Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Thank You, Blogger! Hello, WordPress!

Well hey there!  Sorry for the profile style pic, but given the subject matter, I couldn't think of anything else to put up there. 

If all goes as planned, tonight will be my last post on the Blogger product.  If my project manager pulls this post to the new site, it'll also be the first post you see on the new blog.

To be honest, this is a bittersweet move.  This was one of the first real estate blogs in Columbia, and may be the oldest as many Realtors have long since terminated theirs.  Further, it's given me an outlet to expand on thoughts about whatever I could think of from midnight until around 2AM, three days a week since 2007.  I've typed about everything from local and national politics, USC/Clemson, The Junior League of Columbia, TV shows, holidays, the invention of sweet tea elixers, beach trips, clever stuff, dumb crap, Columbia neighborhoods, my wife, my daughter, my late wife, countless listings, and all things in between. 

As time consuming as a blog can be, I'm 100% certain it's produced results.  Further, it's provided a major platform to develop our brand of real estate. 

While I hate to seem dramatic, I can't tell you how many hours have gone into this thing.  Typing, moving commas, choosing pictures, changing pictures, setting up links, proofreading, and on and on.  Thinking on it a minute, the blog may be the most time consuming part of my entire business.  Hmmm.. 

As I've typed before, the new platform will provide more tech options and provide a Google boost.

So, with that, here goes.  If you've been visiting via or have this as part of your "favorites," I first need to, 'Thank You!!!"  Second, if you'd like to keep on reading about what we're doing, it's time to go directly to

Hopefully this will be a smooth transition.  We switched the URL feed on earlier this afternoon.  Either way, whether you're a regular reader or occasionally find us on Google, I'll see you on the other side.

Thank you!

Franklin Jones
Your Realtor

Monday, August 20, 2012

Thank You, Incarnation @ Byron Road

If we're friends on Facebook you may have noticed that I'm kinda involved in our daughter's "Day School" enrollment process. For example, every year since Jennifer was pregnant with Finley, I've sat and written a waiting list check to Eastminister Day School when I was told. No problem. That's just the process. 

If you haven't caught on, there's a big market for downtown Columbia child care/pre-schooling. Finley has been on waiting lists all over town, all this time. That's a whole 'nother blog post.

Tonight's post is about the sheer awesomeness of Incarnation Lutheran's Child Development Center on Byron Rd. I think many people know it as "Incarnation @ Byron Rd." That's what I call it, anyway.

OK, here's the thing. Incarnation @ Byron Rd rocks. You may not have ever noticed the cute little building behind the VA hospital. Truth told, we've sold many houses in this neighborhood and I've been to Hammond many times and never noticed this little school.

As we were waiting on lists in downtown Columbia, Finley "got in" to Incarnation. Naturally, Jennifer was curious/probing about the school. After all, FJ is our first child and we hadn't heard anything about it. Well, after finding out that some of our best friend's/client's kids were enrolled, we became more comfy.

We can't say enough good things about this little place. Everyone knows Finley, and Finley knows everyone. It's easy in, easy out. Our girl has made some awesome friends here, and on many levels we're sad to leave. Further, I know we'll continue to use some of the teachers as babysitters. 

If you've made it this far into the post, I'm sure you're asking, "Why are you leaving Incarnation?"

Answer 1:  Geography.  

Given that we live 2 blocks from 5 Points, and both work three blocks from the State House, we travel exactly backwards twice a day to get to her little school house. I mean, we drive by five or six schools on the way to ours. Her new school is MUCH closer.

Don't get me wrong; we are THRILLED to be at Eastminster Day School. I have to admit, however, that we were so happy at Incarnation that the decision became difficult. After all, I've learned, "Don't mess with happy." 

The reason for this post isn't to debate schools. Our girl is moving schools and we're all excited. That said, now that some friends might be in our former situation, I thought it might help to write a diddy about our experience with this fine place.

Here's my thought: Incarnation Lutheran @ Byron Rd. gets an absolute full endorsement from Jennifer, Finley, and me. Over the last three years, this smile factory couldn't have served our family any better.  

To sum up, my kid was anxious going in, safe while there, and happy at the end of the day. Well done, and Thank You, Incarnation Day School @ Byron Road.  

Finley and her parents will miss you.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Quote Taken Out Of Context @TheState

Today you may have read the article in The State Newspaper entitled, "Home Sales Gain Strength In S.C."  The piece is a welcome collection of good news, and I was happy to discuss some thoughts with the reporter.  That said, my comments were taken out of context and I need to correct it.

Part of the article reads, "Jones and his team partner, Amanda Payne, are being honored by their company for closing on 100 homes in 213 days this year already. That includes 23 closings in the last year in Kings Grant, where homes list between $350,000 to about $1 million."

Although we're proud of our sales record in this downtown neighborhood, we have not closed 23 homes in King's Grant since Jan. 1, 2012.  

Here's the rub. During the interview the reporter and I spoke, at length, about many specific areas in downtown Columbia, SC. Because I had the stats right in front of me, I touted, "For example, King's Grant is selling. In the last 12 months King's Grant has enjoyed 23 closings, has X Pending Contracts, and X Active Listings. King's Grant is selling."  

The stats I rattled off included every KG sale by all real estate sales professionals in the last full 12 month period. This has nothing to do with sales by Amanda and me since Jan. 1, 2012 (seven months). As you can imagine, the two are wildly different. Even so, the reporter hooked the stats to the 100 sales we've had year to date @2012. Again, they are not related.

At the time I gave the KG numbers, we weren't talking about Team F, Amanda and me, or our team's closings. We were speaking about what was happening in the market, where I thought it was going, and why, which was the reason for the conversation.

In all, it was a positive and fine article of which I was flattered to be included. I do, however, feel compelled to set the record straight. Taking it a notch further, I've requested that The State print a retraction.

Thank you! 


Read more here:

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Take A Look At All Those Realtors....

The pics above are of a sales seminar given by one of the more popular real estate coaches in the U.S. I wish the pics were clearer but this is the max size allowed on my Blogger template. It isn't capturing the full tone of the moment, but you get the idea. There are 1,000's of salespeople in there!

To see this on an iPad in full screen is quite a sight. I had to do a double take, and actually thought so much of it that I'm typing on the subject. There are a few things that struck me:

1)  Tom Ferry can pack a freakin' house. Totally impressed that he draws this kind of crowd. I've not attended his seminar, but maybe he's on to something. I dunno, but WOW.

2)  Look at all that competition. Folks and friends often approach me about getting into the residential real estate industry. The images above speak volumes, and here's what fence sitters should take away from the pics: unless you're entering real estate sales with an all-in, full-tilt, adrenaline, time, and sweat soaked sponge attitude... don't do it. Don't even go through the motions. 

Again, take a look at that crowd. That's only one city, and one seminar. Sure, you can make some bucks by selling a few houses, but unless you dive in hard core, it's not going to produce enough fruit to be worth the effort and fees.

3)  We need to step up our game. Our local MLS membership hovers around 2,000 +/- members. Yes, Amanda and I are posting top production numbers in Columbia's real estate market. That said, the pic above is a quick reminder that in the big scheme of things, there are much bigger producers in other parts of the United States.  

After all the hard work we've done, that last paragraph was hard to type. However, competition is a great motivator and I need to get over it. To be blunt, tomorrow I need to suit up and just do better. 

To sum up, I welcome anyone and everyone to this awesome industry. The images above just struck me in a big way and puts a lot of what we do into perspective. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm impressed at how many real estate sales professionals are trying to step up their game, which makes me want to get up in a few hours and crush it.

Side Note:  Some of you may notice that I "Checked In" at CBUR-Midtown on Facebook around 1:45AM. This may seem a little weird, but the truth is I committed my biggest pet peeve. Once again, I didn't pack up my laptop power cord when I left the office today;  HATE... H-A-T-E it when I do that. Given tonight is a "blog night," it was killing me not being able to post up, so I drove over to get it. There you go...

Monday, August 13, 2012

Columbia, SC, Statement Home For Sale

If you follow this blog, you're well aware that I've posted about hundreds of cool properties around downtown Columbia, SC. Amanda and I take pride in representing more than our fair share of premiere Columbia real estate. That said, while there are many sharp and polished homes out there, "statement" properties don't often hit Columbia's market for sale.

In the next few days the home in the pic above will officially be for sale. At first glance, some of you won't know the house. Truth told, many longtime Columbia residents won't recognize it at all. After all, 2630 Stratford Rd. has a crazy air of privacy. While the privacy is bada**, the vantage point provides a spectacular bird's eye view of the historical Forest Hills neighborhood. #Win/Win..

2630 Stratford Rd. is history, charm, and character personified, but meets the needs and amenities expected in today's world. Pool included... BOOM.

Over the years, friends and visitors of this blog may remember me talking about "magic streets" in Columbia, SC; Heathwood Circle, Wateree Ave, and Abelia Rd come to mind. In short, people just love them. Like the "magic streets," there are a few homes that dot Columbia's landscape that excite more than others. Enter 2630 Stratford Rd.

If you or a friend would like a preview of this Forest Hills beauty, call or email or

Stay tuned for more info and pics of this intown classic. 

P.S. - This downtown stunner feeds into popular Satchel Ford Elementary.  ;-)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Graduation Day @

After five years of late-night typing, I feel like the time has come to make a blog change. This is a bittersweet move, to be sure, but I think it's the right call.

In 2007, "blogging" was a relatively new thing, especially for the real estate industry. As far as I know, this is the oldest real estate blog in the Midlands. Five years ago, I decided to give it a try. Amy customized it and I started typing, adding widgets and gadgets along the way. Has it been worth it? I think so.

Of all the marketing that goes into this job, blogging is probably the most laborious of them all. The trick to blogging is to keep "posts" short, frequent, and in some sort of rhythm. This is no easy task, especially when I don't open the laptop until midnight.  

Enter Facebook and Twitter, which made blogging more difficult. Even though I pounced on both big-time (remember "Late to bed, early to rise, work like hell and socialize."?); as effective as that Facebook ad was, the entrance of Fbook and Twitter made everyone aware of everything, which made blogging more challenging.

I can't quantify how many sales the blog is responsible for, but it's pretty heavy. While most real estate websites sit around stagnant, this blog shows folks who I am and brands what we're doing. Again, I can't completely quantify it, but two of my largest sales of the year are directly related to this blog. The owners of Delano ($675,000) and Martha's Glen ($589,000) didn't know me, but enjoyed the blog and learned how we do things through my late night posts. Kinda cool!

You may ask, "If it's working, why mess with a good thing?" It's just time. As awesome as "Blogger" has been, I don't own any of my content. Making the move to WordPress will change this. Further, even though Google owns Blogger, switching to WordPress will boost my search engine optimization (SEO) options. Further, I think it will be easier and less intrusive for readers to leave comments. We'll see.

As a rule, I usually don't reveal what I'm doing next. The blog is different, however, as I know full well most Realtors aren't going to have the time to emulate this facet of the business. After all, right now it's 2:24AM... and there's only so much time in the day.

I just looked up and saw a bunch of text. It seems as though I need to take my own advice in regards to keeping posts short. That said, in the next few days we'll be changing the look, feel, and vibe of our web presence.

In short, given that Facebook and Twitter are easier outlets to self-promote and blurt out real estate tidbits, most Realtors continue to abandon their web/blog efforts. Conversely, I'm stepping it up a notch.

It's bittersweet, but I'm excited to move forward with our new blog and WordPress theme. It's Graduation Day for .

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Snapshot of Inventory Under Contract

When folks ask me, "How's the market?", I give a conscious effort not to answer with a good ole', "GREAT!", or "Couldn't be better!"  If you know me, you know full well that being salesman(y) is something I try to avoid.

Could I spin a huge spool of good news and awesomeness within a few sentences? Absolutely, but it's just not me. After all, Amanda and I have a lot of active listings and a lot of work ahead of us to get them sold.

This all said, the blog gives me the opportunity to project a snapshot of what's going on. The pics above are some examples of our listings "Under Contract" that you may otherwise not know about. A couple of interesting dynamics about the homes above: 1) They reflect different price levels ($249,000, $289,000, $389,000, $699,000) and 2) All four represent very different neighborhoods within downtown Columbia.

Circle Drive (Forest Acres), Somerton (King's Grant), Blossom Street (Shandon), and Lincoln Street(Elmwood Park) are all at different stages of their respective due diligence periods. Appraisals and inspections have been ordered on a couple, while the other two haven't navigated very far through the process. Even so, they're Pending Contract, and that's a good thing.

In sum, inventory is moving and I thought you might like a quick read of what's going on in a few downtown Columbia, SC neighborhoods.

Thank you!  FJ

Monday, August 6, 2012

Neighborhood, W/In A Neighborhood..

Every now and then a home hits the market that speaks to a "niche". A few examples of this are those that are uber swank, zero maintenance, wheelchair friendly, horse affable, or perhaps have a built-in "mother-in-law" suite. That said, if you're familiar with the small paved loop in the back of the King's Grant neighborhood, you know why the homes @ Oakman Court are rarely for sale.

In the coming days, we'll put 10 Oakman Court West on the market. These King's Grant homes usually speak to a few of the attributes in the paragraph above, and 10 Oakman West is no different.

There aren't many areas in downtown Columbia that can offer what "Oakman" can. A few that may put up a good fight are Wheeler Hill, The Preserve, The Cloisters, or Olde Park in Forest Acres. All of these have "zero lot lines," and enjoy little maintenance. Everything considered (amenities, schools, and pools) Oakman remains a top option. 

What really sets Oakman apart is that it's a neighborhood within a neighborhood. This small pocket of homes enjoys all the goodies that popular King's Grant can offer.

In the coming days I'll post more pics and info of the property. I can tell you with zero hesitation that this home may be the primo listing in the "Oakman Loop" in a long time. It's full of arches, high ceilings, tall doors (both floors), a killer kitchen, and sports a primo setup for entertaining.

Stay tuned for more pics and details. No doubt, this week 10 Oakman Court West will be the new shiny listing in King's Grant, and downtown Columbia, SC.

Thank you!  FJ

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Keep Winning The Metal, Team USA!!

In today's world of quick jabs and sound bites, pretty much everything is used to churn political venom into Facebook and Twitter gold.   Today is a prime example of this.  In the vain of political savvy(ness), we all watched our Facebook pages fill up with photo ops of politicians sitting around with bags of fried sandwiches.

Sad truth is that many of those Chick-fil-a bags are likely props filled with staplers or wireless keyboards.  Who knows...

The Olympics is no different.  Remember the Ralph Lauren designed suits Team USA wore during the opening ceremonies that were, "Made In China?"  This was pounced on by the spin machine, big time.  A few days later, we all saw some of Team USA in Adidas garb.  Still outraged?   Notre Dame wears Adidas.  Andy Roddick wears Lacoste .  "It's different," I know.  I get it.

This all said, in the next few days you're gonna see some spin regarding the value of the medals, and how the athletes will be taxed about $9,000 for bringing home a medal of precious metal.   Digging a little further, the actual medal/metal isn't what brings the bill, it's the $25,000 cash prize that comes with winning.

Here's the apparent rub.  Unless the athlete makes over $380,000ish, and takes $0 deductions, they may owe the dough.  Well, after you peel back the soundbites and the layers of what's really going on, the deductions from food, travel, equipment, and an Olympic level coach, pretty much zaps the bill away.  There ya go.

So, if you catch a Tweet or Facebook 'Status Update' from a fuming friend about Team USA getting taxed 9 clams for succeeding, don't get as fired up so fast.  The original post may be created by a spin jobber couched as a soundbite intended to fire you up, one way or the other.  

Disclaimer:  I'm not saying the hard working athletes shouldn't keep every cent, no matter what.  I'm simply pointing out that we prolly don't want to go crazy per a political soundbite without peeling back a few informative layers.  

Just a fleeting thought.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Letting The Blog Rest A Little Tonight..

As some of you know it kinda bothers me to disrupt the rhythm of the blog.  If I can help it, I rarely skip more than two or three business nights without posting.   That said, this is one of those nights!

If you haven't heard, last week Amanda and I closed our 100th house of 2012.   As a, "Thank You!!" we threw a little diddy at The Oyster Bar @ The Vista for the folks involved in the sales.

I'm pretty sure everyone had a good time and filled up on seafood.  I know I did.   After all, I'll always enjoy hanging out with clients and friends with shrimp, oysters and cocktails everywhere.

Since Amy hasn't thrown me any photos yet for the header pic, I'm using one of our other fun marketing gigs as a filler.

Thank you for the pass tonight!