Tips & real world advice to avoid disaster 

Take a couple of minutes and save several hundred or more dollars. It's never been easier to file for the Georgia Homestead Tax Exemption. Georgia homeowners are eligible for this exemption if the home was purchased in 2022, occupied on January 1st, 2023 and is their primary residence . 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 around the greater Atlanta area. Each hot link opens and the sites will provide details on what's needed and how to file for the homestead exemption in Georgia.

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As 2023 opens, the economic hangover due to the free spending and pandemic handouts continue. One of the craziest segments of fire a real estate agentthe last two years was real estate. Prices and inventory of course, but the massive influx of "hobby agents" over this period was a lesser covered negative result. The number of real estate agents soared to record highs, as did buyer remorse and complaints. It is likely that a frequent question in 2023 will be; can you fire a real estate agent in Georgia? YES, but the devil is in the details of the brokerage agreements.

Fire a Buyer’s Agent in GA

EVERYTHING hinges on the buyer brokerage agreement that was signed. These change annually, sometimes more frequently. Some agents add stipulations and conditions. Buyers MUST READ…

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The art of persuasion, it’s a beautiful thing. Books have been written about it, master classes offered and expressions like “he could sell ice to an Eskimo” coined. Home buyers and home sellers dabble in the “persuasion” arena during the purchase process as they roll through the deal. The typical real estate agent doesn't dabble, they will do whatever necessary to secure their commission. Someone certain to be on the radar of all is the appraiser; sometimes an ally, sometimes an enemy. More on Karen later...

Home Sellers & Appraisers

When an owner decides to list, their first move to solicit a real estate agent. Unfortunately, most sellers fail to properly vet an agent and many agents lack the ability/expertise/desire to speak candidly to…

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Fear sells. The speed at which surveillance devices became "the norm" after 9/11 is mind-boggling; from satellites to cell phones, cameras are rolling. Out shopping for a home, always assume that you are being recorded when you step onto that property. The idea that home surveillance devices are now essential is marketing gold, not to be fully ensconced in "protection" could easily result in your or your loved one's demise. The result? Continuous growth of home security systems, from Ring to full video/audio surveillance; inside and out. Homebuyers are being recorded and there's no obligation for anyone to disclose that.

Smile for the Camera

Under federal and Georgia law, some types of surveillance are legal, and others are not. Whether the…

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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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