Thursday, October 10, 2013

Real Estate Values Continuing to Rise in South Metro Atlanta: Butts, Clayton, Coweta, Fayette, Henry, Rockdale Counties

Over the past 5-6 years, we have experienced a continuous decline in market values across the southern crescent of Metro Atlanta (Henry County, Fayette County, Coweta County, Clayton County, Butts County, Rockdale County). Sadly, each year the numbers dipped lower and lower. 2013 has been a wonderful year of change and while it can prove to be a difficult market for buyers, it is wonderful news for those interested in selling and for the local economy as a whole!

As we often do, we sat down to study the local market trends and see exactly what the numbers look like. We compiled the chart below to compare the average sales prices in six counties across the South Metro Atlanta area for each complete quarter thus far. There are two things to take away from this chart:

1) Sellers, NOW is the time to sell! Low inventory and RISING prices! Take advantage of it while the market is HOT!

2) Buyers, NOW is the time to buy! The average sales price is climbing every month and interest rates won't be this low forever. Don't be discouraged by the increasing prices, get off the fence and jump into the market NOW! You may be kicking yourself later if you decide to wait!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Buying a House.....The Cost if You Waited to Buy This Year Rather Than Last Year

We often talk about the potential cost of waiting to buy a home. Today, we want to look at the actual cost for someone who waited over the last year. We used a 10% increase in house values as prices have gone up by double digits in the country on average. We looked at approximate mortgage rates last year compared to this year. Here is the impact on a monthly mortgage payment (principal and interest):

It's time to buy now! Home values will continue to rise and interest rates are unpredictable right now (but going up). If you're ready to start your home search, call us!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Is Now the Time to Buy a House?

The real estate community is often criticized for always seeming to have a Pollyanna attitude about the housing market. Many believe that the industry’s current call ‘to buy now’ is nothing more than a scare tactic with the sole purpose of creating more commissions for the industry. Let’s take a look at whether or not that advice was good advice over the last year.
The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. According to the most recent Case-Shiller Home Pricing Index, home values have risen over 10% in the last year. If we look at Freddie Mac’s Weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey®, the 30 year mortgage rate has increased from 3.67% to 3.91% during that same period.
The table below compares the cost of the same exact house over the last twelve months:
We can see that the advice to buy a year ago made complete financial sense.
What About Moving Forward?
 Most experts are not only calling for prices to continue to rise but are also upgrading their projections as the housing market is showing strong signs of recovering.
 Regarding interest rates, the 30 year mortgage rate has soared by over a half point already this year and many believe that the increases will continue. Even those trying to be the voice of reason on this issue are projecting higher rates. For example, Polyana da Costa, senior mortgage analyst at said:  “Rates are unlikely to keep going up so quickly and should remain below 5 percent.”
Bottom Line
The next time a real estate professional says that now is the time to buy they may not be giving you a ‘sales pitch’. They may be giving you nothing but excellent advice.

Above information was provided by KCM Blog - Steve Harney

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Interest Rates are Expected to Increase.......

Which Will Cost You More Money! Here's a breakdown. 

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Average Sales Prices are Up in Clayton, Coweta, Fayette, Henry, and Rockdale Counties!

It's true... prices are on the rise in the Southern Crescent of Metro Atlanta! Well, poor Butts County is still suffering a little bit, but for the most part the south side is experiencing appreciation when comparing January - May 2012 with the same time period for 2013!

By the way, do you "LIKE" us on Facebook? If not, we'd love for you to.


Thursday, May 2, 2013

How long do I have to wait to purchase again after a foreclosure / bankruptcy?

If you've experienced a foreclosure or bankruptcy and are looking to purchase again in the future, see below to find out what kind of timeframe you may be looking at.

(click the image below to enlarge it)

It is recommended that you confirm this information with your lender. If you would like to talk to a lender about your personal situation and timeline for purchasing again, let us know and we'll be happy to provide recommendations!


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Tips for a Making Your Best Offer in "Highest & Best" & "Multiple Offer" Situations!

Many of our buyers are experiencing "highest and best" situations where a property has received mutliple offers and the seller has asked all interested parties to submit their very best offer. We've written about this before on our blog, but wanted to write about it again since it's becoming the "norm" around here.

If you're in a multiple offer situation and are wondering how you should even begin in making your best offer, here are few tips to remember:

"Highest & Best" doesn't just mean sales price. Just because you offer the highest sales price doesn't ALWAYS make you the best offer. There are other terms that you should consider when making your offer ...

  • Financing
    • the seller may consider what type of financing you're pursuing. Are you paying cash? They say "cash is king,"  ya know. Conventional vs FHA vs USDA, etc.
  • Pre-qualified vs Pre-approved?
    • If you're in highest & best situation, don't even think about trying to get away with submitting an offer without a pre-qual. Sellers don't want to risk giving up other buyers for someone that can't show that they have at least talked to a lender and can obtain a loan. If you really want to increase your chances of winning a property, try to obtain a pre-approval letter if time allows. The difference you ask? Generally, a pre-qual letter is typically issued after the lender checks your credit and uses information that you verbally provided to qualify you for the loan. A pre-approval letter is issued once a lender has received documentation supporting the information that you provided. If you have a pre-approval, it can make a seller feel more confident in your ability to obtain a loan and close on their property.
    • Find out if the seller or the listing agent has a particular lender that they know and trust. If so, perhaps it's in your best interest to also get pre-qualified with that lender, even if you have no intention of using them. There are a lot of bad lenders out there that allow deals to fall apart just days before the closing date. Sometimes a pre-qualification letter isn't worth the paper it's written on and so banking on a financed contract is somewhat of a gamble; however, if the seller/listing agent trusts a lender's opinion and you obtain a pre-qualification letter (or better yet, pre-approval letter) through that lender, they'll likely feel really confident in your financing. Brownie points, it goes a long way.
  • Contingencies:
    • There are many contingency types -- financing, appraisal, inspection, etc. In each scenario, having such a contingency would give you as the buyer the option to terminate the contract for a certain period of time and in certain situations. The "best" offer is obviously NOT the one that provides a buyer with nine different ways to back out without penalty. To a seller, this seems as if the buyer isn't fully committed. While some contingencies are necessary, try to limit the contingency time periods as much as possible.
  • Closing Date:
    • As simple as this sounds, it matters to sellers. Try to find out from the listing agent what the seller's situation is. Are they really anxious to get the property sold or are they hoping for an extended closing period so that their children can finish the school year? Use this info in making your offer. It's a small detail, but if you can write a strong offer AND meet the seller's needs, you're winning points.
  • Seller Paid Closing Costs:
    • You may need or want assistance with closing costs and that's okay; however, DO remember that it all factors into who has the "highest and best" offer. For example, if you offer full price on a home of interest but ask the seller to pay 4% towards your closing costs while another buyer offers full price with only 2% in closing costs -- well, it's obvious which one would be the best.
  • Bad Strategies:
    • We're seeing many buyers/agents submitting offers that are WAY above the asking price. Buyers are doing this, likely on the ill-advice of their agents, because they are obtaining financing and they know that their ridiculous offer amount will surely make them the "best" offer, all the while knowing that the home will never appraise at this high amount. If it will not appraise when the appraisal is completed, the buyer cannot obtain the loan and they will then ask the seller for a price reduction on the basis that the home didn't appraise. This allows them to "win" the offer up front by being way above the other offers on the table, knowing they will ask for a price reduction later because the house will not appraise for their inflated offer price.

      BAD IDEA! I'm sure somewhere, some place it has worked, but most agents aren't that stupid and this can really offend a seller. If you're a seller, watch out for this tactic! Don't dream of obtaining that high offer price unless it's realistic. Buyers, play smart, but not dirty.
  • Price:
    • While it's not the ONLY factor, it's definitely one of the most important terms... probably the MOST important. In our local market, most highest & best situations end with many offers (one listing that I showed the other day had 20+....crazy!) and these offers tend to be full price or higher. Make a wise decision based on your budget and the comps, but come in strong; especially if you REALLLLLY like the property. Lowballing in a highest & best scenario just won't cut it.

Hopefully these tips will help you in drafting your best offer for your dream home, but do remember, every property is different and every seller is different. One may care about certain aspects of an offer while others care about different ones. Some banks don't care about anything but the numbers (show them the $$!). Look to your Realtor for advice!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Myths - The Earth is Flat and Newspapers Sell Houses

It is amazing how masses of people can believe something that is absolutely untrue. The greatest example of this is that at one time the vast majority of people believed the world to be flat. Today, we want to debunk another commonly held belief – that newspapers sell houses. Somehow this notion gained believability even though the facts consistently prove it to not be true.

When you are selling your house, you should know what methods perspective purchasers use to find the home of their dreams. That would enable you to develop the best marketing strategy to attract a buyer.

Google recently teamed with the National Association of Realtors (NAR) on a new report, The Digital House Hunt: Consumer and Market Trends in Real Estate. Let’s look at the actual search habits of today’s buyers revealed by the report:

  • 90% of buyers now begin their search for a home online
  • Real estate related searches on have grown 253% over the past 4 years

Of the 90% who use the internet, they gain information from these sources (with percentages):
  • The internet – 100%
  • A real estate agent – 89%  
  • A yard sign – 53
  • An open house – 46% 
  • Print newspaper – 28%

If you want to develop a great marketing strategy giving your house maximum exposure, forget newspapers. Less than 30% of buyers will ever see your home. Instead, look toward the internet and a real estate agent.

Where on the internet should you advertise your home? The buyer is attracted to the type of sites that have the greatest number of listings. These sites are normally generated by the real estate industry. You should make sure your home is on as many of these sites as possible. That will give you the best chance of attracting your buyer.

Bottom Line
Print media never was a great way to market a house for sale and its effectiveness is diminishing each year. Meet with a local real estate professional and put together an internet marketing strategy worthy of your home.

The Stephens & Stephens Input
Most of the buyers we work with are signed up on multiple real estate related websites that allow them to search for homes. The internet is definitely the #1 way that buyers search for homes. For our seller, we know which sites drive the most traffic. We strive to gain full exposure on these sites; this means we add multiple photos, virtual showings, expanded story-like text to detail your home, and much more. There are thousands of homes on the internet and we strive to make our listings stand out.

If you’re a buyer looking for a home and want to be signed up to receive free listings every day that meet your criteria, give us a call or send us an email. It’s important to receive the new listings as they hit the market so you can be one of the first to know about them. The market is hot right now and if you don’t make an offer early then you may never get the chance to.

If you’re a seller and looking for maximum marketing exposure, give us a call or send us an email! We strive to make our listings stand out against the competition. If you’re already listed, be sure that your home appears with multiple photos (and good ones at that). Some agents don’t take the time to take good photos or film virtual tours/showings, which really tell the story of your home to a buyer. There will definitely be missed opportunities if you're not on the right internet sites or are lacking good marketing details (photos/virtual showings/good text, etc).

Happy Internet Searching!

Article Above Courtesy of KCM Blog - Steve Harney
(With the exception of "The Stephens & Stephens Input")