Tuesday, December 11, 2007

How to Get Out Of Debt

I saw tonight on CNBC that the average credit card debt for the American family is $9,200. The average family would benefit by watching this short video. Taking this advice also could have helped avoid the current "credit crunch."

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

USA Today Profiles Greenville, SC Real Estate Market

This article on USA Today online profiles the current Greenville real estate market which stands in stark contrast to the rest of the state and nation.

When you look at the numbers, we have a lot to be thankful for here in Greenville. Home sales and prices were up 1% in Greenville, while statewide sales are down 9% and prices remained flat. The article states there is a seven month supply of homes on the market compared to an eleven month supply nationwide.

Depending on your situation, it really is a great time to buy or sell right now in our market. If you need to sell and are willing to price your home correctly and stage it properly, there are plenty of buyers out there. If you are in the market to purchase a home now, the interest rates are still quite attractive and there is plenty of inventory to choose from.

Don't let the national media-driven gloom and doom reporting distort what is actually going on in our local market. We are very fortunate.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

More Residential Housing Announced for The Point in Greenville, SC

The Greenville News reported this morning that Georgia-based development company Flournoy Development co. plans to build nearly 700 apartment units at The Point in midtown Greenville. They plan to start building 348 units in phase one as soon as the city issues permits. The second phase would include another 348 apartments, but will not begin before the summer of 2010.

This announcement is in addition to the already announce McChesney Development Co. plans to develop 1,225 condos and 1,125 apartments at The Point.

With large employers such as GE, The South Financial Group, Hubbell Lighting, and ICAR nearby, this "midtown" part of Greenville, including the Verdae development will soon be the place to live in Greenville.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Search the MLS in Greenville, SC -- Now with Mapping

We are happy to announce you can now search for homes on the market in the Greenville, SC area by map on our website, MyGreenvilleHome.com.

Since many of you know where you want to live, searching by map makes it easier and faster to find that perfect home in the Upstate of South Carolina.

Here is a screenshot of what it looks like to search the MLS by map:

To start using this great new feature to find your next home, click here or use the link on the right side of the page to search the MLS of Greenville.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Brownstones in Greenville, SC?

I've always thought it would be cool if Greenville had some Brooklyn-style Brownstone townhomes somewhere downtown. The Commons at Hampton Pinckney were pretty close...I guess you could call those Brownstones. I still thought there would be demand for even more in an even more urban setting.

Enter The Brownstones on Rhett Street in Greenville's West End. This 9-unit complex of brownstone-style townhomes is currently under construction and on the market. There is one unit already under contract. I think this is a great project in a vibrant part of downtown Greenville. My only problem is the Buckhead-esque pricing of these units. Starting at $799,000, they hardly qualify as anywhere near affordable for the average Greenvillian.

From the marketing material...

The Brownstones are replete with all the authentic architectural details that America's finest urban neighborhoods are known for, such as brick and stone exteriors, 12' ceilings on the main floor, site finished hardwood floors, beautiful moldings, ceramic tile baths, 8' windows, and a 4' parapet surrounding the rooftop sunroom and courtyard for outdoor living.

Of course, The Brownstones also include all the modern comforts and conveniences you would expect, such as an open, granite kitchen with custom made cabinetry, stainless steel Wolf appliances, and a luxurious master suite. And there's more . . . secure, gated entry, abundant recessed lighting, private two-car attached garage (side by side parking, not end-to-end), and your own private elevator that extends all the way from the basement level garage to the rooftop sunroom.

Certainly a unique property for Greenville. I'll be keeping an eye on how well they sell.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Fall for Greenville This Weekend

The weather has finally cooled off a bit for the 26th annual Fall for Greenville festival kicks off tonight. If you've never been, make sure you take the time to get there this year. There should be record crowds this year since there is no Clemson game this weekend and the weather looks perfect for getting outdoors for a taste of Greenville. Highlights for this year include an appearance by Greenville's own celebrity chef, Tyler Florence, food from 43 restaurants in Greenville, a magic show by Ric Singleton and music from Nathan Angelo.

For more information about this wonderful event that showcases downtown Greenville, South Carolina, please click on the following links:

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

This is Just Disgusting

Who would have thought my keyboard would have so many germs?

There are about 2,022,300 germs on your keyboard right now!
That's equivalent to the number of germs on 404 toilet seats.

Click below to see if your keyboard is making you sick:

2,022,300How Many Germs Live On Your Keyboard?

JustSayHi - A Free Dating Website

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Three Reasons Your Contract Might Fall Apart

You did it....after a few months of having your home on the market, you now have it under contract and you are on your way to closing...or are you?

This article for Zillow Wiki explains the three reasons why your contract might fall apart before closing. Here are the reasons:

1. You have a contract with an unqualified buyer.

Most of the time, home sellers accept offers without asking if the homebuyer is qualified or not. Then, the home seller finds out several weeks later that the homebuyer couldn’t get the mortgage loan. In this case, you not only have to let the buyer back off, but also have to refund the earnest money to the homebuyer. Always ask for a lender pre-approved letter accompanying any offer. Although you cannot be 100% sure, at least, you know that most of your potential homebuyers are capable buyers. This move could decrease the chance of the offer falling apart.

2. Homebuyer receives negative information about your home.

The home inspector found out something negative about your home and it was not disclosed in your seller disclosure form. Disclosure laws vary from state-to-state. If you didn’t disclose something required by law, a buyer can back out of the contract and you have to release the earnest money to the buyer.Make sure you disclose everything required by law about your home. If you think there is something negative about your house and can be fixed, you may want to fix it first before you put it on the market and disclose it as the problem fixed.Sometimes, ordering a pre-inspection may make sense for some older houses as a proactive measure.

3. You have a contract with a qualified buyer, but the closing terms are too long.

If you have a contract with a qualified buyer, but there are three months to close, the chances of the deal falling apart may be much higher than a contract with a term of one month to close. Nobody can predict what could happen to the homebuyer during this 3-month period.The way to stop possible falling apart of the deal is to avoid a long close of escrow. The shorter the escrow is, the better it is for you from this standpoint. But, it has to be reasonable and acceptable by both parties.

Working with qualified real estate professionals like the Hamilton & Co. Group of Keller Williams Realty will help you avoid these nasty pitfalls as you get your home sold.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Tips for Raising Your Credit Score

I promised on the radio program today I would post this information. It is courtesy of Zillow's "wiki." With all the transition going on in the mortgage industry and the economy, it is more important than ever to have the highest possible credit score you can. If you are looking to increase your score a bit, here are a few ideas.

Your credit score, sometimes referred to as FICO score, is calculated by a system of scorecards. Scores range from 300-900. Your score is based on your credit history, both bad and good. Scores are generated by computer and no human element affects the outcome. Credit scores are designed to predict if the borrower will end up with a 90-day late in the next four months. Credit scores do not use race, color, religion, sex, national origin, marital status, or age as predictive characteristics. Occupation and income are not taken into account on your credit report.

FICO scores consist of the following:

35% of the score is based on payment history. Recent late payments count against you more than a late payment that occurred 2 years ago. Frequency and severity of "lates" are considered as well. A 90-day late is obviously worse than a 30-day late.
30% of the score is based upon the balances of revolving credit cards, not installment accounts. If your balance is over 50% of your limit, you are penalized. Your score will be higher if you have very small balances on your accounts instead of zero balances.
15% of the score is based on your credit history. The age of your oldest credit line and the number of new lines are considered. It is best to have 4-6 open credit lines and the longer you have had them the better.
10% of the score considers the type of credit you have. Finance company installment accounts are negative (e.g., the furniture store that advertises buy now and make no payments until 2009).
10% of the score is affected by the number of inquiries on your credit report. Each time you give someone permission to pull your credit, it shows as an inquiry. 5-7 inquiries are allowed per year without affecting your score. After that, each inquiry will cost you 5-15 points. When you are shopping for a car or a home, you are allowed multiple inquiries within a one-month period. If you purchase a car or home, these inquiries do not affect your score. If you do not make the purchase, they will count against you, because it appears to the computer program that you were denied financing.


  • Maintain 4 to 6 major credit cards.

  • Keep your balance on each card 50% or less of the available limit.

  • Avoid opening and transferring your balances repeatedly to new cards. This “Credit Surfing” will affect your credit grade negatively.

  • When consolidating credit cards, do not transfer more than 50% of the available limit to the new credit card.

  • Refrain from having numerous requests about your credit for at least 6 months prior to purchasing or refinancing your home.

  • Check your credit report to confirm that all accounts included in the BK are reported as such and not as collection, charge-off, or “late pay” accounts.

  • Revolving credit (credit, department stores, etc.) weighs heavier on your credit score than installment debt (car loan, furniture, etc.)

  • Pay down revolving debt to increase credit score and make your payments on time.
    Finance companies have a negative effect on your score.

  • Do not “shop” for personal loans at these types of companies, as each inquiry will lower your score.

  • An inquiry from a mortgage company does not have a negative effect as they are coded differently.

  • Buy your furniture, car, etc., after your home loan closes, not during escrow.

  • If applying for a job that requires a credit check, request that the employer run an “Employer/ Employee Credit Report.” This will not impact your score as an inquiry.

  • If you have any dispute about the information in your credit report, you have a simple process in which to challenge the errors.

  • The Fair Credit Reporting Act supports you and guarantees responses in a timely manner.

  • Check your credit report for duplicate information. Many times the same collection or debt is reported twice therefore lowering your score. Request that the credit bureaus remove all duplicate and erroneous information.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

New Listing on Lake Robinson -- Greenville, South Carolina

The Hamilton & Co. Group of Keller Williams Realty has just listed a great new property on Lake Robinson near Greenville. It is located in the Waters Edge neighborhood on Bass Cove Drive. You can view more details about the property (including aerial photos) on the website we have created for the property here.

Please contact us for your private tour.

Things Other People Accomplished at Your (My) Age

I ran across an interesting website today that allows you to enter your age and see in a list what other people had accomplished at that same age. It could be encouraging or discouraging depending on your perspective. If you are 31 like I am, here is what a few others had done at our age:

At age 31:

  • French Egyptologist Jean Francois Champollion deciphered the Rosetta stone.

  • British physician Thomas Wedgwood produced the first photograph.

  • Eli Terry produced clocks with interchangeable parts. He also introduced the free-trial, no-money-down sales method.

  • Gregory Pincus achieved in-vitro fertilization of rabbits. Later he invented the birth control pill.

  • Dennis Kucinich was the youngest person ever elected to lead a major American city (Cleveland).

Enter your age here and see what others have done.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Most Expensive Zip Codes

Forbes has the list. For some reason I don't see 29687...

Some interesting tidbits:
  • 29482 (Sullivan's Island near Charleston) was tops in South Carolina at #70.
  • Only three total from South Carolina in the top 500. All were in Charleston.
  • 07620 was tops on the list...its in New Jersey
  • 90210 didn't even make the top 10.

I think we'll talk about this on the radio show tomorrow on WMUU, 94.5 FM at 11:30 AM. Also on the program, Ben Leinster, a local real estate attorney, will be on the air to take your calls and talk to us about title insurance.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

What is a Reverse Mortgage?

One of the topics most talked about by callers to my radio program is about reverse mortgages. There seems to be a lot of interest and misconceptions about this type of loan and I suspect as more and more baby boomers become eligible and realize they aren't going to make it through retirement on their savings and social security, there will be even more interest over the next few years.

So, what is a reverse mortgage and is a good idea for you or a loved one?

A Reverse Mortgage is a loan available to seniors over the age 62 allowing them access to their home equity on their primary residence in a lump sum or multiple payments. The obligation to pay the loan is deferred until the owner dies or when the home is sold. There are currently 36 million people over the age of 65 with a large majority owing their home free and clear. In 2008, the first wave of baby boomers will be eligible for reverse mortgages.

To qualify for a reverse mortgage, you must be at least 62 years old and own your own home. There must be enough equity in the house to pay off outstanding loan balances. The amount of money you can get will depend on how old you are at the time of closing, how much your home is worth, the total amount of liens, and current interest rates. You can receive the money in a lump sum, set up a line of credit, monthly payment, or all three. Since the money is not additional income, all funds from the reverse mortgage are tax-free. Closing costs are very similar to a “conventional” loan, and are paid by the borrower. Make sure to consult your mortgage broker for more information on fees. Counseling is provided and required on all reverse mortgages to ensure that the borrower understands how everything works.

It is important to note that reverse mortgages are non-recourse loans, which means a borrower can never owe more than what their house is worth at the time of repayment, commonly referred to as going upside down.

Currently reverse mortgages account for .5% of all mortgages, this expanding segment is definitely an area to keep an eye on.

For further reading from reliable sources, click here, here or here.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Six Steps to Avoiding Foreclosure

We talked about these steps today briefly on the radio program, My Greenville Home, on WMUU 94.5 FM in Greenville, South Carolina. We didn't get a chance to go into details because we ran out of time, so I thought I'd post the link for you to read it for yourself.

Just to recap, the six steps are:
1. Call your lender immediately.
2. Ask to speak to the "loss mitigation" department.
3. Have everything you need in front of you to discuss your financial situation with your lender.
4. Know the different ways your lender can help you.
5. Know where to turn if you are not getting help from your lender.
6. Be aware of the foreclosure process--and consequences.

Be sure to read the whole thing in the link above for more details.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Publix Opens Downtown Greenville, South Carolina

I wouldn't normally blog about the opening of a grocery store, but this is actually pretty big news for downtown Greenville, South Carolina. Today's opening of Publix and and the recent opening of Staples within walking distance of the Central Business District and Main Street marks a new era in downtown living. If you live in one of the many great downtown condo complexes or neighborhoods, you now have the convenience of a grocery store and office supply store within walking distance--a big selling point and added value that wasn't there before.

I'm looking forward to stopping by, I'll see you there in cereal aisle.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Share the Light -- Kelller Williams Video

Here is a great new video from Keller Williams Realty...

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Greenville News Says Greenville Real Estate Strong

The Greenville News reported last week that market conditions in Greenville real estate remain strong despite national and regional shifts. According to the article, sales in the Greenville market (which includes Pickens and Laurens counties) are up 6.5% over the same period a year ago. In contrast, existing home sales throughout the South was down 3.4% in May, with Florida leading the decline with a 34% decrease in sales.

I am cautiously optimistic this trend will continue. However, there are several trends to watch that could take the wind out of our sails: the continued rise of interest rates (fewer buyers able to afford real estate), the sub-prime meltdown (fewer buyers qualifying) and trickle down effect from other markets (potential Upstate area buyers that can't sell their home in Florida).

Anyone have any thoughts or opinions?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Jumbo Sports Sale Mentioned in Greenville News

The Greenville News published an article Friday on the sale of the former Jumbo Sports building on Wade Hampton Blvd. in Taylors. Peak Fitness from Charlotte, North Carolina was the purchaser and they will be upfitting it for use as a fitness facility. I think its a great location for something like that, and I always thought it would be bought for something like that or a church. Its a great building and it was a good deal for the both the buyer and seller.

You can read the Greenville News article here.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Greenville's Cost of Living Among the Lowest

Here is a statistic that we don't mind being at the bottom of: Cost of Living. According to Kiplinger's, Greenville has the 20th lowest cost of living of any city in the county. You can read the full article here.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Video Tour of 1017 Still Hollow Lane in Taylors, South Carolina

Here is a video tour of a great listing we are marketing in the popular Peppertree subdivision in Taylors:

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Interesting Lunch Today

I went to Moe's today with some members of my team and Chris Sligh of American Idol fame got in line behind us. We started chatting and next thing you know, we're having lunch him and a buddy of his. He gave us the scoop on what goes on for a contestant on American Idol and a little bit about his future plans. Interestingly, we overlapped a couple years in college and somehow he remembered me from those days.

He seems to be a very nice guy and was very gracious to us and all his fans that interrupted his lunch asking for pictures. We wish him the best in his future endeavors and contract negotiations and hope he remembers us when its time for him to buy a home.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

New Meaning to "Let Your Fingers to the Walking"

Imagine starting your home search with this advanced multi-touch screen system. Apparently, its not too far off in the future.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Five New Restaurants Opening Soon in West End

According to this article, five new restaurants are on tap for Greenville's West End. Liberty Taproom will open soon at the ballpark.

Downtown Greenville and especially the West End is quickly becoming a fabulous dining destination. Rumor has it Greenville native and Food Network star Tyler Florence is actively seeking a location for a signature restaurant in downtown Greenville....preferably on the West End.

Charleston-based High Cotton is now open at RiverPlace. I haven't been to the new location yet, but if its anything like the Charleston version, it will be awesome.

Let me know if you've been to any of these and what you think.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Dan on the Radio

Just a quick reminder to those in the Upstate, South Carolina or Western, North Carolina to listen to my real estate call in program, My Greenville Home, every Saturday from 11:15 AM to 12:15 PM on WMUU 94.5 FM.

I have to say its been great fun doing the program. We started out last year with a 5 minute segment on Thursday mornings. We expanded the show to 1 hour in January, which has allowed us to cover a wider range of topics with more analysis. The funnest part for me is the interaction with callers. You never know what you're going to get when that phone rings.

If you get a chance, give us a listen....better yet, give us a call.

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