Keller Williams Intown Atlanta
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12/8 2014

Keeping It Real… Honest

3011 Appling WayI don’t normally promote other Realtors, but I received a marketing piece from Domo Realty’s Vanessa Reilly today that is too fantastic not to share.  The first paragraph, in particular, is gold:

There is nothing beautiful about this house. It is probably the ugliest little turd you have ever seen. I’m not going to sugar coat the description and waste your time by telling you how “amazing” this handy-man special is, because you would get really pissed off and call me up and say WHY IN THE WORLD DIDN’T YOU TELL ME THAT WAS THE UGLIEST HOUSE ON THE BLOCK?!?! (you’d probably throw in a couple not so nice adjectives too).

She goes on to describe the property and outline the upside (it really is a great opportunity), all the while keeping an honest and straightforward tone.  Well done and worth a major tip of the cap.

Learn more about Vanessa’s “ugliest little turd”- which really does have tons of upside.

Posted by Jon at 4:38 pm on December 8, 2014 : 0 comments

Labels : Home Selling

12/4 2014

Welcome To The Team, Erica Gal

Erica Gal RealtorI am thrilled to announce that Erica Gal has joined our team at A Is For Atlanta.  Erica is one of the finest Realtors that I know- she’s whip smart, super savvy and knows the Atlanta real estate market like the back of her hand.  Simply put, if I wasn’t a Realtor and I was looking to buy or sell a home, she’d be the first person that I’d call.  I’m over the moon with optimism and enthusiasm for what’s to come- for Erica, our team and our clients.  A little bit more about the new kid on our block, below:

Erica Gal is an exceptional Realtor.  She’s trusted by her clients, respected by her colleagues and dedicated to her craft.  Erica is a passionate advocate, guiding both buyers and sellers throughout the Atlanta area towards achieving their goals. Her vast residential real estate experience runs the gamut: first time home buyers, investors, new construction and luxury properties. Regardless of neighborhood or price point, Erica’s client-centric approach, attention to detail and commitment to doing things the right way make her a valuable asset to her clients.

Prior to launching her career in real estate, Erica held leadership positions at several leading non-profit organizations in Atlanta, where she honed her skills as an educator, organizer and listener. She was responsible for several successful multi-million dollar fundraising campaigns while also coordinating large scale, community-wide social and educational events. Immediately prior to joining The A Is For Atlanta Group, Erica was the top producing agent at her brokerage. 

A Savannah native, Erica graduated from the University of Georgia.  She lives in Toco Hills with her husband and three children. 

Posted by Jon at 12:40 pm on December 4, 2014 : 0 comments

Labels : Uncategorized

11/21 2014

Fernbank Elementary Real Estate

If you live in the area served by Fernbank Elementary (Druid Hills!  Emory!  Etc!), you might appreciate the chart below.  I’ve been slicing and dicing data on the area, and thought it would be interesting to see how this year compares to the previous two years:

Fernbank Elementary Real Estate Data 2014


1. This Year Isn’t Nearly As Interesting As Last Year-  As “hot” as the market has been over the previous 12 months, the reality is that the real bump in the market occurred from 2012-2013.  Proof is in the pudding- a 17% bump in average sale price is borderline insane, and makes the .2% growth we’ve seen over the last year look paltry.

2.  $400,000 Doesn’t Buy What It Used To-  In 2012, out of 80 homes that had sold year-to-date a whopping 37 of them sold for $400,000 or less.  For those of you scoring at home that’s 46% of the total market.  This year, over the same period of time?  107 homes have sold, with 30 of them for $400,000 or less- only 27% of the market.  That’s a pretty significant shift, and probably the trend that has had the greatest impact on the market.

3. Luxury Is Back- We’ve seen the number of $1,000,000+ homes sold more than double… and that’s just what we can glean from the FMLS archives.  One only needs to cruise the mean streets of Historic Druid Hills for a few minutes to see that there’s a ton of new construction going on, and many of these homes never make it to market.   Buyers, builders and the bankers that love them are all much more confident today than they were in 2012.

4.  You Snooze, You Lose-  Homes are moving much, much faster in 2014.  We’ve slimmed down from 122 days on market to 63.

The Relevant Linkage

Browse All Homes Currently For Sale Within Fernbank Elementary School’s Boundaries

Talk To An Intown Real Estate Expert About Buying and Selling Your Home

Read More About Historic Druid Hills

Learn More About Fernbank Elementary


Posted by Jon at 3:32 pm on November 21, 2014 : 0 comments

Labels : druid hills, Emory, Home Selling

11/18 2014

Atlanta Board of Realtors Market Brief

The Atlanta Board of Realtors just released their latest market brief, based on October’s sales numbers.  The summary, from ABR, in brief:

Supply: Atlanta area housing inventory totaled 16,172 units in October, an increase of 47.9% from October 2013. New listings totaled 4,605, up 14.2 % from October 2013 and 3.8% from the previous month. The supply for sales over a 12 month period remained steady at 4.3 months.

Demand: October residential sales were at 3,609, a decrease of 2.7 % from the previous year. Year-to-date sales are 1.2% lower than in 2013.

Price: As with last month, average and median sales prices continue to outpace 2013’s figures, with positive gains. The median sales price in October was $208,000, an increase of 11.2 % from last October. The average sales price was $263,000, up 8.2% from the previous year.
Atlanta Real Estate Overview

Posted by Jon at 3:30 pm on November 18, 2014 : 0 comments

Labels : General

11/13 2014

Old Fourth Ward Neighborhood Associations

Did you know that the Old Fourth Ward has four neighborhood associations?  It’s not unheard of for a neighborhood to have more than one association, and its important for prospective home buyers to know where, when, and why their future neighbors gather.  Smart due diligence on the front end, and an incredible opportunity to get more involved in your neighborhood after moving in.

map of old 4th ward atlanta ga city of atlanta - Google Maps

More information on each of the association:

Fourth Ward Neighbors

Fourth Ward Alliance

Fourth Ward West

4th and Sand

More information on Old Fourth Ward real estate:

All homes currently for sale in the Old Fourth Ward

Image Credit: Map pulled off the website of the Fourth Ward Neighbors

Posted by Jon at 12:30 pm on November 13, 2014 : 0 comments

Labels : Old Fourth Ward

10/27 2014

Cute Craftsman, Gigantic Basement

1040 Leah Lane East AtlantaOften times, home buyers lament that they’re not able to take two of their favorite features- from two completely different homes- and put them together into one house.   If I had a dime for every time I heard, “if only we could take the kitchen of House #1 and put it in the first floor of House #2″, I’d probably have a very large stack of dimes.

With that, I present to you my new listing in East Atlanta at 1040 Leah Lane.  On the first floor, it’s an irresistibly cute Craftsman.  Downstairs, however, there’s a massive, supremely awesome basement.  It’s just gigantic, and it opens out to a sweet deck.  And the topper of all toppers: it’s got a bar with a Kegerator.  

To further expound upon what makes this house so fantastic, I asked the Seller to tell me more about his favorite features of the house:

Q. What was life like with that stupendous basement?

A.  Loved, loved, loved the basement.  It’s fun having so much extra space for entertaining and the unfinished rooms were great for storage and tinkering on a whole host of different projects.  The basement is the size of the entire footprint of the home, so there’s just a ridiculous amount of space to enjoy.

Q. Neighborhood highlights?

A. Great group of neighbors and a really serene neighborhood, but the best part of living there was being so close to East Atlanta Village.  Holy Taco, The Earl, Midway, Argosy… so many fantastic options to choose from.

Q. Do anything to upgrade the house while you lived there?

A.  Just a few things- finished out the basement, put on a new roof, upgraded the master bathroom, built a new lower backyard deck, invested heavily in new landscaping, changed out all of the brass hardware and upgraded the HVAC to three separate zones.  I guess you could say that I left no stone unturned! 

Q.  What do you think you’ll miss most about the house?

A.  The outdoor space.  The front porch has the classic “rocking chair” front porch, and we’ve got two tremendous decks off of the back of the house- one on the main level, and another on the basement level.  We put a good deal in to the landscaping, so all three are fantastic options for enjoying outdoor living.  Hardest decision was just choosing where we wanted to hang out.

 Lots of pictures, and all the details regarding 1040 Leah Lane.

Posted by Jon at 3:02 pm on October 27, 2014 : 0 comments

Labels : East Atlanta, Home Selling

10/21 2014

Home Prices and School Test Scores

Is there a relationship between home prices and school test scores?  There are several possible answers to this question ranging from “does it matter?” to “how can you possibly take two complex issues and boil them down to dollars and test scores?”.  I’m not going to editorialize too much on the topic, rather, provide the hard data as it relates to Metro Atlanta.

The College Board, the organization that administers the SAT, recently released 2014 test data.  I’ve selected eight metro Atlanta high schools that cover some of the areas that I sell real estate in,  In the left column, I’ve ranked the schools in order of their average SAT score.  In the right column, I’ve provided the 2014 average sales price for single family residences sold within each district.















To be clear, the intention of this post isn’t to overemphasize the importance of test scores- we all know what happens when we do that.  As a Realtor, I’m immersed in this stuff every day and I know that schools are a huge motivator in the home purchasing (and selling) decision.  Schools are not the be-all and end-all, and neither are test scores for that matter… but meshing the available data together certainly provides food for thought.

Posted by Jon at 3:34 pm on October 21, 2014 : 0 comments

Labels : Current Events, Home Buying, Home Selling, The Market

10/16 2014

Ansley Park Tour Of Homes

The Ansley Park Tour of Homes is set for this weekend, October 18-19.  Ansley Park is a showcase of some of Atlanta’s most magnificent homes, and this weekend an all star lineup of eight stunners will be on tour.  If real estate porn is your thing – and no judging if it is – then you’re going to want to make this tour part of your weekend plans.  This year’s tour is an architectural cornucopia extraordinaire, featuring a wide range of styles including Greek Revival, Mediterranean, Cape Cod Craftsman and Dutch Colonial.  As a special bonus, there are three SCADpads on this tour- parking space sized homes built and designed by SCAD students.

The weather this weekend will be phenomenal, the homes equally as beautiful.  Put down the clicker, lace up the walking shoes and make it happen.  It’s not often you get to see homes like this.

Bonus:  Browse all homes currently for sale in Ansley Park 



Posted by Jon at 1:58 pm on October 16, 2014 : 0 comments

Labels : Ansley Park, Architecture

10/14 2014

Atlanta Foreclosures: Looking For A Unicorn

Once upon a time, the Atlanta real estate was awash with bank owned foreclosures.  It was nearly impossible to have a conversation about real estate with a buyer client without spending a fair amount of time talking about foreclosures: how many there were (a lot!), how many more were coming (I don’t know!), how much they depress value (quite a bit!) and when would they start going away (hopefully soon!).  In essence, a healthy mix of uncertainty, exclamation points and depression.

These days, I rarely come across foreclosures… and evidently I’m not the only one.  I just read an article in the AJC that noted that foreclosure notices in Atlanta are at a 13 year low.  Crazy, I thought, as I looked back fondly on an era that brought us the premiere of 24, the invention of the Xbox (which I’ve miraculously never played) and the unfortunate passing of my favorite Beatle, the great George Harrison.

Just how far have we come?  A quick snippet from the article:

Notices for this month were down 47 percent from October of last year. They are 81 percent lower than October of 2010 at the height of housing crisis.

If you’re looking for a foreclosure, good luck- they’re about as common as unicorns these days.  Search all Atlanta foreclosures on this sweet custom search I created- I’m calling it the MASSIVE COMPREHENSIVE ATLANTA FORECLOSURE DATABASE.

Image Credit:

Posted by Jon at 3:47 pm on October 14, 2014 : 0 comments

Labels : Distressed Sales

10/9 2014

Atlanta’s Infrastructure Future

The City of Atlanta has an infrastructure backlog of nearly one billion dollars.  This means, simply put, that there are a billion dollars worth of projects that have been either delayed or just ignored due to lack of funding.  We’re talking about $25 million worth of handicap ramp replacement/installation projects, millions of dollars of street resurfacing, the replacement of several firehouses and dozens of other projects that city planners and citizens have deemed necessary for improvement.  It’s kind of a big deal.

There’s going to be a bond referendum on these projects in March of 2015 (because, really, why put such an important measure on the ballot in November when voter turnout is so high for the hotly contested Senate seat and the Governorship when you can put it on the ballot in the middle of March?).  This means that there’s a potential tax increase, but a potential improvement of critical city infrastructure.  If you live in the City of Atlanta, you need to learn more about the 304 proposed projects that this bond referendum would help fund:  check out this interactive Atlanta Infrastructure Map to get an idea of where this money will be spent and how it will impact our city.  A few minutes on this site and you will be smarter, and a much more interesting person to chat with at your next cocktail party.

Alternatively, you could watch this scintillating video produced by the City of Atlanta on the subject:

Image Credit: Dr. Pothole


Posted by Jon at 10:48 am on October 9, 2014 : 0 comments

Labels : News and Analysis