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

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

March 31st - Change Your HVAC Filter Day!

Today is... Change Your HVAC Filter Day!
When is the last time you changed your HVAC filter(s)?

How's the air in YOUR home?
Research has found that in homes across America, the quality of indoor air can be worse than outdoor air. Problems can arise from moisture, insects, pets, appliances, radon, materials used in household products and furnishings, smoke, and other sources. Effects range from minor annoyances to major health risks. Remedies include ventilation, cleaning, moisture control, inspections, and following manufacturers' directions when using appliances and products.
Click Here for Mel's Home Clean Air website

Changing AC & furnace air filters in your home is probably the easiest and most effective way to have clean air in your home. I see way too many dirty air filters in homes that I show to prospective home buyers. In fact, my guess is that of the filters that I can easily see, more than 50% are too dirty or extremely dirty. I sold a home recently and I know that the homeowner had not changed the filter in over a year or possibly at all during her 2 years of ownership.

I highly recommend buying premium filters. Basic and inexpensive fiberglass filters should be changed every 1-2 months and premium filters can usually be changed every 3 months. Do you know your filter size(s) and when was the last time you changed your filter?
Changing filters on a quarterly basis is easy to remember... Do it TODAY (March 31st) and again on June 30th and September 30th and December 31st.

Dirty Filters I've seen lately (I see plenty of this!)

The Coker's Change Filters Quarterly!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Columbia SC Emergency Contacts

NEED an emergency number FAST for Columbia, SC?

Of course, for real emergenices, just dial 911.

While working on my new Telephone/Internet Directory refrigerator magnet*, I could not find a really good online resource for emergency numbers. The best available resource is the AT&T telephone book. So, I have created one! Visit my new webpage:

I also have this in PDF format, so you can easily print this: Emergency list in PDF format

*If you would like my NEW refrigerator magnet when it is published, please send me an email with your name and mailing address. (only available for Richland, Lexington & Newberry county residents) email to:

For Lexington County residents, I have a link for information about the My9-1-1 program. Sign up online for FREE. I highly recommend this. I've done this myself. Do it TODAY!

My new Emergency Contact List webpage has telephone numbers and internet links for local sheriff and police departments, other law enforcement agencies, EMS, forest fire reporting, underground locator service, weather service reports, SC sex offender registry, Amber Alert, Homeland Security and more. When all else fails, there is even a link to God.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Nobody Sells More Real Estate Than RE/MAX!

The 2008 numbers are in...
Nobody sells more real estate than RE/MAX!

In 2008, for comparisons by total United States transactions and transaction sides per U.S. agent, RE/MAX leads the way. For total transactions, RE/MAX leads the nearest competitor by 26.2%. For transaction sides per agent, RE/MAX leads the nearest competitor by 31.8%. Another comparison also shows that RE/MAX agents have more professional Realtor designations than their competitors.

Choose RE/MAX when you want the best in experience, professionalism, use of technology and results.

In Columbia, when you're ready to buy or sell, choose Mel Coker.
In 2008, Mel had 32 closings and 33 transaction sides for a transaction volume of $6.9 million. Mel holds the following professional Realtor designations: CRS, ABR, GRI, and SRES. Also, Mel is the exclusive CyberStars Realtor for Columbia, SC. Mel is a member of the RE/MAX Hall of Fame. Click here to learn more about Mel Coker.

Mel Coker
"Above the Crowd Service"
RE/MAX Metro Associates * Columbia, SC
(803) 318-2007

Click on the chart below for full size version:

Monday, March 23, 2009

Columbia, SC Gasoline Prices

Columbia has LOW gasoline prices!
According to, as of March 23, 2009, Columbia has the 8th lowest average gas price (at $1.814 per gallon) in the entire United States! The state of South Carolina has the 5th lowest gas price by state.

Find Columbia Gas Prices
City,State or Zip Code (eg. Columbia, SC)

Thanks to
GAS Saving Tips by
Gas Saving Tips: Fact or Fiction? (Audio)
Drive Smarter Challenge

Friday, March 20, 2009

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Little Pigs Barbeque

Want some real Southern Barbeque in Columbia, SC?

Be sure to stop in at one of two locations of Little Pigs Barbeque in Columbia, South Carolina. Little Pigs has operated in Columbia since 1962 and since 1978 at its current location on Alpine Road (Northeast Columbia). A second location, Little Pigs Too, opened recently on Broad River Road (U.S. Highway 176) near the Peak Exit in the Irmo/Dutch Fork area.

I eat at Little Pigs regularly. If you haven't tried Little Pigs Barbeque, be sure to stop by soon to experience the best Southern barbeque. You will find all of this on the menu for one reasonable price: mustard barbeque, vinegar barbeque, tomato barbeque, pork ribs, barbeque chicken, fried fish, rice and hash, string beans, corn, fried okra, collards, french fries or wing chips, and more. Other items rotate on the menu regularly.

Little Pigs has been owned and operated by Champ McGee since 1989. John Reynolds assists with the Little Pigs Too location. Little Pigs also offers an excellent catering business. My wife and I have used the catering service a number of times for the Chapin girls basketball team banquet.

Click here to visit the Little Pigs virtual restaurant!

For great Southern barbeque, be sure to stop by one of two Little Pigs locations soon.

Original Little Pigs Barbeque
Open Wednesday for lunch; Open Thursday - Saturday for lunch and dinner
4927 Alpine Road
Columbia, SC 29223
(803) 788-8238
(off I-20 at Alpine Road just past Blue Cross office building

Little Pigs Too Barbeque
Open Thursday - Saturday for lunch and dinner; Sunday for lunch only
11210 Broad River Road
Irmo, SC 29063
(803) 781-6160
(off I-26 WEST at exit 97 - Peak exit - go towards Peak app. 1/2 mile on the right)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Mortgage Rates at Historic Lows!

Ready to BUY a home? Ready to refinance?
NOW is the time.

30 year mortgage rates are at historic lows. Now really is the time to buy a home. When you're ready to buy a home in the Columbia area, be sure to contact Mel Coker.

Rates for 30-year fixed mortgages have been in the high 4's to low 5's. These rates can make a big difference in the amount you pay monthly for your home. Or, you may now be able to buy "more" home.

Below is a summary sheet from Nathan Ballentine at Wells Fargo/Wachovia explaining the current mortgage rate situation. When you're ready to get a new mortgage or refinance, be sure to call Nathan Ballentine at (803) 343-3234.
Click on the image below for the full size document.

Travel Channel Trip-A-Month Sweepstakes

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Lake Murray Update

Lake Murray Update
I will attempt to start providing a Lake Murray update periodically on my Columbia blog and on my new Lake Murray blog. The update will be on the 15th and last day of each month through the end of summer on the Lake Murray blog and on the last day of each month on my Columbia blog. The blog will cover current lake levels, current water temperature and upcoming significant events on the lake.

Today, we had our warmest temperatures (low 80's) for the new year. So, I saw lots of boaters and fishermen on the lake today.

March 7th stats:
Lake Murray water level: 358.01 (essentially highwater mark for a typical summer)
Water Temp (Fahrenheit) (top): 53.2

Live at Lake Murray - Mel's Lake Murray listings:

Mel Coker

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

First-time Homebuyer? Buy Now. Buy Now. Buy Now.

Opportunity of a lifetime for first-time homebuyers?

NOW is a Great time to buy a home for anyone... and, now especially so for first-time homebuyers.

Reasons to BUY your home: Build equity (increase net worth)... deduct mortgage interest and property taxes on federal and state tax returns... lots of home inventory... LOW interest rates... prices in general have slowed or remain steady.
The biggest reason... Congress has enacted a NEW law to encourage home ownership for first-time home buyers with $8000 on the table.

Quick Facts About NEW Law Provisions for First-time Homebuyers:
  • The tax credit is available for first-time home buyers only. The law defines "first-time home buyer" as a buyer who has not owned a principal residence during the three-year period prior to the purchase.
  • The maximum credit amount is $8,000.
  • The credit DOES NOT have to be repaid! This is a FREE $8000 gift from the American taxpayers for buying a home under the provisions of the law.
  • Only homes purchased on or after January 1, 2009 and before December 1, 2009 are eligible..
  • Single taxpayers with incomes up to $75,000 and married couples with incomes up to $150,000 qualify for the full tax credit.
  • Home buyers must use the residence as a principal residence for at least three years or face recapture of the tax credit amount. Certain exceptions apply.
  • The fact that the credit is refundable means that the home buyer credit can be claimed even if the taxpayer has little or no federal income tax liability to offset. Typically this involves the government sending the taxpayer a check for a portion or even all of the amount of the refundable tax credit.
More information:
In Columbia (SC), contact Mel Coker to get started with buying your first home!

I have created a special website: First-time Homebuyers Guide
This covers home-buying benefits and 9 steps to buying your first home. I have also created a RENT vs. BUY comparison that shows the huge savings when you BUY a home. CLICK HERE for the rent vs. buy comparison

Home Buying = Wealth Building!

Ready to BUY a home in Columbia, South Carolina? Contact Mel Coker.
Call (803) 749-5800