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The Lake and Home Group Blog

Jay Hufnagel


Displaying blog entries 11-20 of 124


by Jay Hufnagel

2012 Lake Hartwell Real Estate Results (as of 10/18/2012)


Even with the Lake Level down approximately 13 feet, Buyers are still looking for Great Deals on Lake Hartwell. One of the biggest challenges facing Buyers is that the Inventory of good homes (priced at current market rates) is down.  Many Sellers haven’t been willing to list their properties at discounted prices. Recently, I talked with another Agent that said he felt current sales prices were at 1996 levels. He could be right!


Here are statistics for the 2012 “waterfront” Real Estate (year to date) activity on Lake Hartwell. This list does not include condos and townhomes (source: SC Western Upstate MLS and does not include FSBO and non Upstate MLS listings):




Homes Sold –                                                             90                                                                  

            Average Days on the Market –                       209                 

            Average List Price -                                   $367,386             

            Average Sale Price -                                     335,850             

            Sale vs. List Price –                                         91.3%             

                        Note: List Price is the last price reflected in the MLS listing

                                  and may not be the Original List price. Also, some properties

                                  may have been listed multiple times.   

            Current Active Listings -                                 260                

            Current Homes Pending (under contract) -       11


If you’d like to receive an actual list of Lake Hartwell Real Estate (Waterfront Homes sold in 2012), please click on the link below or email Jay Hufnagel, Keller Williams Realty, at


Homes Sold


Click Here to View Listings


The time to buy lake property is now ….”they’re not making any more of it”.   


By: Jay Hufnagel, Keller Williams Realty, Lake and Home Group, 770-757-2799, just “Say Jay” for Real Estate


by Jay Hufnagel

                 2012 Lake Keowee Waterfront Home Sales as of 10/18/2012


Lake Keowee Real Estate Buyers are seeing Great Deals in 2012.  Average Sale prices have declined significantly from $903,778 in 2008, $745,200 in 2009, $703,563 in 2010, $705,027 in 2011, and now to $655,000 so far in 2012. Already in 2012, more homes have sold then the entire year in 2011. In my opinion, that means prices are leveling off and Buyers want to jump on the bandwagon before prices change.


Here are some statistics on Lake Keowee Real Estate activity for 2012 (source: SC Western Upstate MLS and does not include FSBO and non SC Upstate MLS listed properties):




Homes Sold (excludes Condos & Townhouses) – 101

            Average Days on the Market – 225

            Average List Price - $742,000

            Average Sale Price - $655,000

            Sale vs List Price – 88.3%

            Active Listings – 191

            Pending Listings - 17



Please click on the link below for a list of the actual sales that were included in this report or email me at .


Click Here to View Listings


I’d be interested in your comments as to how these statistics compare to what your expectations were and what you would assume they would be.


By Jay Hufnagel, Keller Williams Realty, Lake and Home Group, 770-757-2799,


by Jay Hufnagel

440 E Howell Street, Hartwell GA - This Historic Home (Originally Called the E.B. Benson Home) was built in the 1800s. Since then, it has been modified and expanded to include Office Space, Elevator, and a large Special Event and Banquet Center. You’ll love the Old Architecture that remains in the Home that includes original Plank Heart Pine Floors, Six Fireplaces, Seven Bedrooms, Bonus Rooms, Large Eat In Kitchen, Four Full Baths and 2 Half Baths. This Home and Center is Zoned B2 and can be used for a Variety of Purposes, including Bed and Breakfast, Wedding and Special Event Celebrations, Office and Church Meetings. Come see this Magnificent Property. Sellers are very open to Owner Financing. Check out this Virtual Tour.

Other Highlights of this Home include: Rocking Chair Front Porch with Six Massive Columns leading into a Foyer with Double Entry Doors with Beautiful Stained Glass, a Grand Staircase (Great for Wedding Pictures) with Original Stained Glass Window on the first Landing, a large Parlor with nice Sitting room, a Stunning Master Bedroom Suite with en suite Bath, Air-jet Tub (with its own hot water tank) and large Shower, a large Walk-in Closet, and a Children’s Playroom. All together, this home has a total of 19 rooms.


by Jay Hufnagel

Here's an interesting email message that I received from the Save our Lakes Now Organization. I especially found it interesting that it'll take 9 inches of rain in one month to saturate the ground enough so that the Savannah River Basin (Lake Hartwell, Lake Thurmond, and Lake Russell) can benefit from the run off in a rain. If you're a Lake Hartwell Real Estate stakeholder or home owner, the message below may provide some explanations on:

                                    WHERE DID THE RAIN GO?

 I know every lake stakeholder is wondering where the heck all that rain went.  For a while I was about to agree with the conspiracy theorists who are convinced the Corps is not telling us the truth about releases and lake levels, etc. Some even suggested there must be a hidden pipeline running to Atlanta and they are stealing all our water.  Turns out none of this is true.  The numbers the Corps is showing and the explanations they are giving for why we didn't get a huge jump in lake level with the recent rains appear to be correct.

I've looked at this in a lot of detail since it rained and I have to say it looks like the water runoff got consumed by the dry ground and vegetation before making it to the basin.  Release rates were held at 3800 cfs and all stream indicators downstream (especially the levels at Clyo which is the last point in the system where stream measurements are taken before the harbor) show no unusual flow that would indicate higher release rates than the Corps shows.  We've been talking to climatologists to see if they agree with what the Corps is claiming about dry ground and vegetation and they do. And no matter how hard I look I can't find any evidence of a hidden water line to Atlanta.

Climatologists that study rainfall and drought levels for the Savannah River Basin  claim it will take more than 9 inches of rain in one month to get the soil etc back to normal so that we get run off in a rain.  We desperately need a tropical system to park right over the basin and give us this kind of rain.

Meanwhile we continue to work on getting the drought control plan for the Savannah River System corrected so that future events won't be this devastating.  Following our recommended drought control plan our lakes would have several more feet of water in them than they do now.  Repeating what we've preached all along, we need a much more agressive approach to drought response than currently exists.  Our recommended approach remains unchanged;

~ We propose that release rates from Thurmond be reduced to 3600cfs (3100 in colder months) anytime Thurmond drops below 328ft.  The proposed plan by the Corps is to lower releases anytime the Broad River flows indicate we are in a drought. While this is a significant improvement it is not as aggressive as our proposal because they wait longer to initiate flow reductions and their proposed reductions are 3800cfs instead of 3600.
~ Continue 3600cfs until the lakes refill.  The current plan by the Corps is to increase flows as the lake recovers making it more difficult to refill the lakes
~ Modify the rule curve so that we only drop the lakes 2' rather than 4' following the summer. The current Corps plan is to stay with a 4' drop at the end of summer.

The reasoning the Corps is offering for not adopting our more aggressive approach is they want to wait until a 2 or so year study can be completed.  Our reasoning is we did these changes for over 12 consecutive months in 2008-9 with no problems.  We are saying go with what we learned in 2008 unless or until some unexpected problem occurs.

It is frustrating to keep repeating our proposals.  It would be much easier to simply go along with the Corps' proposals.  But this repetition is necessary because the Corps, over time, continues to get further away from what we are recommending.  This is probably a matter of the Corps compromising with the various environmental agencies.  Unfortunately such compromising costs us many feet of lake level during droughts.  At one time they were agreeing with a 2' drop in the winter rather than a 4'drop.  And at one time they agreed to go to 3600cfs rather than 3800.  And at one time they agreed to hold the lower release rates until the lakes refill.  Now all that has changed.  The compromise to stay with a 4' drop in the winter costs us 2' at the start of a drought.  The compromise of 3800 instead of 3600 cfs costs us 2' a year in lake level. And the compromise on how the lakes are refilled will stretch out our misery unnecessarily following a drought.   

Please accept this invitation to attend and support the REALTOR Extravaganza and Open House Tuesday, June 12th at the Chickasaw Point Subdivision and Community on Beautiful Lake Hartwell. Over 15 homes will be showcased between 2 – 4 PM, with many of them on the Lake and Golf Course.

Click here for a link of two of the Homes that will be available to view on the 12th. Snacks and Refreshments will be available, plus leave your business card or your contact information for a chance to win a $50 Gift Card.

I’m looking forward to seeing you there.


by Jay Hufnagel

I received this email from Save our Lakes Now explaining (in basic terms) how lake levels are managed on Lake Hartwell and Lake Thurmond and the Savannah River Basin. If you own or are planning to buy Lake Hartwell Real Estate, the article below can shed some light on lake level management and what options are being presented to the US Army Corps of Engineers. In my opinion, they really make sense.

Where we are on Lake Thurmond and Hartwell Levels:
How we got here and How we can avoid in the future

It's been sometime since we discussed the essential elements of avoiding low lake levels in Lake Hartwell and Lake Thurmond. A lot of you have been with us from the start but there are many who are just now getting into the fray and there is a good bit of confusion over why we are seeing these huge drops in lake level. The purpose of this blog posting is to go back over the basic elements of the problem and how it can be improved.

First, many at Lake Hartwell wonder why all they hear about is release rates from Lake Thurmond. They naturally wonder why we aren't concerned about release rates from Lake Hartwell. The reason for this is that both Hartwell and Thurmond are kept in balance such that Hartwell drops 1ft for every 1ft drop in Thurmond. The only difference between Thurmond and Hartwell is that Thurmond is where the water is ultimately released and the release rates at Thurmond control the levels for both lakes.

Going back to basics, the thinking that the dams along the Savannah River do nothing but cause problems for people downstream is incorrect. Just the opposite is true. The dams in the Savannah River Basin actually have made major improvements for the river downstream of Lake Thurmond. First the dams prevent the destructive flooding that used to occur during periods of heavy rain. Second the dams have completely eliminated the severe droughts that used to occur in the river during times of drought. Before the dams were constructed river flows as low as 500cfs could occur in a severe drought. Now the river never experiences flows of less than 3600cfs even in the droughts of record.

Continuing with basics, the average amount of rain that comes into the basin upstream of Lake Thurmond during droughts of record is 3,600cfs. And the basis for pollution release limits along the river is 3,600cfs releases from Thurmond Dam. And during the drought of record in 2008 the releases from Lake Thurmond were held at 3600cfs for over 18 consecutive months with no reports of problems from downstream stakeholders. Hence Save Our Lakes Now and other lake stakeholder groups have recommended that the Corps drop immediately to a release rate of 3600cfs anytime the lakes drop 2ft below full pool. Following this approach we should not experience drops of 16ft and more like we did in previous droughts of record. The Corps now is using a release rate of 3800cfs which sounds similar but the problem is they started way later than when the lakes were down 2ft and 3800cfs vs 3600cfs results in an additional 2ft drop each year.

In the past numerous excuses and or reasons have been used to justify refusal to go to 3600cfs at the start of a drought. Investigation into each one revealed that these reasons were not founded on good science. For the sake of brevity I will hold off on going into each and every one but let me give the example of power generation and oxygen levels in the harbor. Initially the Corps claimed their power contracts with SEPA prevented them curtailing releases to the rates we were recommending. Save Our Lake Now discussed this with officials from SEPA and discovered that they prefer the lakes be kept as full as possible because they depend on us for peaking power rather than long term total watts generated. The worst thing that could happen for them is to need peaking power and the lakes be so low it can not be provided. Failure to meet planned power totals are easily made up by rebalancing power from the other 7 lakes in our grid. And so far as dissolved oxygen in the harbor, fears that lowered releases from Thurmond might decrease already poor oxygen levels in the harbor are unfounded. However in fact the tide from the Atlantic Ocean is so much larger than our river flows that the oxygen levels in the harbor are determined by the ocean rather than our release rates.

Let me summarize what we would like the Corps to do. Following these recommendations we should never reach the levels we are at now regardless of how long a drought lasts. We ask that they respond to any unexplained drop of 2ft in lake levels with an immediate drop in release rates from Thurmond dam to 3600cfs. Further we recommend that during the winter months when that rate can be reduced further without detriment that the release rates be dropped to 3100cfs. And finally, when the river is swollen from heavy rains during periods of severe drought that releases from Thurmond Dam be reduced to zero as long as the river remains swollen.

Responses to incorrect thinking:
Wrong- lake stake holders are just selfish and want more than their share of the water.
Right- the Corps is sending more water downstream during a drought than nature is providing by rain hence river stake holders are receiving more than their fair share of the water.
Wrong- dropping release rates to 3600cfs too soon would result in people downstream suffering unecessarily.
Right- if release rates are dropped to 3600cfs because of a 2ft drop and we are not really in a drought the lakes will refill quickly and normal releases resumed.
Wrong- dropping release rates to 3600cfs is inconsiderate of environmental protection
Right- if the dams were kept full at all times the environment would experience exactly the same river flows it did before constructing the dams. 3600cfs already is a huge benefit to environmental protection by preventing the river from ever experiencing severe droughts again.
Wrong- flows in excess of 3600cfs should be used to keep the river as healthy as possible
Right- since we can not make water out of thin air, flows greater than we are receiving from rain could easily destroy the system. By averaging the rainfall over a years time we are already providing maximum possible benefits to the river.


by Jay Hufnagel

Save our Lakes Now (an Organization dedicated to preserving Lake Hartwell and it's water level) recently sent out the following email asking for help. If you own Lake Hartwell Real Estate or enjoy it on occasions, I think you'll agree it makes sense.

Save Our Lakes Now Position on New Drought EA

The Corps of Engineers has issued an EA for comment concerning the drought control plan for Lakes Thurmond and Hartwell. The new proposal represents a definite improvement over the past drought plan but falls well short of the drought plan proposed by Save Our Lakes Now and other lake groups over a year ago. Comments are requested prior to May 12th and we recommend all stakeholders around the lakes send in their personal comments. The way the Corps' proposal compares to the one proposed by Save Our Lakes Now and other lake groups over a year ago is summarized below.

Save Our Lakes Now proposed that release rates from Lake Thurmond be reduced to 3600cfs whenever the lake levels drop 2ft below full pool. The basis for the 3600cfs figure is two fold. First it matches the annual rate of rainfall during the droughts of record which means the lakes would be able to withstand the drought of record regardless of how long it may go on. Second it matches the release rates demonstrated to be acceptable to all stakeholders downstream of Thurmond Dam during the drought of 2008.

The New Corps proposal waits until the lakes are down 4ft before starting reduced flows the same as in the past. The Corps proposal then decreases release rates 200cfs (compared to the current drought plan) at each trigger level. The different trigger levels are 4' below full pool, 6' below full pool and 14' below full pool. These rates, while a step in the right direction, only increase the resulting lake level 2ft in a year above the current drought plan (each 100 cfs in release rate represents 1ft of lake level in a year). For example we would have ended up in 2008 at 316' instead of 314'. While this is a definite improvement it is not nearly as good as holding the total drop to 8' the way our proposal does and it leaves us open to the possibility of totally destroying the lakes if the drought goes on longer than in 2008.

Additionally the EA proposes further reductions November through January of 200 cfs at trigger level 2 and 500 cfs at trigger level 3. The proposals from lake groups included a 500cfs drop below the 3600cfs release rate during winter months. So again while the Corps proposal is in the right direction it is not as good as what was proposed by the lake groups over a year ago.

One additonal proposal Save Our Lakes Now recommends for drought control is to completely stop releases from Thurmond dam anytime the river below the dams is swollen from rains during a drought.

The actual Corps publication on the proposed EA is at .
Comments can be submitted via e-mail to:

The official comments from Save Our Lakes Now will be as follows:
We have reviewed the proposals in the draft EA on the Savannah River Basin Drought Plan and we see it as a definite improvement over the current drought plan. However we feel a more agressive approach should be used to maintain lake levels. We continue to recommend that the release rates from Thurmond Dam be reduced to 3600cfs whenever Lake Thurmond is below 328' until the lake refills. And we further recommend releases be reduced to 3100cfs during winter months anytime Lake Thurmond is below 328'. Furthermore we recommend releases from Thurmond Dam be completely stopped during a drought anytime the river is swollen from rains so as to maximize the rate the lakes regain normal levels. 



by Jay Hufnagel

Check out the Virtual Tour of This Beautiful Tri-level Golf Course Home that overlooks the 14th Fairway in Chickasaw Point on Lake Hartwell. You'll feel the "Wow" factor when you walk into this home and see the many upgrades throughout. You'll love the choice of sleeping in the Master Bedroom on the Main that leads out on to your Large Deck or Escaping to the Master on the Second Level with Fireplace and large Master Bath Suite. Other Special Features of this unique home include: "Wall of Windows" in the Greatroom, Granite Countertops and Stainless Appliances in the Kitchen,  Brazilian Walnut Hardwood Floors, Sky Lites, Loft Area for Office Study, Kitchen/Wet Bar and Double sided Fireplace between Entertainment Area and Bedroom on the Terrace Level, Irrigation System, Fountain and Waterfall in Koi Pond. Don't forget to ask for a complete list of Special Features and Upgrades of this Beautiful Home.

You'll love this Community! Chickasaw Point or as the folks living there call it …”Quiet Quality… Where the Mountains Meet the Lake”…. Chickasaw point is a Private and Gated Community on the Beautiful Shores of Lake Hartwell.  This Area of the Lake is located in the “Golden Corner” of Upstate South Carolina in the Foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Originally developed as a Leisure and Vacation Community, Chickasaw Point has evolved into a year-round Residential Community with a multitude of Amenities. Those include: Manned Gated Entrance, Golf Course, Olympic Size Swimming Pool, Tennis Courts, Beach and Picnic Area with Pavilion, Club House, Playground, Outdoor Basketball Court, Library and Boat Ramp. Please take the time to visit this Wonderful Community. You’ll be drawn to everything it has to offer. Come see this home and then compare to any other Golf Home (in a Lake Community) on the market. It would be difficult to find or even build a home like this for the price. Chickasaw Point is a wonderful community. Check it out at


by Jay Hufnagel

I received the following email today from the Lake Lanier Association. This advice can also apply to Lake Hartwell and Lake Keowee. If you own Real Estate on Lake Lanier, Lake Hartwell or Lake Keowee be glad we're getting the rain, but prepare to bring your dock in.



The lake has risen a foot just since last Saturday. The current level is 1062 and more rain is on the way. As a courtesy, particularly to our members who don't live on the lake full-time, we want to advise everyone that the lake level has changed significantly and is expected to increase further in the next few weeks. Stay aware of your dock cables and anchor poles and be sure they are adjusted adequately. The Corps of Engineers publishes a short-term forecast online which can be viewed at:


Link to lake level forecast

(Once you are on this webpage, click "ACF Lake Elevation and 5-Week Forecast" and then, click "Lanier" for the chart to display.)


Click here for Lake Hartwell Water Level information and projections.


Contact Jay Hufnagel, Keller Williams Realty, Lake and Home Group for more information on Buying or Selling on the lake.


by Jay Hufnagel

Have we seen the Bottom for Lake Lanier Real Estate?

Lake Lanier Real Estate “Dockable” Lake Home Sales saw a big increase (about 20%) over 2010 sales. That’s another fantastic year! Buyers are still getting great bargains, but we may be seeing a leveling off and possibly the bottom for Lake Lanier Real Estate. Last year the average sale price was approximately $426,271. This year that figure has increased to $456,376.  I wonder whether that signals a turn around.  Lake home buyers all want the same thing – “a great deal” and good interest rates.  Buyers should continue getting what they want in 2012. 

Here are statistics for 2011 “Dockable” Lake Lanier Real Estate. This list does not include condos and townhouses. (Based on information from the First Multiple Listing Service (FMLS) and does not include FSBO and non FMLS listings):




Homes Sold                                                               171                                                    

            Average Days on the Market                         143                  

            Original Average List Price                       $557,919            

            Average Sale Price                                      454,555            

            Sale vs. List Price                                            81.5%             


            Current Active Dockable Listings                  366                 

            Current Homes Pending (under contract)         22

If you’d like to receive an actual list of the homes that have sold or that are pending, please click on the link below or email Jay Hufnagel, Keller Williams Realty, at


   Buyer Full Report
       CMA Buyer

The time to buy lake property is now ….”they’re not making any more of it”.   


By: Jay Hufnagel, Keller Williams Realty Atlanta Partners, , 770-757-2799, just “Say Jay” for Real Estate

Displaying blog entries 11-20 of 124

Contact Information

Lake and Home Group
Keller Williams Realty
4878 Manhattan Dr.
Buford GA 30518
GA: 770-757-2799
SC: 864-287-7530
Fax: 770-504-5509