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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Greater Athens Area Market Update – April 2013

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Now that May is around the corner, real estate is really picking up. In fact, as we take a look at the numbers from just one year ago the positive change is very promising! Focusing on Clarke and Oconee Counties for now, the overall picture points to increased sales and decreased inventory. In some pockets, that means sellers are finally able to enjoy the benefits of multiple offers while buyers are starting to see a lot more competition. Here’s a closer look at how the 2013 real estate market compares to the same time year.

Clarke County Sales and Inventory

With 193 closed sales in the first quarter of 2012, this year’s 209 represent an increase of 8% in home sales. When you factor in the 6% decline in inventory levels, the market outlook is better, indicating sellers beginning to have more of an edge and buyers having less to choose from.

Oconee County Sales and Inventory

Though the actual number of homes sold in both years are not that high, what’s striking is the 74% increase in home sales in the first quarter this year versus the same time period last year. Seventy four percent! Many of these homes fall within the $200,000 to $300,000 price range. In terms of inventory, we reported a 19% drop in the number of available listings on the market with the hardest hit price bracket being under $200,000.

New Construction

In terms of new construction, the numbers are also on the rise. Part of the reason is that builders are able to keep costs down as opposed to the rising costs that have been evident for the past several years. Additionally, as more and more buyers compete against each other for the fewer homes on the market, many are turning to new construction. We saw a sizable jump in the number of newly built homes with 24 homes in the first quarter of 2013 as opposed to just 10 new construction homes in the same time frame in 2012.


As our marketplace continues to recover and rebuild after the housing crisis, we are experiencing a slow, yet steady decline in the number of foreclosures sold on the market. This year during the first quarter there were 138 foreclosures sold versus last year’s 237.
No matter where you are in the process of buying or selling a home – we’d love to hear your thoughts and provide our insight into anything you may need. This year so far, our sales volume is up 25% and we have you to thank for it – we appreciate all your referrals!

As always, please feel free to call the Justin Woodall Group – we appreciate the opportunity to help make your real estate goals become a reality!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Home Inspections Provide an In-Depth Look At a Home’s Systems, Safety and Structure

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Buying a home can be a harrowing process these days, but if you’ve made it this far, the last thing you want to have happen is for anything wrong to be found with the house.

As you probably already have heard from your Realtor®, a home inspection is a critical component of buying a house because it’s during that investigative period that a buyer has the right to walk away from the deal if something is not right with the home. What can you expect from a quality home inspector? And how do you know what to look for? We’ve covered these important questions and we’ve shared a close look at a home inspection as done by Robbie Woelfl of TLE & Associates in Athens, GA.

Some of the most common problem areas found during a home inspection are as follows:

Going through the electric panel, there can be signs of an improperly labeled panel cover and also a panel that is not bonded properly. This is a matter of making sure the electrical ground system and panel are correctly bonded together.

Another common problem we see is when circuit breakers show evidence of wire connections that are not tight enough. We check conductor size and make sure they line up with the breaker. Oftentimes, we see a circuit breaker that is too large for the conductor size, which could be a fire hazard.

Yet another concern that often comes up is with the use of double tap breakers. In other words, two conductors are wired to a single breaker where the proper installation would call for each conductor to be connected to a separate breaker.

These, and other issues with electrical systems can cause critical fire hazards and must be repaired. Each aspect of each system we check is thoroughly checked and outlined in the report we provide our clients, along with our recommendations for repair and cost estimates.

An important area for home inspectors is the attic. We thoroughly inspect attic spaces for roof surfaces on the home’s exterior as well as the parts of roofing that extend into the home through the attic. We look at everything from roof sheeting, fasteners and structure – to make sure there are no signs of heavy wear, sagging or energy-efficiency problems.

When looking at potential issues with energy loss, we check insulation, venting and quality of surface materials. Among other things, our goal is to provide our clients with an accurate estimate as to the life of the roof and other expensive components of the home.

When checking exhaust systems, some of the things we look for include the proximity of pipes with combustible materials, as well as evidence of moisture, which would indicate poorly ventilated rooms. This part of our evaluation takes place in the roof area as well as other areas of the home such as bathrooms.

We often come across open junction boxes, moisture penetration and plumbing or vent booths with staining around them. Rodent infestation is common problem that becomes evident during our investigation – once again attics being a prime location for these concerns.

Our safety evaluation consists of several areas. Not only do we look for evidence of mold, mildew or fungus but also look very closely for potential fire hazards, concerns with carbon monoxide and proper installation of ample fire and CO detectors throughout the house. We confirm whether the home is compliant with safety regulations and code in this regard.

Structural issues are not always commonly visible to most buyers. In our evaluation of a home we check for the home’s foundation, looking for cracks and other obvious factors that compromise the integrity of the structure. We also look for settling, walls and doorframes. Some of the common problems we find concern load-bearing walls that may need reinforcement.
There is a lot happening in a home inspection and we suggest you join your inspector toward the end of the process so you can learn about the workings of your home. It’s a great learning experience and helps to explain some of the concerns you may see on your home inspection report.

To contact Robbie, call 706-769-3738 or email him at As always, we’re here to help you too. Call us if you are ready to buy, sell or invest in a property.