Athens Real Estate is Booming:  Will it Last?

If you live in the Athens area then you probably know our real estate market is booming.  Granted, there are a few pockets and price points that have not performed too well, but in general the market is thriving.  I recently wrote an article about Athens home buyers where I described the current frustrations of home buyers in this seller’s market.  Over the last several months, I have had many people ask me what I think is driving our market and how long do I think it will last.  In reality, no one knows for sure, but when asked I try to give an open and honest opinion based on what we see in the market on a daily basis.   This morning I find myself in the office looking out the window while Athens is under a tornado watch and flash flood warning.  This being the case, it seems like a good use of time to write a post and share my thoughts on this topic.

For many of us, the past mortgage crisis and real estate bust is ever present in our mind, and that influences our caution or even pessimism about the future.  Nevertheless, it doesn’t’ mean we are heading that way once again.  A wise man once said, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it”.   With that in mind, I think it would be smart to consider the Athens market before the last recession.  I began my career in real estate here in Athens right after graduating from UGA.  It was the early 2000s and the real estate market was strong.  It is fair to say I was pretty green when I started, but with a little hard work along with some help from others I was able to find a little success and make a living.  Nowadays, I am a little older, a little heavier, and a lot wiser.  And I have found that my experience of living through the recession has really helped and given me a good perspective on where we are now in Athens real estate.  I am sure many of my colleagues feel the same way.  That being said, what was going in real estate before the bust?  And how does that compare with what we are seeing now?

Well I can only speak to my personal experience during this time with regard to what I saw in Athens real estate from 2003 to 2009.  At this time rates were not too high but they definitely were not this low.  In some cases, prices were even higher than they are now.  I saw condos finance with ease at prices that have still not returned.  I saw numerous people move towards Watkinsville for schools, more land, and 3,000 plus square feet.  While 5 Points was still very desirable it was nowhere near as popular as it is right now.  In fact, many areas of 5 Points were heavy with rentals for students.  As for Normaltown and Boulevard, they were also filled with rentals and prices per sq. foot much lower than the $175 to $200 we see today.  I often heard clients refer to 5 Points as overpriced and out of date.  To quote a past client, “Why would we pay $300,000 for a 1950s kitchen and no closet space?” Overall, it seemed more and more Athenians were moving out and into newer subdivisions.  We all seemed to think real estate values could never go down, and most folks outside of our industry had never heard of loan terms like sub-prime, no doc, stated income, and the dreaded adjustable rate.  Lastly, it seemed every builder believed “if you build it they will come”.  Looking back I did a lot sitting in neighborhoods asking myself, “Where in the hell I am going to find all the people needed to buy these houses?”  So what is different between then and now?  The major difference between then and now is the Supply and Demand. Back in those days I never saw anything that resembled what I am seeing today.

Many things have changed since the “Great Recession”.  First of all, we all know low interest rates have helped and they continue too.  While we should expect rates to increase, I don’t think we will see anything drastic in the near future.  Interest rates aside, I think the major difference seems to be the demand for housing in our area.  While the University has not grown significantly, people’s desire to live and work here has increased greatly.  In 2005, if a client asked me to find them a home in Athens under $250,000 the options would greatly exceed what you find today.  There would even be feasible options in 5 points and Normaltown.  In the end, the supply was slightly ahead of the demand back then.  Not much but a little.  Nowadays, we have a scarcity of affordable in town housing, and sadly I don’t see that changing anytime soon.  This demand has been created by numerous factors.  Athens as a whole has become a retirement destination to people in Georgia and across the country.  We have a vibrant college town that offers great food, better music, and a good quality of life. Thanks to technology more folks are able to work away from their office in Atlanta which has brought even more people into our area.  I personally have worked with 4 clients in the past year that work inside I-285, but have chosen to reside here in Athens.  Furthermore, our in town neighborhoods just have more to offer now than they did in 2005.  You can walk to dinner and drinks in many areas, and the shopping is better from the Eastside clear across to Epps Bridge.  As I have mentioned before, HGTV shows have influenced numerous people over the years and have helped create many remodels in our area.  While these remodels and tear downs are not always popular with everyone they are a sign of strong local market where demand is way out in front of supply.  To further this point, just look to the recent moratorium on new development in Oconee County which could have a similar impact on the housing climate in Watkinsville .  I do not have a crystal ball, but I think our residential housing market will remain strong in the near future barring any unforeseen national crisis or drastic jump in interest rates.   As for our student housing market, well that is probably better discussed in a future post.  In closing, the market is strong and shows no signs of weakening at the moment, but that doesn’t mean you can buy anything anywhere.  You still need to consider all the factors to purchase wisely.

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Athens Real Estate: Heaven Help the Home Buyers

My basement is full of firewood that I have yet to burn because the weather been has so warm this winter, and just like the weather in Athens the real estate market has been historically HOT in 2017.  It is truly amazing just how fast some things are moving.  I have lived in Athens for 18 years now, and I cannot recall a time where the supply was this low or the demand so high.  In many ways this would seem a like a good thing for our area, but honestly it has caused a lot frustration in the real estate world. As a real estate broker, one of my primary jobs is to help buyers and sellers come together, and that has seemed harder lately than I can remember which has surprised me.  The main reason seems to be the lack of supply.  Many buyers have found it hard just to get inside a property before it is under contract, and many sellers have remained firm at high list prices resulting in low appraisals.  At the end of day, my job is to help people navigate these hurdles, and today it seems the buyers have many more hurdles than the sellers.  So I want to talk a little about our market and what a buyer should be doing to find their ideal property.

First of all, why do we have such a large amount of home buyers in our market?  In my opinion, this is due to the return of seller equity and low interest rates.  Many sellers were not able to sell when the market was down, but now they can exit their own property without taking a loss.  It seems a lot of these sellers become Athens area home buyers, because so many people want to move here and so few want to leave the area.  Long and short, we have it pretty good in the classic city, but what do you need to do to buy in the area you prefer?  I would start by telling any home buyer to reach out to a good local and experienced realtor for many reasons.  But most of all, for their expertise and knowledge in the market where you are trying to move.  When the market is up you need strong advice on prices, appraisal values, and when to act fast.  This is not the time to call your best friend who sells two houses a year or less.  You need to call people that have the experience in the market you want to buy.  Don’t ask your buddy if he knows someone unless your buddy knows a lot of people in real estate.   In most cases, an out of town agent simply cannot know a market well when they live hours away.   Our town can be very close knit, and a local realtor often will know of homes for sale that are not on the market.  Here at 5Market, we frequently have seller clients that reach out and ask us to bring an offer from a qualified buyer instead of listing their house.  Despite the efforts of many, our real estate market is heavily based on experience and strong local relationships.

The next thing to do is to tell the truth.  I often start with telling my clients to be honest with me about properties so I can better understand how to help.  It is ok to say, “I hate this house or I don’t care for this street”.  Please tell your agent what you want and why.  Another part of being a home buyer is being prepared to act.  Buyers need to have a conversation with their lender before stepping foot in one home.  That way you have an idea of what you can afford and what cash outlay is best for you. Therefore, you can act quickly on a hot property.   In most cases, your realtor will know several good lenders to speak with before getting started.  Home buyer’s now need to be proactive on the home search as well by using websites like Zillow and Realtor.com.   Many real estate brokers are often frustrated with Zillow and Trulia because the sites can be inaccurate and sometimes advertise homes that are not for sale.  Furthermore, they can mislead buyers and sellers on home values especially here in Athens.  While this is true, I appreciate these sites because it gives my clients a place to search homes on their schedule.  A good agent will have more than a few clients, and they can’t be expected to sit at the computer to wait for new homes all day every day.  For example, I encourage buyers to use these sites, but we also encourage them to download the MLS app which can verify listings they might find.

In closing, I think the most important thing I typically discuss with clients is that things have a tendency of working out the way they should.  In my experience, when a client loses a house or an inspection goes badly it seems to work out for the best.  So many buyers lose out on houses, but they often find another one they like even better.  I am a big fan of learning and borrowing from others.  When I hear something wise I try to remember it and internalize it.  One of the best things I have heard my co-worker, Jeb Bradberry say is that, “Patience is a Virtue”.  This is true in life, and true in real estate.  So remember try not to be discouraged and remain patient because if you deal with good people in business it has a tendency to work out for the best.

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The State of Athens Real Estate: Low Supply & High Demand

We are a few days away from 2017 which is an ideal time to look back at the year that was in Athens real estate.  Clearly, 2016 was an interesting year, and the overwhelming story of 2016 would have to be the Presidential election because it was very polarizing and ultimately quite surprising.  It seems half of the country is optimistic and the other half believes the end is near.  Despite your feelings about the year in politics, I can assure you that the Athens real estate market had a great year in 2016 thanks to many contributing factors.

First of all, we reside in a fairly desirable area with a major university and that never hurts.  Furthermore, interest rates have remained low which continues to fuel the market since money is currently cheap.  Lastly, many neighborhoods have seen more and more appreciation because availability remains scarce.  While all of this is generally good for the greater Athens area it has proven to be difficult for buyers.  And it is primarily due to the very low supply of homes in the market place.  Let me be clear that I am usually a big fan of low supply in real estate.  In fact, that is exactly what sellers want when they go to market.  However, working in real estate allows me to see both sides of the coin.  We work with many home buyers that are desperate to find what they need in the area, and right now many of them are frustrated.   Generally, the more affordable houses remain the hardest to find.  Right now in Oconee most properties under $300,000 are gone in a week.  Additionally, the in town areas like 5 Points and Normaltown barely have any listings under $400,000.  Meanwhile, the local market for investment is also highly competitive because workable properties are almost nonexistent right now. It has been a long time since the Athens real estate market was this low on product.  All this being said, the Athens market is seasonal especially when it comes to residential homes.   Usually, the New Year brings more homes to market, and I am confident we will see that trend continue in 2017.  So what does all this mean? Will this appreciation continue or not?

The truth is that no real estate agent really knows for sure, but we can try to make educated predictions based on what we know about our local market along with the economic factors.  As I mentioned earlier, the election was kind of a big deal this year, but its impact for good or bad may not be felt immediately.  I am not a stockbroker, but if I was I might advise people to get into financial stocks and stay there for a while.  But you know what?  I am no stockbroker, but I am fairly knowledgeable about Athens real estate.  So here are some predictions for 2017 in our area.

Interest rates are going up without a doubt.  Good sense tells us that they can’t stay so low for so long, but they also can’t grow too high too quick because our economy just can’t handle it.  The real estate market has been fueled by these low rates.  On the other hand,  I don’t believe reasonable rate hikes will kill the market.  In fact, it may even make it stronger at first.  There is a lot of interest rate fear with buyers right now which could bring even more people to the table.  On the other hand, higher rates could also create some price stabilization which will help these buyers.  I have said it before that, “trees don’t grow to the sky”, and while that is true, I don’t’ think prices stabilizing will be a bad thing.  Given the lack of availability in several neighborhoods we should see appreciation slow down without prices falling off.  So while trees don’t grow to the sky they can still stand pretty tall.  Conversely, the Athens investment market might be a little harder to read.  The Athens investment market has come back since 2010, but we have not seen the prices return to the highs of 2007.  Low interest rates have forced most investors into the stock market to gain an actual return on their money.  However, investment real estate provides a great alternative to the stock market which should continue.  Nevertheless, we may see the same price stabilization with investment properties that we could see with residential homes.  Rental rates have been growing in our market, but more student bedrooms are coming soon.  In all honesty, it is hard to know which rental development it will immediately impact until it all plays out.  But I can assure you that location is all that matters when the chips are down so be sure to keep that in mind.  And there you have it, a brief recap with a look ahead.  Here’s to hoping my predictions are correct.   Have a great new year, and an even better 2017.

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Georgia vs. Florida: Overcoming Fears in Jacksonville

The time has come yet again for all good Bulldogs to head south for the annual “Cocktail Party”.  That’s right! It is still the “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party”, and not the “River City Showdown” which is just an awful attempt to rebrand the game.   Long and short, here comes Halloween and here comes the Georgia/Florida game.  Anyone who reads this may not like the title to this post which assumes Georgia fans have a fear of Jacksonville.  In fact, it could not be further from the truth.  For example, year after year thousands of Dawg fans flock to the area to attend the game or even just to be close to the party at one of the nearby beach destinations.  No one is scared of Jacksonville, but you have to admit it has been a pretty spooky place for Georgia over the last 25 years or so.

Recently, I placed a 13 foot “Stay Puft” marshmallow man in the front yard to give my kids and the neighborhood a laugh and a smile.  However, my good intentions back fired because my three year old son, Tullis, is now having stay-puft-yard-1nightmares about the marshmallow man coming to life and wreaking havoc up and down our street.  This of course sounds funny to some degree, but I can relate. When I was a child around his age, I had a recurring nightmare about Lurch from the “Addams Family” TV show.  You remember Lurch don’t you?  Regardless, in my dreams Lurch would rise from behind the couch in our formal living room (a room in which no one ever lived) to come and get me.  I would cry and cry but Mom and Dad never seemed to come.  Often times I would wake up just before a plodding Lurch could grab me.  Sounds silly I know, but at 3 or 4 it was scary stuff.  Obviously, I out grew my fear of Lurch, and moved on to much scarier monsters like Michael Myers or Freddy Krueger. I can only assume Tullis will do the same with his fear of ole “Stay Puft”.  And there is my point folks.  It is michaelmyerstime for this fear, bad luck, bad mojo, or whatever you want to call in Jacksonville to pass.  We have to flip switch here, grow up, and move past all the bad vibes of the last 25 years.  This is what we hired Kirby to do, and I still believe he will help us do it.   All that being said, it won’t be easy, but I think we got a chance to change it this Saturday.  And here is what has to happen on the field to get it done.

  • Special Teams– Georgia absolutely cannot afford to have any more awful special team play. In fact, it will need to be pretty damn good.  No missed kicks, no fumbles, no stepping out of bounds, no busted coverages, and no shanked punts.  It is time to get this phase handled period!  If this poor special team play continues for Georgia they will not win.
  • Defense– Florida has had its struggles with offense as well. They have not really been effective all year.  Therefore, Georgia’s defense has a chance to keep the score low on Saturday.  I mean below 17 points low. They also need to create a few turnovers to help the offense.
  • Find Some Offense– Florida’s defense is legit. They will be the best that Georgia’s has played all year.  Their defensive backs are fantastic, and it is a bad match up for Georgia.  With a freshman quarterback in Jacob Eason, the Dawgs won’t win many of the match ups against their defense.  They have to have something new or some new fire to get points on the board.
  • Coaching – Saturday needs to be a day that our staff outshines the Gator staff. We need to be more prepared and bring something we haven’t seen.  We need good time management, and unpredictable play calling.   I know these guys have it in them, but I am waiting to see it happen.

So there it is folks, a path to victory and call to get past the “heebie jeebies” in Jacksonville.  It is not an easy one, but it is doable.  And besides, the best upsets come when no one expects them.  So have a Happy Halloween, but be careful down there if you go to game because some of their fans are a little scary.  Just check out these two ladies.

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Georgia Football:  Growing Pains Hurt

I am not going to rehash the events of last Saturday.  We all know what happened, and it was a real tough pill to swallow.  It was just one of those games that someone had to lose, and it was our day to lose.  Sunday was awful for me, and I am sure it was hard for most Georgia fans.  I couldn’t even watch one college football highlight, and Saturday night I ignored the Clemson game totally.  It was all I could do to listen to the Bulldawg brunch Sunday morning.  Thankfully, the Ryder cup was on TV to offer a wonderful distraction.  But today  is a new day, and I am over it.  There is a lot to still be excited about this season, and I want to make sure our fans understand this to be true.  Please allow me to expound on the positives of Saturday and Georgia’s outlook moving forward.

 

  • The Team Showed Resilience– This team lost a bad one in Oxford two weeks ago. They were obviously able to put it behind them and focus on the future.  They came out, and played a good game with drastic improvements in many areas
  • Jacob Eason Keeps Growing– Yes he threw an interception, and he fumbled in the end zone. But quarterbacks throw interceptions especially freshman quarterbacks.  But you know what he can do?  He can make a big throw when everything is on the line.  I am really excited to keep watching him.
  • The Running Game Showed Up – I love Nick Chubb of course, but Sony Michel is20161001_uga_ten_055 a hell of a good football player.  We need to make sure he gets the ball as much as possible.  Maybe even put him in the slot as receiver from time to time.
  • The Future is Bright at Running Back – We have the running backs. All we need to do is improve some on the line, and things we will be great in the Smart Era
  • Tennessee is Not Great – They are currently the best team in the East, but they just aren’t that great. Regardless, several Tenn. fans have already acted arrogant to me this year.  I find it funny because while they should be happy to be undefeated they have no reason to be so confident.  I hope they keep Butch Jones awhile, and beating Georgia & Florida this year might ensure his job in Knoxville for few more years.  Tennessee better soak it in this week because they are about to drop two SEC games in a row.   I would love to see Tennessee go to SEC Championship with two losses because they will likely get a third loss in Atlanta.  Besides once Dobbs departs they will be the third best team in the SEC East which would should be next year.

 

Lastly, I want all our fans to realize that Georgia can still have a fantastic year.  No I don’t expect any championships, but I never did.  And you shouldn’t have either.  10 Wins would be fantastic for a new staff with this team.   It all starts this Saturday in Columbia, SC.  If the Dawgs pull this one out Saturday night you better look out because they just might win out.   Seriously, they could end up favored in every game moving forward.  Not to bring up old stuff, but I predicted this to happen in my preseason prognostication blog (link included).  Georgia doesn’t have any world beaters left on the schedule.  South Carolina, Vandy, Kentucky, Auburn, GA Tech, and of course the loathsome Florida Gators.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t think any of these teams are great.  Not one damn team, and Georgia can beat every single one of them.  Will they be hard games?  Yes, of course!  But they are winnable. And if Georgia can pull it off it would be a0692dc6113c5828de0da05974cfd6004cd8a34744dccf9f86a088da3184e38ae great year.  It could even lead to a great bowl game.  Especially, if they don’t have to go to the Georgia Dome and get beat by an SEC West team.  We can let the “Hail Mary Heroes” of last Saturday enjoy themselves this year, and I sure hope they enjoy their trip to Tampa for the Outback Bowl.  So keep your heads up Bulldog Fans, and try to remember the old saying, “No Pain, No Gain”.  Go Dawgs!

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Georgia vs. Ole Miss: Can Georgia Win?

Yes, you read the title correctly.  I don’t know if the Dawgs can win this Saturday.  It pains me to say this for numerous reasons.  First of all, I am unabashed Georgia fan that will pull for Georgia no matter what.  Second, I hate admitting that Ole Miss’s roster appears to have more talent.  Third, I am not positive that Ole Miss’s best players were recruited honestly.  Lastly, there are a surprising number of Ole Miss people running around Athens, GA.  That’s right!  Athens is full of Ole Miss fans.  Even my oldest son, Walker, wears Ole Miss T-shirts, and claims that Ole Miss is his 2nd favorite team.  Honestly, it drives me absolutely crazy.  I guess we will see how much he really likes Ole Miss if they beat his beloved Dawgs this weekend.  If that happens, I bet he doesn’t handle it too well.  For example, I claimed to be a Yankees  growing up, and then they beat the Braves in the 1996 World Series, and I have hated the Yankees ever since.

So why does Athens have so many Ole Miss Fans?   Well I think there are several reasons.  The obvious reason is that some people in town went to Ole Miss.  I think Oxford is an attractive place for a lot of people that grew up in Athens.  ItOle Miss vs. TexasOle Miss vs. TexasOle Miss vs. Texas offers a great college experience, and they have never really been a rival to Georgia.  So you can grow up in Athens, and attend Mississippi without feeling guilty.  Additionally, Ole Miss has been easier to pull for over the years when compared to Alabama, Auburn, and LSU.  In the end, one of the biggest reasons may be that it is so hard to get in UGA these days.  Therefore, we are seeing more and more Georgia folks go out of state to other SEC schools.  All Ole Miss fans aside, I have been thinking about the game all week, and I am really glad it is not my job to game plan this one for Georgia.  I think Kirby has his hands full this week, but I have now decided there is hope and a chance for Georgia to pull this off.    And here’s how it can happen:

  • 11 AM Local Kick– Early kick offs almost always favor the visiting team. It is just hard to get motivated for a big game so early.  Most of Georgia’s upsets in the last 20 years were early kick offs.  For example, Tennessee in 2001 and Auburn in 2007.
  • Turnovers– Turnovers are always key, and with Ole Miss’s love for RPOs (Run Pass Option) you just know Chad Kelly is bound to throw a couple.
  • Sony Michel– I am convinced that we will see Michel have a big game. Likely catching some passes more than running the ball.  Someone has to step up and help McKenzie in the passing game. Michel could be another good option out of the back field.  Especially, with against an aggressive defense.
  • Fed Up Offensive Line – These boys have been called out and told that they aren’t playing well. It is just a matter time before they get mad and have a good game.  Tomorrow would be an ideal time for this to take place.
  • Georgia Plays 4 Quarters– If Georgia can keep it close they have a shot. With only three games played they have shown they are fighters. They have come back in every game so far, and that is good to see.  I think Georgia has got a shot if they can keep it a two score game heading into the 4th.

So there it is folks. My optimistic outlook on a game I predicted Georgia would lose.  But they play the games for a reason and that’s because the outcome is never certain.  So pull the Dawgs through wherever you are this weekend.  Go Dawgs! GATA

The Athens Condo Market: What You Need to Know

Most of you probably have an idea or at least a decent understanding of what constitutes a condominium, but just in case I will try to clarify it a little bit.  In general, a condominium is a unit or space that can be purchased inside a larger building.  When a person owns a condo they have exclusive ownership of a specific space or unit inside a building while also owning a small percentage or shared ownership in the rest of the building.  All the owners in a condominium share in the cost or upkeep of the entire building or complex. For example, condo owners pay HOA fees that cover building insurance, maintenance, and often the cost of amenities.  They can be attractive real estate because they are often more affordable than traditional homes, they offer low maintenance, and are often ideal second home purchases.  Nevertheless, many condo owners are suffering due to the recent recession.  In many areas condo values have dropped drastically, and while most real estate has appreciated in Athens not every condo development has recovered.  In fact, many areas are still close to the values of 2011. On the other hand, certain developments have seen values grow back quickly.   So why have some condos appreciated while others have not?  To understand why you have to go back to the recession.

Hopefully, you haven’t forgotten what happened eight years ago.  The mortgage crisis devastated our national economy resulting with a sharp decline in real estate values.  We saw massive foreclosures across the country, and condos were a major part of the foreclosure market.   First, you have to understand that many condos are developed to be vacation or second homes.  For instance, many coastal areas are covered with condo developments that are owned by people that do not occupy the units full time.   And if someone owns two propertiessimi_valley_foreclosures-sign when money becomes tight, the second home is usually the first thing they can live without.  As a result, numerous condos went on the market in 2010 when most people could not afford to buy them or were scared to buy due to the recession.  Consequently, property values plummeted, and many homeowners had to let their condo go into foreclosure.  Banks across the county took massive losses on condos, and now many large banks will not finance a condo.  And that’s the problem many condo owners face today. The financing has become more difficult which shrinks the pool of buyers resulting in depressed values.  Here in Athens, we have some condos appreciating and others that are not.  So back to the question, Why?

 

The answer is simple, and it is almost always the same LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION.  You may think I am beating a dead horse, but it is the truth.  All properties are valued based on their location, but condo values are even more dependent on the location.  As an example, look at downtown Athens whereWelcome-to-Downtown-Athens many condos have appreciated over the last couple of years because downtown Athens is a prime location where many condo buyers are looking to purchase.  Meanwhile, the east side of town has an abundance of condos that are valued much less due to location and the overall supply.  For instance, on Barnett Shoals road there are four large condo developments:  The Woodlands, The Summit, Stones Creek, and Brookwood Mill.  All of these developments were originally targeted to investors or parents of UGA students.  They are well built, spacious, and fairly close to campus. However, the supply greatly exceeds the demand keeping the prices low around $100,000.  Conversely, condos at Lumpkin Square or East Cloverhurst are worth around $150,000 for a smaller and older two bedroom unit.  These condos are worth more because they are right next to campus and walkable to restaurants and Sanford Stadium.

lumpkin-square
Lumpkin Square Condos

So does this mean you should not buy a condo?  Heavens no!  Condos are still a very good purchase depending on the price, the location, and the purpose.  The values on the eastside of town offer a really low price point for investment.  In some cases, buyers can still purchase a three bedroom condo in the low $100s. And remember, a condo in an ideal location will always have value.  Additionally, we are starting to see condo financing improve, and I believe it will continue to get better over the next couple of years.  In closing, if you have a condo to sell or are looking to buy one don’t worry because either is very doable.  But I suggest you find someone in the area that really knows their stuff because you will need help to navigate the market and the current financing climate.

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Georgia Football Week One:  Time for Overreactions

If you follow this blog at all, you probably know that I started writing these football posts last year.  It is fun to do, and as long as I can find the time I will write at least one a week.  Hopefully, someone out there is reading.  I will of course continue to post real estate topics, but the football posts are just more fun.  Having said that, let’s get to it.  It is usually a given that the opening week of college football will be fun, but this year it was full of great games.  Granted, it started off pretty sloppy on Thursday with the Tennessee and South Carolina games.  But those went down to the wire, and while they were sloppy they were still fun.   Then came Saturday which was simply stupendous.  Of course, I was primarily focused on Georgia’s game against North Carolina.  Regardless, the day was filled with great match ups.  So let’s take a look back at the Georgia game, and then dissect some of the typical overreactions that occur during week one.

Georgia vs UNC– Well that sure was fun.  The “Smart Era” is officially under way, and I couldn’t be happier.  There were plenty of things in the game that I could harp on.  For example, special teams, offensive line, and the absence of a sack on the Tarheel QB.  But those are nowhere near as important as the positives.  First of all, let me get the “I Told You So” out of the way.  I said it two weeks ago, and thennick-chubb-ncaa-football-north-carolina-vs-georgia-850x560 restated it later that Nick Chubb would go for 150 + yards with 2 scores, Lambert would start, and that Eason would come in and play meaningful minutes.  I even predicted the score to be 34 to 31 which was wrong but close.  Ok, ok, enough bragging.  I am so very happy for Nick Chubb.  He played very well, and deserves to have a great year.  I just hope they improve in the passing game to help alleviate his load over the season.  Jim Chaney is the new offensive coordinator, and I was impressed that he found ways to get Isaiah McKenzie more involved, and I think he handled Eason’s time in the game well.  The defense did an excellent job too, and Georgia played a lot of guys on both sides of the ball.   Most importantly, Georgia did not fold when they went down by 10 points.  They played hard the whole game, and it was the other team that shot themselves in the foot…not Georgia.  That was refreshing to see. I hate to say it, but I am not sure that the old coaching staff would have won the game.  In the end, it was a great win for the new staff, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  This team has a lot to improve on, and they are bound to lose some football games.

Tennessee Overrated? – Whew! These boys dodged a big bullet last week against Appalachian State.  However, let’s not overreact.  App. State is a good footballbutch-brick team, and it is just week one.   Tennessee was picked to win the SEC East which is almost a curse these days.  I still think they will be fine, but I do see three SEC losses in the future.  Butch Jones needs to add a few more of those so call “bricks” this year, but I am not sure that is going to happen.

Alabama & The Lane Kiffin Hashtag – Bama dominated USC last Saturday. It was an absolute boat race.  But why do people seem so surprised?  Did I miss something about USC?  Are they good again?  Because no one told me.  So here isKiffin another example of an overreaction.  Everybody is convinced that Bama is unbeatable.   Well, they are good, but they are going to lose to someone because they always do.   In other news, Lane Kiffin decided not to take the high road with the win over his old team.  Whipping their A-S-S wasn’t enough.  You may recall that Kiffin was fired at the airport in the middle of the night by USC.  Obviously, he isn’t over it.  Here is his hashtag on Twitter after the game.

Post-game w the game ball!!! #3:14AM-LAX(pic on right)

 

Texas Football is Back? –  Texas opened up with Notre Dame, and pulled off a great win.  They have a new freshman quarterback that looked good, and they also changed it up with a running quarterback.  Charlie Strong’s job may be more Charlie Strongsecure than we think.  On the other hand, maybe it is just week one, and there is a lot of football left to be played.  Besides, the best team in Texas might be Houston, and not TCU, Baylor, A &M, or Texas.  Regardless, college football in the state of Texas is better than it has been as a whole in a long, long time.

The SEC is Now Terrible? – Surely you jest?  sec-simpsons-charactersWell like it or not, the SEC had a pretty bad opening weekend.  In fact, one might say it was cartoonish or even comical.  For starters, Tennessee looked bad against App. State.  South Carolina and Vanderbilt made us endure an epic pillow fight.  And on Saturday, Miss State lost to South Alabama.  But that isn’t even the tip of the iceberg.  Florida struggled often against UMass, LSU lost to Wisconsin, Kentucky lost to Southern Miss, Arkansas barely pulled out a victory, and Missouri was embarrassed.  The only bright spots all week were Alabama, Georgia, and Texas A & M.  And now the rest of the country is salivating over the downfall of the SEC.   I say let them salivate, and let them believe the SEC is down.   First of all, several of these teams aren’t supposed to be good.   Let’s be honest with ourselves, and admit that Vandy, Kentucky, Missouri, South Carolina, Miss State, Ole Miss, and Arkansas aren’t exactly perineal powers.  Sure, these teams have had some good years, and a couple of them have been good recently.  But when people think of the SEC conference, they think of Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, Auburn, LSU, and Georgia.   Granted, Ole Miss is good right now, but the NCAA is swarming in Oxford so their days are likely numbered.  It is not realistic to think all the teams in the SEC will win.  There just isn’t enough talent to go around.  For example, if Tennessee gets better than another team has to get worse.  If Texas A & M becomes a power than another team in the SEC west is losing ground.  Mark Richt is coaching in Miami now because while he was at Georgia all the teams around him were improving and in many cases with recruits from the state of Georgia.  Long and short, the SEC isn’t as bad as it looked, but don’t expect to see Seven 10 win teams either.

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Eason to Start? Who Cares? Either Way Football is Here!

Finally, college football is here, and in 5 short days Georgia will face off with North Carolina in the Georgia Dome.  The first week of college football is truly great because everyone’s team is undefeated, and most fans still have hope for a great year.  I know I am full of hope for the season, but for a type “A” person like me that hope soon turns to worry, and I will expound more on that later.  First, let’s address all the gossip surrounding the starting quarterback. jacob-eason-greyson-lambert-georgia-starting-quarterback-question-2016-1024x609 Apparently, if you believe everything you read than Jacob Eason has been secretly named the starting quarterback.  Maybe he will get the start, but it would still surprise me.  Let me be clear, I feel certain that Eason will play on Saturday, but I just haven’t bought into the fact that he will take the first snap.  It just seems like a risky move for such a young player.  It will be an awful big stage for any freshman, and especially for a quarterback. But you know what?  I really don’t have a clue who will start, and I don’t think anyone is going to tell me. However, I feel certain that whatever decision the coaches make it will likely be the right one.  They are the ones that run practice, evaluate film, and call the plays.  So I am not going to worry anymore about who will play QB because there are other areas of concern heading into Saturday.  Please allow me to share these concerns with you, and fill you with anxiety heading into the game.  Here are My Top 5 Concerns:

  • Nick Chubb’s Return– The big story in this game is not the damn quarterback. It’s Nick Chubb who is one of college football’s most talented running 0804_masp_uga_practice_0407backs.  Of course, I do not know him personally, but he appears to be a great kid with an excellent work ethic.  We all saw him suffer a brutal knee injury in Knoxville not even a year ago.  If this team is going to have success early in the season they need Chubb back on the field at 100%.  I truly hope he runs for 150+ and has the triumphant return he deserves.  I hope he proves to be superman, and looks like he hasn’t lost a step, but I know that could be a lot to ask.
  • Containing Ryan Switzer – Kickoff coverage always scares me, but it really scares me when the new head coach mentions it as an area of concern at the Touchdown club.  Kickoff and Punt coverage have been an issue for Georgia in42a09d5af33447002823101580020324 recent years, and North Carolina has a very talented return man named Ryan Switzer #3.  He is the kind of guy that take one back a few times in a game.  So trust me Dawg fans, the less you hear or see from Ryan Switzer on Saturday night the better.
  • Georgia’s Offensive Line – All football games are won or lost in the trenches, and we just don’t know much about the offensive line. I know that North Carolina’s defense did poorly against the run last year, but can UGA capitalize on that weakness?  I sure hope so because the offensive line will be crucial to the success of Nick Chubb, and whoever the hell is going to play Quarterback.
  • The UNC Offense – Despite scoring just 13 points in the first game last year, North Carolina’s offense averaged 40 points and almost 500 yards of offense a game. Granted, they lost to South Carolina, but they really came to life after that game.  If you recall, they damn near beat Clemson and won the ACC last year. Long and short, the Georgia defense better be in shape and ready to play.  Otherwise, it could be a bad night.
  • UGA’s Dreaded Dome Record – That’s right folks! Georgia has a bad record in the Georgia dome.  To my recollection, UGA is Four and Six in the Georgia Dome-PLdyShH since it was constructed.  The Dawgs have lost to Virginia, Alabama, twice to LSU, and let us not forget Boise State.  Did I mention the loss to West Virginia in the “faux” Sugar Bowl post Katrina?  This record needs to improve a little before they tear it down, and Saturday night would be a good start.

Well are you a little worried now?  I hope so because Georgia can easily lose this game.  All that being said, please allow me to go back on everything and act hypocritical because I still think Georgia wins a good one.  Despite all my worries and concerns, I think it will be a 34 to 30 Georgia win over the Heels.  Go Dawgs!

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Georgia Football: Preseason Prognostications 2016

We are 12 days away from the start of Georgia football, and Kirby is all set to address the Athens Touchdown Club later this evening.  Additionally, there was a very slight and subtle coolness in the air this morning.  Needless to say, it feels like an appropriate time to gaze in to the proverbial “crystal ball” and make some predictions about Georgia Football.  I did the same thing last year about this time, fortuneteller_largeand I was fairly optimistic when I predicted UGA would go 10 and 2 losing to Tennessee and Auburn.  Obviously, I was wrong, but that’s no reason to stop predicting. Even so, this year may prove to be the most difficult season to prognosticate in a long time.   Think about it, what do we really know about this team?  What do we really know about the coaches?  Who is going to play Quarterback? Basically, we don’t much of anything at this point.  Regardless, I am going to ignore that reality, and convince you that I am a modern day soothsayer and quite possibly the next Nostradamus.   So allow me to gaze into the crystal ball, peruse the tea leaves, and examine the tarot cards.  Warning!! Spoilers are ahead.

 

UGA vs North Carolina Sept 3rd The big question here will be who plays QB.  I feel pretty sure that Greyson Lambert will be taking the first snaps in the Dome, and I do think Eason will play as well.  But the story here will be the return of 8503211Nick Chubb.  I think he runs for 150 + yards and 2 scores leading Georgia to a win.  Still a close game I think.  North Carolina is well coached, and played some good defense last year.  Maybe I am blinded by my love for Georgia, but I just have a hard time envisioning a North Carolina win.  On another note, how many times during the game do you think a Tarheel fan will say, “well actually, North Carolina was the first state chartered school to begin classes not Georgia”?  My guess is somewhere in the thousands. (1-0)

UGA vs Nicholls Sept 10thNot really going out on a limb here to say that Georgia will win.  It will be the first home game in the “Smart Era”, and I am so excited I just about can’t stand it.  I am hoping for good weather, and a temperature below 90 which is asking a lot.   Ideally, Georgia will feel good about the quarterback position by the end of this game, but that could be asking a lot as well. (2-0)

UGA vs Missouri Sept 17thThe first SEC game is always a big one.  It feels a little weird for it not to be against South Carolina, and going on the road is always risky.  Missouri has some talent, but they have lost a great coach in Gary Pinkel.  Nevertheless, Pinkel was replaced by someone on the staff so it could be business as usual for Mizz.  They will be improved from 2015, but not enough to win this game.  Georgia actually scores a few touchdowns this year, and wins by a couple scores. (3-0)

UGA vs Ole Miss Sept 24thIt appears that Ole Miss is living proof that sometimes cheating does pay off.  I know, I know Ole Miss is still supposedly innocent until proven guilty, but come on do you really believe they haven’t broken the rules? Regardless of how they got the talent, they now have a good bit of it, and one of the best Quarterbacks in the conference coming back.  Granted, they lost some good players last year, but I just think this one may be a tall order for the Dawgs.  I hate to say it, but Georgia loses this one. (3-1)

UGA vs Tennessee Oct 1stTennessee seems to be the popular pick to win the SEC East.  The only problem is that the media has historically been wrong almost every year when picking the East division.  I don’t think this year is going to be any different, but I do think Tennessee will win this game.  It will be a close one, and maybe a real heart breaker.  The end of this game will be the low point of season for Georgia. (3-2)

UGA vs South Carolina Oct 8thThis game will be just what the doctor ordered for the Georgia.  Kirby vs Muschamp round one and this round will go to Kirby.  Will Muschamp is a good coach, but right now he just doesn’t have enough talent over in Columbia.  Dawgs win this one big, and it marks the turnaround of the season. (4-2)

UGA vs Vanderbilt Oct 15thVandy always plays hard against the Dawgs, and this year will be no different.  However, they won’t win this one.  Georgia will be hitting their stride about this point and it won’t even be close. (5-2)

GEORGIA vs FLORIDA Oct 29th– This game almost ALWAYS decides the SEC East, and that could be the case this year.  Something really needs to change for Georgia-Florida-TNGeorgia in this rivalry, and it needs to change soon.  Richt was never able to win consistently in Jacksonville, but Kirby will get it done.  And I think he starts in year one.  Georgia wins, and Dawg fans will start to get excited at this point because UGA, Tenn, and Florida will all have 2 SEC losses. (6-2)

UGA vs Kentucky Nov 5thThis thing is getting long winded so let’s just say Georgia wins, but it’s close.  There will be a little bit of a letdown after the big win in Jax., but they pull out the win. (7-2)

UGA vs Auburn Nov 12thGeorgia doesn’t beat Florida and Auburn in the same year very often.  But times they are a changing, and Georgia wins this one placing Gus Malzahn on the chopping block.  I wonder who Auburn will hire after they fire Malzahn?  There is no telling, but it will be interesting to watch. (8-2)

UGA vs Lousiana-LaFayette Nov 19thNot much to say about this game.  It should be another Georgia win, and hopefully an ideal afternoon on campus.    (9-2)

UGA vs TECHIES Nov 26th– Man do I hate Georgia Tech.  Not as much as the Gators, but it’s pretty close. One thing Mark Richt did well was beat Tech.  In fact, coaches that don’t beat Tech typically don’t hang around too long at UGA.  Jim Donnan was a good coach, but he just lost to Tech too many times.  Under Paul Johnson, Tech’s offense has always been a little scary.  Especially, if you let them hang around and keep the score close.  The best way to beat Tech is to score.  Once they get behind, they have to pass the ball, and they don’t do that so well.  Georgia wins this game and finishes off the year with only 2 losses surprising a lot of people. (10-2)

 

Just like last year, I have predicted Georgia to finish 10 and 2.  Granted, I was wrong, but I was damn close.   Even though we know so little about the team and the new staff, I still think good things will happen this year.  For example, last year Georgia suffered a devastating knee injury to their best player along with mediocre QB play, but they still managed 9 wins.  Many of you will read this blog and laugh at a 10 and 2 prediction from an unapologetic “homer” like myself.   In all likelihood, most educated fans probably project Georgia to an 8 and 4 or 9 and 3 record.  Hell, I even had one person tell me they would go 7 and 5 to which I replied “you’re an idiot”.  Let’s just hope I was right about his idiocy.Idiot   On the other hand, I understand that it might seem unlikely for a first year coach to do so well without a definitive starting quarterback.  But when you sit down, and look at UGA’s schedule you will see they could feasibly win them all thanks to the weakness of the SEC East.    So bring on the criticism, and call me the idiot.  And maybe you’re right, but maybe you’re wrong.  Go Dawgs!  12 Days !

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