Monday, December 22, 2008

N.Y. Times Says Columbia is "Reeling"

New York Times Uses Columbia as National Model

On Monday, The New York Times used Columbia, SC as the perfect microcosm for the U.S. economy. >>The article is not good, and the headline is worse.

It's intent may or may not be true, but the timing and manner the article was written was absolutely unfair. There are numerous examples of sensationalism, and even more examples of clever writing. Here are a few.

1. "A Reeling South Carolina City." - Of course Columbia isn't perfect, but I wouldn't think we're "REELING." Not only is this not flattering in a world that needs some positive thinking, but The Times put this as it's HEADLINE. Not just a headline mind you, but this is what America saw on the front page and Above The Fold! Some of us in Columbia may not think this is a big deal, but this is arguably the most read newspaper on earth. Just think of seeing this on every little wooden shelf in EVERY Starbucks in America...just to start. Oooooooooof.

2. "This is now an unfortunate distinction. Some 533,000 jobs disappeared from the economy in November, the worst month since 1974." - The way this reads to the average American, is that Columbia lost 533,000 jobs. You have to read the paragraph a few times to realize that the writer (Peter Goodman) is talking about U.S. numbers. If you know Columbia, you know this isn't possible...but this is the way it reads and it's wreckless writing at best.

3. The first project Mr. Goodman cites is the "redevelopment of N. Main St., a bedraggled corridor of hard-luck retailers that lacks sidewalks in many spots, with exposed power lines dipping down to cracked pavement." - I'm shaking my head right now. Everyone knows that as N. Main St. is part of Columbia, it is not "Columbia, SC". Although Mr. Goodman has some positive thoughts later on, to lead off with this example is irresponsible.

I'm fine with The Times using Columbia as a snapshot of the U.S. economy. What I'm not fine with is the fact that he writes how crappy the U.S. economy is, then uses the most challenged parts of our city as its examples.

If you read the rather long article, it basically paints a picture of him in line at a job fair at the State Fairgrounds and in the back seat of a car, as he rides down North Main Street.

We'll see if anyone steps up and defends our Columbia, or if we let the New York Times describe us with this "drive by" reporting.
I happen to believe that if Columbia, South Carolina is the perfect microcosm of the U.S. as a whole, we're gonna be o.k.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Be Prudent, Not Proud... Lock In.

Compete With Your Current Rate, Not Your Buddy...

Below is a piece written on Facebook by a friend of mine, who's a lender at Wachovia. He pretty much hits what I've been telling people all week, right on the head.

I've been telling people all week that they need to call their lender and "lock in." Even if you don't refinance or buy a house, at least lock in (because rates are in the 4%'s for Pete sakes) and evaluate what's best for you after you study your situation. I've learned from my lender friends that if you have the opportunity to reduce your rate about 2%, then you need to look hard into refinancing your mortgage.

Oddly, interest rates have become a competition among our friends. You shouldn't look at it like this. Just because someone has a rate .o2% better than you, don't feel like a loser. If it saves you money, you're the winner either way. Don't act like a Day Trader and obsess about it every hour, so you can beat your friends rate. This is not the goal. The goal is for you to save money every month, or over time.

As you shop, remember too that you probably won't be in your house for 30 years. You have to inject this into your cost/benefit analysis.

Email or text me if you need a list of lenders. I have a great group of lender partners that can help you.

Read below. It's good advice... FJ

From Nathan Ballentine:
Many of you have called for advice and I figured for everyone that's called there may be several sitting at home unaware of what they can do right now to help them and their family in these uncertain times.

What's amazing is that some folks are now "upset" that they can "ONLY" get 4.875%! Worse yet, some folks are even breaking locks and leaving lenders high-and-dry because they can get .125% lower at another lender because rates moved lower after they locked. Don't get me started on that.

If you're sitting on 6% fixed or higher, give a lender a call. If you have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage, give a lender a call. Sure, you can call me - it's my paying job at Wachovia Mortgage. If you don't call me, call SOMEONE.

Today alone, here's what some folks DID (and are doing at several places across the country):
(a) saving $100 - $300 a month
(b) dropping their rate but sending in the same payment and paying off loan 7 years earlier
(c) paying no money out of their pocket (rolling costs into new loan)

My advice:
1. Know approximate balance of what you owe, what your home is worth, and your credit score.
2. Be patient for a return call from your lender.
3. Have in mind "the rate" you want or "the payment savings" you want...and take action when you get that figure.
4. Don't spend all day shopping around. Every lender is busy and rates change frequently throughout the day. While you're shopping for that extra .125%, rates may go up.
5. Forget about it after you lock. Sure, rates may drop lower than your lock but my gosh...don't let a bird in the hand get away while you sit around waiting for two in the bush

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Auburn University Has a Problem

Reminds Me of Comments About USC's Strong
Below is a "Re-Blog" from a post from FitsNews. Fits is right when he says that Auburn has a public relations nightmare regarding their "non-hire."

I remember a few years ago when some of my buddies thought that Charlie Strong (former USC defensive coordinator), would never be the head coach of the Gamecocks because of the same issue. As I raised an eyebrow then, now Coach Strong is the defensive coordinator of the University of Florida...The team playing for the National Championship...AGAIN.

I know it's probably "not that simple" and that timing is everything, but I'm just thinking out loud here. Actually, I think Auburn had a knee jerk reaction to ONE bad season, and should have kept Tuberville.

If what my buddies said is true, the only reason the Gamecocks didn't experience what Auburn is going through is because USC had legends at the top (Holtz/Spurrier), instead of a coach with a 5-19 record.

Having said this, Coach Chizik can make it all go away. All he has to do is win. FJ

FitsNews - The University of Auburn and the Southeastern Conference are dealing with a public relations nightmare today after a highly-qualified African-American coach was passed over for the Tigers’ head coaching job, allegedly because he has a white wife.

Ordinarily we’re inclined to dismiss this sort of thing, but in this case it’s not just former Auburn standout Charles Barkley alleging racism at his Alma mater.

According to football writer Mark Schlabach, two SEC head football coaches told him that Buffalo’s Turner Gill would never get the Auburn job because he is married to a white woman.

You can watch that video report here.

Plus there’s the obvious question of qualifications.

Gill has transformed Buffalo’s football program from one of the nation’s worst to a bowl-eligible team in just three seasons. The Bulls won the Mid-American Championship this year, and in a twist of Alabama irony, he’s a finalist for the Paul “Bear” Bryant College Football Coach of the Year award.

Gene Chizik, the guy Auburn hired, went 5-19 in two seasons at Iowa State.

Hmmm …

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ummmmmm... WUT !????

I'm closing my laptop and going to the gym this very moment. Will blog later. Can't believe this picture.

Monday, December 15, 2008

600 N. King's Grant Dr. is For Sale

King's Grant House Hits Market This Week

This home boasts 3,570 sq. ft., has 4 or 5 bedrooms and is move in ready.

600 N. King's Grant has an open floor plan, granite/stainless kitchen and a large master suite. It also features an enormous screened porch, and a nice pool which now seems to be very much in demand. Further, it has an entire private bedroom suite that's "off" of the FROG. This room is perfect for guests as they can enjoy complete privacy.

From the street, this house is a little different from most in the neighborhood. I've heard more than once that it's a favorite KG house during Christmas time.

I'm proud to have it as part of my inventory. The home will be offered in the $600,000's.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

FJ Santa Visits Holiday Market '08

Some Kids Love Santa, Some Terrified...

This years Holiday Market was another big success. Kudo's to the Junior League of Columbia for kicking off another Christmas season in Columbia.

During the big week, I'm there many times. However, from Noon to 2pm on Saturday, I assume my duty and put on the big red suit. For two hours, I offer candy canes to everyone that comes through the front door.

It's quite an experiment to watch which children aggressively search for Santa, and which ones are incredibly passive. It's almost painful to watch the kids who are completely terrified by the sight of the red suit and beard.

Even though my jeans are drenched and my face itches, it's still a lot of fun. I'm flattered that The League extends the invitation.

I look forward to Holiday Market 2009. Maybe next year, the little fella in the 2nd picture above will warm up to FJ Santa. I sure hope so!!!

P.S. How cute is the little peanut in my left arm in the 1st pic?! :-)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Columbia's Newest Hotsheet

>>Click for Newest Listings; Nov. 21-Dec. 7, 2008

I know it's been a long time since I've posted the MLS's newest listings.

Since I bought an ad on Facebook regarding the Junior League's Holiday Market, I wanted to give it as much "blog time" as I could. Anyway, that's the reason for the lack of blog post's last week.

Thanks, and enjoy the latest Hotsheet info.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Holiday Market Starts Thursday

the Junior Leage of ColumbiaCatchphrase For the Week; "See You at Market!"

The vendors have arrived, decorations are up and parties are set for what proves to be another huge success for my favorite organization in the Midlands. Beginning Thursday 12/4/08, the Junior League of Columbia is ready for everyone to "Mix and Mingle" at their annual Holiday Market.

It's certainly "the place to be" in early December. It's also our best opportunity to support one of the (perhaps THE) hardest working, most philanthropic organizations in the Midlands. Further, it's fun to see people from all over South Carolina visit each other for the first time since last year's Market. I know Jenna and I will be there many times beginning on Wed. night (Preview Party).

Holiday Market is the trademark event for the Junior League of Columbia. These hard working women of our community deserve our support while they raise in excess of six figures from Thursday to Sunday. Of all of the sponsorship opportunities in the Midlands, this is my event of choice.

Click on the JLC logo above for schedules, info, etc.

See You at Market! :-)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Texting At Thanksgiving Table Pays Off

"Black Friday" Not Just For Storefront Retailers

Many small businesses tout the day after Thanksgiving serves as their biggest sales day of the year. In 2008, TeamFranklin gets to report the same results.

From Wednesday to Sunday, we closed a house in Wheeler Hill and put six "sides" together, as I spent the weekend at the beach with my family.

As One Rice Court closed on Wed, we had our listings on Wateree Ave., Westshire Ct., Hampton Leas Lane, and Pine Valley (not pictured) go "Under Contract" during the weekend. Three of the homes that are now "Pending" are pictured above.

Thanks to everyone that made this happen. Thank you for emailing and texting for information and counter offers, instead of having to speak on the phone. In all, we got it done.

You should have seen me texting/emailing under the Thanksgiving table. My grandmother and 15 others were a little perplexed with what I was doing, but it had to be done.

While all of this was going down, at least my wife was supportive. Now that Jenna understands the business, she was..."Let Him Use Those Thumbs!!!"

In all, I got in a little trouble. It was worth it. ;-)