Real Estate News — Nexton unveils ‘Spring Home Collection’ of new models; ecofriendly building group to offer course for aspiring home inspectors

Pulte Homes is one of three builders rolling out sales models at Nexton this month (Provided).

Just as the latest fashion line gets shoppers amped to buy outfits, Nexton’s backers want to draw prospective purchasers to its spring collection of new-home styles.

The upscale community at Interstate 26 and U.S. Highway 17A welcomes “everybody interested in a connected lifestyle” to see its new lineup 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. today.

Attendees of what Nexton calls a “unique” grand opening can listen to live music from One Kool Blow, take in family-friendly activities and visit “inspiring, free” seminars with tips such as getting fit, harnessing the neighborhood’s superfast GigaFi connection and re-imagining living space.

According to Nexton promoters, “The biggest stars of the day will be the furnished model homes.” John Wieland Homes, Pulte Homes and Saussy Burbank will debut their floor plans, and teams from each builder will be on site “to answer questions about home styles and offerings,” the developer says.

Visitors can tour the new “spring home collection,” then take in mini-workshops featuring local experts. The events include:

- Get Out There – Living Well, Every Day. It features author and wellness expert Ann Kulze.

- Move Your Mind. Presented by Nexton Elementary School, this is billed as a “fun introduction” to activity based learning.

- Lowcountry Fresh. Piazza Home Interiors’ Kevin Patrick and Patty Craven introduce the indoor-outdoor design workshop.

- After School Chefs. From Herman McNeill, this is a “delicious and healthy” cooking class for kids.

- Shake & Break. The show offers breakdancing lessons and demonstrations from Peace, Love & Hip Hop.

- Life Tech. The Event Nerd brings this program on innovation and technology for home and community.

- Pedal Power. This involves bicycle-safety training for kids, presented by MUSC.

- Beyond Sweet Tea. The Academy of Domestic Pursuit presents a guide to Lowcountry entertaining.

Throughout the event, guests can enjoy music as well as delicacies from local food trucks. Children will have their own activities area.

The grand opening will take place rain or shine. Parking will be available on Nexton Parkway, and a shuttle will be running every 10 minutes to and from the groundbreaking site.

Read more at www.NextonSC.com.

With the housing industry booming in Charleston, a nonprofit and a consultant will team to teach the ins and outs of home inspection.

The Home Inspection Code Compliance training course will take place April 17-26 at The Sustainability Institute’s office at 1701 Meeting St. in Charleston.

Rob Bolus of Coastal Training Consultants will lead the course. He’s worked 30 years in the construction business, evaluating home performance for new and existing homes through the Building Performance Institute and Residential Energy Services Network — considered two of the biggest players in the industry.

A working home inspector, Bolus has trained new home inspectors in greater Charleston for many years, according to the Sustainability Institute.

The institute says that Bolus’ “understanding of home performance, matched with his years of experience as a home inspector, is a perfect match” for its goal of enabling skilled entrepreneurs to provide prospective homebuyers pertinent information to make a smart purchase.

This will be Bolus’ fourth 40 hour, two weekend training session with the Sustainability Institute.

“His course is being offered just in time to train a new group of home inspectors for the unprecedented growth and rebounding home market in our area,” according to the Sustainability Institute.

The course will allow participants to bone up on the basics of becoming a licensed home inspector.

“In just five days you will learn how to inspect the major components of a home, write a report, start a business and pass the South Carolina Home Inspector’s exam,” the institute notes.

The 40-hour course, which has S.C. Residential Builders Commission approval, will cover the law, regulations and American Society of Home Inspectors Standards of Practice. The price is $795, not including textbook and exam.

The Sustainability Institute and Coastal Training Consultants & Inspectors are hosting the course, which runs over two weekends in April. Hours are noon-5:30 p.m. on Fridays and 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. For more, call 843-762-6316.

One of the larger realties in the Charleston area recently brought on a sales pro who wants to grow her business and a newer agent lured by the firm’s street cred.

Catherine Parker, a local real estate associate, joined Keller Williams Charleston-Mount Pleasant Market Center and Joshua Gold partnered with Keller Williams Realty in Mount Pleasant.

Parker has an extensive background in residential real estate, according to Keller Williams. She’s been involved with the real estate industry for five years.

In her first year, Parker won Rookie of the Year and was a Top Producer. She has been a member of the Top Producers’ Club for the past two years and recently won Realtor of Distinction in the President’s Circle. In February, she obtained her broker’s license.

“We are truly lucky to have Catherine Parker join us here at Keller Williams,” Team Leader Adam Roach says.

“Keller Williams offers its associates unparalleled career growth and lifelong learning opportunities in the real estate industry,” he says.

“I want to continue to grow my real estate business,” Parker says, “and Keller Williams provides the training and technology that will help me reach my goals.”

Gold, meanwhile, says he agreed to sign on with Keller Williams Realty because of its “reputation for integrity and agent-centric business model.”

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Gold graduated from Pace University with a bachelor’s degree in public accounting. He had his own accounting practice in New York for more than 15 years. Gold’s background and expertise in tax and finance will enable him to guide people “through the intricacies of financing your home or investment.”

In 1999, Gold launched a triathlon coaching business, Push Hard Multisport. He has coached people “from all walks of life” to reach their goals through endurance sports. He lives in the Old Village of Mount Pleasant and is looking forward to coaching clients “through the process of finding your next home or investment property with the same professionalism and efficiency that he has brought to his other endeavors.”

The Keller Williams Charleston-Mount Pleasant Market Center at 496 Bramson Court, Suite 200, opened in 2003 and has 210 associates.

For more, call Roach at 843-416-2000 or visit www.kwcharleston.com.

Keller Williams Realty Inc. bills itself as the largest real estate franchise company in North America. It sports more than 700 offices and 112,000 associates worldwide.

Visit Keller Williams Realty online at www.kw.com or Keller Williams Worldwide at www.kwworldwide.com.

They’re those wide open spaces near the clubhouse where golfers get warmed up before a round or work on their game.

While not technically part of the course, the practice tees and putting greens can be important places for players to test their skills in somewhat simulated conditions.

These ranges, as it turns out, are deemed so integral that organizations rate them. Among the best: Traveler’s Rest-based The Cliffs — and it’s for more than keeping those scruffy range balls with their ubiquitous red stripes from landing on the course from an errant shot.

“In golf as in life, practice makes perfect, or so it seems for The Cliffs,” according to company promoters.

The Cliffs’ collection of seven golf practice areas earned the 2014 Golf Range Association of America’s Top 50 Practice Ranges in its private course category. According to the resort owner, The Cliffs shared the distinction with other top golf and country clubs that include Ohio-based Muirfield Village, Wade Hampton Golf Club in Cashiers, N.C., and TPC Boston.

The award presentation took place at January’s annual PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Fla. The top 50 were chosen from thousands of members-only golf clubs based on how the practice ranges stand out in design, programming and service.

The December issue of Golf Range Magazine and www.golfrange.org published the results.

“Over the last two years, we have made significant strides in developing and improving our golf practice facilities at The Cliffs,” says Brian Peeples, the resort company’s director of golf. “The Cliffs’ seven championship golf courses allow members to enjoy unique ranges with each location having a particular focus on the game.”

Some examples include:

- Designer and famed golfer Jack Nicklaus recently renovated Keowee Falls’ practice area “into a shot shaping, targeting system where members can practice draw and fade shots around actual trees on the range.” The renovation included planting 15 trees and re-contouring the range to have fairways and greens to create depth perception and more visual appeal, according to The Cliffs.

- The Cliffs at Keowee Springs, designed by noted golf architect Tom Fazio, showcases a bell positioned 30 yards from the main practice area: Members can try their skill at ‘ringing the bell.’ “If golf instructors notice a member has rung the bell, they offer them a complimentary beverage.” Also, Birdie Ball games are often moved to lakeside The Beach Club, “allowing kids and adults alike to hit restricted flight birdies at floating targets in Lake Keowee.”

- The Cliffs at Mountain Park, designed by top veteran pro golfer Gary Player, boasts “half barrels” lining the practice range so members and guests can hone their skills on fun, short game targets.

- All seven courses conduct “demo days,” that permit members to test-drive the latest golf equipment.

“What keeps our facilities top notch are our methods of maintaining each area of the practice range. It requires a large team of people who work together to keep the facilities running at peak efficiency,” says Jim Evans, senior agronomist of The Cliffs Clubs.

The Cliffs oversees seven premier, private residential golf club communities between Asheville, N.C., and Greenville. Homes range in price from $500,000 to more than $4 million and home sites start at $100,000.

Contact The Cliffs at info@cliffsliving.com.

A regional builder plans to build cottage style homes at Carolina Park that will be in walking distance of the Mount Pleasant community’s amenities center.

Raising houses in Carolina Park since 2013, award-winning builder Saussy Burbank intends to bring out a “new line” of cottage style homes in East Cooper’s 1,700-acre master planned community.

Saussy Burbank says it will design 23 cottages ranging from 1,895 to 2,199 square feet and priced into the high $300,000s. Buyers can choose from three floor plans, each with three-to-four bedrooms and two-and-a-half baths. They also can select from distinctive exterior options.

Sales are being handled through Saussy Burbank’s new Carolina Park Sales Center at 1534 Banning St. Contact Julia Cunningham, community manager, at 843-864-9111, visit jcunningham@carolinaone.com or go to www.SaussyBurbank.com.

Headquartered in the Charleston area, Carolina One New Homes directs marketing and sales for new home communities in metro Charleston. The Carolina One Real Estate division kicked off in 1994 and currently represents more than 30 new homes communities.

About 75 out of every 1,000 property owners locally owe more on their homes than the dwellings are worth, a national real estate information service says.

At the same time, the volume of houses that are “upside down or underwater” continues to decline in the region, CoreLogic notes.

In greater Charleston-North Charleston, 7.5 percent, or 11,417, of all residential properties with a mortgage were in negative equity as of fourth quarter 2014. That compares with 10.5 percent, or 15,393 properties, a year ago. It’s also slightly lower than 7.6 percent, or 11,513 properties, in the third quarter of last year.

Another 3.4 percent, or 5,168 residential properties, were in “near negative equity” for the fourth quarter compared with 4.6 percent, or 6,730 homes, a year ago and 3.4 percent, or 5,197 properties, a month before.

Meanwhile, South Carolina as a whole ranks a little steeper in terms of negative equity than many states but places below the national average.

According to CoreLogic, the Palmetto state’s negative equity — or upside down or underwater status — was 8.7 percent in the fourth quarter last year or tied for 20th highest. The near negative equity rate, involving properties close to underwater, was 3.6 percent or tied for 10th highest.

By comparison, the national negative equity share was 10.8 percent while the near negative equity rate stood at 2.8 percent.

CoreLogic, a leading property information company, found that 1.2 million borrowers nationwide regained equity in 2014. At the same time, 172,000 homes in the U.S. slipped into negative equity between the third and fourth quarters of 2014.

According to CoreLogic, negative equity — often referred to as “underwater” or “upside down,” — means borrowers owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth.

“Negative equity can occur because of a decline in value, an increase in mortgage debt or a combination of both,” the company says.

Of the 49.9 million homes nationwide with a mortgage, one in five or about 10 million have less than 20 percent equity, known as “under-equitied.” Of those, 1.4 million show less than 5 percent equity, referred to as near-negative equity.

CoreLogic says that “under-equitied” borrowers may face a harder time refinancing their homes or obtaining financing to sell and buy another home, due to lenders’ underwriting constraints. Near-negative equity borrowers could slide underwater or upside down if home prices fall. Still, if home prices rose 5 percent, an additional 1 million home owners now in negative equity would regain equity, the analytics firm says.

“The share of home owners that had negative equity increased slightly in the fourth quarter of 2014, reflecting the typical weakness in home values during the final quarter of the year,” says Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic.

“Our CoreLogic HPI (home price index) dipped 0.7 percent from September to December, and the percent of owners ‘underwater’ increased to 10.8 percent. However, from December-to-December, the CoreLogic index was up 4.8 percent, and the negative equity share fell by 2.6 percentage points,” he says.

“Negative equity continued to be a serious issue for the housing market and the U.S. economy at the end of 2014 with 5.4 million homeowners still ‘underwater’,” says Anand Nallathambi, president and chief executive of CoreLogic. “We expect the situation to improve over the course of 2015. We project that the CoreLogic HomePrice Index will rise 5 percent in 2015, which will lift about 1 million homeowners out of negative equity,” he says.