Sunday, February 10, 2013

Becoming an owner at HHR - Updated!

This is a previous post now updated for 2020!

New owners are buying into Hilton Head Resort all the time. If you are considering it, I have some personal tips and hints as a long time owner at HHR (since 1997!) and a full time Hilton Head Real Estate professional.

Keep in mind all investments can lose money, you need to do your due diligence and make sure buying a beach condo at HHR or anywhere on the island fits your personal situation and investment goals. Seek advice from your legal, financial and real estate advisors. Information provided here is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. All of the information provided here can change at any time.

Please note the official Hilton Head Resort regime website is Our website is a marketing and real estate website provided by Hilton Head Island Realty and Rentals.


#1 - What do you get when you buy a villa at Hilton Head Resort?

You own the condo. Everything from the wallcoverings and floorcoverings inward belongs to you. Everything inside the walls including the walls belongs to the Condo Association. You can live in it full time, retire in it, rent it as a vacation rental, rent it as a long term rental, rent it to the summer intern programs or just use it for your own personal beach getaway. It can sit completely empty for as long as you own it, if you so choose. It's not a timeshare - it's your personal deeded property.
Even though the master deed does not allow timeshares, there are a few "partnership units" where the units are split up into for example quartershares, fifth shares or 1/13th shares. A 1/13th share gets you four weeks per year, usually one week per season Winter-Spring-Summer-Fall. Quartershare owners get 13 weeks each year. Partnership units typically prohibit their partners from renting their weeks to the general public.

#2 - What are the monthly and annual expenses to own a condo?

A monthly regime fee is charged to each and every condo owner at HHR to cover the operating expenses of the resort. These vary depending on the square feet of the unit. For 2020 a standard 2br is $462/mo and a 3br is $659/mo. The extended 2br units have washer/dryer hookups and are bigger at 950 sq/ft pay $527/mo. Regime fees are based on square footage. (The $462 monthly fee includes approximately $80 for capital reserves, $659 = $108 and $527 = $88)

You will also have property taxes which vary depending on the County Assessors Office appraisal. See for information about property taxes. We've seen these range from $1,100-$3,000 depending on what you paid for the unit. Owner occupied condos pay tremendously reduced property taxes, often discounted over 40%!

Electricity runs approximately $60-$150/mo depending on season, usage and age of the appliances and A/C system of the unit. 3br and extended 2br units will be more, of course, especially since they have Washer/Dryer hookups. If you are planning to be a snowbird, consider the fuel savings of moving south for the winter. The local electric company is Palmetto Electric Coop. (

Telephone service is approximately $36/mo from Hargray. (

Content and liability insurance is necessary to cover the interior of the condo. The resort's insurance will rebuild the structure and restore the individual units to "as built" condition including the built-in appliances and cabinets. Your personal insurance will need to cover the personal contents, appliances, carpet, etc. It will also help protect you from any liability or medical claims by your guests.

#3 - What's included in the monthly regime fee?

The regime fee covers Water, Sewer, Cable TV with SD and HD channels plus music channels, 500mbit High Speed Internet, monthly pest control, trash pickup, 24 hr gated security, onsite management, exterior maintenance and housekeeping, landscaping, 2 outdoor pools, 1 indoor heated pool, golf cart shuttle to the beach, hot tub, sauna, tennis courts, pickleball, badminton court, picnic area, fitness center and hurricane, flood, fire, hazard and liability insurance for the buildings. Insurance is the biggest expense of operating the property. The monthly fee also includes capital reserves to cover renovations and maintenance of the entire resort. These reserves go into a separate account and are used for items such as building paint, roofs, walkways, pools, tennis courts, parking lots and elevator repairs and replacement.

#4 - Why is the regime fee so high?

Actually for an oceanside resort with onsite beach access, we are one of the lowest regime fees on the entire island. When you are this close to the ocean, the hurricane and flood insurance is extremely high. There are 468 condos all sharing the same expenses which helps reduce the amount we all pay as our share.

#5 - I'm planning to do vacation rentals. How much money can I make?

It depends and these are just estimates based on my own experiences. A super nice condition direct ocean view 2br unit in building one and two can do $1000-$1500 per week in season. A nice building three 2br unit might only do $800/wk in prime season. Of course, the purchase price of the ocean view unit will generally be much greater than any other units with lesser views. It's all about the view, the condition and proximity to the beach.

Best bet is to go out to and and check the weekly rental rates of other Hilton Head Resort owners with similar units near the one you are considering a purchase. You should be able to see their rental calendars and get an idea of how many rentals are already booked for a typical unit.

For rental purposes, the general rule of thumb is that ocean views rent highest and are #1 for rentability, building one and two are the next most desirable units regardless of view, building four comes up third and building three is generally the least desirable because most of the units have interior porches overlooking the indoor rec center. 3 bedroom units command a premium because of the extra square footage, washer/dryers and they can sleep up to 10 people (eight adults max). The 2 bedroom units sleep up to 8 people (six adults max).

Of course each unit is individually owned and each owner can set their own personal limits up to the resort maximum and the bed configuration. Some units might have only enough beds for four people.

It's the owner's choice.

The more effort you put into advertising, online, rental by owner websites, ebay, Craig's List, newspaper ads, local bulletin boards and church bulletins, etc, the more likely you are to have a successful rental season. Getting 5 to 9 weeks of rentals is trivial unless you take the best weeks for yourself. 20-30 weeks of rentals will require a good deal of effort.

Every owner gets a free rental ad on on the Owner Rentals page and we also have an email forum where all the owners can share rental leads when they are already booked. This is a service provided by Hilton Head Island Realty and Rentals. The regime office and website are not involved with owner rentals whatsoever.

#6 - How about long term rentals?

A typical 2br at HHR rents for $1000-$1500 unfurnished and $1200-$2000 furnished on a 12 month lease for a nicely decorated and very good condition unit. Of course each owner can set their own rates based on condition, view and whether utilities are included, etc. Rental rates have gone up significantly since the Great Recession. The resort has very strict rules for long term rentals and requires background checks on all long term tenants.

#7 - What's an intern rental?

Interns are summer workers and students studying hospitality curriculum from all over the world. For example, the Westin will bring in students on internships during the summer and they will rent an HHR unit for 2 to 4 students (in a 2 br). Owners also house many of the lifeguards that are brought in to man the Hilton Head public beaches, rent chairs, umbrellas and water toys, etc.

The intern programs usually pay a certain amount per student, per week. For example, if you house four interns @$100/wk for 13 weeks from June 1 to August 30, that will pretty much pay your regime fees for the entire year. Some interns stay from March 1 to September 30 for even more income. This is a great option for snowbirds that want their expenses covered in the summer season and then get to use it only for themselves in the winter season. We are also seeing the hotel resorts lease units on a 12 month basis just to insure they have enough housing on the island.

#8 - Are there any gotchas?

Special Assessments are sometimes required to do major renovations and repairs. HHR went through a major renovation period from 2006-2011. Each owner averaged over $18,000 in assessments over these six years to repair and replace all of the roofs, mansards, paint, flashing around windows, new exterior porches and railings, resurfaced tennis courts, renovated indoor rec center, renovated pools and the awesome new boardwalk to the beach with the golf cart shuttle. 

Every condominium complex needs to maintain and renovate the buildings and grounds on a periodic basis, they either collect the money along the way with a capital reserve funded by monthly capital reserve payments or they do special assessments as the need arises. The regime at Hilton Head Resort collects capital reserves every month depending on which size condo you own. The plan is to have  enough money in reserves to cover the expected repair, replacement and renovation expenses of the major items.

The most recent special assessment as of October 2020 was $1,396 2br, $1,594 extended 2br and $1,994 for the 3br units paid in 2 installments April and July 2020. That special assessment was used to accelerate some upgrades and repairs that the owners wanted to see immediately rather than wait for them to get done on their regular schedule. For example, new elevators, laundry machines, roofs, walkway ceilings, stair treads, firedoors, pool decks, building 3 carpet and more were scheduled for this assessment.

Note that it is also possible to have a special assessment due to an insurance shortfall, special emergencies or even an operating income shortfall.

Be aware PETS are absolutely NOT allowed at HHR. ADA service animals are not considered pets.

Come join us as owners at The Hilton Head Resort!


Feel free to contact me privately if you have any specific questions about these or other HHR topics. Your personal realtor can also provide you with further information and answer your questions. This information is provided for planning purposes only and your performance may vary significantly.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

First time to Hilton Head? What should you do?

First time to Hilton Head?

Here's a suggested first timers to-do list in no particular order:

- Pay $5 (per car) to go into Sea Pines. Visit Harbourtown (marina, lighthouse and huge childrens playground and treehouse), South Beach Marina (Salty Dog Cafe) and The Sea Pines Forest Preserve. The guard will give you a map when you enter the property. Salty Dog, Truffles and Guiseppis are suggested kid friendly restaurants in Sea Pines.

- Tuesday night fireworks at Shelter Cove Harbour with live entertainment and children's activities. Or watch the fireworks from our beach. Read my blog post on this site for details.

- Spend a day in Savannah Ga on River Street. Eat lunch at "Mrs Wilkes Boarding House". If you are Paula Dean fans, go to Lady and Sons restaurant instead. Nearby Tybee Island is a neat old beach town with a huge pier out into the ocean. Visit Fort Pulaski just before the causeway to Tybee Island. Beautiful architecture and a great Civil War historic site. Savannah is hotter than HHI so pick the coolest day during your visit if possible. Savannah is a beautiful town, about an hour drive. There are some big shopping malls and hundreds of restaurants on Abercorn Street headed south out of town. Take a horse drawn carriage tour through the historic squares and parks. There is also a free downtown bus on the CATS public bus system. The whole downtown has become the campus for SCAD - Savannah College of Art and Design. LUCAS Theatre has lots of interesting productions.

- Coligny Plaza is the main tourist area and considered "downtown" Hilton Head. Market Street Cafe is well worth a visit. The world famous Tiki Bar at the Holiday Inn is on the oceanfront just to the right of the water fountains and splashing kids. Frosty Frog, Wild Wing Cafe and Kenny B's are tourist favorites. Kids love Black Market Minerals for cheap souveniers.

- Rent bikes from the deli and enjoy over 50 miles of paved bike paths. There are no hills so anyone can ride our island. Hilton Head Ice Cream on New Orleans Rd is a great destination ride. They churn the ice cream in the store. Free toppings bar. I highly recommend the cinnamon ice cream. Just turn left out of the resort onto the bike path and follow it until you see McDonald's. HH Ice Cream is behind McD's.

- Go on a dolphin cruise. You really don't experience Hilton Head until you get out on the water. Make reservations in advance. Vagabond out of Harbourtown seems to be a good cruise. Dolphin Plus, SS Pelican, Dolphin Seafari seem to be having a good time too. You'll often see dolphins along the HHR beach. There are also pirate cruises, sunset cruises and cruises to Savannah. Dolphin sightings are almost always guaranteed. Use coupons to save money.

- Other fun things: Miniature golf, kayaking, jetskiing, parasailing, bowling, movies, eating, shopping, ocean, pools, tennis, golf, or of course just do absolutely nothing!

- Don't miss restaurants include: Roastfish and Cornbread, Skull Creek Boathouse, Alexander's, Sea Shack, One Hot Mamas, Asian Bistro, Kenny B's, Wild Wing Cafe, Guiseppis, Market Street Cafe, Harold's Diner, Hugo's, Hinoki and Marleys.

I'm a frequent contributor (gotodaufuskie) on on the Hilton Head forum and on the forums and photo albums on You'll find lots more suggestions for 1st timers on these sites.

No matter what you decide to do while you are here, you are going to have a GREAT TIME!


Thursday, June 2, 2011

What about grocery stores on Hilton Head?

Hilton Head Island has lots of grocery stores. I've heard vacationers say they pack coolers full of food to save money on their vacation.

You probably don't need to do this!

Check out the following grocery store websites for their weekly specials before you arrive:

Use zip code 29928 to search for the local bargains and best prices on what you need for the week. If you are arriving on Saturday the island stores can get very crowded and the instore delis sell out of cold cuts frequently. It's easy to stop in Bluffton before you reach the bridge and you are only about 20 minutes (assuming good traffic) from Hilton Head Resort and the island. You might want to grab a bag of ice just in case.

The Piggly Wiggly at Shelter Cove is the closest grocery store to Hilton Head Resort and is only 6/10ths of a mile and a 12 minute walk from our front gate.

There is also a Bi-lo, Sams Club and Dollar General about a mile north of the resort. Publix, Harris Teeter and Wal-mart are around mile marker #3 to the north and another group near mile marker #10 to the south.

And of course the Island Grill and Deli onsite in building one has a small variety of grocery items. They also provide takeout pizza and anything on the menu is available for pickup. Breakfast is served all day!

Happy eating!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

New for 2011!

Hilton Head Resort has several new improvements and services for our owners and guests:

- Hargray has installed a new Digital TV system with more channels including HD and music stations. All the channels are crystal clear!

- Hargray is also making Wi-fi available throughout the resort public areas, all individual villas and hopefully Cocos down at the beach! This is a pay-by-credit-card access, by the day, week, month or year. Check with the owner of your rental villa to see if they offer personal free wifi inside their unit.

- Shore Services has set up a Town of Hilton Head Lifeguard station in front of Coco's! Beach chair and umbrella rentals are now available until the end of the season!

- Beach City Fitness is offering onsite fitness boot camps, fitness classes and onsite personal trainers.

Boot Camp: Tuesdays and Thursdays 7am-7:45am Meet at the boardwalk entrance.

Fitness Classes: Mondays and Wednesdays from 5:30-6:30pm "All Hands On Deck" for fitness with Christine Chaplin. Meet at the Sundeck of Building Two.

Be sure to call and make a reservation and check that classes will be held on schedule.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Insider's Tip - Fireworks Viewing from the Beach!

Hilton Head Resort has a unique feature. It's the only oceanside resort that can see the Tuesday night and Fourth of July fireworks at Shelter Cove Harbour from the BEACH!

Here's how you do it:

Go out to the beach and turn left at Coco's. Walk up the beach until you reach the rocks at the Folly. Go around the rocks and walk up the creek until you have a clear view of the rooftops of the Hilton Head Resort buildings. The fireworks will be visible directly above the buildings.

No traffic or crowds to deal with, you'll have the beach and ocean surf behind you while you enjoy the show. Be sure to take beach chairs and flashlights (for the walk back in the dark!)

Don't miss the free show and be sure to enjoy Coco's on the Beach before and after for great food and drink!

Jeff Morgan

Hilton Head Resort First Post

Hilton Head Resort is an oceanside villa complex on Hilton Head Island, SC. It's located at mile marker 7 on the ocean side of Highway 278 that runs down the middle of the island. On the north side of the property line is the Village at Singleton homes. On the south side of the property is Palmetto Dunes Plantation and the Robert Trent Jones golf course.

There are four buildings each with a different "theme". There are a total of 468 two and three bedroom units throughout the complex. All of the buildings are interconnected at the corners and you can walk from one to the next on the covered walkways. The buildings are four stories above ground with open space under buildings one & two and parking under buildings three & four. Parking is unassigned. There are four elevators throughout the complex and stairwells in every corner.

Building one has the big outdoor pool and the Island Grille and Deli. It's the closest building to the ocean.

Insider's tip - The Island Grille and Deli has takeout pizza and anything on the menu. Call and place your order for a quick and easy dinner. Let Mom off the hook. The deli also has inexpensive bike rentals. Rent for a few hours, a day or a whole week.

Building two has gardens, a sun deck and a badminton court. There are two racquetball courts under the sun deck but they are out of service at the present time.

Insider's Tip - The sun deck is a great place for a tan in the middle of winter. The building surrounds the sun deck and keeps the cool ocean breezes from hitting the sunbathers. You can get a tan in winter and fool your friends into thinking you went on an expensive caribbean vacation!

Building three is unique on the entire island! This building is completely enclosed with an indoor heated pool, hot tub, kiddie pool, sauna, fitness center, free wifi, porch swings and a 1/10th mile paved jogging track! Go here to escape the summer heat, cool winter days or rainy days all year round.

Insider's Tip - there is an inside stairwell from the 2nd floor to ground level. In winter, go to the 2nd floor and you won't have to go outside.

Building four has 4 beautiful lighted tennis courts in the center court and 2 additional lighted courts just outside the west side of the building. There is also an outdoor pool on the north east corner of the building.

Insider's Tip - Over 50 miles of paved public bike paths are right outside the front gate. Rent bikes and you can park your car and never get back in until it is time to go home!

How do you get to the beach?

Our two best amenities are waiting for you at our beach. An amazing, wide, uncrowded, sandy beach plus our Oceanfront Bar and Grill - Cocos on the Beach (

There is a boardwalk from the corner of building one that takes you straight out to one of the least crowded and best beaches on all of Hilton Head Island! It takes about 7 minutes to walk the 510 yard long boardwalk. If you don't want to walk, ride the frequent golf cart shuttle. The resort will give you a schedule when you arrive at the front gate. Cocos is at the shuttle drop off point at the end of the boardwalk. You'll find great food and drink, beach supplies, rest rooms and outside showers. You won't need to go back to the condo while spending your day at the beach!

Insider's Tip - Hilton Head Resort has a nearly private beach! Here's why: At our beach turn left and walk to the "Folly". This is a creek that runs through the marsh and under our boardwalk. At high tide the Folly is neck deep and the public beaches on the other side can not get across to our beach. Our beach will often be nearly deserted even on holidays while the public beaches on the other side of the Folly will be a sea of umbrellas and no empty sand! The closest public access to the south is in Coligny/Forest Beach about 3 miles away!

Hopefully this first post will help new visitors understand what a great beach getaway Hilton Head Resort can be for your whole family! And it is the most affordable 2 bedroom ocean side accommodations on the entire island, possibly even the entire east coast!

Come join us as vacationers and owners at Hilton Head Resort!

Jeff Morgan