Review Category : Real Estate

RESPA change effective date extended to October 3rd

Beaufort County Association of REALTORS® (BCAR) is alerting its members and the public of the alternate effective date for implementation of the changes to the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and Truth in Lending Act (TILA) or TRID (TILA/RESPA Integrated Disclosure). Originally, the changes were slated for August 1, 2015. However, as of late last week the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a proposed amendment which would move the rule’s effective date to October 3, 2015. “We certainly welcome the extension, but we continue to urge all REALTORS® to be aware of the changes coming in October so that there are no delays at the closing table,” said BCAR CEO Janet Gresham. Highlights of the new rule include: • A new loan estimate document which replaces the Good Faith Estimate and the initial Truth in Lending disclosure. • A new closing disclosure document which replaces and combines the HUD-1 and final Truth in Lending disclosures. • Loan Estimates must now be given to consumers within 3 business days... ...

Read More →

Beware the real estate scammer

By Will McCullough While the modern real estate industry uses a wide range of “checks and balances” to protect individuals from fraud, the common utilization of digital marketing in today’s world has opened the door to creative scammers, con-men and all around scumbags. While I personally have seen only a few blatant attempts at real estate related “scams” over the years locally, those few could have been utterly catastrophic to the unsuspecting potential victims. I was motivated to choose this topic for today’s column because my most recent related experience took place just last week and, as this specific scumbag initiated a scam I’d never seen or heard of before, I felt it important to share.  But, before I share the details, please allow me to reintroduce you to a few catchy sayings you may have heard before: 1. Believe but verify. 2. There’s a sucker born every minute. 3. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. 4. Don’t take any wooden nickels. 5. Ask no... ...

Read More →

Attorneys, lenders and cool shades

By Will McCullough I only buy cheap sunglasses. I mean really cheap. We’re talking single digits. The reason I only purchase the most inexpensive shades possible is because I have a track record, which spans decades, of quickly breaking them. As a matter of fact, when I broke my last pair a few months ago, I swore I wouldn’t buy any more unless I could find a seemingly unbreakable pair for under $20. The reason I share the above information with you is because, about three weeks ago, Deena and I were walking along the shores of the Beaufort sandbar together, and she found a pair of beat up old sunglasses buried in the surf. Broken and covered in scratches, they looked like they’d been bouncing along the bottom of the river for months. With the exception of our boat, the sandbar was completely empty and, had it not been for the friends we had with us, the sunglasses in question would have quickly found their way into our trash.... ...

Read More →

Free: Beachfront lot with incredible views

By Will McCullough As someone who supports his family solely via the selling of property in the Beaufort area, I’ve had to step out of my comfort zone this time in order to focus on a local piece of real estate that, while exceptionally beautiful and offering a location that puts most others to shame, is not available for purchase. This one-of-a-kind deepwater parcel offers a sandy beach and breathtaking 360 degree views of the waterways surrounding downtown Beaufort, Lady’s Island, Port Royal and Parris Island. Under normal circumstances, one would expect only a few to be able to afford unrestricted access to such an incredible property. But, here in the Lowcountry, we can all come and go as we please. Well, as long as you have a boat.  Or, maybe better yet, a friend with a boat. Oh, it also needs to be around low tide. By now, most local readers already knew the parcel of real estate I was referring to, but, for those of you visiting the... ...

Read More →

The (extra) cost of doing business

By Will McCullough Have you ever planned to contribute to the local economy by purchasing something you really wanted only to be surprised by extra, seemingly unexplainable, expenses? No, I’m not talking about feeding the parking meters while shopping along Bay Street; I’m talking about the closing costs associated with purchasing a property in the area. While experienced real estate buyers are stereotypically fully aware of exactly what closing costs consist of, most first time buyers are not.  So if you’re a potential first time buyer of real estate in the Lowcountry, please read on.  On the other hand, if you’ve already “been there, done that,” I’ll understand if you choose to stop reading now and skip forward to Terry Sweeney’s “Happy Winos” column. (For the record, I’m still waiting for him to review one of my favorite wines but he’s apparently prejudiced against the whole “volume meets cardboard box” packaging concept.) Now that we’re left with just the first time buyers, please allow me to explain, in general, what... ...

Read More →

Protect the clumsy and hide the secrets

By Will McCullough A few days ago, I was previewing a home with another agent. (I won’t give her name.  I’ll just say that she’s one of the two people in the picture that accompanies this column and, chivalrously, leave it at that.) It had rained the night before and, as she stepped out onto the property’s dock, she slipped and fell on the wet wood leaving her with a head to toe series of bruises. In fairness, I should mention that the unnamed person in question could likely find a way to fall during a laying down contest, but the fact remains that the entrance to this dock was at a very steep angle and it would be easy for anyone, not just a gravity-challenged person, to fall and get hurt. A little “no-skid” in an area that obviously needed it could be the difference between selling a home and getting sued. Here’s my point: We live in a litigious society and, if you’re inviting complete strangers to come... ...

Read More →

If not you, who?

By Will McCullough When considering putting your property on the market, I think it’s very important that you interview at least two or three potential listing agents. In the Beaufort area, there are literally hundreds of licensed real estate agents and finding the right Realtor to represent you can make a huge difference in seeing your property sell in a timely manner and for as much as possible. In complete honestly, it isn’t always a matter of just who’s “better,” it’s often more a matter of “who’s a better fit” for you and your specific needs. That being said, I wanted to share what I’ve always considered the best question I’ve ever personally been asked by a potential client during a listing interview. The question was simple: “If you couldn’t recommend yourself or even an agent from your company, who are a few other local agents you’d recommend to list our home?” Please allow me to be completely up front, as a local agent myself, I’m obviously biased. However, truth... ...

Read More →

Buying local foreclosures

By Will McCullough Approximately 15 years ago, I found myself standing on a ladder leaned against our first ever “investment property” — a foreclosed brick home in the Burton area. I was absolutely exhausted, having spent the entire day scrubbing every inch of the home’s exterior by hand with a bleach/water mixture to remove the “green stuff” that covered it. “Why didn’t you just power wash it?” the smirking neighbor standing below me asked. I made up a face-saving answer revolving around how “I wanted to make sure no spots were missed” but the truth was that I’d honestly never heard of power washing. After burying the neighbor’s body in the backyard, Deena and I continued stumbling blindly forward into the world of “learning the hard way” as it related to the local foreclosure market. That market has changed a bit over the last 15 years, and, for those who are interested (or just extremely bored), what follows are some personal opinions on the topic of purchasing Beaufort area foreclosures... ...

Read More →

It never hurts to ask

By Will McCullough Deena and I have two kids, a daughter named Keara and a son named Cooper. Being kids, they’ll often ask for something that catches their mom and me a bit off guard. For example, one of the above recently asked if they could walk downtown with their friend from our house. As we live on Lady’s Island, the answer was “heck no.” The catch was, by even asking, the kiddo in question got something pretty close. We agreed to drive them downtown, drop them off, and pick them back up an hour later. The morale of the story is that it never hurts to ask and, in real estate, we call this making an offer. There’s a reason it’s called an “offer” as opposed to a “demand.” A potential buyer can ask anything they wish and should know that a seller’s agent is obligated to present all offers regardless of whether they personally feel the offer is good or bad. Obviously, the price you wish to purchase... ...

Read More →

Believe, but verify

By Will McCullough I was enjoying a little down time at the beach with Deena and the kids the other day when I watched a small group of children, walking a bit ahead of their father, discover a partially submerged animal in the surf. One child suddenly shouted, “It’s a stingray!” and they all began taking turns gently poking it with their toes (having obviously never heard of Steve Irwin). “Guys, that’s not a stingray, it’s a turtle,” dad stated as he approached. Hearing the trusted voice of authority’s ruling was all they needed and the kids took up the chant of “it’s a turtle, it’s a turtle” as they left the creature behind and continued on their way. That was about a week ago and, by now, I’m sure those kids are home from their great Beaufort vacation and happily telling their friends how they even saw a sea turtle at the beach. I think it’s amazing that we live in a place where that can happen but, in... ...

Read More →