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.









“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.

I Need a Name…


A big event happened today. I (along with a partner) bought a great piece of property at the crossroads of Wales Garden and Wheeler Hill. These 4 “quads” are on Wheat St. and are going to be converted into very well priced condos. I will give everyone the details later so stay tuned. The best part about the project is that our price points are going to be low and that the location is unbeatable.

What I need for everyone to be thinking about now is what to name the project. There are tons of names that we can pull from because of the location. It is technically in Wales Garden (per survey) and across the street from Wheeler Hill. To make matters better, it is on Wheat Street and surrounded by USC. Further still, the first address of the property is 1801, the same year that USC was founded. We can take advantage of any of these terms and create a great name for the project.

Put your thinking caps on and help me name the project. The name of the corporation is University Partners, Inc.

Thank You!!!

We Should Expect Articles Like This…

Hardin: Gamecocks to bring their own brand of football Thursday, Oct. 11, 2007 3:00 am

When: 3:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Kenan Stadium, Chapel Hill
Records: South Carolina 5-1; North Carolina 2-4
Tickets: Sold out

Big-time football will be thrust upon North Carolina this weekend. South Carolina comes to Chapel Hill.

The memories will wash over some of us. Others will be in denial. But there was a time in this state when football was still on a level with basketball and we could dream of 80,000-seat stadiums and national television, a time when the football scores would scroll across the screen of the “Prudential College Scoreboard” and chills would roll across your body as you anticipated the outcome from far-flung places.

They all seem close now, the places that seemed so distant then. Clemson and Athens, Oxford and College Station, Gainesville and Norman. They evoked something that’s gone now, replaced by cable and wireless and flat-screen reality. The whole world was flat then, football was king and Columbia, S.C., was hell on earth.

That’s all gone now. South Carolina comes to Chapel Hill this weekend, and the Gamecocks will descend on us like a plague. Some of us will see the waves of garnet and black and remember how it could have been. Most of us will have no idea what we’re seeing.

Say what you will about South Carolinians and their strange affinity with a game we still struggle to comprehend here north of the border, but the truth is plain and painful to all those who would make this an argument. The uppity Gamecocks are ranked seventh in the nation and will bring a slew of people to Saturday’s game, people who understand college football the way we understand basketball, people who back the Gamecocks win or lose, people who hate Clemson more than is healthy and once hated North Carolina the same way.

Well, not quite the same way. The rivalry between Clemson and South Carolina is something we don’t have in this state. Take our greatest basketball rivalry, Duke vs. Carolina, and multiply to an unhealthy level and you’ll understand the Clemson-USC enmity. Maybe.

After 1971, when South Carolina bolted the ACC in indignation over SAT scores and the perceived bias toward the Big Four schools, a wall was built between Columbia and the state line. Friendships were strained. Longtime relationships ended. Traditions were tossed aside.

Things were never the same again. South Carolina turned its full attention to football, built dorms and decks and shrines to a game that brought attention and expectations and a Heisman Trophy to the Gamecocks. North Carolina lost Bill Dooley, then lost its zeal, eventually paving over prime tailgating areas and building things like hospital wings and classrooms and a big basketball arena.

And then Mike Jordan came to town and football all but died.

Now we watch South Carolina on the flat screen, watch the Gamecocks playing on national television before 80,000 screaming zealots, playing games of national significance in another conference, in another realm. Some of us roll our eyes and mock the energy of a program that wants so badly to win a national title, wants it more than any other program in America.

Now we see them rolling across the highways, flags flapping from black and garnet cars, a devotion to football that we understand only because of our devotion to basketball.

They used to drive up here and complain the whole way. There was no good way to get from Columbia to Chapel Hill.

The kids would come in on Friday night, and Franklin Street would be raucous as student bodies from North and South Carolina partied the way football rivals used to party in this state. Then on Saturday morning, the multitudes would walk through the pines to a beautiful football stadium and renew a rivalry that dated to 1903.

This weekend, the rivalry will resume after pausing for the better part of a generation. The schools haven’t met since 1991, the year South Carolina joined the Southeastern Conference and ended any dream that the Gamecocks could return to the ACC and rejoin the league it so naturally fit.

That can never happen now. Too much has happened in the interim, too many friendships strained, too many relationships ended, too many walls built. North and South Carolina parted ways in 1971, the Tar Heels chasing basketball dreams and the Gamecocks chasing a football dream that has brought them more pain than we can ever imagine.

But that’s what we always loved and hated them for. Even their basketball teams played tackle in those days.

In 2000, the Gamecocks played a home game against New Mexico State that attracted little attention outside Columbia. It was the first game of the season, so no one else in the nation noticed. They won 31-0. The kids tore down the goal posts that night. They had lost 21 straight games, and yet 81,000 people were inside Williams-Brice Stadium.

Big-time college football is coming back to Chapel Hill this weekend. South Carolina is coming to town.

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!