NBC, USAToday, TODAY, and FOX need to visit COLUMBIA, SC…


Trulia Trends
Gainers

1. Columbia, SC 88.59%

2. West Chester, PA 57.07%
3. Boston, MA 29.05%
4. New Orleans, LA 22.98%
5. Albuquerque, NM 22.29%
Fallers
1. Yuma, AZ -51.64%
2. Denver, CO -47.84%
3. Corpus Christi, TX -41.41%
4. Fairfax, VA -41.24%
5. Valdosta, GA -39.21%
*Based on changes in search behavior on Trulia from June 07 – July 07

The national news media has gone nuts, reporting on how “dire” the real estate market is in U.S. Their camera’s show real estate signs in Phoenix and San Fransico, et al. If they would call me, I would ruin their story. To start, I would tell them to search www.trulia.com, and they would see that Columbia, SC was the #1 market nationwide, in terms of the “click jump” for homes searched from June to July, 2007.

The downtown Columbia real estate market is doing just fine. Of course, the “Gold Rush” of two years ago has slowed, and sure there are a ton or real estate signs out there. However, if a seller has a good house at a good price, it will “go”. Sure, it takes a tinch longer for a buyer to “weed” through all of the listings on the market, but Columbia is action packed, especially (in my experience) the property that’s under $400,000.

So far, I’m having my best year ever (thanks to all of my friends out there). At present, I have 12ish listings (down from 18ish), with most of them are getting plenty of action. At the same time, I have around 9 contracts that are pending. Just this past Friday, I put three offers on homes and received one on a listing. As in any market, there are Realtors that don’t have much going on. On the flip side, many Columbia Realtor’s are having banner years.

No matter what the national news is, Columbia enjoys three enormous facets working in it’s favor. 1)State governement, which is by far Columbia’s largest employer. 2) Fort Jackson, the nation’s largest training facility. Columbia survived the latest round of BRAC closings (where Columbia actually expanded its military presence). 3)The University of South Carolina. USC provides thousands of jobs and even more residents for the Columbia market. In short, our jobs ain’t going anywhere.

Don’t let the NATIONAL media get you down about your local market. Your intown Columbia, SC (29204,29205,29206) neighborhoods are holding strong.

Jeesh… How Many Cogs To Make A Wheel Turn?


Take a look at this email to Columbia’s Director of Development Services today. Mr. Anders wrote this in response to a long Memo some of us received earlier this morning.

His email is insightful and thought worthy, to say the least. On another hand, this is a good illustration of how specific this sort of thing gets, how hard it is to please everyone and why the political process takes SO DANG LONG…!

See below. FJ

Marc,

Have any of the following been discussed with staff?

1. Exemption of major corridors that line designated districts (North Main, Rosewood, Bull Street, Millwood, Etc.)? Seems that some single family homes on these major streets would be functionally obsolete and may create blight and is not “highest and best use”.

2. Modern Design with-in districts? If the guidelines had been in place years ago we might not have the “Robot House” on Forest Drive or the Mcgee-Degenhart House on Harden St.. While Disney-esque copies of bungalows are sometimes nice, that is not the only design vernacular in the world. Has The Columbia Design League been consulted?

3.Have any of the findings from the “affordable housing task force” been considered and put into possible solutions? They should be a major voice in this.

4. Has staff discuss the possibility of Easing the requirement of “50 years” to maybe say 80 years and a “spot zoning designation” structures deemed worthy by Historic Columbia from the 1930’s thru the 1970’s. To me, a fifty year window means we could lose several great examples of 1950, 60’s and 70’s architecture (tomorrows history).

The article you included I think perfectly touches on the problems here. How do we protect homes of historical significance in Shandon, Heathwood, Elmwood Park while not shutting down redevelopment in North Columbia. Would the small, post war homes on the back side of Rosewood (and elsewhere) be placed into preservation districts? (I think we along North Main we have four neighborhoods that would qualify for Historic Designation – Seminary Ridge, Windemere Springs, Hyatt Park and College Place).

Thanks,

Rhett Anders
President
Windemere Springs N.A.

Cool Heads, But Subtle Political Undertones Too…



Some are playing checkers, some are playing chess. Either way, this continues to get interesting…

I went to the meeting in Columbia City Council Chambers today. The meeting was a little slow, and some of the comments were very repetitive, but overall it was very interesting.

Mayor Bob invited two builder/developers to the floor. They (one being Dorsey) presented a pretty good plan. It needs to be tweaked a little, but it is a great start. The biggest cog in its wheel is that an owner/builder/developer must post something on a property 15 days before any action can take place on the subject property.

Some sort of a 5 member review committee will then hear the plans from the owner/builder before an action can take place. My guess is that this committee will have more than 5 members when all is said and done. A second guess is that one of the members will be a revolving one, depending on which neighborhood a particular home or lot is in. I thought this was a good idea, until a permanent one can be found for Columbia.

One example of a good point was from a Rosewood resident. She noted that when one sells a backyard of a property, both properties very often lose the “drive in” driveways that the original property enjoyed. This makes for double the number of cars that must then park on the street. She made a great illustration saying that, because of the plethora of cars, there are many times that a fire-truck could not pass through her street.

If you are a political person (you would have to be to notice this), the best (but subtle) exchange came at the end. Mrs. Gergel stood up and said some very repetitive, but fine thoughts. However, she prefaced her thoughts, saying to the chamber that she never called for a “moratorium” on building. Hmmmm. I immediately wrote a note to the person seated to my left saying, “Belinda (Gergel) is trying to look like the big winner in all of this.” In my opinion, if Brian (Boyer) was going to flank this attempt, he needed to get to a reporter immediately. Immediately! If he didn’t, the press could have run with this and probably would have reported how Belinda has protected our neighborhoods. Instead, Brian took the microphone and reminded the crowd that Mrs. Gergel did indeed call for a complete moratorium (which would effectively shut down many industries, and act as an all out job killer). If Boyer had not reached the press fast, or grabbed the microphone in that moment, he may have been a victim of a good ole’ political two step. We will see how it plays in tomorrow’s (Wed) news…

Today, both sides had good points and cool heads. Stay tuned to see if these same heads can stay below Columbia’s summer heat…

Meeting About Moratorium and McMansions is Set for Tuesday at 1pm. See below…


This is an email that many of us received the other day from Columbia’s Zoning Adminstrator… FJ

Subject: Update RE: August 21st Meeting

Good evening . . . it has become apparent that we could not get a committee organized to determine interim measures about subdivisions, demolitions, and McMansions before the September 5th City Council meeting. As such, the meeting on Tuesday, August 21, 2007 at 1 p.m. in City Council Chambers will be open for any and all persons to express their opinion about interim measures regarding subdivisions, demolitions, and McMansions, or any other related topic, and Mayor Coble will be present. Then, at the regular City Council meeting on September 5, 2007, the City Council will conduct a public hearing and discuss interim measures as well as the formation of a task force to work on permanent solutions to the above issues.

To those persons who responded after the initial announcement about the August 21st meeting, we thank you for your feedback. While we apologize for any inconvenience this shift in process may cause, it is most important that the process provides opportunity for as many people as possible to express their opinions.

With best regards,
Marc S. Mylott, AICP
Director of Development Services / Zoning Administrator
City of Columbia

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 !