Blog Articles

We focus our blog on highlighting important information that buyers should know about as well as trends affecting Hilton Head's oceanfront communities.

July 28, 2021

5 Important Points To Notice When Viewing A Home

5 Important Points To Notice When Viewing A Home

We're realtors, not contractors—and, truth be told, not even very handy. However, we've seen a lot of home inspections over the years and there are a few issues that are fairly easy to visually inspect before you get ready to make an offer.

Here they are:


There is an adage that contractors like to say: "All problems start with the roof." And, like most cliches, it's true. While there are now 30-year shingles available, 20 years is the usual lifespan for an asphalt shingle roof. Cedar shake lasts about 30 years and metal roofs can last 40-70 years. Expect the seller to know and disclose the age of the roof. Look carefully at the roof in the daylight and see if you notice any sagging, buckling or damaged shingles. If there are darkened pockmarks on the shingles, the roof may have hail damage, which could be remedied by the seller's insurance. Go into the attic and see if you see any water stains or signs of leaks on the underside of the roof. Keep in mind that some roof issues are easily fixable like leaks around a vent stack, an isolated instance of a few damaged shingles or a puncture from a fallen branch.

HVAC System

You won't find gas furnaces or boilers in the Lowcountry. Since temperatures rarely get below freezing, almost all of the HVAC systems are heat pumps. They are highly efficient for both heating and cooling and can usually last 10-14 years if regularly maintained (serviced every 6 months). Heat pumps consist of two components: an indoor air handler and an outdoor condenser. Some larger homes will have multiple heat pumps (referred to as zones). As a result, you'll want to check the dates of the heat pumps to plan for their eventual replacement and factor that into the purchase price for the house. Some labels will clearly state the manufacture date, but many will require getting the date from the serial number. Your agent will likely know how to do this. When you walk through a home, notice if there are rooms that have no venting or have large sections of the home serviced by separate mini-split units. It may be a sign that the home has not been properly climate controlled and there could be elevated levels of mold, which could require reconfiguring the entire HVAC setup. Along these lines, check the thermostats when you are at the house. If the temperatures are set to extreme levels for cost savings (i.e. over 78 in the summer) that may also contribute to a mold issue.

HVAC Label
For most heat pumps, the 3rd and 4th digits of the serial number denote the year the unit was manufactured.


It's important to check the year a home was built since it may reveal potential issues that were common at the time of construction. If a home was built between 1983 and 1997, there is a chance it has "the bad pipes." I'm referring to polybutylene (PB) plumbing pipes. The PB fittings of these pipes have a dramatically high failure rate and led to a class-action lawsuit. Starting in the late '80s, these pipes were used with copper fittings, which reduced the failure rate but are still a liability because chlorine is known to break down polybutylene over time. Most owners replace these pipes with PEX. Because we have mild winters, most plumbing pipes are not insulated and are easy to spot in attics or crawl spaces. If you see pipes that are dark grey and the date of construction matches the above dates, they are likely polybutylene. Another sign is if they have "PB" or "Poly-B" printed on them. Be sure to factor that into your offer and keep in mind that most homeowner insurance carriers, will not cover these pipes.

Fake Stucco

If a home you are considering has a stucco exterior and was built from the mid-1980s to the late-1990s, the exterior is likely fake stucco, which is also referred to as EIFS or synthetic stucco. If not properly installed and maintained, EIFS can be prone to water penetration, decay of the underlying plywood and even insect infestations. As a best practice, get a stucco inspection if you suspect a home exterior is EIFS. Stucco inspectors will not only confirm the type of exterior materials present, they will also use a thermal camera to identify any possible areas where there is a moisture intrusion issue that needs to be addressed. Most of the problem areas occur at the windows, doors and areas of kick-out flashing. As a quick test when you are at the house, try knocking on the stucco. If it feels hard as a brick, it's probably real hard-coat stucco. If it feels hollow like drywall, it's probably EIFS.

Flood Prevention

Hilton Head is a low-lying area and has many sections that are susceptible to flooding. As a result, it is important to confirm the flood zone and the elevation of the first-floor living space of any home that you are considering. Click here to identify a property's flood zone by address or on a map. For details on elevation, a surveyor needs to be hired to produce an elevation certificate. This is especially important in the southern areas of Hilton Head where the grade is usually 7-8 feet above sea level. The great majority of Bluffton and many areas on the north end of Hilton Head are designated as being in an "X Flood Zone," which means they have a much lower flood risk.

Most sellers in higher-risk flood zones will include an elevation certificate with their listing. Many properties on Hilton Head have elevation certificates on file with the town and are available here. There are three reasons why the elevation and flood zone matter:

  1. Flood Insurance Rates: With the recent FEMA flood map revisions (March 2021), most homeowners on Hilton Head will pay higher flood rates if their first-floor living space is lower than 8 feet above mean sea level.
  2. Renovation Potential: If the first-floor living space has an elevation that is lower than the elevation requirement for new construction (3 feet above the base flood elevation or 13 feet above mean sea level, whichever is higher), owners are only able to get a permit in the town of Hilton Head for 49% of the assessed or appraised value of the structure. For example, if the property is worth $500,000 with $250,000 land value and $250,000 structure value, an owner is only able to get a permit for a maximum renovation value of $122,500. Thankfully, that limit is not cumulative. As a result, you can close out the first permit for the maximum renovation value when the work is done and get another as long as the living area of the home is habitable (e.g. not stipped to the studs).
  3. Mortgage Requirement: If you are planning to get a federally insured mortgage to purchase a house in an A or V flood zone, you are required to get flood insurance.

While there are dozens of other important items to pay attention to (e.g. flooring, windows, dry rot, pool, electrical, etc), these five are easy to visually inspect and can be costly if overlooked. Thankfully, hiring a good inspector will take the pressure off of you to properly evaluate the condition and safety of a home. Ask your agent for a trusted home inspector as well as what inspections and surveys are appropriate for the home you are considering. Let us know if you have any questions.

Posted in First-Time Buyers
Jan. 11, 2021

Can't Find The Right Property? Learn About Listing Delays

Hilton Head Listing Delays

Coming Soon Listings

If you are browsing properties for sale on Hilton Head and looking for something that you can't find, you'll want to know about a new listing status that has recently been added by our MLS. It's a "Coming Soon" status called "Listing Delay." Listings are in this status when the listing agreement is signed but the marketing and photography are not ready yet. These listings are only visible to realtors and the general public will not see them online.

Since we've recently had a dramatic increase in sales and most listings now spend far fewer days on the market, we have successfully helped many buyers get a head start on the competition by monitoring Listing Delays for them. Please let us know if you have a specific home, condo or lot that you are searching for. If we find a match in Listing Delay, we are happy to share the main details and go to the property to give you a virtual tour.

Posted in First-Time Buyers
July 30, 2020

What Your Dog Wants You To Know About Hilton Head

Dog On The Run From Forest Beach to Sea Pines
A Dog On The Run From Forest Beach to Sea Pines

1. Dogs On The Beach

Here's the how, when and what you'll need to know about walking your dogs on the beach in Hilton Head Island.

Rules for dogs on the beach:

  • Are NOT permitted - Between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Friday before Memorial Day through Labor Day
  • Must be on a leash:
         Between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. April 1 through Thursday before Memorial Day
         Between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Tuesday after Labor Day through September 30
  • Must be on a leash or under positive voice control at all other times.
  • Persons in control of animals on the beach are required to remove and properly dispose of the animal's excrement.

2. Dog-Friendly Rentals

Some homeowners and property management companies on Hilton Head Island have vacation rental homes and condos that are pet-friendly, but not all of them. You'll want to be clear up front that you are intending to bring your pet. And be aware that some rental managers may charge you an extra fee for your pet. Plus, if your pet is working while you're on vacation please know that registered emotional-support animals are allowed.

PRO TIP: Lower-priced rentals are usually more restrictive of pets.

3. Dog Parks

Beyond the beaches, there are several places on Hilton Head Island where your dog can run free and make some new puppy friends.

Chaplin Community Park, has its own dog park located just off William Hilton Parkway between Singleton Beach Road and Burke's Beach Road. The park is completely fenced and "double gated" so you will be able to let your dog off-leash as long as it's friendly with people or other dogs.

There are several doggie day-care choices including Evergreen Pet Lodge where they invite you and your pets to, "Let your loved one(s) enjoy the pleasures of a carefree vacation at the year-round lodge, where red carpet treatment and comfortable surroundings await them."

PRO TIP: There are some parks where dogs are NOT allowed such as Pinckney Island

Dog At Work
Caution: Dog At Play

4. Dining With Your Dog

Since there are so many outdoor restaurants and bars on Hilton Head island there are plenty of places for you and your dog to dine al fresco! Below is just a sampling as there are too many to list them all. Call ahead to any restaurant to confirm if they do indeed welcome dogs. Hudson's Seafood, Skull Creek Boathouse, Street Meet, Black Marlin Grill, Bistro 17, Captain Woody's Bar & Grill, Crazy Crab, Poseidon, and Fishcamp.

5. Keep your pup safe-especially during the dog days of summer.

It gets hot on Hilton Head in the summer! Please be mindful of your pet's paw pads in hot sand and surfaces such as black pavement.

Plus, remember to bring water for your dog when taking them to the beach or on hikes.

And be cautious of our island's wildlife. There are harmful snakes that can be in heavy brush, and alligators call our many waterways home. The safest approach is to always keep your dog on a leash, and for you to walk between your dog and a body of water.

Posted in First-Time Buyers
May 30, 2020

5 Reasons To Love Palmetto Dunes

The oceanfront section of Palmetto Dunes
The oceanfront section of Palmetto Dunes

From lounging at the beach to launching your boat from the marina, it's a challenge to keep track of all of the fun activities that are available within the 2,000 acres of Palmetto Dunes. Here's are our five favorites:

1. Dining Near The Ocean

Fine dining, beachside cafes, grills, and even a charming general store mean you won’t have to go far to get your fill of whatever you crave.

HH Prime is located in the Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort. Ditch the casual beach threads for this one as you treat yourself to the finest aged prime steaks, freshest seafood and one of the island's largest wine selections in a sophisticated, island-chic setting.

Alexander's Restaurant & Wine Bar is an upscale, seafood restaurant and wine bar, featuring seasonally-inspired cuisine, locally-caught fresh seafood, and many locally-sourced ingredients.

Big Jim's BBQ, Burgers and Pizza restaurant offers a relaxed atmosphere for families, golfers, Hilton Head Island residents and visitors alike. Catch the big game on one of their big-screen TVs. Dine outside as you watch golfers teeing it up on the Jones course.

The Dunes House is a one-of-a-kind oceanfront dining experience. Chill out with burgers, sandwiches, and a cocktail or two at this laid-back island restaurant as you soak up the sand, sun and spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Enjoy supermarket convenience at the charming General Store right in the center of Palmetto Dunes. This one-stop shop on Queen's Folly Road will meet all your vacation needs, from groceries to beverages to beach items, souvenirs and more. They even have hot and cold deli treats available to go. Relax and enjoy your to-go food on there front porch as it’s a great spot to people watch.

2. A Unique Lagoon System

One of the most unique features in Palmetto Dunes is its 11-mile meandering lagoon system. This waterway system is full of outdoor adventure. Launch a boat [kayak or quiet electric skiffs] and take in beautiful scenes of moss-draped oaks, island wildlife, birdwatching, golf-course panoramas, and some stunning homes as well.

Fishing is also a popular activity. The still, calm waters of the lagoon hide a wide variety of red fish, blue fish, trout and flounder that make for quality angling. Hilton Head Outfitters provides guided charters on quiet electric skiffs, They offer a wide variety of outdoor island adventure activities and nature tours. They also do kayak, canoe, boat and bike rentals.

The 11-mile lagoon system Palmetto Dunes
The 11-mile lagoon system Palmetto Dunes

3. Tennis & Pickleball

The award-winning Palmetto Dunes Tennis & Pickleball Center has 23 clay courts, two Nova ProBounce courts, nighttime play, and Tuesday Demo and Exhibition Days. There's also Pickleball, a sport that's gaining popularity in the area. It's like tennis, badminton and ping-pong all rolled into a one. Played with oversized paddles and a softball-sized plastic ball that goes much slower than a tennis ball, it's easy to pick up at any age. Palmetto Dunes has 24 dedicated Pickleball courts, all lighted for night play, and one of the most comprehensive instructional programs on the east coast.

4. Championship Golf

Palmetto Dunes boasts 3 championship courses:

The Robert Trent Jones track doesn't disappoint. It's considered to be one of the best golf courses in the Southeast, and is famous for its open, inviting layout and spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean. In fact, it has one of only two oceanfront holes on Hilton Head Island.

Hilton Head Island's only par-70 public golf course, the George Fazio track is one of the island's most distinctive and challenging layouts. But there's no need to feel intimidated. It's designed to be a true, but fair test for golfers of every handicap.

Whether you're serious about your par or just there to enjoy nature, you're going to love the Arthur Hills course. Long regarded as one of South Carolina's most unique golf layouts, it blends natural island beauty with the masterfully designed challenges of the game.

5. Beyond The Beach

The beach is spectacular but that's not all on offer. From Palmetto Dunes you can safely take the bike path under 278 directly to Shelter Cove. Hop on your bikes or walk. There's also plenty of parking if you choose to drive over.

Shelter Cove Harbour and Marina and the adjacent recently-renovated Town Center are popular gathering spots along Broad Creek. Dine at waterfront restaurants like Scott's Fish Market, San Miguel's Mexican Café, Ela's On The Water, Bistro 17, and The Other Sister's Wine Bar. Or shop at the wide variety of boutiques and stores such as Southern Tide, Coastal Bliss, Birdie James and more. Plus, there's also a Whole Foods and a Kroger for all your food, drink and beach provisions.

Shelter Cove Harbour and Marina is the home to HarbourFest in the summer -- a family-friendly festival on the waterfront featuring live music, and lots of family fun with clowns, face painting, carnival games, and fireworks at the end of each night. Plus, it's free Tuesdays in June, July, and August-with a special show on July 4th.

Shelter Cove Community Park right next door is a popular spot for a picnic and a sunset serenade at the pavilion. Bring beach chairs and pick up some food from one of our local merchants for the Sunset Celebration, featuring live local music and laidback family entertainment-all brought to you every Friday in the summer by the merchants of Shelter Cove Towne Centre.

Palmetto Dunes Experts

One real estate company, The Ocean Broker, knows Palmetto Dunes. We are a Hilton Head Island original, helping clients buy and sell Palmetto Dunes real estate since 1974. If you have questions about Palmetto Dunes real estate, contact us.

Posted in Palmetto Dunes
April 20, 2020

Virtual Showings: Get A Closer Look

Virtual Showings

Virtual Showings: Get A Closer Look

Is there a home you've had your eye on but you can't easily make it down to Hilton Head or Bluffton? Have you seen the pictures and where it is on a map but you still have questions about the floor plan, the size of the pool, areas of the property not pictured, etc? We can help.

Ask us for a virtual showing. We can do it over Zoom, FaceTime or Skype. From the comfort of your home, you'll see every part of the property you're interested in and we can answer any questions you have. If you don't want to be online for the showing, we can easily shoot a video tour and text it to you. 

It's reported that there has been a 500% increase nationally in realtor-guided virtual showings since the beginning of March 2020. Contact Mark to schedule a virtual showing of any property on the market.

Posted in First-Time Buyers
March 31, 2020

Leamington Condos: An Oceanfront Community You May Not Know About

Leamington Rental Condos
Pictured above: Windsor Court, Windsor Place and Barrington

If you are considering Hilton Head Oceanfront condos, you have half a dozen communities to choose from. Some are right next to restaurants, bars and shops and some are more removed from the hustle and bustle. The condos within the Leamington short-term rental section of Palmetto Dunes are surprisingly quiet even during the busiest months of the year. Many buyers that begin their search for an oceanfront condo are often unaware of this area. Here's what you need to know:

Quick Facts:

  • 7 Complexes
  • Around 500 units
  • Short-term rentals are allowed
  • Entrance through the Palmetto Dunes South Gate
  • Between the Omni Hotel and the Leamington residential section gates
  • Relatively recent construction
  • Low POA fees and no transfer fee

Panoramic Ocean Views

There are 4 oceanfront complexes that include 8 buildings:

All have 1, 2 and 3 bedroom floor plans and oceanfront pools that are seasonally heated. Hampton Place, Windsor Court and Windsor Place were developed around the same time and have similar floor plans.

Leamington Rental Condos
Leamington Condos: Between the ocean and the 11-mile lagoon system

Condos That "Feel Like A House"

Here are the 3 ocean-oriented complexes:

While they don't offer oceanfront views, they have more square footage and are a 3-5 minute walk to the beach. Wendover Dunes is on the ocean side of the street. Huntington and Abbington are across the street from the beach and have expansive views of the 11-mile lagoon system.

Search all Leamington condos that are on the market. Contact us with any questions about Leamington condos.

Posted in Palmetto Dunes
Feb. 16, 2020

Hilton Head Island Airport: Everything You Need To Know

Hilton Head Airport
Hilton Head Airport

Recent Runway Expansion Means More Direct Flights

When Charles Fraser's team was originally planning a Hilton Head Island airport, they were considering the area where the Sea Pines Forest Preserve is now, but Fraser was having none of that. Instead, Hilton Head Airport (HHH) opened on the Northern end of the island in 1967. A fun fact is that Arnold Palmer landed the first plane at Hilton Head Airport. Since then it has been mostly a hub for private jets, and a connection to Charlotte, but now a recent runway expansion has led to the addition of more direct flights to other major cities and hubs. Here are all the important things you need to know.

1. Where is Hilton Head Airport located? It’s on the North end of the island about a 10 minutes’ drive to Palmetto Dunes, 15 minutes to Sea Pines, 25 minutes to Old Town Bluffton, and 45 minutes to Montage Palmetto Bluff. Hilton Head Island Airport (HHH) and Savannah /Hilton Head Island International Airport (SAV) are not the same airport. SAV is about 45 miles from Hilton Head’s beaches and resorts while HHH is right on the island just minutes from the ocean.

2. How does the Hilton Head Airport compare to the Savannah Airport? HHH airport is much smaller than SAV airport. It has a very limited food offering, and parking space is much less than SAV, but usually there is no shortage of spaces (see below for details).

3. What are the hours? The airport opens 90 minutes before the first flight and closes 1 hour after the last flight.

4. What were the recent changes made? The airport's one runway was extended to 5,000 feet in length and 100 feet in width hoping to attract more air service-which it has.

5. What airlines fly into it and what are the direct flights?

Current Flights:
American Airlines: To/from Charlotte Douglas International Airport and seasonal Saturday/Sunday service to Washington Reagan Airport.
Delta Airlines: To/from Atlanta

Starting In Spring 2020:
Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and American Airlines: To/from Charlotte, Washington, Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Newark.
American Airlines: Seasonal Saturday flights to/from their hubs of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Chicago O'Hare International Airport, and Philadelphia International Airport.
United Airlines: Seasonal, twice-daily flights to/from Washington Dulles, Chicago O'Hare, and New York / Newark.

Starting In Summer 2020:
Delta Airlines: Seasonal service to/from New York LaGuardia [LGA].

6. What ground transportation is offered? Hotels on Hilton Head Island do not provide shuttle service to patrons arriving at the Hilton Head Island Airport. Most arriving passengers have pre-arranged rental cars or take a taxi upon arrival. All rental cars, of the eight on-site companies, are within 200 feet of the terminal building. Taxi cabs line up at the taxi stand (upon exiting the building, the taxi stand is on the right) for each scheduled airline arrival.

7. Do they offer long term parking and what do you need to know? There's now only one parking lot and parking costs a flat rate of $10 per day. All airport parking is pre-paid using the automated parking machine kiosks located outside the middle entrance to the terminal. Your license plate number is required to purchase your ticket. The first 2 hours of parking are free. For more information, call Republic Parking at (843) 415-5499.

Long Term Parking at Hilton Head Airport
Long Term Parking Is Available at HHH

8. What rental car companies are there? Guests arriving via private aircraft can call a taxi upon arrival or make rental car reservations. However, general aviation customers are encouraged to make their rental car reservations through our FBO, Signature Flight Support.
Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Hertz, National, Thrifty, and Enterprise are all on-site. All of them are open weekdays from either 8 or 9 am - 6 or 7 pm. And Dollar and Thrifty have limited weekend hours of 9 am to 2:30 pm/Saturday. 9 am to 12:00 pm/Sunday.

9. Is there anywhere to eat? The food offering at HHH is very limited and more of a "grab and go" situation. However, there are plenty of amazing restaurants nearby. Some of the closest are Mixx on Main Street, and just a little further down Main Street you'll find local favorites like Wise Guys, Frankie Bones, Ruan Thai Hut, and Mangiamo's Pizza-which you'll want to avoid if you're a Michigan Wolverine fan as let's just say they take their Ohio State Buckeye pride very seriously!

10. How many gates does it have? There are only four gates.

While you are in town…

It's easier than ever to get to this truly unique island. That means it's becoming an even more attractive destination to live and vacation. While you are in town, we would be happy to show you what's on the market. Search our website for all Hilton Head homes, condos, villas and lots for sale. We've focused on Hilton Head real estate for almost 50 years. If you're thinking of buying or selling a home on the island, contact us.

Posted in First-Time Buyers
Jan. 7, 2020

5 Reasons To Love Sea Pines

5 Reasons To Love Sea Pines
The view from one of the oceanside Sea Pines's oceanside streets 

Sea Pines is the heart of Hilton Head Island life.

In Travel + Leisure Magazine’s World’s Best Awards, readers named Hilton Head the best island in the continental U.S. for the fourth consecutive year. Plus, they voted Hilton Head the #2 island in the world for 4 years running. One of the main places that make this island so special is Sea Pines. It has it all. Natural beauty and island wildlife around every swaying palm and meandering marsh stream, miles of sandy beaches and Lowcountry coastline, the only PGA Tour event in South Carolina, top-tier restaurants, a stunning full-service marina right on the Intracoastal Waterway, all types of unique shops, boundless outdoor activities, and a wide variety of properties for you to call your island home.

Let’s explore 5 highlights that make Sea Pines the epitome of Hilton Head Island living:

The view from Harbour Town
The view from Harbour Town

1. An island icon: Harbour Town

Harbour Town Yacht Basin was designed after a famous harbor in Portofino, Italy, under the guide of Charles Fraser, the founder and developer of The Sea Pines Resort. Known the world over by the iconic red-and-white-striped Harbour Town Lighthouse, this full-service marina offers an array of everything from shops and restaurants to watersports, fishing charters and sightseeing cruises. You'll also find world-class golf, tennis, live music at the Liberty Oak and a spacious playground for the kids. Harbour Town is a hub of island life for residents and visitors alike.

2. Dining al fresco by the sea at The Beach Club

Toward the ocean side of Sea Pines, you'll find miles of sweeping beach and two of the very few oceanfront dining spots on the island. Both of these restaurants feature sweeping oceanfront views from The Beach Club:

Coast: A beautifully appointed restaurant and beach bar. Dine on fresh oysters, broiled Mahi-Mahi tacos and other seafood fare as you watch the waves roll in.
Ocean Lounge: A stunning, second-floor bar/restaurant where you can take in breath-taking, elevated views of the Atlantic Ocean while sipping your favorite cocktail.

During the peak season, parking at The Beach Club can be difficult. Here's what you need to know.

3. Home to only PGA Tour event in South Carolina: RBC Heritage

The RBC Heritage golf tournament, located at Harbour Town Golf Links near Harbour Town in Sea Pines Resort, is truly like no other stop on the PGA Tour. The fact that it falls right after the demanding Master's, and is in our idyllic Sea Pines location makes it a fun, relaxed atmosphere for both fans and players alike. It's now a 50-plus year Sea Pines golf tradition. You can see your favorite players up close, enjoy the Lowcountry-inspired food, grab a beer and walk along the winding pathways in the sunshine. It's also a people-watching extravaganza as you'll see most attendees go the extra mile to "get their plaid on." As the tournament attracts tens of thousands of onlookers, visitors should not expect to park within Sea Pines. Here's what you need to know about parking.

You don't have to be a pro to play the world-class golf courses in Sea Pines but they will make you feel like one. You can rate yourself against the pros when you play Harbour Town Golf Links. Another Sea Pines golf course, Atlantic Dunes, is a recent redesign of the historic Ocean Course, which was the first course built on Hilton Head Island. Five-time winner of RBC Heritage, Davis Love III lead the redesign and it was named the National Golf Course Owners Association's "National Course of The Year." Both visually and strategically stunning, the holes are accented by coquina shells, seaside grass, rolling dunes, and a bounty of native pines and oaks lining the fairways.

4. Seeking fun and the sun in South Beach.

The southernmost tip of Hilton Head provides a seaside escape like no other on the island. One of the most unique places within Sea Pines is South Beach, a Cape-Cod-inspired beachside community. It's the perfect blend of a quiet island setting mixed with the bustling South Beach Marina Village Area. All the attractions and amenities are a short flip-flop walk away. The famous Salty Dog restaurants are dotted along the water and often feature live music. The beach at South Beach is where the open ocean becomes the Calibogue Sound. Here you can see the sun setting over the water with Daufuskie Island in the distance. Dolphin sightings along this stretch of beach are very common and late afternoon is the best time to catch them. Schedule a dolphin seeing tour to see them up close.

5. Getting back to nature at the Forest Preserve

For almost 50 years the Sea Pines Forest Preserve has been a protected area for wildlife habitat and outdoor exploration. Over the years, the preserve has expanded to include bridle paths, wetland boardwalks, bridges and fishing docks. Now there are many ways to discover the natural wonders of Hilton Head Island. You can choose from guided boat tours, horseback rides, fishing expeditions, or wagon tours, or simply stroll the sandy trails at your own pace.

5 Things to do at the Sea Pines Forest Preserve

  • Discover the 4,000 year-old Sea Pines Shell Ring, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Search through acres of native flora blooming in Warner W. Plahs Wildflower Field, which is located near one of the preserve's beautiful lakes. A must-see in the spring.
  • Observe wildlife in expansive marshes from the boardwalk at Old Lawton Rice Field.
  • Explore a secluded forest on the boardwalk through the Vanishing Swamp.
  • Enjoy a picnic along the banks of Fish Island.

Sea Pines real estate experts

There are almost as many reasons to call Sea Pines "home" as there are grains of sand on our beaches. No other location has this unique blend of all the upscale amenities and activities balanced with a serene and natural coastal habitat. And no other real estate firm understands Sea Pines like The Ocean Broker. We are a Hilton Head Island original, specializing in Sea Pines real estate for the last 45 years. We achieved most of Hilton Head Island's record first sales within Sea Pines from the first building lot for $100,000 in 1977 to the highest sales price ever at $9,200,000 for a Sea Pines oceanfront property in 2007. If you have questions about Sea Pines real estate, contact us.

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Posted in Sea Pines
Dec. 14, 2019

5 Things Hilton Head Oceanfront Condo Buyers Might Not Know

5 Things Hilton Head Oceanfront Condo Buyers Might Not Know
An oceanfront view from Villamare, a complex within Palmetto Dunes. 

When considering Hilton Head oceanfront condos for sale, here are a few points that most first time buyers don’t know about:

1. One-Bedroom Condos Usually Get A Great Return on Investment

Within the Hilton Head oceanfront condo buildings from Sea Pines to Palmetto Dunes, there are a small number of one-bedroom units available. There is also a steady demand from couples with no children looking for an oceanfront view for the week. That combination of supply and demand usually means a strong rental performance. One-bedroom condos have a lower combination of fees, taxes and insurance, which translate into a higher percentage of annual net income. Here are the one-bedroom oceanfront condos that are for sale. A few complexes with one-bedroom condos that perform well on the rental market are:

2. Glass sliders: Kind Of a Big Deal

When inspecting an oceanfront condo, most buyers rightly worry about the condition of the HVAC. If it goes out, it's a big-ticket item to replace. Most buyers don't think about the cost of replacing glass sliders. They are more expensive than most people realize because the Town of Hilton Head requires new glass sliders to have impact-resistant glass. As a result, the cost is usually twice the amount of normal glass sliders. Our standard sales contract on Hilton Head protects sellers in most circumstances from replacing glass sliders. However, take a close look at them before making an offer on a condo. Is the glass fogged? Is the frame falling apart? Does it slide back and forth easily? Does the locking mechanism work? There are many ways to keep older sliders serviceable. However, if you know you are going to replace them, keep the cost in mind when negotiating with the seller on the condo.

3. Where Is The Ocean?

Not all Hilton Head beachfront condos for sale have views of the ocean. There are many that have views obstructed by trees, complex amenities or the side of a building. When viewing these condos online, it may be tough to see how good the view actually is. That's why it's important to walk through a condo before making an offer. Buyers that purchase properties sight unseen, even when exercising thorough due diligence, usually have regrets.

hilton head development with common pool area
An example of an obstructed ocean view.

4. Be Wary Of Rental Histories from VRBO

VRBO is a site where owners have historically paid a nominal service charge to advertise and book their rental properties instead of hiring a rental management company. When VRBO was purchased by Expedia a few years ago, a number of changes were made that affected the rental performance for many properties. These changes included higher service fees, challenging performance metrics that pushed many properties down in the rankings and more restricted communication between owners and renters. As a result, if you see a rental history from a few years ago through VRBO, a new owner may not be able to achieve the same performance.

5. Volume: It Might Get Loud

There are a few Hilton Head oceanfront condos where you will get a recurring concert when you walk out on your balcony. That's because there is a live outdoor music venue nearby. That might be a plus for you, and it certainly is for many renters that want to be in the center of the action during the prime rental season, but there are other buyers that want more peace and quiet. Complexes like Hampton Place, Windsor Court, Windsor Place and Barrington are usually quieter even during the busy season. As your agent will probably tell you, it's important to consider the community first and then narrow in on a complex.

There are many factors to consider when shopping for Hilton Head beachfront condos for sale. Since we specialize in oceanfront properties, we can take out the guesswork and minimize surprises. Contact us if you have any questions about Hilton Head oceanfront condos for sale.

Search for Hilton Head oceanfront villas and condos for sale.

Find out about the fees that are included with condo ownership.


Posted in First-Time Buyers
Nov. 30, 2019

Sea Pines Beach Access Guide

hilton head beach access
Finding the easiest way to the beach in Sea pines can get confusing if you are not well acquainted with the area.

Sea Pines Beach Access: What GPS Won't Tell You

With over 5,200 acres of winding roads, trails, lagoons and golf courses, finding the easiest way to get to the beach in Sea Pines can get confusing. On top of that, there have been a number of changes recently to parking at the beach club and the shuttle/trolley system. To help simplify things, here is how Sea Pines beach access works:

Walking and Biking

Between Sea Pines Drive and the beach, there is usually a numbered beach access point every 450 ft. Within Sea Pines, there are 48 of these paths and they can be accessed by foot or by bike. If you are staying in a house that is 3 rows from the beach, getting to the nearest pathway is very easy. If you are much farther away, you'll have to use the trail system to get there. Click here for the trail system map. (While the map is titled "Sea Pines Bike Trail Map", bikers and walkers use the same trails).

sea pines beach acess path
As you get closer to the beach, you'll see one of these numbered beach access points.


Parking near the beach in Sea Pines is a gamble during the year's busiest months since there are a limited number of parking spaces available. To help offset parking congestion, beachgoers are encouraged to use the Sea Pines Beach Shuttle and the Sea Pines Trolley.

Sea Pines Beach Shuttle

The Beach Shuttle runs from late March to early September from 9am to 5pm. Sea Pines property owners, weekly rental pass holders and long term renters can use it. Daily pass holders cannot access the shuttle. Here are the rules and disclaimers. Scroll down to page 2 for the route maps.

Sea Pines Trolley

There are three main routes for the Sea Pines Trolley. This is where they run with designated stops along the way:

  • Red Route: From near the Greenwood Gate to Harbour Town
  • Blue Route: From Harbour Town to the Sea Pines Beach Club
  • Green Route: From Harbour Town to South Beach Village

Like the shuttle, the trolley mostly runs from late March to early September. Depending on the route and time of year, it runs as early as 9am to 10pm and sometimes later. Here are the rules and disclaimers. Scroll down to page 2 for the route maps and time tables.

Beach Parking

If you don't want to walk, bike, trolley or shuttle, here's what you need to know about beach parking:

Sea Pines Beach Club

Each year, Sea Pines tends to make changes to how it manages parking at the beach club. Here's a summary of its 2019 plan:

The Sea Pines Beach Club parking plan is actively managed from late March to early September from 8am to 4pm. During that time, there is a Sea Pines Resort staff manager on-site to oversee parking.

The Sea Pines Beach Club Covenants allow the following groups the "right of access" to the first 50 available parking spaces: Sea Pines property owners, overnight guests in rental and resort accommodations within Sea Pines, owners of Sea Pines boat slips, members of the Harbour Town Yacht Club and guests of the Sea Pines Resort. Sea Pines has control over who uses the remaining 108 spaces. If beach club parking is full, Sea Pines may open up remaining spaces at the Plantation Golf Club. Visitors with daily/weekly gate passes that are not staying at a Sea Pines property cannot park at the beach club.

Sea Pines Tower Beach Club

This beach club in South Beach is reserved for Sea Pines property owners. There is a guard on-site that requires owners to present their property owner id card to gain access.

Enjoy your time in Sea Pines, have a happy day at the beach and contact us with any comments or questions.

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Posted in Sea Pines