Feb 19, 2015

Q4 '14 Johns Creek Update

Posted by: Dee Allen

Johns Creek Update/ 2014 Fourth Quarter

This is what’s really happening in 
Johns Creek Real Estate today:
Now that the fourth quarter is in the books, 2014 has turned out to be solid year in both sales and price growth in our area.  In the Eastern North Fulton area that includes some of Alpharetta, some of Roswell and all of Johns Creek unit sales of single family homes were up just over 12% compared to 2013, and the average selling price was up 6.2%.  And these numbers do not include most new home sales, which are becoming a real factor again in the area.  With the potential of rising interest rates and a persistent shortage of inventory prices should continue to rise, but at a slightly slower pace.  And since our high quality public schools and other amenities will continue to attract home-buyers to the area, unit sales may only be limited by the available inventory.
The fourth quarter of 2014 has had mixed results in our area:
  •           In Eastern North Fulton there were 328 single family homes sold in Q4 which was up 10% over Q4 2013.  While the average price increased by over $20,000, or around 5%.
  •         While in the Johns Creek High School area there were 66 homes sold, an increase of 10%.  And the average selling price was down slightly over 10%. 
Other school zones in Johns Creek area also showed marked improvement:
  •          Chattahoochee HS area prices were down 4.6%, and unit sales were down 5.7%.  And the number of listings was down as well.
  •          Northview HS area unit sales were up over 15% while the average price was down by 1.7%.
Buice Road area between Jones Bridge & Old Alabama (my neighborhood) still up!
  •          The number of homes sold is up 43%
  •          The average sale price is up 2.8%
  •          The average days on the market to sell a house was 61 days

Oct 14, 2014

Q3 '14-Johns Creek Update

Posted by: Dee Allen



Here's what’s happening in Johns Creek Real Estate today:


Through the third quarter, 2014 has turned out to be solid year in both sales and price growth in our area


Through the third quarter on 2014 there has been improvement on all fronts:

·         The Johns Creek High School area has shown an increase of 10% in number of homes sold

·         The average selling price in the area has increased 5.8% or a little over $30,000


Other school zones in Johns Creek also showed marked improvement:


·         Chattahoochee HS area prices were up 3.5% and unit sales were up 10%

·         Northview HS area sales are up only 2% but prices have risen 5%

Buice Road area between Jones Bridge & Old Alabama (my neighborhood) way up!

·         The number of homes sold is up 20%

·         The average sale price is up 13%

·         The average days on the market to sell a house is 42 days

Contact me today at 678.206.6041 for a free, no obligation pricing analysis of your home!

Jun 11, 2014

Do You Really Need Help?

Posted by: Dee Allen

Can I get in trouble for that?

A few weeks ago a friend of mine from Texas called me and told me about a problem he was having with a recently consummated real estate transaction.  He had inherited a townhome in a very nice part of town.  He had been pretty much managing the property for his mother for a couple of years before he inherited it.  He had it rented and that had been going along pretty well. One of the neighbors, who was a friend of his mom’s and also a real estate agent, had found him a couple of tenants.  After he inherited the property he no longer wanted to be a landlord, so he decided to sell.

Who’s working for whom here?

Once he decided to sell he discussed his options with the helpful neighbor/real estate agent.  She told him she was aware of a gentleman who had been waiting to buy into that community for a while.  She suggested that maybe she could work something out between the two of them and save the trouble of listing the property.  You know what a pain listing a property is; cleaning, showing, open houses, and phone calls.  This would be easy.  She would just simply introduce the two and let them negotiate the deal.  Money and property would then be exchanged; no muss, no fuss.  And that’s pretty much how it went. 

The buyer checked out the house, he and my friend agreed on a price.  There were some repairs that he wanted done, not the least of which was a new roof.  They got an estimate to repair the roof and my friend agreed to reduce the price to cover that cost.  He also agreed to accept a sales contract that was contingent on the buyer selling his property.  It was all very casual and not a lot of excess paperwork was done.   

I guess that was pretty easy, right?

In my opinion there were a couple of problems with this situation, and I believe they all stem from a lack of well-defined representation of either party in the transaction.  First of all, without the home being listed and presented to the larger marketplace there is no way of knowing if the price agreed upon was the best price for either party; much less the best price for the seller.  It could have been a very fair price, but we will never really know.  Secondly, because of the somewhat casual approach to the deal there was no property disclosure from the seller to the buyer. And thirdly, in today’s market of multiple offers and bidding wars when prices can change dramatically in weeks if not days, to accept a contingency contract from the one and only potential buyer for the property seems like a bad idea all the way around.

Wow, that was close!

Well, the buyer’s house finally sold after several months and a number of extensions of the contingency deadline.  So the sale of the townhouse did ultimately close.  Of course we don’t know if the seller received his best possible price for the property.  But it is highly unlikely, both because of the time lag and the lack of market exposure.  What we do know is that he paid additional taxes, insurance and other costs while waiting for the buyer’s house to sell. 

We also now know that because of the lack of a property disclosure document the buyer was not made aware of a pre-existing water problem.  My friend says he really had not thought about the breach of the neighbor’s retaining wall that had caused a pretty serious leak into the townhouse several months prior while a tenant was living there.  After all, the neighbor had made repairs by adding a french drain and it was assumed that he had corrected the problem.  I do believe though that a disclosure form that specifically asks about such situations would most likely have reminded him of the water event, and he would have disclosed it.

So what’s the big deal?

What’s the big deal you ask?  So they had to wait a little longer to close.  And the seller spent a little extra money.  Maybe the seller didn’t get the max price, but then maybe he did!  Well, I said my friend the seller didn’t think much about the original flood and water problem.  I should go on to say that he didn’t think much about it until after he received the letter from the buyer’s attorney.  That was the letter threatening legal action over the flood in his newly purchased and newly remodeled townhouse.  Turns out it might have been a good idea to disclose the water situation after all. 

The jury is still out on this one, so we will have to wait and see the outcome.  I do know one thing though; both parties would have been much better off if they had been professionally represented by a full time, well trained and licensed REALTOR®.   

#JohnsCreekRealtor, #JohnsCreekHomesforSale

Apr 3, 2014

Are you a great multitasker?

Posted by: Dee Allen

The word is even hard to read – I read something the other day about multitasking.  It said that only 2% of us are really capable of multitasking effectively.  I think that’s insulting.  I see people all the time driving and eating and texting and talking on the phone and putting on makeup and hardly anybody hits anybody.  Or at least I think that’s true.  I don’t really remember what I saw, but I’m pretty sure I saw it.  I’m sure if there was an accident I would have looked up from entering the address of the next house on my list into my phone.  I would have at least heard it; unless I had my Brian Buffini training CD up too loud.

What were you saying? – It could be that we all are a little distracted by all the stuff we bombard ourselves with throughout the day.  I went to the Atlanta Home Show a couple of weeks ago to see if there were any great new ideas for my clients who were moving into a new home, or maybe needed a good idea to get their current home ready to sell.  Well I tell you what; I saw a lot of this multitasking going on in a relatively small space.  Except I think “multi” may be overstating the facts a bit.  There were a high percentage of these very nice display booths that were manned by folks who I assume thought they were multitasking.  You know the ones, the people standing in front of the amazing and interesting wall of facts and brochures about a great home improvement idea who can’t look up from their smart phones to acknowledge your existence.  I’m just glad I wasn’t paying the guy sitting on the stool in front of the recycling company’s full size truck who we stood inches away from for at least a full minute who never slowed his thumb down long enough to look up.  I think I’ll wear brighter shoes next time.  I believe they thought the “multi” aspect of the tasking was that they were right there if you really needed them, and they were still staying in touch with their FB friends.  Just like all the guys and gals texting and eating in the car that are sure they are pretty much ready to make a move; you know, like if something were to happen.

It can make you stupid – The same article pointed out that we are distracted at work every 10.5 minutes by unrelated online gibberish.  We are so much more interested in everything “else” that is going on around us that we use our smart phones on a date 67% of the time; no wonder nobody’s getting married these days. We even use our phones in church 33% of the time to check emails and to check out the World Wide Web.  We cannot even perform the relatively mundane task of watching TV without layering on another even more mundane task like browsing the internet 42% of the time. They say that doing all this multitasking while working can actually lower your IQ as much as 10% points.  I’m kind of wondering who has time these days to research that number.

Bring it on home – This is a real estate blog you might say, and what does all this have to do with real estate?  Well according to my findings, it is impossible with all of these distractions and interruptions in your lives for you to search for, find, negotiate and purchase a new home without the services of a REALTOR®.  When you can’t even get your work done because you are being interrupted every 10 minutes by a beeping phone that alerts you to an 8.2 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Chile or that CNN still has not found any sign of the missing jetliner in the Indian Ocean.  When it is impossible to go to the movies without using a cell phone to antagonize a fellow movie goer to the point of gun violence; yep I saw it online.  When you can’t even go on a full time date and focus for a few hours on the one person who you might want to share those potential mortgage expenses with.  How do you think you would ever be able to find the time in this totally cluttered world in which we live to find the right house, and pay the right price, and get the best mortgage rate, and find a quality home inspector, and obtain all the pertinent disclosure forms, not to mention get some title insurance; whatever that is.  Yep, if it was me and I was you I would hire someone with the time and the knowledge to make I sure get this one right.  Hire a REALTOR® like me today.  And the best part is you can usually get somebody else to pay them for you.  It’s true - Google it.

Mar 26, 2014

Where have all the houses gone?

Posted by: Dee Allen

Great Blog!  Well I was going to get up this morning and write a fantastic piece about how there are not enough listings out there for existing homes in our area.  I had all the stats put together for North Fulton and environs.  The number of listings is down 9%, February sales are down 13%, February prices are up 11% over last February, and interest rates are going up!  Or maybe interest rates aren’t going up; they can’t seem to figure that one out.  What a great time to get in if you have a house to sell.  Sounds pretty good right?  And then I see all this is in an article on the front page of this morning’s newspaper.  Drat!  Can’t these guys find some original material?

It is a great time!  In spite of the fact that the AJC stole some of my thunder, I’m going to go ahead and continue my train of thought.  I have been wondering why there are not more homes for sale in my neighborhood than there are.  Atlanta home prices are back to 2002 levels, and within a couple of miles of my house they seem to be even better than that.  In fact, in the 12 months that ended in February the median price of a home sold in the Johns Creek H.S. district was $487,000 with an average selling price just under $540,000.  What’s also amazing is that the new construction homes, right up the street in both directions, are priced at $600-700,000 even $800,000.  

Talk about value!  I don’t about you, but if I was a home buyer who wanted to be in one of these great North Fulton school districts like Johns Creek H.S. a $487,000 house might seem like a pretty good value; especially compared to $800,000.  Think about a beautiful home in an established subdivision; a home on a large lot with big old trees and a lawn that doesn’t still look like a checkerboard of new sod.  It seems like a house like that and maybe a couple o’ hundred thousand bucks still in your pocket would help you sleep better at night.  You can really do some serious kitchen remodeling with that kind of money.

Go ahead and jump in.  I think there are a lot of folks like me in the area who own some of these valuable homes.  Our kids are up and out the house, hopefully for a good long time.  We’ve survived the last few years of the housing panic relatively unscathed and we are thinking about getting in the market and moving on.  I think if you have been waiting for the right time to make a move we may have found it.  Interest rates are still at near all-time lows.  Local housing prices are near all-time highs.  The projections are for only moderate price increases over the next couple of years. Housing inventory is in short supply and the good ones are selling quickly.  So why don’t you call somebody like me today.  Call a professional REALTOR® who knows your neighborhood and find out what’s going with your house, right now.  Today just might be the perfect time for you make your move.   

Mar 18, 2014

Real Estate for Girls?

Posted by: Dee Allen

Can I say that?  As the father of two beautiful, brilliant and successful daughters I think it might be OK.  At least they haven’t complained to me about being referred to from time to time as girls, but then maybe they’re just going easy on their old man.  I mention this because in my myriad emails this week I saw a comment about a new website for girls and it’s all about real estate; it’s aptly named Girls Guide to Real Estate.

Do we need this?  If you have ever been to a meeting, or a class, or any sort of gathering related to real estate then you know that it is an industry already dominated by women; or is it?  It certainly seems that way if you take things at face value.  And if the industry is dominated by women professionally, do we need a website that focuses specifically on real estate for girls?  It seems like what we really might need is a website focused on real estate for boys.  Of course just looking around at a Board of Realtors meeting or a class in my office isn’t exactly a scientific study, so I thought I had better dig a little deeper.

Girls Rule!  Well what do you know, it’s true; girls do rule the day.  In almost every measure females outpace males in real estate.  There are more female agents than male agents in every state; that’s pretty amazing.  The only stat I found where the guys out scored the girls was in the number of homes listed.  Interestingly though, the ladies overwhelmingly listed more expensive homes.  I’m not quite sure what that means, but it could be that sellers believe that women have a better understanding of the finer things in life.  It’s certainly hard to disagree with that.  But back to the question of why is there a need for a new website targeting girls in an industry already dominated by females?  

Yes we need this!  I spent my career before real estate in the home furnishings business, another industry that is heavily influenced by women.  I started out on the wholesale end dealing largely with male buyers.  It wasn’t until I moved to the retail side, in the trenches as it were, that I realized who was really driving the business.  Women not only work in home furnishings in large numbers, but most of the ultimate buying decisions are made by women.  And guys, if you don’t think the women in your life are heavily influencing buying decisions in real estate then you haven’t been paying attention.  Houses and furniture certainly seem to be made for each other don’t they?  Both are pretty big ticket items, and the purchase process can become very emotionally charged.  And these are decisions that usually have long term ramifications.  I think it might be a good idea if we all moved a little beyond the “prices on a map” thought process for buying and selling residential real estate, and considered how much more is involved in the process. 

Maybe it is time.  We went through the housing bubble a few years ago when it really was sometimes just a chess game with other people’s money.  People were buying houses just to sell them in a couple years at a profit.  It wasn’t so much about the house, as it was about the turnaround time on the investment.  I think today’s market forces are going to be quite different now that the foreclosures and other distressed properties are beginning to go away.  There have been a lot of buyers and sellers on the sidelines in recent years, but they won’t be there forever.  And I think a lot of those folks will be looking for their next home, not just a 24 month investment vehicle with a good looking front door.  And women will surely drive a lot of this next wave of real estate buying and selling, as they always have.  So whether you’re a real estate pro, a home buyer or seller, and whether you’re girl or a boy; if you want to see what’s going on out there I would recommend you visit http://girlsguidetorealestate.com/.  As for the boys guide to real estate website idea, I think I’m just going to wait for further instructions from the girls.

FYI, I have no affiliation with the owners of the girls guide to real estate website.  I just saw it and liked it.

Mar 7, 2014

How valuable is your real estate listing agent?

Posted by: Dee Allen

How valuable is your real estate listing agent?

That’s a question you should definitely ask yourself whenever you are selling real property.  What can he, or she, bring to the table that offers real value to you and your transaction?

Does your guy know the market?  Anybody who can read a newspaper knows that real estate prices are up by double digits and sales are going through the roof. That’s easy, right?  But is the value of your house up by double digits?  Are houses selling quickly in your area?  A valuable agent will know exactly what’s going on in your town and in your neighborhood; even on your street. If he doesn’t, you should find someone who does. With all the tools available to today’s real estate professionals there is no excuse to not be on top of the market facts. If your agent is not totally familiar with what’s going on in the market around you then maybe your guy is not as valuable as you thought he was.

Can your guy help you get your house ready to sell?  That should be easy enough, right?Everybody knows it’s all about curb appeal; paint the shutters, plant some flowers, blow the driveway and put up the sign – House for Sale!  Well, curb appeal is definitely important but a valuable agent knows all the details about what’s most important beyond that pretty face.  He knows the facts about the other houses in the neighborhood.  And he also knows the latest features from the new homes being built around the corner.  And more importantly, he knows what the homebuyers are looking for when they are shopping in today’s market, in your neighborhood, and yes - on your street.  He knows these things because he’s done his homework.  He has visited the other homes for sale in the area, and he has researched all the information available to him about today’s homebuyers.  I assure you those homebuyers two states away aren’t looking for the same things your local homebuyers are.  In fact, buyers south of the city aren’t even looking for the same things that buyers north of the city are.  So to be a valuable agent your guy should be a big help in determining what you need to do to get your house ready to sell.  

Is your guy really going to work at selling your house?  Everybody knows that the listing agent hardly ever sells his own listings.  All he’s going to do is put the wheels in motion; put up a sign, type it into the MLS and wait for the commission check; right?  Well, a valuable agent is going to make sure that he directs the action every step of the way through the selling process.  He’s going to make sure that the property is ready to present every time it’s presented, whether it’s presented online or in person.  He will produce quality photos for the online listing and for fliers and other printed materials. He will make sure that you understand how important it is that your house is ready for every showing by other agents.  He will follow up personally with every agent who shows your house.  And most importantly, a valuable agent will have an internet marketing plan that will help your home standout among the literally tens of thousands of listed homes that are out there in cyberspace. And a valuable agent will have a plan to cause as many of those potential buyers as possible to contact him directly if they are interested in your property.  It’s important that they contact your agent, and not just any agent, because your agent should know more about your home than anyone else and he should have a vested interest in helping you sell your house. Make sure you have a valuable agent who has a plan to create and maintain this marketplace focus for your listing. 

Will your agent be valuable to you by using all the tools at his disposal to make your home stand out in the marketplace?  Will he be valuable to you by directing the action throughout the selling process?   The ultimate bottom line is; will your agent bring value to you by selling your house for the highest possible price in the shortest amount of time? 

If you are looking for that valuable agent who will take the time and put in the hours to bring value to your transaction in the North Fulton area of Atlanta, GA please give me a call 678-206-6041 or email me at atdallen@gmail.com.  And please visit my website at www.DeeSellsHouses.com.

Feb 28, 2014

Try an Ounce of Prevention

Posted by: Dee Allen

This has been a pretty crazy winter so far here in fashionable Johns Creek, GA and I’m not sure it’s over with yet.  We’ve had ice and snow, record cold, some thunderstorms and even tornados close by.  The Georgia Bulldogs have won more than a few basketball games on the SEC calendar.  And lo and behold, a bobsled driver from Douglasville, GA won a silver medal at the Sochi Olympics; what is that all about?  And yes thanks for asking, the US Olympic Bobsled Team was sponsored by Century 21.  I can only assume we’ll have snow at The Masters this year. So needless to say everybody at my house is more than ready for spring to arrive; especially that nice lady who pays the gas bill around here. 

Well I am looking forward to springtime myself because I’m hoping that more homeowners who have been postponing listing their homes will enter the market this year.  There are lots of buyers out there looking for homes and there is not a lot of inventory to choose from.  The new home builders have recognized this and are definitely getting it in gear.  Even close to me, in a pretty well established area of Johns Creek, there are quite a few new homes coming out of the ground with more on the way.  The new houses being built today offer as standard features things like hardwood floors, tile bathrooms, granite countertops, high ceilings, 3-car garages, stainless steel appliances and many other great upgrades.  But maybe more importantly they also offer superior energy efficiency.  If you have looked at your gas bill in the past few months you know how important that can be.  To be competitive with the newly constructed houses of today, owners of existing homes preparing to enter the market need to be very detailed in their pre-listing preparation.  

While curb appeal is still the best way to make a good first impression, when it gets down to decision time for your potential buyer a few more factors come into play.  You of course need to make sure that your listed home is freshly painted, clean as a whistle and has a great kitchen and bath set-up.  But you also must remember to be certain that you have taken care of the important details that you can’t see from the curb.  Have you been putting off adding another layer of insulation in the attic?  Have you wrapped those pipes, or are you still just repairing those breaks as they occur?  Have you serviced your HVAC system regularly, is it time for a checkup?  Have you cleaned your ductwork and your chimney?  Have you changed to GFCI outlets in your kitchen and bath?  This list could go on and on.  And if you have seen as many professional home inspection reports as I have then you know the list I’m talking about.  Most of the items that appear on an inspection report are pretty insignificant by themselves, but I have seen a laundry list of minor problems cause a sense of panic in both buyer and seller.  If you have any concerns at all it might be money well spent to have your home inspected by a pro before you put it on the market.

So why not spend a few dollars, and maybe a couple of weekends, and make a preemptive strike against all those things that the guy pitching the new house around the corner from you is going to be selling.  And make sure your listing agent insures that every potential buyer knows that your home is the best it can be by listing these very valuable but often hidden upgrades in your sales literature.  Maybe by investing in that ounce of prevention that Ben Franklin used to talk about, that price difference of potentially tens of thousands of dollars for the newly constructed house will seem pretty significant to the potential buyers in your area.  And it might just make your up-to-date home seem like the best buy in the neighborhood after all.