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

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

College Planning - Resources, Tips and more

College... Sooner or Later?

Our daughter is a senior in high school this year. We have been saving for this for some time now. We're glad we did! College costs have been rising at a faster pace over the cost of living for many years now.

If you have a child in high school now, you will find my new Preparing for College website helpful. It covers such topics as: Life and Hope Scholarships, FAFSA, other scholarships and grants and resources for finding a college. There is a link to the Paying for College Guide that is also very helpful.

If you have a small child... start saving NOW! Consider using the South Carolina Future Scholars program. You will find links to this and much more including the College Savings 101 Tutorial link.

Consider College an Investment
Did you know that, according to a 2007 College Board Study, Education Pays, people with a bachelor's degree earn over 60 percent more than those with only a high school diploma? Over a lifetime, the gap in earning potential between a high school diploma and a B.A. is more than $800,000. In other words, whatever sacrifices you make for your college education in the short term are more than repaid in the long term.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Lake Murray Sales Report

Lake Murray Sales Update

I've put together the most complete Lake Murray sales update you will find anywhere. My family has enjoyed living on Lake Murray for 6 years now. We bought a lot on Lake Murray in the Chapin area in 2001, built one year later and moved in during August 2002. We love Lake Murray living!

Lake Murray is one of the finest lakes in all of the South. The lake is approximatley 41 miles long and has over 640 miles of shoreline. The lake has fantastic fishing and is a great place for boating and water sports. We enjoy going out for lunch or dinner by boat.

More information:

Sales Report as of February 26, 2009:
Current waterfront homes for sale on Lake Murray:
Average Price: $742,221
Avg. square feet: 3280
Avg. $/s.f.: $226.45
Avg. Days on Market (DOM): est. 218 *
*Avg. DOM: the MLS provides a DOM number, but, this does not include homes listed for sale and never sold, and homes listed and withdrawn from market and re-listed and those listed that expired and were re-listed. My previous analysis of such situations reveal on average a number that is in the range of 25% higher for DOM. So, my DOM figures includes this 25% upward adjustment.

The current average listing price is higher than expected or normal due to the somewhat higher number of Million dollar listings currently active on Lake Murray. Currently, there are 35 homes for sale on Lake Murray listed at $1,000,000 or more. In fact, the average price of these 35 homes is $1,648,676 with an average dollars per square foot of $299.83. The average DOM is at least 231 days. The bad news is the fact that only 4 million dollar homes sold on Lake Murray in 2008 (only 3 sold in 2007). Consequently, there is enough current inventory to last over 8 years. If you are in the market for a really expensive home or million dollar home, you're in luck because there is great selection of such homes and pricing may be very good. It's definitely a buyer's market for such homes.

Excluding the million dollar homes reveals a market analysis of active homes for sale that is in much closer proximity to the actual closed results in 2008:

Active homes for sale on Lake Murray (excluding Million dollar homes):
Average Price: $543,934
Avg. square feet: 2795
Avg. $/s.f.: $194.61
Avg. Days on Market (DOM): est. 216
Closed waterfront homes on Lake Murray in 2008:
Average Price: $545,431
Avg. S.F.: 2884
Avg. $/S.F.: $189.10
Avg. DOM: 144

Further analysis of Lake Murray waterfront home sales over the past 5 years:

2004: (over the previous year)
Number of sales: UP 19.8%
Avg. Price ($/S.F.): UP 19.4%

Number of sales: UP 10.1%
Avg. Price: UP 6.9%

Number of sales: DOWN 11.1%
Avg. Price: UP 13.1%

Number of sales: DOWN 3.7%
Avg. Price: UP 4.7%

Number of sales: DOWN 25.2%
Avg. Price: DOWN 5.2%

Lake Murray is still the water playground for central South Carolina! When you're ready to buy or sell on Lake Murray, contact Mel Coker.

Mel Coker
Columbia SC real estate

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

For Sale in Irmo - Heatherstone Subdivision

For Sale in Irmo: great home, convenient location, excellent schools and priced to SELL!

128 Wenlock Circle; Irmo, SC
Three bedrooms, two bathooms and a one car garage makes this home a nice "move-up" home or a wonderful home for a first-time homebuyer. NOW is a great time to buy a home. First-time homebuyers get an excellent deal with the NEW and really incredible tax break (think $8000 gift from the Federal government). Call Mel Coker for more details.

This home has wood laminate flooring in all living areas and bedrooms. The spacious kitchen also has an island. There is a deck and large fenced backyard to enjoy outdoor time. The master bathroom has a garden tub and double vanity. The community is adjacent to the Northwest YMCA. This home has "Priced-Right" pricing at $130,000. Call Mel Coker for a mortgage referral to learn how low your payments would be for this home.

SPECIAL Bonuses: includes 2-10 home warranty, refrigerator, washing machine and dryer.

Housing Stimulus Bonus from Mel Coker on this home: Ask for your homebuying stimulus from Mel Coker (at contract signing or prior to closing) and receive a $250 Lowe's giftcard after closing.

For more information: Call Mel Coker (803) 318-2007
Click here to view Online Virtual Tour
Click here for Mel's Animoto Tour

Mel Coker - Columbia, SC Realtor

Monday, February 16, 2009

Chapin High School - One of America's Best High Schools!

Congratulations to Chapin High School - Selected as one of America's Best High Schools by U.S. News & World Report Magazine (for 2009). Chapin High School is located in Chapin, SC and in the highly rated Lexington Richland School District 5. Only 6 high schools in South Carolina received a gold or silver ranking by U.S. News & World Report Magazine.

Chapin High School has been recognized previously as a National Blue Ribbon and Red Carpet Award winning school. There have been many other accomplishments: Merit and Scholarship awards, award winning ROTC program and a sports program that was recently recognized by The State Newspaper as the “Best Athletic Program in the Midlands."

Congratulations to:
  • Mike Satterfield, Principal at Chapin High School, and ALL of the fine staff at this school
  • STUDENTS that put forth effort for high achievement.
  • Parents and the Community for a high level of support

Mike Satterfield, Chapin High School Principal

Go Chapin Eagles!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

NEW University of South Carolina Baseball Stadium

Barbara and I visited the Carolina Stadium Open House last night.

This is the beautiful NEW home of The University of South Carolina baseball team. It is acknowledged to be one of the top college baseball stadiums in the United States. During our visit, we had complete access to everything in the new stadium, even Coach Ray Tanner's office! USC officials estimated 4,000 fans attended the open house last night.

We were very impressed with the new stadium. It is located adjacent to the Congaree River and the Blossom Street Bridge. The new ballpark cost $35.6 million. The permanent seating capacity is 6,400 with total capacity of approximately 9,000 including outfield bleachers, picnic area and standing room only.

There are many neat features in the new Carolina baseball park: Beautiful views of downtown Columbia; Wide concourse around entire stadium; A state-of-the-art video scoreboard will stand 86 feet above the field - The scoreboard is 47 feet high and 44 feet wide, with a video board that is 16-by-28 feet; A 3,900-square-foot weight room; Four indoor batting practice tunnels and much more.

South Carolina plays in the Southeastern Conference - the best conference in college baseball. The 2009 season starts February 21st with the first game in the new Carolina Stadium. South Carolina finished 40-23 last year. South Carolina has one of the very best college baseball coaches in Ray Tanner. Last year's attendance for South Carolina baseball finished #6 in the entire country for average attendance (4,758) and #7 for overall attendance (161,761).

South Carolina is one of only five schools in the nation to have made seven NCAA Super Regional appearances over the last nine years (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007). In the previous nine seasons, Carolina owns the fifth highest total of wins in the country (428) and has won more SEC games than any team in the league (162). In addition, the Gamecocks have made nine consecutive postseason appearances, the longest current streak among the 12 SEC schools. South Carolina also has three College World Series trips (2002, 2003, 2004), two SEC championships (2000, 2002) and one SEC tournament title (2004) in that span.

Go Gamecocks!

Mel Coker

Monday, February 9, 2009

Financial Freedom

Do you need to achieve real Financial Freedom?

Over my 10 year real estate career, I've run into many people that have real financial crisis. Many call me to buy a home and then admit to a bad financial situation and poor credit, or, I find out later after making a referral to a mortgage professional that bad finances and poor credit prevent them from buying a home. I really don't like being able to help these people because buying a home is a SMART financial decision.

The sad thing is that I know that many or most of these people in dire financial straits will be in the same boat 5 years from now and then 10 years from now and likely too all the way out to when they should retire or will be retiring. Their situation will never change, because they don't work to change spending and saving habits.

Recently, Consumer Reports magazine had an article "7 Steps Toward (Financial) Reform." A subscriber wrote the following letter to the editors in response to the article... "The article didn't list the most important reform: Reform the consumer. Start with these steps: Thou shalt not covet more house that thoust canst afford; not shalt not use thy credit card for long-term debt; thou shalt nor bear false witness on thy mortgage application. Those are among the sins that got us into this mess."

Things to Do:

Read Mel Coker's "Best Financial Advice Ever" (4 Simple Tips that WILL Work)

READ: The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

READ: The Millionaire Next Door

I strongly recommend preparing a written budget and Net Worth statement each year (end of year is a great time to do one). Do one now, print it out and save it, and then do one each year. Watch your progress as you focus on your finances.

Prepared your Net Worth statement? Now, you're ready to see where you stand! CLICK HERE for the "How Wealthy Are You?" calculator.

Visit Mel Coker's Financial Links website: net worth calculators and statements, retirement savings, college planning and savings, and much more.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

REAL change for Real Estate and the Economy!

Urgent Message from Mel Coker

If you have been watching the news this week, you may have noticed that the debate in Washington has finally turned toward real stimulus for the housing industry. As a result, I believe that we could be on the brink of a substantial turn around in the real estate market. Now, it’s critical that we all join together and deliver a powerful message to our legislators that we support this stimulus.

Last night, the Lieberman/Isakson Amendment was included in the senate version of the Economic Stimulus Bill by a unanimous voice vote. This amendment would provide a Tax Credit to all home buyers at the rate of 10% of the sales price up to a limit of $15,000. The credit would be available for a one year period to all purchasers of primary residences.

Today, the senate expects to debate Amendment 353, a proposal by Senator John Ensign (R-NV) that would provide 30 year fixed financing at a rate of about 4%, for anyone purchasing a primary residence.
If these two provisions survive in the final passage of a stimulus bill they could have a tremendous impact on the real estate industry. If they are coupled together with provisions to ease the flow of credit and reduce foreclosures, we could see an immediate and dramatic turn-around in real estate.

I feel that these provisions represent real economic stimulus. They will put money in the hands of millions of homeowners, increase sales, stabilize home values and add more revenues to local communities in the form of property taxes.
I urge each of you to contact your senators and representatives (immediately) to let them know that you believe these provisions are essential components of any stimulus bill. You can go to the official Senate and House web sites to locate the email and phone number of your legislators.

This may be one of the most critical moments for the real estate industry in our time. Please pass this information on to anyone you might do business with. The outcome of this legislation will have a lasting impact on us all. I appreciate your assistance on this urgent matter.

In the Columbia area, contact your Representatives in Washington (DO THIS NOW!):
Senator Jim DeMint:
Senator Lindsey Graham:

Representative Joe Wilson:

Live elsewhere?
Find your Senator: Click Here
Find your Representative: Click Here (type in your zip code)

Read Mel Coker's letter sent by email: Click Here

Thank you.
Mel Coker