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…


UNIVERSITY PARTNERS, Inc. is born!

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
NO. 7 SOUTH
CAROLINA AT
NORTH CAROLINA

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!

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.
trackback

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?