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According to the National Association of Realtors, the median sales price of homes is at an all-time high because of a number of factors.

The group’s chief economist, Lawrence Yun, said that can be viewed as both good and not-so-good news. On one hand, current homeowners looking to sell their homes can get more for their property, gaining equity for the down payment on their next homes. On the other hand, rising home prices make it more difficult for first-time, younger buyers to enter the market, as they don’t have equity from a previous home — and often are struggling to save as it is.

Todd Hawk and his family-owned company H2 Builders in Bluffton have been building beautiful custom-designed homes in the Hilton Head Island area since 1996, many in the traditional or transitional Lowcountry style. And that style is becoming more popular than ever.

But perhaps none of these spectacular homes are as quintessentially Lowcountry in every exacting detail as the one he built for himself, his family, extended family and friends in the small town of Pineland in Jasper County.

There can be a lot of anxiety in finding the right person to help you buy or sell a home. After all, buyers will be spending a lot of time with their agents throughout the process, and those agents are helping them through arguably one of the biggest decisions of their lives. How could anyone possibly find the right real estate agent?

According to the National Association of Realtors’ latest profile of homebuyers and sellers, potential buyers should talk to friends and family to get their agent suggestions. In fact, 40 percent of buyers found their agents through a referral from friends, family members or neighbors, while another 12 percent used agents they had worked with before. On the seller side, 38 percent of sellers found their agents through referrals and 22 percent went with agents they had previously used.

The Leamington homeowner didn’t really know what she wanted, but she knew she wanted it to be beautiful.

She and her husband bought their 4,600-square-foot second home three years ago because of its location, straddling a lagoon and the Arthur Hills Golf Course, and the interior layout. The only hitch was a black-and-gold and yellowish color motif.

In the good old days, interior cooling and heating were limited to a specific room or portion of a building with localized units. That worked out just fine, so long as the entire family didn't mind camping out in the living room. Some could afford more than one unit. Most could not.

Luckily, the invention of HVAC units changed the game.

The Hilton Head Area Association of Realtors is alerting its members and the public of changes to the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and Truth in Lending Act (TILA). These changes will take effect Aug. 1, and will significantly affect the closing process. 

On Nov. 20, 2013, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued its final rule to integrate RESPA and TILA disclosures and regulations. The ruling integrates existing disclosures with new requirements from the Dodd-Frank Act to improve consumer understanding of the mortgage process, make it easier to comparison shop and help prevent surprises at closing.

Many people say what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. That may be true most of the time, but not when the National Kitchen & Bath Association and many of its 60,000 members convened earlier this year for the organization’s annual convention.

These interior designers are spreading the word far beyond the Nevada border about trends in their industry and sharing with their clients new ideas from the convention.

The phrase “Southern charm” brings to mind delightful images, wonderful memories, soft sounds, generations of tradition and a distinctive lifestyle. Live oaks and magnolia trees, flowing creeks and magical marshes, friendly neighbors, front porches, a sense of being, comfort and a quiet contentment … you get the picture.

Now picture a Lowcountry cottage in a homey neighborhood in a quaint town that embodies “Southern charm.” Picture Habersham, a stone’s throw from Beaufort, and which was selected last year as South Carolina’s Inspired Community by Southern Living magazine.

Every year thousands of flowers are used in weddings around the world. What most people do not know is that most flowers used are flown in and are not local. That is not the case with local shop Make it Pretty as they truly work hard to use locally grown flowers and greenery from the environment.

Nathan Cameron of Cameron & Cameron Custom Homes builds a house unlike any other in Palmetto Bluff.

Nathan Cameron had never seen anything like it. So the local homebuilder built it. Now he lives in it, and it’s a showpiece professionally.