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. , , 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.


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.”

This may be the deal of my year. 1820 W. Buchanan is going to take a price dip.

On Monday, I am going to lower the price of this home to $249,900. I have an appraisal on hand for $290,000. People, this is equity.

I am not “selling” this home on this blog. Rather, I am telling you via this blog, that there is some opportunity here. The lot is almost a football field long, and the kitchen is great. All it needs is some lipstick!

Email or call someone who is looking for a deal in Heathwood.

Tell them to bring their lipstick!

Off to Litchfield! Anyone need anything?…Maybe a marshfront condo?

This is the week that I am guaranteed to get in “tiffs” with my wife. I am constantly on the phone and always on email, even while our feet are in the sand. Just try not to picture me in a beach chair with phone and Treo on belly, searchin MLS with earbob blinkin’ in ear….ooof. She especially loves it when I have to go to the closest coffee shop to get a fax or two, when everyone else is going to Louis’s or something. She LOOOVES that. 2nd Ooof. But, it is the nature of the business…and, as you know, I am determined for my clients to know they are taken care of.

We have rolled out a new product of communication. If you need anything, call 888.331.COLA. When you dial this number, it will email your number and message to Amy (Ackerman) and me. This way, I will get a ring AND an email. Ring it if you don’t get me on 447.VOTE.

As I say above, I have good reception at this particular condo. Also, if you need anything, Amy Ackerman knows about all of my deals and will be sitting in my chair for the week. She can submit an offer, counteroffer, show houses or whatever you need her to do. She has a Treo, so you can reach her anytime, if you need local assistance. You can also reach her at my office phone of 758.1NOW or the 888 number.

You can also reach another REAL|TEAM member, Caroline Milliken. She also offices with me and can help you with anything, especially with popping a house open.

Anyway, know that you are taken care of.

Thanks! Communicate however you want, and I will see you next week.


Many people detest their monthly bills. Monthly payments include the car, electric/heat, cable, phone, mobile phone, insurance, wireless, VISA, department store cards, mortgage and on and on. In the full scheme of things, you should not fear your monthly debt so long as you are “mortgage heavy”; as long as you can afford it all.

Take your car as an example of the opposite effect. Aside from image, the car payment is not an investment. It is a cost. It is the vessel that gets you from point A to point B that depreciates without fail. The problem for many of us is that many times, our car is our identity, which does matter in a lot of cases. I happen to think it matters in my profession.

On the other hand, your mortgage is a great tool for generating wealth. In theory, your mortgage is the best savings account you can have. For most of us, we don’t manage ourselves well enough to put the proper amount into a traditional savings account. This is the value of the mortgage. Every single month, you must… MUST pay that payment. At the same time, while you are “paying in,” your house (in theory) should be appreciating. What I am saying is that you will get your payment back + appreciation. The key to this is that you either need to buy “right,” or stay in the home for a while. After all, you have to live somewhere.

The same goes for investment property. Let’s say you collect 20 $100,000 homes over 10 years, and put them on a 15 year mortgage. After your renters pay (almost) all of the payments for you over the 15 years, you now own $2,000,000.00 in brick,mortar and dirt BEFORE APPRECICATION!

Now, to be sure, this is quick math. Not all property is going to be a perfect investment, but the great majority will if you have a good Realtor.

Investments aside, your mortgage is the greatest payment of them all. It MAKES you pay. If you don’t feel comfy, sell. If you can handle it, pay it. You will be rewarded over time. Again, you have to live somewhere.

Williams Brice vs. Death Valley; Parking Spot Style

The perimeter of Williams-Brice Stadium is populated with hundreds upon hundreds of parking spots for sale. The going rate seems to be $20,000-$27,000. Yep thats right! About 25K can get you a piece of dirt or asphalt big enough to fit your Yukon on! This seems unreal to many people. To big time Gamecock fans, its worth it. I must admit, I do not own a “spot.” I do however tailgate at The Coop ( We have a great time here. The amenities cater to all of the owners’ needs. Huge air-conditioned building, nice T.V.’s, and restrooms that are easy to access.

These parking facilities are all over the place. Carolina Park, Carolina Walk Park, Touchdown Zone, Stadium Place and Cocks Corner are a few that come to mind. One thing that is pretty cool is that they all have their different perks. Some have an outlet, some are grass, some asphalt. The newest one is called Carolina Field House. It is going to feature a HUGE metal shed that everyone parks under.

The condo world at Williams-Brice is a whole different level. Half a million bucks for a condo in the industrial section of Columbia! Do South Carolinian’s love their Gamecocks or what ?! Ill save the condo talk for another day.

Now for Death Valley. There is MUCH less space in the foothills of Clemson for parking spots. The state of South Carolina and The University itself owns most of the land around the stadium. Tiger Park and Valley Walk are a couple of examples. I think they are successful. Someone can chime in if I am incorrect about this.

Being from Anderson, I grew up going to Clemson games. I always wondered why more people didnt get to the game by boat, via Lake Hartwell. That would be GREAT! I love watching fans float down the river to watch the Vols of Tennessee play.

I remember when USC spots were $7,500. What dictates the price? The team’s record? Who the coach is at the time? When Lou was the coach and the team was mediocre, spots hovered around 10K. Spurrier followed, CarolinaNation went nuts and they bumped to $20,000-$25,000. Was this because of “buzz” of the spots or Spurrier. Probably a little of both.

Does the fact that Clemson has so few spots make them more valuable? If so, why are they so popular at Carolina? How about the fact that USC spots keep selling, even though hundreds upon hundreds have been sold.

Just for kicks, let’s say that both schools are equal in fan support, etc. Given a simple Supply vs. Demand scenario, shouldn’t the spots at Death Valley be MUUUUUCH more expensive than the ones at Williams-Brice? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm……

P.S. If any of you are interested in purchasing a condo or spot, email me at ! The price points differ between complexes.

P.S.S. Who is “THE DUDE” that claims the parking spot in the picture above????

Columbia’s Deal of the Week…

Welcome to 1820 W. Buchanan (artist’s rendering paint). It’s in Heathwood/ Satchelford, Crayton, Flora school zone. This house is almost 2000sq/ft and sits on a lot that is almost a football field long. Home has a new (great) kitchen, which is open to other rooms in the house. Best of all, this home appraised for $290,000 almost 3 years ago! It is listed for $264,900 and I am encouraging everyone to make an offer. Serious equity on a home in Heathwood! HEATHWOOD!!! “Comment,” call or email me for details. 1/888.331.COLA ex.102, 758.1NOW, 447.VOTE or .
Send to your friends and investors…