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Vikki Crossland
Meybohm Realtors
1070 Silver Bluff Road
Aiken, SC 29803
Office: 803-644-1720
(TF): 800-868-5625 Ext: 720
(F): 803-644-1759
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Ever wondered what they do at Savannah River Site (SRS)? 0 Comments Posted

2014 SRS FREE Public Tour Program Begins December 30th, 2013 in Aiken County

 

 

Here is your opportunity to learn more about the site’s facilities, history, current activities and future missions. Driving tours are offered each year at SRS to provide members of the public.

 

The first of the tours will be held in January.  Each tour starts at the Aiken County Applied Research Center located off Highway 278, near New Ellenton, and begins with an overview presentation about SRS and a safety briefing.

 

SRS tours are free of charge.  Limited space availability… sign up now at www.srs.gov/general/tour/public.htm   or call  (803) 952-8994.

For more information:  http://www.srs.gov/general/news/releases/nr13_srs-2014-tours.pdf

View Comments | Add Comment Friday, January 03, 2014  7:59:26 AM
HOLIDAY HOME SELLING TIPS 0 Comments Posted

HOLIDAY HOME SELLING TIPS

 

Buyers shopping for homes this time of year tend to be more serious, and

because fewer homes may be on the market, there’s less competition.

 

Frontdoor.com offers several tips to attract buyers during this busy season.

 

Don’t go overboard on holiday decorations . Large decorations can

make your home seem smaller and they can distract buyers. If you choose

to decorate, opt for fewer and smaller items with a general winter theme.

 

Hire a reliable real estate agent. Ask family and friends to recommend a

Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) agent who will work hard for you

during the holiday season.

 

Seek motivated buyers.  Individuals shopping for a home during the

holidays must be highly motivated. Target buyers who need to move soon,

such as people relocating for jobs, college students and university staff on

break, and investors on tax deadlines.

 

Price the property to sell.  No matter what time of year it is, a home that’s

priced appropriately for the market will attract buyers.

 

Pay attention to curb appeal.  Maintaining your home’s exterior is just as

important in the winter as it is during any other season. Touch up the paint,

clean the gutters and spruce up the yard. Also keep buyers’ safety in mind

by keeping stairs and walkways clear of snow, ice and leaves.

 

Make your home cozy and inviting. When showing your home, crank up

the heat, play soft music and offer homemade holiday treats. It will

encourage buyers to spend more time in the home, which gives them a chance to admire its best features.

 

We wish you the best of the holiday season.  We are looking forward to a wonderful New Year full of exciting changes and announcements for AIKEN HOMES.

Vikki Crossland and her Associates, Brandi, Nancy and Scott

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, December 16, 2013  1:29:30 PM
Hitchcock Parkway in Aiken, SC …is an important corridor 0 Comments Posted

You may want to attend this SCDOT Public Info meeting on Dec. 5th

 

SCDOT Public Information Meeting regarding the Hitchcock Parkway this Thursday, December 5th, from 5-7 in the gym at St. Paul Luthern Church, 981 Trail Ridge Road.

  • This is a Public Information Meeting and not a Public Hearing - there will be no formal presentations pro or con - just conceptual design maps to review, and then comment on.
  • This is a drop-in --- your stay can be 5 minutes or two hours.
  • SCDOT personnel will be present to answer questions one-on-one.
  • Because this is a conceptual design, the public comment cards that you can complete are very important to the creation of the final design (which is 12-18 months away). 
  • Your comments are confidential.  You can comment on what you like about the plan, and what you do not like about the plan. 
  • SCDOT takes the comments seriously
  • The Public Information Meeting is not just for residents who live along Hitchcock Parkway - the meeting is for all who use this vital transportation corridor.

Your attendance and comments are very important.

Source of info Aiken Chamber

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, December 04, 2013  11:33:14 AM
Aiken SC Downtown Holiday Schedule 2013 0 Comments Posted
There’s no place like  Aiken, SC  to enjoy the HOLIDAYS….

Here’s some of our personal favorite holiday traditions and events that make the season even brighter.

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, November 26, 2013  9:04:55 AM
Downtown Aiken, SC…TRICK or TREAT on Pendleton Street, Saturday, Oct 26th 0 Comments Posted

Downtown Aiken, SC…TRICK or TREAT on Pendleton Street, Saturday, Oct 26th

This is one my most favorites family events to attend.  So enjoyable to see the children’s smiles, great costumes and eat some yummy food at the array of great restaurants located downtown Aiken, SC.

 See you there!

This event starts at 4pm-7pm and is free!

 

For more info:

http://www.visitaikensc.com/calendar/event/trick-or-trick_on_pendleton_street

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, October 21, 2013  9:21:27 AM
Inman News Article…New FHA Short Sale Rule 0 Comments Posted

Inman News Article…New FHA Short Sale Rule

 

FHA is changing its rules on short sales may have major impact.  Interesting article.

 

http://www.inman.com/2013/09/20/nar-hud-shooting-itself-in-the-foot-with-short-sale-policy/

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, October 07, 2013  9:43:14 AM
Aiken Board of Realtors Housing Outlook Report….early summer 2013 0 Comments Posted

It won't be long before the housing recovery is simply referred to as housing. Institutional and cash buyers have effectively priced themselves out of the market. During the downturn, much inventory was purchased by these groups. Now that prices are rising, there's less incentive for these kinds of buyers, yet affordability for consumers remains attractive.  New Listings in the Aiken region increased 7.5 percent to 243. Pending Sales were up 20.6 percent to 152. Inventory levels shrank 0.6 percent to 1,726 units.  Prices were a tad soft.  The Median Sales Price decreased 4.0 percent to $143,450. Days on Market were down 5.5 percent to 194 days.  Absorption rates improved as Months’ Supply of Inventory was down 10.4 percent to 13.8 months.

With mortgage rates slightly up but relatively low by historic standards, the Fed has indicated no change in monetary policy based on a moderately-paced economic expansion. Although the unemployment rate remains a factor to watch, the housing recovery continues to plug along, helping the greater economy with flourishing activity in sales and prices. Housing has made a positive contribution to real GDP growth for 11 consecutive quarters.

On a personal notethe summer of 2013 has been much busier than 2012, but there has been ups and downs with the mixed local news of layoffs.  Each real estate market is unique and localized.  The 299k and less enjoyed some strong sale’s activity the early summer months; much of it was newer construction or updated resale’s homes that were priced at or  below new construction pricing to gain an edge and lots of the buyers where families with children.  Mid-summer we experienced a trend of increased activity in the 199k or less range; we had many of listings receive offers and go under contract especially if aggressively to the market and good condition.  The buyers we have not seen much of these summer months where the retiree’s market and upscale home buyers. As we change seasons, we are looking towards fall 2013 bringing more retirees and upscale home buyers into the Aiken, SC real estate market.

They are plenty of wonderful homes and opportunity available. To search homes in the Aiken multiple list system click here:  http://www.vikkicrossland.com/default.asp?content=search&menu_id=5273

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, September 09, 2013  1:18:30 PM
June 2013 Monthly Indicator Report 0 Comments Posted

June 2013 Monthly Indicator Report provide by the Aiken Board of Realtors

 

As potentially the brightest sun in the current economic recovery, housing activity has followed the mercury higher this summer.  Interest rates and new construction activity have been in the spotlight lately, fueled by concerns over tapering Federal Reserve activity and ongoing inventory constraints. Watch for indications that more homes are selling in less time and at higher price points.  Also watch for sellers returning to an inviting marketplace, which will help replenish neighborhoods with new listings.

New Listings in the Aiken region increased 3.2 percent to 228. Pending Sales were up 4.1 percent to 127. Inventory levels shrank 1.6 percent to 1,710 units.

 

Prices were a tad soft. The Median Sales Price decreased 3.7 percent to $159,700. A day on Market was up 7.8 percent to 215 days. Absorption rates improved as Months’ Supply of Inventory was down 10.3 percent to 13.8 months.

 

The economy – which generates the jobs that fuel housing demand – continued to improve at a moderate pace during the second quarter of 2013. Budget sequesters and sluggish export growths have taken a back seat to housing recovery and stronger consumer spending. Interest rates could flirt with 4.0 or 4.25 percent again but the days of 3.3 percent interest are likely behind us.

 

Personally my team and I, last 45 days has been full of real estate activity; families seem to be the driving force of the homes buying activity.  More listings are coming on the market with the news of increased possibility of buyer on the market to buy and positive national news.  Locally we still may have some struggles with potential layoff at major employers.  I agree with the report that prices have not increased based on the sales data.   The last couple week we seen offers from retirees who have sold their home in larger southern and northern states which is a good indicator that the retiree home market may start picking up!

 

Putting the REAL into Real Estate…Vikki Crossland

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, July 23, 2013  3:14:45 PM
10 Ways to Cut Energy Costs This Summer 0 Comments Posted

10 Ways to Cut Energy Costs This Summer…

Provided by Home Warranty of America

 

 

 





1. Close shades, drapes and blinds during the day, especially on the east and west ends of your  

    home.



2. Don't choose a lower thermostat temperature when you first turn your A/C on. It won't cool faster; it

    will always run as fast as it can. It will only cool longer, not faster.



3. Use fans when weather is cooler instead of turning on your cooling system.



4. Light up your outdoor grill. The stove or over can raise the temperature in your kitchen as much as 

    10 degrees! Use clothes lines - they are a great alternative to using your clothing dryer.

 


6.  Air-dry dishes instead of using your dishwasher's heat cycle.

 






7. Take shorter showers. They use less hot water than a bath!



8. Plant shaded trees. Shade on the east and west is most important. Outside shade can actually reduce 

    air conditioning costs up to 30%.



9. Delay heat producing chores such as laundry and dish washing until the end of the day. 



10. Spend more time outside. Spending time outside of your home will help curb your energy  

      consumption.

 

 

Source of information: 

Home Warranty of America

P.O. Box 850, Lincolnshire, IL 60069-0850.

Tel: 888-492-7359 or 888-325-5143 (CA only).

Fax: 888-492-7360


www.hwaHomeWarranty.comWarranty.com

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, July 08, 2013  10:02:49 PM
You’re Always Welcomed in Aiken… 0 Comments Posted

Thought this was an enlightening link for visitors as well as “us” locals to have handy to know what is happening in Aiken, SC.   Enjoy your summer!

Aiken is a great escape, a serene getaway in South Carolina, and an adventure for visitors. And, Aiken is waiting for you!  Featuring historic homes, beautiful parkways and peaceful pathways and a lively downtown, we feel confident that every visitor to Aiken, South Carolina will fall in love with our quaint community.  Take a look, browse and explore our website and know that you're always welcome in Aiken, South Carolina.

http://www.visitaikensc.com/

Source:  visitaikensc.com

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, June 17, 2013  6:42:56 PM
Hopeland Gardens Concert Series 2013 0 Comments Posted
View Comments | Add Comment Monday, May 13, 2013  9:45:46 AM
real estate market and foreclosures in the Aiken county area 0 Comments Posted

 

 

 

Aiken County Foreclosure Information

 

Master-In-Equity Provides New Judicial Sale Listing Page

 

Everyone wants to know about real estate market and foreclosures in the Aiken county area.  As of 4/29/13, there is 53 listed on this site in different status, some withdrawn, some still on the books for the May 6, 2013 sale located at the Aiken County Judicial Center.  The status of these sales can change minutes before the proceeding.

The Notice of Sale for each case, which contains the legal description of the property being sold, will be available to download.  See link below:

Click here to view and bookmark the new Master-In-Equity Judicial Sale listing page.

To Learn more about Judicial Foreclosures:  http://www.aikencountysc.gov/DspDocTopic.cfm?qDocID=349

Source of this information is  Aiken county Government website:  www.aikencountysc.gov

 

 

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, May 01, 2013  11:52:56 AM
March 2013 Aiken Real Estate 0 Comments Posted

March 2013 Aiken Real Estate

 

Monthly Indicator Report*...

 

With spring here in all its bounty, it's time to renew, refresh and revive our understanding of what's fueling the ongoing market recovery.  First, tightened inventory levels combined with strong demand are fueling price gains in many areas. Second, consumer demand is shifting from distressed properties to conventional homes. Third, record-low mortgage rates and rising rents are supporting housing recovery. Let's check the local scene.  New Listings in the Aiken region increased 1.5 percent to 276. Pending Sales were up 10.4 percent to 148.  Inventory levels grew 0.3 percent to 1,668 units.  Prices were fairly stable. The Median Sales Price decreased 0.7 percent to $141,000.  Days on Market was down 10.0 percent to 197 days. Absorption rates improved as Months Supply of Inventory was down 3.2 percent to 14.2 months. 

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, April 15, 2013  11:32:25 PM
OPEN HOUSE SUNDAY APRIL 21st 2-4pm 0 Comments Posted
View Comments | Add Comment Monday, April 15, 2013  12:51:03 PM
Masters Week Fun and Event held in Aiken, SC 0 Comments Posted

Don't miss the 2nd year of this fun filled event called Horses & Courses held on Thursday, April 11th, 2013 in Historic Downtown Aiken starting at 5:30pm. Where a horse and golf lifestyle is the perfect blend. 


 

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, April 09, 2013  10:26:22 AM
5 best and 5 worst places to buy foreclosures 0 Comments Posted

5 best and 5 worst places to buy foreclosures

 

Seems like N.Y. and Florida are the leaders  in the best areas to buy.  Aiken nor South Carolina not mentioned on either list.

http://realestate.msn.com/5-best-and-5-worst-places-to-buy-foreclosures

By Jerry Kronenberg of TheStreet

Per Realty Trac, an online site that tracks foreclosures per their charts, Aiken, S.C. Bank owned and Pre-foreclosures down per charts, auctions up.

Top 3 Zips

29805 1 in every 523

29801 1 in every 872

29803 1 in every 1297

http://www.realtytrac.com/statsandtrends/foreclosuretrends/sc/aiken-county/aiken

For help or to answer any question on your specific real estate goal in Aiken, Edgefield. N.  Augusta, SC areas contact your favorite Realtor or email Vikki@vikkicrossland.com or 803-645-8008.

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, March 14, 2013  7:21:51 PM
Julliard in Aiken, SC- Performing Arts Festival and Outreach Program, March 9-15th 2013 0 Comments Posted

Aiken is fortunate to enjoy its fifth year collaborating with The Julliard School-the world’s most prestigious performing arts conservatory.  Here is the link for tickets and several of the events are free to the public to enjoy.  For further information on the programs being held locally in the CSRA, click this link:  http://www.juilliardinaiken.com/program.php

 PS…This is pretty exciting program for students who have a passion for Jazz… a Summer Jazz Workshop held at our local University of South Carolina Aiken.


View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, February 26, 2013  7:34:18 PM
Where do HOMEBUYERS LOOK??? 0 Comments Posted

Where do HOMEBUYERS LOOK???

 

It’s no secret the home buyers use various WEB-based services to find homes in today’s market.  Based on the source from 2012 NAR Profile of Home buyers and Sellers the top four WEB-BASED places are:

 

Local Multiple Listing Service website

Realtor.com

Real Estate Agent Websites

Mobile and tablet Applications

 

TIP for SELLERS…. its important you choose a Realtor who  is very web savvy, as well as progressive and has their listing well-presented online on the websites,  great pictures and full of lots of detail that shows off your home’s  assets and amenities.   The buyers today are using friendly, easy to use AGENT WEBSITES and MOBILE APPICATIONS to find homes.

 

When choosing your listing agent take the time to interview the agent, ask detailed questions what makes their internet marketing stand out when compared to other agents, visit the agent’s website, view their listing’s pictures online compared to other agents.  It’s easy to see the difference on a quality presentation…remember buyers and agents make decisions on inquiring or showing your home based on its presentation online. It’s the most important facet of marketing a home in today’s challenging market.

 

 

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, February 11, 2013  2:04:29 PM
Aiken Board of Realtors Monthly Indicator Report for December 2012 0 Comments Posted

Aiken Board of Realtors Monthly Indicator Report for December 2012

It was largely a year of recovery for housing across our nation. Markets

resolved to shed their excess weight, appeal to both existing homeowners

and renters alike, and learn to play nicer with banks. Hey, three for three

isn't too bad. But there's more work to be done. Here's how the final month

of 2012 finished up. New Listings in the Aiken region decreased 13.1

percent to 119. Pending Sales were up 9.1 percent to 84. Inventory levels

shrank 1.6 percent to 1,498 units. Prices softened somewhat. The Median

Sales Price decreased 6.2 percent to $149,950. Days on Market was down

2.2 percent to 225 days. Absorption rates improved as Months Supply of

Inventory was down 7.4 percent to 13.0 months. Economic growth is on an

upward trend and several prominent housing indices continue to showcase

market turnaround. Momentum is on our side, though it won't necessarily

be fast, consistent or universal. But after five or six challenging years, it's a

welcomed change of pace. Plenty of opportunity lies ahead. Here's to a

healthy and prosperous year!

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, January 22, 2013  9:09:03 PM
Aiken Tour by Trolley Car… 0 Comments Posted

Aiken Tour by Trolley Car…

Experience Aiken’s grace, charm and elegance during this 2 hour guided tour aboard our “climate controlled” trolley.

 On the tour, you’ll see and hear about...• Historic Homes and Churches
• Equestrian Sites
• The Civil War’s Battle of Aiken
• The Live Oak Canopy on South Boundary
• A guided walk through Hopelands Gardens, the Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame & Museum (weather permitting).

Even long term residents of Aiken learn something interesting about Aiken on this tour!  

To learn more about the tour, cost,  days and times: http://www.aikenis.com/whattodo/detail/aiken_tours

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, January 16, 2013  9:12:16 AM
City of Aiken, SC Featured on Today in America TV with Terry Bradshaw 0 Comments Posted

City of Aiken, SC Featured on Today in America TV with Terry Bradshaw http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNpzLrmN7aI&sns=em

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, January 07, 2013  1:25:10 PM
November 2012 Monthly Indicator Report…. 0 Comments Posted

Provided by The Aiken Board of Realtors

 

This November, there was a lot to be thankful for. Home buyers were thankful for historically low mortgage rates and still-affordable prices.  Sellers were thankful for increased sales, less competition and faster market times. Both parties can be thankful for the slow yet steady economic recovery. Challenges persist, to be sure, going into 2013, but there's more reason for optimism than pessimism.

 

Here's the local scoop. (Aiken, SC multiple list system information)

 

New Listings in the Aiken region increased 20.0 percent to 174. Pending Sales remained flat at 104. Inventory levels grew 0.8 percent to 1,600 units.  Prices moved higher. The Median Sales Price increased 11.9 percent to $148,870. Days on Market were down 3.6 percent to 214 days.   Absorption rates improved as Months Supply of Inventory was down 4.3 percent to 13.8 months.  There are three primary avenues to housing recovery:  better market fundamentals, improved market composition and more jobs.  Many communities are enjoying better fundamentals, such as higher demand and less supply.  But many areas are also experiencing a lower overall share of distressed sales activity.  In the month ahead, continue to watch hiring and unemployment trends.

 

On a personal side, the first days of this December, 2012, I have been experiencing good amount of activity in offers on some of my listings which is positive.  Offers tend to be low and sometimes able to work the difference out between the buyer and seller.  I have had two contracts ratified, two still in negotiations and several closings on schedule.  The buyers are still looking for the best deals and will move on to the next property.  We are still having struggles with lenders regulations making closings difficult and process slower than I am use in the past.  If you are selling your home in Aiken, SC area, if a buyer wants to see your home during the holidays, show it, they are normally very serious buyers!

For help with your specific real estate goals in the Aiken/ CRSA area contact Vikki at Vikki@vikkicrossland.com or 803-645-8008; I am here to provide a remarkable real estate experience.

 

 

 

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, December 31, 2012  8:44:26 AM
Interest rates near record low… 0 Comments Posted

Interest rates near record low…

Time to buy that home in Aiken, SC you been dreaming about!

 

Read recent online article:

http://www.greenvilleonline.com/viewart/20121228/BUSINESS/312280007/U-S-mortgage-rates-decline-near-record-lows

View Comments | Add Comment Friday, December 28, 2012  3:11:26 PM
Downtown Aiken, Holiday Events this upcoming weekend 0 Comments Posted

Downtown Aiken, Holiday Events this upcoming weekend

 

Don't miss this enjoyable time to indulge in some delicious dining, holiday shopping and see an old fashion style Christmas parade in downtown Aiken, SC.

 

I recently attended "Mistletoe and Martinis " held downtown last week by several stores, from furniture and design home store, arts, clothing, and several other variety of gift shops where open late. Hearing the Christmas music, seeing the dazzling holiday lights where a delight.  Most of all was the good cheer among our fellow Aikenites and visitors that made for  special evening for my husband and I that night!

 

Saturday-December 8th, 2012

 

A Holly Day- Come enjoy a festive shopping experience in Downtown Aiken. Participating shops will offer a variety of treats to put you in the Holiday Spirit. Call 803.649.2221 for more information or visit our website at www.downtownaiken.com.

 

Sunday-December 9th, 2012

 

Jaycee Christmas Parade- 2:00 p.m Come to downtown Aiken for a traditional Christmas parade. I hear Santa Claus s coming!

View Comments | Add Comment Sunday, December 02, 2012  7:26:18 PM
B e Ready to be Dazzled…at the 2012 Festival of Trees in Aiken, SC 0 Comments Posted

Hope Your Thanksgiving was WONDERFUL!

This is a magical time of year in Aiken, SC,.  We are so thankful and remember all the blessings we have received this year from your kind support.   We thank you very much, appreciate your business and wish you and your family all the best this holiday season!

Need to get in the holiday spirit?   There’s still time to attend “Festival of Trees” which ends Sunday 25th for the benefit of Aiken Area Council of Aging Services a worthy charity.

B e Ready to be Dazzled…at the 2012 Festival of Trees in Aiken, SC….

You’re invited, noon -6pm; to the holiday forest of trees, wreaths and other special items and there will be a silent auction. Cost is $5 at the door.

This wonderful holiday event is held at the Fermata Club 841 Whiskey Road, Aiken, SC

To learn more you can visit this website:  http://www.aacoa.net/index_FOT.html

View Comments | Add Comment Saturday, November 24, 2012  8:20:31 PM
Cyber-attack on the S.C. Department of Revenue 0 Comments Posted

I found this was a very informative and helpful website and with easy steps to help protect yourself from identity theft with the recent SC Cyber-attack on SC Department of Revenue. I have taken all the steps recommended to protect my personal and business identify. Information provided by Rep. Tom Young 11/2/12.

http://tomyoungforsenate.com/2012/11/02/latest-news-for-you-regarding-cyber-attack-special-update-from-rep-tom-young-november-2-2012/

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, November 05, 2012  9:00:11 AM
SC Wood Infestation Report Modified to be more User Friendly- 0 Comments Posted

SC  CL-100 Wood Infestation Report Modified to be more User Friendly-

 

Or what  a lot of us refer to as the Termite letter,  which is really not technically correct;  the reports  covers so much more information on the property than just termites.  Learn more….

 

Almost every real estate  sales transaction has one done by either the seller or the buyer.  A couple of the changes are the report now only last for 30 days  not 45 days  which means you better not order your CL-100 Wood Infestation Report too early if one is required on the sale of your home or it may expire and you would be required to redo the inspection/report for additional cost.  Your Realtor should guide you through the timing of when to order your report to be valid for closing of contract.  They have also moved the moisture levels  taken under the house on the front page which is an important part of the report since excess moisture can require  some remediation or repairs to have the moisture readings within  an acceptable range for the protection of your investment/home or for the sale of your home. They are several other changes to review.

 

The form has always been a bit confusing to review but with this new form that was designed to be user friendly I think the public will welcome the new change and format.  Most Pest Control companies will start using this new form soon.  Here is some information  for your review, with an overview and copy of new CL 100 Wood Infestation Report  courtesy of  Aiken Pest Control.


View Comments | Add Comment Monday, October 08, 2012  8:52:44 AM
Positive August 2012 Monthly Home Indicator Report Released… 0 Comments Posted

Glad to report there has been recent good local monthly housing indicators for the Aiken, SC area the last month of the summer. This is a good sign there is a change in the Aiken market coming. Upper priced homes sales are still struggling in my opinion and the sales data supports my opinion.  My hope that positive reports continues so it can be a firm trend not just a temporary upswing that benefits all levels of priced homes.  Read the recently released report below….Vikki Crossland

 

Aiken, SC Board of Realtors Monthly Indicators -August 2012

 

 As the school-aged among us work their way back into classrooms across America,

we continue to monitor key improvements in the local housing market with a keener eye.

With two-thirds of 2012 complete, we're starting to get a sense for how the year will shake out.

Headlines include encouraging phrases like "Recovery Takes Hold," "Home Prices on the Rise

“and "Situation Eases for Sellers." Local market conditions largely support this sentiment.

New Listings in the Aiken region increased 6.9 percent to 231. Pending Sales were up 9.9 percent to 155.

Inventory levels shrank 3.0 percent to 1,625 units. Prices were mostly stable. The Median Sales Price

increased 1.0 percent to $148,000. Days on Market were up 13.2 percent to 204 days.

The supply-demand balance stabilized as Months’ Supply of Inventory was down 10.4 percent to

14.0 months. With election season in full swing, both politicians and economists will place extra

emphasis on jobs and unemployment figures. Recognizing the relationship between jobs and housing

demand, the  most tuned-in agents and brokers will do the same. The truth is, the economy is and has been

expanding consistently for years, albeit at a disjointed pace. There's reason for optimism going into

the last third of 2012 and even into 2013, and housing is actually playing a large role in that

positive outlook.

 

A RESEARCH TOOL PROVIDED BY THE AIKEN BOARD OF REALTORS®


 

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, September 17, 2012  10:27:55 AM
First Time Buyers….Aiken, SC Offers Plenty of Options and Values in Homeownership! 0 Comments Posted

First Time Buyers….Aiken, SC Offers Plenty of Options and Values in Homeownership!

 

In my many years of being a Realtor here in Aiken, I have never seen so many options and great affordability in owning a home as it is currently in Aiken.  You can purchase a home; obtain a mortgage and your monthly mortgage payments more often will be less than the monthly rent you would pay with the current extremely low interest rates and low home prices.  I am experiencing more investors coming into the market to purchase homes for investment as rentals which are is an indicator it’s favorable time to buy.  In August real estate sales activity has been up; I think buyers are coming out to take advantage of the great home values and interest rates.  I

Below is an informative link of essential tips for the first time buyer or call your favorite Realtor to discuss your specific real estate goals.

http://homes.yahoo.com/news/6-essential-tips-for-first-time-homebuyers.html

View Comments | Add Comment Sunday, September 09, 2012  9:19:50 PM
The First Tee of Aiken Open House, Demo Day & Golf Skills Challenge - 8/25/12 A Family Event 0 Comments Posted

The First Tee of Aiken Open House, Demo Day & Golf Skills Challenge - 8/25/12 A Family Event

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, August 23, 2012  9:02:25 AM
Top Ten Things You Need to Know About the 3.8% Tax, 0 Comments Posted

Top Ten Things You Need to Know

About the 3.8% Tax

About the 3.8% Tax

1) When you add up all of your income from every possible source, and that total is less than $200,000 ($250,000 on a joint tax return), you will NOT be subject to this tax.

you will NOT be subject to this tax.

2) The 3.8% tax will NEVER be collected as a transfer tax on real estate of any type, so you’ll NEVER pay this tax at the time that you purchase a home or other investment property.

3) You’ll NEVER pay this tax at settlement when you sell your home or investment property. Any capital gain you realize at settlement is just one component of that year’s gross income.

4) If you sell your principal residence, you will still receive the full benefit of the $250,000 (single tax return)/$500,000 (married filing joint tax return) exclusion on the sale of that home. If your capital gain is greater than these amounts, then you will include any gain above these amounts as income on your Form 1040 tax return. Even then, if your total income (including this taxable portion of gain on your residence) is less than the $200,000/$250,000 amounts, you will NOT pay this tax. If your total income is more than these amounts, a formula will protect some portion of your investment.

5) The tax applies to other types of investment income, not just real estate. If your income is more than the $200,000/$250,000 amount, then the tax formula will be applied to capital gains, interest income, dividend income and net rents (i.e., rents after expenses).

6) The tax goes into effect in 2013. If you have investment income in 2013, you won’t pay the 3.8% tax until you file your 2013 Form 1040 tax return in 2014. The 3.8% tax for any later year will be paid in the following calendar year when the tax returns are filed.

7) In any particular year, if you have NO income from capital gains, rents, interest or dividends, you’ll NEVER pay this tax, even if you have millions of dollars of other types of income.

8) The formula that determines the amount of 3.8% tax due will ALWAYS protect $200,000 ($250,000 on a joint return) of your income from any burden of the 3.8% tax. For example, if you are single and have a total of $201,000 income, the 3.8% tax would NEVER be imposed on more than $1000.

9) It’s true that investment income from rents on an investment property could be subject to the 3.8% tax. BUT: The only rental income that would be included in your gross income and therefore possibly subject to the tax is net rental income: gross rents minus expenses like depreciation, interest, property tax, maintenance and utilities.

10) The tax was enacted along with the health care legislation in 2010. It was added to the package just hours before the final vote and without review. NAR strongly opposed the tax at the time, and remains hopeful that it will not go into effect. The tax will no doubt be debated during the upcoming tax reform debates in 2013.

NEVER be collected as a transfer tax on real estate of any type, so you’ll NEVER pay this tax at the time that you purchase a home or other investment property.

3) You’ll NEVER pay this tax at settlement when you sell your home or investment property. Any capital gain you realize at settlement is just one component of that year’s gross income.

4) If you sell your principal residence, you will still receive the full benefit of the $250,000 (single tax return)/$500,000 (married filing joint tax return) exclusion on the sale of that home. If your capital gain is greater than these amounts, then you will include any gain above these amounts as income on your Form 1040 tax return. Even then, if your total income (including this taxable portion of gain on your residence) is less than the $200,000/$250,000 amounts, you will NOT pay this tax. If your total income is more than these amounts, a formula will protect some portion of your investment.

5) The tax applies to other types of investment income, not just real estate. If your income is more than the $200,000/$250,000 amount, then the tax formula will be applied to capital gains, interest income, dividend income and net rents (i.e., rents after expenses).

6) The tax goes into effect in 2013. If you have investment income in 2013, you won’t pay the 3.8% tax until you file your 2013 Form 1040 tax return in 2014. The 3.8% tax for any later year will be paid in the following calendar year when the tax returns are filed.

7) In any particular year, if you have NO income from capital gains, rents, interest or dividends, you’ll NEVER pay this tax, even if you have millions of dollars of other types of income.

8) The formula that determines the amount of 3.8% tax due will ALWAYS protect $200,000 ($250,000 on a joint return) of your income from any burden of the 3.8% tax. For example, if you are single and have a total of $201,000 income, the 3.8% tax would NEVER be imposed on more than $1000.

9) It’s true that investment income from rents on an investment property could be subject to the 3.8% tax. BUT: The only rental income that would be included in your gross income and therefore possibly subject to the tax is net rental income: gross rents minus expenses like depreciation, interest, property tax, maintenance and utilities.

10) The tax was enacted along with the health care legislation in 2010. It was added to the package just hours before the final vote and without review. NAR strongly opposed the tax at the time, and remains hopeful that it will not go into effect. The tax will no doubt be debated during the upcoming tax reform debates in 2013.

NEVER pay this tax at settlement when you sell your home or investment property. Any capital gain you realize at settlement is just one component of that year’s gross income.

4) If you sell your principal residence, you will still receive the full benefit of the $250,000 (single tax return)/$500,000 (married filing joint tax return) exclusion on the sale of that home. If your capital gain is greater than these amounts, then you will include any gain above these amounts as income on your Form 1040 tax return. Even then, if your total income (including this taxable portion of gain on your residence) is less than the $200,000/$250,000 amounts, you will NOT pay this tax. If your total income is more than these amounts, a formula will protect some portion of your investment.

5) The tax applies to other types of investment income, not just real estate. If your income is more than the $200,000/$250,000 amount, then the tax formula will be applied to capital gains, interest income, dividend income and net rents (i.e., rents after expenses).

6) The tax goes into effect in 2013. If you have investment income in 2013, you won’t pay the 3.8% tax until you file your 2013 Form 1040 tax return in 2014. The 3.8% tax for any later year will be paid in the following calendar year when the tax returns are filed.

7) In any particular year, if you have NO income from capital gains, rents, interest or dividends, you’ll NEVER pay this tax, even if you have millions of dollars of other types of income.

8) The formula that determines the amount of 3.8% tax due will ALWAYS protect $200,000 ($250,000 on a joint return) of your income from any burden of the 3.8% tax. For example, if you are single and have a total of $201,000 income, the 3.8% tax would NEVER be imposed on more than $1000.

9) It’s true that investment income from rents on an investment property could be subject to the 3.8% tax. BUT: The only rental income that would be included in your gross income and therefore possibly subject to the tax is net rental income: gross rents minus expenses like depreciation, interest, property tax, maintenance and utilities.

10) The tax was enacted along with the health care legislation in 2010. It was added to the package just hours before the final vote and without review. NAR strongly opposed the tax at the time, and remains hopeful that it will not go into effect. The tax will no doubt be debated during the upcoming tax reform debates in 2013.

full benefit of the $250,000 (single tax return)/$500,000 (married filing joint tax return) exclusion on the sale of that home. If your capital gain is greater than these amounts, then you will include any gain above these amounts as income on your Form 1040 tax return. Even then, if your total income (including this taxable portion of gain on your residence) is less than the $200,000/$250,000 amounts, you will NOT pay this tax. If your total income is more than these amounts, a formula will protect some portion of your investment.

5) The tax applies to other types of investment income, not just real estate. If your income is more than the $200,000/$250,000 amount, then the tax formula will be applied to capital gains, interest income, dividend income and net rents (i.e., rents after expenses).

6) The tax goes into effect in 2013. If you have investment income in 2013, you won’t pay the 3.8% tax until you file your 2013 Form 1040 tax return in 2014. The 3.8% tax for any later year will be paid in the following calendar year when the tax returns are filed.

7) In any particular year, if you have NO income from capital gains, rents, interest or dividends, you’ll NEVER pay this tax, even if you have millions of dollars of other types of income.

8) The formula that determines the amount of 3.8% tax due will ALWAYS protect $200,000 ($250,000 on a joint return) of your income from any burden of the 3.8% tax. For example, if you are single and have a total of $201,000 income, the 3.8% tax would NEVER be imposed on more than $1000.

9) It’s true that investment income from rents on an investment property could be subject to the 3.8% tax. BUT: The only rental income that would be included in your gross income and therefore possibly subject to the tax is net rental income: gross rents minus expenses like depreciation, interest, property tax, maintenance and utilities.

10) The tax was enacted along with the health care legislation in 2010. It was added to the package just hours before the final vote and without review. NAR strongly opposed the tax at the time, and remains hopeful that it will not go into effect. The tax will no doubt be debated during the upcoming tax reform debates in 2013.

after expenses).

6) The tax goes into effect in 2013. If you have investment income in 2013, you won’t pay the 3.8% tax until you file your 2013 Form 1040 tax return in 2014. The 3.8% tax for any later year will be paid in the following calendar year when the tax returns are filed.

7) In any particular year, if you have NO income from capital gains, rents, interest or dividends, you’ll NEVER pay this tax, even if you have millions of dollars of other types of income.

8) The formula that determines the amount of 3.8% tax due will ALWAYS protect $200,000 ($250,000 on a joint return) of your income from any burden of the 3.8% tax. For example, if you are single and have a total of $201,000 income, the 3.8% tax would NEVER be imposed on more than $1000.

9) It’s true that investment income from rents on an investment property could be subject to the 3.8% tax. BUT: The only rental income that would be included in your gross income and therefore possibly subject to the tax is net rental income: gross rents minus expenses like depreciation, interest, property tax, maintenance and utilities.

10) The tax was enacted along with the health care legislation in 2010. It was added to the package just hours before the final vote and without review. NAR strongly opposed the tax at the time, and remains hopeful that it will not go into effect. The tax will no doubt be debated during the upcoming tax reform debates in 2013.

pay the 3.8% tax until you file your 2013 Form 1040 tax return in 2014. The 3.8% tax for any later year will be paid in the following calendar year when the tax returns are filed.

7) In any particular year, if you have NO income from capital gains, rents, interest or dividends, you’ll NEVER pay this tax, even if you have millions of dollars of other types of income.

8) The formula that determines the amount of 3.8% tax due will ALWAYS protect $200,000 ($250,000 on a joint return) of your income from any burden of the 3.8% tax. For example, if you are single and have a total of $201,000 income, the 3.8% tax would NEVER be imposed on more than $1000.

9) It’s true that investment income from rents on an investment property could be subject to the 3.8% tax. BUT: The only rental income that would be included in your gross income and therefore possibly subject to the tax is net rental income: gross rents minus expenses like depreciation, interest, property tax, maintenance and utilities.

10) The tax was enacted along with the health care legislation in 2010. It was added to the package just hours before the final vote and without review. NAR strongly opposed the tax at the time, and remains hopeful that it will not go into effect. The tax will no doubt be debated during the upcoming tax reform debates in 2013.

NEVER pay this tax, even if you have millions of dollars of other types of income.

8) The formula that determines the amount of 3.8% tax due will ALWAYS protect $200,000 ($250,000 on a joint return) of your income from any burden of the 3.8% tax. For example, if you are single and have a total of $201,000 income, the 3.8% tax would NEVER be imposed on more than $1000.

9) It’s true that investment income from rents on an investment property could be subject to the 3.8% tax. BUT: The only rental income that would be included in your gross income and therefore possibly subject to the tax is net rental income: gross rents minus expenses like depreciation, interest, property tax, maintenance and utilities.

10) The tax was enacted along with the health care legislation in 2010. It was added to the package just hours before the final vote and without review. NAR strongly opposed the tax at the time, and remains hopeful that it will not go into effect. The tax will no doubt be debated during the upcoming tax reform debates in 2013.

ALWAYS protect $200,000 ($250,000 on a joint return) of your income from any burden of the 3.8% tax. For example, if you are single and have a total of $201,000 income, the 3.8% tax would NEVER be imposed on more than $1000.

9) It’s true that investment income from rents on an investment property could be subject to the 3.8% tax. BUT: The only rental income that would be included in your gross income and therefore possibly subject to the tax is net rental income: gross rents minus expenses like depreciation, interest, property tax, maintenance and utilities.

10) The tax was enacted along with the health care legislation in 2010. It was added to the package just hours before the final vote and without review. NAR strongly opposed the tax at the time, and remains hopeful that it will not go into effect. The tax will no doubt be debated during the upcoming tax reform debates in 2013.

could be subject to the 3.8% tax. BUT: The only rental income that would be included in your gross income and therefore possibly subject to the tax is net rental income: gross rents minus expenses like depreciation, interest, property tax, maintenance and utilities.

10) The tax was enacted along with the health care legislation in 2010. It was added to the package just hours before the final vote and without review. NAR strongly opposed the tax at the time, and remains hopeful that it will not go into effect. The tax will no doubt be debated during the upcoming tax reform debates in 2013.

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, August 08, 2012  11:25:14 AM
June 2012 WAS a GOOD MONTH… My Southside Meybohm Office office more sales than listings! 0 Comments Posted

June  2012 WAS a GOOD MONTH… My Southside Meybohm Office office more sales than listings!

 

June Monthly Indicators as provided by Aiken Board of Realtors

 

We’re halfway through 2012, and what a year it’s been. Residential real estate

has finally taken some meaningful strides toward recovery, and they’ve all been self-powered without divine (or governmental) intervention. Yes, there have been some head fakes in the past, but there's real reason to believe that market turnaround awaits us. Beyond home prices, key metrics to watch include Days on Market of List Price and Months’ Supply of Inventory Market, Percent Received Inventory. Locally, a few indicators showed improvement. Let's see what the rest of our local data has to say. New Listings in the Aiken region decreased 7.6 percent to 218.

Pending Sales were down 5.3 percent to 124. Inventory levels shrank 4.2 percent to 1,660 units.  Prices moved higher. The Median Sales Price increased 5.8 percent to $163,950.  A day on Market was up 15.0 percent to 207 days.  The supply demand balance stabilized as Months’ Supply of Inventory was down 14.6 percent to 14.5 months. We seem to be at a critical inflection point in our attempts to spur more hiring. Job growth provides the dual benefit of stimulating new household growth as well as relieving distressed homeowners. There's also the positive feedback loop of housing creating jobs and jobs creating housing. Keeping the affordability picture afloat, the Fed has vowed to keep interest rates around 4.0 percent through mid-2013.

 

Let’s all hope July keeps the trend rolling FORWARD!

 

 

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, July 18, 2012  4:14:04 PM
M’Aiken Plans for Thursday, July 12 – Sunday, July 15 0 Comments Posted

Making plans for the weekend? Make them in Aiken, and we’ve made it easy for you! We’ve compiled a list of community events for you so that you can come for the weekend and have something – sometimes MULTIPLE things - to do each day you’re here. There is truly something for everyone!

 

 

 

We hope that you enjoy our beautiful city. Once you’ve attended your event, please come to Downtown Aiken to shop and dine. For more information on Downtown Aiken, please visitwww.downtownaiken.com.

 

1.      Arts Academy in the Woods at Camp Gravatt “Cake Pops”

July 12 from 5:30pm-7:30pm

Karen Temple from Everyday Gourmet will teach the art of creating and decorating Cake Pops.

Cost: $45 per person; includes materials, instructor’s fee and a light supper. For more information: (803) 648-1817 or www.camp-gravatt.org

 

2.      PSJ Highfields Summer Classic

July 13 – 15 at 8am

Celebration Horse Show
Ovation/Oak Manor 2'6"Derby
Featuring apple Bobbing and seed spitting contest

For more information: (803) 649-3505 orhttp://www.psjshows.com/index.php

 

3.      Lineage of Champions Super 32 Championship

July 13 – 15

USCA Convocation Center

Join us as we host some of the nation’s top travel teams for this NCAA Certified event. For more information www.uscatix.com

 

4.      Aiken Community Playhouse presents “The Great American Trailer Park Musical”

July 13, 14, 20 & 21 - 8pm and July 15 - 3pm

Interpreted for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing July 14 – 8pm

Music & Lyrics by: David Nehls

Book by: Betsy Kelso

Directed by: Bradley Watts

Music Direction by: Steven McKinney

Choreography by: Adam Shults

There’s a new tenant at Armadillo Acres—and she’s wreaking havoc all over Florida’s most exclusive trailer park. When Pippi, the stripper on the run, comes between the Dr. Phil–loving, agoraphobic Jeannie and her tollbooth collector husband—the storms begin to brew. Attended for adult audiences.

“This wheel-spinning, mud-splattering good time of a show is the theatrical equivalent of a bag of Doritos. You can’t get enough. Who could expect a thrillingly trashy Greek chorus of trailer park matrons whose hysterical musical stylings all but redefine the girl-group-as-cultural-commentator craze? Or a number with enough show-stopping electricity to trump every musical that opened on Broadway last season?”

—Talkin’ Broadway

“A sparkling, sharp irreverence lights up this musical and makes it one of the most laugh-out-loud shows in town.” —Broadway.com

For tickets or more information: (803) 648-1438 orwww.aikencommunityplayhouse.com

 

5.      SPCA Summer Dog Wash

July 14 from 10am – 2pm

Come out and primp your pooch from 10am-2pm at Cold Creek Nursery / 398 Hitchcock Parkway in Aiken

For more information: (803) 648-6863 or http://aikenspca.org

 

6.      Aiken Historic Tour

July 14 at 10:00am 

Tours fill up quickly. Advance registration is preferred.

Experience Aiken’s grace, charm and elegance during this 2 hour guided tour aboard our “climate controlled” trolley. On the tour, you’ll see and hear about...
• Historic Homes and Churches
• Equestrian Sites
• The Civil War’s Battle of Aiken
• The Live Oak Canopy on South Boundary
• A guided walk through Hopelands Gardens, the Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame & Museum (weather permitting).
• And much more...

NOTES: 

* Please arrive at least 15 minutes early.

* During the summer months the trolley is not in use due to the limited cooling available on the trolley. 

* Trolley is not guaranteed at any time. 

* Advance tickets are sold through the Weeks Center at 1700 Whiskey Rd.  Call 803-642-7631.  Reservations are highly recommended as tours are often sold out.

* Departure is the site of the Aiken Visitors Center and Train Museum.  Arrive early to view the museum prior to departure.  Museum opens at 9:00 am.

GROUP TOURS:  If you are interested in a tour Monday through Friday for a group, please contact 803-293-7846 for special rates and availability (availability is VERY limited, please call as far in advance as possible).

PRIVATE TOURS:  If you are interested in a private tour for up to 3 or 4 people, please contact our head Tour Guide, Ms. Judith Burgess at 803-649-6608 for availability and pricing.

 

7.      DuPont Planetarium Shows

July 14

In My Backyard: 8pm

Digistar Laser Fantasy: 9pm

Each show includes a live “Sky Tonight” portion.

The RPSEC Observatory is open for public viewing after evening planetarium shows, weather permitting.

DuPont Planetarium, Ruth Patrick Science Education Center, 471 University Pkwy, Aiken.

For more information 803-641-3654 or http://rpsec.usca.edu/planetarium/

 

8.      Tickets Now On Sale / Upcoming Events

Christmas in July

July 23-28

Cool off with some Christmas-style bargains at the following locations July 23-28: ACTS, Aiken Downtown Development Association, Aiken Center for the Arts, The Curiosity Shop, Equine Divine, Lionel Smith Ltd., MB Jewelry & Beads, Powercuts Salon & Spa, Ryan’s Downtown Market & Deli and True Value Hardware & Appliances. One of Santa’s elves will also be in town to help us celebrate and to thank you for shopping Downtown Aiken! For more information: (803) 649-2221 orwww.downtownaiken.com

 

Aiken Downtown Development Association presents The Weakest Link…to Murder!

A Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre

Show dates: August 10 & 11 at Newberry Hall

An annual fundraiser for Aiken Downtown Development Association, this evening is filled with good food, good laughs and wonderful audience interaction. Tickets: $50 Call (803) 649-2221

 

9.      Weekend Entertainment 

July 12 – July 15

 

Ø The Willcox

Thursday: 4 Cats in the Doghouse from 7:00pm – 9:00pm

$99 SUNDAYS

Stay overnight every Sunday in July for just $99. Offer applies only to E-mail Club members. Reservations must be made in advance.  Rates do not include taxes or gratuities. Offer applies to select rooms. Please request special rate at the time of booking. This promotion cannot be combined with other offers or packages and is subject to availability. For more information: (803) 648-1898

 

Ø The Stables Restaurant at Rose Hill

Friday: Live music from 7pm – 11pm

          1st Friday: Irish Music

          2nd Friday: Beach Sounds

          3rd Friday: Savannah River Bluegrass

          4th Friday: Celia (Local Talent)

 

Ø Harry’s Local Bar

Friday: Karaoke every Friday night from 9:00pm – 1:00am

 

Ø Hilton Garden Inn

Thursday: Trivia Night 7pm – 10pm Prizes awarded

Friday: Fiesta Friday $5 margaritas and $11 pizza

 

Ø DAV Building

2194 Columbia Hwy. N (Near Aiken Airport)

Friday: Live music with “Yesterday’s Sounds” from 7:30pm-11pm

 

 

For daily updates, please find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

 

To report a weekend event to be listed in M’Aiken Plans, please email me atadda_asst@atlantic.net, call the office 803.649.2221 or fax the information to 803.641.4881.

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, July 12, 2012  12:22:25 PM
GARDEN TRENDS 0 Comments Posted

Home gardening has become more than a hobby for many Americans in recent years. These ideas from DoItYourself.com can provide some guidance on how to create or upgrade your own garden.

 

Edible gardens According to the National Gardening Association, vegetable gardening rose 20 percent in 2010 from 2009. Salad-type vegetables, such as radishes, lettuce and spinach are common, but many gardeners also grow crop vegetables like potatoes, corn, beans and squash. These are easy to grow, they only need watering and some weeding before harvesting, and they can be stored and served in countless ways.

 

Go organic  Many gardeners use non-chemical fertilizers such as compost, compost teas and animal manure to help plants grow. Inexpensive and easy to use, compost can be created from yard refuse and home vegetable peelings. Compost teas are made by steeping compost to create a tea-like substance, and animal manure that’s allowed to compost for a year provides nutrients.

 

Feel good” gardens For some, gardens are a place for calm, quiet reflection. Water gardens include a pond or fountain to create a calm, serene environment, while sand or “zen” gardens are small enough to place on a desk or table and include different types of plants, rocks and sticks to mimic the natural environment.

 

Vertical gardens New planting systems make it possible to insert vegetation into outside walls. Succulent plants are ideally suited to growing vertically since they often dwell on cliffs in nature and don’t need much root space. Fruits like grapes and kiwi can grow along walls and fences, and some vegetables like beans, peas and some squashes can be trained up a trellis.

 

Whether used to grow food or to enjoy nature, gardens have evolved to reflect the changing lifestyles of American families.

 

BROUGHT TO YOU BY YOUR AGENT, A MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL OF RESIDENTIAL SPECIALISTS

 

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, July 02, 2012  10:04:13 AM
NAR supports the "Responsible Homeowner Refinancing Act" 0 Comments Posted

NAR supports the "Responsible Homeowner Refinancing Act"

....because it offers relief to responsible homeowners who have good credit and consistently meet their mortgage obligations, but who have been unable to refinance into lower interest rates because of constraints in Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's mortgage refinance guidelines.

Read more:


Let's hope positive and responsible financial behavior is rewarded!

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, June 04, 2012  10:09:55 PM
It’s all about our South Carolina Heroes… 0 Comments Posted

$10 million Home Buyer Program will Salute South Carolina Heroes

3.75% Interest Rate and $5,000 toward down payment expenses

Learn more by viewing this link:   http://www.midlandsbiz.com/articles/10625/

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, May 02, 2012  10:10:34 PM
Woodside Plantation Festival of Homes is being held April 27th- 29th, 2012 0 Comments Posted

Woodside Plantation Festival of Homes is being held April 27th- 29th, 2012 proceeds will benefit the Child Advocacy Center of Aiken County.  

 

Ten beautifully designed homes located in Woodside Planation will be featured, come out view these dazzling homes, see new designs, decorating trends and develop some great new ideas that will inspire you to improve and transform  your home!

For more information and where to purchase tickets view this link: 

http://www.festivalofhomes.net/

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, April 24, 2012  1:03:20 PM
NAR…National Association of Realtors reports 0 Comments Posted

NAR…National Association of Realtors reports,

February Existing-Home Sales Slip But Up Strongly From a Year Ago

 

I personally noticed the trend NAR reported in their article, see link below.   Locally in Aiken, SC, March 2012 picked up, experiencing stronger showings and contract activity in April 2012 to date.

 

In the last 45 days, four of my new listings went under contract very timely within 30 days of the going on the market. All my seller clients were open to an aggressive pricing strategy upfront versus pricing high and coming down later. They did a good amount of work prior to putting their home on the market for sale, making sure the property was in the best possible condition, made improvements when recommended,  including de-cluttering and simplifying the presentation of their personal belongings and furniture. Their hard work paid off for them with quick contracts; as compared to current average days on the market of 220.  

 

Before you list your home for sale you should consult a Realtor or Realtors in advance that are knowledgeable, experienced and willing to help you with an aggressive marketing strategy, proper pricing and advise you on how to  “dress your home for success” to sell timely.

 

http://www.realtor.org/news-releases/2012/03/february-existing-home-sales-slip-but-up-strongly-from-a-year-ago

 

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, April 16, 2012  12:06:18 PM
First Horses and Courses event debuts Master’s Week…spread the word! 0 Comments Posted

On Thursday, April 5 in downtown Aiken, the first Horses and Courses event will debut from 5:30-9 p.m. Horses and Courses will include performing artists on stage, visual artists displaying their artwork, and a parade with artistic golf carts, several horse disciplines and notable community personalities. The first-ever Horses and Courses promises to be “the” event for Aiken visitors during Masters Week. Karen Gorden of Garden City Jazz and The Ken Gabriel Band will be live on stage beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Newberry Street. Artwork will be on display and for sale in The Alley. The parade begins at 6:30 p.m. and will be on Laurens Street between Park Avenue and Richland Avenue. Featured in the parade will be decorated golf carts, carriages and other entries showcasing the way of life in the area. The mission of Horses and Courses, sponsored by the “City of Aiken Art’s Commission” and the City of Aiken Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department, is to promote the arts, equine and golf communities and showcase downtown Aiken through a well-organized outdoor special event. The event includes visual and performing artists who will show visitors attending The Masters that Aiken is a very diverse community and also offer unique shopping and culinary experiences from downtown businesses. Aiken also lays claim to one of the oldest golf courses in the United States, is well known as an equine community and has a growing community of artists. This event is an opportunity during Masters Week to showcase to the many visitors from around the world our horses, golf courses and a multitude of talents of the local artists who reside within our exceptional city. The parade will be a fun way to bring people into the downtown area where they can meet artists, enjoy live performances, do some shopping and enjoy the many fine restaurants.

Source of information: http://www.aikenis.com/

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, April 02, 2012  8:57:00 AM
BUYING OR BUILDING A NEW HOME 0 Comments Posted

BUYING OR BUILDING A NEW HOME….Why you should have a HOME INSPECTION

 

I read an article From Gerald Hargrove Inspections and I felt it made some valid points for any new home buyer to consider.  I have used some points from their article and from my personal experience to give you my top SIX REASONS to have a home inspection on a new construction.

 

1)     It will help resolve potential items from being outstanding after closing.  The least amount of items remaining on your “builder’s punch list” is better. After closing most items will need to go through the builder's office, claims process and you may have to arrange to meet the subcontractors yourself and take time off work.

 

2)    Undetected minor items may become major items. For example… water leaks which can cause additional damage to the home.  I always suggest fix any water leaks or penetrations timely since I have seen more major damage to a home due to water.  For example a dishwasher needs to be run prior to closing; I have seen a kitchen floor flooded if improperly hooked up.  No one wants that to be their first experience in their new home.

 

3)    It helps ensure your HVAC system is working properly prior to moving in, as well as your other electrical systems and appliances.  If possible, they need to check both heat and air if the weather conditions allows.

 

4)    Most homebuyers will not crawl up in the attic or under the house if there is a crawl space to inspect for problems.  A good home inspector will check all those places.

 

5)     Home inspector should check to make sure the house is built to current code.  Even though the county or city does inspect new construction their time is limited, they can't spend as much time as a private inspector will.

 

6)    Most importantly the home inspector is an independent representative that is hired by YOU the buyer, to hold YOUR INTEREST FIRST.

 

Using a licensed experienced home inspector for new or resale homes will help minimize potential problems down the road.  Happy home buying!

 

View Comments | Add Comment Sunday, March 25, 2012  11:42:48 AM
The SC Housing Authority has $295,000,000 of federal money 0 Comments Posted

The SC Housing Authority has $295,000,000 of federal money to help self-employed homeowners catch up on payments.

 

This is an informative and interesting article in the SC State paper that was posted on Sunday, March 11, 2012; maybe it can help provide some  relief for some self-employed homeowners in need.

 

Bailout funds rescue some struggling homeowners by RODDIE BURRIS:

http://www.thestate.com/2012/03/11/v-print/2187000/bailout-funds-rescue-some-struggling.html

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, March 19, 2012  11:47:53 AM
"Juilliard in Aiken" Returns in Aiken, SC 0 Comments Posted

"Juilliard in Aiken" Returns March 10-16, 2012 to Aiken, South Carolina

 

This is one the many festivals that make Aiken unique and a special place to call home.  To learn more about this special event and to arrange for tickets if not sold out go to this website:

http://www.juilliard.edu/newsroom/releases/current/2012-March_JuilliardinAiken.php

View Comments | Add Comment Friday, March 02, 2012  11:17:45 AM
First week of February much improved start...YAY! 0 Comments Posted

Aiken SC Housing Supply Overview

As provided by Aiken Board of Realtors for month of December 2011

 

Now that 2011 is fully in the books, it's important to discern which market segments performed well and which encountered additional challenges. This not only sheds light on consumer behavior, but also provides a preliminary look at what 2012 might have in store. For the 12-month period spanning January 2011 through December 2011, Pending Sales in the Aiken region were up 3.1 percent overall. The price range with the largest gain in sales was the $100,000 and below range, where they increased 18.6 percent.

 

The overall Median Sales Price was up 4.1 percent to $151,880. The property type with the largest price gain was the Single-Family segment, where prices increased 3.3 percent to $154,900. The price range that tended to sell the quickest was the $100,000 and below range at 197 days; the price range that tended to sell the slowest was the $300,001 and above range at 275 days.  Market-wide, inventory levels were down 7.1 percent.  The property type that gained the most inventories was the Condo segment, where it increased 18.3 percent. That amounts to 12.8 months’ supply for Single- Family homes and 19.1 months’ supply for Condos.

 

So far this year listings are up!  In January our office new listings are up 3-4 times as compared to the number of sales on our board which reflect homes that are under contract.

 

First week of February much improved start...YAY!  Homes under contract and new listings equalized which makes for a much healthier market, if that trend stays!

 

Buyers, there are plenty of inventories out there to pick from, and still great interest rates if you can qualify for a loan.  You should buy sooner than later since the market can trend back quickly and you can miss your opportunity!

 

 

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, February 08, 2012  1:48:35 PM
Aiken Board of Realtors Monthly Indicator Report- December 2011 0 Comments Posted

Aiken Board of Realtors Monthly Indicator Report- December 2011

The wonderful part of being a new year is it’s a fresh new start with endless possibilities and opportunities!

 

Here is the Aiken Board of Realtors Monthly Indicator Report from December 2011

 

There's no way to be certain what 2012 will bring. However, a few things do seem clear enough to make some assessments. First, 2011 was not the recovery year it was expected to be.  It was yet another “transition year” for most.  Second, multi-decade low mortgage rates and suppressed home prices coalesced to form an attractive purchase environment.  And buyers did just what their name implies. This has driven down inventory levels in many locales, which—thirdly—nudged the market balance toward equilibrium. Here's how the final month of 2011 concluded the year.  New Listings in the Aiken region decreased 15.8 percent to 133. Pending Sales were down 9.2 percent to 79. Inventory levels shrank 7.1 percent to 1,441 units, extending the signature trend of 2011.  Prices were off a bit. The Median Sales Price decreased 7.7 percent to $158,170. Days on Market increased 27.2 percent to 233 days.   Absorption rates improved as Months’ Supply of Inventory was down 9.9 percent to 13.1 months. Ultimately, the upcoming spring market should be a major tell about the future direction of housing. Sellers are seeing multiple-offer situations; buyers are seeing sub-4.0 percent loans; supply-demand trends are more balanced. When it gets down to it, that's a stable foundation and a far cry from 2009. While the fundamentals are better, the foreclosure situation and political unknowns remain wildcards. For now, enjoy the fresh canvas.

 

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, January 31, 2012  9:10:37 AM
Meybohm Realtors-Aiken Sales Market Share for the Year 2011 0 Comments Posted

Meybohm Realtors-Aiken Sales Market Share for the Year 2011

 

Our  percentage numbers are up over 2010;  our company’s  wealth of knowledge, dedicated and experienced Realtors helps our sales market share  grow each year.    We realize and thank you, our clients, customers, friends and family  for making helping Meybohm Realtors to be the leading real estate company in the CSRA.  Our success is due to your continued kind  support and confidence you have shown us  the past years.

 

Wishing everyone the best of 2012, may you all have much HEALTH, HAPPINESS and SUCESS!

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, January 16, 2012  4:43:17 PM
DESIGN TRENDS FOR 2012 0 Comments Posted

Design Trends for 2012

Just a Fun Article to start the New Year…

 

 If you’re considering repainting your home in the New Year, look to the great outdoors for inspiration. The color experts at the Paint Quality Institute (PQI) say paint color trends for 2012 will draw upon the natural colors in the American landscape, such as native plants, flowers, rocks and minerals, and the ocean.

 

Blues will continue to be popular in 2012, says Debbie Zimmer, color expert at PQI. Whether choosing sparkling sea-glass blue or colonial blue-gray, blues are suitable for all living spaces because they are a soothing color that everyone seems to love.

 

Greens, from sage to forest green, allow homeowners to bring part of the outside world inside. Dining rooms and kitchens are natural spots for different shades of “in-vogue” green, but the color works well in family rooms and bedrooms too.

 

Violet, inspired by the majestic purple mountains in the West, brings a harmonious combination of patriotic blue and red to the home’s interior. Violet can add punch to any room when used as an accent color or be the dominant color in a bedroom.

 

Also new for 2012 is patterned paint, which can be the focal point in a room, or provide a subtle, textural backdrop to fine furnishings and artwork. For a sleek, stylish look, try classic black and white, which is popular in kitchen designs. Home exteriors are also moving to a more monochromatic palette in 2012. For example, shutters will be painted a shade or two darker than the siding.

 

Despite the new colors and trends for 2012, Zimmer says one thing will remain the same. “Top quality 100 percent acrylic latex paint will provide the best performance and the best value to budget-conscious homeowners,” she says.

 

Article provided by CRS newsletter

View Comments | Add Comment Sunday, January 08, 2012  3:20:30 PM
South Carolina Ranked as #2 LOWEST states for taxes…. 0 Comments Posted

Just read the highest and lowest top five states for taxes paid.  After reading lowest states listed then reviewing the highest states, no wonder why people want to move South excluding Alaska which was the 5th lowest state.  Connecticut got the honors of #1 highest taxes paid per By Joel Stonington, Bloomberg on msn. money.com

We do offer so many others benefits other than lower taxes especially here in Aiken, SC. We enjoy a mild climate year round, offer true southern hospitality, beautiful scenery and green space, fabulous recreational activities and affordable housing at a variety of price levels.

http://money.msn.com/taxes/5-highest-5-lowest-states-for-taxes

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, December 27, 2011  9:04:31 AM
Monthly Indicators for November 2011 In Aiken, SC 0 Comments Posted

Monthly Indicators A RESEARCH TOOL PROVIDED BY THE

AIKEN BOARD OF REALTORS®  

 

November 2011

Home prices are one of the most popular barometers of market vitality, yet they

only tell part of the story. Soft prices may accompany improvements in other

indicators such as purchase demand, absorption rates, seller concessions or

market times. Regional, market-wide prices fall short by not recognizing the mix

of homes that close each month, be it weighted toward single-family, lender mediated

or new construction addition movements often lag mediated construction. In addition, price changes

elsewhere in the marketplace. Let's see what the preferred market yardstick has

measured for November 2011.

 

New Listings in the Aiken region decreased 17.6 percent to 140. Pending Sales

were up 50.7 percent to 104. Inventory levels shrank 5.9 percent to 1,515 units,

a common trend across the country.

 

Prices were a tad soft. The Median Sales Price decreased 10.2 percent to

$134,625. Days on Market increased 25.3 percent to 221 days. Absorption rates

improved as Months’ Supply of Inventory was down 4.7 percent to 14.0 months.

Not only do forces beyond supply and demand affect home prices, but other

factors outside of housing serve as inputs into the equation. New job growth

and consumer confidence drive household formations which in turn fuels

purchase demand and pressures prices. Similarly, when real incomes rise,

families can afford more house and move-up buyers become increasingly

motivated. To that end, the jobless rate fell from 9.0 percent to 8.6 percent in

November – the lowest in 2.5 years.*

The month of November and start of December I personally had no shortage of offers received on my listings but most fell short of my seller’s expectations or would accept.  When a contract was agreed upon the re-negotiations of home repairs after the home inspections or lenders last minute conditions to provide a loan caused a lot of havoc on trying to successfully close the contract.  Buyers are nervous and lenders conditions are tricky to navigate. Sellers have to be prepared to have their home in good condition no matter the concessions they make on accepting a lower price… even if buyer is willing to accept the condition of the home which often they are.   Lenders, even on conventional loans want homes for example to have roofs certifiable for a time period, no obvious repairs or deferred maintenance before they will approve financing. 

*All data comes from the Aiken Association of REALTORS® Multiple Listing Service. Provided by South Carolina REALTORS®. Powered by 10K Research and Marketing. | 1

 

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, December 19, 2011  9:15:26 AM
There is no better place to call HOME for the HOLIDAYS then Aiken, SC 0 Comments Posted

There is no better place to call HOME for the HOLIDAYS then Aiken, SC

 

 

The signs of the season are everywhere in Aiken; just stroll down town to see the beautiful lights, cherry decorations; you can just feel the holiday spirit and cheer.  The other night my husband and I enjoyed shopping at all the unique shops located in downtown Aiken that stayed open late.  A fun time for all who attended.

 

December 10th at 6:00pm marks the opening of Christmas in Hopeland’s Gardens.  Hopeland’s Gardens will once again be beautifully illuminated with over 100,000 holiday lights for all to enjoy.  You can ride the shuttle from Fred's parking lot on Whiskey Rd.  The cost is free and donations are appreciated.

 

We want to THANK YOU for all the kind support you have shown us over the past years, with your support and kind referrals we achieve our success.

 

May PEACE and JOY be your gifts this holiday season and your blessings all year through!

 

 

 

Vikki and my Associates, Brandi and Nancy

Meybohm Realtors

 

 

 

View Comments | Add Comment Sunday, December 04, 2011  9:10:33 AM
Investors…time to BUY RENTAL property 0 Comments Posted

Investors…time to BUY RENTAL property

Clark Howard...motto’s "Save more and spend less" is more than just a motto for Clark; it's a way of life.  Clark Howard is a nationally syndicated consumer advocate who advises consumers how to save more, spend less and avoid getting ripped off.

I listen to him often and find him to be very conservative when spending money and offers good sound advice.  A recent show topic was, “A new look at why the rental market can make you big money”.  I found it very interesting and wanted to share this with people who are interested in owning rental properties. It’s not for everyone but it’s a good time to buy if this is something you truly want to be involved in, long term there is wonderful benefits.

Here is a link to his website to read his point of view.

http://www.clarkhoward.com/news/clark-howard/homes-real-estate/new-look-why-rental-market-can-make-you-big-money/nFgQ3/

Call your favorite Realtor for more information and discuss your specific real estate goals.

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, November 22, 2011  11:00:17 AM
Month of September 2011 Sales UP… 0 Comments Posted

Month of September 2011 Sales UP…

 

when compared with September 2010 sales.  Aiken Board of Realtors Monthly Indicators recently released.  September activity reflects late summer sales which was much stronger then early summer.  Home prices are still seeing some decline in most price ranges but strongest decline are in the higher priced homes.

 

Four of my resale Woodside home listings sold over a 90 day period this summer which is great when compared to the high amount inventory of approximately 120 homes currently available and four homes per month closing contract in Woodside Plantation per Aiken MLS data. This data does not consider any new construction or private sales not reported to Aiken MLS.

 

Below is the Sept. 2011 Monthly Indicator overview.  If you would like the full report just email me at Vikki@VikkiCrossland.com

 

 

 

People talk about the national housing market like its some static thing, like a toaster. The thing is, there is no national housing market. Just like there is no national weather forecast. That doesn't mean national averages don't have their place, but you don’t grab a raincoat and an umbrella in Miami based on the weather in Seattle. Like the weather, all real estate is local. As we embark on the fourth and final quarter of 2011, let’s take a look at our local forecast. New Listings in the Aiken region increased 3.4 percent to 215. Pending Sales were down 6.5 percent to 101. Inventory levels shrank 3.0 percent to 1,597 units, a positive supply-side trend that should bring additional stability. Prices firmed up nicely. The Median Sales Price increased 2.3 percent to $154,000. Days on Market increased 2.9 percent to 205 days. Absorption rates improved as Months’ Supply of Inventory was down 1.4 percent to 14.7 months. A dash of uplifting economic news was overshadowed by debt clouds from the ongoing turmoil in Greece and the threat of bank contagion. Manufacturing activity, construction spending and overall job growth all picked up in September, temporarily calming fears of the dreaded double-dip storm. As for the lending climate, the Fed's recent "Operation Twist" helped push mortgage rates to record lows – under 4.0 percent for the first time ever. Despite the cheap money, "Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!" should still be the battle cry.

 

Source: A Research Tool Provided by the Aiken Board of Realtors

 

 

 

 

Change inMedian Sales Price

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All data comes from the Aiken Association of REALTORS® Multiple Listing Service. Provided by South Carolina REALTORS®. Powered by 10K Research and Marketing. | 1

 

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, November 02, 2011  8:34:04 AM
OOPS I had the wrong date on my mail outs! 0 Comments Posted

OOPS I had the wrong date on my mail outs!

 

Trunk or Treating  on Newberry St. is on this Saturday Oct 29th  at 4-7pm;  NOT Oct. 31st  

 

This free event for children 12 years old and under will take place on Saturday, October 29, 2011 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in downtown Aiken at the Newberry Street Festival Center. It will once again feature “Trunk or Treating” where candy is given out from the trunk of a Halloween theme decorated vehicle.  Carnival games, food, drinks, lots of candy, and of course a costume contest!

 

I personally  enjoy coming to downtown Aiken, sitting outside  at one of the restaurants located in the alley and watching all the children in their costumes heading for this event.

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, October 24, 2011  3:34:20 PM
The August 2011 Housing Supply Outlook just out provided by Aiken Board of Realtors 0 Comments Posted

Despite some choppy waters in August, there have been noteworthy shifts on both sides of the closing table. Buyer activity is moving back in line with historical trends while sellers are making fewer concessions in order to sell their homes. Falling supply and improving absorption rates in many regions also suggest that market balance is realigning towards neutral. Locally, a few indicators posted positive movement over August 2010, but do the rest of the numbers provide reason for optimism? New Listings in the Aiken region decreased 13.0 percent to 207. Pending Sales were up 33.6 percent to 143.  Inventory levels shrank 4.2 percent to 1,584 units, a positive supply-side improvement. Prices dipped lower. The Median Sales Price decreased 3.0 percent to $145,450. Days on Market increased 6.7 percent to 183 days.  Absorption rates slowed as Months Supply of Inventory was up 0.8 percent to 15.0 months.  The economy bobbed along just this side of positive in August. Consumer confidence, which often affects housing demand, showed some slack even as personal income and spending both increased modestly. Low interest rates, declining supply and stabilizing prices are beacons of hope in the harbor, but the recovery still needs wind in its sails.

 

The last couple of months I have had a personal increase in sales, listings, closings and interest of real estate activity as compared to early summer.  I believe this is due to the unbelievable lower interest rates, which have generated sales locally and outside our market area.  This has enable families to buy who wanted to make local moves or relocate to the Aiken community.  Buyers that have purchased properties have obtained some outstanding values since there is continued high amount of inventory and aggressive pricing. It truly makes sense to buy now if you are in the position to do so.

 

 

 

 

View Comments | Add Comment Saturday, September 24, 2011  9:41:45 AM
Aiken Makin’s is less than a week away! 0 Comments Posted

If you haven’t been, you need to go to enjoy this long term wonderful family event.  Last year I went with my husband, Scott, my daughter Brandi and my youngest   granddaughter, Marli. We had a delightful day seeing all the arts and crafts, enjoying the variety of food. Most of all it’s a good time to run into friends you have not seen for a while or just make new friends.  The feeling is so upbeat and friendly.  Last year Marli had her very first hand print done in clay that has the year written near her hand print and is hung with pretty pink ribbon in her room.  Marli is going back for her next hand print and I know it will be much more interesting to her and us since is a year older; this will become a family tradition. 

Hope to see you in beautiful downtown Aiken, SC on Friday Sept 9th or Saturday 10th, 2011

Here is some information on Aiken’s Makin’s website.

Countdown begins to 35th Aiken's Makin'

Artisans and crafters are busy building their inventories; food vendors are stocking up; and the Aiken's Makin' committees are checking off their punch lists.  The 35th Annual Aiken's Makin’, soon the parkways and streets of downtown Aiken will come alive with enthusiastic shoppers, the aroma of delicious food, and the pleasant sounds of music as nearly 30,000 visitors flock to downtown Aiken.

 Learn More:  http://www.aikensmakin.net/

View Comments | Add Comment Friday, September 02, 2011  10:20:51 AM
Thinking of selling your home in Aiken or anywhere? 0 Comments Posted

Six Worth-the-Price Fix-Ups

Clean, de-clutter, brighten, stage, landscape and repair sums it up!

Simple and affordable do-it-yourself projects can greatly increase a home's resale value, according to HomeGain's annual home improvement and staging survey. 

The marketing company surveyed nearly 600 real estate professionals to discover which DIY home improvement projects give sellers the biggest return for their buck. Here are six projects under $1,000 (amounts are estimated) that made the list.

  1. Cleaning and decluttering. Remove any personal items, unclutter countertops, organize closets and shelves, and make the home sparkling clean.

    • $290 Cost

    • $1,990 Return

  2. Brightening. Clean all windows inside and out, replace old curtains, update lighting fixtures, and remove anything that blocks light from the windows.

    • $375 Cost

    •  $1,550 Return

  3. Smart staging. Rearrange furniture, bring in new accessories and furnishings to enhance rooms, incorporate artwork, and play soft music in the background.

    • $550 Cost

    • $2,194 Return

  4. Landscaping enhancements. Punch up the home’s curb appeal in the front and back yards by adding bark mulch, bushes, and flowers and ensuring current plants and grass are well-cared for and manicured.

    • $540 Cost

    • $1,932 return

  5. Repairing electrical or plumbing. Fix leaks under the sinks, remove any mildew stains, and ensure all plumbing is in good working condition. Update the home’s electrical with new wiring for modern appliances, fix any lights or outlets that don’t work, and replace old plug points with new safety fixtures.

    • $535 Cost

    • $1,505 Return

  6. Replacing or shampooing dirty carpets. Steam-clean carpets, replace any worn carpets, and repair any floor creaks.

    • $647 Cost

    • $1,739 Return

Excerpted from HomeGain’s 2011 Home Sale Maximizer Survey: www.homesalemaximizer.com.

 

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, August 25, 2011  8:45:57 PM
Aiken’s Recent New Tax Assessments raises so many questions or concerns with local homeowners… 0 Comments Posted

Aiken’s Recent New Tax Assessments raises so many questions or concerns with local homeowners…

 

The calls have started from concerned homeowners. I have received them, the Aiken Board Realtor office has had numerous questions and I am sure my colleagues have received them too.

 

Our local Aiken Board of Realtors, Kristyne Blake, Association Executive has shared the following information with us to help answer the main concerns received.  I feel it is helpful, informative and felt it was worth sharing.  Please read below.

 

 The two main questions about the Notices they received of Classification, Appraisal and Assessment. The first is how do I appeal it and what information is the County Tax Assessor looking for in the appeal. The second question is how homeowners figure out their tax from the Tax Assessment that went out.

 

I have contacted by the County Tax Assessor and the City of Aiken and want to pass on the following information to you.

 

If you would like to appeal your tax assessment value, you need to appeal it to the County Tax Assessor. The County Assessor said they are looking for homeowners to provide them with a recent appraisal (within one year) or at least three comparable sales in their neighborhood within the last year. Please follow the instructions on the bottom of your Notice of Classification, Appraisal & Assessment on how to file the appeal. Once the appeal is reviewed by the County Appraiser, you will receive notification if your appeal was approved or not and if it is adjusted, you will receive a new Tax Assessment. The County will send this new Tax Assessment to the City of Aiken if you reside in the City. If you have further questions about how to file an appeal, please contact the Tax Assessor's office at 642-1583.

 

The second question is how to I figure out my tax rate. Aiken County has not set the millage rate for 2011. This should be set by the end of September. However if you would like to get a general idea of what your County Taxes will be you can use the 2010 rate of .0982. Take your Total Assessment (NOT YOUR TAXABLE VALUE) and multiple it by .0982. This will give you what the rate would be in 2010, however we expect the county millage to go up as the School Board has already voted for an increase.

 

If you live in the City of Aiken. Take your Total Assessment (NOT YOUR TAXABLE VALUE) and multiple it by .066. That will give you your tax for 2010.

 

 

 

 

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, August 11, 2011  9:22:19 AM
The Sign of the TIME in Aiken and North Augusta, SC 0 Comments Posted

Did you know real estate agencies have specific signage requirements in the Aiken, SC area we serve?

The City and County of Aiken and North Augusta City requirements differ greatly.  I thought it would be good information to be aware of since often sellers want more signs up then their real estate agent is allowed per Local County and city rules. I noted the contact person if you have any questions.

City of Aiken - Tommy Paradise (803) 642-7608

Directional Signs-

·         Weekdays -Not Allowed Anytime.

·         Weekend – Not Allowed Anytime.

What the city sees as the problem is the property is in the county but the directional signs start in the city.  They will remove the signs if in the city limits.

Yard Signs –

·         1 Company Sign per yard 

·         Will allow 1 OPEN HOUSE and 1 YARD SIGN for a 48 hour period around the event. 

·         If home on a corner lot can have 1 sign on each street

 

Aiken County – Jim White (803) 642-2012

Directional Signs-

·         Weekdays or Weekends

o   Directional signs only. No Large OPEN HOUSE with directional arrows. No balloons.

o   Not Permissible within the Right of Way unless there is an event then permissible for 24 hours only.  

o   Out of Right-of-way, 15’ from end of pavement must have owner’s permission. 

City of North Augusta – Mike Baldy (803) 441-4222

Directional Signs-

·         Weekdays not allowed.

·         Weekend signs may be placed after 12:00 on Friday and picked up before Noon on Monday.

o   Directional signs only. No Large OPEN HOUSE with directional arrows. No balloons.

o   If on private property must have owner’s permission. 

Yard Signs –

·         1 Company Sign per yard 

·         Will allow 1 OPEN HOUSE and 1 YARD SIGN Friday Noon to Monday Noon. 

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, August 02, 2011  6:18:33 PM
Downtown Aiken, SC…Fifth Friday Celebration 0 Comments Posted

Downtown Aiken, SC…Fifth Friday Celebration

 

Need something to do for some summer time fun?  Head to downtown Aiken, SC this upcoming Friday to the Alley for the Fifth Friday Celebration.

Your Friends. Your Family. Your City!
July 29, 2011

Featuring the band "Anybody's Guess", games and inflatables,
and food and drink specials at participating restaurants/bars.

For more info:  http://aiken-yp.com/5thfriday/

 

View Comments | Add Comment Sunday, July 24, 2011  4:53:15 PM
The June 2011 Monthly Indicator Report and Housing Outlook Report 0 Comments Posted

The June 2011 Monthly Indicator Report and Housing Outlook Report

 

Provided by Aiken Board of Realtors:

 

Monthly Indicator Report- You may have noticed some "noise" lately about where the market is heading. Some accounts are optimistic while others, well, aren't. The good news is that local data provides a more reliable tone than national sound bites can offer. When it comes to hearing the market's true message, it may not necessarily be from the expected indicators, it may not be heard evenly across all segments and it may arrive in disjointed bursts. Let's listen. The rate of inventory absorption in the Aiken region slowed as Months Supply of Inventory was up 18.1 percent to 16.5 months. New Listings increased 12.8 percent to 229. Pending Sales were up 39.4 percent to 131. Inventory levels grew 4.3 percent to 1,663 units. Prices showed signs of life. The Median Sales Price increased 12.4 percent to $155,000.  Days on Market increased 6.5 percent to 184 days. On the national front, the interest rate dropped to 4.79 percent on a 30-year fixed conventional and 4.44 percent for FHA. The unemployment rate has been stable around 9.0 percent and initial unemployment claims have continued to fall. Wages and payroll jobs are also improving slowly. Debt ceiling negotiations and other background noises persist, while prolonged job growth is still the missing verse in the recovery song.

 

Vikki’s Personal View Point since July 1st, 2011. 

 

It has been a very slow start this month when I look at my company’s pending sale board.  Just yesterday there were four sales.  I had my second contract ratified last night so we are at least 5 today.  I am use to seeing double to triple this amount by this time of the month.  My colleagues are busy working and showing,  it is very hard to get buyer’s to contract with so much inventory out there; it is overwhelming unless they are very focused, hard for them to sort true value with the ranging price per square footage data and there is that lingering thought, if they just wait there maybe even a better deal out there. Then the next challenge is get the contract to close on time with all the mortgage requirements. The negative news about the government money issues could be impacting the sales this month especially when rates are so low and the tremendous amount of great opportunity out there.  Most serious sellers are really offering their properties at extremely good pricing, doing the improvements to sell and offering incentives.

 

Been thinking of buying property or home in Aiken, SC?  The time is right to buy!

 

View Comments | Add Comment Friday, July 15, 2011  10:26:07 AM
Potential Real Estate Rental Scam in Aiken… 0 Comments Posted

Potential Real Estate Rental Scam in Aiken…

 

You may have heard about it on the national news recently; mainly in the bigger cities around the country, but in Aiken, SC?   Well it happened recently or they tried to pull off a scam here in Aiken but were unsuccessful due to alert Realtors.

 

These scammers take the info off homes offered for sale online, sometimes even use a local agent’s name without their knowledge or consent, offer the home for rent using several websites like Craigslist, Realrentals, ect., just waiting to get a potential tenant to send monies for leasing a home offered online without viewing the property or meeting the owner or rental  management broker in person. 

 

Read this informative article, For-Sale Listings Used in Rental Scam  

http://www.realtor.org/rmodaily.nsf/pages/news2011060901?opendocument

 

Here are some simple steps to avoid being scammed.  Awareness and common sense is the key to not being scammed.  If, it’s too good to be true, it probably not true.  Also view the property you plan on leasing with the legal owner or license property manager.  Use a reputable real estate property manager or their leasing agent.  You can verify the owner by using public records, ask for identification, trust me, they will or should ask you as the prospective tenant for identification, credit, references and verification if they are legitimate.   In the event you are leasing from afar, try to find a local person you trust to check out the property for you or meet with owner or property manager on your behalf, and never call a lock smith to enter a property unless you own the property!

 

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, July 07, 2011  7:35:01 AM
Aiken, SC Board of Realtors May 2011 Monthly Indicator Report 0 Comments Posted

Aiken, SC Board of Realtors May 2011 Monthly Indicator Report

 

Homeownership is about painting a room fluorescent fuchsia without asking anyone's permission. The recent market challenges have forced some homeowners to become begrudging renters or unintentional landlords. For the nation as a whole, the National Association of REALTORS® reports that the homeownership rate has shifted from 69.0 percent in 2005 to 66.5 percent so far in 2011. While that's not a tectonic shift, let's see what other indicators reveal since that first fateful month after the 2010 tax credit.

 

New Listings in the Aiken region increased 26.6 percent to 257. Pending Sales were up 38.4 percent to 137. Inventory levels grew 5.3 percent to 1,686 units. Prices gained some traction. The Median Sales Price increased 14.5 percent to $161,300. Days on Market increased 5.0 percent to 182 days. The rate of inventory absorption slowed as Months’ Supply of Inventory was up 22.8 percent to 17.3 months.

Nationally, the interest rate dropped to 4.88 percent on a 30-year fixed conventional while the unemployment rate snuck up to 9.1 percent in May. The economy added 54,000 jobs, which was far less than April and insufficient to curb unemployment. As recovery goes, so goes positive trends. Several metrics should continue to show favorable movement, but stronger job growth is needed to fuel housing demand and reinforce consumer confidence. Provided by Aiken Board of Realtors

 

Personally, May 2011 has and its good weeks with some upper price range homes going under contract and then back slow this first half of June.  This week I have seen several buyers looking, making offers but they are more $250,000 or less overall.  Once I think I see a trend, it changes but one thing that is consistent there is there are some great buys and low interest rates available!

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, June 21, 2011  8:41:58 PM
The HEAT is on..... 0 Comments Posted

The HEAT is on…not only is the weather hot, so is the competition out there to sell homes or properties.

Here is April 2011 Housing Supply Overview from the Aiken Board of Realtors:

Due to the 2010 tax credit current market activity can look drastically different than it did one year ago. For the 12-month period spanning May 2010 through April 2011, Pending Sales in the Aiken region were down 13.9 percent from the same period a year prior. The largest gain occurred in the $200,001 to $300,000 range, where they increased 22.0 percent to 227 units. One might expect properties to take longer to sell without an incentive in place. The segment with the largest increase in market times was the $150,001 to $200,000 range, where they increased 8.4 percent to 196 days.  The segment that tended to sell the quickest was the $100,001 to $150,000 range at 174 days; the segment that tended to sell the slowest was the $300,001 and above range at 266 days.  The overall Median Sales price was up 5.1 percent. Single-Family properties saw the largest price gain, where the Median Sales Price increased 4.4 percent to $154,000. Meanwhile, Condo inventory levels have decreased 4.0 percent, and Single-Family inventory levels have increased 4.3 percent.

There is a lot of re-pricing, incentives for buyers and sales agents on new construction and resale homes as well as some owner or creative financing being offered on some lots.

This past Memorial weekend was not only hot in Aiken, SC but the buyer activity was strongest I have seen this year. I think we will see an increase of sales/closed properties this upcoming month. Buyers are taking advantage of the value priced properties, incentives and really low interest rates. Sellers are being far more aggressive with their pricing which is helping some properties go under contract.

Sellers if want to sell your home… this is the time of year to get serious about selling your home, make your improvements and spruce your home now, price your home to be competitive with other homes being offered and what has sold. Call in your favorite Realtor for their expert advice or give me a call at 803-645-8008 or email me at Vikki@vikkicrossland.com. I will be happy to assist and advise you on the best approach to sell your home in Aiken’s real estate market.

 

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, June 01, 2011  10:09:45 PM
A Sign of Summer is around the corner…Memorial Weekend 0 Comments Posted

A Sign of Summer is around the corner…Memorial Weekend.

Several people, including myself at times often forget what this weekend is really about, not intentionally; our lives get so full and busy.

 

Here is a wonderful link to remind us how to honor and remember the great sacrifices of our veterans; the men and women who gave their life serving our country and those currently serving in the military.

http://www.usmemorialday.org/observe.htm

 

 "If you come across somebody in uniform or if you know a friend or relative who served this country, stop them or pick up the phone and say thank you. Thank you for what you did for our great country.”

I am so fortunate and thankful I live in United States of America where we all can enjoy freedom and the pride of home ownership.

Wishing everyone a wonderful, safe and enjoyable Memorial weekend!  

 

 

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, May 26, 2011  4:54:31 PM
A Proposed Change that would Impact Real Estate Negatively…not only in Aiken, S.C 0 Comments Posted

A Proposed Change that would Impact Real Estate Negatively…not only in Aiken, S.C. but all of United States

 

Qualified Residential Mortgage (QRM)

 

Write members of Congress to urge them to drop the proposal now being considered that requires a 20% down payment for home mortgages.  This move would be devastating to the real estate industry.  Click on the link if you want to know more about the proposal.

 

 

http://www.realtor.org/wps/wcm/connect/1fe15f00467eb68c8526bdce195c5fb4/QRM_white_paper_April_2011.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CACHEID=1fe15f00467eb68c8526bdce195c5fb4

 

 

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, May 17, 2011  11:34:17 PM
Aiken Board of Realtors March 2011 - Monthly Indicators 0 Comments Posted

Aiken Board of Realtors March 2011 - Monthly Indicators

 

A RESEARCH TOOL PROVIDED BY THE AIKEN BOARD OF REALTORS®

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This month's numbers are stuck in the shadow of the spring 2010 incentive market. A number of factors hinder a full-scale housing recovery, yet there are positives that suggest improving consumer confidence. Slowing unemployment claims, strong corporate balance sheets and 13 months of private job growth are cause for long-dormant optimism. Let's see if our local glass is half empty or half full. New Listings in the Aiken region decreased 6.4 percent from last March to 247 new homes. Pending Sales decreased 15.1 percent to land at 129 contracts written. As a result, inventory levels increased 3.6 percent from last year to reach 1,626 active listings. The price situation improved – the March Median Sales Price of $154,150 increased 3.5 percent. Negotiations moved toward sellers as Percent of List Price Received at Sale increased 0.8 percent to 95.5 percent. Supply grew relative to demand, as Months’ Supply of Inventory increased to 15.8 months. The national interest rate is 5.11 percent on a 30-year fixed; the national unemployment rate dropped to 8.8 percent in March. Several important changes to the mortgage industry are on the horizon. Ensuring access to adequate mortgage capital for qualified buyers is key to housing recovery. This will require substantial reforms

to Fannie and Freddie.*

 

Personal prospective: This report is always released after the fact as we are at the last days of April. I have found April to be the month full of new listings coming on the market for sale and great opportunity for buyers to find the perfect home or property. There has more properties pending contract in my office and a lot more activity in general. Prices of property is still soft and it is a strong buyers’ market but with properties going under contract, we all hopeful the activity will continue the rest the year. This may be the first early signs of recovery of Aiken, SC real estate market.

 

 

*All data is from the Aiken Board of REALTORS® Multiple Listing Service. Provided by the South Carolina REALTORS®.

 

View Comments | Add Comment Friday, April 29, 2011  3:02:13 PM
Neighbors hurting your Home’s value???? 0 Comments Posted

Article on msn.com that maybe of interest to you.

http://money.msn.com/home-loans/neighbors-hurting-your-homes-value-weston.aspx?GT1=33032

 

I must admit I have had to get some of my sellers to help their neighbors spruce up their neighbor’s home curb appeal or get the Homeowners Association involved. I find if one neighbor starts fixing up their yard others follows suits, which is a win-win for the whole community! Try this approach first, maybe offer to help or just to talk with them first before you call the homeowners association or local officials.

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, April 21, 2011  3:41:35 PM
Ideas to Increase Value and Desirability of your Aiken HOME 0 Comments Posted

Ideas to Increase Value and Desirability of your Aiken HOME in this Challenging Real Estate Market

Buyers are scarcer; sellers must make more improvements and resolve maintenance issues on their home to obtain top dollar value.  Here are some fixes that bring the best return on your time and dollar invested.

First Impression count… step up your curb appeal.  It’s critical to get buyers to want to look on the inside.  View your home from the street be objective.  Would you want to come inside and see more?  Look and check the condition of your landscaping, paint, roof, shutters, front door, knocker, windows, house number, and even how window treatments look from the outside. Make your home special; add some color and large flower pots or some architectural interest, like a park bench, something that welcomes a buyer home!

Color.  Paint is the cheapest investment and one that has the best returns. White is too stark or cold for most buyers. I suggest warm or soft colors that lead the eye from room to room, that works well together and flatters the home, nothing shocking.  Trim and ceilings, if needed, should be painted or freshened up too!


Upgrades in the kitchen and bathroom are always appreciated.  Clean, clutter free and odor free is must.  Update the cabinet hardware, sinks, and faucets.  Granite counters are popular if your home is in the price range that a buyer would expect that feature in a kitchen. Cool appliances are always a plus, such as an espresso maker on your kitchen counter is a cool accent.


Details Count.  Install crown molding at least six to nine inches in depth, proportional to the room’s size, and architecturally compatible. For ceilings nine feet high or higher, add dentil detailing, small tooth-shaped blocks used as a repeating ornament. It’s all in the details, after all.


De-clutter, dump, and organize your closets and drawers.  Less is best…Make your closets, cabinets empty enough so a buyer can visualize their treasures in your home.

Window treatments.   Remove all the heavy window coverings.  Buyers want a light, airy feeling and accentuate the views, no dated heavy drapes that darken and close in the house.  Consider energy-efficient light shades and blinds.  Keep your blinds and curtains open, let the sunshine in!

Bring in a home inspector.  Fix the problems before the buyers see them and looks else well.  Buyers are looking for easy care living. This especially important now in the current Aiken real estate market, since there is so much competition with new construction.  Buyers are looking for the EASY BUTTON!

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, April 14, 2011  11:54:22 PM
Pending Home Sales Rise…February Realtor.org Reports 0 Comments Posted

Pending Home Sales Rise…February Realtor.org Reports

http://www.realtor.org/press_room/news_releases/2011/03/pending_feb_rise?cid=WR03302011:12905&ed_rid=420570

I have noticed an increase in activity in buyers looking at homes and seeing more pending sales this March in my Aiken, SC south side office and expect sales data to reflect that trend in the upcoming months. We are also listing more homes and property since this is popular time to consider selling.

Buyers need to take advantage of the market now with favorable financing rates and terms, good supply of housing and sellers wanting to sell their property to move forth with their relocation, plans or  onto their new or next  home!

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, April 05, 2011  8:58:07 AM
Aiken Board of Realtors Housing Supply for February 2011 0 Comments Posted

Whenever someone asks you, "How is the market?” the most logical response is, "For which segments and relative to what?" In the Aiken region, the price range with the strongest sales activity was the $200,001 to $300,000 range, where sales were up 18.4 percent over the last 12 months. Sales were weakest in the $300,001 and above range, where sales were down 19.3 percent versus last year. Inventory in the region has gone up 3.2 percent versus last year, led mostly by an increase in single-family inventory. Median Sales Price was up in the single-family segment with a 3.8 percent gain, while prices were down 5.2 percent for condos. The price range with the longest” Days on Market Until Sale” was the $300,001 and above range, where the average market time was 275 days. The range with the shortest market time was among homes in the $100,001 to $150,000 price range, where it's taking a shorter 165 days for a home to sell, on average.  Source Aiken Board of Realtors

 

In my opinion the one segment of 200,001-300,000 has had some gains due to increased New Construction being available in that price range in some newer communities and sections where the developers and builders are offering a low price per square foot value home with sought after upgrades, several incentives to buy and sometimes even offering higher commissions to selling agents/agency. Buyers are taking advantage of those opportunities and seem more focus on price per square foot.

 

 As a Realtor®, I think buyers need to focus on the” whole package” and there several other items that are important to review and research on a home not just price per square foot. Such amount of upgrades, structure, specifications, architectural design, location, amount of improvements of landscape completed including hard-scaping  of a property and make your final decision after you review all the relevant information that may alter your decision to buy a particular home. You may still opt for the same property but checking, comparing and understanding all facts are important to making a wise decision when buying any home.

 

 Working with a Realtor® preferable Certified Residential Specialist, CRS who represents you as the buyer can be invaluable when buying a home. Call your favorite Realtor®, CRS or you can contact Vikki Crossland which is both Realtor®, CRS and ABR (a certified buyer’s representative) at Vikki@vikkiCrossland.com 

 

 

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, March 23, 2011  9:09:41 PM
Aiken Board of Realtors Monthly Housing Indicator Report for February 2011 0 Comments Posted
Aiken Board of Realtors Monthly Housing Indicator Report for February 2011


 

Market activity may appear to be low in year-over-year comparisons due to the 2010 tax credit. We knew this was coming. Several other themes warrant attention before we dig into the numbers. First, we've had several months in a row of private job growth. Second, interest rates, in concert with food and energy costs, are rising. Third, the anticipation of rising rates often motivates buyers. A recovery looms. Now, let's take a look at those numbers. New Listings in the Aiken region increased 9.6 percent from last February to 217 new homes. Meanwhile, Pending Sales decreased 15.7 percent to arrive at 97 contracts written. This meant inventory levels increased 3.2 percent from last year to reach 1,591 active listings. Prices climbed upward – the February Median Sales Price of $159,900 increased 13.4 percent. Negotiations moved toward buyers as Percent of List Price Received at Sale decreased 0.5 percent to 94.5 percent. The absorption rate increased 1.4 percent as Months’ Supply of Inventory checked in at 15.1 months. The national average interest rate was 5.23 percent on a 30-year fixed. The U.S. government would like to play second fiddle to the private sector in the mortgage market. Shifting the risk burden makes fiscal sense but could threaten an already fragile recovery. The Center for Responsible Lending states that it would take 14 years for the typical American family to save enough money for a 20 percent down payment, based on national average home prices.

 

As provided by the Aiken Board of Realtors

 

Personally, I have some buyers who can buy, but are slow, so very cautious due to the mixed national reports…searching for the ”perfect deal”.  I see more homes coming on the market for sale but very aggressive pricing is the key to sell your home at this time. The handful of buyers who are out there must have a sense of urgency to act and a home priced very aggressive and in good condition gets the attention of the few buyers ready to buy. The buyers are concerned it may get snapped up which makes them act. I have had more success with some of my listings selling when they price under the market or competition, what I call “staying ahead of the market”.  I understand no seller wants to give their home away or wants to lose money but this is the reality of the  current  Aiken real estate market based on what I am seeing go under contract . I am hopeful as spring and summer comes more sales activity and improvement will be seen.

 

 

If you would like a full monthly Indicator report for Feb. 2011 with graphs sent to you, just email me at Vikki@vikkicrossland.com

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, March 16, 2011  8:23:44 PM
Zillow.com can be Frustrating to Homeowners and Realtors, Aiken, SC 0 Comments Posted

Zillow.com has become very popular, mainly with buyers, offers cool features and data, as well as the most disputed feature the Zillow Zestimate®  with homeowners and Realtors.  Zestimates are great because they are easy and convenient but terrible since the info is often unreliable. Zillow relies on or default to as the reliable source of the true value of a property.  If you’re a buyer and a house is listed for $125,900 and the Zestimate $140,000, you might think wow it’s a deal!  If you’re a seller and you have your property listed for $1,275,000 and the Zestimate is $294,500, you will get frustrated with Zillow for having such a low number.  I am finding the trend on my listings that they are lower than the value of the property or they do not offer a value which I am thankful for!  They do offer a price range which is often more accurate, it could be 10-15% differential. 

Let me remind you the Zillow Zestimates are just an ESTIMATE, a starting point!  Zestimates are great in that they are easy, no-thought-required estimates.  If you are a homeowner, especially thinking of selling your home you should make sure Zillow has all your house information correct. It will help Zillow provide a more accurate Zestimate and improve Zillow’s accuracy ratings. I have corrected some information on a property I own, it helped somewhat.

 

I tried to look at the numbers on SC specially Aiken County to review the accuracy of their metrics or range of accuracy. Check out what I found…SC is not listed at this time.

 

http://www.zillow.com/howto/DataCoverageZestimateAccuracy.htm

 

Explains how they do their Real Estate market reports:

 

rhttp://www.zillow.com/wikipages/Real-Estate-Market-Reports-FAQ/

 

 I have no doubt it will be listed in the future.  I feel they have a limited amount of data and of course do not understand the nuances of each of the Aiken areas since we are not a “cookie cutter county” thus why their Zestimates are often inaccurate.

 

Here is Zillow’s own explanation of their real state market report for professionals, it should be for buyers too since it clearly confirms my sentiments…. Zillow values are often not accurate; they do not always use homes that are comparable. They do not inspect or view the homes inside. You need to consult a Realtor or appraiser to obtain a more accurate value.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vuloq6S6MLM

 

By the way, I spent one whole afternoon going over each of my Zillow reports of all 45 of my listings, noting the above comment on several but when I received the next week report several or most of my “agent comments” were not there. Very frustrating and disappointing from my stand point.  Zillow has got some work to do to improve their accuracy in the Aiken area.

 

 If you are thinking of buying a home or property…. BUYERS CONSULT YOUR FAVORITE PROFESSIONAL REALTOR OR APPRAISER TO DETERMINE VALUE or give me call 803-644-1720 or email me at Vikki@VikkiCrossland.com  

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, March 01, 2011  7:51:02 PM
Just Released…. January 2011 Aiken, SC Housing Indicator Report 0 Comments Posted

Just Released…. January 2011 Aiken, SC Housing Indicator Report

 

With all the extreme weather in January all over the country I feel we will have a better indication

of what the Aiken real estate market will  really do in the next 30-60 days. I have noticed already more

 homes on the board pending in my office, even some higher price ranges and a multi-million

dollar sale closing! Aiken multiple listing system(MLS) reflected a decreased in the housing

affordability index for January. It was 178 which is -12% lower than same time frame last year which

was 203; is this a sign the  Aiken real estate market is changing?

 

Definition of Housing Affordability Index:  This index measures housing affordability for the region.

An index of 120 would mean the median household income was 120% of what's necessary to qualify for

the median priced home under prevailing interest rates. The higher the number, the more affordable

our housing is.

 

Buyers are still looking for bargain priced resale homes, new home incentives, short sales

or foreclosures but as interest rates start to rise, there may be a more sense of urgency

sometime this year. One thing for sure we need to get the rest of the country selling homes

then our real estate market will pick up since the Aiken, SC is still one the most

 desirable place to call home!

 

Here is this Jan. 20111 overview, if you would like the full report contact me at vikki@vikkicrossland.com

and I will  email it to you!

 

Monthly Indicators

A RESEARCH TOOL PROVIDED BY THE AIKEN BOARD OF REALTORS®

 

A house. It's the single largest investment most families make. It's where we rest our heads every night. Houses represent the brick and mortar that comprise the very communities in which we live. They provide us with a sense of place to extend our roots downward. We raise our families under the safety and warmth of their rooftops. Our houses become homes. Let's analyze these structures that are so much more than that, and let's take a look at how our home market began 2011.

 

Pending Sales in the Aiken region decreased 25.0 percent since January 2010 to 72 agreements signed. New Listing activity decreased 9.6 percent, which means sellers placed 206 new homes on the market. At this rate, they should expect their properties to sell after approximately 178 days.

 

Prices climbed upward. Median Sales Price increased 23.0 percent over last January to $156,160. Negotiations moved toward buyers as Percent of List Price Received at Sale decreased to 94.9 percent. Months Supply of Inventory decreased 4.9 percent to 14.2 months.

 

Interest rates are expected to remain around 5.0 percent and prices are expected to rise gradually in many markets. Although the labor department reported that the seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 9.0 percent in January, expect joblessness to remain an issue. There's a steep, jagged rock face behind us; ahead lies a gently inclined grassy plain.

 

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, February 17, 2011  8:43:28 PM
Aiken, SC Real Estate Tax Re-Assessment is this year…. 0 Comments Posted

This year will bring some lower and higher real estate tax assessments values in Aiken; one thing for sure it certainly will bring confusion to lot of tax payers and some real estate professionals. I remember the last time Aiken went thru this process and the upheaval it generated.  My personal opinion why this happens is Aiken is not a “cookie cutter” community which is the appeal and beauty of Aiken.  There are a lot of nuances street by street or even house by house of differences in homes, conditions, location, appeal, improvements, let alone sizes especially when you get in the downtown areas and even into some of the newer communities like Woodside Plantation. The price per square foot varies a lot from one area or home to another. A tax assessment is very different than a real estate appraisal. The tax assessor doesn’t enter your home,  their assessment is based on square footage, exterior features, bedrooms and baths form their records, then compared to other sales near your home or property in the time frame they are trying to assess the value of your property. Recently I happen to speak to one of the tax assessors about what they were expecting or seeing based on recent sales trends in Aiken county.  His comment to me was he did not expect real estate tax assessments values to go down that much overall based on the current tax assessments values of record, maybe none or some may even go up! This is due since the last assessment adjustment was 5 years ago and real estate values have not dropped below that level based on their data based on the conversation I had.

If you have any concerns or questions about your new assessments when they come out later this year, call the tax assessor office for some understanding and clarification. I just went thru the appeal process on a piece of land I owned. My first advice is staying calm. The tax assessor representative explained the process of what year they had to use comparable sales from, reviewed my supporting sales data I gathered and proposed a new value based on the additional information I provided. Based on my experience, it was reasonable, fair process. An adjustment  was made on my property and I was satisfied with the outcome.

You can also call your favorite Realtor for some insight, and if needed maybe help you with comparable real estate sales during the time frame the assessor would use for the new reassessment…. then make sure you appeal in time frame provided if you disagree with the new assessment.

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, February 14, 2011  3:34:24 PM
Happiness is Pets…. 0 Comments Posted

Just read this cute and informative article’s from RetireNet.com site on how pets make you feel better and are good for your health. All I know is every day I come home, no matter how long or bad my day is or grumpy I maybe my beautiful black lab Lacey is always ecstatic to see me, jumps up and down for attention, wags that huge tail knocking everything down in its way and makes me feel like I am the most important person on earth and brings a smile to my face! Can’t get much better devoted, unconditional love than that!

Smile and have a wonderful Valentine’s weekend.

http://www.retirenet.com/article/1267-happiness-is-pets/

RetireNet.com is a website I have successfully promoted the Aiken, SC area on for numerous years to specifically to retirees, as well as some of my local Aiken developments I am marketing.

 http://www.retirenet.com/location/communities/202-south-carolina/53-all-lifestyles?city=29801-aiken
View Comments | Add Comment Friday, February 11, 2011  8:40:17 AM
Just Released… Meybohm Realtors Aiken, SC area 2010 Market Real Estate Share 0 Comments Posted

Just Released… Meybohm Realtors Aiken, SC area 2010 Market Real Estate Share

 

 

 

Thanks to wonderful support of Aiken community clients, customers, friends and our family Meybohm Realtors market share continues to grow and stay steady, for the year of 2010. Meybohm Realtors local market share is 43.89%. The next closet real estate company is over 30% less which is unbelievable gap.

 

I am proud and honored to be part of such a wonderful organization since 1985.  It is a pleasure to work with such professionals! I am looking forward to 2011 bringing more positive real estate market and work towards that goal for my clients and customers!

 

Here’s to all the best in 2011….Vikki Crossland and Associates

 

Meybohm Mission is to provide a superior real estate experience to the people we serve by having a highly skilled and trained team of professional who aspire to live and work under a strict code of integrity and honesty.

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, January 31, 2011  8:53:48 PM
Let’s Welcome Aiken, SC in 2011 with Positive News! 0 Comments Posted

There are signs of improvements in many areas or real estate.   This is the right time for you to buy that home or property in Aiken, SC you have been hemming and hawing about while interest rates are still good, prices are low and there’s plenty of inventory to choose from.

 

During the holidays several downtown Aiken store owners mentioned how many out of town customers commented they are ready to make the move to Aiken and want to buy soon. What  positive comments to hear to start the NEW YEAR!

 

Pending Home Sales Continue Recovery, Gradual Improvement Seen in 2011

http://www.realtor.org/press_room/news_releases/2010/12/pending_gradual

source  Realtor.org

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, January 04, 2011  10:07:13 AM
Get in the holiday spirit…just head to “Downtown Aiken” Wednesday afternoon! 0 Comments Posted

Get in the holiday spirit…just head to “Downtown Aiken” Wednesday afternoon!

 “Hoofbeats and Christmas Carols.”  You will be able to enjoy horses and a truck pulling a wagon of 30 carolers up and down

Laurens Street
on Wednesday, December 22, starting at 4 PM.  Cabaret singer Kendall Standish will be among the carolers.

“Hoofbeats and Christmas Carols” is sponsored by The Hatchaway Hounds Mock Hunt and the Aiken Chamber’s Equine Support Council.

Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday and much happiness, health and success in 2011!

 

Thank you for all your kind support you have given me  the past year....Vikki

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, December 21, 2010  12:31:34 PM
Aiken Board of Realtors Housing Indicator Just Released 0 Comments Posted

This report is for October 2010, only if we could have a crystal ball to see future reports!

 

Our month of November and beginning of December have been busy showing some higher end homes, a welcomed change! Offers on a few of my listings, even sold a few of them. We have written a several offers… Buyers are negotiating very hard in all ranges especially the upper range. Buyers will take a wait and see approach if they do obtain pricing that is acceptable since they feel another home will be on the market or sellers will be reducing pricing in near future. I have had numerous calls to list properties; if you do not need to sell it is not the ideal time to be selling your home unless you price aggressively ahead of the competition and your home is in excellent condition!

 

Hope all is enjoying their holidays; it’s certainly feeling like the season with this cold weather. Stay warm….Vikki

 

Here’s the housing indicator report below.

 

What can we say that we haven't said before? Newspapers warn of possible

moratoria, job growth is just barely in the black foreclosure ink and the

midterm election cycle brought new leadership to Washington, DC. Buyers

are still armed with access to cheap loans and strong negotiating power.

Recovery continues to crawl forward nationally; let's take a look at what's

happened locally amidst all this news.

 

Pending Sales in the Aiken region decreased by 1.8 percent from last

October to arrive at 112. New Listings decreased by 15.0 percent to land at

176 and the overall inventory of 1,512 decreased by 3.9 percent.

 

Prices on the other hand had a welcome increase. Median Sales Price were

up by 11.3 percent, registering in at $155,750. Average Days on Market, at

155, increased by 22.2 percent versus last year. Percent of Original List Price Received at Sale held near even with last year at 94.3 percent.

Several months of private sector job growth weren’t sufficient to lower the

stubbornly high 9.6 percent national unemployment rate. Our recovery is

moving at a sloth's pace, but at least it's moving forward. A stronger labor

market will drive new household formations and instill the confidence neededfor current homeowners to move up and for renters to consider ownership.

.

A research tool provided by the Aiken Board of REALTORS®

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, December 09, 2010  9:39:01 AM
Home Modifications support Aging in YOUR HOME… 0 Comments Posted

Home Modifications support Aging in YOUR HOME…

 

As time goes on we all need to make hard decisions or choices as we or our parent’s age.  Do we or they stay in their  current home, move to smaller easy care home, move into pre retirement community like Kalmia Landing in Aiken where part of the maintenance is taken care of or some variation thereof?

 

The article below give some ideas and suggestion for “Aging in Place” and how one can stay safer, longer in their own home or important items to consider when downsizing for your future needs.  I believe there can be emotional benefits for people to stay living independently  or “Aging in Place” for as long as they are able when emotionally  not ready to make a change to another lifestyle.  Vikki Crossland, SRES

 

 

 

Blueprint for aging in place

 

By Elyse Umlauf-Garneau

 

In another  September 2010 study, “The MetLife Report on Aging in Place 2.0: Rethinking Solutions to the Home Care Challenge,” MMI takes  a glimpse into the future and envisions a better way for Americans to age.

Its blueprint, called AiP2.0, looks at a broad swath of aging concerns and sets forth new ideas for modifying homes, communities and care management and incorporating technology so that they all work in concert to support aging in place.

It seems an important mission; especially in light of its estimate that the population of people aged 85 and over is ever expanding is expected to reach 8.7 million by 2030.

It envisions a way for systems and designs to allow people to truly age in place where they wish. "If individuals are forced to move due to a health crisis, it is not aging in place," says the report.

To attain such lofty goals, the study suggests a series of radical changes that need to be made in communities and in the public and private sectors.

The plan outlines an array of significant steps required, and they include everything from developing care management, social interaction, wellness and transportation systems and better coordinating the delivery of care to integrating monitoring technologies into daily life to make home care safer and more efficient.

Many of the above are big ideas that likely will take time, along with the collective efforts of businesses, researchers, activists, and the public and private sectors.

But the study also points to things homeowners can do to help themselves right now. 

And that entails incorporating universal design in their homes. It's something everyone can do when contemplating renovations and upgrades. "One problem is that most home were not designed and built for the needs of aging residents or care giving," says the report. 

Moreover, most families don't consider upgrades for aging in place until a crisis hits. Then they're planning and building in a panic, which doesn't always yield the best, most efficient results.

It suggests advance planning and illustrates ways to prioritize projects. It also offers price ranges of the projects that are associated with each priority. 

Costs can range from under $1,000 up to $75,000, and the study notes that low-cost interventions have clear payback in terms of fewer hospitalizations and medical costs in a very short timeframe.

Here's one way to prioritize projects.

First Priority:

Falls prevention. Cost: $1,000 or less

Steps include:

• Removing throw rugs, especially in  bathrooms

• Installing grab bars and grips in the bathroom

• Assuring sturdy handrails on both sides at steps

• Providing good lighting and switching, especially at stairs, halls, and entries

• Securing or removing carpets at stairs

• Installing soft path lighting for nighttime mobility

Second Priority:

Entryway, easy movement, and use of home features. Cost: $4,500–$30,000

• Removing or reducing the number and/or height of steps and increasing the horizontal depth of steps for easy side stepping and that allow the use of both hands on one rail

• Creating a clear, no-step path to the bedroom and bathroom

• Rearranging or repositioning of furniture, entertainment systems, and spaces

Third Priority:

Substantial remodeling and equipment. Cost: $8,000–$75,000

• Installing no-step shower or bath lift mechanism, a seated sink, and assistance space at the toilet

• Providing seated/multi-level food preparation areas

• Creating sun- and rain-protected outdoor areas

• Putting in backup power sources for power outages

 

Beyond just making homes suitable for aging in place,  AiP2.0  has larger societal benefits, according to the report. They include:

·         Support and stress reduction for family caregivers

·         Employment opportunities in the care giving arena

·         Fewer illnesses and injuries

·         Acute-care cost reduction

·         More efficient use of resources and the reduction of redundant services

Read the entire report at http://www.metlife.com/assets/cao/mmi/publications/studies/2010/mmi-aging-place.pdf .

source SRES Marketplace Monthly Newletter.

.

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, December 07, 2010  8:50:45 AM
Aiken, SC Holidays Event Calendar for 2010 0 Comments Posted

Aiken, SC Holidays Event Calendar

The magic of the holidays never ends in Aiken, South Carolina. May the holiday season bring you much joy and lots of wonderful memories  with family and friends!

We with you the best of the season…Vikki, Brandi and Nancy

View Comments | Add Comment Friday, November 26, 2010  8:21:19 AM
Mixed Messages in Real Estate Market everywhere….So what going on in Aiken SC? 0 Comments Posted

Mixed Messages in Real Estate Market everywhere….So what going on in Aiken SC?

 

Pending Homes Slip but Modest Recovery Expected in 2011 was the lead line in a recent article on Realtor.org on Nov. 5, 2011 http://www.realtor.org/press_room/news_releases/2010/11/phs_slips

 

Everyday I am asked how’s the Aiken real estate market, have you seen any improvements, should I list my home in Aiken now or wait? All good questions and only if I had a crystal ball… I could answer them with absolute certainty. I have been real estate since 1977 and one thing for sure real estate is always changing and full of challenges!

 

What I can tell you is statically information from the Aiken Multiple List System* starting the first of the year to 11/09/10 as compared to last year and what I found interesting.

 

Firstly, we have had 67 more homes close to date then last year; days on the market down are down by 32 days. Good news!

 

Secondly, in the price range of $200,000 to $249,999 we had 29 more homes sold in 2010 almost 35% increase. I always knew home sales under $200,000 was the most active market but the next closest range of improvement is the range of $120,000- $139,999 which increased nearly 32%.  The $200,000-$249,999 had the most percentage increase so far this year which surprised me.  Most of the ranges in between had a substantial increase also.

 

On the flip side, above that $250,000 mark, overall there was substantial drop which is not surprising based on what reports or I have shared in early blogs or reports.

 

The other price ranges reported are as follows:

 

$250,000-299,999                 23% decrease

$300,000-399,999                   2% decrease

$400,000-499,999                 35% decrease

$500,000-749,999                 11% decrease

Two sales over $1,000,000   40% decrease.

 

Based on the above current statistics, if your home is $300,000-399,900 range you have a statically better chance in selling.

 

One thing for sure… best price and condition is the house that sells!

If you need specific information to your home or property or area contact your favorite Aiken Realtor or contact me at:  vikki@vikkicrossland.com

 

*Includes all areas located mainly in Aiken County

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, November 10, 2010  9:46:57 AM
Aiken, SC is a Great Place for the Good Life 0 Comments Posted

I became a Certified Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES) a few years ago to further my education, skills and knowledge to better serve the needs of the mature real estate market.  I receive interesting and resourceful information geared to a mature lifestyle but  even the younger generations may learn something valuable and wanted to share some of the information received or learned. Hope you enjoy; you will be seeing more come up in my  future blogs. Please share your thoughts and comments.

Vikki

Attaining the Good Life

 

By Elyse Umlauf-Garneau

Attaining the Good Life

Philosophers, writers, and musicians all have pondered the meaning of the good life.

Recently, MetLife Mature Market Institute (MMI) did too.

Though the concept of the good life is a bit vague, the company's study,  "Meaning Really Matters: The MetLife Study on How Purpose is RecessionProof and AgeProof,”  tries to nail down those things that contribute to satisfaction with life. MMI did so by studying the concept and surveying people ranging in age from 25 to 74. 

Having enough money, living a life with meaning (that is, time for friends and family) and possessing good physical and mental health were among the things respondents identified as contributors to a good life.  And also highly important was the notion of having a sense of purpose.

The study, based on author and life coach Richard Leider's work and book  The Power of Purpose, Repacking Your Bags, is a follow-up to research MMI did in 2009 called "Discovering What Matters."  

"Meaning Really Matters:  The MetLife Study on How Purpose is RecessionProof and AgeProof,”  found that the older cohort, those aged 45 to 74, were more likely to report having focus, vision, and purpose, compared to those aged 25 to 44.

 

Members of that  older group tend concentrate more on meaning-laden activities--spending time helping others and community activities, for example--than their younger counterparts, who were more focused on money issues.

 

An ability to rebound after crisis also seems to play a role in satisfaction, and as people age, meaning-laden activities become important.  In the 2009 study, for example, Leider addressed the idea that people's ability to connect with something bigger than themselves boosts their ability to deal with difficulties, such as job losses, health problems, and deaths of loved ones. 

 

People can't control those external events.  Yet, the study says,  "... how they choose to live and react, the professionals they consult, and the kinds of relationships they develop with spouses and partners, siblings, children, grandchildren, friends, and co-workers are of their making. If people are dissatisfied with their lives — if they feel it lacks meaning — they can do something about it. Hence discovering purpose is an ongoing quest rather than a one-time trip to an exotic land."

 

In an effort to help individuals ponder their version of the good life, MMI offers a planning tips, "Meaning Really Matters: Your Keys to the Good Life." It features a series of questions that invite introspection.

Those include picturing yourself three years from now and 20 years from now and considering work, how you're spending time, and the strength of your connections with family and friends. It also addresses goals and  what you need to do to do to ensure that you meet those near- and long-term goals.

 

The complete study is available at http://www.metlife.com/assets/cao/mmi/publications/studies/2010/mmi-meaning-really-matters.pdf .

 

Planning tips are available at http://www.metlife.com/assets/cao/mmi/publications/studies/2010/mmi-meaning-really-matters-tips.pdf

 

Source SRES Marketplace   www.seniorrealestate.com

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, October 28, 2010  11:50:38 AM
Aiken Board of Realtors Monthly Indicator for September 2010 0 Comments Posted

Aiken Board of Realtors Monthly Indicator for September 2010

 

I just received this September 2010 report which reflects slow real estate activity as compared to last year sales activity  due to deadlines for real estate tax credits. It appears unbelievable record low interest rates for home loans are not enough to get buyers to buy in the current economy. There are some unbelievable values out there; if you are in the market to buy real estate take advantage of low interest rates and large inventory of homes and land! If you would like the full report please email me at vikki@vikkicrossland.com

 

Here’s the Overview:

 

With this month’s report, be mindful of the fact that activity was uniquely strong

last year at this time due to the approaching deadline for the 2009 tax credit.

This means that we’re entering an apples-to-oranges comparison period which

A research tool provided by the Aiken Board of REALTORS® may make this year’s activity look especially slow for the next few months. Combine that with the fact that this time of year typically endures slowed sales activity and that buyers in 2010 were driven to enter contracts by April 30, 2010, and you'll see that September 2010’s numbers should be taken with a grain of proverbial salt.

Closed Sales in the Aiken region decreased by 32.8 percent from last

September to arrive at 82. Pending Sales, however, did have a 5.5 percent

bump over last year. Pricing may have had something to do with that and

Median Sales Price came down 6.0 percent to land at $150,245. New Listings

decreased by 10.6 percent since last September and the overall inventory of

1,529 decreased by 0.9 percent. Average Days on Market, at 196, increased by 12.6 percent versus last year. Months Supply of Inventory decreased by 5.1 percent to weigh in at 14.2 months. For the sake of long-term market stability, be wary of an overabundance of listing activity. Although down last month, it’s been higher than 2009 trends for the past few months. If home sales slow but listings remain fairly flat, inventory could climb and push prices further downward. Balanced supply and demand, as always, is the goal.

 

All data from the Aiken Board of REALTORS® Multiple Listing Service - powered by 10K Research

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, October 25, 2010  1:49:25 PM
August 2010 Monthly Indicators Released from Aiken Board of REALTORS® 0 Comments Posted

August 2010 Monthly Indicators Released from Aiken Board of REALTORS®  

 

Recently released overview report shows mixed views on the economy and housing market. It appears several prospective buyers are taking a “wait and see” attitude and are stalling to see the elections results. The concern of income taxes going up is important for everyone but especially for the upper tax bracket income earners since they will be more affected in the current options being talked about. It is currently affecting and continues to have an impact on how they will spend their money in the upcoming years. The upper price range home is still the most stalled price range here in Aiken, SC and all over our country; I believe that upper range home buyer bracket is truly waiting to see what the future brings on “higher taxes” and our economy.  My personal opinion is to obtain  some positive growth in our economy in the  real estate sector that is the specific tax bracket earner we need to get “more comfortable” with the future of our economy, so they will relax, spend some of their money versus holding back on large purchases.

 

Overview Report is below; let me know if you want the full version with graphs at vikki@vikkicrossland.com

 

 

Your current outlook on the housing market depends on how you interpret the signs. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s “unusually uncertain” A research tool provided by the Aiken Board of REALTORS®

 

Economic outlook underpins the need for job growth before housing demand

recovers across the nation. But let’s focus on the local story before trying to fix

the national malaise. Pending Sales in the Aiken region decreased by 3.4 percent from last August to arrive at 114. New Listings increased by 10.4 percent since last August and the overall inventory of 1,542 increased by 7.2 percent. Median Sales Price increased by 8.3 percent compared to last August,

registering in at $149,500. Average Days on Market, at 171, decreased by 25.0

percent over last year. Months Supply of Inventory increased by 0.3 percent to

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, October 05, 2010  10:45:35 AM
Aiken's Third Annual Touch a Horse Day 0 Comments Posted

Aiken's Third Annual Touch a Horse Day for People of all Ages-Bridle Creek Community



*Pony Rides
*Hay Rides
*Face Painting
*Treasure Hunt
*Story Time
*Games for Kids - (Needle in the Haystack, Horse Shoes)
*Horse Jumping Demo
*Dog Agility Demo

Papa Russ will be selling lunch/drinks.

FREE but Donations accepted upon entry.


All proceeds go to the Aiken county Animal Shelter

 

Looking for a new pet? There will be shelter animals to adopt and spray neuter awareness information will be available! All donations received at the entry will go to benefit Aiken County Animal Shelter.

 

Located at

Bridle Creek Equestrian Community Banks Mill Rd.
to
1140 Colbert Bridge Rd.

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, September 23, 2010  10:18:45 AM
Aiken’s Growth Pattern is Not Typical 0 Comments Posted

Aiken, SC I believe is the only city I know of that grows away from major thorough fares like an Interstate. The majority of Aiken major shopping centers like mall, shopping plazas, large franchise stores or restaurants or subdivisions place themselves more on the south side of Aiken away from Interstates, like I-20. Even one the newest restaurants trying to come to Aiken, the well know popular Cracker Barrel traditionally known for are placement just off major Interstates chooses to place themselves away from I-20 and plans to be on the south side of Aiken across from the mall where Rick’s produce is located. I have no doubt they will do well here in Aiken and I certainly welcome them to Aiken area.

 

Aiken has always been is its “own town” definitely is not typical and that’s what makes Aiken a great place to call home!

 

http://www.aikenstandard.com/Local/CrackerBarrel

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, September 13, 2010  9:25:20 AM
Aiken Makin’s Thousands heading to Down Aiken SC 0 Comments Posted

Sept 10th and 11th, downtown Aiken will be full of activity, wonderful art work, crafts, delicious food an entertainment!

One of my friends Leslie Romano a wonderfully talented lady will be there; this is her first show of her custom artwork and crafts after several friends have encouraged her to do so! Later next week I have a few pictures and her location to make sure you stop by and see her work.

 

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, September 07, 2010  9:37:07 PM
Aiken Board of Realtor’s July Housing Indicator Report 0 Comments Posted

I just received this overview of the report; see below.  There is surely mixed feelings out there but I am personally having more upper range buyers contact me, $200,000 but less then $400,000. The $400,000 range and up is still very saturated with high inventory and minimum of buyers who can buy.  On the positive side, I am having more people contact me that their home has sold and they want now move to Aiken but want to buy in a lower range since they took such a “ beating on price”  to get their home sold. For several it has been a long journey to sell their home outside of our area, up to four years. Aiken is worth the wait though!

 

"Recovery loses steam." "Housing demand in a slump." "Tax credit leaves mess in its wake." We're bombarded with headlines like these every day. Some have merit, some don't. The truth is, the economy is now driving the housing market and not vice versa.

 

Pending Sales in the Aiken region declined by 7.3 percent from last July to land at 102.

 

New Listings skyrocketed by 35.4 percent since last July and overall inventory increased by 13.9 percent.

 

Median Sales Price dipped slightly by 3.0 percent from last July to land at $136,925, and buyers were willing to pay 95.5 percent of a seller's asking price. Market times were down by 2.1 percent over last year.

 

Months Supply of Inventory grew slightly by 4.5 percent to arrive at 13.8 months, given current demand.

 

In sum, the housing market is trying to hold its ground until the job situation improves. Only after widespread, private-sector hiring will demand be restored to the market and prices continue to stabilize. Until then, it's a hurry up and wait game.

 

If you want the full report that was provided by Aiken Board of Realtors just email me and I’ll send your way!

 

SELLERS….When selling your home you need to offer the “complete package”. Priced aggressively and the home needs to be updated and pristine condition to get sold in this market. Call your favorite Realtor or give me a call. An experienced Realtor will guide you on what you need to do to get your home sold in this challenging market!

 

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, August 17, 2010  2:57:24 PM
Winning Bid on Mortgage buys Family Heartache…. 0 Comments Posted

Winning Bid on Mortgage buys Family Heartache….

 

Buying a home at the courthouse steps is a great opportunity BUT you need to due your due diligence, even though this situation is rare it can cause a lot of heart ache and loss of money for the novice homebuyer or investor! There are some smart tips on how to avoid this at the end of the article.

 

“Buyer Beware” is my motto when you are considering buying homes in foreclosure, courthouse steps or even a short sale! You must do your due diligence, research, check the title thoroughly (hiring an attorney is helpful), consult and hire a professional investor or Realtor especially if you are a novice in investing in real estate.

 

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

 

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/08/01/MNRU1EL529.DTL&source=patrick.net

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, August 04, 2010  3:37:51 PM
Monthly Indictor Report from Aiken Board of Realtor…June 2010 0 Comments Posted

Monthly Indictor Report from Aiken Board of Realtor…June 2010

 

The Aiken Board of Realtors is now providing a monthly indictor report, which I am happy to share.  Just let me know if you like the whole report and I’ll place you on my e-mail list. It’s easier and quicker to email to you. Here is overview on the data that I received about June 2010.

 

Think global, act local. With European debt crises, oil spills and disappointing job growth figures putting stress on the stock market, the local housing market didn’t fare much better.

 

Buyers seem to have pulled out of the market during June, as Pending Sales posted a 16.7 percent decrease from June 2009. Many would-be June buyers already bought during the credit period, as evidenced by Closed Sales increasing 31.1 percent over last year. Sellers seemed to be aware of the demand cool-down as New Listings dipped 5.6 percent from last June.

 

Due to slow pendings, inventory levels increased 17.2 percent compared to last year, which predictably exerted downward price pressure on the market. The June Median Sales Price of $135,000 was a 10.0 percent decrease from last year. Market times decreased 18.3 percent to 181 days, while Months Supply remained high at 14.2 months, an increase of 16.2 percent over last year.

 

Expect closings to receive a slight boost as Congress recently extended the closing date to September 30 for tax credit buyers, and expect the market to stay flat or post minor improvements over the near term.

 

Source: Aiken Board of Realtors

View Comments | Add Comment Friday, July 30, 2010  10:19:39 AM
It’s a HOT SUMMER in Aiken, SC... 0 Comments Posted

Unfortunately, I do not mean the real estate market. I am receiving mixed reports. Buyers are feeling more optimistic due to the home prices being buyer-friendly and interest rates at historic lows in the low 4% rate at this time. I do have several buyers who would like to take advantage of the market but if they have a home to sell they are reluctant to do so at this time which is understandable.

 

April was a good month overall and I personally had ten homes go under contract all under $200,000 or less range, except one in the $500,000 range, as the tax credit ended. So far June and July have still been active better months for me personally, with closings, new contracts due, to what I call “echo tax credit sales”.  I have to gotten several of my listings under contract, even a couple in the mid $300,000 range, which has been a slow range so far this year. It is hard for me to predict what the next months will bring, but one thing for sure all buyers are looking for strong values with pricing the key to get their attention and the home being in the best condition possible.

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, July 21, 2010  10:25:48 AM
April and June were Good Months in Aiken, SC 0 Comments Posted

I personally had a higher number of contracts on my listings, buyers buying and closings but just received update from out local Aiken Multiple List System Board Office that June was not as good as 2009 overall.  Interest Rates are awesome low 4%, good reason to buy!!!!

 

Think global, act local. With European debt crises, oil spills and disappointing job growth figures putting stress on the stock market, the local housing market didn’t fare much better.

 

Buyers seem to have pulled out of the market during June, as Pending Sales posted a 16.7 percent decrease from June 2009. Many would-be June buyers already bought during the credit period, as evidenced by Closed Sales increasing 31.1 percent over last year. Sellers seemed to be aware of the demand cool-down as New Listings dipped 5.6 percent from last June.

 

Due to slow pendings, inventory levels increased 17.2 percent compared to last year, which predictably exerted downward price pressure on the market. The June Median Sales Price of $135,000 was a 10.0 percent decrease from last year. Market times decreased 18.3 percent to 181 days, while Months Supply remained high at 14.2 months, an increase of 16.2 percent over last year.

 

Expect closings to receive a slight boost as Congress recently extended the closing date to September 30 for tax credit buyers, and expect the market to stay flat or post minor improvements over the near term.

View Comments | Add Comment Friday, July 16, 2010  9:48:19 AM
Interest Rated are SO LOW…. will the LOW RATES keep homes selling? 0 Comments Posted

Thinking of buying? Missed out or did not take advantage tax credit or weren’t one of the lucky ones to qualify for the tax credit? The low interest rates are well worth still buying now, long term benefits might even be better with a higher loan amount.  The rates as of yesterday were currently under 4.75% APR for 30 years fix and for 15 year fix under 4.2% APR…unbelievable!* Early this year I heard rumors of the rates going up and now they are down…go figure, plus there’s still that window of opportunity to get a great value on the home since there is plenty of inventory available!

 

The big question is…. will there continue to be higher home sales as reported these past and up coming months (see link below)?  Will the echo tax sales and attractive rates keep the housing market going this summer? I sure hope so, we have plenty of sellers ready to sell their homes and our economy can use a steady boost!

 

If think if you are purchasing in the upper price ranges $200,000 or more this is your opportunity to take advantage of all the market offers you! Call your Realtor to discuss your specific real estate goals.

 

http://www.realtor.org/press_room/news_releases/2010/05/ehs_april

 

* Interest rates change daily and depend on your credit rating; call your favorite lender to determine the rate and terms you quality for.

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, May 25, 2010  12:07:08 PM
Buyer’s tax credit ended with BANG… 0 Comments Posted

April 2010 was full of real estate activity especially the last weeks here in Aiken, SC. The last week I was very fortunate to have five homes go under contract with ten totals for the month of April; a wonderful change of pace where sellers and buyers both benefitted! The big question is will there be “echo tax credit sales” (after sales due to the sale of homes taking advantage of the credit) and will the real estate market continue to be more active thru the summer? May and June 2010 will bring good sales data reports thru-out the country; positive news normally will bring more positive activity.

 

I just came back from Florida and met with a fellow Realtor/ CRS-Certified Residential Specialist who works the Space Coast area in Florida (Melbourne/Palm Bay/Cocoa Beach, Brevard County). We talked, compared our real estate market data as well as the sales trends we are currently experiencing. After talking with her for a couple of hours, I felt so “LUCKY” to be in working and living in Aiken, SC. I know a lot of sellers are feeling the pain of selling their homes for much less then expected or for less than what they paid/or invested in their home, but the drop in pricing and sales data in her work area is beyond belief when compared to Aiken area at this time.

 

I have recently heard the saying… “If you are lucky enough to live in Aiken, you are LUCKY ENOUGH”.

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, May 13, 2010  1:56:33 PM
Tax Credit Ends Today.... 0 Comments Posted

A Fun but Crazy Week….Last Minute Race to Buy a Home in Aiken, SC, ends TODAY!

It was been one wild week with all the last minute home buyers wanting to get a home under contract by today. Yesterday I was negotiating five contracts, three signed and hopefully two more to go! This week felt like the old days when the market has really moving. This article just came out in the Augusta Chronicle.  I noticed it was the buyer in front of my listing on Chloe Street that just went under contract yesterday. Today is the last day to qualify for the tax credit

http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/metro/2010-04-30/homebuyers-rush-get-first-timers-tax-credit?v=1272592015

It will be interesting see what the next few weeks bring trying to close out all the loans, as well as coordinating the closings in time before the deadline to close on June 30th, 2010.

It has been a fun but crazy week, good to have so many properties go under contract, we needed to move some inventory, making several sellers very happy and the buyers are benefiting greatly on the tax credit!

View Comments | Add Comment Friday, April 30, 2010  8:51:41 AM
Walk A Mile In Her Shoes, Downtown Aiken.... 0 Comments Posted

This Thursday…..”Walk a Mile in her Shoes” Event for the Benefit of the Cumbee Center in Aiken, SC

 

Support and watch local Aiken Men strut their stuff in Downtown Aiken tomorrow for a charity event that benefits the Cumbee Center called "Walk a Mile in her Shoes"  around 5:30-6pm. It starts at the Aiken Courthouse, they actually walk a mile and ends in downtown Aiken thru the alley on

Newberry Street
.   Please come out and sponsor one of these brave men, to fight the violence against women.

 

 My son Keith will be walking again this year in support of the cause; we appreciate all the support he received last year, if you are willing to sponsor him let me know as soon as possible…644-1720 or 645-8008.  Last year he raised the most money for the event and he needs to keep up this high standard!

 

For a smile or a laugh, head down to Downtown Aiken...it's a lot of fun to watch the men struggle walking in our shoes and a great cause to support!

 

http://www.aikenstandard.com/Local/0408Cumbee

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, April 21, 2010  9:48:46 AM
New Federal Rules on Lead Paint Abatement Starts Soon… 0 Comments Posted

RENOVATING, REPAIRING OR PAINTING AN OLDER HOME….

 

Local Aiken contractors are abuzz about this new Federal law that affects homes/buildings built before 1978.  There is new requirement  starting in days for contractors to take a class to be certified and hand out an required Federal Pamphlet very similar the hand out Realtors are required to provide to potential buyers when buying a home built prior to 1978.

 

This article at the Washington Post is very interesting and provides informative information:

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/15/AR2010041506308.html?sid=ST2010041602749

 

Federal law requires that individuals receive certain information before

renovating six square feet or more of painted surfaces in a room for interior projects or more than twenty square feet of painted surfaces for exterior

projects in housing, child care facilities and schools built before 1978.

 

Here is the link to the pamphlet they are required to had out: http://epa.gov/lead/pubs/renovaterightbrochure.pdf

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, April 20, 2010  8:59:38 AM
Good News in Aiken and this is not April Fool’s Joke! 0 Comments Posted

The first quarter of 2010 sales report is much better then first quarter of 2009 by approximately 12%. To top that off the days on the market was down to 201 days versus 231. The average sales price is virtually the same $167, 275. There are more new listings that came on the market this year there are 676 new listings in the first quarter and last year only 462.

Buyer’s are taking advantage of the market and even signs of second home buyers getting back into the market place to scoop up some deals. It is still a buyer’s market but if this trend continues we may see some change and tightening by some sellers in pricing down the road.

Simply…Buyer’s take advantage of the market now, the future looks like we may see some positive change.

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, April 01, 2010  9:25:19 AM
Nothing can be finer than to be in Aiken SC ….in the Springtime! 0 Comments Posted

Signs of spring are everywhere; we all are welcoming some spring like weather after a very cold and wet winter. Spring is the time of year for fresh starts, a sign of renewal of life and brings a more optimistic view of positive things to come.

With this thought in mind I have seen a recent increase in real estate activity the past 30 days, January and part of February where extremely slow brought on due to the cold weather everyone was experiencing thru out the country.  It’s amazing what a little sunshine will do for one’s attitude, outlook and hopefully our economy!

The market is still a strong buyer’s market with opportunity everywhere with strong amount of good homes available at lower pricing and still wonderfully low interest rates. If you or friends are thinking of buying a home they should; opportunity rings for first time and second home as well as move up buyers.  The tax credit for first time buyer ($8,000) and existing home buyers ($6,500) is still available; you must have a ratified contract by 4/30/10. For more details give me or your favorite Realtor a call to see if you qualify for this opportunity. Buyers should consider buying now before there is a change in the market, sellers will tighten they position and be less negotiable.

Home sales update… the higher end homes are feeling the brunt of the lower values the past 12 months. I spoke with a local appraiser and they have tracked the value of homes the past year to be down about 8-10% in general, with some areas being higher. Each area and property is unique and consulting a Realtor is key to determine your home’s value.  The good news is we are seeing some higher end homes starting to pend and close contract, which is a start to come out of the current real estate market. The homes $225,000 and less have faired much better but there has been depreciation but not as high overall.  If you need to sell your home, pricing is the key to be ahead of the market and competition as well as being in top condition! Give me or your favorite Realtor a call for opinion of value and what would be wise improvements to do before putting your home on the market for sale to get your home SOLD.

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, March 24, 2010  4:37:43 PM
Nothing can be finer than to be in Aiken SC ….in the Springtime! 0 Comments Posted

Signs of spring are everywhere; we all are welcoming some spring like weather after a very cold and wet winter. Spring is the time of year for fresh starts, a sign of renewal of life and brings a more optimistic view of positive things to come.

With this thought in mind I have seen a recent increase in real estate activity the past 30 days, January and part of February where extremely slow brought on due to the cold weather everyone was experiencing thru out the country.  It’s amazing what a little sunshine will do for one’s attitude, outlook and hopefully our economy!

The market is still a strong buyer’s market with opportunity everywhere with strong amount of good homes available at lower pricing and still wonderfully low interest rates. If you or friends are thinking of buying a home they should; opportunity rings for first time and second home as well as move up buyers.  The tax credit for first time buyer ($8,000) and existing home buyers ($6,500) is still available; you must have a ratified contract by 4/30/10. For more details give me or your favorite Realtor a call to see if you qualify for this opportunity. Buyers should consider buying now before there is a change in the market, sellers will tighten they position and be less negotiable.

Home sales update… the higher end homes are feeling the brunt of the lower values the past 12 months. I spoke with a local appraiser and they have tracked the value of homes the past year to be down about 8-10% in general, with some areas being higher. Each area and property is unique and consulting a Realtor is key to determine your home’s value.  The good news is we are seeing some higher end homes starting to pend and close contract, which is a start to come out of the current real estate market. The homes $225,000 and less have faired much better but there has been depreciation but not as high overall.  If you need to sell your home, pricing is the key to be ahead of the market and competition as well as being in top condition! Give me or your favorite Realtor a call for opinion of value and what would be wise improvements to do before putting your home on the market for sale to get your home SOLD.

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, March 24, 2010  4:37:22 PM
Homes for our Heroes…. Palmetto Heroes Program 2010 0 Comments Posted

For South Carolina, there is Limited Funds available so contact your Lender now or your Realtor for more information.  Teachers, Firefighters, Law Enforcement EMS Personnel… What a great opportunity it is to buy a home with this type of program available plus Tax Credits of $8,000 or $6,500 if you qualify.

It is a smart decision to buy a home now!

 

Palmetto Heroes Program


SC State Housing Authority is excited to announce our 2010 PALMETTO HEROES PROGRAM. The Heroes selected for the 2010 initiative are “Police Officers – Fire Fighters – EMS - Teachers”. Borrower(s) must meet SC State Housing's first-time home buyer requirements. The program features a reduced mortgage interest rate and down payment assistance is available. The funding will be limited to $40 million. Loans are available on a first-come first-served basis and borrowers must have an accepted sales contract on a home prior to reserving funds. All SC State Housing loan policies and procedures will be in affect for this program. See our program guides and manual for specific loan details. 

Police Officers – Borrower must be a full-time police officer with state or local government agency including correctional officers with the South Carolina State Department of Corrections

Fire Fighters and EMS - Borrower must be a full-time or volunteer fire fighter or EMS with a state or local government agency

View Comments | Add Comment Friday, March 05, 2010  9:05:50 AM
Grand Opening of Gem Lake’s Model Home 0 Comments Posted

You’re Invited….The final touches are done, the house is ready to be shown off;  recently furnished, our MODEL HOME located in Gem Lakes at

1177 Moultrie Drive
and is available for purchase.  Don’t forget to register for Door Prizes….

Stop by to lean about all Gem Lakes the final phase of a classic, offers your family with its private lake community recreational area. Gem Lakes Recreation Area.... offers several social events that are ideal for every person in your family, where your family and friends have lake access to fishing, and swimming area; plus a play ground, tennis court, picnic grounds, and walking area.

 

This last phase was developed by two premier builders who formed a team, Steve Kisner and Todd Gaul. There will be 34 large wooded lots in this final phase.

 

For more information:  http://www.vikkicrossland.com/default.asp?content=custom&menu_id=191567

 

Directions:

Silver Bluff Road west
, past Woodside Plantation’s main entrance, turn right onto
Savannah Drive
then left onto
Moultrie Drive
.

 

 

This last phase was developed by two premier builders who formed a team, Steve Kisner and Todd Gaul. There will be 34 large wooded lots in this final phase.

 

For more information:  http://www.vikkicrossland.com/default.asp?content=custom&menu_id=191567

 

Directions:

Silver Bluff Road west
, past Woodside Plantation’s main entrance, turn right onto
Savannah Drive
then left onto
Moultrie Drive
.

 

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, February 25, 2010  4:54:43 PM
Recently I was asked ….was there really a “Battle of Aiken”? 0 Comments Posted

The answer was YES…there was a battle in located in Aiken County in 1865. Here is a great link to learn some interesting Aiken history and the details of events leading up to the Battle of Aiken:

http://www.battleofaiken.org/history.html

 

http://www.battleofaiken.org/history-detail.html

 

There is a tremendous amount of work, effort, money  and detail that goes into this type of event. 

This upcoming weekend the Battle of Aiken will be reenacted, which has won the Governor’s Award for Carolina best tourist event and the Dr. James Butler national award for the best living history program. February 19th through 21st rain or shine, re-enactor will eat, sleep, live and fight in recreated version of the world in 1865. The battle has grown over the years to full-blown Civil War festival.

 

The Battle will be held at Confederate Park,

1210 Powell Pond Road
just of Interstate 20, exit 18 and a quick 10 minute drive from downtown Aiken on Hwy 19N/Laurens Street. Look for the signs.

 

The cost is very affordable and looks like this is going to great weekend to enjoy an outdoor event like this. Advance admission is $10 for adults, $5 for students (ages 6 to 18); 5 and under are admitted free. At the gate, the price is $12 for adults and $6 for students.

The activities start at 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday; programs, tours and seminars start at 9 a.m. and continue through the day.  The actual battle begins at 2 p.m. and they suggest arriving no later than 10 a.m.

Here is link for more info and where you can purchase tickets in advance: http://www.battleofaiken.org/spectators.html

Source of information Battle of Aiken website

View Comments | Add Comment Friday, February 19, 2010  2:13:46 PM
Need your Support your immediate support on Bill H3272 -Point of Sale Reform Bill 0 Comments Posted
Update as of today....form Nick Krmeydas of SCAR

The Senate adjourned at around 5pm yesterday

H3272 did not get the necessary 2/3 vote today (28-13). The Senators that voted against 3rd reading (and those that didn't vote) need to hear from us before they go back into session tomorrow (Thursday) at 11am.

The Senators that voted against 3rd reading are: Anderson (Greenville) Grooms (Charleston) Hutto & Matthews (Orangeburg) Leventis (Sumter) Malloy, Williams and McGill (Pee Dee) Nicholson (Greenwood) Scott (Central Carolinas) Sheheen (Kershaw) and Senators Lourie, Knotts, Coleman, Ford and Jackson did not vote.

(Senator Knotts did raise an objection that kept the bill from being recommitted--keeping it alive.) If you have any personal relationship with any of these Senators please contact them immediately.

We've got another shot at this tomorrow--it's a slim chance, but a chance nonetheless. Please contact your Senator in the morning and let them know we need them now more than ever.

I am happy to report all the Aiken Senators voted for the third reading of this bill, however we need to contact the Senators above and ask them to vote TODAY for the third reading of this bill. Please contact them by 11:00am TODAY.

You can send them an e-mail message on this web site...

http://www.scstatehouse.gov/html-pages/senate2.html

Just hit Send Message and Click on the Senators name you want to send a message to.

Thank you for your continued support on POS Tax Reform!!!

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, February 11, 2010  11:03:00 AM
Rentals in Strong Demand in Aiken… 0 Comments Posted

Our Meybohm Realtors Property Management Department was excited to report their successful results for the year 2009.   They added 116 new rental properties and wrote 102 new leases last year!  They have approximately 130 properties that they service and want to continue to grow this year.  

 

The average rent our Meybohm Property Management Department reported was around $1,200 per month.  

 

The rental market continues to remain strong fueled mostly by the Savannah River Site with all the new contracts that has brought in folks from all over the country and the world.  The strong demand has recently dropped their inventory level of available rentals to only 12. They are in needing more rentals to meet the demand of the market.  The strongest range of rental market is between the $1,000-$1,500 per month. 

 

 

Thinking of renting your home or a property you own?

I highly suggest you call and talk with Bob Benack our Meybohm Realtors Aiken Residential Property Manager or if you are in need for property to lease call Pete Eisenmann. The office number is 803-649-8111. I have referred several clients looking for a home to rent and homeowners in need to lease their property and they have been very helpful, successful and professional; they are a wonderful team.

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, February 10, 2010  4:09:41 PM
Point of Sale Real Estate Tax Change Needs your Help 0 Comments Posted

So far we have had little success in making a change. Please take the time to visit this link and learn how important this issue is to our SC economy, it is a critical time to take further action.  It is a good site and is very informative and worth your time.

 

http://www.itsjustnotfair.org
View Comments | Add Comment Friday, January 29, 2010  10:28:56 AM
SCIway.net…South Carolina Information Highway 0 Comments Posted

Have you ever checked out this website? It is chocked full of great information on South Carolina. It offers a really complete listing of information about the different cities and communities located in SC. 

 

It offers a fun filled packed schedule of events:  http://www.sciway.net/sn/81.html

 

Here is the link about Aiken with tons of additional linkage: http://www.sciway.net/city/aiken.html

 

I have used this website personally for information, offered FREE relocation information packages on Aiken, SC, marketed properties for sale and found it’s great resource for information on South Carolina and very beneficial to my real estate business. 

View Comments | Add Comment Friday, January 22, 2010  9:12:40 AM
Celebrate Aiken, SC... Happy 175th Birthday Aiken, 1835-2010 0 Comments Posted

Celebrate Aiken...  Happy 175th Birthday Aiken, 1835-2010

 

The kick off Party was last Saturday in downtown Aiken where you can get a glimpse of ole Aiken’s life in 1835, a simpler time. I have always dreamed of a simpler life but not that simple, I am certainly glad and appreciate to be living in 2010 where we can choose our lifestyle and are so fortunate to have what we do in our wonderful community and country.

 

Here are a few of the upcoming events you may want to note in your calendar and attend.

 

January 23rd, Saturday, 11am: 

 

The Banksia Watering Trough Dedication in Memory of Dogwood Stables’ Summer Squall. The tough is located on the side of the Serpentine Wall on South Boundary by the Aiken County Historical Museum. This would be great time to go thru our Historical Museum to learn more about the history of Aiken. You’ll learn we were the Sporting Capital of South!  I have been there several times and it’s quite interesting and even a bit overwhelming, there’s some much to read and see. Plan a few hours. The price is very affordable, it’s free!

 

February 18th, Thursday 3:00pm and 4:30pm

 

In February there will be a Green Boundary Tea on Thursday February 18th. I have attended a tea a few times and if you haven’t here is a great opportunity to go to your first formal tea, then you mark off your bucket list. There will be two seatings and it’s held at the Green Boundary Club. You can even where a period hat and gloves…it’s optional. Reservations are required and the admission is $10. Ticket can be found at Aiken Center and Material Things. For more info you can contact Nancy Johnson at 335-8740 or Becky Robbins at 643-8441

 

To learn more about upcoming events visit www.celebrateaiken.com

View Comments | Add Comment Friday, January 15, 2010  12:03:54 PM
National Association Residential Sold Report for Aiken, SC 2009 0 Comments Posted

Based on the Aiken Multiple Listing System residential sales data sales for 2009 are $200,197,127 which is about 15% lower than 2008. There were 1169 homes sold with the average sold price being $171,255 and Median Sales Price at $143,000. There where 2,209 new listings this past year which is way up as compared to 2008 which was only 1,648, about 24% increase of homes available for sale. 2009 average days on the market for a home to sell is 222 days.

 

The tax credit did help the sales in 2009 which the majority of the home sales where $199,999 or less, about 75% of the market or 886 homes. There where 283 homes sold $199,999 and above which currently is 283 homes. The $200,000-$249,999 range had the highest about sales of 96 in that grouping. There was one home selling in the highest range of $2,000,000.

 

 $250,000-$299,999 there where 67 sales

 $300,000-399,999 there were 66 sales (note this $100,000 range now)

$400,000-499,999 there were 31 sales

$500,000-$749,999 there were 13 sales (note this range is $250,000)

$750,000-999,999 there were 5 sales

$1,000,000-2,999,999 there were 5 sales

 

As for as 2010 there is mixed projections; I certainly think there will be more sales activity early this year up to 4/30/10 with the extension and expanding of the tax credit to repeat buyers if you qualify.

 

It is wise to take advantage of that tax credit if you are a buyer and have the ability to buy; there are great interest rates, good amount of inventory and a awesome tax credit!  Sellers if you need to sell or in the near future and you are willing to price competitively to the market and have your home in its best condition, it also wise to have your home on the market at that time since it looks like that time frame may be the most promising time to sell a home based on current reports I have been reading and hearing.

 

Call your Realtor or give me a call with any questions you have about your specific real estate goals.

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, January 11, 2010  12:35:28 PM
Aiken, SC...November 2009 Sales Volume Up 28% 0 Comments Posted

November 2009 Sales Volume Up 28%  in Aiken, SC!

 

Over 28% increase of home sales volume in November 2009 as compared to November 2008. There were 104 home sales in 2009 in the Aiken Multiple List System reported. The $8,000 first time buyer tax credit was definitely what gave this November a boost over last year’s sales volume. The deadline was originally to expire on 11/30/09 which was extended last minute to 4/30/10.

 

The first quarter of 2009 sales volume was very slow; let’s hope the newly extended and expanded tax credit plus a fresh new outlook on the economy will bring the first quarter of 2010 the same sales punch as this past November!

 

Wishing you and your family much health, happiness and success this upcoming year!

 

Vikki and Brandi

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, December 31, 2009  9:59:04 AM
Christmas at Hopelands Garden 0 Comments Posted

Are you still not quite in the holiday sprit? Only one day left before December 25th to go to Hopeland’s Gardens to get into the Christmas spirit.  

Christmas in Hopelands is like going back in time to one of Aiken’s premier holiday event.  Enjoy the look of amazement in a child’s eyes or feel like a kid yourself, as you stroll through Hopelands Gardens with thousands of lights illuminating your journey. Shop downtown Aiken and discover holiday treasures in Aiken’s unique specialty shops. Whatever your desire, you’ll be sure to get in the holiday mood and create memories to last a lifetime here in Aiken, South Carolina. *

Last Days….Hopeland Gardens is open:  December 23rd & 26th. Park and ride the shuttle which is available in the parking lot next to Applebee’s on

Whiskey Road
.

*Source of information:  http://www.cityofaikensc.gov/index.php?page=celebrate-the-holidays-in-aiken

 

We wish you a Merry Christmas, may you spend this special time of the year surrounded by family and friends that mean the most.

 

 

 

Vikki and Brandi at Meybohm Realtors

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, December 22, 2009  8:56:14 AM
Aiken Homes Ready for Holiday Tour this Saturday 0 Comments Posted

The spirit of Christmas will be felt this Saturday with the annual Aiken Choral Society’s Holiday Home Tour with eight homes open for tour with a range of construction period of 1700’s to 1950’s,  a reflective of Aiken’s history.

 

This is a fabulous event where you have the opportunity to tour fascinating Aiken homes dressed for the holidays, each offering their own interesting collections and personal charm! The event is very popular event and a well attended tour, don’t miss it!

 

This is a driving tour and will take place this Saturday Dec.12 from 4-7pm with a map pick up starting at 3:30pm at the Aiken County Historic Museum.

 

 Tickets can be purchased at Aiken Chamber of Commerce, Aiken Drug Store, Aiken County Historical Museum, Just Breathe Studio, Showtime Dance and Activewear and Aiken Office Supply. Pre purchased tickets are $9 each and   the door $10 each.

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, December 10, 2009  2:24:56 PM
Good Economic News for Aiken,SC 0 Comments Posted

Good Economic  News for Aiken,SC

Just received this  information below from the Aiken Chamber Commerce, they received 12/1/09. Gives us something to smile about during the holidays!

1.  Forbes Magazine --- light at the end of the tunnel

 

An analysis by Forbes magazine released Tuesday has put the Augusta-Aiken and Columbia, SC, regions among the 50 top cities in America recovering fastest from the recession.

 

·          Forbes ranked the 100 largest MSAs using unemployment rate, size of regional economy, foreclosures, home prices, and retail sales. 

·          The Augusta-Aiken and the Columbia MSAs ranked above 50 on the list and the Charlotte-Gastonia, Greenville-Mauldin-Easley and Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville ranked in the bottom 50.  More precisely, all five of South Carolina's largest areas were in the top 75.

·          The fastest recovering region was in Omaha, Neb., and the slowest recovering of the 100 MSAs was in Lakeland, Fl.

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, December 03, 2009  9:42:17 AM
Aiken, SC Holiday Season Calendar of Events! 0 Comments Posted

Happy Thanksgiving....Here is our yearly "Aiken Holiday Calendar of Events" to get you into the spirit of the holiday season!

Wishing you and your family all the blessing of the seasons...remember there is no place like home for the holidays!

Thank you for all the friendship and kind support you have given us over the years,

Vikki, Brandi, and Nancy

Meybohm Realtors

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, November 25, 2009  9:55:58 AM
Aiken Real Estate Taxes…Opposition to H3272 Point of Sale Bill 0 Comments Posted

Aiken Real Estate Taxes…Opposition to H3272 Point of Sale Bill

 

 

Just received this important letter/information from Kristyne Blake our

Aiken Board of Realtors Association Executive.

 

 Please note: This is not only a issue a Realtor should be concerned with but homeowners and the community when they actually understand the impact it will or already has had on our area.

 

The Municipal Association is asking that the City of Aiken consider

passing the resolution concerning opposition to H3272 Point of Sale Bill

this MONDAY!

 

Hello,

I have just been informed by the City Manager (Roger LeDuc) that at the

City Council Meeting on Monday, November 23rd at 7pm the Municipal

Association is asking that the City of Aiken consider passing a resolution

concerning opposition to H3272 Point of Sale Bill.

Here is the specifics that the municipal association has given to the City

Council:

APPROVAL OF RESOLUTION OPPOSING HOUSE BILL 3272:  In 2006 the South Carolina Legislature passed Tax Reform Legislation Act 388 changing the way local governments can raise revenue. As part of a compromise, it allowed city governments, county governments, and school districts to put property on the tax rolls at their full market value when the property is sold. This was to help alleviate the consequences of other provisions in the law that gave property tax breaks to anyone owning property that increased in value by more than 15% over a 5 year period. At that time everyone was aware of the reason behind this and the fairness in valuing the property at its actual cost. This allowed the long term homeowner to protect themselves from increases in taxes even though the value of their home may have increased at an even greater extent than the 15% over the 5 year period. In 2009 legislators introduced several bills to eliminate portions of Act 388, especially the Point of Sale provision. Real estate firms want this change saying the Point of Sale provision is stalling home sales. It is our belief that home sales are slowing because of the credit

crunch and overall economic conditions. Bill H3272 is now going to the

Senate and will receive immediate attention in January. The bill will

limit the increases in the fair market value of property sold to 15% at

the Point of Sale. It returns to current law after tax year 2014 which

means that property sold after December 31, 2008, but before 2014 tax year

would never be taxed at the fair market value, but could only increase up

to the 15% over that 5 year period. The original intent of the law was for

property owners not to be taxed out of their home which they have been

living in for many years. The bill shifts more of the costs of city, county and school operations to business and owners of slowly appreciating property. This means that citizens owning homes in the slower appreciating

neighborhoods will pay an increasingly larger percentage of their income

in taxes as compared to owners of homes in rapidly appreciating neighborhoods. New construction is not covered under this tax break, and

these owners would be paying on the full value of their home, while buyers

of existing property pay only on the value of the home capped at 15%. This

change in law certainly affects the revenue stream in cities, counties and

schools. The Board of Economic Advisors estimates the annual cost to local

governments if this change goes through to be $44 million, or $19.6

million for schools, $16.1 million for counties, and $8.3 million cities.

 

As we all know the Tax Reform Legislation in 2006 has impacted our Real

Estate Market and it is important that we show up at the City Council

meeting this Monday with PROOF that we NEED H3272 to pass the senate in January. We will be asking the City Council to table the vote to a later

date so the Aiken Board of Realtors can meet with all City Council one and

one and explain the impact of this bill if it does not get passed. We need

all Realtors to show up on Monday and let City Council know this is an

important issue. Please plan on attending the City Council Meeting on Monday at 7pm and voicing your concerns.

 

I hope to see you Monday at the City Council Meeting at 7pm!

View Comments | Add Comment Saturday, November 21, 2009  11:25:34 AM
The Holidays Brings Buying Opportunity For Buyers 0 Comments Posted
The Holidays Brings  Buying Opportunity For Buyers
With the  holidays just around the corner, everyone  is  hustling and bustling around getting ready for all the upcoming festivities of the season with family and friends. At this time buyers tend to put looking at homes in the background. Its at this time of the year I see showings slow and housing sales cool down. It is actually a great time to  be a buyer... full of opportunity.  Over the 30 plus years I have been a Realtor in any real estate  market condition I found the best deals have often been made at this time of year. There are currently  plenty of  homes on the market for sale with less competition from other buyers waiting until after the holidays to buy, the seller are ready and want to sell their properties now, often get anxious since they maybe receiving less showings, or interest. The seller's maybe be open to consider an offer or terms they might have not considered a few months ago. Add the new extended  and expanded tax credit that ends on April 30,  2010, it's a perfect time to buy to bet the rush and potential higher prices! Call your Realtor or give me a call to discuss this real estate opportunity at 803.644.1720
View Comments | Add Comment Saturday, November 21, 2009  11:23:58 AM
Home Tax Credit Extended and Expanded 0 Comments Posted

In the past few months of this year there has been an increase in home sales as compared to earlier this year, due in large part of the First Time Buyer Tax Credit of up to $8,000. The tax credit was an unbelievable opportunity for first time buyers! GOOD NEWS....a bill has extended it to April 30th, 2010.

BETTER NEWS...it was EXPANDED TO INCLUDE CURRENT HOMEOWNERS, with a Tax Credit of up to $6,500. There are some stipulations - you must have used the home sold or being sold as a principal residence consecutively for 5 of the previous 8 years.

I believe that this new bill will give a continued boost to the real estate market and give people a good reason to move forward with selling and buying a home.

Best of All it's a great time to buy with the prices so affordable and the interest rates extremely low.

Here's a link that offers more detailed information to see how this new bill may benifit you:

http://www.realtor.org/home_buyers_and_sellers/2009_first_time_home_buyer_tax_credit

Below is a handy comparison chart of the previous bill and the newly amended bill:

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, November 11, 2009  10:20:01 AM
It is a Great Time to be Buyer in Aiken, SC! 0 Comments Posted

It is a Great Time to be Buyer in Aiken, SC!

October 2009 Home Sales Data based on Aiken Multiple List System Data

The past month there was 97 home closing and total new listings of 211. Seventy seven percent of the sales where in the $200,000 or less range but there where 22 sales over $200,000 range with two very large home sale.  There was one sale in the $750,000-$999,000 range and one in the $1,250,000- $1,499,999 range and the other twenty home sales where in the $200,000-$500,000 range.

The average sold price range is $163,074 and monthly sales volume of $15,818,194

How does this compare to October 2008?

In 2008 we had only 5 more homes sell but the average sold price was $188,391 which is substantial higher than 2009. The sales volume was $19,027,487, 17% higher than 2008, which makes sense with the higher average sold price.

View Comments | Add Comment Saturday, November 07, 2009  10:36:21 AM
Trick or Treat on Newberry Street! 0 Comments Posted

Trick or Treat on Newberry Street!

A safe alternative to trick and treating for children plus tons of fun for any age! I took my grandaughter last year and she loved it, especially the games! Even if you don't have your own little goblin to take to participate, its just fun to be downtown and see all the children's costumes...so head downtown Aiken this Saturday to feel the spirit and excitement of Halloween!

The City of Aiken Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department in collaboration with Aiken Downtown Development Association are excited to sponsor its third year of "Trick or Treat on Newberry Street"

This free event for children 12 years old and under will take place on Saturday October 31, 2009 from 5pm to 7pm dowtown Aiken at the Newberry Street Festival Center and will once again feature "Truck or Treating" where candy is given out from the trunk of a Halloween them decorated vehicle. Carnival games, inflatables, food, drinks and lots of candy will be there as well as a costume contest.

This year we will also have a trunk or Treat vehicle themed contest. Last year, over 3,000 people were inattendance and our hopes are to have as many or more come out to this family, fun-filled event.

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, October 29, 2009  9:30:57 AM
Aiken Home Sales 3rd Quarter 2009 0 Comments Posted

Aiken Home Sales 3rd Quarter 2009

 

The number of homes sales is up substantially in third quarter of 2009 by over 10% when compared to the second quarter of 2009. Interestingly with that amount of increase of homes sales you would expect the total dollar volume of residential sold number would be up close to that amount but it’s not! There was a very slight increase of just below 3%. We had $56,886,620 total sold dollar volume of residential in the 3rd quarter and $56,266,626 in the second quarter of this year sales data provided by Aiken Multiple List System.

 

The home sales are still going the right direction but it confirms the first time buyer market dominates the improvement in housing sales. The Average Sold Price was $169,800; Median Sold Price was $142,000 for the third quarter which was lower than the second quarter and even the year to date averages.

 

We can spin this information any way you want but what the housing market still has a big problem.  The sales of homes over $300,000 and especially over $400,000 is sluggish almost non-existed when you compare the number of units sold. What we need is to get the homes over $300,000 back selling to really get our economy moving again! Actually the best housing values are in the upper pricing range, if you are thinking of moving up or have been waiting to buy in that upper price range there is lots of opportunity out there!

 

Sales data based on the Aiken MLS data

View Comments | Add Comment Friday, October 09, 2009  3:30:03 PM
Affordable Ole Fashion Family Fun…A Corn Maze & Much More! 0 Comments Posted

Affordable Ole Fashion Family Fun…A Corn Maze & Much More!

 

Even though this is not in Aiken County I thought it was the PERFECT FALL ADVENTURE and well worth sharing with you.

 

Someone just mentioned this to me today, they went last year and said it was a blast going thru the Corn Maze.  It looks huge and it is… 8 acres of maze plus there’s 3.5 miles of paths! Each year they have a different theme, this year its “Space Exploration”. There are several activities that offer enjoyment for young and old alike. It looks like some good ole fashion family fun to me. It opens this weekend, only open on Friday, Saturday and Sundays, runs this weekend to November 22nd.  The admission is only $8.00 and looks like an easy hour drive from Aiken.

 

The working farm has been in the Sease family for years and they started this new family tradition in 2004 when their youngest daughter encouraged us to diversify by adding a corn maze.

 

 Every year the Sease family has added new attractions that bring visitors to the farm. 

“Since most everyone today does not have a grandpa to visit on the farm, we are growing that experience for them.”

 

Check out Clinton Sease Farm in Lexington, SC. http://www.clintonseasefarm.com/#

 

I would love to hear back from anyone that makes it up there. I am planning on checking it out myself.

 

View Comments | Add Comment Friday, October 02, 2009  4:01:58 PM
Should the $8,000 Tax Credit be extended? 0 Comments Posted

Should the $8,000 Tax Credit be extended?

 

The past months, first time buyers are hurrying and buying homes to meet the deadline to qualify for the $8,000 tax credit that required the buyer to be a home before December 1st, 2009. This is a huge tax credit to miss out on and last minute shoppers are out there.  Nationwide we all have heard the reports home sales have increased which has been reflected in the past few months here in Aiken, SC, especially in homes $160,000 or less. Since early spring the Aiken real estate market conditions have continued to improve in amount or percentage of sales of homes, with August being 8% higher than July.

 

Does this tax credit really help or is the positive news reporting making the difference? It certainly at this time is improving the home sales under $200,000 and more dominantly under $160,000 range. The data in the Aiken Multiple List System is clear that there in an increased number of homes that are closing contract. Homes in that range, in good condition and priced well will get an offer pretty timely as compared to long days on the market of 225 days. I have sold most of my listings in that range of $160,000 or less range this summer. Pricing and condition still play a large factor since competition of new homes is out there.  The first time buyer’s sales are triggering a second sale or maybe new construction start. Then that sale may trigger a third sale and so forth. I am starting to see a very slight increase in homes in higher ranges ( $200,000-$300,000) . Logically it should eventually impact higher homes sales but frankly the market for homes over $300,000 is still down, low amount of showings and few contracts. I expect to see the flurry of home sales in the lower ranges continue to for the next 30-45 days. The big question is what is going to happen when the tax credit ends? I mixed feeling but I know we are just getting the real estate market moving again and concerns it will come to halt this December.

 

 Should the home buying tax credit be extended and modified to be available where all Americans can benefit? What are your thoughts?

View Comments | Add Comment Friday, September 25, 2009  2:53:36 PM
Update From Matt Hunter From Hunter Mortgage, Aiken, SC 0 Comments Posted

And the Changes Just Keep On Coming:

 

With the exit of Taylor, Bean and Whitaker from the lending scene, financing of manufactured homes has become nearly impossible.  This is bad news for young families who bought a double-wide as a starter home thinking that they could sell it and move up.  Unfortunately, lending on any trailer has basically dried up.  Sellers with "homes" on the market are going to have to hope for an all cash deal in order to get out of that home and move up.

 

South Carolina State Housing has recently revamped their lending program to an FHA-based program requiring a 3.5% down payment.  The Housing Authority will still give money toward that down payment however they have recently lower the amount to $3,000.  That will still cover the down payment for a $85,700 home.  As an alternative, the USDA Rural Development loans are still strong competitors.  The loans are geographically restricted and if you want to find out if the home that your interested in will qualify, you can check this website by clicking the "Single Family Housing" under Property Eligibility and put in the street address: http://eligibility.sc.egov.usda.gov/eligibility/welcomeAction.do

 

There is some good news.  Rates have continued to be attractive.  For well qualified borrowers on a conventional loan, you can still get a rate under 5.00% for a 30-Year Fixed Mortgage.  The rates on the FHA, VA and USDA programs continue to run slightly higher but not by much.  Finally, we are hearing some rumblings that the $8,000 Tax Credit for First Time Homebuyers is actually having a positive effect on the housing market and may be extended beyond the December 1 cut off.  Stay turned for more updates on the Good, the Bad and the Foreclosed.

 

Matt Hunter

Hunter Mortgage

803-644-4010

 

View Comments | Add Comment Friday, September 18, 2009  4:33:21 PM
The Family Comes To Aiken, South Carolina 0 Comments Posted

Tony and Tina’s Wedding- Head to downtown Aiken this week for some fun, lots of laughs and great entertainment. This show is a blast, I have attended their wedding at a prior engagement, it’s really even more fun if you bring a group of friends and just go with the evening. You may even see some locals you did not know where part of Tony and Tina’s family! The wedding will be at the Aiken Center of Arts on

Laurens Street
and the Reception follows at Newberry Hall. The proceeds benefit Aiken Center for the Arts and the USCA Theatre Ambassadors.

 

This show is town this Wednesdays-Sunday (Sept.16-20) held in the evening. The tickets range from $65-85 depending on the night. Price includes: Italian Buffet Dinner, Champagne Toast and Wedding Cake.

 

For ticket information call 803-641-9094 

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, September 14, 2009  9:21:31 AM
New Regulatory and Investor Guidelines can IMPACT your closing date! 0 Comments Posted

New Regulatory and Investor Guidelines can IMPACT your closing date!

 

Lenders, Realtors, home buyers and sellers all have been impacted the past months with new regulatory and investor guidelines. All parties are trying to close the real estate transaction as agreed in the signed contract between the seller and buyer but often the closing date is dictated by new rules when financing is involved. It has been hectic the past months here in Aiken, SC according to several local lenders adjusting to these changes.

 

Key Points…

 

1.      The earliest any home purchase transaction can close is 7 business days after the homebuyer is issued their initial mortgage disclosures (Truth in Lending Disclosure) from a lender.

 

2.      Upfront fees are not collect by lenders accept for credit reports until the initial mortgage disclosures are received. Lenders use to collect these fees upfront.

 

3.      Another change is the homebuyer must be provided with a copy of their appraisal a minimum of 3 days prior to closing, the 3 day waiting period can be waived by the home buyer for whatever reason. A buyer should have a copy of their appraisal of the home there are purchasing that is a good change.

 

4.      Last minute changes to contract even when the seller and buyer both agree often impact the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) on the initial Truth in Lending Disclosures. If there is an increase of more than .125% in the APR on the disclosure, the lender must revise the Truth in Lending Disclosure.   A revised disclosure means another 3 business day waiting period! Items that can affect the APR are unlocked rates, often buyers like to float their rate trying to capture the lowest rate. A change in the loan amount can affect APR, this can happen when a buyer and seller negotiate a lower sales price in lieu of repairs. Product change for example going from conventional to FHA financing.  A buyer may want to re-lock his rate to a lower rate due to market improvement, change in closing date and changes in fees (inclusive of the settlement agent fees). As you can see there are an array of items that can impact your closing date.

 

Bottom line … take the time to prepare and be knowledgeable when negotiating your contract on your home purchase. You need to consider all factors than may impact your financing. Meeting and discussing in advance with a reputable local lender to understand what type of financing fits your needs is a big step to minimize delays in closing your home.  Working with a Realtor who represents you as a your buyer’s agent ,who is knowledgeable and  understands the changes can help you to structure your offer to the type of financing, closing costs, down payment and closing date that will work best  for you.

 

As a buyer it’s important that you be very timely in providing your lender and Realtor with requested information during the processing of the contract and financing.   Your home buyer experience will be a lot more stress free if you keep these new changes and suggestions in mind!  

View Comments | Add Comment Friday, September 11, 2009  11:53:54 AM
Selling or buying a home in Aiken or anywhere? New Changes that may impact your closing dates… 0 Comments Posted

Selling or buying a home in Aiken or anywhere? New Changes that may impact your closing dates…

 

Background information:

 

New government Regulations may impact your closing dates. The mortgage industry was gone under lots of changes to help provide homebuyers better information when financing a home. In 2008 amendments to the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act (HOEPA) and Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) where passed by Congress and Federal Reserve Board published the regulations under the Truth in Lending Act. The purpose of these regulations was to provide more transparent, level and fair regulations to the real estate industry.

 

 In addition, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac adopted the Home Valuation Code of Conduct (HVCC) in 2008 to reinforce appraiser independence, value protection and enhance the overall integrity of valuation process.

 

The reason these changes where put in place where with good intentions but how do these changes really affects the home buying and selling process?

 

Being in the real estate industry I have mixed feelings on the changes, some good and some bad.  I have concerns we have just added more bureaucracy to the system and at the end have we just created potential additional cost and time to the consumers  which is who they were trying to protect. Watch for the upcoming blogs for more details on how these changes may affect you!

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, September 08, 2009  11:29:11 AM
Huge 7% Discount Lots in Aiken, SC…Opportunity Rings! 0 Comments Posted

GEM LAKES the final phase of a classic… roads are in and construction has begun! To add to the excitement the developers are offering for a limited time a 7% DISCOUNT OFF ORGINAL LOT PRICING!

 

This is a wonderful opportunity for you to purchase a lot at a great value, start construction or wait to build at a later date!

 

Our first home in the neighborhood on Lot# 9 on

Moultrie Drive
is well on its way to completion and has a NEW PRICING of $373,900 a substantial PRICING REDUCTION OF $26,000.

 

This phase will also have access to the Gem Lakes Recreational Area that offers a resident access to a private lake, fishing, swimming area and picnic area.

 

For further information on Gem Lakes and lots available visit this website:

 http://www.vikkicrossland.com/default.asp?content=custom&menu_id=191567

 

 Call me personally for details or to answer any of your questions at 644-1720 or 645-8008….Vikki Crossland

 

View Comments | Add Comment Friday, September 04, 2009  10:15:32 AM
Aiken Homes Sales Up in August 2009 0 Comments Posted

Aiken Homes Sales Up in August 2009

We are going the right direction… the number of Aiken properties sold and closed in August were up about 8% as compared to July 09.  The selling range was from the lowest of $18,000 to the highest being $825,000 with the average sales price was $159,697.  The total sales volume was $18,205.354 as per the Aiken multiple list system. The number of days on the market was 159.

The driving force still seems to be the buyers taking advantage of the last days of the $8,000 tax credit and smart buyers stepping out and making some great buys on the higher end properties. There are some fabulous values out there. I have not seen such a vast inventory of homes at such wonderful prices for years!

It’s the time to get into the real estate market and buy! Call your favorite Realtor or contact Vikki Crossland at vikki@vikkicrossland.com or 803-644-1720 to discuss your specific real estate goals.

Source of data: Aiken MLS as of 9/2/09

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, September 02, 2009  9:15:17 AM
Aiken Chamber of Commerce State of the Community Luncheon 0 Comments Posted

A well attended luncheon held yesterday, 8/26/09 with a gathering of about 400 community leaders and business people anxiously waiting to what local community leaders had to say about the Aiken economy and future. County to city representatives had a common theme… Aiken is financially stable, strong and doing much better than other places in SC, in fact a lot better than most places nationwide. There have been struggles to make needed cut backs on budgets or go into money reserves they had established but every one of the four speakers are seeing signs of improvements and projecting Aiken’s future as bright.

On another note, next year Aiken city will be 175 years old and they are planning lots of celebrations and events in 2010. They was a campaign at this event to raise money from 175 community members of  $175 to help support the 175th Anniversary of our wonderful City of Aiken. I felt all that Aiken has given me this was a small request to give back to my community!

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, August 27, 2009  9:54:33 AM
City of Aiken Crime Data…New online on www.Aiken.net 0 Comments Posted

City of Aiken Crime Data…New online on www.Aiken.net

Everyone asked their Realtor when relocating or moving to an area about the crime in the community.  The city of Aiken now has a new crime data page on www.aiken.net  to get automatic information on specific communities around the city.

The site is pretty simple to use, there are 44 numbered circles designated different neighborhoods in town. Scroll down the correct number ID of your choice, highlight it and enter the time period you want and hit submit. I did a report it showed me the number of UCR part 1 crime as reported to FBI and SLED for that time period. It’s a great tool and resource for the community. I will suggest if you need help to understanding the data given to contact Public Safety for clarifications.

Link directly to the Crime Data:

 

http://www.cityofaikensc.gov/crimeanalyzer/statistics.aspx

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, August 13, 2009  10:11:09 AM
Paddlefest on the Savannah River August 29th 0 Comments Posted

Paddlefest on the Savannah River August 29th

 

This sounds like fun day… check out this website:

 

http://www.savannahriverkeeper.org/paddlefest/

 

Even if you don’t have time to build a raft, have access to a kayak or canoe, just watching should bring lots of smiles to your day! What a great event to raise money for the Savannah Riverkeepers.

 

Savannah RIVERKEEPER® is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization whose mission is "To protect the water quality of the Savannah River, the integrity of her watershed, and to promote an enlightened stewardship of this unique heritage." Our 3 main goals are to Restore the water quality, Protect the lakes and tributaries and Educate the communities around the basin.

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, August 10, 2009  12:42:57 PM
Staging on a Budget Class Being offered in Aiken, SC 0 Comments Posted

The latest 2009 catalog of the “Learning for Life” just came out. The program has several opportunities of personal growth and enjoyment offered at the University of South Carolina. One of there NEW classes is Staging on a Budget… this will preparing your home for sale in Aiken market. This is a wonderful opportunity for people who are thinking of selling their home to get some good ideas how to dress their home for success on the real estate market. From personal experience sellers have a lot more success in selling their homes at a better price with fewer days on the market when they properly stage their home and price the home to current real estate market conditions. I call this “Dressing Your Home for Success”! It’s extremely important when there is high inventory of homes, you home needs to stand out as the best condition and value to compete in today’s market especially.

 

My personal big tip is… “Less is Best”  I find when a home is over done, too many personal belongings in a home, the showing becomes about the people’s personal items and not the house. I really encourage my sellers to stage their home to shows off the house and all its features. Less stuff will help the home show larger and the buyers can imagine themselves in the home.

 

The classes will be on September 3, 10, 17 on Thursdays, 6:30-7:45pm and the cost is $80. You must register and here is a contact person Laura Anderson at 803-641-3563 or lauraa@usca.edu

 

As a Realtor and Certified Residential Specialist I have taking several classes and helped several of my clients with staging their homes, from ideas to getting them in touch with a professional staging service. You can contact your favorite Realtor or contact me if you are thinking of selling and need professional guidance on “Dressing YOUR HOME for SUCCESS”. My contact number is 803-645-8008 or 803-644-1720.

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, August 06, 2009  3:32:48 PM
What Homes in Aiken area are going Under Contract? 0 Comments Posted

What Homes in Aiken area are going Under Contract?

Good News for homeowners trying to sell their home…so far the month of July our sales board is exceeding the amount of listings! This is based on the Meybohm Realtors Southside office. This is one of the few times this year we have seen this trend; let hope it continues!

The big question… what homes are going under contract at this time?  Based on data from Aiken Multiple List System as of today there is 183 homes pending contract in all of the Aiken Multiple List System (which covers a broad area). Southside of Aiken dominates the pending sales contracts.  Over 29% of the homes pending are new construction.  Based on year to date sales 75% of the homes sold and closed are under $200,000.

Here are the main areas to give you an idea of current pending homes:

Aiken NW-10

AikenSW-23

Aiken NE-9

Aiken SE-37

Aiken Rural-9

Granitiville-25

North Augusta-33

Other-37

This trend supports the fact first time buyers are taking advantage of that tax credit  and people who have had the ability to buy are taking advantage of the more affordable housing prices and great low rates which are about at 5% APR as of yesterday.

Have questions on the current housing trends? Give you’re your favorite Realtor a call or call Vikki Crossland, Certified Residential Specialist at 803-644-1720 or email at vikki@vikkicrossland.com to answer your specific real estate needs.

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, July 23, 2009  9:37:37 AM
Treasured Pony Day in Aiken, SC at Lane’s End 0 Comments Posted

Learn about one of our newer horse oriented communities and have some family fun on July 18th, 2009!

 

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, July 15, 2009  9:19:54 AM
Aiken, SC Home Sales Report 0 Comments Posted

Everyone is wondering what is really going on in the Aiken real estate market. Here is some statically information based on the Aiken multiple list system for from January 1st 2009 to July 12, 2009. There have been 568 sales and a total of new listings of 1,255. The average sold price is $174,590 and the average days on the market are 224. Total sales volume is $99,167,365.

So what does this mean? The number of property sales is definitely up as compared to the first 4 months of the year by over 25%. Which is very good news! There has been a strong surge of first time buyers, buyers who have been waiting are coming out to buy since they has been concerns that interest rates might head up in the near future.

When you compare the same time period in 2008, there was 708 sales and total of new listings of 1,067. The average home sale was $187,950 and an average day on the market was 178. The total sales volume was $133,068,310. Our current real estate market using the sales dollar volume amount comparison is substantially lower then 2008, but we are heading the right direction!

The homes that are selling most are the lower priced homes; that is reflected in the current average home sales. I am seeing more buyers come out and purchase homes under $200,000 especially under $150,000 range. It is positive news that we are getting more buyers coming into the market to buy. The real estate market still has some challenges ahead but one thing for sure is true…

The prices of homes are more affordable, still a good amount of inventory, wonderful rates and its great time to buy real estate!

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, July 13, 2009  9:17:07 AM
A Home Loan Program that will works with real estate in Aiken, SC City Limits for First Time Buyers 0 Comments Posted

A Home Loan Program that will works with real estate in Aiken, SC City Limits for First Time Buyers

Rates have dropped this past week, good news! I have received more offers this past 10 days on several of my homes I have listed. I believe the interest rate dropping has have encouraged people to come out to take advantage of the high affordability of homes and good amount of inventory!

I asked Matt Hunter to give me an update on current rates and some Special financing programs available. Read Below!

Are there any first time homebuyers out there looking for options? Hunter Mortgage has got them.

In addition to the USDA 100% financing loans, we have two low down payment programs available.  The USDA program is an excellent program but what if you want to purchase a home inside the city limits that isn't eligible for the USDA program.  With a typical FHA program, you need to bring the 3.5% down payment to the table.  BUT the South Carolina State Housing Authority has a program for low to moderate income (below $55,500 for 1 or 2 people and below $63,825 household income for 3 or more)  first time home buyers.  The program offers $5,000 in down payment assistance.  This assistance is repayable or forgivable depending you the buyers income.  That means that for homes below $142,850 the down payment will be provided for them.  This is another great option available through Hunter Mortgage Inc.

Rates for most products have been coming back down over the last week.  Current rates are as low as 5.125% on a 30 Year Fixed Mortgage, 4.750% for a 15 Year Fixed and 5.375% on our government loans.  There is still time to take advantage of the $8,000 tax credit for homes purchase before December 1, 2009. 

 Come on in while the rates are back down.

 We're located at

408 Silver Bluff Road
or
124 Laurens St NW
.  Call  803-644-4010 to set up an appointment now!

 Matt Hunter

View Comments | Add Comment Friday, June 26, 2009  4:01:52 PM
Proposed Changes and New Ideas to the Current Home Buyer Tax credit would help Spark the Economy… 0 Comments Posted

Proposed Changes and New Ideas to the Current Home Buyer Tax credit would help Spark the Economy…

 

This recent news article talks about some proposed ideas we need to get this economy moving. Let’s extend, raise and open this tax credit up to more buyers and get real estate moving!  Real estate is key part to getting our economy moving in the right direction and it will stimulate more growth and jobs we desperately need across our country.  I would like o hear your thoughts on these ideas.

http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/housing/2009-06-22-homebuyer-credit-may-be-extended_N.htm

First time buyers need to take advantage of this tax credit it is a wonderful opportunity, for more information read my other blogs or posting on this subject, just scroll down. You can contact me directly at vikki@vikkicrossland.com for more information or call your Realtor.

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, June 23, 2009  12:57:37 PM
Say Yes to a CRS… let the best help find you your home in Aiken, SC 0 Comments Posted

Buying or selling a home seems like an overwhelming task. But the right REALTOR can make the process easier-and more profitable.

 

A Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) with years of experience and success will help you make smart decisions in a fast-paced, complex and competitive market.

 

To receive the CRS Designation, REALTORS must demonstrate outstand professional achievements -including high volume sales-and pursue advanced training in areas such as finance, marketing and technology. They must maintain membership in the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS and abide by its Code of Ethics.

 

Work with a REALTOR who belongs among the top 4 percent of the nation. Contact your  CRS today for all you real estate needs or contact Vikki Crossland, CRS at Meybohm Realtors, you’ll be glad you did!

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, June 11, 2009  10:04:36 AM
First Time Buyers, Breaking News…$8,000 Tax Credit Can Be Used Upfront! 0 Comments Posted

HUD: Tax Credit Can Be Used on Closing Costs


FHA-approved lenders received the go-ahead to develop bridge-loan products that enable first-time buyers to use the benefits of the federal tax credit upfront, according to eagerly awaited guidance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on so-called home buyer tax credit loans that was released today.

Under the guidance, FHA-approved lenders can develop bridge loans that home buyers can use to help cover their closing costs, buy down their interest rate, or put down more than the minimum 3.5 percent.

The loans can't be used to cover the minimum 3.5 percent, senior HUD officials told reporters on a conference call Friday morning.

Thus, buyers applying for FHA-backed financing with an FHA-approved lender that offers a bridge-loan program can get a bridge loan to bring down the upfront costs of buying a home significantly but would still have to come up with the minimum 3.5 percent down payment.

There remain many sources of assistance for buyers needing help with the 3.5 percent down payment, including many state and local government instrumentalities and nonprofit lenders.

In addition,
some state housing finance agencies have developed their own tax credit bridge loan programs, so buyers in states whose HFAs offer such programs can monetize the tax credit upfront to cover all or part of their down payment. These programs are separate from what HUD announced today.

The first-time homebuyer tax credit was enacted last year--and improved upon earlier this year--to help encourage households to enter the housing market while interest rates are low and affordability is high. The credit is worth up to $8,000 and is available to households that haven't owned a home in at least three years. The credit does not have to be repaid, and is fully reimbursable, so households can get their credit returned to them in the form of a payment.

Learn more about the credit, including how to apply for it this year even if you've already filed your taxes, at
REALTOR.org.

Source: Robert Freedman, REALTOR® Magazine Online

View Comments | Add Comment Friday, June 05, 2009  2:34:00 PM
Open House in Mount Vintage Plantation on June 4th from 3pm to 6pm! 0 Comments Posted

Directions: I-20 to Exit 5 (HWY 25), Turn Left on Sweetwater Road, Turn Right at the Mount Vintage Entrance!

If you have any questions or would like additional information, please call me at 803-645-8008 or 803-644-1720!

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, June 01, 2009  9:36:57 AM
Tips and Trends to Help Maximize Home Selling in Aiken 0 Comments Posted

KITCHEN HEAT

 

Stainless Steel Appliances. Granite Countertops. Not long ago, these were the hottest kitchen features. But now they’re expected and practically become standard. What are the next major trends to keep an eye on?

 

According to a recent National Kitchen and Bath Association survey of more than 200 kitchen designers, cherry and maple cabinets, quartzite counter tops and custom-paneled appliances are hot. Where oak cabinets were once a must have, more than 75% of the survey participants how report using cherry and maple, followed by paints and exotic woods. And although nearly all designers believe stainless steel is still the most popular appliances finish, 77 % say that custom paneling on appliances is becoming more common. Granite is still the most frequently used counter top material, but 65% percent of the designers report using more quartzite, another durable stone material.

 

One thing that hasn’t changed is the trend towards bigger, more open kitchens that accommodate more than one cook and serve as more than a place to cook. In incorporating these bigger kitchens, the traditional “work triangle”-the path between the refrigerator, food prep area and cooking area-is being replaced with work zones. As kitchens get bigger and even more functional, it seems certain that a trend specialization will grow as well.

 

Sources: Nation Kitchen and Bath Association and the residential Specialist Magazine

 

Thinking of selling your home? Need to know how to make your home more sellable in the current Aiken real estate market?  Consult a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), with years of experience and success, will help you make smart decisions in a fast paced, complex and competitive market.

 

To receive the CRS Designation, Realtors must demonstrate outstanding professional achievements-including high volume sales-and pursue advanced training in areas of finance, marketing and technology. They must also maintain membership in the NATIONAL ASSOICATION OF REALTORS and abide by its Code of Ethics.

 

Work with a Realtor who belongs among the top 4 percent in the nation.

 

Contact your CRS today to sell your home or contact Vikki Crossland, CRS at Meybohm Realtors 803-644-1720.

View Comments | Add Comment Friday, May 29, 2009  11:06:16 AM
Meybohm Realtors Sells the Most Aiken Real Estate 0 Comments Posted

Meybohm Realtors even with the tough real estate market conditions has continued to stay progressive and innovative which has helped them maintain a strong sales success history. According to Aiken Board of Realtor’s Multiple List System data as of 1/1/09 to 4/40/09 Meybohm Realtors market sales share is 33.83% which is outstanding amount when you compare it to the next closest company market share which is only 9.82%.

 

Thinking of selling or buying a property, call your favorite Meybohm Real Estate Agent
View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, May 12, 2009  8:47:19 AM
Pending Home Sales in Aiken, SC area are Up! 0 Comments Posted

Year to date the number of active listings that are for sale has increased as compared to 2008 by 69 which is a 5-6% increase. The amount of sold transaction sides has decreased by 57, with a a percentage of market in sales volume only down by 1.6 percent.

Good new is the pending sales in the Aiken Multiple list system are up by 7 in the time frame of 1/1/09 to 4/30/09 which is a 5.63% increase in sales volume. This is confirming the news we are starting to hear in the media, that pending home sales are increasing, which is a good indicator that our real estate market my have hit bottom.

The time to buy real estate at record low prices with low interest rates and possible $8,000 tax credit for first time buyers is now! Call your Realtor to or contact Vikki Crossland or Brandi Cook at Meybohm Realtors to discuss your specific real estate goals at 803-644-1720 or 803-644-1723.

Aiken Board of Realtors Multiple List System Home Sales Market Comparison to Prior Year

View Comments | Add Comment Friday, May 08, 2009  9:39:03 AM
2009 Hopeland Gardens Concert Series Schedule.... 0 Comments Posted

The place to be on every Monday evening from May to August is in Aiken’s Hopelands Gardens where local and regional artists are showcased in their annual summer concert series.  Nestled inside an ancient brick wall and beneath a wondrous canopy of oaks, cedars, and magnolias; Hopelands Gardens is the perfect place to enjoy tranquil music in the lazy summer twilight. 

 

And, did I mention that it is completely free.  So bring a blanket, lawn chair, friends, family, or even a picnic supper and enjoy the peaceful experience that is the Hopelands Gardens Summer Concert Series.  Concerts begin at 7:00 pm on the Roland H. Windham Performing Arts Stage within the gardens which is located at

1700 Whiskey Road, Aiken, SC 29803
.

Here’s a quick link for directions and you can write a review if you like of the event you attend one of the concerts:

 

http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&um=1&ie=UTF-8&q=Hopeland+Gradens+in+Aiken,+SC&fb=1&split=1&gl=us&view=text&latlng=14469508110358695458

 

There is a shuttle bus that runs in the parking lot next to Applebee’s on

Whiskey Road
for convenience since parking at the Hopeland’s Garden parking fills up fast.

 

Here is this Summer 2009 schedule:  

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, April 30, 2009  12:08:30 PM
Matt Hunters Mortgage Update.... 0 Comments Posted

This weeks update from Matt Hunter:

Mortgage bond prices remained near unchanged holding mortgage interest rates relatively steady for the week. There was very little data the first portion of the week and rates improved slightly as the DOW was down 183 points at one point Monday morning. Unfortunately the durable goods orders and new home sales data were not as weak as expected which helped stocks rally at the expense of bonds the latter portion of the week. For the week, interest rates on government and conventional loans were unchanged.

The Treasury auctions will factor heavily in trading this week. It will be interesting to see how the additional debt supply is absorbed. The gross domestic product and employment cost index data will be the most important releases. No surprises are expected from the Fed but the meeting may still result in some mortgage interest rate volatility.

Rates remain close to historic lows.  A well qualified purchaser can get a 30-Year Fixed rate of 4.625% and a 15-Year rate of 4.375%.   Call us first for great rates and personal service.

Matt Hunter

Hunter Mortgage Inc

803-644-4010

If you have any questions please call Vikki Crossland at 803-644-1720

View Comments | Add Comment Friday, April 24, 2009  4:43:54 PM
2009 Homebuyer Tax Credit..... 0 Comments Posted

2009 Homebuyer Tax Credit

I am seeing more buyers coming into the market taking advantage of this $8,000 Tax credit, great values on homes in Aiken, SC and the unbelievable low interest rates. The buyers coming out are getting some wonderful buys; it is a smart time to buy a home, there are so many incentives and reasons to purchase a home even if you do not qualify for the tax credit. Call your Aiken Realtor now to discuss your specific real estate goals or give me a call at 803-644-1720 or email vikki@vikkicrossland.com

To search for Aiken real estate go to: http://www.vikkicrossland.com/default.asp?content=search&menu_id=5273

The homebuyer tax credit is one of 10 key provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act signed by President Obama into law on Feb. 17, 2009.

The bill provides for an $8,000 tax credit that would be available to first-time home buyers for the purchase of a principal residence on or after January 1, 2009 and before December 1, 2009.  The credit does not require repayment.  Most of the mechanics of the credit will be the same as under the 2008 rules:  the credit will be claimed on a tax return to reduce the purchaser's income tax liability.  If any credit amount remains unused, then the unused amount will be refunded as a check to the purchaser.

Here is a link to the IRS form for the tax credit:  http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f5405.pdf

 

Source of information Realtor.org

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, April 22, 2009  2:19:15 PM
Walk a Mile in HER shoes Charity..... 0 Comments Posted

Walk a mile in HER Shoes…

The Cumbee Center to Assist Abused Person, Inc is organizing a very fun charity event this Thursday April 16, 2009 starting at 6:00pm to raised awareness and money to assist abused persons in Aiken County

All participants must be male and wear at least 1" heel shoes when working the route. The route begins at the Aiken county courthouse on Park Avenue at 6:00 PM and there will be 4 check points on the route. The money the participate raises will be split between The Cumbee Center and a charity of the participate choice.  

Keith Crossland, my son is participating in this event, welcomes any sponsors to help this worthy cause and looks quite fetching in his 3" high heels!

 

Come on out and support this event; I sure it will bring several smiles and laughs to all us ladies watching the men try to walk in our shoes!

For further information you can go to this website:

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, April 15, 2009  10:50:37 AM
It’s a Bright Future ….Jobs coming to Aiken, SC! 0 Comments Posted

It’s a Bright Future ….Jobs coming to Aiken, SC!

No, this not an April Fools joke, please read on…..

 

Finally some great news for the Central Savannah River Area. Members of the Chamber of Commerce just received this up lifting letter from the Aiken Chamber president explaining the job opportunities coming our way. It seems like lately I have been hearing more and more, good news. I personally have had a better first quarter in 2009 as far as sales compared to 2008. I have had several buyers coming out, taking advantage of the great pricing on homes, the lower rates and more recently some first time buyers taking advantage of the $8,000 Tax Credit.

If you are can buy a home it makes good sense to buy now! Call your Realtor, or give me call to discuss your specific real estate goals!

 

Source:  A Letter From President of the Aiken Chamber David Jamesome:

 

Just a few minutes ago, the United States Department of Energy announced that the Savannah River Site will receive $1.615 billion as part of the stimulus plan.  This funding will be used to accelerate decommissioning of nuclear facilities and contaminated areas throughout the Site, including in-place decommissioning of two nuclear materials production reactors. Recovery Act work includes shipping more than 4,500 cubic meters of waste out of South Carolina and will reduce the site's industrial area by 40 percent, or 79,000 acres, by September 2011.


This is a windfall for our region and should cushion current economic conditions.
This will create thousands of temporary jobs. Some of these jobs will be filled by local folks while other folks will be recruited from across the country. The impact of this announcement on our economy will begin to be felt within the next few weeks.

 

The Chamber Board of Directors dedicated its entire March 19th Board Meeting to brainstorming a contingency plan in anticipation of this announcement. 
My first directive was to make certain that our membership was immediately informed once the announcement was made.

The Board's second priority is to encourage our members to take advantage of this extraordinary opportunity without creating unfounded speculation.  In other words, we encourage you to make cautiously optimistic decisions with the understanding that investment and employment associated with this announcement will evaporate after 30 months.


I can say it again, loudly and clearly - 2009 is going to be a great year for business in Aiken, South Carolina.  Now, go and figure out how to carve out your piece of the pie.

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, April 01, 2009  12:16:29 PM
Thinking of buying a home…it’s like the “Perfect Strom” 0 Comments Posted

Thinking of buying a home…it’s like the “Perfect Strom”

 

All the conditions are right to buy right now! Low interest rates, new $8,000 tax incentive, lowest housing prices in years and plenty of homes for sale! It seems like several people are starting to take advantage of these conditions since it was recently released that the sales of existing homes sales where up in February 2009.

 

See article posted on Realtor.org: 

http://www.realtor.org/press_room/news_releases/2009/03/february_existing_home_sales?LID=RONav0021

 

Homes for sale in Aiken, SC according the Aiken Board of Realtors MLS data as of 3.27.09 are 1,463 with 155 pending contract. Year to date there has been approximately 220 homes closed with a monthly average of home sales of approximately 74, which is higher then the first of March 2009. The average sales price of an Aiken homes is currently $170,170 and the average Median price is $143,475.

 

You can search all the home listings in Aiken, SC that are listed in the Aiken Multiple List System by clicking this link:

 

http://www.vikkicrossland.com/default.asp?content=search&menu_id=5273

View Comments | Add Comment Friday, March 27, 2009  1:53:35 PM
Gem Lakes…the final phase of a Classic 0 Comments Posted

Gem Lakes…the final phase of a Classic

Premier builders Todd Gaul of Designer Homes and Steve Kisner, of Kisner Construction team up to develop the last phase of ever so popular area of Gem Lakes. This last phase consists of only 34 home sites ranging in size of .5- .78 acres tucked away within the city limits and offering public utilities. This final section boasts mature trees, lots of green space and access to Gem Lakes Recreation Area where you have lake access, swimming area; play ground, tennis court, picnic grounds, walking area. Gem Lakes Recreation Area is a wonderful spot to take a few moments out the hustle and bustle of everyday life to sit, relax to enjoy the sounds and beauty of nature. 

Gem Lakes Recreation Area offer several social events that are ideal for every person in your family. I understand April 18th they are having a Fishing Rodeo!  Here’s Gem Lakes Recreation Area website to check out all the fun they are planning:

http://www.gemlakes.org/index.html

To receive more information on Gem Lakes last phase contact Meybohm Realtors at 803.644.1720 or 803.644.1723 and will be happy to provide with the latest information.

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, March 17, 2009  10:38:40 AM
Update on Aiken, SC Real Estate Market… 0 Comments Posted

Update on Aiken, SC Real Estate Market…

Everyone has been hearing on national news reports of the declining home prices, longer days on the market, housing starts being down and foreclosure rates up.  I’m sure you have wondered how Aiken is being affected.

The Aiken real estate market overall has been flat with some decline since early 2007 and no real appreciation on most properties since that time. Based on the Aiken Multiple Listing System data there is a large  inventory of homes on the market for sale (currently 1,413) and year to date there have been 139 homes sold and closed. That averages approximately 69.5 homes closing a month, which means that we have a 20 month inventory of homes on the market for sale. (There are currently 153 homes pending contract.) Our real estate slow down or decline has been nothing like the states of Florida, Nevada, California and up North. One of the main reasons the real estate market in Aiken has softened is due to the market conditions in the other areas of the country where our potential buyers can not sell their homes.

The good news is there’s still strong interest for people wanting to relocate here to the Aiken area. I receive calls daily for information on Aiken and homes, and I have been showing more homes the past weeks too. There is news of new jobs coming to the Aiken area, as well as news about the new tax stimulus package and tax credit for first time buyers, which should help generate home sales. Aiken is still a good value for the quality of life it offers any family considering relocating here.

Since there’s a fair amount of inventory on the market, competition from new and resale properties is strong. If you want to sell a property in this current market you need to be the “best value” to get a buyers attention!  Pretend you are a buyer in the current market place; wouldn’t you pick the property that’s in the best condition, offers the most and stands out as the better value?

Data based on Aiken MLS sales data  from Jan. 1, 2009 to March 2nd, 2009

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, March 16, 2009  4:51:32 PM
Frequent Questions A First Time Buyers May Ask… 0 Comments Posted

Here is a series of questions a first time buyer may ask about the First Time Buyer Tax Credit. This information is from National Association of Realtors website. It provides good information for the consumer, addresses a lot of concerns a first time buyer may have and need to know about the tax credit.

 

FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYER TAX CREDIT

In 2008, Congress enacted a $7500 tax credit designed to be an incentive for first-time homebuyers to purchase a home. The credit was designed as a mechanism to decrease the over-supply of homes for sale. For 2009, Congress has increased the credit to $8000 and made several additional improvements. This revised $8000 tax credit applies to purchases on or after January 1, 2009 and before December 1, 2009.

Tax Credits -- The Basics

 

1. What’s this new homebuyer tax incentive for 2009?

 

The 2008 $7500, repayable credit is increased to $8000 and the repayment feature is eliminated for 2009 purchasers. Any home that is purchased for $80,000 or more qualifies for the full $8000 amount. If the house costs less than $80,000, the credit will be 10% of the cost. Thus, if an individual purchased a home for $75,000, the credit would be $7500. It is available for the purchase of a principal residence on or after January 1, 2009 and before December 1, 2009.

 

2. Who is eligible?

 

Only first-time homebuyers are eligible. A person is considered a first-time buyer if he/she has not had any ownership interest in a home in the three years previous to the day of the 2009 purchase.

 

3. How does a tax credit work?

 

Every dollar of a tax credit reduces income taxes by a dollar. Credits are claimed on an individual’s income tax return. Thus, a qualified purchaser would figure out all the income items and exemptions and make all the calculations required to figure out his/her total tax due. Then, once the total tax owed has been computed, tax credits are applied to reduce the total tax bill. So, if before taking any credits on a tax return a person has total tax liability of $9500, an $8000 credit would wipe out all but $1500 of the tax due. ($9,500 - $8000 = $1500)

 

4. So what happens if the purchaser is eligible for an $8000 credit but their entire income tax liability for the year is only $6000?

 

This tax credit is what’s called “refundable” credit. Thus, if the eligible purchaser’s total tax liability was $6000, the IRS would send the purchaser a check for $2000. The refundable amount is the difference

View Comments | Add Comment Friday, March 06, 2009  10:16:18 AM
First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit Reference Chart 0 Comments Posted

It’s time for all first time buyers to buy a home with the new improved tax incentives that are being offered! There is a wonderful amount of homes at reduced prices available in Aiken, SC, making it a smart time to buy your first home. The price per square foot being offered on some new homes is amazing. The interest rates are still low and there are several good financing programs available too. For more information contact your Realtor or give Vikki Crossland at Meybohm Realtors Southside office a call to discuss your specific real estate goals at 803.644.1720 or 803.644.1723

Chart Source Realtor.org

FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYER TAX CREDIT

As Modified in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

Major Modifications Italicized

February 2009 FEATURE

CREDIT AS CREATED JULY 2008

APPLIES TO ALL QUALIFIED PURCHASES ON OR AFTER APRIL 9, 2008

REVISED CREDIT –

EFFECTIVE FOR PURCHASES ON OR AFTER JANUARY 1, 2009 AND BEFORE DECEMBER 1, 2009

Amount of Credit

Lesser of 10 percent of cost of home or $7500

Maximum credit amount increased to $8000

Eligible Property

Any single family residence (including condos, co-ops, townhouses) that will be used as a principal residence.

No change

All principal residences eligible.

Refundable

Yes. Reduces (or can eliminate) income tax liability for the year of purchase. Any unused amount of tax credit refunded to purchaser.

No change

Purchasers will continue to receive refund for unused amount when tax return is filed.

Income Limit

Yes. Full amount of credit available for individuals with adjusted gross income of no more than $75,000 ($150,000 on a joint return). Phases out above those caps ($95,000 and $170,000).

No change

Same income limits continue to apply.

First-time Homebuyer Only

Yes. Purchaser (and purchaser’s spouse) may not have owned a principal residence in 3 years previous to purchase.

No change

Still available for first-time purchasers only. Three-year rule continues to apply.

Revenue Bond Financing

No credit allowed if home financed with state/local bond funding.

Purchasers who utilize revenue bond financing can use credit.

Repayment

Yes. Portion (6.67% of credit or $500) to be repaid each year for 15 years, starting with 2010 tax filing.

No repayment for purchases on or after January 1, 2009 and before December 1, 2009

Recapture

If home sold before 15-year repayment period ends, then outstanding balance of repayment amount recaptured on sale.

If home is sold within three years of purchase, entire amount of credit is recaptured on sale. Applies only to homes purchased in 2009.

Termination

July 1, 2009

(But note program changes for 2009)

December 1, 2009

Effective Date

Purchases on or after April 9, 2008 and before January 1, 2009. Repayment to begin for 2010 tax year.

All revisions are effective as of January 1, 2009

 

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, March 04, 2009  4:26:04 PM
HUD Launches New WEBSITE to Help Buyers 0 Comments Posted

HUD Launches New WEBSITE to Help Buyers

Americans need to educate themselves and understand the financial impact of buying a home. The MY MONEY, MY HOME, MY FUTURE website provides several interactive resources to help inform buyers about the understanding the financial process, self assessment tools, classes and online games.

Americans need to educate themselves and understand the financial impact of buying a home. The MY MONEY, MY HOME, MY FUTURE website provides several interactive resources to help inform buyers about the understanding the financial process, self assessment tools, classes and online games.

“It is imperative that Americans are better educated about their finances and understand what it takes to be a responsible homeowner,” said the HUD Secretary, Steve Preston.

“The resources on this site allow families to plan ahead to make smart choices about finances and home buying decisions.”

Considering buying a home in the Aiken, South Carolina? Check out this site and learn more about the financial process and get your self ready to MOVE.

http://portal.hud.gov/portal/page?_pageid=73,7620944&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL

For more information on the new tax credits, process of buying a home or information on any home in the Aiken area give your Realtor professional a call or contact Vikki Crossland at Vikki@VikkiCrossland.com  or her office at 803.644.1720

Source The Real Estate Professional magazine Jan/Feb. 2009 issue

View Comments | Add Comment Friday, February 27, 2009  3:17:48 PM
More about the “Point of Sale Property Tax” Assessment in South Carolina 0 Comments Posted

Continuing my concerns on this new tax reform in 2006 on when and how SC assessed your real estate from my earlier blog posted on 2.20.09.

 

Not only does this new tax reform discourage residential sales if deters commercial property sales.

 

The “Point of Sale Tax” deters investors to look and buy property in SC especially once the implications buying in South Carolina is considered. The problem they are facing in the commercial market is when property changes hands; there is increased tax burden on the property and the tax burden will lie with the tenant of the property. The investor has the pass that expense to their tenant to stay profitable and of course the tenant has to past the expense to the consumer.

 

Owners of commercial property have to raise their leases to maintain value; the value of commercial property is largely determined by the profits the property generates. If they are not allowed to increase their lease, the property value decreases as the commercial facilities operating income decreases.

 

A commercial facility may gain unfair advantage over another comparable commercial facility by maintaining continuous ownership which will discourage real estate transfers, which is another negative effect.

 

I highly suggest you contact your leaders in the House of Representatives and Senate to encourage them to pass new tax reform in 2009 to remove the “Point of Sale Tax” Assessment in South Carolina. Our growth and future of Aiken and entire state depends on it.

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, February 25, 2009  10:19:57 AM
Vikki Crossland Recognized for Internet marketing on Realtor.com in Aiken, SC! 0 Comments Posted
View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, February 18, 2009  4:27:14 PM
Discover Mount Vintage Plantation and Golf Club 0 Comments Posted

I recently visited and listed several fine properties; homes and lots that offer spectacular views and settings. Mount Vintage Plantation and Gold Club address is in North Augusta but is located in Edgefield County, South Carolina. This community is truly a hidden treasure!

Mount Vintage Plantation and Golf Club, is a meticulously maintained community, surrounded by the natural beauty of nature in a serene, welcoming setting. It is popular choice for people who enjoy a peaceful atmosphere but enjoy an active, fun filled lifestyle.  You can enjoy an unparalleled golf experience at Mount Vintage’s Tom Jackson designed 27 hole Championship Golf course that challenges any golfer.  Enjoy the full service clubhouse with dining facility and relax on covered porches over looking the practice greens.

Tennis anyone?  There are six Har Tru tennis courts, as well as an Athletic Center featuring junior size Olympic pool, state of the art fitness center, and Spa and Salon services.  You can check out your green thumb in the community garden center.

Horses are welcomed at Mount Vintage Plantation, where there is a fully equipped equestrian center with community barn, boarding faculties, pastures and 25 miles of riding, biking and walking trails.

Mount Vintage Plantation with it’s North Augusta, South Carolina,  Edgefield county location is perfectly located between Aiken, South Carolina and Augusta, Georgia where fine dining, arts, culture,  theatre, shopping, recreational and equestrian events are just a short drive away.

For more information on  my newly listed resale properties, other properties  located in Mount Vintage Plantation or in Aiken/Edgefield area  please feel free to  contact Vikki Crossland at Meybohm Realtors at #803-645-8008, #800-868-568-5625 x1720 or vikki@vikkicrossland.com

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, February 12, 2009  8:45:56 AM
Point of Sale Tax Assessment in South Carolina 0 Comments Posted

In 2006, SC changed the property tax structure which has had a negative effect on real estate market and economic growth for SC.

 

Prior to this change a county for example, like Aiken county assessed property every five years. The mileage rate was set to meet the budgetary needs of the county, given the total assessed property of the county. In 2006 this was changed to the “point of sale assessment” which means at each time a property is transferred its value is reassessed based on the sales price.

 

The problems that occurs with this type of assessment is neighboring properties now have gross differences in property tax obligations simply by one property sold after the change in 2006. In Aiken County the affects of this change have not been felt as much by the residents, as other counties but in time, especially when the real estate market starts moving and appreciating the effects will be felt and highly noticed!

 

This type of point of sale assessment encourages longtime residents not to sell in fear of their real estate taxes going up, even if they move to a smaller home of similar value. For example, you purchased a home for $100,000 in 2006, 10 years later you want to sell your home which now is worth $200,000 (remember your taxes where based on the original $100,000 purchase price). You choose another home which might be smaller, newer, easy care yard since you are older and about to retire in the same value range of the home you already own of $200,000. Your new home of the same value the real estate taxes will be based on $200,000 value since that’s the value at the point of sale. Most likely your taxes will be double! This causes a major disincentive for people to move from their existing home, hits hard families and retirees that are on tight limited budget. This will have a negative effect on the housing growth in Aiken county and thru out South Carolina.

 

In my next blog I will continue some thoughts on the 2006 Tax Reform that provided the Point of Sale Property Tax Assessment.

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, February 10, 2009  1:29:50 PM
Buy in the USA; better yet buy in Aiken, SC…Support our local business and community! 0 Comments Posted

Buy in the USA; better yet buy in Aiken, SC…Support our local business and community!

I just received this open E -letter to the community from the Aiken Chamber president with some very compelling reasons why we should support our local business and how the money helps our community.  Another good reason to buy locally instead of the sitting at home on the computer online, it gets you out into our wonderful  community we live in. there’s no place as special as Aiken, South Carolina.  Please read below.

An open letter to Our Community   

by J. David Jameson

President/CEO

 

Sometimes I'm really amazed.
 
At a dinner party before Christmas, someone was bragging about how much of their holiday shopping they had done on the internet.  Others chimed in about their shopping forays to other cities.  I was surprised at some of the banter because one couple at the table owned a local business.  Finally, someone said that they did their shopping locally and chided the others for not feeling a need to at least try to shop locally to help our businesses.  This guest beat me to the punch, because I had had about all I could stand of the conversation.
 
Within a few days of that incident, the Aiken Standard arrived with the USA Weekend insert that had an article entitled "Local & Loving It" in the GreenSmart section.  I missed it, but thankfully my wife, Sandra, reads the paper cover to cover, saw the article, and sat me down to read it right that minute.  The article quoted Stacy Mitchell, a researcher with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, who gave several good reasons to shop locally:

  • Of every $100 spent in a chain store, $14 goes back into the local economy.  For a locally owned business, $45 goes back.

  • Locally owned businesses buy a lot of services from other local businesses, so by buying from one local business, you're not only supporting that business, you're supporting other businesses. I did a little more research and found a recent Civic Economic Study conducted in Austin, Texas, that demonstrated that for every $100 spent locally, $42 is re-circulated in the community.  This validates the original numbers.

Here's another little tidbit of information and more motivation to shop locally.  The latest numbers put Aiken County retail sales over $2.4 billion annually.  WOW.  However, the same report underscores that an additional $800-$850 million is spent out of the county annually.  If you take the low end of lost sales and divide that by the County's population, that represents $3,000 dollars a year for every man, woman, and child being spent elsewhere.  If you're in a family of five, that adds up.
 
Sales outside of South Carolina also impact school funding.  Two years ago, the General Assembly placed a greater emphasis on sales tax revenue as a means to fund schools.  Funding for many school programs is mandated to be paid with sales tax revenue instead of property tax revenue.  Aiken County Public Schools had to reduce its budget by nearly $1 million this year because of reduced sales tax revenue.  Now, more than ever, shopping locally is important to funding our kids' education.
 
Let's create our own economic stimulus plan and shop locally.  Better yet, take an advanced step.  Purchase your goods and services from members of the Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce, who are listed at
www.aikenchamber.net.
 
Try it; you'll be amazed at how it benefits you - and our community.
 
Best wishes in 2009.
 
J. David Jameson
President/CEO

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, February 04, 2009  9:25:01 AM
Your Credit Rating Is Important 0 Comments Posted

Your Credit Rating Is Important

You know that your credit score is one of your most precious resources…a good score can open doors and save you money. But what if your score got a little bruised amid the recent credit crunch? Don’t fret. Max out your credit rating with these tips for repairing the damage.

 

·        Order your credit reports from the top three credit bureaus-Equifax, Trans Union and Experian. It’s likely that each is slightly different. Creditors aren’t required to report to all three credit bureaus, so they typically report only to the credit bureaus to which they subscribe.

·        Examine your reports carefully. Nearly every consumer has an error on at least one credit report from one of the major credit bureaus. Carefully look for everything form typing errors, outdated and incomplete information to inaccurate account histories. Make a through list of items you want to dispute and why.

·        Dispute. You can either complete the dispute form provided with your credit report or write a letter. Clearly identify each mistake, and state why it’s wrong. Send a photocopy of your credit report with the mistakes circled to the reporting credit bureau. Include copies of supporting documents.

·        Document, document, document. Keep copies and record of all the forms, letters and documentation you send to the credit bureaus, plus the dates you sent them. The credit bureaus must investigate any relevant dispute within 30 days of receiving you letter. Any item that is not verified by a creditor is removed.

       Source: BankRate.com

 

Mortgage money is available at unbelievable low rates plus there’s large inventory of value priced homes in Aiken/N. Augusta, SC area, be smart and take advantage of this opportunity.   

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, January 29, 2009  9:59:08 AM
One of the COLDEST NIGHTS in a long time in Aiken, SC… 0 Comments Posted

I thought these suggestions from the US Department of Energy maybe useful!

WARM WELCOME

In many parts of the country, temperatures are dropping and heating bills are rising. But there things you can do to keep warm and lower your heating costs. Consider these useful tips:

Take advantage of heat from the sun. During the day, open the curtains on windows with southern exposure to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home.

Cover drafty windows.  Use heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames. Make sure the plastic is sealed tightly.

Adjust the temperature. When you’re home and awake, set your temperature as low as is comfortable; when you’re asleep or out of the house, turn your thermostat back 10 or 15 degrees for eight hours.

Find and seal leaks. Seal air leaks around utility cut-troughs for pipes, gaps around chimneys, and recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets.

Reduce heat loss from fireplace. Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning. When you use the fireplace, open dampers in the bottom of the firebox or the nearest window slightly (approximately 1 inch) and close doors leading to room.

Lower water heating costs. Water heating can account for 14 percent to 25% of the energy consumed in your home. Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting of (120◦ F)

Source: www.energysavers.gov

View Comments | Add Comment Friday, January 16, 2009  10:31:22 AM
Grassroots Efforts by the Homebuilders Association 0 Comments Posted

I just received this email from the Homebuilder Association urging people to contact Congress and Senators to pass a financial rescue package. I felt it important enough for you to review and consider taking action. Several of the key components of the plan are very valid points and will benefit our economy. A stable housing market is imperative to bring our country out of this recession quickly.

I welcome your thoughts and opinions on this matter…Vikki

The source of this info below is from a Homebuilder Association email and copied in its entirely. 

URGE CONGRESS TO PASS A
FINANCIAL RESCUE PACKAGE ASAP!

Contact your U.S. Senators and Representatives TODAY!!

Once in your professional career extraordinary circumstances will cause you to do something you normally would hesitate to do. A situation will arise that compels you to act on behalf of your family, your business, and your country. Such a time has now arrived! It is time for everyone in the housing industry to act in unison, and act today!

It is now official the U.S. economy is in a recession – a fact home builders have know for almost two years! In what some financial analyst are calling the worse recession since the 1930 Great Depression, the home building industry has been devastated. Construction has dropped precipitously, housing inventory has increased dramatically, and foreclosures and bankruptcies are soaring. As a result our U.S. building industry has loss 3 million jobs, there are 6 million homes on the market, and U.S homeowner’s wealth has decreased trillions of dollars as a result of declining home prices. Our industry is in the second year of this severe recession with no sign of relief in sight!

History has shown that when the housing industry is strong the US economy is strong, and when it is not the economy suffers. What we need now is federal action to jumpstart the housing industry – a short term stimulus package to get the housing engine humming again. This will help our industry, our home owner/buyers, and the U.S. economy.

To address this dire situation the Home Builders Association has worked with industry allies to come up with a short term targeted federal stimulus package that will provide immediate results. The incentive package is modeled after a successful federal program implemented in 1975 that turned the housing industry around. The key components of the plan are:

Homebuyer Tax Credit - Enhance the existing first-time homebuyer tax credit by:

A.                 Expanding tax credit eligibility to all buyers of principal residences.

B.                 Increasing credit amount to $10,000 to $22,000 based on local house prices.

C.                 Repealing all recapture rules (make a true tax credit).

D.                 Extending expiration date to December 31, 2009.

E.                  Increasing income phase-outs to $125,000 ($250,000 for married taxpayers).

F.                  Allowing tax credit to be claimed at settlement as a down payment on home.

Mortgage Interest Rate Incentive - Establish a temporary below-market mortgage fixed

interests rate program via buy-downs for buying houses.

A.                 2.99% 30-year mortgages for contracts closed between now and  June

                        30, 2009.

B.                 3.99% 30-year mortgages purchased between July 1, 2009 and December

                        31, 2009.

Increased Liquidity for Mortgage and AC&D loans – Reform lending regulations.

Foreclosure Mitigation – Continue foreclosure mitigation to keep people in their homes.

This aggressive proposal will bring consumers back to the market, reduce inventories of unsold homes and stabilize home values by focusing on temporary programs that will strengthen housing demand and promote economic recovery. The proposed package will increase home purchases by 1.2 million homes in 2009, which would help soak up the excess supply and push house prices back in the positive direction. The economic stimulus created by established households moving into new homes, and the added construction necessary to answer demand where there is no excess supply, will create over 600,000 jobs, $29 billion in wages and salaries, $23 billion in business income and, tax revenues of $16 billion for the federal government and $5 billion for state and local governments.Unfortunately the current economic problem is a nationwide problem requiring federal action and action now! 

Once in your professional career extraordinary circumstances will cause you to do something on behalf of your family, your business, and your country that you normally would hesitate to do. Such a time has now arrived! It is absolutely critical that Congress hear from all members of the home building industry now on this critical issue!! Please take a moment out now to respond to this request.

When Congress returns in early January, the Federal Stimulus Bill will be drafted and passed. It is very important that the HBA Housing Proposal be part of this important stimulus legislation. Please take a moment to call or email your Senators and Congressman.

Congressmen                                 Phone                FAX               Website

Sen. Lindsey Graham                202-224-5972 202-224-3808 lgraham.senate.gov

Sen. Fritz Hollings                     202-224-6121 202-224-4293 hollings.senate.gov

Rep. Henry Brown                   202-225-3176 202-225-3407 house.gov/henrybrown

Rep. Joe Wilson                       202-225-2452 202-225-2455 joewilson.house.gov

Rep. Gresham Barrett               202-225-5301 202-225-3216 house.gov/barrett

Rep. Jim DeMint                      202-225-6030 202-226-1177 demint.house.gov

Rep. John Spratt                       202-225-5501 202-225-0464 house.gov/spratt

Rep. Jim Clyburn                      202-225-3315 202-225-2313 house.gov/clyburn

Tell them:

1.       As a tax payer and a business person, you support a financial stimulus bill that expands the current homebuyer income tax incentive, creates a new mortgage interest rate incentive program, provides regulatory flexibility to provide liquidity in the mortgage and construction loans, and promotes foreclosure mitigation. Commend them for their support in these proposals.

2.       Tell them that Congress must act to craft new legislation in January that helps restore stability to the economy. Lack of bold action by Congress is pushing our nation into recession and the ensuing financial chaos will hurt every U.S. citizen.  

Thank you for your help with this extremely important grassroots effort! Lack of action by Congress is not an option. The alternatives are much worse for all South Carolinians.

Click the link below to log in and send your message:
http://www.votervoice.net/link/target/hbasc27399993.aspx

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, December 18, 2008  2:57:59 PM
Lower Interest Rates Possible? 0 Comments Posted

4.5% Rates Possible?

The news is abuzz about the Treasury lowering home loan rates to 4.5% to stem the foreclosure crisis but details have been lacking. The Treasury Department stated it is looking for additional ways to help the struggling housing industry and believes lower rates are needed.

This idea is similar to the November 26th announcement from the Federal Reserve where they indicated the intent to purchase up to $500 billion in mortgage-backed securities from Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae. In addition they would buy another $100 billion in direct debt issued by those firms. The November news caused bond prices to spike higher and forced mortgage rates lower. Just like any commodity, whenever tremendous buying interest exists, prices rise. Mortgage rates fell almost 1/2% in rate following the announcement. However, the following week market forces continued and rates spiked a bit higher from the recent lows.

It is important to remember that there are no details to the Treasury plan as of yet. The Federal Government does not directly dictate home loan rates. Rates are determined by price movements of Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS), which compete for investor funds in the open market. The Treasury can buy mortgage bonds on the open market but remember that they are not the only entity buying and selling these instruments.

The Treasury is in a very tough position in trying to manipulate home loan rates. Creating a new Federal mortgage program could be very risky. How would rates be set, who would qualify, and can the funds be used for purchases and refinances are just some of the questions being asked. The other critical concern is implementing such a program without destroying the current mortgage securities market. Doing so could have the unintended consequence of causing additional economic turmoil.

Rates are not going to 4.5% with the wave of a wand by Hank Paulson or Ben Bernanke. As a matter of fact, the massive borrowing to fund the TARP program has a negative effect on rates. At this time, the announcement still leaves a lot of uncertainty. What we do know is that rates are at historic lows and house prices have moderated setting up a great scenario for people who need to refinance or are looking to buy a home. Waiting for rates to fall to 4.5% may leave people sorely disappointed.

Thanks for the update Matt Hunter!! If you have any questions please give Vikki Crossland a call at 800-868-5625 ext 720

View Comments | Add Comment Friday, December 05, 2008  4:12:06 PM
Aiken, SC Annual’s Downtown Tree Lighting Ceremony & Aiken Christmas Parade 0 Comments Posted

Downtown Aiken comes alive this weekend with holiday spirit on December 5th at 6pm when Mayor Fred Cavanaugh lights up the downtown area’s tree and holiday lights. Magically all the holiday lights turn on lighting up the streets with beautiful sparkling lights. You’ll find carolers and other special holiday events through out the upcoming days before December 25th making shopping, dining and just strolling downtown Aiken a day to remember!

On Sunday afternoon at 2pm December 7th is Aiken Annul Christmas Parade, this is lot of fun and a favorite of the locals to see their friends and family in a parade…. of course Santa always makes an appearance!

The magically spirit of Aiken never ends!

Visiting Aiken, just in town for the holidays or considering purchasing a home or property in Aiken, SC give Vikki Crossland at Meybohm Realtors a call for caring and professional service or you can a complimentary information package on Aiken full of valuable and interesting info, local map on Aiken. Just call 803-644-1720 or email her at  vikki@vikkicrossland.com  Vikki  has  been selling Aiken area since 1985, loves the community  and has thousands of happy home buying endings!

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, December 04, 2008  9:15:47 AM
Meybohm.Com Makes the Top Ten List 0 Comments Posted

Breaking News…Meybohm Realtors’ newly redesigned website was ranked #10, for the “TOP TEN Brokerage Website in AMERICA!” This is real exciting news for us, especially since there are tons of brokerage websites out there and Meybohm Realtors did not even submit for this recognition. A company called 1000wattconsulting and real Trends ranked websites for this award.

Companies were reviewed and rated based on the clarity, ease of use, the bottom line, individuality and practically of the brokerage website. Meybohm Realtors website was designed for consumer use, offers a lot of good information to the consumer whether buying or selling a home.

Go and visit www.meybohm.com and see what all the excitement is about!

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, December 02, 2008  2:09:23 PM
There’s a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving… 0 Comments Posted

With all the ups and downs of financial and real estate market, we do live in the greatest country. A country as compared to others is willing to help others in time of need even when they are going thru hard times.  Aiken is a community that is known for its kindness and generosity too, especially at Thanksgiving. Experience a special event by going downtown Aiken for the “One Table Thanksgiving Dinner”. It certainly will remind you how blessed we are to we live in the wonderful community of Aiken.

The One Table Thanksgiving Dinner will take place in the Alley from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. You will see over 2,000 families fed; food donated by locals, several charities, churches support by bringing the tables and there’s hundreds of volunteers!

I personally want to thank you for all your kind thoughts, and always appreciate the support you have given me in the past, currently and in the future! May the new season bring you and your family all good things and have a happy Thanksgiving!

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, November 26, 2008  3:48:13 PM
CONFUSED …ARE HOME LOANS AVIALIBALE???? 0 Comments Posted

I asked Matt, at Hunter Mortgage the simple question, is there money to lend on homes and are there lower down payment programs  available after all the mortgage meltdown. You will be happy to read his answer he sent me below!   Vikki Crossland

Is there money available?

I've been asked by several potential borrowers and realtors as well,” Is there money still available to borrow for a home loan?"  The answer is "YES".  It certainly isn't a easy to come by these days.  Most of the low and no down payment financing has gone away and the stated income and asset loans are gone, probably forever.  What does that mean to you?

There is still one true 100% program still available for home located outside of the city limits and for borrowers making below certain income limits depending on the number of people in the household.  We also still have the State Housing program.  Again, it is income dependent but not geographically restricted.  The program requires a 3% down payment but the Housing Authority will give $5000 toward the down payment.  The FHA program is going very strong.  For someone with a 3.5% down payment (this recently went up from 3%), this could be the program for you.  That down payment can be gifted by a family member even.

All mortgages have moved to full documentation a loan that means that you'll have to show a Year-To-Date paystub, two years W-2s and two months worth of bank statements.  If you're self employed that translates to two years worth of tax returns showing enough income to support the mortgage payments.  The self-employed are probably the hardest hit because many take as many deductions as possible which sometimes doesn't leave much for the mortgage payment.

So the money is still out there for well qualified borrowers.  It's become more of a documentation nightmare at times but the interest rates have held very nicely and we are currently seeing a downward trend.  For a well-qualified client, a 30-Year fixed is at 5.500% today.

One other note is that for clients looking to refinance, an FHA mortgage will allow them to go to 95% of their home's value.  For people that took out a first and a second mortgage to buy a home, now maybe the time to refinance it and get one low fixed rate for the life of the loan.

Call me to get more information.

Matt Hunter

Hunter Mortgage Inc

803-644-4010

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, November 25, 2008  9:06:23 AM
Greek Festival in Augusta, Georgia 0 Comments Posted

The 19th Annual Greek Festival starts tomorrow, Thursday, October 9th and runs thru Sunday, October 12th. There will be four days of live music, Greek dancing, authentic Greek cuisine and pastries, Greek market, church tours, free balloons and more. You can even take out or drive thru and pick up Greek food.  Best of all the admission and parking is free!

The festival is located on the corner of Tenth and

Greene Street
in Augusta an easy 30 minute drive from Aiken. The hours of the Greek Festival are Thursday 11am-8pm, Friday and Saturday: 11am-10pm and Sunday 11am-8pm.

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, October 09, 2008  10:20:37 AM
Matt's Weekly Mortgage Update.. 0 Comments Posted

Here is an update from Matt Hunter regarding mortgages:

Ouch that hurts!  As the continuing uncertainty remains in the financial sector, the future often looks very bleak.  If there is a silver lining, it's that the Aiken market is still very strong.  It continues to be a buyers market and out of town clients moving to the area can enjoy some great opportunities.  While underwriting guidelines have tightened, the requests are not unreasonable for qualified buyers.  It helps to have a mortgage professional on you side through these changes.
One of the biggest changes is when it comes to someone buying a new home and turning their current home into investment property.  In order to count rent from the current home, there has to be 30% equity in that property and the borrower will have to have 12 months of mortgage payments in reserves.  If the borrower can support both payments, you're much better off  than trying to show the financial strength to turn their current home into an investment.
Mortgage bond prices fell last week pushing mortgage interest rates higher. The $700 billion bailout plan dominated the financial markets as uncertainty loomed and the liquidity crisis continued. Fed Chairman Bernanke warned the economy is under extraordinary stress and pleaded with Congress to act swiftly. Despite the pleadings, as of late Friday the uncertainty remained. Trading in the financial markets was extremely volatile and oil prices were erratic. For the week, interest rates on government and conventional loans rose by about 1/8 of a point.
Thanks Matt! If you would like to speak with Matt please call him at 803-644-4010
View Comments | Add Comment Monday, September 29, 2008  4:11:22 PM
Ford Trucks Equestrian Balloon Festival in Aiken, SC 0 Comments Posted

This festival has something of interest for everyone. I missed this event last year and plan to attend, even to  just to see the 20 colorful  hot air balloons that will dot our Aiken sky when released early Saturday and Sunday morning. The event will be held at the Aiken Polo Club Powderhouse Fields September 19-21, 2008

I have been in a hot air balloon several years back when I visited Australia. I felt like a feather floating across the sky, perfectly calm and quite… until they add more hot air to keep the balloon afloat. It’s a bit noisy, for a few seconds or so.  I enjoyed the experience very much and would not hesitate to go again! There will be balloon rides available, for further information call 888.881.4001.

This is a fun filled event that will benefit the families of our service men and women. This event is for the entire family but with a special message to our service men and women serving overseas… you maybe overseas, but you are not forgotten. Admission is free with a donation to the families of our service men and women from Fort Gordon Army Base.

There will be numerous vendors and a packed full schedule of events daily, starting Friday at 3:30pm, vendor village, kid’s equestrian games, grooms race, tether balloon rides, kids stick horse races and fireworks at 8:00pm and that’s just Friday evening.

For a schedule of events visit: www.poloamerica.com  which is also, an informative website in regards to polo; The Sport of Kings. You can also call 888-881-4002.

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, September 17, 2008  11:01:50 AM
Downtown Aiken, SC After Six 0 Comments Posted

Downtown after Six is starting back up this week! Aiken Downtown Development Association is coordinating Downtown after 6…

Where did Van Gogh? This event will be held this upcoming Thursday, September 18th, 6-9pm.

 

Their brochures say …Join us for a “Starry Night” in downtown Aiken. Travel from shop to shop to visit with local artist and view their work. There are maps available at the ADDA offices in the Alley or at any of the participating stores the night of the event. For more information call 649-2221.

 

Come down and join the fun in downtown Aiken this Thursday night.

 

Here are some of the participating stores:

 

Aiken Center for the Arts          Cote Designs

Lioned Smith, Ltd                           Stoplight Deli

Meybohm Realtors                      Women’s Echoes

Connie’s Framing                        Tea Garden Gifts

Desserves, LLC                           Panache Interiors

Equine Divine                              Pink Clothing Co.

The Curiosity Shop                      Sweet Cow Creamery

Nandina Home and Design          Blanchard and Calhoun

Century 21                                    Exit Realty

Up and Away Balloons and Fudge        

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, September 15, 2008  10:26:27 AM
Aiken, SC Residential Sales Data as of 8/31/08 0 Comments Posted

The average sold price of a home is $212,997 as of 8/31/08. When you   compare that number to the first six month period of 2008 which was $219,274 we have dropped about 3%.  If you read an earlier blog posted 6/18/08 there where a couple of very large sales which did raise the average sold price. I believe the average sold prices are adjusting from those large sales. The average Median Sold Price* is $166,400 for the first eight months of the year, barely 1% less than the average Median sold price of the first six month of 2008.

 

As of today, 9/7/08, there are 959 homes available for sale. There has been an increasing number of homes listed for sale, with an average of 46 homes closing contract a month. The inventory is growing making it an opportunity for buyers to have a good selection of homes and perfect time to negotiate before the market turns.  Our total sales volume is off 22% as compared to the same time period last year.

 

It is a buyer’s market, but as I have said before, it’s only a buyers market if you buy!

 

*Personally I do not find the Median Sold Price as useful as the Average Sold Price. Let me explain why. One extremely large sale can raise the Median Sold Price which would not give the public a real picture of home values in Aiken, SC.  It is simply the point at which half of the homes in Aiken sold for more, and half sold for less. If, a large amount of homes are sold in Aiken where home prices are high, the median sales price will trend higher. If a large amount of homes are sold in Aiken where home prices where low, the median sales price will trend lower. Again, all that the Median Sales Price tells us is the price point at which half the homes in Aiken sold for more, and half sold for less.

 

Sales data based on Aiken MLS data from 1/1/08 to 8/30/08 in Aiken NW, SW,NE, NW and Aiken rural

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, September 08, 2008  12:42:15 PM
Strong Senior Community through Education…Aiken Senior Extravaganza! 0 Comments Posted

Active retirees have been flocking to the Aiken, SC area for the past several years. The importance of providing services to our aging community is important. I understand the need to be aware of the services available and the issues that affect our seniors. I recently have spent a lot of time assisting my aging parents, struggling researching to find the right answers in how to help them, understand medical treatments, as well as Medicare, secondary insurance, assisted living and plan for their special needs. I have found Aiken does offers a lot of services and resources to families. You just have to search it out and ask lots of questions.

 

There will be a Aiken Senior Extravaganza on Wednesday, September 17, 2008 at H.O’Dell Weeks Activity Center between 8:00am-3:00pm.   This is an opportunity to spend the day in educational seminars covering several of the dilemmas I have faced recently plus a health care display fair. This is open to the public and free!

Some of the sessions are as follows:

Women’s Health Issues

Care of the Aging Eye

Pain in not Normal-Common Pain Disorders and Treatment

The Benefits of Preplanning Your Health Care Choices-Health Care Power of Attorney

Alzheimer’s Disease-Early Signs and Symptoms

Everything You Need to Know about Medicare

The Anti Inflammatory Diet for Weight Loss and Disease Avoidance

The education seminars will be limited to the first 250 people who register.

For more information call 803.642.7631.

View Comments | Add Comment Friday, September 05, 2008  12:05:11 PM
Touch A Horse Day…For People Of All Ages 0 Comments Posted

Bridle Creek a one of Aiken’s newest and popular equestrian community will be presenting Aiken’s first “Touch A Horse Day”. This fun filled event will be held on Saturday September 13th, 2008 between 10am and 1pm. “Mansa” one of Aiken’s LARGEST and most gentle horse will be there. There will be several activities for young and the young at heart. You can participate in pony rides, opportunity to meet and chat with polo players and watch a horse jumping demonstration. Southern Saddlery are sponsoring a dog agility demonstration, hay rides through Bridle Creek will be sponsored by Aiken Saddlery, and the games for children are sponsored by Boots Bridles and Britches.

 

Looking for a new pet? There will be shelter animals to adopt and spray neuter awareness information will be available! All donations received at the entry will go to benefit Aiken County Animal Shelter.

 

The Bridle Creek community vision was to create an equestrian development focused on old familiar Aiken concepts: preservation and beauty. Bridle Creek is a well planned community and appeals not only to families with horses but for the family who appreciate the beauty and preservation of our environment. There is a variety of lots from 1.3 acres to 15 plus acres. For more information give us a call and we will be happy to provide you further information. Or visit: www.bridlecreekaiken.com

 

 To locate the Bridle Creek Community, go south on

Banks Mill Road
to
1140 Colbert Bridge Road
.

 

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, September 03, 2008  11:33:29 AM
Edisto Lake - An Idyllic Lakeside Community in Aiken County, SC 0 Comments Posted

Edisto Lake - An Idyllic Lakeside Community in Aiken County, SC

 

 

 

Recently I had the pleasure of visiting Edisto Lake; a private gated community away from the hustle and bustle of big city life with a pristine 200 acre lake.   Edisto Lake offers a hundred lakeside home sites on which 60 have already been built on.  The community has a road that gently curves in and around the lake and community. The area offers a tall canopy of mature trees, lush grounds and fabulous views of Edisto Lake. The lake offers wonderful fishing opportunity for the angler. The lake offers bass, crappie, blue gill and catfish.  I personally saw several large bass off the dock of one of the home sites! You can also enjoy bird watching, boating (no wake policy), swimming, walking areas and just a wonderful place to slow down, catch your breath and enjoy the simple pleasures of life.

Edisto Lake is located just outside of the town of Wagener in Aiken County and is a very scenic drive from Aiken. You'll pass by numerous horse farms, fine estates and farmlands heading to Wagener; it is approximately a 30 minute drive. You are about equal driving time to Columbia.

Here are some pictures of the lake and link to a fabulous newer home that is available for sale with its own private dock where you can be nature's neighbor!

View my new listing:

http://www.vikkicrossland.com/default.asp?content=expanded&search_content=my_listings&this_format=0&mls_number=63681&page=1&sortby=2

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, August 28, 2008  1:08:46 PM
MONTMORENCI VINEYARDS 0 Comments Posted

France, Italy, Germany, maybe even California, but Aiken, South Carolina?  Aiken isn’t the first place you think of when it comes to wine. However, just down the road from the city of Aiken, is Montmorenci Vineyards-one of the South’s few commercial wineries.  They grow all their grapes on site, offer wine tasting, and have continually produced award winning wines.  White wines, red wines, rose (pink) wines, sweet wines, and sparkling wines, Montmorenci Vineyards offer just about everything you need to complement your meal or to celebrate a joyful occasion.

But what makes Montmorenci Vineyards unique is the great care and personal attention with which they treat each bottle.  Only the highest quality grapes are selected and then hand picked, gently pressed, cold fermented in small lots, and then bottled with a most delicate touch.  Those of us who appreciate the exquisite art of winemaking will know just how much a difference this personal care makes. 

The ancient Greeks considered wine as a medicine. So cook a nice chicken or fish dinner, stop by Montmorenci Vineyards for a lovely bottle of Blanc du Bois, and enjoy the best of “medicines.” Doctors orders.

View Comments | Add Comment Friday, August 22, 2008  12:06:33 PM
Matt Hunter's Weekly Mortgage Update 8/17/08... 0 Comments Posted
Mortgage bond prices rose last week pushing mortgage interest rates lower. Stronger than expected consumer price index data did little to help alleviate inflation fears. CPI rose 0.8%, higher than the expected 0.4% increase. The core, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, rose 0.3%, higher than the expected 0.2% increase. Fortunately strength in the US dollar and falling oil prices helped mortgage bonds rally. For the week, interest rates on government and conventional loans fell by about 1/4 of a discount point.
The producer price index Tuesday will be the most important event this week. Housing starts and leading economic indictors data will be carefully watched. Look for oil prices and the strength of the US dollar to continue to factor into trading
Thanks Matt for the update!
Vikki Crossland
View Comments | Add Comment Sunday, August 17, 2008  1:14:06 PM
“THE BIG MO” Experience…easy 30 minutes drive from Aiken, SC! 0 Comments Posted

Looking for something to do in Aiken this weekend? It's the end of the summer and there's never been a better time to go to an old fashion drive in theater. This will take you back to the fabulous 1950's.The Big Mo originally opened in 1951 and was briefly closed for 13 years, but was revived in 1999 as one of the best American traditions of entertainment. There are two screens to choose from each offering different double features. At the full service concession stand there are hot dogs, hamburgers, sausage dogs, corn dogs, BBQ Sandwich, popcorn, nachos, ice cream and soft drinks! See you at the movies! For more info visit: http://www.thebigmo.com

Directions:

Take I-20 to exit 33 (SC Route 39)
Take SC 39 to Monetta, SC (approx. 7 miles.)
Turn right onto US 1.
The drive-in is approximately one mile down US 1 on the right.

Physical address of drive-in for mapping/gps purposes only: 

5822 Columbia Highway North, Monetta SC  29105
.

5822 Columbia Highway North, Monetta SC  29105
.

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, August 14, 2008  9:44:13 AM
Matt Hunter's Weekly Update... 0 Comments Posted

Weekly Update from Matt Hunter from Hunter Mortgage.....

Mortgage bond prices fell last week pushing mortgage interest rates higher. Inflation readings the first part of the week set the tone. Rates remained worse the middle portion of the week following the Fed meeting and significant stock strength. Fortunately that trend reversed the latter portion of the week helped by higher than expected weekly jobless claims and strong foreign demand for US debt. This helped mortgage bonds recover some of the earlier losses. For the week, interest rates on government and conventional loans rose by about 3/8 of a discount point.
The consumer price index Thursday will be the most important event this week. Be cautious heading into the other data releases as they still have the potential to result in market volatility

Matt Hunter, Hunter Mortgage, 803-644-4010

Thanks Matt for Your Update!!!

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, August 11, 2008  12:40:02 PM
Quick Facts from Christie’s and Christie's Great Estates 0 Comments Posted

Quick Facts from Christie’s and

Christie’s Great Estates

 

  • In 2007, the Christie’s Great Estates global network achieved combined sales in excess of $125 billion
  • In 2007, Christie’s reported total sales of $6.3 billion
  • The Christie’s Great Estates network is comprised of 150 companies with 850 offices in 41 countries
  • Average list price of properties advertised in Christie’s Great Estates magazine: $8.02 million
  • Average sale price of a property marketed through Christie’s Great Estates:

$7.5 million   

  • Christie’s Great Estates is currently marketing two properties valued at $125 million: Dunnellen Hall in Greenwich, Connecticut (David Ogilvy & Associates) and Fleur de Lys in Beverly Hills, California (Hilton & Hyland).

 

  • Average list price on www.christiesgreatestates.com: $3.8 million
  • Number of properties posted: 6,800
  • 92% of the homes on the site are valued at $1 million and above
  • Number of properties valued at more than $10 million:  421
  • Number of countries with active listing:  43
  • Average hits per month: 8,679,385
  • Visitor sessions per month:  229,572
  • Unique visitors per month:  81,476
  • Monthly average of click-through from Christie’s, www.christies.com: 2,915

Visit www.christiesgreatestates.net for monthly Web updates.

Top Real Estates Sales, 2007- 08

 

§         Milbank MansionNew York, New York

Closing Date: March 1, 2008  -  Sale Price: $49,000,000

Brown Harris Stevens Residential Sales, LLC

           

§        John H. Duncan MansionNew York, New York

Closing Date: November 1, 2007  -  Sale Price $35,000,000

Brown Harris Stevens Residential Sales, LLC

 

§        Round Hill with Breathtaking Views – Greenwich, Connecticut

Closing Date: January 1, 2008 – Sale Price $30,000,000

David Ogilvy & Associates, Inc.

 

            Visit www.christiesgreatestates.net for a printable version of full   Significant Sales             list

           

        Top Art Sales 2008

 

§         “Le basin aux nympheas”

Claude Monet, 1919

Sold for $80.5 million

Christie’s London - June 24, 2008

 

§         “Triptych 1974-77”

Francis Bacon

Sold for $51.7 million

Christie’s London – February 6, 2008

 

§         “No. 15”

Mark Rothko

Sold for $ 50.4 million

Christie’s New York – May13, 2008

 

 

 

Source of information:  Christie’s and Christie’s Great Estates as of 7/10/08

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, August 07, 2008  8:35:12 AM
New Housing Stimulus Package has $7,500 Tax Credit for First Time Buyers! 0 Comments Posted

All first time buyers or buyers who have not own a home for past 3 years, it’s time to buy; this is a great opportunity for you to advantage of the lower prices, good inventory and still lower rates before they rise. Here are some quick facts for your review.

Who is Eligible

·        The $7,500 tax credit is available for first time buyers only.

·        The law defines a first time buyer as a buyer who has not owned a home during the past three years

·        All U.S. citizens who file taxes are eligible to participate in the program

Income Limits

·        Home buyers who file as single or head of household taxpayers can claim the full $7,500 credit if their adjusted gross income (AGI) is less than $75,000.

·        For married couples filing joint return, the income limit doubles to $150,000.

·        Single or head of household taxpayers who earn between $75,000 and $95,000 are eligible to receive a partial first time home buyer tax credit

·        Married couples who earn between $15,000 and $170,000 are eligible to receive a partial first time buyer tax credit.

·        The credit is not available for single taxpayers whose AGI is greater than $95,000 and married couples with an AGI that exceeds $170,000

Effective Dates for the Tax Credit

·        First time home buyers would receive a $7,500 tax credit for the purchase of any home on or after April 9, 2008 and before July 1, 2009. To qualify, you must actually close on the sale of the home during this period.

Tax Credit is Refundable

·        A refundable credit means that if you pay less than $7,500 in federal income taxes, then the government will write you a check for the difference.

·        For example, if you owe $5,000 in federal income taxes, you would pay nothing to the IRS and receive a $2,500 payment from the government

·        If you are due to receive a $1,000 tax refund from the government, your refund would grow to $8,750 ($1,000 plus $7,500 from the home buyer tax credit).

·        Buyers can take the tax credit in their 2008 and 2009 tax return.

·        If you purchased the home in 2008, the tax credit is taken on your 2008 tax return. If you buy in 2009, you have the option of taking the credit on your 2008 or 2009 tax return.

Types of Homes that Qualify for the Tax Credit

·        All homes, whether single family, town homes or condominium apartments will qualify, provided that the home will be used as a principal residence and the buyer has not owned a home in the prior three years. This also includes newly-constructed homes.

Payback Provisions

·        The tax credit essentially serves as an interest free loan to be repaid over 15 years.

·        For example, a home buyer claiming a $7,500 credit would repay the credit at $500 per year. If the home owner sold the home, then the remaining credit would be due from the profit of the home sale.

·        If there was insufficient profit, then the remaining credit payback would be forgiven.

 

Contact your Realtor or Vikki Crossland at 803.644.1720 to take advantage of this special opportunity!

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, August 04, 2008  8:40:07 AM
2008 Fried Green Tomato Festival 0 Comments Posted

Looking to do something different this upcoming weekend? Head out to the Iron Horse Bar and Grill in Beech Island, SC on August 2, 2008 at 1pm. This will be their 3rd Annual festival. They will be serving up one of the southerner’s favorite dish of fried green tomatoes; honestly I have never tried one but I hear they are delicious!  I have always been patient enough to wait and enjoy a red ripe tomato off the vine. I have lived in the South long enough, that it’s about time I try a fried green tomato!

There will be a classic car and bike show to check out plus several live bands. All donations will benefit Make A Wish Foundation! Sounds like a lot fun for a worthy cause!

For more information visit this site:
http://www.ironhorsebarandgrill.net/Festival.html

View Comments | Add Comment Monday, July 28, 2008  8:47:17 AM
Rates are under pressure from strong economic data and improving stocks. 0 Comments Posted

In news released this morning, orders for durable goods rose 0.8%, much stronger than expectations for a decrease of 0.3%. Strong economic data can be inflationary and has traders on edge this morning. Also, the University of Michigan sentiment stood at 61.2, stronger than the expected read of 56.4. Lastly, new home sales stood at 533k, better that the 500k expectations.

Provided by:

Matt Hunter

Hunter Mortgage Inc

803-644-4010

Thanks Matt for your update!

Sounds like the people who are thinking about buying and getting a mortgage should buy now before the interest rates rise! There’s a great amount of inventory of homes and some real values out there. I just listed a home for over 1,300 square feet that was updated, 3 beds/2.5 baths plus a 2 car garage priced to sell quickly for $119,900. Works well for an investor or homeowner.

View Comments | Add Comment Friday, July 25, 2008  5:01:41 PM
Christie’s Great Estates and Meybohm Realtors form an Affiliation 0 Comments Posted

Meybohm Realtors is very excited about this new affiliation and now can offer international marketing for their distinctive and luxury homes enhancing the Meybohm Fine marketing program. The Fine marketing program Meybohm Realtors offers is one the most effective and extensive marketing programs available for selling distinctive and  luxury  homes in the Aiken and the Central Savannah River  area. For more information visit these websites or contact Vikki Crossland at 800.868.5625 x1720, 803.645.8008 or 803.644.1720 to learn more about Christie’s Great Estates and the Meybohm Fine Marketing Program.

http://meybohm-fine.com/

http://www.christiesgreatestates.com/

Christie's Great Estates, a wholly owned subsidiary of Christie's, the world's oldest fine art auction house, is the largest network of real estate brokers dedicated to the marketing and sale of important properties. The network comprises more than 850 real estate offices and nearly 35,000 sales associates in more than 40 countries. The combined annual sales volume of all affiliate real estate companies is approximately $125 billion.

The Christie's name is synonymous with quality, integrity, and customer satisfaction, and the marketing efforts of Christie's and Christie's Great Estates provide far-reaching exposure to a qualified audience of homeowners and homebuyers.

Only brokers who have a leading market share, meet strict standards of service excellence, and demonstrate proven records of success in handling distinctive properties can become affiliated brokers and utilize the well-known and highly respected Christie's Great Estates brand name.

Through an exclusive system of advertising, marketing, and listing tools, Christie's Great Estates provides access to a worldwide audience. Properties are showcased in Christie's Great Estates magazine, which is published four times a year; in custom-designed property brochures distributed worldwide; on the Christie's Great Estates Web site, and in Christie's Magazine and other highly regarded international publications.

Source:  Christie’s Great Estates website

View Comments | Add Comment Thursday, July 24, 2008  9:56:50 AM
Meybohm Aiken Real Estate Guide 0 Comments Posted

The July/August 2008 issue just became available; it is full of the latest new listings, price reductions and lots of great properties available for sale in the Aiken area. If, you would like a current real estate guide sent to you, please email at Vikki@VikkiCrossland.com and let me know your request.  I will need your name, mailing address and any specific info you would like me to include. I’ll get it off to you ASAP!

Buyers… it is a great time to take advantage of the great rates before they go back up, the lower prices and the wonderful inventory of properties currently available. You can take the “wait and see” approach but once the market turns you can lose the luxury of time and  miss an opportunity available in the current real estate market. Contact your Realtor or my office at 803.644.1720 or you can email me at Vikki@VikkiCrossland.com to discuss this unique opportunity.

View Comments | Add Comment Wednesday, July 23, 2008  9:18:13 AM
Aiken Homes Sales Dollar Volume Up, Second Quarter of 2008 0 Comments Posted

Home sales dollar volume rose by $2,944,289 the second quarter as compared to the first quarter of 2008. The average home sold price also rose to $235,441 where the first quarter was $204,239. This is a substantial increase but after analyzing the data we had two very large sales, both over $2,000,000 which accounts for the part of the increase. The average for the six month period is$219,274. Logically, the average median price range reflected the same increase in the second quarter but over for the first half of 2008 it is$168,750.

 

Interesting, the number of home sales dropped by 7%; from 200 to 186 units as of 6/30/08.  The reason for the drop in units in the second quarter is more homes of higher price value were selling and closing contract, as compared to very few sales in the $300,000 plus range in 1st quarter of 2008.

 

Even if  you remove the two $2,000,000 plus sales from the data the average home price sale is holding steady and not dropping; proving that the Aiken, SC market is holding it’s own in today’s challenging  real estate market.

 

Data from: Aiken MLS 1/1/08-6/30/08

View Comments | Add Comment Tuesday, July 22, 2008  8:49:50 AM
Top Six Selling Real Estate Agencies in Aiken, SC 0 Comments Posted

Meybohm Realtors Sells the Most Homes! Just released… updated sales chart of the Top Six Real Estate Agencies based on residential transactions in Aiken for the time period of 1/1/08-6/30/08. See chart

In Aiken, Meybohm Realtors in Aiken continues to lead the way in selling homes, by selling $85.4 million worth of homes in this time period. The next company closest sold $65 million dollars less.  

Meybohm Realtors even sold the most number of homes - 433. The closest number of sales is Keystone Homes with 90 homes sold the first half of 2008. Keystone Homes is a builder/developer that markets only their own properties - not resale or new construction by other builders. The third place in number of home units sold by a full service real estate agency was 76 units.

We are extremely thankful for the continue support the Aiken community has shown us over the years!

Data provided by Aiken MLS for 1/1/08-6/30/08

View Comments | Add Comment Friday, July 18, 2008  9:05:41 AM
Mortgage Weekly Update For July 11, 2008 0 Comments Posted
Hunter’s Mortgage Update on what’s Happening in the Mortgage Industry I just received this update from Matt and thought you would appreciate this informative info-Vikki Mortgage bond prices rose applying downward pressure on mortgage interest rates. Trading remained volatile. Energy prices remained a major focus with oil prices gyrating up and down. With the lack of significant data, news of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac insolvency under fair value accounting rules had mortgage investors on edge. For the week, interest rates on government and conventional loans fell by about 1/4 of a discount point. The consumer price index Wednesday will be the most important event this week. The abundance of other significant data increases the potential for mortgage interest rate volatility. Be cautious heading into the data releases. Provided by Matt Hunter-803.644-4010 call him with any questions!
View Comments | Add Comment Friday, July 11, 2008  5:12:49 PM
Pricing your home correctly in today's real estate market 0 Comments Posted

You need to be objective, abandon your personal views of your home. You need to view your home through the eyes of the buyer. Buyer's do not care how much you paid, the cost of your personal improvements, how much you have invested or how much you need to purchase your next home.

Compare your home to recently sold homes in your neighborhood, no later than six months; three months or less is better. It's important to use homes that are similar to your style, floor plan, square footage, features, age and condition. An experienced Realtor can do a comparable market analysis (CMA) that will provide you a detailed report showing recent sales, competing homes for sale and homes that did not sell. Sometimes a property is very unique, in a “niche” market or there has not been any recent sales, this is where I highly recommend you have an experienced, successful Realtor; you may even want to ask three different Realtors to give you a C.M. A.  Sometimes an agent will give a high price to entice you to list with them. Really look over the information and data provided, compare to the other info you received, ask lots of questions how they determined the price and why. An experienced Realtor should be very comfortable, prepared and able to answer these questions.  Another option is to arrange for a professional fee appraisal, this will cost you some money (estimate $300-500) but you are hiring an independent person who has no interest in listing the property. I suggest you tell them the purpose of the appraisal; a realistic value of your home of what your home would sell for based on the current normal marketing time. If, the normal marketing time period is too long for you to wait, give the days of marketing you desire and they will prepare the appraisal based on that time frame.

Consider the market trends…are the prices rising, going down or flat? It is always the best position to be “the best price and best condition home” in a buyer’s market. The home that is the “pick of litter” among 10 competing homes will always sell first! The idea of pricing high, with the thought I can always come down, will cost you time, money and an offer you may accept.

Buyer’s look in price ranges.  An example is, you would accept $140,000, but list your home for $152,000 thinking you can come down $12,000.  Yo