Lake Lanier Update from an Appraiser’s Point of View


Mary Thompson of Lanier Appraisal Service has kindly shared her thoughts on the Lake Lanier market. She has over 30 years of experience appraising homes on Lake Lanier and has been awarded Best of Hall County Appraiser for the past 5 years. She served on the Executive Board of the Hall County Board of Realtors for 7 years and has been an Affiliate Member for over 12 years.

After the hectic frenzy of 2020-2022, and beginning last June, she has seen somewhat of a market correction, particularly in higher-priced homes. Although the lake market is still strong, there is still a shortage of lakefront listings. 2023 started out slow, but she is seeing an uptick in listings as we have entered lake season.

Sellers want top dollar and buyers want deals. Unfortunately for Buyers there are not many fire sales or ‘deals’ in today’s market. The good news for Sellers is that supply is still low. During the 2020-2022 peak, Sellers were getting top dollar. Many Sellers sold their homes and chose to rent for a period of time until they decided where they were going to go. Sellers also waited until the frenzy was over and the market corrected, price-wise. 

The bulk of Mary’s business is personal for pre-listing, cash buyer and estate appraisals for executors (date of death valuations). She always recommends having a pre-list appraisal prior to determining list price by an Appraiser that is well-versed in lake property. She takes into consideration not only square footage, lot size, condition of home, but also site value, view of lake, topography, depth at the dock, dock permit type, quality and condition of the dock. This is an excellent way to determine what a property may sell for in today’s market. This information is only shared with the Seller and their agent if they so choose. A pre-listing appraisal is a solid guideline of a property’s value. In 2020-2022, many homes were selling at astronomically inflated prices. In today’s market, her recommendation is to keep the list price very close to the pre- listing appraised value. This will help a Seller not get blind-sided by a possible appraisal below the sales price when a Buyer’s lender orders an appraisal, and will serve as a good rebuttal to an appraisal which comes in below the agreed upon sales price or if a new appraisal is needed due to lack of proper Lake Lanier expertise by the lender’s Appraiser.

Her final thoughts for the Lake Lanier market is that it is a strong market and it will remain strong indefinitely. Although there has been a price correction and we are back to reality, it we will not see anything like the market was in 2008-2012.Please reach out to Mary if you have any questions regarding the appraisal process and she will be happy to help! 770-967-0753 and her email is: [email protected].


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