Friday, January 31, 2014

Do the Tour de Greenville?

Former Tour de France cyclist George Hincapie has created a world-class adventure destination in a local Appalachian ch√Ęteau. Having trained on the steep hills and quiet back country roads over his last thirteen years of competition, George has turned a beautiful estate into a fantasy cycling camp. You may not always get the celebrity himself to lead your tour, but you will get an excellent workout. Bikes are provided by the hotel and the introductory course is 25 miles.

Another hotspot in the Greenville area is the Cliffs. A grouping of seven private communities built by greats such as Jack Nicklaus. The Cliffs is open to join for $75,000 or you might be able to guest on a local business corporate membership and pay $200 greens fee.

Where did BMW locate it's only U.S. plant? Greenville, where else. Here they host a performance driving school. Take a drive in the latest BMW sport coupes while being paced through speed tests and slalom courses. Your instructor talks to you via radio mounted in the car while you work your way through the course. What a rush!

Here are some other hot spots in Greenville as noted by Men's Journal February issue.
  • The wine bar Sip. A rooftop Arabian Nights style bar with tents, white-deck sofas and stunning city views.
  • American Grocery Restaurant where you get it straight from the farm to your table.
  • Lazy Goat where you can get tapas and vie the Reedy River as you eat.
  • The Green Room a local spot where you can get some really great meatloaf.
Who knew the greatness that would become Greenville after the textile mills of the sixties left town. But after several decades of decline, Greenville has turned it around and is attracting lots of tourists and new home owners every day.

If you need assistance with selling or buying a home in 2013 I can help. Referrals and people needing relocation assistance are welcome! Search Single Family homes in Greenville. Search Condos and Townhomes in Greenville.

Check out my listing on the Visit Greenville SC site. It has my contact information and a brief bio about me and why I love real estate. Feel free to pass on this link to your out of town friends!

Now on to our photo blog picture for today. We take a look at the Tupelo Honey Cafe. A unique local restaurant where they serve up Southern traditional food with flare. Indoors are 140 seats, display kitchen, a complete bar and even outside patio seating. Drop by an enjoy your Southern favs within a bright atmosphere.

tupelo honey cafe greenville sc

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wealth of homes under construction - Great Article from The Greenville News - Greenville, S.C.Author: Davis, Angelia Date: Jan 25, 2014

Wealth of homes under construction

The Greenville News - Greenville, S.C.
Author: Davis, Angelia
Date: Jan 25, 2014
Start Page: 1
Section: A

"As pent-up demand is unlocked and the labor market improves, we anticipate that 2014 should be an even better year for home construction." David Crowe, National Association of Home Builders
The number of residential building permits for high-end homes is rising in the Upstate, with Greenville leading the way.

The Upstate had 768 building permits for single-family homes valued at more than $400,0000 in 2013, according to a quarterly report compiled by The Market Edge, a Knoxville-based firm that tracks such data. In 2012, that total was 591.

More than 400 of those permits were from Greenville County, with 369 in the metro area in 2012.

The Columbia market had 66 total high-end permits last year, and the Asheville area had 253, according to The Market Edge.

Job growth is a contributor, said Dale Akins, president of The Market Edge, but "when there's that many high-end homes being built, these are not just jobs. There's some affluence in the market in Upstate South Carolina."

Newcomers and job growth, he said, mean the Upstate has the best of both worlds.

Rising building permits mean more work for more construction workers, whose employment numbers have been slow to recover from the recession.

Greenville was named one of AARP's top five affordable cities for retirement last fall. South Carolina was the No. 2 moving destination nationally for 2013 in United Van Lines' annual migration study.

Micheal Dey, executive vice president of the Home Builders Association of Greenville, said people are moving here to retire and baby boomers who have accumulated a significant amount of wealth are now building their dream homes in the area.

They are choosing areas such as The Cliffs, Paris Mountain, places near the lakes, or downtown Greenville to build homes. North Main Street and Augusta Road are areas that are seeing a lot of new construction activity, Dey said.

He also said the city of Greenville had more than 185 new single family building permits in 2013 and that is "atypical."

"We haven't seen that in this area, where there's that much activity happening essentially in the urban core. It's a good trend," he said.

Another positive trend, he said, is the overall permit activity in the Upstate region.

There were 4,178 residential building permits issued last year in the eight counties defined as the Upstate by The Market Edge -- Abbeville, Anderson, Greenville, Greenwood, Laurens, Oconee, Pickens and Spartanburg.

Permits in the region were 20 percent higher than the 2012 total. It's a continuation of the gradual economic improvement trend "that we've been expecting," Dey said.

"We're still got a little ways to go," he said. "There's fairly healthy demand in home building right now, and we can see that by the house price appreciation. Our data show that house prices are now at 114 percent of normal."

David Crowe, chief economist of the National Association of Home Builders, said 2013 was a good year for home building with overall production up 18 percent from 2012.

"As pent-up demand is unlocked and the labor market improves, we anticipate that 2014 should be an even better year for home construction," he said.

In terms of residential building permits, Akins said all economic indicators, including employment trends, are pointing toward continued acceleration in home building this year.

Still, there are issues to overcome, Dey said, like availability of capital for builders and developers. The supply chain also is still constrained, he said.

"They scaled back during the downturn, and they're having to ramp their production back up," Dey said.

Another issue is the availability of lots. But the downtown area is still seeing major redevelopment and in some cases, homes are being bought, torn down and rebuilt, Dey said.

"As pent-up demand is unlocked and the labor market improves, we anticipate that 2014 should be an even better year for home construction." David Crowe, National Association of Home Builders

Friday, January 24, 2014

Who doesn't like a classic?

Audrey Hepburn movies, classic music and the classic white kitchen. A space that has endured the test of time and continues to inspire us is the kitchen. Gone are the days of avocado green and harvest gold. Explore with me some ideas for bringing your kitchen back to its classic glory.who doesn't like a classic
  • With a pure white color and delicate gray veining, Carrara marble has been a popular countertop in kitchens for literally thousands of years. Installed, it runs about $80 a square foot. This material gives you a luxury feel but with that comes luxury maintenance. Keep acidic foods like tomatoes and lemons away from it. You will need to apply a marble stone sealer twice a year to protect it.
  • Making a comeback in kitchens are white appliances, even though stainless steel has been at the top of everyone's design lately. White appliances blend better with white cabinets which allows you to place other points of color in your kitchen.
  • If you are looking for white countertops that will stay white, think about installing a quartz counter. Made up of 93 percent quartz particles blended with polymer resins that are stain resistant and easily cleaned up with gel-based cleansers. Bonus, they are 10-20 percent cheaper than marble and granite installed.
  • If you like the look of white marble counters but the price is a bit out of reach, try a low-cost laminate. New technologies make hiding seams better and copying real stone patterns easier. And it is very durable and stain resistant. Price for top-quality laminates is about $25-$30 a square foot installed.
  • While we are talking about laminate, how about a white laminate floor? You can get laminate planks for about $3 a square foot that click together. The white floor will bounce light everyone and present a very clean feel.
  • Add a pop of color to your white kitchen. Have a kitchen island, want to add a backsplash? Think about using these places as your color pop. Moldings and trim are another place where you can add some color. A white kitchen doesn't have to be all white.
  • Not ready to rip out the old cabinets yet? Try painting them white. Using proper techniques you can paint over laminate, wood and even metal cabinets. Prepping the cabinet is the key. Don't want to paint them yourself, hire a professional for about $3-$6 a square foot.
  • Ready to jump up to high-end concrete counters? Although a pricey option, you can get pure-white counters in concrete. These run about $65-$135 a square foot installed.

If you have any ideas for classic white kitchens, leave a comment below. We would all love to hear your ideas.

Our photo blog picture today gives us a look at Charleston Cooks. Located in the middle of downtown Greenville is this unique kitchen retail shop that also teaches you how to cook. They have a teaching kitchen and classes taught by talented instructors. Don't want to attend a class, stop by for a demonstration. Check out their website for more information.

charleston cooks greenville sc

If you need assistance with selling or buying a home I can help. Referrals and people needing relocation assistance are welcome! Search Single Family homes in Greenville. Search Condos and Townhomes in Greenville.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

KW Greenville to Make Major West End Announcement

DAN HAMILTON, Operating Principal

January 9, 2014


GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Keller Williams Realty Greenville-Upstate, Greenville's fastest growing real estate firm with over 175 licensed agents will open its annual meeting to the media for a major announcement.

This year's meeting will include updated information on the local real estate market, a discussion about upcoming downtown development projects, and a major development announcement for Greenville's West End.

The meeting was held:

When: Monday, January 13, 2014, 11 AM — 1 PM
Where: Kroc Center (424 Westfield Street, Greenville, SC)

Notable Guest Speakers at the event included:

Nick Sabatine, CEO of Greater Greenville Association of REALTORS: Sabatine will speak about the state of the local real estate market and the role of Keller Williams in the marketplace. Announced at today’s meeting - Our Keller Williams Airport Rd Office was #1 in units sold in all Greater Greenville! Second in volume!

Knox White, Mayor of Greenville: Mayor White will address the growth of the City of Greenville and what projects are planned for the upcoming year.

Big businesses moving to Greenville and a record number of people are coming to Greenville, SC. Come to Greenville, SC and experience what we all know as a great place to live. A successful city where people want to live!

Dan Hamilton, Operating Principal of KW Greenville: Hamilton will unveil renderings for the firm's new state-of-the-art office complex on North Markley Street in Greenville’s historic West End.

A successful city where people want to live!

Friday, January 10, 2014

January Events Around Greenville SC

    restaurant week greenville
  • Restaurant Week Greenville happening at various participating restaurants throughout Greenville County and SC. Happens daily! Great specials available.
  • Art & Chautauqua | Rising to the Occasion. Relive history through artwork. View this illustrated discussion led by Bill Arthur at the Greenville County Museum of Art at 420 College St. Two shows scheduled for January 12th. One from 2-3 pm and one from 3:30-4:40 pm. Admission is FREE.
  • Attend a Bridal Open House at the Old Cigar Warehouse at 9128 S. Main St. If you are in the planning stages of your wedding you won't want to miss it. Times are 5-8 pm on January 17th.
  • Don Williams performs at The Peace Center on main st. Enjoy laid back music from this Country Music Hall of Fame inductee. Performance on January 17 at 8 pm. Admission: $25-$55.
  • Roper Mountain Science Center presents "Giants of the Land and Sea." Appearing on January 11th from 9 am to 1 pm. Adults are $6 and children (5-12) $5. However members are free.
  • Do you have a dream? Check out MLK Dream Weekend between January 17 and 20th at the TD Convention Center. Admission depends on activity attended. Check link above for details.
  • Big Trucks Attack on January 24th and 25th with three shows of Monster Jam. Happening at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena at 650 N Academy St. Events Friday 7:30 pm and Saturday 2 pm and 7:30 pm. Admission: $32 or $52.
  • Upcountry History Museum presents a special exhibit titled "Protests, Prayers, and Progress: Greenville's Civil Rights Movement" during regular operating hours. Happens January 18th. Regular admission rates apply.
  • A Tribute to Elvis by Rick Alviti at the Younts Center for Performing Arts on main st. Happens on January 18th at 7:30 pm. Admission: $30/$25.
  • Come watch bluegrass group Mountain Heart at the Younts Center for Performing Arts on January 25th. Performance at 7:30 pm. Admission: $25/$20.
  • Lastly, we have Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena. Appearing January 29th through February 2nd. See link above for times and admission prices. Recurs daily.

To go along with our events blog today we are posting a picture of The Peace Center. Positioned in the heart of Greenville's award-winning downtown area, the peace center was designed with the best acoustic practices in mind for glorious performances. It was also built for viewing comfort with ample leg room in every seat. A modern theatre with a feel of a classic one with box seats and multi-tiered seating.

peace center greenville sc

Friday, January 3, 2014

Are You Confused about Reverse Mortgages?

What is a Reverse Mortgage?

A reverse mortgage is a loan program made available to seniors 62 year s of age or older who have a home that is paid completely off or nearly paid complete. You can get a lump payment, or set up a credit line, get a monthly distribution or some combination of the payments.

  • The amount you qualify for depends on three things; age (62 or older), equity in your home (more is better) and the current interest rates (lower is better). You must also live in the home as your primary residence. You cannot be late or delinquent on any federal debts like taxes or federally sponsored student loans. Drawback is if you still owe a balance on your first mortgage, any Reverse Mortgage monies have to pay it off first before you can use the money for anything else.
  • Once you have a Reverse Mortgage you are not required to repay it during your lifetime as long as you live in the primary residence, pay your taxes, pay your homeowners insurance and make any repairs.
  • But remember that what you are borrowing is considered a loan, so interest is accrued and owed as soon as you accept the loan. Even though you don't have to pay back the loan now, the accrued interest keeps adding up and increases the total pay back.
  • Because of the accrued interest and the always increasing balance, think hard about a Reverse Mortgage before jumping into one. Consider it a last resort if you can't get cash another way.
  • A Reverse Mortgage may sound like a great deal until you start adding up costs. You will have third-party closing costs like title search, appraisal, title insurance, recording fees, home inspections, credit checks and mortgage taxes which can quickly add up. Then look at loan origination fees, loan servicing fees and mortgage insurance premiums or (MIPs).
  • All of these costs can be rolled into the loan amount but then someone has to pay it back, whether it be you at a later date or any of your heirs. If your heirs cannot come up with the payment for the loan, the home will be sold off and the Reverse Mortgage paid off first with your heirs keeping any leftover funds. You and/or your heirs do retain title of the home until the point of sale.
  • If you are forced from your home on a permanent basis due to illness after getting a Reverse Mortgage can be costly. They will force you to repay any up-front costs for the loan. It is a gamble that you will stay healthy enough to live in the home long enough (five year or more) to recoup your loan costs.
  • Before receiving a Reverse Mortgage, you will be required to meeting with a HUD approved housing counselor. They do discuss the risks but I recommend you also seek the advice of an attorney or your tax professional . It is always good to have many professional opinions before changing your financial outlook.

I hope this post has helped you in clearing up some of the questions you may have had about Reverse Mortgages. There are some alternatives to getting a Reverse Mortgage that you might consider first such as selling the home to your children, get a home equity line of credit, refinancing an existing mortgage, renting out a room in the home, if you are able get a job and seek public assistance. Review the National Council on Aging's BenefitsCheckUp. You might find you qualify for a federal, state or private program.

Today we take a look at the Mast General Store located in downtown Greenville SC. Mast General Store has been a downtown landmark since the later 1800s. Restoration has been done on this unique store bringing back a flavor of the 1920's. Inside you will find a myriad of items for the outdoors man or woman including clothing and gear. They carry many name brands such as The North Face, Kelty, Columbia and more. They also have a mercantile department with classic items for the home, handcrafted products and gourmet items as well as some old fashioned candies. Drop in next time you are in Greenville for a visit.

 If you need assistance with selling or buying a home I can help. Referrals and people needing relocation assistance are welcome! Search Single Family homes in Greenville. Search Condos and Townhomes in Greenville.