Where can you get the most "bang for the buck" for a first time homebuyer who is buying real estate in Charleston, SC? These days it has to be Johns Island, with its close proximity to downtown and affordable NEW HOME inventory. Recently, I was working with a first time home buyer employed downtown at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). She presently lives on James Island, renting and therefore not building up her own equity.
She got excited when I shared with her the details of "My Community Mortgage," Fannie Mae's new Mortgage Program for First-time Home Buyers allowing for only 3% down payment with a low interest rate of 3.5%. She couldn’t believe the amount of house she could afford and with very little money down. This program has some great benefits but includes a requirement of Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). Private mortgage insurance is generally needed if you are not making a 20% down payment on your purchase. Adding PMI to her monthly house payment was going to limit the amount of monthly payment she could make, however under the advice of a great mortgage counselor, she was able to acquire a 97% LTV (Loan to Value) loan with no PMI requirement through TD Bank's "Right Step" mortgage program.
Armed with this new strategy, our home search began in earnest. We looked at areas around the downtown Charleston peninsula that would allow her to get to work at MUSC in 30 minutes. There are areas of the peninsula that are affordable but generally these are older homes that require some updating. She desired a new home, so she would have the probability of less major maintenance, especially when considering roofs, HVAC systems, plumbing and electrical issues. I knew that within our company, we could offer her our renovation services to help with updates if she found an older home that she liked. As we expanded our search to James Island and West Ashley what we found were homes definitely needing renovation. The home search on Johns Island however, was another story. Here there were three fantastic, newer home neighborhoods right at the foot of the Stono River Bridge, which is a short drive to downtown. There were many affordable options in some beautiful neighborhoods. Nearby you can find local restaurants such as Fat Hen and Wild Olive, popular with residents and visitors alike.
My client is now a satisfied first time home buyer with a new construction home within her desired budget, and within a 30 minute drive to work. All thanks to expanding our property search to include Johns Island real estate, a hidden sea island destination with plenty of space to offer new home buyers the convenience and the pricing that works with their buying goals. I encourage you to give me a call if you are looking for an affordable new home in the Charleston area. Check out this video of Johns Island and discover its charming rural lifestyle, then follow Maybank Highway over the Stono River and under the gracious oaks to the dream home you have been searching for.
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