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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Information for Buyers

Winning in Atlanta’s Low-Inventory Housing Market

Photo Source:

Photo Source:

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.




Leave a comment

Filed under Information for Buyers

Take Advantage of Atlanta’s Low-Inventory Housing Market and Sell Now

Real Estate Agent, Chris Williams of the Go Getter Team explains why now is a great time to sell your home in the current Atlanta housing market.  Supply is low and demand to buy a home in Atlanta these days is high.  We know that good old economic law of supply and demand.  With Atlanta’s housing inventory down by 30% from last year,  sellers definitely have an advantage in the Atlanta real estate market.  Listen to what Chris has to say about taking advantage of the opportunity and see why you should consider selling your home in the Atlanta real estate market now.

Tell us what would motivate you to sell your home in Atlanta.

Leave a comment

Filed under Information for Sellers

Government Shutdown May Slow Your Atlanta Real Estate Market

We don’t really know if the recent government shutdown will destroy the economic momentum we’ve gained, but we do know the furlough of some 800,000 government employees will undoubtedly slow things down. Another thing we know is that the longer this thing goes on, the worse the effects will be. Some employees of the Pentagon were recalled for work beginning on Monday, and the House passed a bill to approve back pay for furloughed employees. That’s good news for those employees, but what about the millions of Americans who need and/or depend on their services. What about the work that’s not getting done while they are at home?

Imagine being a homebuyer in the middle of a real estate deal and the federal government shuts down. You need your tax transcripts to get your mortgage loan approved and the only department that has the keys to what you need is on furlough.

The approval of most mortgage loans, at least 99% of mortgage loans, require tax transcripts. Homebuyers and Real Estate Agents who are in this predicament will surely see a stall in their real estate transaction. In some cases, deals could potentially fall apart because of the inability for homebuyers to get what they need from the government. Plus, these delays could cause some pre-approvals to expire and force homebuyers to purchase at a higher interest rate if interest rates continue to rise. Because interest rates are a major factor in how much house a homebuyer can buy, sellers and real estate agents are affected as well.

Even if you are a homebuyer who was lucky enough to have gotten your transcripts and your pre-approval to buy a home, you could still have some issues if you applied for a mortgage loan from the Federal Housing Administration. FHA mortgage loans aren’t federally funded, but they are guaranteed by the federal government. Some lenders may not be willing to lend without a guarantee already in place. If you happen to be in this situation, go with a larger institution that is in a better position to fund the loan even in the absence of a guarantee. Otherwise, you’ll risk having your loan on hold and your real estate deal falling apart.

In Atlanta, there is already a shortage of real estate on the market relative to the number of Atlanta homebuyers who are looking to buy a home right now. Many of the houses on the Atlanta real estate market are foreclosures and HUD homes, and the Department of Housing and Urban development is working on a skeleton crew during the furlough with 337 out of 8,709 employees on the job. There’s a possibility, but seemingly a slim chance for new HUD homes to come on the market for a while. If this will be the case, Atlanta homebuyers will see even slimmer pickings for housing in the current Atlanta real estate market.

The American people as a whole immediately felt the effects of the shutdown. The gravity of the effects, however, will be determined by the length of the furloughs. The longer the furlough, the dimmer the bright spot of the housing market recovery. We’re all here in the same boat, waiting to see what happens.

In what ways have you felt the effects of the recent government shutdown?

Leave a comment

Filed under Real Estate

Is Grant Park Being Reborn?

Image Source:

Image Source:

Grant Park is one of the most historic areas around Atlanta. The park has been called the “crown jewel” of Atlanta’s park system and is the city’s oldest green space of over 120 years! It’s home to Zoo Atlanta, a Civil War Museum and Atlanta’s Cyclorama with pubs, restaurants and the Oakland Cemetery nearby. There’s an avid bicyclist community, and it’s definitely a walkable community. It just needs more places for people to walk to. Hint, Hint…there’s more opportunity in Atlanta for real estate development.

It’s been a long time coming, and it looks like the Atlanta real estate market rebound has finally gotten real estate developers pouncing on opportune spots like the Grant Park area to build. The latest scoop on the Grant Park area is the plan for a $10 Million Mixed-Use project.  The Atlanta real estate market is definitely seeing its share of these. The developers are looking to bring a five-story project to the area between Harden and Hill Streets. The building will be comprised of 94 apartment units and there will be space for retail and restaurants. This area of Atlanta has a lot of cute little coffee shops and eateries, and the retail space that’s planned to be included will definitely increase the number of things to do in the area. If all goes as planned, which we know how that usually goes, the development could be all done by July 2014.

And there’s more. Only, this development remains a mystery. What we know right now is that 341 Memorial Drive was acquired by Westside Revitalization Acquisition. From the Atlanta Business Chronicle, word is is that they plan to build a local grocery and restaurant on the site. If so, that’s major news for this improving side of Atlanta. There’s been tons of digging, and for right now, this is what we’ve come up with.

Comment and tell us what’s your favorite part about the Grant park area.


Leave a comment

Filed under New Developments

What’s Happening Now Atlanta

So much development is going on in Atlanta; there are scaffolds, cranes and mounds of dirt being turned at almost every corner.  It may be a complete eyesore as you make your way through the city, but it’s surely exciting to see Atlanta growing and developing into a bustling metropolitan area.  I’ll take a moment to highlight what seem to be the most discussed happenings around Atlanta that will definitely affect and/or be affected by the real estate market.

Photo Source: Fox News

Photo Source: Fox News

Midtown Apartment Project –  Development of another mix-use project is planned to start in the first half of 2014.   According to Curbed Atlanta contributor Tyler Estep, the proposed 350-unit apartment building near the Midtown MARTA station has been billed by its developers as “the first high-rise multifamily project in Midtown Atlanta to solely use natural gas for home heating, hot water and cooking.”  Even though the developers expect rental rates to continue to increase over the next 3-5 years, they are designing the units with condo-quality finishes so they can be easily converted if the Atlanta real estate market demands.  The $85 million dollar real estate project appears to include a 19-story tower with retail space the size of a city block and a parking garage stacked on top.

MARTA Expansion to the Northern Suburbs – There’s talk about extending MARTA transit service 11.9 miles north of the North Springs station in Dunwoody to Alpharetta.  A market overview report by Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc. shows tremendous growth in North Fulton since 2000.  The population has grown by 27% and housing units by 30%.  There are many questions and much conversation around this topic.  Is this growth sufficient enough to justify and to support this expansion?  How will this expansion affect the Atlanta real estate market? Should Midtown and Buckhead be worried that they’ll lose their high-end office space mojo to a transit-connected Alpharetta?  Will there be a flock of Fortune 500 companies to the area?  or Will the fears of a crime spike and a shady transit administrative group steal the thunder of the project before it even gets going?  A public meeting is scheduled for September 26.  Either way, it’s been noted that paying for the extension with public money is a far stretch.

Mixed-Use Howell Mill Residences – If you’ve been around Howell Mill lately, you may have noticed some serious change over the past few years.  The area has definitely become a new attraction to the west side of Atlanta, and developers are taking advantage of the opportunity.  Coming to the area soon is a five-story residential complex of 265 private residential units that have yet to be announced as condo or apartment units.  According to Josh Green of Curbed Atlanta, the architect describes the project as having “the timeless beauty of historic mill buildings with a contemporary twist.”  From the looks of it, the building could be the residential component of a much larger project.  It’ll include a dog spa, rooftop pool and two levels of parking that can’t be seen from nearby streets.

Atlanta is definitely maturing as a true live, work, play city. This type of growth and development will certainly have a noticeable impact on the Atlanta real estate market.

Tell us about any exciting developments you’ve heard about around the city of Atlanta!

Leave a comment

Filed under New Developments