June 25th, 2009 10:04 PM by Jodie Ford
Top Ten Neighborhoods for Charleston Air Force Base in Dorchester Rd. Corridor These are just a few of the favorites of Airmen relocating to Charleston South Carolina.
Indigo Fields High 100’s up to $500,000 plus on the marsh. (mostly $200,000-$250,000) late 90’s to 2005. Featuring newer homes built in the late 90’s early 2000’s and Dorchester II Schools. Pro’s – Closest newer neighborhood to Air Force Base, open floor plans available, schools, and more variety, more brick homes and trees than most newer neighborhoods. Many homes in ready to go condition. Convenient to shopping. Con’s – No amenity center, (some think this is a good thing because you don’t have to pay for it either), quirky exit where you have to do a u-turn if arriving from the East or trying to go west out of the development.
Archdale (mostly low 100’s to mid 200’s) mid 80’s to 90’sPro’s - Closest “nice” neighborhood to the air base. More square footage for the $$! Possibilities to steal a cosmetic “dog” with good structure and update it, creating equity. Dorchester II schools, even though it has a North Charleston mailing address.
Con’s – Some of the 80’s homes are run down. Have to watch out for moisture in crawl spaces, wood rot, and 15 year old Hurricane Hugo roofs. Floor plans and décor can be out-dated. Very few homes in ready to go condition. Exterior maintenance, including yards is slipping in some areas.
Windsor Hill (mostly low 100’s to mid 200’s) 90’s.Pro’s – Schools again-Dorchester II and Cathedral Academy. Quick commute and convenient shopping. Price range$$$$. Lower cost per square foot. Lot’s of possibilities to pick up a fixer upper.
Con’s – Watch out for maintenance issues, 15 year old roofs, brittle siding, etc.
Whitehall (low 200’s and up, but mostly in 200’s) early to mid 90’s to 2005.Pros – Amenity Center. Convenient to base and shopping. Exit with traffic light provides easy entrance and exit. You can find “ready to go” homes if they have been well maintained. Trees planted 15 years ago have some age on them so neighborhood doesn’t have the “sterile” feel of Wescott.
Cons – watch for homes built in the early 90’s and be prepared to “catch up” on maintenance.
Wescott Plantation (mid 100’s to low $300’s) 2000’sPro’s – excellent amenities, including golf course, and great location. Newer than Whitehall and Indigo Fields, so homes require less updating and maintenance. “Open” floor plans by volume name brand home builders. New look and feel, and presumably lower maintenance costs and hassles. Neighborhood common areas are well maintained.
Con’s – tends to be sterile, i.e. not too many trees. Most neighborhoods are nearly all vinyl with little variety. Watch for quality issues. There is a very broad spectrum of quality among tract builders, so make sure your buyers agent knows how to proceed through inspections to protect your interests and can tell you which builders to avoid.
Bridges of Summerville (mostly low 200’s to mid 300’s) Early 2000’sPro’s – Great location, convenient shopping, easier access to I-26 via Ladson Rd. Newer, Open Floor Plans. Lower maintenance cost and hassles. Amenities include swimming pool. More variety and trees than Wescott. Several wetlands areas add texture to this neighborhood. Neighborhood in general is well maintained. Dorchester II schools.
Con’s – A little higher price/square foot. Watch for shoddy construction.
Summer Trace (high 100’s to high 200’s)Pro’s – Not built by large volume builders. Steve Hill and Landura homes mostly. There are lots of unseen things these builders do that add to construction costs, but provide a much more solid frame and foundation for the home. More brick than most neighborhoods in this price range equates to a less sterile feel. Convenient to shopping. Dorchester II schools.
Con’s – no amenities. No Traffic light to turn left on Old Trolley Rd.
Ashborough/Ashborough EastPro’s – More trees, even in newer Ashborough East. Good value. Larger lots typically. Amenities include swimming and tennis. Good mix of exterior types, brick/vinyl/stucco/wood. And no two homes look alike.
Con’s – Older homes, especially in Ashborough have typically fallen behind on maintenance. Watch out for moisture issues in crawl spaces.
King’s Grant on the AshleyPro’s – Mature trees. No two homes are alike. Lot’s of brick/wood homes. Newer amenity center coming soon with new owners of golf course. Waterfront park on Ashley River with small boat landing.
Con’s –still some question as to fate of golf course. Older homes typically require updating and maintenance. Lot’s of “Hugo” roofs. Watch for foundation issues due to inadequate site work by tract builder in latter phases.
High Woods PlantationPro’s – Brand new homes available by Brentwood homes. Brentwood homes provides better quality assurance than most other volume tract builders. Open floor plans with smooth ceilings, and large master suites for under $200k.
Con’s – Location is a bit far out, at the end of Dorchester Rd. It’s still a good idea to have a home inspector oversee the construction process with your buyer’s agent on hand to deal with quality issues. You’ll end up with a good product at the end of the road, but not without being directly involved in the quality process.
A word on new construction Tract builders work fast and furious on dozens of homes at the same time. The production workers are working with the bare minimum supervision, and quality control is very sporadic. A Buyers Representative will help you oversee the construction of your new home and increase the likelihood of a timely close. The contract will refer to factors beyond the builder’s control. There are lots of factors beyond a builders control, enough so that you will not be able to hold them accountable for any time lines, or even having the “punch list” completed by closing. Read the agreements carefully and understand that they are written to protect the interests of the builders. This is going to make you vulnerable at several junctures. This doesn’t mean that it’s never a good idea to buy a new home. It just means that you want to go into the situation with your eyes open with the understanding what leverage you do or more likely don’t have. The best thing to do is to have a home inspector oversee the construction process with you and your buyer’s agent. The site agent will tell you that the home is inspected by the local building inspector, but the local building inspector’s only job is to make sure the house meets bare minimum standards, and their workload does not allow them to inspect your home thoroughly.
Another thing your buyer’s agent can help you with is to be aware of which builders do the best work, and which ones to stay away from all together. A good buyer’s agent has not only inspected dozens of homes, but been around long enough to assess the true level of satisfaction, years after the sale. They’ve seen all the builders in action, and have consulted with dozens of other agents and inspectors on the levels of quality of all the local builder, including their service after the sale. We’re not naming names here in print, but if you’ll call and ask us which builders tend to do better work, we’ll tell you about the experiences we’ve had, good and bad.
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Jodie Hurt – Charleston Air Force Base, SC Real Estate For Sale
I specialize in helping military families enjoy a smooth PCS in and out of Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina. I have a passion for helping people, and I love what I do. Call me (843) 819-4398 and let me make this the easiest PCS yet!