Buyers

What is a buyer’s agent?

What about paying Property Taxes in South Carolina?

In what ways can I hold title to property in South Carolina?

Why would I want to use an agent if I am buying my home directly from the builder?


What is a buyer’s agent?


In some states, both the broker who lists the property for sale and the broker who works with the buyer (sometimes called a co-broker) are paid by the seller and are the seller’s agent. Both brokers’ duty, loyalty and faithfulness are owed to the seller. They must reveal to the seller all of the important information they know that might affect the buyer’s decision concerning the sale of their property.

In South Carolina, the agency relationship can be different. Buyers in South Carolina have the option of being represented exclusively by their own agent.

Consider the benefits of having a buyer’s agent on your side:

  • the buyer’s agent must act in the best interest of the buyer.
  • the buyer’s agent must follow the lawful instructions of the buyer and disclose all material facts, including: existence of other offers, status of earnest money, seller’s financial condition, property’s true worth, and legal effects of important contract provisions.
  • any discussions, facts, or information that should not be revealed to the sellers will not be revealed unless instructed by the buyer in writing
  • the buyer’s agent must advise the buyer of a reasonable purchase price, investigate the material facts related to the sale and affirmatively discover material facts and disclose them to the buyer.

As your buyer’s agent, Nancy Love will represent you and your interests in the purchase of your new Hilton Head Island home. When you are looking to make the biggest investment of your life, it is important for you to be represented exclusively.

So, when you:

  • see an ad in the paper
  • drive by a “For Sale” sign
  • visit an Open House
  • hear about a Hilton Head Island home for sale,
  • desire to build a new home on Hilton Head island…Call Nancy Love at 843.363.4581, toll-free at 877.846.7829 or email her, so she can represent you!

 

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What about paying Property Taxes in South Carolina?

Property taxes on owner-occupied residences are levied on Assessed Value. On Hilton Head Island, which is situated in Beaufort County, Assessed Value is 4% of Appraised Value for homes that are considered primary residences, all others are appraised at 6%.The Appraised Value could be different (usually lower) than the price you paid for your home.

The amount of taxes you pay will vary based on where you live, referred to as the Millage Rate. You can determine Millage Rate for your property at the Assessors website. Property taxes are the sum of state, county, municipal, school, and special district rates. There are also exemptions and rebates that may apply to your property. Questions on the tax liability for a specific property should be directed to the Office of the Beaufort County Assessor on Hilton Head island at 843.255.2400.

To figure taxes on a property, the appraised value is multiplied by the assessment ratio to arrive at the assessed value. The assessed value is then multiplied by the millage rate to arrive at the amount of taxes. One mill equals 1/1000 of a dollar or 1/10 of a cent.

EXAMPLES OF PROPERTY TAX CALCULATIONS AT 4%:

Example of taxes on property assessed at the 4% residential assessment ratio

 

200,000 4% 8,000
(appraised value) (assessment ratio) (assessed value)
8,000 X .2358  $1,084.80
(assessed value) (millage rate) (taxes)

 

***Gross Tax less School Operations Exemption (801.60)

 

The Assessor’s Office will update the assessed value of the property every year. The Assessed Value is determined by Fair Market Value using a “Mass Appraisal” which is based on a computer analysis of information like previous sales in the neighborhood, view, lot size, and square footage, to name a few variables. If you do not agree with the Assessed Value, you may appeal to the Assessor’s Office by following steps listed on the Procedures for Protests & Appeals page on the Assessor’s website.

Property taxes are billed to the homeowner (or mortgage company if your taxes are paid out of the escrow account) in October and are due by the following January 15th of each year. You can either include property tax payments in your mortgage payments or pay property taxes separately.

The taxes are billed by and payable to the Beaufort County Treasurer.

 

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How should I take ownership of the property I am buying in South Carolina?


First of all, we recommend that you discuss the various title options with your lawyer or accountant before making any decisions that will affect the title to your new property.

Real property has become increasingly more valuable and the question of how parties can take ownership of their property has gained greater importance. The form of ownership taken — the vesting of title — will determine who may sign various documents involving the property and future rights of the parties to the transaction. These rights involve such matters as: real property taxes, income taxes, inheritance and gift taxes, transferability of title and exposure to creditor’s claims. Also, how title is vested can have significant probate implications in the event of death.

The Land Title Association (LTA) advises those purchasing real property to give careful consideration to the manner in which title will be held. Buyers may wish to consult legal counsel to determine the most advantageous form of ownership for their particular situation, especially in cases of multiple owners of a single property.

The LTA has provided the following definitions of common vestings as an informational overview. Consumers should not rely on these as legal definitions. The Association urges real property purchasers to carefully consider their titling decision prior to closing, and to seek counsel should they be unfamiliar with the most suitable ownership choice for their particular situation.

Common Methods of Holding Title

Sole Ownership

Sole ownership may be described as ownership by an individual or other entity capable of acquiring title. Examples of common vestings in cases of sole ownership are:

A Single Man/Woman: A man or woman who has not been legally married.

An Unmarried Man/Woman: A man or woman who was previously married and is now legally divorced.

A Married Man/Woman as His/Her Sole and Separate Property: A married man or woman who wishes to acquire title in his or her name alone.
The title company insuring title will require the spouse of the married man or woman acquiring title to specifically disclaim or relinquish his or her right, title and interest to the property. This establishes that it is the desire of both spouses that title to the property be granted to one spouse as that spouse’s sole and separate property.

Co-Ownership

Title to property owned by two or more persons may be vested in the following forms:

Community Property A form of vesting title to property owned by husband and wife during their marriage which they intend to own together. Community property is distinguished from separate property, which is property acquired before marriage, by separate gift or bequest, after legal separation, or which is agreed to be owned only by one spouse. Real property conveyed to a married man or woman is presumed to be community property, unless otherwise stated. Since all such property is owned equally, husband and wife must sign all agreements and documents of transfer. Under community property, either spouse has the right to dispose of one half of the community property, including transfers by will.

Limited Liability Companies (L.L.C.) * This form of ownership is a legal entity and is similar to both the corporation and the partnership. The operating agreement will determine how the L.L.C. functions and is taxed. Like the corporation its existence is separate from its owners.

A Corporation * A corporation is a legal entity, created under state law, consisting of one or more shareholders but regarded under law as having an existence and personality separate from such shareholders.

As Trustees of A Trust * A trust is an arrangement whereby legal title to property is transferred by the grantor to a person called a trustee, to be held and managed by that person for the benefit of the people specified in the trust agreement, called the beneficiaries.

Joint Tenancy A form of vesting title to property owned by two or more persons, who may or may not be married, in equal interest, subject to the right of survivorship in the surviving joint tenant or tenants. Title must have been acquired at the same time, by the same conveyance, and the document must expressly declare the intention to create a joint tenancy estate. When a joint tenant dies, title to the property is automatically conveyed by operation of law to the surviving joint tenant or tenants. Therefore, joint tenancy property is not subject to disposition by will.

A Partnership * A partnership is an association of two or more persons who can carry on business for profit as co-owners, as governed by the Uniform Partnership Act. A partnership may hold title to real property in the name of the partnership.

Tenancy in Common A form of vesting title to property owned by any two or more individuals in undivided fractional interests. These fractional interests may be unequal in quantity or duration and may arise at different times. Each tenant in common owns a share of the Hilton Head Island South Carolina property, is entitled to a comparable portion of the income from the property and must bear an equivalent share of expenses. Each co-tenant may sell, lease or will to his/her heir that share of the property belonging to him/her. For example: Bruce Buyer, a single man, as to an undivided 3/4 interest and Penny Purchaser, a single woman, as to an undivided 1/4 interest, as tenants in common.

* In cases of corporate, partnership, L.L.C. or trust ownership – required documents may include corporate articles and bylaws, partnership agreements, L.L.C. operating agreement and trust agreements and/or certificates.

Again, please consult your attorney or accountant before making any decisions on how you will hold title to property in South Carolina. Nancy Love is a real estate agent – she is NOT a lawyer or an accountant. The options above are just informational and should not be construed as legal advice.

 

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Why would I want to use an agent if I am buying my home directly from the builder?

If you go through the builder directly, they are going to look at you as a customer. When you use an agent, like Nancy Love, you become her client. Buyers Agents have fiduciary duties to their clients. Builders have the duty of disclosure, but they don’t necessarily have the same fiduciary responsibility that Buyers Agents do. Nancy Love will look out for you and your interests during the home buying process. She will act as the intermediary between you and the home builder. She will be with you when you register with the builder, and can ask questions that you might not think of. Having your agent with you during the contract phase will give you extra assurance, as she will review the contract and make sure your questions are answered. Sometimes, an agent who is independent of the builder may be able to negotiate a better price and/or better terms for you.

Once the contract is signed, she is there to assist you at the appointments that are necessary during the home-building process:

  • She can offer you advice at the design center because she knows what can hinder or enhance your resale value, and can suggest finishes that may be more appropriate to your plans. Builders make the most profit from design center upgrades, and have salespeople there to promote the options – we can help you allocate your money to choose upgrades that will enhance your home’s value while staying within your budget.
  • She can meet with vendors who must access your property before the sale closes if you are unable to be there. For example, you may need windows or rooms measured for window treatments or flooring, or an electrician to verify where you want your surround sound speakers to be placed.
  • She can attend the inspection and the builder walk-through to point out areas of concern and make sure all of your questions are answered to your satisfaction before you take title to your new home.
  • As your agent, Nancy Love wants to make sure you are getting the best deal possible. She will negotiate on your behalf and can recommend things the builder will not tell you about, like having an independent inspection before the builder walk-through.

There is no cost to you if you decide to employ a Buyers Agent. Real estate is one of the biggest purchases you will make in your life, and it is prudent to make sure you have an expert representing you.

 

When you choose Nancy Love, she is there for you! Call Nancy Love at 843.363.4581, toll-free at 877.846.7829 or email her.

 

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