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Archive for January, 2009

Buying an Atlanta Home – who do you call?

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

This morning, I met a nice man in an elevator. Because I had my name tag on, he asked me about the Atlanta home market.

Are you in a quandary about who to call or where to turn? Look around you: there are many Realtors, wearing name badges, who would love to help you. I recommend that you use a Realtor, and not just an agent. There is a big difference in the two (of course, you should know that I would be happy to tell you what that difference is!).

But getting back to my elevator meeting: this nice man is thinking of buying a home for his family and wanted information. We made a connection and we may work together to find a home for his family. I doubt that when he went to work today, he said “I’m going to start to live the American dream”. But, through our chance meeting, I may have the opportunity to help this family find their Atlanta home! And it all started, by his asking me about the Atlanta home market!

May we help you find your dream home? Call us – we’d love to help you Experience True Experience!


Dunwoody – Banning Bottles from Parks?

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

This week, Dunwoody’s City Council adopted rules prohibiting glass bottles, including wine bottles, from Dunwoody’s city parks.

The Dunwoody City Council also adopted an ordinance that allows the city of Dunwoody to issue permits to non-profit groups that allow alcohol at their events at Dunwoody city parks and centers. The $25 per-event, or $100 annual permit, was designed for those people who attend an outdoor concert and want to bring in wine for their picnic. But the companion resolution drew fire for the guidelines (no glass bottles) and a lack of restrictions about where in the park the alcohol could be consumed.

Fear not, Dunwoody Yuppies and devotees to Two-Buck-Chuck: changes to these rules could be made as early as January 26, when Dunwoody’s City Council meets again!

Are you looking to buy or sell a Dunwoody home? Call us and Experience True Experience! 

Stabilizing the Atlanta Home Market

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

Are you looking for a deal on a new home? It seems that the prevailing question that Atlanta home buyers and investors are looking for have a common theme: Is the home I want to buy a good deal?

Motivated home sales, defined as those sales made by homeowners in default or close to defalut, or those properties offered through financial institutions or foreclosure firms, have pushed prices down in many parts of the country. Motivated sellers are what is driving the market.  Banks who have REO property are considered motivated sellers. These are people that are willing to sell the home, not those who are simply listing the home, to see what happens or who still expect Atlanta’s 2004-2006 prices. A falling discounted market doesn’t mean a price recovery is around the corner, but it does suggest a stabilizing market. Simply put, could we be close to, or at, the bottom of the Atlanta home pricing floor?


On January 12, 2009,  Forbes listed Atlanta as #10 on their 2009  list of Top Ten Smart Markets to Purchase a Home. Forbes identified the 10 markets with the largest percentage of motivated home sales. While motivated sellers may hurt Atlanta home prices in the short run, the flurry of activity is helping burn off inventory and is bringing the Atlanta home market closer to stability.

Markets where motivated sellers are, will dominate. That kind of market will drive prices to the point that Atlanta home buyers will know they are getting a fair deal and where Atlanta home sellers have the potential to make a profit. Perhaps not the 10-12% yearly increase that we saw before the real estate bubble burst, but a solid 3-4% increase. Throw in the build-up of home equity and the benefit of the tax credit, and one can understand how motivated home sellers can help put a floor under Atlanta home prices by enticing home buyers with rock bottom prices. After all, everyone has to live somewhere.

 Read more in my REO-related blogs, posted in November and December. Or, for help in finding or selling your Atlanta home, please call us. Experience True Experience!

Atlanta Homes: Yes, there are good and stable homebuilders out there!

Friday, January 16th, 2009

Today, we were fortunate to meet an Atlanta home builder who is doing well in today’s new home market. Am I pulling your leg about this? Nope, I’m not!

Let’s call him “Bob the Builder”. Bob has come up with a good working formula: give Atlanta home buyers a great home product in a fabulous location and then price the homes correctly. Bob’s homes are designed for Atlantans’ lifestyles and high standards, all of his floor plans have a minimum of 4 bedrooms and most of the new homes are in the low- to mid-$200’s. Quality, new homes in Atlanta, priced like this, are bargains!

What surprised us at our meeting today, is that “Bob the Builder” is a nice guy! He tries to meet his prospective buyers, before they write a contract. He wants them to feel comfortable with their decision. This thoughtfulness is rare in Atlanta’s home buying process. Many of Atlanta’s home builders send a site superintendant to meet with buyers. Rarely, does the president of a home-building company meet with a buyer and talk them through this large decision. I think, however, that it is Bob’s thoroughness that has made him successful. In 2008, Bob closed 51 new-homes. And he’s started off 2009 with a bang: closing 2 new Atlanta homes in the first two weeks of the year! In this economic climate, these numbers are amazing.

If you’re interested in seeing Bob’s amazing new Atlanta homes, call or e-mail Nancy or Joy. We’d love to introduce you to “Bob the Builder”!

Atlanta Homes for Sale: The Power of a Back-up Contract

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

We represent a Georgia bank, listing their Atlanta REO (foreclosed) properties. The good deals go quickly and we often have to tell prospective buyers that their dream home is being bought by someone else. We try to get these buyers, who came late to the party, to write a back-up contract. Unfortunately, many buyers do not want to do this.

On an Atlanta home for sale, a back-up contract means that if the primary contract is terminated, the holder of  the secondary contract “moves up” in line and becomes the primary contract. What does one lose by writing a back-up contract? Not much, except a little bit of time. If the primary contract does close, the secondary contract-holder hasn’t lost anything. The earnest money will be returned and the prospective buyer moves on to his/her next choice.

Tonight, one of our deals fell through, but the second, prospective Atlanta home buyer was not in place to scoop up a great deal. It’s a shame, because now there are 2 other prospects that we will also call. And one of them may get the house, rather than the original prospect. Why not write a back-up contract? 

If you are looking for a good Realtor to help you find or sell your dream home, call us. Experience True Experience!



















Atlanta Homes Priced to Sell

Friday, January 9th, 2009



 A properly priced home is 80% “Sold”. Priced correctly, your home will sell quickly. Never, never, never select an agent, based on price!

The percentage of transactions in which the Seller was required to reduce the listing price in order to attract a Buyer, increased substantially in 2008, reaching a new high of 51% of all transactions! Your Realtor should present his/her marketing plan to you and, together, you can agree on a realistic listing price. Remember that Realtors have no control over the market; they control only their marketing plans and the implementation of those plans.

Some common statements that I hear from Sellers are:

  • We can always come down”. In the last portion of 2008, statistics showed that 83% of listed homes were “failed” listings and had to be either reduced to sell or the listings expired,  never selling.
  • Couldn’t we try it at a higher price, for a few weeks?” The majority of activity occurs in the first 2-3 weeks on the market. By using this tactic, you are overpricing the home during the period when the best potential buyers show up, then lowering it, after they’re gone. Price it right for its first exposure to the market.
  • “We have so many improvements and upgrades in our home.” Improvements and upgrades are made for enjoyment, not for resale. Would you have installed these upgrades if you knew that you were going to sell your home immediately? Probably not. So why would you think that the upgrades are of value to someone else?
  •  “But we paid $ ___  for it.” What you paid for something, has nothing to do with its value. If you inherited your home through an estate and paid nothing for it, would you still sell it for $-0-?
  •  “They can always make an offer.” If your home is over-priced for your neighborhood, prospective buyers will not see it. Most buyers look up to their price range, peek over it a bit, then focus on their price range. By overpricing, you put your home into a price range that they won’t look.

Sellers are not unusual in that they want as much money as they can get for their homes. A good Realtor owes it to them to get as much as the market will pay. And that Realtor will take the listing only if it is realistically priced and presented!

If you are looking for a good Realtor, call us. We can help. Experience True Experience!


The Town Turtles of Sandy Springs

Friday, January 9th, 2009

Have you ever wondered why the City of Sandy Springs has such quirky turtle sculptures in its shopping malls, business parks, pocket parks, schools, and restaurants? There are 75 painted, life-sized fiberglass turtles, donated by individuals and groups, that have made their homes throughout Sandy Springs.

The Sandy Springs Society  presented the Town Turtles of Sandy Springs as a fundraising and public art event in 2005 . The purpose was to enable artists, sponsors, businesses and social groups to work together to enrich the community, by contributing not only to its needs but also by promoting the arts and community spirit. All proceeds were distributed to a variety of Sandy Springs charities.

If you want to buy or sell a Sandy Springs home, call us. Experience True Experience!

Download a copy of  Town Turtles and their locations:     Turtles!



Atlanta’s Foreclosures and Short Sales

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

When you buy a foreclosed (bank owned)  or short-sale home, congratulations, you’ve probably gotten a great deal. However, just because the seller cut you a deal, there are two things that you should remember:

  •  The county still wants their taxes. It will collect its taxes at the old, higher appraised value – not at your purchase price.
  •  Don’t under-insure your home. Talk with your insurance agent about what kind of insurance you and your new home needs.

If you’d like help buying or selling a foreclosed or short-sale home, call us. Experience True Experience!

Getting Started: Tips for Atlanta Home Owners

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

1.     Look for statements from your mortgage company showing interest, property taxes, PMI and hazard
insurance paid for last year. You’ll need this information for your tax return;

2.     Check your county tax website to confirm that all taxes have been paid (watch for additional bills
or appeal resolutions);

 3.     If you bought or sold last year, check to confirm that your deed was recorded
(December closings may not be recorded and indexed until February);

 4.     File for homestead exemption if you bought last year and occupy a new residence . You may need to refile
if you signed any new deeds or received any new deeds as part of a divorce or refinance;

 5.     Check your credit to confirm that paid-off mortgages and other loans are shown properly;

 6.     If you sold property in a short sale or lost property in a foreclosure, be prepared for 1099 income
forms that will come from the old lenders – debt forgiveness may be taxable;

 7.     Gather all mortgage info for your tax preparer:  any closing statements from sales or refinances, property
tax statements, and mortgage interest statements.

Buckhead’s Duck Pond

Saturday, January 3rd, 2009

     In the middle of Buckhead, in the Peachtree Hills and Peachtree Heights neighborhoods, is an urban pond known as the “Duck Pond”. Coveted and exclusive homes surround the pond, which is the year-round home to, naturally, ducks. 

Over the warmer months, a flock of geese have adopted the area and made it their home. As of early January, it was not known whether the geese are planning to hang around for Atlanta’s warm winter temperatures, or if they will head south for the remainder of the winter.

Somehow, “The Goose Pond” doesn’t sound the same as “The Duck Pond”.

If you are interested in buying or selling a home near Buckhead’s Duck Pond, call us. Experience True Experience!