Buyers that allow sellers to rent back and remain in a home after closing often enjoy a significant advantage over the competition. But few buyers (or agents) fully understand what’s involved should home buyers allow sellers to rent back. This is not a decision to be taken lightly; if/when things go wrong the ramifications can be serious, especially to the buyer/now landlord. There are a number of legal and tax concerns that most fail to think about when in the heat of competition. A few obvious things to consider if a buyer is allowing a seller post closing occupancy – and this list is far from comprehensive.

Are Rent Backs Allowed?
Is a rent back noted in the contract? Is a copy given to the lender or is this done with a wink-wink? What will the…

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Home prices continue to push higher than any time in history; yet real estate appraisals continue to be a problem. Low appraisals despite record appreciation? How is this possible with next to no low inventory, ravenous buyers and bidding wars? As it was just over a decade ago, the disconnect between appraisers, agents and the public remains. This time the economic conditions are different and the public has more exposure to data but the appraisal process remains a mystery.

The Role of the Appraiser

The appraiser represents the buyer’s lender; they do not work for the buyer, the seller or any agent. Their job is to ensure that if the lender has to foreclose on the property, the amount they lent to the buyer can be recovered. Appraisers follow…

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Few will argue that the last 18-24 months in the real estate world have been bonkers. Prices skyrocketed and inventory disappeared; no one saw this coming. However, few seem to abide by the three rules of real estate: location-location-location. National housing market reports from outlets like Case-Shiller, Redfin and Zillow are taken literally; they shouldn't be. Rapid appreciation is exactly what everyone wants, so for now, buyers and sellers line up and spew Zillow stats like gospel. Except it doesn't work that way. Real estate isn't a share of Amazon; every home is unique physically and locationally. National reports are meaningless; state reports are meaningless; local reports get a little closer but are still largely dubious. What the data looks…

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That gorgeous big old spreading oak has been there a good hundred years, everyone loves it, now. But what happens if that tree becomes an issue among neighbors? When a storm sends half of it through the roof or winds blow it over? If a big limb falls and crushes a car or worse? Tree liability in Georgia can get tricky because the answer may not be so clear cut. Liability depends on three factors: (1) who owns the tree (2) why the tree fell and (3) whether the landowner knew or should have known that the tree was unsafe.

If a tree falls and the fall could not be foreseen by a “reasonable person,” the general rule in Georgia is that the tree owner is not negligent, and, therefore, is not liable for either property damage or injuries to someone. Cleanup…

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The “yeah but they said...” chorus is robust as unrepresented new home buyers learn hard lessons during construction. The value of an experienced buyer’s agent as an advocate when building a home cannot be understated. Especially now, and especially since the cost of representation is borne by the builder. Remember, the agent on site works for the builder only. Builders sign contracts with the site broker, they pay a set percentage on every sale. Need to verify that? Ask the site agent to show where the credit for not using a buyer’s agent is specifically written on the contract.

Speaking of contracts, know that builder contracts are written to protect them solely and allow them complete latitude at every stage of the build.  The majority of new home…

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