Thursday, April 23, 2009

Perfect Time to Buy!

What a Perfect Time to Purchase a Home!

We want EVERYONE to know what a wonderful time it is to purchase a home. Not just because we're Realtors, but because this is an opportunity of a lifetime and we don't want anyone to miss it! There are several reasons why it's a great time to purchase right now:

  1. Declining Home Prices! There are unbelievable deals out there!
  2. Great Selection! Inventory levels are extremely high right now which means buyers have a lot to choose from!
  3. Low Interest Rates! Rates are at near-record lows!
  4. $8,000 Federal First Time Homebuyer Tax Rebate!
  5. $14,000 Georgia Neighborhood Stabilization Program Grant!
  6. Purchasing a Home is a Great Investment! Real estate is an investment just like stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc.

While you do have to be a first time home buyer (you qualify if you haven't owned a home in the past 3 years) to claim the $8,000 Federal Tax Credit, you don't have to be a first time home buyer to claim the $14,000 GA NSP Grant.

For more information on these two programs, check out the following links:

Georgia Neighborhood Stabilization Program:

Federal Housing Tax Credit:

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What is a Short Sale?

What is a Short Sale?

If you've flipped through a Real Estate magazine full of homes for sale or browsed for a home on the internet recently, you probably saw at least a dozen properties that are "short sales." We currently have 3 properties listed that are short sales and when we answer phone calls from interested buyers, we have found that majority don't know what short sales are and who would? Short sales are new to this market; even Realtors had to learn about short sales.

A short sale is the sale of a property in which the proceeds from the sale fall short of the balance owed to the mortgage company. Short sales break all the normal real estate rules and because of the decline in market values, they are becoming more and more common in this area. Not everyone qualifies for a short sale on their property though. There are typically three requirements:

  • The home's market value has dropped: Comparable sales must show that the home is worth less than the unpaid balance due to the lender.
  • The mortgage is in or near default status: Majority of the time lenders will not consider a short sale unless the owner is behind on payments.
  • The seller has fallen on hard times: The seller must submit a letter of hardship (along with bank statements, income verification, financial budgets, etc.) that explains why the seller has or will stop making monthly payments. Examples of hardship include: unemployment, divorce, medical emergency, bankruptcy, death, etc. A few examples that DO NOT constitute a hardship are: bad purchase decisions, unhappy with home or neighborhood, purchasing another home or a growing family.

If you (or anyone you know) are having a hard time and you think you might be eligible for a short sale, give us a call. We currently have three short sale properties on the market and have recently closed one. We will be happy to answer any questions that you have. Not only can we list short sale properties, but we can help you negotiate with your mortgage company and manage all of the paperwork that is needed to complete such a sale.

Short Sales from a Buyer's Prospective:

Like foreclosures, short sales are priced aggressively and buyer's can find themselves quite a deal in purchasing a short sale property; however, short sales aren't a good match for every buyer. Short sales normally take longer to close than a regular resell property or even a foreclosure because there's a pretty lengthy process involved in getting a short sale approved. The mortgage company's loss mitigation department will have to work the contract through the system which can take time (and you would expect so when they're taking a loss on the property). So if you're not in a hurry and you're looking for an excellent deal, a short sale may work for you.

Things to Know When Looking for Short Sales:

  • Always have your agent talk with the listing agent to inquire on the status of the short sale. A lot can be learned by doing this. Often times the listing agent will tell you if it's worth your time or not. Make sure you're represented by an agent who is familiar with the short sale process so they can keep tabs on what's going on. If you have an agent who is unfamiliar with short sales, you might end up getting one story after another from the listing agent; however, if you're agent knows what should happen & when - then they can check in with the listing agent & help guide you right to the closing table!
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Agents sometimes price properties much lower than fair market value in effort to obtain offers. Mortgage companies normally want an offer in hand before they complete the short sale approval. Once they get an offer and run it through the process, they will bump up the list price to where it should be. Beware of properties that are priced extremely low (as in too good to be true low).
  • Mortgage company's don't always tell the listing agent what they should list the home for. They leave it up to the agent to price it at fair market value. So even if a buyer were to submit a full price offer based on the list price, the mortgage company may still reject it in the review/approval process if the numbers don't work out.
  • Think of a short sale property as being sold 'as-is'. Majority of the time, the seller doesn't have money to make repairs.
  • No two short sales are the same. Every mortgage company has a different process for dealing with short sales. If you have a bad experience with one short sale property, don't assume that all of them are bad.

Have a question? Email us:

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Client Profile: Chris & Christine

Story: Chris & Christine are engaged and set to tie the knot this fall. They knew they wanted to be in a home prior to getting married so that they didn’t have to deal with the stress of home hunting and wedding planning at the same time. We casually began looking last fall and put offers on 2 other homes before finding their perfect home pictured above! This property was a short sale and we originally tried to steer clear of these because of the lengthy process; however, upon viewing this property & falling in love with it, Chris and Christine decided it was worth the wait. There was a higher offer on the table when we submitted ours; however, after negotiating, the seller and mortgage company proceeded with our offer (and we even lowered our sales price in the counter offer!). Chris & Christine's patience paid off! They purchased their first home in March at an unbelievable price, a fabulous interest rate and will also be getting $8,000 back from the First Time Home Buyer's Tax Credit!

Home Stats: 3 Bedroom & 2 Bath Ranch in McDonough with a huge, private backyard (perfect for their furry child, Midnight)

Chris & Christine's Advice for Buyers: "If it's meant to be, it will happen - there's a reason for everything. We looked at quite a few homes before we found the perfect one. Throughout the home hunting process we got our hopes up and hearts broken when we would find that our 'perfect house' was already under contract or we were out bid. Just when we were beginning to get discouraged and wondering if we would ever find a house, we found the perfect one! Thinking that the other houses were the 'perfect ones', we came to find that the one we purchased was far better in many ways than the previous. We didn't have to compromise anything that we wanted and still got the 'hottest house on the market' (those were the words of the listing agent!) at a great price! With all that being said, the best advice we can give to other buyers is to be patient and to never settle for something less than what you want. If you're patient, you will find a home better than you ever imagined you could own!"

Testimonial: "Rebekah is truly an angel sent from above! Even after 20 phone calls a day, frantic emails and constant questions, Rebekah remained patient and professional and was able to answer all of our questions. Being first time homebuyers, we were truly clueless but Rebekah walked us through each step and still kept the process fun and exciting! We will definitely use her to purchase or sell any property in the future!"

Thursday, April 9, 2009

We Actually Have a Blog Now!

Melissa and I have often talked about creating a real estate blog but it kept getting put on the to-do list (I like to call it the 'wish list'). In fact, I created this blog months ago and it has taken up blank space on the internet since. Finally, we have it up and in just a few minutes it will have our first post!

Our goal in creating this blog is to provide helpful, informative real estate information to our clients and friends but with a fun, personal twist!! We've seen far too many real estate blogs that consisted of nothing more than copied articles from real estate and financial websites. Now that I've got this started, I'm going to mark this off the wish list. :)