shady stop on the tour where you can watch the dolphins, alligators, and waterfowl that inhabit the environs and coexist with the boaters that navigate the river. Residents often enjoy their happy hour there, or take in a sunset. The trail itself is maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers.