/Texas lending officer Shelpman to head local brokerage/

A specialist at forging homebuilder deals in the South will run mortgage operations for the Charleston area's largest real estate agency by residential sales.

Carolina One Real Estate Services tapped Kimberly J. "Kim" Shelpman as branch manager of Carolina One Mortgage.

The 28-year veteran of the residential loan and homebuilding industries previously served as vice president of sales development for Shelter Mortgage Co. in Dallas.

Shelpman worked with "nationally known builders and large real estate firms" in Arizona, Florida, Nevada and Texas, according to Carolina One. She focused on homebuilder and real estate partnerships as well as mortgage service and product development.

A Pittsburgh native, she received an economics degree from Winter Park, Fla.-based Rollins College, where she played on the women's basketball team.

According to Carolina One, Shelpman is "extremely excited about her move." The avid golfer says she loves "sports, sports and more sports."

Carolina One Real Estate stands as the leading residential services agency in metro Charleston, handling 30 percent of home sales transactions as of September.

For more information, visit www.carolinaone.com.

/Jacques urges owners to be ready for holiday season/

As the weather turns chillier, homeowners have their minds focused on wrapping presents and decorating trees.

But now's also one of the best times to review home safety steps and fix things if necessary, according to the American Society of Home Inspectors.

"While most of us are quick to think about the holiday season, safety should stay on top of everyone's list," says Bill Jacques, society president and operator of American Home Inspection Service Inc. in Ravenel.

"An ASHI certified inspector can identify repairs needed before the seasonal decorations are hung in our homes," he says.

To reach Jacques, call 843-556-3755, e-mail billaischas@aol.com or visit www.aishomeinspections.com.

The Des Plaines, Ill.-based society notes that "the first signs of the winter season are rapidly appearing, and homeowners are getting ready to celebrate the holidays. Before hanging lights along the gutters or cozying up by the fireplace with your family," make a safety checklist and follow suggestions. The society's list consists of:

. Clean out gutters. The buildup of leaves may not allow water to drain. It can sometimes seep into the home and cause water damage to ceilings and walls.

. Reduce humidity. When leaving windows open in the warmer weather months, indoor humidity rises. Humid air requires more energy to heat. So it's a good idea to air out your home before the season changes.

. Inspect furnaces. If you have a furnace, check the filter. Also get the furnace looked over by a professional once every two years.

. Peruse chimneys; check smoke detectors. Look over the chimney damper for proper operation and inspect mortar between bricks. Prior to the year's first chimney fire to heat the house, make sure to install the right types of smoke alarms.

. For trips, turn off water systems. If you plan to be away for an extended time, shut off the water. Otherwise, pipes can burst in extreme cold temperatures.

Founded in 1976, the American Society of Home Inspectors claims more than 5,000 members.

For more information, visit ASHI's Facebook page or www.ashi.org.

/National builder names Finlaw property purchase chief for its local territory/

Ryland Homes just picked Frank L. Finlaw as vice president of land acquisitions for the Charleston-Myrtle Beach division.

"Ryland Homes is expanding in the Charleston and Myrtle Beach regions," says Don McDonough, division president for Ryland Homes. "Frank brings considerable experience and talent to our team.

"We are extremely proud to welcome him and believe that his experience is vital to the success of Ryland's expansion plans," he says.

Finlaw, a graduate of The Citadel with a degree in civil engineering, boasts more than 30 years of experience with top national homebuilders in various phases of real estate acquisition and development.

He most recently served as the director of acquisitions and land development for another national homebuilder in the Charleston area and as the owner-operator of his own real estate consulting firm.

Ryland Homes, headquartered in Southern California, operates in 28 markets across the country. It builds single family and townhomes in 10 communities throughout the Charleston-Myrtle Beach region.

/Beazer buys land for Johns Island village; second purchase this fall/

Look for 176 energy-efficient homes to pop up on 59 acres southwest of Charleston in the next few years, including some by late 2014.

Beazer Homes U.S.A. bought property on Johns Island for its new Maybank Village neighborhood. The builder plans to showcase wooded home sites, four large ponds and seven home-plan choices ranging from 1,660 to 2,839 square feet.

The property stands alongside Maybank Highway, less than 10 miles from downtown Charleston. It counts as the builder's second acquisition in the past two months.

"We are very excited about welcoming Maybank Village to Johns Island. The landscape and location of this community alone are very attractive features," says Doug Schwartz, Charleston division president for Beazer Homes.

"Add in our Energy Star homes and beautifully-crafted exteriors, and it will be a special place to call home," he says.

Beazer calls its models "Choice Plans," designed to allow increased personal touches by homeowners at no additional cost.

"Whether it is more room in the kitchen for entertaining, or more room in the breakfast nook for family time, homeowners will be able to decide how they live in their home," the builder says.

According to Beazer, each Maybank Village house "will undergo numerous inspections, testing and verification to meet strict requirements set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency." The tests provide measurements so that the homes can earn the Energy Star label.

Beazer's "continuous commitment to energy efficiency makes for a more comfortable and durable home with lower utility and maintenance costs," the company says.

The Maybank Village land purchase follows Beazer's early fall property acquisition and announcement of a new Berkeley County neighborhood, The Oaks at Cane Bay. The subdivision will be included in the master planned community of Cane Bay Plantation in Summerville.

Sales at The Oaks at Cane Bay should commence next summer. Maybank Village looks to open by fall 2014.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Beazer Homes marks itself among the country's 10 largest single-family homebuilders. The company frames homes in 16 states.

/Daniel Island agent ranked among top 2 percent in Carolinas/

A "five star" honor typically refers to the highest possible achievement in everything from the military to lodging and restaurants.

The designation also marks a top grade for Realtors. It's the ranking that a Daniel Island agent posted this year.

Daniel Island Real Estate sales associate Meg Latour earned the Five Star Real Estate Professional title.

Five-star professionals are "an exclusive group of real estate agents who are recognized for providing exceptional services for their clients," according to Daniel Island Real Estate.

National research firm Five Star Professional hands out the award. Backers established the firm to help consumers find top pros in the real estate, wealth management, insurance and mortgage industries.

The Five Star Professional rating places Latour, who is among more than 23,000 professional Realtors in North and South Carolina, in the top 2 percent in the region. That works out to the leading 460 or so Realtors in the Carolinas.

"Meg has been a Top Producer and a Realtor of Distinction with Daniel Island Real Estate for more than eight years, and we are proud to have her accomplishments receive this recognition," says Rick Vale, broker-in-charge of Daniel Island Real Estate.

According to the real estate company, The Five Star research came from consumer nominations. The customers who agreed to take part in the survey provided agents' names and rated them according to criteria such as integrity, negotiation and closing preparation skills.

Southern Living Magazine will profile the Carolinas winners of the Five Star Professional awards in an upcoming issue, according to Daniel Island Real Estate.

Five Star Professional says it conducts market-specific research throughout the U.S. and Canada to identify reputable and trustworthy service professionals. The company partners with city and regional magazines to make its research results available to consumers in more than 45 markets.

Meanwhile, Daniel Island Real Estate offers an array of residential properties: new and resale single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and home sites. The properties are priced from the $100,000s to more than $5 million.

For more information, visit www.danielisland.com. To contact Latour, email meg.latour@danielisland.com or inquire via her blog at www.megsdanielisland.wordpress.com/.

/Basket Brigade helps more than 3,000 families/

Real estate companies joined scores of businesses and individual volunteers that helped prepare and serve thousands of meals to the less fortunate locally.

The non-profit Charleston Basket Brigade, in its sixth year, delivered boxes of Thanksgiving groceries Nov. 26 to 3,050 families, or about 20,000 people.

Hundreds of volunteers gathered at the Charleston Area Convention Center to assemble and deliver meals to Charleston area families.

Michelle Scarafile and Pam Hartley co-founded the Charleston Basket Brigade.

More than 1,000 individuals, area businesses, non-profits, schools and organizations participated in what supporters call the largest community Thanksgiving charity effort in the Lowcountry.

To coordinate the drive, Charleston Basket Brigade teamed up with Carolina One Real Estate, Bi-Lo, Communities in Schools and Momentum Marketing.

According to backers, Carolina One Real Estate staffers "played a huge role" in shepherding the volunteer assistance and fundraising aspects.

Bi-Lo provided the brigade with a food discount to keep meal costs low. The grocer also delivered trucks of frozen turkeys, canned goods and perishable items to the central staging area. Communities in Schools located families to receive meals and helped map out routes for delivery volunteers. Momentum Marketing provided invaluable fundraising, public relations, marketing and event planning coordination.

Corporate sponsors The Wrenn Group real estate developer and Gwynn's of Mount Pleasant retailer provided key monetary contributions.

"It is such an honor to give back to the Charleston Basket Brigade because you know that you are helping people that are truly in need in our very own community," says Marshall Simon, Gwynn's of Mount Pleasant owner, who assembled and stacked boxes.

Local businesses that also raised money and volunteered for the brigade included the Taylor Agency, Crews Chevrolet, Crews Subaru, Lowcountry Business Network, Indigo Road Restaurant Group and Daniel Island News.

Meryl Cromarty and Daniel Island Real Estate collected more than $6,500, while 12-year-old Elysse Pardus of Mount Pleasant raised $4,800 by going door to door in her neighborhood.

The Bridge 105.5 and 98 Rock held the brigade's first ever "Radioathon" on Nov. 22 to raise funds and provide awareness. Durham School Services shuttled in buses for the deliveries.

"From a football team, an elementary school class and The Center for Women to The Trident United Way Women's Leadership Council, Boeing and more, we had volunteers from every walk of life this year," Hartley says.

"It was glorious and proves that when a community comes together, magic really does happen."

The Lowcountry Food Bank received cases of surplus groceries, including 20 frozen turkeys, donated by the basket brigade.

Since 2008, the Charleston Basket Brigade has raised $338,000 and fed 67,000 Charleston area residents on Thanksgiving. Backers note that all of the donations go to purchase food.

The box delivered to each needy family "includes everything to cook a Thanksgiving meal: a 10-12 pound turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, stuffing, potatoes, corn, green beans, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, a pumpkin pie, fresh rolls and butter."

Inside the box is an unsigned letter: "This comes to you from someone who cares about you. All we ask is that you take care of yourself well enough to be able to do this for someone else one day."

For more information, visit www.CharlestonBasketBrigade.com.