America's Home Place moves into new, larger spot

A national company that helps prospective homeowners build their own houses has done a thing or two to energize its local base of operations.

America's Home Place will hold a grand opening today to show off an expanded showroom at the company's Charleston Building Center, 7620 Rivers Ave. Suite 110B in North Charleston. It invites the public to the 11 a.m.-3 p.m. drop-in. The store stands next door to Barnes & Noble and across the highway from Northwoods Mall.

Visitors can tour the "new, state of the art showroom," the company says. There also will be barbecue, refreshments and entertainment for the kids.

America's Home Place encourages "the whole family" to come out. That way, the company can "show you how exciting and cost effective building your new home can be."

Meanwhile, "Our experienced building consultant will be available to answer all your questions about building your custom dream home."

For more information, call 843-824-2174.

Agents form team with Seabrook Island Real Estate

They've built strong real estate backgrounds individually at Seabrook Island. Now Pat Polychron and Tom Peck are teaming up in what's being called a "natural fit."

Their successes with Seabrook Island Real Estate stem from a solid client base and referrals, the agency says. "Each brings a unique perspective to the buying and selling experience," according to the company.

The partners say they're pleased to introduce people to "our natural, private, oceanfront island community," noting that Seabrook Island stands just 23 miles from historic Charleston.

Touted among the top agents at Seabrook Island Real Estate, Peck and Polychron say they look forward to helping prospective home buyers and renters with their real estate needs.

The pair specialize in homes, villas and home sites on the island. As residents and club members, they're ready to share their local knowledge and real estate experience, according to Polychron and Peck.

"Tenacity, personal attention to details and customer service are just some of the traits that set us apart and allow us to enjoy repeat clients and referrals," they say.

For more information, visit

Demand stirs Summerville center to host second mortgage default clinic

Buoyed by heightened interest at a June event, the Dorchester Prosperity Center will present a follow-up show to assist people facing defaulted home loans.

The free mortgage default clinic will be 3-7 p.m. Wednesday by appointment only. Trident United Way, Palmetto Goodwill and Family Services Inc. collaborate to run the prosperity center, located at 222 Trolley Road in Summerville.

As with last month's effort, representatives of Family Services will lead the upcoming clinic. Family Services, a HUD-approved nonprofit group, has its local office in North Charleston. The organization's Homeownership Resource Center stands as one of the most successful mortgage default mitigation programs in the nation, and "has saved thousands of South Carolina homes from foreclosure," the group says.

At the clinic, distressed-home owners will meet one-on-one with a "mortgage default advisor." Property holders are eligible regardless of lender or county of residence.

According to Family Services, homeowners should attend the clinic "if they are having trouble paying their mortgage, facing foreclosure or current on their mortgage but fear they may get behind or be unable to make their payments in the future."

Homeowner benefits can include qualifying for mortgage modifications, bringing past-due payments current, lowering interest rates and reducing monthly mortgage payments.

Participants can receive the "most effective counseling" if they bring a mortgage statement, any correspondence from the lender or attorney, two pay stubs for everyone in the household, proof of any other form of income, the two most current bank statements, the most recent tax return with W-2 wage forms and recent utility bills.

To set up an appointment or make inquiries, contact the Dorchester Prosperity Center at 843-282-6294 or 843-761-6033.

Dating to 1888, Family Services Inc. has remained a "leading human service nonprofit" organization by providing professional financial, housing, and health counseling services to residents and businesses of South Carolina, the group says.

For more information, visit or email

Jacques recognized for 20 years of membership in home inspectors' group

Bill Jacques spent 2013 overseeing an organization dedicated to top standards and ethics for the people who make sure houses are safe and sound.

Now this year as immediate past president of the American Society of Home Inspectors, the Charleston area professional is being honored for 20 years of membership in the national organization.

Jacques runs American Inspection Service Inc., a Ravenel-based firm that conducts inspections of new and existing homes. He's been a home inspectors' society Certified Inspector since 1994.

Formed 38 years ago, the Des Plaines, Ill.-based society says it's the "oldest, largest and most respected international professional organization of independent home inspectors in North America." The group contends that its Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics are the benchmarks for professional performance in the field.

To become certified, a society member "must meet rigorous professional and technical requirements." Those requirements include completing two comprehensive exams and performing at least 250 fee-paid home inspections that meet or exceed the society's standards.

Jacques served the society as an officer, board member, president and now immediate past president.

The long-time professional conducts "existing and new construction pre-purchase, pre-listing and maintenance inspections" in the Charleston area, according to the society.

For more information call Jacques at 843-556-3755, visit the American Inspection Service Inc. website at or go to the home inspectors' society website at

Pizzo, Borland join large local real estate agency

Property brokers with backgrounds that include commercial and development work have signed on with Carolina One Real Estate in Mount Pleasant.

Grace Borland recently chose to affiliate with the agency's Longpoint Road office and Elke Pizzo has selected the Coleman Boulevard locale.

Borland worked in commercial real estate investment and sales as well as information technology sales and management before joining Carolina One. She received a degree in math and computer science from UCLA.

The Seoul, South Korea, native moved to the Charleston area more than four years ago. Married with two children, Borland likes to travel, jog and watch movies.

Pizzo, of East Hampton, N.Y., worked in high-end real estate sales and development, according to Carolina One. She's a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston with a degree in business administration and concentration in marketing.

Pizzo, married with three children, has lived in the Charleston area for the past eight years. She is an active school volunteer who also enjoys golf and tennis, according to Carolina One. The new agent "plans to use her experience in residential investment properties and new construction to assist her clients," the company says.

Carolina One Real Estate Services turned 50 years old this year. The company sports 11 retail offices, a mortgage division and departments specializing in new homes, relocation, commercial real estate, property management, vacation rentals, insurance and title services.

Visit the company website at

Hartley among brokers from Columbia firm to make "dealmakers" list

Based on a research group's figures, NAI Avant showcases three of the top brokers in terms of clinching commercial real estate transactions since 2011.

The Columbia-based company with an office in Charleston says the professionals "placed at the top" of the DealMakers list compiled by Washington, D.C.-based CoStar Group, a leading commercial real estate information firm. The tally involved leasing transactions exceeding 1,000 square feet, covering the past three years.

Jeff Hein, senior broker and Society of Industrial and Office Realtors, headed the list with more than 100 deals completed since May 2011, followed by Roger Winn with 95 deals and Nick Stomski, Society of Industrial and Office Realtors, with 74 transactions.

NAI Avant also counted three other brokers who were among the "top 10 leasing dealmakers." They were Paul Hartley, Society of Industrial and Office Realtors, who is based in the Charleston office; Laura Kovacich; and Rob Lapin. NAI Avant says it completed 436 lease transactions in the past three years based on the CoStar list.

Founded in 1966, NAI Avant sports 65 professionals statewide. For more information, visit

Local venture involved in rental and retail development in Mississippi capital

Partners including metro Charleston's Kassinger Development Group soon plan to begin a multimillion dollar mixed-use project in the Jackson, Miss., medical area.

The Meridian at Fondren development will be built on property owned by the University of Mississippi Medical Center across from the campus.

The Mississippi Institutes of Higher Learning board of trustees agreed to a property lease for the project in late May, considered the final approval to more forward, Kassinger Development says.

The medical center partnered with private group SKD Development LLC to lease the 4.4-acre property. SKD Development is a partnership between Mississippi-based Stewart Speed Development and the StateStreet Group; and Kassinger Development.

Plans call for up to 240 "first-class" apartment homes, parking, landscaping and 3,500 square feet of street-level retail space, according to Kassinger Development.

"This exciting partnership and project is planned to influence and transform the Fondren neighborhood and its healthcare corridor, with a uniquely designed mixed-use building for high quality living," says Tyler Kassinger of Kassinger Development.

SKD Development is responsible for razing seven buildings on the site; financing the project; overseeing construction; and leasing and managing the apartment, office and retail space. Meridian at Fondren should start site preparation this summer. The project's total cost is estimated at $30 million-$32 million, according to the Kassinger group.

Ryland launches new-home sales in Dorchester County at Reminisce

Houses starting in price below $200,000 and sized up to 3,600 square feet or so are on the market at an expanding neighborhood in western Summerville.

Ryland Homes started selling the new homes July 1 at Reminisce. The new-home community is located on Gaslight Boulevard, off West Butternut Road just west of Old Orangeburg Road.

The national builder has secured 140 home sites for the three, four and five-bedroom residences.

Gayle Jinks, vice president of sales and marketing at Ryland Homes in the Charleston and Myrtle Beach areas, says prices begin at $180,000 for the one and two-story homes. There are eight "distinctive" floor plans ranging from 1,409 to 3,621 square feet of living space, she says.

Ryland will start construction of two model homes this summer. They consist of the 2,153-square-foot Griffen II floor plan, priced from $205,000 and available in six different "elevations," or styles; and the 2,632-square-foot Pendleton II model, priced from $225,000.

Headquartered in Southern California, Ryland Homes builds in 28 markets nationwide. For more, visit or contact Angela McMicking at the Reminisce sales office, 843-832-8920.

Noted builder signs on with Summerville-based real estate company

As a veteran contractor, John Hill brings a wealth of construction experience to his new position with Prudential Southern Coast Real Estate, the company says.

Hill, a member of the Hill & Associates real estate team, arrives as a South Carolina licensed home builder and real estate investor, according to Prudential Southern Coast. He carries an extensive background in renovating, rehabbing and building new homes, which the agency says is an asset to his clients.

Hill began his career as an engineer and for a while was also a certified home inspector, the company says.

"John will bring much knowledge and experience to the Hill & Associates real estate team," says Linda Collins, broker-in-charge of Prudential Southern Coast. "It is a pleasure watching John provide value to the Hill & Associates team."

Hill can be reached at 843-637-7888 or

Agent takes part in Reading with Realtors

As a Realtor, John Settle understands the importance of education and that community schools need to be better than just "good."

That's why the Carolina One Real Estate agent got involved with Reading with Realtors eight years ago, the firm says.

"I believe in the value of early childhood education and the significance of instilling in young children a desire to read," Settle says. "Reading to and with these young people each week and seeing their faces light up is priceless," he notes.

Settle, stationed in the agency's Broad Street office, recruited fellow Carolina One Realtors, friends and clients this year to read for at least one hour a week during the school year at Burns Elementary School in North Charleston.

The Charleston Trident Association of Realtors kicked off the Reading with Realtors program in 2006. Supported by agents across the greater Charleston area, the program has proven to be effective and rewarding, Carolina One says.

"Since the program's inception, test scores have improved significantly," the agency says. Measure of Academic Progress test scores from students in the Reading with Realtors program were an average of 2 points higher than grade level averages, according to the association of Realtors.

Toward the end of the school year, Settle and dozens of fellow Realtors took students from Burns Elementary to the Isle of Palms for a morning at the beach. "It was a fitting end to a 'better than good' school year and a great start on a well-deserved summer vacation," according to Carolina One.