Greater Columbia, Chapin, Irmo, Lexington and Lake Murray.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year - 2009! Get out your new calendars, remember to write 2009 for all dates AND be sure to make some new year's resolutions! Enjoy your black-eyed peas, hog jowls, hoppin' john and ham and collard greens on New Year's Day.

I've compiled Mel Coker's TOP 10 NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS based on my extensive research (not necessarily my personal resolutions):
  1. Lose weight
  2. Get in better physical shape
  3. Spend more quality time with family and friends
  4. Reduce or eliminate debt
  5. Set a budget and/or reduce expenses
  6. Quit smoking
  7. Learn something new / develop a new talent or skill
  8. Drink less alcohol / quit drinking
  9. Find a better job (or, in these times, find a job)
  10. Get better organized

Tips for making (and completing) effective New Year's Resolutions: set only 1-3 realistic goals; write down your goals; take baby steps (break goals into tasks with deadlines); go public (tell others about your goals); track your progress; reward yourself; if you slip up, recommit!

Great links:

Tips for Making New Year's Resolutions: * * For Kids & Teenagers

Please keep reading my blog in 2009... I'll have interesting blogs on Columbia real estate, Columbia stuff, cool vacations, prize give-aways and much more.

Click here for a FREE subscription to immediate blog updates thru my FeedBurner.

Mel Coker

Saturday, December 27, 2008

How to Buy Your First Columbia Home

Ready to Buy Your First Home in Columbia, South Carolina? Your first step should be to contact Mel Coker.

Mel is a life-long Columbia area resident and really enjoys working with first time homebuyers and relocation clients. NOW is a great time to buy a home with moderating prices, excellent inventory of homes and mortgage interest rates at record low levels. Mortgage rates have recently been below 5% for a 30-year fixed rate!

In addition to lower mortgage interest rates (and lower house payments), federal tax legislation has been enacted that allows for up to a $7500 tax credit for first time homebuyers. This credit expires June 30, 2009.

If you are paying rent now (in other words, buying an investment property for your landlord), you should make a New Year's resolution to buy your OWN home prior to June 30, 2009. Financially successful people BUY their homes (rather than pay rent).

Contact Mel Coker when you are ready to buy your home in Columbia, SC.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas from the Coker family

Merry Christmas from the Coker family in Columbia, South Carolina! We have had a very nice holiday season and the past 4 days have been spent in Myrtle Beach with our daughter Kelly's basketball tournament in North Myrtle Beach.

I personally feel blessed to have been raised by a family that allowed me to know the real meaning of Christmas - the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.

The other celebrations of the Christmas season are also special... time with family and friends, church celebrations, Christmas trees, Santa Claus and gift giving.

Speaking of Christmas season gift giving, I have chosen a special Columbia area charity for my personal special Christmas giving gift this year. I have sent a $100 donation to the Oliver Gospel Mission in Columbia.

Oliver Gospel Mission seeks to rescue broken men from those things that hold them in bondage and to rebuild them so that they can live fulfilled (Christ-centered), functioning (responsible), and fruitful (influential) lives. This vision is a reality through our two distinct ministries – the first being our ministry to the Community Homeless of Columbia, South Carolina and the second being our Christian Life Development addiction recovery program.

I encourage you to read about the Oliver Gospel Mission and make a Christmas season gift donation or to pick another worthwhile charity to make a donation in this Christmas season. I especially like the Oliver Gospel Mission's purpose in transforming broken men's lives through the gospel message of Christ.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Fort Jackson / Fort Jackson PCS

I've created a new Fort Jackson PCS (relocation) website and my first Issuu ebook guide. Check out the Fort Jackson webpage at:
Fort Jackson PCS/Relocation

My Fort Jackson eGuide was created using . It's new technology that I find very interesting. Try it for your own personal or business use. It's free!

Mel Coker

Monday, December 15, 2008

Lake Murray living

Want to live at Lake Murray and enjoy this beautiful lake without having to pay the high prices for waterfront homes? I've got a great solution... Check out my TWO new home listings with Lake Murray access for sale in Night Harbor subdivision near Chapin, South Carolina. The big benefit to each of these home is that you will get a personal boat slip in the community marina. The initial fee has been paid for by the builder.

These two homes are built by Tim Broome of Lexington Development & Builders. I've sold 3 of his all brick homes in this same community. Now he has two more for sale that are close to completion. They can be finished quickly for your quick closing and move-in. NOW is an especially great time to buy a home with really LOW mortgage rates (around 5%).
First some background on current pricing at Lake Murray (as of December 15, 2008)...

For a waterfront home ON Lake Murray (avg. size 3574 s.f.), the average price is $784,276 (median price $649,000). For a waterfront lot (min. 75 feet water frontage and less than 5 acres), the average price is $326,308 (median price $250,000). The average price of a Lake Murray access home (2861 s.f.) is $355,632 (median price $354,950). Keep in mind that these comparatives prices are for homes currently for sale of all age ranges and from all around Lake Murray including Richland, Lexington, Newberry and Saluda counties.

My two NEW homes for sale in Night Harbor include these benefits and features: Night Harbor is convenient located near Chapin and Irmo with great restaurants and shopping. Also, the Chapin schools are excellent and are in the highly rated Lexington Richland School District 5.

NEW, app. 2800 s.f.
4 bedrooms, 3 1/2 baths
screened porch
all brick construction
Boat Slip included
Price $351,850

The Night Harbor community has a clubhouse, boat ramp and tennis courts. It's a really friendly neighborhood!

NEW, app. 2857 s.f.
4 bedrooms, 3 1/2 baths
screened porch
all brick construction
Boat Slip included
Price $356,450

These homes are built right and priced right! When you're ready to live at and enjoy Lake Murray, call Mel Coker, your Lake Murray Realtor (that lives on Lake Murray!).

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Hilton Head Condo rental / Mel's Vacation Store

Many of you know that Barbara and I own a condo rental at Hilton Head Island. We're ready to take reservations on our one bedroom condo rental for 2009 at Hilton Head Island Beach & Tennis Resort. As an Internet/Blog special, we will offer you a 5% discount for any 2009 reservation IF you mention "Blog Special" when you contact us to make the reservation. This special discount is available only for OUR condo rental at Hilton Head Island Beach & Tennis Resort and expires on January 31, 2009.
I have also created a NEW Online Vacation Store. It's filled with the best offers from the best names in the travel industry - Marriott, Carnival Cruises, Best Western, Sheraton, Holiday Inn, Barcelo Resorts, Sandals Resorts, BlueBay Resorts, Hotwire, Priceline and CheapOair. Recently, we used Hotwire to book a short-notice vacation in the Charleston Historic District. I booked two rooms for one night at an unbelievably LOW rate. The booking experience was excellent.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Kelly Coker - Chapin High School Basketball

Chapin High School Girl's Basketball is underway! I'm proud of my daughter, Kelly Coker, and her teammates this year with the Chapin High School girl's basketball team. They are off to a 6-1 record in play in a really tough region with a big upcoming game against defending state champion Lower Richland. Last year, the Chapin girl's team were region champs! This Friday night, Chapin plays against Mid-Carolina on the road.

With my help, Kelly has created her own blog. CLICK HERE to view Kelly's blog. For the game this past Tuesday night against Brookland-Cayce, THE STATE newspaper covered the game and has posted a really nice article and video on their website. Kelly, #22 in the white jersey, is shown in 3 Chapin plays... she is caught on video with a behind the back pass to Layla Neal that results in a layup; a 3 point shot directly in front of the camera; and , a driving layup that results in a basket in spite of a foul on the play.

You're invited to come out and watch exciting Chapin girl's and boy's high school basketball. A link to game results and the schedule is posted on Kelly's blog.

Columbia MLS Search - Update

NEW website from Mel Coker! As an update to my previous blog, I've created a new website focusing on providing MLS search capability to my clients and prospects through my Internet presence.

CLICK HERE to view the new website -

NOW is a great time to buy a home! First-time homebuyer tax credit, LOW mortgage rates, great selection of home inventory. Call Mel Coker (803) 749-5800

LATE BREAKING NEWS (11:15 a.m.)... Now really is the time to buy a home! Just heard from Nathan Ballentine that rates TODAY are at 5% or lower! While rates DO change daily, that is the rate today. Rates should stay very low for the short term at least. Call Nathan Ballentine to get mortgage and rates information at: (803) 343-3234 or 206-4199. Then, call Mel Coker to start looking at homes!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

NEW Columbia MLS Search Feature from Mel Coker

Ready to buy a home in Columbia, SC?
NOW is a great time to buy a home! There is lots of inventory, prices are reasonable and mortgage interest rates are near record lows. This past week, 30-year fixed rates were under 5.5%. For first-time home buyers, you can take advantage of the new Federal Tax Law Benefit for first-time homebuyers. Click here for more first-time homebuyer information.

Click here for mortgage professionals recommended by Mel Coker.

Want to do a little searching on the Internet yourself? I've got a brand new MLS search feature. My MLS search page allows you to search by selected home features and/or price or by address or by zip code or by MLS. Other "advanced" search features (click on Advanced Search) allow for searches by more search criteria, school area and much more.

Click Here to Search the Columbia MLS.

When you're ready to buy a home in the Columbia area, please contact Mel Coker. I look forward to assisting you.

Click here for Mel Coker's Homebuyer Guide.

Mel Coker
(803) 749-5800

Monday, December 1, 2008

Christmas in Columbia

Two BIG Christmas Season Traditions in Columbia, SC!

Lights Before Christmas - at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, the gates have opened on the 21st annual Lights Before Christmas. Trees decorated with nearly one million twinkling lights and more than 350 handcrafted images set the scene for what has become a holiday tradition for many Midlands families.

Lights-goers will have the opportunity to sip hot cocoa and roast up a toasty marshmallow treat at the Jingle Bell Bonfire. Santa will be at the zoo each night and photos are free when you use your personal camera. This spectacular event is on-going each night (closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day) through December 30th from 6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Admission is: $8 for adults (13 and up); $6 for children 3-12; free for 2 and under. Riverbanks Zoo & Garden is located at I-126 and Greystone Boulevard. Parking is available on the zoo side only.

Bypass long lines at the entrance: Buy tickets online

Holiday Lights on the River - Saluda Shoals Park has the largest drive-through lights show in the Columbia area. Holiday Lights on the River features more than a million sparkling lights and over 300 animated light displays on a two-mile loop of Saluda Shoals Park. Admission is $10 per car or $20 for a 15 passenger van. This holiday event is from 6:00 - 10:00 p.m. each night through December 31st.

Saluda Shoals Park is located at 5605 Bush River Road in the St. Andrews (Irmo) area. For more informaiton: Call (803) 772-1228 or visit Holiday Lights on the River website.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from the Coker family in Columbia, South Carolina! Today, we're doing some cleanup around the home, raking leaves and putting up our Christmas tree. Later today, we will travel to West Columbia to be with family and I will cook a turkey in a turkey fryer. I did this for the first time last year and it produces excellent results.

I did some reading this morning on the orgins of Thanksgiving Day in the United States. Thanksgiving Day began as a tradition at the end of the harvest season to express thanks for one's material possessions and spiritual blessings.

The first recorded Thanksgiving ceremony took place on September 8, 1565, when 600 Spanish settlers, under the leadership of explorer Pedro Menendez de Aviles landed at St. Augustine, Florida, and immediately held a Mass of Thanksgiving (with a feast and celebration) for safe delivery to the New World. Of course, the Pilgrims had Thanksgiving observances in Plymouth, Massachusetts in the early 1600s. As President, on October 3, 1789, George Washington made a proclamation and created the first Thanksgiving Day designated by the national government of the United States of America.

Mel Coker

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Community Spotlight - The Battery at Arsenal Hill

The Battery at Arsenal Hill... a diverse range of new homes for downtown Columbia living. Live here and you're in the heart of Columbia. Less than 5 minutes to: University of South Carolina, State Capitol Building, Palmetto Health Baptist Hospital, Finlay Park, Riverfront Park, Colonial Center and so much more. Also nearby are: Williams Brice Stadium, Palmetto Health Richland Hospital and Interstates 26 and 20.

Single family homes and cottages range in price from the low 200s to the upper 200s. Townhomes are priced from the 160s to the 230s.
Inspired Communities is the developer and builder. The community is appealing in both design and for incredible convenience. Each home is quality built for your enjoyment and for future resale potential.

NOW is the time to buy your new downtown Columbia home. Interest rates are near historical lows and special buyer incentives are available. Call Mel Coker, your Columbia Realtor, to see any home at The Battery at Arsenal Hill. With Mel Coker as your buyer's representative, I will offer a $300 Lowes shopping gift card at closing for any home bought in this wonderful community.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Tips to Sell Your Home in a Slow Market

Selling in a buyer's market, with an oversupply of homes and/or falling home values, does not occur often, but certainly presents challenges. My top ten tips listed here should help you and most tips are applicable in any home selling environment. Homes SELL because they exhibit great VALUE!

  1. Prepare yourself for market conditions - Be prepared for fewer showings and longer "days on the market"
  2. Make a good first impression - That first few seconds in front of a home can make or break a possible sale
  3. Prepare your home for showing - make your home look like Mr. & Mrs. Clean live there
  4. Hire an inspector - Very few sellers do it, but, a home pre-inspection may be of great assistance to you in determining what's wrong and what needs to be repaired in your home
  5. Make repairs - Make repairs that are profitable or will be necessary for the sale of your home (for example, the Buyer will need to have "clean" heating & air and termite inspections
  6. Special touches inside the home - eliminate odors, add seasonal touches or flowers, turn on lights or open blinds for showings, etc.
  7. Select the best selling agent - Your choice of a Realtor IS important! Call Mel Coker.
  8. Set a competitive price - Your home is in a competition... to SELL! An example... if you have a home to sell at $175,000 (close to the average home price in Columbia), you have 524 other homes for sale within 10% of $175,000 (that's just in the most sought after school district areas too). That's a lot of competition!
  9. Offer a home warranty - buyer's agents will typically negotiate for this anyway and a home warranty gives buyers additional confidence in a real estate transaction
  10. Be flexible and patient - use feedback and suggestions from your Realtor to make adjustments

Click Here for Mel Coker's Home Selling Tips web page (you can also obtain a Lowes 10% off coupon)

Contact Mel Coker when you're ready to sell your home in the Columbia area. I would be happy to offer a FREE market analysis, answer questions and explain my extensive marketing plan. Your choice of a Realtor IS important!


Telephone: (803) 749-5800


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Veterans Day - Columbia SC

I attended the Veterans Day parade in Columbia yesterday. There was a great crowd on hand to honor our veterans. I took a number of pictures and I also stopped by Memorial Park in downtown Columbia.

More Links:

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Charleston Day Trip

Want a suggestion for a great day trip or weekend trip to make from Columbia? Try Charleston!

Barbara and I went on a spur of the moment day trip yesterday (Friday, November 7th) to Charleston. Our primary focus was to visit Patriots Point and the USS Yorktown in Charleston Harbor. Click here to visit our photo tour.

The USS Yorktown (CV-10) was the tenth aircraft carrier to serve in the United States Navy. Yorktown received the Presidential Unit Citation and earned 11 battle stars for service in World War II. Yorktown also earned 5 battle stars for service off Vietnam and recovered the Apollo 8 astronauts and capsule (December 1968). Yorktown was decommissioned in 1970. In 1975, Yorktown was towed from Bayonne, NJ to Charleston to become the centerpiece of Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum.

Patriots Point tour exhibits include: USS Yorktown, historic planes and flight deck, USS Laffey, USS Clamagore, USS Ingham, Congressional Medal of Honor Museum, and the Vietnam Support Base.

Patriots Point website

We toured all of Patriots Point and walked some of the Arthur Ravenel Bridge over the Cooper River. My pedometer indicated that we walked 5.4 miles in our Patriots Point and Cooper River bridge walking!

After leaving Patriots Point, we headed over to the market area in Charleston on Meeting Street. We had a great seafood meal at Hymans Seafood (highly recommended!) and walked and shopped in the Market Area.

Hymans Seafood
Charleston Visitors Bureau
Ravenel Bridge over Cooper River

We recommend Charleston highly! Visit soon.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Veterans Day in Columbia, SC

Veterans Day is Tuesday, November 11th!

This federal holiday was initially known as Armistice Day to commemorate the end of World War I on November 11, 1917. The holiday officially began in 1926 and in 1954 the holiday name was changed to Veterans Day.

Veterans Day is largely intended to thank living veterans for their service, to acknowledge that their contributions to United States national security are appreciated, and to underscore the fact that all those who served - not only those who died - have sacrificed and done their duty. PLEASE BE SURE TO THANK A VETERAN FOR THEIR SERVICE TO OUR COUNTRY!

The City of Columbia will observe the annual Veterans Day Parade on November 11th in downtown Columbia. This parade is one of the largest Veterans Day parades in the United States.

I've created a webpage with information for the Veterans Day parade and to honor our veterans. Please check the page out as it contains other information such as: Veterans Day links, pictures from our Memorial Park in Columbia, SC and the name of America's most decorated soldier from ANY international/foreign war (HINT: it's not Alvin York or Audie Murphy and he WAS born in South Carolina!).

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Flight Deck... Great Food, Great Fun in Lexington

Flight Deck Restaurant is my favorite place to eat in Lexington.

My friend, Ted Stambolitis, owns the restaurant and The Shoppes at Flight Deck. The restaurant is easy to find at the intersection of U.S. Highways 1 and 378 in downtown Lexington, South Carolina. The address (for your GPS) is: 109 Old Chapin Road, Lexington.

Enjoy great meals and desserts in a family friendly atmosphere. You will also enjoy the aviation theme throughout the restaurant. It's really a tour through the history of aviation. Your children will enjoy seeing King Kong and eating from the "Little Flying Aces" menu specials. There's a really large group area for celebrations, church socials or just friends getting together. Call (803) 957-5990 for your reservation.

I get by as often as possible at lunch to enjoy the Blue Plate Special! It IS "special." You will get a delicious entree, two vegetables, iced tea, and dessert bar or cookie. All of this is only $6.95 and it's served Monday - Saturday for lunch AND dinner. Of course, there's much more on the great menu. Click here to see the menu.

For a great meal, excellent service and and the fun aviation theme, please stop by soon to enjoy the Flight Deck Restaurant. Be sure to say hello to the ever present and friendly owner, Ted.

The Flight Deck Restuarant is the anchor for the Shoppes at Flight Deck. So, while you're there to enjoy a delicious meal, be sure to do some shopping! Designed with architecture of the bygone era of the early 1900’s. The Shoppes At Flight Deck -“the place for one stop shopping AND dining."

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

OPEN HOUSE - Night Harbor at Lake Murray

Open House this Sunday, November 2nd
1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Night Harbor at Lake Murray

I'm having an Open House at 2 NEW all brick homes in Night Harbor subdivision at Lake Murray. These homes, quality built by Lexington Development and Builders, are priced to sell quickly!

Directions: I-26 West to Chapin (exit 91); turn left on Columbia Avenue towards Chapin; at stoplight (at U.S. Highway 76), continue straight onto Amicks Ferry Road; continue approximately 6 miles; turn left on Green Meadow Drive; left on Night Harbor Drive; left on Daymark Drive.

The builder has already paid the initial fee for a boat slip for each home in the Night Harbor community marina. This is a great deal for a Lake Murray access home. In addition to the marina in Night Harbor subdivision, there are tennis courts, a clubhouse and boat ramp.

Each home has custom features including: 4 bedrooms, 3 1/2 baths, beautiful hardwoods (foyer, formal dining, great room and study, heavy wood trim, gas fireplaces, screened porch and much more. Generous allowances will allow you to pick your carpets, lighting fixtures and appliances.

More information on these homes:
221 Daymark Drive - $351,850
309 Lighthouse Lane - $356,450

Interested in living at Lake Murray at at reasonable price? Please be sure to stop by my OPEN HOUSE this Sunday, November 2nd (1:00 - 3:00 p.m.)
Mel Coker - Columbia, SC Realtor

Click here for more Lake Murray information

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Columbia Parade of Homes

The Columbia Parade of Homes is underway now at Saluda River Club. The 24th annual Parade of Homes runs through November 2nd at this exciting new community in Lexington, South Carolina. If you're looking to buy a new home or get ideas for building a new home or for decorating ideas, you need to make sure you get out to view these 6 custom built homes. Builders featured in the 2008 include: Baudo & Associates Home Builders, Capital Construction, Carolina Custom Homes, Dunbar Builders, Vesta Builders and Zeigler Home Builders.

The Parade is open daily through November 2 from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. daily. Tickets are $7 each and are available at the event. Directions: Take I-20 West to Exit 61, Hwy. 378. Turn toward Lexington. Take an immediate right on Corley Mill Road. The entrance to Saluda River Club is located 1.5 miles down Corley Mill Road on the right hand side. GPS address location: 644 Corely Mill Road, Lexington, SC 29072

Visit the parade (before it's gone) for new home construction techniques and home decoration ideas. You will enjoy seeing custom kitchens, outdoor patio areas, green construction ideas, custom media rooms, the best in smart home technology and energy efficiency and much more. ALL of the homes are very nice and have unique features. My favorite home was The Briarwood, built by Baudo & Associates Home Builders. Be sure to check out the smart home technology and the large home theater with stadium seating. The home is so special it's already SOLD! Mr. Baudo can build you another one like this.

The Saluda River Club is Lexington’s newest community. I have been to this community twice now and IT IS my personal favorite new home community in all of the Columbia area. I live at Lake Muray (for the past 5 years). IF I did not live at Lake Murray, I'd want to live at Saluda River Club! I'll do another blog by the end of the year just on Saluda River Club. It's one of the most beautiful places in Columbia along the banks of the Saluda River.


Ready to buy or sell a home in Columbia, South Carolina? Contact Mel Coker at RE/MAX Metro Associates: Call (803) 749-5800 or visit my website or email.
Upcoming blogs: Fire Safety Month, Great Lexington Restaurant, Mel's Preferred HVAC contractor, Saluda River Club and much more!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Featured Home Community - Eagles Rest

EAGLES REST... beautiful traditional homes built near Lake Murray and between Chapin and Irmo, South Carolina. The developers have devoted 25% of the land in this community to common use preservation. This community features 16 estate lots, 32 garden homes and 167 single-family homes. There are sidewalks and walking paths in the neighborhood and a community pool will be built in 2010.

The all brick garden homes start in the 220s and go to the 290s. You will have the opportunity to upgrade to a wide array of various options in your custom-built home if you so desire. One very popular custom feature is the Florida room with fireplace. These homes are built by Shumaker Homes, family owned and operated in Columbia since 1965.

The single-family homes have a typical price range from the 220s to the high 300s. You may choose a home from an existing "spec" model home or build "your" home with the features you desire. You will enjoy the Shumaker commitment to building the highest quality architecturally designed and constructed new homes.

Another option is to buy an estate size lot (in the 70s) and select your builder to build a custom home.

This community is just minutes to Lake Murray, which is the water playground for central South Carolina. You're also only minutes to the highly rated schools of Lexington District 5 (Lake Murray Elementary, Chapin Middle and Chapin High). Also nearby are excellent medical facilities, parks, shopping and dining in Irmo and downtown Columbia.
Click here for more Columbia area information.

Want to tour or buy a home in Eagles Rest? Please be sure to contact Mel Coker. I have experience with selling many new homes and homes built by Shumaker Homes. When you have Mel Coker as your buyer's agent, you get professional representation, friendly service and a SPECIAL BONUS! With Mel Coker as your buyer's agent for a home in Eagles Rest, you will receive a $500 Lowe's gift certificate at closing! It's EASY... call or email Mel Coker for more information:
Toll-free: 888-528-2258 or office: (803) 749-5800 (ask for Mel Coker)

Click here for Mel Coker's exclusive Buying Guide for Columbia Real Estate.

Columbia, SC real estate:
Lake Murray: