The following are handy links that will calculate the tax estimate on property you may be considering to buy in the Charleston area.  Remember that 4% rate is for primary residence; 6% is for 2nd homes or investment property; and if you are 65 years or older your primary residence may qualify for the homestead exemption which would lower the tax by about ? or more.   

Charleston County

Berkeley County

Dorchester County

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I’on is a mixed-use neo-traditional style community located in Mount Pleasant off of Johnnie Dodds Blvd. about three miles from the Arthur Ravenel Bridge and downtown Charleston. Founded in 1995, it was one of the earliest full-time residential new urbanist communities developed in the country.  What makes I’on so special is its luxury homes built with a blend of Old South and European architecture.  It’s like entering a mini-version of downtown Charleston, only you’re in the suburb of Mount Pleasant.  The neighborhood has over 750 homes, all custom-made with Southern charm and details.  The homes are built very close together and most have back alley ways for parking behind.  The streets are narrow and designed in a grid-like pattern which creates a calm traffic flow.  Green space and lakes are strategically placed throughout the neighborhood to promote community interaction.  The lot sizes are quite small in relation to other Mount Pleasant neighborhoods (most are .10 acres or less), but what the yards lack for in space, the neighborhood makes up for in common green space.  Two large lakes that are at the center of many annual events, a wildlife refuge called The Rookery, winding walk/jog trails along the marsh and throughout the neighborhood, sidewalks along the streets, a beautiful private clubhouse along the marsh, and a private swim and tennis club.  I’on’s uniqueness is also found in its business community, called I’on Square, located at the main entrance.  Here the residents can walk or bike to the nearby restaurants, shops, spas, and local inn.  There’s even a chartered Montessori School with grades 1-8, and a couple of churches within the neighborhood.  Homes sizes range from about 1000-7000+ square feet.  Home prices range from mid-$400,000s up to about $2 million.  To view all available listings, visit
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Southern climate and no termite bond can equal real damage to a house for sale.  Not only can termites easily gain access to the property and start wreaking havoc on the structure, but a buyer may decide not to buy a property that doesn’t have an existing bond.  Real estate buyers from other parts of the country, in particular, seem to always be puzzled and concerned about termite bonds.  They are not accustomed to the humidity here and what follows moisture.  Maintaining a termite bond with a reputable company is basically insurance in case termites enter the house, and it also will help give a buyer extra confidence that the home is well protected.  I recommend to all homeowners I work with in the Charleston area that they provide a transferable termite bond to a buyer when selling their home.  The cost to start a bond initially can be quite expensive (typically $700-$1000).  But the cost to maintain it annually is fairly nominal (about $200).  The key is to MAINTAIN it.  Schedule the annual appointments to have the termite company come out and inspect the property for termites and potential points of entrance.  Also, make any repairs or recommendations that the company writes up on the report to prevent termite activity.  If you fail to correct a problem that they’ve noted, and a termite infestation occurs, the company will not be responsible for any damage.   And if you have had termite damage and had repairs done, be sure to keep documentation so that you can disclose everything properly to buyers.  This will help alleviate any concerns they may have about your property.

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Release of homesites will begin in May for a new neighborhood by D.R. Horton called Tidal Walk, located adjacent to Grassy Creek.  The community will have 119 homes with 11 floorplans to choose from.  The homes will range in size from 1600 sqft to almost 3300 sqft.  Prices will range from the high $300,000’s to the high $400,000’s.  Homes will have nice upgrades such as stainless steel appliances, granite countertop in kitchen, and energy saving features like insulation and tankless water heater. Amenities will include a pool, clubhouse, and walking trails.  There is not a model home just yet, but one will be built starting in May.  If you would like more information about Tidal Walk, its floor plans, and included home features, please contact me.

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The Charleston area had a 5% increase in the median sales price of homes that sold in 2014 over those that sold the previous year, according to the Charleston Multiple Listing Service.  The median price in 2014 was about $220,000, whereas the median price in 2013 was about $210,000.  Looking at the areas individually below, we see that the areas that excelled in 2014 were Folly Beach, Downtown Charleston, and Daniel Island.  Other areas that performed well include James Island, West Ashley, Mt. Pleasant, and Johns Island.  The areas that showed large drops in median price include Kiawah/Seabrook and Sullivan’s Island.


Charleston Area 2014 Real Estate Stats


Median home sales price: $571,312  (+14%)

Number of sales: 308

Avg. days on market: 71



Median home sales price: $438,000  (+16%)

Number of sales: 626

Avg. days on market: 130



Median home sales price: $440,000  (+17%)

Number of sales: 125

Avg. days on market: 191



Median home sales price: $164,000  (+4%)

Number of sales: 1155

Avg. days on market: 82



Median home sales price: $583,408  (-3%)

Number of sales: 226

Avg. days on market: 199



Median home sales price: $258,000  (+12%)

Number of sales: 861

Avg. days on market: 75



Median home sales price: $240,375  (+10%)

Number of sales: 346

Avg. days on market: 85



Median home sales price: $426,550  (-15%)

Number of sales: 179

Avg. days on market: 290



Median home sales price: $148,645  (-9%)

Number of sales: 246

Avg. days on market: 113



Median home sales price: $375,000  (+11%)

Number of sales: 23011

Avg. days on market: 71



Median home sales price: $139,500  (+6%)

Number of sales: 1103

Avg. days on market: 82



Median home sales price: $1,217,500  (-16%)

Number of sales: 36

Avg. days on market: 170



Median home sales price: $180,000  (+6%)

Number of sales: 3378

Avg. days on market: 72


Median home sales price: $219,000  (+11%)

Number of sales: 1484

Avg. days on market: 68

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Changes to school zones in Mt. Pleasant for the 2015-2016 school year. – Belle Hall, Jennie Moore, and Whitesides students will now feed into Laing Middle. Sullivan’s Is. Elem will feed into Moultire Middle. Rivertowne and Brickyard will go to Jennie Moore Elem. and Laing Middle. Creekside Park, Hermitage, Paces Watch, Hunter Trace, Planters Place, Hibben Ferry, Village Creek, Crickentree Village, East Bridge, Marsh Point, Rosemead, Hickory Shadows, Pleasant Pines will go to James B. Edwards Elem and Moultrie Middle.

To see the attendance lines map created by Charleston County School District, click this link and then click on Attendance Lines for 2015-2016.  Use the first tool at the top left of the map to see school zones.

For more details, click on the link below to see the article published in The Moultrie News.

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The following stats were provided by the Charleston Trident Multiple Listing Service. It shows figures from third quarter of this year as compared to last year’s third quarter. The number of units sold in Berkeley and Dorchester counties has increased by almost 10% each.  Charleston County’s sales have dropped by about 5%.  The median price for all counties has increased 3-7%.  And inventory has dropped in all counties 1-5%.  Lowest drop in inventory is in Berkeley County, and it is also the lowest increase in median price for this reason.  Over the past four years, units sold has increased 40-50% in all three counties; median price has increased 10-27% with the highest bump being in Charleston County at 27%; and inventory has dropped 20-30%.

2013 Charleston County

Sold 2738 units

Median Price $257,628

Inventory 3740 units

2014 Charleston County

Sold 2614 units

Median Price $273,000

Inventory 3502 units

2013 Berkeley County

Sold 1019 units

Median Price $175,875

Inventory 1261

2014 Berkeley County

Sold 1117 units

Median Price $180,890

Inventory 1247

2013 Dorchester County

Sold 882 units

Median Price $170,000

Inventory 1016

2014 Dorchester County

Sold 960 units

Median Price $182,250

Inventory 969

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With the end of summer and start of school, real estate buying activity in the Charleston area is still very good, but starting the seasonal slowdown.  Prices are steady, but we can see that the number of listings going under contract is slowing down at this time of year.

It’s interesting to watch the change in non-traditional real estate sales now.  These include new construction, foreclosures, and short sales. There are fewer non-traditional properties being listed this year compared to a year ago.  Last year, there were 777 short sales, 908 foreclosures, and 2743 new construction.  As of 8/13/14, there are only 297 short sales, 83 foreclosures, and 1054 new construction.  As expected, short sales and foreclosures continue to decline slightly in their percentage of properties under contract, while the new construction percentage continues to rise.

The most number of non-traditional listings going under contract currently are new construction sales occurring in Mt. Pleasant north of Hwy. 41, Summerville/Ridgeville, West Ashley, and James Island areas.

The most short sales currently on the market are located in N. Charleston, Ladson, Summerville, Ridgeville, and some in West Ashley.

The most foreclosures for sale are located in the N. Charleston/Summerville area outside of I-526 and in James Island.

If you’re looking for a short sale, foreclosure, or new construction option to buy in the Charleston area, give me a call.  We’ll compare them to the traditional resale listings and make sure you are getting the best deal!

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2014 has been a great year so far and it looks like we have a chance to sell 14,000 homes.  We’re up 6% in number of transactions.  Our median sales price is up almost 9% over 2013 and at over $220k is even higher than the peak in 2007.  A few areas actually have decreased in number of sales because the list prices have gotten so high and/or a lack of inventory. South part of Mt. Pleasant is an example of this.

The months of inventory is now around 5 for the entire MLS.  Avg. is 6, so 5 means a very strong market.  Many areas have 4 or less and are well into a sellers market.  However, there are some areas where it is still a buyers market.

Buying activity continues to be very strong.  Some of the stronger areas that have seen large median price increases over last year include:

AREA                                                        INCREASED % OVER LAST YEAR

N.Charleston Area inside I-526                 50.9%

Peninsula Chas. inside of crosstown          33.3%

Peninsula Chas. outside of crosstown        24.8%

Daniel Island                                                   19.7%

Mt.Pleasant North of IOP Connector         18.2%

Wando/Cainhoy                                              16.5%

Mt.Pleasant South of IOP Connector         16.5%

Johns Island                                                    15.5%

Folly Beach Area to Battery Island            14.7%

W.Ashley outside I-526 to Rantowles        14.5%

James Island                                                   13.9%

W.Ashley inside I-526 to Ashley River      10.0%

According to national real estate analyst CoreLogic, home prices are expected to rise 6% from May to a year from now.

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Now that the Charleston real estate market is getting strong again and in some areas has already recovered, investors that were sitting on the sidelines before are now coming out of the woodwork and want to get in on the action. I often get asked to find them a deal, something they can quickly fix up and either rent out for a few years or “flip” in a few months. Something with built in equity. Two years ago, I was finding these gems easily for clients, and they found it easy to negotiate with the sellers and get a great price. Those investors are sitting pretty now with a lot of equity and high rental income.

The average MLS area lost about 30% in value in terms of $/sqft since the peak of the market in 2006 to the bottom in 2011. Now, fewer homes are on the market and pent up demand from buyers are driving the prices up making it difficult to find so many great deals. Only 6% of the active inventory on MLS are short sales or foreclosures which equates to about 320 active listings. In 2011-2012 there were often around 1000 short sale and foreclosure listings on the market at any given time. Investors had the pick of the litter back then! Today, 15% of listings currently under contract are either short sales or foreclosures. It appears that banks have released and sold a good majority of their foreclosure inventory. And fewer short sales are in existence most likely because the market shifted thereby allowing homeowners to sell easily.

So where are the deals? There are still some short sales and foreclosures out there, but you’ve got to dig deep. Hire a realtor to find them for you. Look for those listings that have been on the market for months with no offers yet. You also need to be willing to have vision for the ugly houses that no one loves. If you have the vision and money to fix up, then making a quick profit is absolutely possible. There will always be homes that have been neglected over time and need to be priced lower than market value. These are the diamonds in the rough that are waiting to be discovered by investors.

If doing major renovation and clean up is not your thing, then just jump into the market at fair market value and hold on to the property for a few years. The upward momentum that the Charleston area is experiencing will continue for a long time. Ride the wave and gain annual appreciation as well as great rental income. Many buyers are choosing new construction. About 32% of the current listings under contract on MLS are new construction. Building a new house is a great way to get into the market and build up equity. When you’re ready to sell five years from now, you’ll look back and won’t believe how little you originally paid for the property.

Mt. Pleasant is leading the way in the sellers market with only 3 months of inventory and median prices above $350k and $175/sqft. Hardly any home in Mt. Pleasant that is going under contract is under $150/sqft. James Island and West Ashley, both also close to downtown and the beach, are also doing quite well. North Charleston has also seen higher prices because of Boeing. Daniel Island is a favorite choice among Boeing executives because of it’s location and upscale lifestyle. Summerville and Goose Creek have been a bit slower in their recovery as they are they are further away from downtown Charleston, but things seem to be moving in the right direction there now.

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