Special Report: Safe home buying in Horry County during building boom

Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 12:55 PM EST
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - For some, having that dream home is all about curb appeal: the colorful exterior of the siding or the manicured lawns.

But for others, it’s about location, the distance from a relaxing beach and the quality of the local school district or neighborhood.

However, for Amanda Harkins, it’s something else.

“Having a quality home. You can’t put a price on that,” Harkins said.

That’s why she and her husband, along with their three kids, have been patient during their move from Maryland to the Grand Strand.

“We took the opportunity, thought it was right, great neighborhood, and here we are,” she said.

Once the family decided on Carolina Forest, then came their wish list.

“The neighborhood has a ton of kids which was a very big draw,” Harkins said. “We wanted a good amount of space for our three children, that each to have their own bedroom. An extra room to keep as a place room for them, the open floor plan with a fireplace, that was a big must for us.”

With such a specific list of demands, Harkins put her trust in Howell Homes to bring her family’s vision to life.

“This is the open area, this is the family room. There’s a fireplace with built-ins here and the kitchen. I’ll be here,” Harkins said.

As the Harkins family wait to move into their humble abode, they are one of the lucky ones actually finding a place to stay.

There’s a home building boom in the U.S. and Horry County is among the top.

Between June 2020 and June 2021, single-family home construction grew 63% in the Myrtle Beach-Conway region which is more than double the national average.

But with all this construction, who is making sure it is safe before your family moves in?

According to the Better Business Bureau, the average home builder across Horry County receives an A grade.

Then comes the inspector, Seth Franco.

“A potential homebuyer definitely needs to do their due diligence,” Franco said.

With home construction skyrocketing, he’s the last line of protection before families walk into their forever homes.

“The things we’re going to look at the most will be material defects or a defect that could pose a health hazard,” he said. “A big concern is the refrigerate line, the insulation that covers this.”

Another concern for Grand Strand home buyers is that hurricane season 6 months out of the year, so Franco explained that potential buyers need to beware.

“Exterior clouding, there’s a lot of vinyl siding on homes and a lot of that can blow off easy and then expose your exterior sheeting which is prone to rot especially when it gets wet,” Franco said.

Back at the Harkins manor, she and her family are happier than ever they chose Horry County for a place to call home.

“I think it’s going to look really nice when it’s all done,” Harkin said.

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