Real Estate News — National brokerage presents awards to affiliate; baby boomers drawn to Lowcountry

Martin Rueter, president of Weichert, Realtors Affiliates, presents a plaque to Weichert, Realtors Palmetto Coast agent Karla Leahy (Photo provided).

• East Cooper office earns honors from Weichert parent •

A slew of agents with Weichert, Realtors - Palmetto Coast grabbed trophies for their sales efforts in 2011.

Weichert Real Estate Associates wrapped up its year-end “awards season,” where executives tour affiliates and congratulate agents and offices across the network, according to the company.

Both the franchise organization and Weichert Southeast Coastal Broker Council awarded production achievements to seven Mount Pleasant-based agents.

Weichert Affiliates President Martin Rueter handed out awards and shook hands with winners.

Brian Beatty gained induction into the 2011 President’s Club, the uppermost of three awards that the franchise group presents to agents each year. Bryan Crabtree reached the next level, Ambassador Club; and Karla Marie Leahy and George Matthews were inductees of the third-tier Executive Club.

Palmetto Coast agency winners of the 2011 Sales Achievement Award were Jennifer Burke, John Smith and Jayme Knoll.

All of the national awards are based on meeting certain levels of gross commission income or units earned.

Beatty also gained regional honors as the Southeast Coastal Broker Council’s top selling agent in units, top listing agent in gross commission income, top listing agent in units and top overall associate. Burke, meanwhile, was named the council’s Rookie of the Year for 2011.

Annalisa Jordan is broker and owner of Weichert, Realtors - Palmetto Coast, located at 389 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Suite 103 in Mount Pleasant. For more information, call 843-375-2076.

• Charleston named among top ‘baby boomer’ cities •

A new study of places where soon-to-be retirees want to settle down listed metro Charleston in the top 10 of attractive locales.

The Washington Economics Group report says that “tens of millions of baby boomers searching for the ideal place to retire should look to Southern college towns for the best combination of climate, cost of living, health care and other top priorities.”

Charleston placed sixth, tied with University of Mississippi home base Oxford, Miss.

In what it calls scientific comparisons of 20 prospective “boomer” retirement communities, Tallahassee, Fla., ranks first. The city is capital of Florida and home to Florida State and Florida A&M universities.

The group says its report, “Best Choice for Retiring Boomers: Head South - An Analysis of Selected U.S. Cities,” builds on the first major survey in 10 years of retirement relocation preferences. Mason-Dixon Polling & Research conducted that survey.

Among the conditions that baby boomers most valued were “a mid-sized town that offers a pleasant warm climate with a mild hint of winter, a low cost of living and favorable tax rate and a top quality health care system,” the research group says.

“Through the Mason-Dixon Poll, we’re learning exactly what baby boomers are looking for as they near retirement and where they can find it,” says economist Tony Villamil, founder and principal adviser with The Washington Economics Group. “We thought it would be beneficial to take the analysis a step further and ask the key question of which cities come closest to offering baby boomers what they’re looking for.”

Tallahassee ranked high for its colleges as well as quality affordable housing, a top-rated Medicare program and an array of outdoor activities, according to the economics group.

Not every top ranked city would be considered college towns and one locale, Pittsburgh, is outside the South (the economics group says the Pennsylvania city scored high as a retirement destination due to a lower-than-average cost of living and its highly regarded health care system).

After Tallahassee, the list in order is Memphis; Athens, Ga.; Tuscaloosa, Ala.; Atlanta; Charleston and Oxford, Miss.; Louisville, Ky.; and a tie between Pittsburgh and Richmond, Va.

Mason-Dixon released its survey Feb.1 on behalf of the Consumer Federation of the Southeast. From there, the Washington economics researcher took a more detailed look at 20 cities, all located in the eastern third of the U.S., with attractions favored by baby boomers.

Those attributes include climate, economic, health care considerations, community size, senior services, arts, cultural opportunities, proximity to a beach and higher education opportunities for life-long learning.

“Finding the right mix can be tricky for retirees - because they want to live in a community that is big enough but not too big, warm and cool enough but not too warm or too cold, and with the amenities and resources of a big city but not the annoying traffic and congestion,” Villamil says.

“College towns in Southern states, with their dynamic communities and temperate climates, appear to offer the best mix of these many factors.”

• HHHunt Homes emerges as 2011 sales leader for The Ponds •

At least for last year, the top-selling homebuilder at a burgeoning Summerville neighborhood is also one of the newer contractors there.

Virginia-based HHHunt Homes placed first with 18 new homes sold in 2011 at The Ponds, which it calls a “highly popular ‘destination’ community.” HHHunt says it based its findings on information from developer Greenwood Communities and Resorts.

“This distinction is a direct result of the high level of customer

satisfaction that HHHunt Homes continues to strive for and achieve,” says

Penny Davis, sales executive for Carolina One New Homes, which handles sales and marketing for the neighborhood.

“HHHunt Homes prides itself on offering affordable luxury, architectural distinction, and great locations and lifestyle amenities.”

The builder, which has a five-member team at The Ponds, says it offers five custom-quality home styles within the community. Priced from the low $200,000s, the floor plans come with two to four bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths, flex space and attached two-car garages. Homes range in size from 1,943 to 2,406 square feet.

The Ponds covers 1,950 acres, more than half of which is a natural preserve. Onsite attractions include the Summerville Family YMCA, an emergency medical services/fire station and community parks. Located on the town’s western edge, The Ponds is close to Interstate 26 and S.C. Highway 17A.

“We continue to do well at The Ponds,” Davis says. “It offers real and diverse lifestyles through thoughtful amenities and sponsored events.”

The Ponds’ Farmhouse Information Center is located at 326 Hundred Oaks

Parkway in Summerville. For more information, call New Home Sales executives Davis, Glen Wilkes or Pam Bosart at 843-832-6100.

For more about HHHunt, visit www.HHHuntHomes.com.

• Summerville-based brokerage lines up new agents •

Two real estate professionals with experience in outlying states have chosen Prudential Southern Coast Real Estate to ply their trade.

Karen Taylor has joined the agency as part of the Jana Bantz & Associates team. Marilee Mintzer has joined with The Stabenau Group.

For seven years, Mintzer was with New York-based Fesette Realty, where she was a top producer. She graduated from Palomar College in San Diego with a degree in business. Mintzer is a volunteer for Palmetto House, helping meet the needs of Summerville’s homeless women and children, according to Prudential Southern Coast. She also is active in the social community of the White Gables neighborhood.

Taylor has been in real estate for 10 years in three different states. As well as an agent in South Carolina, she was a top producer in Georgia and Missouri. She received her real estate license from Ogeechee Tech in Statesboro, Ga.

Linda Collins, broker-in-charge of Prudential Southern Coast Real Estate, says she is pleased to have Taylor and Mintzer join the firm, adding that their real estate knowledge and service to clients is top-notch.

• Brokerage agents earn green designation •

Seventeen sales associates with Carolina One Real Estate are now certified to show homes as energy-efficiency and ecological living specialists.

The agents were awarded the National Association of Realtors’ Green Designation. It’s the only green real estate professional certification recognized by the association, according to Carolina One.

To earn the title, the group completed 18 hours of course work designed specifically for Realtors.

The sales associates are Gray Bailey, Nat Wallen, Jimmie Kay Sawyer, Wally Hamm, Gail Young, Jan Turner, Roy Jacques, Leslie Evans, Judy Pardue, Tammy Myrda, Pat Robertson, George Gardner, Randall Sandin, Melanie Buncham, Lonnie Long, Will Jenkinson and Syd Powell.

“These individuals have gained the knowledge and the tools necessary to become a trusted green resource for the metro Charleston area,” says Wayne Poplin, Certified Green course instructor.

The national association developed the green designation “in response to a growing consumer awareness of the benefits of resource-efficient homes and buildings,” according to Carolina One.

“The designation helps consumers who care about energy efficiency and sustainable building practices identify Realtors who can help them realize their green real estate and lifestyle goals,” the brokerage adds.

According to Carolina One, agents learned what makes a property green, how to help clients weigh costs and benefits of green features, distinguishing industry rating and classifying systems, marketing green homes and buildings, discussing financial incentives available to homeowners and helping consumers see a property’s green potential.

• Hunley Waters offers incentives during its Open House Weekend •

Buyers can receive up to $6,000 for closing costs if they contract to purchase a home at Hunley Waters during an open house weekend today and Sunday.

The neighborhood describes itself as North Charleston’s only gated, green community.

The $6,000 would be available for any qualified, prospective homebuyer who attends the open house Friday and Saturday and signs a contract using a preferred lender.

Cobalt Developments LLC, developers for North Charleston-based Hunley Waters, is promoting the homeowners’ incentive.

The weekend’s event is affiliated with the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors Open House, part of a national home showing held each spring.

The open house will be 2-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at 1039 Hunley Waters Circle in North Charleston.

“Hunley Waters is an exciting addition to the Park Circle community,” says Gary Bissett, of Agent Owned Realty and agent in charge of Hunley Waters. “This $6,000 incentive package is a boon to anyone currently in the market for a new home with waterfront access and sustainable building standards, all located in the geographic center of the South Carolina Lowcountry.”

Home prices in Hunley Waters start in the high $100,000s. Each house features National Association of Home Builders Green Certified Homes certification, saving property owners on energy bills.

Highlights include expansive front porches in a neo-traditional Lowcountry design and spacious floor plans with nine-foot ceilings designed to control indoor temperatures in the summer months. Each home has power saving Energy Star appliances.

The Hunley Waters neighborhood has a community dock and pavilion on Noisette Creek and provides recreational access for kayaking and canoeing.

The neighborhood is centrally located, three minutes from the East Montague corridor and five minutes from Interstates 26 and 526.

“Currently, we have residents employed by Boeing, MUSC and other companies, knowledge-based industries,” says Chris Swan, chief executive of Cobalt Developments. “This is part of the reinvention of North Charleston into a trendy, affordable community for the aptly named ‘Creative Class’ of workers, who bring not only creative skills, but a progressive attitude to historic Park Circle,” Swan says.

For more, contact marketing agent Keith F. West at 843-556-4905 or Bissett at 843-425-4901 or visit www.hunleywaters.com or www.agentownedparkcircle.com.

• Charleston Realtor group’s staff members honored with national title •

Two top employees of the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors earned certifications as top-notch executives.

Wil Riley, vice president of operations; and Teena Martindale, director of member services were recognized with the Realtor Certified Executive designation.

The honor showcases exceptional efforts made by Martindale and Riley.

According to CTAR, applicants qualify by achieving benchmarks tied to their management and academic experience, then passing an exam based on a broad understanding of association operations and practices including law, governance and member services.

• Foreclosure rates in Charleston area increase •

The rate of homes repossessed after owners defaulted on loans continues to climb locally, but the share of mortgages that are past due is shrinking.

Those are findings from the national CoreLogic research group.

Foreclosures as a share of all mortgage loans in the Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville area stood at 3.89 percent in February. That’s up 0.53 points from 3.36 percent a year earlier. It’s also higher than the national foreclosure rate in February of 3.41 percent.

At the same time, the mortgage delinquency rate in metro Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville has declined to 7.07 percent, down 0.12 points from 7.19 percent a year ago. The survey takes into consideration loans that are late by 90 days or more.

According CoreLogic, a foreclosure is defined as when an owner’s right to a property is legally terminated, usually due to default. The company says it possesses about 85 percent coverage of foreclosure data.