Real Estate News — Eco-event planned Sunday on Kiawah, East Cooper broker to guide education chapter

David Kent (Photo provided).

• Sea island developer to sponsor Earth Day talk, open house •

Dyal Compass is hosting an ecological celebration 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday at its new Indigo Park neighborhood on Kiawah Island. Noted environmental speaker Tom Burton will field the featured address at 11 a.m.

People are invited to come by foot, bike or car to the Earth Day festivities and to see a first look at the island’s newest neighborhood, Indigo Park. According to the Dyal Compass website, Indigo Park will consist of 16 newly constructed homes built on 12 acres of land overlooking a picturesque marsh. Buyers can choose homes sized from 2,000 to 3,000 square feet and priced from $1.6 to $2.6 million.

Earth Day attendees can walk through the newly built and creatively furnished Camellia and Sweetgrass homes while enjoying some light refreshments.

For more information, visit www.dyalcompass.com.

• Kent tabbed as chief of Realtors education group •

A veteran Mount Pleasant agent is heading up the state wing of a group that helps professionals keep pace with industry standards and changes.

David Kent, broker in charge and co-owner of The Real Buyer’s Agent, HBC; was named South Carolina’s Realtor Education Foundation president.

According to the brokerage, the foundation’s goal is to promote quality real estate education and charitable programs that will raise the bar of professionalism in the industry.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to serve on the Realtor’s Education Foundation, as education is a vital part to the success of our industry,” Kent says.

As president, he also will be appointed a member of the South Carolina Association of Realtors’ executive committee.

Kent, a 17-year real estate professional, helped launch The Real Buyer’s Agent as the Charleston area’s first exclusive buyer’s agent brokerage. The company says it has continued to grow over the years while remaining committed to the idea of full representation and service for the buyer.

According to the brokerage, Kent is committed to further education about buyer representation and elevating the standards within the real estate profession.

• Cane Bay among top 50 master-planned communities •

A local development large enough to spark construction of a new high school in Berkeley County ranks as the nation’s 40th most active planned village.

Cane Bay Plantation posted 174 sales in 2011, according to John Burns Real Estate Consulting. Gramling Brothers Real Estate and Development launched the community, located along U.S. Highway 176, in the mid 2000s.

Late last month, California-based John Burns Consulting released its list of top 50 Master Planned Communities while indicating that MPC home construction rose for the first time in more than five years. An improving U.S. housing sales picture and a flow of available financing were given as reasons for the turnaround.

The sales growth among planned communities “in still-challenging housing market conditions is an encouraging vote of confidence in the future,” consulting firm vice president Peter Dennehy says. The firm is forecasting a 21 percent hike in master-community home construction in 2012, including a 23 percent boost in single-family permits and 21 percent jump in multi-family permits.

“Today, builders are responding to market, demographic and consumer conditions,” Dennehy says. “The long-awaited resumption in building activity will bring the next generation of top-selling, innovative MPC projects forward.”

• New downtown office building earns green design seal •

One of the larger and newer structures in greater Charleston has also been designated among the most energy efficient and least polluting.

The building is 25 Calhoun, a 63,000-square-foot office center mid-rise developed and managed by Holder Properties and Durlach Associates. It was recently awarded the U.S. Green Building Councils Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification.

The four-story office cluster, located at 25 Calhoun St. in downtown Charleston, is adjacent to the S.C. Aquarium, Maritime Center and Gaillard Auditorium.

According to the developers, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system is the preeminent program for the design, construction and operation of high performance “green” buildings. LEED buildings focus on energy savings, water efficiency, carbon dioxide emission reduction,

improved indoor environmental quality and stewardship of resources.

“We believe in developing and managing every building using ‘green’ building techniques and materials, which allow us to create projects that are not only environmentally friendly but efficient

for our tenants and owners,” says John Holder, chief executive of Holder Properties.

Completed in fall of last year, 25 Calhoun incorporated a host of energy-saving features: an energy management system to control the heating, ventilation, air conditioning and lighting; lighting controls with occupancy sensors; and a high-efficiency glazing system.

Design features include: • Stormwater runoff filtration

• Water efficient landscaping •Building materials with 40 percent recycled content

• High efficiency HVAC equipment

The installation of sustainable materials and equipment slashed water use by 32 percent and lowered energy consumption to where total energy costs dropped 11 percent, the developers say.

Leased to 93 percent within two months of opening, 25 Calhoun has a number of big name tenants including Young Clement Rivers law firm, Robert W. Baird & Co., Smith Moore Leatherwood, Colliers International and 7 Calhoun.

ASD Architects and Freese Johnson Construction are among the project team members.

• Householder resource group to host free foreclosure-prevention sessions •

A trio of workshops today are aimed at helping people who own a home and can’t meet their mortgage bills.

The Homeownership Resource Center is holding “foreclosure prevention clinics” 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. at 4925 Lacross Road, Suite 5 in North Charleston.

According to the center, the free clinics are open to all homeowners who are unemployed, underemployed, are falling behind on their mortgage payments or are facing the possibility of foreclosure. Also encouraged to attend are homeowners who are already late on one or more mortgage payments or have started the foreclosure process.

Homeowners will receive one-on-one assistance from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development counselors, who can provide options to foreclosure.

The counselors also are expected to update homeowners about new government legislation and efforts to simplify the process of applying for assistance.

A federal law is aimed at helping distressed homeowners modify the terms of their mortgage with less paperwork and under less stringent criteria. Documentation of the borrower’s payment history is no longer required, and a cap on the length of time the borrower is delinquent before seeking assistance has been removed.

Meanwhile, the SC HELP program is able to bring a defaulted loan back into good standing. The program in some cases will make homeowner’s mortgage payments for six to 24 months.

Two new programs are designed to help struggling homeowners who are underemployed or self-employed and can prove they have suffered a 25 percent or 30 percent reduction in income. Qualified homeowners can receive assistance for up to six months; funds are capped at $36,000 per qualified household.

Another program can provide distressed homeowners with up to $5,000 to cover expenses tied to vacating their home as a result of a short-sale or deed-in-lieu-of-foreclosure.

Clinic attendees should bring the following documentation:

• Most recent statement from your lender.

• Legal papers from attorneys related to foreclosure.

• A recent pay stub from all homeowners listed on the mortgage.

• The most recent bank statement, tax return and utility bill.

For more information, call the Homeownership Resource Center, a division of Family Services Inc., at 888-320-0350 or visit www.ForeclosureHelpforSC.org.

• Engineer-investor chooses Carolina One •

A major local real estate agency has brought on an Air Force veteran with private investment experience to work from one of its West Ashley locales.

Darryl Robinson recently joined Carolina One Real Estate Services in its Orleans Road office.

Robinson is an aeronautical engineer who earned his aeronautics degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla. He was an air traffic controller overseas in the Air Force.

“Darryl is very precise and highly professional with a particular … attention to detail,” says Rob Woodul, Charleston Central broker-in-charge.

“He has had experience as a private investor in South Carolina and Florida and will be a valuable addition to our office,” he says.

Robinson, who is engaged to Lacey Rhett, enjoys basketball, boxing and chess.

Carolina One Real Estate handled more than 31 percent of residential sales in the Charleston area as of the end of March. For more information, visit www.carolinaone.com.

• Monitor: Charleston one of better rental property investment locales •

Don’t expect instant riches buying a house in the Charleston area to lease out. But it’s a more lucrative place than many.

That’s based on a joint survey of the Best 100 U.S. Markets to Invest in Rental Property. HomeVestors of America Inc. and Local Market Monitor Inc. combined to produce the findings.

Greater Charleston placed in the lower fifth of the top 100 but still beat out dozens of other markets.

The survey found that California leads in high-rising markets followed by Florida, Texas and North Carolina.

The companies came up with rankings based on the expected future returns of single-family homes. The figures were compiled in first quarter 2012.

“Timing is everything, and with the long-term trends in their favor, investors don’t need to jump immediately into every market,” says Ingo Winzer, president and founder of Local Market Monitor.

Adds HomeVestors’ co-president David Hicks, “There are good opportunities for investors in every one of the top 100 markets.”

Hicks says job growth is a key market indicator for investment. “Higher job growth rates normally indicate a stronger market for rentals,” he says.

According to the groups, other trends favoring investors include a growing economy that is forcing rents higher and housing prices that continue to fall due to oversupply and inflation.

Winzer says inflation has surged from “close to zero” a few years ago to 3-4 percent today and expects the indicator to increase to 5 percent as the government pumps money into the economy. Lease rates should keep pace with inflation.

As a result, investors can benefit both from falling home prices and from climbing rental rates. “We think this is the best opportunity for investors to accumulate rentals in the last 30 years,” Hicks says.

HomeVestors and Local Market Monitor estimate that 14 percent of single-family homes in the U.S. are maintained as rental properties.

Dallas-based HomeVestors of America is the nation’s largest homebuyer, purchasing 50,000 houses since 1996 and then rehabilitating them.

Known as the “We Buy Ugly Houses” company, HomeVestors strives to make a positive impact in each community, it says.

For more information, visit www.localmarketmonitor.com or www.HomeVestors.com.