Columbia, South Carolina
Relocation/Home Buying Guide
by Mel Coker, Realtor

Page 1: Your Realtor * All About Columbia * Schools * Cost of Living
Page 2: Getting Started * Towards Closing * More from Mel Coker
Mel Coker's Real Estate Website

Page 1 of 2

Ready to relocate and buy a home in the Greater Columbia, SC area? I've prepared an online guide to assist you with your move to our friendly area. Please contact me when you are ready to buy a home. I would be very happy to assist you.

Columbia, SC Realtor - Mel Coker When you complete this "online short course", please fill-in the registration form linked at the end. Please take the time to read this information.

Mel Coker
Realtor, CRS, ABR, GRI
RE/MAX Metro Associates
Telephone: (888) 528-2258
email: Mel Coker

Mel Coker, Columbia real estate Your Realtor, Mel Coker...
Your choice of a Realtor/Buyer's Agent really does make a difference. When you're ready to BUY a home in the Columbia area, you need to choose Mel Coker as your Realtor. I have a strong committment to friendly service and effective buyer representation. I'll assist you with Columbia information and all of the right services to choose and close on the right home for you and your family.

There is NO cost for buyer representation and no obligation. Mel provides client service when you sign the S.C. Agency Disclosure form. Mel will provide an explanation of this state required disclosure and form at your first meeting.

I sell many new and resale homes each year to relocating clients. I work in most areas of Columbia, including: Northeast Columbia, Blythewood, downtown Columbia, Irmo, Chapin, Lake Murray, Lexington, West Columbia and the Fort Jackson area.

Call Mel Coker for relocation to Columbia, SC I have a committment to ongoing education and the use of technology. Recognition for sales leadership includes: Life Member of Greater Columbia Association of Realtors Circle of Excellence and RE/MAX Platinum Club and Regal Circle for new home sales. Also, I hold important Realtor education designations, including: CRS (Certified Residential Specialist), ABR (Accredited Buyer Representative) and GRI (Graduate, Realtor Institute). Less than 3% of all Realtors nationwide hold these 3 important real estate designations.

More information about Mel Coker

Columbia, SC All About COLUMBIA, SC (almost)...
The Greater Columbia area is a GREAT place to live, work, raise a family or for your retirement years. Columbia is the capital city of South Carolina and located in the geographic center of the state. The city population is app. 116,000 and the greater metropolitan area (Richland and Lexington counties) is about 543,000.

A quick overview: beautiful Lake Murray for recreation... pleasant weather year-round including almost snow-free winters... excellent interstate access, including I-26, I-20 and I-77... easy travel to other vacation/recreation areas, including the mountains of upstate South Carolina and North Carolina and popular South Carolina coastal areas, including Myrtle Beach (3 hours), Hilton Head Island (2.5 hours) and Charleston (2 hours)... Columbia is close to other major business and vacation destinations, including Orlando (7.5 hours), Atlanta (3.5 hours) and Charlotte (2 hours)... Riverbanks Zoo and Garden (one of America's BEST zoos)... the University of South Carolina... exciting athletic teams, including South Carolina Gamecocks, Capital City Bombers minor league baseball and Columbia Inferno hockey... fun and educational places to visit, including the S.C. State Museum, S.C state house and grounds and Columbia Museum of Art... the new Carolina Center for athletic and entertainment events... fun shopping areas, including downtown Coumbia and the Congaree Vista area and 4 major malls... beautiful city parks, including Finlay Park, Riverfront Park and Three Rivers Greenway... wonderful outdoor experiences in 13 state parks and other state recreation and natural areas... numerous challenging golf courses... a wide variety of places of worship.. reasonable home values... friendly people... smiling faces! I'm SOLD on Columbia! You will be too.

Columbia was named one of "America's Most Livable Communities" by the Partners for Livable Communities organization.

For more information online:
Columbia "A to Z" (a website by Mel Coker)
Columbia Photo Tour (a website by Mel Coker)
Lake Murray (a website by Mel Coker)
FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions (a website by Mel Coker)

I would be happy to provide a downtown tour for you when you visit to buy a home. Just ask!

Columbia, SC schools SCHOOLS in Columbia...
The Greater Columbia area has some of the top-rated schools and school districts in South Carolina, including Lexington District 5 (Irmo, Ballentine, Dutch Fork and Chapin areas), Lexington District 1 (Lexington area) and Richland District 2 (Northeast Columbia, Fort Jackson and Blythewood areas). Two districts were in the overall top four districts in the state for composite SAT scores - Lexington 5 was #2 with a 1064 composite score and Lexington District 1 was #4 with a 1055 composite score. Also, several schools finished as winners in the state SAT competition, including Chapin High (class A school), Dreher High (class AAA school) and Lexington High (class AAAA school). Lexington District 5 was one of the three districts in South Carolina with an overall excellent rating.

For more information online: & School District Report Cards links
Schools Information links (a website by Mel Coker)

Buying or building a home in Columbia SC Cost of Living...
Columbia has a very reasonable cost of living compared to many other areas of the country. A recent comparison to other South Carolina and Southeast locales, revealed that Columbia's cost of living is lower than all of the following (percentage difference in parenthesis): Charleston (5.5), Greenville (1.0), Myrtle Beach (4.0), Hilton Head Island (12.3), Charlotte (2.7), Asheville (6.5), Atlanta (7.1) and Orlando (4.8). Electric rates in South Carolina are on average about 12% lower than the national average. Gasoline prices recently were 7.7% lower than the national average.

Home values in Columbia are excellent. The average home price for the entire Multiple Listing Service is approximately $140,000. That is for a relatively large geographical area and includes all kinds of homes. Homes prices, may of course, go lower or much higher. Appreciation, on average, ranges in the 3% - 3.5% range annually.

Examples of Columbia area home prices...

  • Lexington/Irmo areas; min. 3 BR and 2 baths; 1200-1600 sq. ft; 2 car garage; brick or vinyl construction; less than 6 years old. Average price is $124,509. Range is $106,900 to $157,000.
  • Lexington/Irmo areas; min. 3 BR and 2 baths; 2000-2500 sq. ft; 2 car garage; brick or vinyl construction; less than 6 years old. Average price is $190,409. Range is $124,638 to $361,000.
  • Northeast Columbia; min. 4 BR and 2 1/2 baths; 3000-3500 sq. ft.; min. 2 gar; brick construction; less than 6 years old. Average price is $303,790. Range is $178,650 to $419,500.
  • Homes on Golf courses in NE, Irmo, Lexington, Chapin areas; min. 3 BR and 2 baths; min. 2500 sq. ft.; 2 car garage; brick or vinyl construction; less than 12 years old. Average price is $373,468. Range is $249,900 to $489,000.
  • Lake Murray lots; ALL areas of lake; 100-150 feet of water frontage. Average price is $165,956. Range is $74,500 to $550,000.
  • Lake Murray homes Lexington and Chapin areas; min. 3 BR and 2 baths; 2500-3500 sq. ft.; min. 2 car gar; brick or vinyl const.; less than 21 yrs. old; min. 100 ft. water frontage. Average price is $539,044. Range is $375,000 to $999,998.
    The above prices are for illustrative purposes only for specific criteria as listed. The home or condo or lot you desire may be similiar to one of the above examples or may be very different. Prices may vary widely for location, location, location and quality of construction. Prices as of March 27, 2003. Where else can you find this kind of price and statistical information? Only from Mel! Call Mel Coker to begin your home search.

    Please view my Market Conditions Report Or Call me directly for Columbia, SC area real estate information. Call (803) 932-2144.

    Taxes are generally reasonable for South Carolina and Columbia. Expect to pay the following taxes: S.C state sales tax (5% with certain limitations and exemptions available), S.C. state income tax (marginal or top tax rate of 7% with various deductions and credits allowed), Property taxes on real and personal property. For residential property, a lower rate (4% assessment ratio) is applied to a primary residence and residents 65 and over receive a homestead exemption of $50,000 against the tax fair market value. Generally, in Lexington and Richland counties, you may figure an approximate tax amount of about .009% to 1.2% of the purchase price of a home. For example, if you own a $150,000 home, your real estate tax would be approximately $1350 to $1800. Personal property tax is collected annually on cars, trucks, motorcycles, recreational vehicles, boats and airplanes, based on their fair market value. These items are generally depreciated for tax purposes over time.

    More information online:
    Tax Guide for New Residents by S.C. Department of Revenue
    Homeowner's Guide to Property Taxes by SCDOR

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    Contact MEL COKER
    Excellence in Real Estate Service

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    "Selling Columbia, Lake Murray, Irmo,
    Northeast Columbia, Lexington!"

    Mel Coker
    MAX Metro Associates
    690-B Columbiana Drive
    Columbia, SC 29212

    Office : 803-749-5800
    Toll-free : 888-528-2258
    Home : 803-


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