Buying Charleston SC New Construction Homes

Posted by Lee and Katherine Keadle on Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017 at 11:36am.

charleston sc new construction homes

As Charleston Realtors who specialize in new construction, we get questions daily from home buyers about the building process. Most buyers who consider new construction are in the $300-600K price point because there are very few options in Charleston County below this range. Below you’ll see some of the most frequently asked questions we get from these home buyers, regardless of the Charleston area they’re considering.

What are the Best Selling New Construction Communities in Charleston?

In Mt. Pleasant, the best options and the most popular communities tend to be Carolina Park, Oyster Point, Dunes West, and Tupelo (the latter is almost sold out because it’s the most affordable in this list). James Island has been mostly developed already, so it has very few options. Freeman’s Point in Seaside Plantation is approaching the end of its development, and there will be new homes starting this fall in The Village at Stiles Point. In West Ashley, Carolina Bay is consistently the top selling community, but Bolton’s Landing and Magnolia Village feature more affordable new homes. In Charleston County right now, you’ll find the least expensive new construction on Johns Island. With Fenwick Woods, Brownswood Village, Stonoview, and the upcoming Riverview Farms, buyers will find a huge selection of new homes on Johns Island which is transitioning from a rural setting to a suburban area.

Can I Buy My Own Lot in One of these Neighborhoods?

No. Builders own all of the lots in these master planned new communities. The only way to purchase here is by buying a new construction house in which you would choose your lot, then choose your floor plan, and close on both as a completed new home. This is how most of the neighborhoods in Charleston are set up and the advantage for the buyer is the ease of financing (along with the fact that you only put $10K or so down on the house until you close 6 to 7 months later).

You’ll find that you get a better overall property when you buy a house this way versus building on a lot you have purchased separately. Developers don't make as much money or charge a large premium on their lots when they are also the builder of the home. Instead, builders rely on the sheer quantity of sales which is why they try to squeeze as many lots as possible out of a neighborhood. The good news for buyers is that the savings is passed on to them, so it's like getting the lot for practically half the price it would be if it were listed by another seller.

What is a Typical New Construction Time Frame?

It usually takes around 7 to 8 months for these homes to be permitted and built, so this would be a good time frame to consider for your move. We often have buyers build a house a year in advance in order to lock the price and to use the house as a second home in the interim between its completion and moving. I typically only recommend this when the neighborhood or location they like has fewer options to consider. For example, Johns Island has plenty of upcoming options, so no rush there. However, if you were considering James Island, I would take it when you can get it. There just isn't much new construction on the island, and it's getting more scarce every day.

If you’re looking to purchase within the next couple of months, most builders also have a short inventory of homes that can close in 30 to 90 days. Depending on the level of completion, buyers still might be able to choose colors and finishes. However, if you want to choose your lot and floor plan, this process can take the full 7-8 months.

Should I Buy in a Neighborhood that is in its Early Stages?

Many buyers hesitate to plant their roots in a community that is mostly undeveloped. In the early phases, it’s hard to imagine how the streetscapes will look, how quickly the homes will sell, and how nice the amenities/common areas will be. There will typically be less risk involved with reputable, well known builders who have lots of experience in our Charleston market. For example, I live in a Mungo home and absolutely love the product. I know they build a good home for the money, and you won’t find a better built home until you reach about the $700K range. I’ve represented so many home buyers in so many of their communities over the years that I feel very confident about their end results.

When buyers hesitate to jump into a brand new community, I recommend driving through some of the builder’s other communities so they can get a feel for what a completed neighborhood looks like. Similarly, it’s sometimes possible for us to walk through a floor plan in a nearby area so that buyers can get a sense of the layout and finishes for a completed product.

From an investment standpoint, generally if you buy in a neighborhood early in its development, you get fairly quick appreciation. Builders like to jumpstart new neighborhoods with lower than market pricing just to get the momentum. Each phase or release of lots brings price increases ranging from a few thousand dollars to ten thousand plus.

Tour New Construction Communities in Charleston

The Keadle Group can meet with you to tour any of the new construction communities in Charleston. This is a great way to compare areas and see what you get for the money, since suburbs like Johns Island and West Ashley offer a lot more home compared to James Island and Mt. Pleasant. Whether you currently live in Charleston or are planning a trip here, contact us so that we can set aside time to show you the options in your price range. New construction is one of our specialties, so we’re also happy to answer questions or send more info/pricing anytime!

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