Tour de Columbia…Our Staff Favorites: Forest Acres

Here are a few of our favorite things about Forest Acres.

Lillians SaladLillian’s –  CPM’s overall favorite lunch spot.  They have a killer salad with the most delicious dill dressing ever tasted and top it off with fresh grilled chicken.  Yumm I’m drooling just typing this post!  Need a meal to go? They also have a variety of frozen pre-made casseroles that you can take with you to go! http://www.lilliansofcolumbia.com

Cottage and Vine

Cottage and Vine – Located off Forest Dr., this is a great place to pick up a present or a little something for yourself :).  This store offers a variety of unique gift options ranging from jewelry to tableware to linens to really cool art.  Be sure to check it out……..you will not regret it!

ScoutandMollys

Scout and Molly’s – An awesome little clothing boutique located in Trenholm Plaza.  Whether you need a new pair of dark denims or a statement necklace for the next football game, they have a lot of options and you can always find something to bring home!  Be sure to check out their website at http://www.scoutandmollys.com.

Forest Lake Garden Center – Forest Lake Garden CenterNeed a pretty planter?  Or maybe some mums or pumpkins for fall decor?  Look no further! Located on Trenholm Rd. right off of Forest Dr. this is our go to spot for any outdoor needs and will soon be yours too.  They literally have everything you could want for your outdoor needs!

Consign ItConsign It – I really wish we’d found this consignment store sooner.  They have a ton of consigned furniture in excellent condition and you are sure to find a deal no matter what you’re looking for.  Great for re-decorating your apartment or house on a budget, you’re sure to find something to take home!

The Tour de Columbia blog post series helps give an overview of Columbia’s various areas and a sampling of our favorite places and things to do within each.  We hope that if you are new to Columbia, this helps you discover all that the city has to offer.  Already live in Columbia?  Maybe we can help you find something new!

~Ansley & Ferris

 

Moving? Common Mistakes to Avoid

The thought of moving can be very exciting at times and also very daunting.  To make sure that your move goes as smooth as possible, here are some tips to help avoid common moving mistakes.

Moving Couch1.  Measure, Measure, Measure…we can’t stress this enough!  If you have an extra wide couch that you just can’t live without, make sure that  it fits not only in your new living room but actually through the door.  Sometimes the doorways of certain properties, especially older properties with lots of character and charm have very narrow hallways and door frames. We suggest bringing a measuring tape when viewing a property you are interested in renting.

2.  We all like having water and electricity right?  Before moving, ensure that your water and utilities are transferred into your name by your specified move-in day.  This is super easy to do and you will just need to contact your local service provider and present them with a copy of your lease agreement.  Not sure who your service providers are? Your management company will be able to provide you with this information. Just ask!

renters-insurance3.  Always get Rental Insurance….you just should!  At CPM we actually require this of all of our tenants and here’s why.  For a small monthly fee, you can obtain this insurance which actually protects your personal belongings such as electronics, musical equipment, furniture, etc. should an issue occur in the property and your items are damaged.  Property owners are only responsible to fix the property itself, they aren’t responsible for any of their renter’s personal items.  Trust us, it’s more affordable to pay for Renter’s Insurance than have to replace your prized possessions!

We hope you find this information useful. Happy house hunting!

~ Ansley & Ferris

New to Columbia? 10 Things You Need to Know

Downtown ColaCola DevineColumbia Riverwalk

  1. WEATHER -The weather is crazy….in the summers the temps can reach well into the triple digits and we even get snow in the winter, well sometimes.  Prepare accordingly and dress in layers.  You never know what you’re going to get!
  2. TRAFFIC – Even though Columbia is a fair sized city, be prepared for your patience to be tested if you are A) Trying to drive downtown after work B) Trying to drive anywhere downtown on a game day or C) Trying to drive down I-26 in either direction between 5-6pm.  You get used to it after awhile so just hang in there!
  3. PALMETTO BUGS – We know we know, they are disgusting!  Unfortunately there is no way to entirely rid a property of them as they are a staple and come with the territory of living in Columbia, SC.  They didn’t get their name no reason!  We can however suggest some stellar exterminating companies to help keep them at bay from your property.  Out of sight out of mind right?!?
  4. SWEET TEA – For all you Northerners moving to Cola, if you order sweet tea there is no need to add sugar…it’s already  included and this delicious drink will soon become a staple in your diet.
  5. LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION – Columbia is a great city to live in for multiple reasons.  Two of our favorites? You are less than a 2 hour drive from the beach or the mountains. Hard part?  Deciding how you want to spend your free weekends!
  6. COLLEGE TOWN – Columbia is the epitome of a college town.  Although you may be most familiar with the University of South Carolina, Columbia is also home to Allen University, Benedict College, Columbia College and Midlands Technical College.
  7. STATE CAPITOL – For those of you who didn’t already know, Columbia is the state capitol of South Carolina.  That is all….we just thought you should know!
  8. BOILED PEANUTS – Whether they are homemade or from Cromers, you will see these babies everywhere, especially the shells.  If you haven’t had them before, give them a try.  You won’t regret this decision!
  9. FAMILY FRIENDLY – Being a college town you may not expect it, but Columbia is very family friendly.  There are multiple indoor and outdoor activities to satisfy every family member.  Might we suggest one of our many sporting events whether it be a USC football game or a Blowfish baseball game.  Sports not your thing?  Take a stroll through Riverbanks Zoo or check out the latest exhibit at one of our many museums.
  10. COLUMBIYEAH! – Our slogan “Famously Hot Yet Surprisingly Cool” is indicative of all the growth Columbia has seen and the entertainment it has to offer.  Yeah we may be biased, but it’s a pretty cool place to live!

Any other good tips we forgot?  Just let us know!

~ Ansley & Ferris

Soda City Summers…..Top Summertime Activities

As the summer months are wrapping up, be sure to make the most of these next few weeks and enjoy some of Columbia’s best summertime activities including a list of our favorites which we’ve included for you below.  After all, Columbia is “Famously Hot But Surprisingly Cool”!

Lake Murray PicLake Murray – Who doesn’t enjoy  going to the lake?  From downtown Columbia, you can find yourself at beautiful Lake Murray in about 30 minutes.  Between boating, tubing or just an afternoon lunch at the Marina, this is a great way to pass the time and get some sun!

VistaExplore the Vista – Whether you like to shop til you drop, listen to live music or are looking for a night of unique dining, the Columbia Vista offers all of the above.  The Vista is totally walkable so you can knock out all three of these activities at once if so inclined!

SnoconesPelicans Snoballs – This is a CPM office favorite.  Located on Rosewood, this is the perfect stop on your way home from class or back to the office after lunch.  With over 100 flavors to choose from, this flavored snow literally melts in your mouth.  From personal experience we suggest getting a medium, the small is just never enough! http://www.pelicanssnoballs.com/

KayakingFloating or Kayaking the River – Looking for adventure?  Look no further than the Palmetto Outdoor Center.  They can hook you up for a kayaking or tubing trip down the Congaree & Saluda Rivers. It’s an awesome way to explore the beauty  of Columbia and we apparently have a Class 2 rapid….that’s right….Class 2! http://palmettooutdoor.com/

Enjoy these last weeks of summer!

~Ansley & Ferris

 

Top Moving Companies in Columbia

Moving Truck PicMoving can be a daunting task for anyone, especially when it’s a re-occurring event which if you’re a student in Columbia, SC is probably the case.  To add insult to injury, Columbia’s extreme summer climate doesn’t exactly help out by making moving in the summer any easier or any more enjoyable for that matter.

If you’re anything like us, your moving company has consisted of a tired dad (who let’s be honest is getting older) and a few friends who you somehow wrangled into helping you with the offer of free pizza and beer (for those over 21).  Eventually, they will stop answering the phone when your lease expires and you will need professional help!

We could suggest a few therapists to get you through this alone, OR the slightly more affordable option is to leave it to the professionals and contact a moving crew.  Here are two of Columbia’s top moving companies that we feel have been top notch!

Two Men & A Truck – http://www.twomenandatruckcolumbiasc.com

Soda City Movers – http://www.sodacitymovers.com

Give them a call!   Had a great experience with another moving company?  Let us know, we will add them to our list 🙂

~Ansley & Ferris

Tour de Columbia…Our Staff Favorites: Devine Street

Here are a few of our favorite things about Devine Street:

Devine - Craft and DraftCraft and Draft – New to the Columbia scene, Craft and Draft offers a variety of craft beers that you can enjoy while at the store or purchase to enjoy at your abode.  Beer not your thing?  They also offer a decent wine selection.  http://www.craftanddraftbeer.com

Devine - Little Lambs & IvyLittle Lambs & Ivy – This is the perfect store for your little bundle of joy.  Unsure of what to get?  Don’t worry, their staff is super helpful and they always have a great selection of baby clothes, blankets, books, etc.  You name it, chances are they have it!  http://www.mylittlelambsandivy.com

Devine - JLCJunior League of Columbia – A women’s organization committed to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women, and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers, JLC has been involved in the community for years!  http://www.jlcolumbia.org

Devine - Olive Oil StoreThe Crescent Olive – If you love olive oils and balsamic vinegars this is your place!  You can sample the many different flavors of oils with bread or balsamics with ice-cream…. don’t knock it til ya try it.  And try it you MUST!  They will even bottle it up for you on your way out! http://www.thecrescentolive.com

Devine - EarthFareEarth Fare – Earth Fare is a specialty food market that offers pretty much anything organic.  They also have a daily hot bar and salad bar if you’re pressed for time for lunch or need something quick to pick up for dinner.  Be sure to join their Tomato Bank program and get $ towards your groceries.  I mean who doesn’t love that?!? With the $ you save, treat yourself to a Green Goddess smoothie on your way out! http://www.earthfare.com

The Tour de Columbia blog post series helps give an overview of Columbia’s various areas and a sampling of our favorite places and things to do within each.  We hope that if you are new to Columbia, this helps you discover all that the city has to offer.  Already live in Columbia?  Maybe we can help you find something new!

~ Ansley & Ferris

 

Pros and Cons of Hiring a Property Management Company

People own properties for a whole slew of reasons.  Whether it be as a personal home, an inherited property or an investment opportunity, people may find themselves in the situation where they are toying with the idea of renting out their piece of the pie.  This brings us to the Pros and Cons of Hiring a Property Management Company….do you rent out the property yourself or hire someone to do it for you? Pros:

PROS2PEACE OF MIND – Someone is there to handle any issues or emergencies that might arise at your rental such as minor repairs or a burst water pipe.

FINDING A GOOD TENANT – Management companies have a screening process in place to ensure a qualified candidate will be placed at your property.

COLLECTING RENT – Sometimes tenants fall behind on their rent.  Management companies have ways to handle this and can save you the headache of having to track down payments.  Worse comes to worse, if you had to move to evict a tenant they would handle this for you as well.

LOCAL – If you are living out of state it is sometimes hard to handle everyday affairs that a rental property requires such as property showings, maintenance appointments, etc.  By hiring a local management company they can physically be there to help take care of the day to day items.

Cons:

CONSCOST – If you hire a management company to manage your property, you could end up paying between 8-15% of your rental income in management fees.

INCENTIVE – You of course will have the most incentive to get your property rented as you want to see that rental cash flow coming in.  However, for the most part management companies don’t see a dime until your property is rented.

PROPERTY FAMILIARITY – If you handle the management of your own rental you can become very familiar with not only your tenants but also the ins and the outs of how the property operates and there’s something to be said about that.  Just keep in mind that between finding the right tenant, collecting rent, keeping the books and handling maintenance requests, being a landlord can be very time consuming and you’ll want to take this into consideration.

We hope that you find this information useful.  Any pros or cons we forgot to mention?  Let us know!

~Ansley & Ferris

Tour de Columbia…Our Staff Favorites: West Columbia

Here are a few of our favorite things about West Columbia:

RiverwalkThe West Columbia Riverwalk – Along the Congaree, the Riverwalk offers a nice path that you can jog, bike or walk your dog no matter what time of year.  With the beautiful river views, you’ll pass countless other joggers and maybe even a bride or two getting their pictures taken.

Cafe StruedelCafé Strudel – Hands down one of our  favorite brunch spots in all of Columbia.  If you don’t live in West Columbia, cross the bridge and wait your turn in line.  Trick of the trade…order the Hangover Hashbrowns.  They were featured in Southern Living….oooh la la!  http://www.cafestrudel.com

TerraTerra Restaurant – Terra’s has a great vibe and has even better food.  Their simple fresh menu never disappoints and neither does the patio!  Check out their menu at http://www.terrasc.com   Also, for those of you above the age of 21, their wine and cocktail list is hard to beat!

New Brookland TavernNew Brookland Tavern – This place may look tiny from the outside but don’t let it fool you.  Their music lineup is not to be missed and they often feature local and upcoming bands.  Check out the latest lineup at  http://www.newbrooklandtavern.com  If you enjoy music, you will definitely love this place!

The Tour de Columbia blog post series helps give an overview of Columbia’s various areas and a sampling of our favorite places and things to do within each.  We hope that if you are new to Columbia, this helps you discover all that the city has to offer.  Already live in Columbia?  Maybe we can help you find something new!

~Ansley & Ferris

Rental Checklist Tips

Rental Tips - AnneHere are some of our tips on finding a rental property that is right for you!

TIP #1 – Always drive by a property first to make sure that you like it as well as the area.  Obviously if you are relocating this may be a bit trickier but you will get the best feel for a property and the area by doing this and will be able to weed out some properties from your wish list based on your needs which brings us to tip #2.

TIP #2 – Don’t book showings at properties that don’t meet your needs.  Take into consideration: Sq. Footage, Location, Commute Time, Pet Policy, Rental $, Etc.

TIP #3 – If you are hunting for a rental with a roommate, make sure you are both on the same page about the type of property you are looking for as well as the rental rate.  When you find that right place, you sign a lease which means that it becomes a legally binding contract between you, your roommate and the Landlord.  You don’t want to get into a situation where you can afford your portion of the rent but your roommate can’t.  You both signed the lease remember?  This means that you are both accountable for that rent $ even if you are holding up your end of the bargain.

TIP #4 – Accept that some give & take may occur…no place is perfect and chances are won’t meet every item on your checklist, but that’s ok.  You can still find something that you love!

Happy House Hunting!

~Ansley & Ferris

TOUR DE COLUMBIA…OUR STAFF FAVORITES: ROSEWOOD

Here are a few of our favorite things about Rosewood:

Rosewood - Rosewood MarketRosewood Market – This adorable market has fresh, local products from area farms and producers.  There is also a little deli inside that offers a variety of fresh options like soups, salads and a featured dish of the day.  Check them out at http://www.rosewoodmarket.com.

Rosewood - PelicanPelican’s SnoBalls – You’re more than likely to find at least one CPM employee here during the summer months (or even before).  Offering over 100 flavors, these shaved ice snowballs literally melt in your mouth and are delicious.  Cola’s Summer Temp – 0     Pelican’s – 1   Find your favorite flavor at http://www.pelicanssnoballs.com.

Rosewood - RockawaysRockaway Athletic Club – Ironically this is actually a burger joint and a pretty darn good one at that.  You can order a regular burger if you want to be boring OR you can order a pimento cheese burger like a local…the choice is yours!  Since they don’t have a sign (part of the charm) it can be easy to miss but if you get lost just ask someone, everyone knows where Rockaway is!

Rosewood - City RootsCity Roots – This is an in-town sustainable farm right in the center of Rosewood in between the Carolina Stadium and Shandon.  They sell lots of their seasonal microgreens and veggies to local markets and restaurants and you can even pick some up for your own kitchen.  Like to be cooked for instead of doing the cooking?  Sign up for one of their Farm to Table dinners!  http://www.cityroots.org/

Rosewood - Rosewood Dairy BarRosewood Dairy Bar – Known for their fried chicken in the fall and chocolate dipped cones in the summer, Rosewood Dairy Bar has been around for forever.  Fried chicken not your thing?  Don’t worry they also have many other options like hotdogs and hamburgers.  If you’re driving and need a hands free option, might we suggest one of their many delicious milkshakes!

The Tour de Columbia blog post series helps give an overview of Columbia’s various areas and a sampling of our favorite places and things to do within each.  We hope that if you are new to Columbia, this helps you discover all that the city has to offer.  Already live in Columbia?  Maybe we can help you find something new!

~ Ansley & Ferris