khadley on August 15th, 2014

This experience occurred some time ago but I run into so many buyers, and other agents, who have never heard of this that I think it’s worth revisiting. We had a buyer under contract and set to close on a bank owned foreclosure. Of course, with foreclosures you have the ability to perform an inspection but typically they are purchased as-is. Banks usually won’t make repairs unless something very serious is found.

Prior to the closing one of the last things on a buyers list that usually gets done is lining up their home-owners insurance. Getting insurance is a simple as making a call to your insurance agent and providing some basic information on the home. So, by the time buyers get around to contacting their insurer we are well past all the due-diligence and contingency periods.

Search Forsyth County Ga Foreclosures

Needless to say, the buyers were surprised when the buyers insurer told them that there was a previous claim on the property for a new roof, which was paid out to the previous owner. No proof of repair was ever provided to the insurance company so the claim was still “open”. Because of this, the buyers insurer said there was pre-existing damage that had been paid on and they would not insure this home. That’s right, they would not insure the home. After checking with other insurance providers we realized that this was the answer we were going to get everywhere.

The bank, as you can imagine, gave us a very quick and one-word response to our request for them to put a new roof on….No. So, we’re past all contingencies, we can’t back out and keep our earnest money and my buyers can’t put insurance on the home unless they put a new roof on first.

Ultimately the insurance company agreed to provide insurance as long as the repairs were completed within 60 days of closing. We managed to get the bank to pay for half the cost of the roof. While our buyers weren’t expecting to pay for any new roof when we were just days from closing and the bank originally told us they wouldn’t pay anything, half the cost became a pretty big victory.

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khadley on August 6th, 2014

I like to say, there are five different values on a home. What the owner thinks it is, the realtor, the buyer, the appraiser and the tax man.

The truth is, the value will be defined by the banks appraiser. In order to determine that value, they will look at precedent. What have other similar homes sold for recently.

When we prepare a market analysis for a home owner we look at recent sales as well. In many cases, determining that value isn’t terribly difficult. Most communities have similar homes and enough sales on a regular basis to offer more than enough comparable sales. The differences between homes are typically updates and finishes. In those cases determining value is usually straight forward.

Valuing a unique property can be far more challenging. For example, a recent property we looked at is a lovingly restored farm house built in 1912 on a couple of acres of land. You can bet there aren’t many homes just like that selling every day. On the property was the original smokehouse that has been converted into a potting shed and has had a greenhouse added. The barn has been converted into a workshop as well.

Circumstances like this warrant expanding the geographical area in which you look for comparable sales. But when you do find comparable properties to work with you’ll have to make some judgment calls on the features. Finding properties with barns or workshops would be great but maybe it’s a detached garage and not a barn. How do you adjust value for a structure while trying to take into account things like character or scarcity in the case of the greenhouse?

With character, scarcity and unique restorations you have to make some “educated assumptions”. There will be some latitude you have with values but you still must be guided by precedent. Maybe there is a sixth value for a home - what the market will bare - but it still has to pass muster with an appraiser.


khadley on August 5th, 2014

On the 5th of each month I post a “Chart Of The Month” on local or national real estate.

This chart shows the median sales price for homes sold in Cumming, GA over the past two years. Note the dramatic rise in the median sales price from November 2012 to November 2013 and the flattening of the median sales price moving forward from that point.

There is a softening of demand in the market and that is being reflected in both the number of homes sold and the median sales price of those homes.

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khadley on July 31st, 2014


The increase in inventory levels for residential detached homes for sale in Forsyth County. Comparing inventory levels from June 2014 to June 2013.

On the last day of each month I post a “Big Number” or interesting figure related to real estate in our area.

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Bob Strader on July 16th, 2014

Welcome to our blog, we’re glad you’re here. If you’re new to, sign-up for our e-Newsletter to get our posts delivered to your inbox monthly.

At various times throughout the year we have looked at the year-over-year numbers for single family home sales in Forsyth County. The importance of comparing the numbers to the previous year rather than the previous month is so we can see seasonally what housing is doing in our area. We know that it wouldn’t prove surprising to know that there are fewer home sales in December than there are in July.

Now that we are half way through the year we can take a more encompassing look at the housing market. With that in mind, we have the following chart showing single family sales, comparing the first six months of this year to last year.

Map Search Every Listing in The MLS

The numbers do correlate with what we have seen on a monthly basis, which is that the number of home sales have declined from last year, and a 25% drop is pretty hefty. Asking prices have risen, which has resulted in higher average sales prices and higher median sales prices. Finally, days on market are shorter.

The question most people what to know is what will we see moving forward. Federal reserve chair Janet Yellen is warning that sales have “leveled off” due to higher interest rates and believes this recent leveling off of the housing market is likely to be “more protracted” than they had expected. That is nationally.

Locally, I do believe for the rest of this year we will continue to see sales remain lower than last year. Sales prices will not increase at the same rate as before but will remain above last years numbers. There are no shortage of buyers, just a shortage of buyers willing to pull the trigger.

But, with the further threat of rising interest rates, those buyers may become motivated to find something sooner rather than later. Cash buyers…you’re in the drivers seat.

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Bob Strader on July 11th, 2014

Welcome to our blog, we’re glad you’re here. If you’re new to, sign-up for our e-Newsletter to get our posts delivered to your inbox monthly. Or, subscribe to the RSS feed in your browser.

This home on Lake Hartwell is a steal. A beautiful custom built home overlooking the lake includes single slip covered dock, pine floors, tongue & groove wood walls.

The master is on the main w/access to large screened porch (full length of the house), deck off porch w/steps leading downstairs to the private wooded backyard & fire pit. Basement is unfinished, stubbed for full bath.

This home is conveniently located near I-85 & close to shopping in Toccoa, Lavonia, & Hartwell. This great home is well maintained & move in ready. The driveway can be used as turn around or separated into private driveway. Welcome to your new lake home!

The Details:

  • Offered at $159,900
  • Great front porch
  • Cozy family room
  • Open kitchen
  • 2 bedrooms, 2 baths
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  • Built in 2005

If you would like to see this home, Contact Us right away.

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Bob Strader on July 5th, 2014

On the 5th of each month I post a “Chart Of The Month” on local or national real estate.

This chart shows both the number of Lake Lanier homes sold each quarter as well as the average quarterly sales price, since 2007. While we have been on a very slow but steady climb up with respect to the number of lake home sales, the average sales price has been pretty flat. A clear sign that the number of luxury lake sales has been stagnant. The market is definitely better for the lower end of the price range.

{click on chart to enlarge}

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Bob Strader on July 2nd, 2014

As 2013 came to an end and this year kicked off, the constant refrain I heard from buyers and other agents alike was “there’s no inventory”. It seemed, at that time, that no one could find what they were looking for. Inventory was very tight last year.

The funny thing is, I’m still hearing that comment but it’s not quite accurate. Inventory in Metro Atlanta is up 24% vs last year and in the North Atlanta counties, it’s up 19% on average as you can see in the following chart:

Change in Inventory

Change in Home Sales

North Fulton






East Cobb












Other than Hall County, inventory is higher year-over-year for the other counties above and the number of homes sold is slightly down or slightly up with the exception of Forsyth County, when comparing May data year-over-year.

A Changing Market and Changing Perspectives

So it seems to be a strange time right now for housing. The sudden surprise last year of low inventory led to swift buyer purchases, over concern of finding anything at all. This was happening both nationally and locally. The problem now isn’t lack of inventory, what we’re finding from our buyers is lack of quality inventory.

Buyers have changed their perspective from last year. Home values went on a steep rise and sellers have taken that as a signal to get as much as they can. Who can blame them. After the extended recession and brutal beating everyone took over the previous 5 years, recovery was just what the doctor ordered.

But buyers aren’t biting and demand has softened. Even new home builders, who jumped on the rising prices bandwagon, are beginning to offer incentives. Our experience is a buyer will wait longer or broaden their search area to find the right home before they pursue a home at top dollar that can’t offer top condition or location.

This is why we’re seeing lower sales numbers overall. In metro Atlanta the number of homes sold in May is down 8% from the same time last year, despite inventory being up 24%

Are We Headed For Another Correction?

The short answer is no. Despite rising prices we’re still off from our peaks in most areas by approximately 6%. Through the rest of this year inventory will continue to rise modestly, demand is likely to remain soft and prices will not rise at the rates they have over the past months, in fact we’re seeing that now.

A sellers challenge is not simply one of pricing, it is more about a sales strategy in their hyper-local market. Buyer demand isn’t dead, they will pay up if it’s what they want. Sellers need to understand what they want.

Next month we’ll look at the mid-year numbers to get a broader view of our housing market.

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Bob Strader on June 30th, 2014


The decrease in sales, year-over-year, in May for single family attached homes in Metro Atlanta, despite inventory for attached homes being up 14% for that period. A clear sign of a softening market.

On the last day of each month I post a “Big Number” or interesting figure related to real estate in our area.

Welcome to our blog, we’re glad you’re here. If you’re new to, sign-up for our e-Newsletter to get our posts delivered to your inbox monthly.

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Bob Strader on June 17th, 2014

We witnessed a phenomenal housing market in 2013. The number of home sales in Forsyth County jumped nearly 22% over the previous year for single family detached. And while the number of single family attached (condos and town homes) sales only rose 1.5% last year, it was mainly due to the near non-existent number of those properties being available.

So far this year we seem to have a bit of a reversal, where sales of town homes and condos are far higher and detached home sales have been a bit anemic for a spring market; that is until May. May marks the first month since January that we have more homes sold this year than last year, with a year-over-year increase of 11.9%. Slightly higher than the 11% we saw in January but far lower than it should be for this time of year.

The jump in sales of attached homes seems incredible but on average we only see about 27 attached properties sell each month in Forsyth County compared to 300+ detached homes. With sales numbers that low, percentages can tend to jump all over the place. Still, there is less than 3 months of attached inventory available so the market is good if you’re selling a town home or condo in Forsyth County.

What Is My Forsyth County Home Worth?

While the number of sales for detached homes are far lower than they should be, the good news is average sales prices are still climbing year-over-year. For May, the average sales price of all homes sold is up 10.5% over last year. Attached home sellers will be happy to know your seeing sales prices up 17.5% on average.

I think we’ll see these price appreciations wane in the coming months, which is a good thing as we don’t want prices to rise so dramatically that it dampens demand even further than we have already seen this year. Modest price appreciations and healthy inventory levels are good for both buyers and sellers.

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