There is so much to love about the low country, so we are starting with a little bit about the area. Bluffton is booming, there is a lot of new construction in Bluffton, and many neighborhoods for first home buyers. There are also stunning private communities along one of our many rivers that make for breathtaking views and activities galore. Add to that a stretch of big box stores and more importantly a quint historic section filled with cute shops and delicious fare, and Bluffton is moving up on the list of places to live. Bluffton has seen a boom over the past few years, and we are loving the activity and buzz that is now Bluffton.
Moving a little further away from the coast, you will find Sun City Hilton Head, a picturesque 55+ community with more activities than Summer Camp. Homes in Sun City vary from under $200K to beautiful 1M+ homes on stretches of tidal marsh with water views in the Riverbend section. This golf cart community has plenty of pools, lots of golf, an is close to just about anything you could need. One of the draws to Sun City is its proximity to everything. 8 Miles from I95, residents living in Sun City have easy access to Savannah, Beaufort, Charleston and the beaches of Hilton Head.
Looking for a true Island Life experience, moving to Hilton Head Island, may be the answer you have been looking for. With 12 miles of pristine beaches, 108 miles of paved shared use paths, 24 Golf Courses, hundreds of tennis courts, not to mention the 11 schools we have on the island. Whether you are coming to enjoy your active golden years, or moving with a family, there is always something for everyone on Hilton Head Island.
There is something for everyone in the Low Country, and we are happy to be here to help you through the entire process.
With Love From the Low Country!
Villa life is appealing in the low country, lock and leave with little or no maintenance, who wouldn't want a villa! Villa's also make great investment properties, visitors love the proximity to the beach that many of the villa complexes on the Island offer. There are many many complexes to choose from, just make sure you are asking the right questions.
There are a few questions that you need to ask your agent when you are villa hunting, some of these things can mean the difference between being able to obtain financing and having to bring a stash of cash to the table.
1. Is There a Recpetion Area?
If the villa complex you are falling in love with has a large welcome area with a reception desk, or an area you 'check in' to, many banks see this as a Hotel, and will not finance it.
2. Is There Pending Litigation?
Ask your agent about pending litigation against the property or the regime. This is a quick call to the regime manager to get an answer. If there is pending litigation, financing will be nearly impossible until the litigation is settled.
3. Are the majority of units owned by investors?
If more than 50% of the units are owned by investors, it may mean you need to bring all cash to the table.
4. Does it have a Lock-Out Unit?
Lock out units are the second or third bedroom of a unit that has a bathroom and frequently a very mini kitchen. The owners of a villa with a lock out unit essentially have two units in one. The single unit can be 'locked' so two separate families or individuals can rent the space.
5. Is the unit part of a Timeshare?
Timeshare is a real property transaction, but not one that banks will finance.
Alex Smith and Ben Russ with PrimeLending can help you with any questions you might have about financing any home or villa, as always the agents at RE/MAX Island Realty are here to help with all your Real Estate needs.
The RBC Heritage Golf Tournament Presented by Boeing is a week long celebration of everything island life. Golf, Beach, Tradition, and Plaid. There is so much plaid, done in so many ways, that people are already starting to think about their plaid frocks for next year. Plaid shoes, shorts, hats, dresses, purses, tartan plaid is the fabric of choice for Heritage Week.
If you were lucky enough to be here for this past Heritage, you know the weather was beautiful, the skies were an unruly shade of Carolina Blue, and the people in Harbour Town seemed happier than in years past. In figuring out why smiles were so big, the common denominator seems to be Hurricane Matthew. In the dark days following the Hurricane, folks were not sure if Heritage would happen. People wondered if Harbour Town could get back together, would the marina be ready, questions loomed over everyone as the island worked feverishly to make it all work. And WORK it did! The Boeing Flyover by the Dreamliner was a little extra special this year.
We were lucky enough to have a number of our agents work together to present the RE/MAX Heritage Hospitality House. The home we were able to rent for the event, currently listed for $1,125,000, sits on double lots on the 15th Fairway of the Harbour Town Golf Links. We had the luxury of an inground pool, and viewing the tournament from the bunker on the 15th. Folks may have chosen to take a walk and check out the Tournament Grounds, but many of the guests just hung out at the house and watched the action from the 15th. On a side note, this home is fabulous for entertaining, trust us, we had 700 golf goers through the doors and the flow and function are perfect if you are an entertainer.
In collaboration with many local businesses, we had Four Fabulous days of mingling, eating, drinking golf and networking.
Mark your calendar now to come to Heritage with us next year.
Thank you to our Contributing Agents:
Cathie Rasch and Associates
Thank you to our Corporate Sponsors:
Alliance Roofing of South Carolina
ACE Preferred Inspections
Wine and Cheese if You Please
Dynamic Vision 3D
1st Signature Lending
Going Law Firm
Hahn's Air Specialists
Colonial South Insurance
French Kiss Bakery
Your Mom's Bloody Mary Mix
To folks coming from the north, the fact that we live in harmony with our ancient reptilian neighbors, the American Alligator, raises the hair on the back of their neck. Native to the southeast, the American Alligator lives mostly in fresh or brackish water.
A few years ago, we had a family re-locate to the island, the mother of three children was absolutely convinced that they would not live on a lagoon, well guess what....the house they fell in love with was on a lagoon, so they pulled the trigger and have learned to live with alligators as their neighbors.
In general, gators are more fearful of humans, then humans are of gators. There are a few things to consider however, during mating season (Spring) and baby season, mother alligators can get very aggressive and will fight to protect her eggs or babies. As a rule, lagoons should be viewed from a safe distance, and always be aware of your surroundings. Never feed alligators.
Folks fish in the lagoons all the time, and yes, alligators steal their fish all the time. That mother of three we told you about, her son fishes in the lagoon, and he knows that once an alligator has found him, it is time to move or return home.
With lagoons, comes mother nature at her finest, turtles, ducks and birds of all species call the fresh water lagoons home, add in the peacefulness that comes from living on the water, and for the majority of residents, lagoons bring a tranquility that only add pleasure to Low Country Living.
When thinking about living in the Low Country don't rule out a lagoon view, folks from Pennsylvania and Ohio are frequently posting about bear sightings in their neck of the woods, or other 'fierce creatures'. We don't have bears on Hilton Head, but you will most likely spot a gator or two.
To view homes with a lagoon view, click here.
Spring has sprung on Hilton Head. The azaleas are in bloom, the sun is warm, and the bike paths are crowded. The clean up from Hurricane Matthew is still on-going, but to our island guests, we are open, ready, and eager to greet you. One of the great things about purchasing a home in late winter early spring, is that you can have that home ready to go for the summer.
Whether you are looking to use it yourself for vacation, or stay the whole summer, or if you are looking for a property to use as an income producer, now is the time to get that ball rolling if you are hoping to have all your ducks in a row for June when our prime season starts.
Homes on the South End of the Island are going to be more suitable for a short term rental property, but you will want to work with a RE/MAX Island Realty Agent to narrow down your search. There are pockets of communities on the South End that either don't allow short term rentals, or are just not geographically located in an area to see high rental numbers.
If you are looking for a home to use for personal use as a second home, or are looking to relocate to the Low Country permanently, there are options all over the island, and in Bluffton that may work best for your and your lifestyle. With so many micro-regions, amenities and locations, there is a lot to sift through when it comes to buying in the Low Country.
There are a lot of resources on our website to use as a starting point. We have videos of many communities as well as area guides. Our area guides are helpful in that the searches for the communities are done for you, and they include a brief description of the area. We are adding more communities daily! Our Blog, Low Country Living, is also full of information about the area, homes, locations, amenities and more!
As always, we are available, with a team of outstanding Real Estate Agents to help you in any way possible.
Are you dreaming of owning a home, but feel like saving the down payment is never going to happen? This is a struggle for many, and following the market crash of 2008, zero money down loans were a thing of the past.
What many may not know is that the USDA has ALWAYS offered a zero percent down payment home loan for home purchases in rural areas.
That is great you may think, but I don't live in a rural area, I live in Bluffton. Well guess what, Bluffton is considered Rural by the USDA!
Our friend Alex Smith with PrimeLending, directed us to this article that goes over all the specific information about the program.
Not only that, but here is the search tool to determine if a property you like in Bluffton qualifies for a Zero Percent Down USDA Rural Loan.
It seems that the majority of Bluffton Homes do qualify. We have searched a few of our Bluffton listings and they are all qualifying for this loan program.
This beautiful home in The Crescent is located in an eligible area.
This could be a fabulous opportunity to buy your first home, and start building equity! If you have any questions at all, we have agents that can help you find your perfect Bluffton Home, and PrimeLending can do all the finance work for you.
There are other eligibility elements including household income, so we strongly encourage you to discuss the finance end of this, with Alex Smith of PrimeLending.
So you want to move to the beach. Sounds delightful doesn't it. Toes in the sand, cold beer in my hand....absolutely delightful. Until you think about all you need to do to make it happen, and frequently that mountain of tasks is enough to deter even the most stringent beach lover.
That mountain is big. The ponds are bigger, and the ducks are many.
To get started, take a deep introspective look at your motivation. Why do you want to move to the beach? Do you love the active outdoor lifestyle, the pleasant year-round climate, the proximity to Savannah and Charleston? Maybe you just love it here because you have been visiting since you were a kid and you have always dreamed of moving here.
Once you decide why you want to come, the next thing you should likely do is talk to a Real Estate Agent where you live. If you have to sell your home, that is a mountain all its own. Start there, that is going to dictate your time line.
As you are purging, painting and polishing your current home, give us a call. It is always good practice to start the conversation and relationship with a RE/MAX Island Realty agent earlier rather than later.
We frequently talk to folks who are months or years away from actually putting their toes in the sand, but the earlier you start the relationship the better. There are going to be questions, and probably lots of them, the market on Hilton Head and the amount of knowledge you need to make a great decision is different and more complicated than any other major market.
We need to take into consideration a lot of different factors that just don't apply outside of a resort market.
A few things to consider are:
The next thing you should consider doing is consult with your Mortgage Lender to find out where you stand, if you have to sell right away or if you could buy and rent it out until you relocate. We work very closely with PrimeLending, and highly recommend them to start the process.
These steps will help you get on the right track, your ducks are now starting to line up, and that is a good thing, because as soon as you throw jobs, schools, doctors, banking, etc. into the mix of ducks, those little buggers get all out of line again.
Making a lifestyle move is different then making a move for any other reason. Making a lifestyle move is a healthy, good to the last drop decision. It takes some planning and some time, but is achievable. Now if only your ducks would listen.
Many people are torn with the question about moving to Hilton Head, or Bluffton. You can't go wrong with either option. Both are fabulous, and come with their own unique sense of community. Either way, the water is never far.
If you are interested in a true Island Life experience, than Hilton Head Island is going to provide that. There are a few other islands we could recommend as well including Daufuskie Island, and Spring Island. If you dream of waking up and taking a walk on the beach, or riding your bike over the bridge to watch the sun rise, you are going to want to look for homes on Hilton Head Island. There are a number of communities with beach access, including Port Royal Plantation and Hilton Head Plantation, Palmetto Dunes, and Sea Pines. Hilton Head Plantation, although not on the ocean, does offer the beautiful beach at Dolphin Head on the Port Royal Sound. On the southern end, you will find Forest Beach that is a non-gated area of the island, but full of fabulous beach homes, and given the nature of geography, nothing in Forest Beach is far from the ocean.
On Hilton Head, you will find a plethora of golf courses, over 250 restaurants, and shops for every budget. We have a variety of public and private schools, medical facilities for every age and ailment, a hospital, and more. Once folks live on the Island, they generally stay on the island.`
Bluffton is a larger area that covers the area directly over the bridge including Moss Creek, (which actually has a Hilton Head Zip Code, and the children go to Hilton Head Schools) all the way out to Sun City, which is the most active adult community in the Low Country. Between the two, you will find many different plantations including Colleton River, Palmetto Bluff, Rose Hill and many others.
Bluffton is a bustling area with shops, dining, and a charming historic area referred to as Olde Town Bluffton.
Living in Bluffton offers close proximity to Interstate 95, which opens easy access to Savannah and Charleston. If you choose Bluffton, the beach is never far!
Once you have made the life changing decision to move to the Low Country, choosing the area to live in is the hard part. On Hilton Head and in Bluffton, there are micro regions with a unique vibe that is different than the community right next door. The best way to figure this out is to spend time in the areas you are interested in and work with a fantastic Real Estate Agent, who knows the areas you are considering.
If you are not familiar with the documentary film, March of the Penguins, it is a heartfelt story of Emperor penguins as they overcome daunting obstacles on their trek across the antarctic on an annual migratory journey. Narrated by the very talented Morgan Freeman, this film is quite fantastic, he should consider a sequel, it would be called March of the Snow Birds.
Traveling south down our major highways in the last week of the year, and the first week of January is slow going, like penguins, guided by the red brake lights of Snow Birds fleeing places like New York, Minnesota, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio and Canada. As the red lights get thicker, the march goes slower. Where are all these birds going, is there really that many of them? Does it really take 17 hours to March from Pennsylvania to Hilton Head Island?
Once the Snow Birds get to the Low Country, they will take up the warm outdoor environment that we call Island Life. Flip Flops, and bicycles, golf clubs and bathing suits. We will see an them in Sea Pines, and Indigo Run, Forest Beach, Hilton Head Plantation, Sun City and all over the Low Country.
They have been coming for years, they started by bringing their family down for a week of summer fun, and they fell in love with the charm of our island. They vowed they would retire here, but ties to the north with family, friends and quite possibly grand children have them splitting their time; summer up north, winter down south.
The snowbirds become our neighbors for three to four, maybe even five months. They contribute to our community, volunteer at our non-profits, come over for dinner, and become 'regulars' at our restaurants. The snow birds carry our island from prime season to prime season, and we are very grateful for them. Their families frequently come to visit once or twice, with Easter being one of the busiest times for visitors. They will generally stay through Heritage, then make their March back home.
Welcome Snow Birds! We are thrilled to have you. (Now imagine this narrated by Morgan Freeman)
This always happens, we plan out a series and need to add an additional part! This was intended to be a 4 Part Series, but we have decided to add a 5th part. The bonus part will be luxury homes over $4,000,000. This has been a tremendously fun piece to put together. Many of the homes in this price range are stunning, with space decorated to the nines, views that are out of this world, and amenities galore. Homes over a million are generally move in ready, but you may want to swap out a few things, or change it up to make it your own.
If you are an investor, there are some fabulous opportunities to purchase a stunning home that will produce a fabulous rental income.
This Sea Pines Townhome offers interior finishes that stand out above the crowd, and a harbor view that will never grow old. Appreciation for the finer things is apparent in this home, the curving walls, detailed woodworking, and perfect floorplan, blend together to make this Braddock Cove home a true joy to live in.
If you skip across Calibogue Sound to Daufuskie Island you will find a new level of Island Time. Daufuskie is a step back in time, with a vibe of days gone by. If you are looking for an oceanfront estate that offers privacy, luxury, space and elegance, this Daufuskie Home is definitely worth the trip. This Golf Cart Island, epitomizes Low Country Living.
Homes in The Low Country in this price range are going to wow your guests, and provide you with a beautiful ambiance while you are enjoying your Island Time. Take a few minutes and explore your options, or investigate the rest of this series here.