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

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Surfside Beach Vacation Rental

Need a beach vacation in 2013?
Consider our vacation rental in Surfside Beach, South Carolina.

4 bedrooms and only one block to the beach.
Community pool and easy access to all of the activities and restaurants in Surfside Beach and Myrtle Beach.

Surfside Beach Vacation Rental Website

One Block to Beach

Community Pool

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from the Coker family in Chapin, South Carolina.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Columbia.LakeMurray on Facebook

Updated Columbia and Lake Murray information, happenings, and real estate news, analytics and much more on Mel Coker's NEW Facebook page.  Please take a look and "like" us.

Mel Coker
Columbia and Lake Murray Realtor
RE/MAX Metro Associates
Call to BUY, SELL, or RELOCATE: (803) 388-8011

SCAN the QR code below (or, get a SCAN app for your smartphone or tablet and scan a QR code for the first time!)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What's Happening in Cayce, SC?

First, it was SCANA's decision to relocate from downtown Columbia to the Frink Street area at I-77 in Cayce.  That was late 2009 with over 1,000 employees.  The next big company to open was Amazon in Fall 2011 in a 1.25-million-square-foot fulfillment center with approximately 1,000 employees.  And, coming soon will be Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation.   The new $313 million pharmaceutical campus is expected to generate 707 new jobs.  These companies (and more) are all located in the Saxe Gotha Industrial Park in Lexington County near the intersection of Interstates 26 and 77.

What follows next?  NEW HOMES.
Concord Park is located just off Frink Street and close to all of these fine companies.  I've already sold one new home in CONCORD PARK, a new homes subdivision developed by Mungo Homes.  Mungo builds their Concord Park homes with hauSmart - the new standard in homebuilding.  This new construction offers features for efficiency, affordability and convenience.   These homes offer quality construction at outstanding value.  Home prices are generally in the $150,000 to $200,000 price range.  Plans run in size from about 1600-2900 square feet.

In addition to being very close to SCANA and Amazon, Concord Park is also conveniently located to Columbia Metropolitan Airport, UPS and Fort Jackson.

New Homes In Concord Park - near SCANA, Amazon and Columbia Metropolitan Airport

Additional BENEFITS to buying a Mungo Home in Concord Park:  closings costs paid by Seller with a Preferred Lender.   And, the Community Partnership program allows for a substantial discount on existing home inventory for military, teachers, nurses, police, firefighters and SCANA and Amazon employees.

Get FREE and effective buyer representation for Concord Park (or ANY new home community) from MEL COKER at RE/MAX Metro Associates:  Call (803) 318-2007.  

Ready to BUY in Corcord Park?  Call Mel Coker at RE/MAX (803) 318-2007 or contact Jimmy Maddaloni at Mungo Homes and tell him that Mel Coker referred you.  Mel Coker then will assist you with buying your new Mungo home.   Reach Jimmy at (803) 240-5120.  Also, email MEL COKER for more information, to register or to get listings in Concord Park by email.

Mel Coker
RE/MAX Metro Associates
(803) 318-2007
Columbia Real Estate
Columbia / Lake Murray on Facebook

Sunday, November 11, 2012

EASY Home Maintenance (Air Filters)

Change your HVAC filters regularly!
I change mine on the last day of each quarter (easy to remember).
I buy my filters online at NordicPure - great efficiency filters, GREAT prices, no shipping charge. (buy MERV 12 or MERV 8 filters).


 Mel Coker
Columbia Realtor
RE/MAX Metro Associates

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Selling Your Columbia (SC) Home?

Call MEL COKER to sell your home in Greater Columbia, South Carolina!

My NEW sign for "luxury" homes - those priced 3 times higher than the local market average price. Have a higher priced home or Lake Murray waterfront home to sell? Call Mel Coker.

Mel Coker
RE/MAX Metro Associates
(803) 223-6214 (office)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Home Buying Still Builds Wealth

Home Buying (still) = Wealth Building!
Read Mel Coker's First Time Homebuyer's Guide:

Call or email MEL COKER to get started with buying a home in Columbia, SC!

Mel Coker
RE/MAX Metro Associates


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Buying Your First Home in Columbia, SC

Call Mel Coker to buy your First home.
NOW is the time to buy with lower prices, excellent inventory of homes and LOW mortgage interest rates.

Mel Coker IS your Columbia, SC real estate buyer's agent for first-time home buyers (and relocation, new homes, all homes!)    Mel can assist with homes in Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Chapin, Lake Murray and Northeast Columbia.

Let Mel Coker Help YOU Slay The Rent Monster!  Buy A Home NOW.

Mel Coker
Realtor - RE/MAX Metro Associates
Professional Designations: CRS, ABR, GRI, SRES, e-PRO
(803) 223-6214 
Columbia, SC Real Estate Website


Monday, October 1, 2012

New Home Sales in Columbia, SC

Mel Coker's Analysis of NEW Home Sales in Greater Columbia, SC

I have completed a detailed analysis of NEW home sales over the past (almost) 7 years.    2006 was the high-water mark for home sales in the Greater Columbia area.  The fourth quarter of 2007 saw the beginning of the real estate downturn in the Coumbia area.  The results since then have not been very good (especially to Sellers).

New home in Columbia, SC area
In this analysis, I looked at NEW home sales ONLY.  Furthermore, the review includes only new homes closed at $100,000 or more, but does include all areas in the Greater Columbia Multiple Listing Service.

There were 3439 new home closings in 2007, slightly more than 2006.  But, new home closings have fallen every year since then, ending with only 1585 closings in 2011  - down 53.9% or an average decrease of 13.5% each year.  Prices have been down too, although not as much percentage wise.  Considering the review criteria above, the average price of a new home closing fell from $211,804 in 2007 to $194,897 in 2011 - down 7.98% or an average decrease of 2.0% each year.

Further review of certain areas of Greater Columbia (Northeast Columbia; Irmo/Dutch Fork; Lexington; Lake Murray) for 2007 to 2011 new home closings reveal:
Northeast Columbia - closings down 55.8%
Irmo/Dutch Fork - closings down 40.7%
Lexington - closings down 34.0%
Lake Murray waterfront - closings down 85.7%

Now, some slightly positive news.  Thru September 2012, there have been 1305 new home closings.  My estimate for the final number of 2012 closings is 1690 - more than the 1585 in 2011, but still slightly less than the 1771 closings in 2010.

Call Mel Coker to buy a NEW home.
NOW is the time to buy a NEW HOME!   Prices are still down (compared to pricing  from 2010-2011), builders are offering more as far as construction amenities than just 5-6 years ago, and mortgage rates are at all time lows.   Buy now, before prices start to increase noticeably and mortgage rates increase.

Call Mel Coker to start the process of finding and buying your NEW home.  I can represent you on any NEW home from any new home builder.  Get FREE buyer representation from Mel Coker for any new home.  Call Mel Coker at (803) 223-6214 or email.

Mel Coker
RE/MAX Metro Associates
Columbia Real Estate Website

Saturday, September 29, 2012

New Financial Management Tool - CREDIT SESAME

It's NEW and FREE!

I just read about this new online financial management tool.  I thought it's good enough that I signed up myself.  The goal of Credit Sesame is to help people take control of their credit and possibly save money with better and smarter loans.

The website requests your name, address and a small amount of other personal data on the secure website, but, it provides a one-stop source of valuable information.  You get: a (free) credit score from Experian, credit balances, including mortgage, options for other/better loans, a tracking of your home value and your credit standing compared to peers.  It's cool stuff!

CLICK HERE to sign up!

Mel Coker
Columbia, SC Real Estate

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I Need Some Facebook Love

I Need Some Facebook LOVE LIKES!
Please LIKE my Facebook Page.

My COLUMBIA & LAKE MURRAY REAL ESTATE page on Facebook is relatively new, so I need some "LIKES" to get a higher standing with Facebook.  Please consider taking a moment to link over to my page and clicking on LIKE to help me out.  THANK YOU!

Several people will be selected by random drawing among those "LIKING" my page between September 25th and October 31st (2012) to win a Chic-Fil-A gift card.

CLICK: Mel Coker's Real Estate Facebook Page

Mel Coker
Columbia's Technology Realtor!
RE/MAX Metro Associates

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Happy 65th Birthday to The United States Air Force

Today, September 18th, is the 65th Birthday of the United States Air Force.

I salute all who have worn the uniform of the USAF.

CLICK HERE to watch the video "Celebrating 65 Years of Air Force Heritage"

Air Force Bases in South Carolina:

Shaw Air Force Base
McEntire Joint National Guard Base
Joint Base Charleston

Monday, September 10, 2012

ObamaCare Impacts Real Estate

FACTS on the New 3.8% Tax - Read this article!
ObamaCare impact on real estate transactions. (maybe)

THE FALSEHOOD:  I have received a number of emails that are forwarded to me and many others with erroneous information about how ObamaCare is going to place a tax to Sellers on ALL real estate transactions closed after January 1, 2013.  Essentially these ERRONEOUS EMAILS state that, for example, on a $100,000 sales transaction, the SELLER must pay a new tax of 3.8% or $3800 to the federal government.
i.e. - in an email I received today:
"Did you know that if you sell your house after 2012 you will pay a 3.8% sales tax on it?   Under the new health care bill all real estate transactions will be subject to a 3.8% sales tax."    THIS IS FALSE!

In my opinion, ObamaCare is a very bad thing.  It's bad legislation by an out-of-touch President and Congress (especially a currently Democratic controlled Senate).  

Beginning January 1, 2013, a NEW 3.8 percent tax on some investment income will take effect.   This tax WILL NOT be imposed on all real estate transactions, a common misconception. Rather, when the legislation becomes effective in 2013, it may impose a 3.8% tax on some (but not all) income from interest, dividends, rents (less expenses) and capital gains (less capital losses). The tax will fall only on individuals with an adjusted gross income (AGI) above $200,000 and couples filing a joint return with more than $250,000 AGI.   Additionally, the new tax does NOT eliminate the benefits of the $250,000/$500,000 exclusion on the sale of a principal residence. Thus, ONLY that portion of a gain above those thresholds is included in AGI and could be subject to the tax.

LINK:  3.8% Tax on Certain Real Estate Transactions - Brochure by National Association of Realtors

This new tax was passed by Congress in 2010 with the intent of generating an estimated $210 billion to help fund President Barack Obama’s health care.    Of course, there are other wild taxes and even a raid on Medicare to fund Obama's health care. 
Your vote this November is critical to America's future.  Please know the issues and VOTE.
Mel Coker
Columbia, SC Realtor
RE/MAX Metro Associates

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Real Estate Frustration? Selling Problems or Value Problems

What is one significant cause of the housing crisis?   Read on...
I deal with many prospects, clients or potential prospects still facing problems with either (or both) selling their home or a significant drop in their home valuation.   The same thing has happened in the Greater Columbia area and even to my home value (fortunately, not as significant home value decrease as in many parts of the country).  While I don't need to sell or want to sell, certainly my home value is down today as compared to the value in 2006-2007.

What was a big cause of the real estate/housing meltdown?   Significantly loosened credit requirements....  so that people getting approved for  loans to buy whereas in the past would never get a loan based on their ability or willingness to repay (i.e. subprime mortgages).   Result?    Dramatically higher foreclosures and short sales.  Another result?   Significantly higher inventory of homes for sale.  Another result?  Lower home prices and much higher average time to sell a home.   (Remember that old economic principle:  Supply and Demand)

Read this: 
Just yesterday, The Daily Caller website revealed some previously unpublished court information about a landmark case that many consider the fuse that set off the subprime mortgage boom and eventually, the economic meltdown. It was a 1995 discrimination lawsuit against Citibank, on behalf of a group of African-Americans who claimed they couldn’t get loans because of their race. It was part of a coordinated effort at the time by progressive groups. The banks didn’t want to be sued or accused of racism, so they loosened requirements for credit history and down payments (they just gave in). What the Daily Caller discovered is that among the original plaintiffs in that case, there was a startling loan failure rate. Out of about 186 homebuyers, roughly half have since gone bankrupt or received one or more foreclosure notices. As few as 19 still own homes with clean credit ratings. Even some of the plaintiffs now say the banks never should’ve made those loans.
And here’s the kicker: the lead attorney on that case that prompted banks to start making home loans to people who couldn’t qualify for them was a young Chicago community activist named Barack Obama.


Columbia, SC Relocation

Relocating to the Greater Columbia area?
Mel Coker knows Columbia real estate... and, Lake Murray, Irmo, Chapin, Lexington, Northeast Columbia, Elgin and West Columbia.

Mel is a Professional Realtor (CRS, ABR, GRI, SRES and e-Pro Designations) and life-long Columbia resident.

Contact: Mel Coker
RE/MAX Metro Associates
(803) 223-6214
Columbia Real Estate
Columbia Information
Lake Murray Information

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

500 Columbia, SC Real Estate Closings

Coming Soon: Mel Coker's 500th Real Estate Closing
Very soon, I will have my 500th Columbia (S.C.) real estate closing.
That's 500 closings since 1998 covering Columbia, Northeast Columbia, Lexington, West Columbia, Cayce, Irmo, Chapin, Prosperity, Saluda, Elgin and Lake Murray.  I've enjoyed helping many families and individuals buy and sell in the Greater Columbia area.  And, I'm looking forward to an improving economy and helping many more clients buy, sell and relocate.

My 500 closings represent an average of over 33 closings per year and a total sales volume in excess of $83 Million.  During these 15 years, I have only worked at two Columbia real estate firms.  For the past 11 1/2 years, I have been associated with the world leader in Real Estate sales - RE/MAX.  In 2006, I was inducted into the RE/MAX Hall of Fame for sales volume leadership.

My 500th real estate closing client will receive a special gift package in recognition of this special milestone.  Will it be you?    When you're ready to BUY or SELL in Greater Columbia, contact Mel Coker.

Mel Coker
RE/MAX Metro Associates
Columbia Real Estate Website
Columbia MLS Search
(803) 223-6214 office
Mel Coker's email

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

How Wealthy Are You?

Most folks just think of NET WORTH when considering wealth.  Of course, net worth is the value of all assets minus the value of all liabilities.  Assets include cash, retirement savings, checking and savings accounts, investments, HOME VALUE, investment properties and fair valuations on art, collectibles, furnishings, etc.  Liabilities include debt balances on mortgages, student loans, credit cards, home equity and any other debt.   The result is net worth.  The cool thing about owning your own home is that over time, home ownership becomes a significant part of net worth (my plug for home ownership!)

Number ONE tip for accumulating wealth?  SPEND LESS THAN YOU EARN.

I have read the really good book, The Millionaire Next Door, and one web guru, Hugh Chou, also read the book and created a really cool wealth calculator.  The book and Mr. Chou's online calculator follow the premise that your total net worth alone does not tell a good enough picture of one's wealth, what matters is how much worth you can accumulate on your income considering your own age.

Where do you stand?  Are you an UNDER accumulator of wealth?   AVERAGE accumulator of wealth? PRODIGIOUS accumulator of wealth?  In other words, what is your wealth index?    Well, you can figure this out with the link below.  I've also included other links such as a cool net worth calculator and a portfolio manager.

HOW WEALTHY ARE YOU?  (Hugh Chou's Wealth Equation Calculator)

Calculate NET WORTH

Portfolio Monkey (cool investment and portfolio management tool)

BUY a home in Columbia, SC

Interesting notes:
  • U.S. median household income in 2010: $45,800 (down 7.7% from 2007)
  • U.S. median household net worth in 2010: $77,300 (down 38.8% from 2007)
  • A recent Federal Reserve survey finds that during the recent economic downturn, American families are saving less and only slowly repaying debt.

Mel Coker
Columbia, SC Realtor
RE/MAX Metro Associates

Monday, August 27, 2012

Seniors Real Estate Specialist in Columbia, SC

MEL COKER is your Seniors Real Estate Specialist in Columbia, S.C.   When you're ready to BUY or SELL in the Greater Columbia area, be sure to contact Mel Coker

Mel is a life-long Columbia area resident and sells real estate in downtown Columbia, Northeast Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Chapin and on Lake Murray.  Mel works at RE/MAX Metro Associates in the Irmo area.
Office: 803-223-6214

Click to Enlarge

Friday, August 10, 2012

Lake Murray - Beautiful South Carolina Lake!

Lake Murray Information by Mel Coker, Columbia's Realtor...

Check out my Lake Murray information to learn all about this wonderful lake in South Carolina. 

 Lake Murray has been named by BOATING MAGAZINE as one of the Top Ten lakes in the United States for living and boating.

(recent posts: Lake Murray 360 degree panorama, Lake Murray time lapse, church services on Murray)

More Cool Lake Murray Links:
Lake Murray eBook
Lake Murray Facts (printable in PDF)
Lake Murray 360 degree Panorama
Lake Murray Time Lapse

Mel Coker
RE/MAX Metro Associates
(803) 223-6214 office
Lake Murray & Columbia Real Estate

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Irmo Home For Sale - Palmerston North Subdivision

102 Bronlow Drive; Irmo, SC
What a home!  Located in the popular Irmo area, this all-brick home features 5 bedrooms and 3 1/2 bathrooms.  And, it's PRICED TO SELL!

More features:

  • Hardwoods in foyer, formal dining room, kitchen, breakfast area
  • Formal Dining Room
  • Formal Living Room / Study
  • Family Room with Fireplace and bay window, flat screen TV conveys
  • Beautiful Kitchen! Smooth surface counters, pantry, white cabinets, breakfast area
  • Master bedroom (trey ceiling) with sitting area
  • Master bath has double vanity, Whirlpool tub and separate shower, walk-in closet, TV conveys
  • Backyard Oasis! 16' x 32' Inground Pool
  • Seller provides America's Preferred Home Warranty
  • Central heat and cooling
  • Beautifully maintained yard includes over 20 palm trees Architectural shingles
  • Two car garage
  • Deck
  • Large .77 acre lot
  • Back of Home / Pool
    Over 3100 square feet, all brick with a pool and priced at only $325,000.

    This home is convenient to downtown Columbia, Fort Jackson, Irmo area shopping, and Columbia Metropolitan Airport.  Lake Murray is less than 15 minutes away.

    This home is in the highly desired Lexington School District 5 area, with both Dutch Fork Middle and Dutch Fork High schools only 1/2 mile away (an easy walk).

    For complete information and pictures, CLICK HERE

    Need more information or wish to schedule an appointment to see this home?
    Contact Mel Coker
    RE/MAX Metro Associates
    (803) 223-6214 (office)

    Wednesday, July 18, 2012

    Our Trip To Aruba

    Just got back from a great vacation in Aruba (two weeks ago).  It was our 2nd trip to Aruba - this time we stayed on the North end of the island in the Palm Beach area.  We had a wonderful vacation particularly with an Aruba trikes tour, Mi Dushi sail/snorkel trip and a 4 mile walk from our resort to the California Lighthouse.

    A link to pictures

    Animoto video:

    Tuesday, July 10, 2012

    Palmetto Heroes 2012 - A First Time Homebuyer Program

    Palmetto Heroes 2012
    A First-time Home Buyer Program From the S.C. State Housing Authority

    Call Mel Coker at (803) 388-8011 for details on this limited time program.  NOW is the time to buy your first home.  This program is for: law enforcement officers, correctional officers, teachers, nurses, firefighters, veterans and emergency medical services employees.  There are variations of the program featuring a LOW mortgage rate (as low as 3.75%), favorable qualifying terms (including min. 620 credit score) and possible $5000 down payment assistance (which may be forgiven!).   There are limited funds available and when this allocation of money is used up, the program will be over for 2012.  Income and home sales price limitations do apply.

    Call MelCoker to learn more and to be referred to a mortgage professional that can qualify you for his special limited time program through the S.C. State Housing Finance and Development Authority. 

    Call Mel Coker at (803) 388-8011 - your Greater Columbia real estate agent.

    Mel Coker
    Columbia Real Estate website

    Back to Blogging!

    Sorry for the almost two months without a blog article.  I did get a little busy and then we were off to Aruba and then 4th of July celebration...

    More soon!

    Wednesday, May 23, 2012

    Insurance Industry Strong in Columbia, SC

    Did you know that Columbia (SC) has become a world leader in Insurance Technology and Processing?
    It's true.  Recently, THE STATE NEWSPAPER published a nice article on this. CLICK HERE for a link to the article

    BlueCross BlueShield Corporate Office in Columbia, SC
    There are over 20 insurance companies in the Greater Columbia area and over 14,000 insurance jobs in South Carolina with the majority in the Columbia area.   BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina currently handles 75% of all insurance claims for United States military personnel and retirees.   The company also handles a significant amount of Medicare claims and other health care claims.   The BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina data/technology center is one of the largest in the world.
    BlueCross Blue Shield of South Carolina JOBS

    Other large insurance companies in Columbia include Colonial Life and Seibels Bruce.  Colonial Life is the nation's second largest supplemental insurance company.  Aflac, the number 1 supplemental insurance company, is also moving into the Columbia area with a strong presence.

    Looking for a job in the Columbia area?  Consider the insurance industry.

    Looking for a home in the Greater Columbia area?  Contact Mel Coker, Columbia Realtor:
    (803) 223-6214  |  Columbia, SC Real Estate website  |  Columbia MLS Search

    Mel Coker

    Saturday, May 12, 2012

    Order DIRECTV and Save!

    Need to establish TV service?
    I highly recommend DIRECTV!

    Call 1-800-507-4045
    Provide this Referral #:  64832707

    Get DIRECTV's BEST OFFER on an ENTERTAINMENT PACKAGE or above and get $100 in FREE bill credits.

    DIRECTV is defining the best TV experience in the world through a compelling mix of content, technology and service. DIRECTV provides HD programming, interactive features, digital video recorder (DVR) services, quality customer service, and electronic program guide (EPG).

    Saturday, May 5, 2012


    The most user-friendly real estate search app out there is NOW available from RE/MAX!

    As an example of the efficiency and usefulness of mobile apps... My wife and I were looking for a beach vacation home back in 2010 and we identified the home and details for the home we eventually bought initially with a mobile app while driving near the home in Surfside Beach, South Carolina.

    The best feature?  Get instant access to nearby homes for sale along with many other useful features such as photos, turn-by-turn directions and more.

    Link For YouTube Video for RE/MAX Mobile App
    Or, Search on RE/MAX  for your SmartPhone Apps

    Ready to BUY?  Call Mel Coker at (803) 388-8011 or email Mel Coker.

    Mel Coker
    RE/MAX Metro Associates
    (803) 223-6214  Office
    Mel Coker Real Estate Website
    Columbia, SC MLS Search

    Thursday, May 3, 2012

    Featured NEW Home Community: Peachtree Place

    Looking for a NEW home in a GREAT community at an EXCELLENT price?
    Let Mel Coker help you buy your home in PEACHTREE PLACE.
    Located in Lexington between I-20 Exit 51 and U.S. Highway 1

    Peachtree Place features homes built by Essex Homes.    Homes feature vinyl construction, some with stone or brick fronts, and some feature granite counter-tops.  All homes have 9 foot ceilings and offer excellent value.  Prices range from mid-160s to around $200,000.   An example of a current listing:  4 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, granite counter-tops and 2575 square feet at $174,900.   That is only $67.92 per square foot!

    The community is conveniently located off near Interstate 20, downtown Lexington and an easy drive to downtown Columbia and Columbia Metropolitan Airport.   Excellent Lexington District 1 schools are nearby (Pleasant Hill Elementary, Pleasant Hill Middle and Lexington High).

    Mel Coker
    Call Mel Coker at (803) 318-2007. ( or email: )
    Let Mel Coker be your buyer's agent (no fee for client representation), mention this blog article and get a $500 Lowe's Gift Certificate at closing in addition to the great pricing offered in this community by Essex Homes.  Or, call the on-site Essex Homes agent, Ray Ange (803-513-5402) and mention that you saw Mel Coker's blog article.

    Relocation?  First-time home buyer?  NOW is the time to buy with great value on new home pricing AND historically low mortgage interest rates.

    Call Mel Coker to buy in Peachtree Place  (803) 318-2007
    Note:  Mel Coker is not listing agent, but, has permission to publicize.  Mel Coker offers free buyer representation.

    Tuesday, May 1, 2012

    An Example of Bad Real Estate Marketing


    I've been away for a period of time from my normal blogging activities. Seeing a REALLY BAD listing in the MLS today is bringing me back. I had a client request MLS listing sheets for several properties. One of these currently ACTIVE listings featured the following picture as the FIRST and primary photo in the listing:

    I've deleted listing info to protect the inept agent

    THIS is terrible marketing by an agent that has been in the business a long time. Looks like his primary objective is to sell  azaleas or some other bush. This primary picture is sometimes the only photo that will show in other real estate websites as the MLS listing is shared through IDX sharing technology.    This is unbelievably bad service by this agent to a client.   I bet the client has not seen this.   And, it's not like the bushes are so close to the home that another photo opportunity is unavailable. Picture #14 of 14 shows this view:

    Want GREAT marketing to have the best opportunity to get your home SOLD? (I even email the final listing sheet to the homeowner/seller for review and so they can see what is out on the Internet for agents and prospective buyers.)
    Contact MEL COKER at RE/MAX Metro Associates:
    Office: (803) 223-6214

    Saturday, March 17, 2012

    Best Places for Retirement: Columbia, SC

    The Greater Columbia (SC) area is a GREAT place for retirement!

    There are many reasons to consider retiring to the Columbia, South Carolina area, but, one is the overall tax burden is easier in South Carolina.  Kiplinger recently named South Carolina as one of ten states with the lowest overall tax burden for retirees.  Here is what they had to say about South Carolina being a "tax friendly" state:  The state does not tax Social Security benefits and provides a generous retirement-income deduction when calculating state income tax. State income-tax rates are reasonable, and property taxes are very low. Taxes are based on 4% of the market value of the home (then applied against local millage rate), and senior homeowners qualify for a homestead exemption.
    CLICK HERE to read more

    The Greater Columbia area includes: Irmo, Lexington, Northeast Columbia and the Lake Murray area.  Life-long Columbia resident and Realtor Mel Coker can be your Columbia retirement relocation Realtor.  Call Mel Coker at (803) 388-8011 or email.
    Other important reasons to consider Columbia, SC for your retirement:
    • Excellent medical care facilities (5 hospitals - includes Dorn VA hospital and 2 heart specialization hospitals)
    • Nice year-round weather (snow is relatively rare)
    • Friendly people
    • Lots of activity possibilities (museums, parks, activity centers)
    • Reasonably priced golf courses and golf community homes
    • Boating and recreation on beautiful Lake Murray
    • Reasonable real estate taxes (and a $50,000 exclusion against taxable assessment at age 65)
    • Convenience to fun places: other travel in the Southeast, mountains of South and North Carolina, Historic Charleston, and the beaches in South Carolina to include Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head Island.
    • Reasonable Home Prices! 
    Examples of average home pricing in the Columbia area:
    (closed single family homes; min. 1000 sf; min 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms - as of March 2012)
    Overall Columbia area: app. $155,000
    Lexington area:  $203,094
    Irmo/Dutch Fork/Chapin area: $164,130
    Lake Murray waterfront: $497,521

    Ready to Get Started with a SMART Retirement Move?
    Contact Mel Coker
    Realtor, CRS, ABR, GRI, SRES
    RE/MAX Metro Associates - Columbia, SC
    (803) 388-8011

    Wednesday, March 7, 2012

    A Better Home Page?

    What is your home page?  How much really useful info is there?

    (the default page that comes up when you start your Internet browser)
    It's probably set to the default that your web browser wants you to see.
     Here is a link to the Mel Coker Home Page

    I created my own "home page" in the early days of the Internet... way back on September 24, 1995!  It's still out there, but, much improved over the years.  I have all of the best and coolest links for you.  Make my home page YOUR HOME PAGE!

    What's on the Mel Coker home page? 
    • links to MY websites, including Columbia real estate, Columbia websites, and Lake Murray websites
    • Google and other search engine inquiry boxes (Wikipedia, BING, Yahoo)
    • The best links for news, weather, sports, financial, investing, travel, health, fitness and much more
    • Direct link to Amazon for the best in Internet Shopping
     Just today, I added a new category: Retirement  - since I am getting  really close to retirement, I've found some really great websites.  These links are great for everyone wanting to plan and anticipate for retirement.

    There are more really cool links, especially for computers: links for cleaning and making your PC faster, OpenOffice, DropBox, anti-virus, and more.  Almost all of these great services are FREE!

    So, I invite you to make MY homepage YOUR homepage.
    CLICK HERE for Mel Coker's Home Page
    (if you like it, you can click on the PLUS ONE on the webpage!)

    Below is a partial view of the Mel Coker Home Page

    Mel Coker's Home Page (partial)


    Taxes in South Carolina

    Considering Relocation to South Carolina?
    An Overview of Taxes in South Carolina

    Sales Taxes

    State Sales Tax: 6% (prescription drugs and unprepared food items exempt); 25 counties impose an additional 1% local option sales tax; a number of counties impose a 2% sales tax.  Seniors 85 and older pay 5%.
    Gasoline Tax: 16.8 cents/gallon
    Diesel Fuel Tax: 16.8 cents/gallon
    Cigarette Tax: 57 cents/pack of 20

    Personal Income Taxes

    Tax Rate Range: Low – 3.0%; High – 7%; No tax on the first $2,630 of taxable income in tax year 2007.
    Income Brackets: ** Lowest – $2,740; Highest – $13,701
    Number of Brackets: 6
    Personal Exemptions: * Single – $3,700; Married – $7,400; Dependents – $3,700
    Standard Deduction:  Single – $5,700; Married filing jointly – $11,400
    Medical/Dental Deduction: Federal amount
    Federal Income Tax Deduction:  None
    Retirement Income Taxes: Retirement income is taxed. Social Security is exempt.   Under age 65, $3,000 in pension income is exempt.  If you are 65 or older you may exempt $15,000 of retirement income.  You can take this deduction for income received from any qualified retirement plan.  If both spouses receive retirement income, each spouse is entitled to an individual deduction. The $15,000 deduction must be offset by any other retirement deduction that is claimed.  A surviving spouse may continue to tacke a retirement deduction on behalf of the deceased spouse. Some taxpayers age 65 and older may not have to file a tax return if they meet certain conditions.  For more information,click here.
    Retired Military Pay: Retirees with 20 or more years of active duty can deduct up to $3,000 annually until age 65 and up to $10,000 per year after age 65.  This deduction extends to the surviving spouse.  Pension or retirement income received for time served in the National Guard or Reserve components is not taxable.  Survivor benefits are taxed following federal tax rules.
    Military Disability Retired Pay: Retirees who entered the military before Sept. 24, 1975, and members receiving disability retirements based on combat injuries or who could receive disability payments from the VA are covered by laws giving disability broad exemption from federal income tax. Most military retired pay based on service-related disabilities also is free from federal income tax, but there is no guarantee of total protection.
    VA Disability Dependency and Indemnity Compensation: VA benefits are not taxable because they generally are for disabilities and are not subject to federal or state taxes.
    Military SBP/SSBP/RCSBP/RSFPP: Generally subject to state taxes for those states with income tax. Check with state department of revenue office.

    Property Taxes

    Property tax is assessed and collected by local governments.  Both real and personal property are subject to tax. The market value of a legal residence and up to 5 acres of surrounding land is assessed at 4%.  For homeowners 65 and older, the state’s homestead exemption allows the first $50,000 of their property’s fair market value to be exempt from local property taxes.  South Carolina imposes a casual excise tax of 5% on the fair market value of all motor vehicles, motorcycles, boats, motors and airplanes transferred between individuals.  For more information, click here.

    Inheritance and Estate Taxes

    There is no inheritance tax or estate tax..
    For further information, visit the South Carolina Department of Revenue site or 800-763-1295.  If you are planning to move to South Carolina, this link will provide you with some helpful information.
    * State allows personal exemption or standard deductions as provided in the Internal Revenue Code.

    Call Mel Coker to buy a home in the Greater Columbia area
    Contact Mel Coker (a lifelong South Carolina resident / Realtor)
    RE/MAX Metro Associates | Columbia, SC
    (803) 223-6214
    Internet  |  email