Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I Can Hear Five Points Loud and Clear!

It's getting late and I still have an hour of Continuing Education to complete before tomorrow, but I feel compelled to give a few minutes to the USC Gamecock Baseball Team.

I must admit, after losing the SEC Championship to the Florida Gators (held in Columbia) I never would've thought the Gamecocks would end up as National Champs. Shows what I know!

It's been a fun week to be a Gamecock and resident of The Palmetto State. Clemson had a great showing at the College World Series, while USC went from one pitch away from elimination to winning the whole sha'bang.

Congratulations to the USC baseball team and Gamecock Nation.

Every fan that doesn't live in the Shandon area can rest assured that 5 Points is alive and kickin'. Even though school is out I can hear the big party as I type. I hope the party doesn't trickle up the hill to Wilmot Ave!

Now...back to my online Continuing Ed class! :

Monday, June 28, 2010

Columbia And The Sunday Open House

Sunday afternoon I found myself participating in one of the longtime traditions of a real estate practitioner, the Open House. Earlier that morning I put out a few directional signs pointing the way to a home with all its lights flaring, blinds open and ceiling fans twirling. On this Sunday, my efforts fell victim to a huge washout as the bottom fell out of the skies as I was driving to the neighborhood at 1:45.

On the surface, the photo above may seem a tinch creepy but it's really just a funny snapshot of me being stir crazy in an unfurnished house. I've done scores of Open Houses throughout the last five years and can type with authority that the houses with TV's, sofas and chairs are a lot more fun. An unfurnished home is usually less eventful and has most Realtors searching for a place to sit. Over the years, I may have even fallen asleep on a few floors while reading the newspaper.

In this market, almost everyone knows that a Sunday's Open House is pretty ineffective. In theory, the Open House is a perfect way to see a home without being intrusive to homeowners. However, the reality is that Columbia's downtown market is geographical pretty small and tight knit. If someone wants to see a house during the week it's no trouble for the Realtor or seller to open the door for buyers.

When on listing appointments almost all sellers ask if I do Open Houses. I tell them, "Sure!!" However I immediately continue with, "Columbia's Open Houses aren't like what you see on HGTV. Do not expect 20 or 30 souls to blow the hinges off the doors. Yes, I do them as much as I can but please recognize Columbia isn't an Open House town." Sellers usually concurr but still request their doors to be open once or twice.

Even though they aren't the greatest way to procure a buyer we continue to do them. Many times our sellers want action and an sometimes that means an Open House. If we're able, we certainly aim to perform and if holding Open Houses is part of this then so be it.

This is one of the great assets of working with the dominant intown office. We can almost always find someone to handle most Sunday's so keep them coming!

Friday, June 25, 2010

McChrystal Dances With His Four Stars

General Sacrifices Life's Brand In One Interview
This is one of the saddest episodes I've witnessed in a long time. Here we have a man that has given his entire life to serving his country. He's probably sweated more than any person we know, lead more Americans than we've met and sacrificed more than we can comprehend. Given all of this, his legacy has been diminished to a single magazine article.

General McChrystal deserves better than this but his recent interview with Rolling Stone Magazine is what he'll be most remembered. It's almost like a 100 year oak tree growing with such balance and strength, only to be taken down by a chainsaw in less than 30 seconds.

I have no idea why, but as the story unfolded, the first thing I thought about was Jerry Rice. Jerry Rice is the greatest receiver to ever play the game of football and arguably the greatest player to put on an NFL uniform. Notwithstanding his accomplishments as a hall of fame football player, Jerry Rice is now more recognized as a contestant on the TV program, "Dancing With The Stars." This may end up being great for Jerry, but certainly not what the Hall of Famer intended.

We thank General McChrystal for his service. Who knows what lead him to speak as he did to a 'reporter' for an entertainment magazine. For a fleeting moment, he obviously forgot that he serves at the pleasure of the President of the United States, or didn't care. Now, even though he has four stars on his shoulders, he's now known as, "That army man in a magazine."

Thank you for your service, General McChrystal.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Father's Day Is A Whole New Thing

Father's Day Becomes An Entire Relaxing Weekend
I've never been one to make a huge deal of holidays. That said, I have to admit that my first Father's Day was pretty cool.

Father's Day inadvertently became a Father's Weekend as Jenna took Finley to the beach with her parents. While I recognize not being with Finley doesn't fit into the mold of "Father's Day," it was kinda nice to 'kick up' and relax on Friday and Saturday nights.

What a fantastic and relaxing weekend! Friday I had dinner with Gunn and Dillard, then hung out with my brother, Michael, cat fishing until about 3:30 am. Saturday was dinner with the Denemarks, Owens, Dubeys and Cacioppos, then late night with Gunn, Amanda and other buds.

Finley was back Sunday but her beach trip gave me the ability to be in church (FBC-Columbia) with my dad and grandaddy. It may be on the cheesy side, but have to admit it was pretty cool to participate when the preacher called for all dads to 'stand up' during the service.

By Sunday afternoon my wife and baby were back, and I got to love and hold Finley until my sweet baby girl completely crashed out.

For the first time I was on the receiving end of, "Happy Father's Day!" It's an awesome feeling and my first year as a dad was compounded as it became a full, fun weekend.

Friday, June 18, 2010

'Downtown' Columbia, SC Transactions

Closed Transactons: May 18 - June 17, 2010
As the popular $8,000 tax credit comes to an end, you'd expect a lot of lower priced homes to be closing this month. If you click the link above you'll certainly see a great number of homes that fit the stereotype of a 'first time buyer.'

As you click further, you're going to be surprised at the number of higher priced homes that closed during this period. There's big stuff out there selling!!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

We Have Buyers w/ Immediate Needs!

As a blogging Realtor it obviously makes sense to showcase as many listings as possible on such a great marketing avenue. That said, I'm going to take an opportunity to advertise some of my buyer's needs.

Amanda and I have lots of buyers, but three families need immediate attention.

- King's Grant: Although I have a great pulse of the King's Grant marketplace, I need some help in locating a super nice home in the 650,000 - 800,000 range. If anyone knows of anyone that has a super nice home in this price range, I have a qualified buyer ready to pounce. It must have at least four bedrooms with all the trimmings.

- Shandon/Forest Acres/Lake Katherine/Heathwood/Forest Hills: This particular buyer is in need of a nice, move in ready home with a minimum of four bedrooms. We're looking for homes in the $300,000 - $350,000 range.

- Satchelford/Brennan Schools- These are 'school specific' buyers and are looking for their perfect home in the $350,000 range. Their home just hit the market but since it's cute, affordable and has two bathrooms I don't expect it to last too long. When we pop their house this family will need a home stat.

In past posts I've concentrated on moving listings. There's no reason in the world why this blog can't be a medium for buyers as well.

Thank you for your attention to this and please call or email us ( ) if you're aware of anyone that's interested, willing or able to sell. Thank you too for being part of the best real estate network in South Carolina!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Hollywood - Rose Hill Home For Sale

Nestled just outside the corners of Shandon and Wales Garden is a charming neighborhood known as 'Hollywood/Rose Hill.' Historians may get on to me for not more accurately describing the boundaries of the neighborhood but it's how we describe it in the real estate business. Actually, most folks wouldn't know any better and simply describe the area as Wales Garden. No harm, no foul.

Whether it's known as Hollywood/Rose Hill or Wales Garden, the all brick bungalow at 329 Southwood Drive is officially on the market for sale.

This good looking all brick home has everything you'd expect from a Shandon style bungalow with a little more flair. Hardwoods, transoms and moldings notwithstanding, this home has a handsome new bathroom and a back patio/deck area that anyone would love to own.

329 Southwood features almost 1,600 feet with 3 bedrooms and 1 (newly renovated) bathroom.

This home is conveniently located within minutes of anything downtown. It's a perfect neighborhood to walk or enjoy bike rides and many residents enjoy taking advantage of a popular nearby park.

Call or email if you'd like to preview 329 Southwood Drive - 29205. The home is offered for an affordable $224,900.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Blossom St. Home On Market - 29205

Good Looking Home on Blossom Is For Sale - Shandon
2905 Blossom St. is a classic Shandon style home but has obvious differences from the bungalows I've blogged about in the past few months.

This all brick home is 2,000 sq.ft. and features 3 bedrooms and 2 full baths. The downstairs enjoys nice hardwoods, moldings and proudly enjoys a nice sized dining room. One feature that comes to mind is that the kitchen flows into a nice "keeping area," that could be used as a cozy den or second TV area.

The large backyard is populated with a cool building that's broken up into to two sections. One is obviously perfect for storage but the 'open air' area seems perfectly conducive for oyster roasts, card games or just hanging out.

Some great features and curb appeal aside, perhaps the best thing about 2905 Blossom St. is the incredibly central location. The home sits directly behind a popular and convenient section of Devine St. Cantina 76, The Junior League of Columbia, Za's and Momo's are only a few steps away. Hard to beat!

Call or email if you'd like to know more about this good looking Shandon home. Five minutes to anything downtown this home is easy to show and may be just the right fit.

Monday, June 7, 2010

As Always, Vote Early and Often! :)

Confused GOP Has Clear Choice for Lt. Governor
While this year's race for governor has turned into a hybrid version of Jerry Springer, a raunchy soap opera, and a cut-throat reality show, many voters are still asking questions. Contrarily, in my bias, there is no question who should receive the GOP nomination to replace Andre as Lt. Governor: Eleanor Kitzman

Eleanor and I met when I was employed at Leon Jones Insurance, where we became friendly competitors as she owned the very popular Driver's Choice Insurance. Later we served on a 'working group' at the Department of Insurance, where we worked towards a more perfect auto insurance enforcement and reporting system. It was during this time that Eleanor was chosen to be the Director of the SC Department of Insurance. No small job, I assure you.

On the credentials side, Eleanor is far and away the candidate of choice. As the former owner of a statewide company, Driver's Choice, combined with her experience as director of a state agency arguably make her more than qualified to deserve the GOP's nomination for Lt. Governor.

Superior credentials notwithstanding, I'm suggesting that you vote for Eleanor because I know her well. She wants the job and will work tirelessly for a more perfect Palmetto State.

If you're voting in the Republican primary, aren't convinced on a candidate and trust my judgment, I encourage you to consider voting for Eleanor. She's a top shelf talent that will make Republicans proud.

If you are voting for Eleanor and/or trust my judgment regarding personalities and politics, don't hesitate to click the "Share This" tab in the right hand corner of this blog or your Facebook page. ReTweets are also appreciated!

Friday, June 4, 2010

11th Commandment Out The Window

The race for the Republican nomination for Governor has gone absolutely bonkers in the Palmetto State. I'm certain that Ronald Reagan is rolling over in his grave as the campaigns have blown the GOP's 11th commandment, "Thou shalt not speak ill of any other Republican," out of the water.

First, we had Will Folks claim to have slept with front-runner Nikki Haley. A few days ago, Republican consultant Larry Marchant admitted to also sharing a bed with Representative Haley (R-Lexington). I know the characters mentioned in this paragraph so I'll obviously keep my thoughts to myself. That said, I have always liked Nikki and would hug her neck if we cross paths at Starbucks.

This afternoon Sen. Jake Knotts (R-Lexington) took the conversation to a new level. On the Internet show 'Pub Politics,' he went off on a rant that mentioned Haley's mom wearing a ruby on her forehead while labeling Haley and President Obama as "Ragheads." I watch the show because it's fun and I like the hosts, Wesley Donehue and Phil Bailey. I've actually sponsored the show a few times, as it's a fun gig.

While watching the show tonight I knew Knotts' comments were going to be a BIG deal. Sure 'nuff, CNN and other news outlets have contacted Wesley and Phil. After Sen. Knotts made his comment, Wesley was smart to throw out an immediate disclaimer on Facebook. I have to admit, watching Senator Knotts' rant was a hard thing to watch.

Having said all of this, it's a shame our state will be covered on a large portion of the national news tomorrow. The Republican side of the aisle has not only broken the coveted 11th commandment but has fallen into the gutter and deserves a spot with Jerry Springer.

Notwithstanding political affiliation, I don't think Republicans should bring up "Chicago style politics" any longer. South Carolina may be the new Chicago.

Now the candidates and consultants are offering lie detector machines to one another and rumor is that Larry Marchant will be on ABC's "Good Morning America." Ruh, Roh!!!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Phone Now Vibrating Early and Earlier

Email, Facebook & TXTs Probably Best Before 9am
While I try hard to communicate with as many friends and clients as possible, I'll never claim to be a telephone answering champion. It's constant challenge that I'd love to perfect.

Email, texting and Facebook afford Realtors the opportunity to to keep up with all facets of their client's lives but the job also requires a lot of face to face time. I happen to think that if I'm with someone face-to-face, I shouldn't answer the phone and interrupt that face-to-face interaction with a 10-minute telephone talk with someone else. I can only think that everyone would like the same courtesy.

Enter the current morning telephone situation. As our listing/sold inventory has grown, the phone is ringing more and thank goodness for it! What has transpired though is a new blitz of calls between 7:30am and 9:00am; enter Finley Jones and her morning routine.

While I appreciate that folks want their needs met, only so much can be done before I drop Finley off at her little school house. Lately the phone has been buzzing hard early, and as I try my best, I simply can't answer the early morning vibrations. My face is either full of toothpaste, hands full of diapers, or I'm helping Jenna make 'botbots' for Finley's day ahead.

I only type this because I've felt an uptick in the amount of early morning calls. Given that we're in a sliding scale/imperfect system and the fact that I'm a natural 'pleaser'... all I can do is try my best.

I've pondered changing my mobile number (perhaps to differentiate business calls from personal calls) or purchasing a 'team phone', but now that Amanda is on board we seem to be doing better with our current PhoneTag system.

YAY for all of the action and I hope it compounds as we grow our practice, but given Finley's morning routine, calls before 9ish will likely be returned at a later time. As a Realtor, it's a wonderful problem and wouldn't trade this situation for anything.

If you're an early morning caller...Finley, Jenna and I THANK YOU for any patience that can be afforded! 803.758.1669 (office vmail) or 803.447.8683 (m/text) :)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Late Night Catfishing Is Hard to Beat

This weekend presented an opportunity of simple relaxation. Late Saturday and Sunday nights we were able to hit the Congaree River for some late-night catfishing.

The way it usually goes is around midnight, my brother will scoop me up from Shandon and we head to the Rosewood landing. We're loaded down with rods, coolers, chairs, and two containers full of chicken livers. I'm almost embarrassed to report that I lived in Columbia for over 10 years before we found this easy river access.

Memorial Day weekend allowed us a great opportunity to hang out and try to tackle some good fighting catfish. I have to admit, our efforts produced zero results as we didn't catch squat in two nights of slinging chicken livers in the water. No big deal, as we had a great time regardless.

If the river is 'up' and moving swiftly, it's pretty obvious that any efforts will be fruitless. Nevertheless, it's hard not to challenge the situation and just do the best you can.

Saturday night my brother Michael Jones and I stayed until about 2:00 AM. On Sunday night, lifelong friend Trav Robertson decided to forgo a short stint away from Sheheen for Governor and holiday slumber to join our efforts until about 3:00AM. Even though we lost about a dozen hooks, dozens of sinkers, and countless bait, it's hard to imagine a better time.

Maybe the next holiday we can report a different result but this weekend provided nothing more than an awesome time together and the ability to do it again.