Announcing our #MakeItUniquelyYours Photo Contest!

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Proud to announce our #MakeItUniquelyYours photo contest!

This is your chance to show us how you make Seabrook Island Uniquely YOURS!

Enter on our Facebook pages, or visit our website www.discoverseabrook.com/news-and-media.php and add your pictures! You can also enter on Instagram or Twitter by simply hashtagging #MakeItUniquelyYours

Deadline to enter is October 15th. Winners will receive a Seabrook Island Gift Bag filled with goodies! Make sure to hashtag #MakeItUniquelyYours and VOTE for your favorite pictures!

End of Summer Update

Except for a weird two week period in early July, the Seabrook Island Real Estate market continued to be quite active over the summer. Right now there are 101 properties either closed or waiting to close in 2014, with almost four full selling months remaining in the year.

The most improved portion of the market is single family homes. In 2013, a total of 46 single family homes were sold, while in 2014 that number is already 44 and is on a track to be about 60 by year end. Villas are on track with 2013’s numbers, when 61 were sold. So far there are 46 villas either closed or waiting to close, again with four sales months remaining. Continuing on this track would mean an increase in residential sales of about 10% by year end. At the writing of this article, there were 91 single family homes on the market and 96 villas. This translates to about a year and a half supply, well down from the highs.

Sales of homesites are lower than last year with 13 sites closed or waiting to close. There were 30 closed homesite sales in 2013 and now 105 homesites on the market.

In the meantime, our marketing efforts and those of our Sales Executives continue to bear fruit, and your real estate company has generated the highest market share of sold properties in the history of the company. Real Estate produced a healthy profit for the first half of the year and helped to generate a significant increase in Club membership. We expect that to continue in the 2nd half based on the number of sales already waiting to close at this time.

A detailed comparison of the first half of the year shows that the Seabrook Island Real Estate market was in line with or better than our main competitor communities in the Charleston area and significantly better than competitors South of us in the Hilton Head/Bluffton markets. Inventory backlogs are also in line or better than in those markets.

As an added service to our current and future clients, Seabrook Island Real Estate is looking into programs to help owners of older properties, those built in the 1980s and 90s, to find ways to efficiently upgrade features of their homes in order to generate a higher return when they are ready to sell and to get their homes sold quicker. You will hear more about this in the near future!

Hope y’all had a great summer and as always, please feel free to call me to talk about the Seabrook Real Estate market.

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!