Advice for Buying a Beach House as a Second Home

If you live in the North or even some parts of the Midwest, you may already be feeling the fall chill. Before you know it, you’ll be back to shoveling snow and waiting anxiously for spring’s soft breezes to warm up your shivering bones. In moments like these, you may start thinking about buying a second home, but not just any home – a house on the beach where the weather is mild year-round. Before you dive headfirst into home listings, ask yourself the following questions:


Why do you want to buy a second home?

If you love where you currently live, but you just happen to be weathering a once-a-year cold snap, you may not want to take on the extra responsibility of owning a second home. Ask yourself why you really want the second house, and be honest in your answer. If you find that you do want to get away from the snow or you really want to have a vacation house on the beach, then by all means, start checking listings!

Do you know the true costs?

If you’ve never owned a second home before and you are not from the area that you’re house hunting in, you may be surprised by the cost differences. Property taxes differ from state to state, insurance is different on second homes, flood insurance is probably a more relevant concern, and your potential new community may have HOA fees to consider. These things shouldn’t necessarily deter you from thinking about a beach home, but it is important to be aware of them before you buy.

What are the neighbors and community like?

Even if you’re only spending a few weeks a year in your beach house, it’s important that you like your neighbors and community. You won’t be home much of the time, and kind neighbors who keep an eye out for your property are essential. You also want to be comfortable in the community as a whole; the people that you’re around on vacation can have a big impact on your overall perception of the trip. Do some research on the community and see if it has the amenities you like or social groups that you can get involved in during your stay.

If you’ve asked yourself these questions, you’re on your way to being prepared for a second home purchase. If you already know that a beach home is right for you, take a look at Seabrook’s waterfront properties or reach out to one of our agents today!

8 Ways to Know You Found the Right House

Depending on how specific your needs are, house hunting can become a long and stressful process. After months of searching and seeing as many houses as your real estate agent can come up with, how do you know that you’ve found the right house at last?

It’s tentative love at first sight.

After all you’ve been through, you may not fall head-over-heels in love at the first sight of those plantation shutters that you adore or the winding driveway you’ve been thinking about for years. With that said, one of the first signs that you may have found the right house for you is a sense of hopefulness before you even step out of your car. That house’s curb appeal is speaking to you in a way that makes you think that this could be the one.

When you walk in and stand in the rooms, they just feel right.

Call it a gut feeling or buyer’s intuition; this is a subtle emotion. You just feel at home in a way that you haven’t in any of the other houses you’ve toured.

You don’t see flaws; you see opportunities.

The master bathroom may only have one sink right now, but you know it’s big enough to accommodate two sinks and you’re up for the task. The kitchen counter might need some love, but that’s an easy enough fix and you’ll get to add in the marble countertops you’ve always wanted. If the house isn’t right for you, all of these things will seem like a hassle instead of something to look forward to.

Marsh Haven Seabrook porch with swing and rocking chairs

In every room you enter, you start imagining how you would arrange your furniture.

You’re already envisioning the layout and thinking about how your furniture would complement the space of this new home. You can see how you would move things around to entertain family members during the holidays and you’re figuring out the best place to display your favorite piece of art.

The house covers all of your basic needs.

It might not have the garage you wanted, but it fits your room, bathroom, and space requirements. You recognize that anything on your wishlist that the house doesn’t have is either not that important or can be added later.

You don’t want to look at any other homes.

It isn’t because you’re burned out on house hunting–you know what you want.
You’re looking forward to entertaining guests here. You want to share this home with your friends and family, and you can’t wait to start planning.


It fits your future.

Do you know you want kids? This house has plenty of room and is close to great schools. Looking to expand your business soon? The house has the space for an expansive home office.

If you’re still on the hunt for your perfect home, contact our Seabrook Island Real Estate office. We would love to help you find the home that is right for you and your family!

The 5 Factors of a Good Location

People always say that location is the most important factor in buying good real estate, but what that term really means is not always clear. ‘Location’ doesn’t just mean the distance to downtown Charleston; a good location incorporates several other important community aspects.

aerial view of the seabrook island beach club and pool

How close is the property to where you need to go?

Centrality is often what people think about when they hear the term ‘location.’ There is a reason why the downtown areas of cities are often the most expensive; they are close to the city’s heartbeat, and depending on development regulations, there may not be new ones being listed on the market any time soon.

Real estate that is farther away from essential locations generally falls in price. This isn’t a strictly linear relationship, though, because homeowners often appreciate the larger spaces and limited traffic congestion that living away from the city allows.

Are there plans for development?

Current amenities are important, but so are future ones. If you know that there are building plans for a new high-quality school or hospital in the area, the property value of nearby real estate will increase. Before you settle on a home, try to find out what developments are in the works.

Seabrook-Island-club-bike-ridesWhat is the neighborhood like?

Every homeowner-in-the-making will have a different idea of what they want in a neighborhood, but there are a few things that appeal to all. First, you want the neighborhood to be located in reasonable commuting distance to your essential places. Second, easy access to quality amenities is ideal. Third, the neighborhood should have an appearance that appeals to you (and other potential buyers if you plan to sell later).

How much are homes nearby going for and how long are they on the market?

When looking at the closing price of other nearby homes, consider how long it took to sell those houses. A quick turnover rate indicates that there is interest in the area.

Where is the lot located?

After you have considered all of the above factors, the choice you make between alternatives may come down to the lot itself. Is one option on a busy road? Does it back up to a church or some other commercial property? If it is nearby structures like these, it will likely be more difficult to sell.

If you are looking for your next primary home or a rental property, Seabrook Island has a wide assortment of homes and lots that are available for sale. Reach out to Seabrook Island Real Estate for more information.

Introducing the New Home Collection


Seabrook Island Real Estate has begun marketing the “New Home Collection at Seabrook Island.”

This program is offering New Home construction plans, which have been “pre-approved” by the Architectural Review Board (ARB) of the Seabrook Island Property Owners Association (SIPOA.) All you have to do is choose your homesite on Seabrook Island, pick your plan, add any custom interior features and obtain final approval.













This is a program designed for people who want to build a home with fewer delays, no headaches and at a predetermined, fixed guaranteed price! The “New Home Collection” team will walk home buyers through the process from start to finish. The team that has created these amazing designs will also build the homes, and help with finishes and final landscaping of the properties.

This type of program has been proven successful in many other well-known communities similar to Seabrook Island, with Club and POA structures. It brings positive results for current owners looking to sell their existing homesites, and to buyers who desire new construction but don’t want to start from scratch.

Currently there are three pre-approved home plans, in a variety of price ranges, which can be meticulously placed on your chosen Seabrook Island homesite. All Seabrook Island Real Estate Sales Executives have been brought fully up-to-speed on the program, so call your favorite agent today if you are interested in learning the details and meeting with the “New Home Collection” team! + stay tuned for additional information…

Joe Salvo
843.768.7796 •

Seabrook Island Open!

Thank you to all those who expressed concern and inquired about Seabrook following Hurricane Matthew. We are happy to report that because of the preparation efforts of the Seabrook Island Town, Club and SIPOA, there was no major structural damage to the Island. The St. John’s Fire Department, our maintenance crew, and Town, Club and POA officials worked tirelessly post-storm to return our Island to normal. It has been a true community effort on Seabrook, and we are beyond thankful to our residents for their patience and assistance in storm aftermath.

As of last week, Seabrook Island Club is fully functional and up and running! The golf courses are open and in great condition, and the tennis and pickleball courts are playable. After safely evacuating to Aiken, the horses have returned to the Equestrian Center and are ready for riders. Additionally, the Island House is operational and serving lunch and dinner. The Seabrook Island Real Estate office has resumed its normal hours: Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm; Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 3pm.













Our thoughts are with those devastated by and impacted by Hurricane Matthew. Here’s to sunny skies and beautiful fall weather in the Lowcountry!

We hope to see you on Seabrook Island soon!

Joe Salvo
843.768.7796 •

Island Makeup: “How I Spent my Summer Vacation” Part II

A common question I get asked is, “how many people live full-time on the Island?” A good back to school research paper for me! It’s a difficult number to pin down, but I thought it might be interesting to check the voter registration numbers as a way of making a determination. I was surprised to learn that the numbers have been increasing drastically over the past few years. The research showed that in 2008 there were 1,315 people registered to vote on Seabrook. By 2010, that number had risen to almost 1,502, a 14% increase. In 2015, the number had risen to almost 1,800, a 20% increase since 2010 and almost 37% over 2008. A check of Club memberships showed the similar 21% increase in resident members since 2010.



Another common question is, “how many properties are on the Island and how many home sites remain?” We use about 2,600 as the total number of homes, villas and home sites. Heather Paton tells me the SIPOA uses 413 as the number of unimproved home sites remaining. Using the latest Property Owners Association map, it looks like the remaining home sites break down “approximately” this way: 22% wooded; 12% marsh; 27% golf; 7% lakes; 13% village; 5% ocean front; 13% ocean area. I can’t guarantee total accuracy, since I counted them myself and made up the categories, but it made an interesting school project.

Welcome back to those who traveled this summer, and here’s to a great end-of-the-year in the real estate market!

Joe Salvo
843.768.7796 •


New Marketing Projects: “How I spent my Summer Vacation” Part I

Since it’s “back to school” time, I decided to treat this issue as my initial essay project of the new school year – “how I spent my summer vacation.”

First, much of the time was spent implementing new marketing ideas for spreading the word about real estate opportunities on Seabrook. You’ll notice new kiosk stands housing real estate guides at both the Beach Club and the Island House. The good news is that these have been flying off the shelves into the hands of potential prospects.

I also spent Wednesday mornings over the summer hosting breakfast “meet and greet” sessions in the Island House for Seabrook guests looking to buy property. The attendees ran the gamut of our normal prospect pipeline – from first-time visitors to a couple from the Southwest who have been visiting Seabrook for 6 years. All the meetings were extremely positive and usually the longtime visitors were gushing to the new guys about what a great place Seabrook is!

Stay tuned later this month for “how I spent my summer vacation” – part II! Welcome back to those who have been traveling, and here’s to a great end of the year real estate market!

Joe Salvo
843.768.7796 •

Congratulations Photo Contest Winners!

Last week, Seabrook Island Club announced its winner and two runners-up of its Summer 2016 #MakeitUniquelyYours Photo Contest! Congratulations to Molly Bisceglia, Greg Lozanoff & Amelia Rowland on their spectacular Seabrook snapshots! The next round of the #MakeitUniquelyYours Photo Contest begins September 1st – don’t forget to enter AND vote!

Summer 2016 Photo Contest Announce_8-16-16

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

Announcing our #MakeItUniquelyYours Photo Contest!

Seabrook Photo Contest Flyer 2014_rev5_JPEG 700x906

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 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!