Thursday, February 19, 2015

Five Survival Strategies When Buying on HHI or in Bluffton

You're ready to buy a home--but what do you really need to know? Here's a few of my top tips for buyers in the Hilton Head and Bluffton area.  

#1: Be Aware of the HHI Transfer Fees

One of the things buyers on Hilton Head Island should know about is the standard 0.0025% (or 1/4 of 1%) sales price transfer fee for purchasers, which is used for land acquisition.  In addition to this fee, many plantations and gated communities also have a transfer fee that can range from a couple of hundred dollars to several thousands.  These expenses are normally the buyer’s responsibility, but can be negotiated in the contract.

#2: Shop Around for the Right Insurance

Every buyer should carefully shop to find the best rates on homeowners insurance.  The costs and coverages can vary greatly depending on the carrier, so this should be a priority for buyers. One hot topic related to insurance is flood insurance. You should always know whether the home that you are considering is in a flood hazard zone--if so, you will be required to carry separate flood insurance. However, I always recommend this coverage because we live in the LOWcountry.  Rising water due to storms or floods is not covered by traditional homeowner's insurance, so you can be left with no help if you don't have this coverage.

I recommend chatting with an expert to assess your options, and one that I highly recommend is Missy Guardino at McKenzie Insurance Services in Hardeeville. You can contact her via phone at (843) 784-2311 or via email at mguardino at hargray dot com.

#3: Look for a Home Warranty

One of the expenses that most sellers and buyers don’t think much about is HVAC, or air conditioning, repairs. To try to avoid this, I always recommend that my sellers provide a one year home warranty for buyers.  This warranty not only covers buyers for a year after closing, but also can cover the seller during the listing period. This coverage is especially beneficial when the home is under contract and a home inspection is done. When the terms of the contract require that the HVAC be in good working order, a home warranty can save the seller costly repairs.

#4: Don't Be Afraid to Finance--and Get Pre-Approved!

Buyers actually CAN still get 100% financing in today’s market.  One of the most common options in the Bluffton area is USDA or Rural Development.  This loan is a conventional loan, with no monthly mortgage insurance, but some income and local restrictions apply. Most realtors won't work with a buyer who hasn't already been pre-approved for a mortgage, because that information is essential when you are choosing homes to consider.  I also recommend that you sit down and consider what monthly payment you can manage.  Often, buyers get preapproved for amounts that are more than they expect--knowing your bottom line price point will make sure that you do not become house poor. 

I highly recommend Doreen Haughton-James with Movement Mortgage.  She can be reached at (843) 683-1096 and can help you through the pre-approval process. 

#5: Trust Your Agent

Many neighborhoods in the Bluffton and Hilton Head Island area support particular lifestyles—boaters, golfers, tennis players, beach lovers, community-minded, private, a carefully managed neighborhood with restrictions, no restrictions on any homeowner, etc.  Because of this, I always sit down with my buyers and find out what they are looking for in a lifestyle and narrow the search area from there.  I do the same with the homes that I am selling—finding out what a homeowner loved about their home and neighborhood helps me target the same type of buyer to help find the right fit more quickly.

SOLD: 155 Cobblers Ct Bluffton, SC 29910

Property Site:
Popular & beautiful Beaufort model, situated on one of the most desirable streets in The Farm at Buckwalter. You'll love the one-level living, with the added second floor bonus/4th bedroom, & the bedroom separation which works perfectly for families or visitors. Fantastic open kitchen offers tall cabinets, hard surface countertops, tile floors, skylight, & stainless steel appliances. This home offers a huge master bedroom, tall vaulted smooth ceilings, & a private lanai with wooded view--all in a small cul de sac close to Bluffton schools, shopping, & entertainment. Comes with a 1 year home warranty. Call Kristy Gonzalez (843) 298-3808 for more information.
Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 2.00
Square feet: 1,830
Price: $229,900

For more information about this property, please contact Kristy Gonzalez at (843) 298-3808 or You can also text 2570289 to 67299.

See more listings at:

MLS ID: 335451

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

SOLD! The Best of Both Worlds in This HHP Beauty: 12 Birkdale Ct Hilton Head Island, SC 29926

Property Site:
First impressions matter in this Hilton Head Plantation home, which is the perfect marriage of formal living and open floor plan family spaces. Hilton Head Plantation is centrally located on the Island, with amenities that are well known in the area. In addition to golf, HHP offers an active homeowners association and groups that plan a variety of activities each month, a tennis club and clubhouse, as well as access to boating and Skull Creek Marina (and Boathouse!).  Hilton Head Plantation is a vibrant community that's in-demand--and this home's prime location and stunning views are absolutely perfect.

Beautiful Formal Spaces

More than 2300 square feet of living space is thoughtfully planned in this lovely home, which features unending fairway views of the Hilton Head Plantation golf course.  The formal spaces are stunning, with luxurious hardwoods installed throughout the dining room and living room, which includes a fireplace flanked by large Palladian windows and pillars.  The rooms are elegant and spacious, perfect for entertaining.

Casual, Comfortable Living

The open eat-in kitchen and family room create a lovely casual atmosphere, perfect for breakfasts on the go or comfortable family time.  The kitchen features plenty of cabinet space, updated stainless steel appliances, and a center island that doubles as a breakfast bar.  The eat-in dining nook is spacious and bright, with light streaming in both from a kitchen window and the family room, which is surrounded on three sides by windows and glass doors.  This comfortable, casual atmosphere invites conversation and can be adapted to whatever you need.  The family room could become a playroom, a home office or homework area, or craft or exercise area. 

Spacious Bedroom Retreats

The three spacious bedrooms in this thoughtful home feature lovely neutral carpeting and some stunning updates. The master bath, for example, is a design dream, with beautifully updated countertops and tile, along with a large tub and shower.  As is true throughout the rest of the home, the bedrooms are flooded with light from large windows and offer plenty of room for family or guests. 

Money Saving Upgrades

The home not only offers a thoughtfully planned floor plan--it also offers thoughtful and money saving upgrades as well. The homeowners have recently installed a new roof, water heater, flooring and appliances, as well as recently completing the stunning update to the master bath.  All of these upgrades saves the new homeowner money, as does the one year home warranty that is included. This lovely home is perfect for anyone who wants space to live, entertain, and enjoy Hilton Head Island for all it offers.

Call Kristy Gonzalez (843) 298-3808 for more information.
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 2.00
Square feet: 2,372
Price: $476,850

For more information about this property, please contact Kristy Gonzalez at (843) 298-3808 or You can also text 2540511 to 67299.

See more listings at:

MLS ID: 335088