Monday, January 31, 2011

"Making It Work" >>> Profit Margins

Below this sentence are two Comments to previous Posts, regarding homes that have procured contracts in downtown Columbia. FJ

Anonymous said...

"$20,000 below the $265,000 sale prince in 2007? Plus commissions?
And I'm sure additional improvements add to that reduction. As you pointed out the house had already been renovated.

That's zip appreciation in 4 years.
Comments? People really need some unvarnished truth about these sales sometimes."

Anonymous said...
"Did the house appreciate from the last sale? That's really what everyone wants to know.
I am a fan of the flower boxes also...always wondered how they're watered. They are really beautiful. Hope the new owners keep them

While I appreciate the comments, Anonymous and I are experiencing a disconnect. As Anonymous is focused on profit margin and appreciation, my posts are strictly about what's procuring offers and contracts.

More often than not, the demand we get from sellers is more often, "Sell my house!" rather than, "How much can I make?"

Of the four sales I wrote about, they're all completely different situations. One owns their house outright, one is dealing with an illness, one inherited a house, and another got a job transfer to another state. What I'm getting at is that it's not always about profit but what life brings. Quotes like, "Let's cut this house loose, Franklin" or "I've got to stop the bleeding" are not uncommon. This said, all four sales were updated move-in ready homes.

All I meant from my Posts are: if it's move-in ready and has a nice price tag, it has a better shot at procuring the coveted 'offer'. When we procure this offer, the sellers then have a decision to make. "How much money am I making?" is usually not one of the factors.

These days, life's circumstances and "making it work" are trumping the profit margins.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Mighty Google Gets Out Of Real Estate

Google Announces It's Leaving Real Estate
As a guy who thinks that Google can do pretty much anything, it came as a surprise to me that the 'grandaddy of information' is dropping out of real estate.

The move certainly won't disturb anyone's lives or any Realtors' business pratices that I can think of. That said, the real estate feature on Google Maps was quick, easy, and actually pretty cool.

Oh well....

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Second Photo Is From Jeff Duncan's (R-SC) Camera
Some folks will pronounce that President Obama's speech to the nation was awesome, and some will say it honked. It doesn't take a political scientist to recognize supporters and haters of any party or political figure.

I think Joe Scarborough probably has it 'most right'. "It was boring." Admittedly, I was only half listening but remember the most memorable line being, "This is our generation's Sputnik moment." He may be right on with this, but I'm pretty sure this metaphor won't be immortalized in any "History of Speeches" books. We'll see.

As charismatic as President Obama can be, it's going to be a tough task to command the public eye anytime House Speaker John Boehner is sitting behind him. The Speaker is as orange as Snookie and constantly weeping. I mean, I've been known to be emotional, but his tan is so orange that sometimes the Speaker looks like a wet kumquat.

All in all, who cares?! If we can 'get it done', Obama and Boehner can give speeches and cry all they want.

Monday, January 24, 2011

"SOLD" Before I Could Blog About 'Em

More 'Modern' Forest Acres Homes Under Contract
Like I wrote last week, if a house is nice and modern inside and has a fair price tag, it has a great shot of procuring an offer/contract. The homes above are two more examples. Both listings above were Under Contract within 2 or 3 days of hitting the market.

The new house at 5500 Sylvan is scheduled to close Friday. It features all the modern amenities like granite slab everywhere, cathedral ceilings, and a swank kitchen & owner's suite that are rarely seen at this price level. Landscaping and black shutters are on the way.

The features of the listing on Briarwood (interior pics above) aren't much different. An open plan, great living space, and a tricked out owner's suite procured an offer in two days.

I feel compelled to mention that both of these Forest Acres homes feed into Satchel Ford Elementary school. As nice as the houses are, this elementary school is a big deal.

Congrats to the sellers and buyers of these two listings. Along with 'The Flower Box House' on Forest Drive, these homes are all priced around $250,000. I knew they wouldn't last long.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Columbia's Latest Closed Transactions

Columbia's In Town Closings: Dec. 15 - Jan. 20, 2011
During this incredibly long holiday season, you'll see there weren't many real estate closings during this period. In our personal experience, the weather combined with the hoops lenders are making buyers jump through, some of our December deals were pushed into January. With fingers crossed, they'll happen in the next few days!

Remember the list is only the downtown Columbia area and the outlaying area. If I include the 'Northeast' area of Columbia in the list, the number of closings triples to 92.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Forest Hills "Creme Puff" Closes...Again

"Flower Box House" and KG Home Get Action
If you've traveled on Forest Drive lately, you've probably noticed the big red "SOLD" rider on the Coldwell Banker sign at the corner of Forest and Glenwood. This well-known house closed and the signs should be removed any day now.

A few years ago my buddy Wes took a tired house and made something great of it. It's so nice, actually, that of the thousands of homes that have been on the market in the last 3 years, this home has now closed twice. TWICE...

At the closing, the buyers were reminded that with the purchase of this home, comes the responsiblity of keeping up it's "flower box" reputation. Whether it was by design or neglect, the Ellison's installed flower boxes that were overflowing with color. Kathy, the seller in this transaction, kept up this new tradition with pride. As the house across the street is "The Robot House," the cute khaki one is known as "The Flowerbox House."

It's also worth reporting that, as of last week, 14 Somerton is now Under Contract. This is a great house on a social street in King's Grant and we're working towards a smooth closing.
It's fun to report good news, but I'm typing this to illustrate a trend in the Columbia real estate market. In short: if it's updated nicely, move-in ready, and has a relatively fair price tag, it's got a good chance of procuring a contract.

Again, of 6,000 or so homes on the market in the Midlands, the fact that this home on the busy corner of Forest Drive and Glenwood Road has closed twice is very telling.

Also discussed at the closing was the term "Creme Puff," that was used in marketing materials to describe the listing. She said that's what initially pulled them towards the house. I get made fun of a lot for some of my verbiage, so I loved hearing that! :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

We Should Go Over & Pick Up A Tray...

Cola Sending Message By "Liking" This F'Book Page
Good food, spacious areas, caring service, and familial atmosphere make 'S&S' a fun and comfy place to hang out with friends/family.

In case you haven't heard, employees and patrons learned of S&S's fate from a note on the door, explaining that the restaurant would be closing soon. The company states they need 1,000 more customers/week, than the current 5,500. Admittedly, I don't know anything about the 'eatin business,' but it seems to me that given such a following, something can be done to keep S&S in it's current spot.

Fans & customers have become proactive in the effort by constructing the "SAVE S&S Cafeteria" Facebook Page. Of course, I joined immediately, and ask you to click the link and do the same.

I have no idea what kind of profit the owners need to show to keep 'S&S' open. That said, if the Columbia store is performing in some sort of profit gray area, we'd like to ask the owners to give our community a chance to make it work. After all, some folks only know performance from standing in a line that reaches from the silverware to the cash register, which seems 100+ deep. I mean, we just didn't know any different....

BTW...My grandparents, dad and uncle dine at 'S&S' at least four times weekly. It's worth mentioning not ONE of them have a Facebook page to 'click' their support to "SAVE S&S." There's no telling how many "Likes" the page would get.

Some of you may think it's a little corny to write about a cafeteria, but to me it's an important place. S&S Cafeteria provided an outlet for my grandparents and I to get to know one another better. It (along with breakfasts at Lizard's-Beltline) also served as a place for me meet their friends, from whom I've heard hilarious stories and learned countless lessons. We often joke with my buds, "I may have learned more at 'S&S', than I did in school." For me, time with them at S&S is priceless.

Facebook or not, it's time for me to stroll down that open hallway and pick up a tray.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

SC Should Become The 'VC' State

The other day I received an email from a daily news source, with one of it's headlines reading, "Lawmakers Examine Tax Credits For Angel Funds." If you know me, you know that I love this stuff.

I've quietly argued for a long time, that South Carolina should focus on recruiting venture capitalists and angels to our state. While this particular article doesn't hit on EXACTLY what I'm thinking, it's in the same arena. It's actually an extension of my thoughts, with a private twist.

I think we should focus on luring Venture Capitalists and Angels to domicile their headquarters in South Carolina. A few years ago, the movie industry was a focus of our state. While I can't quote the success of the project, I think this same effort towards VC's is worth researching.

While we boast giants such as BMW and Boeing populate our borders, South Carolina is not in the perfect position to recruit major headquarters. Yes, we enjoy more miles of highway than most states and boast perfect beaches, but it's hard to ignore that the banking giant Charlotte is only one hour North, and one city in neighboring Georgia can match our entire state's population.

This all said, I think our Dept. of Commerce does a great job. South Carolina has great assets and resources that have yet to be fully tapped. I simply think it might be wise to, instead of solely hammering our heads for existing giant brands alone, focus on funding sources that produce the giants of the future.
Just a thought....

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow Creates Bread Dash Every Time!!!

Seemingly More About Tradition Than Necessity
Most South Carolinans are very familiar with the image above (pic snapped by Laurin Manning today). The empty bread shelves can only mean one thing: Some Weatherman Mentioned "SNOW!"

I don't know about the rest of the country, but for some reason when Sandlappers hear the word "snow," there's a mad dash to local grocery stores for bread and milk. Even as a kid, I never really understood the sense of emergency.

Perhaps I just didn't know any better, but no matter how financially challenged we were, we seemed to always have a few hours worth of powdered milk, corn flakes, chicken pot pies, frozen pizzas, breakfast bars or Ramen noodles around the house to survive two or three inches of snow.

Who am I to knock the proactive policy of stocking up on bread and milk before the heavy dusting begins. Still, after watching it for 3 decades now, I don't fully understand the traditional bread/milk snow dash. Who know?! Maybe I should be a 'Good Sandlapper,' and take part in the tradition!

Whether you got around to fetching your loaf or not...Have fun, and be careful !

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

CMLS Top Producer 2010. Thank You!

Of Almost 2,000 Members, Proud To Be On The List
As the first week of 2011 progresses, I'm humbled to receive congratulatory phone calls from fellow Realtors, lenders and closing attorneys. After a busy year of networking, marketing and pretty much hustling our tails off, I'm proud to announce that MLS has posted numbers that reflect that this dinky blogger is the top producing residential re-sale Realtor in the Midlands. Exhale...

When I entered this profession, I sent a postcard and an email stating something to the effect of, "As in most sales careers, success will largely depend on friends and referrals..." Fast forward five or six years, I've never written a truer statement.

While the year was lined up to be a big one from the beginning, the single greatest event of 2010 was Amanda Q. Payne joining Coldwell Banker United, Realtors in April. Amanda is a flat out producer, and made the office exponentially more fun. We're a great fit.

There are some big real estate teams in South Carolina, and the Midlands for that matter. Some big production teams are five and 10 people deep. That said, I'm probably most proud of the fact that the we, along with a new mom/work from home Team Manager (Amy Ackerman Cartin), have posted such numbers.

I'm flattered and humbled by our clients, colleagues and friends for the business, referrals and congratulatory phone calls/comments.

I've touted for a while now that we're the best real estate network in South Carolina. As we all read and constantly hear about the doom and gloom real estate market and world's financial climate, we grind every day to find a way to make things happen.

Now, as always, it's time to do what we do best. Network, Grind & Produce

Monday, January 3, 2011

Columbia's Newest Real Estate Hotsheet

Columbia's Newest Listings: Nov. 17 - Dec. 31, 2010
Given that we're closing out 2010 and beginning a new year, there are loads of topics I'm usually antsy to blog about. Knowing what's popular, however, I can't help but let the 'HotSheet' marninate as the top post for another day.

Click away!