Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wesley | Phil Keeping SC Politics Reel

Pub Politics: Fun Way To Follow State House Issues
A few months ago Wesley Donehue, argueably South Carolina's foremost political social media professional, introduced a 20 or 30 minute live show about cutting edge Internet tools and other cool stuff. About a month ago the show took a twist when Wesley (who is a Republican) invited Phil Bailey (Democrat) to join the program.

Wes and Phil meet almost every Thursday at a lively venue that's clearly a 'Happy Hour'. Lately they've had a good mix of reporters and different members of the state legislature. The show has become a freelance, no pressure round table discussion about what's going on in the statehouse.

Today's guest was Rep. Nathan Ballentine (R-Lexington/Richland). Nathan is also a mortgage professional with Wells-Fargo with whom some of my buyers use. Nathan does a good job for my clients. Further, he manages and balances his professional and public service duties, respectively.

Good for these guys for finding a fun way to bring small (but many times important) banter to a dead simple Internet platform.

Keep it going Wesley and Phil. I had fun sponsoring this week. Lets to do it again soon!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Prudence Is Worth More Than $8,000

Buyers Need To Be Prudent About Ticking Tax Credit
As a Realtor I'd love it if the federal government would extend the First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit again. I wouldn't be honest if I reported otherwise. Having said this, I'm encouraging my buyers to be very cautious as they make their purchasing decisions.

Since it doesn't look like the tax credit will be extended, I'm witnessing first time home buyers in a desperate frenzy to put a contract on almost anything they can find. After all, most of these buyers are young and have never received an $8,000 check in their lives.

I'm simply writing this post to remind my friends that signing up for a mortgage just to get a check may not be the most prudent action. To be sure, if the right home has been located and there's a good feeling, then go for it. However, if it doesn't 'feel' right and you're only throwing a contract on something for an $8,000 check, then you may want to step back a few paces and take a look at the bigger picture.

Good for my friends and clients that have taken advantage of the tax credit. Good for the those too, that recognize receiving an $8,000 check or credit may not trump the 30 year commitment that comes with it, if you can't comfortably make the monthly obligation.

Hopefully South Carolina will follow the lead of other states and introduce and/or expand a state home buyer credit. Presently we have the Palmetto Heroes Program, which is available to qualifying teachers and emergency first responders.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Both Candidates Bring Out Big Vote Counts
Columbia's residents went to the polls Tuesday and elected Steve Benjamin as the new mayor of the 'Famously Hot' city. Congratulations to Steve and all of the folks who worked on his campaign. I certainly hope he has a great tenure as our mayor.

I would be doing Kirkman Finlay a major disservice if I didn't extend him a congratulatory shout out. Kirkman and his campaign worked their tail bones off. My wife and I watched it with our own eyes as we live in Shandon, the "battleground" as the two vied for former Morrison voters.

Kirkman actually did more than work hard. He motivated a faction of folks that I haven't seen as political activists before. I don't know if Facebook has relaxed folk's political comfort level or if they felt a certain despise for Benjamin but for whatever reason a lot of my friends were fired up about this election. Kirkman will get credit for this.

Good for both of these guys. Obvious congrats to Steve and Kirkman just needs to remember that in a larger scope, some endeavors provide a win...even in loss.
(2 pics above provided by )

Monday, April 19, 2010

Spotless King's Grant Home is For Sale

At nearly 5,000 sq ft and five bedrooms, this spotless lowcountry-style stunner is sure to impress even the most particular purchasers.

This immaculate home shows like a model and features all first-class materials, electronics and appliances, including heart of pine flooring, custom lighting and sound system, thick granite, Kohler fixtures, etc.

The awesome kitchen is dominated by an enormous island/bar which flows perfectly into a 'keeping room' complete with wet bar, stone fireplace and copper sink.

The owner's suite is on the main level and contains what I call a 'dream bathroom'. Just off of the 'dream bath' is a huge closet that's sure to fit wardrobe needs of all sizes.

While everything listed above provides this home with perfect entertaining opportunities, the downstairs area takes it to another level. The wide-open space is huge and ready for large parties or poker nights. A wet bar complete with granite slab is in the corner ready to serve.

If you or anyone you know likes to live beautifully, this may be just the right place. I've been in a lot of homes in King's Grant and this is unquestionably one of the finest. At a price tag of $669,000, I challenge anyone to find a finer home.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Our Stats Contradict The State...Again

State Newspaper Reports Columbia Sales 'Slid Again'
A few days ago The State Newspaper published an article regarding a rise in home sales throughout South Carolina. Conversly, it's also reported that sales in Columbia has not fared as well as the other metro areas of The Palmetto State.

I can report from experience that "Columbia Home Sales" is a very broad term. If The State had the ability to paint with pinstripes rather than broad strokes, the picture would show that the intown market is stronger than the outskirts of the Midlands. What I'm saying is that downtown Columbia is "hooked" to broader sales reports.

Anyone that's been to my office knows that we work off of two whiteboards on one of our walls. The boards have our listings written in green while the homes Under Contract are written in blue. I counted them up today and presently we have 11 houses Under Contract.

I hope I'm not jinxing some of my sales but the three pictured above are Under Contract. I haven't put "Pending Contract" riders on the signs as the inspections are still forthcoming. Even so, they're good listings and am confident they'll close.

I'm glad for our state for experiencing an overall uptick in the market and I'm hopeful that Columbia's overall numbers will follow suit. I hope too that we can continue to stay ahead of the reported sales curve.

Given that my team manager and I have newborns, I'd be fibbing if I didn't admit that with sometimes my eyes feel like 20 lb. weights. Nevertheless, we know that our Buyers and Sellers need service and we're happy to provide it.

Thanks to the best network in South Carolina and hard work, hopefully we can continue to buck the trend and post another property on 'the board' BLUE INK. :)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Kingmaker Morrison Decides To Yield

Morrison Decides To Refrain From Capital City Lore
Every now and then an opportunity comes along when a persons actions can make a real difference. As many folks think they would revel in such an opportunity, the truth is that after one performs a self cost/benefit analysis, the overwhelming pressure can halt the aforementioned opportunity.

Former mayoral candidate Steve Morrison has the pleasure (displeasure) of being in this touchy situation. For two weeks (the runoff time period), Mr. Morrison is the person that could be most responsible for Columbia's future. However, Mr. Morrison has decided to dismiss himself of this responsibility and let the chips fall where they may.

I wasn't going to type about this tonight, but Brad Warthen's post on the subject prompted a thought or two.

I have to think that either my theory about the pressure is correct, or Morrisons pretty sure leading vote getter Steve Benjamin is going to win. The obvious reason for my thinking is that I can't help but think Morrison will be voting for the Democratic leaning candidate.

It takes massive amounts of courage to make a pick when you know your voice could decide an election. On the other hand, it probably takes wisdom to recognize that a greater good is better served by a yielded opinion. In this example, only Steve Morrison can know.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Three Ring Circus Destined For Run-Off

After 20 Years Columbia Almost Elects New Mayor
For years I've frequently mentioned Columbia should have a "strong mayor" system of government and that election day for the office shouldn't stand alone sometime in April. Obviously no one cares b/c we're still a city with a "weak mayor" and given the stand alond election date, will most likely experience low voter turnout at the polls.

All of that aside we have a very interesting election going on. Early on, the race looked to be Steve Benjamin's to lose. Conventional wisdom tells us that current Mayor Bob Coble saw the writing on the wall that an African-American on the ticket would spell doom for his re-election efforts.

Finlay has come on strong of late with the simple message of, "If we don't have the money, we can't afford it." Finlay is also a big proponent of a prominent Main Street for Columbia. We'll see how the message resonates.

Steve Morrison was the sleeper in the race but seems to knock the debates out of the ballpark. He's apparently incredibly smart and makes a lot of sense in the very numerous amount of local debates. He and Finlay have certainly put forth solid campaigns.

It seems as though Morrison cut into Benjamin's base and split the local Democratic party. I know "signs don't vote" but there are Morrison signs everywhere. It'll be interesting to see how Morrison's steady campaign cuts into the early front runners numbers.

As I write this I don't mean any disrespect to any of the other candidates. At this point, I simply think it's a three ring circus. If another candidate proves me wrong then I'll accept an egg on the face.

Given the sheer number of candidates, I'm going to bet that no one will get the needed 50% +1 vote count. I'm often surprised by elections but if I put my sootsayer hat on I predict that Finlay will be in the lead after Tuesday, followed by Benjamin. Of course, I'll have to post again before my projected run-off, but at this point predict that Benjamin will slingshot over Finlay in the later election to become the next mayor of Columbia.

We'll see! Go Vote... Early and Often!!!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Big Day! It's The First Day of School!

Finley Will Be Great But Wife Will Need Lots of Hugs
Monday morning is sure to be a dramatic time for our little family as Finley has her first day of school. I'm sure most dads are either stoic about the event or at least feel some sort of anxiety about their childs first day of day school. For me, I'm much more worried about my wife than I am my daughter

Since I haven't gone through the motions yet I'm not certain how things will go. However, I can say with all authority that my wife will be resemble a 10 zone Rainbird sprinkler system. Ooof.

I can't decide if I should drive separately to the school. If Jenna is unable to leave the parking lot and my phone starts blowing up, it could easily turn a sweet scene into a tense one. Typing this paragraph actually just tipped the scales to driving separate cars.

For months we've had a great day care system. Having two awesome nannies (one morning and one afternoon) has been an awesome situation. Getting into a good day school system however will cost us about half of what we're spending now. Wallets notwithstanding, I'm sure Jenna, Finley and I will be happy with our new endeavor.

Even though I'm sure I don't need to go for Finley's sake, I feel like I need to be there. My wife is going to need someone to hug.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Richland County Closed Transactions

Closed Homes; March 11 - 31, 2010
This week I included everything in Richland County from $150,000 to over a bazzillion. As you will see, the search includes 79 closed transactions. If I had included everything (from $0 - a bazzillion), nearly 150 homes would be on the link.