Tips & real world advice to avoid disaster 

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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If a buyer or seller defaults of a real estate contract, can you sue? The answer is of course, it depends. The typical Georgia purchase and sale agreement has a number of standard contingencies; buyer financing and inspection the more obvious. There are also any number of specific contingencies that might be written into an agreement. But what happens if after everything is completed, the buyer or seller just doesn't want to close? In Georgia options are very limited, other states may be different but here the reflex answer of "we'll sue" doesn't broadly apply. buyer defaults on real estate contract

If a Buyer Defaults on a Real Estate Contract

There are many possible reasons that a buyer might not close, contracts can contain different clauses and stipulations. Properly written…

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Here's a link the Atlanta Area Housing Market Report for the 4th Qtr 2020. Data is included for over 30 markets in and around Atlanta; from Blue Ridge to South Atlanta. We examine both attached and detached homes and look at homes under and over one million dollars. A quick, visually pleasing way to know what's going on.

Remember, we have appraisal assets and access to much more and much better data than agents do. We also aren't hesitant to couch the the data; every client sees and understands the data exactly as we do. Good or bad, the data is what it is and decisions are based on it.

Hit the image below to see the latest report. If that image doesn't work, CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST ATLANTA AREA HOUSING REPORT.

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Here's how to file for the homestead tax exemption in GA. An easy way to reduce property taxes in Georgia is to file for the homestead exemption. 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 easy and 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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Some home buyers find themselves facing an interesting quandary; is a new home better than an existing home? Lately, many buyers just want to move into a home and live; they're either not interested in or able to update. It's hard to beat new for this segment. Others will consider homes in need of updates; existing homes tend to be more flexible on price and easier to negotiate. For those buyers, opportunity may be found. Many variables impact the final decision; however there are clearly identifiable differences that home buyers should consider. Both new and existing homes have advantages and disadvantages, the best educated buyers will examine both options.

new home or old home

New Homes are Better Than Existing Homes

What’s not to like with a new home? Most…

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