Friday, June 29, 2012

The "SOLD" Sign Often Means Pressure

Some people pay attention to real estate, and some don't.  That said, you may be the type that pays attention to the real estate signs that dot downtown Columbia.  If you do, you may have noticed we've put together a nice little run of listings that enjoy the coveted red lettered, "Pending Contract" or "SOLD" sign riders.  You may have noticed, too, that we love signs!

To list a few, the pics above are Delano Dr., Martha's Glen, N. King's Grant Dr. and Churchill Circle. 

What many don't understand, is often times the marketing process isn't the most difficult facet of the job.  Sometimes, it's the "contract to close" part of the sales process that takes the most creativity, tact, finesse, and work.   For instance, two of the homes in the pics above have potentially sticky moisture issues, but a very quick closing date.  One has an easement issue, which is a legal problem.  Further still, one of the homes above didn't appraise, falling $50,000+ short.  UGGH!  Some of these issues may not seem like big whoops, but considering the super fast closing dates, of eight total buyers/sellers involved, four face the possibility of being homeless.  You can imagine the pressure.

How do we deal with these situations?  Well, we just do.   The one that came up "short" was a terrible problem for the buyer and seller, for different reasons.  After writing a letter appealing the original appraisal, the VP brass of the bank agreed to allow a 2nd appraisal.  Since I was confident in our product, knew the neighborhood, and most of all, ravenously competitive about making it work, I gave the bank my CC# to pay for the 2nd appraisal.  

Thank goodness this was, "in compliance" as all lenders are different.  As a nice gesture, the lender agreed to pick up the tab if the 2nd appraisal came in 10% higher than the first.   BoOM.   We'll be closing in two weeks, and the sellers are now fiercely looking for a home to rent in order to make it happen.

I can't type through this keyboard how intense some of these transactions can be.  Not knowing if a sale is going to happen can be an incredibly stressful feeling for any family.  The pressure is overwhelming, and we can feel it from our clients.

Getting back to the seeing all the red "Pending Contract" and "Under Contract" sign riders, all is not as it seems.   Don't get me wrong, when Amanda, Amy, or I put the rider on the sign it's a great feeling.  That said, sometimes the challenges and pressure ahead is much more difficult than the marketing process projects.

While some think we're pretty good at marketing, it may be the "contract to close" part of the transaction we excel the most.  After all, it's June, and we're closing in on 100 transactions for 2012.  I can't verify, but I'm pretty sure this isn't because of our snazzy photos, "status updates," blog posts, or tweets.

Thank you!  FJ

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Helmet Models Spotted In Shandon.

Of course, the day after I put the latest blog post on Facebook describing how we don't ride bikes as often as we should...we ride bikes.

Truth is, if it's 80ish degrees, and live in Shandon with a little time before dinner, it's kinda criminal not to take a stroll or cruise around the neighborhood on a bike.   After all, it's one of the reasons we live here, and part of being a Shandon'ista.   With all the huge shady oaks, wide streets populated with sidewalks on both sides, and located adjacent to everything on Devine Street and Five Points, Shandon is tailor made for walkers, runners, and bikes.

It's so popular, in fact, that I know a lot of folks who drive/park at Hand Middle School just so they can walk around and enjoy the sights and charm of Shandon.   When I lived on Atascadero, I did the same thing.   To come clean, I did it partially for marketing purposes, and to get as familiar and knowledgeable as possible about a neighborhood I could do a lot of business.  Maybe it worked???

Just fyi, Jennifer doesn't know I took the first pic above.  We'll see how long it takes her to realize it's there, and/or if she lets me keep it up.  I just couldn't resist putting such a fun shot of our little snack break.  More accurately, I've prolly never seen better looking girls in biking bonnets. 
Somehow, Jennifer can even make a bike helmet look good.   Finley, on the other hand, may need that helmet to keep me from squeezin' all that cuteness to freaking pieces!

No, I don't wear a helmet.  Waaaah, waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa...........

The porch they're sitting on is an awesome house in the 3400 block of Blossom St. we closed a few weeks ago (Cavanaughs old house!).   True to form, while we were snacking on Goldfish the new owner, and awesome client, ran up on us and gave a tour of what they've done to their new home.  Nice!!

As you can tell, it was a pretty great evening in Shandon - Columbia, SC.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Only A Few Miles Away, Rockbridge Fits

For a while now, I've been debating on whether to join a local social organization, or "club."  Years ago, tons of my friends and I belonged to The University Club.  It was awesome, until Mr. Ginn kicked us all out so he could build his vision, Cobblestone Park.  To compensate for the golf loss, I pulled the trigger on The Capital City Club.  It seemed like a nice fit, as it reciprocated with a number of golf courses around the Midlands.  The dues were very reasonable, as back then I qualified as a junior member.

Fast forward a few years.  With a two and a half year old in tow, we may have found the best match for our needs.  Last week, Jennifer and I (and Finley) joined Rockbridge Tennis and Swim Club.  It's kinda awesome.

Hear me out:  As great as Riverbanks Zoo is for our community, it just doesn't seem to draw me out of the house (off the sofa) like I need it to.  Don't get me wrong, Finley loves it.  However, it's Famously Hot in Columbia, and that matters when it comes to a two year old.  EdVenture is a big deal too, and we are members, but I don't see us spending entire summers there.  Further still, living in Shandon is awesome.  We're surrounded by parks and enjoy walking and towing the kiddo behind our bikes.  Again, enter the heat.

Thinking further, given the work load we have going on at CBUR, and given I love being w/ Jen & Finley at night and on the weekends, golf is over for a while.  Enter, Rockbridge.

I should insert here that Jennifer is a much better golfer than I am.  Even so, golf has become a time sponge, and we just can't make it work more than a few times a year.

Rockbridge Club has been around a long time.  Nestled between the fuzzy border line of Forest Acres and Arcadia Lakes, Rockbridge used to have a nine hole golf course and ice skating rink.  Today, Rockbridge is an expansive, lively social experience that focuses on tennis and swimming, big time.

Rockbridge annually produces competitive tennis and swimming teams on a statewide level.  From the moment you enter the clubhouses, you're well aware how serious they are about both activities.  Lessons, camps, tournaments, events and parties ... this place does it up.   After all, notice the two diving/spring boards in the pic.  This isn't just a neighborhood wading tub.

The tennis is as good as it gets in Columbia, SC.  Rockbridge sports five hard courts and five clay.  The topography of the courts is pretty cool.  It's almost like you're playing in the mountains.  Today I let the ball machine wear me out on Court 10, sky high above the others.  The clubhouse feels new and clean and is always staffed.

The pic above is a good snapshot of the pool house but not of the full pool experience.  The pool is huge.  It has lots of decks and chairs, primo landscaping, and the little ones enjoy a nice 1' deep kiddie pool.   There are two lifeguards, the music starts at 5:00PM, and the beer is famously $1.00.

Given the stage our little family is in right now, Rockbridge may be primo perfect for us.  We've been three days in a row now, and we even spent a little while Sunday afternoon in Target gathering a few pool toys for the weeks to come (floaties, goggles, noodles and stuff).

Here's the vision: After banging tennis balls (sweating) for an hour or so, step down to the pool where Finley will screech, "DaDDaaaaay!!!"   BOOM.  That's it.  Totally worth it, and can't wait for the next time.

Thank you, Rockbridge, for having us...

Friday, June 22, 2012

Yard Cocks Bring It Big Today... 2wice.

Keeping in the spirit of Gamecock baseball, I'm going to shut down this blog quickly tonight. After all, USC's pitching staff shut down Kent State and Arkansas in uber-nasty fashion all day and night.  Even further, the entire Midlands community was shut down as we all watched or listened to the games in complete awe, collectively. 

Well done, and thank you, Michael Roth and Jordan Montgomery.
This may be a bold statement, but Mr. Michael Roth may be one of the Top 2 most celebrated student athletes in the history of Gamecock Nation.

What a day for the University of South Carolina, and Columbia, S.C.  Absolutely outstanding...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

On This One, The Pic Is The Headline...

The other day I was surfing around our Coldwell Banker corporate intranet site that affiliates get to take advantage of. The site,, has tons of content like form documents, a lead management system, logos, and all sorts of good stuff. As you can see, "CBWorks" also shows sales performance for each professional to review.

What you're looking at in the pic above is how Amanda Payne and I rank in relation to all other Realtors within the Coldwell Banker brand from January 1, 2012 - May 31, 2012. Credit due, Team Manager Amy Ackerman Cartin holds our business model together. 

The four rows in the graph are Total Closed Volume, Total Units Closed, Listings Units (Sellers), and Selling Units (Buyers), respectively. It's over the top. It's overwhelming. It's humbling.

We've posted some pretty good numbers for a while now, and are proud of what we do. That said, the reason I snapped this pic is that I'm not sure we'll ever see this level of craziness again.

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You to anyone who's helped us attain the numbers above. If you know us, you know how we hustle and grind every single day for our clients. The graph above is an incredibly rewarding snapshot of how hard we get after it.

For years I've touted having "The best real estate network in South Carolina, bar none." It's not just a salesman(y) tagline. 

Production and statistics notwithstanding, I wouldn't be true to our brand if I didn't bring this blog post home by asking for your business. With that, I'm sure you know what's next. You got it, and here it goes... If you or anyone you know is thinking of buying or selling real estate in Columbia, SC, please call or email or After all, hard work and referrals are the lifeblood of any sales industry.

Thank you!!!!!!!


Monday, June 18, 2012

This Father's Day Was So Well Done...

This Father's Day was a fun, easy going day, full of some of my favorite things. First, we watched a couple of good political shows, then Dr. Estep give a good lesson to all the Christian dads out there. After that, we headed to Cafe' Caturra for a late lunch. Obviously being so close to a Starbucks, you know what came next.

After opening a house for an investor on Sylvan Dr. in Forest Acres, we cruised to King's Grant to remove a lockbox from the front door of 35 W. Tombee. Driving around the loop, we put a fresh red and white "SOLD" sign on the house at N. King's Grant Drive, then headed home.

After watching some U.S. Open, and realizing Tiger was out of it, a short nap was clearly in order.  Then, the best stuff...

Since a photo is the first thing you see when you click on this blog, you may be wondering why in the world I'm wearing an apron. That said and truth told, I don't know any fellas that mess with an apron, including me. That's fine, 'cause here's the thing: the apron in the pic is part of my Father's Day gift, and is now one of my favorite things!

Like most of you, we've done a ton of grilling lately. A few weeks ago, I mentioned to Jennifer it might be kinda fun to get a Starbucks, barrista-style apron from somewhere (yes, she looked at me like I was a complete d.a.). Well, knowing that I love my job and that I feel at home in a pinstripe suit, Jennifer and Finley cleverly stopped me in my tracks with this gray, chalk, pinstripe... apron. 

Thank you, Jennifer & Finley, for this fun and thoughtful Father's Day gift. We had a great day together, and I'm all about my new pinstripes. Unlike the steaks in the pic, this Father's Day was very well done.

Friday, June 15, 2012

BOOM!! Look What You Just Found...

Extremely Rare Waterfront... For Sale @ Forest Acres
When most folks think of lakes and ponds in downtown Columbia, usually Lake Katherine and Forest Lake come to mind. There are a few other smaller ponds, like Cary Lake, which are visible from N. Trenholm Rd. Then there are the "secret ponds." Not secret as in, "Shhhh!!," but rather just not well known. For instance, not many people know there's a pond in Heathwood, between Devine St. and Kipling. Most don't know about the fishin' hole in the pic above, either.

We put this home on the market a few days ago. You really need to see the pics on this one, as you won't believe all you can get in the $300,000's. Seriously, here's a short list. You'll notice a few items that differentiate it from almost everything out there that's not $500,000+:  polished kitchen with granite slab and stainless package (including ice maker and compactor), three large living areas, a huge owner's suite complete with luxury bath and walk-in closet, 4th bedroom suite on opposite side of the home (ideal for in-laws or guests), wide circular drive, a huge party deck, saline pool, an outdoor shower, solid fencing and safety gates, and a large/fully fenced plush backyard. Further still, neighbors include soaring ducks, waddling geese, bass, bream, a bunch of finchy/roadrunner looking birds, and a blue heron (yes... the Litchfield/Pawleys type). I'm tellin' ya!

Here's the kicker: Satchel Ford/Crayton/Flora. BOOM.

Let me paint a picture: you wake up around 6:30ish, or whenever. Looking out the master window, you check to see where the ducks are. Who cares... but it's still so cool. After about 5 minutes of Morning Joe and Mika, you take your Starbucks and step in the pool to play with your kid, or ponder whatever it is you ponder. When it's time to get going, you casually step under the outdoor shower... soap, razor, and all. Humor me, and think about that for a few seconds. You just had the morning no one else can have.
Later that afternoon, you plop back in the pool, or load the canoe with the kid and pooch. Paddling around the pond while the grill is set on "Low," you might even get a line wet and catch a few fish... cocktail in tow. Know anyone else that can do this every day, 5 minutes from everything? Just sayin...
Take a look at the pics and let me know what you think. If you or anyone you know would like to visit this awesome home, please call or email or .   Like many of our listings, it's a pleasure to show. Who knows, maybe we can go fishin' while we're there. Why not?

Thank you!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

In This Gig, U Never Know What's Next

Below is part of an email from a Buyer to their Realtor today, referring to my awesome Seller.

"You would have been amused, today. Mrs. C called to tell me that she had lost the check for the furniture. Then, she asked me if I had seen her turkey. (she had taken out of the freezer and then couldn't find it). I suggested that perhaps it ran off with the check..."


Knowing what all went into this deal, we thought this was good stuff.  You probably "had to be there," but just know this listing had a long bumpy road getting to the closing table, which finally happened Friday night.  Then today, after everything that went on to get this sharp $400,000+ home closed, including moving tons of nice/big furniture, 30 years of life's stuff, and a still unfinished $10,000 bathroom floor rip out, the Seller needed to know if the new Buyer had seen their Butterball. 

Now that I think about it, I may have to take a special trip to Publix or The Fresh Market, and tote a bird to her.

In this job, we deal with every personality type there is, every day.  Perhaps that's what makes the job fun.   Well, hmm, hold on... I might have to think about that one for a sec.  Haha

Thanks for being patient by reading this post, but I needed to put it out there.  I mean, just when you think you've seen it all.....someone loses a turkey.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Sharp Home For Sale @ Lake Katherine

Every now and then, I take a creative liberty and use the term, "cream puff" in the description of a listing.  I'd like to use it more often, but I think it embarrasses some sellers, or at least has them scratching their heads.   The term is usually only used for the sharpest of homes under about 2,000 sq. ft.(ish), when "cute" doesn't seem to fit.   That said, 8 Churchill is a sharp, polished, move-in ready, Lake Katherine...Cream Puff!

What I mean by this, is that everything is updated, well appointed, and just very nicely done.  8 Churchill has hardwoods throughout, two large living areas (pics above), a 2012 style slab counter tops/stainless filled kitchen, shining hardwoods, smooth ceilings, recessed lighting, chandeliers, designer colors, a perfect backyard, and more.  Check out that owner's suite, w/ private bath.   Sweet Suite.

To complete the puff, 8 Churchill is zoned for the wildly popular Brennen Elementary School, and just a curve away from some of Columbia's favorite retail outlets/restaurants, including Trenholm Plaza.   I'd challenge anyone to find a more complete product @ the $200's price level.

If you or anyone you know would like to view this awesome house, please call/text or email or .   It's a pleasure to show.  After all, we can always stop in at Cafe Caturra or Starbucks before or after the showing!

Side Note:  I do get a few jabs about the whole "cream puff" thing.  Get this, though.  I used it to describe the "Flower Box House" on the corner of Forest Dr. and Glenwood.   At the closing, the buyer told everyone the only reason she inquired about the house is b/c she, "Had to see what a cream puff looked like."   Ate it up.

Friday, June 8, 2012

DeepThots @6DollarLogo #Twitterbird

Tweeps @Twitter Tweek Twitterbird Logo...Again
Depending on how your brain thumps, you'll either think this post is useless info at worst, or kinda interesting at best.   I like this stuff, and I'm a Tweeter, so you know where I fit.   Either way, here goes.

A few days ago, Twitter unveiled its newest Twitterbird.   Why did they do this?   Well, there's this: "Our new bird grows out of love for ornithology, design within creative constraints, and simple geometry. The bird is crafted purely from three sets of overlapping circles - similar to how your networks, interests and ideas connect and intersect with peers and friends. Whether soaring high above the earth to take in a broad view, or flocking with other birds to achieve a common purpose, a bird in flight is the ultimate representation of freedom, hope and limitless possibility,"  Whoa... That. Is. Deep.

Here's a Cut/Paste of the "Major differences between the new and the old Twitter bird:"
1. The new bird is in a darker shade of blue.
2. The new bird looks upwards, whereas the old bird looked ahead.
3. The wing of the new bird curves upwards instead of downwards.
4. The tuft on the head of the old bird is missing in the new.
5. The new bird looks leaner

More fun facts.  The artist that created the original logo was paid about $6 for the bird, as it was simply purchased from the Internet.  All considered, this was a deal in light of the $35 someone was paid for Nike's iconic swoosh logo. 

Further still, the bird we've known for a few years now (the one with the cool haircut above), is named Larry.  Yes, after that Larry Bird.  Who cares, but who knew???

If you like the dynamics of marketing or branding, or just love Twitter, now you know what's going on!   Candidly, I'm good with all three images.   Twitter has a name and product that speaks (or tweets) for itself.   After all, Twitter has changed our vocabulary, and has the power to start wars and coups.   To bring it to a personal level, before we had a name for my little girl, and before Twitter hit mainstream, I called my wife's belly "The Twitterbird."

The real reason Twitter's logo almost doesn't matter, is because there is no second place.  Coke has Pepsi, Heinz has Hunt's, Prego/Ragu...and on and on.  In short, Twitter could have a blue "T", and it would still be crazy "followed."

Either way, since the folks @ Twitter want to be deep about it...good for them.  I kinda liked the bird we're used to, but they didn't ask me.

Congrats!  Now you know the details @ Twitter's new logo. #Branding  #UselessInfo

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

@ Forest Acres/Satchel Ford For Sale!!

Downtown Cola, Move-In Ready Home @ $429,000.
Ever heard of Montclair Drive in Forest Acres?   Well, here ya go!!

Yesterday, we put this good looking, stately, all brick home on the market.  With around 3,400 sq. ft., this 3 bedroom/3.5 bath home sports a lot of well thought out qualities:  Separate dressing areas (almost dual master baths), huge FROG w/ full bath, large "centered" laundry room w/ sink, wet bar, huge pantry, upstairs landing/gathering area, among other things.  I should mention the screened porch is pretty awesome.

If you're still wondering where "Montclair" is, it's in a neighborhood called "The Forest," which is a newer (for Columbia) best kept secret type area, within Forest Acres.  In sum, most folks don't know the streets in "The Forest," because the homes here seldom hit the market.

Situated between The Laureate and Brockman Elementary School, "The Forest" is close to everything on Forest Drive and Trenholm Road.   It should be noted that 2212 Montclair Drive is zoned for Satchel Ford, as Brockman is a "choice" Montessori style school which entails a waiting list.   Both schools are extremely popular, but have different enrollment requirements.

Being across from an elementary school, in my mind, is a positive.  Since it's not a high school, or middle school, there are no sports during after school hours (or anything else, for that matter).  In short, by the time the homeowner gets to the house, the school is vacant, and all the kids that live here get to play on the basketball courts, and big/sturdy commercial play sets.  Win/Win.  I like it.

2212 Montclair Drive should'nt last too long.  After all, as many buyers have realized, there's a glut/need in downtown Columbia's real estate market for move-in ready homes for buyers approved up to the $425,000'ish price level. 
If you or anyone you know would like to view this good looking Forest Acres @Montclair Drive, please call or email or .   It's a pleasure to show.

Thank you!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Martha's Glen Fetches Quick Contract

Last week we put 6032 Martha's Glen Road on the market.  By Friday morning, the listing had two showings, and procured an offer that same night.  (Same night as the first USC/Clemson baseball game).

Sporting about 4,600 sq./ft., five bedrooms, and a pool, this property appeals to a lot of folks.  In reality, however, a house like this fits a small segment of downtown Columbia's buyer pool.   That said, by Saturday night, this Hampton's Ridge stunner was Under Contract.

Lucky for me, the buyer and seller were determined to be under contract quickly, as to avoid a scheduled Sunday Open House.   Sure enough, around 10 PM, we orally put it together.  Honoring professional decorum, "going oral" was good enough for everyone, including me.   Sunday morning, we had the red "Pending Contract" rider on the sign, and cancelled the Open House.

Honestly, I can't take too much credit here.  This sale was a combination of timing, and a unique/killer product.  This will be the third time I've sold this exact house in the last five years (Twice as Listing Realtor, once as the Buyer's agent).   Given my past experience with this home, this is the best its ever looked, by far.  Further, the buyer needs the large number of bedrooms (kids), and 6032 Martha's Glen fits perfectly.   The house kinda has everything; Stately facade, nice street, bedrooms, baths, garage, pool, large vegetable garden, big finished basement, patio, elevated deck, and a bangin kitchen.

Did we coach the seller on marketability strategies?  Yes, for a few months.   Do other Realtors like to work with us?  I work very hard at this, and like to think so.  Did our hustle attitude make this work?  That's some of it, for sure.   Did we finesse the buyer's original offer up to an acceptable number for our sellers?   Maybe a little.   Perhaps more than anything: Did our reputation and brand in Columbia, SC's marketplace procure this listing, so we can do all the above?  BOOM.

Congratulations to the buyer and seller of this stately Hampton's Ridge home.  Hopefully we can navigate through inspections and the other facets of this business so both sides can enjoy a smooth real estate transaction.

If you would like to talk with us or refer a buyer or seller to Amanda or me, please call or email or

Thank you!