WHAT?! Am I in Bizarro World??

Risky market attracting fewer Realtors
By PAGE IVEY – The Associated Press

“Columbia, Greenville and other inland areas saw small gains year-to-year.”

This is a sentence in a rather large article that was in The State Newspaper today. Finally, someone printed that “Columbia…saw small gains year-to-year.” It’s about time!!! Jeesh. Here we sit in the middle of an opportunity for Columbia to shine, and all I see are headlines of doom and gloom. I am glad to see that (however small the blurb) The State finally printed something good about Columbia’s real estate market. It is disturbing that it took an AP reporter to do it. Good for you Page Ivey!

To get to the crux of the article, I can certainly see why some folks are hesitant to become Realtors. Good market or bad, it is a grinding profession. Although I happen to love it, being a Realtor is not for everyone.

There are about 2,300 Realtors in the Greater Columbia Metro area (some call it The Riverbanks Region). A recruiter from another company told me that the Top 200 Realtors (in production) do 50% of all of the business. That leaves the rest to be split up between 2,100 Realtors. Yikes! That’s enough to give anyone second thoughts about becoming a Realtor.

Having said that, I encourage anyone to get in “the game.” I have said many times, “What if my grandaddy (Leon Jones) had never opened his own agency, because there were too many insurance agents.” To heck with that. As long as you “go get yours,” you will be fine. Remember that you don’t have to be the biggest in town immediately. In sales, you just need to keep getting “yours,” and growth will take care of itself. I hope the lady featured in the article can reach her 1st year goal of $50,000.

If you’re ready to take a leap, jump on in!

We May Have a Top 10 Team!!!

We had a big time, in the ole’ town tonight.

After being trapped under tents for about 30 minutes due to a mini-monsoon, Gamecock Nation made its way to Williams-Brice to cut some Top 10 Kentucky a**.

When the rain let up, most of us were drenched. My soaked britches probably added 10 lbs to my weight. I don’t remember it raining like that before a game since my freshman year. That game against East Carolina was unreal. It downpoured the whole time.

To heck with all of that, though. We may be breaking the Top 10!!! Dare we say that we may be going into Tennessee sniffing the Top 5?

A win like this is great. Not only for football purposes, but because Columbia seems to get a little “pep in its step” for a few days after the Gamecocks win. Even though we were all out late (that’s the price of hosting Thursday night football), Columbia should be spinning right now!

P.S. Everyone that owns a Cockominium or a Parking Spot may have enjoyed a little equity boost tonight… Nice!

“S.C. REALTORS CARRYING A BIG STICK”

Below is a Post from an active South Carolina political blogger. It’s a good read, and has pretty accurate input on what’s going on in the statehouse regarding the issues facing the advancment of homeownership, property protection, etc. FJ
P.S. I liked his picture, so I used it…

FITSNews Exclusive – S.C. Realtors Carrying A Big Stick September 27, 2007
Posted by fitsnews in SC Politics.
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ASSOCIATION EMERGING AS POTENT POLITICAL FORCE IN SOUTH CAROLINA
FITSNews – September 27, 2007 – Backed by a growing political war chest likely to top the $2.4 million mark by the time the November 2008 elections roll around, you’ll forgive S.C. Realtors CEO Nick Kremydas for speaking his mind on a few things.

“We’re kidding ourselves if we think we’re moving our state forward in any kind of positive direction right now,” he said during an exclusive interview with FITSNews. “We’ve been spinning our wheels for five years.”

Kremydas, who runs arguably the most powerful grassroots organization in South Carolina, has taken steps in recent months to make it even stronger. His 23,000-strong association of realtors, which promotes home ownership, property protection and other quality of life issues, had already budgeted $1 million toward issues advocacy efforts for the 2008 election cycle, a figure its board recently agreed to double. That’s $2 million – before you even get to the $400,000 the group’s political action committee currently has on hand.

“Money doesn’t translate into political clout unless you spend it the right way,” Kremydas says. “Not only are we actively recruiting candidates, we’re also going to be endorsing candidates, giving PAC contributions and considerably expanding our issues advocacy efforts.”

So what’s behind this mountain of money?

According to Kremydas, the Realtors are hoping to encourage the passage of a property owner protection act, a measure which passed the S.C. House of Representatives last year but failed to make its way out of the State Senate.

“The big doughnut hole is legislation protecting private property owners,” he says. “The House has delivered, the Senate has not.”

The group is also hoping to encourage alternatives to impact fees at the local level, looking to expand market-based approaches to development (such as priority investment areas) and pushing for a broad swath of other pro-business reforms that Kremydas says will encourage higher income levels and increased home ownership.

“There are candidates openly running on no-growth or anti-growth platforms,” Kremydas says. “That’s not healthy. We don’t stand a chance to compete as a state like that. We’re not a ‘growth-at-all-costs’ association, but when you start tacking $20,000 or $30,000 fees on a new home you’re basically taxing people out of their ability to achieve the American dream.”

South Carolina’s average new home price last year was $127,000, Kremydas says.

Legislators who spoke with FITSNews said they appreciated the need to approach growth issues from a collaborative perspective.

“If you look at what’s going on in the mortgage industry and the sub-prime market, clearly home ownership is what drives the economy,” says State Rep. Nathan Ballentine. “There’s a balance that needs to be struck, obviously, but you don’t want to cut off a key economic driver.”

Given a shared goal of enhanced economic competitiveness, Kremydas seemed to indicate under questioning that his group’s ramped-up political activities could dovetail at some point with the efforts of groups like Reform SC, the SC Club for Growth and South Carolinians for Responsible Government.

“I’m sure our paths will cross at certain points, but we’re an independent group,” he said.

So will the Realtors get involved in next year’s GOP primaries?

“I definitely see us getting involved anywhere incumbent Republicans as well as Democrats haven’t had a great track record on housing issues,” Kremydas said, although he declined to single out any specific incumbents that might be targeted.

“We’re also going to continue doing what we’ve always done, which is refrain from negative attacks and focus on the importance of promoting home ownership and protecting property owners,” he says. “In addition to promoting the industry, we’re also promoting communities.”

And just what impact will the realtors’ massive cash infusion have on the 2008 races?

“I think a lot of it will be spent making sure that incumbents stay in line,” said Winthrop University political scientist Scott Huffmon. “On the other hand, if they’ve done their homework and determined that someone has consistently voted against their interests, they’ll go after that person. And if that person happens to be someone who’s been branded by (FITSNews) and others as a RINO, it represents a pretty formidable challenge to their reelection.”

“Businesses interests have a way of overlapping, but they’re also often in conflict,” Huffmon cautioned. “The thing to remember about this type of advocacy group is that their interests are always much narrower than those of more ideological groups.”

Swamped…

Sorry I haven’t blogged in a while. We’ve been swamped!!! So you will know some of the market action…. Laurel Springs is under contract, Forest Dr. went under contract (need one more initial) this week, Belmont sold tonight, Springhill/Atascadero and Sandwood close tomorrow, Shropshire closes tomorrow, Brennan closes on Fri., Shirley may close next week, Woodhill Estates condo closes 10/10, Wheat quads should close within 2 weeks and offers went in on Heatherwood and York Dr. tonight.

I’ll have to wait and throw a new Post up this weekend or Monday. We have not been home before 8:00 once this week. Tonight, I walked through the door at about 9:45. OOOOOooooooooof! My treadmill and tennis time are thrown out the window!!! Not good for fella’ trying to lose a few lbs! Keeping everyone happy trumps everything though, and I hope to be back next week.

Keep the referrals coming!

Thanks Bunni and Jay!!!

OK, I’m officially impressed with Hilton Head. We had a big time…

Getting acquainted to the island took some time. For example, it took about an hour to find a Starbucks! Zoinks!!?? All of the stores are hidden with deep vegetation and all of the signage is incredibly low. Of course, after such time had elapsed, I ordered two! After the first few hours of getting to know the island, we had a routine going and loved it.

For dinner, we ate at 211 Park and Red Fish. Both were fantastic. They both reminded me of Mr. Friendly’s for some reason. I may be way off, but they both seemed to have the “New Southern” thing going on, with a boatload of wine ready to be uncorked.

The golf that we chose was very nice, but very expensive. It was $165.00 for us to play 9 holes. Yes, 9. The Ocean Course at Sea Pines was great and all, but for that kind of money, I would love to see some marsh or ocean. It was nice, and it may just have been my cruddy slice (water to the right on the first 4 holes), but I would rather spend about half the money at the mega-plush Caledonia or super-scenic Pawley’s Plantation. Maybe we’ll try the courses recommended by Forge Ahead in my last Post.

We ended the weekend at South Beach and The Salty Dog. This is a very cool and very convenient place for vacationers. Everything anyone would want to do (beach, fish, golf, tennis, eat, sleep, pool, etc.) is “right there.”

Jenna and I will certainly be going back to Hilton Head. I may even have to bring my brother and a jon boat… Thanks to Jay and Bunni for a great wedding present!

Thank you for keeping the calls, texts and emails to a minimum (sort of :-)). Back to Columbia, and back to work!

REAL|TEAM Weekend Instructions…

OK everyone, Jenna and I are off to the beach again. I know the timing is not great, but our friends Jay and Bunni Hicks gave us their Hilton Head condo for the weekend as an awesome wedding present. It’s going to serve as sort of a 2nd honeymoon for us. Yay!!! I’ve only been to HH once, almost 10 years ago…

Again, I know the timing is not great, as the REAL|TEAM has 7 closings scheduled for the 27th and 28th of this month. However, I can’t do much about it as we had to choose a weekend back in March.

I should have wireless connection for the laptop. If I don’t, I still have the Treo for email. If you need something and I can’t respond immediately, you can call Amy at 467.0712 or email aackerman@cbunited.com. As most of you know, Amy sits right in front of me and knows everything that is going on with your deal. Furthermore, if you want to see a house, Amy or Caroline Milliken (422.1993 – cmilliken@cbunited) can pop a house open for you.

Thanks to everyone! Can anyone suggest good spots to eat, hang out and play golf?

Sertoma Club Throwing Huge Tailgate at Carolina Walk for USC vs. LSU !!!

Franklin! Pass this along if you will to your thousands of adoring fans. It’s an invitation to Sertoma’s Tailgate Party for the USC v LSU game this weekend. We want as many people there as possible.

This is a major fundraiser for us and any help would be greatly appreciated. Last year went well, but the response this year has been tremendous.

Where else can you find the game on 6 big screens and 1 jumbo screen, food from Carrabba’s, Sub Station II and Cromer’s, an open bar, music by The Root Doctors and door prizes – with all proceeds going to the local charities we’ve supported since 1950?

Tickets are available at all Jewelry Warehouse locations, online at www.columbiasertoma.org/tailgate and at the event Saturday. Prices are $30 for singles and 2 for $50.

Food Provided by Carrabba’s Music by The ROOT DOCTORS open bar

Tickets are available at the event on September 22, at all Jewelry Warehouse locations and online at www.columbiasertoma.org.
All tickets purchased online can be picked up at Carolina Walk on the day of the event.
The event will take place rain or shine. Carolina Walk is a covered facility.
This is a 21 and over event. No one under 21 will be admitted.

Hope to see you there compadre.

Todd
240-1213 cell

The “M” Word Again…

Uhhh, ooh…The “M” word, again. This time, all of Richland Co. is involved.

Before I chime in with my own thoughts about this proposal, I need to find out what Mr. Jackson’s purpose is. I will know soon. Stay tuned…

Read below. FJ

WEB ALERT
Call to Action to Stop Moratorium in Richland County

Richland County Councilman Norman Jackson has proposed a moratorium on all major developments in Richland County for the next three months. Jackson has defined a major development as “50 or more units”.

The proposal will be forwarded to the Development and Services Committee for a vote as early as September 25th. Members of the Development and Services Committee include Bernice Scott, Joyce Dickerson, Val Hutchinson, Bill Malinowski and Norman Jackson who chairs the Committee.

5 Points on Steroids…?


Should we propose to the SEC that we play Georgia in Athens every year?! USC has a great set-up, but Athens may have Saturdays perfected. We seem to do better against the Bulldogs in Athens anyway!

Athens is 5 points on steroids. Restaurants, bars, nightclubs, students, alumni, guests galore. There is energy everywhere. To make matters even better, everyone seemed to feel safe during the entire weekend.

On game day, it’s great because after hanging out with everyone downtown, people just walk straight to the stadium. After the game, fans just walk back downtown. Very cool. Furhtermore, there is no driving for visitors, just $5 cab rides home when you’re ready. Sure, there are many “campus” stadiums out there, but I’ll bet there aren’t many that compare to this overall atmosphere.

Two possible negative thoughts about Athens.
1) When the team enters the stadium, it is reminiscent of high school days. It’s neat and all, but it doesn’t have the effect of UT’s “Power T,” Clemson’s Hill or USC’s “2001”. Not even close. Running through the banner just doesn’t get it, when put in the awesome scale of everything else UGA has going on.
2) My buddy Stephen pointed this out. When a student graduates from UGA, he/she almost MUST leave the town that they have grown to love. At Carolina, we all have the opportunity to stay, live and work with some of the greatest friends we could ever have. We are one big mesh of former USC graduates, and we love it. To be sure, one can certainly leave and thrive elsewhere, but at least we have the option.

What a college town, and what a great trip. The victory was cool too. I will be going back to Athens.

Headed to Athens…



We’re headed to UGA!

Amazingly, since ’91 (my freshman year) this is only my 3rd road trip to watch the Gamecocks play. I have been to Tennessee twice. The first time, USC took the Vols to the limit, only to lose in overtime with a touchdown pass right in front of the Gamecock section. If anyone remembers, the punter was the MVP. It was because of this one dude’s lucky (probably very skilled) punts, that field position killed us. Last year, we brought home a victory. It was pretty much unreal. UT fans were shocked.

UT has a great atmosphere. Carolina fans pretty much hang out at Calhoun’s until its time to make the walk to the stadium that seats 100,000+.

I’ve heard that USC v UGA is a great experience, too. I’ve also heard many times that Georgia has incredibly obnoxious fans. We’ll see!!! Any suggestions?

Don’t think I won’t be looking for condo’s and parking space opportunities, or other good ideas to bring to William’s-Brice!

See you on Monday!