The Post and Courier

Meet Diane Beck, homeowner. She lives on Kiawah Island at 97 Jackstay Court. At the head of a short street, the house provides direct beach access in minutes.

Her two-story house is on the market, and like many selling property holders, she’s eager to find a buyer after dropping the price earlier this year.

Now meet the Realtor, who also just happens to be Diane Beck. She’s listing her own house at $1,999,750, seeking to attract extra interest by lowering the cost below $2 million. Beck also is taking part in the The Post and Courier-sponsored Summer Tour of Homes today and Sunday.

The agent with Dunes Properties at Bohicket Village is opening her house to the public Sunday afternoon only. She says Sundays bring in more travelers, who typically book space or are checking out on Saturdays, as well as locals who have more free time on the weekend’s last day.

Beck represents two of the groups who play key roles in open houses: the home seller and the listing agent. The third category involves people who want to look at the homes, whether neighbors taking mental notes for ideas in case they decide to sell their house later or serious shoppers ready to make a deal.

Home perusers can choose from 34 houses for the free tour of homes. In The Post and Courier’s informal approach, lookers can visit any of the properties listed in the Tour of Homes section of today’s Real Estate section or go online to view information including map identifiers.

Shoppers can inspect residences priced below $300,000 to close to $2 million, from West Ashley to Sullivan’s Island, single-family homes and townhouses. They can visit just one house, all 34 homes or any number in between.

The tour of homes comes at an opportune time in the metro Charleston housing market.

According to the latest figures from the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors, 1,314 homes sold in Dorchester, Berkeley and Charleston counties at a median – or midpoint – price of $219,340 in June. A year earlier, 1,059 homes sold at a $199,900 median price in the region.

The first half of the year saw jumps in sales and prices, setting up for continued growth in July through December.

“While more than half of the transactions are being conventionally financed, nearly a quarter of homes are being paid for in cash, which indicates a healthy mix of traditional buyers and professional investors purchasing homes in our market,” Owen Tyler, 2013 association president, said on July 10 when the report came out.

Tyler also addressed the impact of rising mortgage rates, which still remain historically low.

“Interest and activity among prospective buyers is still very strong and doesn’t appear to have been negatively impacted by the recent adjustments in mortgage rates. However, it’s still fairly early to make a clear assessment on how much the recent rate changes will affect the Charleston market,” he says.

In mid July, rates had risen as high as an average 4.6 percent for a 30-year fixed loan before dropping to 4.29 percent.

Beck, meanwhile, says she typically enjoys at least decent turnouts at open houses. She chose her own home for the Summer Tour of Homes because open houses can bring in more viewers at an exclusive place such as Kiawah Island.

“You can’t put out any signs. It’s a gated community.” People can enter for an open house, although from there, “you’re on your own.” Beck says she ties balloons at the entrance to help mark the home.

The time of year helps with open houses at the beach, Beck says. “One of the pluses is it’s summertime (with plenty of) visitors,” she says. “They read the paper. That helps.”

To reach the properties on the Summer Tour of Homes, check out the Real Estate section or go to

Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or