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

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  

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Tornado Information for South Carolina

Our tornado risk in central South Carolina overall is relatively low, but, we do have tornado possibility.  Here is information you may find useful for safety purposes:

A tornado is a violent, dangerous, rotating column of air that is in contact with both the surface of the earth and a cumulonimbus cloud or, in rare cases, the base of a cumulus cloud. In the United States, tornadoes are around 500 feet (150 m) across on average and stay on the ground for 5 miles (8.0 km). Yet, there is a wide range of tornado sizes.
TORNADO WATCH - Issued when conditions are right for a tornado to form.
TORNADO WARNING - issued by government weather services to warn that severe thunderstorms with tornadoes may be imminent.

Tornado Links:

Current NOAA Tornado Watches
National Weather Service Forecast - Columbia, SC
WIS-TV First Alert Radar  |  WLTX-TV Weather & Radar
WIS First Alert Weather APP for iPhone
Rob's Live Weather Radar Page
Tornado Information Including Safety Tips
All About Tornadoes - Wikipedia
Tornadoes - Natures Most Violent Storms  (really good stuff here!)

Buy A Weather Alert Radio (Amazon)