Thursday, April 12, 2018

Taking a Greyhound Bus Ride in North Carolina

Riding a Greyhound Bus in the South...

Have you ever been on one? I had not. Do you picture a bunch of basically uncouth characters and homeless people going to places unknown? How long does it take to go somewhere on one? Several extra hours? Have you seen the new commercials where they advertise extra leg room, free WIFI, movies, etc?

Here's the story of what it's like to take a bus from Greensboro, NC to Wilmington, NC...about a 3.5 hour drive by car - 7.5 hours by Greyhound...

The Greensboro bus station, and indeed 4 other ones I was "privileged" enough to see first hand is just about as scary as you'd ever think. In North Carolina, bus stations are apparently all in the run-down downtown areas of each city. There seems to be a homeless shelter across the street from all of them...whether the shelter was built next to it, or it was built next to the shelter, I'm not sure. But the parking lot and the station itself is their territory, and a prime place to panhandle or intimidate...not too much of the latter as the police are also usually nearby. More on the homeless people later...

Some of the bus stations are open 24 hours a day. Most are not. I was told after Greyhound bought out Trailways they closed down many of the stations and cut hours for the employees. The Gboro station was supposed to open at 7:30. Buses start loading at 7:50, and you're supposed to be checking your bags 45 minutes ahead. There are 2 employees in Gboro...a maintenance man about 70 years old, and the ticket OJ Simpson look-alike with a surly attitude. His regular time to report in is 7:45. Yes, you read that right. His regular time is 15 minutes late. The second day, he didn't make it until 7:50. He comes in, looks to see if the buses are on time on his computer, starts a pot of coffee, and finally opens his window about 7:50 to 7:55.

The first day, not knowing any of this, I have my niece take me to the station at about 7:20. We both had to get up around 5am to do this. The maintenance guy tells us the station doesn't open until 7:30, so we sit in her SUV and wait. There are a few wandering derelicts outside, but not many at this early time. It was about 40 degrees, so they weren't out and about yet. Finally, he opens the door, so I take my bag and go in...and she goes home (on the other side of Greensboro). Then, of course, I learn the ticket guy isn't due in till 7:45...LOL.  So I went back outside to smoke and freeze, and wait. O.J. shows up finally and I go in to be sure my internet ticket is accurate and I don't have to check my bag.

By about 7:55, he opens his window and starts issuing tickets and answering questions. The bus isn't there. He checks his computer, sells some more tickets, checks his computer, weighs some bags, and checks his computer. The bus isn't there. Finally, around 8:30, he proceeds to tell us that the two buses expected are delayed...mine by ELEVEN hours, and the other one by (maybe) 4 hours. Seems that they "lost a driver" for mine, which was still in Atlanta.

There are 2 buses for my route every at 8am, and one at 1pm. The 1pm bus gets to Wilmington at 7:30 in the evening. I can't drive in the dark, so that's out. I have 3 connections to make, so there's nothing for me to do but try the next day. My poor niece had to drive BACK across town, pick me up, and take me to my friend's house in High Point. Earlier she had to drive from her house to High Point and back to Gboro on the other side of town, then to her home. So she's probably driven about 2 hours for all of this.

Let me pause here and tell you about the time a bus trip takes. I live in North Myrtle Beach, SC, which is about a 4-hour drive to High Point. If you take the super highway I-40, it's less. A Greyhound bus from Greensboro (there isn't one in High Point- they closed it - takes 16 hours to drive from Myrtle Beach to Greensboro! Now, this is the main source of all my problems. If I had been willing to ride a 16-hour trip, I could have driven to the bus station, parked my car there, and do a round-trip ticket to Greensboro. I was not willing to do this, as it would have entailed 2 extra days to go. I have cats to feed, and work to do.

The bus trip to Wilmington NC, which is one hour from my home, only took 7.5 hours. Wilmington is about 3 hours from Greensboro. So I asked my nephew who lives in Wilmington to take me to Greensboro. He was also going to my brother's birthday party. Problem was, he had to leave the party and go to Atlanta, so couldn't take me home. Thus, it was either a 7.5 hour bus trip to Wilmington, or a 16-hour bus trip to Myrtle Beach.

Now everyone who knows me well knows that I can't drive across a bridge. Even to spend a day with Davy Jones in Charleston, I could not drive across a bridge. So I had to find a place on MY side of the Wilmington bridge to leave the car. We decided on a Food Lion, about 5 miles away from it. Of course, I took a wrong turn and got lost driving there, but we won't go into that part....LOL

If a 200 mile trip on Greyhound takes 16 hours, I can only fathom that going to someplace like Pennsylvania or New York must take about 3 days. Can you imagine? They stop at every bus station on the route...about every 1.5 hours. I had 5 stops and 2 bus changes on my trip.

Leg room? There was barely, maybe, 8 inches from the seat to the back of the next seat. If you have big feet, like a man with a size 11 shoe, you have a serious problem. Unlike a plane, you can't walk around a bus. On the road, it rocks and swings like any vehicle. There's a bathroom in the back. I can't picture walking that far. Thankfully I didn't have to use it. WIFI? Maybe. Movies? No. Snacks? No. Restaurants near the bus stations? No way. So your trip involves snack machines and drink machines. (Except in Fayetteville- the drink machine doesn't work) If they would tell people that, they would bring their own food. They want you to use the snack and coke machines, though. the first day's trip was canceled. My niece takes me back to my long-suffering best friend's house to stay another night and use her recliner to sleep. She, like me, usually starts out sleeping in the recliner and goes to bed afterward. She also stays up half the night like I do. Both days I was so exhausted I was sleeping sitting at the tables in restaurants. By 11 pm, I was out like a light, with her watching tv. I was wonderful company- Not. The second day, my niece had to work, so my friend had to DRIVE ME TO GREENSBORO at 7:30 am. I felt sooo bad. I still feel sooo bad. Yes, I would do it for her, but it would half-kill either of us. Thank God for 40-year friendships.

Day 2 attempt. We get there at 7:30, and of course O.J. is not there. She didn't want to leave me so we sat in her car until he got there. Actually, I stood by her car and smoked, and she sat there talking to me through the window. He drags in at 7:50, so I go on in to be sure the bus is actually coming this time. At about 7:55 the bus pulls in before he even opens his window. So I run out to tell her bye and start my adventure.

Senior citizens, handicapped people, and those who are changing buses are supposed to sit in the front. This bus was full. I get on with this one heavy bag, and there are no seats towards the front at all. This very sweet black man offers to give up his extra seat for me, and puts his 2 big bags plus mine in his LAP. He pretty much looked homeless, but he was the only one that offered to help with anything. The Greyhound employees help? Hah! Forget that. With one exception every driver stopped the bus, made announcements, and was gone inside. If you are truly handicapped, I warn you not to ride a bus. Oh, they say they are handicap equipped, and they do have a wheel-chair lift. But you'd better have a caretaker with you and plan to just stay on the bus most of the time. The drivers have no interest in fraternizing with the passengers.

So I sit next to this sweet little guy, with his lap full of probably 30 lbs of bags or more. He tells me the seatbelts are very uncomfortable and he doesn't advise putting it on. Nobody else wears theirs either. If you have an aisle seat, you have to hold on for dear life just like you did when you took a school bus as a kid.

The man tells me that he buys a round-trip ticket every month and travels on the bus for about a week. He doesn't go anywhere in particular...just different places. He's originally from Louisiana and his mother did the same thing. They love to travel. I suspect he has no home but didn't press him about it. He looked out the windows and talked about how pretty the homes were that we passed. Most of them were shacks. I hope some of the stations have a place to take a bath...although I didn't see anything like that. This guy is lonely and so thankful to have someone who will talk to him and be kind. I will talk to anybody. So we talked for an hour until the first stop, which was where I changed buses and broke his heart. I was actually very sad to leave him alone again. I made an unexpected friend on a bus.

We stopped in Durham for a pickup, but nobody was allowed to get off the bus. About 45 minutes later we stopped at Raleigh and I got off. Raleigh's bus station is a much nicer building. It was chock-full of people that looked homeless or at least poverty-stricken. We had a 40-minute layover so I went outside to smoke...along with about 20 others. Once again I find that this part of our society are some of the most friendly and helpful people you can find. Everyone talks like they know each other. The younger ones jump to open a door or help you with your bag. The employees ignore everyone, although they are friendlier here than in Greensboro. 15 minutes early, they call our bus, and this driver is a bit nicer than the first troll, lifting my bag for me, and creating a front seat for me...this time by an unbelievably nice black lady who called me "baby" several times..."You are ok, Baby, don't worry about me. You're not any trouble, Baby.". Once again, the best people around. We leave 15 minutes early and head to Fayetteville. Miserable ride with no leg room, but the best possible company. No "movies" or anything that I could see.

Fayetteville was a BIG bus station because they also have city buses there. Lots of cops, lots of employees that ignore you. Broken drink machine. Luckily they did at least have a water fountain. You have to walk about a block from the building to smoke, and I was yelled at for not walking far enough. An old white dude in a wheelchair went back in and ratted me out. HE had to go that far, so by god, I wasn't going to get by with standing 30 feet nearer than he was. Keep in mind that I can barely walk anyway...I get so breathless. Yes, I should quit smoking. No, I haven't. And I had this 25 lb bag I had to lug around, plus my pocketbook. Did anyone give a crap? No. Greyhound is NOT an airline or an airport. The next time you want to complain about an airport, think twice. I didn't take my good rolling suitcase because I didn't want to check a bag and have it lost.

Now the bus from Fayetteville to Wilmington is loading. THIS driver is a real sweetheart. We are early too. And there are TWO and another guy in the back. The driver sets me up right behind him and we talk and tell stories the whole way. He was ex-military with an ex-wife and two ex-kids, and loved his nomad life as a driver. He stayed in hotels, took any buses where they needed him, and loved it. Therefore he was friendly and helpful to everyone. He told me the one thing that made him really mad was when someone called him an "Asshole". Because, he said, I am NOT one. We stop at one little building to see if there is a pickup, and there isn't. We didn't get off the bus. The next little stop was sort of a store with a bus station. He let me off to smoke and he went inside to use the bathroom. Our other passenger got off to go home. This was in Whiteville, NC.

Now, remember my car was parked on the west side of the bridge, and probably 10 miles from the bus station in Wilmington. I had sweated the whole weekend trying to figure out how to get a ride to it. I was afraid a cab would cost me $50-60, and I actually had the cash if I had to do that. I was hoping I could find someone who lived in Wilmington to pick me up and take me to my car. So far I had had no luck. And now it was just me and the bus driver, going up the same highway as we had driven to Greensboro to start with. He sympathizes with my bridge phobia. Said he used to have the same thing but being a driver, he had to get over it.

We are riding along, and I said, Are you going over the 421 bridge? Yes, he's right at Highway 17 and 133. THAT IS WHERE MY CAR IS!!!!  I ask him if there is any way he can let me off when we get to that intersection, and he says he guesses he can do that.  I am overjoyed that maybe I can take a cab for a few blocks. 

This kind, wonderful man drives this HUGE Greyhound bus into the little exit for Leland, NC, and into the Food Lion parking lot, and to my car. People are staring...LOL.  He parked, picked up my bag and walked down the steps, and waited on me. I hugged that man like he was a long lost friend, and he just smiled and said he was happy to do it. I am still floored that there are so many nice people in this world. And sometimes you can "depend on the kindness of strangers"...whether it be a homeless dude giving up his spare seat, or a bus driver that enjoys his life and passes along his goodwill and sweetness.

By the way, if you've heard that many cities will give homeless people a bus ticket to anywhere they want to go just to get rid of them,'s true. The driver told me that is why there are so many homeless people in the stations. Everywhere they go, somebody pays them to leave. I recently read that Myrtle Beach alone has 1300 plus homeless people. All the other cities ask them where they want to go, and they all want to come to the beach.

Will I ride another Greyhound? Not on your life. But I met some angels along the way that made it bearable. These are the people that Trump would love to leave starving and penniless instead of giving them disability and welfare. I can only hope that someday he is put in a situation that makes him dependent on the kindness of society's forgotten ones. But I hope he gets kicked to the curb from some of them first.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

New Charleston Real Estate Site

Several months ago Greg Harrelson decided to expand his horizons and opened another Century 21 office, this time in Charleston, SC. So we are in the process of building another monster website to try and pull in all the communities in and around Charleston. This includes North Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Summerville, Isle of Palms, Goose Creek, and another 7-8 barrier islands around the city.

This is going to be a long time project, and it seems like everytime I think I'm going to dive in, there's another blog to do, another great website to put an article on - such as Greg's new Charleston Blog on

At least I can always say that it's a pleasure to work for someone who really knows the business and takes pride in his website and online reputation.

If you're interested, take a look at our new Charleston Real Estate site! Give us a Google Plus if you like!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Pismo Beach California and San Luis Obispo

M & H Real Estate Team - San Luis Obispo

Just finished a new website for a resort in California called San Luis Obispo County, which includes Pismo Beach, Shell Beach, and several other cities including the wine country in Paso Robles.

Todd Martincello and Don Hedrick are experienced agents and have a brokerage in San Luis. I've enjoyed working with Todd and his assistant, Alyssa. Like many other of the MLS boards in California, theirs doesn't allow for searching by neighborhoods.  We managed to present the communities anyway and he's written information and photos for each section. It will be a first for the area! At least his buyers can see photos and information about the different neighborhoods, and then call him for any questions they have.

If you are interested in California real estate, take a look at his new San Luis Obispo Homes website!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Cold Stunned Sea Turtles May Appear Dead

Cold stunned sea turtles are turning up all along the shores of the East Coast and may appear dead. The Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center rescued four turtles in just one day, the New England Aquarium has rescued more than 160, and dozens upon dozens have been flown to SeaWorld in Florida for rehabilitation.

These turtles may appear to be dead but many can be saved. If you spot a sea turtle floating in the ocean or washed up on the shore, contact a local aquarium or wildlife rescue service right away. Several emergency contact numbers are listed at the end of this blog.

Cold stunned sea turtles may appear to be dead.

This video from the North Carolina Aquarium gives a quick overview of how they help rehabilitate cold stunned turtles that have become stranded:

Sea turtles have been swimming in the ocean since dinosaurs roamed the earth, but now they are facing extinction. Tens of thousands of sea turtles are caught in fishing nets and thrown away as waste. Sea turtles are killed and sold for food, exotic oils, leather purses and other luxury items. Eggs are harvested as a delicacy. Plastic bags and trash are mistaken for jellyfish and consumed, and coastal development encroaches on their nesting habitat. All of these factors are taking their toll on the population of these gentle creatures.

Saving just one turtle makes a difference!

Sea turtles are cold-blooded reptiles and many migrate to warmer waters in the winter. Those turtles that don't migrate start having problems when water temperatures drop into the 50's and their bodily functions start shutting down, making them appear lifeless. This state of hypothermia renders them helpless and they lose the ability to swim. Many aquariums have emergency response teams on standby during the winter months to help rescue and rehabilitate these vulnerable creatures.

On his way to rehab!

If you catch sight of a sea turtle on the beach or floating in the water, contact the local aquarium immediately or another wildlife rescue service. They will slowly warm the turtle and treat them for hypothermia, then make sure they haven't developed pneumonia or another secondary infection. The next steps are to hydrate and feed the turtles. Once they are well enough, the turtles will be returned to their original habitat when water temperatures are safe again.

I'm feeling better and going home! 

Here are some contact numbers of aquariums and rescue organizations along the east coast:
  • South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue Program & South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (800) 922-5431
  • North Myrtle Beach Sea Turtle Patrol (843) 283-6670
  • Ripleys Myrtle Beach Aquarium (843) 916-0888
  • North Carolina Aquariums (800) 832-3474
  • Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center Standing Response Team 24-Hour Hotline (757) 385-7575 or (757) 385-7576
  • National Aquarium in Baltimore, MD (410) 373-0083
  • New Jersey Marine Mammal Stranding Center (609) 266-0538
  • Riverhead, NY Stranding Response Team 24-Hour Hotline (631) 369-9829
  • New England Aquarium 24-Hour Marine Animal Hotline (617) 973-5247
  • Northeast Region Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Stranding and Entanglement Network
    (866) 755-6622
Mit Tressler / Guest Blogger 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Myrtle Beach in the Winter?

It has been so warm lately it's hard to believe it's only a couple of weeks till Christmas. If this is global warming, it sure will be enjoyable until the bad stuff starts. Pretty soon we're going to be as year-round as northern Florida.  The Picture above was taken a few days ago by my friend Melissa, out walking her dogs at Vereen's Garden near Calabash.

And how Myrtle Beach goes out for decorating at Christmas!  If you've never been down here in December, you owe it to yourself to take a long weekend and visit.  You can stay in the finest oceanfront hotels for pennies on the dollar compared to summer...and just to see everything in town twinkling and sparkly is enough to raise anybody's spirits.  All the theatres have Christmas shows going.  The malls, as well as the fantastic shopping complexes we have...Market Common, Broadway at the Beach, and Barefoot Landing are just amazing during Christmas.  And it's a great time to bring your pet to Myrtle Beach

Come and visit us. If you want some suggestions of a place to stay, feel free to ask!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Myrtle Beach Real Estate - Guest Blog

Today's blog is an article from Greg Harrelson with the C21 Harrelson Group about the market in Myrtle Beach during the fall and winter. Comes with a good video, too!

When To Sell a Myrtle Beach Home

Now that summer is over and the crowds have left Myrtle Beach, property owners are wondering if there are still buyers looking in our market this time of year, as well as when and how to sell a condo or home. Let me explain what happens in the Myrtle Beach market throughout the year.

Selling Season #1:

Winter is the first selling season of the year. The buyers that are in Myrtle Beach during the Winter are typically snow birds who have strong financials and many of them pay cash for their investments. There are fewer buyers during the Winter yet a higher percentage of the buyers are qualified and know what they want. We love these buyers because they can make decisions and act fast when needed. Winter can sometimes be a good time to sell your house.

Selling Season #2:

Spring is the selling season that we start showing properties to golfers who are looking to invest in Myrtle Beach real estate. Similar to the snow birds, these buyers are typically well qualified and know what they want. They have cash though they tend to finance with larger down payments. Banks love to work with them because their credit is typically very good. Spring can be a very good time to sell property in Myrtle Beach.

Selling Season #3:

Summer is when we have the largest number of buyers in town. This is what most would call our best selling season of the year. Though this is the time when we see the most buyers, this is also the time when we see more buyers failing to qualify and often deals never closing. Don’t get me wrong, we love the summer season yet the difference between this and the other seasons is Quantity versus Quality. Summer is possibly the best time to sell your house, home, or property.

Selling Season #4

Fall is the final season before we start the cycle all over again. The Fall is very similar to the Spring selling season. Golfers are in town and they are qualified to purchase. We start to get the first wave of snow birds during this time also which adds to our pool of buyers. This is the time where the market starts to shift from quantity back to quality. As of now, we have many buyer appointments already set for buyers coming to the beach during this season. If you have a condo or house to sell, fall is also a great time to do it.

When Should I List my Property?

As you can see above, every season can be good to sell your home in Myrtle Beach. The most important factor is that your agent must understand this cycle and know what type of buyer is in town at the time. Each selling season requires a little different marketing strategy and once this is understood, your property is likely to sell.

It is your goal for your investment that dictates when you sell. How long you can carry negative cash flow, or how long you can delay moving your family? These are the questions that will likely determine your decision. The time of year should never determine the decision. Think about it, no matter what selling season we were in, the market declined over the past 4 years. And, the same could be said about the hot market…it increased in every season.

If you are would like additional information on the market or would like to discuss any aspect of real estate in Myrtle Beach then please send me an email or give me a call.

Contributed by Greg Harrelson

Your Myrtle Beach Real Estate Resource

Monday, July 30, 2012

Hillsborough County June 2012 Real Estate Prices

A guest blog from the Tampa Real Estate Man, Ray Stevenson.  Hillsborough County is one of Tampa's main counties...

Grand Hampton Community in Hillsborough Cy

Hillsborough County home prices which encompass Tampa continue to increase steadily year over year. The median sales price for single family homes increased 11.6% from $139,350 to $155,500, during June 2011 to June 2012, respectively.

The average sales price for single family homes increased 8.4% from $189,646 to $205,508, during June 2011 to June 2012 respectively.

Days on the Market until Sale for single family homes decreased 45.9%, from 61 days to 33 days during June 2011 to June 2012 respectively. The months’ supply of Inventory for single family homes decreased 43.7% from 7.1 months to 4.0 months, during June 2011 to June 2012 respectively. Remember this is a key stat, when there is a shortage of inventory, homes prices general increase.

As you can see the real estate market in Hillsborough County continues to get better from the statistics snapshot. Short Sales homes increase approximately 10% from June 2011 to June 2012, although this was sort of expected considering a few new rules to speed up the Short-Sales process that may have been attributable to. Foreclosures were down 29.7% from 434 to 305, during June 2011 to June 2012 respectively.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Myrtle Beach Townhouses Gaining in Popularity

We are noticing a surge in sales for Myrtle Beach townhouses and patio homes. Of course, Myrtle Beach is most known as a condo community by vacationers yet interested buyers are starting to learn the difference between a townhouse and a condo. Most people do not know the difference between a townhouse and a condo. As a matter of fact, the two descriptions are used interchangeably. Below is a list of differences that you must consider before making a purchase.

1. In a townhouse, you usually own the land. The land is always owned by the Homeowners Association if it is a condo.

2. Financing a townhouse is similar to a single family home. Financing a condo usually requires a questionnaire to to be answered by the association. This is used to determine if the condo is FHA approved and meets the guidelines of Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. All of this will determine the interest rate that a bank can offer you for the purchase.

3. Both will have a property owners fee yet the townhouse fee is typically less because the association does not own the land and the entire structure.

4. Both options offer low maintenance living and shared amenities.

5. The townhouse is separated by a wall yet the condo can be separated by a wall, floor or ceiling.

6. Property owners monthly fees are usually a lower in a townhouse versus a condo.

So, what is better? Both!

The differences between a townhome or a Myrtle Beach condo is not about good, bad, right, or wrong. You have to determine what style of living you feel most comfortable with and then move forward with the purchase.

We are starting to notice a surge in townhouse sales in Myrtle Beach due to the lower association dues. Purchasers seem to be watching every penny and this is one way to keep the monthly expenses to a minimum.

If you are confused as to if you are looking at a condo or a townhouse, contact us through our website at or call us, and we will foward you the information.

Greg Harrelson+

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Kids on the Beach - If You Get Separated

What to do if you lose a kid or two...

Our local television station WBTW had an excellent article on what to do if you are separated from your kids in Myrtle Beach, and some tips to prepare and prevent such an event from becoming traumatic. We have expanded on these tips and included theirs as well. Visit their page for more, and a video to illustrate. Meanwhile, below are the best things to do if your kids get separated from you on the vast sandy beach we call the Grand Strand.

1. Upon arriving, tell your kids the name of the hotel until they can remember it and quote it back to you.

2. Point out landmarks near your hotel on the beach entrance. Maybe there is a sign, a colorful chair or umbrella, or some other object they can look for.

3. Show them the lifeguards and tell them to go to a lifeguard first if they get lost.

4. Show them the trucks that you see on the beach, which are city trucks. Tell them these are people they can safely approach for help.

5. Take them to the front desk of the hotel and introduce them to the staff, to show the kids these are people who will help.

6. Don't drink alcohol on the beach which could make you get sleepy and doze off while the kids are playing in the sand.

7. Tell them if they are approached by any stranger to run straight to you and never to let a stranger touch them.

Kids love the beach, the sand, and the ocean. But they need constant and vigilant supervision while you are here on your Myrtle Beach vacation. If you have small children you might want to choose more of a kid-friendly hotel - with lots of pools, lazy rivers, and things to do that will attract them even more. Some great places to choose are Baywatch Resort in North Myrtle Beach, and the Sands Resort or Anderson Ocean Club in Myrtle Beach. Ask us about other ideas on kid-friendly condos and hotels for pets before you come down!

For more kids' stuff, visit our Myrtle Beach Attractions Facebook page.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Real Estate in Greer SC Has the Best Agent

Lee Cunningham - Greer SC Real Estate Agent

I was just looking through all my clients and friends, and realized that Lee Cunningham, who rules homes sales in Greenville SC, also has a site for Greer real estate.  And what a nice website! He's got information about the town, restaurants, stores, and all kinds of stuff.

If you live in Greer, are moving there, or know someone looking to relocate, buy, or sell property, you can recommend Lee to them with the utmost confidence.  I've met Lee and his wife Mechelle, done work for them, and have called them friends for about 5 years now.  You couldn't ask for a nicer guy ANYWHERE.  I say that with no reservations. He gives Realtors back their good name.

Check out their Greer SC Real Estate website!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Myrtle Beach Vacations Are Year Round

You might think that nobody comes to Myrtle Beach in the wintertime, but if you haven't spent Christmas or New Years in our sparkling city, you don't know what you're missing.

Yes, it can get chilly by Christmastime.  There are days that don't get out of the 50's, and some nights in the 20's.  By that same token, we've had several days this past week in the mid-70's, whether it's December or February..

Our streets, stores, and hotels are decorated to the hilt with beautiful lights and Christmas trees. The restaurants are all still open, and guess what?  NO CROWDS! You don't have an hour wait to eat in the winter. The beautiful North Myrtle Beach resorts like Avista and Prince Resort have heated pools and offer the same stunning views of the ocean as they do in the summer.

Our live shows are all great at Christmas. Celebrate New Years like you've never seen it at Broadway at the Beach. Valentine's day is soooo romantic in Myrtle Beach. You can still get a heck of a suntan on those warm days, too!

Winter rates are super low and you might just have the best vacation you've ever thought about during the off-season in Myrtle Beach. Give it a's so cheap you've got nothing to lose but a few days away from the snow and ice! Hey...we forgot to mention that way more hotels in Myrtle Beach allow pets in the off-season!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Can a second mortgage loan serve your purpose?

Do you want money to clear your debts or finance your child’s education or serve some other purposes?  Then a second mortgage loan can be the answer. Before you apply for it, you must make sure you have adequate funds to repay the loan; otherwise you may lose your home to a forced foreclosure.

There's basically two types of second mortgage loans - a closed end traditional home equity loan, or a a "home equity line of credit" which is an open end credit much like a bankline.

1. Home equity loan:

You can apply for a home equity loan by filling out an application form available online. To take out a home equity loan, you have to keep your existing home as a security. You can even use your non-residential property as a security for the approval of the loan if you are a licensed title holder and your land is free from legal dispute. You will get around (60-65) % of the actual value of your property used as security against the loan at a fixed rate of interest. However, you should check out the pros and cons before you apply for a home equity loan.
Benefits of a home equity loan:
  • If you take out a home equity loan, you can pay off your credit card bills by consolidating all your debts into one monthly payment.
  • The interest rates of a home equity loan will be lower than the interest charged on your credit cards.
  • The interest that you pay towards the home equity loan is tax-deductible and therefore you can easily save a substantial amount of money on your taxes.  
Drawbacks of a home equity loan:
  • If you use the loan amount to invest on certain items that immediately depreciates, then you may have to face financial crisis in the near future.
  • If you’re unable to pay off your loan then the lender will foreclose your property used as collateral.
2. Home equity line of credit:
Like a home equity loan, here also you have to keep your home as security to take out a home equity line of credit. You will get this loan in the form of a credit card or a set of blank checks with a certain limit depending on your home equity. The more you pay down the balance, the more funds will become available to use in the future. A HELOC consists of both advantage and disadvantages:
  • Here, you don’t have to borrow the amount in a lump sum, rather you can withdraw the funds according to your needs.
  • The interest rate of this loan is variable and is lower than the interest rate charged by most mortgage lenders.
  • If your credit score is good, then you don’t have to pay a closing cost.
  • At least for now, interest on an home equity line of credit is tax deductible. 
  • According to the terms of this loan, you may have to withdraw a limited fund each time within a stipulated period of time.
  • The cost of securing a HELOC can be high. You may have to pay a property appraisal fee, an application fee, closing costs and other possible charges that are included in your loan agreement. You may also have to pay the transaction fee every time you withdraw the money.  Most of these requirements are based on your credit and relationship with your bank.
  • It's not easy to find the self-discipline to pay off a line of credit for many folks.
Opting for a second mortgage loan can be a useful strategy if you’re disciplined enough to use the funds for a dedicated purpose and are able to repay your loan on time. It can be the answer to investing in a resort vacation property or beach condos that banks will no longer finance.

Ask a Realtor or your own banker for more information on second mortgage loans.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

What is the next best thing to being there? Watching a Myrtle Beach Video!

I'm finally getting many of my clients to invest a little time and trouble into making short videos of the best neighborhoods for their respective real estate sales, and to me, if they are done right and in a classy way, they can go a long way towards selling a home.  By the same token, if they are done unprofessionally, with bad music in the background, or misspelled content, nothing is worse.  I'm happy to say my favorite Myrtle Beach real estate expert, Greg Harrelson has a most talented employee that is making some wonderful videos - Meridith Lien.  Here's a couple of her best ones!

Barefoot Resort Homes for Sale

Homes for Sale in Tidewater Plantation Myrtle Beach

Look for more of these because I'm going to insist that they do them on as many communities and condos as I can.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Allstate is Myrtle Beach Best Car Insurance

My best friend came down to visit last week and rear-ended somebody right before she got to her hotel.  She and I both have Allstate, mine through Scott Todd in North Myrtle Beach.

She called the police, and then her agent, and was disappointed to learn that she didn't have coverage for a rental fact had told them she didn't need it because she has two cars.  Ha, that's not why you may need a rental car, is it?  Anyway, they did pay for a tow truck and recommended she take it to a local dealership for repairs, which I thought was mighty good.  I can remember dealing with State Farm many years ago and having them try to tell me to take my car to this body shop in town that was notorious for cheap work and shoddy results.

I also talked to Scott, and found out that I had neglected to add towing or a rental to my policy, which I have now added.  I am telling you that if you want to be "in good hands", you don't get any better than Myrtle Beach car insurance with Scott Todd at Allstate.

I saw in tonight's Consumer Affairs section of "What's on Your Mind" a complaint that Progressive Insurance's claim to fame customer service is not so hot.  Read the complaint HERE.  Specifically he says,
“My wife's car was hit by another vehicle and she called the police,” Otto said. “The other person was guilty and it was written in the police report. They don't care. Tomorrow is going to be a week since we called a Progressive representative and "there is nothing they can do at the moment". We left the car at the body shop because there is a noise in the front wheel but they can't even send the adjuster. They can't pay for the car rental either.”
I feel very lucky to have found Scott.  He's one of the best.  Look him up at

You know...I wonder.  Is an agent only as good as the company he represents, or is an insurance company only as good as the agent who represents them?  Any thoughts?


Also see this site for Condo Insurance.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Myrtle Beach New Home Construction is on the Rise

New construction of Myrtle Beach homes is quietly on the rise. As you drive around in search of your very own piece of Myrtle Beach real estate, you may be starting to notice a few tractors moving land, a few laborers lifting up two-by-fours, or a roofer applying shingles to a new home. We all know these are signs of new homes being built.

Recently, the market for Myrtle Beach Homes for sale has increased according to the evidence listed in the MLS. Today, there are fewer homes listed for sale as well as more closings taking place on a monthly basis. Myrtle Beach Condos continue to have their challenges while we watch the housing market make it's move.

For those thinking of selling a home in Myrtle Beach, you may want to consider doing it now. There is a growing concern that new construction will create competition problems for those looking to sell a resale home. An example, Carolina Forest homes for sale have been moving. As the homes in Carolina Forest sell faster, builders start to build new homes to take advantage of the increased activity. When you ride through Carolina Forest today, you will see signs indicating that you can buy brand new home for the same price as those for sale in established communities. Again, the buyer has more options. The buyer was once buying a Myrtle Beach foreclosure listing, and now they are buying new construction at a greater pace.

The builders are making money again while existing owners are still hoping the market will turn around. We recently witnessed a buyer purchase a new home in Carolina Forest for less than they could have purchased the same home that was already built. The choice was obvious for the buyer and painful for the seller who has been waiting for over a year to sell.

The Cottages at North Beach Plantation are really going up now. It looks like there's around 30-40 already built and another 10 or 20 under construction. The prices of these homes for sale in North Beach Plantation are really low - as low as $180,000, and only steps to the beach. That's going to be some stiff competition to other North Myrtle Beach real estate, new and older homes. And even condos, for that matter.

According to the builders I have spoken with, they anticipate having a great next few years due to the low building costs as well as low prices on land.

Just when we thought it was going to get better the builders make their move. If I was thinking of selling any Myrtle Beach real estate in the next year, I would do it now.

~Greg Harrelson
Your Myrtle Beach Real Estate Source

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Prestwick Homes for Sale in Myrtle Beach

Prestwick Myrtle Beach Homes for Sale
Guest Blog from Greg Harrelson

I recently sold a home in Prestwick Country Club on Links Road that had been listed for sale with another agent for a long time. The home had about 3500 heated square feet as well as a pool. Located on the golf course,  it sold for $470,000, which has been the highest sales price of any homes in Prestwick to sell recently.

Then I did it again. I just listed a home in Prestwick and placed it under pending contract status within 21 days of putting it in the Myrtle Beach MLS. The key to selling these homes in Prestwick is marketing. When a Prestwick home for sale is marketed aggressively, it gets significantly more buyer traffic then those listings that are just entered into the MLS and left to sit there.

If I were looking to sell a home anywhere in the Grand Strand and I was in need of a Myrtle Beach real estate agent, then I would seek out an agent that knows the community - as well as one who can provide a written marketing plan. Prestwick Country Club homes in Myrtle Beach belong to a fantastic community, with properties ranging from $200,000 up to a million dollars.

I personally own a home in Prestwick. I understand the community, and how it needs to be marketed in order to get a property sold. I have already sold a few homes in Prestwick this year and would like yours to be next.

I market all Prestwick homes on my new website,

Greg Harrelson can be reached at (888) 874-2121 or through any of his websites.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

SC Lake Front Property

SC Lakefront Property

Would you like to see and learn about all the lakes in South Carolina?  My friend who specializes in selling homes on Lake Greenwood has done a really good page about all the lakes in South Carolina.  Between the map, photos, and needed information, it is a really good reference for SC lake front property.

I never considered who owns lakes before.  Most are owned either by Duke Power, or in South Carolina, we have the Santee Cooper power company. All over the US, lakes are created and maintained by the US Army Corp of Engineers as well, and as with all federal government controlled land, it has to be freely public.  So there are few private boat docks, and a Corps owned barrier between the land and the lake.  Interesting, isn't it?

Visit and see all the good information about South Carolina lakes.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Tips for Selling a Home in Myrtle Beach

Christine Ginsburg is a Home Stager in Morris County, NJ who recently posted an excellent article on Active Rain called The 10 Most Important Cost-Effective, Easy Fixes When Selling Your Home.  This was such a good article I wanted to present her ideas to our Myrtle Beach condos and home sellers and agents. I think anyone selling their home and any real estate agent across the country will benefit from these excellent points.

1. Make all the bedrooms and baths appeal to both men and women. That's an idea I had not thought about, and a good one. You don't want to limit the appeal to any one sex, race, or family type. Don't get too "girlie" with your paint, wallpaper, or even the furniture you have left as you are showing the home. Nor should you have rooms that are obviously "man-caves" if you can help it!

2. Open up the space in all rooms by removing excesss furniture and clutter. Your cute doilies or collection of Egyptian artifacts won't appeal to everyone.

3. Continuing with #2 above, rent a storage building and put your excess furniture and knick-knacks in it. As she points out, that will help when the time comes to move, too.

4. Keep the room colors in your home neutral. Resist the urge to add that bright orange wall because you saw it on a TV decorating show. Add color with accessories instead.

5. Use the decor of an five-star hotel to judge how a room should look. They are always uncluttered, classy, and have a renovated look. Don't try to sell a home that was remodeled in the 70's or 80's and not updated.

6. Keep your cabinets, attic, closets, and other storage areas neat and clean. Move excess stuff to that storage building so a potential buyer can judge the amount of room the home will offer for his own possessions.

7. Make sure your Myrtle Beach home is utterly spotless. I think this may be the most important point of all.

8. Christine advises to remove darkening window treatments and let as much natural light in as possible. I think here at the beach that's especially important. If you have a water view, it goes without saying to show it off.

9. Be sure all repairs are done. She mentions leaky faucets, broken screens, etc. I would add rusty or corrosive fixtures, stained cement driveways or sidewalks, and updated light fixtures to that.

10. Take GOOD photos, videos, and plenty of them for the MLS listing. Christine says to hire a photographer. Not a bad idea, but as a Realtor, you should have already invested in a good camera and should take the time to take the best photos of your listing as possible. If you're the homeowner, you can help too. Remember, about 80% of all home searches begin on the internet, and potential buyers are going to see that MLS listing over, and over, and over again. Be sure it's accurate, free of typos, and offers the best possible photos you can take. Doing a quick video of the property is icing on the cake and will add to the marketing potential.

These were some of the best tips I've seen lately. As you strive to be the best Myrtle Beach real estate agent you can be, learning these things from a home stager will prove to be invaluable.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Hawaii Kai and Oahu Real Estate Updates

For those interested in some Hawaii real estate news, Jeff Manson guest posts this one...

The Hawaii Kai real estate market, part of the larger Eastern Oahu and Honolulu housing markets, saw an increase in the number of home sales and a boost in median home prices over the latest tracking period. According to statistics provided by the Honolulu Board of Realtors, there were substantially more single family homes sold in the month of December 2010, mirroring a similar trend for the entire year.

Over 2010, there were about ten percent more home sales than in the previous year. This is an encouraging trend because in many other states the number of sales have been depressed compared to year-ago levels – at least partially because of the artificially boosted sales figures during the end of 2009. As reported by Pacific Business News, there were 306 single-family homes sold on the island of Oahu during December 2010, representing an increase of just less than thirteen percent compared to year-ago levels.

In 2010, there were more than 3,000 properties sold, marking an increase of about thirteen percent compared to 2009’s figures. In terms of median price, single family houses were approximately six percent more expensive in December 2010 relative to December 2009, rising from $550,000 to $587,000.

While there were more Hawaii Kai and Oahu homes sold in December 2010 compared to year-ago levels, there were slightly fewer condominiums purchased over the same period. According to the Honolulu Board of Realtors, there were three percent fewer condos (341) sold in December 2010, while there were 350 sold during the same month last year. On a brighter note, there were substantially more condominiums sold in the entirety of 2010 than during 2009. Median sales prices for condominiums remained relatively unchanged.

There were also more than two hundred pending sales moving into the first month of 2011, according to the Honolulu Board of Realtors and Hawaii News Now. In terms of inventory, the average Oahu home for sale is projected to spend about five weeks on the market. Although some parts of Oahu, such as Makakilo, Kapahulu, Kakaako, and Kaneohe experienced price declines during the most recent tracking period, Hawaii Kai followed the positive trend seen by the majority of the island.

Want more real estate info?  See Myrtle Beach Real Estate, Albuquerque Real Estate, and Lake Greenwood SC Property.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

More About Real Estate Short Sales

The real estate short sale market has grown exponentially in the wake of the real estate crunch. Statistics from mortgage servicer Fannie Mae show that short sales and foreclosures have gone up steadily in the past four years, and with the new spate of foreclosures said to take hold later this year, distressed homes are expected to take up a much bigger portion of the market. Here are some recent statistics for a quick look at today’s real estate short sale market.

More Homes In Default

Of the 30.7 million mortgages held by Fannie Mae, 921,000 are over 60 days in default, and another 644,700 were 90 days or more behind. This was before the loan modification and short sale programs took effect, and the servicer then addressed the problem by enacting a foreclosure/eviction freeze. This was followed by a loan modification effort that resulted in 23,777 modified loans toward the end of the year. The short sale option offered today is expected to help prevent even more foreclosures.
Short Sale And Foreclosure Ratio

A 2008 report shows that for every successful short sale, eight other homes started foreclosure proceedings. To many experts, it’s a sign of the inefficiency of lenders when it comes to the short sale process. Many of them were ill-prepared for the wave of defaults and did not have adequate loan modification experience. So for much of 2008 and 2009, the helpful home-saving programs were an uphill climb for borrowers. Fortunately, both programs have since been largely improved.
Government Real Estate Short Sale Program

One thing that helped refine the process is Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA), the government’s own program and partner to the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), a previous initiative focusing on loan modifications. HAFA allows homeowners who have been rejected for HAMP to pursue a short sale following a streamlined process. These efforts have since reached thousands of struggling homeowners and helped them steer clear of foreclosure.
Future Outlook for Homeowners

Lenders and government officials agree that the short-sales will play a vital role in market recovery in the years to come. Every sale means that a foreclosure has been prevented, and that losses have been curbed for both lender and borrower. As more borrowers seek alternatives in the coming foreclosure wave, there may be more demand for short sale solutions, and the government is making sure lenders are ready for it.
This guest post was written by a professional short sale/ real estate agent experienced in 
helping distressed owners, or those who want to sell for any reason. People who are having difficulty but want to keep their home may find information that is useful on his website at
For information on Myrtle Beach short-sales,  visit the C21 Harrelson Group website.
For Albuquerque short sales, visit the Albuquerque Real Estate Group's website.
Realtor Jan Bradshaw helps with Lake Greenwood SC foreclosures and short-sales.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Home is a Home is a Home...maybe

Little River Inn Resort
Not too long ago I did a long, involved, and rather heavily researched blog on manufactured houses and modular homes.  I ended up with a much healthier respect for how this type of housing is built and to what standards they are held now.

The Sun News did an article last year about the market for these "mobile homes" (which is not the correct word for what they are talking about) saying that sales for manufactured homes in Myrtle Beach were actually UP recently in the Grand Strand. One local company reported a sales increase of 15% in 2010.

To quote a manufacturer of modular homes in Pennsylvania from my other blog, here's a description of the terms and how they are rated:

"Over our 40-year history, Riverview Homes has sold mobile homes, manufactured homes, modular homes, two stories, sectional homes, single-wides, trailers, double trailers, triple-wides, double-high, etc.", he begins. "In the end what we have really sold is either a home built to the HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development) building code or to a State building code. In Pennsylvania, we build single family homes to the IRC (International Residential Code). In Pennsylvania, modular homes are built to the IRC and manufactured homes or mobile homes are built to the HUD code."

Wikipedia defines a similar difference. It says that typically a modular home is built to local state or council code, so it can actually have a different construction standard depending on the state where it will be located. Modular homes built for final placement in a hurricane-prone area can have additional bracing built in to make it more safe. Surprisingly, it says that after FEMA studied the destruction done by Hurricane Andrew, they concluded that modular and masonry built homes fared better than any other construction.

The Sun News article suppositioned that the increase in Myrtle Beach real estate sales of manufactured housing was due to a price usually under 100K, and the new government incentives going on at the time. It applied to these homes as well as traditional "built on the spot" homes.

All this being said, I had a friend who was married to a guy who sold Clayton Homes here locally, and while the inside of it was nice, (it even had a fireplace) the outside somehow reminded me of a life-sized Barbie doll house. It had this underpinning that was supposed to look like rock, but was made from fiberglass or plastic and LOOKED exactly like what it was. I was not impressed.

And unless you buy the land 20 miles from the beach, you're still going to end up paying a good bit for that...or worse, renting the land itself.

I guess it's all what you were raised with. I'm partial to a condo for myself anyway, but I was raised in an older wood and brick home, with parents who very much disdained what everyone called a "trailer" back in the day. Modular homes back then were pictured as very small, one piece "cottages" which are very popular in Florida. I did always think I'd like one of them, but have never seen one up close...unless you count the "villas" they have in the campgrounds such as Pirateland.

Either way, and no matter what Wikipedia says, I wouldn't want to be sitting in one when there was a hurricane within about 200 miles from it. My Allstate agent in Myrtle Beach doesn't offer SC homeowners insurance on what they consider a mobile home, (having a title instead of a deed) or unless it is "frameless". You would almost certainly be in one of our wind zones - I don't know of any place inside the Myrtle Beach or NMB city limits that would allow one. So there would be even more cost for wind and hail insurance. I'll stick with my condo in Myrtle Beach.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Why Do Real Estate Careers End?

By Greg Harrelson
The business of selling real estate is not as easy as most would prefer yet is doesn't have to be as difficult as most people make it. Many realtors get in this business with the anticipation of making a lot of money and love the idea that this career offers total freedom over one's schedule.  Where else can you come to work whenever you want and do whatever you want with no boss looking over your shoulder?

I am the first to admit that I love my job. I enjoy coming to work each day and accepting the challenges that confront me. I enjoy helping the community make the right financial decisions with their investments, and I enjoy helping real estate agents build careers that are fulfilling and profitable.

So, why do agents fail?

One of the biggest challenges that leads to failure is having unrealistic expectations. The following is a list of unrealistic expectations that are common amongst agents that fail and agents that fail to reach their goals.

1. Agents have unrealistic expectations of how much effort they must put into their career. Any career that offers unlimited income potential will attract a lot of competition, and therefore require a lot of effort to realize a worthwhile goal. More effort doesn't always mean you have to work harder.  Often, working smarter will do.

2. Agents have unrealistic goals of how much planning they must do. Like any other business, having and using a business plan is critical. You cannot navigate though this career without a well thought-out plan. Plan your activities, plan your time and most importantly...plan your time OFF.

3. Agents have unrealistic expectations of how much coaching and guidance they will get. Too many agents expect that the industry will give them all the coaching they will ever need. Training and coaching is the agent's responsibilty. The agents who are coached are the agents that create successful careers. Request more coaching from your companies and they will likely respond. All great producers are guided by mentors and/or coaches.

4. Agents have unrealistic expectations of how much time it will take to reach their goals. So many agents want or need success overnight. In real estate, like other careers, great results don't appear so quickly. Success comes after the agents have written a business plan and then worked that plan for a period of time. A successful career is a planned career. We have to understand that success ALWAYS takes longer than we thought.

As you can see, you control your success. Don't let the above expectations lead you to disappointment in a career that offers so much opportunity. There is business taking place all around us and it is your turn to grab those opportunities and realize the success you have always wanted. Focus on increasing your efforts, plan your path, seek a mentor and understand that it will take a little more time.

*About the author: Greg Harrelson is the president of Century 21 The Harrelson Group, a Myrtle Beach Real Estate Agency, and a real estate career coach.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Short Sales In Myrtle Beach Becoming Easier

My friend and client, Greg Harrelson, was recently quoted in the Sun News in reference to the increasing tide of Myrtle Beach short sales. In the past several years with so many homes and condos being lost to foreclosure, short-sales have always been a part of the equation, but banks have made it so time-consuming and difficult that many agents will no longer represent one. My brother-in-law tried for a solid year to buy a condo at Bay Watch in North Myrtle Beach through a short sale. After months of delay and hold up by the bank involved, the foreign investor/owner finally found the funds to pay the loan up and the sale was stopped. So many of the transactions end up this way, all over the US, that most agents will not encourage a buyer to even try for one.

Greg feels like this trend will not continue. He says Myrtle Beach short sales will increase and are becoming more accepted and easier to close as banks are pressured to close their books on the mortgages.  Adva Saldinger with the Sun News quoted the following paragraphs from Greg:
"Greg Harrelson, the owner of Century 21 The Harrelson Group, who was also at the CDPE class earlier this week, said that the short sale segment of the local real estate market appears to be growing.

One trend he has noticed is that property owners seem to be more educated. He is fielding questions about how he might be able to help before any mortgage payments have been missed, not after foreclosure proceedings have started.

'We need to be ready for an increase in this area," he said. "I wanted to be educated enough to help these people.'

Harrelson said banks are looking to move these properties off their books and may consider improving short sale processes as one way to do that. In addition to helping property owners avoid foreclosure, short sales may also be better for the broader real estate market, he said.

'At the end of the day, hopefully the average short sale price will be above the average foreclosure price and hopefully that will stabilize the market a little bit,' Harrelson said."
The biggest problem with processing a short-sale, next to the bank's reluctance to accept a bid, is the immense quantity of paperwork that needs to be submitted at the beginning of the process. Repeatedly asking for more documents, or duplicate documents is frustrating to the seller as well as the buyer, and adds to the dis-satisfaction both feel towards the process.

One government organization called the Distressed Property Institute offers a 3 day course to Realtors to become "Certified Distressed Property Experts", which Greg has taken and is encouraging his team of agents to follow suit.  Greg says that one of the duties of a Realtor is to help the public, and if he can advise a property owner in trouble with mortgage payments to find a better solution than foreclosure, he feels obligated to help.  Short-sales have a less damaging effect on the seller's credit, and can help make it possible for him to buy another home sooner than when he is saddled with a foreclosure on his record.

If you are a distressed owner or looking to buy Myrtle Beach homes, Greg welcomes your call for advice. His website also has a full listing of short-sales in Myrtle Beach, as well as Myrtle Beach foreclosures. Contact him at 888-874-2121 (toll-free) or through the website.

Other experts in the field are Virginia Horton-Lee who is certified with Buford GA short-sales, and Lee Cunningham who can offer advice with short sales in Greenville SC.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Myrtle Beach Boardwalk Crime and the News

In the last few days, a debate of sorts has arisen over local news reporters and crime in Myrtle Beach. Traditionally, crime news has been very quietly reported by the local paper and television news stations, particularly in the summer. I've always felt like that was a good thing. Our crime is high in overall statistics, but much of it is contained in several areas that tourists seldom see. In fact, the only ones unfortunate enough to suffer from some of these neighborhoods are the people who live in them. I can sympathize, but it doesn't affect me, nor does it affect tourism. To my opinion, the less it is sensationalized, the better. In this era of social media, particularly Facebook, news spreads faster and further than ever before. The Sun News even spits out news clips on Twitter, and one of the television stations, has a huge following on Facebook. The more controversial the news articles, the more traffic they get.

The new Myrtle Beach Boardwalk officially opened in May, and it's one of the nicest attractions the Grand Strand has invested in for a long time. It somewhat replaces the emptiness left from losing the Pavilion, and is a wonderful way to enjoy the beach, for young and old, pet lovers, health nuts - even the handicapped. There is one small problem though...part of it is located in a really rough part of Myrtle Beach. The southern end of the Boardwalk meets the 2nd Ave Pier area at 2nd Ave South. Most all of the renovated rental condos are from 10th Ave North and up. The south end has a few, but for the most part kept a large number of old mom and pop hotels, and worse - the run-down old beach houses across from the beach and on the 2nd and 3rd row. Where avenues like 28th North up to 80th north are lined with fine residences or condos, the south end roads are still old and often delapidated hotels and rickety beach homes...usually catering to year-round or monthly rentals that are way below regular housing prices.

Like Atlantic Beach in North Myrtle, these streets have more than their share of drug dealers, prostitutes, pool halls, and crime. The big question - what can be done to change it? WMBF wrote an article about this, and has created a storm of debate, from those who congratulate them because they "let the cat out of the bag", to many others who think they are sensationalizing the news for their own benefit. To hear WMBF's defense, read their article called  Consider This - Myrtle Beach Boardwalk.

Short of finding a Donald Trump to buy up the houses and replace them with more condo resorts or expensive beach homes, the city of Myrtle Beach cannot force property owners to renovate an older home or dictate to whom they choose to rent. With the glut of oceanfront condos, 2nd and 3rd row streets won't support a luxury Myrtle Beach rental condos. That option is probably never going to work. It's always very hard to renovate and clean up a notoriously bad neighborhood anyway. People who know the area simply won't consider living in a neighborhood that's been known to be crime-ridden for years.

The Boardwalk makes a convenient place for the hookers, the intoxicated, the pan-handlers, and the drug dealers to walk on the better side. Where the beach used to be dark and uninviting, it's now brighter and enticing even to the bad elements. But where they go, trouble now the area is not safe for tourists and regular locals, at least in the later part of the evenings.

Yes, the city could hire another 100 or so policemen to do nothing but patrol the Boardwalk. But like every other city, Myrtle Beach is hurting in this economy too. If they spend the money for this, then the only way to do it is to increase the already too-high taxes. And if you think about it, walking along the Boardwalk seeing a uniformed policement every 50 feet is rather intimidating. So what is the answer?

How about a little common sense? If you go to New York City, are you going to stroll down a dark street downtown at 10-11 oclock at night safely? No, not unless you are foolishly fearless.

Enjoy our gorgeous new attraction during the day...the morning...the early evenings. If you rent a condo on the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk, enjoy the views of it safely from your balcony after 9 or 10pm. You've got a bigger problem if you stroll along the Florida oceanfront than you do in Myrtle Beach, but you still need to remember that there are dangers everywhere. Act a little more responsible for your own safety, and enjoy your vacation without worry.