Important info for home buyers in the Greater Atlanta area

Well what's old is new; let's get ready for the return of verbal (mostly) combat regarding seller's disclosures. Can the seller change the disclosure after contract? Standard real estate answer..."it depends".  Issues with the seller's disclosure tend to be the most common thing buyers and sellers lock horns over. Contracts fall apart as buyers claim things were omitted, information wasn't accurate, something that was to remain was taken...the list is ever growing. Remember all of those buyers that waived the contingencies during the lunacy of '21 - early '22? Now some are having issues and looking to assign blame. A bit late for that, remember that while sellers in Georgia are obligated to disclose latent defects, they are not obligated by law to…

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All of the media outlets have already concluded the housing market is doomed. What if instead of the relentless, bombastic blathering emanating from the media, time was given for patterns to develop? What if the Atlanta real estate market isn’t going to crash? What if this is a period of adjustment and a return to normal? How effective is anticipating stock performance by watching the ticker and reacting every few minutes? What if we back out, let the situation develop and look for past patterns to anticipate future trends? Yeah, what ifs are risky and there are many variables. However when time is taken to consider the data, real estate falls into pretty consistent patterns.

To anticipate where the Atlanta area real estate market might go, it’s good…

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The Atlanta area consistently ranks as one of the very top markets for home flippers. The term "flipping" has a ridiculously broad definition, it ranges from changing the locks and selling it to completely a full remodel and selling it. The TV shows can't fully develop all of the headaches; in 22 minutes they need to wrap things up with smiling faces. The internet parasites selling "secrets" on how to make millions are delighted selling nonsense and collecting a few hundred bucks from each "never to be millionaire". Flipping homes is exceptionally messy, difficult at every level and stressful beyond description. It will keep you up at night, make you gray before your time and likely cost you money and time.

What Does a Flip Home Look Like?

There is…

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Cancel culture invades real estate...The number of cancelled home contracts hit a two year high in June 2022. Nationally, 14.9% of transactions were terminated. The number in Atlanta was higher at 22%. The recent national highs were at the start of the pandemic, 17.6% in Mar '20 and 16.4% in Apr '20. At that time, everything was up in the air as the pandemic took the over the globe.

Atlanta is over the national average but well off the leaders at 17th of the sampled markets. Still, 22% of contracts terminating isn't a anything to ignore. Oddly, Newark NJ had a minuscule 2.6% termination rate. The number is up in Atlanta but let's have a look at why.

Why Contracts Terminate

There are many moving parts to a successful real estate transaction,…

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house on persons headThe great Atlanta real estate market adjustment of 2022 is upon us. As everything shifts, the main players are whispering around the water cooler...will low appraisals be a problem now? Probably not a bad question as the changes in quarter 2 of 2022 were dramatic. As the Fed fights rampant inflation, buyers are faced with dramatic rate increases and sellers with a comparative lack of activity. Lenders and appraisers are also impacted; both industries are circling the wagons just a bit tighter as everyone waits for this market to settle.

No More Appraisal Gimmies

The real estate market coming out of Covid from about fall of 2020 through spring of 2022 was an anomaly. The Fed held rates artificially low by buying billions of dollars of mortgage backed…

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Now the data is there to support what we knew months ago, the Atlanta housing market shifted. In some areas and price points, buyers and sellers got whiplash. Around the end of Jan and into Feb the signs were there, we felt it all through early spring and at the start of May we asked "Is the Atlanta Real Estate Market Shifting"? That was rhetorical, we just didn't have the data to support it because real estate lags. Well we do now. The charts below are the counties that most national organizations call the "Atlanta market". Astute and well educated readers of this blog (like you) know that all real estate is hyper local. However, we're not fighting that battle now. Here we'll look back to the beginning of the year in two week increments. For consistency…

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Appraising and being involved in real estate sales for over 30 years allows me to see epic "renovation" nightmares. The unfortunate side of this are the buyers who often expect their agent to flag issues. Will your agent spot renovation disasters? Well, that depends on if you properly qualified them, if they have the capacity to spot issues and whether they are more concerned with a commission or keeping you out of trouble.

This home was noted as "completely updated" and buyers of mine wanted to see it. The usual flags popped just off the desktop review but a base of knowledge is critical for buyers, looking at homes and seeing issues helps to better understand the process. This home however, was a graduate course in renovation disasters - and…

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The grizzled crusty veterans feel it and the questions are starting...is the Atlanta real estate market shifting? Has the move away from historic inventory shortages and home buyer frustration finally started? That argument can be made...and while the data lags by several weeks, the radar of many experienced agents is lit. The feeling in the field can't always be immediately confirmed but we're beginning to see the data evidence. It'll take a few more months as markets always tend to "feel" before the "proof"; that's just a challenge of the business. One thing that's not debated, the mortgage rate increases (with more promised) have been an ice bucket challenge to the market.

But first -it bears repeating that "the Atlanta market" is not a monolith; it…

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April breaks over Georgia and the pencil necked geeks hike up their socks and tape up their glasses. It's time to answer the nagging question…did freddy blassy wrestlerhousing inventory in Atlanta increase during the first quarter of 2022? Well that answer is more than a yes/no binary option, context is needed and that’s best done by looking back a bit. The first quarter of any year around Atlanta tends to set up the second one. Traditionally, the months of May and June see the most new listings as the school cycle hits – graduating families sell and rising families buy. This year however, rocketing mortgage rates and other economic challenges may change that.

The charts below focus on key indicators; number of listings, number of sales, days on market and sale to list…

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There’s risk in everything. If we defer to the stats most people wouldn’t drive, fly, invest, gamble, play sports or do pretty much anything beyond sit in einstein definition of insanitythe basement wearing a mask, gloves and bicycle helmet waiting for instruction. Most folks look to mitigate risk but it’s a part of daily life. It’s also part of buying a home; successful home buyers embrace risk. "Measured risk” is a good way to summarize how buyers need to think right now as conventional tactics are simply not effective in this market (4/22).

Measured Risk

Measured risk is just that, it's not being reckless or stupid. It's understanding the current market and the influences at play. What are the trends, inventory, mortgage rates, forecasts? What are the winning buyers doing;…

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