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Chris Suddeth – Real Estate Agent – Fripp Island, SC

I have been a licensed real estate agent for over a dozen years, specializing in helping buyers on Fripp Island in South Carolina.  SCRE license #50731 Tri-County 1st Choice Realty.  Please see some frequently asked questions about my Real Estate practice:

 

–Why should I work with a buyer’s only agent? Many potential buyer’s will find a property they like and simply work with the listing agent for no other reason than they’re the listing agent. Or even worse, I have seen potential buyers assume that the listing agent will give them the inside track to the property of their dreams. There is no such thing as the “inside track”. The listing agent, as well as their agency (unless you sign the convoluted dual agency agreement), works for the seller and they have a fiduciary duty to promote the best interests of the seller. (Insert link to the LLR website)

 

Why should I work with Chris (Sutty) Suddeth as an exclusive buyer’s agent? Fair question, and one I don’t mind answering. I know of no other agent who has had a love affair with Fripp for their entire life as I have. As my bio points out, I first came to Fripp as a baby in 1976. I recall slipping through the cattle gate to what would become Ocean Creek before it was Vietnam for Forrest Gump. Also, you’ll find that I am definitely not of the high pressure variety of Realtors. I assume that if a potential client has seen all Fripp Island has to offer (insert long distance marsh vistas in your mind’s eye) and truly has the means, there is nothing that I can say or do that the island itself can’t demonstrate.

 

We like Fripp, but just to be sure, can you show us other property opportunities in the Beaufort area? Of course I can and I will. There’s a link on this website to all properties in Northern Beaufort County, including Fripp. I chose and choose to specialize on Fripp because that is where my passion is and it’s where my family has called home since 2003.

 

Now, let me ask you a question. Do you want to buy a “beach home” or a “beach house”? Am I splitting hairs with this one? No, there is a fundamental difference. A beach home might have your grandmother’s coffee table, your kid’s graduation pictures, and your grandkid’s toys have a permanent residence here, not to mention that little roadster you’ve always dreamed of having. A home would have the highest quality of everything to fit your personal taste. A beach house is stark by contrast. In fact, anybody could live or vacation there and you may even rent it to vacationers or snow birds. Many people choose to offset the cost of a property on Fripp by renting it on VRBO themselves or with some of the local property managers on Fripp. I can help with either a “home” or a “house”, but this is an answer only you can provide.

 

If I want to rent my property on Fripp once I’ve purchased it, what do I need to know? I’m glad you asked, because Fripp is a wonderfully unique place to do business. First off, Fripp Golf and Beach Resort is a separate entity from the F.I.P.O.A. (Fripp Island Property Owner’s Association). Now, if you are buying a “home” on Fripp and care nothing for Golf, restaurants, Tennis, pools, etc. and only want to go to the beach and ride on your golf cart, then you won’t need a Resort Membership. However, if you intend to rent, good luck finding a Property Manager who will manage it without a membership. Picture this, you’ve rented a lovely beach house, paid your money, packed grandma and your 2.2 kids, traveled hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles to our lovely 3 mile by 1 mile and want nothing more than to get a cocktail and everybody fed before you start your week full of beach memories. Guess what, if the person you rented from is not a full Fripp Resort member, you can’t. The grocery stores are twenty-five minutes the other way and it’s late in the evening. Nope, can’t play on those 36-holes of bucolic beauty the next day either. Yep, the 6 pool complexes including the adult pool with the bar that overlooks the Atlantic are out too.

 

Alright, you’ve convinced me to buy a membership. What do I need to do? I can and will tell you the generalities purchasing a membership, but as part of your due diligence I want you to set up a meeting with Club Director Kristi Suddeth 843-838-1529 (She’s also my lovely wife. Tell me we’re not all in on Fripp Island.) No real estate agent is an expert on the club, so go directly to the source. If you’ve ever bought a country club membership, I understand it to be a similar process.

 

You just mentioned due diligence. I’ve heard that term regarding real estate, but can you walk me through it? Absolutely, and walking you through due diligence while holding your hand is exactly all I’ll do. What do you mean by that’s “all I’ll do”? As a buyer’s agent it’s my duty to facilitate your due diligence, but I won’t do it for you, nor should you want me to. When you are walking into your attorney’s office to sign the papers for your dream to own a coastal piece of heaven, I want your eyes wide open and all stressful questions answered. The lawyer’s office should be nothing but a formality by closing day. A list of questions you’ll want to have answered for your due diligence include, but may not be limited to the list below:

 

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  1. How much is insurance for my new purchase?
  2. What are the covenants and restrictions attached to my new property?
  3. What is the ARB process like?
  4. What are Beaufort County taxes going to be?
  5. I saw a bunch of things in the showing that I’ll want/need done before moving in. How much will all of that cost in time, money, and effort?
  6. What will I owe the F.I.P.O.A. annually?
  7. What is the regime fee (if applicable) for my particular property and what does that money go to?
  8. Home inspection by a licensed home inspector?
  9. Termite Inspection (CL100) by a licensed exterminator?
  10. If I’m going to rent, have I found the property manager that fits my needs?
  11. Do I understand the Fripp Island Golf and Beach Resort Club?
  12. If I intend to raise my children on Fripp Island, have I contacted Beaufort County School offices?

 

I need an attorney to buy property? It’s my understanding that South Carolina is one of five states remaining that uses lawyers to close real estate transactions. Your attorney’s office will handle everything after it’s left my hands, from title searches to HUD statements. Yes please, buy title insurance while you’re at it.

 

Now that we handled all the yucky stuff, it’s time for homework. Trust me, it’s painless and it leads in to a common question I’m asked when showing Fripp. So watch the movies Forrest Gump and Prince of Tides. They were both filmed on Fripp, so it will give you a feel for Beaufort and the island you want to become yours.

 

–The face of Fripp Island has changed since I was a kid. It’s no longer primarily retirees that hide during tourist season. There are actually people with families other than the Suddeths. Fripp Island is in the St. Helena school district meaning your child is districted for St. Helena Elementary, Lady’s Island Middle, and Beaufort High. However, Beaufort County is in its second year of their “school of choice” program, meaning that if you can apply to any school in the county. If you want your child to go as far away as Hilton Head and you’re willing to provide transportation, it is your right to do so.

 

–Fripp Island is also what’s known as a Wildlife Sanctuary. The deer, alligators, osprey, and raccoons, among other animals are protected. Yes, the alligators are real no matter how still they appear, so be cautious when approaching ponds. Even if you don’t see an alligator, just assume it’s there.