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Date Archives: January 2020

BHHS Bay Street Realty Group Cora Bett Thomas Realty Blog Home

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"Young professionals in the real estate career are so fortunate," says real estate legend Cora Bett Thomas. With almost four decades of experience under her belt, she believes there's no better time than now to dive in. 

Real estate agents that are young, have the world at their fingertips. Why? There are several reasons! They are far more advanced with the latest technology, they have the energy and drive to be successful, and they are eager to learn. So that's where the most important step comes in, finding the best broker to learn from. Choose a broker, like Cora Bett Thomas Realty, that has the a team of people who are dedicated to helping you every step of the way. 

Cora Bett Thomas Realty is fortunate to have several young professionals on the team. They help search for new ways to answer questions, bring fresh marketing ideas to the table, and most importantly come with a positive attitude. Our very own Spencer Hancock graduated from college with a public relations degree and decided to start her professional career in real estate. She says, "My best piece of advice is to associate with the best, become a part of their team, and then learn from them." 

"A lot of the older, more experienced agents are there for you for mentorship, training, and questions," says Cora Bett Thomas agent John Howell. "It helps starting out if you have someone available for insight, advice and helping you." Howell also decided to make real estate his first career move out of college.

Cora Bett says, "The sky's the limit when it comes to real estate because it's up to you! If you work hard you will go far. You are in charge of yourself and there's no other job like it!" If you are looking to become a real estate professional, give Cora Bett Thomas Realty a call today!



Hello, 2020! It's a new year, a new decade, and a new chance to be the best version of you. Many new year's resolutions surround a healthier lifestyle. Cora Bett Thomas Realty has compiled a list of some of the trending health habits for 2020: 


Home is where the gym is 


This year, the fitness trend is ease of access. How can you fit 30 minutes of activity in your day without taking away from other aspects? The answer? Workout in the comfort of your own home. 

Fitness equipment is becoming more and more high tech. From the bikes, treadmills, and row machines to the personalized workout apps on your phone. You get a workout instructor right in your living room, without having that added cost or hassle of going anywhere. 


Declutter your house 


Spring cleaning is a term we all know very well! But what about a deep clean and declutter this winter? During the winter months, we spend the most time in our homes, so grab your dust cloth and a few trash bags and make your home feel as good as new. 

Make a checklist of things that you don't think about doing regularly: replace your air filters, wash your windows, degrease your oven, clean your gutters, and empty your dryer vents. These are easy tasks that you can assign just a portion of your day to. Then pick a room or a space in your home, and focus on getting rid of items you haven't used throughout the year. The more stuff you have, the more places dust can settle.


Take advantage of where you live


Take a walk in a new part of town, eat at a restaurant you've never been to before, and be a tourist in your own town! Savannah is the perfect place to do all of these things. Another new year's trend is loving where you are at, so we are taking this quite literally and soaking in the charm, cuisine, and history of the Hostess City

Do you love walks at Forsyth Park? Shake things up a bit and head to Daffin Park or walk along the squares downtown instead. Have you been talking about trying that new restaurant in Savannah? Make a reservation and take your friend there this weekend. Savannah is culturally rich. Have you always wondered what that old brick building is that you pass on your way to work every day? Take time and go on an architectural tour. 2020 is the year to soak it all in! 




Last but not least, make time for yourself. Meditation and yoga aren't just trendy anymore… They are necessary and helpful to your well being. Meditation is different for everyone: write in a journal, listen to the waves crash onshore at Tybee, or head to a yoga class. Whether you choose to do it in the comfort of your own home or find a studio that makes you feel at home, take 30 minutes a day to focus on YOU!


Scout Southern Market


Now that you've found a place to stay in Beaufort, whether it's for a day or a week, or even longer, there's plenty to see and do. Don't let the size and serenity of the city fool you — there are some places that you absolutely have to visit, and there's a good chance that you'll enjoy one so much that you might not make it to the others in one go. Here are some of our favorite places in downtown Beaufort, and we think you'll love them too:

M Home & Garden & Interiors is a quiet and cool enclave of refinement on Bay Street, and is filled with an assortment of gifts and home decor; whether you're decorating your new beach house, or looking to settle in to your new home in the Lowcountry, M has you covered — literally. The shop offers custom upholstery and lighting services, both of which are proudly displayed in restaurants and bars around Beaufort, as well as having been featured in Southern Living Magazine. Many of the home accessories evoke a sense of whimsical practicality — does that phrase sound contradictory? One glance at one of my favorite items in the shop, a pad of printed paper placemats, in just about any vibrantly-colored design you can imagine, and you'll understand exactly what I mean. For those looking to settle into a home in Beaufort for a little longer, M also offers interior design services, both for residential and commercial spaces, and in a variety of design styles.

Scout. 709 Bay St.

Scout. 709 Bay St.

Scout is another store that is located on Bay Street; and, like M Home & Garden & Interiors, it sells an array of home furnings, gifts, accessories and artwork. In addition to handcrafted cocktail mixes, Scout also sells sauces, dips, and preserves. But you don't have to wait until you get home to try something yummy — the store boasts a "Sweet Tea Bar," which serves snacks (pimento cheese, anyone?) and tasty beverages. Anyone who claims to love the "house wine of the South," aka sweet tea, simply has to try one of the sweet tea floats, which includes housemade sherbert. I had one with lemon sherbet, and I have to say it was divine. There were several things I would love to own from this store, but I am particularly fond of the letterpressed stationery that features elegantly-drawn palmetto bugs; yes, I said palmetto bugs. Personally, I want to bring back the Southern tradition of calling cards, just so I can get a set from Scout and flash those little suckers all over town. For more Beaufort shopping check out the list at Eat Sleep Play Beaufort.


Savannah is special for so many reasons! It's proximity to some of the most beautiful places in the world is one of them. Here at Cora Bett Thomas Realty, we love to travel, even if it is just a one day trip or a weekend getaway! Here are a couple of our "one tank wonders" and why we love them so: 

Beach Escape: St. Simons

Less than 100 miles away from Savannah, and just south along the coast, sits an inviting island with breathtaking beaches, challenging golf courses, and good eats. St. Simons is the largest barrier island in the Golden Isles. It's great for the whole family, just a girls getaway, or a weekend for those adventurous men. And we of course love St. Simons in the fall!  

Personalize your stay! You could make it as relaxing or on-the-go as you wish! Stay in a rental home or a quaint inn. One of our favorite places to stay is on Sea Island, where southern charm fills the air. Head out early for fishing, golf, or a day on the beach. Soak in the rich history at their heritage center or restored lighthouse. Indulge in some of the best seafood. That's the best part about a weekend getaway to St. Simons, there's something for everyone to enjoy! 


Southern Hospitality: Beaufort

Take a short hour drive across state lines, and the charm of this small southern town will make you feel right at home. Voted the South's Best Small Town by Southern Living, this is a must-add to your travel list for 2020. You will be greeted by endless Civil War-era homes, relaxation, and gorgeous trees that have greeted visitors since 1512. Beaufort has a quaint downtown loaded with great resturants and shops


The Rhett House Inn is an upscale bed & breakfast you should book for your stay. Take time to shop, relax along the waterfront, and dine with some of the best. 

Explore Bluff Life: Palmetto Bluff

Much different than the rest, and not even an hour away, you will find serenity in a community that's enriched by wilderness, unspoiled rivers, and nature. This is a peaceful and beautiful way to see the Lowcountry. This 20,000 acre community is best known for those that make it home. But there are rooms, suites, and majestic homes for you to stay during a short vacation. Once you've arrived, enjoy a much needed day at the spa, witness the 32 miles of waterfront, and take part in the sporting life. Whatever you decide, don't forget to bring your camera!


Have you traveled to any of these places? Be sure to tag us on social to share your experiences with us!



Dallas, Chicago, Charlotte, Atlanta, D.C., New York City, Boston, and Miami. What do all of these cities have in common? They are direct flight cities to and from our beautiful home in Savannah. This is just a short list of Cora Bett Thomas' favorites, but there are plenty more. 15 cities to be exact. 

New York City is at the top of her list when it comes to a day or weekend trip somewhere. She loves to shop, grab lunch at Bergdorf Goodman, and meet new people. "You never meet a stranger in the city," says Cora Bett. And that couldn't be more true. She is known for connecting people and places, and becoming friends with everyone.

These direct flight opportunities are good for both tourism and for permanent residents. Visitors are able to get here with ease and fall in love with Savannah. All while Savannahians are able to get out and see the world without having to spend excessive money, or stop in 3 other cities along the way. 

As the hostess city continues to grow, we'll see more and more opportunities for travel. 


2020 Luxury Market Forecast | MyKCM

By the end of last year, many homeowners found themselves with more equity than they realized, and at the same time their wages were increasing. When those two factors unite, it can spark homeowners to think about making a move to a larger or more expensive home in the luxury space. That said, now is a perfect opportunity to take a look at the forecast for the 2020 luxury market.

Three Things to Think About in the 2020 Luxury Housing Market

1. Prices

The U.S. economy is strong today, with buying opportunities throughout the luxury end of the market. Thomas Veraguth, Strategist at UBS Global Wealth Management, says in,

"There's a good link between luxury real estate prices and [economic] growth."

Available inventory is a key element that can impact home prices. At the upper range, the inventory is greater in comparison to the entry-level market, making moving up to a luxury home a growing reality for many buyers right now.

2. Activity in the Market

With more buying opportunities at the higher end, we should start to see an increase in activity. The same article states,

"Affluent homebuyers will start to come out of the woodwork as they find rising luxury rents less appealing and sellers get even more negotiable on price."

Buyers looking in the luxury market are taking the opportunity to negotiate on price in a segment where there are more choices, too. According to the Luxury Market Report, homes sold for an average of 96.94% of the list price in December.

Buyers are also getting more for their money with greater purchasing power due to the current low interest rates.

3. Buyers Are Coming Back

Keep in mind, buyers are often sellers too, especially those looking to move up. Homeowners with an entry-level home can take advantage of the inventory shortage at the lower end of the market, thus driving higher sales prices for their current homes. Combined with growing equity in the homes they're listing, it's a great time for those who are ready to make a luxury move.

The extra equity and greater purchasing power are bringing many buyers back to the market. The same article mentioned that,

"We've already seen buyers who've been on the sidelines for two years tread back into the market."

Bottom Line

If you're considering entering the luxury market, 2020 is shaping up to be a great year for those who are ready to make that move. Let's get together to set your real estate plan for the year.


Why You Shouldn't

Rising home prices coupled with the current inventory in today's market may cause some homeowners to consider selling their homes on their own (known in the industry as a For Sale By Owner). However, a FSBO might be hard to execute well for the vast majority of sellers.

Here are the top 5 reasons not to FSBO:

1. Online Strategy for Prospective Purchasers

Studies have shown that 93% of buyers search online for a home. That's a pretty staggering number! Most real estate agents have an Internet strategy to promote the sale of your home. Do you? Need even more proof, check out our brokerage website to see how homes are listed and information is shared with the general public

2. Results Come from the Internet

According to NAR, here's where buyers found the homes they actually purchased:

  • 55% on the Internet
  • 28% from a Real Estate Agent
  • 10% Other
  • 6% from a Yard Sign
  • 1% from Newspapers

The days of selling your house by putting up a sign in your yard or placing an ad in the paper are long gone. Having a strong Internet strategy is crucial.

3. There Are Too Many People to Negotiate With

Here's a list of some of the people with whom you must be prepared to negotiate if you decide to FSBO:

  • The buyer, who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer's agent, who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
  • The buyer's attorney (in some parts of the country)
  • The home inspection companies, which work for the buyer and will almost always find some problems with the house
  • The appraiser, if there is a question of value

4. FSBOing Has Become Increasingly Difficult

The paperwork involved in buying or selling a home has increased dramatically as industry disclosures and regulations have become mandatory. This is one of the reasons the percentage of people FSBOing has dropped from 19% to 8% over the last 20+ years.

5. You Net More Money When Using an Agent

Many homeowners believe they'll save the real estate commission by selling on their own, but the seller and buyer can't both save the commission.

A report by Zillow revealed that FSBOs are inclined to do so because they believe it will save money (46 percent cite this among their top three reasons), but they don't actually save anything, and eventually end up listing with an agent.

The same report revealed that,

"While 36% of sellers that (at first) attempted to sell their homes on their own, only 11 percent of sellers—in other words, less than a third…actually sold without an agent."

It appears working with a real estate professional is the best answer.

Bottom Line

Before you decide to take on the challenges of selling your house on your own, reach out to our agents today and let's get together to discuss your needs.



Year-Over-Year Rental Prices on the Rise | MyKCM

Looking ahead, 2020 is projected to be a strong year for homeownership. According to the Freddie Mac Forecast,

"We expect rates to remain low, falling to a yearly average of 3.8% in 2020."

If you're currently renting, 2020 may be a great time to think about making a jump into homeownership while mortgage rates are low.

As noted in the National Rent Report,

"the national rent index increased by 1.4 percent year-over-year."

With average rents on the rise, this year-over-year increase may not sound like much, but it can add up – fast. The math on how much extra it will cost you over time surely doesn't lie.

Here's an example: On a $1,500 rental payment, an increase of 1.4% adds an additional $21 dollars per month to your payment. When multiplied by the twelve months in a year, it's a $252 overall annual increase. The price continues to multiply when you rent year after year, as rental prices rise.

History shows how average rental prices have been increasing each year, and there doesn't seem to be much end in sight. Here's a look at how rents have grown since 2012 alone:Year-Over-Year Rental Prices on the Rise | MyKCMWhy not lock down your monthly housing expense, and at the same time build additional net worth for you and your family? If you're thinking about buying a home, consider the financial benefits of what homeownership can do for you, especially while the market conditions are strong and current mortgage rates are low. 

Bottom Line

With average rents continuing to rise, now may be a great time to stabilize your monthly payment by becoming a homeowner and locking into a low mortgage rate. Conact one of our agents today and let's get together to discuss how taking advantage of the current market conditions might work for you.

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