Thursday, April 28, 2011

State Flip-Flops On Deal

Our Proud State Renegs On Deal With

I'm not usually surprised by votes cast by the members of the General Assembly. Of course, being "perplexed" is another matter, but I'm usually not surprised. For instance, we all knew the mini bottle would one day see its demise, the ciggie tax was going to see an increase, and were pretty confident a state lottery was on the way.

What I'm getting at is, I'm taken aback about the decision our reps made regarding the distribution center in Lexington County. As I say to my sweet little girl, WoWEE!

Don't get me wrong, I get the "Government shouldn't be involved with _____." I do get it. Further, I get the 'principle' argument, and if that's the battle cry, then so be it.

What I don't understand is that our leaders are constantly touting business recruitment and growth, and then they vote to shut this South Carolina job machine down. Further, they've yanked Amazon's deal while the company is building a huge facility and have 10's of millions of dollars to be serviced. I mean...

A few thoughts come to mind:
1) Should we just shut down the Dept. of Commerce? Given this development, or lack thereof, what's the use?

2) Why would any big corporation come to South Carolina? We just pulled the plug on what other cities and states are begging for. Moreover, who knows... we may have just earned ourselves a nice shiny brand of, "Don't go to South Carolina." Should we form a 'committee' to look into our deal with BMW, Wal-Mart, Target, and Boeing?

3) If big business leaders combine this vote with our deal killing "Point of Sale" tax law, we have 0 shot at out-of-state investors. Zero.

4) I don't know if the folks at the State House know this, but (DOT COM) is an Internet sales company. They're going to sell books, candles, pogo-sticks, and Obama birth certificate commemorative plates no matter what our State House has to say. Further, South Carolinians are going to buy the same amount of stuff from, no matter their domicile. Now, thanks to today's vote, it will be workers in another community packaging Amazon's enormous amount of ordered products.

I understand that SC is a small business state, and that's great. That said, these 3,000+/- workers would be buying meals, golf balls, haircuts, homes, and insurance from Midlands merchants. Well, that's now gone.

Here's the rub as I see it. Midland's legislators were probably torn, as it hit them directly. House members in other counties, however, felt the pressure from their small business constituents, and that's the difference in the vote count.

I don't pretend to be an expert on macro-business or the legislative bill. I do know that South Carolina is competing for jobs in a global economy, and we, for five months, enjoyed a nice victory.

Congratulations to anyone who thinks they won something. Congratulations too, to the city that lands the whale that is, and their 3,000 new jobs.

Monday, April 25, 2011

AQP Lists Home Thurs. - Sold Sat.

On Market 2 Days, Forest Acres Ranch Is Sold
Late last week, Amanda listed 4653 Sylvan Drive, in popular Forest Acres. On Saturday, this cute brick ranch received an offer, and by the end of the day it was sold.

This was very recently a tired house, that needed updates throughout. Amanda and her contractor saw the potential, and made it what it is today. Her seller/contractor changed the floor plan, installed granite, built a true master bath, shined the floors and obviously transformed it into a winner.

After the construction was complete, they shaved an overgrown magnolia and made it shine with some staging touches.

While most investors are long gone, this is a great example that real opportunities can exist in today's real estate market. That said, I'd coach anyone to leave the flipping to the experienced (and fast) prospectors.

On a side note, this home is in a strong area, which helps exponentially. Forest Acres continues to perform, and fetch dollars/foot that can give any "move in ready" home a better than average chance to sell. Backed by popular Satchelford Elementary School, good retail outlets, and reasonable price points, Forest Acres is a good place to buy and sell real estate.

Congrats to the buyer, seller, and Amanda on this one. From the beginning, Amanda told me this one wouldn't last long. Looks like she was right!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Great Listings Finally Fetch Contracts

Homes Have Negotiated, Non-Contingent Contracts
No doubt, many readers will recognize the houses in the pics above. Otranto (King's Grant), Sims Ave. (Shandon), Wheat St. (Shandon) and Stratford Rd. (Forest Hills), are all in popular neighborhoods....and three of the four are well traveled streets. I can't type in bold enough ink, how ecstatic I am to report that they're all either Under Contract or Closed.

Congrats to the buyers and sellers of these great houses. I don't know who's, 'Making out great,' or who's, 'Taking it on the chin.' I do know, however, everyone is happy with their homes being Under Contract.

What's next? Get the "Sale Pending/Under Contract" riders up, get these homes closed, and pile on more contracts for our listings.

This job never stops!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

New Moore School Renderings Public

Flagship Program At USC Is Getting Even Better
A few days ago, the renderings of USC's new Darla Moore School of Business were introduced to the public. All USC alumni are surely ecstatic about Mrs. Moore's commitment, and the future of the program.

The building itself looks to be a fine domicile of higher learning. Is it an architectural masterpiece?...Dunno. Is it USC's finest structure?....Probably not. Is it timeless?...Probably not. This all said, it's very 2011 and perhaps that's the point.

As we all know, USC is a "City Campus," and this fits the mold. There's no real architectural uniformity to our University, and we embrace this. For instance, we have the timeless Horseshoe, surrounded by 1970's style structures (Gambrell, South Tower, Patterson, the Coliseum, etc.), which is surrounded by newer pink and yellow facades (The Strom, and a few dorms, etc.) Actually, the new Moore School of Business looks more like a modern office/research campus, than a traditional Southern collegiate building. Again, perhaps that's the point.

Congrats to The University of South Carolina and the new Darla Moore School of Business. I'm sure the interior of the new school will be a showplace, as it serves USC, Columbia and our state as a world class facility.

As a side note, I'm a big fan of the top being utilized as a rooftop pavilion. Nice touch...

Monday, April 18, 2011

Columbia, SC's Updated MLS Hotsheet

Columbia's Newest Listings: March 18 - April 17, 2011 This afternoon, at one of the best Easter Egg Hunts ever (blog post forthcoming, of course), I was reminded by a few friends how popular our "HotSheet" is. Given these kind words, there's no doubt how I'd kick off the blog this week.

Happy clicking!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Donald Trump...Master of Borrowing

If you pay attention to politics or current events, you're sure to have seen Donald Trump on your TV lately. Apparently, he's thinking of running for President, and trying really hard to find the current President's birth certificate.

While most Bloggers and Tweeters type about the whole birth certificate thing, I think there's a more interesting, but bigger point to be made about Mr. Trump. Actually, it may not be "bigger," rather almost too painfully obvious, that the Morning Joe's of the media world have failed to mention...yet.

Donald Trump may be the perfect microcosm of why our country is in its current financial situation. A few thoughts;
1)Donald Trump thought bigger than his means. Early on, when lenders visited a potential building site, Trump would fake activity by hiring tractors and trucks to present the illusion of a busy/successful project. In reality, the machines were simply pushing dirt from one point of the property to the other.

2) Trump is about leverage. Not just leverage, but leveraging to the absolute hilt. He borrowed and used other peoples money to grow and expand exponentially. He was so successful at it, that it's a perfect intro to the next point.

3) Trump is/was too big for the banks to let him fail. He owed soooo much money, that it was in the banks best interest to prop him up further & further, so he/they could 'invest' their way to prosperity. Sound familiar?

To be clear, I'm not jumping on Donald Trump. In fact, in high school, I was all about him and read most of his book, "The Art of The Deal." Tidbit: There's a reason he wears his hair like that. He feels baldness gives a presentation of weakness (I think it his father instilled this in him). The result of this thinking, is his famous airy comb over. Yay, for us.

Anyway, Donald Trump has done a ton of good and created some amazing properties, including his own brand. That said, if he's really running for President, his tactics of over leveraging probably won't resonate with his perceived voting block.

In short, his "base" is the group that's yelling most about borrowing too much, 'too big to fail', and " we got here." In short, much of what we're presently experiencing financially, is Donald Trump personified: Borrow Infinitely, Until It Works.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A&E Ordered To Pay Flipper $4 Million

Oral Contract Solid Enough For Court & Star of "Flip" Remember Richard Davis? If the answer is 'no,' he's the Charleston real estate broker turned TV personality, that pioneered the Flip This House brand of reality television. For a few years now, he's been in a legal battle with cable channel A&E over profits.

The gist of the case is whether Davis should be awarded a huge sum, via an oral contract he had with the station. According to two court decisions, Davis deserves the cash.

Admittedly, I've always practiced that oral contracts are "valid, but unenforceable." Using this 'rule of thumb' has served pretty well, as having things in writing has someone 'on the hook,' if nothing else (even if it's me). Not knowing case law, however, perhaps this line of thinking is out of date or just incorrect. Hmmm....

Even if oral contracts are now fine and dandy, I can't help but think it's a dangerous, loosy goosy way to do business. Any oral decision can easily become a battle of "he said/she said," that could swiftly become a lie fest.

I'm sure we'll hear more about this in the coming days. In the meantime, kudos to the legal team at Nelson Mullins.

This court case notwithstanding, I type with confidence my attorney friends will advise that the CYA Rule is in full effect. COVER YOUR A##!!! (Get it in writing)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Finding Ourselves On The Quiet Island

Great Time With Friends & Fam At Edisto Beach, SC At one of the latest Junior League events, three of us went in and bid on a vacation at Edisto beach. Well, we won!

Actually, the prize we bid on was a full week at the beach. Of course, given that I'm slammed doing the Realtor thing, combined with the fact that Jennifer's job is at its peek intensity as the state house is in session, we were only able to go for three nights of the available seven. Some of me thinks this short stint was a blessing in disguise, however, as we were without wireless service the whole time. UUUGGGHHH!!!! This is why I haven't blogged in almost a week. :/ #painful

Even though I'm a native Sandlapper, I'm rather embarrassed to type that I've never been to Edisto. Just as Edisto's reputation projects, it's a relaxed atmosphere whereas the clock spins without much regard (unless you have a tee-time, of course).

Pic 1 is Friday morning at the beach. The kids got along great, and I'm still a little sore from digging holes for them to jump in. Pic 2 is from when Jennifer and I hauled (rode bikes) Landon and Finley across the island and stopped for a drink at The Thirsty Fish. Pineapple juice & Shirley Temples for everyone!!!...and yes, I got the T-Shirt. Pic 3 is Jennifer watching the sunset while playing "Angry Birds." HA!!!! Just kidding. I think she's watching video of Finley on the beach. Pic 4 is when we took the bikes and golf cart to the edge of the island to watch the dolphins pop up. I have to admit, it was pretty cool....and the kids loved "calling them in."

Thanks to the JLC, and the owners of the house we were in. No doubt about it, Edisto is a good laid back place to hang out (herding kids, notwithstanding). We'll be back early, and hopefully often.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Maximizing Exposure For Our Sellers

Pretty much every house on the market has some presence on national websites, like . That said, if you notice the photo above, you'll see that two of the listings (3 if you click here) are on the site by default, while the middle home has been "enhanced." Wonder who has the middle/brick home listed? Hmmm... :-)

Notice the enhanced listing is highlighted, and enjoys the ability to show (in this case) 15 photos. Notice too, that the top and bottom listings are presented in a rather gray tone, while the middle one is more colorful. Further still, if you click the two grayer listings, you'll only get four photos.

Even further, if you click the links to the top or bottom house, there will be very limited (if any) broker/agent contact information. Translation; Buyers have to dig/research to find the listing agent for more info. Conversely, our enhanced listings pop up, along with the 15 colorful photos, our phone numbers/email address and link to the blog.

In short, if a buyer wants to know more about our listings, it's dead stupid simple. For obvious reasons, our sellers prefer this, and so do we.

You may not know this but we also utilize the "Featured Listings" opportunity on I call this group of four rotating listings 'spinners,' for no other reason than the fact they seem to spin constantly on the page.

What I'm getting at is, when you list with Amanda or me, your house gets the maximum exposure available. Many Realtors only utilize this tool for their larger priced listings, if at all. Perhaps this is a good strategy, but we enjoy enhancing exposure for all our listings, no matter the sales price.