Don’t Worry Be Happy Dawg Fans!

Last night and early this morning I found myself getting fed up and almost angry with social media. I know that sounds ridiculous for a person with a very active Facebook and Instagram account. But about 3 to 4 times a year, I just get exhausted with people on social media. As a Realtor, I am absolutely exhausted with people sharing client reviews or any other silly thing to tell you just how great they are in order to hopefully get more business. I am exhausted with selfies and people portraying themselves in a manner far from their reality. As of late, I am exhausted with that GIF or meme of the woman pointing and the cat talking back. Please make it STOP! I haven’t even mentioned the political exhaustion we all feel on the news and of course social media. And yes, I do understand the irony here because I am sharing this post to social media in hopes someone will read it. But there is one more thing I am exhausted with right now. I am exhausted with the narrative that Georgia won’t win.
Too many thought Florida would beat Georgia, and too many thought Auburn would surely defeat the offensively inept Bulldogs. And last week even I was frustrated at halftime of a 52 to 7 win over the Terrible Techies. Later that day, I was texting back and forth with friends and relatives about all thing’s college football. A couple things from these text threads made me a little mad. First, one of my good friends commented on how Georgia is playing with house money. Well, I appreciate his comment being positive, but I didn’t like the idea of just being happy to be in the game. Sort of sounded like he is preparing to suffer defeat. On another text thread, two of the most negative people I have ever met couldn’t help commenting on how bad Georgia is and just how bad LSU will beat Georgia on Saturday. With a little a liquid courage, I argued back in the most tactful and polite manner possible. Did you pick up on the sarcasm right there?
So here a few points I would like to make before this Saturday’s match up with LSU:

1) Be Happy Dawg Fans– This year too many of us seem frustrated or mad at times, and I just don’t get it. Georgia is good, but we haven’t been on a Bama 10-year dynasty run. Yes, Georgia lost a bad game to South Carolina. So, what! Georgia is still in the SEC Championship with everything to play for this weekend. Keep in mind, Georgia has beaten Notre Dame, Tennessee, Auburn, Florida, Texas A & M, and GA Tech 52 to 7 this season. I would take that every year if I could. If Georgia fans can’t be happy today, can we ever be happy? What happens if we win it all? Well, I think it would be great until Georgia loses another game and the sky will fall again. God help us if Georgia ever loses two games in the regular season again. My point here is to enjoy the ride Georgia fans because College Football is a lot more fun when your team is relevant.

2) Georgia Can and Will Win Saturday– Yep, I am calling for it. I know how it looks to the naked eye. LSU seems unstoppable, and Georgia just can’t get things going on offense. Furthermore, Vegas has Georgia as a 7-point underdog. As good as LSU is right now, they have sold their soul to get an offense. And the devil will collect his payment on Saturday. Don’t get me wrong, LSU is a GREAT football team, and beating them will be a very hard thing to accomplish. But it is damn hard to win all your games in the SEC, keep in mind that LSU doesn’t have to win Saturday. They could lose to Georgia and will likely still be in the playoff based on their schedule this year. That is a bigger deal then you may realize. LSU is the team playing with house money not Georgia. Georgia is playing for everything whereas LSU will play for everything in the next game. In fact, LSU may lose Saturday, and still win the national championship. No reason to go thru the X’s and O’s, but you got the best offense clashing with the best defense and that should be very entertaining. And if you take a harder look a LSU’s schedule there is a little more fluff than people ight realize.  I think Georgia finds enough points and keeps LSU below 35 in another fun one. I like Georgia 34 to 31. Go Dawgs!

“Georgia Fans Need to Calm Down & Hear Me Out”

The annual cocktail party down in Jacksonville is upon us, and while it is always a big game it feels a little different this year, and the fan base seems a little uptight. Year in and year out, this game is crucial to both Georgia and Florida, and typically the winner goes on to Atlanta to play for the SEC Championship. My point here is that the stakes are always high in Jacksonville, but this week people are claiming it to be the biggest game of Kirby’s career. I can certainly understand why people believe this to be true. Heading into the season, a trip to Atlanta seemed to be a given for the Bulldogs, and Florida seemed to be more than a step or two behind Georgia’s program. Funny how two months can change everything or let’s be honest with each other, and admit it was just two games that the changed perceptions for Dawg fans and all the talking heads on TV.

“Fan” is short for fanatic, and fanatics aren’t known for their sound logic and reasonable opinions. I am big fan myself, and yes, I am guilty of wearing “bulldog lenses” from time to time. Nevertheless, today I am going to convey a practical yet optimistic view that I hope will quell your fears and enhance your excitement for Saturday. So, here are my thoughts on why Saturday night will be a good one for us Bulldogs.

1) Get Over the SCAR Game Folks! – There has been a bad hangover from this game, and you can still smell the alcohol from it weeks later. I was mad as fire when the game was lost, but not shocked that it could happen. We often forget these are kids and not a bunch of Tom Brady’s out there on the field. When you look at the stats of this game it seems impossible to think Georgia lost, but the four turnovers did too much damage. If they were to play 100 more times, I bet Georgia wins 97 of them. While you are at it, go ahead and get over the Kentucky game as well. I know the first half was bad, but they basically took the pass out of the game, played to win, and tried to avoid losing more players to injury. Winning twenty-one to zero over an SEC opponent is never something to be taken for granted. Too often college football can be a bit of a conundrum. For example, if South Carolina beats Georgia, and Tennessee then beats South Carolina that doesn’t result in Tennessee beating Georgia. The transitive property doesn’t work in college football. Having said that, don’t worry too much about that Michigan v Notre Dame either. If A equals B and B equals C, remember that A doesn’t exactly equal C when it comes to football.

2) Recovering from Injuries – We have had a lot of players banged up this season, and this off week comes at a great time like it does every year. It is just an ideal point in the season to give the players and coaches a small breather. Hopefully, we will see Kindley, Cager, Campbell, and Jordan Davis all playing at 100%. At the same time, I understand that Florida will be returning some players as well. But I like our chances against their pass rush if we have all the lineman ready to play on Saturday.

3) The Offensive Woes Are Exaggerated– Look I know how it has looked on the field at times. I am just as tired of runs up the middle and jet sweeps for 1-yard gains as you are, but when you look at the stats they are not much different than last year. In 2018, they averaged 7.1 yards per play and 37 points per game. To this point in 2019, they average 7 yards per play and 36 points a game, which includes the dismal South Carolina and Kentucky performances. I do think we need to add a wrinkle or two, and a few wheel routes and quick slants might help. I would also love to see James Cook get 5 or more touches this Saturday. However, without good blocking across the board no play is going to work too well.

4) Is Florida the Best One Loss Team in Football? – This is a big narrative right now and everyone is big on the Gators. But keep this in mind, they barely beat Miami, should have lost to Kentucky, and they probably should have lost to South Carolina as well. But you don’t hear the national media bringing up those games because at the end the day they did win. This team is better with Kyle Trask at quarterback, but they aren’t the best one loss team in football because that title belongs to the Georgia Bulldogs. Mullen has done a better job than I expected this year, however he could have very easily had three losses heading into this game.

5) Our Players and Our Coach – I know the last two games have you worried, and too many of you are calling for Coley to be replaced but you need to take a deep breath and calm down. Compare the coaches and their history for a minute, and you will see that Smart has performed well against Mullen’s offense over the years. These two know each other well and Kirby has probably had the better players in their past match ups, and that will still be the case come Saturday. Georgia’s defense doesn’t have a great pass rush right now, but they have a lot speed across the board. I wouldn’t be too surprised to see better defensive pressure Saturday than we have seen to this point. On the offensive side of things, you can count on Todd Grantham to be himself. He will aggressively blitz which at times will work, but it can ultimately be exploited by a smart quarterback who is able to read a defense. Last time I checked, Georgia has one of those smart quarterbacks wearing number 11.

I could always be wrong, and Georgia fans could be distraught come Saturday night, but I just got a feeling I might be right about this one. After all, I had a bad feeling before the SCAR game so maybe this good feeling is another omen. And just think how fun it would be to win down in Jacksonville with these Gators truly believing they are all the way back? Regardless, whatever happens Saturday I am all aboard this Bulldog Bandwagon and I suggest you stay on board too.

Sign Up Now

 

Georgia Football: Pre-Season Predictions and Prognostications – 2019

Well college football is back and even the temperature is starting to feel like football at a cool 64 degrees here in Athens this morning.  I have been doing these football posts over the last several seasons for fun, and because most people don’t really care about real estate until it is their time to make a move.  In some past instances, these posts were therapeutic for me after bad losses, but thanks to Kirby I don’t need to vent near as much during the football season.   I was going to skip it this year, but as the season got closer, I began to think it might be bad luck not to write one.  I am a superstitious person when it comes to certain things.  It is silly I know, and I even have one friend that says, “I am superstitious because I think I am the center of the universe”.  That’s right, a friend says this to me, and I am not offended, because he is just a smart ass from Albany so what does he know anyway.  Now that I have taken a shot at a good friend, I can get into the actual predictions.

  • UGA vs Vanderbilt– Everyone seems to think Georgia is going to be great and just run right through ole Vandy on Saturday night.  As the Florida game showed last week, first games can be a little sloppy.  I expect this one to be closer than the experts think for 3 or so quarters.  Georgia wins 31 to 17 in Nashville.
  • UGA vs Murray State & Arkansas State- No we are not playing these two teams at once, but that could be fun to watch. I am wrapping these two together because the outcome should be a certainty.  Georgia will win these two games with ease.
  • UGA vs Notre Dame – This game has a ton of hype and every 5 Points resident in Athens is scrambling to figure out VRBO or Airbnb. I have even rented out my house to some UGA fans celebrating a birthday.  Honestly, I already regret it because I want to be in my own house after a long day of tailgating and the game.  Regardless, Notre Dame is going to be good this year, and they will be ready to play.  This could be a trendy upset pic if Georgia looks bad in Nashville.  But I think the home field helps Georgia to a close win.  I see something like 20 to 17.
  • UGA vs Tennessee- Here is another game too many fans just think is a given. Let me be the first to say, I was wrong about Jeremy Pruitt.  Well at least to this point.  I think he is doing a good job, and his version of the Volunteers is much better coached and much tougher than in years past.  I hate to say it, but the Dawgs may not get out of Knoxville with a win.  34 to 31 Volunteers over Georgia
  • UGA vs South Carolina – This will be a much needed get right game for the Bulldogs. Unfortunately, the Gamecocks will bear the brunt of Georgia’s anger over the loss in Knoxville.  I think Georgia comes out and wins big at home.  51 to 17
  • Georgia vs Kentucky – Back to back home games will be just what the doctor ordered for Bulldog nation as Georgia will easily win this one. Kentucky is much better coached these days, but they lost too much talent last year.   Georgia rolls over them 45 to 10
  • Georgia vs Florida – Boy do I hate me some Gators. How about that Felipe Franks last week?  That guy loves the camera, and Mullen just smiles as he struts around the sidelines.  I don’t think Felipe Franks will start this game.  I expect Emory Jones will have taken over the reigns for the Gators by this point.  This will make for another good first half, but Georgia will pull away in the second half. Georgia over Florida 45 to 21.
  • Georgia vs Missouri – We all know that Missouri has an easy schedule heading into this one. They could be undefeated, and it will make for a big match up.  But Georgia will have already made their mistake by this point in the season.  Big win here and Georgia goes back into the national conversation after winning by 20.
  • Georgia vs Auburn – Who knows how good Auburn will be this year, and we all know they are hard to play at home. But I tend to think Gus is sadly entering his last season as Auburn’s football coach. I wish he could stay forever, but good things never seem to last.   Georgia will win this by 17 or so.  Let’s say 38 to 21.
  • Georgia vs Texas A & M – This is one of the games most fans think Georgia will lose, and I can understand their thinking. The schedule is fun for fans, but a real test for the team. Especially, if they can make it into the Benz or heaven forbid the playoffs.  I am going to go back to my thoughts on home field advantage in the Notre Dame game.  I think the home crowd proves to be a helpful factor in getting the Dawgs over the Aggies.  Georgia wins 42 to 28.
  • Georgia vs GA Tech – A real bad beat down in this one with a lot of red in Bobby Dodd stadium. A real bad day for any Tech fan.  Should be hysterical to watch so be sure to tune in.  56 to 10 Georgia.
  • Georgia vs LSU (SEC Championship) – That’s right! No Alabama in the championship game.  It’s really not too surprising as it happened in 2017.  I think Bama’s loses at least once and it will keep them out of Atlanta.  LSU will be good, but the neutral site game will not provide them any edge over Georgia.  The Dawgs will get some payback after the bad loss in 2018 down in Baton Rouge.  Georgia wins 35 to 14.

Playoff Scenario

  1. Clemson
  2. Georgia
  3. Ohio State
  4. Alabama

Semi Final Game 1 – Georgia vs Ohio State- This one is going to be all hype as Jake Fromm goes against Justin Fields and the Buckeyes.  I mean can you imagine.  Well you better imagine because I think it really might happen.  I like Georgia in this one.  38 to 10

Semi Final Game 2 – Bama vs Clemson – Bama will pull this one out because Clemson’s defensive line is not loaded with seniors like they were last year.

National Championship- Georgia vs Alabama- Well here we go again. Can Georgia get over the hump?  Can Kirby win the big game?  Did you know that no former assistant has ever beaten Nick Saban?  It will be all the same talk again.  But as a Georgia fan would you want it any other way?  It would be like becoming the heavyweight champion because Ali retired, or Mike Tyson went to jail.  As Ric Flair said, “To be the man you have to BEAT the man”, and despite Clemson’s success, Bama is THE MAN.  Georgia is going to win it too.  Not in dramatic fashion or because Tua got hurt, but because they are just better.  No score prediction here as I think it would be bad luck.  Ha-ha

Well there you have it.  A point of view on Georgia’s season from a real estate guy in Athens.  So, it may not be worth much, but it’s my opinion.  Texas, Washington, and Oklahoma will have something to say about the playoff for sure, but ultimately, I think Ohio State wins over Michigan and that gets them in the playoff.  Bama will make it in because life isn’t fair.   Should be a fun year and don’t forget to watch GA Tech get humiliated on the ACC Network tonight.  Go Dawgs!

Sign Up Now

 

A Tale of Two Houses & Why Pricing Matters

The real estate market has been strong over the last several years especially here in Athens.  We have seen the supply and demand graph tilt way towards demand and home values appreciate quickly.  This has been great for homeowners but stressful for buyers.  And like I have said many times, “Trees Don’t Grow to the Sky”.  At some point, the appreciation will slow down and I think we have seen that happen in some parts of our market.  On the other hand, some areas are still growing rapidly in value.  I have seen two examples recently of pricing in my business and I want to go over them best I can to offer some insight.

 

Example 1:  Pricing Aggressively but Correctly

This past summer I had a property listing that was one of the nicest homes in the subdivision.  Cul-de-sac lot, high end finishes, 5,000 square feet, and a full basement.  However, this neighborhood was low on sale comps and the home sizes varied greatly as well.  There were only two comps in the last 14 months and neither of them were very comparable to my listing which made pricing very hard if I was going to help my client get top dollar.  To do my job well, I needed to dig further and look outside the immediate neighborhood.  Once I did that, I began to realize we could justify a price well over $100,000 more than the most recent sale.  Once we hit the market, I got immediate feedback from a colleague with clients that loved the house.  This realtor, who has lived in Athens less than two years by the way, had clients moving from up north and they didn’t see any way the home was worth so much.  What was even more frustrating is that the other agent kept explaining the comps to me from down the street and even emailed me MLS listings from the area. Think about that for a minute.  Do you really think, I am going to get that email and say, “Geez, you know what? Your right!  I didn’t think to look at any sale comps.  I am a total idiot.  I will call my clients and tell them to drop the price immediately.”  Surely you can sense my sarcasm.  I love it when three people not well versed in Athens or our market explain property values to me.  It reminds me of an old Lewis Grizzard joke where he told the fellow, “The second you start telling us how you did it up in Cincinnati, Delta will be ready and waiting to take you back”.  Long and short, we told them to go pound sand.  About two weeks later, we found our buyers who loved the home and understood its value.  We sold very close to asking price and the appraisal even came in $5,000 over the contract price making the buyers happy, the sellers happy, and the neighbors happy with the adjusted home values.

Example 2:  Pricing Too Aggressively

Now that I have bragged on myself, I will give myself some criticism as well.  Pricing is tricky and you need to do it right or risk missing your buyer.  This past year in another area of town I let a client price a home too high.  I am just as guilty for going along with it, and I have vowed to never let it happen again.  In the beginning. I had reasons to agree to it, but I will never make that mistake again.  Pricing this one too high cost us maybe two or three buyers, and ultimately the price had to come way down to find a buyer in the end.  In hindsight, I should have refused to take the listing at anything higher than my original price recommendation.  Unfortunately, I had to chalk this one up to a mistake and a lesson re-learned in real estate.

Thinks He Knows it All

My point here is that pricing might be the most important part of selling your home.  Nowadays, thanks to Zillow, social media, and technology in general some people seem to think they know more than they actually do in reality.  In some cases, large corporations and companies seem to think they can make realtors obsolete or irrelevant in 5 to 10 years with use of apps and sight unseen offers.  But try to remember this simple premise. “You don’t know what you don’t know”, and if you don’t work full time in real estate there is plenty you might not know or understand in the market.  So, find someone you know and trust in real estate to help you.  If you choose wisely it will make you more money, not COST you more money.

Sign Up Now

 

Buyers and Sellers: Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Found some time today to write about a subject that is right at the core of my business.  As a realtor we do a lot of things that people may not realize we do to help them, but the biggest goal in each transaction is to bring the buyer and seller to an agreement.  Personally, I like it when the agreement is fair to both sides, but not every transaction is going to work out that way.  The circumstances around the buyer or seller can always negatively impact them or the market itself can favor one over the other.  I take a lot of pride in the way I help people through transactions and getting them to the finish line feeling good about the purchase or sell and the process in general.  However, it seems over the last two years this has become harder and harder to do every time.  In years past, I would seldom see a contract terminate.  It seemed I could always find a way to bring the buyer and seller together when issues arose.  In fact, I think at one point I went almost 3 years without one contract terminating.  Conversely, the last two years in our real estate market have seen more terminations than ever before.  I know this based on what other agents have told me and my own experiences.  I have seen more contracts terminate in the last two years then I saw in the previous ten.

That’s right more in two years then in the past ten.  Don’t get me wrong when the deal is just not right you should part ways. And yes, I am a real estate agent and I do like to get paid, but I also like to have happy clients, repeat clients, and to feel good about what I do for a living.  Contracts terminating aren’t such a big deal on investment property, but when it comes to homeowners it can be a lot to handle.  Sellers are making plans to pack up their whole life and then suddenly they’re not.  Buyers are paying for appraisals and inspections only to terminate a contract and then pay for more appraisals and inspections.  Overall, it is just a negative experience for both sides when it comes to a home purchase.  So why are we seeing so many terminations?  I am going to take stab at this and see what I come up with based on my experiences. Please try to keep my sense of humor in mind as you read further as I have tendency to rant.

  • Seller’s Market– It can be quite competitive right now depending on your price point, and buyers are having to act quickly to offer on a property. In some cases, they offer sight unseen.  A good agent will see this coming and avoid contracts with sight unseen buyers, but in some cases sight unseen is all a buyer can do if they don’t live in town.  This creates a lot of offers that may not be all that sincere.
  • A Culture of Fear– You must admit everyone is a little more scared after the recession and people in general just seem more sensitive overall. Just look at politics nowadays.  Doesn’t matter what side you are on because both sides have lost their mind to some degree.  Often, it seems like the buyers are looking for a reason NOT to buy instead of working out the problem or issue.  A property inspection is not designed to be an automatic price concession.  Yes, in many cases repairs are needed, but it also meant to inform the buyer about the property as the new owner.  A home built in 1985 is not the same has buying one in built in 2016 so don’t expect the report to be same.
  • Everyone is An Expert Now– Thanks to the internet and google no one is required to learn anything or at least that’s the way it seems these days. Everyone has an opinion and they are happy to advise their friend on what to do.  You can simply google something from a report and read all kinds of information about the topic. While that can be a great thing, it can also grossly misinform the buyer or seller.  I don’t give legal advice, tax advice, or medical advice because I am not a lawyer, a CPA, or a doctor.  And I know just enough about those topics to be dangerous.  It has become too easy to make a mountain out of a molehill especially when taking advice from someone not knowledgeable of the problem or even directly involved with the transaction.  People should ask the expert and not their pal.
  • Bad Real Estate Agents– The market has grown a lot recently and many more people have transitioned to real estate as a career. There are some very sharp people working in this industry that are good at what they do, but unfortunately like any profession there are plenty that are not.  A bad agent will give you bad advice or offer none simply because they don’t know what to do. A bad agent will create a problem where none exists.  A bad agent treats you like a lead and not a client.  I urge people to understand that you don’t find a good agent by calling on a property through Zillow.  You find one by researching, interviewing, or asking people who they know that is good.  Everyone is entitled to learn their trade and gain experience, but a face on Zillow next to the property isn’t usually the listing agent, it is just a person that paid the highest price to put their face there.
  • The Contract is a Buyer Option- Many commercial agents are surprised when they see the residential contract. Essentially, the contract gives the buyer a due diligence period or what we call a free look.  This is when inspections can be done, and any other property concerns researched.  At the end of the day, the buyer isn’t on the hook to buy for 10 to 14 days or even more.  This makes it easier to walk away.  However, I think this is necessary and fair to the buyer.  So, this is just part of it and part of the job.  But when things must move quick it allows a buyer to tie up a property and take a look around for two weeks without much risk.

So, what can you or I do about it?   Well the seller or buyer can do a little more research when choosing an agent and that will go a long way in helping them through the transaction.  For agents, we just have to do our job.  It is our job to manage these transactions between people and advocate for our client.  Unfortunately, that is going to result in some contracts being terminated, but if we work smarter and know more, we can keep people on the same page to get everyone across the finish line in good shape.

Sign Up Now

 

Thoughts on Athens-Clarke Property Taxes

I haven’t written one one of these blog posts in a good while.  I have been blessed to be busy over the past several months with work, family, and other things in general which makes it hard to find time to write anything someone might read.  I will try to keep this one brief, but the topic is something any Athens-Clarke County resident should read. Please forgive my grammar as it seems to get worse with age.

As you are probably aware, our real estate market has seen an unprecedented growth in area real estate values over the last several years.  Home prices are way up, and in many cases far above the high values achieved before the crash of 2008.  Furthermore, multi-family properties are producing higher rent revenues  along with many commercial properties in the county.  Overall, the market is strong, but it has placed a stress on many first-time home buyers.  Long and short, when values go up less people can afford to buy or own a property. This is a common problem in large cities, but it is more rare in smaller communities.  By and large, this a very good thing for Athens.  It means our area is desirable and it creates more taxable revenue for the county which brings me to my point.  Clarke County property taxes will be going up yet again unless our commissioners revisit the county millage rate.

In case you don’t understand how property taxes work here is a brief explanation.  All the land in a county is divided into parcels that can be identified, owned, and taxed by the local government.  There are exceptions of course like the University of Georgia here in town which does not have to pay property taxes, but in general any privately-owned land will be taxed.  These taxes help pay for many county services and fund the local schools, so they are very important to our citizens.  Every year the county assesses a value to each taxable parcel and that value is used along with a millage rate to levy taxes on each property and its owner.  Our current millage rate is 33.95 but that can vary depending on the area of the town.  Over the last five or so years the taxable value of Athens-Clarke County property has increased well over a BILLION dollars.  While I don’t have access to the exact numbers, it is a reasonable to assume that it is well into the billions.  This is mainly due to property appreciation and not just the new construction of homes.  We do have new construction of course, but there is limited land for development in our county due to its size and land allocation.  In short, the average home owner has likely seen their property taxes increase by more than 50% over the last four years.  Most of the time, this is great news and good for our area, but I would like to point out that found money or increased revenue doesn’t have to become spent money.  Our property tax revenue is large and we already have a couple of SPLOST sales taxes in place for other projects in our community.  I am not advocating against our property taxes, but I do think it is time for our civic leaders to evaluate the county’s budget and consider a reduction to the millage rate.  All increased tax revenue doesn’t automatically have to be spent or consumed.  I think it is reasonable for our residents to see some relief in the increase of their property taxes while still providing all the services Athens has in place along with other things we might need to improve upon.  You may disagree and if so, that is A-Okay , but if you are a Clarke County home owner you have undoubtedly noticed these tax increases.  Even if you do not own a home, but instead rent property I can assure you that your landlord if able has passed down these taxes to you in the form of HIGHER RENT.

In closing, I don’t expect our leaders to roll back the millage rate.  In my experience, government tends to spend rather than save.  Nevertheless, I would be pleasantly surprised to see it happen.  Therefore, I plan to contact my district commissioner to ask that she and other commissioners consider this idea before implementing a new budget that uses all the increased tax revenue, and I encourage you to do the same.  If you would like to contact your area commissioner, please click on the link below and you can find the information.

https://www.athensclarkecounty.com/168/Commission-Information-Biographies

Sign Up Now

 

Georgia Football 2018: Predictions and Prognostications

I have now been writing posts to this blog for over 3 years now, and this will be the 4th time that I am writing a post to predict the Georgia football season.  As many of you know, my intentions for this blog were to post only articles on real estate.  However, I quickly realized that I needed to branch out a little and make it  more fun if anyone was going to read it.  On the other hand, I was very frustrated with Georgia football during year one of this blog, and that may have lead me to write more football posts as that season went down the drain.  I am planning to write a post about Zillow from a broker’s point of view in case you have any interest in a real estate topic, but for today I will focus on Georgia football.

First, let me get some bragging out of the way.  If you read this blog, you may recall my predictions from last year.  In August of 2017 yours truly called for the Dawgs to go 11 & 1 with a difficult loss to Auburn which proved to be exactly right.  I took a little ribbing from my friends for such a positive and totally homer prediction.  One friend from Toccoa found the prediction to be hilarious even if he was hopeful that I would be correct.  But he predicted 10 and 2 so what does he know about it anyway?  At the end of the day, I am not Chip Towers or Jeff Danzler. These posts are riddled with grammatical mistakes because I am real estate broker and not a sports writer.  But I do know Georgia football and I have an opinion to share. So why hell not?

UGA vs Austin Peay Sept 1st– Obviously, games like this aren’t hard to predict.  Georgia should win this one easily, but there will be a lot of interest in how this one goes down. Oddly, they are going to kick off at 3:30 here in Athens, and all the talk will be about Justin Fields.  It is funny how the Freshman QB is always the toast of the town until he throws that first interception.  That being said, I expect Jake Fromm to have a good day and sit out the 4th quarter.  (1-0)

UGA vs South Carolina Sept 8th– If you ask any SCAR fan they will tell you how good their team is going to be and how they will beat Georgia in Columbia this year.  Trust me these folks are fired up for this one, and the stadium will be rocking.  SCAR is well coached on defense, Jake Bentley is a very good quarterback, Debo Samuel is going to be healthy, and the game is early in the season.  All signs point to an upset right?  I respectfully disagree with that thinking.  South Carolina is good, but the depth chart will play a big role in this one.  It will be hot over there and come the 4th quarter SCAR’s 1st team players will be tired of Holyfield, Swift, & James Cook.  That’s right James Cook and not Zamir White.  Georgia wins this one in similar fashion to last year’s match up.   (2-0)

UGA vs Middle Tenn State Sept 15th– This is another one that Georgia should and will win easily, but this is a critical point in the season.  It is critical because the team will need to be clicking by this point or the season could go South.  The next five weeks after this game will be crucial for a successful year.  Georgia wins it big. (3-0)

UGA vs Missouri Sept 22nd– This game scares me more than most people.  I am hoping this one is a night game and not a 12pm start.  The game is at Missouri, and that stadium can be a little flat for an 11am local kick.  Their quarterback is very good, and they will take some chances in the passing game.  However, they have a new offensive coordinator and I hate to say it, but Mr. Dooley may not be the right hire for the position. Dawgs win by 3 touchdowns.  (4-0)

UGA vs Tennessee Sept 29th– This game sure was fun last year.  I watched it from a bar in Birmingham before a good friend’s wedding.  During the game a homeless man outside the bar struck a waitress in the face and then wrestled a bouncer along with the police before ultimately being arrested on numerous charges. That homeless man put up way more of a fight than Tennessee did that day.  Tennessee will be better coached this time around, but they just don’t have enough talent at this point.  Dawgs win big again.  (5-0)

UGA vs Vandy Oct 6th– This game use to scare me from time to time during the Richt era.  Our team was always liable to look past Vandy which could still happen with LSU looming the week after, but I think this one goes as expected with Georgia winning big at home.  (6-0).

UGA vs LSU Oct 13th– Well here comes the first hiccup on the schedule.  Well at least that is what some people think, and the people that think this way don’t really know LSU quarterbacks.  Don’t get me wrong, this game will be hard, and that stadium will be rocking come nightfall, but here is my thinking.  LSU has a hard schedule this year.  They play Miami, Auburn, Mississippi, and go to Florida the week before playing Georgia.  I personally think they catch Georgia at a bad time and could be in for a disastrous season.  Georgia wins a close one in a great atmosphere, and Ed Orgeron will be fired come December.   (7-0)

UGA vs Florida Oct 27th–   The real blessing in this game will be the bye week Georgia has between LSU and Florida.  I think the game against LSU will be a very close physical one, and without a bye week Georgia could easily lose.  Florida will be better this year for sure.  Hell, they get back 12 or more players from that embarrassing credit card scandal.  They will be hungry and looking for revenge on Georgia.  Nevertheless, I don’t think they have enough players to get it done.  Furthermore, their new Defensive coordinator is Todd Grantham who has been burned badly by Georgia offenses since leaving Athens.  Just look to Grantham’s defenses at Louisville and Miss State.  Dawgs win, and then I will belly flop into a pool somewhere on St. Simmons Island later that evening. (sort of a tradition) (8-0)

UGA vs Kentucky Nov 3rd– Kentucky has some real talent these days, but this isn’t basketball.  I don’t see their roster beating Georgia unless UGA gets hit hard by injuries.  Dawgs win another one.  (9-0)

UGA vs Auburn Nov 10th– Well here we go again.  Georgia is an undefeated 9 and 0, and prime to lose to Auburn just like last year.  Auburn will be picked by many for an upset in this one. Especially after losing to Georgia in the SEC Championship.  No doubt that Georgia can lose this game against Auburn’s formidable defense.  However, this one will not be played in Jordan Hare but in Sanford Stadium.  Georgia wins this one in front of ferocious home crowd.  (10-0)

UGA vs UMass Nov 17th– Do you know the last time Georgia was 10-0?  It was 1982, and I just predicted it to happen for the first time in 36 years which is laughable to many of you. Well call me crazy if you want but Georgia will be 11-0 after this game.  Dawgs Win!  (11-0)

UGA vs techies Nov 24th– The sum of all Georgia fan fears could be realized on this Saturday in November.  That fear being an undefeated Georgia team losing to Ga Tech at the end of the season.  Can you imagine how horrible that would be for the fans and team.  These are the kind of games that can make that horror a reality.  Tech runs the triple option which helps them play with better teams. It will be a scary, scary morning for me and all other Georgia fans, but Dawgs will win another one.  (12-0)

HOLY MOLY!  I can’t even believe it myself.  I am honestly predicting my beloved Bulldogs to go 12 and 0 for the first time since 1980.  I must be out of my d@mn mind.  What the hell am I thinking?   Alabama doesn’t even go 12 and 0.  I know this prediction may seem crazy to many of you because it is so hard to win them all but look at the schedule.  South Carolina is good but not great.  LSU is in the same situation with a much more difficult schedule before playing Georgia.  Florida and Tennessee have year one coaches.  Auburn has to play in Sanford Stadium this year, and Tech is Tech.  The only reason people think Georgia will lose one or two games is because of history.  For 38 years, Georgia has not been 12 and 0, and that seems like a long enough period of time to end the streak.  The current team certainly lost some leadership from last year, and it will be hard to replace Roquan, Sony, and Chubb.  But if any team in Georgia’s history could it might be this one.   The last four recruiting classes rank as follows:  6, 11, 3, and 1 nationally.  This current team could very well be the most physically gifted Georgia team EVER!  The roster is bigger and stronger than it has ever been in my lifetime.  So, keep your fingers crossed, and hope they avoid the injury bug because this year could be a lot of fun.  Go Dawgs!

Sign Up Now

 

Evaluating SEC Coaches from a Bulldog’s Viewpoint

SEC Media Days has been taking place this week over in Atlanta.  I personally enjoy this week because it is a sign that football is getting closer and cooler weather will eventually return.  I doubt anyone reading this blog doesn’t know what SEC Media days are about, but in case you don’t here is what you need to know.  It takes place over the course of four days before the season and gives every coach a chance to address the media, answer questions, and bring along a few players as respresentatives for their respective teams.  It usually brings about a little trash talk and some quotable radio fodder for all the talking heads to discuss while nothing else is going on in college sports.  This event wasn’t as interesting in the Mark Richt era to us Georgia fans because we just didn’t stir up much buzz on media row.  Maybe that is a compliment to Richt, but in all honesty he was usually fielding questions about arrests that took place over the summer and not about a quarterback controversy.   These days Georgia is viewed in a little different light than in past years.  But I must give Kirby credit because he has done a good job of making Georgia a non-story for off the field issues, and he now handles the media like a seasoned pro.  On the other hand, Georgia and its former players have still been a big story in other ways this week.

For example, former Georgia Quarterback, Aaron Murray, decided to share his thoughts on new Tennessee head coach, Jeremy Pruitt.  Aaron basically explained that in his experience at UGA Pruitt did not demonstrate the characteristics required to be the head man.  He was a good coach, but lacked maturity and people skills the job required, and in the past, he was disrespectful to Coach Richt along with other members of the staff.  If that wasn’t enough, David Pollack and Hutson Mason decided to jump on board and continue the Pruitt bashing. This created some buzz, but thankfully it was not from one of the current players.   Lastly, the Florida Gators can’t help but be themselves even when they are losing.  One of their players not only predicted they would beat Georgia this year, but even went on to say last year’s game was closer than the score reflected.  If you recall, that game was 21 to 0 in the 1st quarter and was easily one of the biggest A-S-S whippings handed out in the SEC last year with a final score of 42 to 7.  At the end of the day, if Gator players are having to discuss our team this early in the season that is a good thing.

It didn’t take me long to get off track here today.  What I really want to do is discuss the current coaches in the SEC as of today.  I often play a game with friends that are fans of other teams.  Basically, I would ask them in their opinion what coaches they would want to stay or go from their rival schools.  I am fairly certain Jeff Danzler plays the same game and may have invented it.  If so, good for Danzler because the answers are quite revealing.  For example, do you think a Georgia Tech fan wanted Mark Richt to stay or go?  I bet they wanted him gone.  As another example, Georgia fans were sad to see Chan Gailey be fired as the Tech head coach.   So now that you understand the game, we can look at the current coaches and ask the same question from a Bulldog point of view.   Should They Stay, or Should They Go? (Clash reference intended)

SEC WEST:

Gus Malzahn at Auburn-STAY:   Everyone thinks this guy is such a great coach, but I am just not buying him and never really have.  I have seen his offense play poorly too many times, and other than one game his teams have performed badly against UGA.  I personally want the GUS BUS to stay in Auburn a long time.  He makes Auburn a good win, but not real good real often.  Sorry War Eagle that is how I see it from Athens, GA.  No one loved his contract extension more than me.

Saban at Bama-GO to HELL:  This goes without saying. This guy has done a tremendous job, and much like a Sith Lord his departure will restore balance to the force.  Good for Bama.  They should enjoy it as long as they can.

Ed Orgeron at LSU- STAY:  This coach is a good guy and an authentic Cajun Tiger, but at this point he doesn’t really scare anyone.  Now I could be singing a different tune come this fall after they play Georgia.  But for now, I think he is doing a good job but not a great one.

Jimbo Fisher at Texas A & M-STAY for Now:  Hard to make a call on these new coaches, but he brings another good name to our league.  I am not sure how much success he will have there, but I like him where he is for now.

Rest of the SEC West- All are Welcome to STAY:  Ole Miss is still recovering and Arkansas along with Miss State have new coaches.  So, for now we are calling for these coaches to stay.

 

SEC EAST:

Dan Mullen at Florida-STAY for Now:  The fact that Dan Mullen is the new coach at Florida is generally a good sign for us Bulldogs. Don’t get me wrong, I think he is a good coach, and he could be a dangerous hire in Gainesville.  But only time will tell, and I think this has about a 50/50 chance.  For example, he and his players are already trolling Georgia with comments and braggadocios remarks meanwhile the current team has accomplished nothing.  Personally, I like it when I see one of Florida’s best players having to answer questions about a Georgia loss from last year.

Will Muschamp at SCAR-GO:  Some of you that know me may find this one surprising, but I must give Muschamp some credit.  I think he is doing a real good job in Columbia, and if given more time he could become dangerous.  A lot of this depends on the success of his opponents.  For example, if Georgia and Clemson remain good his job is difficult enough, but what if Tennessee and Florida turn it around?

Jeremy Pruitt at TENN-STAY:  He hasn’t coached a game, but he has his work cut out for him.  This one could be fun to watch if it turns bad.  But you never know, he may just surprise us all and do a great job.  I know one thing for certain, their defense will get better immediately.

Rest of the SEC East-All are Welcome to STAY:  I am not trying to diminish the job that any of the coaches are doing at Vandy, Mizz, or Kentucky, but they just aren’t real threats in the league at this point.  Maybe that will change but for now they can stay.

Other Notables:

Dabo Sweeney at Clemson-GO:  This guy is good and has made Clemson a real power in college football again.  For recruiting purposes, they are located too damn close to Athens, GA.

Paul Johnson at TECH-STAY Forever:  I know he has had some success against Georgia, but this guy is perfect for us.  He makes Tech good every once in a while, which can make beating them a little bit more relevant. Granted, we don’t’ gain as much by beating Tech as Florida, Bama, and South Carolina do with their in- state rivals.  But running the triple option is openly admitting that you can’t compete with the big boys.  So, they run a chicken sh*t high school scheme and chop block the defense.  He will never attract quality defense players running that scheme in my opinion.

That makes only two coaches I want gone in the SEC and three if you count Clemson.  I know things could change, but this a good sign for Georgia football in the years to come.  Go Dawgs!  43 DAYS!

Sign Up Now

 

Athens Area Real Estate: Market Outlook Mid-Year 2018

Well it looks like it has been six months since I last posted an article on this site.  For the most part, that is a good thing because we have been extremely busy this year, and I have not found much time to write or post to this blog.  Meanwhile, I am sure no one has really missed these articles riddled with my grammatical mistakes.  From what I can tell, people enjoy the posts on Georgia football much more than my thoughts on Athens real estate, but rest assured I will be ready to talk some Georgia football next month.   For now, let me focus on the real estate portion of this blog because I realized today that we are just about half way through 2018 which is an ideal time to look back at what has happened so far this year.

Overall our real estate market remains strong, and we have continued to see appreciation in many price points.  For example, the 5 Points area is still seeing $250 per square foot or more for remodeled homes.  The Normaltown area is trending just behind this price point and moving just as fast.  However, this is not a universal number you can apply to each home.  In most cases, anything below  $650,000 will still move well in the 5 Points area.  But we have seen the highest price point start to level off.  Right now, I would classify anything above $600,000 as our top price level in Athens.  While we are still seeing these homes sell, it appears the price appreciation at this level has finally cooled off.  I believe this to be a good thing in the long run.  As I have said many times on this blog, “trees do not grow to the sky”.  It is good to see the price values calm down in one area of the market.  Another contributing factor is the current pricing by sellers.  There are some properties on the market asking for a little too much money which is understandable given our market trend over the last two years.  This is typical of any market going as hard and as fast as Athens and Oconee.  Interest rates are ticking up, but demand remains high for home buyers therefore I don’t see our market tanking anytime soon.  In fact, I am relieved and encouraged to see a slight cool down in appreciation.

On the other hand, the condo market around town has been incredible with some of the biggest gains in value over the last 12 months.  Our company and myself deal with a lot of condo properties throughout the area.  It usually works out to be about 1/3 of my personal business year end and year out.  For example, inside of one-year condos in downtown Athens have gone from $240 per square foot to over $280 per square foot or more.   On the westside of town, condos at Woodlake have appreciated 8.5% in less than a year.   If you cross the river to the eastside on Barnett Shoals road the results are the same.  The Summit, The Woodlands, Brookwood Mill, and Drayton Square have all seen a big increase in value of the last year.  The condo market was hit hardest by the recession due to new banking regulations and fear amongst buyers.  Thankfully, the fear is gone, and lenders are now able to lend money on most condos in our area.  But the lending is not the same as a traditional home so be sure to work with a professional when buying or selling condo units.  A loan approval from a buyer doesn’t exactly mean that loan will work for a condo purchase.

Lastly, Athens-Clarke County has seen a large increase in property taxes all over town.  The amount will vary property to property, but overall the county saw an increase somewhere around 5 to 6%.  Tax values going up is inevitable when we are seeing properties appreciate this way, but I do think it can have a negative effect.  Obviously, the typical home owner is burdened with increased taxes and their mortgage payments will go up.  In some cases, this is easy to absorb, but in many cases, it becomes a real difficulty on families.   Another thing to consider is that many property owners in Athens are not local to the area.  We have a large amount of property investors or landlords living outside the county, the state, and even outside the country.  These increased costs will be noticed by property managers and landlords alike because they effect the bottom line.  And most of the time these landlords will pass through the increased cost to their tenants by raising the rent.  Many people in town are concerned with affordable housing, and this will do nothing to help that issue.  I don’t know our county’s budget needs off hand, but revenue going up doesn’t necessarily mean spending should as well.  With our increased tax revenues, it may be time for our elected officials and the county to consider reducing the millage rate used to calculate taxes on our property.  All things considered, we are still lucky to live and work here in the Classic City.  Hopefully, we can keep ourselves from messing it all up.  Thanks for reading, and I will try to share a post on a football topic next month.  Enjoy your summer.

Sign Up Now

 

Sellers Beware Predatory Buyers & Misleading Marketing

Unless you have been living in cave like a hermit, you are probably aware that the local real estate market is doing well.  Here in the Athens area, we are seeing a return of value in the condo market along with increased values in the traditional housing market.  I have expressed my thoughts on these gains in past posts, but overall there are many factors helping our market.  Interest rates, population growth, low supply, and the overall economy are some of the main factors.  We are even seeing a historically low supply in areas of student housing with Cap Rates below 7%.   At this point, I have not seen a dip in the demand or jump in supply so I think the market will hold for a while longer barring any unforeseen changes in the economy.  This is all good news for property owners and sellers, but when the market is strong mistakes can still happen.  One of the biggest mistakes I see sellers and property owners make is selling under value.  This usually happens one of two ways.  The seller is either desperate and needs to sell quickly or they have been misled by a “predatory buyer.” In most cases, if someone needs cash quickly they have to take a lesser price to speed things along.  This is unfortunate but a reality.   However, what bothers me is when an investor or even other real estate agents use deceiving practices to buy or list a property.  Allow me to explain:

I am sure most of you that own a property have received something in the mail where a person or a business claims “this is my final offer” or “my last attempt to buy your house”, and the worst one “please call me about an urgent matter concerning your home”.  In other cases, they simply explain that they buy homes and have an interest in your property.  Most people understand that these people are willing to buy, but only at a price that makes sense to them.  And that price is usually low.  Let me be clear that some properties that are not kept up or have an obsolete floor plan do provide good opportunities for people to add value and flip the house.  I would not call this predatory, but simply seizing an opportunity.   On the other hand, we are starting to see a new model in larger cities where people will buy your house in cash to help you move.  In theory, this sounds like an intriguing new model in the housing industry.  However, I would have some reservations before entering into one of these agreements.  First of all, people are usually in business to make money.  And people can’t always make money if they buy your property at fair market value.  I understand this business model attempts to provide some certainty, but it may leave you with less money.  If you are considering this please take the time to ask some questions.  For example, how did they arrive at the purchase price?  What will they do with your home after they buy?  Are there any extra fees? How long have they been in business?  Please take the time to research the process before you agree because if something sounds too good to be true it often is too good to be true.

Lastly, there is another method that agents might employ to gain business.  In some areas, we see real estate agents offering to buy your house if they cannot sell it for you.  This tactic is really frustrating for me as a realtor, a broker, and business professional.  I take what I do very seriously, and I work hard to do it with integrity and class. Therefore, I would never purposely mislead someone with regard to my services.  I have never listed a house with an agent that promised to buy it, and I am not personally aware of any realtors that have bought a client’s house in one of these agreements.  That doesn’t mean it may never happen, but based on my experience it seldom does.  Working in real estate is extremely competitive, and agents need to be aggressive in marketing not only to gain business but to help their clients.  So please beware a realtor that promises to buy your house if it does not sell.  In most cases, this is likely a bait and switch tactic. They simply want to get their foot in the door so to speak.  If you call them they may very well agree to buy your house, but I can assure it will be at a price well below its value.  As I stated before, people are in business to make money not to lose money.  And they cannot make money on your house if they pay too much for it.  If you choose to call a realtor because they promise to buy your house, do the same thing and ask some questions.  How much will they pay for the house?  How did they arrive at the price?  What will they do with the house if they have to buy?  How many houses have they actually bought?  In closing, I would like to make sure property owners educate themselves when selling and make sure they read the fine print.

Sign Up Now