Had the opportunity to check out Salt Grass at Carolina Bay by Centex Homes as the result of a client from Chicago that was purchasing a Colleton Floor Plan. First, the location is wonderful. It’s located almost equidistant from Main Rd, the road to Kiawah and Wadmalaw Islands, and I526. So it’s probably about a 20-30 minute drive to either Kiawah Island or Folly Island beaches. If you’re not from the area, it’s important to know that Route 17, the main North/South Rd through Charleston is about 10-15 minutes to Folly Beach. Kiawah Island is 19 miles from 17. The location is also very convenient to downtown, just a few minutes outside 526.
Centex has done a wonderful job preserving the greenery, with many preserved green spaces. Whether this is by choice or by law doesn’t matter, the result is going to be quite beautiful I think. Both Grand Oaks and Wescott are pretty stripped out by comparison. And houses backing up to green space are the exception rather than the rule in these other areas. There is still plenty of selection of pond or wood view lots as of right now in Salt Grass. It was pretty busy out there, so I’m expecting that the best lots in Salt Grass will be gone in a few weeks. The subdivision features Charleston Style Homes. Floor Plans and Elevations can be found at www.carolinabaycharleston.com. I was pretty pleased with the standard features, especially having visited The Woodlands in Wescott Plantation. The home would be pretty well finished with no additions at all, and so the final price doesn’t need to be far off from the base. The only exception to this is that the standard garage is a one car garage, and the 2 car garage upgrade is over $7800. Also, most of the lots in Salt Grass had at least $5000 premiums, so the bottom line for the home we put under contract was a base price of $325,400 and a subtotal price with structural options was about $352,000. I think my clients will add about $15,ooo in options, mostly flooring, but the home would be fine at $352k. Included are features you’d expect in a premium home, solid surface counters, some wood and tile floors, no vinyl floors, crown moulding, sodded and landscaped front and back yards, gas log fireplace, gas heat and hot water. There’s even an inline hot water heater, which provides an unlimited supply of hot water without paying to keep all that water at 110 degrees.
One word of warning. Well…more than one. Read the contract very carefully. Once you pull the trigger and sign, you’re done. You have little or no recourse if things don’t go your way with the completion dates, or the quality of the house. Centex Charleston has impressed J. D. Power with their quality…you just want to make sure that what they promise in the contract matches your expectations. The home is considered “complete” per the contract when they have a certificate of occupancy, and so they can begin assessing the $50/day fee at their discretion, if you are expecting cosmetic matters, or things the inspectors missed to be taken care of prior to closing. So, basically, a government entity is enmeshed in contract terms…not the best terms for the buyer in my humble opinion. It’s not a terrible thing. And I think that Centex probably goes above and beyond in the interest of their customer service ratings…but you need to know that such generosity is solely at their discretion. You might be asking, does the $50/day fee go both ways? No it does not. The contract is quite clear on this. Centex will not be responsible for any costs you incur as the result of any delays.
Having said all that, everything will probably be fine as long as delays won’t cause you and your family too much difficulty. If you are selling your house, and you have 2 dogs, 3 cats a newborn and a five year old living in The Suburban Lodge or base housing, you might want to find a resale in Schieveling Plantation. It’s more per square foot, but this small community looks over an Ashely River Marsh off 61. It’s probably the only community I know nearby that offers Charleston Style homes with Cement Plank Siding.
Anotehr word of helpful advice is that you want to have the home inspected pre-drywall by a certified home inspector, and then again at the end. A structural inspection is good too ever earlier, but maybe a little overkill.
Lastly, do hire an agent to help you. I did a pricing study, and it appears to be pretty reasonable as of this writing, but the market is changing rapidly, as I expect will Centex’s prices, once they have the plat recorded and have more solid completion dates.
Some Thoughts on New Construction in General, not that it’s bad, but just that you need to know so your plans don’t get mucked up. All new construction requires a strong stomach and flexibility in the best of circumstances, and some builders are better than others at finishing details. Subcontractors, generally speaking, are difficult to control, the product is being assembled outdoors out of organic(wood) components. The weather in the Charleston Area is extremely unpredictable where it’s not uncommon to have heavy rain every day for weeks. With track builders, their success and profits are based on efficiency. I can tell you based on having shown literally hundreds of houses this year to dozens of actual and prospective buyers, that abou 80% of buyers want a lot with some privacy, especially in the back yard. A smaller percentage are OK with backing up to what seems like 8 more houses peering onto their back patio. The bottom line with new construction is that you’re going to have to be flexible with your timing. And there are probably going to be some final details that aren’t completed on closing day, no matter how hard you try. You can’t tie the painter down and threaten to beat him to a pulp if he doesn’t get everything done perfectly and on time, much as you’d like to. And neither can I.