Tips & real world advice to avoid disaster 

Many homes in the greater Atlanta market built from the 80's to later 90's likely contain one or more components that owners or buyers should be very concerned with. Given the growth of the Atlanta area during that period, estimates are between 40%-50% of homes are impacted. One of the single most troublesome things was "Louisiana Pacific (LP) Inner Seal" siding; offspring of Georgia Pacific (GP) which was created back in the 70's. This siding is made from chips of wood glued together to make a building material commonly called OSB "oriented strand board". OSB is widely used as a substitute for plywood, mainly due to cost. Louisiana-Pacific used this OSB material, formed it into siding panels and lap siding and embossed it with a covering pattern that…

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Atlanta home buyers and sellers know the chess game that the '20-'21 real estate market has been and continues to be. The shortage of housing inventory around the greater Atlanta market is well known; there's no cavalry on the horizon. Buyers are bruised and beaten, just about all having lost more than once during multiple offer situations. The idea of offers over list moved from "only if we need to" to "how much over". Sellers should be loving it, but there's one catch; appraisals. If the appraisal comes in low, that big seller payday may not materialize. Sellers have to nail that back door shut and keep buyers from playing games.

Under List? Surely You Jest

Let's all acknowledge that the greater Atlanta real estate market (2021) is about as strong…

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Finding and buying a home, especially during record low inventory and a pandemic, isn't always enjoyable. Neither is selling one. Knowing how to avoid contract disasters when buying or selling a home can not only preserve ones' sanity but preserve the wallet as well. Buyers and sellers are their own best assets here; an understanding of the process, the documents and the involved players are key to success. Perhaps the important players are the respective agents; skilled agents avoid or get most potential issues addressed early in the process. Unfortunately, the influx of hobby agents during the pandemic and the growth of “minimal service” and "rebate" brokerages, do not. Add to the mix that Georgia is a buyer beware state, the seller is expected to be…

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It's Spring of '21 and there's no relief in sight for the shortage of housing inventory around the greater Atlanta area. The usual first quarter bump was virtually non-existent for 2021, instead the deserted landscape continues to have buyers frustrated and sellers delighted. We continue to look at year over year (by month) key indicators for 16 major markets around north Atlanta. We've examined them in terms of the number of homes for sale and also tracked steadily increasing home prices, (both pages continuously updated). Below we look at the current data in terms of "months of inventory". Months of inventory reflects an estimate of the amount of time it would take to sell all of the current listings in a given area if no new listings became available.…

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Appraisers are an easy target, but the real estate sales industry is a huge contributor to appraisal problems. Appraisers are downstream from the sales process; working with the data produced while writing reports that must conform to underwriting requirements. Appraisers use what data is available, they have no control over any of it. That data stream is controlled by the real estate industry and the multiple listing service. The economy  the volume of sales, agents influence the quality of information in the multiple listing service; which is the primary information source for appraisers. 

Why Are There So Many Real Estate Agents?

How can there be more agents than homes for sale? Consider this…

number of real estate agents

Then consider that not all agents are members…

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Escalation clauses should be avoided by both buyers and sellers. In tight real estate markets, buyers want to have their offer selected and sellers want to maximize sale price. Having the offer price automatically “escalate” seems like a winner for both parties, but there is no chicken dinner and many say only chicken...

What is an Escalation Clause?

An escalation clause is a stipulation inserted into a buyer’s offer to ensure it remains competitive. It's typically considered in highly competitive, multiple offer situations. It is not a guarantee; with or without an escalation clause, a seller is free to accept the offer they consider best. Sellers can (as many do) instruct the listing agent to notify buyers that escalation clauses will not be…

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In the very competitive Atlanta area market, some buyers are resorting to whatever means necessary to get homes under contract. The most frequent move is to simply try and outbid the competition; appeal to the seller’s bottom line and justify over paying by talking about the low rates and tight market. Others are getting creative with contracts, waiving certain contingencies and trying to appeal to sellers in other ways. The due diligence period, the most important safety net the home buyer has, is being modified and in some cases, eliminated. This is especially risky and many buyers don’t fully understand the pit falls they are exposed to. Below are three due diligence contract mistakes that can wreck home buyers. For additional clarity and…

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We all make mistakes; the challenge is to keep them from being catastrophic. Rushing to buy a home and not doing proper due diligence…that can be both emotionally and financially crippling. Home buyer remorse is a major issue, 44% of buyers overall and 63% of millennials regret their purchase. Despite the grip of the pandemic (Feb 2021); records were inexplicably shattered in both the real estate and the stock market during 2020. Real estate heads into 2021 with historic shortages and mortgage rates too good to pass up. It’s easy to see why the impulse to buy is there, it’s also easy to see how not being very careful can lead to buyer’s remorse. It doesn’t need to end wearing a bag soaked in tears.

The Agent Problem

There are too many agents, over 2…

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Poor control of water around a home is the hands down leading cause of problems. Water directly contributes to erosion, rot, foundation and driveway issues; if left unchecked, the structure will fail. This is an issue that's commonly seen around residential homes, building inspectors consistently note it in the form of clogged gutters, downspouts that empty next to the home and "reverse slopes" where water drains toward the home. Routine maintenance but not so routine given the regularity with which issues are seen.

This first video is an excellent example of how water wears away and compromises a driveway. Concrete gets hard and cracks, that's a given. Here, we see the prolonged damage that water did and the resulting settling and deflection. It…

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The greater Atlanta area is one of the most popular destinations for folks relocating, and that's not good for local home buyers. Just behind Nashville, buyers headed into the metro Atlanta market significantly out spend local buyers by a staggering average of 33%. This is higher in many of the area's most desirable markets and communities. The "400 Corridor" which includes Sandy Springs, Roswell, Milton, Alpharetta and Cumming is home to multiple major corporations and small businesses, growth has been explosive over the last several years. Relocating employees often work with the security of "buyouts" when they leave; they know they can push prices and be covered when it's time to sell. Others moving from more expensive markets look at prices here and…

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