Real Estate News — Realtors join local agency; tenants in S.C. with jobs may face rental cost troubles

Kimberly Layman (Provided).

Joseph W Nienstedt

•Carolina One signs up four agents for Dorchester County, East Cooper•

Two outposts of the area’s largest local brokerage are gaining associates whose prior jobs had to do with golf, food, cell phones and radio.

The agents joining Carolina One Real Estate are real estate veterans William “Bo” Turocy and Kimberly Layman to work from the company’s Summerville Main Street office and newcomers Elizabeth “Liz” Royster Gaymon and Heidi Noelle Mahoney to call the Coleman Boulevard office in Mount Pleasant home base.

Layman, who moved to Summerville from New York six years ago, has been a licensed Realtor since 2007. She joined the Shirley Phillips team at the Main Street office.

Her prior experience includes overseeing a cell phone call center. Layman spends her free time kayaking and bicycling, according to Carolina One.

Turocy, an Ohio native, has resided in the Charleston area for the past three decades. The former PGA member graduated from Georgia Southern. He lives in Summerville with his wife and two children. His hobbies are golf and rebuilding and restoring World War II vehicles, the agency says.

Mahoney, who will be in the Coleman Boulevard office, managed Locklear’s Restaurant in Mount Pleasant for 18 years before switching to real estate.

She moved to Mount Pleasant from Maine in 1981 and graduated from the College of Charleston with a biology degree. She is married and likes to cook, play tennis, kayak and walk her dog Bandit.

Gaymon, from Columbia, was an account executive for Clear Channel Communications and is also licensed in the property and casualty insurance field. She earned a marketing degree from Clemson University.

For more information, visit the agency’s website at

•Report: Lease costs weigh down working households in state, nation•

An advocacy group says rental expenses for working-class tenants were more of a burden in 2011 than three years earlier nationwide.

That’s also the case in 24 states including South Carolina.

The findings are in a new report, Housing Landscape 2013, from the Center for Housing Policy. The policy group, the research affiliate of the National Housing Conference in Washington, D.C., based its report on the latest American Community Survey figures collected by the U.S. Census Bureau.

According to the findings, 26.4 percent of working renters in the U.S. spent more than half of their household income on housing costs.

South Carolina ranked tied for 20th highest with the state of Washington at 21.5 percent of employed tenants facing a severe cost burden. The national figure is 23.7 percent.

Janet Viveiros, lead author of the Housing Landscape report, says renters have to make tough choices when lease payments limit spending on other needs.

“The growing rate of severe housing cost burdens among renters is not a new trend, but it is clearly an unsustainable one,” she says. “While rental costs have steadily risen over the last few years, wages for these working families have not fully recovered from the hit they took between 2008 and 2009.

“Spending most of your paycheck on rent means cutting back on other necessities, including healthcare and even food,” Viveiros says.

Co-author Maya Brennan cites a difficult economy and an increased demand for rental housing as reasons for the increase in the lease cost burden.

“While the economy pushed both owners’ and renters’ incomes down, the shift away from homeownership is pushing rents up due to increased demand,” she says. “This increase has not been matched by an increase in supply,” which has lead to rising rents in markets across the country, Brennan says.

A high and growing proportion of working households, including both renters and homeowners, cannot afford their housing and little is being done to help, says Chris Estes, president and chief executive of the National Housing Conference.

“The challenge we face is that despite the range of successful tools to help offset this crisis, we are still in a long trend of flat — and even slashed —funding for these important programs,” he says, citing the achievements HOME, the housing voucher and the Low Income Housing Tax Credit.

Among other findings:

• The median housing costs of working renters rose nearly 6 percent between 2008 and 2011 while their median incomes fell more than 3 percent.

• Severe housing-cost burdens were most prevalent among working households earning less than 30 percent of the area median income.

• On the state level, only South Dakota saw a significant decrease in working households with severe housing-cost burdens.

• States with the highest share of working households with severe cost burdens in 2011 were California, at 34 percent; Florida and New Jersey, 32 percent apiece; and Hawaii and New York, each at 30 percent.

In the report, “working households” are defined as those with a household income of no more than 120 percent of the area median income and with household members who worked an average of at least 20 hours per week for the preceding 12 months.

“Severe housing cost burden,” meanwhile, refers to cases where monthly housing costs including utilities exceed 50 percent of household income.

•FrontDoor signs up Garrett Barnola as construction chief•

In keeping with its start-up history, FrontDoor Communities in metro Charleston has named a manager who worked for a noted Atlanta builder.

The company has brought on Garrett Barnola as construction manager. Barnola brings 14 years experience to the post. As construction manager, he will oversee development, construction and homebuilding in the South Carolina markets.

Previously, Barnola was project manager at Georgia-based John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods, where he handled construction of single-family homes and neighborhood landscaping projects in Mount Pleasant and was a liaison between the sales and architecture teams. Before that, he was a

“signature” builder for three years.

Barnola graduated from Clemson University with a bachelor’s degree in language and international trade.

Home building veterans with a combined 25 years plus in the industry launched FrontDoor Communities, a full-service real estate firm. A number of partners once worked for John Wieland Homes. The company says it is “focused on urban and suburban infill, resorts and club operations” as manager, developer, dealmaker and new-home builder.

•Rex Thompson kicks off The Oaks at Indigo Fields•

An established neighborhood near the crossing of Dorchester and Ashley Phosphate roads is the site of a cluster of new houses.

Rex Thompson Homes is building the homes in what it calls The Oaks at Indigo Fields. The community is just inside the Indigo Fields village, according to the builder.

Located in lower Dorchester County, Indigo Fields is close to shopping, dining, entertainment, golf and major employers such as Bosch and Boeing.

According to Rex Thompson Homes, The Oaks at Indigo Fields offers “elegant design blended with technology and modern convenience.”

All of the homes feature Smart Tech Plus, an “advanced operating system” that can be controlled directly from your smart phone or tablet, the builder says. A structured wiring center as well as USB plugs and prewired systems give buyers the chance to expand the service if they choose.

Other interior highlights from Rex Thompson Homes are 9-foot ceilings on the first level, hardwood floors in the living room, stain- and fade-resistant carpet in the bedrooms, satin-nickel-finished lighting fixtures, smooth painted ceilings, large closets and deluxe master baths.

Top-notch kitchens boast granite countertops, stainless steel range and dishwasher and an under-mount microwave oven. Energy efficient features include a power-saving Bryant heating, ventilation and air conditioning system and a Rinnai tankless water heater.

On larger home sites, buyers have the option of a single-, double- or triple-car detached garage with finished living space above.

For more information, contact Jason Harper with Carolina One New Homes at 843-200-0915 or via e-mail at Carolina One New Homes, a division of Carolina One Real Estate, is handling sales and marketing in The Oaks at Indigo Fields.

For more information, visit

•Foreclosure inventory falls in March across country, state•

The share of foreclosures still in the pipeline in South Carolina dropped by 0.8 percentage points to 3 percent, another signal of the housing recovery.

California-based CoreLogic reported the findings as part of its National Foreclosure Report for March, which has the most recent figures available.

Even so, South Carolina shows one of the highest percentages of foreclosure inventory among so-called “judicial” states and is slightly higher than the 2.8 percent U.S. average.

In its report, CoreLogic says the national foreclosure inventory sank 23 percent in March from a year earlier. At the same time, 55,000 foreclosures were completed in the month, off 16 percent from a year ago but up 6 percent from the previous month.

Completed foreclosures are an indication of the total number of homes actually lost to foreclosure, CoreLogic says.

Since the financial crisis began in fall 2008, there have been 4.2 million completed foreclosures nationwide, the analytical company notes. About 1.1 million homes in the U.S. were in some stage of foreclosure as of this March, compared with 1.5 million the previous year.

“In March, completed foreclosures were down 52 percent from the peak in 2010, and almost all of the top 100 major metropolitan areas have declining foreclosure rates,” says Dr. Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. “The foreclosure rate nationally is down 23 percent relative to a year ago, signaling continued reduction in the stock of distressed assets,” he says.

For 17 consecutive months, foreclosures declined year over year across the U.S, says Anand Nallathambi, president and chief executive of CoreLogic.

“Although we still have more than 1 million homes in some stage of foreclosure, this trend, combined with rising home prices, is another signal of a gradually improving housing market,” he says.

The five states with the highest foreclosure inventories as a percentage of all mortgaged homes were Florida at 9.7 percent; New Jersey, 7.3 percent; New York, 5 percent; and Maine and Illinois, each with 4.4 percent.

Three-agent team makes move to Keller Williams Realty

Over the past few years, the Jim Mills Team has been one of the more productive groups of agents. They’ve sold more than 900 homes.

But after much soul-searching the team decided it was time to sign on with another brokerage.

The three agents in the squad say they’re happy with the move to Keller Williams Realty. A nationwide agency, Keller Williams claims it has the highest agent count across the U.S.

The team previously was associated with Carolina One Real Estate.

Jim Mills says he and partners Debra Heiney-Rasnick and Tami Gordon are dedicated to continuing the highest level of real estate service they have always provided to their clients.

Mills and his wife Pam Mills live in Berkeley County. They have four children and five grandchildren, all living in the Charleston area. The couple are long time members of Salem Baptist Church in Summerville.

“After a considerable amount of thought, hundreds of discussions and a tremendous amount of prayer; Pam, Debra, Tami and I have come to the conclusion that we can offer better services for our clients through Keller Williams Realty,” he says.

Mills adds, “Most buyers are starting their home search online these days.” He says Keller Williams is positioned to capture more buyer traffic “by offering the most comprehensive property search on the web.” According to Mills, gives consumers access to search more than 5 million listings, and the company is about to launch a new mobile app for real estate searches.

The experienced Jim Mills team is knowledgeable about marketing homes, he says, and are capable of “getting top dollar with the least amount of problems in the quickest amount of time.”

The agents have earned designations such as Certified Residential Specialist, Graduate Realtor Institute, Accredited Buyers Representative and Senior Real Estate Specialist.

Their focus on education allows them to provide a premier real estate transaction to each client, Mills says.

For more information, visit or call 843-737-6787. To see a list of available homes go online to