Monday, July 30, 2012

Newer, Move-In Ready @ $289,900!!

Please welcome 3356 Overcreek Rd to the downtown Columbia real estate market. Now that I've typed a pleasantry, here's what's really going on: this property may be "the best bang for the buck" in all of Columbia right now.

3356 Overcreek features gleaming hardwood floors, high/smooth ceilings, heavy moldings, four bedrooms, loads of living space, and a roof line that touches the sky. Why would anyone care about a high roof line? Three things come to mind: 1) "Wow! factor" curb appeal; 2) Storage! You won't believe the slightly unfinished areas - it's massive, and could easily be expanded living area; 3) The scenery.

How does one categorize a roof line that touches the sky? I can't quantify it with math (and stuff), but given I have to move my head back to see it, you see what I'm getting at. It's grand, and provides for awesome views from inside.

Overcreek features a real-deal owner's suite complete with double vanity, separate shower, and jetted tub. No kidding, the view from the master bath makes you feel like you're in the mountains. It's high up, and kinda awesome.

The updated, semi-open, eat-in kitchen includes new appliances, granite tops, and flows into the family room/den and elevated screen porch. One of my favorite facets of this house is the eat-in kitchen. Before Finley (my 3 year old) was born this wouldn't have been a big deal for me, but now I know better. That said, the breakfast area is large and has a treehouse-like view of the backyard. It's pretty cool. The dining room is the same, btw.

Outside the windows, you'll see the backyard is uber private. It's suggestive of your own golf driving range, surrounded by mature trees on all sides. Take a look at the pics... you'll see what I mean. Notice all the playsets, slides, deck space, and the garden. In short, there's room for just about anything you can imagine.

Overcreek is only a few turns from I-77, and minutes to anything downtown or everything Forest Acres has to offer (Trenholm Plaza). 

If you're looking for the amenities of a newer home, four bedrooms, lots of living space, private backyard, outdoor fun, and tons of storage... this is it. 3356 Overcreek has just about everything, and all for only $289,900. 

If you or anyone you know would like to see this stately home, please call or email or It's a pleasure to show.

Remember, if you visit the links above be sure to click the picture itself and not the arrows. This way, you'll have larger images to look at. 

Thank you!

Friday, July 27, 2012

One Hundred Closings - Year To Date...

Around 3:00 PM Thursday I proudly sat beside one of my sellers at a downtown Columbia law firm. After about an hour of transferring blue ink from pen to paper, and a cordial exchanging of the keys, we closed on our ONE HUNDREDTH "side" of 2012. Two salespeople, one team manager. Whoa....

Many blog posts ago, I wrote about how Amanda and I tried to recruit each other to join our respective real estate firms. At the time, she had a great business going with another franchise.

Remember when Za's was PACKED every Thursday night? This is when most of the recruiting banter/wars took place. More often than not, whenever she and I started jawing about real estate, most of our buds would be so bored they'd leave the conversation immediately. Can't say I blame them!

Fast forwarding to today, I don't think either one of us had any idea we'd be closing 100 "sides" seven months into 2012 (remember, there's a seller "side" and a buyer "side" to each deal).

Over the years we've closed a lot of volume and units, but nothing like this. I suppose there's a myriad of explanations for the boost. Team chemistry, perhaps? Who knows. The crux that possibly holds the most weight is that Amy (Team Manager) is back full-time.  

When Amanda joined me @ Coldwell Banker, Amy was a full-time mom of her baby boy. This was tough timing for the team. Too bad, however, as nothing could be done. After all, we all know how backed up the "Day School" situation is in downtown Columbia, SC. Anyway, Amy tried to do all the detail management "stuff" from home. We got it all done, but it was a huge clog in the pipeline. Now we're well-oiled, and all systems are a GO.

Typing through this blog doesn't properly project the "Thank Yous!!!!," I/we owe. Yes, we hustle and work hard, but when it's broken down and observed from a bird's-eye view, it's the loyalty and referral network of our sphere of friends that makes this kind of volume happen. It's over the top. In short, it's the best real estate network in South Carolina.

This may sound odd, but I'm chomping to get to the office tomorrow. Hustling at this pace is part of the gig, and we love making stuff happen. It's about 1:38AM right now, and I'm about to answer a bunch of emails. "Pawn Stars" is on TV, btw.

We'll see in December where this years ends up. Hopefully, we can keep up the pace and continue to make our clients proud.

Thank you for a great year, and as Amanda texted me earlier..."Here's to the next 1,000!!!".

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

"Charleston District," @ Columbia, SC

Historic Lincoln St. Home @ Elmwood Park For Sale
Part of what makes Columbia, SC real estate interesting is how different the neighborhoods are within a very close proximity. To name a few: Forest Hills has intertwined streets and huge oaks; Shandon enjoys a hodgepodge of architecture (led by its classic bungalow), grid-like master plan, and sidewalks absolutely everywhere; Forest Acres is full of large lots, ranch style homes, and tall pines.

Elmwood Park is different from them all. Populated with "four-square" and Charleston-style architecture, Elmwood Park is arguably the most colorful neighborhood in Columbia. It's like a kaleidoscope of real estate. Further still, I'd bet there are more front porches per capita than any neighborhood in the Midlands. In short, Southern Charm is everywhere.

As most clients know the age of these houses (about 100), every now and then I'll stick a mind-bender on Elmwood Park buyers and sellers. When they ask about the history of the area, or start talking about the age/charm of a house, I'll toss out, "Elmwood Park is the only neighborhood that looks like this 'cause it's the only area in Columbia Sherman didn't burn." Pretty much everyone goes with it, until the math kicks in. Nothing wrong with a little "duh" moment!

Many think Lincoln St. is the premiere street in all of Elmwood Park. This one, 2214 Lincoln, has been completely renovated. As you can see from the pics in the link, the star of this show is the top-shelf kitchen and the size of the lot. Both features are very large, awesome, and perfect selling elements.

HOLD UP:  Well, as a reader you couldn't know this, but I just took a little break in the blog action to check my email. Looks like this house is now Under Contract. WOW!  

Congrats to my sellers of 2214 Lincoln!

Notwithstanding the Pending Contract, if you or anyone you know would like to view this beautiful home, please call or email or .  

Thank you!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Idea, "So Crazy, It Just Might Work!"

Life, Liberty, And The Pursuit of A Lower Payment
Just as I was pasting pics of a new Charleston style listing on Lincoln St. (killer kitchen, btw) @ Elmwood Park, I clicked over to Facebook to see what was going on.  While scrolling I found the diddy below, and thought it was interesting enough to start my post over.

Here's the quick of it:   If you're "under water," the government could take the property per the power of eminent domain, sell it off to big cats for a lower number than what the owner bought it for, whereby they would refi the homeowner.  Bang, there ya go.

You remember "eminent domain."  It's the right of the government to take some or all of your property for the public greater good, with "due" compensation, without your consent.

Why could this possibly be a good idea, you ask?  It skips the steps of the expensive process needed for lenders to foreclose, and the legal red tape that comes with it, and allows folks to remain in their homes at a lower payment.   Simply put, it takes the law of, "We can do this, because we just can" from a level of highways, train routes, or economic development, to a financial tool for homeowners, lenders, and cities.  Win/Win/Win?   Hmm....

My purist Capitalist and Libertarian friends will kick this off as as the dumbest thing ever.  Staying true to their core, I can't blame them.  After all, homeowners shouldn't cry, "U.S. Government, pleeeeze take my land."  Somehow this just doesn't seem like the coveted American way, at all.  Personally, I worry of the precedent that could be set and a potentially dangerous slippery slope.

I'm not sure if it's a good idea or not.   Good or bad, it's an idea, and if you know me I'm a big fan of ideas.

Perhaps they should try a pilot program in San Bernandino, or Detroit, and see how things shake out.  

For the record, on the surface the idea sounds like a goodie for upside down homeowners.  However, when I back up a few frames and go big picture, it feels like a potential disaster and a new national attitude in the making.


"Under the proposal, towns would essentially be seizing and condemning the man-made mess resulting from the housing bubble. Cooked up by a small group of businessmen and ex-venture capitalists, the audacious idea falls under the category of... "That’s so crazy, it just might work!" One of the plan’s originators described it to me as a "four-bank pool shot."

Here’s how the New York Times described it in an article from earlier this week entitled, "California County Weighs Drastic Plan to Aid Homeowners":

'Desperate for a way out of a housing collapse that has crippled the region, officials in San Bernardino County … are exploring a drastic option — using eminent domain to buy up mortgages for homes that are underwater.

Then, the idea goes, the county could cut the mortgages to the current value of the homes and resell the mortgages to a private investment firm, which would allow homeowners to lower their monthly payments and hang onto their property.'

I’ve been following this story for months now – I was tipped off that this was coming earlier this past spring – and in the time since I’ve become more convinced the idea might actually work, thanks mainly to the lucky accident that the plan doesn’t require the permission of anyone up in the political Olympus.

Cities and towns won’t need to ask for an act of a bank-subsidized congress to do this, and they won’t need a federal judge to sign off on any settlement. They can just do it. In the Death Star of America’s financial oligarchy, the ability of local governments to use eminent domain to seize toxic debt might be the one structural flaw big enough for the rebel alliance to exploit.

The plan only makes sense in the context of America’s overall economic paralysis. Right now the economy is stuck in a standstill, largely because of the housing bubble. Five or six or ten years ago, when Wall Street was cranking out trillions of dollars of cheap home loans so that they could later be chopped up, pooled, and sold to unsuspecting investors in the form of high-grade securitized bonds, millions of ordinary people jumped on the housing comet, buying big houses for big money."

Friday, July 20, 2012

Good Listings About To Hit Our Market

Over the next few posts you'll notice a ton of good homes hitting the market.   If we decided to press the issue, nine nice new listings would've entered the marketplace on Monday (This doesn't include Amanda's action).   However, since Amy is at the beach for the week, and as I knew I'd be in Anderson all of Wednesday, we felt it would be wise to spread the timing, and the responsibilities.

A good example of "spreading," is the photography.  Taking pics isn't as easy as snapping a pic.  There's cropping, sizing, uploading, etc.  That said, with Amy gone, I'm paying a good photographer $65 to snap pics of each home.  After he takes about 100 pics, he'll zip the photos to Amy so she can do her thing.    

Further, key production, lock box placement, data sheet input, and "write ups" are all important part of the listing process.  That said, we're utilizing the combination of talents throughout the office to get it done.

As a heads up, there's some awesome inventory about to hit the market.  To start, three in Lexington are almost ready:  They're all move in ready, and enjoy different price levels.  One is in Woodcreek, one is in Rose Lake, and the other is in Palm Court, respectively.  Asking prices vary from $89,000 to about $450,000.

To give you another heads up, we're about to absolutely rip it up in Forest Acres/Druid Hills.  Homes on Mills Dr., Concord Dr., Craig Rd., Glenwood Rd., Glenbrook Circle, and Overcreek will be hitting the market in the next few days. 

The pics above are some of the sharp features of Mills Drive - 29204.  This home, which is located on a very quiet street, has a surprisingly large owner's suite, dining area, and family room.   There's a lot of bang for the buck for this downtown listing, offered at $174,500.

If you're curious about any of these new listings about to hit the market, please call or email or .  

When Amy returns from a week of fam time, we'll be back on the fast track!

Thank you!  FJ

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wed. @ Anderson To Say "Bye" To "Bo"

I can't blog too long tonight, as I'll be WAY off routine Wednesday morning.   Getting right to it, my grandmother's closest sibling passed away Sunday morning.  With that, I'll be traveling to my hometown of Anderson, SC early tomorrow morning.

Here's the first paragraph of her obituary (paraphrased) :  Mrs. Elizabeth “Bo” Brown Wakefield, age 94,... was a daughter of the late Joseph Dexter Brown and the late Frances Finley Brown. For 66 years, she was the devoted wife of David C. Wakefield, Jr. who died in 2008.

As you see, Mandy, Michael, and I are of the Brown family from the Upstate.  As I age and find relatives around South Carolina, the Brown family is where I find the most connections, by far (usually cousins, obviously).  You can also see where my girl, Finley, gets her name.  

For my Columbia, SC friends, there are more Finleys (with an "e") in South Carolina than you think!

Through my grandmother, Mimi, my memories of "Bo" are of a good and perhaps normal "great aunt" relationship.   That said, my bigger connection to "Bo" was via one of my best childhood friends, and cousin, John Wakefield.   For a while, John and I pretty much did everything together.  We rode bikes until called home, built forts and dams in the creeks, were soccer teammates, spent hours playing tether ball (remember tether ball???), attended Camp Greenville together, and were just plain buds.  Getting back to the point, our grandmothers, "Mimi" and "Bo", helped make most of these memories happen.   To me, that's "Bo."   I won't forget her.

So tomorrow, I'll climb in the car early and blow up I-26 to get to the cemetery by 10:00ish.  I'm anxious to see John, my cousin and friend.

I know John would agree as I type that we wouldn't be a 10th of the men we aspire to be without influences like his grandmother, Bo.

PS:  If you need anything real estate in Columbia, SC, email or call 609-0526.   Thank you!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Jennifer, Finley, And Their Odyssey...

Ever since I met my first set of in laws, Jim and Nell Black, I've purchased my vehicles in Manning or Kingstree.   When I met him, Mr. Black owned Santee Motor Company in Manning, SC, and Longstreet Motor Company in Kingstree, SC.  Between the two dealerships, he retailed almost all the GM brands, including Cadillac.  Shortly after their daughter, Kinsey, passed away, he sold Santee Pontiac/Buick/GMC to friendly competitor Prothro Chevrolet, respectively.  Given the circumstances, it was a natural and seamless move for all involved.  Win/Win.

To date, I've purchased two trucks, and my current car from one of these two dealerships.  Fast forward to this weekend.  On Saturday, Jennifer, Finley, I cruised to Kingstree to trade Jennifer's SUV for a nice shiny....MINIVAN!

Over the years I've stayed true to Mr. Black's brands, too.  This time, however, because Jennifer wanted to go the minivan route, we ventured into the world of Honda.  To this point, I asked one of my best car buddies, Chase Craven, "If the Toyota and Honda's minivans are so popular/hard to get, why doesn't GM get into the the minivan game?"  His response, "It's just not who they are."  I get that.

I should mention too that as much as I would've liked for Jennifer to get a Yukon or Tahoe, she works in one of the downtown towers.  What does that mean??  Garage.  I can certainly understand why she wouldn't want to maneuver a Yukon through a parking garage every day.   The Odyssey is a smooth fit.

Jennifer owned her red Explorer for almost 11 years.  I've never known her to drive anything else, and to her credit, she's been without a car payment for a very long time.  That said, this was a tough mental step.   Uncharacteristically for me, I was able to vanish my payment about a year ago as well.  Obviously, it's been nice for our little family to not have a car payment at all.

So far we're impressed with the Odyssey.  The ride is awesome, and there are buttons on top of buttons, but the biggest reason she wanted this is the sliding doors.  Since Finley can't open a car door yet, but can let herself in, this will be an extremely convenient feature.

Yay to Jennifer for waiting on what she really wanted.   Thanks to Mr. Black for making it happen.

All the sudden, we're a minivan fam!

Friday, July 13, 2012

USA - China Sewing Competitive Fabric

U.S. Olympians In Sino Threads, With A French Twist
In a couple of weeks pretty much all of us will be Tweeting and FBook'in about the Summer Olympics. After all, since the last summer Olympics four years ago, I can't think of too many events that jumped me off the sofa like two of Michael Phelp's races. Remember that medley??? Holy moly, Jason Lezak (the anchor leg), had the whole world YELLING as he paddled the leader down. Whew, I remember it like it was yesterday.

Fast forward to 2012, and the announcement of the uniforms to be worn at the Opening Ceremony in London. As a side note, here's an interesting tidbit - "For inspiration, the Ralph Lauren team relied on photos from USOC's archives, 1948 in particular, the last time the Games were held in London. Knowing that we were going back to England, there was a feeling of Chariots of Fire," David Lauren, the designer's son, said.

Two things:
Point 1 - They're made in China. Hmmm. There's outrage all over Capitol Hill about this. Leading the bark, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid went off saying, "I think they should take all the uniforms, put them in a big pile and burn them." Strong statement, and I get it. I also remember the Canadian company "Roots" that outfitted our team. Outrage? Different relationships, different time. Again, I get it.  

Team USA should be wearing uniforms made in the United States.

Point 2 - That flippin' BERET. C'mon Ralph! Your stuff is awesome and I may not know fashion, but the success of the Roots brand beret in Canada years ago won't translate into huge beret sales in the United States.  

Here's an novel idea (sarcasm injected). Why not outfit our athletes in a good ole' American baseball cap? Here's the thing: I'd bet ONE (1) in 1,000 of my friends own a beret (and he owns 25ish baseball caps!). Conversely, I know that 1,000 of 1,000 friends wear baseball caps. Get it? It's us. It's American. I don't understand why Ralph Lauren keeps pushing the French beret.

To take it even further, I can't think of one noun (person, place or thing... haha), sporting or otherwise, that's had a more worldwide influence than our baseball cap. I mean seriously, pretty much everyone in first world countries, and even many in third world countries, wear baseball style lids. C'mon, Ralph! Go with it!

We often debate regarding "substance vs symbolism." The two points above, in my opinion, cover substance AND symbolism, both of which have their place in American pride.

This all said, no matter the garb, I'll be watching Team USA pretty much every night.

Just FYI, during some of my Googling for this post I saw you can purchase the Ralph Lauren Olympic blazer in the pic above for $795. Remember, made in China...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Popular 2700 Block @ Shandon $249K.

One good thing about having a fluid blog, is that I can "push" info out there before the syndicated websites like or grab it.  Actually, because I post so late at night (It's 1:38 right now), early readers often receive info before other Realtors are privy to it.   Does this really mean anything for the masses?  No, but readers can pick up on some uber local info that most folks don't see for a day or more.  Enter this price adjustment in Shandon.

Tonight, this classic Shandon home will enjoy the attractive price point of $249,900.   We're having the red sign rider made in the morning, and I'm itching to get this one up!

Here's my original post about 2711 Blossom St.   As you can tell from the pics, the house is move in ready, and loaded with charm, and pretty cool.  The front porch is spot on Southern Living, and the location is primo if you love everything @ Devine St., Shandon, and 29205.

Call or email or to take a peek.  2711 Blossom St. is a pleasure to show, and very close to anything we're doing.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Our "Motorboat" Had A Big Weekend!

After declaring in this post that everyone should've concentrated on having great time on and around Independence Day, we decided to carry it on into the weekend, too.  

On Saturday night, Rockbridge threw a huge celebration party, complete with DJ, BBQ, jerk chicken, tons of sides, and a pool and pool deck slammed with friendly folks.  

As you can see from the pics above, the kids had a great time. I think at any one time the line to the diving board was seven to 10 deep. It's the most folks I've ever seen at the pool, by far. In fact, the pic above doesn't do the crowd justice, as the pool curves around to the right where most folks are hanging out.

As you can see too, Finley was as patriotic as her mommy could get her! The "Motorboat" (yes, that's what I call her right now because of the way she kicks in the water), had a HUGE time. Notice the juice resting, feet crossed, a bucket of cheerios, and that smile. We had such a good time, I think FJ hit her bed around 10 that night. Worth. It.

According to my Twitter and Facebook feeds, it looks like a big time was had by everyone this weekend. For Jennifer, Finley, and me, it was no different! Well done, Rockbridge.

As fun as last week was, I'm drooling for Monday so we can get back to the work routine.

Friday, July 6, 2012

How Many Solo Cups Have You Held ??

The Party Vessel Is Actually A Measuring Apparatus
Although we've had a pretty productive few days, I'm confident this unusually looong holiday week will continue to feel like a few more Saturdays in a row. Since so many folks are at the beach, lake, or in a pool, I'm aware the amount of eyeballs of this little blog will decrease.

Knowing this is an off week, and to continue with the holiday spirit, I want to take an opportunity to relay some useless information. From the moment you notice it, however, it's kinda gonna be kinda useful moving forward.

If you haven't paid attention yet, take a sec to look at the pic above. There ya go!

I got this useless tidbit from Facebook a few weeks ago, but held the pic in my phone until now. Of the thousands of SOLO cups I've been around, I'm not sure any of my friends are aware the lines actually serve a purpose. 

Two thoughts come to mind: 1) Who knew?... Duh  2) Dead simple clever.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Have A Happy & Prideful 4th of July!!!

Have A Good Independence Day, Or Miss The Point
In the morning, we'll all wake up to competing and polarizing television stations, watching nasty venom and lava ooze from our 42" flatty's.   Let's face it, it's just what we do.  

While passion is important, and healthy infighting has its place, be sure and take a good look around you on July 4th.   To be sure, I'm well aware that a good political battle is an important part of the American experience.  That said, I'm also aware we're Americans first, and for a day this should be cause for coast to coast celebration.

Whether you're on a South Carolina beach watching fighter jets fly overhead, or sitting on your kids kickboard in a crystal blue pool with a Bud Light Lime sitting four feet away, recognize and inhale the day as a pretty good one.  I know I will.

Happy Independence Day, everyone!!!


Monday, July 2, 2012

Celebrating July 4th in Columbia, SC

Since July 4 falls on a Wednesday this year, many of us are confused as to which weekend we should celebrate our nations birthdate.  Some, in fact, are utilizing this as an opportunity to have two holiday weekends.  After all, living in South Carolina, that means a lot of beach time.  Perfect!

Converseley, some of our clients cleverly chose the upcoming week to close on their new homes.  With that, we're celebrating "The 4th" by doing some good ole' American commerce. 

The homes in the pics above are scheduled to close Monday, Thursday, and Friday, respectively.   If you think about it, these buyers and sellers are pretty smart, as the new owners of Lord Neslon Ct., Florawood Drive, and Delano Drive get to take advantage of this unusual week to move into their new homes. 

Just as a point of information, and so CMLS recognizes I'm not false advertising, Lord Nelson Ct. and Florawood are not my listings.  We represent the buyers on both.  It also may be interesting to some readers that Florawood has been on the market since May of 2007.   You just never know!!!

I can't imagine a better way to celebrate our nations freedom than doing a little business.  After all, we're helping hard working tax paying folks acquire private property, so they can enjoy the American dream. 

What a great week!