SC Real Estate: Have We Hit Rock Bottom?

With 2010 coming to a close, there is one burning question on everyone’s mind; Have we hit rock bottom?

In real estate, just as in any other facet of life, it is important to look at the past to see where you are going. Statistically we are in the year 2000. The party of 2005 is over and we are all dealing with the clean up.

What goes up, MUST come down. The home prices leading up to 2005 were ridiculously high. Mix ridiculous real estate prices with easy credit approvals and the outlandish belief that real estate always goes up and what do you have? Voila! The recipe for a Real Estate Market crash. We have arrived, my friends. This IS rock bottom.

Make no mistake about it, the foreclosures in the past two years have not all been due to job loss. A great number of foreclosures were simply people walking away (even when they could afford it) because they owed more than their property was worth and felt it was a “good business decision”.

No more “get rich quick”. Stabilization is here. While buying a home now is certainly a wise choice and a great investment, do not expect a quick return.

While the market is turning, it did not fall overnight and it will not rise overnight. Luckily, South Carolina did not suffer devastation to the degree that other markets did. We were fortunate.

We are sure to see a slight decrease in home prices in some areas and stabilization in others in 2011. If you are a seller, you need to list your property now to prevent any further loss.

If you are a buyer, there will never be a better time to buy. As the year progresses, we will see stricter lending practices and higher interest rates (they are climbing now), plus you will never see home prices this low again. 

For question on buying or selling in today’s tough market, contact Hope Dorn with ERA Wilder Realty at (803) 944-9544 or

South Carolina: Best Place to Retire

If mild winters, low taxes, plenty of recreational activity, and low cost of living sound appealing to you, then the Palmetto State is the best place for you to retire!

TAXES. All residents at age 65 are eligible for a deduction of up to $15,000 from income, regardless of the source. Social security and most disability payments are not taxable. People over 65 can exclude $50,000 of market value from property taxes. South Carolina does not collect inheritance taxes or estate taxes.

COST OF LIVING.  According to the Tax Foundation, SC has the 37th highest tax burden in the nation. Per capita income (in 2008 inflation-adjusted dollars) is well below the national average. The statewide average median home price in South Carolina is $121,800 (as reported by Zillow) while the national average (as reported by the US Census) is $218,200.

At age 65, you can apply for Social Security whether planning to retire or not (may apply 3 months prior to Social Security retirement age). You can also apply for Medicare (automatically eligible if qualify for Social Security benefits).
Part A – hospital insurance – free.
Part B – other medical services, which require a monthly premium. There is a penalty for late enrollment.
Medicare pays 80% of allowable charges after deductible. Individual must pay remaining 20% and any other additional charges.
Part D – Prescription drug benefit, effective January 2006.
**May be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments depending on resources and income. If you are eligible for SSI, you automatically receive Medicaid.

AUTO INSURANCE. Automobile insurance credit is mandated for persons who are 55 years of age or older and have successfully completed a driver training course approved by the Department of Public Safety. Contact local 55 Alive program through AARP.

EDUCATION. At age 65, free tuition at all state supported educational institutions that include state universities, colleges, and technical schools (subject to space restrictions and usual entrance requirements). To be eligible you cannot receive compensation as a full-time employee.

CLIMATE. South Carolina has a humid subtropical climate, with hot summers and mild winters.

HUNTING & FISHING LICENSE. State residents at age 64 may buy $9 senior lifetime licenses that include hunting and fishing privileges.

RECREATION. Lakes, rivers, mountains, and the ocean! With 368 golf courses, 47 state parks, and over 400 annual festivals- the possibilities are endless!

For more information on retiring in South Carolina, please contact Hope Dorn with ERA Realty at 803-944-9544 or