Checklist for Out of State Buyers on Hilton Head Island, SC
Here are the Big Three things to do if you're coming here to buy:
GET QUALIFIED TO BUY FROM A LOCAL LENDER
Meeting with your financial planner, trustee, etc. should always be done before you even begin to look at properties. However, in our area - both in Hilton Head and in Bluffton - there are financing nuances that may be different than those where you live. If you are financing and not paying cash, the first issue that may arise is with reference to villa or condominium complexes. Your home state lender will most likely not know the style of management, or the local information regarding the history and stability of a particular community. It may also affect the speed at which you may be qualified which will affect the potential for a purchase. With the new federal legislation relative to appraisers, that arm's length requirement may make it more difficult for your local and out of state lender to make arrangements with an appropriate appraiser.
ASK FOR CLARIFICATION ABOUT THE TYPE OF OWNERSHIP
We have a bit different type of classification method here; if this property will be your permanent residence you will be paying on a 4% basis for property taxes. If this will be a second home or investment property, you will be taxed at 6%. Here's information straight from the Beaufort County website -
A. Yes, State Law provides for a 4 percent property assessment ratio on primary residences.
Effective for property tax years beginning after 2006 and to the extent not already exempt for Homestead purposes, one-hundred percent (100%) of the Fair Market Value of owner-occupied residential property eligible for and receiving the Special Assessment Ratio of 4% is EXEMPT from all property taxes imposed for school operating purposes but does not include millage imposed for debt purposes. This is an exemption granted to homeowners who have qualified for and received the special assessment ratio of 4%.
Application for the Special Assessment Ratio of 4% is available online at the Assessor's website at http://www.bcgov.net/departments/Real-Property-Services/assessor/index.php. Applicant(s) must sign and certify to the following:
“Under penalty of perjury, I certify that: (A) the residence which is the subject of this application is my legal residence and where I am domiciled at the time of this application and that neither I, nor any member of my household claim to be a legal resident of a jurisdiction other than South Carolina for any purpose; and (B) that neither I nor any member of my household claim the special assessment ratio allowed by this section on another residence. ‘A member of my household’ means: (a) the owner-occupant’s spouse, except when that spouse is legally separated from the owner-occupant; and (b) any child under the age of eighteen years of the owner-occupant claimed or eligible to be claimed as a dependent on the owner-occupant’s federal income tax return.”
Please be aware of the following items that are required for eligibility of the Special Assessment Ratio (4%), both items are needed from you and your spouse.
•Copy of your South Carolina vehicle(s) registration
•Copy of your South Carolina driver's license or identification card
•Copy of owner-occupant's most recently filed South Carolina Income tax return
•Copy of your trust agreement if property is held in a trust
•If military provide copy of PCS Orders and Military/ Spouse ID
Q. What must the owner do to qualify his home for this tax break?
A. The owner must file an application with the County Assessor. The filing period is January 16 through January 15 of the following tax year. Once the initial application is filed, it will automatically be renewed every year, unless there's a change in mailing address or a change in property's use. In accordance with the law, you must notify the Assessor within six months if you change your residency.
CHECK OUT THE INSURANCE SITUATION
This should seem fairly obvious, since Hilton Head Island is by definition a barrier island. That means that though stunning in its natural beauty, it is in the Atlantic Ocean and thus subject to the potential whims of Mother Nature. There are different zones throughout the island; if you are interested in purchasing property on or near the water, insurance rates may be a factor.
Now, your choices for real estate on Hilton Head are many. CHECK OUT some water oriented properties that are worth the research!