Advantages to Buying in Charleston

by carolinaone_marketing 31. July 2015 04:34

Real estate in Charleston, SC is attracting a lot of interest at the moment and for good reason. But is Charleston really the right place to buy? At Carolina One, we think so, and it's paying off for many homebuyers already. Here are five advantages to buying in Charleston:

Great suburbs

Charleston is unique among major East Coast metropolises because it still has so many accessible, first-ring suburbs. Many of these suburbs grew up from what were originally holiday towns where wealthy Charlestonians would summer in the 1800s. That means many are still built around historic town centers and cute downtowns, while spreading slowly in careful, scenic developments. While price ranges vary from ultra-luxury manors to affordable middle class dream homes, all of these suburbs tend to be safe, have strong local schools and easy access to Charleston. Commute time is as little as ten minutes and rarely more than 30.

A thriving downtown

Charleston has a beautiful downtown with a mix of historic buildings, rehabilitated old industrial structures and modern structures that give it a very cosmopolitan feel. There's a thriving nightlife with lots of cultural centers, art events, bars and restaurants and music venues. Southern hospitality remains alive in Charleston and many of the restaurants mix traditional charm and warmth with bold new flavors and world influences. You're not going to get bored living in Charleston.

Close to nature

There are few cities in the U.S. where you can go from a bustling urban Downtown to an untouched forest or pristine beach in just fifteen minutes. The land around Charleston consists of rivers, tidal pools, traditional countryside, ancient pines and colossal live oaks. There are wildlife refuges, public parks, and scenic drives. Charlestonians never want for fresh air.

The job market

One of the most important things to consider when settling down in a city is future career prospects. While other Southern cities were floundering, Charleston was busy expanding into new markets including an ever-growing tech industry. Generally, Charleston enjoys a low level of unemployment and a continuous stream of new investment.

The home market

Of course, a home is an investment and the biggest financial factor to consider when buying is the value of the home itself. The general wisdom in the Charleston real estate market is "get in on the ground floor." The beautiful, nearby suburbs will not be affordable forever and properties in the developing downtown will only appreciate. Buying now means a great profit later.

 

There are many other reasons to buy in our beautiful area of South Carolina. If you think Low country life might be for you, check out our listings at Carolina One!

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Charleston SC Real Estate

4 Tips to Make Buying Real Estate Hassle-Free

by carolinaone_marketing 29. July 2015 08:49

At Carolina One, we see more families than ever looking at Mount Pleasant, SC real estate. Mount Pleasant is a beautiful area and has lots of great properties, but the home buying process can be daunting. Here are our tips to make it as stress free as possible:

1.  Get pre-approved, not just pre-qualified – Many banks will tell you that you "pre-qualified" for a mortgage, but that only means they know they can get you a mortgage of some kind—not the specific rates and details of what you will qualify for. Instead, take the time to sit down and go through the pre-approval process, meaning you will know exactly how much you qualify for and what the interest rate and terms will be. This arms you with hard knowledge of what you can and cannot afford—and what the monthly payments will be—before you even look at houses.

2.  Have a "High," "Medium," and "Low" budget – Many people simply come up with a maximum number they will be willing to pay and call that their budget. The problem is that, invariably, you will be tempted to buy houses toward the high end of your budget, as they will offer more in terms of space, luxury or location. We recommend setting three ranges: High, Medium and Low. Your Medium range is the ideal range to buy a house in, and any house you like in that range is probably a good call. The Low budget will be the range below that. Buying in this range will come with drawbacks, but mean substantially more spending money every month. Your family should discuss exactly what sacrifices you're willing to make if you find a house in this range—fewer rooms than you wanted, a different neighborhood, a substantial fixer-upper, etc. Likewise, the High range will mean you have less disposable income, so discuss beforehand what benefits you would need to make a High range house worthwhile.

3.  Consider sleeper costs before you make an offer – Remember that owning a home comes with other costs, such as maintenance, repairs, insurance, and HOA fees for condos. Use an inspector to accurately assess what repairs you will need and get estimates for them. Factor all of these costs into whether you can afford a house.

4.  Work with a real estate agent you trust – Although it's possible to go it alone these days, DIY home hunting has drawbacks. Your realtor knows the market, knows the warning signs of a lemon, and knows how to negotiate. Most importantly, they work for you and will put that knowledge to use in your favor.

 

If you are looking for a new home in Mount Pleasant or the surrounding area, contact us at Carolina One and we can help you to stay within your budget!

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Mount Pleasant SC Real Estate

4 Ways to Prevent Home Buying Regrets

by carolinaone_marketing 27. July 2015 04:22

John's Island, SC is one of the most beautiful parts of the greater Charleston area and most of the homes for sale there are keepers. However, even the most beautiful house can come with surprises, and those can lead to regrets. Here are four tips from us at Carolina One for making sure you go into the buying process with your eyes open, and come out with a dream home and no regrets.

 

1.  Talk to the neighbors – This is a step surprisingly few home buyers take, and yet it can make all the difference in the world. Most John's Island residents are friendly and happy to talk to potential future neighbors, and they will have insider info on the neighborhood that you won't get from listings or even walkthroughs. Ask whether anyone in the neighborhood has plans to do major renovations, what they like and don't like about their street, what the schools are like and anything else on your mind. Often, neighbors will volunteer info you never would have thought of asking about.

2.  Test drive the commute – Fortunately, John's Island is one of the most commuter-friendly towns around Charleston. Just a ten-minute drive from downtown, there are two bridges that tend to keep traffic flowing even at peak hours. Nonetheless, we always recommend testing out the commute if possible. Get up early one day and swing over to the Island first, then try driving to work at the hour you'd normally leave. Can you picture yourself doing this every day?

3.  Swoop through at all hours – Checking out a neighborhood means more than just seeing it on a Sunday afternoon. What is it like on a weekday? How about a Friday night? When considering buying in a neighborhood, we advise driving through several times at different times of day and night. It will be good to know if the neighbors are up later and partying after midnight, or if a street is too sleepy for you even on the weekend. The more time you spend in the neighborhood, the better you will know if it truly feels like home.

4.  Verify extra costs – One of the biggest sources of buyers' remorse comes from unexpected costs. Usually, these costs could have been anticipated with a little research. For example, you should always contact your own insurance company and get a quote on the home insurance instead of relying on a seller's figures; they may have discounts that you won't. Similarly, if the home needs repairs, don't rely on a seller's estimates for those repairs unless they can show you the recent quotes from real contractors. Otherwise, get your own contractor to give you a quote before proceeding.

 

What else do you check out before seriously considering a home?

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South Carolina real estate

How to Bid on a House

by carolinaone_marketing 24. July 2015 06:44

More people are looking for Isle of Palms real estate these days, and that means more competition when making a bid. So how do you make a bid that is high enough to get accepted, low enough to have no regrets, and leaves you with the money you'll need for repairs? Here are some tips from us at Carolina One:

 

Go with the facts, not your feelings

It's easy to fall in love with a house, and in theory that's the home you should buy. After all, you'll be happiest there, right? Well, that's not necessarily true if you overpay or turn a blind eye to expensive repairs that need to be done. When dealing with real estate, it's best to make decisions squarely based on the facts, and to tread very carefully if you find yourself falling head over heels from for a place. To make an intelligent bid, you have to be willing to (potentially) lose the house in question rather than overpay. There is enough beautiful Isle of Palms real estate that if you miss out on one house, you will find another.

Hire a home inspector—and ask them questions

For most buyers, hiring a home inspector is standard practice, and for good reason. An inspector represents a minor up-front cost for you (usually about $200) but can give you valuable information on the condition of the home and potential future (or existing) problems that you might not have noticed on your own. However, you'll learn more if you accompany your inspector on the walk through and ask questions as you go. Bear in mind that inspectors have a standard checklist, and it's as important to ask what they do and don't look for as it is to get the results themselves. All of this information will help inform a good bid.

Verify the property boundaries

One thing that can turn a dream house into a nightmare is if the property boundaries are wrong, if neighbors misunderstand them, or if there is a dispute. Take the extra time to go out and look for the property marker. Do fences or boundaries align with it? Do the real lot dimensions match what the listing says? Are there any active disputes with neighbors? These are things you can confirm before you offer a price.

Don't lowball (usually)

The big myth among home buyers is that you should start low. That's true, but go too low and you're just going to lose the house to someone else. Sellers know what the house is worth at least as well as you do, and in most market conditions they just aren't going to go for a lowball offer. That said, if you have good reason to go low (such as a major flaw found in the inspection) or if the house has been on the market a long time, it's worth a try.

 

If you have other questions about the bidding and buying process, contact us at Carolina One today! Our expert real estate agents have the experience to help you get the home of your dreams – for a price you can handle. 

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Isle of Palms Real Estate

When Is the Right Time to Buy Your First House?

by carolinaone_marketing 6. July 2015 04:36

There is a lot of Summerville, SC real estate that's perfect for couples, young families, and first-time home buyers. But how do you know when it's time to buy your first home? After all, a mortgage is a huge fiscal responsibility and you need to be prepared for it. Here are four factors that may mean it's time to take the leap:

1.  When interest rates are favorable – The biggest factor guiding your decision on when to buy should ideally be financial. It can be hard to view major life decisions in a dispassionate way, and there are definitely other factors that affect home buying besides just the money. But the bottom line is that your house is likely the biggest investment you will ever make, and like any investment it's vital to get the best terms possible. This doesn't just mean negotiating a price that's satisfactory – it also means getting your loan at the best terms you can. Presently, loan rates are still very favorable and interest rates are relatively low because the U.S. government is hoping to stimulate more home buying. That means that all else being equal, 2015 is a good time to buy. The low interest rates and favorable terms will not last forever.

2.  Once you've settled on a career – Another factor in choosing whether to buy your first home is where you are in your career. Most first-time home buyers are in their mid to late 20s, which means they have had a few years since college and have settled into a career path. Choosing a career before buying a home has two advantages: first, it means you have likely chosen the city or region where you plan to be working long-term, so it makes more sense to invest in a home there; secondly, it means you have some idea of what future income to expect and can make buying decisions more accurately. You do not have to be far along your career path, but knowing what you expect to do professionally will help guide your decision.

3.  Ideally, before you have kids – Buying a house can be a big process—there's the house hunt, the move, and any renovations or redecorating you want to do. When possible, it's easier to do this before you have kids than while you are raising an infant or toddler. If you know you plan to have children, it may pay off to look for your family home before the stork comes to visit. After all, it's harder to get the painting done or put together a cabinet when you have a hungry three year-old on your hands.

4.  When you see the house that feels like home – Ultimately, the right time to buy a home is when it feels right. Take a look at the real estate available in Summerville and see if anything strikes you. If a place feels like your dream home, start asking how you can make it happen in your current situation.

 

What kind of home are you dreaming of? Take a look at our listings at Carolina One to find the perfect first home for your needs!

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Summerville real estate

4 Surprising Ways to Make a Good Investment When Buying a Home

by carolinaone_marketing 29. June 2015 05:17

More people than ever are looking for real estate in Charleston, SC right now. But a big part of finding the right home is finding the one that will be the best investment over time. So how can you get a house that will increase in value? Here are four tips to help you succeed:

1.  Neighborhood really does matter – There are few things that make such a big impact on a home's lasting value as its neighborhood. While every city will develop new trendy spots in time, it's much rarer that a previously desirable neighborhood will become completely unwanted. There are many kinds of "good" neighborhoods, from those that have a 40+ year history of being desired for their safety and tranquility, to those that are near all the hot spots, to new bohemian neighborhoods that are about to explode with hip businesses. But no matter what kind of lifestyle or neighborhood you want, if you can focus your search on the streets or areas that are most popular, you will find that your property value rises continuously—sometimes dramatically. 

2.  Look for quality building materials – Within any given neighborhood, there will be a wide variance in the quality of building materials, craftsmanship, and fixtures. Remember that higher-end building materials are a good sign not only of a home's durability, but also of its lasting appeal. For example, cedar siding doesn't just look better than aluminum, it will also draw more buyers and be a major selling point when you put the house on the market. Similarly, kitchens with real granite counters or hardwood fixtures will catch future buyers' interest, regardless of current trends.

3.  Smaller and nicer is better than bigger and cheaper – Many buyers make the mistake of looking for the biggest house in their price range. Unfortunately, this often means the lowest quality house in your range, too. As long as a home is not too small for you to live in, sacrificing square footage to get a better location or a more beautiful or well-designed structure is generally a plus (and your energy bills will also be lower). This may allow you to go up a level in terms of how nice the house is, and there will never be a shortage of couples or new families looking for smaller homes.

4.  Look above and below your price range – It's good to stick to a budget when buying a house, but don't stick to it too closely. Looking outside of your range can yield some surprising finds, and will also give you a better sense of the market overall and what will appreciate well.

 

What would your Charleston dream house be like? What neighborhood would it be in?

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Charleston Real Estate

How to Get More Out of Your Real Estate Guide

by carolinaone_marketing 26. June 2015 10:22

For many South Carolina home buyers, the first step to a dream house is getting your hands on a Charleston real estate guide. This guide can be an invaluable tool, but you also want to make sure you get the most out of it. How do you do that? Here are four tips:

1.  Ask a realtor to help you – This may sound funny since, to many people, the whole point of getting a real estate guide is to do research on your own. But realtors can be a valuable resource, and asking for their help will mean getting the most out of any printed or online guide. Often, realtors will know details about the specific properties in question—details that do not show up in the guide and that would be hard to find out otherwise. Plus, they will have a much better sense of the local market in general, including how well property values hold up in a given neighborhood and what other similar properties might be available. Do your own perusing as well, but consider asking your realtor to go over the listings with you.

 

2.  Look above and below your budget – One mistake that many home seekers make is to look only at homes that fall within their budget. This isn't always to your advantage. That isn't because you should give in and buy a home that's above your means; it's because scouting out higher- and lower-priced homes can help inform your search and make you a savvier buyer. For example, if you notice that higher priced homes tend to have an open kitchen design or granite countertops, and you find a property in your price range with those features, you know it will probably appreciate well and be a great investment. On the other hand, if you notice a feature that's common to lower priced homes and find it in one that's otherwise perfect for you, you have a bargaining point. Plus, you never know when you'll find a gem that's priced lower than it should be.

3.  Make a "drive by" list – A real estate guide should be a first step to taking action. Once you have five to ten favorites, take an afternoon and drive by each one. There is no substitute for seeing the home and its neighborhood for yourself.

4.  Don't over-commit to a neighborhood – One last mistake that many buyers make: don't get too hung up on buying in a certain neighborhood. You may miss out on amazing properties in other great locations, or you may overspend by choosing an in-demand area, when a cheaper neighborhood down the road is just as good. 

What kind of Charleston home are you looking for? Ask one of our real estate agents at Carolina One about our MLS listings and see when they can schedule a showing!

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Charleston Real Estate

3 Tips for Getting the Most Out of the MLS

by carolinaone_marketing 22. June 2015 05:22

These days it's increasingly possible to get access to a Charleston, SC MLS, especially through your realtor. That means you have unprecedented browsing power as a buyer—but also way more options to dig through. Here are three tips for getting the most out of our MLS at Carolina One:

1.  Keep an open mind

One of the biggest mistakes people make when they browse the MLS is to go in with a very strict idea of what they want and stick to it. Your budget may be firm, but other factors don't have to be. One of the great things about modern MLS systems is that they let you browse and search using a variety of factors, such as neighborhood, number of baths, asking price, etc. This adds convenience, but it can also trip you up if you never see the home of your dreams because it was missing that extra half bath or had one bedroom more than you expected. Try relaxing your parameters and check as few boxes as possible—or look in neighborhoods outside your number one preference. It may also help to relax your price consideration, since it will give you a better idea of what kinds of houses go for different prices in your market. And remember, price can always be negotiated.

2.  Combine with Google Maps

The MLS will give you anywhere from over 50 pictures of a home to none at all, and the pictures you get can be of varying quality, depending on the way that they were taken. While most will have a lot of images of the outside of the home, the inside, and the property at large, a few might not include a certain feature that is really important to you; others may simply be too dark to show you some of the details. But the biggest problem with some MLS pictures is that they rarely show you the surrounding neighborhood—which is what you will see every day as you come home. For a better look, open up Google Maps and look at each address first in Map view (to see surrounding businesses) and then in Street View mode. Street View will let you get a glimpse at your neighbors' houses, the front of the house in question, and the general vibe of the area. Just remember that Street View images can be several years out of date.

3.  See it in person

While browsing the MLS helps you to prepare, only a walk-through really tells you whether a house is right for you. Use the MLS to make a short list—ideally at several price points—then ask the realtor to do a showing of each one. They may also have further recommendations based on the type of property you like.

How do you look for Charleston property? Call or contact us at Carolina One for additional information about any of our properties and the neighborhoods surrounding them!

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Charleston SC Real Estate

5 Advantages of Moving to Summerville

by carolinaone_marketing 9. June 2015 04:35

Summerville is one of the more stunningly beautiful suburbs around Charleston, and there is a large selection of Summerville, SC real estate. But what makes this area so popular? Here are five of the reasons that it's worth moving to:

1.  Small-town feel – Summerville is a rare gem. Most historic towns will bow to pressure over time and lose their charm as development continuously changes them. In Summerville, there is plenty of new investment, but the town has remained true to its roots and maintains the same small town atmosphere it has always had. Summerville is a community of just 33,000 people, many of whom work here and raise families here. Everyone takes pride in the historic buildings and the charm of the downtown, and they work together to keep their community's spirit—and image—strong.

2.  Beautiful Southern surrounds – As the name implies, Summerville was originally a summer getaway for Southern gentlemen and their families. It has always been known for its natural beauty: pure running streams, abundant pine trees, endless flowers in the spring and summer, and Spanish moss hanging from the branches of ancient live oaks. The area is so naturally beautiful in fact that for a long time its fresh air was believed to have therapeutic effects. There's nowhere more pleasant to take a stroll on a summer evening than Summerville.

3.  Great selection of homes – With its long history and its new resurgence, Summerville has lots of homes of all different price levels to choose from. The average home value here is in the low $200s, with a wide range of houses in the mid-$100s and lots of options on the higher end as well. Many newer homes are luxury developments, and are carefully placed to take advantage of Summerville's natural beauty without infringing on it. The town also has over 700 registered historic buildings, and getting something with some history behind it is certainly still possible.

 

4.  Close to Charleston – Despite being such a peaceful enclave, Summerville is not actually all that far removed from Charleston. Many Summerville residents work in the city and the commute is just 30 minutes. Traffic generally flows quickly and smoothly.

5.  A community worth investing in – Summerville is one of those rare spots that has been a favorite for hundreds of years—since the 1700s, in fact. With its good looks, historic buildings and natural charm, Summerville is only going to continue to appreciate in the future.

 

Why are you interested in Summerville real estate? Check out our site at Carolina One to find the ideal home for your needs!

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Summerville real estate

6 Reasons You'll be Glad You Moved to Downtown Charleston

by carolinaone_marketing 4. June 2015 11:13

If you're looking for Charleston, SC homes for sale, don't overlook the downtown area. Charleston has a lot of great suburbs, and there are a lot of people that prefer them for their natural beauty, space, and peace and quiet. But there are some great things about living in downtown Charleston itself! Here are the best advantages that living in the city has to offer:

1.  Lots of charm – Charleston has been described as one of the best-preserved downtowns in the United States, and you will see that firsthand just driving or strolling around. The steeples of historic churches poke up above tree-lined streets while a mixture of early 20th century and more modern skyscrapers dominate the skyline. Historic apartment buildings remain in use, while former industrial buildings have been converted to shops, condos, and apartments. There's a lot to see and lots of Charleston homes for sale in the heart of the downtown area.

2.  A Huge variety of neighborhoods – Downtown Charleston is actually a large area with a number of distinct neighborhoods. Each of these neighborhoods has its own history, its own vibe, and attracts its own kind of resident. Check out this detailed map of neighborhoods to learn which Charleston one is right for you.

3.  Close to work – Of course, one of the biggest advantages of living in downtown is cutting out the commute. Most people work somewhere in the city itself, which means that by living downtown you will eliminate the long drive and not need to cross the river to go to work. In fact, your commute could be as little as five minutes—or just down the block! Which brings us to . . .

4.  Walkable/Bikable – Living in downtown Charleston puts you close to all the action and that means you can leave the car parked and walk to many of your day-to-day destinations. With mild winters and long, pleasant summers, Charleston is a great walking city, and that means more fresh air, more exercise, less money spent on gas and fewer carbon emissions. It's also a bike-friendly city, with a strong cycling community and light traffic.

5.  Plenty to do – The downtown is the place that most nightlife and cultural events go on. It has the best restaurants, the most popular bars, lots of live music, and a strong arts scene. You will be living a stone's throw from fun festivals and great food.

6.  Property values are only going up – Charleston has been an anchor of the South's economy and is booming, with lots of investment, expansion, and growth. While some neighborhoods will inevitably perform better than others, the fact is that all of them are going only onedirection: up.

What's drawing you to Charleston? Check out our listings at Carolina One to find the perfect downtown home for you!

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Charleston SC homes for sale