The tragic disaster and loss of life at the Champlain Towers South in Seaside, FL brings to the forefront the challenge of special assessments for condominiums and attached homes. Much remains to be investigated in that case; but at this point it’s clear that major structural problems were known to have existed for several years. The current repair estimate was $15M; with 135 units in the building, that special assessment would be a staggering $111K+- each. The calamity however, is a vivid reminder of the cost of not doing required work. It’s also a warning to any buyer considering units in “apartment style” buildings and even town homes; it is critical to evaluate the health of the community.

How Does the HOA Function?

Being a board member of any…

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The north Atlanta housing market is cooling just a bit, this is supported both anecdotally and by the data. The pent up buyer demand is being offset by increasing inventory. It's still a seller's market; but it seems to be slowly trending toward balance as the year unfolds. The challenge of "easy to sell, hard to buy" remains; after a year of updating and enhancing homes, owners seemed content to stay put. But some may be getting restless because inventory is growing. Homes under contract in many Atlanta markets have been in decline (nationally as well), buyer demand easing...increasing inventory...maybe a move toward balance?

Below we look at a couple of sample markets north of Atlanta; Cobb County and the combination of Cherokee and Forsyth Counties.…

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Pigs get fed and hogs get slaughtered. Not every home is going to attract viscous competition, even with historically low inventory. Buyers are willing to pay handsomely for renovated and well maintained homes, for homes in highly desirable settings, for high quality well-built homes and for homes that offer something unique that draws them. The idea that sellers can simply put a price on a home and buyers will jump isn’t reality. The media however, has sellers convinced it’s a “name your price” environment. It’s not. Sellers that accurately price their homes will do the best, not just with price but by controlling the transaction. Sink that hook deep, set the rules for the game and tilt the table. An accurately priced, well presented home will draw…

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Right now, early June 2021, home buyers around the northern Atlanta market have no hand. No hand, and for the vast majority, no chance. We’re on both sides of this market; the chasm between buyer and seller could not be wider. List price is often a suggestion and home buyers have to concede just about everything – immediately and without reservation. We’re seeing buyers move down to gain strength; 500K-600K buyers move to 400K-500K. This allows for higher offers and larger down payments. We look for very specific concessions and terms when representing sellers, fast and clean rule the day right now. These are 7 brutal truths buyers must consider…

Cash is King

Cash buyers move to the front of the line. Why would a seller deal with a buyer that may…

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By most measures, this insane housing market isn’t likely to implode like a decade ago. That said, while it may not be not be a housing bubble, some buyers that fail to use common sense will shed tears. Unfortunately, the tissue box is most likely to be used most by first time home buyers who lack previous home buying experience. Unlike a decade ago, lending standards remain generally tight; buyers actually have to qualify for mortgages. The level of inventory now is a fraction of what it was pre-crash ten years ago. But demand is stronger, rates are lower, the Federal Reserve continues their “hold” position and the federal government is in a spend and giveaway mode. Buyers in this environment must be focused, use an agent that isn't just chasing a…

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Many homes in the greater Atlanta market built from the 80's to later 90's likely contain one or more components that owners or buyers should be very concerned with. One of the single most troublesome things was "Louisiana Pacific (LP) Inner Seal" siding. This siding is made from chips of wood glued together to make a building material commonly called OSB "oriented strand board". OSB is widely used as a substitute for plywood, mainly due to cost. Louisiana-Pacific used this OSB material, formed it into siding panels and lap siding and embossed it with a covering pattern that imitated the look of natural wood grain. The lap siding was a disaster; water penetrates the edges and nail holes as paint breaks down and once in, the siding delaminates and swells.…

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Atlanta home buyers and sellers know the chess game that the '20-'21 real estate market has been and continues to be. The shortage of housing inventory around the greater Atlanta market is well known; there's no cavalry on the horizon. Buyers are bruised and beaten, just about all having lost more than once during multiple offer situations. The idea of offers over list moved from "only if we need to" to "how much over". Sellers should be loving it, but there's one catch; appraisals. If the appraisal comes in low, that big seller payday may not materialize. Sellers have to nail that back door shut and keep buyers from playing games.

Under List? Surely You Jest

Let's all acknowledge that the greater Atlanta real estate market (2021) is about as strong…

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Finding and buying a home, especially during record low inventory and a pandemic, isn't always enjoyable. Neither is selling one. Knowing how to avoid contract disasters when buying or selling a home can not only preserve ones' sanity but preserve the wallet as well. Buyers and sellers are their own best assets here; an understanding of the process, the documents and the involved players are key to success. Perhaps the important players are the respective agents; skilled agents avoid or get most potential issues addressed early in the process. Unfortunately, the influx of hobby agents during the pandemic and the growth of “minimal service” and "rebate" brokerages, do not. Add to the mix that Georgia is a buyer beware state, the seller is expected to be…

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It's Spring of '21 and there's no relief in sight for the shortage of housing inventory around the greater Atlanta area. The usual first quarter bump was virtually non-existent for 2021, instead the deserted landscape continues to have buyers frustrated and sellers delighted. We continue to look at year over year (by month) key indicators for 16 major markets around north Atlanta. We've examined them in terms of the number of homes for sale and also tracked steadily increasing home prices, (both pages continuously updated). Below we look at the current data in terms of "months of inventory". Months of inventory reflects an estimate of the amount of time it would take to sell all of the current listings in a given area if no new listings became available.…

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Appraisers are an easy target, but the real estate sales industry is a huge contributor to appraisal problems. Appraisers are downstream from the sales process; working with the data produced while writing reports that must conform to underwriting requirements. Appraisers use what data is available, they have no control over any of it. That data stream is controlled by the real estate industry and the multiple listing service. The economy  the volume of sales, agents influence the quality of information in the multiple listing service; which is the primary information source for appraisers. 

Why Are There So Many Real Estate Agents?

How can there be more agents than homes for sale? Consider this…

number of real estate agents

Then consider that not all agents are members…

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