Multifaceted real estate company opening new office in Dorchester County

Seeking to tap into a "fast growing" market, local agency and builder Southern Shores Real Estate Group has selected Summerville for its second office.

The new sales center is opening in May at 107 S. Main St. in Summerville, on the town's historic square. This office will allow Southern Shores to better serve its "growing client base throughout the Lowcountry," the firm says.

Southern Shores describes itself as a "boutique" real estate services entity headquartered in West Ashley that specializes in home sales, property management and as a licensed residential builder.

Christopher Barnette of James Island and Cheryl F.C. Ludlam of Goose Creek co-own Southern Shores, established in 2006.

The company says it "quickly expanded" the general brokerage business to include property and community management, corporate and vacation rentals, building, construction, maintenance and custodial services. Southern Shores counts close to 50 employees, agents and contractors.

In late March, company owners Barnette and Ludlam acquired 107 S. Main Street on Summerville's square. The office officially starts up business this month.

According to Southern Shores, the company intends to provide one-stop shopping for clients' real estate needs.

Summerville resident William P. Milo, a veteran real estate professional, will be broker-in-charge of the Summerville office. He's heading up the launch of the new office. Southern Shores plans to relocate "several members" of its West Ashley team. At the same time, Milo will be actively recruiting new agents and staff.

"This is a significant expansion for Southern Shores and will allow our current and future sales force to capitalize on the fast-growing market in and around Summerville," Barnette and Ludlam point out.

According to Milo, "This move demonstrates our commitment to the local community."

For additional information, visit www.southernshoresre.com or call 843-225-2990.

West Ashley-based firm grows in Realtor numbers

A pair of real estate veterans with 40 years combined experience recently joined Elaine Brabham & Associates as agents.

The associates are Tim Haynes and Susan Garfinkel.

Haynes, a former South Carolina home inspector, notes, "I believe in saying what I do and doing what I say." He's a South Carolina native and has lived in the Charleston area for 14 years.

The agent sports an educational background and work experience in the technical field.

"Combining these skills with having a true desire to help folks find a home - not just a house - gives me a unique advantage that I will put to work for my clients," Haynes says. His goal is to make customers "friends as well as clients for life."

Also named to the company's real estate team, Garfinkel brings 26 years background in the profession. She previously held positions with a large real estate company as well as a two-person agency.

According to the veteran agent, she "enjoys working with a full range of buyers and sellers including first-time homebuyers and sellers who are planning for retirement."

Garfinkel grew up in Houston and lived in Atlanta before moving to the Charleston area, where she's resided for nearly 40 years.

She's happy to share with families relocating here the "many wonderful things" the area has to offer, according to Elaine Brabham & Associates.

Garfinkel's goal, meanwhile, is to provide personalized real estate service to each of her "very special clients." She has a motto, "Feeling at Home is the First Step in Finding a Home."

For more information, visit www.findyourcharleston.com.

Homeownership group urges families to save in case of sudden troubles

A new study that found 30 percent of adults don't set aside any money for emergencies has one local assistance organization seeking to alert consumers.

The nonprofit Family Services Inc. in the Charleston area urges people in such financial straits to contact its office for personal coaching.

"Emergency savings are an important buffer against unforeseen financial crises, whether a person is a homeowner or a renter," says Debbie Kidd, director of The Homeownership Resource Center - a division of Family Services.

According to the organization, the lack of emergency savings could lead to higher home foreclosure rates and dependence on high-cost lending products.

"Relying on credit cards or short-term loans from payday lenders or title companies could quickly compound a consumer's money troubles," she says.

NeighborWorks America, an affiliated nonprofit of Family Services, discovered in its survey that more than 70 million people across the country are without emergency savings.

Moreover, one in seven consumers would seek a title loan or a payday loan to pay for a major purchase, the survey says. Such loans can be expensive, with interest rates often exceeding 100 percent on an annualized basis, Family Services says.

According to the nonprofit, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently found that four in every five payday loans are rolled over into new payday loans instead of being paid off.

"We're in the midst of National Financial Capability Month and all of us here at Family Services want to help consumers build a plan for a stronger financial future," Kidd says.

According to the group, foreclosures can be closely related to loss of income or reduction in income.

"No one wants to fall behind on their mortgage or enter foreclosure," Kidd says. "But we know that more than 60 percent of foreclosure cases are due to lost or reduced income. Emergency savings can be a buffer when a serious financial crisis occurs," she says.

More details of the NeighborWorks America consumer finance survey are available at www.nw.org.

To learn more, visit www.fsisc.org, email info@fsisc.org or call 843-735-7862.

Palmer named to head up segment from NAI Avant's corporate office

The former chief of a family-owned development venture has started overseeing shopping projects for a Midlands real estate firm with an office in Charleston.

Patrick Palmer, who is a Certified Commercial Investment Member, took over as director of retail services for NAI Avant in the past month.

"We are excited about Patrick's new role with the firm and the opportunity to leverage his talents to better serve our retail clients and increase our effectiveness in the pursuit of business opportunities," says Bruce Harper, president and broker in charge.

In 2011, Palmer became senior broker for NAI Avant. He was previously president of the IAP Co., a family-owned real estate holding and development company, according to NAI Avant.

The company says that Palmer's responsibilities will expand to include business and client development as well as directing the firm's retail leasing group.

Palmer, of Columbia, is active in community and charitable organizations in Richland County and the state capital.

Carolina One helps community in variety of ways this year

The real estate agency that stands out as the area's largest brokerage by market share proves impressive, too, in its charitable giving efforts.

That company happens to be locally based Carolina One Real Estate, which has offices throughout Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties.

"At Carolina One we do more than list and sell real estate," says Patty Scarafile, chief executive. Scarafile says on numerous occasions, she's cited the agency's proclivity for giving back to the community, according to Carolina One.

In the first quarter, all of Carolina One's local offices "donated time, talent and labor to assist a dozen needy agencies and individuals," it says. Specifically:

-The Summerville Trolley Road office spent a day painting a barn and fence for H.I.S. Ministries, a therapeutic riding center and outreach program in Ridgeville.

-For an evening, the Summerville Main Street office prepared dinner at the Ronald McDonald House for the families of children infirmed at local hospitals.

-The Goose Creek office spent a day at Howe Hall AIMS Elementary School organizing the media center, assisting with landscaping chores and monitoring the children while teachers were honored at a luncheon.

-In East Cooper, the Mount Pleasant North office took volunteers to the beach on the Isle of Palms and conducted a beach sweep in support of the local Marine Turtle Conservation Program.

-The Mount Pleasant Longpoint Road office helped construct a Habitat for Humanity home at 1311 Myrick Road. The office also helped to restock and organize the Habitat Resale Store on Long Point Road.

-Volunteers with the Mount Pleasant Coleman Boulevard office prepared and served breakfast to guests at the Ronald McDonald House.

-The Isle of Palms office collected hats, scarves and gloves for East Cooper Community Outreach and prepared meals for the family of a critically ill hospice patient.

-Among West Ashley efforts, the Folly Road office cooperated with "Keeping Charleston Beautiful" and "James Island Pride" to complete cleanups of Harbor View Road and Riverland Drive. In all, 22 bags of trash and more than 440 pounds of litter were removed from the roadways, Carolina One says.

-The Orleans Road office spruced up a floral and edible garden for the Jenkins Institute for Children and then hosted a "Dessert Happy Hour" for residents at The Palmettos of Charleston Assisted Living Center.

-The downtown Broad Street office pitched in to cultivate and organize an educational and functional outdoor garden at Memminger Elementary School.

-Carolina One's administrative office in North Charleston volunteered to sort and organize clothing and supplies for Lowcountry Orphan Relief. It also donated a variety of office equipment to the Jenkins Institute for Children.

Michael Scarafile, the real estate agency's president, expressed his gratitude to the office agents, staff and management for their "complete support" of Carolina One Cares Week.

Well-placed Palmetto Place condominiums gets the word out

If as the expression goes, "location, location, location" are the key factors in predicting a property's success, then a midrise off Clements Ferry Road fits the bill.

So says the sales backer of Palmetto Place Condominiums.

The residential village sits 20 minutes from Charleston's downtown historic district, 12 miles from Charleston International Airport and a few miles from Daniel Island - home to a tennis center, soccer arena, parks and water visages.

Palmetto Place combines convenience and affordability, according to the condo development's Strategyst LLC sales and marketing team.

"We are in an area that is experiencing tremendous growth," says Steven Guy, Strategyst LLC partner. "Our convenient location to major facilities, our excellent school system and our easy access to entertainment and shopping, makes Palmetto Place a much sought after community," he says.

An urban-styled gated community, Palmetto Place offers one, two and three bedroom units. Prices start at $140,000.

Located in Berkeley County, Palmetto Place condos provide a host of amenities including a lounging pool with cabana, fire pit surrounded by a large seating area, outdoor grills and bark park. Guy says the neighborhood offers a hassle-free, lock and leave lifestyle.

"Palmetto Place combines the look and feel of the Charleston area with understated luxury," Guy says. "And it is all within reach of first time homebuyers or to those who are looking to retire in an area that affords them the freedom to pursue their interests."

Strategyst LLC, which cites more than $500 million in sales in the past two years, says its business offers expertise in positioning and marketing. For more information contact Allan Fliss with Strategyst LLC at 973-794-1188 or allan@strategystllc.com.