Monday, February 28, 2011

100% Financing Available - NO DOWN PAYMENT!

We often hear questions such as "are there any loans that do not require a down payment?" or "is there such thing as 100% financing anymore?" The answer to both of these questions is YES! Other agents may have told you no, but there is! You heard us correct - there is such thing as buying a house in 2011 and making NO down payment! Here's how... Rural Development/USDA Loan! This is a 100% financing loan that requires no down payment! And it actually gets better -- there is no private mortgage insurance fees AND you can finance closing costs into the loan as long as the property appraises for the sales price + the closing costs! The only catch is that the property must fall in a USDA/Rural area. Qualifying areas include parts of McDonough, Hampton, Locust Grove, Senoia, Moreland, Jackson, & many other areas! The areas are reviewed and altered according to the US Census results, so these areas could change in the near future. Here are some helpful points to see if the USDA loan might be a good match for you:

- There is a 3.5% funding fee that can be financed into the loan
- There is NO PMI
- You do NOT have to be a first time home buyer to qualify
- There are income limits: 1-4 person $82,600  5-8 person $109,050
- Credit Score: 640+ (non-traditional credit okay if no credit available)
- Property Type: Primary residence only, no investment properties
- Some renovations can be financed in as long as the property appraises accordingly

If the only thing holding you back from taking advantage of this fabulous deals this market has to offer is saving for a down payment, this could be your ticked to purchasing a home! Please don't hesitate to call or email us if you have questions about this loan product or the qualifying areas!

And by the way, there's also the option of purchasing a HUD home with an FHA loan to qualify for a $100 down payment. That's the next best option if you're looking for NO down payment! Call us, we're knowledgeable agents who know the market and know the loan products that are available! I recently closed a USDA loan with a co-op agent who didn't even know that it existed!

Happy House Hunting,

post signature
**We are not lenders, but we can certainly refer you to one if you have questions about this loan product. Qualifications and guidelines may change at any time, so it's important to talk to a lender for the most current information!**

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Market Data: January '10 vs. '11 -- Clayton, Coweta, Fayette & Henry County

We often study the local market trends as it is the only way to really understand what's going on in this crazy world of real estate. The charts below compare January 2010 vs January 2011 in regards to the number of sold properties along with the average sales prices for Clayton County, Coweta County, Fayette County & Henry County. To the left of each chart is the absorption rate for each county.

post signature

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Bad MLS Photos

 Sometimes it's entertaining to just browse photos of houses in the MLS. You wouldn't believe what we come across. Here are 5 examples of crazy photos that I found in less than 10 minutes of searching. Melissa and I are pretty tough on our sellers when it comes to preparing their homes for marketing. Apparently the agents that took on these listings are not....

Nevermind that the photo is blurry - there are bigger issues here:

(1) A dog on the sofa. Really? A dog ..... on the sofa? You don't really want to ever advertise that you have pets. You wouldn't believe how many buyers hate dogs/cats inside. Even if your house was spotless and smelled of nothing but roses, the dog hater buyer would swear that there was a strong pet odor and would immeidately storm out of the house. Nothing against dogs on the sofa, I have a rather rotten dog myself and yes, from time to time, he gets on the sofa (but if I were selling my house, he wouldn't be in the photo!).
(2) & (4) go together. Before taking marketing photos, clean your house. Unless you use the "Yellow Pages" as your coffee table book, put it where it belongs. Clean up.
(3) This one took me a minute... look closely at number 3. That's not just random stuff on the shelf, that's dog (or maybe cat) food with a jug of water. Look directly below the shelf and you'll see the food dish. Where do I begin. I'm not saying sellers should kick their pets out of the house when they're trying to sell, but dog food isn't exactly a home decor item! It doesn't belong on the living room shelf. And for crying out loud, go to the kitchen sink for water!

This photo really only shows off the bed and makes it appear that the room is extremely small. A potential buyer may not even notice the room size though, because more than likely, their eyes are going straight to the neon green wall where little Lucy has written all over the wall. It's always a good idea to paint your house with neutral colors when you're marketing it for sale, but it's a darn good idea to at least cover up things like this!  

I couldn't possibly number everything wrong with this photo. There's too much "stuff" - it's everywhere! One of the number one rules when staging your home to sell is to remove all of your personal photos throughout. One or two may be okay, but there's just too many here. One of my biggest pet peeves in photos is Christmas decor when it's not Christmas. Really and truly, I bet this is a cute house with the built-in bookshelves, but a buyer looking at homes online would never realize this because they can't see past all of the "stuff." Declutter, get rid of personal photos, clean, take down Christmas decorations, turn on lights when taking photos... etc.

(1), (2) & (3) - Bless #2's heart, he's looking in the wrong direction. This is a great family room - high ceilings, a fireplace and it appears to be open to another room - probably the kitchen. Most buyers can probably look past Rudolph, Comet & Blitzen hanging on the wall, but when it comes to staging a home to sell, dead animals doesn't do too much for the house. Honestly, it wouldn't be so bad in a rec room with a pool table or something, but the family room?
(4) Once again, it's best to remove majority of your family photos. Make it easy for the buyer to imagine themselves living here. Plus, buyers can get distracted looking at your photos, and spend less time looking at your house.

(1) Back to basics - neutral walls, sellers! Neutral may seem boring, but it's what buyers want!
(2) Sellers are often times in a big hurry to get their home on the market and in the MLS system. It's like once they decide to sell, they're ready to do it the next day, no matter what shape their house is in. Take time to clean, organize, touch up paint, landscape, make minor repairs, etc. before you list. This picture does absolutely nothing for the house.

We hope the sellers of the above houses don't contact us anytime soon to list their houses ... we'll have to put them through "seller bootcamp" before we'll even step foot inside their houses with a camera!! 

post signature 

5 Reasons to Sell Your Home Now!

The conventional wisdom when selling a home has always been to wait until the ‘Spring Buying Season’. Over the years, that has seemed to make sense and is now accepted as a good strategy for those who want to sell their house and receive the best possible price. This real estate market has shattered many previously held beliefs. The wisdom of waiting for a spring market is another belief that is about to fall. Here are five reasons why?

1.) Interest Rates Are On the Rise

Interest rates have spiked up rather dramatically over the last ninety days and are now over 5%. Initially, an increase in rates has a positive effect on the market as it forces buyers off the fence. However, it also eats into a buyer’s purchasing power. As rates increase, the mortgage amount a buyer qualifies for decreases. This will eventually have a negative impact on prices.

2.) Your Dream Home Will Never Be Cheaper

If your family goal is to sell your current house and take advantage of the fabulous selection of properties currently available to buy the home of your dreams, DO IT NOW! Prices will continue to soften in most markets. However, if you are buying, COST should be more important than PRICE. Cost can be dramatically impacted by rising mortgage interest rates. Do the math and decide if now is the time.

3.) Buyers Are Out Early

There is mounting evidence that buyers are coming out earlier this year. A belief that now is a good time to buy coupled with the increase in interest rates has started the buying season early.

Pete Flint, CEO of Trulia:  We’re seeing a national resurgence of buyer and seller activity on In January alone, we experienced an unprecedented level of site traffic including 11 million unique visitors – which is more than 70 percent year-over-year growth. We've are now experiencing 100,000 property views per minute."

The National Association of Realtors just reported that the number of house sales increased 12.9% over last month.

4.) Inventory Increases Every Spring

Every year there is an increase of inventory which comes to market as we approach the spring. Here is the number of listings available for sale in 2010.

■February – 3,531,000

■March – 3,626,000

■April – 4,029,000

We believe there will be an increase in these numbers in 2011 as there is a pent-up selling demand created by the weak market of the last few years. You won't have to worry about this increasing competition if you sell now.

5.) We Are in the Eye of the Foreclosure Storm

While banks are trying to rectify their foreclosure procedures, there is a large supply of discounted properties which has been delayed coming to market. This inventory will be released sometime in the next few months. Foreclosures sell on average at a 41% discount. When released they will be competing with your house for the buyers in the marketplace. If you are looking to sell in 2011, you want to sell before this inventory becomes your competition.

CNN Money quoted the leadership Of RealtyTrac on this issue: “We’ve now seen three straight months with fewer than 300,000 properties receiving foreclosure filings, following 20 straight months where the total exceeded 300,000,” said James Saccacio, CEO of RealtyTrac.

“Unfortunately,” he added, “This is less a sign of a robust housing recovery and more a sign that lenders have become bogged down in reviewing procedures, resubmitting paperwork and formulating legal arguments related to accusations of improper foreclosure processing.”

“We expect a spike in the first quarter,” said Rick Sharga, a RealtyTrac spokesman.

Bottom Line

These are five strong reasons to sell now instead of waiting until later in the year. Feel free to call or email us with any questions or to schedule a time to sit down and talk about your home.

post signature

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Short Sales & Foreclosures: Mortgage Forgiveness Relief Act

 We just had a past client email us and ask us about a 1099 that they received in the mail from their mortgage company - their question was "what is this for and why?" We thought that given the amount of foreclosures and short sales that are taking place these days, this question may apply to many so why not post the answer right here on our blog...

Our past clients received a 1099 because sadly, their home was foreclosed on in 2010. Anytime you owe a debt to someone else (whether it be a mortgage, credit card company, etc) and they cancel or forgive that debt, the discharged amount may be taxable. When this happens, they will issue a 1099-C for the discharged amount; however, the Mortgage Foregiveness Relief Act was rolled out in 2007 and in some cases, it forgives certain types of cancellation of debt. Those who have sold via short sale or who were foreclosed on since 2007 may be eligible for this forgiveness. For more information, visit:,,id=179414,00.html

This provision applies until 2012. If your debt cancellation does fall in the guidelines to be forgiven, it still has to be reported to the IRS. Now for the disclaimer: We're not tax professionals/experts or legal advisors, so we can't advise you on the best way to file, etc. We just want you to be aware of the Mortgage Foregiveness Relief Act so that if you think it may help you, you can be sure to talk to your CPA about it.

post signature