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.

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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.

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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!

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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)


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.



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!

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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.

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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.

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Hot Damn! How Bout Them Dawgs!

Today it occurred to me that the Georgia/Florida weekend starts to get underway around noon on Thursday before the game.  It doesn’t really matter if you are in St. Simmons, Fernandina, Jacksonville, or up here in Athens.  At this very moment, I am sitting in my office waiting on paperwork to arrive, and as soon as it does I am going to SCRAM out of here because Georgia plays Florida on Saturday.  I don’t care what the coaches say, this one is DIFFERENT!  THIS ONE MATTERS MORE!  No explanations needed because any real Dawg fan gets it.  Sadly, this game has gone the other way too many times over the last 27 years. Wow, that is tough to swallow let alone type.  Of course Georgia has won a few games over that period, but overall Florida has controlled the rivalry since 1990.  But guess what?  That dominance will end this Saturday around 7:30 PM eastern standard time.

If you follow this blog at all, you know that last week I wrote a post to give all us fans a “reality check” heading into this game.  I stand by that post because Bulldog fans needed to hear a little negativity, and there is still a lot of football left to be played.  All that being said, I am calling for a big W on Saturday.  I was nervous, I was anxious, and I was worried, but that is all in the past tense.  Now I am confident, I am excited, and I am ready for Saturday.  I am ready because Saturday will bring about the change in culture that this team and this fan base has needed for so long.  Georgia will win Saturday because they are the better team.  They have better players, they have better coaches, and they will be better prepared for the game.  Don’t get me wrong it will be close for about two quarters, but come the 2nd half Georgia will start to run away with the game.  And afterwards there will be celebration, there will be consumption, there will be some HELL raised by us Dawg fans that greatly deserve it.  In fact, if you aren’t a Dawg fan on Saturday night you best stay the hell out of my way.

I just can’t stand the Gators.  They are by far the most obnoxious team and fan base in the country.  Think about this for a minute.   Can you name a fan base in the SEC or the country for that matter that doesn’t despise Florida?  You can’t because hating the Gators is universal.  Give me a Clemson fan, Seminole, Buckeye, or Bama man any day over a dang Gator fan.  Granted, I have met a few nice Gator fans over the years but nice or not I still disliked them immensely.

Class Personified

Mark Richt is a good coach, and great guy as we all know.  But at the end of the day, the man is from South Florida and that always irked me.  So I wish him the best at Miami, but I am damn glad we got Kirby.  Our new coach really gets it.  He fully understands why we love our team, our players, and our school.  He knows the history here, and he knows what it feels like to be a Bulldog through and through.  And what’s best is that he knows how to get us where we want to go.  It is very likely that Georgia is still going to lose a game or maybe two later this year, but they aren’t going to lose in Jacksonville this Saturday.  Get excited Dawg fans because this one is going to be fun.

Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid Dawg Fans!

I am about to give all that are willing to read this post a big reality check.  I think it is appropriate for us Bulldog fans to have a little bit of it before we head into next week’s GA/FL game.  First of all, please let me be clear that no one is more excited about our beloved Georgia Bulldogs than myself.  To this point, the season has been an absolute JOY to watch.  There are so many positive things happening in the program and that is so very exciting to see.  But that is not what this blog is about.  This blog is meant to scare you.  Besides, everyone is entitled to one good scare around Halloween right?  So Here We GO!

  • Quit Drinking the KOOL-AID Dawg Fans– It seems that every fan and every talking head is big on Georgia right now. I know it is fun to see your team be a part of the conversation, but nothing has been accomplished yet.  No titles earned, no rings won, and no bowl bids given.  The schedule is just now getting hard.  So calm down and quit bragging to that Tech guy, Auburn man, or dreaded Gator fan in your world.  Next week is big, and besides when is the last time Florida lost three games in a row?  I’m just saying.
  • Who Has UGA Actually Beaten? – The answer is only Notre Dame which looks like a good team right now, but that could change quickly in the coming weeks. So far, Georgia has basically played no one worth a damn in the SEC.  The combined record of our SEC opponents is 11 wins to 14 losses.  And only 1 of those teams has an SEC win which was over an LSU team that got beat by TROY at HOME!
  • We Have a Freshman QB– I love Jake Fromm. Seriously, I may actually love him (lol).  But the truth of matter is that he is still just a freshman.  And we are asking a lot if we think he is not going to stumble a time or two before December.  Hard games are ahead, and he will face some adversity.  Let’s hope he handles it well.
  • Even Good Teams Lose – I am trying to think of the last team to go undefeated for an entire season from the SEC. I think it was Auburn in 2010 which had to cheat to do it. Yes that’s right they did cheat and they didn’t get in trouble because the NCAA is a farce.   Just look at UNC last week.  North Carolina did exactly what Jim Harrick did while at Georgia, but they did it over an entire decade. And the NCAA found no violations whatsoever.  It’s a total joke. A TOTAL JOKE! I hope Georgia is cheating too, because if they are not cheating they are the only ones.  Do you remember that huge mess in Miami where the guy in prison decided tell on himself for paying all those players?  Do you remember that?  Probably not, because nothing ever came of it.  Big time college athletics is basically the wild wild west.  And the only authority that wants to do anything about it appears to be the FBI, and of course UGA who has self imposed more penalties on itself than the NCAA has handed out in the last 15 years.
  • The Boogie Man Lives in Jax Right Now– The Boogie man is real and he apparently likes Florida because Jacksonville has just been down right spooky for Dawg fans over the last 25 years. I just hope we can run him and the Gators out of Jacksonville next week.

I know this seems like a lot of negativity, but somebody has to bring us down to earth a little before it comes back to bite us in the A-S-S.  Our team is good and they can be great, but greatness will be decided between now and the first week of December.   So calm down, and start to worry again.  Every game left is a big one.  Go Dawgs!

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The Ghosts of UGA’s Past

As the great comedy writer Larry David says, “pretty…., pretty…., pretty good”, is exactly what most Georgia fans are feeling on this Tuesday before the Tennessee game. 

But not this Dawg fan.  In fact, I feel a great deal of anxiety for my beloved Bulldogs this week.  Yes of course I had a great time Saturday watching them thoroughly handle the bizzaro bulldogs from Mississippi.  You may even recall that I did predict this team to go 11 and 1, and so far I am looking much wiser than many thought only 4 weeks ago.  I still believe that record should be the eventual outcome of the season, but this Saturday the game in Knoxville truly has a chance to signify a drastic change in the football culture at UGA.  Most of you reading this should already understand why, but for those of you who don’t let me explain.

I was born almost three months after Georgia won its last national title in football.  Since then my life as a Dawg fan has been filled with great times, great friends, and great memories.  But it has also been filled with great disappointment.  And these great disappointments have come right after some of the really great memories.  That has sort of been the life of Georgia fans for the past 36 years or so.  Don’t get me wrong, I would not change being a Georgia man for any other team or school in the entire country.  I don’t want a degree from a different university, and I don’t want to live anywhere other than Athens.  Long and short, I am all in when it comes to the school and the state of Georgia.  I know this team is good, and I know the new coaching staff was brought here to change things for the better.  But I still have reason to worry.  I hate to be a “Negative Nancy” or a “Debbie Downer”, but allow me to remind you of a few big games followed by some tough losses from the ghosts of UGA’s past.

  • The first two games I have to lump together because I was so young. After rolling through the SEC in 1981 and 1982, Georgia lost two Sugar Bowls to two schools from Pennsylvania.  81’ to Pitt and 82’ to Penn State. Both games likely cost Georgia a national title.  Keep in mind these games were played after beating Florida, Auburn, and Tech to close out the season.  These games were heart breaking, but they are not examples of Georgia playing poorly.
  • The first big letdown game I can recall was Georgia vs. Auburn in 1997. Jim Donnan appeared to have Georgia over the hump with a 37-14 win over Florida.  The joy of that victory was short lived because Dameyune Craig and the Auburn Tigers beat Georgia solidly at Sanford Stadium in the very next game.
  • The next one came just a year later. Georgia went on the road to beat LSU with Quincy Carter in 1998.  Bulldog fans then dared to think their team would beat Tennessee the following weekend.  Well the joke was on us because the Bulldogs lost 22 to 3 in Sanford, and no one called Quincy Carter “ice water” ever again.
  • In 2004, Georgia dismantled the defending national champs, LSU, 45 to 16. We all felt great about ourselves.  Every fan was certain Georgia was on its way to the BCS.  But then Tennessee came to town the very next week with an upset win.  This one stung badly at the time.
  • Here is a list of other games in the last 15 years that hurt Georgia’s chances to have a special year: Florida 2002, Auburn 2005, Tenn. 2007, Bama 2008, Tech 2008, SCAR 2012 just to name a few. Trust me there are more.

So here is my point, this Tennessee game is the typical trap game.  Just about the time that the fan base starts to feel good, the team goes out and losses one they shouldn’t.  This has become a defining characteristic of Georgia Football for 20 years or more.  But here is an opportunity to change that perception with a win over Tennessee this Saturday.  I don’t care how they get it just as long as they win.  Have you also considered that Florida is already 2 and 0 in the SEC?  I know they don’t deserve to be, but regardless of a comically bad off season they are still 2 and 0.  If Georgia loses this weekend, they are already behind the 8 Ball in the SEC East. So in my opinion, the season starts Saturday in Knoxville, and Florida is already a win ahead of both Tennessee and Georgia.

So I hope all you Bulldog fans out there feeling “pretty good” about your team realize that nothing has been accomplished, and there is a long ways to go.  So don’t book a room in Atlanta just yet.  On the other hand, I think our head coach and new staff understand this all too well, and that should help the team keep their head out of the clouds this week.  All this being said, I am going to stand by my predictions for the year.  Dawgs win Saturday and the culture around the program improves a little more with each coming week.  Go Dawgs!

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A Message to Bulldog Fans in South Bend

Today is only Thursday, but it already feels less crowded here in Athens except for the Chick-Fil-A on Alps road of course.  I am trying to recall a game in my lifetime with as much excitement and fervor to make so many UGA fans travel as this week’s match up against Notre Dame.  Sure, there have been some big games here in Athens and Atlanta over the last 15 or so years.  LSU 2004, BAMA 2008 & 2012, along with some trips to the Georgia Dome come to mind.  However, I think you have to go back to 2002 when Georgia returned to the Sugar Bowl as the SEC Champion.  In 2002, Georgia fans were itching to get down to New Orleans to watch their Dawgs play Florida State.  I was one of them of course, and I had a blast even though it wasn’t that great of game.  If you recall, FSU that year was a little beat down, and an underdog to Georgia.  I think Anquan Boldin had to move from receiver to quarterback for that one game.  In the end, Georgia fans weren’t as excited about the match up in 2002 as they were about the trip.  And I worry that too many fans feel the same way about this trip to Notre Dame.

Granted, I have never been to South Bend, but I am pretty damn sure it is not equal to New Orleans.  Nevertheless, it does have appeal thanks to Notre Dame

Lou Holtz

and their football team.  There is not much reason for me to go into Notre Dame’s historic program.  Truth be told, I was not alive for much of their dominance.  I can recall Tony Rice, Rocket Ismail, and a kickoff return against Colorado while Lou Holtz spat on the sidelines with every word he shouted. (Suffering Succotash!)  To be very honest, most of what I remember of Notre Dame is Ron Powlus, Bob Davey, Tyron Willingham, and a dreadfully slow linebacker that believed he was dating a make believe girl on the internet.  None of these memories are good for Notre Dame by the way.   In the end, most people under 30 might be unaware of Notre Dame’s long history.  Sadly, the same can be said for UGA.  For many fans this is  for certain a big game .  But on the other hand, this is simply a fun trip for a lot of fans .  And yes it should be fun.  Fans can visit Chicago, see a Cub’s game, stare at Lake Michigan, eat deep dish pizza, and yes visit South Bend to watch Georgia play. I truly hope all of the Bulldogs enjoy the trip, but I also hope they know that this game means something.

I fully understand that this is NOT an SEC game, and a loss here doesn’t affect the standings in the SEC eastern division.  But do you know what a win in South Bend on Saturday night would mean?  It would mean a return to relevance.  That’s right Dawg fans. Georgia has not been relevant since 2012.  And they weren’t relevant in 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015, or 2016 either.  Yikes!  The truth hurts.  Some of you may disagree with me on this point of view because you may define relevance differently.  For me, being relevant is defeating a Top 10 team or even winning a game as the underdog.  I know Georgia beat Auburn last year in Sanford, but that one doesn’t count for me.  I think the last big game Georgia won away from Sanford was Florida in 2012, and even that game was on a neutral field.  I could be wrong, but I think the last time Georgia had a big upset was 2006 against Auburn which was a 12 noon kick off on the plains.  Now I know that Notre Dame isn’t ranked in the Top 10, but the game airs at 8pm on NBC for all the world to see.  Georgia is currently the underdog, and if they can win this one then they are relevant at least for a few weeks anyway.  On the other hand, if they lose they could still have a great year.  But winning in South Bend at night with a freshman quarterback could make a statement for this team and coaching staff.  And that’s what they were hired to do here in Athens.  Winning this game could change the tune or narrative of Georgia Football from what it has been over the last 10 years.  So have fun up in South Bend and be sure to keep it classy.  But if you get into that stadium, scream your head off for your Bulldogs because this one is more than a vacation dawg fans.  Go Dawgs!

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