Category Archives: New Construction

Seller’s Market in Charleston, SC?

By most accounts Charleston, South Carolina has been the one glimmer of hope throughout the country in the housing sector. We have been on top of the housing recovery almost from the start. If you live here then you are not surprised by this. The area’s most populous county accounted for 502 homes sold, 57 percent of all homes that changed hands last month within the three counties, according to the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors’ monthly home sales report released Wednesday.

Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties combined for 876 sales in September, 13 percent more than the same month a year ago.

Seller’s Market in Charleston

The association’s monthly reports have been showing encouraging residential real estate trends since the fall of 2011. Sales have been rising, inventories have been falling and the uptick in median sales price suggests that broader real estate values are starting to rise.

The Charleston area sold 7,879 homes through September, a nearly 11 percent increase compared to the same period a year ago. The median sale price also has risen to $190,000, up from $179,850 a year ago, according to the association.

Charleston County also is leading the charge in slimming the average number of days a property sits on the market before being sold, bringing it to some of the shortest spans since before the last recession. All three counties averaged house listings before sold in 100 days or less on average. In Charleston the average was 87 days.

Charleston SC home builders even have reason to be excited as  national new homes at an annual rate of 750,000, up 29.1% compared with a year earlier. They applied to build another 803,000 new homes on an annual basis, a 24.5% jump compared with August 2011.

Charleston SC Home Builder’s Happier

Home builders have become increasingly bullish — a confidence index from the National Association of Home Builders reached its highest level since June 2006.

Excerpts by the Post and Courier used:
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Investment Property Charleston SC

For investors in Charleston SC the real estate game is a tricky one. We all made thousands and — probably millions if you add it all up — flipping houses, leasing offices and renovating condos. Then the real estate market collapsed, throwing the U.S. into the 2007-2009 recession.

Now the prognosis for real estate investments is looking much better, though it’s anything but simple. Some commercial real estate has rebounded, with investors craving income that real estate provides, while Lowcountry residential Charleston real estate — particularly single-family homes — may be at once-in-a-lifetime bargain prices.

Four top experts were asked for their take on the the opportunities and potential pitfalls facing real estate investors in the coming years. Edited excerpts of their interviews follow:

Jim Sullivan, managing director of REIT research, Green Street Advisors

Every diversified investor should have some exposure to commercial real estate, and REITs [real estate investment trusts] provide a terrific, transparent and liquid way to get that exposure. Operating fundamentals in most property types range from good to great, with good being the shopping center business and industrial business and great being the apartment business. The economy is not doing great, but the silver lining for commercial real estate is how little new supply is coming on the market. Too much new commercial construction is typically what puts a halt to real estate recoveries. This time around, it’s just not an issue.

REITs tend to be specialized by property type. You can pick and choose, depending on what your economic outlook might be. If your forecast is a little rosier, you’d want to be in property types that respond well in economic recoveries — hotels, for example, or REITs that own shopping centers with lots of small tenants. If you wanted to be a bit more defensive, health care REITs are a terrific place to be. When investing in Charleston real estate the safe bet would obviously be in tourism based avenues considering that is the most consistent driver of revenue.

James – Charleston Real Estate Consulting

The biggest opportunity is buying distressed single-family homes, because that market has been completely beat up. The next biggest opportunity is buying land because very few people have been focused on it. If you have a long-term view, you’ll probably see a significant multiple return. Buying land is a complicated business, though. Mom-and-pop investors should not be buying land.

Lauren Pressman, director of investment research at wealth management firm Aspiriant

The U.S. is in a period of sustained but very slow growth. Job reports are huge factors for real estate, because jobs create demand for housing, for offices, for travel and at retail establishments. We’re wary of things like retail and office, except in very unique circumstances. Multifamily real estate (apartment buildings) arguably had all the tail winds at its back to do the best of all asset classes. However, be careful. There is so much capital chasing multifamily, and that can lift prices beyond a point where your return is commensurate with risk.

No matter what your strategy is always be careful and have a good local agent to help you navigate through the maze of options out there for investing in real estate in Charleston or anywhere. Find a great contractor in Charleston and let them help you with the renovations, and repair necessary to get a C.O. and move onto the next real estate opportunity.

There has never been a better time to pull money out of the equities market and into real estate, rates are low, and prices are too.

 

Different Kinds of New Home Construction

There are essentially 4 types of newly built homes you could choose from if new construction is what you have to have.

1.) Fully Custom – Just as its name states, custom homes are as YOU want them. As the prospective home owner you would be expected to hire an architect whereby with regular meetings you, your architect, and home builder would design a home according to your direction, and vision. After you have signed off on the design of your home it then has to be stamped by a licensed engineer to make sure its design features are structurally sound. Beware of a fully custom home because they take much longer to build, and they require many many meetings with a plethora of different people all of which are there to make sure you get exactly what you want. Also, here in Charleston, South Carolina, downtown specifically there is an ARB (architectural review board) which over-sees the construction of every building in historic Charleston. However, there is a good reason for this. Aside from the normal responsibilities of ensuring the safety of each property, it too is responsible for preserving the look and historic significance of one of the United States most respected and historically relevant cities in the country. If you are considering building in Mount Pleasant, Folly Beach, Isle of Palms, or surrounding areas there is less chance you have to be too concerned with having each phase of your design and construction signed off on from an aesthetic point at least. However, many newer suburban communities also have restrictions and rules that have to be adhered to there to preserve a consistent feel of the neighborhood. For instance Kiawah Island home builders have to make sure their customers know that they can not use white for their exterior trim color.

1.a  Next are the finishes, i.e. type of cabinets, trim, hard wood floor species, stain colors, electrical fixtures, plumbing fixtures, tile, exterior materials, carpet styles, paint colors, and many more options. It is common for your builder (general contractor) to have a few design partners that will help you when choosing from the hundreds or thousands of options available to you with each phase of construction. It is fairly safe to say that the more elaborate and detailed your home is with design elements the longer it will take to build.

2.) Semi-Custom – A semi-custom home usually refers to a type of new construction home whereby the builder will either provide you with a multiple different home plans to choose from if they already own the dirt.  Yet the home buyer can make small changes to the plans, but usually not to the structural elements as well as they get to choose the finishes mentioned in 1.a. This kind of home is probably your most commonly used option, and many of your local & national home builders prefer to offer this as it is the most flexible to most people. Here is one example of Mount Pleasant Builder offering new homes.

Let Us Build You a New Home

You feel as if you are getting a fully custom home without having the additional time, and expense of hiring and meeting with an architect. Since the builder is familiar with the floor plans they usually are fairly confident with giving you a estimated close date and cost depending on the finishes you choose.

3.) Spec (Speculative) – Spec homes are where a builder (national or local) will pre-build a newly constructed home, choose the floor plans, and the finishes, landscaping, etc. hoping that a prospective buyer will be interested in buying it as he or she designed it. They are “speculating” that there are enough interested buyers in the market, hence the name “spec home”. These homes are usually built in established neighborhoods often times in nicer communities consisting mostly of custom homes.

4.) Tract Home – Usually your most affordable option – As defined by Wikipedia – Tract housing is a style of housing development in which multiple similar homes are built on a tract of land which is subdivided into individual small lots. Tract housing developments are typically found in North American suburbs that were modeled on the “Levittown” concept and sometimes encompass large areas of dozens of square miles.

These types of homes although new are usually of lesser quality then the first three options because the builders know exactly what it costs them to build each home as cheaply as possible because believe it or not their profit is in the land. Most of the national builders whose names you’d recognize such as: DR Horton, Beazer, Pulte, KB, and Centex, are considered tract builders. The expense and “power” is in the dirt. If you own the dirt or tract of land to build then you have the power because buyers have no other choice other than to buy your product if they want to live in certain areas. These builders will buy large pieces of land all over the country and develop the dirt, but in order to compete with local builders will many times offer a semi-custom feature into their plans. Whereby, they will have usually offer 6, sometimes 8 floor plans to choose from, and offer a hand full of different finish options. Such as: 3 types of pre-finished hardwood flooring, 4 types of ceramic tile or vinyl, 3 styles of carpet, 3 different exterior wall coverings, etc.

Precision Construction is Charleston’s SC best Affordable Home Builder

To Buy or Build Home, That is the Question?

This is a tricky question, because it really depends who you ask.

If you ask a mortgage loan officer they are going to try to steer you toward buying a built home instead of building because getting a construction loan is a almost impossible these days. Trust me I know because I was in the mortgage business for over 12 years.  My suggestion is if you absolutely have to have a new home, then try to find a semi-custom “spec” (speculative) home. Meaning a developer buys a large plot of land and has multiple house plans from you to choose from. IF you and your real estate agent get under contract on a home that is in the middle of construction but not yet sold your home builder will usually let you pick out many things that fit your taste. Like: the type of flooring, paint colors, trim packages, counter tops, cabinets, even type of roof material, and landscaping so you get a new home with a custom feel without all the hassle of having to hire an architect, permitting, etc.

Since I am real estate agent, built my own home, and once owned a mortgage company I will answer the question for you from my experience.

To be honest with you building is kind of a pain, unless you have a great home  builder and bank. Right now banking and mortgage lending is NOT smooth sailing. It was a pain getting a construction loan when anyone with a pulse could qualify in 2004-2006.  So getting a construction loan now is even more of a nightmare. As an ex- mortgage loan professional I would not suggest building just for that reason alone.  You have to put down a lot more money then you would have to for just a traditional purchase.

If you still want to build just be prepared for a busy few months. Depending on the size of home, the finishes, the town you are building, among others, the process can be from 4 months to 2+ years. There are many meetings involved, decisions to be made, and things to consider, and with a lot of people. IF you really do your homework and find a great reputable, experienced builderthen you can make your process a little easier. In any event building a home is not usually an enjoyable experience, simply because there are so many choices and changes, that can test your nerves.

Precision Construction is Charleston’s best Affordable Home Builder

In closing my suggestion is to seriously think about it before making a decision. You may even consider buying an older home, or a foreclosure and renovating it to look new. If you want a like new home then I suggest letting me find you home that needs a lot of work then let a contractor redo it to your liking. Then you can make changes, additions, and improvements that will suit you. Sometimes when doing a renovation it too can also be a difficult process for getting money from a bank, but one loan that is tailored for this type of process is a 203k from FHA. Make sure you specifically ask about this type of loan and make sure your loan officer is very very familiar with this type of loan.

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