Sunday, April 27, 2008

S.C. is for Teachers; State Makes Money Available to Teachers For Housing

South Carolina Lures Teachers to the State with Generous Housing Assistance.

The State Housing Authority is making $20 million available for home loans to new teachers. The loans carry a 5.9 percent interest rate. The state expects to offer about 175 loans this year.

The program also includes down payment assistance of up to $7,000 for teachers making less than 80 percent of the county's median income, assistance that will be forgiven if they stay in the home for five years.

Teachers can get the loans, which have a maximum between $180,000 and $240,000, from more than 200 lenders around the state.

What a great tool! If you are a new teacher, or know a new (or soon to be) new teacher in South Carolina, we need to set you up for this new loan program. If interested, call or email me. I'll help find you a participating lender...

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Columbia, SC Ranks 9th! Nice....

Columbia Ranks Ninth in the Nation for Job Growth
Apr 15, 2008

COLUMBIA, SC - April 15, 2008 - Job growth in the United States has slipped significantly from 1.0% annual growth six months ago, to a 0.4% year-over-year growth according to March 2008 data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Even in a time of economic slowdown, many cities are still posting significant job growth.

The top three cities for job growth for the year ending February 2008 were Raleigh, NC (3.9%), Houston, TX (3.4%) and Greenville, SC (2.9%), while Charleston, SC (2.1%) ranked sixth and Columbia, SC (1.9%) ranked ninth in the nation for job growth.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Are You "Buying It?" Upstate S.C. Markets Itself...

Buying the Upstate
In a new ad campaign, REALTORS and Builders are promoting the strong and steady market of the upstate.

Hmmm... Very interesting. It looks like the upstate is proactivly taking on the media. Although it's not the greatest looking ad campaign ever constructed, at least its something.

Since The State Newspaper is owned by a conglomerate, we are forced to read about the doom and gloom of the nation's real estate market, without enjoying the benefit of more local reporting. Many people will read a national article, and instantly relate it to Columbia's market.

Perhaps Columbia should take a page from Greenville's playbook.

Monday, April 21, 2008

5 Points; Welcome to 2008..

Is the Kenny's Garage Tower Project Good for Columbia?

In case you missed it, the picture above is an architectural rendering of what will be built on the former Kenny's Garage site. Is this is a good thing for 5 Points? Hmmmm....

On the surface, I think it will be a positive addition. I know that some folks may think that it doesn't "fit" with the 5 Points theme of local shops and bars. It will certainly "stick out" among the one and two story structures that make up our beloved signature USC playground. With all of this in mind, I think that the project is an overall gain.

If someone can think of a better idea, bring it. At the moment, this is the "highest and best use" of this piece of real estate.

Congratulations Columbia. 5 Points may experience a private investment project, that is up to speed with this millennium.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

New Kings Grant Home Is For Sale...

This King's Grant home is on Point Comfort. It features 4 bedrooms and 2.5 baths, and is ready to move in. It also has a nice size screened porch, as well as a deck.

The asking price is going to be $575,000.

Monday, April 14, 2008

April 15; Extention Time, or a Better Idea?

April 15; The Day to Show Off Your Income, Reflect on Freedom...or Complain. I Choose to Brainstorm...
Tomorrow is our big day. It's the day that we put our money where our mouths are. In America, we can vote, open a business and cheer for our Olympic Team every two years. To enjoy this freedom, opportunity and national pride, we have to annually pull out our checkbooks. Well, even though we live in the greatest nation the earth has ever known, this process still sorta sucks. There must be a better way.

Having said this, many of us think we have ideas that are better than our current national tax system. I will save my thoughts for a better national system for another Post. I will however, expand on a thought regarding South Carolina's small business system of paying taxes.

As we all know, most South Carolinians have our taxes paid for us from paycheck to paycheck. Most workers in the Palmetto State have their taxes "taken out" of every paycheck. On a side note, I've often heard that more folks would "revolt," if they received their entire wage, and have to "write a check" (as small business owners do) on April 15th. There is just something different about having to "write that check" in April. Everyone would "feel the pain," and question our current system more often. Who knows, this may spur a great idea from someone who otherwise wouldn't have even thought there was a problem.

I don't know the consequences, but I wonder what would happen if small and micro-businesses could opt to pay their taxes every two to three years, instead of annually. On the surface, I would argue that a small business would be able to grow at a much more rapid pace, if they were able to do this.

To be able to use that same money to advertise, buy equipment or hire new employees, would be a great tool in today's economic environment. Consequently, if a business opted to take this route, the business would be volunteering themselves, to be monitored very closely, so that things don't "get out of control."

What a great tool this could be. On a personal note (as a Realtor), I could use this money to expand in many ways, only to have a better chance to be more successful. If I am more successful, I am going to owe even more taxes, just at a later date.

Who knows, we could be the first state in the nation to adopt such a program. If so, we could market this and subsequently, recruit a plethora of entrepreneurs. We could then truly brand ourselves as the state that's "Open For Business."

April 7 - 13, 2008

>>Columbia's Newest Real Estate Listings...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Condo's, or Townhomes? Hmmmm...

This place is just freakin' cool...

My buddy Stephen took me to Augusta National yesterday. Growing up in Anderson and living in Columbia for so long, it's odd to most that I've never been to The Masters. Well, I have now...and it is beautiful.

One of the most amazing things to me, is not the course itself. I couldn't believe that such a world famous landmark and immaculate place, is smack dab in the middle of something that looks like Decker Blvd. It seemed like we parked at the former Olive Garden on Decker, walked a few blocks and strolled by the almost vacant strip mall. You know the one. It's the one with the satellite DMV as its only tenant. The difference is, when we took a left and entered the gates of the course, the whole world changed. When our badges were scanned, we found ourselves in an old southern, green and lush paradise. It was almost odd, but awesome.

Nevertheless, I was impressed with the course. I immediatley began looking for places to put condo's or townhouses. Of course, I recognize that if I blurted my thoughts out loud, I may find a 3 wood lodged in my nasal cavity, and banned from the area for life.

In all, I enjoyed the day and hope to visit again soon. We are lucky that Columbia is so close to such an event.

Go Tiger....

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Teen Wolf Seen At Carolina Cup

Amount of LaRoque Dresses Seen? ZERO

GOOD GRIEF!!! My good friend Allison Farrell (girl in pic) decided to surprise me on FaceBook today with this picture. I had to do a double take, actually a triple take. Actually, I had to ask her if it was me.

Judging from the tie and hair (helmet), this pic was taken around '94-'96. I remember the tie because it's the one I wore during the monsoon game when USC played East Carolina. I was SO mad that the tie was pretty much ruined in that rain. The stadium was totally flooded. It was awful at the time, but I guess made for a good story. After about a year of drying and flattening out, I wore it a good bit when I ran for the state house in '96.

The hair makes me shake my head...and wince. I guess my hairline today(in picture on top of page) is a result of using gobs of mousse (WhiteRain, I think) AND AquaNet. If you don't remember, AquaNet was the equivalent of Ramen Noodles (another favorite of the time). You could get a ton of both, for about 14 cents.

Shoot, with all of that hair, maybe I should do like other Realtors, and use a 12 year old picture on my marketing pieces. Well, maybe not....

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

GO VOTE, COLUMBIA !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Gergel vs. Boyer - Rickenmann vs. Runyon - Beer and Liquor on Sundays...I don't have time to elaborate my thoughts regarding who I think should serve Columbia on City Council. After a church playoff basketball game (we won) at 8, a fantasy baseball draft from 9 - 11:30 and after getting home from driving around with a buddy that was hanging political signs around 2 a.m., I think I'm done for the night.

On Tuesday many of you get to vote for who will serve on Columbia's City Council. If you live in Columbia's city limits, you will vote in the "at-large" election, which has Cameron Runyon, challenging incumbent Daniel Rickenmann. If you live in Columbia's District 3, you get to decide between Brian Boyer and Belinda Gergel. Both races have candidates that are really going for it.

You will also be asked if you think that Columbia should allow beer/liquor sales on Sunday. This subject may carry the day, as it may lure more pushed buttons or more "chad hangers" than the council races.

Either way, GO VOTE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!