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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Tag: charleston coast

Dunes Properties Volunteers at World’s Largest Oyster Roast

This Sunday at Boone Hall Plantation come say hello to many Dunes Properties agents, employees and even our President himself, Randy Walker.  We’ll  be volunteering on behalf of Hollings Cancer Center and serving up buckets of oysters  at the 2010 Lowcountry Oyster Roast.

The Greater Charleston Restaurant Association sponsors the festival and they go through about 65,000 pounds of oysters. This event has been named in the “top 20 events in the southeast” by the Southeastern Tourism Society.  

The festival offers many other food options from local restaurants as well entertainment, contests and activities for kids.  Proceeds benefit the Ronald McDonald House, Hollings Cancer Center, Travel Council and Charleston County Science Materials Resource Center. 

Here’s a few facts about oysters:

  1. There’s no way to tell males from females by their shells and they may change sexes a few times in their lifetime
  2. Oysters can be eaten 12 months a year (not just ones ending in “r”). The “r” myth probably came about when oysters needed to be shipped and there was inadequate refrigeration in the warmer months
  3. Oysters are nutritionally well balanced and recommended for low cholesterol diets

Bring your gloves, shucking knife, and appetite! We hope to see you there.

Is Your Home Priced to Sell in Today’s Market?

When I look at our real estate inventory and the numbers of days most are on the market, the answer may be that it is not! Generally speaking, there are a number of factors to consider when selling your home. One of the most critical is the listing price.

Many people set the list price of their home based on their ‘needs’ rather than what the market is saying about the value. Well meaning, but misinformed parties may offer advice that is based on incorrect assumptions. The home owner may allow their own positive emotions about the home to influence what they think the house is worth. Some home owners think they need to allow a negotiating cushion in their listing price. What is the result of any of these pricing strategies? A listing price that is above the current market value!

Houses that are priced at or below the current market value draw buyers and sell quickly, even in a buyers market. Well priced homes will sell in a shorter time and at a higher sales price.

Why Are You Waiting to Buy Real Estate?

It seems that every day we read conflicting information about what the real estate market is doing. One day sales are down and the next day they are up. One report tells you that prices are falling and the next report tells you that they have stabilized. It makes you wonder if there is ever a good time to jump into real estate. You are waiting for the perfect conditions when prices are at there lowest and interest rates are low.
If you have already calculated what you can afford in monthly payments, it doesn’t really matter if prices fall are if interest rates rise. What matters is what the combination of price and interest produces as a monthly payment. If price fall and interest rates rise, has waiting for the lowest price reduced your monthly payment?
The median price of homes in Mt. Pleasant, SC has been moving in the range of $214,000 to $229,000 in the last few years. Let’s pick $218,900 as a median price for a 4 bedroom, 2.5 baths home. Mortgage interest rates have been around 5% recently for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage. If you put down 20% your monthly principle and interest payment would be $940. What happens if the price decreases by 5% but interest rates go to 5.5%? Or if the price decreases by 10% but interest goes to 6%?
 Price                  Down 5%                             Down 10%
$207,900                              $197,010

Interest Rate          5.5%                                          6%
Monthly P/I         $945                                         $945

While the price of the home decreased, your monthly payment changed by less than $5.00!
There are great homes available for you and your family. Interest rates will rise. Why are you waiting? Call me for more information.

Has the Real Estate Market Stabilized?

I read a couple of articles this past week that on the surface are contradictory. I tried to make sense of what I read below.

That depends on who you ask and what real estate market you are talking about: new homes or resale; national, local, or my neighborhood. The market that is important to you is the market in which you are buying or selling.

New home sales have been in turmoil in almost every market. November, 2009 sales figures are a good indication of just how much turmoil. The number of transactions for new home sales nationally dropped 11% from the October sales. That represents the lowest number of monthly new home sales since April, 2009. the median sales price is down by approximately 2% year over year, but up about 4% from the previous month.

The resale market shows a different story on the national market. Resale of existing homes in November surged to the highest level in nearly 3-years. About half of the transactions in November were first-time buyers taking advantage of the tax credit for first-time buyers. That tax credit was to expire November 30, 2009. It has now been extended until April 30, 2010 and expanded to include current home owners who relocate.

What does it mean for me?

Real estate is a local business. The only markets that mean anything to you, individually, is the real estate market you live in or want to live in. National market statistics cannot give you the true picture of what is happening in your neighborhood. Whether you are buying or selling, you need to know what the market is doing in your neighborhood. If you are a buyer you want to know what’s available and what is the average price of homes that are selling that meet your requirements. If you are selling a home you want information about comparable sales in your neighborhood.

  • What was the listed price and what was the selling price?
  • How long are homes on the market?
  • What is the current inventory of homes that are similar to mine?

All of this data tells you if the market has stabilized in your neighborhood. A FREE tool for buyers and sellers in the Charleston Trident area is available at:


More Signs of Activity

I have been at this for a few years now and finally I am seeing signs of optimism in our economy. Most experts agree that when people start buying homes again, the recession will have been ended for 3 to 6 months. We have seen more homes sold in the last 90 days!

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of homeowners who are in trouble and desperate to find a way out. For example, I know of at least one home builder who has drastically cut the prices on his spec homes on Isle of Palms. There are several investors,primarily real estate agents, who bought investment/rental homes at the height of the market and cannot hold onto to them much longer.  They are calling me at regular intervals asking me to bring ANY offer. These are opportunities for those buyers who have always wanted to relocate or buy a second home at the beach. At prices that can make the rental investment make sense.

The challenge????

What are today’s buyers looking for in a resort/island/coastal home?  If you have been following the market I am interested in getting feedback from you. Many sellers here on the island are at a loss as to what buyers want to see in order to buy a home.

What’s your opinion? If you were in the market to buy a second home or move to a resort area, what would you be looking for?

Send me your comments and I (with your permission) will pass them along to everyone following along on this blog.
More importantly, your ideas may help someone out of a tough situation, and help someone else to own the home of their dreams!

-Mark Mitchell

Dunes Properties is now a member of Lowcountry Local First. We are 10% shifting!

We at Dunes Properties and The Real Estate Studio are honored to become a part of
Lowcountry Local First
, a community alliance that educates the public on the importance of supporting the local economy, and encourages businesses and consumers to be environmentally sustainable and socially responsible. Lowcountry Local First created the 10% Shift campaign which asks local residents and businesses to shift just 10% of their existing purchases from non-local businesses to Local Independents (locally owned and independent businesses).  By doing so we would see thousands of new jobs created and millions of dollars of new economic activity in the Lowcountry.  We as a company, and as individuals, are committed to exploring ways we can 10% Shift, whether it be by locally sourcing a service we previously outsourced, or by going to one of our great local coffee shops rather than a national chain.

Dunes Properties is one of only two real estate companies in the Lowcountry that is part of Lowcountry Local First, joining 250 other locally-owned companies of all kinds.

Lowcountry Local First has minimum criteria that must be met to join:

  1. Business is privately held.
  2. Business owners who have a controlling interest of more than 50% live in the Lowcountry.
  3. Business make independent decisions regarding the name and look of your business, as well as all business purchasing, practices and distribution.
  4. Business pays all their own marketing, rent, and other business expenses.

We are proud to be able to meet this criteria and more, as since the company’s inception more than 20 years ago, we have always supported our local economy in ways that go beyond helping people to buy and sell homes in the Charleston Area:

1.      More than 70% of our business purchases and services are sourced locally for the Real Estate Division and for our Vacation Rental side, over 90% – from marketing and printing to linen services, insurance, architecture and beyond, we believe in working with the people you know, and your neighbors around you.  Just some of our local vendors include: JR Rowell Printing and Knight Press, Precision Mail, E-Group, Wulburn Koval, Neil Stevenson Architects, South Atlantic Contractors, Lowcountry Linen and Lighthouse Cleaning Services, Wynn & Associates and Crosby and Co.

2.      All of our banking is done with local and regional institutions – We like the local touch and feel, and we like that over the years we’ve formed not only business relationships with our local banks, but also friendships.  Some of the great ones we work with include: Bank of South Carolina and Atlantic Bank and Trust.

Setting up for Guerrilla Cuisine

3.      Support local artists – in our Real Estate Studio space downtown, we offer gallery space to local and regional artists free of charge in an effort to help them promote their art.  In addition, we have held numerous art openings here over the past two years including Rhett Thurman, Carol McGill, Kevin Harrison, and Brownie Harris (in conjunction with Guerrilla Cuisine), and Billy Cone.

4.      Support local non-profit organizations – we donate our Real Estate Studio space to local non-profits so they can host events and raise money to benefit their organizations.  We’ve helped Wings for Kids, The Charleston Symphony Orchestra and Bloom’ in Art among others. We also donate 3-night weekends in a Folly Beach vacation rental home to auctions that benefit local organizations:

5.      Concierge Service – through our concierge service, we help locals and visitors alike enjoy their time in Charleston by making dinner reservations at local restaurants, tee times at local golf courses, even setting up a kayak or jetski rental.

6.      Partnership with Charming Inns of Charleston – through our partnership with Charming Inns, we support each other with business referrals, share our downtown map and allow their guests to utilize our wireless network and computers.

7.      Adopt-a-Highway – Dunes Properties has adopted part of Palm Blvd for more than 10 years.  Every quarter, our agents and employees don their beat up old clothes to clean it up and make this beautiful place we live in, even better.

8.      Doin’ the Dunes on Isle of Palms – for several years our agents
and employees have helped to preserve the IOP beaches by putting up sand fencing and planting sea oats.

9.      Volunteer at the Annual Boone Hall Plantation Oyster Roast – each year in January a team of agents and employees rolls up their sleeves to serve hot steaming oysters to this events 1000s of attendees.

10.  Adopt-a-Family – Each year we adopt a local family in need for the holidays and collect funds and shop for and wrap presents for them through Families Helping Families

11.  Support the Folly Turtle Protection Program – In addition to providing a link to the program’s website from ours, for each of our Vacation Rental guests, we provide information about our Folly turtles and the local efforts to protect them.

These are just some of the ways we work with the local community as a company, and of course our agents and employees get involved in any way they can.  We are proud of all the amazing things they have done over the years!

We at Dunes Properties consider ourselves a family, and an integral part of this Lowcountry community.  For 20 years, we have pursued the ideal that to have a strong economy that creates wealth, stability and buying power for our Charleston citizens, we must keep it local in any way we can.  We must support each other both as individuals and businesses, because in doing so, as we like to say, ‘the rising tide lifts all boats.”  So thanks Lowcountry Local First, for having the vision to create this movement and the resources to pull us all together in one incredible, entrepreneurial, Charleston-lovin’ powerhouse of people.

Huge Price Reductions on Sawyer’s Landing (but views are still gorgeous)

If you are looking for a high-quality home with great marsh and intracoastal waterway views, an amazing location just a bike ride from the beach then look no further. The townhomes at Sawyer’s Landing in Mt. Pleasant are just what you are looking for and the prices have just been reduced significantly.  Look below to find the before and after:

A1 $749,000 to $489,000
A2 $744,000 to $479,000
A3 $779,000 to $485,000
A4 $915,000 to $779,000
A5 $799,000 to $575,000
A6 $799,000 to $575,000
A7 Sold
A8 Sold
A9 $869,000 to $699,000
A10 $925,000 to $789,000
A11 $935,000 to $799,000
A12 $799,000 to $535,000
A13 Under Contract
A14 Sold
B15 $649,000
C16 $699,000
C17 $684,000

For more information about Sawyer’s Landing in Mt. Pleasant please contact Donnie Whitaker at 843.607.0954 or send an email to

Did you know Charleston has the only tea plantation in America?

Yes we do! Out in the wilds of Wadmalaw Island, 20 minutes from Downtown Charleston, we’ve got our very own tea plantation, home of American Classic Tea. The Plantation grounds include 127 acres of camellia sinensis tea plants and an operating tea factory. So check out the video below for a little insight into a unique ‘flavor’ of Lowcountry. If you’d like to visit in person, contact our Concierge at and she can plan a fun day for you on Wadmalaw Island, seeing some wonderful things Charleston has to offer just off the beaten path. Spend your day seeing the Irvin House Vineyards and Firefly Vodka Distillery, the Charleston Tea Plantation, the beautiful town of Rockville and then stop for lunch at the Stono Farm Market, which offers fresh locally-grown produce and a variety of good eats.


Feautured Property- 27 Seagrass Lane, Wild Dunes

27 Seagrass Lane is located on Wild Dunes, just 12 miles north of Charleston, SC. This custom home has over 4000 sq ft, a gourmet kitchen, two living rooms, over 1300 sq ft of decks and porches and is offered totally furnished. The Seagrass neighborhood offers owners a private dock on deep water and a boardwalk to the beach. Wild Dunes offers owners access to two championship golf courses, a world class tennis facility, fitness center, dining, and miles of beach. Click on the address or photo below and then select slideshow.

For more information, contact real estate agent BETTY POORE at or call (843) 513-1721.

It’s the right time to BUY

For years, my wife and I visited the Isle of Palms annually for vacations. We dreamed of owning a second home here and even living here full time some day. Each year we visited the Island and even made “half-hearted” offers to buy a condo or house. Maybe we weren’t ready or more likely, we were trying to pay way below market and “steal” a deal. The problem was that each year we waited to get serious, it cost us about 10 percent or more as the market increased. Well, we did finally buy that place and even live here full time now. Our home has appreciated dramatically and we have even bought another residence and rent the first one. It pulls in some nice rental revenue!

When we bought, there were very few choices of homes, they were actually scarce, and we paid a premium.

Today, there are more choices in every price range and even some homes that are being sold at “deep” discounts because some folks stretched a little too far to buy. These opportunities offer some immediate returns on your money, but if you find the perfect spot for sale, odds are that you’ll be able to negotiate a great price too!

I invite you to join my family here on the Charleston Coast. It’s a great lifestyle whether you by a vacation home or move here for a lifetime. You’ll be GLAD you did.

-Mark Mitchell