Important info for home buyers in the Greater Atlanta area

Some intelligent and otherwise very successful people do epically dumb things when it comes to buying and/or selling real estate. Failing to completely understand dual agency in Georgia and permitting it is at or near the top of the list. Simply put, dual agency is allowing the same agent to represent both buyer and seller in a real estate transaction. The agent or broker has a client relationship with all parties to the transaction without acting in a designated agency capacity. In these situations, neither party is exclusively represented by a designated real estate agent. Buyers want to pay as little as possible, sellers want the most possible. Consider the easy questions; how are appraisal and inspection issues resolved? How can one agent be an…

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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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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. Given the growth of the Atlanta area during that period, estimates are between 40%-50% of homes are impacted. One of the single most troublesome things was "Louisiana Pacific (LP) Inner Seal" siding; offspring of Georgia Pacific (GP) which was created back in the 70's. 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…

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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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Escalation clauses should be avoided by both buyers and sellers. In tight real estate markets, buyers want to have their offer selected and sellers want to maximize sale price. Having the offer price automatically “escalate” seems like a winner for both parties, but there is no chicken dinner and many say only chicken...

What is an Escalation Clause?

An escalation clause is a stipulation inserted into a buyer’s offer to ensure it remains competitive. It's typically considered in highly competitive, multiple offer situations. It is not a guarantee; with or without an escalation clause, a seller is free to accept the offer they consider best. Sellers can (as many do) instruct the listing agent to notify buyers that escalation clauses will not be…

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In the very competitive Atlanta area market, some buyers are resorting to whatever means necessary to get homes under contract. The most frequent move is to simply try and outbid the competition; appeal to the seller’s bottom line and justify over paying by talking about the low rates and tight market. Others are getting creative with contracts, waiving certain contingencies and trying to appeal to sellers in other ways. The due diligence period, the most important safety net the home buyer has, is being modified and in some cases, eliminated. This is especially risky and many buyers don’t fully understand the pit falls they are exposed to. Below are three due diligence contract mistakes that can wreck home buyers. For additional clarity and…

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