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Buying Properties in Charleston

New Charleston County Flood Maps Might Affect You

By | Buying Properties in Charleston

How to help the flood victims in SC

(This blog post has been updated on April 23rd, 2019, originally posted in March, 2017. All of the links are still live and information is still relevant.)

If you own a home in the Charleston area or are shopping for one then the new Charleston county flood maps may affect you directly. Using new technology and more precise data collection methods, the new flood maps were updated based on recent growth and updated weather and environmental changes in the Charleston area. The new Charleston county flood maps were created through a partnership between Charleston county, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR).

Flood Zone Updates In Charleston

After the historic flooding during the fall of 2015, the focus on flood prone areas, flood insurance and accurate flood maps became a hot topic in the Lowcountry. The goal of updating this map was to provide the most accurate flood information to the public and to help protect the community from future flood risks. These new re-drawn maps assess the risk of flooding based on the most recent weather data which may directly affect insurance costs.

The new Charleston County flood maps are only in a preliminary phase and are not expected to be finalized until sometime in 2018 or 2019. However, there are signs that costs will probably go up for more homeowners than what will be reduced. Carl Simmons, director of the Charleston County Building Inspection Services, said “We think there will be more going in than out” in reference to those being added to flood zones.

New Maps May Mean New Costs

Those homeowners who were not in a flood zone before may now find themselves in a higher risk area. While those who were included in a flood zone previously may be in a lower risk area now. The cost of flood insurance will depend on which flood zone your home is in according to the updated flood map. In some cases, you may be required to buy flood insurance, even if you didn’t have it before, if your mortgage lender is federally regulated or insured.

You can view the latest preliminary Charleston County flood map here: Preliminary Charleston County FEMA Flood map

Charleston County Flood Map

Charleston County FEMA Flood Map

For more information on what each flood zone means in the city of Charleston check out their official flood zone information page: City of Charleston flood zones. You can also use FEMA’s Flood Map service to search for any address’s flood map and access FEMA’s other flood resources here: FEMA Flood Map Service Center.

Attend An Upcoming “Flood Map Open House”

There will be 3 “flood map open houses”  to discuss what the new Charleston County flood maps mean for Lowcountry residents. There will be a variety of experts and specialists who will be on hand to answer questions related to insurance, engineering and building permits. Charleston County Building Services also has a new hotline for questions: 843-202-6957.

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Real Estate Closing: What to Expect

Real Estate Closing Process Changes This Weekend Nationally

By | Around Charleston, Buying Properties in Charleston
Real Estate Closing: What to Expect

Real Estate Closing: What to Expect

This Saturday, October 3rd the real estate closing process will change for everyone across the country. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will be implementing new laws this weekend that will affect the way that buyers, sellers, agents, and title insurance providers proceed through the real estate closing process. The goal of the new regulations is to protect home buyers by educating them about closing costs and by streamlining the process.

To increase efficiency and reduce redundant paperwork, several forms will be revamped to be more simplistic and will be easier to locate key information. Some of the changes include combining The Good Faith Estimate and Truth in Lending disclosure into one document called the Loan Estimate. The new Closing Disclosure will be replacing the HUD-1 and final Truth in Lending document. However, the biggest change in the process will be the addition of the three day rule or “Know Before You Owe rule”.

The three day rule is simply a review period where no further changes can be made to the closing financials. Before, changes could be made in real-time, up to and including the final closing table. This was convenient for some parties, but often left the buyer in the dark about hidden charges that added up down the road. Now, anytime there is a major change in the financial agreement, it automatically triggers the three day review period to ensure that the buyer has adequate time to educate themselves about the terms.

There is no question that these new regulations will help to protect consumers during the buying process. The consolidation and simplification of paperwork and review period will help inform buyers leading to better choices and ultimately the development of a more well balanced market. With that being said, as a consequence of the new review period, some flexibility and convenience will be sacrificed.

The purpose of these changes is to protect consumers and help them make more informed and intelligent decisions. As a result, conveniences like early move-in or having a loading van ready to go, have probably gone by the wayside. – Rick Boswell, broker and owner, Century 21 Sterling Realty (full article)

Furthermore, buyers and sellers who are trying to complete a transaction quickly will find it more difficult. Hitting changing deadlines and dealing with last minute changes will be more of a challenge and require extra planning especially in the early phase of the law’s rollout.

In the first several months, lenders and title companies will follow these new rules very strictly. Over time, everyone will develop methods to solve last-minute problems…Real estate agents can help buyers and sellers avoid this problem by discussing the new settlement procedures at the time of the listing. –  Louis M. Pope, broker and owner of Century 21 Trademark Realty (full article)

Home buyers should take the time to review these new changes thoroughly especially if you’re shopping for a new home presently. If you are currently writing or submitting an offer before October 3rd, you will be exempt from the changes, but check with your real estate agent first just to be sure. Overall these new regulations will benefit all parties by simplifying and streamlining documents and educating the buyer about closing costs through a mandatory review period.

If you’re wondering how much your home is worth visit our sister site: Charleston Listing for a free valuation based on current market conditions specific to Charleston, not a broad national average like Zillow or Trulia. Or contact me directly to discuss anything real estate; buying, selling or any questions you might have about the Charleston real estate market.

Call me directly: (843) 437-8386
Matt Anderson

 

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Why now is the time to buy

Now Is The Time To Purchase Property

By | Buying Properties in Charleston
Why now is the time to buy

Why now is the time to buy

Charleston boasts beautiful beaches, lush suburbs, an award-winning historical district, a wide variety of shopping, nationally-recognized restaurants, and many, many opportunities for outdoor sporting. With all of this to offer, it is no wonder than Charleston is a favorite spot for locals and tourists alike. No matter if you’re a summer-time visitor looking to make Charleston your new year-round home or a long-term renter from the area, now is the time that you should consider purchasing a slice of Charleston to make your own.

But why should you act now? Real estate experts are pointing to several trends in the housing and financial markets that translate to the perfect opportunity to get in on your dream condo, townhouse, or home in the near future.

  1. The U.S. had seen record low interest rates in the last few years, which has been great for those who were looking to purchase property. However, nothing lasts forever, and now interest rates are climbing slowly back up. If you didn’t purchase when the rates were extremely low, don’t worry. They are still far below historic averages, so you still have time to make use of this great opportunity.
  2. Along with rising interest rates, there are other signs of economic rebound occurring here in Charleston. While this rebound is wonderful for job security and availability, it also signals a transition from a buyers’ market (with plenty of inventory, low interest rates, and sellers hungry to close a deal) to a sellers’ market (with low inventory, higher rates, and sellers who might be willing to wait longer to accept a bid).  If you act while the buyers’ market is in place, you have a much better chance of getting a great piece of property at a great price.
  3. The listing inventory in the Charleston area MLS is at a record low with only 5600 homes currently listed. This low inventory, combined with the attractive interest rates and economic rebound, could encourage more people to purchase a home. But with more people interested in a limited amount of homes, the sellers might be less apt to negotiate—so find your property and scoop it up before word gets out!
  4. In 2012, South Carolina realtors saw an increase of 7% in residential sales. If the Charleston area follows the state average into 2014, more people will be choosing to move to the area, upgrade from their existing home, or make the leap into homeownership after renting. Get ahead of the trends and start your real estate search in early 2014.
  5. The Federal Reserve is considering scaling down the stimulus plan that has been in place for the past few years. This stimulus plan was directed at helping the country out of the recent recession in part by providing special loan terms and packages to prospective homebuyers. Without this stimulus in place, the potential homebuyer could face a steep increase in closing costs and interest rates. Why pay more when you don’t have to? Don’t wait and miss out on these valuable discounts.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss real estate on any level, feel free to reach me directly at 843.437.8386  or email me at [email protected].

Why Rent When You Can Buy?

Why Rent When You Can Buy?

By | Buying Properties in Charleston
Why Rent When You Can Buy?

Why Rent When You Can Buy?

There are many reasons that some people like apartment living; they tout the amenities offered at the complexes, the convenience of having a landlord, and the affordability of a rental payment. However, with the wide variety of real estate available here in Charleston, renters can easily become homeowners–while still retaining all of the benefits of renting. Here are a few things to consider if you’re still renting:

  • Purchasing a home doesn’t mean you need to save up thousands of dollars. Some renters are wary of making the jump into home ownership because of the down payment required at closing. Traditionally, 20% of the purchased home’s value is required at the closing, which translates to the purchasers needing a significant amount of cash available. However, there a several programs that can make the down payment more affordable. If you’re a first time homebuyer, consider an FHA loan, which requires only 3.5% down at closing. You might also consider an 80/10/10 loan (only available through banks), which includes a simultaneous home equity line of credit (called a HELOC) and a mortgage; you only have to bring 10% to the table. If you are a teacher, firefighter, police officer or active military, you may be eligible for down payment assistance through Hometown Heroes.
  • You can keep all of the cool amenities that you love. Since there’s a huge push towards resort-style living in the current real estate market, developers have begun to include more amenities in their planned communities. Daniel Island, Park West, and Dunes West all have miles and miles of walking trails. I’on has playgrounds, on-site shopping, and concerts at the neighborhood ampitheatre. Most larger developments have clubhouses with pools and weight rooms. In developments like Carolina Park, expect to find all of the above as well as barbecue pits and outdoor entertaining space, a dog park, and an oyster pavilion. You won’t sacrifice fun when you make the transition from your old apartment.
  • Home ownership is accessible to more people than ever. Between the down payment programs mentioned above and the low mortgage rates available right now, it’s extremely affordable to purchase a home. With rental rates in the Charleston area averaging around $900 for a 2 bed/ 2 bath unfurnished apartment, you can actually get more for your money with your own home. With low interest rates, you can easily get more square footage for the same amount of money. For example, if you were to purchase a home for $130,000 with an FHA loan (so with 3.5%–$3,500–down) and a 4.1% rate, your monthly payments would be $758 a month.  It’s cheaper, you can paint your walls any color you want, and you’re investing in your future.

Consider purchasing a home today, and call Matt Anderson of Matt Anderson Properties to help you through the process.