My House in Downtown Greenville, South Carolina is For Sale- You Want It?

I  am fortunate to be getting married soon and in doing so we are moving to another home in downtown Greenville which we are renovating. Having enjoyed this one for close to three years, it's time to move on to the next rehab project.  Real estate is my second professional passion after practicing law.

I bought this 3BR/2BA home from a Greenville County Master In Equity Foreclosure sale in early 2008 and before I left the courthouse that day was offered $20,000.00 more then I paid for it. I guess that was a good sign, I made a good buy.  (That particular bidder had gotten there after bidding on this home ended, lucky for me). However, I wanted this house for my primary, residential home to live and walk downtown. It was an investment but not purely an investment. I wanted to enjoy it, too.

My best friend and I from college, Christopher Smith, started Smith & Mills, Inc. out of college rehabbing and buying foreclosure homes in 2000 when there was a slight recession and credit was good because we had no cash. We have never really profited any substantial gains on these properties but we keep our fingers crossed that they will be just as good as an IRA.

When I moved to Greenville, I was lucky enough to meet Royce & Jackie Dessaure because they have been a blessing when it comes to dependable, trustworthy, and cost minded contractors. They helped me jump into 103 Arlington Avenue and remove all the carpet, white tile, counter tops, and start the whole interior over again. We ended up putting in all hardwoods, except in the kitchen and bathrooms where we used slate flooring to provide that earthy, warm look. Then went with custom lighting, granite counter tops in kitchen & baths, fenced the yard, repainted the whole home, scrapped the ceilings to have the smooth finish, made a walk in closet off the master, satin nickel plate hardware and switch plates, landscaping and created a "dry bar" out of nook in the hallway.

All this could be yours. I talk and negotiate money everyday with insurance companies so I am just giving this home away at $183,900.00. Now of course we can negotiate some but you got to remember what I got into it. Bought for $95,000.00 + Repairs, fence, appliances, landscaping $75,000.00, + mortgage interest for three years $12,000.00. Hence you have the price listed above. Make me an offer I can't refuse and if I do refuse it, just keep moving up with your offer.

103 Arlington Avenue, Greenville, South Carolina 29601


We Need Cycle Killers, Not Psycho Killers: Shooting People Aint Too Cool


    Embracing the recent Spring like days with open arms, I awoke on Wednesday, March 25, 2009, to a light rain, dark clouds, and cold weather.  Nothing outside the normal as we had still not approached the 85-95 degree days of a “Southern Summer” but we had enjoyed a teaser of warm temperatures. 

    I had a mediation scheduled in town, conveniently located less than a mile from my home on the West End of Greenville.  As I was presenting the mediation a bustle of sirens and activity seemed to provide both an ominous future for my presentation and someone’s well being.  It wasn’t until the completion of a very short, yet required mediation, that I learned the sirens rushed to less than a block from my home.  Having planned to be in mediation all day it was hard to transition back into traveling to Anderson for work with all the activity going on around the house. I planned to finish my work day out from my home office. 

    Little did I know my home office was going to be near a recent crime scene. The city block on Vardry Street between Green Avenue and Anderson Avenue was blocked off with yellow crime scene tape and the foot traffic was ever more increased (see photo above).  The conditions remained cold, rainy, and dreary.  However, few details were being offered by the young, Greenville City Police officer standing post on the Green Avenue block near the crime scene tape.

    The Greenville News would provide a report late in the day indicated that several people were behind a home on Vardry when one of the persons started shooting.  One person was killed, another injured, and another that fled from the altercation.

    In the snap of someone’s fingers the lives for all these people changed today. I wonder if they had come to grips with who they were, what their purpose was in life, and made it clear to everyone they loved how much they cared for them?

    Probably not. More than likely, they were spending idle time doing unproductive things with unproductive people expecting positive results out of negative input.  How will the cycle change if someone is constantly going around in those circles? 



South Carolina Foreclosure Sale: My Personal Experience

The current home I live and work out of is on the West End of Greenville, South Carolina:

The current Greenville County Master-in-Equity, Judge Charles B. Simmons Jr., provides an excellent "Primer for Mortgage Foreclosure Sales" on the Greenville County website. Judge Simmons highlights 14 points that are important if you decide to embark upon this path during the recent economic climate.

As an attorney and real estate investor, I felt confident in the process because I had bought foreclosure sales before from banks but not "on the courthouse steps" so to speak. I made several mistakes and got lucky. I do not trust that luck will get me through again so I share these tips:

  1. Always have title work done/checked on your prospective foreclosure house!- The house I bought was being foreclosed upon the "Smith" family-seriously.
  2. Physically go see the house. Don't trust internet services or court records. I visited my prospective house but never got inside. I knew I was going to "gut" the inside to my liking but wanted the "bones" to be good. On another home I went to go bid on, I went by the morning of the auction and there was no house on the lot, just a lot. Imagine how high I would have bid for what I thought was a house and a lot.
  3. Factor in more time and/or money if it is inhabited. I paid for the first month's rent and moved the inhabitants of my foreclosure house out because I had just sold my house. I was on a tight time frame with repairs and knew how slow the eviction process could be if disputed or fought.  "Honey attracts more flies than vinegar." 
  4. Have financing and closing attorney already arranged. You only have a short turn around time to complete the closing on the house after you put your deposit down the day of the sale. Likewise, you can't move in or make repairs until you have title, ie close.
  5. This is not a "new" thing. Some people make their living off of buying homes in foreclosure sales. You may very well find a great deal but don't think you will be the only one there.

Anytime there is an opportunity for reward there is a risk. Foreclosure sales are the poster children for inherent risks. Do your homework and you can capitalize.  Have fun and enjoy your new experience.

If you would like for me to forward you the recent article entitled, "Prudent Bidding at a Foreclosure Sale," by Clifford P. Parson and C. Joseph Roof that was published in the January 2009 edition of the South Carolina Lawyer, please email me ( or post a comment request.

A side note: I do civil personal injury law, not real estate law. Outside of paying lots of money for a "Real Estate" class in law school and visiting the records room of a Georgia courthouse, I have no real estate law experience.