Tips & real world advice to avoid disaster 

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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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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It's easy to file the Georgia homestead exemption. In just a few minutes, Georgia homeowners can reduce their property tax bill. Georgia homeowners are eligible for this exemption on their primary residence if the home was purchased last year and occupied on January 1st. The exemption is not eligible on investment or vacation homes. This is not automatic, the homestead exemption must be filed in the property owner's county, it's quick and easy; there's no reason not to save this money.

Click the image below, that will open a page with multiple links to county sites. Each of the sites will provide details on what's needed and how to file for the homestead exemption in Georgia.


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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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Size matters. It matters because you live in that space, you pay for and tax on that space, and you maintain that space. One day, you’ll sell that space. Size matters so you better understand how it’s determined…because many in the real estate industry don’t. They don't because no one makes them; the confusion over how to measure a home is due in part because there are no agreed upon standards.

Many variables influence the price of a home, size is one of the most influential. How many times is “price per square foot” referenced? Using price per square foot to value a home is unreliable, it is wildly inaccurate for multiple reasons. But it's accepted and big homes rule; you don’t typically see small homes at the top of the value range. Families are the…

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