Videos that highlight important things for buyers & sellers

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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Price per square foot is unreliable to value homes. It is without question one of the most quoted "sources" when home values are discussed but it is so flawed that on any level, it cannot stand even the softest of challenges. In fact, price per square foot is so unreliable that it makes  automatedvaluation models (think Zestimates) look reliable.

The idea that something as unique as a home can be "valued" using a method with at least 10 major variables is idiotic. Yet and still, price per square foot is bandied about as some type of cornerstone when home prices are talked about. It falls cleanly into the "garbage in, garbage out" research idiom as nothing in the data used to ascertain that "value" is credible. The typical real estate agent doesn't even…

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Driveways are the first impression of most homes. Not only do they help form the overall aesthetic but they serve an essential role; access in and out of the property. In an ideal world, the driveway is easily accessible, flat, and easily used. In the real world, most driveways don't hit every positive aspect. The challenge then, is what characteristic is considered adverse and negatively impacts value and/or marketability? If people are intimidated or put off by the driveway, it doesn't matter what the home has going for it. This video examines a home in a mountain community of North Georgia. Settings like this are common not only here but in all mountain communities...and they present a challenge.  

The clip below highlights the characteristics…

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The frenzied real estate market of '20-'21 exacerbated the issues found in normal markets. Buyers were/are so stressed to secure a home that some toss caution to the wind; overpaying, waiving finance contingencies, inspection contingencies and more. This is unwise at best and foolish at worst, when emotion rules the decision making process, bad things happen. 

There are more buyers waiving due diligence and purchasing homes "as is" than ever before. Some feel it's one of the best ways to win a bidding war and sometimes that's correct. But unless the buyer and agent have a working knowledge of construction and a level of experience that allows them to spot signs of trouble, the buyer may be walking off a cliff. Water and foundation issues are very…

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