Buying in Charleston and what to consider


What factors should you consider when buying a home in Charleston?

I always ask my clients to visualize their goals, some people have lifestyle goals, others have monetary goals and then there is a combo. Most of my clients have both, or if they come to me with lifestyle oriented goals, I usually try to get them to think of monetary as well.  What do I mean by combing monetary goals and lifestyle?  Primarily location and strategy.  I know every realtor says location, location, location, but there is a really good reason for that.  You can buy a nice house in a neighborhood surrounding Charleston, own it for ten years and sell it for a profit of 50k or you can buy a similar house in a similar neighbor hood and in the same time frame make 500k.  How do you become the second person?  Obviously working with an agent who knows the market is key!  Don’t pick someone who just moved her from New Jersey or Ohio duh!  There are thousands of new agents getting their licenses and hitting the unfamiliar streets of Charleston from all over.  Unfortunately what cuts the mustard as is the case of every profession is experience.  To have experienced a lifetime of growth in Charleston in a situation where you paid attention, there isn’t a substitute.  Sorry, no Mastering Marketing class is going to do that.  Also, every market is NOT the same.  Here is a common scenario:  Kelly and Kyle move to Charleston from Anywhere, USA for Kyle’s job.  They meet with the Relo agent who was referred by Kyle’s new company.  She just moved to Charleston from Dallas but really likes it here.  She suggests Johns Island as a good place to get a deal on a new home with all the bells and whistles on Kelly’s wish list. 

A year later traffic has become intolerable for Kyle.  They call their agent to list their home and find out they will loose 40-50k if they try to sell because the developer has decided to open a new phase undercutting last years prices with this years upgrades.  This is a very familiar tale.  Here is the alternative story, Jim and Nancy ask their cousin whose house is now worth a fortune who their Realtor was.  The cousin recommends an agent who grew up in downtown Charleston and has been selling property for years.  The agent discusses Nancy and Jim’s wish list and helps them develop a game plan.  The plan has to do with buying in an up and coming area, doing a cosmetic redo of an older home and creating some equity.  In one year Jim & Nancy list their home for sale and make $100k.  They rent for a few months and use the profit to purchase their dream home keeping the same payment they had before due to their big down payment. 

This too is a very plausible strategy.  Each home buyer needs a tailored long term plan with short and long term goals.  It is paramount to work with an agent who can help you achieve these goals.  Whether the market remains bull or turns bear in Charleston, SC, there is room to live a happy lifestyle and accomplish an equity building strategy.  Choosing a smart and experienced agent is the key!