Videos that highlight important things for buyers & sellers

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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The last two years have been a blur, so much so that "pre-covid" might be considered prehistoric. A meteor ended the run last time, killer inflation is ending the run this time. The Fed has to get control of this rudderless economy and the withdrawals from handouts and the free spending are here. The insane advantage enjoyed by home sellers over the last few years is ending, time for sellers to remember how to list a home for sale. That said, let's not misconstrue what we're looking at (as of the end of June '22 anyway); the Atlanta real estate market is not crashing. What we are seeing, are signs of a return to normal. What we are hearing are cheers from the buyers - the one's left in the game anyway.

The Charts

Here's a look at key indicators for…

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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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Coming off the frenzied Atlanta 2021 real estate market, it's hard to imagine things could get tougher for home buyers, but they are. Many factors are at play/still in play so it's not all real estate related, but buyers don't really care what's causing their consternation; the fact is that right now (late Feb '22), buyers are stumbling and bumbling wondering how to get offers selected. It's a beauty contest and the most appealing offers are getting selected.

The average mortgage rate is a good 1% higher than twelve months ago, with an expected 3-5 Fed rate bumps over '22. Home buyers are rushing to buy ahead of additional rate and/or rent increases, some will be trapped on the hamster wheel of renting. Inventory is even lower than last year and no…

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So what happens if the appraisal is below contract price? The early '22 market is already showing it'll be as tight or tighter than the '20 & '21 markets, buyers are tossing off all constraints to "win" the beauty contest of buying a home. Appraisals below contract price will continue to be a challenge in 2022. Consider, appraisals this year will be using data from the already insane market of 2021 and many will still fall below contract. Remember, the buyer’s loan is based upon the lower of the contract price or appraisal. The appraisal contingency protects the lender – and indirectly the buyer – to ensure the home can be sold for at least the loan value. Buyers that waive or modify the appraisal contingency need to have cash on hand to make up any…

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The discussions surrounding the question of “what’s a home worth” will never end, because there is no standard answer. Sure the reflex text book answer is “what a buyer is willing to pay” but that’s hardly the complete picture. A home has a number of “values” and most are not tied to the buyers in the market. There is a best answer of course, it also happens to be the simplest one. Spoiler alert...it’s not what it sells for. This short clip provides a common sense overview, below that we get more into the weeds.

Purchase Price

The purchase price is the amount the buyer agrees to pay the seller; this tends to support the “it’s worth what a buyer will pay” idea. Does it? Consider:

  • The costs of selling – commissions, repairs, closing costs,…

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Buying a lake home presents additional challenges a normal home doesn't; in Georgia those challenges can be formidable. Two major players influence lake homes in Georgia; the US Army Corps of Engineers and Georgia Power. The Corps of Engineers regulates and manages multiple lakes across Georgia, flood control is a significant responsibility of theirs. Georgia Power is the largest non-governmental provider of recreational facilities in Georgia. Power generation is their key role and one that they do exceptionally well. In North Georgia, the Tennessee Valley Authority has influence over the lakes close to the Tennessee border, using them for power generation and flood control. All have a role when it comes to buying a lake home in Georgia.

Value of lake…

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This home likely had the most significant foundation trouble I've seen over three decades. This was a home I appraised (what is this buyer thinking) and the foundation was failing in several areas, spectacularly so. Based on a thorough look around the entire basement and the site, two major issues stuck out: tree roots and very poor water management. Several trees are very close to the home and good sized roots were against the home in several areas, these are a constant source of pressure as the tree grows. Poor control of surface water is always a recipe for disaster; it's the cause of a multitude of issues. In this case, the two combined and the result is epic deflection of the walls in this foundation.

The foundation damage was part of the…

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