Travel Season Begins…

Well, the statewide traveling season began today.

If you are like me, you will crisscross South Carolina’s web of asphalt to see your many family members for Thanksgiving. I hope all of you have a great time hanging out with your inlaws and/or old high school buddies.

I think it’s cool to see buddies at different gas stations or rest stops as we all travel to our different hometowns. For me, the most popular station without fail is the one at the “Big” Clinton exit (where 385 splits off from I-26). You all know it well. Its the one with the dueling Waffle Houses.

Anyway, I’m halfway to Anderson at the moment (in Clinton). Jenna and I hope to be back in Columbia on Friday afternoon (so I can show a house). That will give us all of Saturday to devote to USC/Clemson!!!

“5th Highest Year on Record…”

ROCK VEGAS IS ON FIRE; COAST STILL SLOW

Below is part of a press release that was distributed not too long ago. I only posted the last 3 paragraphs of the release, because I thought the rest would only be interesting to Realtors. Although Columbia is not mentioned, I sure am glad to know that most of the Midlands is holding steady! Rock Hill is still on fire…. FJ

In 2007, the Rock Hill area (+16.6%) continues to lead the state in growth, while the Myrtle Beach area (-28.9%) and Beaufort (-24%) reported the largest sales declines. The Hilton Head Area (+7.8%) reported positive sales growth in the third quarter for the first time this year. Year to date sales in the Hilton Head area are only 5% below 2006 levels, a significant improvement from the first quarter of the year.

“Especially in the unique markets of South Carolina, all real estate is local. It’s important to consult a Realtor, because market conditions can vary from one neighborhood to the next and from month to month,” Kremydas said.

According to Kremydas, 2007 is on track to be the fifth highest year on record for existing-home sales in South Carolina and nationwide. “Although sales are off from the peak in 2005, there is a historically high level of home sales taking place this year – one out of every 16 American households is buying a home this year.“

GO SKYHAWKS!!!!

FOOTBALL HAMMOND REPEATS!
Zemp kicks winning field goal as Skyhawks rally by forcing two late fumbles
By JOHN DEVLIN – Special to The State

For full coverage, visit www.midlandspreps.com

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE ENTIRE HAMMOND FAMILY !!!

Historic Designations…

This is a combination of two stories in The State regarding Historic designations. My mom is not going to be happy to know that her generation of houses are now deemed “Historic.” FJ

For ’50s Style, Still Happy Days
Columbia neighborhood enjoying the prestige that comes with a spot on National Register
In 1925, the streets of Forest Hills were laid out by a landscape designer, so they wind and cross at unexpected turns on slopes shaded by evergreens.

HISTORIC DISTRICTS: Columbia neighborhoods

Forest Hills is the latest Columbia neighborhood to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The others are:

• Columbia Historic District, including Arsenal Hill and the Governor’s Mansion

• Columbia Historic District II, including the Robert Mills House, Hampton-Preston Mansion, Seibels House and Woodrow Wilson Boyhood Home

• Old Campus District at the University of South Carolina, including the Horseshoe

• West Gervais Street Historic District

• Allen University Historic District

• Elmwood Park Historic District

• Waverly Historic District

• Benedict College Historic District

• Granby Mill Village Historic District

• Bellevue Historic District, also known as Cotton Town

• Old Shandon Historic District

• University Neighborhood Historic District

SOURCE: S. C. Department of Archives and History

ACC Trumps SEC… in Home Pricing

Boston, Mass. helps the ACC double up on the SEC in a recent study.

Coldwell Banker Performed a College Market Analysis for homes in the communities of 119 Division 1A schools. The model home used was a 2,220 sq. ft. home with 4 bedrooms/2.5 baths w/ a family room and a 2 car garage.

Muncie, Indiana (Home of Ball State University) is the most affordable college town to live in with a $150,000 average price for the model home. For the third straight year, the home of Stanford University is the most expensive. Palo Alto, California’s average price for the home is $1,677,000.00

Below are the rankings for the SEC and ACC respectively. I didn’t think that my readers would be interested in all of the rankings, so I kept it local. Remember, the average price reflects the town/city that the school helps populate. You will have to know the proper city that corresponds with the school to fully appreciate the list.

Recognize that the ACC’s entire average is almost double that of the SEC’s. This is mainly because of Boston and Miami. Boston College is #2 in the entire country, behind #1 Stanford.

You will quickly notice that in both conferences, the South Carolina schools rank least expensive. I must admit, I’m a little surprised that Columbia and Clemson didn’t bring a higher dollar amount than some of the other rural towns on the list. I’m guessing that the only reason that Clemson (which is in Pickens County) topped the $200,000.00 mark, is because of the nice homes on Lake Hartwell, which is a pretty hot lake to live on…

Southeastern Conference – 2007 Avg. Price
University of South Carolina – $198,967
University of Tennessee – $202,450
Mississippi State University – $220,767
University of Kentucky – $234,500
Vanderbilt University – $238,333
University of Alabama – $241,333
University of Georgia – $248,633
Louisiana State University – $250,444
University of Arkansas – $252,950
University of Mississippi – $276,750
Auburn University – $282,600
University of Florida – $305,750
Conference Average Price $246,123

Atlantic Coast Conference – 2007 Avg. Price
Clemson University – $219,600
Wake Forest University – $228,900
Duke University – $229,900
North Carolina State University – $238,000
Virginia Tech University – $292,250
Georgia Tech University – $324,000
Florida State University – $354,538
University of Virginia – $374,080
University of North Carolina – $387,808
University of Maryland – $428,750
University of Miami – $638,333
Boston College – $1,381,250
Conference Average Price $424,784

I think two stats are incredibly interesting: 1) That prices in Gainsville (#1 in the SEC) wouldn’t even make the top half of the ACC. 2) That the cities that house Arkansas, Ole Miss and Auburn have higher home prices than Winston Salem, Durham and Chapel Hill. Interesting, to say the least…

Watch Your Squirrel…

“A squirrel is to a home’s chimney, as a mouse is to an elephant’s trunk.” FJ This is now first hand knowledge…

A chimney sweep took a look at our chimney and lo and behold, he found some blockage. A 20 pound squirrel’s nest to be more specific. A 20 POUND NEST IN OUR CHIMNEY!!!!!!! Jenna said that he pulled 3 big bags worth of crap out of our chimney. We were all stunned.

In our case, it isn’t the “chimney” that vents a fireplace. This is the chimney that many of us have that vents the furnace to the outside. In short, our house almost burned down because of a gigantic nest. The blockage was forcing the heat back down into the furnace, which is in the basement. Oooooof.

I will be doing more of 1 or 2 things from now on: 1) Attempting to have the HVAC company inspect chimneys during the standard HVAC inspection. 2) Have a chimney inspection during the 10 day “inspection” period. Either way, this was a learning experience…

Free “Song of the Day” Codes

As most of you know, Starbucks and iTunes have partnered to bring you a free “Song of the Day.” I didn’t pay much attention to the promotion until my wife called and asked me to pick up the song of the day. Since I’m in Starbucks so much, I thought I would pick up one every day and throw the songs on the blog. Some of my buddies have started giving me the cards too.

To download your free song on iTunes:
1. Go to http://itunes.com
2. Click iTunes Store
3. Click Redeem
4. Enter one of the codes below. Your download should start immediately.

I will try to keep up with the promotion by putting new codes on as I get them. You have until 12/31/07 to download the songs. Each code only works once, so it’s a first come, first serve situation.

Try to “Comment” on which code you used so other readers don’t waste their time punching in used numbers/letters.

JOHN LEGEND – Show Me – X9PWKNYMLA3W

BRANDI CARLILE – Turpentine – LEPFLTXA9WFF

HERBIE HANCOCK – Maiden Voyage – R9PYEHYPTKHX

JOHN FOGERTY – Gunslinger – E3YXRKH9N4PP

RAUL MIDON – Pick Somebody Up – JWELEAE9YPXW, 69TRXLMPN7X7, RXHTHH7A4MME, AT34PYENF4H7, 6PY4NYPFRE7W, 7RFEAFA4E93P, 67MJFYTRYHA3, KMTJ4K9T4EYA,

JOSS STONE – Tell Me ‘Bout It (Live) – 47HPF6NPX7WW, 69YKX7JWFKLX, YYHKFAT6T4XM

RISSI PALMER – Country Girl – LFEFKJY34TNM, MHFP6JY9WPJF, 4JHP67WFYK74

SPANISH HARLEM ORCHESTRA – Sacala Bailar – SCHSFJLXBHDX

“Dear Media: No More Negative Spins!”


This is an email I received from a state house operative. His thoughts mirror mine, in regards to The State’s headlines attempt to sensationalize a condition in order to sell a few papers. My thoughts immediatley follow Nick’s in the Post directly below. FJ

Dear Franklin,

In an attempt to shock its readers into buying newspapers, editors at The State Newspaper fabricated a sensational headline. Wednesday’s readers saw “Home sales plunge” stretched across the front page above the fold.

However, immediately below the banner, the article explains, “sellers appear to be holding out for the asking price they want . . . prices rose close to 6 percent . . . for the year, however, the slide pushed Columbia’s market slightly below sales in 2006.”

If that isn’t enough to prove sensationalism, another article titled “Housing stable in Columbia area” appeared in the paper on THE SAME DAY! Its time for our news media to stop creating stories where there are none. Its time to stop running alarmist headlines that ‘shock and awe’ readers but are not supported by facts.

We all know the facts behind this so-called “Housing Slump.” After years of booming sales, markets across the country are correcting. Each local market is correcting in its own way.

SC REALTORS® is developing a response to The State’s most recent sales tactics. We’re urging REALTORS® across the state to contact the editor of your local newspaper and explain what’s really happening in your hometown.

Nick Kremydas, CEO

Newspaper Sales Must Be Awful!!!

“HOME SALES PLUNGE” – This is the front page, above the fold headline we saw the other day. If you saw it, you noticed that the font size would rival “DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN.” If memory serves, I think The State even spent the money to put a red background behind the font for emphasis. At the end it reads, “See Business, Page B9.”

“HOUSING MARKET COOLS BUT IS STABLE” – This is what we found when we searched for “See Business, Page B9.”

Good grief! Need sales??? I heard a pretty good quote today. One of my buddies said, “People in Columbia don’t read The State for news. They only read The State because they live here.”

Of course, I thought about it for a moment before I found myself shaking my head. I hope and wish that this were not true, but it seems like this statement may be right on the money. I read and defend The State regularly, but sometimes it seems like The State would like to peddle a few papers at the expense of the well being of the community it “covers.”

Since Columbia’s market is “stable,” this is an opportunity for our area to shine. At least for our community and at best for the sake of economic development, “our newspaper” should not sensationalize a headline of doom for more quarters in their machines (or at Starbucks).

As a Columbia resident, I shake my head as I type…

Wheeler Hill is Getting Hotter!

Go Wheeler Hill!

As we all read in The State today, Wheeler Hill is about to get a face lift. This already awesome neighborhood is about to get better.

Wheeler Hill is full of “city homes” that have all of the modern amenities and square footage without the burden of a big yard. Although not for everyone, this is obviously a dream for some Columbia residents. Actually, the project that I blogged about last is just across Wheat St. from Wheeler Hill (towards Wales Garden). So the area is going to enjoy more of an upgrade than The State reported.

I often tell people that the best interior Columbia home that I’ve seen is “Andre’s house” (now it is being called “Lowell’s house,” as it was recently purchased by one of Jolie Magazine’s “Most Eligible Bachelors,” Lowell Bernstein). As sad as it is for the family who lived there, no one will be happier to see the “blue house” go. As the blue house sits now you can jump onto the roof from Lowell’s house. Lowell’s house, along with a few others, should enjoy some sort of instant equity bump when the blue one is razed.

Also, one of the nicest homes I’ve ever sold and/or listed is in Wheeler Hill (it’s on the market now, on Phelps). The bathroom is like something you would see in Vegas (that’s what they tell me. The Venetian, more accurately). It really is a great master suite.

Congratulations to this neighborhood. It sounds like it’s been a long time in the making.