5 Points: Thoughts on the Springdale Rezone Proposal

You may or may not be aware, but a proposal to rezone a tract of land on Springdale was recently denied here in Athens.  The property is located at 348 Springdale street(pictured) right in front of Stanton Way and adjacent to the end of Rocksprings.  Currently, there are two existing houses and a tennis court on the site.  The property was recently for sale and is now under contract with a builder/developer.  348 SpringdaleIn general, the rezone proposal was submitted to increase the density of the land.  The property is currently zoned RS-15 which means it can be subdivided into 15,000 sq. ft. lots.  That would currently yield around 6 houses or lots.  The plan submitted wanted to achieve 14 townhome sites for an “age in place” style development.  Basically, the builder was planning to develop the site into high end town homes targeted to a 50 + age group.  In theory, it would be very similar to the “Villas at 5 Points” which are located where Westview meets Lumpkin.  It sounds simple enough but rezones can sometimes be quite difficult.

The proposal was denied, but in my opinion the overall idea was sound and could fill a much needed void in the market.  I do think that the proposed development was flawed and needed to be improved.  But I do believe the location could be utilized for an “age in place” development if it was done wisely.  In my job, I often talk with clients that would love to live close in to town with plenty of space and low maintenance.14656703  We have a huge population of people that are getting ready to retire.  You may have heard of them.  They are called “baby boomers”.  That being said, Athens is now an ideal place for people to retire.  We all know that Athens has a lot to offer young people and families.  But when you think about it has a lot to offer someone over 60 as well.  In some cases, people just want to come back to live in Athens because they went to school here and love our city.  So what happened? Why wasn’t it approved?

Keep in mind these are just my opinions and you can agree or disagree.  First, of all when someone wants to increase density in Athens people tend to get their guard up.  Their guard goes up because increased density often brings the dreaded “college students”.  I say this with some distain because I don’t understand why so many people in town dislike the students when our entire economy is based on them living here.  In any case, this proposal was not targeted or designed to sell to UGA parents. 348 Springdale Sign Granted, sometimes you cannot keep a parent from buying a nice property in any location.  But I feel confident the builder intended to market this project to older citizens.  However, some folks in town do not agree.  They felt it was a cover to build more student housing.  I have to admit that student housing is not the ideal use for the neighborhood.  Nevertheless, Towne Club, a wildly popular student community, is located on Springdale and has been for many years.  In fact, there are many rental properties in the immediate area.  Regardless, Springdale remains a great street and a desirable location to buy.   On the other hand, there are some that just don’t think it would work because of the site’s location.  I can understand some of those objections, but there just aren’t many sites like this left in the 5 Points area.  The location is a block from Cloverhurst and down the street from Milledge and Baxter.  In theory, any resident could walk to dinner or a football game.

As I stated earlier, I think the plan as proposed would need to be improved, but I was disappointed to see how vehemently it was ridiculed and denied.  Many residents in the area dismissed it immediately and never gave it much of a look.  For instance, many people on the “Friends of Five Points” list serve immediately rejected the idea.  That being said, the builder did not hold an open forum to discuss or educate people in the area about the proposal.  It may have been helpful if residents could have had an opportunity to hear or see the vision for the property.  Every citizen of Athens is entitled to their opinion.  And many of us have different ideas about what is good for our beloved town.  I never want to discourage conversation, and this project is an example of poor communication and little conversation.  It may have had a chance with a little more positive input and of course some changes.

Thanks to our fantastic university we have a very diverse population.  It is one of the best things about our town.   We have so many different people with different world views living in this small college town.  I think Michael Stipe once said, “What makes Athens so great is that it is so very southern yet so very accepting of different people.”  Maybe he never said that, but I was once told that he did and I liked it.  If he didn’t say it than someone did.  So we have a great town with all these great people living here.  But we need to do a better job of communicating and discussing our growth and development.   It seems one segment of the population is quick to dismiss a new development and another segment is a little too quick to embrace it.  Maybe there is a happy medium.  Athens has developed a reputation of not being “business friendly”.  For example, remember the huge objection to the Walmart grocery store downtown?  I am not sure all those people against Wal-Mart were wanting a large student housing development instead. It serves as an example to “be careful what you wish for.” Well this has turned into quite the rant.  In closing, I just think that when someone wants to invest or develop in our community residents and builders both need to listen a little more and yell a little less.

If you have any questions or real estate needs, please don’t hesitate to contact me or visit my real estate brokerage firm, 5 Market Realty.

College Football Week 3:  Final Thoughts

Georgia- What a difference a week makes.  After the Vandy game, most fans were way down on Greyson Lambert, and many were predicting that Brice Ramsey would end up being the starter.  I admit that I was discouraged as well last week, but Saturday night’s game just proves that the coaches know better than us.  There is no need to go through the stats, but in general Lambert was almost perfect and the whole offense looked outstanding.  When an offense performs that well it has to be attributed to the offensive line. lamber vs SC They played fantastic and are a real strength for the Dawgs.  That being said, I am worried because there is not much depth there.  If one or two of the lineman get hurt we may see a big drop off in the next man up.  Let’s hope I am wrong.  Nick Chubb quietly got his yards and 2 touchdowns.  He is in the Heisman trophy race, but he may not be the best player on the team.  That title may have to go to Sony Michel.  He is so versatile, and he creates a lot of problems for any opposing defense.  Georgia is very lucky to have two players of this caliber on the same side of the ball.  The defense looks very athletic and they play a lot kids throughout the game.  Not sure how good they are yet but the future looks bright.  All and all, it was a great night to be a Bulldawg.  But now let’s get over it and move on.  That South Carolina team is NOT good.  Therefore, Georgia doesn’t need to get too excited.  There is a lot of football left.  We will find out a lot more about this team over the next 3 weeks.  I wish I could get more excited about Saturday’s beat down.  But I just don’t know if the Gamecocks are even going to make a bowl game this year.  Regardless, it sure was fun.

Alabama– Man I love watching these guys lose.  Ole Miss surprised many folks last weekend and pulled off the upset in Bryant Denny stadium.  I thought that Ole Miss had a chance, but I didn’t expect them to score so many points. ap_alabama_spring_football_72180864-e1432661495839 Ole Miss looked good, and they deserve a lot of credit for going to Bama and getting the win.  However, I think they are a little over rated now.  I watched most of that game and everything that could went Ole Miss’s way. In fact, they scored on one of the luckiest plays I ever seen in football. Reminiscent of Auburn’s past miracles against UGA and Bama 2 years ago.  Alabama had 5 turnovers and still had a chance to win the game late in the 4th.  Nothing went Bama’s way but they were still around in the end.  So everybody just calm down.  Bama isn’t this bad and Ole Miss isn’t this good.  Similar to UGA, we will know a lot more about Alabama in 2 weeks.  So stay tuned.  But I have to say, it sure is fun to watch Lane Kiffin and Nick Saban lose.  Hotty Toddy!

Auburn & LSU– This game was very similar to the Georgia game.  LSU looked very good, and Leonard Fournette is a real force. It was a great performance.  But how good is Auburn?hi-res-24e89b96987bf017c2d4c71417732a28_crop_north  I thought Auburn was overrated from the start of the season.  Granted, one loss to a good LSU team is not the end of the world, but I think more losses are coming Auburn’s way.  Regardless, in the SEC west, the path to the Georgia dome appears to go through Baton Rouge.

Who’s Actually Good? – I know it’s only week 3, but I have no idea who is actually good?  Ohio State is supposed to be a world beater but their schedule is so easy it’s hard to tell. I know TCU and Baylor are pretty good, but I am not ready to say they are great.  Besides, I still have a hard time accepting that these two teams are powers in college football.  Michigan State could be good.  They beat Oregon, but we won’t learn anything more about them until November when they play Ohio State.  I already said that I think Ole Miss is a little overhyped now.  Georgia, hasn’t played anyone.  I am not buying the Seminoles or Clemson yet. LSU looks good but if Fournette gets hurt they’re not.  Notre Dame? I don’t think so.

The Paul Finebaum Show– If you are not familiar with the “Paul Finebaum Show” you need to get familiar with it this week. This show is famous for the ridiculous fans that call in to voice their opinion.  maxresdefaultNot surprisingly, Auburn and Alabama lead the pack of crazy, rabid, and ridiculous callers.  With Bama and Auburn losing big games, this show is going to be comedy gold.  I suggest you tune in and laugh this week.

Home Buying Process Part 4:  Offer and Negotiation

Making an offer and negotiating a contract are crucial parts of the home buying process.  This is not an area where you want to make a mistake.  Which is why it is so important to have a good agent, and lender working with you before you make an offer. home-sale-negotiation-600  The process of making an offer is fairly easy thanks to uniform contracts.  Here in the state of Georgia, almost all realtors utilize the Georgia Association of Realtors Contract.   It changes a little from year to year but the core components stay the same.  This is good because it helps create uniform practices throughout the state.  Nevertheless, other areas of real estate do not always use uniform contracts.  For example, a condo conversion or a commercial purchase often have special contracts that are unique to the agreement or property.  But that is rarely the case with residential homes.  Your agent will walk you through the contract when you are preparing an offer. Most things are fairly straightforward.  Honestly, the current GAR contract is more of a buyer option than a contract because there are so many contingencies in favor of the buyer.  Regardless, when I work with buyers in any transaction I want them to understand three things:

  • Negotiation tactics vary depending on the property and market conditions
  • An offer price needs to be realistic
  • Time frames are crucial and must be understood

When it comes to negotiating everyone claims to be an expert.  I have worked in real estate for over 10 years, and I have seen all kinds of tactics.   Many of us are naturally competitive, and that seems to come out in people when they negotiate for property.  Someone wants to win.  In reality, both sides should win.  A seller wants to sell and a buyer wants buy. WIn win Puzzle Depending on market conditions, a buyer may get a great deal and other times a seller may get one.  But a good agent can make sure you buy or sell at a price that is either fair or a good deal.   The property and market conditions should influence your offer price.  For example, if the market is slow, and the house has been sitting there may be an opportunity to purchase well below asking price.  Conversely, if the property is well located and highly desirable you need to bring a strong offer.  The type of property influences negotiations as well.  People become emotional about their home where as an investment or commercial property is mainly a business decision.  There is no rule of thumb or secret to negotiation.  It will depend on the situation, the market, and the circumstances around the property.  Try to find a good deal, but also be prepared to pay a fair price for what you want.  A good deal is always preferable, but there is nothing wrong with paying a fair price either.  Sometimes there just aren’t many great deals available.

When it comes to price all the same rules apply.  There is no set rule for the initial offer price.  That being said, most of the time you don’t want to make your best offer in the beginning.  But from time to time you will need too.How-to-Negotiate-the-Best-Price-when-Buying-a-Home-612x281  The last thing you should do is go around making low ball offers to everyone.  First of all, it wastes people’s time which is rude.  And lastly, it often makes you look stupid instead of smart.  Don’t get me wrong, you can make a low offer but do it within reason and when it makes it sense.  Most importantly, understand that it is ok to pay fair market value.  In the end, a good realtor will make sure you either get a fair price or a good deal.

Lastly, you need to understand the time frames of the contract and make sure they are realistic and reasonable.   As a buyer, you will have a due diligence period and a financing contingency.   A due diligence period should be two weeks at the most when buying in the Athens area.  timeThis is the time frame for you to get a licensed inspector into the property and your loan process underway.  14 days is more than enough time to get this accomplished for an existing home.  New construction purchases can be a little different, but 14 days is plenty of time for an existing home purchase.  The loan approval and appraisal can take a little bit longer.  In most cases, 25 days is enough but this can be pushed back a little if necessary.  The appraisal should be done within this timeframe.  Ideally, the appraisal price is equal to or greater than the contract price.  If not, you will have the option to leave the contract, reduce the price, or pay the difference.  It should be noted that most appraisals are usually within a few thousand of the agreed price. Basically, don’t expect the appraisal to be $30,000 over your contract price.  It can happen but it is rare.

In the end, this part of process is very subjective.  The market conditions and circumstances around the property should always be considered when making an offer.  For instance, when a property is in foreclosure you may be able to take advantage.  But beware because many foreclosures are competitive, and you may need to offer list price or better to acquire the property.  One of the biggest things you need to have with your realtor is trust.  You may need to rely heavily on them when it comes to making an offer.  So it is important to find someone that you can trust that is professional.  There are bad people in every profession.  Bad lawyers, bad doctors, bad chefs, and bad hair stylist.  Real estate is no different so find a good person to help you.

If you have any questions or real estate needs, please don’t hesitate to contact me or visit my real estate brokerage firm, 5 Market Realty.

Investment Real Estate 101

Investing in real estate is an absolute must for any person or family.  At the bare minimum, you need to own your home and not rent.  There are too many advantages to owning real estate, and if you don’t take advantage it can hurt you in the long run.  People invest in real estate for many reasons.  Most buyers purchase real estate to build equity and appreciation in their personal home. Others take it a step further and buy real estate solely as an investment and not for any personal use. 101 Real estate investment is often a good idea and a necessary part of a balanced portfolio, but new investors need education on real estate as an investment.  For example, how does one determine a good price or fair value?  There are many ways that investors determine a property’s investment value.  For example, gross rent multipliers, cap rates, and the internal rate of return.  These are all good barometers but require more explanation and may be a little advanced for “Investment 101”.   For now, I only want to discuss the basics to consider when getting starting in real estate investment.

When most people think of an investment they generally think of the stock market, a 401k, or an IRA.  All three can be good tools for investment, but what most people don’t realize is that real estate has been one of the best performing investments throughout history.  Real-Estate-InvestorsTo put it simply, it is a real asset and they aren’t making any more of it.  Meanwhile, the population continues to grow and people continue to live longer.  And all of those people need places to live and work.  There are many areas where you can invest when it comes to real estate.  For example, rental housing, commercial buildings, or land just to name a few.  But one of the best areas to get started is residential rental properties.  Athens, GA is a great college town with a major university.  Therefore, residential and multi-family rentals represent a large part of the investment opportunities in the area.  Having a large state university in Athens creates a strong rental market.  Because of UGA, there is a steady supply of people that need short term housing which makes Athens an ideal place to purchase investment property.  So what do you need to know when it comes to investing in rental properties?  There are numerous factors to consider when investing, but the three most important are location, price, and time frame.

Everyone should understand that location is important in real estate, but it is especially true when purchasing investment property.  The location of a property is directly correlated to its desirability and ultimately the rental income.   If a property is well located it will have less vacancy and more resilient rates.  For example, if you are buying a property to lease to college students make sure it is located in an area desirable to college students.  Conversely, if you want to rent to families than you may want to find a property in a good school district.  It is also important to understand that a well maintained property tends to attract better tenants than a poorly maintained one.  The next thing to consider is the price.  Price is important when it comes to buying anything, but an investor really needs to understand how the price of an investment property relates to cash flow.  Investors use many methods to value investment property.  An old rule of thumb is to take monthly rent and multiply it by 100 or 110 to determine a value.  It is a very basic formula and doesn’t work every time.  But it is a good place to start for a new investor.   Basically, you need to make sure that the investment is not going to lose money.  Be sure to take into account all the expenses along with the mortgage payment.  Many times new investors forget about maintenance or other costs outside of  property taxes and the mortgage.  Lastly, you should have a plan or time frame in mind for the investment.  For example, do you want to pay off the property?  Do you want to hold and sell later, or take advantage of depreciation and cash flow for a number of years?  There are numerous reasons people invest in real estate, but be sure you understand your goal and purpose of investing.

Yes, there are many factors to consider when investing in real estate, but it should not be viewed as a scary endeavor.  It seems most people don’t invest because they worry about an unexpected cost or the maintenance of a property.  This is somewhat understandable because maintenance can be a costly item from time to time.  Nevertheless, if a property is well located, and purchased right with a time frame in mind the advantages will greatly out weigh any risks.

If you have any questions or real estate needs, please don’t hesitate to contact me or visit my real estate brokerage firm, 5 Market Realty.

Home Buying Process: Part 3 Finding a Property

The most fun part of purchasing real estate is locating the property. Unfortunately, too many buyers jump the gun on this stage and start looking before they have an agent or an understanding of their financing. This is understandable because searching for a home or investment property can be a lot of fun. Nowadays, I do a lot of work with investment property and commercial real estate, but I continue to work with residential properties for many reasons.  Generally, I just enjoy helping people buy a house, but it is also a  lot of fun to look at properties.  Most of the time this is a very enjoyable part of the process but there are times where it can become frustrating for home buyers.  Find a HomeFor example, here in Athens the market is strong and good properties do not last long.  In some cases, they can be off the market within days and you can miss out on a property.   If this happens more than once it can be very frustrating.  There are a few ways to avoid this frustration but there are also times where frustration may be unavoidable.

First, it is important to be realistic when searching for a property.  If you have a max budget of $300,000 then do not look at houses priced around $375,000.  If the market is strong than the eventual price will not be close to your budget.  It is sometimes possible to get a house well below asking price but this should not be your expectation.  Try and determine what is most important to you in a house and that along with your budget will guide you in the right direction.  Second, be honest with your real estate agent.  A good agent will ask questions to try and understand what you want but sometimes buyers aren’t good communicators.  I often tell clients to be honest and feel free to tell me when they hate something.  If you are not honest about your opinions or your budget it will be hard for any realtor to help you.  I once had a client tell me they wanted a house for less than $200,000 in a certain area of town.  Well it was just not a very realistic price for the location and as it turned out they bought a house for $300,000 in the desired area.  But we looked at a lot of bad stuff before they finally told me the truth.  It turned out there max budget was well over $300,000, but they thought they may get a better deal if they told me $200,000.  In the end, we got on the same page and it all turned out well.  However, they made the process very hard because they weren’t honest.  I have to give credit to my business partner, Jeb, for this last one. You have to understand that “patience is a virtue.”

handwriting blackboard writings - Patience is a virtue

In most cases wise decisions are not made quickly or hastily.  If you lose out on a house or it takes a while to find what you are looking to find do not fret.  In the end, things have a way of working out the way they should.

Buying or investing in real estate can be a lot of fun.  That is why HGTV and A&E develop so much programming around real estate.  On the other hand, it can be stressful and disappointing.   However, you can avoid a lot of stress and frustration if you are realistic, honest, and patient.  I guess those are three pretty good words to live by in general.  I have to admit that I have a big problem being patient sometimes. In fact, if you ask anyone that knows me well they might say that I am a very impatient person.  Regardless of my shortcomings, it is good advice so do as I say and not as I do.

If you have any questions or real estate needs, please don’t hesitate to contact me or visit my real estate brokerage firm, 5 Market Realty.

Georgia Football: 2015 Predictions & Prognostications

The days are getting shorter and the heat is showing some signs of fading. Therefore, the time has come to make bold predictions because college football will kickoff this week.  I like to do this every year just for fun, and recently with Georgia’s mediocrity it has been somewhat easy to predict their overall record but hard to pick the actual losses.  This year is unique because fans are clueless at quarterback and that doesn’t help when trying to predict outcomes.  Usually, I feel like Georgia is just about a given to go 9-3 with a bowl game.  I have thought about it for a while, and I almost went back to my rinse and repeat 9-3 prediction. But something is making me feel a little optimistic. 2015-uga-football-schedule In the end, there are a lot of teams in the SEC that are in the same situation at quarterback and that helps.  I also think there are a lot of overrated teams.  For example, the state of Mississippi should return to planet earth this year and Auburn is probably going to lose 3 games.  On the other hand, LSU may be resurgent along with Tennessee.  Arkansas will be Arkansas which is good but never great.  Florida will be getting their ducks in a row and Spurrier is going to be dangerous for any team contending in the SEC.   But Georgia is my team so here are my thoughts on Georgia’s season.

UGA vs LA Monroe Sept 5th– This should be an automatic win of course but it will be intriguing to watch because of the QB competition and Georgia’s new offensive coordinator.  I think Lambert and Ramsey will rotate a lot in this game and we may even see Bauta a little bit.  It would also be nice to see some receivers emerge.  Georgia Wins (1-0)

UGA vs Vanderbilt Sept 12th– Always a tough place to play for Georgia, but I think it will be different this year.  The Vanderbilt game is usually sandwiched between bigger opponents and this year it is not.  It represents the 1st SEC win and Georgia may still be looking for a true starter.   Vanderbilt’s new coach just doesn’t seem to have the same mojo as James Franklin.  UGA wins by three scores in Nashville (2-0).

UGA vs South Carolina Sept. 19thSpurrierSouth Carolina has won 4 out of the last 5, but one could also say that Georgia has won 8 of the last 13.  As Jeb says, “figures lie and liars figure.” Don’t get me wrong because this game scares the s#@t out of me.  They have a new defensive coordinator and a new quarterback.  That could be good or bad.  None of that will matter if UGA doesn’t have a definitive starting quarterback by the end of the Vanderbilt game.  Should be a classic but I like UGA at home and at night.  If I were coaching I would bust out the black jerseys every time they kickoff in Sanford after 5pm.  Dawgs win a good one.  (3-0)

UGA vs Southern University Sept. 26thNo reason to elaborate here.  Should be a great game to take little ones to see.  Dawgs Win (4-0)

UGA vs Alabama Oct. 3rdWell this is the game that people just won’t shut up about.  Honestly, I would take a loss to Alabama if I could ensure UGA would go undefeated in the east.  This one will be hyped up and the first real test for Alabama in 2015.  I feel like I need to go with my gut here, and my gut tells me Georgia wins.  Georgia has a few let down games every year but they also have a few games where they show up, and they are going to show for this one.  I think the coaching staff changes will benefit UGA in this game.  Dawgs win and there will be a record number of people arrested in downtown Athens over the weekend. (5-0)

UGA vs Tennessee Oct 10thWell here it is the first loss.  Just when Georgia starts to feel good about themselves they will get beat up in Knoxville.  May not be close either.  Tennessee is better but not the better team.  They will just get Georgia at the right time and at home.  Traditional let down game that UGA fans have seen many times in the tradition of Auburn 1997 and Tennessee 2004.  This one is going to sting.  Only way I see Georgia winning this game is if they were to lose two games prior and have their back against the wall.  (5-1)

UGA vs Missouri Oct. 17th– Scary game at home for Georgia.  This will be the Dawg’s last game before a much needed off weekend.  It appears Mizz fans want to be rivals with Georgia, and from articles I have read their fan base seems to have respect for Georgia’s program and overall way of doing things.  Let’s face it, Mizz fans are likely disgusted by some of the fans they meet in the SEC.  Georgia has some bad fans, but when you compare them to other fans in the SEC Georgia fans might have just a little bit more class.  But you are supposed to hate your rival in the SEC not respect them.  Good game here and Missouri could win but if UGA loses in Knoxville they will likely get it done against Missouri.  (6-1)

Off Weekend Oct. 24th I will personally win on this weekend.  No tailgate to organize, and I may even play a little golf.  But the best part is that Georgia won’t lose a game.

UGA vs Florida Oct. 31st– There are a lot of unknowns when looking at Florida this year.  I think they will have a decent season but probably end up around 8-4.  The best thing going for the Georgia coaching staff is the film they have from last year’s debacle.  Jeremy Pruitt is going to have a fit when he looks back over the off week.  As usual, Georgia keeps it close but in the end Georgia wins by a score.  (7-1)

UGA vs Kentucky Nov. 7thReally looking forward to the weather for this game.  The leaves will be colorful and it will be cool or even cold.  Really love Saturdays in Athens this time of year.  Just don’t see Georgia losing this one unless they get into injury trouble.  Georgia wins (8-1)

UGA vs Auburn Nov. 14th– Yet another match up on the plains.  By this time Georgia will be back in the Top 10 and in control of the east.  Tennessee or Missouri will have 2 losses so all Georgia will need is a win here to make it to the dome.  WELL S%#T!  Georgia loses this one.  Georgia will lose two games and one could easily see Georgia losing to Alabama, Tennessee, or Auburn.  But this is the way I think it will play out.  Let’s just hope that Tennessee has more than 2 loses because they would hold the tie breaker over UGA in this scenario.  (8-2)

UGA vs Georgia Southern Nov. 21st– Why does Georgia play Georgia Southern?  Georgia has nothing to gain but everything to lose.  The only argument for playing Georgia Southern is as preparation for GA Tech.   “Closer than the experts think”, as Corso likes to say.  Last home tailgate of the year which is always a fun one.  Dawgs win (9-2).

UGA vs GA Tech Nov. 28thNerdsLast year’s game was AWFUL!  However, Mark Richt doesn’t lose to Tech very often and last year was more of a Georgia loss than a Tech win.  So let me make a few predictions about this year’s game at Billy Grant.

  • There will be way more red & black in the stadium than Tech’s piss yellow
  • It will be the only sell out at Billy Grant all year.
  • TECH’s A-S-S will be whipped after 4 quarters of football.
  • Georgia Wins (10-2) 

Not sure if 10 and 2 gets Georgia to the dome or not.  But it should give them a chance.  However, if UGA doesn’t at least get back to the SEC championship the locals are going to get restless.  At least I will.  At the end of the day, it is next to impossible to predict how things are going to hash out over the season.  I have to admit this is a pretty optimistic prediction.  Last year I predicted 10-2 as well because I just didn’t see UGA losing to Tech, and without a stupid pooch kick I may have been correct.   Right or wrong, close or not, it is a lot of fun to talk about.  Go Dawgs!


Georgia Football: Who is Going to Play Quarterback?

I have started to get really excited about the football season, and today we are only 12 days away from kickoff in Sanford stadium.  It is always fun to take the number of days from kickoff and match it up with a past or current UGA player.  For most Georgia fans you cannot think of the number “12” at Georgia without thinking of John Lastinger.  In case you didn’t know, John Lastinger, played quarterback right after Buck Belue.  Georgia had some great teams and big wins in the 80s but the 1984 Cotton Bowl really stands out for me.   Texas was ranked #1 and Georgia was a really good team but no one thought they would go into Texas and upset the Longhorns without Herschel Walker.

College Football: Cotton Bowl: University of Georgia QB John Lastinger (12) in action during winning touchdown drive vs University of Texas. Georgia defeated Texas 10-9. Dallas, TX 1/2/1984 CREDIT: John Iacono (Photo by John Iacono/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images) (Set Number: X29480 TK1 )
Cotton Bowl: University of Georgia QB John Lastinger

Well thanks to great defense and a muffed punt Georgia did just that.  With little time on the clock John Lastinger ran the ball in the end zone to give Georgia the lead.  It may be the best end to a career that any Georgia player has ever experienced.  And therefore it will always be 10 to 9 in Texas for UGA fans.  Alright enough about the past, we are 12 days away and there doesn’t seem to be a clear choice as the starting quarterback.  Is this good or bad?

During the Mark Richt era Georgia fans have been pretty spoiled when it comes to quarterbacks.  The era started with David Greene who was followed by DJ Shockley.  Afterwards fans got to see Matt Stafford and Aaron Murray both hold down the position for almost 8 years combined.   So for the first time in a long while Georgia has some uncertainty at quarterback.  Brice Ramsey, Faton Bauta, and Greyson Lambert are all competing right now to win the job.  Ramsey and Bauta have been in the program for a while and deserve a shot of course but the arrival of Lambert sort of tells me the job must be wide open.  Please understand that I do not go to practice and my job is not to report on UGA football.  So anything I am saying here is only speculation and a personal opinion.  I have no sources and no one on the inside giving me information.  But I think Georgia is going to start the year with a two quarterback rotation.  Mark Richt has done this before with David Greene and DJ Shockley in 2002.  I wasn’t a real big fan of it then for many reasons, and I still remember the interception that DJ Shockley threw in GA/FL game that year.  Most fans remember Terrance Edwards dropping the ball but I remember that interception as the game changer.  Despite the quarterback rotation, Georgia had a special year in 2002 but I wonder how special it could have been if UGA was undefeated.  Shockley is one of my favorite players, but I just feel that David Greene was the leader of the team in 2002 and he should have played every snap.  The same can be said for Shockley in 2005.  Maybe I am wrong but I think Ramsey and Lambert are going to share playing time when the season starts.  Competition is always good and the coaches know better than me who needs to be on the field. But a team needs the quarterback to be a leader and the quarterback needs to have confidence.  I just think it is hard to have both things happen if you rotate two quarterbacks.

Have you ever noticed that some fans seem to always think the best quarterback is the back up?  I sure have noticed it and I think those people are idiots.  I have been hearing fans call for the back up since the 80s.  The end of the Dooley era and Ray Goff’s early days were wrought with QB controversy and the results speak for themselves.  Hopefully, I am wrong and there will be a clear #1 quarterback in 12 days that will become a leader.  At the end of the day, Mark Richt knows what he is doing when it comes to coaching quarterbacks.  But Georgia better have the position figured out by the time South Carolina comes to Athens or it could be a long night.  The last thing I want to hear Saturday night against South Carolina are Georgia fans calling for another guy to come in and play quarterback.  I do not know who the quarterback will be but he will have my full support and I will pull hard for him even when the chips are down.  I just wish other fans would do the same.

Home Buying Process Part 2: Finding a Lender

Finding a lender and understanding your financial situation are critical when buying a home.  It is very common for home buyers to start looking at homes before talking with a lender but it can be a HUGE mistake.  Most people will go to a website and figure out a manageable monthly payment and then use that as a guide to begin searching homes.  In reality there are many factors and many options when financing a home.  The only people that are qualified to help you with this are a mortgage broker or a loan officer from an institutional lender.  Realtors can advise on where to go and what options may be best but they do not understand your credit history or your tax returns.  Therefore, it would be impossible for a realtor to speculate what your interest rate will be in the end.  Some people may even tell you to talk with a lender before finding a realtor.  housing-loan1 That is not a bad idea but a good realtor will help you find a good lender to get started.  There are many things you will need to understand when searching for a lender and a real estate professional can help you find the best people to speak with about a new loan. In general, a good realtor will explain the process to you before meeting with a lender because the more you understand about the process the better decision you will make.

First, you need to know that bigger is not always better.  Many people have an account with a large bank like Bank of America or a similar size bank, but that doesn’t mean you have to use them for a mortgage.  You need to work with people that are experienced and do a great job for their clients.  Sometimes the best loan officers don’t always stay with the big banks and that can happen for many reasons.  For example, bigger banks have recently been much slower when it comes to under writing and that can add frustrations to an already tedious process.  Second, you only need to meet with one or two lenders.  If they are referred to you by a professional than you should feel good about working with either one of them.  You don’t want to go around and meet with 8 lenders before making a decision.  In most cases a lender will pull your credit score when you meet.  And if you meet 8 lenders than your score will be pulled 8 times and that will lower your overall score.  Furthermore, there will not be a huge difference in rates between two very good lenders.  You may find a better deal on the fees or a better program, and sometimes you may just get along with one more than the other.  Third, DO NOT USE AN INTERNET LENDER!  You need to work with someone in your area and someone that you can keep a relationship with moving forward. Amazon Prime is great and everyone loves the internet but it is not a good place to get a loan plain and simple.  Lastly, get your documents in order before making an offer.  Any lender is going to need a lot of documentation from you to underwrite the loan.  For example, tax returns, paychecks, W2s, leases on existing properties, your net worth and the list goes on.  It is better to get this done early because it will speed up your loan.

In the end, you will enjoy the process much more if you locate a realtor and a lender in the beginning.  The loan process can feel overwhelming due to underwriting and government regulation.  It is tremendously helpful to have two professionals guide you through it and provide you with a realistic expectation of the process.

If you have any questions or real estate needs, please don’t hesitate to contact me or visit my real estate brokerage firm, 5 Market Realty.

Georgia Football Pre-Season Rant #1

This past Saturday I cleaned out my basement to get rid of clutter and make room for some tailgate equipment.  My wife wanted to get the kids out of the house so she took them along with some cousins to get a photo with “Uga” at picture day.  IMG_6334I think our youngest, Giles, didn’t enjoy waiting in line just to meet a dog(pictured on the right). He is only 15 months old so he gets a pass for now but dislike of Georgia’s beloved mascot will not be tolerated in the future.  Basically, this weekend put me in the mood to talk about Georgia football.

Like most fans I am starting to get excited about the upcoming season.  I have been a Georgia fan my whole life but I was too young to remember the glory days of the early 80s.  Throughout the 90s, I suffered as a Bulldawg growing up in Valdosta where Gator and Seminoles fans were prevalent.  The 90s were not a good decade for Georgia football and that made it hard to be a fan in South Georgia where many kids were jumping on a Florida or FSU band wagon.  To this day I have a strong distain for the entire state of Florida and I only travel there if it is absolutely necessary.  Subsequently, 2002 was the best season I have experienced as a Georgia fan and it may be a major reason why I am still a Mark Richt supporter.  As I stated earlier, I am excited about this season but one thing is starting to bother to me about the pre-season hype.   It seems to me that most fans are focusing too much on the Alabama game.  For example, I have heard fans and even tv/radio personalities talking about how important the Alabama game is and in reality it is just not true.  Of course, it is fun to have Alabama come to Athens because these two teams don’t get to play very often which creates excitement and hype.  Nevertheless, the Alabama game is not the biggest or most important game on UGA’s schedule.  It may be the most attended or the most anticipated but it is far from the most important.

Georgia plays in the SEC East and they have to win the East in order to play in Atlanta and ultimately win the SEC championship.  Georgia has failed to make it to Atlanta since 2012 because they haven’t played well in their division.  Over the last two years losses to South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Florida, and Missouri have kept UGA out of Atlanta.  These losses are prime examples of Georgia’s reputation for blowing one or two games a year by just not showing up or playing poorly.  Every year there seems to be an inexplicable loss usually to an SEC East opponent.  For fans this has been beyond frustrating and it absolutely has to stop if UGA is ever going to win a championship.  What is even more frustrating is Georgia’s inability to take advantage of the recent decline at Florida and Tennessee.  As a result, here are Georgia’s most important games this season (in my opinion):  South Carolina, Tennessee, Florida, and Missouri.  If Georgia losses one of these games I can just about guarantee you they will not be in Atlanta come December.  Of course, I want Georgia to beat Alabama.  I would also like them to beat Auburn and Georgia Tech but if UGA loses to one of these opponents they could still likely make it to Atlanta.  In fact, Georgia could even have a rematch against an Auburn or Alabama if they earn a trip to the championship game.  In general, Georgia has to start winning games they are supposed to win and that starts with taking care of business against SEC East opponents.

Ideally, UGA will win every game this year and 2015 will be a special memory for Georgia fans.  I sure hope that happens but it is just not very likely.  So if I could ensure that Georgia would lose only one game this year then I would pick the Alabama game to lose.  At least Georgia could possibly avenge a loss in the dome.  Regardless, I do not want to live through another year with losses to South Carolina, Florida, and GA Tech.  So I urge all UGA fans not to overlook a good South Carolina team when they come into Athens next month.  It just might be the most important game of year for Georgia.

Home Buying Process: Part 1 Finding an Agent

Part 1:  Finding an Agent

The first thing to do when buying a property is to find a well-qualified real estate expert to help you with the process.  It is always fun to look for houses on the IPad or smart phone, and really it is ok to go ahead and do that when you decide to buy.  But do not set foot in a house or property until you have found a good realtor to help you. If you are buying in an area that you currently live than you probably already know a good deal about your town.  But a good realtor will know a lot more and be able to assist you throughout the entire process.  If you are moving out of town than it is imperative that you locate a professional in the area you are buying.  The last thing you want to do is waste time looking at properties in an area that you should not be buying.  Or you could end up buying the wrong house in the wrong location.  Home-Buying-101An expert in the area can really help you locate the right property for your family and lifestyle.  But locating a house is just the beginning. A good realtor should be able to provide real value during the entire process.  For example, negotiating, inspecting, financing, and creating the contract.  You can find a good person by searching the internet, making a few phones calls or even meeting with a few different agents.  Now that you know you need help it is important to understand what to look for in a good real estate person.

First, please understand that sometimes less is more.  The agent that sells the most may not be the best fit for you.  Top sellers usually employ a team of agents and they focus primarily on volume.  Top producers are good agents but they may not have a lot of knowledge in some markets.  For example, if an agent sells 200 homes a year spread out over 4 counties it would be almost impossible for that agent to have expert knowledge in all of those areas.   Second, you need to find someone that earns a living selling real estate and works full time in the business.  There are some part time agents that work very well in their market. But you probably wouldn’t hire an attorney that practiced law as a side business.  Would you go to a doctor that that mainly worked as a landscaper and practiced medicine part time?  NO! So why on earth would you buy a house or investment property from someone who “dabbles” in real estate?  It is impossible to be good at something by going half way.  Real estate is a profession just like law, medicine, or finance.  So you need to find a professional and not a part timer.

Lastly, find a person that knows the area you are looking to buy.  The best agent in Atlanta, GA is just about the worst agent in town when they come to Athens to sell a property.  Real estate is a local business that involves high level local knowledge and high level service.  You cannot get either from someone that doesn’t live and work in the area you are buying.  If you keep these three things in mind when looking for a realtor you will likely find a good professional to work with you through the entire process.

In closing, you need to understand that you need help.  It doesn’t matter how smart you are or how much HGTV you have watched.  If you want the process to run smoothly you need a good realtor.  If you have any questions or need help in the Athens area just email or call.

If you have any questions or real estate needs, please don’t hesitate to contact me or visit my real estate brokerage firm, 5 Market Realty.