Tips & real world advice to avoid disaster 

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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The last few weeks in the Atlanta real estate market have buyers and sellers spinning, the last week or so has them jumping on Ozzy's Crazy Train. The market shifted due to continued historic inflation and housing around Atlanta hit the brakes. This isn't a crash; at this point it appears to be the market catching it's breath after two plus years of straight adrenaline. Now the Fed is tasked with being the economic hit man. They clearly should have acted back in the 4th Qtr of '21 when the administration was dismissing this as "transitory inflation"; something Secretary Yellen knew wasn't accurate and has since admitted.

Experienced agents understand how to handle market shifts, their stripes were earned during the last crash. These are not the same…

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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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Early 2022 is in the rear view and we can now look back at the Greater Atlanta housing report for the first qtr of 2022. Best not to stare too long into the data, not many folks like what they see. Sure, sellers continue to hold the aces...until it's time to become a buyer. Sure, inventory has to increase as it can't get any tighter...yet it did. Sure, at least rates are great...oh wait. Well now that we're past lock downs, spring break and Easter, surely we'll get back into the "typical" cycles...we'll soon find out. Obviously, the point is that despite forecasting and prognostication, the only things we know are that rates are blasting higher and buyers continue to be pounded.

So let's have a basic and broad look at the great Atlanta housing report…

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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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Want a sobering fun fact? A 1% mortgage rate increase cuts home buyer affordability between 10%-11%. In January, Timmy had a very nicetimmy and lassie $450K home in his sights but was annoyed with the price and having to compete with other buyers. He lost it. He then found two more solid fits at $465K and $445K, liked them and felt his offers were right on target. Losing both, he decided to wait for the "spring" market because he knows that prices will come down as inventory increases. While waiting, his mortgage rate went from 3.35% to 4.72%; a whiplash rise of 1.37% and one that forced Timmy's budget to decrease between $65K-$75K. Timmy waits; chin in hand with Lassie who is beyond pissed with him for blowing several good opportunities. "Surely the spring market will…

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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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Although it’s become all too common to hear “…once in a lifetime” or “…once is a hundred years”; the 2020 market and most aspects of the 2021 real estate market could be described in those ways. No one anticipated the impact of Covid and the subsequent impact of billions in government subsidies. But now the brakes are being applied and economists wonder, what will the 2022 Atlanta real estate market look like? Something has to give...or maybe not. At this point in the '22 market (Mid Feb), nothing has changed. In fact, the tempo has increased ahead of rising mortgage rates, which are already a point higher than last year at this time. Just a month ago, we posted that home buyers will be frustrated, that's largely confirmed at this point.

Despite the…

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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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