Considering a Short Sale? Here’s what you need to know.


In Atlanta’s real estate market today, short sales and foreclosures make up about half of all real estate transactions. In fact, short sales represent a significant portion of real estate sales activity in Atlanta and are becoming increasingly more common than foreclosures. Though they require a bit more red tape than a normal real estate sale, short sales can benefit all parties if they are all willing to make some sort of compromise.

First, let me explain what is a short sale anyway. When a homeowner sells a home for less than the amount of money owed on the mortgage of that home, that sale is called a short sale. Sometimes, you might hear people refer to it as pre-foreclosure. In most cases, the homeowner has fallen behind on mortgage payments and cannot afford to continue making mortgage payments on the home. Instead of waiting until the lender decides to repossess the property, the homeowner will petition to sell the house for less than the amount owed on the mortgage. In some cases, the lender will even forgive the portion of the mortgage loan not covered by the selling price. Even though foreclosures and short sales negatively affect seller’s credit score, the damage incurred from a short sale can be mitigated if the seller can convince the lender to report the debt as “paid in full.”

For the lender, short selling a property is a lot less hassle and a lot less paperwork than taking on a foreclosed property. They are just as tired of foreclosures as the rest of the population. A short sale transaction benefits them in that they don’t have to deal with selling a property that has been vacant for a while and most likely needs repairs. The lenders are the shot callers in the short sale process and are the ones who set the selling price.

It’s unfortunate for the sellers and the lenders that these homes are selling at depressed price levels. For buyers, it’s a deal. Even though a real estate short sale can still take months to have a decision made by a lender, buyers still get a deal on a property that will most often require less work than a foreclosure.

If you’re in the market for a home in the Atlanta area and are considering a short sale, here is a list of things you want to consider before you jump in head first.

Understand what you’re getting yourself into. Short sales take a while to close and can involve extra effort on the buyer’s part. Save yourself time and unnecessary stress by getting disclosures up front.

This is not a DIY project. As I mentioned before, short sales come with a lot of red tape. It’s imperative to work with a real estate agent on the Go Getter Team who knows the territory and is able to navigate you to a successful close.

Know the condition of the property. In a rush to get rid of the property, sellers may not always be so forthcoming with unfavorable information about the condition of the property. It’s important to have the property professionally inspected before you commit. The Go Getter Team has a list of knowledgeable real estate inspectors on our Preferred Service Providers List.

Be sure the sale has a prayer of closing. Since lenders generally approve of short sales based on the seller’s financial situation, the sadder the story, the better. Most lenders require a letter of hardship, proof of income and assets, a comparative market analysis and a list of liens to consider approval of a short sale.

Be realistic. If you are in a hurry to purchase a home, do not consider a short sale. It’s definitely a waiting game. If you do decide to go for the short sale home purchase, make a reasonable offer that the lender will actually entertain. Lastly, be realistic about where closing costs are coming from. In these cases, cash is the greatest financing alternative for buying a short sale in Atlanta.

What are the short sale tips you’d like to share?



Filed under Information for Buyers, Information for Investors, Information for Sellers, Real Estate, Real Estate Glossary

Is Now Still a Good Time to Buy a Home?

Even though the supply is low and demand has increased, now still may be a good time to buy a home in Atlanta for most homebuyers. For one, interest rates are still relatively low. Though interest rates are not as low as they were six months ago, they are still pretty low compared to 5 years ago during the downturn of the housing market. Plus, you’ll still get tax advantages, the opportunity to build wealth and stable monthly payments.

Listen to Atlanta Real Estate Agent Chris “Willa” Williams of the Go Getter Team as he explains why now still may be a good time to buy a home in the Atlanta real estate market.

In the process of buying a home or thinking about buying a home? Share with us what you’ve experienced in the current real estate market.

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Winning in Atlanta’s Low-Inventory Housing Market

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It was bound to happen. The abundant market of Atlanta homes for sale has been depleted, leaving behind plenty of frustrated buyers who are finding their Atlanta home search more challenging these days.

To be quite frank, the Atlanta homebuyers who are searching for deals on finished homes right now in the Atlanta housing market caught on just a bit too late. People who were looking to capitalize in the Atlanta home market and who had greater buying power devoured most of the deals. Now, other Atlanta homebuyers are left with slim pickings.

The Atlanta housing market has definitely seen a huge difference in the level of inventory since last year this time, and Atlanta real estate agents are scrambling to find suitable homes for their buyers. As a matter of fact, finished housing inventory in Atlanta is down by a staggering 30%.

Now that the economy is on the rebound and Atlanta housing prices along with the interest rates have crept up, Atlanta homebuyers have to be intently motivated and focused when searching for a home. If you’re one of those people or know someone in that boat, take note on how to deal with Atlanta’s low-inventory housing market.

First, you need to know exactly what you want out of a home. The path to getting what you want always starts with knowing what you want. Make a list of must-haves, rank-them and use this as a tool in making the decision to move forward or to move on. At the same token, be realistic considering the inventory available today in the Atlanta housing market. Are your expectations realistic? Are you being too picky? Do you have to have that fireplace in your Master Suite? In no way should you buy something that you can’t live with, but don’t expect your dream home with this level of inventory in Atlanta.

Get creative and be willing to ask. You may not have thought about searching rental listings, but that may be a good idea. Ask if the owner would be willing to sell. Maybe the owner wasn’t able to sell in Atlanta in the past and resorted to leasing. This may be their opportunity to unload an asset and your opportunity to get the home you want. If you don’t ask, you won’t know.

Be prepared to move quickly when you find a winner. This means, having all of your finances in order. Money talks in offers and sellers will only entertain serious and qualified buyers. So by all means, make sure you are pre-approved, have earnest money and down-payment funds before you even look at houses in the Atlanta area. If you’re not ready and set to go, then you’re asking for the extra frustrations that will come along with being unprepared.

Lastly, don’t expect to get the deals that were on the Atlanta housing market a couple of years ago. If you remember anything at all from your economics class, you must remember that when supply is low and demand is high, suppliers have the advantage in pricing. Essentially, the days of slash and burn listings are long gone. That’s something for which we can all be grateful.

You must play to win, and the Go Getter Team will help you do just that in the Atlanta real estate market!

Share with us your home search experience if you’ve bought a home in the past or you are buying a home in Atlanta right now.




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