America's Home Place sets up in new locale highlighted by 'design gallery'

Open house-goers last month got to see kitchen, floor and lighting perks at a national custom builder's newly relocated showroom in North Charleston.

America's Home Place held a grand opening July 19 at 7620 Rivers Ave. - next door to Barnes and Noble. The Gainesville, Ga.-based company moved into a larger space a few doors down from its original spot.

Among the chief features of the new "design gallery" are areas dedicated to windows, flooring, light fixtures, kitchens and floor plans. There's also a sector describing nine "steps to building your own home." Home plans range from the $80,000s to $300,000 or more.

According to its website, America's Home Place since 1972 has been building custom homes for families who have their own land. The company frames homes in 12 states.

For more information, call 843-824-2174 or visit www.AmericasHomePlace.com.

Agency taps real estate pros, designers, contractors to provide homebuyer tips

Judge Realty Group will host its first show geared to assisting people looking to buy a home while showcasing construction and remodeling needs.

The Charleston Real Estate & Home Design Exhibit, which is free and open to the public, will be 10 a.m.-4 pm today at the Crown Plaza hotel on 4831 Tanger Outlet.

According to group president Vonnie Judge, the exhibit features innovative products and services that are "sure to inspire" new buyers and homeowners.

The company sought out top-notch professionals to share advice on how shoppers can avoid home purchasing and remodeling mistakes.

Vendors will be on hand to offers tips for home, gardening, remodeling and decorating needs, and there will be scheduled presentations and do-it-yourself demonstrations, she says.

"We recognize that having a knowledgeable team of professionals will create a room of informed consumers and increase their purchasing power," Judge says. "We are thrilled to host events that promote education, collaborations and community relations."

Feature presenters include Yvonne Hill of Quality Lawn Care; Tracie Hinkle of Home Depot; Barb Grant with Crawlspace Plus; Gregory Walker of Premier Advance Pest Control; Shelia Gathers with Life Overflowing Insurance Agency; Craig Knowlton of Alder Energy System; Steve Humbert of the American Institute of Building Design, South Carolina Society; and Tina Brown of South Carolina Fair Housing Center.

Judge Realty Group, a full service brokerage firm, specializes in residential transactions and has more than 15 years of real estate experience.

The company, a member of the National Association of Realtors, says it delivers "innovative real estate solutions" to the market.

For more information, visit www.JudgeRealtyGroup.com or call 843-364-3603.

Carolina One New Homes to market new townhomes near Bosch plant

Affordably priced, up-and-down residences are rising not far from the Ashley River in North Charleston, thanks to an upstart local builder and its sales partner.

Hunter Quinn Homes this summer launched construction on the "quality" two and three bedroom townhomes, measuring 1,534 to 1,674 square feet and priced from $129,000.

The upscale properties are in existing The Park at Rivers Edge off Dorchester Road. According to marketer Carolina One New Homes, it's an established, gated community near the Bosch auto parts factory, Boeing aircraft builder, Charleston International Airport and Charleston Air Force Base.

The village comes with a "huge array" of recreational perks, notably an Olympic size swimming pool, tennis courts, children's play park, intramural field, walking paths, amenities center and green spaces.

Carolina One New Homes calls The Park at Rivers Edge "a great value at an affordable price."

Along with top-notch construction and protective warranties, the townhomes offer innovate products and services, according to the project backers.

Standard features include HERS (Home Energy Rating System) house designs for energy efficiency, General Electric stainless steel appliances, Aristokraft wooden cabinetry, covered rear porches and outdoor storage.

According to promoters, The Park at Rivers Edge sits in a central location "just minutes from shopping, restaurants and numerous entertainment options."

Five "exciting" floor plans are available for viewing, according to site agents Kristin Wightman and Jack Catterton. There also will be a sales model by mid-October.

For more information, contact Wightman at 832-217-5872 or via email at kwightman@hunterquinnhomes.com or Catterton at 843-568-6939 or jcatterton@hunterquinnhomes.com.

Charleston-based Carolina One New Homes describes itself as the area leader in marketing and sales for new-home communities. The entity stands as a division of local real estate leader Carolina One Real Estate.

Formed in 1994, it represents nearly 30 local new-homes communities. Carolina One Real Estate, meanwhile, has been celebrating a half-century in business this year.

Charleston area foreclosure rate declines in spring

Continuing a lengthy trend, the share of foreclosures locally dropped sharply in May from the year before.

The figures for Charleston-North Charleston were based on released information from national analytical firm CoreLogic.

The rate of area foreclosures to all mortgage loans was 1.86 percent, a 1.19 percentage point plunge from a year earlier when the share was 3.05 percent.

While down significantly, the local foreclosure activity was slightly higher than the 1.73 percent national rate. The U.S. share dropped from 2.61 percent in May 2013.

At the same time, the Charleston-North Charleston foreclosure percentage was higher than the rate in South Carolina as a whole of 1.7 percent, down from 2.77 percent a year earlier.

Also shrinking in Charleston-North Charleston was the mortgage delinquency rate. Based on CoreLogic figures, the share fell in May to 4.21 percent of mortgage loans that were 90 days or more delinquent compared with 5.55 percent in the same period last year. The decrease works out to 1.34 percentage points.

The "seriously delinquent" rates have come down faster locally than in South Carolina or the U.S. in May.

For 90-day-or-more-delinquent loans, South Carolina's rate in May was 4.31 percent, off from 5.29 percent a year before. The U.S. figure was 4.44 percent, down from 5.64 percent in May 2013.

Lake Keowee hires director for posh interior amenity

The new clubhouse manager for an Upstate resort village brings more than three decades of experience at properties in Florida and the Carolinas.

The Reserve at Lake Keowee's Board of Trustees named Ryan McCurdy to the post, the culmination of a "thorough" recruiting process, the resort notes.

McCurdy has amassed more than 30 years of private club and resort management experience. Most recently, he served as general manager of The Cliffs at Walnut Cove in Arden, N.C. Prior to that, he worked at such esteemed properties as The Breakers in Palm Beach, Fla.; Boca Raton Resort & Club; and the Addison Reserve Country Club in Delray Beach, Fla.

In choosing McCurdy, The Reserve's board of trustees cited his "passion and commitment to managing private communities in the past." According to resort backers, the board expressed confidence in his abilities as he takes over the clubhouse manager role for The Reserve.

In a communication to The Reserve's membership, the board says it's "very impressed by Ryan McCurdy's comprehensive résumé and success in various management roles over his lengthy career. We feel confident in saying that there could not have been a more perfect fit for the position."

Talking about the new position, McCurdy says, "I am beyond thrilled to join The Reserve at Lake Keowee community and look forward to a promising future here at The Reserve. It is truly an honor to be able to serve this outstanding community."

The Reserve at Lake Keowee launched in 2000 as a creation of Greenwood Communities and Resorts.

The "award-winning" residential community spans 3,900 acres in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, according to The Reserve.

Resort highlights include 30 miles of shoreline on Lake Keowee; a 200-slip marina; village center; Jack Nicklaus signature golf course; and more than 1,400 acres of parks, preserves, trails and green spaces. The property also has "convenient access" to Greenville; Clemson; and Asheville, N.C.; as well as Clemson and Furman universities. Completed family amenities at The Reserve total more than $100 million.

The community claims 700 members from 30 states, as well as "extended family members who enjoy club privileges through the multi-generational Legacy Program," according to The Reserve.

Home sites start in the mid-$100,000s and homes from the $450,000s.

To learn more, call 877-922-5253 or visit www.ReserveAtLakeKeowee.com.

Cotton's Crossing to start taking lot reservations at end of month

A cozy James Island neighborhood, named in a vote by the online public, will be open for home-site sales later this month.

The property's house framer, New Leaf Builders, says it will begin accepting lot reservations at the end of August for its newest island community, Cotton's Crossing. Home construction should start in early fall, according to the builder.

Cotton's Crossing sits off Woodland Shores Road, across from fellow New Leaf community Fox Hollow. The builder will be introducing its newest "classic collection" of homes in the 26-lot neighborhood.

Custom home plans will be "borrowing heavily" from local rural island styles, New Leaf says. The result: "a unified series of homes with fresh coastal craftsman detailing," according to the builder.

Homes will feature functional floor plans touting three and four bedrooms, sheltering overhangs and broad porches. The design will "extend the houses to the beautiful surrounding environment to foster an active community," New Leaf says.

For more information, contact the builder's office at 843-400-0280.

Local agency to join Berkshire Hathaway next month

The multifaceted company that Warren Buffett runs will be bringing its name and real estate business to the Charleston area next month.

Prudential Southern Coast Real Estate will become Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Southern Coast Real Estate as of Sept. 17. Buffett, a widely known financier and investor, heads Berkshire Hathaway as chairman and chief executive officer.

"What a wonderful opportunity to go from the storied Prudential Real Estate branding to the integrity and trust of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices," says Linda Collins, owner of the Southern Coast affiliate based in Summerville.

The Buffett enterprise is a new real estate brokerage network, "among only a few organizations entrusted to use the world-renowned Berkshire Hathaway name," according to the local operation.

Time Magazine listed Berkshire Hathaway as No. 8 of the world's 100 most respected companies and Fortune Magazine set the same ranking for the venture on its 50 Most Admired Cos. list. The company owns more than 55 diverse businesses including HomeServices.

"Six years ago, Prudential Southern Coast Real Estate was the first 'start-up' company for Prudential Real Estate in nearly 30 years," Collins says. "This was a great honor for our firm. Now we have become part of the initial affiliates of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices."

According to Collins, "Our real estate associates are among the elite entrusted to be called Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices." She says, "Our company's future has never been brighter or more prepared for a strong future in the Lowcountry."

For more information, contact Collins at 843-871-5091.

Former banker Stiel hooks up with Century 21 Properties Plus

The local affiliate of one of the larger real estate companies nationwide has brought on a German-born transplant to Folly Beach as an agent.

Miriam Stiel recently joined Century 21 Properties Plus as a sales associate. According to the agency, she will specialize 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 of Century 21 Properties Plus. "We are thrilled to have Miriam join our team."

Stiel, originally from Germany, worked in the banking industry in her home country. Last year, her husband's job brought the couple to the Charleston area. They now live on Folly Beach, the agency says. She has always been interested in real estate, and has decided to use this move as a chance to follow a new path, according to Century 21 Properties Plus.

"I used to work with customers in my banking business and loved it. I look forward to representing my customers and clients here with all of their real estate needs," Stiel says.

She is excited to work with the Century 21 team and help people with their home buying or selling needs, the company notes.

For more information, visit www.century21properties.com.