Real Estate Appreciation in Athens

It is now the beginning of August, and kids are either back in school or getting ready to start.  The summer is almost over, but it hasn’t cooled off in the slightest.  And it probably won’t for a month or two.  Historically, this time of year marks the slowdown of the Athens real estate market at least with regards to residential homes.  However, I will say that this year may be unique because things haven’t slowed down quite yet.  There are still plenty of buyers in the house-prices-upmarket, and a surprising number of homes are still going up for sale.  Long and short, our local market seems to be generally strong despite a few areas here and there or difficult price points.  Overall, we have seen most properties continue to appreciate over the last year.  Especially, when it comes to the in town neighborhoods.  Which is great news of course, but what is causing our values to go up?  Will it continue?  Will it not?  No one has a crystal ball of course, and there are numerous factors that create our market many of which are on a national level.  I don’t know who is going to be President, and I don’t know what will happen to interest rates.  I can certainly make an educated guess, but that would be all.  However, I do know our area market, and I think the best way to understand all this appreciation is to focus on the local factors that are influencing our market.

First of all, let me make it abundantly clear that low interest rates are a MAJOR reason for our strong real estate market and increased values.  Money is cheap right now, and people should take advantage while they can because it will not last forever.    While interest rates are a big factor, they are not the only (2)  For instance, not every real estate market is strong right now even with the low interest rates.  But here in Athens, we have a lot going for us which really helps our real estate.  Earlier, I mentioned in town neighborhoods where homes are achieving the highest per square foot in the area.  This is actually not a new trend.  As an example, 5 Points has always had strong value relative to other areas of town.  It is highly desirable, and land is scarce.  The same can be said for our Normaltown and Boulevard neighborhoods.  Nowadays, Athens is a great place for retirees, families, and young professionals. Which is truly unique for a town the size of Athens.  People are flocking to our small little city because it can offer a high quality of life.  Retirees want to be in town, and many of them can afford to pay for it. Meanwhile, we are seeing just as many young families come to Athens or Oconee from the Atlanta area.  In some cases, they are even willing to commute5 Points Clockeditededited into Atlanta everyday just to live in Athens.  This is all great of course, but I do worry if too many move here we may just become another Atlanta suburb.  Scary stuff!  Another factor that has always helped the Athens economy is the University.  Our local economy is not massive, but thanks to UGA it has some real stability.  UGA is our biggest employer, and it is the primary engine that drives commerce.  The students are wonderful customers to many of our local establishments.  Downtown would likely be a ghost town without them.  Here in Athens, we sell students most of their clothes, gas, entertainment, housing, and food.  Which reminds me of a local business owner who once told me a story about buying a car in Athens.  He said, “the car salesman told me that the university didn’t help his business at all”, to which he replied, “where the hell do you think I got the money to buy this car you dumb@$$? I got it from selling ice cream to college kids!”  To further my point, most of the people that want to move to Athens went to UGA, and love Athens because of the time they spent here in school.  In summary, Athens offers a somewhat stable economy in a highly desirable town.  Meanwhile, land is scarce in most of the in town neighborhoods which creates a demand with limited supply.  Conversely, our neighboring counties have an abundance of land, but also have great schools, achievable home values, and they are right next door to our great city.

To sum it all up, we are really fortunate in Athens.  There many other things I could discuss that influence our market, but I think you get my point.  Besides, I have run on for long enough.  Regardless, this doesn’t mean that you can buy any house in any location and see appreciation.  The same rules will apply to anydownload (1) wise purchase.   First, think about the location which is always the most important factor.  Next, you need to consider the supply in your area and the comparable values.  Lastly, think carefully about the schools, and how many buyers will want your house when you need to sell.  It is much easier to make a bad decision in a strong market.  Thanks for reading, and get excited because we are 31 days away from Georgia football.  Go Dawgs!

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Ranking the Best SEC Coaches as of Right Now

We are right in the middle of July, and the heat is becoming unbearable. Nevertheless, I can sense that fall is around the corner because  football is getting close.  With that in mind, I thought I would get back to talking some college football. SEC media days is this week, and  all the coaches in the league are being interviewed.  Therefore, I thought it might be fun to create rankings for all the coaches.  Below are my personal rankings of all the SEC coaches starting with #1 as of today.  I am sure you will not agree, but that’s what makes it fun.


  1. Nick Saban, Alabama– Without a doubt, Coach Saban is at the top of the list.
    Bama Coach Nick Saban
    Nick Saban, Bama

    Despite numerous national championships and SEC titles his reign at Alabama doesn’t appear to be ending anytime soon.  Maybe another school in the league will finally step up and do something about it.  Only time will tell.

  2. Dan Mullen, Mississippi State– Well here is my first surprise on the list. I am sure you probably thought #2 would be Les Miles.  But in my opinion, Dan has done the most with the least since he has been at Mississippi State.  Lewis Grizzard use to say, “the best way to get to Starkville, Mississippi is to go to the middle of nowhere and turn right.”  This is not an easy place to win, and he has done a lot of it while keeping his nose pretty clean.  His teams play hard, and don’t penalize themselves which makes him a darn good coach.
  3. Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss– I sort of feel the same way about Freeze as I do about Dan Mullen. The only difference is the possible NCAA infractions that have occurred at Ole Miss.  Right now, these are just accusations, but the Laremy Tunsil debacle was embarrassing.  I am not sure Freeze’s success will continue much longer.  But for now, what he has done is impressive even it hasn’t been totally compliant with the NCAA.
  4. Jim McElwain, Florida– He has only coached at Florida for 1 year, but that 1 year
    ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 5: Head coach Jim McElwain of the Florida Gators looks on before the SEC Championship game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at the Georgia Dome on December 5, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Jim McElwain, Florida

    sure did impress me. He coached a team to the Georgia Dome that had virtually no offense and no kicking game whatsoever. He came back to beat Tennessee, whipped Ole Miss, and then embarrassed my beloved Bulldawgs.  He can even take some of the credit for Mark Richt being fired.  Many folks tried to turn on him when he chewed out his player on the sidelines.  But what I saw was a coach that wasn’t going to tolerate stupid and selfish penalties anymore.   In my opinion, his players responded to that incident which is exactly what he intended.

  5. Kirby Smart, Georgia–  Just solely based on the “G” Day game and recruiting, and I think he is 5th right now.  The man hasn’t coached 1 game, and who knows if Georgia will win, but right now it is obvious that he can lead.  So he is number
    Apr 16, 2016; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart talks to running back Sony Michel (1) during the second half of the spring game at Sanford Stadium. The Black team defeated the Red team 34-14. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
    Kirby Smart, UGA

    5 because he has no negatives on the resume.  But that could change come Sept. 3rd.  Remember this is as of TODAY, and I am a total homer when it comes to Georgia.  Besides, if you don’t like UGA then why are you reading this blog.

  6. Les Miles, LSU– Finally, here is the “Mad Hatter”. I know you are probably thinking how can a man with a national championship be #6?  He has won a lot games for sure, but his inability to find a quarterback or even have decent QB play is a big strike against him.  It is the
    Les Miles, LSU
    Les Miles, LSU

    most important position on the field, and he just can’t coach it.  He is now the most senior coach in the league at one school, and that probably means he won’t be there much longer.  Maybe he is just suffering from the Saban effect or maybe it is time to move on.

  7. Brett Bielema, Arkansas– This fellow has won in the Big 10, and had some decent success in the SEC. But he just can’t quite seem to put it together for a whole season.  There is no doubt he can coach, but I think he is going to keep Arkansas right in the middle of the league.
  8. Butch Jones, Tennessee– This guy has definitely worked hard to get Tennessee back to relevance.  However, his signature wins are over South Carolina and
    Butch Jones, Tenn
    Butch Jones, Tenn

    Georgia.  And let’s be honest folks, beating UGA under Mark Richt was not a rare occurrence.   Sorry but it’s true.  Lastly, there have been some ugly off the field issues in Knoxville under his watch.

  9. Will Muschamp, South Carolina– This guy is a heck of a defensive coach, and his teams at Florida played hard and were tough. But he failed to find an offense while at Florida.  I think he might give it more attention now that he is at South Carolina.  Regardless, the Gamecocks will be good on defense and play 4 quarters of football.
  10. Mark Stoops, Kentucky– This guy has a tough gig that is kind of similar to coaching basketball at Georgia.  He hasn’t done much while at Kentucky, but I just really wanted to make sure Gus Malzahn wasn’t in the Top 10.
  11. Gus Malzahn, Auburn– Highly overrated! That is all.

    Gus Malzahn, Auburn
  12. Kevin Sumlin, Texas A & M– Possibly More Overrated! That is all.
  13. Derek Mason, Vanderbilt- I really think this guy can coach. But it is just so hard to make a real winner at Vanderbilt.  I use to like that Vandy was in the SEC.  It’s a great school in a great town.  But lately I have met some real arrogant “A” holes from Vanderbilt.  I can promise you that if one more Vandy fan insults my intelligence because I went to Georgia then I am going to show them just how stupid I can be while applying my right hand to their jaw bone.  I’m just kidding, but not really.
  14. Barry Odum, Missouri– This man might be way up the list very soon. He is taking over for a very accomplished coach in Gary Pinkel.  He seems to have a lot of respect from his players.  I hope he does well, but not well enough to beat Georgia or make it to the dome.


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Kirby Wants 93k…So Get Your A-S-S to G-Day!

031616 UGA spring practice bs7
Coach Smart at Spring Practice

I am sure that by now you have heard about 93K day, and if you haven’t then you probably aren’t likely to read this blog.  But just in case you didn’t know, Georgia’s new head football coach, Kirby Smart, has challenged the UGA fan base to pack Sanford stadium with 93,000 people for next week’s annual spring game on Saturday April 16th.   At first, this might seem a little ridiculous.  I mean 93,000 people to watch a glorified scrimmage?  But when you think about it, maybe it’s not ridiculous at all.  In fact, it might prove to be a fantastic idea and a new spring tradition here in Athens.  Personally, I’m excited about it, and our tailgate group has plans to tailgate on campus before kickoff.  At this point, we are expecting over 50 people, but I hope to see more.  I know that coming to Athens is not easy or cheap for many families, but if you are a dawg fan then I really hope you can make it happen.  With that in mind, I decided to write a blog on the subject, and identify 10 good reasons people should attend G-Day.

  • Be a Fan and Be a Good One-The first one is easy enough. Just ask yourself these questions.  Are you a dawg fan?  Do you love Georgia football?  If both your answers are yes then what the hell man?  Bring it on!
  • New Life in the Program– There is a new man on the job, and in case you hadn’t noticed, he is working his butt off for you.  He is working hard to change the culture around the team and the fan base.  He needs as much support as he can get.  And now he has asked for the support so let’s give it to him.
  • Tailgating is Fun– Tailgating is one of the great traditions in college football, especially in the south. It is hard to explain why we enjoy it so much, but we just do.  I encouraged my group to tailgate for this game and we are looking forward to it.  I encourage you do to the same.  I just hope the weather cooperates because it sure didn’t in the fall.
  • Athens in the Spring – The game is on April 16th, and April is a damn fine month to be outside. Here in Athens, the azaleas are blooming and the color green has returned.  With a little luck, the 16th will be a great day.  Or as Jeff Danzler would say, “A Chamber of Commerce Day”.
  • Recruiting- Recruiting is crucial to any sport at any school, and recruits want to go where the energy and support are tremendous. There is a good reason the same schools and programs seem to win the most games. It’s because they care the most. I’m not saying that we have to go overboard.  But a little more positive energy can go a long way.
  • The Cost- You know what else is great about G-Day? It’s free to go in the stadium and watch.  It may cost you money to come to Athens, but it won’t cost you anything to get in the stadium.  G-Day is a great chance to take your kids in the game and let them enjoy all the hoopla.   You don’t need a ticket or a UGA student ID.  Just show up.
  • New Head Coach and Staff– There is a whole new staff in charge of the team, and next Saturday will be your first chance to see them and the new look of the team.  Granted, it won’t be the same as a real game, but it will be worth seeing.  In fact, ESPN thinks it is worth televising so why not come see it in person.
  • New Recruits and New Players- G-Day is always a great chance to see some of
    031616 UGA spring practice bs11
    Jacob Eason with Coach Chaney

    the young players. This year many fans will be anxious to see Jacob Eason for the first time.  But there are a lot players that the fans have not seen play.  For example, the rising sophomore class is always important come spring time because come next fall they are expected to contribute.

  • Lots of Things to Do- The G-Day game is not the only activity going on next Saturday. The stadium will open at 1pm, and at 1:15 there will be a UGA alumni flag football game.  The Dawg Walk will be at 2:45, and there is rumor of a short pre-game concert.  Later in the day, the Diamond Dawgs play South Carolina at Foley Field.
  • Get on the Band Wagon or Stay the Hell Off – During the Richt era, we saw some good and some bad. But by the end, too many fans were disinterested and fed up.  But there were also fans that supported Richt no matter what.  Well next Saturday none of that should matter anymore.   It is time for all the fans to get on the same page.  And next Saturday is a great day to start.  Look at it this way.  There is no way that Georgia can lose.

In closing, be a good fan and come have a good time.  Go Dawgs!

Link to G Day Information G Day Information

College Football 2015: Final Prediction & Thoughts

It’s now officially 2016 and there is only one game left to play in College Football.  You are probably already aware that Clemson and Alabama are the last two teams standing, and they will do battle next Monday night for the national title.  Therefore, it feels like a good time to have one last post about the season along with a final game prediction.  I am not really sure how to organize this post, but since this is technically an “Athens” blog there will surely be a strong focus on Georgia football along with a look at the rest of the country.


Wow, a lot can happen over the course of a season.  Back in August, I had no idea Georgia would have a new head coach on Christmas day.  But as the year went on I became convinced that change was needed, and even stated so on this blog after the Florida game. But how did this happen?  Well, I have pretty much covered this topic in numerous other posts, but what the hell this is a “recap”.  So let’s look at the bad first and then finish on a good note.


Lambert in the Rain


This year was a tale of two seasons.  The season before October and the season after October.  Before October, UGA was undefeated and many fans were convinced that Lambert would be solid at QB all year.  However, a strong rain system along with a team from Tuscaloosa changed all that on October 3rd.   That day Alabama handed Georgia yet another humiliating defeat on national television.  Despite that loss fans held out hope for the season.  But the very next week, UGA lost Nick Chubb, and a 20 point lead on their way to a defeat in Knoxville.  But the final straw came in Jacksonville on the 31st.  The staff took a chance by starting the 3rd string QB which was an act of desperation that didn’t work.  This humiliation along with similar defeats in years past proved to be the end.  It really didn’t matter that Georgia won their last 4 games.  The Florida game was the end, but atSmart New Coach this point, there is no need to go back and criticize Richt or others on the staff.  The administration called for a change, and moving forward Kirby Smart is the man, and now Smart Football is the word.


There were some good things to focus on this season.  Overall, I think the change at head coach was needed for both parties.  I wish Richt the best, and thank him for all the good he did here in Athens.  But now, the program and the city seem genuinely excited about the future of Georgia Football.  So for the time being, it was a good thing.  On the field we saw some good as well.  Let’s not forget that Georgia did win 10 games that included wins over South Carolina, Auburn, Tech, and Penn State. Not too bad for a year where the coach was fired.  In addition, the defense had a good year and seems ready to improve under the new regime.  Lastly, two players really impressed me as the year went on.  Sony Michel does nothing but work hard and show up ready to play. Without him I am not sure

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library
Number “5” Terry Godwin

Georgia wins 8 games this year.  Of course, I am partial to the number “5”, but Terry Godwin became a real stand out freshman.  And he capped off the season with a great bowl performance and should contribute even more next year.


Overall, it seemed like a down year for the SEC.  Georgia had 10 wins, but they were unimpressive wins.  Florida won the east with no QB or kicking game.  However, they finished the year with three loses to FSU, Alabama, and were killed by Michigan in the bowl game.  Missouri and South Carolina were down as well.  Tennessee seemed to improve, but they still lost too many games.  In the west, Bama and Ole Miss were pretty good.  But Auburn, LSU, A & M, and Arkansas were disappointing.  In general, the SEC lacked good quarterback play and it showed.  However, they went 8-2 in the bowl season, and Bama can still win the title.  So maybe, just maybe the conference is still the best.

Coaching changes wound up being a huge story line as well.  Georgia, South Carolina, and Missouri will have new coaches next year.  LSU thought long and hard about firing Les Miles.  A & M has put Kevin Sumlin on the hot seat, and

Past Florida Coach Will Muschamp
South Carolina’s New Coach Muschamp

things are getting uncomfortable for Gus in Auburn.  Essentially, we could see more coaching changes next year as well.  Regardless, the conference should remain strong, but the East really needs to step up which I think will happen in the coming years.


Clemson is very good, and FSU was solid but not great.  We all got excited about UNC, but their bowl game performance was lackluster.  Right now, Clemson is the class of the ACC, and I am not sure that is going to change anytime soon.  We all know that Richt has gone to Miami, and he will make them better.  But in the end, I think they will be an 8 to 9 win team under Richt.  Virginia Tech and Virginia both made good choices with their new coaches.  So these two teams may emerge in the coming years.

The Big Ten

I am sorry Ohio State fans, but you are going to have to win them all if you play a schedule like you did this year.  There was just too much down time between the big games.  Even so, Michigan State, Michigan, and Ohio State are good, and overall the conference is stronger.  But Iowa is nothing to get excited about folks.  It is good to see the Big 10 return because football needs them.  But I am not drinking all the Kool-Aid on the Big 10 just yet.

The Pac 12

I made a mistake early in the year by picking the Pac-12 to be strong or dominant.  I just don’t follow these teams well enough to have a good opinion. Truthfully,  I am usually asleep by the time these teams play on Saturday.  But I know Stanford is good, and the rest of the conference won a lot of bowl games as well.

The Big 12

I just don’t know what to think of the Big 12.  Once I start to think Oklahoma is good they get destroyed by Clemson.  TCU and Baylor are good of course, but they have a hard time making it to the big games.   Texas may be looking for a coach next year as well.  They played some good football over in the Big 12 this year, but their future just feels a little uncertain to me.

Final Game Prediction

If you have read this much than you are probably ready for me to quit writing.  With that in mind, I am calling for Bama to win a close one.  24 to 20.  I know, I oshark_cfb_0know, I am not exactly going out on a limb.  I think both teams will finally meet a good match, and in the end Bama is just a more veteran team.  So there you have it, a recap of the year and a prediction for another Bama championship.  The football posts will likely go on hiatus until next summer.  In the meantime, I will get back to real estate talk.  But if I can find a good topic on football I will probably post it.  Happy New Year Folks!

If you have any comments or real estate needs in the Athens area, please don’t hesitate to contact me or visit my real estate firm, 5 Market Realty.

Ecstatic in Athens: UGA Gets Smart

Erk Russel
Erk Russell Coaching at UGA

Well by now everyone has heard the news and it is finally official. Kirby Smart is the new head coach at the University of Georgia.  The rumor circulated for far too long and then the hiring was reported days before the announcement.  I have to admit I was a little nervous that it might blow up somehow.  Being a Georgia fan my whole life, I can recall some other coaching hires that did not go so smoothly.  After Dooley retired, things got a little crazy.  Dick Sheridan, the coach at NC State, had apparently taken the job.  But news got out early, and the next thing you knew he was staying at NC State.  The obvious choice for many was Erk Russell, but he decided to stay in Statesboro for reasons not really known.  Or possibly for rumors that I will not share here today.  Finally, the job went to Coach Goff.  Who is often the subject of criticism, but personally I always liked Coach Goff.  UGA always had skill players in his day, but they remained weak on the line of scrimmage which ultimately cost Georgia too many games.

In the 90s, Coach Goff was fired, and Glen Mason was announced as the new head coach.  Mason later flipped on his decision and went back to Kansas for family reasons.  Nevertheless, UGA bounced back, and made a good hire in Jim

FILE - In this Aug. 7, 2000 file photo, Georgia football coach Jim Donnan speaks during the team's preseason media day in Athens, Ga. A prosecutor said former University of Georgia football coach Donnan lured his friends into a fraudulent investment scheme because he was blinded by the enormous amount of money he could make. Prosecutor Pete Peterman made that assertion Wednesday in his closing argument in Donnan's trial on charges including wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering. (AP Photo/Athens Daily News, Dot Paul, File) MANDATORY CREDIT, MAGS OUT
Former UGA Head Coach Jim Donnan

Donnan.  Coach Donnan did a good job of elevating the overall talent and level of players here at UGA.  In the end, he was fired as well which led us to Coach Richt.  As you know, Coach Richt was fired on Sunday after the Tech game.  Have you noticed a trend yet?  I hope so.  My point is that most coaches ultimately get fired.  Only a select few get to walk away on their own terms.  And in many cases those departures are still forced.

The firing of Coach Rich has been somewhat controversial in Athens.  Truthfully, to say “somewhat” is an understatement.  I can appreciate people’s feelings about Coach Richt and his departure.  The man always led UGA with class while tirelessly working to help the young men he brought to Athens.  He is a great man and a great coach, but I still feel his time needed to end here at UGA. I am sorry to those that disagree.  In most cases, I have found that many of the people so ardent that Richt should have stayed don’t really know football.  But they know Mark Richt the man.  Mark Richt is a man to admire in many ways, and I really don’t think any can argue that point.  The fact is that Mark Richt lost his job due to 7 years of under achievement.  Call him a victim of his own success, but since 2007 his teams have consistently underachieved.  2012 seems like an aberration and don’t forget that season included a stereotypical ASS kicking from South Carolina.  10 Wins is not what it used to be plain and simple. And if UGA cannot win the SEC East in its current state then change is needed. Ultimately, I think too many dawg fans grew tired of watching their team getricht01wmm embarrassed in big moments on national television.  Regardless, I am not interested in criticizing Richt any further.  But here is the deal folks.  He is not the coach at UGA anymore.  He is the coach at Miami, and it’s time to get over it.  Wish him well, but the past is past, and all Georgia fans need to get excited about the future.

Ok, no more Richt talk.  Only smart things to say from now on.  Did you see what I did there?  Smart’s last name will surely be used in “word play” by many dawg fans in the coming years.  There is really no way to know if this is a good hire, a great hire, or the dreaded bad hire.  Only time will tell, but I am so excited I just about can’t stand it.  I had no idea how ready I was to see something change, but I was apparently desperate for it.  I think it is great that Kirby went to Georgia and is part of our Bulldog family.  But that is not why he was hired.  He was hired because of his resume. First of all, he is a great coach and recruiter.  He’s coached on both sides of the ball, in the NFL, and at the top program in college football since 2008. The ties to Georgia are just a happy coincidence.  Winning is a habit for some people.  And when you work hard, and do the little things well you tend to have success.  Alabama does the little things well.  They don’t shoot themselves in the foot too often, and they are tough on the line of scrimmage.  This is what Coach Smart has been a part of for years, and he is in the habit of winning.  Furthermore, I have no doubt that Coach Smart will bring a new energy to the program, and a much needed toughness.  But we all need to be realistic as well.  Coach Smart has his work cut out for him.  There is still plenty of talent here at UGA, but not as much as in the past.  Coach Donnan made a good point on 960 the Ref this week.  He asked the question, “who had better players in the program when they took over the job”. Did Coach Donnan have more than Smart?  Did Coach Richt have more than Smart?  The answer to both is yes.  Both Donnan and Richt had more talent on the team than Smart.  Please don’t misunderstand me.  There is talent on the team just not as much as other times in the past.  For example, UGA has a QB problem, a lack of depth on the O-line and at receiver. Inconsistent kicking along with an injured running back.  So if you think Jacob Eason and Coach Smart can turn it around in 1 year you might be dreaming.  I think Georgia will win next year, but it may be very similar to this year.  An unimpressive 9 and 3, but I think 2017 could be a truly great year.  This all depends on recruiting of course.  But if you look back to Richt and Donnan, they didn’t really have big success until year 2.  I think that will be the same for Smart.   Generally, I just want Georgia fans to get on the same page and have realistic expectations for next fall.  Kirby will get Georgia heading in the right direction, but he is probably not going to win every game next year. Nevertheless, I think he will win them all one year.  So get excited and get behind your team.  Go Dawgs!

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

UGA’s Impact on Athens Real Estate

This blog hasn’t been up for very long, but if you have read even a couple articles you should be able to tell how much I love the city of Athens, UGA, and especially Georgia Football.  While this blog is officially dedicated to Athens real estate, it is already apparent that Georgia athletics will always be a major topic for many posts. Arch For me, it is impossible to live or work in Athens and not care about the university and its future.   Here in Athens, we are so fortunate to have this great university right in the heart of our town. Small college towns are often unique and vibrant communities throughout the entire country.  I am of course somewhat bias, but I don’t think there are any better than Athens, GA.  The university brings so much to our town it is hard to really quantify.  It impacts our entire economy, and therefore it also impacts our real estate and its value.  With that in mind, I thought it would be a good idea to explore and discuss some of the ways UGA impacts Athens real estate.

First of all, the university brings stability to our local economy.  UGA has an enrollment of around 35,000 students.  That doesn’t include all the staff, and professors employed by the university which makes it an incredible employer and engine to the area.  The university isn’t exactly the kind of employer that is going to pack up and leave either.  If the University of Georgia goes out of business we will likely have bigger problems in the world than a lack of jobs.  So it brings people and jobs, but how does that effect Athens real estate.  Well obviously, it has a positive impact.  There are so many ways that UGA influences the real estate market that it is hard to cover entirely.  Maybe the best approach is to discuss UGA’s impact on residential, investment, and commercial real estate throughout the area.

Residential property is generally any property where people reside.  This could include your house, a condo, or an apartment complex. But for the purposes of this discussion we will classify residential property as a house in a residential neighborhood.  In previous posts, I have discussed residential markets in Normaltown and 5 Points.  Both areas of town are seeing a good bit of renovation and growth in value.  The driving factor behind this is location, and what makes their location desirable is their proximity to the university.  On the other side of Athens, the university has a similar impact on the east side of town.  As I mentioned earlier, the east side provides buyers with a different type of value.  Basically, more bang for your buck.  In addition, the east side is now DSC04143editedhome to the Veterinary Medical Center which is yet another example of the university impacting the area.  UGA is the heartbeat of Athens.  So many things center on it like employment, education, and entertainment.  It is only natural that people would want to reside in close proximity.  This creates a demand which in turn can increase property value.  Nevertheless, residential neighborhoods that are located a little further out benefit as well.  Just look to the growth in Oconee.  The Watkinsville area has become a very desirable place to live thanks to the new homes and good schools.  Many of the people that purchase homes in Oconee either work for UGA or have businesses that benefit from the school.  So whatever the value of your home is today just be glad it is in proximity to UGA because if not it would likely be worth less.

In many cases, commercial and investment property can be thrown into the same category.  Commercial real estate involves properties that are used for business purposes like retail stores, restaurants, or office space.  Almost every business owner in the area has to have a commercial space to operate their business.  For example, Athens is blessed with a unique downtown filled with bars, shops, and restaurants.  Downtown Athens is located right next to UGA’s north campus which is a major reason the downtown area does so well.  Every restaurant Welcome-to-Downtown-Athensdowntown depends on students, professors, and parents to make money.  Every retail space downtown needs students to shop in their store.  Every bar owner needs students to hang out in their bar to be successful.  If you think about it, without UGA downtown Athens would likely have a lot of vacant space.  In fact, how do think local retailers feel about Georgia football?  If they are smart they want Georgia football to succeed.  The better UGA does in sports the more people come to visit.  Consider a restaurant owner or bar owner during the football season.  They need that business to thrive, and without Georgia football many local businesses may not be here. But downtown is just one example of UGA’s impact on commercial real estate.   Go a little further out, and look at the Alps road area or the development around College Station.  Those are more examples of thriving commercial locations thanks to UGA.  So remember the next time you are eating in your favorite restaurant that it is probably still in business thanks to the university.

While most commercial properties are often investment properties, many residential properties are used for investment as well. When it comes to rental or investment property the correlation with UGA is fairly evident.  The student population provides a huge rental market in the area, and many people purchase residential properties to rent as an investment.   This market can be a little tricky from time to time because rental properties and their income are more sensitive to outside factors.  For instance, a property’s income will change over the years based on its age and the overall supply of housing.  In the end, the same old rule applies.  The better the location the more likely a property will have a higher return and higher value.

Here at 5 Market we are no different.  We work with residential, commercial, and investment properties that all benefit from UGA.  Truthfully, this information should be fairly evident to most people.  But sometimes we all need a reminder of how lucky we are here in Athens.  So be thankful to UGA, and be excited a new coach is coming.  Because even Georgia football is important to our real estate.

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.

End of an Era:  Not Going to Say I Told You So

Mark Richt and UGA AD Greg McGarity

Well I am sure by now you have heard the news.  Mark Richt is no longer the coach at the University of Georgia. Well technically he still is, but he won’t be after the bowl game.  Early yesterday afternoon it was announced that Mark Richt and Greg McGarity had mutually decided that Richt would resign. I know this is an unpopular decision for many Dawg fans.  I fully understand why so many Georgia fans would feel this way.  When a man like Mark Richt is asked to leave it is painful.   But folks it was always going to be painful, and just like the Bruce Hornsby song, “That’s Just the Way It Is”.  Mark Richt has a lot of class, and he has represented our state, our school, and our team in a fashion that few men could replicate.  He is a man that you want to see win it all, but I think too many began to feel he was not going to win it all.   The day after the Florida game I posted a blog called, “The End of an Era: Thanks for Memories Coach Richt.”  It may have seemed a little premature to write such a post, but my opinion had finally changed about Richt after that game.  Quite frankly, I was mad as hell after that game.  It’s sort of embarrassing that I care that much, but I do.  And many of you do as well, and that’s why this had to happen.

My change of heart was not created by one bad game.  But the Florida game further proved what I would not admit for years.  That the program was trending down and not up.  And Georgia’s talent was either poorly evaluated or under developed for years.  Ultimately after 15 years, I realized that Georgia had 2015-uga-football-schedulealready peaked under Richt.  It was a painful realization.  I love Mark Richt, and I really believe he is the best head coach UGA has ever had.  But he missed his window to reach the top.  That window was open from 2001 to 2008.  It was cracked open in 2012, but quickly shut again.  He is still a great coach, and if wants to keep coaching he will get that opportunity.  I would love to see him around UGA for years to come, but I am just not sure what he will decide.  I said it before and will say it again.  Thank you Coach Richt for all the things you did on and off the field for UGA, the city of Athens, and the young men you coached.

But like it or not Dawg fans there will be a new coach here in Athens very soon.  No matter how you feel about this it is already done.  So I suggest you get on board.  I for one am excited about the future.  Georgia football needs a new message and new leader.  The fans need a breath of fresh air and a renewed enthusiasm for the program.  I believe the next coach will find the program in good shape and positioned to succeed. Therefore, it is time to get excited.  So who will it be?  Let’s take a look at some candidates and examine some of their pros and cons.

KIRBY SMART- The rumors about Kirby have been swirling for at least a week.

981128 Athens, GA -- Georgia Tech vs Georgia at Sanford Stadium on Saturday, November 28, 1998. GT #14 QB Joe Hamilton tries to get by UGA 316 SS Kirby smart in the 4th quarter. Hamilton scrambled for about 15 yards to get a 1st down and keep Tech's game-winning drive alive. (AJC Staff/KEVIN KEISTER)
Kirby Smart in Uniform Back in the Day

He seems to be an obvious choice considering he is an alumnus and considered one of the top coordinators in the country.

Pros- He is from Georgia and recruits the south very well.  He should still have tons of love for his alma mater and a desire to see UGA win.  He has learned from one of the best in Nick Saban, and one would think that UGA would get better on the line of scrimmage with Kirby.

Cons- He is unproven.  Plain and simple it would be his first head coaching job.  Is he truly ready to be the head dawg so to speak?  Overall, there is just some uncertainty in his ability to handle the job.

Tom Herman Head Coach at Houston

TOM HERMAN – Many of you may not really know this guy.  I have to admit I don’t know much either.  He is the current head coach at Houston and coached with Urban Meyer.  He is an offensive guy and seems to be a top of the line candidate for any job.

Pros- I think this guy would be a good hire.  He has already been the top guy at Houston so he knows the job.  He would bring a different offense to Athens and maybe that would be a good thing.  This guy is going to get a top level coaching gig somewhere.  Might as well be UGA.

Cons- He doesn’t know Georgia or the overall recruiting territory. And bringing a new offense to Athens could be a con instead of a pro.  Overall, he may not be the best fit, but you really don’t’ know until you try something on.

Jimbo Fisher Head Coach at FSU

JIMBO FISHER– Seems hard to believe he would leave FSU, and I personally don’t think he would.  But some people seem to think he isn’t real happy.  Not sure about that, but I know Georgia has the money to hire him away.

Pro-He’s a proven winner and this would be a big SPLASH if he came to UGA.

Con-Let’s be honest this isn’t happening.

Gary Patterson Head Coach at TCU

GARY PATTERSON– This is probably the best coach not named Nick Saban in my opinion.  I really like him, and the job he has done at TCU.

Pro- Proven winner and could really do great things with the resources here in Athens.  This guy is my dream coach for UGA.

Con- The time to hire him was years ago.  He would probably come, but not sure it is the best fit now. May have been in 2009.

MIKE BOBO– This one may be a bit of stretch.  He has only been a head coach 1 16632487-mmmainyear, and he worked hard to reach a 7-5 record.  Personally, I like Mike Bobo and think he is great coach.

Pro- He knows the job, knows the area, and knows how to recruit.

Con-If you hire Bobo than why did you fire Richt?  Besides, if I was Mike Bobo I would tell everyone that hated me and my play calls to kiss my    A-S-S!

DOC HOLLIDAY– No I am not referring to the famous gunslinger and gambler.Doc-Holliday  This guy is a good coach at Marshall.

Pro- Mainly his name.  I would love a coach named Doc Holliday. Honestly, he is a great coach.

Con- He is almost 60 and probably not a good fit.  A bit of stretch to get this job

ANYBODY ELSE– This refers to people we aren’t talking about or would think want the job.  This is also what will make the next several days or weeks very fun.

Overall, part of me is sad to see the end of the Mark Richt era.  But I know that this was the right decision, and I know Mark Richt is going to be just fine.  I am excited to see what the future holds for my beloved Dawgs, and you should be too.  My gut tells me that Kirby Smart is going to be the next coach.  I have nothing to base this on other than my own opinion.  Yes, I have heard some rumors claiming it to be true.  But this is more of a gut feeling.  I think he will be offered the job, and he will accept.  Regardless, Georgia has an opportunity to get this right.  I just hope they do, but only time will tell.  Go Dawgs!

If you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact me.

(706) 850-4636
5 Market Realty

College Football Week 12: Are You Happy Dawg Fans? What Say You?

Last weekend was very entertaining for college football fans.  There were many great games, and some unexpected upsets.  Baylor, Stanford, LSU, and Utah were all in the Top 10 heading into the weekend, but by Sunday morning all 4 had suffered defeat.  On the other hand, a couple of teams made statements and held off upsets.  Alabama continued to impress with a decisive victory over Mississippi State which was probably the only statement of the weekend.  Meanwhile, Clemson, Iowa, and Oklahoma State were able to remain undefeated despite scares from their opponents.  But here is the deal folks.  I am sick of complimenting Bama and Clemson on this blog.  I don’t care about Iowa, and I am not wanting to talk about Ohio State.  I want to talk Georgia football.  So if you don’t like that than STOP reading.

Sadly, the Georgia/Auburn game which usually has SEC and national implications was barely a blip on the football radar.  The game was relegated to the lowly 12pm slot as the opening act for the Miss State/Bama game.  That’s right the Miss State game was bigger than Georgia/Auburn.  I truly hope this was an anomaly.

Isaiah Mckenzie Scores Saturday

You may recall that last week I discussed the apathy around Athens for the game.  While that was true, there was certainly no apathy at my house around game time on Saturday.  I just can’t help but care, and I expect many of you are the same way.   I have to admit that Georgia beating Auburn made my day.  I smiled the rest of the afternoon and into the evening.  But later that night I had to ask myself a question.  Am I all of the sudden happy with Georgia Football?  Do I still want changes?  Have you asked yourself any of these questions?  So let’s review the game, the pros, and the cons to see how to answer these questions

Sony Michel

THE GAME– The game was not real pretty but so what.  I was glad to see Georgia win a game the way they did.   It wasn’t easy and they faced adversity.  In the end, they played well in the areas they needed too.  They played soundly on defense, and probably won the game due to special teams which has been an area of weakness. The offense is not good, but they haven’t quit.  They are still playing hard.  As a side note, I think Sony Michel is one of my favorite Bulldogs ever.  They are asking him to do an awful lot especially with a broken hand.  But he just keeps playing hard and making plays.  Georgia seemed to want it a little more Saturday and in the end they earned it.  This is a good thing to see because the team hasn’t quit on themselves or the coaches.  You have to admit that is an implication of good coaching and good kids.

On the other hand, Auburn is not well coached.  Do you realize that Gus Malzahn’s entire reputation is built on 2 miracle plays over Georgia and Alabama?  Their offense is not real inventive and it never really was to begin with.  MalzahnBasically, run left, run right, QB draw, & throw deep every so often.  It’s not exactly rocket science.  Furthermore, they should have never taken Jeremy Johnson out in favor of White Saturday.  They don’t seem to have many good players either.  Their situation at quarterback is way worse that Georgia’s.  Way worse.  I know many of us Bulldogs are frustrated but you know what?  At least we are not Auburn.


In trying to answer the questions above, I figure the best thing to do is to break it down into Pros & Cons


  • Class and Dignity-I don’t think anyone can argue that Mark Richt runs the program with class. You never have to worry about how he will run the program in this respect.
  • Recruiting- It seems that the coaches and program are in the process of another great recruiting class. This has often been the case in the Richt era.
  • Wins- Overall, the program has won about 70% of their games under Richt
  • Auburn- Mark Richt has won 8 of the last 10 against Auburn. That’s getting it done.
  • Georgia Tech-Richt has only lost to Georgia Tech twice. That is another example of him dominating a rival
  • Indoor Practice Facility- Georgia is finally showing some commitment to winning and is constructing an IPF.
  • Defense-You have to admit that overall this side of the ball is doing better now and seems ready to become dominant in the future.


  • Florida-It seems that once again Florida is surpassing Georgia in the East. Here is a wakeup call folks.  This is Georgia’s BIGGEST rival.  They absolutely have to beat Florida to accomplish anything major in the SEC.  Georgia has not done it enough under Richt.
  • Bad Losses- There are just too many of these especially recently. Bama, Tennesse, Tech, Florida, Nebraska, Colorado, Central Florida, and the list goes on.  Georgia seldom beats good teams or pulls an upset.
  • Offense- Where did it go? Did it leave with Bobo?
  • Recruiting- This is a pro and a con. Georgia seems to recruit well, but they have too many misses.  For example, QB this year and a total lack of depth especially on the O-line.
  • Staff Rumors- You can’t be sure what is true and what is not. But these rumors true or not are a good sign.
  • Lack of Titles: 2 SEC Championships since 1982.  That is not good folks.  I know Richt brought the last 2, but now it has been 10 years since the last one.  A sure sign that something isn’t working.
  • Quarterbacks-An 18 year old from Washington is NOT going to fix it in 1 year. If you think so you are delusional.

I can do this all day with Pros and Cons, and I think it will come out about even.  If any side may end up longer it would likely be cons.  Don’t get me wrong, I like Richt, and I am not calling for his head.  But if I am honest with myself, and whoever reads this blog.   Well than I have to admit that I no longer believe Georgia will win it all or even another SEC with him in charge.  I really hope I am wrong, and it wouldn’t be the first time.  If only I could see my team win it just once.  I would love for Richt to be the guy to make that happen, but I just don’t think he will.  So I guess that I am not happy and I want change.  Thankfully, I am not in charge.  I do think Richt will be here next year, and I am going to be pulling for him and the team.  But at some point, Georgia is going to have to decide if they like being pretty good or do they want to be GREAT!

If you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact me.

(706) 850-4636
5 Market Realty

Georgia-Auburn Game: Apathy for Auburn in Athens

The use of alliteration with “apathy” seems appropriate for this week’s match up. Because that is exactly what it feels like here in town.  Everyone just seems apathetic.  This is not the first time either.  Earlier this year, Athens felt the same way leading up to the Tennessee game, and we all know how that turned out. auburn-vs_-georgiabypaulKrouse In reality, there is still a lot for Georgia to accomplish.  The problem is too many fans just don’t seem to care that much.  Georgia can still win out and go to a good bowl. And they can still beat two of their hated rivals in Auburn and Tech.  I think the biggest issue for the fans is not that Georgia lost three games.  It is how they lost them.  They weren’t even competitive against Florida and Alabama, and the Tennessee loss was just ridiculous.  While all this frustration is understandable, it is time to get over it.  Well at least for the time being.  Granted, both fan bases are already disappointed, but how disappointed will you be if Georgia losses?  I for one will be inconsolable.  I can’t stand Auburn, and I hate to watch UGA lose.  Besides, 3 times is enough already.  Therefore, I am starting to get fired up because this game always matters.  I know that neither team is ranked but trust me this game matters.  So once again, I feel the need to remind Dawg fans of some history to get them fired up.

THEY TURNED THE HOSES ON US!– In 1986, Georgia won a hard fought game 20 to 16. Losing is never fun. So I understand Auburn’s frustration, but come on man.


TOO MANY GREAT GAMES– This rivalry has seen some of the most entertaining games in college football history.  Both teams have won and lost their share.  Here are a few examples

1994 Tied On Plains- Auburn was on probation (Go figure) and had not lost a game in almost 2 years.  Georgia was unranked, but shocked everyone when they played Auburn to 23-23 tie.

1996 Overtimes- Auburn was again the favorite to an overmatched Georgia team.  This was the first year that overtime was used in College Football.  Georgia completed an amazing 2nd half comeback and went on to win in 4 overtimes.  This game was the longest game in college football for several years.

2001- Auburn stopped Jasper Sanks at the goal line with time running out.  Georgia couldn’t stop the clock and time ran out.  Auburn won..

2002- David Greene hit Michael Johnson in the corner of the end zone on 4th and 15 to win the game and the SEC East.  In my personal Top 10 of life moments. Marriage and kids are at the top of course.

2013- “The Prayer in Jordan-Hare”.  We all know what happened, and I’m not going to discuss it further.

These are just a few of the many great Georgia-Auburn games.  And please note that I did not post any videos of Auburn victories nor will I.

CAM NEWTON & NIC FAIRLEY– This rivalry was starting to become some what classy until 2010 when Fairley and Cam Newton played their one year at Auburn.  Georgia fans have little respect for either of these players.   Honestly, this video is all any Georgia fan needs to get fired up.

In case you haven’t noticed, I recently learned how to embed video on the blog. HA!  Now you have no excuse to feel apathetic about the game.  Because Saturday could be yet another classic.  I am just glad Newton and Fairley are gone.  To hell with those boys.  Go Dawgs!

If you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact me.

(706) 850-4636
5 Market Realty

Athens, GA Real Estate: Where to Spend Money in Your Home

Here in Athens, real estate seems to be doing very well. Another area that is currently thriving is construction.  Builders are back building new homes, and contractors are booked up for months.  It seems that there are renovations going on all over town, and it is definitely a good time to be a contractor.  As we all know, supply and demand are tied together. under-renovation Therefore, if the demand for contractors is higher than you should probably expect the cost to be higher as well.  Conversely, if you look back to 2010 the cost was lower due to the lack of demand.  As I mentioned before, the 5 Points and Normaltown areas are seeing a lot of renovations and remodels.  Depending on your taste, you may or may not like the trend.  But trust me when I tell you that it is a good thing for our community.  When people invest in their home it is a sign of confidence in the market.  It also a good sign when builders invest in properties.  However, the one thing to watch out for is supply.  You never want to see the supply greatly exceed the demand.  All that aside, many homeowners are taking advantage of the low interest rates and investing in their homes.  This is great to see, but it is an area that many homeowners need advice because they often make mistakes.

Property Brothers on HGTV

Thanks to the wonders of HGTV, many of us watch remodeling shows all the time.  The problem with these TV shows is that they are just that…TV shows.  For instance, Bill Cosby made raising kids seem fairly easy and often humorous.   Well it is often funny, but it may be one of the hardiest things a person will do in their life.  TV shows are not always based in reality.  This is especially true with so called “Reality TV Shows”.  If you pay attention to the credits in some reality shows they give credit to “writers”.  How in the world can a “Reality TV Show” have a writer?  My point is that these shows are fun and entertaining.  They are good for giving us ideas, but keep in mind that what works in California may not work here in Georgia.  HGTV-showchip-flip-or-flop Too often homeowners get excited and spend money in the wrong areas.  So where should homeowners spend money in their house? In my opinion, homeowners should focus on three main areas when upgrading or investing in their property.

  • Maintenance
  • Livable Space
  • Up Dates

First, you must spend money on maintenance.  This is commonly overlooked by a majority of property owners.  You absolutely have to maintain your property. Maintenance comes first no matter what.  It makes no sense to put in cultured marble if you have rotten windows.  The issue here is that most people don’t see the deferred maintenance.  But they can easily see a new bathroom.  If you do not maintain and upkeep your property it will definitely cost you money in the long run.  The next area that owners should focus their money is in the main living area or even adding more livable space.  Everybody seems to focus on bathrooms and the owner’s suite.  And these can be good areas to put money if you have it to spend.  But be warned that you may not get it back.  You need to be careful with how much you spend in areas like a master bedroom or bathroom.  In some cases, it is smart to upgrade them or make them larger but you can overdo it quickly.  You need to understand that people don’t live in their bathroom or bedroom.  They sleep and shower there, but they live in the rest of the house.  Buyers want large and functional kitchens with open living space.  Any outdoor living space is always a huge plus as well.  Storage can be a big plus, and if you want to expand a master it would be wise to make sure the closets are spacious.  Lastly, it is important to keep your house up to date or least keep it from becoming too dated.  Some older houses have fantastic space, but they have not been touched in 30 + years.  Therefore, they eventually sell at lower price because the entire house needs updating.  Which creates a good opportunity for a buyer to purchase the property low.  I am not suggesting that you remodel your kitchen and redecorate every 5 years.  However, if you are in your property for 15 years you may need to update a few things.

In closing, you will need to spend money on your home no matter what.  At the bare minimum, you need to maintain the property.  But if you take it a step further and renovate.  Be sure to do it wisely.  In the end, your home belongs to you, and you can decorate or upgrade it any way that you see fit.  But if you ever plan to sell it would be smart to consider future buyers.

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.