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.

Recently, I was at a mutual fund conference in Washington, D.C., with some of the best money managers in the world.  While the conference was mostly focused on equity investing, there was a good deal of attention given to target-date funds as they are also products of the Investment Company Act of 1940, or the 40 Act, as it is known today. As an aside, it is interesting to note that the 40 Act, which was enacted by the 76th Congress in the wake of the Great Depression, was 70 pages long and was passed with wide bipartisan support, allowed the Securities and Exchange Commission latitude in rule making and has withstood the past 75 years. So how do you like that, Dodd-Frank?

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.

On July 21, 2010, President Barack Obama signed into law the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The act, passed in response to the Great Recession, brought the most sweeping changes to our financial regulatory system since the financial reforms enacted after the Great Depression in the 1930s.

Like a thoroughbred racehorse that breaks slowly out of the gate, the Hilton Head Island Beach & Tennis Resort has been finding its stride over the past few years.

“We have a market that is very unique to the island,” said Kate Clewell, executive director of the 56-acre property off Folly Field Road that was built in 1981. “We are a moderate family-oriented resort. We offer one- and two-bedroom villas right on the ocean that are affordable and well maintained. We’ve been able to make a lot of upgrades to the amenities here.”

Showing family is more than just a name

There’s a quiet transition going on at Forsythe Jewelers at The Shops at Sea Pines Center. On July 1, Debbie Forsythe Berling will officially ride off into the sunset after building the business on the island for the past 34 years.

On the surface, this could be a monumental shift. The family business is going to be owned by someone not named Forsythe for the first time since Debbie’s grandparents opened their first store in Pittsford, New York, in 1927.

Kaufman-PhotographyA state-of-the-art piece of technology is giving Kaufman Photography a new perspective

A good photo portrays how a place looks. A great photo portrays how it feels. The right framing, the proper exposure, and the experienced eye of the photographer all come together to dissolve the boundaries between viewer and subject.

It is not just primary homes that have seen a turn in the real estate market. According to a survey by the National Association of Realtors, vacation home sales were up 57.4 percent from 2013 to 2014.  Vacation home sales accounted for 21 percent of all transactions nationwide in 2014.

This month, I reached out to the Hilton Head Monthly editor and inquired about the overall theme of the May issue. He informed me that the focus was restaurants, and more specifically, local restaurants. So much for trying to correlate my column with the overall theme.

Monthly sat down with local finance minds to discuss the core causes, impacts and aftermath of the recent financial crisis. Here’s what we learned. 

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