Tag Archives: Homeowners

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

The Rise in Home Prices– A Great Opportunity for All


If you’re a current homeowner in Atlanta thinking of selling your home, you’re in luck as existing home sales have risen to 4.2% since 2009. The future of real estate has been proven to be profitable with these promising numbers, as residential homes have risen in terms of investment. This is an incredible opportunity for those buying a home as well! Your dream home awaits you in the Greater Atlanta Area with spectacular city views and spacious living for you and your family.

Home prices have risen up to 15.4% in the past year, which is great for the economy and those who are looking to sell. As of May 2013, the national median for existing home prices is at a staggering $208,000. Metro Atlanta has seen a significant rise in home prices and they are now at their highest in 7 years. The sudden rise is as a result of fewer people selling their home and more waiting for the best time to increase their return on investment.

Compared to previous years, real estate numbers have undeniably risen and realtors across Atlanta are confident that existing and future homebuyers will benefit from these figures. Part of the reason behind home prices rising is the limited supply of foreclosures. The lack of competition has given sellers the ability to raise the price of their homes. The rise in home prices also gives current homeowners who are looking to reduce their debt a good opportunity to sell. It also boosts the economy by increasing the construction of homes and kick starting employment rates.

For the house hunters looking for a deal, now is your chance to buy a foreclosure or home at an affordable price as they have decreased from 25% originally to 18% in May. From a realtor’s perspective, purchasing a foreclosure is a great investment opportunity at a fraction of the cost. It is a win-win situation as the bank avoids the costs of having to foreclose, the owner avoids foreclosure on their record and you get a bargain price for investing in this property.

Although the rise in home prices is considered a catch 22, the near future is the best chance to purchase or sell a home. If you’re a homebuyer looking for the perfect home, now is the time to contact your realtor to inquire about the opportunities surrounding you. For the home sellers, you have the ability to wait for the value of your house to rise or you can sell it now if you’re struggling to pay the bills. Take full advantage of the foreclosures that are offered around your community, as those tend to be the best return on your investment!


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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!

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Homeowners Should Consider Short Sales (Pre-foreclosure) When Possible

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Filed under Information for Sellers, Real Estate, Video Real Estate Series: Atlanta home buyers and sellers

Turn My Home into a Billboard for Free Mortgage!

Yes, you heard it right. As home owners look for ways to creatively keep their mortgage payments current, Adzookie has found a way to compensate homeowners.

atlanta ga free mortgage

Of course, this might not go over too well if your Homeowner’s Association has qualms about seeing a huge advertisement painted across your home. But this mobile advertising company has found a creative way to get their message out– by painting people’s houses. The deal is that your house has to be painted for a minimum of 3 months. But with a $100,000 budget, Adzookie’s dollar will only go so far and might only cover a portion of the mortgage unless yours is really cheap. More than 300 home owners have already applied for the program. The application process is short and sweet; you just enter your contact information and write a few sentences on why they should paint your home.

So there it is. Even in a bad economy there are ways to avoid foreclosure or just rack up the dough while your house note is paid. At the very least, this is a big attention-getter and is sure to garner a lot of media coverage.

Would you let a company paint and ad on your house for money?

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5 Tips on Saving Money in Your Home

So the economy has taken a downturn and in some way it affects each of us.  We have been watching some of our basic bills like our gas, electric, and water bills go up.  Maybe you recently purchased your first home, so you’re not sure if you feel the crunch.  But if you’ve been in your home for a few years you might notice these subtle differences.

How can you stay plugged in and know when to ‘Just Say No’ as these prices rise and have an effect on your pocket?  Here are some simple tips to help you cut down on those escalating bills.

1. Change the payment date on utility bills.

If you’re having trouble keeping your head above the water, find out if you can adjust the dates on some of your utility bill due dates according to when you get paid.  Many companies are willing to work with you on this.  You could also consider changing over to budget billing if that’s something you haven’t done in the past. Budget billing takes an average of your highest and lowest bills and you get charged the average each month.  Or, if you have a gas bill, see about getting a 6 or 12 month fixed rate.  This is often cheaper in the long run than dealing with changing variable rates.

2. Check your Homeowner’s Insurance Policy.

If you’ve been living in your home for more than 5 years, depending on where you live, there may have been a slight decline in home values in your neighborhood.  Get a comparative market analysis to find out your home’s current value.  Then, call your Homeowner’s Insurance provider.  Find out if they are assessing your home’s rebuild value for more than it’s worth. If that’s the case, you may be able to reduce the annual fee on your homeowner’s insurance policy.

3. Pay close attention to your annual Property Taxes.

This can be a tricky one. When you receive your Property Tax Bill, take a close look at the Appraised value of your home.  This may be another situation where your home is being overvalued resulting in higher taxes for you to pay.  This can be disputed, but most counties only offer a short period for dispute.  If you don’t know your home’s current value (as deemed by your county), most counties offer Property Tax estimates on their websites.  A good tip for disputing your county’s property tax assessment is to get a comparative market analysis for homes in your area.

4. Purchase energy efficient appliances and accessories.

Lightbulbs, small home appliances can be save costs on monthly bills too.  Halogen lightbulbs could cost a little bit more at the grocery store, but don’t need replacing as often and are more energy efficient than the bulbs we all grew up using.  Also, if you are starting to make upgrades to major appliances such as dishwashers and refrigerators, then make sure your new appliances have the energy star seal.  Ask the salesman how efficient

5. Change your air filters every 3-4 months.

Yes, during the summer months you want to make sure the air filter in your HVAC is changed on a regular basis.  This is very important because as this filter and air ducts become dirty, it weighs on your HVAC’s efficiency and you end up paying for it. Make sure you check on this regularly to avoid unnecessary, additional costs.

So there are a few tips to help you out. Are there any other ways you’re saving on your bills? Share your tips with us.

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