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Newsletter – November 2012


Fall is in the air! The cool, crisp weather is finally here and we’re relishing our early morning runs sans humidity, hot coffee on the porch, long weekend bike rides and festivals and oyster roasts galore!  Halloween is right around the corner and our team is getting in on the fun! Be sure to pop in on the 31st to see your favorite agent or staff member in costume.

A quick reminder that Daylight Savings Time will end on Sunday, November 4th so don’t forget to “Fall Back” and set your clocks back one hour before you turn in on Saturday. Enjoy the extra Zzz’s – you’ll need them to stay up late and watch the returns on Election Day!
And last, but most certainly not least, our most heartfelt thanks to all of the brave men and women who have served in our Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy. With limitless gratitude we extend our warmest wishes to each and every one of you for a very happy Veteran’s Day on November 12th!

Real Estate News

The National Association of Realtors just released their Existing Home Sales Report for September and while the number of sales did decline very slightly (1.7%) over August, they are 11% above September 2011. Additionally, the national median sales price on existing homes was $183,900 – up 11.3% from a year ago; the number of foreclosures and short sales declined 30% from September 2011; and average days on market declined 30.7% from last year. Regionally,  home sales in the South increased 14.2% from a year ago while the median sales price rose 13.1%.

Andrea Earns RSPS Certification
Hilton Head Island Buyer Specialist Andrea Albright has earned the Resort and Second Home Specialist (RSPS) Certification!  The RSPS Certification is a nationally-recognized certification awarded by the National Association of Realtors® to real estate professionals who demonstrate and promote their expertise in the resort and second home specialty. In order to attain this certification, Andrea successfully completed the Resort & Second Home Markets course. She has also attained the designation of Accredited Buyers Representative (ABR).

Where is it?
Below you will see a photograph taken of a very specific place… and all you have to do is guess where it is! Well, actually, we tell you at THE VERY BOTTOM OF THE NEWSLETTER, so don’t get too frustrated if you can’t figure it out. Have fun with it… and good guessing!

Team News

Congrats, Anne!
Congratulations to Anne Wingfield, our Client Care Manager, who was bestowed with the honor “Sales Assistant of the Month” from the Hilton Head Island MLS!

Celebrating 10 Years
As mentioned in the September edition of enews, CGR is celebrating our 10th anniversary in 2012! Last weekend, we gathered at Chip and Carrie Collins’ home in Sea Pines to commemorate our 10 years in business with an oyster roast! A great time was had by all as we reflected on the past and look forward to what the next 10 years will bring!  Of course, we would be remiss in our anniversary celebrations if we neglected to mention three team members who have been instrumental in our growth:  Ann Eden, our Senior Buyer Specialist, who has been with CGR since day one and who’s enthusiasm and leadership is greatly valued by all of our team; Kent Collins, our Vice President/Treasurer, whose sage advice and breadth of knowledge never ceases to amaze; and Simon Ashton, our web development guru, without who’s foresight and cutting-edge creativity we would not be the company we are today. Many thanks, of course, to all of YOU for your business, referrals, friendship and support!

Happy Birthday!
Happy Birthday wishes go out to Chris Wray (Daufuskie Specialist) on November 5th, Valerie Mayer (Accounting Manager) on November 7th and John Friday (Bluffton Specialist) on November 26th!

Thanksgiving Food Drive
Collins Group Realty will be holding our annual Thanksgiving Food Drive in Victoria Square, Yacht Cove, Point Comfort, and Cedar Woods on Saturday, November 10th. Donations of the following are greatly appreciated (as are ALL non-perishable food items)…

  • Canned Corn, peas, green beans and yams
  • Canned Cranberry Sauce
  • Canned Chicken Broth
  • Boxed Macaroni & Cheese
  • Boxed Stuffing for Turkeys
  • Jarred Gravy for Turkeys
  • Boxed Cornbread Mix
  • Boxed Instant Mashed Potatoes
  • Canned Fruit

If you live in any of the aforementioned neighborhoods, please place your donations by your mailbox on November 10th for our team to collect. If you don’t live in any of these communities but would like to make a donation, please feel free to bring it by one of our offices between 8:30-5, M-F and we’ll get it to Deep Well. Many thanks, in advance, for your generosity!

Thanksgiving Office Hours
In observance of Thanksgiving, Collins Group Realty’s offices on Hilton Head Island and in Bluffton will be closed on Thursday, November 22nd and open by appointment only on Friday, November 23rd. If want to do a little house shopping on Black Friday, give us a call at 800-823-7516! Happy Thanksgiving!

Meet the Team

The newest member of Collins Group Realty, Velinda Fisher moved to South Carolina 23 years ago from North Carolina and obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree from Clemson University. Shortly after graduating, she moved to Hilton Head where she was the Administrator for the largest home health care company at the time.

Velinda has been actively selling real estate for the past 15 years and is a proud recipient of the Realtor of the Year Award. She is very active with the Hilton Head Area Association of Realtors and serves on multiple boards including the Community Service Committee, Grievance Committee and Realtor Service Award Committee.

She lives with her husband, Bobby, a golf professional from Rochester, NY and their “fur kid” Dixie in the Ashton Cove neighborhood.

What do you love most about living in the Lowcountry?  
There are too many factors to mention. I love the people, the atmosphere, the beauty, the mild weather but still a change of seasons, the OCEAN. The marshes, the proximity to so many wonderful things to do. Golf / beach / tennis /shopping /great dining and close to so many other great cities to visit like Charleston and Savannah. It is just a beautiful place to live and every time I go out of town, and come back home, I just love crossing those bridges and rolling down the window to smell home.

What do you enjoy doing most in your spare time?
I love going to the beach with friends and family. I love spending time doing whatever with my husband and our dog. I love to read as well as spend time with friends.

What’s your favorite part about being a realtor?
My favorite part about being a realtor is helping people achieve their Real Estate goals and getting to know so many fascinating people. The way I see it is this; for most people, this is the biggest, most important investment of their life, I want them to make the right decision and be by their side every step of the way.

Local News

The Lowcountry is Tops!
After being named the Top Tourist Destination in the United States for 2011 and 2012, readers of Conde Nast Traveler have bestowed another prestigious honor on Charleston – Top Tourist Destination in the World! Citing the city’s fantastic beaches, stunning vistas, and incredible food, Charleston beat out such venerable destinations such as Cape Town, Florence, Bangkok, and Vancouver.

A little closer to home, Hilton Head Island was ranked 8th on a list of Top 10 Island in the USA while three local resorts were named to the Top 20 Resorts in the South. The Inn at Palmetto Bluff took top honors (and was also voted 17th on a list of Top 100 Hotels and Resorts in the World) while The Inn at Harbour Town came in at 11th and Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort ranked 17th.

Chamber Closes Welcome Center     
The Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce has closed their Welcome Center on 278 after visitor surveys showed vacationers now prefer more readily available, e-based information.  The chamber intends to set-up numerous iPad Kiosks in high-traffic tourist areas including the airport, hotels/resorts, and the Chamber’s offices.

Bluffton Farmer’s Market Named Best in State
The Bluffton Farmer’s Market was recently named the top Farmer’s Market in the state of South Carolina and the 19th best nationwide (based on size) by the American Farmland Trust! If you’ve never been to the market, it is worth a trip – great produce, prepared foods, flowers, crafts and even music abound at the market, which is staged on Calhoun Street in downtown Bluffton you are missing out! The market is held each Thursday from 2-6pm through December 20th. For more info, click here:

New Bluffton Fire Station Under Construction
A new Bluffton fire station is under construction at the corners of Burnt Church and Ulmer Roads. The station, which will be completed by summer of 2013 and will be a third larger than the current facility on Bridge Street, is expected to house an engine company, ambulance and EMS squad.

Local Events

Halloween Events
10/27-10/30: Carnival and Haunted House in the Buckwalter Regional Park. Carnival on 10/27 only featuring games, food and more from 1-5pm. Admission is free – games and bouncehouse is extra. Haunted house through 10/30. Doors open each night at 7pm. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for kids 12 and under.

10/27: Salty Dog Haunted BBQ & Costume Contest. Featuring a kid’s costume contest at 7 pm, prizes, candy, entertainment, a haunted village and an appearance by Jake the Salty Dog. 4-9 pm.
10/28: Halloween Hayride in the Sea Pines Forest Preserve. Featuring fun stories and a trip to the pumpkin patch. $15/adults, $10/children (12 & younger). 8-9:15 am.
10/28: Halloween on the Harbour in Sea Pines. Featuring pumpkin decorating, crafts, activities, games, trick-or-treating around Harbour Town, a costume contest, cookies and cider. Kids and adults alike are invited to participate in costume.

Additional Events…

10/26-11/4: Motoring Festival & Concours d’Elegance. 11th annual festival features historic racing in the Savannah Speed Classic (10/26); the Car Club Jamoree (11/3); the Motoring Midway (11/3-4); and the Concours d’Elegance, a Best-of-Show competition including 150 vintage vehicles; kid-centric exhibits and activities, food, live music and more. Tickets start at $20.

11/3: Bluffton International & Craft Beer Fest. 2nd annual event will feature over 125 International & Craft Beers, great food, live music and more. Calhoun Street Promenade. 2-6pm. $15 advance tickets/$20 at door.

11/4-11/18: 2012 Music to Your Mouth at Palmetto Bluff. 5-day event featuring fantastic food prepared by local and nationally-recognized chefs, live music, libations, cooking classes, block party and more. Admission varies per event and tickets are selling quickly.

11/15: VIM 2nd Annual BigBand Swing Gala. Featuring dancing to music from the Great American Songbook, a seated dinner and live auction to benefit Volunteers in Medicine. Individual tickets are $150. 6-10pm.

11/16: Taste of the Season. Featuring award-winning cuisine from over 35 local restaurants & silent auction! General admission tickets are $45. VIP Tickets are $85 includes an exclusive preview party from 5-6pm with celebrity food experts & a premier wine tasting. 6-9pm.

App of the Month

It’s almost time for Halloween and, of course, there’s an app for that:

Carve It!
Want to carve a pumpkin with your kids but skip the huge mess? Try Carve It – an app that lets kids 3 and up use their finger to carve and light a pumpkin. Email the masterpiece to friends and family once it’s done…!-pumpkin-carving/id394139401?mt=8

If you’re a big fan of haunted houses and want to know where all the attractions within 200 miles are, try Hauntfinder. The app also provides descriptions of the houses, driving directions and web links for more info.

Lowcountry Living
This month’s Lowcountry Living was written by Client Care Manager, Anne Wingfield:
It seems like just yesterday we were anticipating the start of a new school year, and now I can’t believe how quickly September has flown by!

I’m always a little sad when I start noticing the sun setting sooner and rising later, but then I get that first breath of cool air and I think, fall is here!  Fall or as I like to call it, “Festival Season,” is such a wonderful time of year here in the Low Country, whether it’s the Bluffton Arts and Seafood Festival, the Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival & Concours d’Elegance, or the wonderful oyster roasts held on Daufuskie Island (and just about everywhere in the Low Country), I never have to ask my husband, “What should we do this weekend?”

Writing this brings me back to my first oyster roast.  Admittedly, I was not a big fan of oysters and thought I might snack on a few crackers every now and then… but once I was there, my outlook changed.  Something about the cool, crisp air, the knit sweaters, and the smell of roasting shellfish combined with the wood burning fires had me thinking, “Maybe these guys (the oysters) aren’t so bad after all?!”  I was intrigued by the masses of people huddled around picnic tables lined with newspapers, and the way the cooks dumped whole burlap sacks of roasted oysters right onto the table for everyone to devour.  Not knowing a thing about how to shuck an oyster, I approached a table of friends only to have everyone eagerly wanting to show me the trick to unlocking the little vaults of briny goodness.  A little hot sauce, a squeeze of lemon, and down the hatch!  Followed with a splash of ice cold beer I had finally experienced oysters the way I was meant to.  Turns out the best accompaniments to oysters are friends, family, and some good music!

If you haven’t experienced your first oyster roast, I hope you can come join us this fall to see the magic for yourself… and if you’re a returning patron of a Low Country oyster roast, then you already know that we welcome you back!

Answer to…

Where is it?
This striking photo was taken on Palmetto Bay Road right before a storm rolled in. If you’ve never experienced a Lowcountry afternoon storm you’re missing out…it’s a lot of fun to watch the fast moving clouds roll in!