Fight!!!……Fight!!!



There is a huge battle brewing between two factions concering “in-filling” downtown Columbia real estate. Get ready. This will get ugly in the name of each party’s definition of “beauty.”

If you haven’t seen, read or heard, Belinda Gergel wasted no time in grabbing the microphone for her cause (she is running for city council), calling for a 6 month moratorium on various building/tear down projects in the city. Ben Arnold’s demo job of the 78 year old Heathwood farmhouse was the springboard for her to screw a deadbolt in this plank of her political platform. Who can blame her?

On the other side are many developers, builders, contractors and tradesmen. These folks firmly believe that what they do is good for downtown Columbia (Enter Brian Boyer’s city council bid). They have a great point. For example, I’m not sure the new Rosewood, would be what it is today without some creative development and risk taking builders in-filling and tearing down old junk, and replacing them with fresh 2005’ish style homes. Go ask anyone that has lived in Columbia, SC for over 20 years if they would ever think that a house in Rosewood would fetch over $130.00/ft. They would look at you like you had 7 heads. Well, welcome to the new Rosewood. Furthermore, the new Columbia, SC.

A meeting has been called by local developers/builders at 1:00, Tuesday. The purpose is to build a response to Mrs. Gergel’s proposal. To listen and learn, I will be there with bells on.

This is probably another case of both sides being “right,” if even a little bit. Having said this, I’ll wager that we can find a better way. I hope that this fight stays within the bounds of being for the greater good, and not simply a political football. If nothing else, a full scale moratorium is a job killer, which I hope no one wants.

I have to inject that I have sold many Columbia homes that were in need of improvement. I must say too, that I am glad that I did. An improvement in my personal examples have been just that, an improvement.

More to come…

Another Cockaboose Is For Sale…for $395,000


I called a Cockaboose owner today. He verified that his Cockaboose is for sale for $395,000. I forgot the number, but it is on the Bluff Rd. side of the stadium. This is on the opposite side of the garnet/black train from ‘boose #4, which has been listed for a while at $309,000.

I will keep everyone informed of the sales status of these two properties. If either one of these Seller’s get their asking prices (you never know!), there may be a fundamental shift in Cockaboose sales.

I’ll also find out if the new one for sale comes with a parking spot. Cockaboose #4 does not.

Very interesting, but either way…Go Cocks!

Can Downtown Columbia, S.C. Support a Private Luxury Tennis Center?



How about some “highest and best use” for some junk Columbia swampland out there?

It seems like there are a ton of tennis courts to play on in downtown Columbia. However, when you actually drive around and try to get a court after work, they are very often full.

There are a lot of courts around USC, but it seems like time slots are “signed” for, because of all of the Cola leagues around town. If you drive through Heathwood, there are a couple of parks that have two each. Driving a tinch further, Trenholm Park in Forest Acres has great courts. These are very often reserved for A.C. Flora, Cardinal Newman, Hammond, private lessons or leagues.

Does anyone out there think that it would be a good idea (that means not a good “investment,” but maybe a good idea, in this case) to construct a downtown private tennis center in Columbia? I’m talking about a super nice facility like the ones in Palm Beach and Boca Raton. Maybe it could be built somewhere on the 100 year floodplain that houses are not permitted?

It’s just a thought. A thought because lately I find myself trying to find a bud that will hit with me around 6:30AM. If I can’t find anyone to meet me in Heathwood at the crack of dawn, I throw on the IPod for an hour and hit against the wall. Is this idea hitting the same wall, you think?

WILL SOMEONE PLEASE START A STARBUCKS DELIVERY COMPANY!?



For us, this trip is more important than lunch…

Wherever we are, every afternoon I round up the team for our daily drive to purchase this legal drug. My personal orders are Venti coffee with room, or Iced Venti Americano with room, please.” Many times we plan our afternoons around it. More often than not, we hit the 5 Points store. If we are heading to Lexington, we hit Gervais St. If we are showing or listing a house in the Northeast, we stop at Trenholm Plaza to load up for the trip.

However, if I am at the office, it’s a pain to have to get in the car for such a small trip. There must be a better way!!!

I’m sure that this awesome service does not exist in Columbia, but it sure would be cool!!

$75,000 Missed? We’ll Get the Next One.


We were trolling (previewing houses) in Shandon today when we got a call. The caller told us that their co-worker just put a contract on a multi-million dollar house in another state. Yes, MULTI-MILLION!

The real estate industry is full of opportunities, and referrals are a big part of it. For kicks and giggles, let’s do some easy math.

10 million x 3% = $300,000. More often than not, a “referral fee” is 25-35%. So, $300,000 x 25% = $75,000. Yes, one telephone call could have been worth $75,000 for TEAM FRANKLIN.

Now, recognize that this is a VERY extreme case (who knows, this could have been dang Shaq’s 5th house or something), but the same premise exists. Send us your referrals!

This is why I’m determined to stay ahead of the curve and cast such a wide net. My success is completely determined by my friends (local, statewide and nationally) and who “we know.”

Lesson of the “Post” is, send the leads and referrals early and often. If you know of anyone moving to or buying in Columbia, or ANYWHERE for that matter, please give them my number or email. The referral may be worth 100 dollars, or in this case, $75,000 BUX.

Thank you for your support, and keep them coming!!!!!!!

Downtown Columbia should be known as Cherry Cola !

COLA’S TOP 10 MOST REQUESTED INTOWN NEIGHBORHOODS

These are the Columbia neighborhoods that make my phone ring and email ding….

10. Gregg Park – This may be because it is relatively small, or maybe the price point. Great Columbia neighborhood, though.

9. Lake Katherine – Folks that want to be here, REALLY want to be here.

8. Forest Lake – I can’t tell why my clients don’t ask me about Forest Lake. Maybe they get lost on the winding roads in here.

7. Melrose Heights – This section of Columbia is on the move. It seems to be for the Buyer who likes the bungalow look, but doesn’t want to pay the Shandon prices.

6. The “Hamptons” – This includes all 4 or 5 areas at the end of Old Woodlands Road. Buyers get a newer home here, and a lot of bang for their buck too.

5. Forest Acres – I lived here for about 10 years. I loved it. This area is full of trees and very popular schools. Forest Acres is also populated by the incredibly popular Trenholm Plaza. Try to find a parking spot here on a Saturday. The police system here is pretty strong too!

4. Rosewood – This area is SO popular. Ever since the gov’t housing has vacated and the new Publix has moved in, this has been boomtown for investors, et al.

3. Kings Grant – Whoa….Demand! Golf Carts buzzing from house to house. Pool and tennis courts packed. Grand new homes galore. Security gate and so close to I-77 and downtown. Owners in KG are in their own little world out there. I love it. Tidbit: When you enter the gate, the streets of KG are in alphabetical order.

2. Heathwood – Probably crem de la crem of Columbia, South Carolina. This is the finest of the fine if you can find an updated Heathwood home. If Buyers can scout one that needs some “updating,” many times it is wise to do it here.

1. Shandon/Wales Garden – Unreal. Wide, treelined (huge) streets. Sidewalks on both sides. Walk to Devine St. and 5 Pts in minutes. All streets are parallel and perpendicluar. The poorest of the poor (college students) and some of Columbia’s wealthiest share Shandon famously. This is the neighborhood that makes my phone ring and email ding most of all. Wales Garden (across Harden St. is probably as prestigous, and demands as much $/ft as Heathwood).

Honorable Mention: Druid Hills. Man o’ man, have I sold the homes in here. This is the area behind the Lizard’s Thicket and Morganelli’s on Forest Dr. Cute two and three bedroom bungalows in here. Again, this neighborhood seems to be for the person who does not want to pay the Shandon prices, or can’t find (or don’t want to live) in Rosewood. Very Hot Area. For the 3rd time in 3 years, I’ve broken the record for price per foot. We are now over $130/ft in Druid Hills, thanks to a little listing on Bagnal Dr.

Swagger a 680; That’s How You Roll…


680 is your number, if you aren’t 700.

I know you hear about credit scores all of the time. However, no one ever tells you what is good, and what is great. 700 or above is great. 680 (I didn’t make up this number) will get you almost whatever you need.

When shopping for a mortgage, your broker/banker will research your score. If it is over 700, you can pretty much buy whatever you want (within reason). Many times, they don’t need any more information. You are done.

If you are not quite hitting the 700 mark, 680 is your target. If you can swagger in with a 680 score, many times you can get the same rate (or close to it) as you can with a 700. The only difference is that you may have to show some bank statements, profit/loss statements, income levels, etc., etc. This is not usually a big problem, as this basic information is easily found.

Don’t get me wrong, you can purchase homes with a MUCH lesser score. I am simply giving you a target number. If you can hit 680, you can borrow money at a lesser rate, and probably bring much less CASH to the closing table.

You can check your scores in a few ways. www.equifax.com , www.experian.com , www.transunion.com. I believe you can receive (per the federal government) one free credit report per year. Investing or living in Columbia, SC, try Equifax first. This company has more of a Southeastern U.S. focus.

Check it out. Your buying (borrowing) power will surprise you if you can hit 680. Email me if you need help getting there.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY !!!


I wonder what Washington, Jefferson, Franklin and Madison would think about this photo? Perhaps, “Did we do that!?” Well, maybe more like, “Are we to think, after scores of decades, that such an image exists as a result of the efforts of our brethren? Hath effort, vision and time coexisted so perfectly, that our once small but noble sovereign state, became the envy of all free lands of God’s earth? How prudent and glorious the effort now seems.”

Who knows, but it is fun to think of Benjamin Franklin saying, “HOLY CRAP!!”

Nonetheless, I had a great 4th. Golf with 3 buddies at The University Club (did not play well, but my team won). My wife and I had a great dinner at Congaree Grille. Then we ended the day fully American at the baseball game which was followed by music and impressive fireworks. It was a good day.

Keeping with the real estate theme: you are looking at a photo, and living your life on the greatest piece of real estate the world has ever known.

I hope you all had a Happy 4th of July!

Columbia, S.C.: “We Don’t Boom, But We Don’t Bust.”

It seems as though just as I get back from the beach, everyone else starts traveling! Good to be back though.

While walking into my office today, I couldn’t help but notice the latest volume of Columbia’s MLS book. It is HUGE!!! It is almost as big as the Columbia phone book! I could not believe it. Looking at it, one would probably think that we are in a slow market. Some may say a buyer’s market. This may be true in some areas, but not all.

As Tip O’neil said, “All politics are local.” This is so true in real estate. The downtown Columbia market has a plethora of sellers, but also has a great number of buyers. Most of the Realtors I know have buyers that are ready and willing to purchase. They just have to feel through more “weeds” to get to to the right home for them.

In many areas of Columbia (suburbs), the amount of buyers is not keeping up with the amount of listings. What I am saying is, real estate markets are almost “Super Local”.

At present, I am carrying about 15-18 listings, with 5 or 6 more that are ready to hit the market as soon as I can take the pictures. My listings dot Columbia from Chapin to Lake Carolina, with most being downtown. This may be the most that I have enjoyed in my real estate career. About 35ish% of them have offers on them or are Under Contract. However, I probably have 30 or 40 buyers! My own personal business tells me that Columbia is just fine. At the moment, buyers simply have a lot to look at.

Furthermore, while looking at the Columbia MLS book, one must consider the massive amounts of new neighborhoods and condo projects on the market at the moment. We will save that for another post.

Don’t get me wrong, your house may sit a little longer than it would have 2 years ago. In my recent experience though, if you have a nice home and a good Realtor to market it and advise, it should “pop.”