Tips & real world advice to avoid disaster 

What happens if there was a murder in a home we bought? Well in Georgia, unless the buyer specifically asked the seller about this during due diligence, nothing happens. Georgia is a buyer beware state and there are no requirements for homeowners or brokers to volunteer this and other information. Violent crimes, suicides, natural deaths, drug labs....if the buyer doesn't ask, the seller isn't required to tell. And if the buyer waives the due diligence period to "win" in a multiple offer situation...sorry.

Mum’s the Word

Georgia’s “Stigmatized Property Statute” offers significant protection to both the buyer and the listing agent. They are not liable for failing to disclose violent events occurring on/in the property like murder, felonies or…

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Retaining walls are a pretty common feature, they are found around many homes and vary in purpose, design, size and material. All serve a common purpose; to retain or stabilize an area for an intended purpose. In residential settings around Atlanta, retaining walls are usually constructed of either pressure treated lumber or used railroad ties. Larger, sturdier ones will be concrete. They are used mainly to stabilized hilly terrain, make a site more aesthetically appealing or to expand the usable area. We see them used to support driveways and open walkout areas of basements. Designs can be as simple as a few stacked together or as complex as multi-tiered walls with deadmen, drainage and a mix of materials. It all depends on type of property and the…

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Let's dispense with the idea that building a home is an exciting and carefree event, far from it. Home buyers are naive when it comes to building a home, the vast majority have never done it and have absolutely no idea what they are in for. Problems when building a home are all but certain to happen, how they are resolved is another matter. A major point - the agent on site is LEGALLY BOUND to represent the builder's interest, not the buyer. Buyer's that go in unrepresented have no advocate when problems occur - and they will.

The issues in the video were resolved.  However sometimes it gets to the point where you literally have to dig in and start making it clear that the shoddy and poor work will not be tolerated. This is an example of such a…

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The idea that a company or investment firm will provide a cash offer for your home is instinctively positive, what’s not to like? To be clear, this is called a “direct sale” as the home isn’t offered for sale in traditional ways. Usually a buyer contacts a seller directly (often initiated by the seller) with an offer and terms of sale. Executed correctly, an off market or direct sale cash transaction can be completed very quickly; about as long as it takes to clear title and get the closing docs prepared. The wild card of course, is having an idea of what the home might be worth on the open market.

A “cash offer for your home” isn’t new. Over the last few decades, the greater Atlanta area became and remains one of the top markets for these…

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Should you consider a backup offer? Are backup offers good options for home buyers and sellers? In highly competitive housing markets with desperate buyers and multiple offers, it might seem pointless to write a backup offer, but why not? Buyers and sellers have different considerations, but backup offers can be good options for each. In the end, a back up offer doesn't cost a buyer anything and it can provide the seller with a nice fall back should the primary offer fall apart.

What is a Backup Offer?

Simply put, a backup offer is an accepted offer that immediately becomes primary in the event the current accepted offer fails. Buyer and seller negotiate on terms and conditions just as they normally would. If they reach agreement, a backup offer…

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What happens if/when a home seller lies on the seller’s disclosure? That’s a question no one wants to ask but on occasion, one that has to be explored. Georgia is a “buyer beware” state; home buyers are expected to complete all research during the due diligence period. That is the "option period" for the buyer, the time to do whatever research they deem important. Home sellers are legally obligated to disclose all known hidden defects. This is required even if buyers waive due diligence and inspections. Sellers are still obligated to be truthful.

There are more issues related to the seller's disclosure than any other part of the home selling process. It's not always drama; sometimes/many times it's simply the need for clarity. Something is/isn't…

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The best real estate agent is one that is comfortable with the word "no". The best buyer is prepared, focused and also very comfortable with the word "no". In strong, competitive seller's markets, "no" is a critical buyer asset. Unfortunately, a good 75% of the insanely bloated agent population is unskilled, indifferent or reluctant to push a buyer away from a home. Many don't want to be "the bad guy" and defer that role to others. They hope the inspector, appraiser or others take the hit. Buyers that work with subpar agents like this or slip into "heart over head" decision making, may find that buyer's remorse is a real thing in this market.

Below are a few videos that showcase potential disasters waiting for unsuspecting buyers and their unskilled…

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Buyers that allow sellers to rent back and remain in a home after closing often enjoy a significant advantage over the competition. But few buyers (or agents) fully understand what’s involved should home buyers allow sellers to rent back. This is not a decision to be taken lightly; if/when things go wrong the ramifications can be serious, especially to the buyer/now landlord. There are a number of legal and tax concerns that most fail to think about when in the heat of competition. A few obvious things to consider if a buyer is allowing a seller post closing occupancy – and this list is far from comprehensive.

Are Rent Backs Allowed?
Is a rent back noted in the contract? Is a copy given to the lender or is this done with a wink-wink? What will the…

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Home prices continue to push higher than any time in history; yet real estate appraisals continue to be a problem. Low appraisals despite record appreciation? How is this possible with next to no low inventory, ravenous buyers and bidding wars? As it was just over a decade ago, the disconnect between appraisers, agents and the public remains. This time the economic conditions are different and the public has more exposure to data but the appraisal process remains a mystery.

The Role of the Appraiser

The appraiser represents the buyer’s lender; they do not work for the buyer, the seller or any agent. Their job is to ensure that if the lender has to foreclose on the property, the amount they lent to the buyer can be recovered. Appraisers follow…

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