Tips & real world advice to avoid disaster 

Appraisers and home inspectors are important parts of a real estate transaction, but they serve completely different purposes. There are significant differences between an appraisal and a home inspection, it’s best for every home buyer to become familiar with the purpose of each. In fact, some real estate agents would also benefit from a reminder about their respective roles.

What is a Real Estate Appraisal?

In brief (operative word), an appraisal is an estimate of the current market value of a home completed by an appraiser using set evaluation criteria. In most cases, if a home buyer is getting a mortgage, an appraisal will be completed. The appraiser represents the interests of the home buyer's lender. They do not represent either buyer or…

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Here’s a fun fact, real estate agents in GA have no fiduciary responsibility to their client or customer. Some may ask, “what does that mean”? Well, the exact definition varies depending on the type of business, but in short a fiduciary is a person or organization that acts on behalf of another person or persons, putting their clients' interests ahead of their own, with a duty to preserve good faith and trust. Being a fiduciary thus requires being bound both legally and ethically to act in the other's best interests. Typical examples of fiduciaries are trustees, executors, and guardians.

Are Real Estate Agents in GA Fiduciaries?

In some states, but in Georgia real estate agents are not fiduciaries. They are of course expected to exercise reasonable…

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homebuyer regretWell add this to the list of “No chit Sherlock” observations coming out of the last two years. Seems that just over 70% of recent homebuyers have buyer’s remorse. In Feb '21 we noted that 44% of homebuyers had buyer's remorse, these new stats are bonkers. This number is a bit of a surprise and the reasons have to do with price but also with just about every other aspect of the buyer's transactions. Put politely, these buyers are now in a position that no one wants to be in…and they have only themselves to blame. Sure, the market over ’21 and the first part of ’22 was bonkers, competition was fierce. But how many of these mournful buyers made the cardinal sin of not qualifying their agent? Most of them.

Unqualified Real Estate Agents

So many…

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The pandemic induced hysteria around the Atlanta housing market is rapidly giving way to balance and with it, the return of a special type of nonsense. Some home sellers take things personal and can be reluctant to acknowledge the changing market; none of that applies to their home. Data clearly shows their home is aspirationally priced, buyers confirm it, and it sits idle. When challenged the agent and/or buyer drop the classic line..."the seller doesn't need to sell". 

Doesn't need to sell is one of the stupidest things anyone in real estate will say or hear. It's illogical and contrary; why is the home is listed? That answer is always along the lines of "that's what they want, that's what they have in it, or that's what they need". Oh OK.

The…

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As we get back to a normal real estate market, contingencies that buyers waived during the covid crazy months will return. Due diligence periods are back and with them, the main contingencies of appraisal, finance, and inspection. It’s reasonable to say that everyone needs to get reacquainted with home inspection hysteria and the rule of making mountains out of moles hills. The inspection is a critical component of the purchase process and certainly one of the most contentious and misunderstood.

The Imperfect Home Inspection

No home is perfect, ever. Homes are not built in labs, they are built on site, by hand and comprised of dozens of different materials. They are impacted by weather conditions, use, age and maintenance levels. Inspectors find…

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Well what's old is new; let's get ready for the return of verbal (mostly) combat regarding seller's disclosures. Can the seller change the disclosure after contract? Standard real estate answer..."it depends".  Issues with the seller's disclosure tend to be the most common thing buyers and sellers lock horns over. Contracts fall apart as buyers claim things were omitted, information wasn't accurate, something that was to remain was taken...the list is ever growing. Remember all of those buyers that waived the contingencies during the lunacy of '21 - early '22? Now some are having issues and looking to assign blame. A bit late for that, remember that while sellers in Georgia are obligated to disclose latent defects, they are not obligated by law to…

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Properly priced homes still command attention despite the ongoing Atlanta area housing market adjustment. The data into the 3rd Qtr of 2022 will show the pull back and move toward a balanced market, but as with everything real estate related, the devil is in the details. At the macro level, buyer activity slowed, days on market increased, months of inventory increased and the general balance of power is moving from sellers to a neutral position. On a granular level however, how homes are presented for sale makes all the difference.

Price & Appeal are Key

No market likes uncertainty, particularly real estate. As rates rose, the initial response of buyers was to sit on their hands, as the shock subsided they returned. However, they return to a market…

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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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