Leasing organization to host its awards dinner in March

Anyone desiring to attend a local rental group's banquet to honor accomplished industry professionals has until Friday to sign up.

Charleston Apartment Association will host its 2014 Diamond Awards on March 14. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. with a reception and registration followed at 7:30 p.m. by dinner, awards and dancing. It will be held at the Francis Marion Hotel, 387 King St. in Charleston.

Costs for the awards gala come out to $55 per person. Attendees should RSVP by email on or before March 7 at info@CharlestonApartmentAssociation.com.

Local contractor expands in West Ashley, Johns Island

Options greet shoppers choosing New Leaf Builders: They can buy a just-built custom home, a house tailored to their lot or one they design within guidelines.

At the same time, customers can take advantage of the James Island home-framer's gradual broadening of its scope, notably on Johns Island and west of the Ashley.

Recently, New Leaf Builders began ushering in new construction at Battery Gaillard. The established West Ashley community sits outside of Interstate 526 off S.C. Highway 61.

The neighborhood, which edges Lowcountry marshlands, plans to feature 48 homes "on wooded, waterfront and interior lots at completion," the company says.

There's a landscaped entrance, grand oak trees and a host of walking trails, according to New Leaf.

While a country-style community, Battery Gaillard sits close to I-526; Springfield Elementary, West Ashley Middle and West Ashley High schools; Citadel Mall; Roper-St. Francis Hospital; and historic plantations.

New Leaf Builders showcases its "popular" Botany floor plan in Battery Gaillard. The builder's homes "take full advantage" of the community's Lowcountry setting and feature traditional Charleston porches.

As a "full service custom design-build firm," New Leaf Builders can offer a variety of choices for buyers. Shoppers can pick out a completed custom built home or bring in New Leaf to construct a home on their property. The builder also can work with a prospective homebuyer to find "the perfect location to suit your needs."

Further, New Leaf can oversee a "design build, where we guide our clients in designing a home that meets their criteria and architectural style," according to the company.

The builder provides clients with design help through its in-house American Society of Interior Design consultant who assists with style and color choices. And it partners with buyers to provide "expert industry knowledge," educating them on the best building practices and assisting them in choosing top-notch materials.

"New Leaf Builders works with many local, reputable industry professionals to offer our clients quality products and materials," the company says.

The builder just completed a custom home project in which it dubbed the residence "Sonny Boy." Tucked away on a Johns Island homestead, the cottage retreat boasts "handsome craftsmanship" such as open-tail rafters and copper flashing details.

For more information, contact the New Leaf Builders office at 843-400-0280.

Housing resource division to host home-loan assistance sessions

A local money-counseling group is sponsoring two "mortgage default clinics" this week in a bid to help financially-strapped homeowners keep their properties.

The Homeownership Resource Center will hold clinics 4-7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday at 4925 Lacross Road., Suite 105 in North Charleston. The programs are by appointment only.

At the sessions, distressed homeowners will meet one-on-one with "mortgage default advisors." The clinics are free and open to all homeowners.

According to the resource center, householders may qualify for home loan modifications, for bringing past mortgage payments current, for lowered interest rates and for reduced monthly payments.

The center serves as the housing division of 125-year-old Family Services Inc. The family group sponsors the clinics "in an effort to assist struggling homeowners."

Family Services calls itself a "nationally-awarded" nonprofit that's received U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development approval.

Its Homeownership Resource Center, it says, ranks as "one of the most successful mortgage default mitigation programs in the nation and has saved thousands of South Carolina homes from foreclosure."

For more information, contact the Homeownership Resource Center at 843-735-5522, visit their website at www.FSISC.org or email the group at info@fsisc.org.

Agent duo sign on with Carolina Real Estate Connection

Charleston housing market pro Victoria Guest and real estate veteran Lolie Ward recently joined a West Ashley-based agency.

Ward and Guest are agents with Carolina Real Estate Connection.

Guest says her "strongest assets" include sales skills and a knowledge of the real estate market. What serves Guest the best, she says, revolves around caring for the clients. Until finding a customer's "home of their dreams," she will continue to show property. Her goal is a happy homeowner, "because the grass is always greener in your own yard."

Ward, meanwhile, says she's now come "home" to Charleston, and her passion for years has been to help others toward their real estate goals. According to the agent, she "loves" what she does and has enjoyed helping many people during her 15 year career in the real estate business.

For more information about Carolina Real Estate Connection, located at 1529 Sam Rittenberg Blvd. Suite 1A in Charleston, call 843-763-1211.

Ryland launches new section in East Cooper master community

With more and more consumers buying its homes, one builder has opened a succeeding phase at Carolina Park in Mount Pleasant.

Ryland Homes recently started raising houses in a new section of Carolina Park, located off Carolina Park Boulevard and U.S. Highway 17 North in Mount Pleasant.

The phase consists of 50 new home sites at least 60 feet wide and some a quarter acre or larger in size. The model designs are comprised of three and four bedroom homes with two, three and three-and-a-half baths.

"Ryland is seeing increased demand, and sales are picking up in the Mount Pleasant market," says Gayle Jinks, vice president of sales and marketing for Ryland Homes in the Charleston-Myrtle Beach region.

The homebuilder supplies six floor plans in one and two-story designs at Carolina Park. They range in size from 2,072 to 2,964 square feet and are priced from the mid-$300,000s.

Ryland decorated two model homes at Carolina Park that are open daily for touring. They include the two-story Coosaw floor plan possessing four bedrooms, three-and-a-half baths in 3,206 square feet of living space with a detached two-car garage priced from $405,000. The two-story Thompson model totes 2,446 square feet of living space, three bedrooms and two-and-a-half baths with a bonus room and a detached two-car garage. The Thompson floor plan, which features a downstairs master bedroom, costs $373,000.

Altogether, Ryland Homes plans to build 112 new luxury homes in Carolina Park, with townhomes planned in the near future.

Carolina Park features a Junior Olympic-size pool, tennis courts, a playground and walking and biking trails.

Headquartered in southern California, Ryland builds homes in 14 states nationwide and has constructed more than 300,000 houses in the past 47 years. For more information, contact Jinks at 843-375-5555 or visit www.Ryland.com.

Columbia commercial broker discloses top fourth quarter sellers

A statewide company that specializes in commercial real estate picked five Midlands area brokers as its top producers at the end of 2013.

NAI Avant, headquartered in Columbia with an office in Charleston, singles out commercial agents every three months.

"The fourth quarter was a strong finish to an overall solid year in 2013 with increased transactional activity across virtually all property sectors of the commercial real estate industry," says Bruce Harper, president and broker-in-charge of NAI Avant. "We are pleased to recognize these individuals for their exceptional production and in providing unmatched expertise to their clients," he says.

Macon Lovelace, from the Columbia office, topped the list of fourth quarter producers. Following him were four more Columbia brokers: Nick Stomski, SIOR (Society of Industrial and Office Realtors); Dail Longaker; Campbell Kreps; and Ben Kelly, CCIM (Certified Commercial Investment Member).

NAI Avant, founded in 1966, describes itself as one of the largest commercial real estate businesses in the Southeast. The firm touts 65 real estate professionals offering brokerage, leasing, development, property and project management services.

As a member of the NAI Global Network, the company affiliates with more than 350 offices and 5,000 professionals in 55 countries worldwide.

NAI Global, a subsidiary of C-III Capital Partners, considers itself the largest independent commercial real estate service provider worldwide.

Among NAI Avant's specialties, its Property and Project Management Group oversees a multi-million square foot portfolio of commercial buildings across South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia. The Avant Healthcare Division, meanwhile, provides services to hospitals, clinics and physician groups.

For more information, visit www.naiavant.com or contact Harper at 803-744-9805 or bharper@naiavant.com.

James Island team wins top real estate awards

These two agents help people buy and sell houses in a geographic area with plenty of water - thus their "team" name Charleston Pier Partners.

And judging from awards won earlier this year, Matt Poole and Randall Sandin have proven pretty successful in the business.

Charleston Pier Partners, affiliated with Carolina One Real Estate, won a half dozen awards for 2013 based on production, commission income and team results.

The James Island based partners earned the following company awards: Diamond Circle of Excellence and Top Listing Units for Teams, in which they finished second runner-up.

They also received awards for Carolina One's James Island office including No. 1 Team for Gross Commission Income, Top Closed Units for Teams, Top Listing Team and Top Closed Referring Team.

To reach Charleston Pier Partners, contact Poole at 843-830-0027 or Sandin at 843-209-9667.

Scalise joins buyers' agency in Charleston area

A long-time contractor who also worked as sales chief of a local distributor signed on recently with The Real Buyers Agent in East Cooper.

Tim Scalise joined the venture as a new "exclusive buyer's agent." Prior to coming onboard with what the company calls "Charleston's first exclusive buyers agency," Scalise worked for Lee Distributors Inc. of Charleston as the marketing and on-premise sales manager.

At the same time, Scalise operates as a South Carolina residential builder. He started T.A. Scalise Construction in 1989 and has a background in both new home construction and renovations.

According to The Real Buyers Agent, Scalise says he's excited to bring his builder's background and extensive knowledge to new clients in the real estate field.

Located in Mount Pleasant, The Real Buyers Agent assists buyers throughout Berkeley, Dorchester and Charleston counties. The company has grown "while remaining committed to the idea of 100 percent representation and service for the buyer," it says.

The agency's office sits at 800 Johnnie Dodds Blvd. For further information, call 843-884-0888.