Frankie is home!

To those of you who have followed the journey of our friends, Frankie is home! We are thrilled for Kim, Dave, Emma & Izzie. You can follow their journey at http://kimrhodes.wordpress.com/. Here are some photos:

Published in: on January 30, 2010 at 11:22 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Brrr!

I live in Charleston because I hate the cold. In fact, I’ve told my husband on several occasions that I will not live any farther north than we are now. So what’s up with the weather this year??

It is so cold that I feel like we live in Chicago! Today was chilly and rainy that we actually went to the mall. For those of you who don’t live in Charleston: We do NOT have good malls here. We have awesome shopping at the Town Center and on King Street but our two indoor malls are awful. Awful. I’m not exaggerating.

The boys needed to run around and my niece and nephew are visiting. They have been in the house so much over the last few days that they needed to get out and burn off some energy. We hoped to take them to No Limits in Mount Pleasant but I was sad to find out that they have closed their doors. So has Ready, Set, Jump. I guess the economy is doing a number on indoor play spots for children. Hence, we ended up at Northwoods Mall.

Needless to say, we are ready to get back to normal weather. When Davis was born, we spent time at the beach during these months. We didn’t get in the ocean but it was really comfortable to walk and relax there. 

It has been so cold that the beautiful flowers all over Daniel Island have died. We usually enjoy the color all winter long. Every year, clients comment on how beautiful our grounds look in the winter. We have a landscape crew on the island six days a week and I saw them out replanting flowers a few days ago when it was warm. Now it is cold once more! I hope they don’t freeze again.

My friends up north are laughing while they read this. They go out and wash their cars when it is in the 40s 🙂

I am ready for some SUN!!

Counting our blessings

While watching the coverage of the horror that is unfolding in Haiti, I am reminded of what is truly important. Our dear friends Dave and Kim Rhodes have a son in Haiti who they have been waiting to adopt for two years. Here is a photo of the Rhodes family (minus Frankie) and Frankie is below. You can follow their adoption journey at http://kimrhodes.wordpress.com/.

We are so thankful that Frankie is all right but my heart hurts for those whose families are not. Dave and Kim are still so worried about the situation in Haiti. Although Frankie is physically unharmed, they don’t know what the days ahead will hold. There is a shortage of food and water and disease will run rampant in the next few days. If you think of it, please pray for them. It is heartbreaking to know your baby son is in the midst of a terrifying ordeal and not have the ability to be with him. Here is a photo of the children sleeping outside since the children’s home was damaged in the earthquake:

I know there are several worthy organizations, but Heartline is near and dear to our hearts. If you feel led to give, here is a link to their website: http://haiti-relief.org/

All I can think of is how blessed we are as a country that our problems are economic and financial. If God gave me the choice, I would choose financial hardship over physical hardship EVERY time. I can’t get my mind around what the people of Haiti must be going through. It’s too big for me to even begin to comprehend.

What I do know is that God is using this tragedy to teach me to get a stranglehold on the things in my life that are really important: Family, friends, and enjoying the gifts that He gives us each day.

When we see the fact that “life is a vapor” before us on our televisions, we realise that the rest is just not that important.

Published in: on January 15, 2010 at 5:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Our Crazy, Wonderful Family

The holidays were an absolute joy! We loved having the entire Johnson side of the family on Daniel Island for a couple of weeks. The photo above is of all the members of the Johnson side of our family (with the exception of Miles ~ since Chad and I were heading to a New Year’s Eve gala and he was blissfully sleeping!)

So… this time is now bittersweet. Nate and Rossana have headed back to Venezuela where they are joyfully serving in Caracas. Nate is the director of an international school in Caracas and Rossana works for Chevron.

Travis and Amy are about to take their family (Lilli – 5, Patton – 3, and Aidan  – 9 weeks) to Bundibugyo, Uganda at the end of the month. They will serve as missionaries there for at least four years. It was hard to say goodbye to them a couple of days ago but we are thankful that our world is now so small. Thanks to modern innovations, we will be able to email them and they will have cellular phone service in the remote village. Just a few short months ago, we were praying that they would have electricity. Prayers have been answered and electricity is on the way to Bundibugyo! It has been a blessing to see how God has taken care of them every step of the way.

Below is an excerpt from their blog (http://steadfastjoy.blogspot.com/). If you think of it, please pray for them during this difficult time of transition.

Church Planting and Medical Missions 

Travis and Amy are moving to Bundibugyo Uganda to be apart of the World Harvest Mission team.  Bundibugyo is on the boarder of Uganda and Congo where the unreached people groups of the Babwisi, Bakanjo and Pigmy tribes live.  The mission includes a church plant in Nyahuka town with a heart to reach out to the surrounding areas with the Gospel and translate the Scripture into their languages.  There is also Christ School Bundibugyo where over 300 Ugandan children are learning how to be cultural leaders with a heart for true redemption.  The medical team works with the local hospital helping through treatments and nutrition programs to decrease the child mortality.  Currently one out of five children die before the age of five.  Travis and Amy hope to help out with the medical projects and the school as well as establish a missionary discipleship program for developing world missions.  The team is praying for 5 new mission plants around Africa in the next 10 years.

Currently their are 17 members of the team in Bundibugyo and 8 in Sudan.

Good News about the Charleston Real Estate Market

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Residential Real Estate Sales Increase Again in December
Median Sale Prices at Annual Peak
 
CHARLESTON, SC—(January 12, 2010) Rounding out a year of stabilization, 618 residential real estate sales in December shows an increase of 30% when compared to sales one year ago today.  The $195,534 median home price reflects the peak of prices in 2009 and a slight 2% increase over December 2008.   December 2008 posted 476 total closings, with a median sale price of $191,600.
 
Several months of strong sales, prices that are growing at a sustainable rate and decreasing inventory are excellent indicators that a Charleston market recovery is underway.  “Last December, we were looking at a 33% drop in sales and a 9% decrease in median prices from December 2007.  We’re in a much more positive place at the end of 2009, actually seeing market increases.  While we don’t anticipate tremendous growth in 2010, we do expect to see continued steady growth over the next year”, said CTAR President, Jeremy Willits. 

3-Year Review: December*
 Sales+ | – %Median Sale Price+ | – %
2009618+30%$195,534+2%
2008476-33%$191,600-9%
2007713-$210,000-
 
  
*this data reflects the market activity as of the 10th of January for each year.

At the close of the month, there were 8,940 homes listed for sale with the Charleston Trident Multiple Listing Service.

The 2009 Year in Review market report will be released next Wednesday, January 20.

December Real Estate Update for Daniel Island

December Closed Residential Properties:

2906957 – Details: 300 BUCKSLEY LN, #204, CHARLESTON, SC – $107,500
2904200 –
Details: 100 BUCKSLEY LN, #306, CHARLESTON, SC – $165,000
2632837 –
Details: 1225 BLAKEWAY ST, #1305, CHARLESTON, SC – $203,871
2927470 –
Details: 831 CENTER PARK ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $215,000
2809174 –
Details: 805 CENTER PARK ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $263,000
2910807 –
Details: 2352 DANIEL ISLAND DR, CHARLESTON, SC – $330,000
2929042 –
Details: 1434 HOOPER ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $381,009
2931927 –
Details: 109 SCOTT ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $395,000
2925591 –
Details: 125 PIER VIEW ST, #408, CHARLESTON, SC – $415,000
2904792 –
Details: 205 FAIRCHILD ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $430,000
2911800 –
Details: 1115 BARFIELD ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $450,000
2904480 –
Details: 1969 PIERCE ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $455,000
2929043 –
Details: 1422 HOOPER ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $506,766
2911045 –
Details: 1714 SAILMAKER ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $523,000
2929040 –
Details: 1430 HOOPER ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $567,960
2915274 –
Details: 1779 PIERCE ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $574,000
2827129 –
Details: 18 WATROO POINT, CHARLESTON, SC – $900,000
2830055 –
Details: 17 IRON BOTTOM LN, CHARLESTON, SC – $935,000

December Closed Homesites:

2913777 – Details: 1209 ITHECAW COURT, CHARLESTON, SC – $255,000
2928880 – Details: 1860 BEEKMAN ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $335,000
2930246 – Details: 191 ITHECAW CREEK ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $405,000

December Homes – Under Contract:

2907166 – Details: 1225 BLAKEWAY ST, #1404, CHARLESTON, SC – $199,999
2931476 – Details: 5012 DESPESTRE ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $379,950
2902293 – Details: 102 BELLINGER ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $698,000
2932353 – Details: 135 PIER VIEW ST, #207, CHARLESTON, SC – $180,000
2705222 – Details: 1225 BLAKEWAY ST, #608, CHARLESTON, SC – $234,000
2931213 – Details: 6015 GRAND COUNCIL ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $280,000
2930631 – Details: 142 CORN PLANTERS ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $409,000
2902731 – Details: 1877 PIERCE ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $449,000
2917005 – Details: 217 DELAHOW ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $899,900

December Pending Homesites:

2927234 – Details: 150 BALFOUR DR, CHARLESTON, SC – $499,000

December New Listings (Residential):

2931007 – Details: 130 RIVER LANDING DR, #3314, CHARLESTON, SC – $164,000
2930945 – Details: 130 RIVER LANDING DR, #7124, CHARLESTON, SC – $179,000
2930946 – Details: 130 RIVER LANDING DR, #10104, CHARLESTON, SC – $214,000
2930871 – Details: 200 RIVER LANDING DR, #D203, CHARLESTON, SC – $214,900
2931664 – Details: 130 RIVER LANDING DR, #6100, CHARLESTON, SC – $269,900
2931896 – Details: 130 RIVER LANDING DR, #6310, CHARLESTON, SC – $275,000
2931628 – Details: 2209 DANIEL ISLAND DR, CHARLESTON, SC – $399,000
2930896 – Details: 6055 GRAND COUNCIL ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $455,000
2930949 – Details: 1029 BARFIELD ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $499,000
2930906 – Details: 107 BERESFORD CREEK ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $590,000
2932465 – Details: 1274 BLAKEWAY ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $635,000
2932334 – Details: 1415 WANDO VIEW ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $639,900
2932351 – Details: 124 BERESFORD CREEK ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $649,000
2932332 – Details: 1403 WANDO VIEW ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $649,900
2931609 – Details: 806 BECKON ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $729,000
2930889 – Details: 110 BELLINGER ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $795,000
2931607 – Details: 1721 PIERCE ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $849,000
2930864 – Details: 525 PARK CROSSING ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $985,000
2932602 – Details: 9 WATROO PT, CHARLESTON, SC – $1,275,000
2930915 – Details: 58 WOODFORD ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $1,700,000

December New Listings (Homesites):

2930968 – Details: 1238 SMYTHE ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $197,500
2930917 – Details: 1234 SMYTHE ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $197,500
2932080 – Details: 1376 SMYTHE ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $240,000
1000322 – Details: 1203 SMYTHE ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $370,000
2931086 – Details: 493 CREEK LANDING ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $1,250,000
2932583 – Details: 1432 SMYTHE ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $1,399,000

Price Changes in December (Residential):

2906673 – Details: 130 RIVER LANDING DR, #11106, CHARLESTON, SC – $198,000
2926829 –
Details: 130 RIVER LANDING DR, #8203, CHARLESTON, SC – $199,000
2920364 –
Details: 100 BUCKSLEY LN, #206, CHARLESTON, SC – $199,000
2925599 –
Details: 280 SEVEN FARMS DR, #202, CHARLESTON, SC – $227,500
2925767 –
Details: 130 RIVER LANDING DR, #8310, CHARLESTON, SC – $249,900
2925196 –
Details: 2260 DANIEL ISLAND DR, CHARLESTON, SC – $289,900
2925077 –
Details: 200 RIVER LANDING DR, #B303, CHARLESTON, SC – $292,000
2824960 –
Details: 200 RIVER LANDING DR, #F109, CHARLESTON, SC – $335,900
2804953 –
Details: 1404 ELFE ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $344,000
2928090 –
Details: 2257 DANIEL ISLAND DR, CHARLESTON, SC – $369,000
2926197 –
Details: 101 JORDAN CT, CHARLESTON, SC – $369,000
2921175 –
Details: 1605 BULLINE ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $475,000
2701406 –
Details: 1513 JENYS ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $525,000
2910681 –
Details: 921 ETIWAN PARK ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $529,900
2909571 –
Details: 1980 PIERCE ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $585,000
2736018 –
Details: 1127 OAK OVERHANG ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $595,000
2911049 –
Details: 1710 SAILMAKER ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $599,318
2835644 –
Details: 1817 BEEKMAN ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $639,000
2825791 –
Details: 250 ISLAND PARK DR, #202, CHARLESTON, SC – $649,000
2922382 –
Details: 1717 DOLDRIDGE ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $687,000
2902293 –
Details: 102 BELLINGER ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $698,000
2825785 –
Details: 250 ISLAND PARK DR, #103, CHARLESTON, SC – $699,000
2825790 –
Details: 250 ISLAND PARK DR, #203, CHARLESTON, SC – $699,000
2920026 –
Details: 301 BERESFORD CREEK ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $729,900
2802106 –
Details: 103 IRON BOTTOM LN, CHARLESTON, SC – $750,000
2906362 –
Details: 300 GINNED COTTON ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $799,000
2914601 –
Details: 6 GROVE LN, CHARLESTON, SC – $799,000
2901293 –
Details: 200 KING GEORGE ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $799,999
2917005 –
Details: 217 DELAHOW ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $899,900
2923632 –
Details: 309 GUNBOAT LN, CHARLESTON, SC – $995,000
2923669 –
Details: 208 KING GEORGE ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $998,000
2822932 –
Details: 126 BALFOUR DR, CHARLESTON, SC – $999,000
2917802 –
Details: 270 DELAHOW ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $1,275,000
2912994 –
Details: 2465 DANIEL ISLAND DR, CHARLESTON, SC – $1,400,000

Price Changes in December (Homesites):

2813989 – Details: 169 KING GEORGE ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $275,000
2903497 – Details: 859 DUNHAM ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $345,000
2830404 – Details: 254 FURMAN FARM PL, CHARLESTON, SC – $399,900
2900850 – Details: 340 RHODEN ISLAND DR, CHARLESTON, SC – $599,000

Possible Short Sales (per MLS).

There are many more but these are the only ones that the listing agents identified:

Homes:

2928436 – Details: 130 RIVER LANDING DR, #9112, CHARLESTON, SC – $164,900
2925077 – Details: 200 RIVER LANDING DR, #B303, CHARLESTON, SC – $270,000
2923934 – Details: 200 RIVER LANDING DR, #H208, CHARLESTON, SC – $279,900
2816150 – Details: 200 RIVER LANDING DR, #H309, CHARLESTON, SC – $309,900
1000554 – Details: 200 RIVER LANDING DR, #A305, CHARLESTON, SC – $359,000
2921029 – Details: 116 BURNHAM ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $399,000
2930896 – Details: 6055 GRAND COUNCIL ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $455,000
1000196 – Details: 126 CODNER’S FERRY ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $499,000
2918906 – Details: 2422 SETTLERS ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $557,500
2930350 – Details: 130 FAIRBANKS OAK, #3 3B, CHARLESTON, SC – $575,000
2920268 – Details: 502 INDIAN CORN ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $730,000
2802106 – Details: 103 IRON BOTTOM LN, CHARLESTON, SC – $750,000
2930889 – Details: 110 BELLINGER ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $795,000
2909312 – Details: 1243 SMYTHE ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $799,000
1000125 – Details: 2455 SETTLERS ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $829,000
2921561 – Details: 702 CUNNINGHAM ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $869,000
2827289 – Details: 611 ISLAND PARK DR, CHARLESTON, SC – $1,295,000
2628669 – Details: 112 DALTON ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $1,295,000
2912994 – Details: 2465 DANIEL ISLAND DR, CHARLESTON, SC – $1,400,000

Homesites:

2902755 – Details: 539 PARK CROSSING ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $199,000
2700809 – Details: 49 WOODFORD ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $200,000
1000349 – Details: 1214 SMYTHE ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $203,750
2906439 – Details: 448 CREEK LANDING ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $275,000
2728241 – Details: 1 WOODFORD ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $300,000
2908375 – Details: 31 IRON BOTTOM LN, CHARLESTON, SC – $350,000
2908390 – Details: 27 IRON BOTTOM LN, CHARLESTON, SC – $350,000
1000322 – Details: 1203 SMYTHE ST, CHARLESTON, SC – $370,000
2915504 – Details: 19 WATROO POINT, CHARLESTON, SC – $375,000
2830404 – Details: 254 FURMAN FARM PL, CHARLESTON, SC – $399,900

Good Information to Know about Interest Rates:

Last chance to refinance below 5%

By Les Christie, staff writerJanuary 7, 2010: 9:25 AM ET NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) —

If you want to refinance your mortgage into a loan with a sub-5% interest rate, better hurry. Your window of opportunity is closing fast. Lenders are still advertising rock-bottom interest rates, but for most borrowers, rates are rapidly rising into the 5%-plus category. During the week of Dec. 31, the average 30-year, fixed-rate loan closed at 5.14%, according to mortgage giant Freddie Mac. That is significantly higher than the 4.71% it averaged at the beginning of the month, and experts say rates will go higher yet. “Interest rates are up and they’re not going to go down below 5% again,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Economy.com, not for a while at least. While homebuyers are still excited about these low mortgage rates, people who already have a loan and want to lower their costs are scrambling to lock in. Refinancers act when the difference between the rate they’re currently paying and the new one is at least a point or two wide, otherwise the costs of going through the refinancing wipes out any savings. In fact as rates rose in December, refinancings plunged, down more than 30%, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. A big reason for the jump is that a government program that has kept rates very low is winding to a close. The Federal Reserve has been purchasing mortgage-backed securities since early 2009, scooping up as much as $1.25 trillion worth. That has dampened rate increases by providing a ready market for the securities. But the Fed’s program lapses on March 31, when it cedes the playing field to private investors, who will almost surely demand higher rates. The Fed has already been slowing its purchasing, and that has corresponded with the recent rate increases. As Treasurys go . . . Not just mortgage rates have turned north. Treasury yields have as well, another indication that mortgage rates are headed skyward. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury has grown steeply over the past few weeks. It stood at 3.2% at the beginning of December and has soared to 3.84% as of Tuesday, a 20% jump. Mortgage interest does not track Treasury yields in lockstep, but the two tend to mirror each other’s movements. Mortgage securities rates are always higher than Treasury yields because investors demand a premium above practically risk-free Treasurys. The difference between mortgage rates and Treasury yields is usually somewhere near 1.7 percentage points, according to Keith Gumbinger of HSH Associated, a publisher of mortgage information. The current spread of about 1.2 percentage points is quite narrow. That’s bound to change, according to David Crowe, chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders. He believes mortgage rates will go up to about 5.5% by late summer. But other factors could push them into a larger-than-expected jump. Economy bouncing back For example, as the economy improves (it’s hoped), businesses will expand production, hire new workers and open new sales outlets. All that requires borrowing in capital markets and the demand for lending will expand interest rates of all kinds. A recovering economy also boosts corporate profits, making stocks a better bet for investors. “Stocks tend to do better when the economy improves,” said Stuart Hoffman, chief economist for PNC Financial Services. “Mortgage rates will rise to attract investment.” Hoffman’s forecast is for rates to stay quite constant the rest of the winter and then elevate gradually during the spring buying season, the busiest time of year for home sales. He said they should hit about 5.5% by the end of June. After that, the increases will slow, according to Hoffman, but still approach 6% toward the end of the year. He believes they’ll cap at around 5.75% and are not likely to fall back to the 5% level again.

— Thanks to Kevin Brookes at Southern Trust Mortgage for sending me this helpful article! You can click on his name to access his website and information. Thanks Kevin 🙂