Category Archives: real estate

Atlas Chalet Shingles?

chalet roof400

Welcome to the newest scourge of home construction… Atlas Chalet shingles.  It looks like they might go down the same path as synthetic stucco and pressed board siding.  Lawsuits, big money outlays for home-owners and fear for home-buyers and sellers alike.

The brief history would be that Atlas Chalet shingles were marketed from the early 1990s until around 2010 as a lower-cost “architectural shingle” option.  The gave the look of a higher end architectural shingle, while installation and cost was more like a traditional composite shingle.  However, problems started popping up with the quality of the shingle.

chalet roof400If you have a house that was built or re-roofed from 1990 until 2010, there is a fair chance it has Atlas Chalet shingles… while certainly not on every house, they were quite popular for several years and tens of thousands of homes around Georgia have them.

What can I do about it, you say?

There are a few options open to home owners with the shingles…

  • pay to replace them… out of your pocket…
  • pray for storm damage and an insurance company that will spring for their replacement…
  • ignore the problem…

Obviously, before you pay to replace a perfectly good roof, you should get an inspection.  Some roofers will be happy to do a full inspection of the roof to determine what product is on it, as well as if there are any current issues.  If you are considering selling your home, GET IT INSPECTED!!!  Nothing will ruin your day like having an unexpected, but avoidable issue like this pop up from the buyer’s inspection.  And when the buyer’s inspector catches it, he is likely going to go into full “deal destruction mode”.  At that point, almost anything short of replacement out of your pocket… before consummating the sale… will kill the contract.

Which brings us to our first option… just sucking it up and replacing the roof out of your own pocket.  There are actually some roofers out there that will tell you about how they “work with the insurance company to replace your roof on their dime”… but what they are failing to tell you is that the insurance companies are ONLY going to pay if there is damage.  And even then, depending on how much damage there is, they may not spring for a full replacement.  Frankly, if you have a 20 year old roof (Atlas Chalet shingles were marketed as a 30 year roof…) it might just be time to replace it and take the hit.

If your roof is newer, and fully functional, you are not in a good place (well, you are… the roof is working, right?).  It isn’t old enough for you to justify dropping $10k or $20k on replacing a 5 or 10 year old roof.  The insurance isn’t going to want to eat that cost either, for a roof that is doing its job.  Further, there are reports that some insurance companies are cancelling policies at renewal if they find out that you have the Atlas Chalet product up there.

If you aren’t selling your home, as much as I hate to say, it, you might just hope for a hail storm…

Honestly, most home-owners are going to take the “head in the sand” approach and hope that they don’t have a problem.  If they are selling, they are going to not disclose… because they don’t know for sure.  And, since there aren’t any settled lawsuits that I know of, the product is neither recalled nor ruled defective, they don’t “need” to disclose it if it is there.  BUT… this WILL bite them in the butt if they are trying to sell.  A home inspector will find the roof and will notify the buyers and the whole transaction will almost assuredly blow up and fall apart.

If you are planning on selling your home in the next couple of years…

At the very least, you should get informed about this product.  If you have paperwork from the construction of last time the roof was replaced, check to see what product was used.  If you have the Atlas Chalet shingles… you will know what may come up.  If you DON’T have these shingles, you will be prepared if the buyer’s inspector wrongly tags you with these shingles… which certainly can happen.

If you have these shingles, you might call a roofer to get your roof inspected.  Be VERY careful when you select a roofer.  There are always some contractors in the world that just want to get your money.  They will say whatever they need to say in order to get a check…

Check out the New Walk Score feature


We’ve just dropped a new feature into… Walk Score.

You can enter an address and see how “walkable” the neighborhood is.  alternately, you can check out commute options from the address to your work address.  It will tell you if there is a transit route, bike route or walking path… as well as the time for each (if available).

It is a great way to check out another dimension of properties that you may be interested in… so, search out a home you like and then see what is available for getting to work or around the neighborhood.

Here is our Walk Score page


What About New Construction…


Over the last few days, I decided to drop into a couple of North Gwinnett County’s newest subdivisions.  I wanted to get a feel for how sales have been going.

The first subdivision has been in pre-sale since December.  They really didn’t start pushing sales until early January, though.  I saw about 87 lots, with 17 of them marked as sold.  Their Model Home is up and ready to run (I was pressed for time, so I didn’t stop to see if it was actually open).  There were homes being built on at least half a dozen lots.  Most of those were pre-sold, but there were a couple of that might have been spec homes (homes the builder was ordering so that there would be some standing inventory for buyers not wanting to wait on construction).

December 31, 1958

The other subdivision was a completely different story.  Out of 51 lots, 26 of them were marked sold.  The first home has yet to be completed.  There is no onsite sales center.  There are a few foundations going in and one home (presumably the sales center) is nearing completion, but probably a few weeks away from operational.

In the case of the first neighborhood, having around 20% of the lots pre-sold is fantastic.  Before the boom that would have been a tough feat.  During the crash, it was obviously impossible.  But to have over 50% of the lots sold before even having a sales center on-site is incredible.

If you are looking in the North Gwinnett area… especially in the North Gwinnett High School cluster, you need to give me a call.  There is some great builder activity as well as some really nice resale homes on the market.  There are a few standing inventory new homes to be found as well.  But things are picking up… that means rising prices and fewer choices.

I’m working at finding some new resales to get on the market as well.  If you have a home you are thinking about selling, please give me a call.  I can’t seem to keep my listings on the market long enough…

Ruby Forest Snapshot June, 2014

Ruby Forest Price Trend 6-11-14

Ruby Forest is starting to pick up some traction, but there are some sellers that are going to let their best chance for a sale pass them by, while there is an opportunity for those that are motivated.

By looking at two different sets of numbers, I see a disparate picture.

On the one hand are the historic sales figures.  As noted in the chart to the right, the “sweet spot” seems to be just under $240k.  A year ago, we were dealing with huge inventory shortages and it was possible to draw offers that were on the high side… buyers were motivated by the lack of choices.  But now we have more inventory available on the market (there are 7 active homes in Ruby Forest now vs. just 1 or 2 this time last year).

Ruby Forest Price Trend 6-11-14On the other hand, looking at the currently available listings I see a much different picture.  The lowest price property just dropped its price to $244,000.  The median price is $284,900 and the average is $283,800.

Over the last year, close to 70% of the homes successfully sold in Ruby Forest have sold in the first 30 days, averaging 98%  of their list price.  When we look at the homes selling between 31 and 60 days after being listed, that drops to just 90% of that original list price.  From there is goes down further as the period gets longer…

As a professional Realtor®, this tells me a couple of things…

  • Sellers feel that they still have all of the cards that they had a year ago.  Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.  Inventories are up, and now we are seeing new construction in the immediate area.
  • Sellers need to compete for buyers… buyers don’t need to compete as much for sellers.
  • Homes that are on the market for more than a month or two are getting “stale” and the prices sink further than if they had been priced competitively to start with.

There is another red flag that I see that could get tossed into the field…  appraisals.

Appraisers base their numbers on sales in the last 6-12 months.  The prices that I see may not be as supportable as the sellers and agents expect.  Keep in mind that I’m not an appraiser and I haven’t broken each of these homes out to compare it to the sold comps.  They might be able to make it through appraisal, but they also might not.

Statistically, ALL of these homes are priced well above average.  Yet, statistically, half of these homes are NOT above average is size/features/amenities.  We DO need to look outside Ruby Forest in other subdivisions that are districted to Roberts Elementary to have a perfect picture, but there is enough activity in Ruby Forest to have a good idea of how things could go.

And this is where the red flag gets tossed…  Let’s assume that one of these houses were to get an offer and go under contract near the asking price.  If there were a problem at the appraisal stage, the sellers could see their expected price evaporate.

What is the Good News

For a motivated seller, there is abundant opportunity.  There IS buyer activity and interest in Ruby Forest.  A home coming on the market in the sweet spot would have a solid chance of selling in the next 45-75 days (15-30 days to contract and 30-45 days to closing).  Selling with a reasonably aggressive price, comparatively, would mean that the contract would likely happen faster and instead of working on keeping the home in “showing shape” for months on end, you could concentrate on getting packed up for your move.

A year ago we were in a classic “Seller’s Market”.  Now we are in much more of a “Balanced Market”.  Actually, in the long run, this is much easier to deal with.  Most sellers are moving to another home, and the balanced market allows for a smoother flow from one to the other.  In a Seller’s Market, the sellers make out great on the sale of their home, but get their added equity wiped out while negotiating for their new home.  In a Buyer’s Market, the sellers get smacked around on the front end, but might get to make it up on the subsequent purchase.


If you are ready to talk about listing your home, give me a call…

Lane Bailey

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Buford, GA, Market Report, October 2013

Market stats for Buford, GA, October, 2013 indicate that there were 325 properties on the market, a decrease of 9 from last month. Overall, there was about an 4.1 month supply of properties (Absorption Rate or A/R). There were 69 sales for October, down from 81 last month and down from the 76 sales Oct12. It isn’t the strongest market in Gwinnett, but the A/R is nothing to sneeze at. It is still in Seller’s Market territory.


DSCN0574 (Photo credit: lane.bailey)

In the sub-$200k arena, there were 106 listings, with a 2.5 month supply. This was the largest price segment in this market area, so strength here usually equaled strength across the whole local market area. Sales were down from last month 38 (v 42 last month), and down compared to last year (58 sales in Oct12). But, the A/R is well under the 6 months that would be considered fairly balanced… pointing towards a solid seller’s market. This time of year we are usually seeing a decrease is sales… and listings.

Between $200k and $400k, there were 156 listings for sale, and about 5.3 months of supply. The 25 sales recorded were down from the 34 last month and way up from the 14 sales last year for October. This had been one of the weaker segments in the county, but had improved dramatically until a few months ago it was fairly balanced, though tilted towards buyers… now it is a little less into Seller’s Market territory.

From $400k to $600k, there were 43 homes on the market. The absorption rate is 8.6 Months. There have been 15 sales in the last 3 months (7 in August, 5 in September and 3 in October). When the market is rolling, there should be 4-5 sales a month during this part of the year. Just for comparison, there were 7 sales in the Aug-Oct period in 2012. This segment has been bouncing all over the place, though… (as a note, the A/R was 17.25 three months ago).

In the $600k to $800k arena, there were 8 listings. Absorption Rate is 12 months… but it jumps around a lot. Sales in this range are pretty sporadic, but steady when looking at the long-term. The drop in inventory over the last few months from 14 homes to 8 had made things look less slow… but they are back on the rise. There was 0 sales in October last year and 0 in September this year. There were 2 sales in October this year.

The range from $800k to $1m, there were 4 homes listed. Trends are hardly definable. Listings are down. February was the last previously recorded sale. There was 1 sale in October. So it now has a 12.0 month Absorption Rate. (the decrease in listings is what dropped the A/R)

Above $1m, there were 9 properties listed. There was sale in the segment in April… of 2009…and then May, 2011… and 2 sales in June, 2011… also 1 in July and September, 2012. There was 1 sale in August. So, we have 27 months of inventory. I am hoping, but am not expecting, sales to be more consistent.

Buford, GA is a suburb of Atlanta in Gwinnett and Hall Counties. The population is 2000 was 10,668, but that only included the area inside the city limits, and it had seen tremendous growth since that census. Buford is home to Lake Lanier, one of Georgia’s premiere recreational areas, and Lake Lanier Islands. Recently, the City of Buford has revamped their old town. It is also home to Buford (Buford City Schools aren’t a part of Gwinnett County Schools), Mill Creek, Mountain View and Lanier High School (Lanier opened for the 2010-11 school year).

I have a page dedicated to Buford Market Data.

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