Questions about Investing in STR - Charleston, SC

6 Replies | Charleston, South Carolina

Has anyone invested in STRs in the Charleston, SC market? That is my local market and I started doing some research on it yesterday. It seems that in both the town I live in (outside of Charleston County) and in most parts of the City of Charleston, you can only have a STR IF you also live in it. Am I misinterpreting the regulations? Does anyone have any first hand experience with this? Are their loopholes? It said that the way they regulate this is by; the address on your driver's license, where you are registered to vote, and if you are getting the primary residence discount on your property taxes. I can't STR any of the rooms in my current house due to the HOA rules and I don't really have any space to rent out. Moving isn't completely out of the question, but would not likely be my best option. I could look in other markets, but hoped to start in my local market. I'd love to hear your experience in this market in particular or suggestions for next steps.

I've also considered doing a STR on a lake or river near me instead, which would probably put me outside of these heavily regulated municipalities, but I only found a couple of Airbnb's on the river I was considering. So, it is hard to determine the per night pricing and such when I am analyzing a deal. Do you think that a river would be less popular if there is a beach within 45 minutes of it? I'd prefer a river over the beach, but I may be in the minority. Have you invested in an area that didn't have a lot of comps? How did you overcome that hurdle? TIA!

Hi Meghan! I live on James Island and have a STR in my home. You are right that in order to be legal in most jurisdictions, you must live on the property. If you are in the City of Charleston, there area a few other items you must check off on (age of home in relation to vicinity to downtown, etc.). Many places do not enforce their ordinances unless a neighbor complains (As in the case of James Island). The City of Charleston is another issue....they are pretty strict.

Hey Meghan,

Like @Sarah Pursell said, it really depends on the location of the property.  Figure out where you want/where you can buy and then dive into regulations from there.  Most HOAs have added into their rules that you can not do rentals less than 3 months (or more).  

If you want to jump on a call and talk about it all in more detail, I am happy to help in any way I can.  I currently manage several properties all over the Charleston area. 

@Sarah Pursell Isn’t JI part of the City of Charleston? I noticed on the map that only certain portions are included.

Also, I grew up on James Island. Are you from the area? I’d love to connect. I’ll send you a request.

Thanks for your insight.

@Reid Matthews I would love to connect! Thanks for your response. Yeah, my HOA has a 1 year lease requirement. We had someone who was doing STR that we had to put a stop to. They probably could have gotten away with it if the police weren't getting called all the time. We are also part of the Town of Summerville which also has regulations on them. I would love to hear more about your properties. I will send you a message. Thanks!

@Meghan McGill some parts are in the City (my next-door-neighbors are), but some are in the Town of James Island still. Just depends who joined the city when they annexed.

Happy to chat more and connect. I’m relatively new to the east coast, so you probably know more about it than me, but happy to chat. :)

@Sarah Pursell thank you! I did read your profile after I commented and saw you are from the West coast. Welcome to Charleston! I’m glad you’ve found so much to love here. I guess I didn’t realize that the fight for James Island to be it’s own town, resulted in a compromise. lol

When I lived there it was still a constant fight.

I’m in Summerville now, but I have a good bit of family on the island.