Sunday, December 30, 2007

Off to Litchfield for New Years...

Well, now that the Christmas travels are over, we decided to hit some extra the South Carolina sand.

Friday, December 28, 2007

SC Is Growing: Maybe We'll Pick Up a Congressional Seat In a Few Years...

Census estimates State ranks 10th in growth

Migration helps S.C. add 77,601 residents in year


Migration, particularly from the Northeast, has helped boost South Carolina’s growth rate to one of the highest in the nation.

South Carolina ranked No. 10 among the 50 states in rate of population growth in the past year, growing 1.8 percent with 77,601 residents added between July 1, 2006, and July 1, 2007, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates released Thursday.
South Carolina’s population has grown by 9.9 percent, or 395,893 people, since the 2000 Census, and 68 percent of the growth is due to migration into the state, according to the population estimates.

The state now has more than 4.4 million residents, according to the new estimates. The State

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

COUCH (Errr...Bowl) SEASON...

Above is a map of where "Bowl Season" will be taking place. Please note that the Palmetto State, is geographically surrounded by bowl game host states.

Wouldn't it be nice if South Carolina could get in this mix?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

King's Grant; Columbia's "Strongest" Neighborhood in '07

The Columbia neighborhood that hasn't missed a beat.

So far this year, 17 homes have closed in King's Grant. The average price is $584,204.00. The average price/ft. is a strong $167.22. My biggest listing in KG is one of the "boat drivers", closing at $179.21/ft. It is the 2nd highest price sold in 2007, at $650,000. Compare with the list below...
Heathwood - $148.67
Shandon - $147.24
Lake Katherine - $140.88
Wales Garden - $149.05

Keep in mind, that these older neighborhood boundaries are not as easily defined as a gated ones. Therefore, there is some "border junk" that may need to be considered. I simply did a quick search of what neighborhoods the listing agents labeled their listings.

I should mention too, that it is not a perfect market in KG. Houses are staying on the market a little longer than usual. One reason for this is that Sellers set their price too high in the beginning, to "see what will happen."

At the moment, there are 3 houses on the market in KG, and 2 are "Pending Contract." In my view, two of them (both patio homes on Oakman) are "aggressivly priced." At the moment, I know of four (maybe 5) "secret houses" that will sell if I bring a buyer.

I realize that new, gated neighborhoods aren't for everyone (I live in Shandon). I just thought it may be interesting to folks what Columbia's leading neighborhood is getting for their homes.

Congrats King's Grant!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


The Real Team has watched, eaten and laughed with Caroline and her pregnancy for 9 months. Tuesday was finally her day, as her son finally joined the world. Congratulations to Caroline, Walks, The Suggs and Millikens.
I hope William likes Mr. Friendly's, Starbucks and showing houses.... :-)
Tuesday, December 18, 2007

William Arthur Milliken!
Sweet baby William was born right before 6pm weighing in at 7lbs 2oz and 19 inches long! Mommy and baby are doing great! Daddy, grandparents, aunts and uncles are all so excited and so glad William is finally here!! He is just adorable and so very loved!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Cockominium Hits Ebay

One of our buddies has put his Stadium Villiage Loft on ebay. The "Reserve" is set for $415,000 and the "Buy It Now" is $469,000.
There is also a furnished price that you can see by clicking the link. Happy Bidding!

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Sorensen stepping down

USC leader considering other posts at university

Friday, December 14, 2007

Every Little Bit Helps...

2008 Mileage Allowances

The mileage business allowance increases from 48.5 cents to 50.5 cents per mile. Charitable deductions for the use of a car will remain at 14 cents per mile driven. The rates will apply for mileage on or after January 1, 2008.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

McDonalds Tops List. Coldwell Banker #1 Real Estate Brand; #12 Franchise Brand Overall...

Below is the list of the Top 15 Franchise Brands. Although it is very interesting, keep in mind that these are "franchise" brands. Brands like Coke, Pepsi, Bud, Chevy and Starbucks are all corporate owned, not franchise opportunities....
Coldwell Banker United, REALTORS (my company) is the largest franchise within the entire brand. We are (CBUR) also one of the Top 10 real estate brokerages in the world.

Has anyone ever heard of #3 on this list??? FJ

Coldwell Banker Ranked #1 Real Estate Brand
The 2007 Franchise Times Top 200 issue came out and Coldwell Banker is again the number one ranked real estate brand for the eighth year in a row. The brand is 12th overall.*
Below falls the top 15:

Carlson Wagonlit Travel
Ace Hardware
Burger King
Pizza Hut
Circle K Convenience Stores
Marriott Hotels, Resorts & Suites
Taco Bell Corp.
Holiday Inn Hotels & Resorts

Friday, December 7, 2007

Cola's Best Organization; Cola's Best Party... Great Job JLC!

One Of The Most Fun Branding Pieces I've Ever Done.... Is That Ice In a Wine Cup?
JLC Holiday Market Co-Chair Linda Ferrante. Great Job! Dress and bow-tie by LaRoque...

Gorgeous Friend & Client, and Gorgeous Wife...

3/4 of the Real Team. Where's Amy???

Once again, The Junior League of Columbia showed their stuff at this years Holiday Market Preview Party. A grand time was had by all, as leading women in our community kicked off one of Columbia's most successful fundraisers. Great job, JLC. In my bias, you are the best philanthopic organization in the midlands.
If you are ready, willing and able, I encourage any of you to offer your time, talents and treasures to The Junior League. This group can magnify anything into great works....
Scroll for Santa... :-)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

HO, HO, HO !!!

This sweet baby is not loving on FJ Santa at the JLC's Holiday Market this year.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Our Neighborhood, My Deed!

OK. I spent 5 hours with the City of Columbia Planning Commission tonight. Good grief....

Yes, we were there from 5:15 to 10:00pm tonight. After some specific parcels were voted on, they finally took up the measure of the "Interim Measures for Community Character Protection." After all was said and done (many times), they finally decided (I think) to give individual neighborhoods 90 days to get 50% + 1 of the residents, to decide if they want to participate in the measures. Wales Garden is immune from this, as they have already qualified themselves to move to the next step of "character protection." When all is said and done, they may regret it.

One major contention from moving this motion forward, is that it seems that only a handful of residents shouldn't speak for an entire neighborhood. The glaring example is Shandon. It seems that maybe 20-30ish folks attend the meetings four times a annually, to discuss the issues of a neighborhood of 1,600. Obviously, there is a concern here.

The bigger issue in my mind, is property rights. I can tell you, that if a person has purchased a home in Shandon (or any other downtown neighborhood, for that matter), they may very much regret such a purchase, if some of the talked about measures become city ordinance.

Someone is bound to ask the question, "Do I own my property, or does the neighborhood?"

We all strive for a more perfect Columbia. Having said this, there must be a better way than painting incredibly broad stripes on such a pinstripe situation. Some would argue the contrary, but the nuts and bolts of it is, that the property owner...owns the property.
"Our Neighborhood, My Deed!"

Thursday, November 29, 2007

More Red Tape On The Way?

Below is an email that many of us received today from the Home Builders Association. Some of these bullet points sound borderline intrusive. I hope that "Red Tape" does not get in the way of my soon to be installed black shutters.... FJ

Call To Action
The City of Columbia Planning Commission will discuss the adoption of "Interim Measures for Community Character Protection" for the following neighborhoods at their meeting on Monday, December 3rd beginning at 5:15 pm in City Council Chambers - Cottonwood, Heathwood, Hollywood/RoseHill, Shandon, Wales Garden, and Sherwood Forest.

If you own properties in these neighborhoods your homes/investments could be affected in the following ways:
  • If you want to expand or change your house in any way that is visible from the street (additions, shutters, screen doors, convert porch to room, etc.) except paint color, you will need permission from the Design Development Review Commission (DDRC).
  • All residential structures used as housing are affected.
  • All changes made to your house must make your home look consistent with the other houses in the neighborhood (height, materials, design).
  • The Design Development Review Commission's decisions are appealable only to SC Circuit Court (not City Council). This process could take several years.
  • If you have a large lot and you want to subdivide and sell it, you no longer can do so in most circumstances.
  • If you want to demolish your house, you will need permission from the DDRC.
  • If you want to demolish an old house that will cost more to renovate than rebuild, you probably cannot do so anymore

We expect some favorable amendments to be offered to the interim measures requiring a majority vote of the property owners to opt in for the "community protection measures" rather than a decision of those that may have attended a meeting of the Homeowners Association. You need to attend the Planning Commission meeting in support of this amendment.

You should also plan to attend the Public Hearing before City Council on January 16, 2008 at 10:00 am. This may be the last chance you get to speak for yourself and your investments.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Party of the Year, Every Year...

Tonight holds one of the most fun events that Columbia has to offer. The Junior League of Columbia blasts off their annual Holiday Market via the incredibly popular Preview Party.

The Preview Party serves as the venue where all that attend bring out their best.

I know we have Gamecock tailgating, St. Patrick's Day, The Carolina Cup, Governor's Gala's, etc., but this seems to serve as an outlet where some of Columbia's hardest working women get to have "their night." Perhaps the best part about it is that the men support them, and then some.

More people know one another at The Preview Party than any other event that I have attended in Columbia. I dare anyone to try to move more than 20 feet for a drink or a catfish bite without giving someone a hug or shaking a hand.

Once again, this year's chairs (Tracy and Linda) seem to have done an incredible job. You and your committee are a great microcosm of why The Junior League is so successful in all of it's endeavors. Congratulations! The building looks great!

See you in a few hours!!!

Friday, November 23, 2007

USC/CLEMSON: First Game of Season?

Should Carolina/Clemson be the first game of the season?
This thought may not sit well with many people, but it may be worth taking a good look. In time, the move actually may act as a pioneer among rivalries.

I bring this up as a strategic move for both programs. Given the way teams move up and down the polls in the BCS era, if a team is going to lose, it is far better to lose early. Having said this, one never knows how a rivalry game is going to end up. If we play the "Big Game" early, it will only help both programs (obviously the loser), to get that loss out of the way. I recognize that for this strategy to even matter, one or both team's records have to be worth a flip. I'm just setting up a good situation for both teams, if one or both had outstanding records.

If "buildup" is the dilemma, I can't imagine anymore anticipation than 8 months of no college football, only to be "kicked off" by Clemson/Carolina.

Think about it. Here we sit with deflated Clemson fans (from last week's loss) and disappointed USC fans (it started w/loss to Vandy), half heartedly cruising to Williams-Brice to play this game. What I'm getting at is, there isn't much hype this year for this rivalry game, and there is a reason for this. Conversely, if this game were the first one of the year, it would be HUGE every year by default.

At the very least this idea warrants some discussion and at most I think a "first week" Carolina/Clemson game would be followed by other rivalry games.

How about a 3 year pilot run?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Travel Season Begins...

Well, the statewide traveling season began today.

If you are like me, you will crisscross South Carolina's web of asphalt to see your many family members for Thanksgiving. I hope all of you have a great time hanging out with your inlaws and/or old high school buddies.

I think it's cool to see buddies at different gas stations or rest stops as we all travel to our different hometowns. For me, the most popular station without fail is the one at the "Big" Clinton exit (where 385 splits off from I-26). You all know it well. Its the one with the dueling Waffle Houses.

Anyway, I'm halfway to Anderson at the moment (in Clinton). Jenna and I hope to be back in Columbia on Friday afternoon (so I can show a house). That will give us all of Saturday to devote to USC/Clemson!!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

"5th Highest Year on Record..."


Below is part of a press release that was distributed not too long ago. I only posted the last 3 paragraphs of the release, because I thought the rest would only be interesting to Realtors. Although Columbia is not mentioned, I sure am glad to know that most of the Midlands is holding steady! Rock Hill is still on fire.... FJ

In 2007, the Rock Hill area (+16.6%) continues to lead the state in growth, while the Myrtle Beach area (-28.9%) and Beaufort (-24%) reported the largest sales declines. The Hilton Head Area (+7.8%) reported positive sales growth in the third quarter for the first time this year. Year to date sales in the Hilton Head area are only 5% below 2006 levels, a significant improvement from the first quarter of the year.

“Especially in the unique markets of South Carolina, all real estate is local. It’s important to consult a Realtor, because market conditions can vary from one neighborhood to the next and from month to month,” Kremydas said.

According to Kremydas, 2007 is on track to be the fifth highest year on record for existing-home sales in South Carolina and nationwide. “Although sales are off from the peak in 2005, there is a historically high level of home sales taking place this year – one out of every 16 American households is buying a home this year.“

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Zemp kicks winning field goal as Skyhawks rally by forcing two late fumbles
By JOHN DEVLIN - Special to The State

For full coverage, visit


Historic Designations...

This is a combination of two stories in The State regarding Historic designations. My mom is not going to be happy to know that her generation of houses are now deemed "Historic." FJ

For '50s Style, Still Happy Days
Columbia neighborhood enjoying the prestige that comes with a spot on National Register
In 1925, the streets of Forest Hills were laid out by a landscape designer, so they wind and cross at unexpected turns on slopes shaded by evergreens.

HISTORIC DISTRICTS: Columbia neighborhoods

Forest Hills is the latest Columbia neighborhood to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The others are:

• Columbia Historic District, including Arsenal Hill and the Governor’s Mansion

• Columbia Historic District II, including the Robert Mills House, Hampton-Preston Mansion, Seibels House and Woodrow Wilson Boyhood Home

• Old Campus District at the University of South Carolina, including the Horseshoe

• West Gervais Street Historic District

• Allen University Historic District

• Elmwood Park Historic District

• Waverly Historic District

• Benedict College Historic District

• Granby Mill Village Historic District

• Bellevue Historic District, also known as Cotton Town

• Old Shandon Historic District

• University Neighborhood Historic District

SOURCE: S. C. Department of Archives and History

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

ACC Trumps SEC... in Home Pricing

Boston, Mass. helps the ACC double up on the SEC in a recent study.

Coldwell Banker Performed a College Market Analysis for homes in the communities of 119 Division 1A schools. The model home used was a 2,220 sq. ft. home with 4 bedrooms/2.5 baths w/ a family room and a 2 car garage.

Muncie, Indiana (Home of Ball State University) is the most affordable college town to live in with a $150,000 average price for the model home. For the third straight year, the home of Stanford University is the most expensive. Palo Alto, California's average price for the home is $1,677,000.00

Below are the rankings for the SEC and ACC respectively. I didn't think that my readers would be interested in all of the rankings, so I kept it local. Remember, the average price reflects the town/city that the school helps populate. You will have to know the proper city that corresponds with the school to fully appreciate the list.

Recognize that the ACC's entire average is almost double that of the SEC's. This is mainly because of Boston and Miami. Boston College is #2 in the entire country, behind #1 Stanford.

You will quickly notice that in both conferences, the South Carolina schools rank least expensive. I must admit, I'm a little surprised that Columbia and Clemson didn't bring a higher dollar amount than some of the other rural towns on the list. I'm guessing that the only reason that Clemson (which is in Pickens County) topped the $200,000.00 mark, is because of the nice homes on Lake Hartwell, which is a pretty hot lake to live on...

Southeastern Conference - 2007 Avg. Price
University of South Carolina - $198,967
University of Tennessee - $202,450
Mississippi State University - $220,767
University of Kentucky - $234,500
Vanderbilt University - $238,333
University of Alabama - $241,333
University of Georgia - $248,633
Louisiana State University - $250,444
University of Arkansas - $252,950
University of Mississippi - $276,750
Auburn University - $282,600
University of Florida - $305,750
Conference Average Price $246,123

Atlantic Coast Conference - 2007 Avg. Price
Clemson University - $219,600
Wake Forest University - $228,900
Duke University - $229,900
North Carolina State University - $238,000
Virginia Tech University - $292,250
Georgia Tech University - $324,000
Florida State University - $354,538
University of Virginia - $374,080
University of North Carolina - $387,808
University of Maryland - $428,750
University of Miami - $638,333
Boston College - $1,381,250
Conference Average Price $424,784

I think two stats are incredibly interesting: 1) That prices in Gainsville (#1 in the SEC) wouldn't even make the top half of the ACC. 2) That the cities that house Arkansas, Ole Miss and Auburn have higher home prices than Winston Salem, Durham and Chapel Hill. Interesting, to say the least...

Monday, November 5, 2007

Watch Your Squirrel...

"A squirrel is to a home's chimney, as a mouse is to an elephant's trunk." FJ This is now first hand knowledge...

A chimney sweep took a look at our chimney and lo and behold, he found some blockage. A 20 pound squirrel's nest to be more specific. A 20 POUND NEST IN OUR CHIMNEY!!!!!!! Jenna said that he pulled 3 big bags worth of crap out of our chimney. We were all stunned.

In our case, it isn't the "chimney" that vents a fireplace. This is the chimney that many of us have that vents the furnace to the outside. In short, our house almost burned down because of a gigantic nest. The blockage was forcing the heat back down into the furnace, which is in the basement. Oooooof.

I will be doing more of 1 or 2 things from now on: 1) Attempting to have the HVAC company inspect chimneys during the standard HVAC inspection. 2) Have a chimney inspection during the 10 day "inspection" period. Either way, this was a learning experience...

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Free "Song of the Day" Codes

As most of you know, Starbucks and iTunes have partnered to bring you a free "Song of the Day." I didn't pay much attention to the promotion until my wife called and asked me to pick up the song of the day. Since I'm in Starbucks so much, I thought I would pick up one every day and throw the songs on the blog. Some of my buddies have started giving me the cards too.

To download your free song on iTunes:
1. Go to
2. Click iTunes Store
3. Click Redeem
4. Enter one of the codes below. Your download should start immediately.

I will try to keep up with the promotion by putting new codes on as I get them. You have until 12/31/07 to download the songs. Each code only works once, so it's a first come, first serve situation.

Try to "Comment" on which code you used so other readers don't waste their time punching in used numbers/letters.









Saturday, October 27, 2007

"Dear Media: No More Negative Spins!"

This is an email I received from a state house operative. His thoughts mirror mine, in regards to The State's headlines attempt to sensationalize a condition in order to sell a few papers. My thoughts immediatley follow Nick's in the Post directly below. FJ

Dear Franklin,

In an attempt to shock its readers into buying newspapers, editors at The State Newspaper fabricated a sensational headline. Wednesday's readers saw "Home sales plunge" stretched across the front page above the fold.

However, immediately below the banner, the article explains, "sellers appear to be holding out for the asking price they want . . . prices rose close to 6 percent . . . for the year, however, the slide pushed Columbia's market slightly below sales in 2006."

If that isn't enough to prove sensationalism, another article titled "Housing stable in Columbia area" appeared in the paper on THE SAME DAY! Its time for our news media to stop creating stories where there are none. Its time to stop running alarmist headlines that 'shock and awe' readers but are not supported by facts.

We all know the facts behind this so-called "Housing Slump." After years of booming sales, markets across the country are correcting. Each local market is correcting in its own way.

SC REALTORS® is developing a response to The State's most recent sales tactics. We're urging REALTORS® across the state to contact the editor of your local newspaper and explain what's really happening in your hometown.

Nick Kremydas, CEO

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Newspaper Sales Must Be Awful!!!

"HOME SALES PLUNGE" - This is the front page, above the fold headline we saw the other day. If you saw it, you noticed that the font size would rival "DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN." If memory serves, I think The State even spent the money to put a red background behind the font for emphasis. At the end it reads, "See Business, Page B9."

"HOUSING MARKET COOLS BUT IS STABLE" - This is what we found when we searched for "See Business, Page B9."

Good grief! Need sales??? I heard a pretty good quote today. One of my buddies said, "People in Columbia don't read The State for news. They only read The State because they live here."

Of course, I thought about it for a moment before I found myself shaking my head. I hope and wish that this were not true, but it seems like this statement may be right on the money. I read and defend The State regularly, but sometimes it seems like The State would like to peddle a few papers at the expense of the well being of the community it "covers."

Since Columbia's market is "stable," this is an opportunity for our area to shine. At least for our community and at best for the sake of economic development, "our newspaper" should not sensationalize a headline of doom for more quarters in their machines (or at Starbucks).

As a Columbia resident, I shake my head as I type...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wheeler Hill is Getting Hotter!

Go Wheeler Hill!

As we all read in The State today, Wheeler Hill is about to get a face lift. This already awesome neighborhood is about to get better.

Wheeler Hill is full of "city homes" that have all of the modern amenities and square footage without the burden of a big yard. Although not for everyone, this is obviously a dream for some Columbia residents. Actually, the project that I blogged about last is just across Wheat St. from Wheeler Hill (towards Wales Garden). So the area is going to enjoy more of an upgrade than The State reported.

I often tell people that the best interior Columbia home that I've seen is "Andre's house" (now it is being called "Lowell's house," as it was recently purchased by one of Jolie Magazine's "Most Eligible Bachelors," Lowell Bernstein). As sad as it is for the family who lived there, no one will be happier to see the "blue house" go. As the blue house sits now you can jump onto the roof from Lowell's house. Lowell's house, along with a few others, should enjoy some sort of instant equity bump when the blue one is razed.

Also, one of the nicest homes I've ever sold and/or listed is in Wheeler Hill (it's on the market now, on Phelps). The bathroom is like something you would see in Vegas (that's what they tell me. The Venetian, more accurately). It really is a great master suite.

Congratulations to this neighborhood. It sounds like it's been a long time in the making.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

I Need a Name...


A big event happened today. I (along with a partner) bought a great piece of property at the crossroads of Wales Garden and Wheeler Hill. These 4 "quads" are on Wheat St. and are going to be converted into very well priced condos. I will give everyone the details later so stay tuned. The best part about the project is that our price points are going to be low and that the location is unbeatable.

What I need for everyone to be thinking about now is what to name the project. There are tons of names that we can pull from because of the location. It is technically in Wales Garden (per survey) and across the street from Wheeler Hill. To make matters better, it is on Wheat Street and surrounded by USC. Further still, the first address of the property is 1801, the same year that USC was founded. We can take advantage of any of these terms and create a great name for the project.

Put your thinking caps on and help me name the project. The name of the corporation is University Partners, Inc.

Thank You!!!

Friday, October 12, 2007

We Should Expect Articles Like This...

Hardin: Gamecocks to bring their own brand of football Thursday, Oct. 11, 2007 3:00 am

When: 3:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Kenan Stadium, Chapel Hill
Records: South Carolina 5-1; North Carolina 2-4
Tickets: Sold out

Big-time football will be thrust upon North Carolina this weekend. South Carolina comes to Chapel Hill.

The memories will wash over some of us. Others will be in denial. But there was a time in this state when football was still on a level with basketball and we could dream of 80,000-seat stadiums and national television, a time when the football scores would scroll across the screen of the "Prudential College Scoreboard" and chills would roll across your body as you anticipated the outcome from far-flung places.

They all seem close now, the places that seemed so distant then. Clemson and Athens, Oxford and College Station, Gainesville and Norman. They evoked something that's gone now, replaced by cable and wireless and flat-screen reality. The whole world was flat then, football was king and Columbia, S.C., was hell on earth.

That's all gone now. South Carolina comes to Chapel Hill this weekend, and the Gamecocks will descend on us like a plague. Some of us will see the waves of garnet and black and remember how it could have been. Most of us will have no idea what we're seeing.

Say what you will about South Carolinians and their strange affinity with a game we still struggle to comprehend here north of the border, but the truth is plain and painful to all those who would make this an argument. The uppity Gamecocks are ranked seventh in the nation and will bring a slew of people to Saturday's game, people who understand college football the way we understand basketball, people who back the Gamecocks win or lose, people who hate Clemson more than is healthy and once hated North Carolina the same way.

Well, not quite the same way. The rivalry between Clemson and South Carolina is something we don't have in this state. Take our greatest basketball rivalry, Duke vs. Carolina, and multiply to an unhealthy level and you'll understand the Clemson-USC enmity. Maybe.

After 1971, when South Carolina bolted the ACC in indignation over SAT scores and the perceived bias toward the Big Four schools, a wall was built between Columbia and the state line. Friendships were strained. Longtime relationships ended. Traditions were tossed aside.

Things were never the same again. South Carolina turned its full attention to football, built dorms and decks and shrines to a game that brought attention and expectations and a Heisman Trophy to the Gamecocks. North Carolina lost Bill Dooley, then lost its zeal, eventually paving over prime tailgating areas and building things like hospital wings and classrooms and a big basketball arena.

And then Mike Jordan came to town and football all but died.

Now we watch South Carolina on the flat screen, watch the Gamecocks playing on national television before 80,000 screaming zealots, playing games of national significance in another conference, in another realm. Some of us roll our eyes and mock the energy of a program that wants so badly to win a national title, wants it more than any other program in America.

Now we see them rolling across the highways, flags flapping from black and garnet cars, a devotion to football that we understand only because of our devotion to basketball.

They used to drive up here and complain the whole way. There was no good way to get from Columbia to Chapel Hill.

The kids would come in on Friday night, and Franklin Street would be raucous as student bodies from North and South Carolina partied the way football rivals used to party in this state. Then on Saturday morning, the multitudes would walk through the pines to a beautiful football stadium and renew a rivalry that dated to 1903.

This weekend, the rivalry will resume after pausing for the better part of a generation. The schools haven't met since 1991, the year South Carolina joined the Southeastern Conference and ended any dream that the Gamecocks could return to the ACC and rejoin the league it so naturally fit.

That can never happen now. Too much has happened in the interim, too many friendships strained, too many relationships ended, too many walls built. North and South Carolina parted ways in 1971, the Tar Heels chasing basketball dreams and the Gamecocks chasing a football dream that has brought them more pain than we can ever imagine.

But that's what we always loved and hated them for. Even their basketball teams played tackle in those days.

In 2000, the Gamecocks played a home game against New Mexico State that attracted little attention outside Columbia. It was the first game of the season, so no one else in the nation noticed. They won 31-0. The kids tore down the goal posts that night. They had lost 21 straight games, and yet 81,000 people were inside Williams-Brice Stadium.

Big-time college football is coming back to Chapel Hill this weekend. South Carolina is coming to town.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

WHAT?! Am I in Bizarro World??

Risky market attracting fewer Realtors
By PAGE IVEY - The Associated Press

"Columbia, Greenville and other inland areas saw small gains year-to-year."

This is a sentence in a rather large article that was in The State Newspaper today. Finally, someone printed that "Columbia...saw small gains year-to-year." It's about time!!! Jeesh. Here we sit in the middle of an opportunity for Columbia to shine, and all I see are headlines of doom and gloom. I am glad to see that (however small the blurb) The State finally printed something good about Columbia's real estate market. It is disturbing that it took an AP reporter to do it. Good for you Page Ivey!

To get to the crux of the article, I can certainly see why some folks are hesitant to become Realtors. Good market or bad, it is a grinding profession. Although I happen to love it, being a Realtor is not for everyone.

There are about 2,300 Realtors in the Greater Columbia Metro area (some call it The Riverbanks Region). A recruiter from another company told me that the Top 200 Realtors (in production) do 50% of all of the business. That leaves the rest to be split up between 2,100 Realtors. Yikes! That's enough to give anyone second thoughts about becoming a Realtor.

Having said that, I encourage anyone to get in "the game." I have said many times, "What if my grandaddy (Leon Jones) had never opened his own agency, because there were too many insurance agents." To heck with that. As long as you "go get yours," you will be fine. Remember that you don't have to be the biggest in town immediately. In sales, you just need to keep getting "yours," and growth will take care of itself. I hope the lady featured in the article can reach her 1st year goal of $50,000.

If you're ready to take a leap, jump on in!

Friday, October 5, 2007

We May Have a Top 10 Team!!!

We had a big time, in the ole' town tonight.

After being trapped under tents for about 30 minutes due to a mini-monsoon, Gamecock Nation made its way to Williams-Brice to cut some Top 10 Kentucky a**.

When the rain let up, most of us were drenched. My soaked britches probably added 10 lbs to my weight. I don't remember it raining like that before a game since my freshman year. That game against East Carolina was unreal. It downpoured the whole time.

To heck with all of that, though. We may be breaking the Top 10!!! Dare we say that we may be going into Tennessee sniffing the Top 5?

A win like this is great. Not only for football purposes, but because Columbia seems to get a little "pep in its step" for a few days after the Gamecocks win. Even though we were all out late (that's the price of hosting Thursday night football), Columbia should be spinning right now!

P.S. Everyone that owns a Cockominium or a Parking Spot may have enjoyed a little equity boost tonight... Nice!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


Below is a Post from an active South Carolina political blogger. It's a good read, and has pretty accurate input on what's going on in the statehouse regarding the issues facing the advancment of homeownership, property protection, etc. FJ
P.S. I liked his picture, so I used it...

FITSNews Exclusive - S.C. Realtors Carrying A Big Stick September 27, 2007
Posted by fitsnews in SC Politics.

FITSNews – September 27, 2007 – Backed by a growing political war chest likely to top the $2.4 million mark by the time the November 2008 elections roll around, you’ll forgive S.C. Realtors CEO Nick Kremydas for speaking his mind on a few things.

“We’re kidding ourselves if we think we’re moving our state forward in any kind of positive direction right now,” he said during an exclusive interview with FITSNews. “We’ve been spinning our wheels for five years.”

Kremydas, who runs arguably the most powerful grassroots organization in South Carolina, has taken steps in recent months to make it even stronger. His 23,000-strong association of realtors, which promotes home ownership, property protection and other quality of life issues, had already budgeted $1 million toward issues advocacy efforts for the 2008 election cycle, a figure its board recently agreed to double. That’s $2 million – before you even get to the $400,000 the group’s political action committee currently has on hand.

“Money doesn’t translate into political clout unless you spend it the right way,” Kremydas says. “Not only are we actively recruiting candidates, we’re also going to be endorsing candidates, giving PAC contributions and considerably expanding our issues advocacy efforts.”

So what’s behind this mountain of money?

According to Kremydas, the Realtors are hoping to encourage the passage of a property owner protection act, a measure which passed the S.C. House of Representatives last year but failed to make its way out of the State Senate.

“The big doughnut hole is legislation protecting private property owners,” he says. “The House has delivered, the Senate has not.”

The group is also hoping to encourage alternatives to impact fees at the local level, looking to expand market-based approaches to development (such as priority investment areas) and pushing for a broad swath of other pro-business reforms that Kremydas says will encourage higher income levels and increased home ownership.

“There are candidates openly running on no-growth or anti-growth platforms,” Kremydas says. “That’s not healthy. We don’t stand a chance to compete as a state like that. We’re not a ‘growth-at-all-costs’ association, but when you start tacking $20,000 or $30,000 fees on a new home you’re basically taxing people out of their ability to achieve the American dream.”

South Carolina’s average new home price last year was $127,000, Kremydas says.

Legislators who spoke with FITSNews said they appreciated the need to approach growth issues from a collaborative perspective.

“If you look at what’s going on in the mortgage industry and the sub-prime market, clearly home ownership is what drives the economy,” says State Rep. Nathan Ballentine. “There’s a balance that needs to be struck, obviously, but you don’t want to cut off a key economic driver.”

Given a shared goal of enhanced economic competitiveness, Kremydas seemed to indicate under questioning that his group’s ramped-up political activities could dovetail at some point with the efforts of groups like Reform SC, the SC Club for Growth and South Carolinians for Responsible Government.

“I’m sure our paths will cross at certain points, but we’re an independent group,” he said.

So will the Realtors get involved in next year’s GOP primaries?

“I definitely see us getting involved anywhere incumbent Republicans as well as Democrats haven’t had a great track record on housing issues,” Kremydas said, although he declined to single out any specific incumbents that might be targeted.

“We’re also going to continue doing what we’ve always done, which is refrain from negative attacks and focus on the importance of promoting home ownership and protecting property owners,” he says. “In addition to promoting the industry, we’re also promoting communities.”

And just what impact will the realtors’ massive cash infusion have on the 2008 races?

“I think a lot of it will be spent making sure that incumbents stay in line,” said Winthrop University political scientist Scott Huffmon. “On the other hand, if they’ve done their homework and determined that someone has consistently voted against their interests, they’ll go after that person. And if that person happens to be someone who’s been branded by (FITSNews) and others as a RINO, it represents a pretty formidable challenge to their reelection.”

“Businesses interests have a way of overlapping, but they’re also often in conflict,” Huffmon cautioned. “The thing to remember about this type of advocacy group is that their interests are always much narrower than those of more ideological groups.”

Thursday, September 27, 2007


Sorry I haven't blogged in a while. We've been swamped!!! So you will know some of the market action.... Laurel Springs is under contract, Forest Dr. went under contract (need one more initial) this week, Belmont sold tonight, Springhill/Atascadero and Sandwood close tomorrow, Shropshire closes tomorrow, Brennan closes on Fri., Shirley may close next week, Woodhill Estates condo closes 10/10, Wheat quads should close within 2 weeks and offers went in on Heatherwood and York Dr. tonight.

I'll have to wait and throw a new Post up this weekend or Monday. We have not been home before 8:00 once this week. Tonight, I walked through the door at about 9:45. OOOOOooooooooof! My treadmill and tennis time are thrown out the window!!! Not good for fella' trying to lose a few lbs! Keeping everyone happy trumps everything though, and I hope to be back next week.

Keep the referrals coming!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Thanks Bunni and Jay!!!

OK, I'm officially impressed with Hilton Head. We had a big time...

Getting acquainted to the island took some time. For example, it took about an hour to find a Starbucks! Zoinks!!?? All of the stores are hidden with deep vegetation and all of the signage is incredibly low. Of course, after such time had elapsed, I ordered two! After the first few hours of getting to know the island, we had a routine going and loved it.

For dinner, we ate at 211 Park and Red Fish. Both were fantastic. They both reminded me of Mr. Friendly's for some reason. I may be way off, but they both seemed to have the "New Southern" thing going on, with a boatload of wine ready to be uncorked.

The golf that we chose was very nice, but very expensive. It was $165.00 for us to play 9 holes. Yes, 9. The Ocean Course at Sea Pines was great and all, but for that kind of money, I would love to see some marsh or ocean. It was nice, and it may just have been my cruddy slice (water to the right on the first 4 holes), but I would rather spend about half the money at the mega-plush Caledonia or super-scenic Pawley's Plantation. Maybe we'll try the courses recommended by Forge Ahead in my last Post.

We ended the weekend at South Beach and The Salty Dog. This is a very cool and very convenient place for vacationers. Everything anyone would want to do (beach, fish, golf, tennis, eat, sleep, pool, etc.) is "right there."

Jenna and I will certainly be going back to Hilton Head. I may even have to bring my brother and a jon boat... Thanks to Jay and Bunni for a great wedding present!

Thank you for keeping the calls, texts and emails to a minimum (sort of :-)). Back to Columbia, and back to work!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

REAL|TEAM Weekend Instructions...

OK everyone, Jenna and I are off to the beach again. I know the timing is not great, but our friends Jay and Bunni Hicks gave us their Hilton Head condo for the weekend as an awesome wedding present. It's going to serve as sort of a 2nd honeymoon for us. Yay!!! I've only been to HH once, almost 10 years ago...

Again, I know the timing is not great, as the REAL|TEAM has 7 closings scheduled for the 27th and 28th of this month. However, I can't do much about it as we had to choose a weekend back in March.

I should have wireless connection for the laptop. If I don't, I still have the Treo for email. If you need something and I can't respond immediately, you can call Amy at 467.0712 or email As most of you know, Amy sits right in front of me and knows everything that is going on with your deal. Furthermore, if you want to see a house, Amy or Caroline Milliken (422.1993 - cmilliken@cbunited) can pop a house open for you.

Thanks to everyone! Can anyone suggest good spots to eat, hang out and play golf?

Sertoma Club Throwing Huge Tailgate at Carolina Walk for USC vs. LSU !!!

Franklin! Pass this along if you will to your thousands of adoring fans. It’s an invitation to Sertoma’s Tailgate Party for the USC v LSU game this weekend. We want as many people there as possible.

This is a major fundraiser for us and any help would be greatly appreciated. Last year went well, but the response this year has been tremendous.

Where else can you find the game on 6 big screens and 1 jumbo screen, food from Carrabba’s, Sub Station II and Cromer’s, an open bar, music by The Root Doctors and door prizes – with all proceeds going to the local charities we’ve supported since 1950?

Tickets are available at all Jewelry Warehouse locations, online at and at the event Saturday. Prices are $30 for singles and 2 for $50.

Food Provided by Carrabba’s Music by The ROOT DOCTORS open bar

Tickets are available at the event on September 22, at all Jewelry Warehouse locations and online at
All tickets purchased online can be picked up at Carolina Walk on the day of the event.
The event will take place rain or shine. Carolina Walk is a covered facility.
This is a 21 and over event. No one under 21 will be admitted.

Hope to see you there compadre.

240-1213 cell

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The "M" Word Again...

Uhhh, ooh...The "M" word, again. This time, all of Richland Co. is involved.

Before I chime in with my own thoughts about this proposal, I need to find out what Mr. Jackson's purpose is. I will know soon. Stay tuned...

Read below. FJ

Call to Action to Stop Moratorium in Richland County

Richland County Councilman Norman Jackson has proposed a moratorium on all major developments in Richland County for the next three months. Jackson has defined a major development as "50 or more units".

The proposal will be forwarded to the Development and Services Committee for a vote as early as September 25th. Members of the Development and Services Committee include Bernice Scott, Joyce Dickerson, Val Hutchinson, Bill Malinowski and Norman Jackson who chairs the Committee.

Monday, September 10, 2007

5 Points on Steroids...?

Should we propose to the SEC that we play Georgia in Athens every year?! USC has a great set-up, but Athens may have Saturdays perfected. We seem to do better against the Bulldogs in Athens anyway!

Athens is 5 points on steroids. Restaurants, bars, nightclubs, students, alumni, guests galore. There is energy everywhere. To make matters even better, everyone seemed to feel safe during the entire weekend.

On game day, it's great because after hanging out with everyone downtown, people just walk straight to the stadium. After the game, fans just walk back downtown. Very cool. Furhtermore, there is no driving for visitors, just $5 cab rides home when you're ready. Sure, there are many "campus" stadiums out there, but I'll bet there aren't many that compare to this overall atmosphere.

Two possible negative thoughts about Athens.
1) When the team enters the stadium, it is reminiscent of high school days. It's neat and all, but it doesn't have the effect of UT's "Power T," Clemson's Hill or USC's "2001". Not even close. Running through the banner just doesn't get it, when put in the awesome scale of everything else UGA has going on.
2) My buddy Stephen pointed this out. When a student graduates from UGA, he/she almost MUST leave the town that they have grown to love. At Carolina, we all have the opportunity to stay, live and work with some of the greatest friends we could ever have. We are one big mesh of former USC graduates, and we love it. To be sure, one can certainly leave and thrive elsewhere, but at least we have the option.

What a college town, and what a great trip. The victory was cool too. I will be going back to Athens.