Current Status of the Homebuyer’s Tax Credit / Dodd/Lieberman/Isakson Amendment

The extension and expansion of a tax credit for first-time homebuyers has been incorporated into Senate legislation that would extend unemployment benefits.  The Senate will hold a procedural vote on the legislation on Nov. 2. A vote on final passage of the entire package probably will happen by the end of next week.  Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, lined up the procedural vote and made other parliamentary moves to force progress on the legislation.

On Thursday, a bipartisan group of senators released details of a deal to extend the homebuyer tax credit. The $8,000 credit is scheduled to expire Nov. 30. The deal would extend the credit for first-time homebuyers who enter sales contracts by April 30, 2010, and close within 60 days. Individuals would be able to claim the credit for purchases in 2010 on their 2009 tax returns, meaning they could get the money relatively quickly.
The measure would also add a $6,500 credit for some existing homeowners, as long as they have lived in their current homes for five consecutive years.

The income cap for qualifying would be raised to $125,000 for individuals and $225,000 for married couples, up from $75,000 and $150,000, respectively. But homes sold for more than $800,000 would not be eligible for the credit.

As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston SC real estate needs or questions.  To look for homes anywhere in the tri-county area go to my website at http://www.carolinajoe.com/mls/

Sincerely,

"Carolina Joe" Idleman
http://www.carolinajoe.com

 

"Carolina Joe" Just sold Another One!!

"CAROLINA JOE", YOUR REALTOR TO KNOW!

38 ATHENS CT CHARLESTON, SC 29403-3719 LP: $22,000

MLS#: 2920236md – RES – SFD Status: Sold
Area: (52) CHS-Peninsula Chas. outside of crosstown
Municipality: (11) CITY OF CHARLESTON
Bedrooms: 4 Apx SqFt: 1,190
Bths Ful/Hlf: 1/1 Tax Map#: 463-12-03-087
Stories: 2 Story Apx YrBlt: 1973
Address: 38 ATHENS CT
City: CHARLESTON Zip: 29403-3719
Lot Size: 30X75 Acres: 0.00
Subdiv: NORTH CENTRAL Subsec:  
Grade Sch: JAMES SIMONS Middle Sch: BURKE
High Sch: BURKE
Possessn: At Closing New/Owned: Pre-owned
Legal Desc: LEGAL: LOT 27

Style: Traditnl Fireplace:   Special:  
Roof: Asbest Shngl Foundation: Slab Floors: W/w Carpet, Vinyl
Cooling:   Heat: Elec Basebrd Utilities: SCEandG, Chas Water Sys
Parking: Off-st Prkng        
        SqFt Source: Tax Records   $/Sqft: $16.81
Auction: N Auction Type:   Reserve Amt:  
Lot Desc:  
Exterior: Wood Siding, Asbsts Shingle
Master BR:  
Other Rms: Eat-in Kitch, Family
Misc. Int:  
Misc. Extt: Enclosed Metal Fence
Wat/Sew: Public Water, Public Sewer
Amenities: Cable Available
Appliances: Elec Range, Washer Conn, Dryer Conn
Green Features:  
Sold Price: $20,000 DOM/CDOM/DUC: 47/47 / 70 NewMortType: CASH
Close Date: 10/20/2009 CntrctDate: 08/11/2009 PrjClsDate:  
Sell Off: (1836) AGENTOWNED CHAS. GROUP
Phone: (843) 769-5100
Sell Agent: (12460) JOE IDLEMAN
Phone: (843) 557-9203
Sell Co-Off: () Seller Concessions: N Sell Co-Agent: ()

Click on Photo to Enlarge

Mullet Hall Equestrian Center at Johns Island County Park

Johns Island SC real estate boasts the best of both gated communities and rural living.  If you love horses this may be the place for you.  Horse friendly Johns Island homes of 1 acre or more are found here.  By living in a Johns Island home and loving horses you can take advantage of the Mullet Hall Equestrian Center at Johns Island County Park located at 2662 Mullet Hall Road.  It is tucked within 738-acres and serves as host site for competitive horse shows, festivals, events, exhibitions, and trail riding.  The site also boasts approximately 20 miles of trails winding through southern pines and moss draped oaks, alongside open meadows and farm fields. Mullet Hall does not offer riding lessons, rentals, or boarding.

The Equestrian Center features include 4 show rings, 1 grass Grand Prix ring, 40 acres of open grassed fields, ample lunging areas,  bleachers and judging stands, 2-98 stall barns with water and electricity (196 stalls), 2 tent pads with water and electricity for temporary stalls, horse washing stations, state-of-the-art sound system, jumps, show office, parking, trail access – accessible to trail pass members on a year-round basis, and 30 and 50 amp camping hook-ups.

Mullet Hall is also a venue for animal exhibition shows, tractor shows, festivals, craft show, car shows, and fairs.  Mullet Hall offers one of the few public equestrian trail systems in the Lowcountry.  Pristine scenery is everywhere as you journey through 20 miles of trails winding through southern pines and moss-draped oaks, alongside open meadows and farm fields.  These casual, rider-friendly trails are perfect for riders of all ages and abilities.  All trails are accessible to trail pass members on a year-round basis.

If you prefer a slower paced rural lifestyle and still be within 30 minutes of downtown Charleston then Johns Island SC real estate is for you.  You can find your new Johns Island home here.

As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston SC real estate needs or questions.  To look for homes anywhere in the tri-county area go to my website at http://www.carolinajoe.com/mls/

Sincerely,

"Carolina Joe" Idleman
http://www.carolinajoe.com

Boeing 787 Production Plant Coming to North Charleston

Thought I’d spread a little good news today.  It is a great day for the city of North Charleston, the tri-county area, and the entire state of South Carolina.  Boeing plans to break ground on its new 584,000 square feet facility within the next few weeks and be operational in 2011.   Boeing projects they will build 10 to 12 of the 787’s per month when production begins.  The Boeing facility will create 3,800 jobs over the next 7 years.  It is estimated the first year’s payroll will exceed 175 million dollars.  Boeing’s investment in the project will exceed 750 million dollars.   Boeing is receiving 450 million dollars in financial incentives from local and state government.  I believe this is an excellent example of what can be accomplished when all facets of government work together to meet a common goal.  The impact on the local job market, housing market, retail market, and service businesses will be huge.  Just like the BMW plant in the upstate Boeing gives South Carolina another globally know manufacturer. 

As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston SC real estate needs or questions.  To look for homes anywhere in the tri-county area go to my website at http://www.carolinajoe.com/mls/

Sincerely,

"Carolina Joe" Idleman
http://www.carolinajoe.com

 

"Carolina Joe" Just Sold Another One!!!

"CAROLINA JOE", YOUR REALTOR TO KNOW!

390 HUGER ST CHARLESTON, SC 29403-4126 LP: $115,000

MLS#: 2922136pd – RES – SFD Status: Sold
Area: (52) CHS-Peninsula Chas. outside of crosstown
Municipality: (11) CITY OF CHARLESTON
Bedrooms: 2 Apx SqFt: 821
Bths Ful/Hlf: 1/1 Tax Map#: 460-03-02-121
Stories: 1 Story Apx YrBlt: 1930
Address: 390 HUGER ST
City: CHARLESTON Zip: 29403-4126
Lot Size: 75X35 Acres: 0.00
Subdiv: NORTH CENTRAL Subsec:  
Grade Sch: JAMES SIMONS Middle Sch: BURKE
High Sch: BURKE
Possessn: At Closing New/Owned: Pre-owned
Legal Desc: LEGAL: LT 25
Style: Traditnl Fireplace:   Special:  
Roof: Arcitec Shng Foundation: Crawl Space Floors: Wood
Cooling: Window Unit Heat:   Utilities: SCEandG, Chas Water Sys
Parking:          
        SqFt Source: Tax Records   $/Sqft: $103.53
Auction:   Auction Type:   Reserve Amt:  
Lot Desc: Corner
Exterior: Wood Siding
Master BR:  
Other Rms:  
Misc. Int:  
Misc. Extt: Enclosed Metal Fence
Wat/Sew: Public Water, Public Sewer
Amenities:  
Appliances:  
Green Features:  

Directions: PROPERTY LOCATED ON HUGER STREET BETWEEN RUTLEDGE AVENUE AND KING STREET AT THE CORNER OF HUGER STREET AND DEWEY STREET.
Showing: Other
Remarks: HOME IN NEED OF RENOVATION.
If square footage is important – MEASURE!!
Agnt Notes: CONTINGENT UPON HOME INSPECTION. NO ADDITIONAL SHOWINGS AT THIS TIME. Click here to report incomplete or inaccurate information
Sold Price: $85,000 DOM/CDOM/DUC: 0/0 / 49 NewMortType: CASH
Close Date: 10/05/2009 CntrctDate: 08/17/2009 PrjClsDate:  
Sell Off: (1836) AGENTOWNED CHAS. GROUP
Phone: (843) 769-5100
Sell Agent: (12460) JOE IDLEMAN
Phone: (843) 557-9203
Sell Co-Off: () Seller Concessions: N Sell Co-Agent: ()

Click on Photo to Enlarge

Dodd/Lieberman/Isakson amendment to extend the $8,000 first time homebuyer tax credit

If you support the extension of the $8,000 first time homeowner’s tax credit you need to contact your state senators this week to express your opinion.  South Carolina’s two senators are:

Senator Graham:  202-224-5972
Senator Demint:  202-224-6121

Ask your Senator to support the Dodd/Lieberman/Isakson amendment by extending the $8,000 first time homebuyer tax credit.

The Dodd/Lieberman/Isakson amendment would:

1.  Extend the tax credit to June 30, 2010.

2.  Expand the credit by removing the first time homebuyer requirement.

3.  Raise the income limits to $150,000 ($300,000 for joint returns).

4.  For purchases made in 2010, taxpayers are able to claim the credit on their 2009 income tax return.

5.  Maintains that homebuyers do not have to repay the credit, provided the home remains their main residence for 36 months after the purchase date.

6.  The 36 month recapture provision is waived for a member of the Armed Forces on active duty who has to move because of a military order.
 
                                                                              Why it is needed:

1.  The housing market remains fragile.
 
2.  The market has improved and prices have stabilized in many areas, but the market has not fully corrected.  Retaining the credit sustains that recovery.

3.  The tax credit has been effective.

4.  NAR research suggests that as many as 355,000 sales this year can be directly attributed to the availability of the credit.

5.  One prominent economist attributes 400,000 sales to the availability of the credit.

6.  The tax credit stimulated market activity.

7.  The volume of housing sales has improved steadily every month since the credit was enacted.

8.  The credit pulled people from the sidelines and created some momentum that had been absent.

9.  Home sales continue to stimulate economic activity.

10. The economy will never fully recover until housing markets fully recover.  Thus, the stimulus the credit provides is still needed. NAR estimates that every sale generates approximately $60,000 of additional economic activity.

As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston SC real estate needs or questions.  To look for homes anywhere in the tri-county area go to my website at http://www.carolinajoe.com/mls/

Sincerely,

"Carolina Joe" Idleman
http://www.carolinajoe.com

 

"Carolina Joe" Just Sold another One!!!!

 

            "CAROLINA JOE", YOUR REALTOR TO KNOW!

116 AMANDA CIR GOOSE CREEK, SC 29445 LP: $400,000

MLS#: 2911038md – RES – SFD Status: Sold
Area: (73) BER-G.Cr/M.Cor Hwy17a-Oakley-Hwy52
Municipality: (32) GOOSE CREEK
Bedrooms: 4 Apx SqFt: 3,397
Bths Ful/Hlf: 3/1 Tax Map#: 243-06-06-009
Stories: 1 Story Apx YrBlt: 2003
Address: 116 AMANDA CIR
City: GOOSE CREEK Zip: 29445
Lot Size: 0 Acres: 0.00
Subdiv: CROWFIELD PLANTATION Subsec: THE HAMLETS
Grade Sch: COLLEGE PARK Middle Sch: COLLEGE PARK
High Sch: STRATFORD
Possessn: At Closing New/Owned: Pre-owned
Legal Desc: lot 9 section c
Remarks: Situated on the 2nd Hole of Crowfield Golf Course, spend your days golfing or lounging in the beautiful in ground pool right in your own back yard. This home is loaded with extra's. Walk through the front doors and you will be greeted by beautiful hardwood floors and a tradition formal dining room and living room with poladium windows and custom shutters. There are so many elements to this home that make it unique. There are beautiful moldings, dramatic vaulted ceilings and columns to give that extra touch of elegance. The owners suite sits on the main floor and has direct access to the sun room and back yard. The owners bath is nice and large with multiple closets, dual vanities and a separate shower and whirlpool tub. The bonus room can be used as an in law suite. There is a private bath, multiple closets as well as an office area and a flex space the current owner uses as a craft room (yes, all off of the bonus room). The other 2 bedrooms are located off the of the opposite side of the home giving plenty of privacy. Crowfield plantation has miles of walking trails, a large lake with a few park areas to picnic and fish as well as the Crowfield Country Club that offers weekly buffets and daily lunch. Welcome home to the good life. Aren't you worth this?
If square footage is important – MEASURE!!
Agnt Notes: Click here to report incomplete or inaccurate information
Lease/Pur: N Prospect Ex: N Financing: Any Assumable: No
Taxes:   HOA Fee: Y $305 Assmt Ratio:   SpAssmt: N
Owner: STALL Regime Fee:   List Date: 4/22/2009 Exp Date: N/A
C/R: Y CntngncyRsn:  
Sold Price: $377,000 DOM/CDOM/DUC: 120/120 / 31 NewMortType: CASH
Close Date: 09/19/2009 CntrctDate: 08/19/2009 PrjClsDate:  
Sell Off: (1836) AGENTOWNED CHAS. GROUP
Phone: (843) 769-5100
Sell Agent: (12460) JOE IDLEMAN
Phone: (843) 557-9203
Sell Co-Off: () Seller Concessions: N Sell Co-Agent: ()

Click on Photo to Enlarge

5 Things to do Before You Start Looking For Your New Home

Home buyers can begin the search for the perfect new home by creating a solid plan that covers all of the necessary components of home ownership, as outlined below:

1.  Select a Knowledgeable Realtor: Find an agent that you trust and understands your needs to be your guide and consultant.

2.  Examine Finances: All potential buyers should take a good look at their financial situation before embarking on home ownership. While upfront prices may be low, the month-to-month costs of home ownership can add up. Income, credit rating and current monthly expenses should all be taken into account when determining how much can be spent on a new home. Visiting a professional lender is the best way to get an accurate budget for home purchase.

3.  Research Loans: The majority of home buyers will require some type of loan to cover the purchase of a new home. Buyers should shop around for the best deal by contacting several lenders to compare interest rates. The more knowledge a buyer has of the lending market, the better he will be able to negotiate for the best rates.

4.  Find the Right Home: Once a buyer has determined how much they can spend and has secured the necessary loans, it is time to shop for the right home. Buyers should make a list of the various features and amenities they want in their ideal home and neighborhood.

5.  Submit an offer:  Place in writing all the all the terms and conditions you want.  When all the documents have been thoroughly read, all the terms have been agreed upon, and the contact is signed by both the buyers and sellers, you have a ratified contract and are ready to close the deal and go to settlement.

As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston SC real estate needs or questions.  To look for homes anywhere in the tri-county area go to my website at http://www.carolinajoe.com/mls/

Sincerely,

"Carolina Joe" Idleman
http://www.carolinajoe.com
 

4 Things Condo Buyers Should Consider

I read this article recently and thought it may be of value to anyone considering the purchase of a condominium. 

Buyers who are considering the purchase of a condominium should inspect the health of the home owner’s association before they close.

The seller should provide the buyer all financial documents relating to the association in time for an attorney for the buyer to review them before closing.

Here’s some advice from Leonard Baron, professor of finance at San Diego State University, about the information that the seller should consider:

1.  Does the association budget include money for operating expenses such as water, lights, elevator maintenance, and landscaping?

2.  Is there extra money set aside in a reserve fund for long-term maintenance? If there is an outside reserve study, that should be provided. If not, there should be adequate money in the reserves right now to cover 50 percent of the estimated cost of repairs over the next 30 years.
 
3.  Do the condo’s expenses exceed revenues due to a high foreclosure rate or other reasons that owners’ debts go unpaid?

4.  If there is a shortfall, does the association have a plan besides cutting back on services for making it up?

Source: The Wall Street Journal, June Fletcher (10/17/2009)

As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston SC real estate needs or questions.  To look for homes anywhere in the tri-county area go to my website at http://www.carolinajoe.com/mls/

Sincerely,

"Carolina Joe" Idleman
http://www.carolinajoe.com
 

Cut your Charleston SC County Property Taxes!

Do you own and reside in your home?

1.  If you are over 65 years of age, or certified totally and permanently disabled or blind, you may qualify for the Homestead Exemption. Up to the first $50,000 of your home's appraised value could be totally exempt from taxes. Call (843) 958-4220 for further information.

2.  If your home qualifies as your primary residence, contact the Assessor's office at (843) 958-4100 to apply for the four percent Primary Residence assessment ratio if your property is not already classified as QR-Qualified Residential. Also, the agricultural farmland use assessment is determined by the Assessor's Office.

3.  Homeowners who have qualified for the four percent Primary Residence assessment are automatically eligible for state Property Tax Relief. No application is necessary.

4.  If you are a military veteran who is totally disabled from a service-related cause, the surviving spouse of a military person who was killed in the line of duty or totally disabled from a service-related cause, you may be qualified for exemption from property taxes on a house and up to one acre of land on which the house is located. Application should be made through the S.C. Department of Revenue (DOR). There is a local DOR Service Center at 3 Southpark Center, Suite 202, next to Citadel Mall (Phone: 843-852-3600).

5.  If you are a paraplegic or hemiplegic, or their surviving spouse, you may be qualified for exemption from property taxes on a house and up to one acre of land on which the house is located. Application should be made through the S.C. Department of Revenue. There is a local DOR Service Center at 3 Southpark Center, Suite 202, next to Citadel Mall (Phone: 843-852-3600).

As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston SC real estate needs or questions.  To look for homes anywhere in the tri-county area go to my website at http://www.carolinajoe.com/mls/

Sincerely,

"Carolina Joe" Idleman
http://www.carolinajoe.com

Kiawah Island 2009 Halloween Weekend Happenings

 

Friday, October 30th
 
1. Pumpkin Carving from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM at the Night Heron Park. Gather around tables for “Operation Jack”, the festive pumpkin carving and painting event. You can jazz up your jack-o-lantern and create a masterpiece. Adult supervision is required. Cost is $10 per pumpkin.
 
2. Haunted Maze from 5:00 PM to 8:00 Pm at the Night Heron Park. Find your way through twisting corners filled with silly and scary creatures. Spooks are waiting for you along the way. All ages welcome. Cost is $8 per person.
 
3. Haunted Kiawah Camp Fire from 8:15 PM to 9:00 PM at the Night Heron Park. Come join in for an evening filled with accounts of witches, goblins, and ghouls, all just enough for shivers and not enough for nightmares. No charge.
 
Saturday, October 31st
 
1. Hay Rides at 11:00 AM, 1:00 PM, and 3:00 PM at Night Heron Park. Ride around the Island on this festive hayride. All are welcome to join dressed in costumes for selected stops for trick or treating. Registration is required. Cost is $25 per adult and $15 per child. A beverage pass is included in the pass.
 
2. Halloween Festival from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM at Night heron Park. Prepare for a night of fun and thrills. A bluegrass band will be pickin’ at the park, so come and dance. Don’t forget to dress to impress for the costume contest. Popular attractions include laser tag, climbing wall and jump castle. Food and beverages will be available. Spooktacular contests for all ages will be held, including a doughnut eating contest. No cost.

As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston SC real estate needs or questions.  To look for homes anywhere in the tri-county area go to my website at http://www.carolinajoe.com/mls/

Sincerely,

"Carolina Joe" Idleman
http://www.carolinajoe.com
 

What is a Title Search?

Before someone buys a piece of property they want to make sure they are getting a good title to the property, so they would probably hire an attorney to do a “title search”.  If they need to secure financing, the lending institution would require a title examination to assure the seller is conveying a good and marketable title.  The attorney doing the title examination would be looking for many things, including the following: mortgages, life estates, right-of-ways, judgment liens, special assessment liens, current leases, deer restrictions, easements, tax liens, mechanics liens, or anything else that may affect the title.

Some Terms to Know

1.  A Marketable Title is a title that the ordinary person in the ordinary market would accept.  This is based on the concept that probably no title is completely free of all defects.

2.  An Abstract of Title is the history of the title with a full summary of all grants, conveyances, wills, judicial proceedings, liens, etc.

3.  The Chain of Title is a search of the grantor-grantee index at the local courthouse which shows a chain of ownership over the years.  In other words, it shows who sold the property and who purchased the property over the years.

4.  A Certificate of Title is a statement of opinion prepared by the attorney after searching the public records.

Title Insurance

Title Insurance normally covers defects which do not appear in the public records.  Title insurance indicates only that the title is insurable and not that it is without defects.  In some cases when they do find a defect in the public records they will still sell you title insurance, however they will make a note of that defect and the policy will not cover that defect.  In South Carolina the buyer usually pays for the title insurance.

There are Two Types of Title Insurance Policies

1.  Mortgage Policy, also know as the lender’s policy, which would cover the amount of the mortgage only.  Most lenders require this policy.

2.  Owner’s Policy covers the owner’s equity plus the mortgage if there was one.

As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston SC real estate needs or questions.  To look for homes anywhere in the tri-county area go to my website at http://www.carolinajoe.com/mls/

Sincerely,

"Carolina Joe" Idleman
http://www.carolinajoe.com
 

Charleston SC Residential Real Estate Sales Climb 7% from August

Preliminary data from the Charleston Trident Association of REALTORS® showed 697 closed sales during the month of September, a 7% increase from the 654 sales recorded one year ago.  The median price for homes sold in September was $174,000; down from $193,640 in 2008.  The rise in sales, following last month’s record-high number of pending sales is likely due to use of the $8,000 tax credit—information released by the IRS in late September showed that 1.4 million homebuyers have filed to receive the credit.  Inventory dropped slightly again, with 10,679 homes currently listed for sale with the Charleston Trident Multiple Listing Service.
  
BERKELEY COUNTY

Berkeley County sales increased 9% over August, with 135 closed transactions at a median sale price of $150,000.  The Goose Creek and Moncks Corner areas posted the largest number of sales in the County and Brickhope Plantation was the most active neighborhood.

CHARLESTON COUNTY

Sales in Charleston County also increased in September, up 11% over August, with 359 sales at a median price of $214,000.  The most active areas in the County were the area of Mount Pleasant that lies south of Highway 41 and the Carolina Bay subdivision in West Ashley, outside of I-526.

DORCHESTER COUNTY

Dorchester County sales remained stable, month-over-month, showing 164 sales at a median price of $154,000.  The Summerville/Ridgeville area showed the highest number of sales, with the most activity in the subdivision of Drakesborough.

As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston SC real estate needs or questions.  To look for homes anywhere in the tri-county area go to my website at http://www.carolinajoe.com/mls/

Sincerely,

"Carolina Joe" Idleman
http://www.carolinajoe.com
 

FREE HELP, the “Hope For Homes Program”

When:  Saturday, Oct. 24th
Where: North Charleston Convention Center
Contact: 843-735-7865 
 
A FREE foreclosure prevention event, "Hope for Homes" consists of workshops and one-on-one sessions with HUD approved counselors to help homeowners who are currently in foreclosure or who have faced a financial hardship that may eventually lead them to foreclosure. 
 
For complete information, instructions and registration call 843-735-7862. Registration is requested but not required. There are multiple sessions offered and participation is totally confidential. 
 
Please make this opportunity known to anyone that might benefit from this free assistance.

As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston SC real estate needs or questions.  To look for homes anywhere in the tri-county area go to my website at http://www.carolinajoe.com/mls/

Sincerely,

"Carolina Joe" Idleman
http://www.carolinajoe.com

What is Title Insurance?

Title insurance normally covers defects which do not appear in the public records.  Title insurances indicates the title is insurable and not that it is without defects.  In some cases when they do find a defect in the public records they will still sell you title insurance.  However, if they do sell you the title insurance they will make a note of the defect in the policy and the policy will not cover the defect.

In South Carolina the buyer usually pays for the title insurance.  There are two types of title insurance policies:

1.  Mortgage policy which covers the amount of the mortgage only and is required by the lending institutions.

2.  Owner’s policy which covers the owner’s equity plus the mortgage is there was one.

I always recommend that my clients purchase the owners policy.  It is a small one time cost that insures your title as long as you own the property. 

As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston SC real estate needs or questions.  To look for homes anywhere in the tri-county area go to my website at http://www.carolinajoe.com/mls/

Sincerely,

"Carolina Joe" Idleman
http://www.carolinajoe.com

 

Record Streak Continues for Pending Home Sales

Pending home sales have increased for seven straight months, the longest in the series of the index which began in 2001, according to latest survey. The Pending Home Sales Index rose 6.4 percent to 103.8 from a reading of 97.6 in July, and is 12.4 percent above August 2008 when it was 92.4. The index is at the highest level since March 2007 when it was 104.5. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said not all contracts are turning into closed sales within an expected timeframe. “The rise in pending home sales shows buyers are returning to the market and signing contracts, but deals are not necessarily closing because of long delays related to short sales, and issues regarding complex new appraisal rules,” he said. “No doubt many first-time buyers are rushing to beat the deadline for the $8,000 tax credit, which expires at the end of next month.”

Read the complete article at the following link:
http://www.realtor.org/press_room/news_releases/2009/10/streak_continues

As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston SC real estate needs or questions.  To look for homes anywhere in the tri-county area go to my website at http://www.carolinajoe.com/mls/

Sincerely,

"Carolina Joe" Idleman
http://www.carolinajoe.com

 

Appealing Charleston County, South Carolina Real Property Taxes

If, after receiving your tax statement, you disagree or have questions concerning the new value assigned your property, you have the right to appeal.

You have until January 15th to submit a signed Letter of Objection to the County Assessor’s Office stating why you believe the assessed value is incorrect.  Note that electronic submissions of appeals and/or applications are not allowed, nor are faxed submittals acceptable.  All the applications require an original signature.  Therefore the original must be sent in or delivered.

The Assessor will review your letter and take one of the following actions:

1.  If your letter contains enough information regarding your appeal, such as owner’s opinion of value and evidence to support that value, the Assessor’s Office will review the appraisal of your property in light of the information provided in the letter. After the review is complete, the Assessor will notify you of the results via a reassessment notice.

2.  If your letter does not contain information sufficient to conduct an appraisal review, the Assessor’s Office will, within 30 days (or as soon as practical), schedule a meeting with you to discuss your concerns. The appraiser will review your property record with you and give you information about the appraisal on your property.
If your concerns cannot be resolved by the Assessor’s Office, you may appeal to the Charleston County Board of Assessment Appeals. If you disagree with the Board’s decision, you can further appeal to the S.C. Administrative Law Judge Division.

To be sure your reassessment is fair and correct, you should verify: that any items that affect market value, such as size, number of baths, etc., are correct; that your property is not appraised more than recent sales of comparable properties; and that your property is equally appraised when compared with like surrounding properties.
Refer to www.charlestoncounty.org for additional information.

As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston SC real estate needs or questions.  To look for homes anywhere in the tri-county area go to my website at http://www.carolinajoe.com/mls/

Sincerely,

"Carolina Joe" Idleman
http://www.carolinajoe.com

South Carolina State Housing as a Lending Option

The South Carolina State Housing Finance and Development Authority has various loan programs that may help you buy a home. Interest rates are competitive and depending on your income, there is down payment/closing cost assistance available to assist you in purchasing a home with little or no out of pocket funds. The major benefits to home buyers are lower interest rates and reduced mortgage insurance rates that allow you to have a more affordable monthly payment and save thousands of dollars over the life of a mortgage.  First-Time Home Buyer Mortgage Loan Program assists low-to-moderate income S.C. families and individuals by offering a competitive market fixed interest rate mortgage loan. The Authority also offers $3000 down payment assistance based on availability, which may be used toward down payment and closing costs.

All Authority Loan Programs are based on a fixed interest rate loan with a maximum loan-to-value (LTV) of 97% (for conventional or rural housing) or 96.5% (for FHA). Therefore, if you buy a home for $100,000, the minimum down payment that would be required is $3,000 (for conventional or rural housing) or $3,500 (for FHA). Depending on your income, the Authority may have down payment assistance funds available to pay all or part of the required down payment.

For additional information go the SC State Housing finance and Development Authority website http://www.schousing.com/

As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston SC real estate needs or questions.  To look for homes in anywhere in the tri-county area go to my website at http://www.carolinajoe.com/mls/

Sincerely,

"Carolina Joe" Idleman
http://www.carolinajoe.com
 

Let’s Learn about the Historic Peninsula of Charleston South Carolina

Charleston is located just south of the mid-point of South Carolina's coast line, at the confluence of the Ashley and Cooper Rivers. Charleston's name is derived from Charles Towne, named after King Charles II of England.  It is the largest city and county seat of Charleston County.  The city was founded as Charlestown or Charles Towne in 1670, and moved to its present location (Oyster Point) from a location on the west bank of the Ashley River in 1680; it adopted its present name in 1783.  In 1690, Charleston was the fifth largest city in North America, and remained among the ten largest cities in the United States through the 1840 census. Charleston is known as The Holy City due to the prominence of churches on the low-rise cityscape, particularly the numerous steeples which dot the city's skyline.  The population was estimated to be 118,492 in 2007, making it the second most populous city in South Carolina closely behind the state capital Columbia.  Downtown offers a wide selection of homes for sale, from massive single family homes to large condos. Pricing is often viewed as being on a sliding scale from the Battery, where the beautiful, carefully restored colonial homes often begin in the million dollar range, to the modest Charleston Singles and town homes in the northwest portion of the peninsula near the Crosstown, where prices are much lower. Above the Crosstown has older homes that are being renovated.

Points of interest include Cooper River Bridge Run, The Battery, Charleston Ghost Tours, Meeting Street Bed and Breakfast, Beautiful Churches, South Carolina Aquarium, Downtown Shopping, Spoleto Festival, Great Restaurants, Medical University of South Carolina, College of Charleston, and The Charleston School of Law, The Citadel, and Fort Sumter.

Subdivisions are, but not limited to South of Broad, Harleston Village, French Quarter, Mazyck-Wraggsborough, Radclifborough, Cannoborough, Elliotborough, Hampton Park, Wagner Terrace, Hampton Park Terrace, North Central, Westside, Midtown, Ansonborough, and Eastside.  To look for homes in any of these subdivisions, or anywhere in the tri-county area go to my website at http://www.carolinajoe.com/mls/

As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston SC real estate needs or questions.

Sincerely,
"Carolina Joe" Idleman
http://www.carolinajoe.com

 

Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester County Public Schools

Below is a synopsis of the public schools in Berkeley, Dorchester, and Charleston counties, along with links to obtain more detailed information.

Charleston County

Charleston County public schools serve most residents who live in downtown Charleston, Mt. Pleasant, James Island, John's Island, West Ashley, and North Charleston. The schools in Mt. Pleasant are rated best in Charleston County.  Charleston County School District is made up of eight constituent districts to serve the greater Charleston area. Altogether, these districts have more than 48,000 students that range from pre-kindergarten to the twelfth grade.

 For additional information use the following link:
http://www.ccsdschools.com/Our_Schools/

Berkeley County

Most residents living in Daniel Island, Goose Creek, Hanahan, Ladson (which is part of Summerville), and Moncks Corner are zoned for Berkeley County public schools. The Daniel Island schools are the best schools in the Berkeley County school district.

For additional information use the following link:
http://www.berkeley.k12.sc.us/

Dorchester County

Dorchester County public schools serve most residents of Summerville and some residents of North Charleston. There are two Dorchester County school districts, Dorchester 2 and Dorchester 4. The Dorchester 2 School District is consistently ranked one of the best public school districts in the Charleston area.

For additional information use the following links:
http://www.dorchester2.k12.sc.us/
http://www.dorchester4.k12.sc.us/home.aspx

As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston SC real estate needs or questions.

Sincerely,
"Carolina Joe" Idleman
http://www.carolinajoe.com
 

Drayton Hall

Drayton Hall is a plantation built in the early 17th century located between Rt. 61 and the Ashley River in the West of the Ashley section of Charleston.  It is one of the few plantations that Sherman spared on his march to the Atlantic Ocean.  The house and the lands have not been restored, but have been preserved in the condition they were in when it was purchased in 1974 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. 

My wife and I recently visited Drayton Hall and enjoyed the self guided walking tours. 
The river walk tour encompasses the area from the house to the river.  At a leisurely pace you can walk it in a half an hour.  Very little remains of the original plantation gardens and agricultural areas, but it is easy to visualize the corridor from the back of the house to the old boat landing on the Ashley River that dissects the agricultural areas.  I’m sure that for over 200 years this site bustled with activity resulting from the harvesting and shipping of crops.

The marsh walking tour can be completed in about 20 minutes.  On this tour you cross most of the ecosystems associated with saltwater, brackish water and freshwater wetlands.  This is a very peaceful area.  Once you are past the brackish wetland you enter an area where phosphate was mined after the Civil War.  The old pits and sections of the narrow gauge railroad track are still visible.  Upon reaching the freshwater wetlands you can see the remains of old rice fields and the system of ditches and dikes to regulate water flow into the rice fields.   From there you enter lawn area about a quarter of a mile in front of the house.  I feel confident during the plantation era this area would have had many outbuildings, farming implements, livestock and bustling with activity.

As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston SC real estate needs or questions.  To look for homes in West Ashley, or anywhere in the tri-county area go to my website at http://www.carolinajoe.com/mls/

Sincerely,

"Carolina Joe" Idleman
http://www.carolinajoe.com
 

14 Important Things a Buyer Should Do after Getting a Contract Ratified

1.  Submit the earnest money to you buyer’s agent if you didn’t do this when you signed the offer.

2.  Select a closing attorney and set a closing date.

3.  Schedule a home inspection.

4.  If this is not a cash offer complete the mortgage application with your lender.

5.  Do not change jobs prior to closing on the purchase of your new home.

6.  Do not make any large purchases prior to closing on the purchase of your new home.  (Both item #5 and #6 could greatly affect your ability to obtain financing.)

7.  Address and resolve any contingencies on the ratified contract.

8.  Plan an prepare your moving arrangements.

9.  Change over all utilities to your name prior to closing.

10.  Get your down payment funds in order.

11.  At least 3 days prior to closing you should have a HUD-1 (closing settlement statement) for your review.

12.  Bring the closing monies in the form of a cahiers check, money order, or wired to the closing attorney ahead of time.  A personal check will not be accepted.

13.  Attend the closing.

14.  Move in your new home and enjoy it!

As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston SC real estate needs or questions.

Sincerely,

"Carolina Joe" Idleman
http://www.carolinajoe.com
 

12 Items Not to Overlook on a Final Walk-through

It’s guaranteed to be hectic right before closing, but you should always make time for a final walk-through. Your goal is to make sure that your home is in the same condition you expected it would be. Ideally, the sellers already have moved out. This is your last chance to check that appliances are in working condition and that agreed-upon repairs have been made. Here’s a detailed list of what not to overlook for on your final walk-through:

1.  Requested repairs have been made.
2.  There are no major changes to the property since you last viewed it.
3.  All items that were included in the sale price are still there.
4.  Screens and storm windows are in place or stored.
5.  All appliances are operating, such as the dishwasher, washer and dryer.
6.  Intercom, doorbell, and alarm are operational.
7.  Hot water heater is working.
8.  No plants or shrubs have been removed from the yard.
9.  Heating and air conditioning system is working
10.  Garage door opener and other remotes are available.
11.  Instruction books and warranties on appliances and fixtures are available.
12.  All personal items of the sellers and all debris have been removed.

As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston SC real estate needs or questions.

Sincerely,

"Carolina Joe" Idleman
http://www.carolinajoe.com

 

 

5 Property Tax Questions Buyers Should Ask

 

1. What is the assessed value of the property? Note that assessed value is generally less than market value. Ask to see a recent copy of the seller’s tax bill to help you determine this information.

2. How often are properties reassessed, and when was the last reassessment done? In general, taxes jump most significantly when a property is reassessed.

3. Will the sale of the property trigger a tax increase? The assessed value of the property may increase based on the amount you pay for the property. And in some areas, such as California, taxes may be frozen until resale.

4. Is the amount of taxes paid comparable to other properties in the area? If not, it might be possible to appeal the tax assessment and lower the rate.

5. Does the current tax bill reflect any special exemptions that I might not qualify for? For example, many tax districts offer reductions to those 65 or over.

To determine South Carolina property taxes by county go to this link:
http://www.sccommerce.com/docdirectory/ResearchFolder/Property%20Tax%20Rates%20by%20County%20in%20South%20Carolina%202008.pdf

As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston SC real estate needs or questions.

Sincerely,

"Carolina Joe" Idleman
http://www.carolinajoe.com

 

Understanding Capital Gains in Real Estate

When you sell a stock, you owe taxes on your gain — the difference between what you paid for the stock and what you sold it for. The same holds true when selling a home (or a second home), but there are some special considerations.

How to Calculate Gain
In real estate, capital gains are based not on what you paid for the home, but on its adjusted cost basis. To calculate, follow these steps:

1. Purchase price: _______________________  

The purchase price of the home is the sale price, not the amount of money you actually contributed at closing.

2. Total adjustments: _______________________
 
To calculate this, add the following:
  • Cost of the purchase — including transfer fees, attorney fees, and inspections, but not points you paid on your mortgage.
  • Cost of sale — including inspections, attorney fees, real estate commission, and money you spent to fix up your home just prior to sale.
  • Cost of improvements — including room additions, deck, etc. Note here that improvements do not include repairing or replacing something already there, such as putting on a new roof or buying a new furnace.
3. Your home’s adjusted cost basis: _______________________
 
The total of your purchase price and adjustments is the adjusted cost basis of your home.

4. Your capital gain:  _______________________

 
Subtract the adjusted cost basis from the amount your home sells for to get your capital gain.

A Special Real Estate Exemption for Capital Gains
Since 1997, up to $250,000 in capital gains ($500,000 for a married couple) on the sale of a home is exempt from taxation if you meet the following criteria:
 
1. You have lived in the home as your principal residence for two out of the last five years.
 
2. You have not sold or exchanged another home during the two years preceding the sale.
 
3. You meet what the IRS calls “unforeseen circumstances,” such as job loss, divorce, or family medical emergency.
 
As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston SC real estate needs or questions.

Sincerely,


"Carolina Joe" Idleman
http://www.carolinajoe.com