Preparing for Sale

I’m sure you have noticed the large number of new homes being built on Seabrook over the past two years. That trend is continuing and it shows a high level of confidence in Seabrook’s future and in the general economic picture. For the first time in years we are even seeing a sprinkling of “spec” homes being built on Seabrook Island.

We have also tested the market by placing builder’s plans on certain unsold homesites and offering a package to prospective buyers. We have seen some success with this strategy.

While this is all good news, it also clearly places an even higher focus on the importance of “condition” as a selling point for older homes. A very high percentage of homes and villas currently for sale on Seabrook were built in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Many of these are on highly desirable homesites with magnificent views, since they were the earliest home sites chosen as Seabrook was developed. Many need varying amounts of upgrade to compete with newer properties.

As a full service company, Seabrook Island Real Estate is gearing up to help owners of these properties prepare for sale in hopes of reducing the length of time a home is on the market while increasing the final sales price. Having a comprehensive plan to prepare and update your property, in advance of offering it for sale, is crucial to lowering your stress level. It also gives you the best chance of selling it for the most money, in the least amount of time, and helps you to better compete with newer homes on the market.

If you are thinking of listing you property in the near (or even distant future), and are interested in learning more about the building a plan and team for preparing you property, feel free to call me or your favorite Seabrook Island Real Estate Sales Executive. We are also in the process of planning a Property Preparation Expo at the Club. The Expo will be an open forum showcasing a wide variety of experts in this field to help Seabrook property owners plan for the future.

Thanks as always for your continued support and business,
Joe Salvo

Buying vs. Renting

Happy April everyone! We hope everyone had a good Easter holiday and start to spring! The island is buzzing with the new season starting. And the weather is finally starting to make it feel like summer. Welcome to everyone that is here visiting! And for everyone who isn’t here, you should come see us!

With tons of renters coming for the summer, long-term renting has become an interesting topic. Should you rent long-term or should you buy? Everyone comes to this question at some point in life. It’s no different on Seabrook. We have tons of amazing rentals here on the island, but we also have beautiful homes too. Throughout the US, the rising cost in rent has started to change the way people are investing their money. Low mortgage rates are starting to be a game changer, because why would you renew a lease when you could break even on a house in less time? Take into consideration the assets you gain with a home purchase, the appreciation of equity is a huge factor. Also, buying and then renting out your second home is a great way to make residual income. The biggest benefit for renting long-term is that you wouldn’t have to stay anywhere for an extended period of time.

But on an island like Seabrook, why wouldn’t you want to come and stay?

Thanks for reading! Be sure to comment!

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Meet the Agents

Happy March to everyone! If you haven’t been following us on Twitter or Facebook, you might have missed that we recently launched a “Meet the Agents” campaign for our SIRE Sales Team.

What, you might ask, is the point of this campaign? After much collaboration, we here at SIRE have realized that a name and a biography does not do our team justice. You deserve to know who the people are that are representing your Island and Club on a day-to-day basis. Therefore this campaign is to help you put a name with a friendly face. This campaign will also help our agents better their personal branding initiatives, with updated pictures and personal logos that will help distinguish them from other agents. By doing this, we hope to expand our agents’ and company recognition. We hope that this campaign will show that we are the best Real Estate company to work with when buying and selling on Seabrook Island.

Thank you for reading, we hope to see you soon!

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You Are Our Best Ambassadors.

Recently a very nice, happy couple came into our lobby in the middle of the mid-February ice storm. Of course, I immediately apologized for the weather. They let me know that it was all relative and that, back home in Cleveland, it was 5 degrees and they were perfectly happy with 35 and raining, knowing that by Saturday it would be 65 and sunny.

This was their first time on Seabrook and they were staying for a week. They told me they were blown away by the beauty and friendliness of the island. During their bike ride the day before, at least five friendly Seabrookers along the route stopped to talk with them. On that ride, they also happened to meet a couple who were looking at property with a Seabrook Island Real Estate agent. That couple invited them to join in as they looked at villas.

So here they were, 9 o’clock the next day, in a driving rain and sleet storm going out with that same Seabrook agent to find their Seabrook dream property. As a friend of mine often says, “you never know who is watching” or in this case, with whom you will be talking. The biggest concern people have when making a major move to a new community is how will I fit in and will I make friends. We are learning this more and more as we talk with prospects at the Ideal Living Expos. So, we offer to set up conversations with Seabrookers who have recently purchased, knowing they will have the same experience as this couple from Cleveland.

I want to thank all of you for your help! Whether it’s talking with guests at the Lake House, Island House, Pelican’s Nest, or just on the beach, you are our best ambassadors.

We have had a very active January and perhaps that can be attributed to the even worse weather up North. Feel free to call anytime if you would like to talk about real estate on Seabrook!

Joe Salvo, Broker-In-Charge
(*excerpt from the Veranda – March)

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Market in Recovery.

With a market in recovery, the number of listings is increasing and home buyers are given more inventory to choose from. Real Estate experts suggest that 2014 will be a great year for real estate because of increasing demand.

It seems as though the real estate market is booming here in Charleston. In 2013, Charleston home sales reached an all time, five-year high, and house flipping in South Carolina increased by almost 16%. With the economy reaching stable ground, people are more confident in keeping their jobs, and because of this real estate is seeing a steady increase in big consumer purchases. Consumers are finding themselves with a strong urgency to buy because of the low loan rates and a high feeling of empowerment with employment opportunities increasing.

The housing market and economic health are tightly tied together, therefore we see people beginning to make bigger purchases as our economy begins to level out. Seabrook is no different, we expect 2014 to be a big year!

Thanks for reading!
“Like” us on Facebook, Seabrook Island Real Estate, for more Real Estate happenings on the Island.

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Market Trends that will lead us into the New Year

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Even after the government shutdown, and a less than ideal economy standing, the housing market has made great improvements in the last months of the year. The housing market will see this increase continue through the end of the year and into early 2014. So despite the economic pitfalls, our housing market continues to chug along. Freddie Mac’s vice president, Frank Nothaft, says that the housing recovery should continue to absorb the economic shocks in stride and improve next year.

As of right now, the house price index has increased 12.8% since last year, which is the biggest increase since before the bubble burst. A slow increase in housing prices is not a bad thing though. To avoid another housing bubble burst, the increase is better left in a slow state. The prices are still relatively lower, but by the end of 2014, it is expected to increase enough to get everyone above water.

For buyers, this is the best market to buy in. Even though the inventory is tight, the buying market is looking at it’s best options now. There are plenty of good interest rates available for the interested buyer.

Thanks for reading!

Why Seabrook Island Real Estate?

It’s an interesting question. Why would you choose Seabrook Island Real Estate over national real estate brands such as Coldwell Banker, Century 21 or other local real estate agencies like Pam Harrington, or Akers Ellis?

National brands have preference in many situations because they are usually more trusted. It is simple marketing 101. Brand recognition generates a feeling of trust, especially if you’ve never bought in such a market before. Big branded companies put a lot of money into making sure that their agents are trained and educated on the current market and trends. These brand companies also put a lot of money into marketing and exposure. It’s natural that the question about how efficient Seabrook Island Real Estate can be for you.

Seabrook Island Real Estate prides itself on being more than just a brand. Seabook Island Real Estate is part of this community. Seabrook Island Real Estate has a leg up, so to speak, on national and other local real estate agencies because almost all of our agents live and work on the island. This real estate company is more than just your real estate agency, they’re your neighbors, they’re your bridge team, your golf partners, and your weekly dining group. This real estate company offers more than just basic information, when you choose our company, you’re choosing to hear it from the horse’s mouth. Who are you going to trust more, someone that visits Seabrook Island occasionally or someone who’s life is already here? When you choose us, you’re learning about the island from real islanders.

As for marketing and exposure, Seabrook Island Real Estate puts big money into trainings, and marketing. Our marketing staff puts tremendous effort in making sure that your listings and are getting maximum exposure and your options for buying are specifically geared towards your preferences.

So when you’re deciding on which agency to choose, and why, keep these things in mind. And most importantly, keep in mind that almost 90% of homes sold on Seabrook Island are listed and sold with us!

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Thanks for reading! Comment below!

The continuing effects of the government shutdown.

After my last blog about the government shutdown and real estate world, the effect has continued to interest me.

This week, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have loosened up on the rules for the banks to approve mortgages. Before, Fannie and Freddie required that borrowers must verify their incomes with the IRS before being able to close on a mortgage. However, due to the government shutdown, the IRS has been having trouble getting through all of these verifications.

Now, Freddie and Fannie have decided to allow the lenders to do loan the money without waiting for the IRS to verify. To me, this raises some red flags and some banks agree. Many of the lending banks are concerned about the lack of IRS credibility for borrowers that claim to be making x amount of money from self employment income sources. For an economy that already has a low-risk attitude after the recent fiscal crisis, some lenders may decide to wait until the shutdown is over.

Wells Fargo, who originally said that they would wait until the shutdown was over to continue mortgage applications, has decided after Fannie and Freddie eased up on the rules that they would continue to push applications down the line without IRS verifications.

What this could mean for the economy is interesting. The risk is high, and after the bubble bursting and the real estate market taking a catastrophic hit, why would you cut down on procedures on an already sensitive market?

Just my thoughts, share yours!

Federal Housing Administration will continue to lend.

I’m sure that everyone has heard of the news this morning. With the government under a shutdown process, I decided to take a look into how that affects the current housing market.

As of Monday night, the House and Senate remained at a standstill over the funding for Obama’s new health care law, sending the government into a shutdown. Because of this shutdown, we’re seeing many federal run places take a hit. As of today, the Statue of Liberty, National Zoo, Grand Canyon and parks across the country will be closing its doors. The entire DC area is seeing massive door closings due to this indecision.

Luckily for us in the Real Estate world, it looks like the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will not stop working on applications for housing loans like it previously said it would do. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has retracted its previous statement saying that they would completely shut down all applications. And given the fact that FHA will be working with a much smaller staff than the normal staff, 96% less actually, at least we aren’t seeing a complete shut down.

That’s all for now! Thanks for reading, and please comment!

This month in real estate…

Last month, Marketing Director, Kristina Skalak and Broker In Charge, Joe Salvo, traveled to Washington DC to promote Seabrook Island at the Ideal Living Resort and Retirement Real Estate Expo. Some 900 registrants from the metro area signed up to attend and about 50 other communities from the South East were represented.

It was a great opportunity to talk “one on one” with folks who are getting ready to retire to our part of the country. One thing quickly became clear, but not a surprise, to us as attendees visited our beautiful Seabrook Island booth. The big draw is our unbeatable combination of our Ocean Beaches, Privacy and proximity to Charleston.

They spent hours in very detailed discussions with attendees and came back with hundreds leads from potential Seabrookers with whom we will follow up. There is nothing better than face to face contact with prospects and we will be doing more of these shows in the coming year, while adding the new Seabrook Island branding messages at the same time.

In the meantime, the number of sales on Seabrook Island will grow for the fifth straight year in 2013. Right now Joe projects it to be up about 15-20% from 2012, with some 140+ closed sales versus last year’s 119. This is great progress from the low of 79 at the depth of the national recession in 2009 as we move toward getting back to annual sales of 200 plus.

That’s all for now!
Thanks for reading!