•Newham joins biggest local brokerage•

It wasn’t quite “business group veep one day, real estate agent the next.”

But Janet Newham is rekindling her real estate career after 19 years away, starting up with Carolina One Real Estate in its Isle of Palms office.

The Middletown, Ohio, native relocated to the Charleston area in 1994. Until her recent professional change, she spent 15 years on the staff of the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce. She was senior vice president of resource development, which involved membership and fundraising among other aspects.

Newham graduated from Georgia State University in 1981 with a business degree. She earned a real estate license and moved to Frederick, Md., where from 1989 to 1994 she specialized in residential real estate, investment property and relocation services.

“Janet’s dynamic work experience and commitment to excellence coupled with an understanding and genuine concern for people will make her a trusted and valuable resource to her clients,” says FM Rinker, broker-in-charge of the Isle of Palms office.

Newham, who lives in Mount Pleasant, counts boating and kayaking among her hobbies, the agency says.

Carolina One Real Estate is the largest residential services firm in the metro Charleston market, handling more than 30 percent of home sales deals as of Dec. 31, 2012.

For more information, visit the company website at www.carolinaone.com.

•Funds geared to help struggling homeowners with mortgage payments•

A North Charleston nonprofit that assists people in financial trouble won a $273,420 contract aimed at forestalling home loan defaults.

A national organization awarded the funds to Family Services Inc., enabling its Homeownership Resource Center to offer free services to financially struggling residents. The center’s counselors will work with homeowners in a bid to mitigate or modify mortgages.

“Our goal is to reach any South Carolina homeowner having trouble making their mortgage payment, facing default, or at potential risk of foreclosure,” says Debbie Kidd, director of the Homeownership Resource Center.

Affected parties include primary homeowners, investment property owners, the unemployed, underemployed and those who are unable to return to work because of a medical condition, she says.

Funds emanate from the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program, administered by NeighborWorks America and based on federal legislative guidelines.

The money is arriving at an opportune time: the Charleston area has some of the highest foreclosure rates in the state, including two of the five most affected counties.

According to RealtyTrac.com, the foreclosure rate in South Carolina is currently 1 in every 409 homes. Dorchester, Berkeley, York, Beaufort and Spartanburg counties fare the worst, according to the homeownership center, with Dorchester’s foreclosure rate at 1 in every 269 homes and Berkeley’s at 1 in every 391 homes.

In March, the number of properties that received a foreclosure filing in South Carolina was 10 percent higher than the previous month, the center says.

Much has been written in recent months about a rebound in the housing market, the group says. But it notes that not all communities are bouncing back at the same rate.

The center’s foreclosure prevention specialists provide counseling with the goal of modifying a loan to more attractive terms and/or cash assistance to bring the mortgage current, it says.

“We want homeowners to know that we are here and working hard to advocate for them,” Kidd says. “We know the stress involved, and we are here to help — for free.”

Family Services’ homeownership resource center says it has counseled more than 13,000 people and “saved” nearly 4,000 homes from foreclosure since bringing the national counseling program to South Carolina five years ago.

For more information, visit Family Services Inc. at 4925 Lacross Road, Suite 205 in North Charleston; call 843-735-5522; or go online to www.fsisc.org. (Office hours are 8 a.m-5 p.m. Monday through Friday).

•Re/Max Advanced brings on three new associates•

A broker and buyer’s rep have signed on with the West Ashley office of a national real estate firm while a new agent has set up shop in East Cooper.

The new associates with Re/Max Advanced Realty are Sam Broadway and Jeanne Snoza west of the Ashley and Reen Waterman in Mount Pleasant.

According to the agency, Broadway is a franchise owner and broker — in line to head up the yet-to-be-opened Re/Max Main Street Realty office in Summerville. Snoza is a buyers agent on Team Broadway.

Waterman, meanwhile, has 20 years experience in real estate including as a broker-owner.

Broadway, who is team leader of Team Broadway, has worked primarily with new construction including local and national builders. He has marketed, managed and listed new homes.

The broker has been honored in his eight-year career including a Prism award as Sales Person of the Year in 2010 and Realtor of Distinction awards, notably Executive Circle in 2012.

“I am excited to be affiliated with such a large name in the international real estate community and look forward to working closely with clients and agents in and around Summerville,” Broadway says.

Snoza owned and operated successful retail stores in Colorado before moving to the Charleston area. She built up expertise in negotiating and relationship-building, helping her to excel as a buyer representative with national and local agencies in metro Charleston.

“Jeanne is an amazing buyer’s agent,” Broadway says. “She instilled confidence in her buyers and relentlessly and tirelessly represented her buyers in finding their best opportunity in home ownership,” he says.

Waterman, a real estate veteran, has been co-owner and a broker in two real estate companies and was a national real estate sales trainer. He is a former Army officer who graduated from Capital Bible Seminary with a master’s degree in Christian counseling.

According to Re/Max Advanced Realty, his focus is the “clients first.” He has helped hundreds of clients and customers navigate the home buying and selling process.

•Coldwell Banker veteran wins top awards from Realtors, company•

A specialist in real estate for the more mature set, Debra Whitfield has racked up her share of honors notably in the past year.

Whitfield, an agent with Coldwell Banker United, Realtors, has focused on the housing needs of seniors, retirees and baby boomers since 2006.

She recently was recognized for the following awards:

• The 2012 Charleston Trident Association of Realtors’ Realtor of Distinction award.

• The 2013 Coldwell Banker International Diamond Society Award.

• Overall top supporter of Coldwell Banker Mortgage in the Charleston area.

• Coldwell Banker United, Realtors “Closed Outgoing Referral Relocation Award,” which included special recognition from Cartus and USAA.

The honors, both national and international, showcase Whitfield’s level of excellence in understanding the real estate market and in promoting customer satisfaction, she says.

•Metro Charleston foreclosure totals maintain downward trend•

While still higher than the national average, the rate of homes locally that have been taken back by lenders plunged in February from a year earlier.

The figures were disclosed recently by California-based CoreLogic.

According to the real estate analysis firm, the foreclosure total in the Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville metro area was 3.32 percent of all locally originated mortgage loans, down 0.82 percentage points from 4.14 percent a year before.

By comparison, the national foreclosure rate in February was 2.85 percent.

Greater Charleston also saw a decline in the mortgage delinquency rate. According to CoreLogic figures, 6.09 percent of mortgage loans were three months or more delinquent in February, an 0.96 percentage point decrease from 7.05 percent in the same month in 2012.

Meanwhile, the local foreclosure and delinquency rates remained higher than South Carolina as a whole.

The state’s foreclosure rate fell to 2.98 percent in February, an 0.83 percentage point drop from 3.81 percent in the same period a year ago. At the same time, the delinquency rate sank to 5.78 percent, off 0.79 percentage points from 6.57 percent a year before.

•Caldwell earns negotiation certificate•

A Realtor with Carolina One Real Estate who excels at the give and take of pricing home buys and sales recently earned a special title for that skill.

Donna Caldwell, an associate with the agency’s Orleans Road office, has been awarded the Certified Negotiation Expert designation. The moniker comes from the Real Estate Negotiation Institute.

To receive the certification, agents must complete formal negotiation training and be among the top 1 percent of agents nationally.

Caldwell is able to help clients obtain better results in the sale or purchase of their home as a result of her professional negotiation skills, according to Carolina One.

She says professional negotiation skills are a must for all real estate agents helping homebuyers and sellers, especially in the current market.

Certified Negotiation Expert, or CNE, agents hold a competitive edge, according to Carolina One. The company says they have the ability to communicate effectively to uncover more information, help clients understand their options, work collaboratively with other agents and resolve deadlocks.

Carolina One Real Estate sports 11 residential real estate offices; a mortgage division; and departments specializing in insurance, relocation, new homes, commercial real estate, property management, resort rentals and title services.

For more information, visit the company website at www.carolinaone.com.

•Century 21 Properties Plus adds three agents in separate offices•

Barbie Hawkins, Diana Brletic and Debbie Doscher have joined a local franchise of a national agency and will be home-based across the region.

Hawkins, a Realtor, specializes in residential property sales in the Charleston area.

“It’s an exciting time to be with the Century 21 system as we increase our market presence in Charleston,” says Tim Rash, owner of Century 21 Properties Plus Inc.

Hawkins says, “My sons are grown up and making their own way in life. They’ve encouraged me to give my dreams a go.

“I’ve always held a special interest in real estate. I’m proud to be affiliated with an organization held in high regard for its quality of service and astute level of professionalism. I exemplify all that Century21 Properties Plus represents and couldn’t imagine embarking upon this new career path with any other office,” she says.

Brletic, meanwhile, joined Century 21 Properties Plus after 48 years in the accounting field, specializing in payroll employment taxes and benefit administration. She will specialize in residential property sales in the Summerville area.

Brletic successfully completed training and licensing through the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors.

Rash says, “We believe training supports growth and professional excellence in the real estate industry.”

Brletic and her husband recently moved to the Charleston area to be near their daughter. She says she is excited to begin a new career in real estate. “Century 21 Properties Plus Inc. embodies all of the principles of integrity that I agree with,” Brletic says.

Rash says he is “thrilled” that the agents have joined the franchise team.

Doscher, who has six years experience in real estate, is in the Mount Pleasant office. She was previously with Sky Realty.

“We believe her experience will greatly enhance the services we provide to our customers in the Mount Pleasant community,” Rash says.

Doscher, who specializes in residential real estate, has also been employed as a nurse since 1987. She received her nursing degree from MUSC.

“I enjoy being able to work with such a great team of real estate professionals within the worldwide Century 21 system,” she says.

Century 21 Properties Plus Inc. launched about 15 years ago in the Lowcountry. The full-service brokerage specializes in residential and commercial real estate and has locations in downtown Summerville at 118 W. Richardson Ave. and in Park West in Mount Pleasant at 3301 Salterbeck Court.

•Group calls for artist entries to “awaken” peninsula building•

Billing itself as a “creative placemaking organization,” Enough Pie is accepting artist’s entries to reinvigorate a vacant upper Meeting Street building.

Enough Pie says it will host Awakening, a one-day art and performance event “to breathe new life into 1600 Meeting St. and usher in an era of arts-driven community collaboration for the upper peninsula.”

In its call for artist proposals, Enough Pie says artists of all disciplines, whether performing or visual, are encouraged to apply for “this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Proposals are due on Monday. Selected participants will be notified of their acceptance on May 20.

The rooms and hallways of 1600 Meeting, an 86-year-old structure, will be open for creative reinterpretation during the three-day window between cleanup and building renovation. Awakening will be a temporary and site-specific event, says Enough Pie, whose partners include the Charleston Regional Alliance for the Arts and Lowcountry Local First.

Awakening is scheduled for early June, but the final event timeline is dependent on the 1600 Meeting renovation schedule. For more details, visit www.enoughpie.org/awakening.