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Date Archives: November 2018

BHHS Bay Street Realty Group Cora Bett Thomas Realty Blog Home

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November
30

Walking into the dimly-lit interior of the bar at Circa 1875 is an escape from the outside world. At both the front and the back of the space, plump banquettes beckon and encourage long conversations and lingering glances. The smell of fresh bread softly permeates the air, as does the melody of jazz and French music.

A glass of Cotes du Rhone, from the Famille Perrin, drinks easily, pairs well with almost everything on the menu, and is affordable enough that 2 or 3 glasses won't break the bank. A bread basket's bundled napkin is opened to reveal slices of rustic French bread and warm brioche rolls. A side of herb butter is provided but seems almost unnecessary. 

Circa 1875

The Plateau du Chef, literally a platter of meat and cheeses, can serve as an appetizer or as a meal in itself. The flavors may vary based on seasonal availability, but some of the favorites include pork rillette, saucisson sec, Port Salut, and Red Dragon. Accompanying the meat and cheeses are more bread and fresh preserves. This is a platter made for sharing, as one finds it easy to engage in conversation, or even just thought, while savoring the flavors.  

An order of the Foies de Poulet is a perfect blend of Paris and Southern cuisine, as fried chicken livers are served atop brioche and topped with apple demi-glace and caramelized onions. The meat is tender and juicy, while the brioche manages to absorb the demi-glace without ever becoming unattractively soggy. 

Ordering a burger in a place like Circa 1875 may seem, to the uninitiated, like a rookie move. Rest assured, it is quite the opposite. The 1875 Hamburger Au Poivre is one of the best hamburgers in Savannah. This burger is cooked to perfection and covered with a green peppercorn brandy mustard sauce. The decadent  flavor of the burger is enough to have it serve as the final course of the evening. Follow it up with a digestif, or one more glass of wine, and suddenly you're fortified enough to face the evening once again. 

Circa 1875

48 Whitaker St,

Savannah, GA 31401

November
15

Real Estate Power Couples

It takes two to tango. An idiom often used in a negative connotation, takes on a whole new light for real estate power couple Liz and Bobby Davenport.

The two rely on each other in all aspects of life, from doing the laundry to finalizing a closing. They've been married for 31 years, raised 3 wonderful children together, and now reside in the historic district of downtown Savannah where they both serve as agents for Cora Bett Thomas Realty. From work to play, they consider each other a team. In the 21 years they've worked together, the pair has bought and sold property in 4 different states: Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

So what's the secret to their success? Liz says, "Bobby has always been my best advisor and closest friend. He's my financial consultant but will wash the dishes in a pinch. It's just natural for us." Bobby describes Liz as "the organized one, she remembers the little things that I always forget and puts the finishing touches on everything."

So it seems two is better than one, and it's a huge advantage for their clients too. Their working relationship means more bang for your buck. As investors together, they each focus on different aspects of the business: the big picture guy who thrives in business growth and investing in land; and the welcoming, knowledgeable partner in crime who's all about the flowers and fluff.

Another aspect that makes them such a power couple is the land they cover. From Telfair Plantation in South Carolina, to Sea Pines on Hilton Head Island, and the historic district in downtown Savannah, they really know everything there is to know about the 100 mile coast. The pair is actually able to be in two places at once and serve their clients better.

It was never a question as to if they'd work together, it really just happened naturally. "Our luck and timing have been good to us. It's fun thinking back to all of our clients and how we helped them each take the next step in their lives," Liz says.

While working with your partner in real estate isn't the norm, Cora Bett Thomas Realty has several success stories, and sees this as a growing trend. Take Jan and Tim Corley as another example. Jan, a veteran real estate agent, convinced her newly retired husband to get his license and start working with her. The husband and wife team, now has year one successfully under their belt with several closings and a number of listings.

"He's more disciplined and I'm more relaxed, so we are really able to divide and conquer our duties. Now I couldn't see myself doing it without him," Jan says. She also likes that they can sell all types of real estate and they aren't cornered into one market. Their listing portfolio now ranges from island waterfront to Ardsley Park. They haven't skipped a beat since, and now see real estate as a way of life for them.

As production increases, it's impossible to do everything and do it well. Folks like the Davenports and the Corleys may soon become trendsetters, turning couples into successful business partners.

Contact Cora Bett Thomas Realty & Associates today.

November
15

Circa Lighting

Lighting can make all the difference in the space you inhabit. And while the right amount of light can infuse you with a good mood, the right amount of light from just the right light fixture will make your good mood great. A truly stylish home focuses on the details, and lighting is one of those inherent details that must always be just right.

Circa Lighting was founded in Savannah in 1998 by Gale Singer. Gale had a vision for a curated lighting selection presented in a boutique-like showroom. Through the first showroom Gail reached out to interior designers, architects and builders to have a similar experience locally and online with well curated offerings.

Located in Savannah's Downtown Design District, Circa offers lamps and fixtures of all kinds, for both interior and exterior lighting uses. Floor lamps, table lamps, and ceiling lamps are all available, as well as wall-mounted lighting fixtures. Circa Lighting also offers fans, also for both interior and exteriors. And to help keep the air circulating in your home or business, fans and floor fans are available too.

Floor to Ceiling

Ceiling lamps include chandeliers, flush mounted lamps, lanterns, hanging shades, and linear lamps. A ceiling lamp is a great way to make a statement with your lighting, without sacrificing living or surface space. Both table and floor lamps are divided into 2 categories, decorative and task. Table and floor lamps come in any number of shapes, sizes and materials. In most cases, the only limitation to what you can have is either what you can afford or what can fit into your home.

Wall-mounted lighting fixtures include decorative, bath, task and picture lamps. Most wall-mounted lighting is more functional than fun, but the pieces at Circa still, nonetheless, have pizazz. The same goes for fans, which are more of a necessity than a luxury in Savannah. The fans at Circa can very nearly be considered art, and can add panache to any dwelling. 

Whatever style of lighting you are looking for, Circa has it. Understated, overstated, modern, traditional, dramatic, if you can think of it, Circa has something that will fit your description. Better still, if you are struggling to come up with what exactly you do want, Circa can help with that, too. Circa Lighting's expansive and beautifully designed showrooms are full of inspiration, and their knowledgeable staff are there to help you. 

Circa Lighting |  Savannah Showroom
405 Whitaker St
(912) 447-1008

November
14

John Jewell Joins Our Commercial Team

Cora Bett Thomas Realty recently announced the addition of John Jewell to the commercial real estate team. As a commercial broker, he will act as the mediator between buyers and sellers, facilitating transactions in properties such as: large scale multi-family, land for development, multi-tenant strip centers, multi-tenant office buildings, and restaurants.

With over 15 years of experience in commercial real estate, Jewell has completed transactions across both Georgia and Tennessee. In that time, he has worked with some of the largest property owners, completed transactions with national retailers, and secured large government leases. Most recently, he opened and ran his own real estate business in Tennessee. Prior to that he worked as Managing Director for a national commercial office, and before that, began his career with a regional commercial firm.

Jewell received his Bachelor's Degree in Business and Economics from Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. His father, Ken Jewell, sparked his passion for real estate, having practiced commercial real estate in South Carolina for years. Jewell is married to real estate power house Amanda Jewell, together they have 2 children. He and his family enjoy boating or traveling whenever possible.

Jewell has been a multi-million dollar producer every year since 2003. He has a passion for both landlord and tenant representation, and looks forward to new opportunities here in Savannah.

Contact John

November
12

Christmas in Savannah

It seems like not so long ago, the months of November through February signaled a quieter time in Savannah.  That has since changed. It's time for the holidays in Savannah and there is no shortage of things to do, beauty to behold and places to go. So as we enter this season, let's take a look at what the season has to offer to residents and visitors alike. 

Holidays in Savannah — Walk and Shop

The fun is about to start in a matter of days. On Thursday, November 14th is the East End Holiday Block Party. This is a charity event supporting 2 great causes: Coastal Pet Rescue and Second Harvest Food Bank. The event will be from 5pm-8pm and will offer food, music, shopping and cocktails, as well as raffles.

On November 15th, head on over to the Liberty Street Holiday Block Party. Don't miss one our favorite shops in town, Satchel. Then, head next door to vintage clothing store East + Up, which will also be hosting a pop-up shop from local boutique Mamie Ruth. Once you get tired of shopping, head across Liberty to Edgar's Proof and Provisions. This bar is located in the DeSoto Hilton and will be featuring live music, nibbles, and drink specials.

Few things get the holiday spirit going like gingerbread ... unless it's Christmas lights. The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort and Spa can easily help you get your holiday fix on with its Gingerbread Village and the Savannah Boat Parade of Lights. The hotel is located across the Savannah River from Historic Downtown Savannah. If you don't feel like driving, grab an Uber or hop on the free ferry. 

Another much-anticipated event for local Savannahians in the know is the Design District Holiday Walk, on November 29th. This is a great way to visit the shops of the Design District, support local Savannah merchants, and enjoy the holiday vibes. Many shops will have complimentary cocktails on hand, and this year Big Bon Pizza will be serving delicious, made-to-order pizzas in the Annex.

If you're out and about in the Bluffton area on December 8th, check out the Bluffton Coffee and Chocolate Fest. This event will be held at The Cottage in Bluffton, SC and will host yummy offerings from local vendors, including gourmet coffee and scrumptious desserts. Those sticking closer to Savannah can also check out Picker Joe's Annual Christmas Party, also on December 8th. 

See Something Pretty.

People come from all over to take in the architecture and natural beauty that makes Savannah so special, so you can bet that we take our Christmas decorations seriously. To behold the glory that is Old Savannah bedecked in all its holiday finery, behold the majestic solemnity of Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, a candlelit tour of  The Davenport House, or the refinement of The Owens-Thomas House; all are open to the public and available for tours.

Another great way to experience the elegance of the Historic District during the holidays is The Holiday Tour of Homes; while a tour of Savannah's historic inns is available, the most popular tour is that which includes 8 (count 'em, EIGHT) private Savannah homes and 2 museum houses in the Landmark Historic District. Word of warning: if you aren't already in love with the historical houses of Savannah before this tour, you will be after.

Enjoy A Show.

There's just something extra special about catching a holiday show, and Savannah offers something for everyone when it comes to holiday entertainment. Those hardworking performers over at The Savannah Theatre will be presenting "A Christmas Tradition," a 2-hour extravaganza of music, dance, comedy, and a little bit of audience participation. The renowned Savannah Philharmonic Orchestra will be returning with its 8th season of its "Holiday Pops" show, beloved by Savannahians and visitors alike. 

There is so much holiday fun to be had in Savannah and the Lowcountry, and this is just a bit of it. Get out, have fun, and enjoy the holiday spirit. Happy Holidays!

November
5

Homeowners Associations:
A Blessing and a Curse 

Homeowners Association

Make sure your agent has knowledge about the Homeowners Associations where you are interested in buying. 

First things first, let's make sure we all know what and why HOA Fees exist. The Homeowners Association (or HOA) is an organization within a subdivision, planned community, or condominium that creates and enforces the rules for the properties in their jurisdiction. When you purchase property within an HOA's jurisdiction you are often required to pay dues - the infamous HOA fees. There are both advantages and disadvantages to living in communities that have an HOA - we talk more about that in this article. But first let's look at 5 questions you should ask when talking to your agent about a property that would come with an HOA fee.

Is the HOA mandatory?

Do not be fooled by thinking just because a community has an HOA it is mandatory.  There are mandatory and voluntary Homeowners Associations. A mandatory membership requires every owner in the community to be a member, otherwise they could face penalties for not complying with rules and dues. However, some communities have a voluntary associations.   An example of a voluntary HOA may be a neighborhood that asks members to be apart of their civic organization or club to help maintain community spaces or the neighborhood entrance.

What does the HOA fee cover?

Some HOA fees can be quite steep depending on the community or area you live in, therefore it is wise to have a clear understanding of what the fee is covering. Make sure your money is being put to good use. Here are a few items that an HOA fee may cover.

  • Amenities: Pools, clubhouses, tennis courts, gym facilities
  • Lawn Care: This could cover anything from general lawn maintenance to snow removal
  • Maintenance and Repairs: Oftentimes condominium HOA fees cover interior, like the lobby or community space of a condo, and exterior maintenance.  They will also keep a set amount on reserve for bigger projects like replacing water heaters or community floors.
  • City Services: Trash pickup, water, sewage

How often are the HOA fees collected?

Homeowners Association fees can be collected, yearly, monthly or quarterly. Once you know when your HOA fees are expected it's a good idea to put a reminder on a calendar or budget accordingly so that the fees do not catch you off guard.

What is the penalty for not complying with the HOA?

In most cases if you do not pay the fee, the HOA has the power to place a lien on your property.  A lien is placed on the properties title, and restricts the owner from legally selling, refinancing, or transferring the title of ownership to the home. This could lead to a foreclosure, with the understanding that if one is not financially secure enough to pay an HOA fee, they could fault on their mortgage payment as well. If you are able to get caught up and pay the overdue fees the lien will be removed.

Do you have an HOA website or Facebook group that is regularly updated?

The Homeowners Association should have a website that hosts the community covenants and restrictions.  Often HOAs will have a website that has their bylaws, but then an additional Facebook page to showcase community events or ways to get involved.  One of the benefits of moving into a community that has an HOA is the community bonding opportunities available.

A sign of a good agent is someone who has already asked these questions and then some! Contact Cora Bett Thomas Realty & Associates today.

November
5

Commercial Real Estate as an Investment

Home Is Where Is the Heart Is, But Is it Where the Investment Is?

By Graham Sadler, Cora Bett Thomas Realty

The term real estate naturally leads one to think of buying and selling homes or even renting out residential property. While there are many advantages to residential investments, commercial properties have even more financial gain.

The term commercial property refers to buildings such as: retail space, offices, warehouses, industrial buildings, land, and even multi-family housing (such as duplexes or apartment buildings). That ranges from a luxury hotel buildings, to your favorite coffee shop.

Owning real estate, in general, can increase your long-term wealth, but why add specifically commercial to your investment portfolio? There are several benefits: higher incomes, less competition, longer leases, professional relationships, and, of course, tax advantages.  

Advantages Commercial Real Estate as an Investment

Let's start with the most distinct advantage: financial reward. Commercial real estate gives you a better return on your investment. It will allow you to avoid stock market volatility and bring in steadier returns.

The commercial field is also less competitive because it seems unattainable. Investing in a shopping center or a warehouse is a major endeavor and a big expense, thus many assume it is out of their purchasing power. The solution: competitive loan programs. This option is available for nearly all investors, and taking out a loan can be an even greater advantage due to the long term gain and relatively low interest rates.

Vacancy, maintenance, and management issues are a lot less common when it comes to commercial properties than residential. Commercial tenants have a vested interest in keeping up their space, because if they don't, it could have a negative impact on their personal business. However when it comes to tenants renting out a home, the only thing at stake is the loss of a security deposit.

Commercial properties typically have much longer leases (some tenants sign on for multiple years) and most have more than one tenant, which means you benefit from consistent cash flow and multiple streams of income.

There are also tax advantages. With commercial real estate you can write off loan interest, property depreciation, and expenses related to operation of the building. The tax benefits differ from investor to investor.

As for me, I want investments that are close to home, and thankfully Savannah has a strong economy. The growth in our area has been steady, very few highs and lows in comparison to other markets, which means real estate values will appreciate. Thanks to tourism and industry, there's also commercial investment money being brought in from outside of Savannah. And truly, there's no place like home to start investing.

So if you're looking to take the first step, think bigger than renting out a single family home. Diversify your investment portfolio to include commercial real estate, your potential for financial reward is that much greater and the hassle is that much smaller.

Graham Sadler, a commercial real estate market leader with over 18 years' experience in the industry, is an Associate Broker at Cora Bett Thomas Commercial. He can be reached at 912-398-0932 or gsadler@cbtcommercial.com.

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