Thursday, May 14, 2009

Fairway Oaks is 1st Mid-Modern Neighborhood Listed on National Register

Fairway Oaks, a midtown neighborhood, has been officially approved by the National Register as "the first Mid-Modern subdivsion listed in the National Register in the state of Georgia."

Fairway Oaks was the first mid-20th-century suburban residential development to break with Savannah's 200 year-old tradition of laying out neighborhoods in a grid plan based on General Oglethorpe's original 1733 plan by using a curvilinear street layout with cul-de-sacs.

If you are interested in Savannah's Mid-20th-Century neighborhoods please contact us as we have an agent dedicated to selling Mid-Modern subdivisions! 912 233 6000.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Port Royal, SC voted Top 10 America's Coolest Small Towns

Budget Travel's readers voted on America's Coolest Small Towns (announced on CBS's Early Show on April 15)and Port Royal, SC was voted in the Top 10!

And, you may ask, "Well, what were qualifications to become one of America's Coolest Small Towns?" Here's what they looked for...

...population of less than 10,000 must be on an upswing and beginning to draw attention AND new residents because of...
...quality of life!
...arts and restaurant scene!
...proximity to nature!
...edgy - think avant-garde galleries not country stores!

Lucky for you Cora Bett Thomas Realty has amazing listings in Port Royal, SC! Click here a take a look!

Click here for Budget Travel's full story on America's Coolest Small Towns.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

30-Year Fixed Rates Fall to Record Low!

If you were ever wondering when the best time to buy was, ponder no more! THE TIME TO BUY IS NOW!

30-year fixed rates have reached a record low at 4.78%!

Contact Cora Bett Thomas Realty TODAY to find your perfect home. Visit us in Savannah, GA (912 233 6000), Bluffton / Hilton Head Island, SC (843 757 6002) and Beaufort, SC (843 525 1100) or where you can search for homes on THREE MLS's!

CLICK to read the entire article in The Washington Post!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Cora Bett Thomas Realty Wins Recognition in Luxury Real Estate Marketing Contest

- Recognition earned for First Place - Websites in international marketing contest -

Cora Bett Thomas Realty & Associates earned distinction in the Luxury Portfolio Fine Property Collection® Marketing Contest, held in conjunction with the Luxury Portfolio Workshop, March 25-26 at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale.

The award-winning internet eBlast in the website category was chosen based on professionalism of design, effectiveness in addressing the luxury audience and overall presentation. Cora Bett Thomas Realty was given the award at the Luxury Portfolio Awards Luncheon, where the network’s achievement awards were presented.

“The companies affiliated with Luxury Portfolio are renowned for their expertise in marketing luxury homes,” notes Paul Boomsma, president of Luxury Portfolio. “To earn distinction among this group is a significant honor, and I salute Cora Bett Thomas Realty for their achievement.”

Launched in 2005, Luxury Portfolio Fine Property Collection® has grown to include over 15,000 of the world’s most remarkable properties and attracts over 1.2 million high-net-worth visitors a year. The first to promote luxury properties in multiple languages and currencies, Luxury Portfolio is unmatched in the global arena, with members in 17 countries and website visitors from over 200 countries every month. The site’s total inventory of available properties exceeds $35 billion. Please visit for luxury homes and luxury homes for sale throughout the world.

For more information about Cora Bett Thomas Realty, please visit

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Jumbo Loan Ceiling Up!

This is great news so it's worth repeating! The ceiling for jumbo loans is UP from $417,000 to $625,500 according to the March 21, 2009 article by Kenneth R. Harney in The Washington Post.

To read the full article click here!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Leaders in Luxury Real Estate JOIN Forces

Cora Bett Thomas Realty & Associates dominates the luxury residential and commercial real estate market along the Georgia and South Carolina coast, with offices based in Savannah, Ga. and Bluffton and Beaufort, S.C. Founder and CEO, Cora Bett Thomas is proud to announce the merger with another preeminent luxury firm, Town & Country Real Estate, which is located in Beaufort, SC., “the crown jewel of the sea islands.” Combining their expertise and services, under the leadership of Cora Bett Thomas, the companies will operate as Cora Bett Thomas and Associates.

Town & Country Real Estate was founded in 1995 and covers Beaufort, Fripp Island, Harbor Island, Beaufort County, and in many of the surrounding areas of the South Carolina Lowcountry offering residential, land, and resort real estate sales as well as vacation, commercial and investment opportunities.

Cora Bett Thomas Realty and Town & Country’s merger comes at a time when many are departing the real estate industry. Thomas believes this is the opportunity for the real estate profession and real agents to embrace even higher professional standards and deeper levels of education. A superior level of customer service has always been of upmost importance to both firms. Continuing in that tradition and through the strong international affiliations of Cora Bett Thomas Realty, such as London based Mayfair International, and Who's who in Luxury Real Estate, The Board of Regents, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, and Luxury Portfolio, among others, will continue to attract an elite clientele to the Lowcountry.

“Town & Country Real Estate has long been known for its excellence in serving the needs of Buyers and Sellers in the unique Lowcountry market,” said Cora Bett Thomas. "We are thrilled about the integration of both of our outstanding firms. This positions Cora Bett Thomas Realty & Associates as the dominant residential and commercial real estate firm along the Creative Coast of Georgia and South Carolina - with profound expertise, service levels, and integrity that simply cannot be matched by any other company."

Cora Bett Thomas Realty remains on the cutting edge of technology and fully recognizes the powerful role the Internet plays in today’s real estate transactions. promotes listings in all price points to nearly 1000 other websites worldwide. With this merger, Town and Country clients will now benefit from the global exposure that provides Buyers and Sellers. “Today, more than ever,” says Thomas, “it is critical to search for Buyers in all parts of the world, not just locally. Our strategic partnerships provide this extraordinary opportunity.“

“This is an exciting time to become a part of Cora Bett Thomas Realty & Associates,” said Matt McAlhaney, an owner of Town & Country Real Estate. “Cora Bett Thomas Realty’s professionalism, operations, technology infrastructure and entrepreneurial force are an ideal match to our rich history and the unyielding tradition of quality that has served our loyal customers for so long."

McAlhaney added, “There is no better equipped agency to assist Sellers and Buyers in meeting the demands of today’s challenging market and our decision to join this powerhouse of a company illustrates our ongoing commitment to maintaining a competitive edge and to serving the needs of our community.”

Bill Anderson, an owner of Town & Country Real Estate concluded, “Our clients and our sales associates will all benefit from the synergy generated by this merger.”

Friday, March 20, 2009

Opportunity Knocks

There are some desperate sellers out there, but perhaps none so desperate as banks. That's right - banks that own foreclosed properties are anxious to get them off their hands. After all, their business is lending, not property management.

If you are pondering the purchase of such an "REO," or Real Estate Owned property, how do you find one, and then determine if it's the right buy for you? Banks work almost exclusively with real estate professionals, so your best bet is to begin your search at your trusted local agent's office.

Chances are the broker will have a list of REOs to suit your needs and budget. While banks don't usually price these properties much above what they're willing to finally accept, lower offers on these listings stand an excellent chance for consideration.

Look for houses that have been listed for more than 90 days, and offer somewhere between ten to twenty percent below the asking price. However, do be aware of potential hidden costs associated with foreclosed properties.

Owners who vacate a foreclosed home may have left plenty behind in need of repair. Be sure to perform a thorough inspection - with electrical and gas systems operating - and ask your real estate representative to factor repair costs into your offer. If you're smart, it's a real buyer's market, but only if you buy!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Time For a House Call

A real estate professional recently coined the term "Price Denial Syndrome," a troublesome condition that afflicts sellers having a hard time facing the realities of today's markets. Of course it’s difficult to make a pricing concession, but an overpriced home simply will not sell.

Perhaps the sellers argue that they really need the money, but then they have to ask themselves what they'll do for money if the home doesn't sell. Maybe they figure that they can shoot for the moon now and reduce the price later if they must. However, the longer a property remains unsold, the more likely it is that even more price reductions will follow. Then it’s taken even longer to get a sale at a lower price.

Some sellers might suggest trying a higher price just for the first two weeks, but that's when the interest of serious buyers is always greatest. Those buyers usually look within a certain range, and won't even make an offer at all on an overpriced property.

Most importantly, if the sellers need to buy another home, time is of the essence. If the sale takes too long, they'll be buying at a time when prices and interest rates may begin climbing again.

If you're suffering from PDS, pay attention to the news, review your home's Competitive Market Analysis, and call me in the morning!

Friday, March 6, 2009

The New Math

A “new” solution to the "gloom and doom" scenarios is on the horizon, and it's called "cause and effect." Just as home prices have fallen in many markets, buyers are responding strongly to the stimulus.

Like today's stock market provides excellent opportunities for investors in it "for the long haul," so too does today's real estate climate appeal to buyers with long-term expectations. And, the more buyers take advantage of current conditions, the more prices will eventually begin rising again.

That is due to a number of reasons, one being the subsequent drop in inventories, and another being the rising cost of new construction. So, those markets where home prices have dropped the most are experiencing a rise in the level of home sales taking place.

Areas where buyers are entering the fray again are well poised for recovery, and it's possible that the prices are finally bottoming out. The recently enacted housing stimulus bill is helping too, as over two million first-time buyers are predicted to take advantage of the new tax credit.

In 2009, those markets with affordable housing combined with healthy local economies will continue to see growth. Cause and effect is already in action, and you should be, too. Consult with a financial advisor and a local real estate agent to get the best results from this new but age-old formula.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Red Bluff Plantation

Red Bluff Plantation, located on the New River in South Carolina, yet only 15 minutes driving time from Savannah or Palmetto Bluff, is an historic Lowcountry example of irreplaceable quality. Its unsurpassed long vistas of river, marsh and hammocks, a fabulous main house, hunting amenities and infrastructure, combined with pedigreed authenticity make Red Bluff Plantation the most unique and rare gem on the Atlantic Seaboard.

Click here for more details on this amazing property.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Low Offers: Prevention is the Cure

It takes an innovative marketing plan to cause a home to sell, but to attract serious buyers, it must also be priced fairly. What else must be done to successfully sell your home?

Buyers are in search of their dream home. If priced reasonably, they will purchase the home that best reflects their idea of that dream, and it’s the sellers who are in charge of making it happen.

Experience has shown that buyers often reduce their offers by as much as $2 for every $1 in uncompleted repairs. Sellers won't have to face those disappointing offers if attention is given to their home before it is ever shown.

The best method for improving buyer appeal is a "walk-through" by the sellers' real estate agent. The agent plays the part of a prospective buyer, and then suggests upgrades, repairs, and cosmetic improvements.

Then the sellers should complete all the work before the home is placed on the market. Neither a prospective buyer, nor another agent, should ever see the home until it is in 100% marketable condition.

Excuses made at a showing are an open invitation to a reduced price. When a buyer is disappointed, no explanation will suffice to bring the price back up. When selling, ask your agent for advice, and then take action. Buyers will often compete for such a good value.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Fast Acting Relief

Our federal government passed the First-time Home Buyer Tax Credit last summer, giving buyers reason to get off the fence and into a home. There are just a few requirements, the first being that you haven't owned a home in at least three years.

If so, and you bought a primary residence in the United States last year after April 9, you may claim a credit of up to $7,500 on your 2008 tax return. If you plan to buy this year, then act quickly, because you'll need to purchase by July 1 to make the claim on your 2009 return.

The credit is figured as ten percent of the home's cost, up to the maximum of $7,500, if your individual income is less than $75,000 or household income is less than $150,000. At slightly higher incomes, you may claim the credit at a reduced percentage.

Keep in mind that this is not a "bailout," and in order to be cost effective for taxpayers, this credit must be paid back in very small increments over fifteen years, but not beginning until 2011. Basically, it's an interest-free loan for a fifteen-year term.

This incentive, combined with low rates, large inventories, and affordable prices, should put a home purchase well within your grasp. Get more details from a trusted real estate agent and begin your search today!

Monday, February 16, 2009

A More Profitable Alternative

You’ve probably heard the term "reverse mortgage," which refers to a loan that allows homeowners aged 62 and older to tap the equity in their home, without repaying it. This has become an increasingly popular way for retirees to generate extra income for living expenses and paying off debt.

However, high fees and aggressive sales tactics prompted the Senate Special Committee on Aging to recently issue an investor alert. The intention behind the warning is not to discourage reverse mortgages, but rather to encourage homeowners to make sure it's the right loan product for them.

The biggest downside to such an agreement is that the up-front costs for application, legal fees, document recording, and loan origination fees can sometimes top 10% of the loan's value. For this reason, the federal government requires meeting with a financial counselor prior to applying for a reverse mortgage, helping ensure that it's the best loan product for your situation.

In addition to a financial advisor, you are strongly encouraged to consult with a local real estate agent. Simply put, you might generate more income by selling your home and moving to a less expensive one, directly pocketing the equity you've worked so hard to build over the years. An agent can compare your home's value to other attractive properties on the market, and guide you to a profitable conclusion!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Why We Saved Fannie and Freddie

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac - who or what are these entities, and why are they mentioned so often when discussing the current mortgage crunch? These two organizations either own or guarantee nearly half of all outstanding home loans. That's over twelve trillion in debt (that's a 12 followed by 12 zeros, or twelve million million dollars)!

So maybe you can see why the government took over and began overseeing their operations, bringing stability and continued liquidity to the national mortgage market. Both companies are placed in a government conservatorship, with the Fed taking up to an 80% stake. Progress is reviewed each quarter, and money injected into operations as needed.

Since the government is now explicitly backing the loans, the market for these securities is more like that for Treasuries, which lowers rates and benefits the real estate industry enormously.

Lower rates encourage more investors to return to the market. As that happens, rates continue to drop, and more funds go into the lending machine, further encouraging buyers to apply for financing. The result is increased housing sales, which helps to stabilize home prices.

As these companies and the Federal Housing Finance Agency plan a massive overhaul of operations, you can be assured that agents and the National Association of REALTORS® will provide feedback and help shape a better future for our housing industry.