Ellen & James Crawford
Maximum One Executive REALTORS®

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February 23, 2020

September 2009

Atlanta Flooding - Caution Urged When Buying Homes!

Many Atlanta homeowners are waking up to the fact that perhaps buying a home in a flood zone wasn’t a good idea. This comes after Atlatna has just come through a record drought.  Maybe buying a home from an Internet portal wasn’t a smart idea since it did not tell you the home you were purchasing was in a flood zone.  The website did not have access to tax maps and flood maps that identified the flood maps and associated hazard.  If you were working with an experienced Atlanta buyers agent, your agent could have easily informed you of that fact, that is if you had an agent.  The sad fact is that it really doesn’t matter if the home is in a 100 or 500 year plain.  Today after record rains in Atlanta... that is just degrees of wet! Many areas of Atlanta over the last few days were inundated with anywhere from 5' to 20 inches of rain in a few days.  It was unrelenting.

Posted by Ellen Crawford at 07:19 PM - 0 Comments
Categories: Buyer Agents

Pre-Qualified vs. Pre-Approved vs. Loan Approval
Before you go out looking at Atlanta homes to buy you better think about getting a loan.  A lost has changed in teh last few years, and it is critical that before you see home, you better first see if you can even get one.  When you make your very first call to a mortgage planner also known as a loan officer, you merely supply them with your overall financial information which would be your income, assets, and debts.  This can be done with a quick phone call and there's no cost involved.  This known as "Pre-Qualified."  Note that the loan officer has not actually pulled up your credit to verify just yet.  The reason you'd call a mortgage planner is that you want to discuss your ability to purchase, what your monthly payments would be and so forth but it is not a thorough look at this point.  A rule of thumb on pre-qualifying used to be multiply 2.5 times your yearly income, then minus your monthly debt, and that's what you can afford.  Now you know why pre-qualification has no real power.
Pre-Approved is different! When you get pre-approved, you are supplying the loan officer with more detailed picture of your financial ability to purchase.  You fill out a mortgage application for which you will pay a fee, then you must additionally get all documentation regarding your bank information, last two years income tax filings, your credit will be checked with credit reporting companies among other supporting documents the mortgage broker will need.  Now you have a sharper idea of the interest rate, monthly payments, and you'll get a conditional commitment in writing which permits you to look for a home at or below a certain price level.  Now as a buyer, you have some power as the sellers will recognize you are one step closer to loan approval.  In this market especially, the sellers will know you are a serious buyer and the "buyer" who put an offer in on the house you're interested in purchasing but did not attach a letter from a bank.  If you are looking at foreclosures, the bank or corporate owners won't even look at an offer without a pre-approval letter attached.
Once you place your offer and it is accepted, during your due diligence period, an appraisal will be ordered and that property must appraise at the contract price or above sales price.  Then the underwriter of your mortgage will once again check your credit to be certain nothing else has changed and they may even ask the appraiser for evaluation of possible problems such as structural issues.  Once the bank will commit to lend, you're good to go.  Your loan's been approved!  Happiness and good health in your new home!

Posted by Ellen Crawford at 10:25 PM - 0 Comments
Categories: Buyer Agents Financing

Atlanta Short Sales - Not a Good Fit for Everyone!
When a seller doesn't have enough money to cover what is owed on their mortgage for whatever reason, they will attempt to have a Atlanta real estate agent list their home at a steeply discounted price and a short sale is born.  There is no equity - period.  A property that may be worth $250,000 is listed for $150,000 in an effort to lure buyers to make offers.  In Georgia you will see "potential" short sales where the bank's first contact with the seller comes when the listing agent tenders four contracts on a property and no one has cleared anything with the loss mitigation department.  No one explains to the seller who is responsible for that $100,000 shortfall or the likelihood that the bank will accept a shortfall where there's no evidence of hardship.  If the first lender agrees to the short sale, the second mortgage holder may not.
What does this mean to the buyer?  The bank may send out appraisers and tell all offerors that the list price is now raised to $250,000 or market price.  The bank can also decide to foreclose if they feel they can get a higher price in an area with rising prices or low inventory.  The home is also sold in "as is" condition, no repairs, and you have to pay to have the utilities turned on and for de-winterizing and re-winterizing of the property.    With the backlog on law firms closing on foreclosures, the time to close could take several months.  I've heard of last minute reprieves where the closing was terminated and this is allowable should the bank so decide.  You probably will be responsible for all standard selling costs as well as cost of repairs.  Many banks will not take contracts contingent on the sale of your home, even if your home is under contract and closing in two weeks.  Now that $250,000 market value is costing $270,000 in hard dollars.  So with all the uncertainties that a short sales brings...it is probably not a smart deal to enter into for a first time home buyer or a person relocating to Atlanta and needs a sure thing!

Posted by Ellen Crawford at 11:46 PM - 0 Comments
Categories: Buyer Agents

Atlanta Buyer Agents - Understanding Georgia Real Estate Brokerage Relationships

An Atlanta Georgia real estate agent who represents a prospective purchaser in a Georgia real estate transaction with a signed agency contract is known as a buyer's agent.  Because members of our Atlanta real estate team hold the ABR designation (Accredited Buyer's Representative), we have additional training and documented experience to afford you a higher level of competence.  We don't just assist you in determining how much you want to spend or can afford, we listen to your needs and desires and locate specific properties.  While we can preview properties for you, we suggest accompanying you while you shop because we can get a better handle on what to tweak in our search parameters.  It's important to identify any criteria you may be considering such as proximity to highways or shopping.  We advise you in forging a contract offer, assist in counteroffers and develop a negotiating strategy.  We have a list we've compiled over the years of qualified inspectors, attorneys, mortgage planners, and miscellaneous vendors suggestions which will help you transition to a smooth closing.  If you'd like a copy of the Georgia Association of Realtors "ABC's of Agency," don't hesitate to email and request one.  This two page brochure explains and helps you understand brokerage relationships in Georgia.  If it's been a while since you purchased a home, you may find this a tremendous help.  It will be our pleasure to assist you!

Posted by Ellen Crawford at 05:19 PM - 0 Comments
Categories: Buyer Agents

Georgia Real Estate Blog Launches First Post

This is the first Georgia real estate Blog post of many from our new site OwnGeorgiaHomes.Com  Our new site will serve consumers both buyers and sellers in Georgia and allow access to our Atlanta real estate services.  We are pleased to have served as licensed real estate agents and Georgia Realtors® since 1992, and we look forward for many years to come.  We hope that this Atlanta real estate blog will bring you important news for buyers and sellers alike in the future posts.  Please bookmark this Blog, and comment on our posts.  As always, it will be our pleasure to assist you.

Posted by Ellen Crawford at 02:04 AM - 2 Comments

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