Videos that highlight important things for buyers & sellers

Buying a lake home presents additional challenges a normal home doesn't; in Georgia those challenges can be formidable. Two major players influence lake homes in Georgia; the US Army Corps of Engineers and Georgia Power. The Corps of Engineers regulates and manages multiple lakes across Georgia, flood control is a significant responsibility of theirs. Georgia Power is the largest non-governmental provider of recreational facilities in Georgia. Power generation is their key role and one that they do exceptionally well. In North Georgia, the Tennessee Valley Authority has influence over the lakes close to the Tennessee border, using them for power generation and flood control. All have a role when it comes to buying a lake home in Georgia.

Value of lake…

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This home likely had the most significant foundation trouble I've seen over three decades. This was a home I appraised (what is this buyer thinking) and the foundation was failing in several areas, spectacularly so. Based on a thorough look around the entire basement and the site, two major issues stuck out: tree roots and very poor water management. Several trees are very close to the home and good sized roots were against the home in several areas, these are a constant source of pressure as the tree grows. Poor control of surface water is always a recipe for disaster; it's the cause of a multitude of issues. In this case, the two combined and the result is epic deflection of the walls in this foundation.

The foundation damage was part of the…

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Price per square foot is unreliable to value homes. It is without question one of the most quoted "sources" when home values are discussed but it is so flawed that on any level, it cannot stand even the softest of challenges. In fact, price per square foot is so unreliable that it makes  automatedvaluation models (think Zestimates) look reliable.

The idea that something as unique as a home can be "valued" using a method with at least 10 major variables is idiotic. Yet and still, price per square foot is bandied about as some type of cornerstone when home prices are talked about. It falls cleanly into the "garbage in, garbage out" research idiom as nothing in the data used to ascertain that "value" is credible. The typical real estate agent doesn't even…

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Driveways are the first impression of most homes. Not only do they help form the overall aesthetic but they serve an essential role; access in and out of the property. In an ideal world, the driveway is easily accessible, flat, and easily used. In the real world, most driveways don't hit every positive aspect. The challenge then, is what characteristic is considered adverse and negatively impacts value and/or marketability? If people are intimidated or put off by the driveway, it doesn't matter what the home has going for it. This video examines a home in a mountain community of North Georgia. Settings like this are common not only here but in all mountain communities...and they present a challenge.  

The clip below highlights the characteristics…

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The frenzied real estate market of '20-'21 exacerbated the issues found in normal markets. Buyers were/are so stressed to secure a home that some toss caution to the wind; overpaying, waiving finance contingencies, inspection contingencies and more. This is unwise at best and foolish at worst, when emotion rules the decision making process, bad things happen. 

There are more buyers waiving due diligence and purchasing homes "as is" than ever before. Some feel it's one of the best ways to win a bidding war and sometimes that's correct. But unless the buyer and agent have a working knowledge of construction and a level of experience that allows them to spot signs of trouble, the buyer may be walking off a cliff. Water and foundation issues are very…

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Retaining walls are a pretty common feature, they are found around many homes and vary in purpose, design, size and material. All serve a common purpose; to retain or stabilize an area for an intended purpose. In residential settings around Atlanta, retaining walls are usually constructed of either pressure treated lumber or used railroad ties. Larger, sturdier ones will be concrete. They are used mainly to stabilized hilly terrain, make a site more aesthetically appealing or to expand the usable area. We see them used to support driveways and open walkout areas of basements. Designs can be as simple as a few stacked together or as complex as multi-tiered walls with deadmen, drainage and a mix of materials. It all depends on type of property and the…

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Let's dispense with the idea that building a home is an exciting and carefree event, far from it. Home buyers are naive when it comes to building a home, the vast majority have never done it and have absolutely no idea what they are in for. Problems when building a home are all but certain to happen, how they are resolved is another matter. A major point - the agent on site is LEGALLY BOUND to represent the builder's interest, not the buyer. Buyer's that go in unrepresented have no advocate when problems occur - and they will.

The issues in the video were resolved.  However sometimes it gets to the point where you literally have to dig in and start making it clear that the shoddy and poor work will not be tolerated. This is an example of such a…

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The best real estate agent is one that is comfortable with the word "no". The best buyer is prepared, focused and also very comfortable with the word "no". In strong, competitive seller's markets, "no" is a critical buyer asset. Unfortunately, a good 75% of the insanely bloated agent population is unskilled, indifferent or reluctant to push a buyer away from a home. Many don't want to be "the bad guy" and defer that role to others. They hope the inspector, appraiser or others take the hit. Buyers that work with subpar agents like this or slip into "heart over head" decision making, may find that buyer's remorse is a real thing in this market.

Below are a few videos that showcase potential disasters waiting for unsuspecting buyers and their unskilled…

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Many homes in the greater Atlanta market built from the 80's to later 90's likely contain one or more components that owners or buyers should be very concerned with. Given the growth of the Atlanta area during that period, estimates are between 40%-50% of homes are impacted. One of the single most troublesome things was "Louisiana Pacific (LP) Inner Seal" siding; offspring of Georgia Pacific (GP) which was created back in the 70's. This siding is made from chips of wood glued together to make a building material commonly called OSB "oriented strand board". OSB is widely used as a substitute for plywood, mainly due to cost. Louisiana-Pacific used this OSB material, formed it into siding panels and lap siding and embossed it with a covering pattern that…

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Poor control of water around a home is the hands down leading cause of problems. Water directly contributes to erosion, rot, foundation and driveway issues; if left unchecked, the structure will fail. This is an issue that's commonly seen around residential homes, building inspectors consistently note it in the form of clogged gutters, downspouts that empty next to the home and "reverse slopes" where water drains toward the home. Routine maintenance but not so routine given the regularity with which issues are seen.

This first video is an excellent example of how water wears away and compromises a driveway. Concrete gets hard and cracks, that's a given. Here, we see the prolonged damage that water did and the resulting settling and deflection. It…

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