Important info for home buyers in the Greater Atlanta area

It’s closing day and the buyers walk the home before heading to the attorney’s office. But not all is right when the door swings open. What happens if the seller didn’t make the agreed upon repairs? What happens if the HVAC isn’t working? Can a home buyer terminate on closing day because of condition and refuse to close? Maybe. The most common problems are changes in the home from contract to close and agreed upon repairs.

Substantially the Same

The GA Association of Realtors (GAR) contract stipulates that the property will be in substantially the same condition as it was on binding agreement date.  Briefly: “Seller warrants that at the time of closing, the Property and all items remaining with the Property, if any, will be in substantially the…

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Trying to predict any market; stock, bond, mortgage, real estate or other type is a measured guess at best. Toss in a global pandemic, global supply chain issues along with global inflation and the challenge is exacerbated. But in this maelstrom comes a confident 2022 housing market forecast from Goldman Sachs; they predict home prices will appreciate 16% during 2022.

In 2019 the housing market found its legs and combined with a historically strong economy and low rates, the housing market caught fire. The pandemic slammed on the brakes, but by mid ’20 things inexplicably exploded. Prices skyrocketed, competition was ferocious and this fever has been running hot through most of ’21. The two main drivers; low mortgage rates and historically low…

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Summer is done and we've turned the corner into the last quarter of the 2021 Atlanta area real estate market. From the opening bell of 2020, yes, back almost two years, it's been a bonkers ride. The election, covid, new administration, covid, inflation, covid and continuing supply chain disasters mixed into "typical" real estate market dynamics. Who knows what lies ahead? No one. All that said, what did the Atlanta area real estate market look like over the third quarter of 2021?  

The need to dig deep into the data cannot be overemphasized; things look one way when viewed as a block but often look an entirely different way when boiled down into micro markets. When that’s done, buyers and sellers will see that looking at data broadly by county, city or…

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What happens if there was a murder in a home we bought? Well in Georgia, unless the buyer specifically asked the seller about this during due diligence, nothing happens. Georgia is a buyer beware state and there are no requirements for homeowners or brokers to volunteer this and other information. Violent crimes, suicides, natural deaths, drug labs....if the buyer doesn't ask, the seller isn't required to tell. And if the buyer waives the due diligence period to "win" in a multiple offer situation...sorry.

Mum’s the Word

Georgia’s “Stigmatized Property Statute” offers significant protection to both the buyer and the listing agent. They are not liable for failing to disclose violent events occurring on/in the property like murder, felonies or…

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Should you consider a backup offer? Are backup offers good options for home buyers and sellers? In highly competitive housing markets with desperate buyers and multiple offers, it might seem pointless to write a backup offer, but why not? Buyers and sellers have different considerations, but backup offers can be good options for each. In the end, a back up offer doesn't cost a buyer anything and it can provide the seller with a nice fall back should the primary offer fall apart.

What is a Backup Offer?

Simply put, a backup offer is an accepted offer that immediately becomes primary in the event the current accepted offer fails. Buyer and seller negotiate on terms and conditions just as they normally would. If they reach agreement, a backup offer…

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Interpreting real estate stats is a nuanced business; like all things statistical, the devil is in the details. We'll keep the devil at bay here as we look at less common indicators of housing market strength north and west of Atlanta. How does list price compare to sale price? How many homes are selling and how long does it take? Alpharetta, Roswell, Johns Creek and Cumming are featured to the north. Marietta, Woodstock, Canton and Kennesaw are featured to the west-northwest. City designation is the only criteria, this is broad and if we drilled down, we'd likely see different price points act differently. We cover from January 2020 to present and look at sale to list price ratio, number of closed sales and average days on market. Scroll over the charts…

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What happens if/when a home seller lies on the seller’s disclosure? That’s a question no one wants to ask but on occasion, one that has to be explored. Georgia is a “buyer beware” state; home buyers are expected to complete all research during the due diligence period. That is the "option period" for the buyer, the time to do whatever research they deem important. Home sellers are legally obligated to disclose all known hidden defects. This is required even if buyers waive due diligence and inspections. Sellers are still obligated to be truthful.

There are more issues related to the seller's disclosure than any other part of the home selling process. It's not always drama; sometimes/many times it's simply the need for clarity. Something is/isn't…

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The best real estate agent is one that is comfortable with the word "no". The best buyer is prepared, focused and also very comfortable with the word "no". In strong, competitive seller's markets, "no" is a critical buyer asset. Unfortunately, a good 75% of the insanely bloated agent population is unskilled, indifferent or reluctant to push a buyer away from a home. Many don't want to be "the bad guy" and defer that role to others. They hope the inspector, appraiser or others take the hit. Buyers that work with subpar agents like this or slip into "heart over head" decision making, may find that buyer's remorse is a real thing in this market.

Below are a few videos that showcase potential disasters waiting for unsuspecting buyers and their unskilled…

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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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