Three Neighborhood Picks for 1900 plus square feet for under $220,000

We want to help you pick a home in a neighborhood that’s going to beat the averages when it comes to average days on market, and months of inventory.  That way, we can help you buy right, and position yourself so when the time comes, you can sell right. You can end up thousands of dollars ahead, if you have the right information.  We’re contacted by dozens of families each week about moving to
Charleston and each of them is unique.  So look at this as just an example of the research that can be done.  This is not a real case, but it could be. 

The Smith’s want to find a new home with good schools, they have two children, 9 and 14.  The husband works in
N Charleston, and the wife is going to find a job after they get settled in.  They’ve heard about our low commute times, and they’d like to only have to drive 20 minutes each way to work.  They want to get over 1900 square feet, and resale is very important to them, as it should.  More importantly, they want to have that extra family room so their kids can be kids without driving the parents crazy.  But they’d like to keep their total payment as close to $1500/mo as possible.  They have enough money to cover closing costs and a little bit more, but that’s about it, so they need 100% financing. 

Running their information past one of the lenders I work with, it looks like we can go as high as $220,000, but that’s pushing the limit. 

The first neighborhood we come to is
Whitehall. 
Whitehall is in Dorchester County North Charleston, as are the other two neighborhoods in this report.  This part of
Dorchester
County is just on the edge of Summerville, but closer to the interstate, downtown and the beaches than the rest of Summerville. 
Whitehall has recently been completed, other than some upscale homes going up back by the marsh, called The Refuge. 


Whitehall has some amenities, and the $220,000 price is more toward the lower end, making it good for resale.  The homes are newer than in the other two areas in this report, Windsor Hill and Archdale, and so we’re less likely to run into completely worn out roofs.  Also, the floor plans tend to be more contemporary and open, although there are some more traditional homes as well.  Our search in
Whitehall turns up six homes, ranging from 1927 to 2342 square feet in size and $224,900 to $230,000 in price.  Our strategy is to find two or three we like and put in an offer of $215,000, plus ask for $4000 in buyer closing costs, making it a net $211,000 offer.  If they come back at $220,000, we’ve hit our mark.  We may need to work extra hard, and possibly give up our first choice, but the Smith’s say they’re committed to starting out with some equity. 

Other than location and price per sqft, we also have Whitehall at the top of the list because homes are moving better than in the rest of the Charleston Area, even better than the rest of  Dorchester
County.  At the end of March, Whitehall has under 3.7 months of inventory with average days on market of 67, while

Dorchester
County out to

Ladson Rd

had 5.6 months of inventory and an average days on market of 98.  The overall Charleston Market had at the end of March average days on market of 89 with 6.3 months of inventory.  The high average days on market for the

Dorchester
County out to

Ladson Rd

area just means that some homes closed in March that had been on the market awhile. 

When we looked in the MLS, we noticed that Wescott Plantation seemed to have a better price per square foot, and the homes were newer so the Smith’s wanted to take a look.  We happened to be driving on

Dorchester Rd

around 4:30 in the afternoon, and there was a line for

Parlor Rd

all the way back to

Ladson Rd

and we waited for three traffic lights to get through.  So that was about it for Wescott.  We also noticed that coming the other way, it was backed up to the main Wescott Entrance.  When we finally did make it back for a look, the floor plans in the Woodlands section were very boxy, thus the low cost/sqft.  No front porches, very little in the way of curb appeal.  There were also a lot of tiny one stories mixed in with the larger two stories.  It wasn’t bad, they just liked
Whitehall a lot more.  Maybe if we hadn’t happened to be there at 4:30, they would have reacted more positively, who knows.  Also, they didn’t care for the way the trees were completely stripped out.  Mostly though, they just didn’t like the route to the neighborhood down

Parlor Rd.

 


Whitehall was pushing the Smiths toward the upper end of their price range, so it was good to be able to compare other communities.  Windsor Hill prices are a little lower.  The homes are a little older, but are very popular with excellent movement for an established community.  Average days on market usually runs in the 40’s and 50’s, with months of inventory usually around 5.  Average Days on Market edged up to 79 in March, which means opportunity for us.  Only two choices popped up over 1900 square feet.  Homes in Windsor Hill tend to be smaller.  But we took a look and one of them is a  possibility. 

Our last neighborhood is Archdale.  Homes a little older even than Windsor Hill, but very convenient to I526 and 26.  Also, there are different sections in Archdale, the one in the front, the homes are closer together, and in the back have larger lots and more established trees.  Really, only one good choice here.  I forgot to mention,  the Smiths want a two car garage so they have space for storage.  Most of the choices here were smaller, under $190,000.  But Archdale has excellent movement, and we can keep our eye out for new listings, just in case the right one pops up.  We especially like Archdale because the houses turn there so well, which explained why there was not so much available.  There have actually been 12 home sold there in the last six months over 1900 square feet, and under $220,000, so about two/month. 

So, of the four neighborhoods,
Whitehall came out on top for several reasons. 

  1. They have an amenity center with pool and tennis courts.
  2. The Smith’s are thinking they’re going to move in about 5 years, and resale will be much better with a smaller house in a neighborhood of larger homes.
  3. The selection is better.
  4. The neighborhood aesthetics are there, it’s newer, but there are more trees than the Woodlands at Wescott. 
  5. The homes are newer, meaning less out of pocket money for maintenance.
  6. Their top choice had excellent curb appeal with a grayish brick veneer in the front. 

They checked out the schools at www.myscschools.com, visited the schools and spoke to the guidance counselors.  They also went to www.charlestonneighborhoods.com and checked the information there, including the demographics. 

If you’d like to receive an email list of properties for sale in this area, or if your criteria are a bit different, either way; get in touch with me and we can send you the current inventory.  You can also go to one of our websites and search on your own:

www.Move2Charleston.com

www.CharlestonNeighborhoods.com

www.charlestonsfinestrealestate.com

If you happen to go to www.charlestonsfinestrealestate.com, do me a favor and let me know how this search works for you, it’s something we’re trying out.  If you like it or if you don’t, please let us know. 

There are a couple of morals to this story.  One, is that as your agent, one of my primary responsibilities is to make sure you position yourself to maximize the financial opportunity from your primary residence.  This means helping you buy the right house in the right neighborhood, avoid buying the wrong one.  Also, to help you buy right, and that when the time comes, you’ll be able to sell right too. 

Another thing I’d like for you to take away is that there are some pretty big incentives out there for agents to steer you toward new construction.  So they may slack up on doing the right homework to prepare for your house shopping visit.   This is an excellent time to find good deals with motivated sellers, so even though the double digit appreciation might be on hold for a few more months here in
Charleston, you can start out with some equity.  If you don’t have money for improvements, there are ways we can handle this, either go ahead and get the seller to do them, or negotiate an allowance so you receive a check at closing, perhaps made out to a contractor that’s going to replace your roof, or add your new fence.  That way, you can have more control over the quality of the work.  However you want it, we can work something out. 

We hope this helps you get ahead farther using your primary residence as a vehicle for your financial success. 

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