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Archive for November, 2010

Sandy Springs Phone Apps

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

Sandy Springs is launching a smart phone application to allow residents to submit photos of potholes, broken sidewalks, downed trees and other problems that need to be fixed by city workers.

The app, called CoSSpotter, is free and allows residents to photograph and report problems they feel the city should address. Once a problem is reported, a resident may monitor the city’s response through the city website or by using the application, the city said in a press release.

The application uses a smart phone’s global positioning system to provide the location of the problem, the city said.

The application launches Dec. 1. It will be made available through the city’s website at www.sandyspringsga.org/cosspotter.

Chamblee High to Receive Money

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

Chamblee Charter High School now has the funds to rebuild its aging facility, after the DeKalb County Board of Education agreed to use federal funding to replace it, rather than renovate it.

The board unanimously voted to accept $58 million in federal bonds to be sold and then added to the $11 million-plus, Chamblee High has already banked from an ongoing Special Local Option Sales Tax. The facility’s problems led the school to bank more than an $11-million chunk of an ongoing local option sales tax instead of spending the money on repairs. The rationale was that the sales tax revenue would not provide enough to renovate a facility that needed to be replaced.

The aging, high-performing school was established in 1917 and has been rebuilt before. Chamblee Charter High School serves a mix of resident students from the Brookhaven and Chamblee areas, as well as transfer students and high-performing students from across the district who attend the school’s high-achiever magnet program.

The financing will come from a federal bond program designed to make capital improvements at schools. The financing can be either no-interest or low-interest. An interest rate is established based on the rate the bonds are sold. Once the school district sells the bonds, the district will be reimbursed by the federal government for the interest owed on the bonds – up to a certain point – or a tax credit could be issued to investors.

Atlanta’s Dekalb County is now into the Foreclosure Biz

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

We all knew it was coming. Local governments are now getting  into the foreclosure mess:

A new law was passed in DeKalb County which will affect all properties that were foreclosed after October 27, 2010, in the Dekalb portion of Atlanta and unincorporated DeKalb county .  

The DeKalb County Foreclosure Registry was established “as a means to protect neighborhoods from becoming blighted through the lack of adequate maintenance and security as a result of properties that are foreclosed or where ownership has been transferred after foreclosure.” 

The foreclosing lender is now required to “register” the property with the county and to pay a non-refundable registration fee of $175.  The fee must be paid within 30 days of the foreclosure. Registration must be completed electronically on the DeKalb County website, and then a hard copy of the form must be submitted in person or by mail along with payment in cash or by check. Failure to register a foreclosed property will be subject to a penalty of $1,000 per day up to $100,000 (per property)!

If the foreclosing bank does not have an office in the metro Atlanta area (defined as Clayton, DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, and Rockdale counties), the bank must designate a local property agent on the registration form, and this agent will be responsible for the security and maintenance of the property in compliance with the DeKalb County Code.  

There are no written exceptions in the new law for HUD, VA, or other entities such as Fannie Mae.   Agents, buyers, and closing attorneys should be aware of this law and confirm before a foreclosure resale that any DeKalb County fees have been collected.

Cash Buyers

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Many buyers are choosing to buy real estate for cash, thanks to low prices, a huge inventory of foreclosed properties, and poor rates of return on other types of investments. In September, 2010, 20.9% of all buyers in the metro-Atlanta area paid all-cash for their property! 

 Although the only legal requirement for a cash purchase is the money, there are several important considerations for a cash buyer:

  1.  Home inspection – never buy a property without one;
  2. Appraisal – there is no lender appraisal, so this is the only way to insure that the purchase price is reasonable;  
  3. Survey – always recommended for small lots and properties in older or urban areas;  
  4. Flood zone determination – a lender always checks this, and a buyer should also;  
  5. Hazard insurance – always have the property bound with insurance from the closing date (do not put this off);  
  6. Termite inspection – a termite problem can be a major expense;  Water bills: look at recent water bills to make sure they are not unreasonably high. A high bill could reveal a leaky or broken pipe;  
  7. HOA dues or condo dues – inquire about pending assessments or increases in dues – check the foreclosure rates, owner/occupancy rates, and financial stability of the complex and association;  
  8. Owner’s title insurance – this is imperative for the cash buyer, especially when buying a foreclosed or distressed property such as a short sale.