Category Archives: Information for Buyers

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?

 

3 Comments

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: homefinder.com

Photo Source: homefinder.com

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

Stressed Out About Buying a Home?

Image Source: ziprealty.com

Use these 8 tips to Minimize that Stress…

Buying a home is exciting. The process of buying a home can also be an emotional rollercoaster. It is one of the most intricate and involved transactions a person will ever complete in their lifetime. Preparation is the key ingredient to minimizing the stress that the complexity of a real estate transaction can bring. Use these 8 tips to help you avoid unnecessary stress.

Be a Smart Saver. When it comes to buying a house in Atlanta, saving money toward a down payment can give you more flexibility when it’s time to get a loan. You’ll want to do this long before you start your tour of homes.
Know Thy Credit. Knowing your credit score will give you an idea of how the mortgage company will view you as a borrower which affects your interest rate. Plus, finding out what’s exactly on your report will allow you to resolve any issues prior to applying for a mortgage loan. You can access your credit report once a year for free by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com.
Do Your Research. Learn everything you can about different loan types and any assistance available for buying a home in Atlanta and the metro areas. That way, you’ll have the knowledge to choose the right loan product for you. Remember, you want a loan that you can afford through the life of the loan.
Get Pre-Approved. Being pre-approved allows you to see how much house you can buy and makes your offer more attractive when your real estate agent submits an agreement to a seller. Be realistic about how much you can afford, and make sure you’re living within your means.
Determine What You Really Want. Know what are your negotiables and non-negotiables. This will help keep your real estate agent sane and will save you a lot of time in the long run. Stick to this list, and stay focused on it so you can quickly make decisions on what properties to view.
Have a Professional Real Estate Agent. When buying a home in Atlanta, the Go Getter Team is your professional assistance! There are so many details, laws, rules and regulations around a real estate transaction. It is a lot easier to go through the process when you have professional real estate agents on your side to be your guide and resource.
Understand the Offer. The price you’re willing to pay is only the beginning of an offer. Talk to real estate agents on the Go Getter Team about earnest money, due diligence periods, contingencies, closing time frames and other factors that may make your offer more attractive to the seller while protecting your interests.
Stay Tuned In…even after your offer is accepted. For varying reasons, not all transactions close. You want to be sure you follow our advice and stay on top of your deadlines and tasks so that you have the best chance of getting the keys to your new home in Atlanta!

As a part of the Go Getter Team, our real estate agents pride themselves on preparing Atlanta homebuyers for a successful transaction. We explain the entire process of buying a home and guide you all the way to closing and beyond. Buying a home is an exciting time in your life, and the Go Getter Team is here to be sure you enjoy the process!

If you’ve purchased a home in the past, what tips would you add to this list to minimize stress?

2 Comments

Filed under Information for Buyers

Rent to Own a Home

You may be renting a home right now and thinking that you would like to own your own home someday. Many people choose homeownership for the permanency and security it provides for themselves and their loved ones. Homeownership offers the owner a number of personal and financial benefits like having pride in owning a home and income tax breaks. Besides, homeownership is often times a sound investment. For whatever reason, some people continue to rent despite the advantages of owning a home. Maybe they don’t have enough money for a down payment, or maybe they don’t qualify for a mortgage at the moment. Maybe they don’t understand homeownership and the idea intimidates them, or maybe they just haven’t decided to make the commitment. Well, did you know that you can rent to own a home? If any of the “maybe’s” above sound like you, then a rent-to-own home may be a good choice for you.

When a homeowner lists their property as a rent-to-own property and accepts an offer from a prospective tenant, they enter an agreement. In this agreement, the homeowner, who is now the landlord, and the tenant agree on leasing terms which include and are not limited to the duration of the lease and monthly payments. At this time, the homeowner takes the property off the market and the tenant pays an option consideration as compensation. The tenant has the option to purchase the property anytime during the lease or at the end of the lease depending on the agreement. The homeowner may also include the purchase price or pricing conditions in the agreement.

While you’re renting to own your property, you have time to build your credit score so that you may qualify for a mortgage loan. Per the agreement, a portion of the rent paid may be allocated to the purchase price of the home. Unlike renting without the option to purchase, your rent money can become investment money. Nevertheless, you could lose your investment if you cannot secure a mortgage loan or neglect to fulfill the terms of the agreement.

In the real estate industry, this rent-to-own option is referred to as a lease purchase and sometimes a lease option. There are subtle differences between the two, so be sure that you fully understand the type of property you’re considering and the terms of the agreement. Remember that this is your investment, so feel free to negotiate!

Leave a comment

Filed under Information for Buyers, Information for Investors

Here’s a tip for selling a home:

Get a Home Inspection

When you are looking to sell a home, one of the main things that you may want to consider is having a home inspection done. Though not one of the first thoughts on a seller’s mind, getting an independent home inspector to conduct a full inspection of your home will give you a head start on identifying issues with your home that may be found during a typical home sell. You may only have a few days to decide whether to make the repairs or adjust the asking price suitably when negotiating with the buyer. A pre-inspection can make you better prepared; you’ll be better prepared to brainstorm solutions that will satisfy you and the buyer. Plus, a re-inspection gives you more time to compare prices and treatment options from a variety of contractors.

 

By getting an inspection early, you’ll know what concerns and requests a buyer might have in advance. That allows you to set your asking price accordingly. Getting your home pre-inspected could help you avoid wasting money on unnecessary repairs. It could also help you avoid doing double-duty since the inspector can pinpoint problems and tell you exactly where the work is needed. When you are sure of the problems or repairs done on the house that you are selling, having someone look at the house professionally can help you identify things that you may have missed, and you are able to have a more profound look on what your potential buyer wants to see. The best part of it all is that you are saving money in the long run.

1 Comment

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

Real Estate Glossary:

Maturity– The date on which the principal balance or amount of a financial/debt instrument becomes due to be paid and payable. Examples of financial instruments that have a maturity date are:

-Loans

-Bonds

-Notes

-Acceptance bonds

-Drafts

The maturity date informs the investor/lender of how long interest payments will be received and at what date the principal is expected to be paid in full.

For homebuyers, when you take out a mortgage loan you’re responsible to pay your investor/lender an assured amount of money every month for an agreed period of time. After the full amount is paid back as promised, the loan matures and the interest payments discontinue. When the maturity date is reached, the principal is paid back in full and the debt is completely satisfied, your lender will no longer have a claim on your property that you now own.

Leave a comment

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