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DeKalb Real Estate Losses Total $1B

DeKalb County homes and real estate have lost $1,000,000,000 in value (yes...that's a lot of zeros) since April 2009.  A Thursday meeting of county assessors revealed the taxable value of land and buildings in unincorporated DeKalb currently stands at $16.7 billion.  That number represents a 5% decline since the last report released just a month ago.

The reason for such dramatic changes?  The AJC reports the falling values are the result of consideration given to the impact of foreclosures on the current real estate market.

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Generation Gap

We might be looking at a lost generation for U.S. home values.

There's been a lot of speculation about when the housing sector will recover from what has proven to be one largest year over year value declines in the history of the U.S. economy.  A recent article from Bloomberg.com suggests that many analysists are suffering from misguided optimism about the housing market.

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Sending Out An S.O.S.

The federal government has launched a new website with online tools that will allow a homeowner to determine if they are eligible to participate in the "Making Home Affordable" loan modification and refinancing program.

The site is http://makinghomeaffordable.gov and shares information about how this program works and who is eligible for assistance.  This is the same $75 billion program you may have heard of recently in the media.

Before visiting the site you should gather:

  • Information about your first mortgage, such as your monthly mortgage statement.
  • Information about any second mortgage or home equity line of credit on the house.
  • Account balances and minimum monthly payments due on all of your credit cards.
  • Account balances and monthly payments on all your other debts such as student loans and car loans.
  • Your most recent income tax return.
  • ...

One Trillion Dollars

Here's the plan...we get the toxic assets...and we hold the taxpayer ransom for...(cue dramatic music and close up)...one trillion dollars (cut to dismayed taxpayer).

Seriously though... 

What the Fed just announced is huge – basically...you and I (aka taxpayers at large) just bought another $750B in Mortgage Backed Securities ("toxic assets"), and $300B in U.S. treasuries. 

What Does This Mean For You?

This should provide for increased demand for Mortgage Backed Securities, which should - in turn - keep mortgage rates low for the foreseeable future.

Good news if you're a buyer looking to take advantage of current market and all the homes being offered at a deep discount. 

Also good news if you're a currently own a home and have the necessary equity position to refinance at a lower rate.

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Nobody's Happy

Everything is amazing right now...and nobody is happy.

A Nation of Ingrates?

It's true...we do take for granted the miracle of the world we live in. And maybe he's right. Maybe this current economic situation is just what is needed to have us, as a Nation, show more gratitude for the luxuries our lives afford us.

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How To Fix The Housing Crises

Re-building The Economy: One Tear Down At A Time

There is no shortage of opinion around how to best go about correcting the housing problem in this country.  And there's been a lot of talk about how to get this economy "moving again".  A lot of talk on how to "re-build". 

The Problem:

In it's simplest form, the current housing problem is one of supply vs. demand.  There's a glut of over-priced inventory available for a shrinking pool of buyer finding it difficult to sort through the mess and, in many cases, even get a loan to finance a home.

The catch-22 is how to go about "re-building" a housing market when it's "building" that got us into this mess in the first place.  The short term help for over-leveraged home owners is a "too little too late" answer to a problem that is more vast and complex than we're willing to recognize.  Propping up prices by stemming...

Dancing In The Flames

The key to managing crises...is to keep an eye on the long term. While you're dancing in the flames.

Full Text of President Obama’s Speech Today

I’m here today to talk about a crisis unlike any we’ve ever known – but one that you know very well here in Mesa, and throughout the Valley. In Phoenix and its surrounding suburbs,...

Looming Disaster?

A recommendation to anyone who cares about the future of our troubled economy: take 30 minutes today and watch the video below. It's a shocking wake-up call that snapped into sharp focus the brutal world that my 3 year old daughter will inherit. And it explains - with amazing clairty - the national debt, the foreign trade deficit, the decrease in personal savings and the weakness of leadership in our country - past and present politicians included.

I.O.U.S.A

"By the time today's college grauduates retire, 40 years from now, the only the thing our government will be able to pay for: interest on the federal debt and "some" social security, medicaid and medicare benefits. All other parts of the federal government will be closed and out of business."
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House of Cards

A lot of folks are going into foreclosure.  A lot of folks currently owe more on their homes than they are worth.  And a lot of folks are losing their jobs.  A lot of folks are in serious trouble.

And it all falls down...

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The Second Coming

No, it's not what you think. Though it would appear Judgement Day is on the horizon for the housing industry. According to the 60 Minutes report below, we're about halfway through this crisis with nearly $1 Trillion in loans predicted to default in 2009 through 2011.

Home for the Holidays?

Yes...a lot of folks still have a home to call their own this Christmas. But for those who have "Alt-A" and "Option ARMs" reseting in the next few years this story is only half told.


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Cheaters NEVER Win

The term REALTOR® has come to connote competency, fairness, and high integrity resulting from adherence to a lofty ideal of moral conduct in business relations. No inducement of profit and no instruction from clients ever can justify departure from this ideal. - Realtor Code of Ethics

Lofty Ideals

There is no more immediate example of a departure from "lofty ideals" than the last 5 years in the real estate industry and the economic mess it's gotten us into.  It seems that the real estate industry is the epicenter of the largest economic shift in a generation.

As a result of this financial crises everyone has been forced to make budget cuts.  From the Government's massive, multi-billion dollar bail out of AIG (and several other well known financial institutions) to the "Big 3" U.S. automakers recent plea for a government "bridge loan" - there's no shortage of hand outs, bailouts and freebies to help these companies...

Higher Power


One of the driving mechanisms of real estate values is the little known concept of "Buying Power".   In real estate, buying power simply refers to the amount, or quality, of home you can purchase with your monthly payment dollars.

The reason we saw the real estate bubble occur (and it's subsequent collapse) had everything to do with the increased buying power of the consumer.  The expansion of the credit market into the subprime arena (aka "credit challenged") - folks who might not have otherwise been able to get financing for a home were able to enter the market as first time buyers.  This, combined with historically low interest rates, predatory "teaser" rates and cartoonish "1 year interest only" loans allowed buyers to stretch their dollars even higher up the buying power ladder.

Fast forward five years to October 2008 and that's all changed....

Good Faith

I often talk to my clients and prospects about "good faith".  In simple terms - you have to trust that people will do what they say they're going to do in order for things to work as they should....

Sell Low; Buy Lower

The concept that you can Sell High and Buy Low in a local real estate market is an illusion.

Sure, if you invest nationally (or internationally) then you can apply the concept of Selling High and Buying Low
becuase you spend your time identifying, tracking and hunting those markets that are at their peak when others are in a trough.  This can be a time consuming and expensive process.

If you're like most folks -  a "retai"l buyer or seller - simply looking to upgrade to a larger home, better neighborhood or school district in the neighborhoods of Atlanta then you should know that timing the market to Sell High and Buy Low simply doesn't work.   After all, "a rising tide floats all ships".  Meaning, if you sell your home at a peak of the market then you the house you go to buy will also be at the peak of the market.  And if you're making an upgrade this can be an expensive proposition.

Let me explain. ...

The Myth of Advertising


Most Sellers love to talk about advertising.  They want to know where their home is being seen and, in many cases, the instant they put their homes up for sale they become "arm-chair" marketers. 

I had a long talk with a prospective client yesterday who literally had an outline of over 100 media outlets he expected his home to be advertised on- from television spots to a cork board at the local coffee shop.  Many of them...most of them, actually...had nothing to do with targeting buyers of real estate.

Now, in this market -- I've learned to "choose my battles wisely" so we parted as friends and he continues his search for an agent who is able to meet his expectations.

The question for you, as a Seller in this current market, is whether you want your home advertised, or do you want it sold?

The most significant advertising decision you will make as a Seller in this market is the price you decide to put on your home....

Chicken Soup for the Real Estate Seller


Let's say you go to the grocery store and there are 10 cans of chicken soup on the shelf.  If you're like most people, you're going to look carefully at their price per ounce, the label, the kind of noodles it has, etc.  And, if you're like most people, you buy the best value for your dollar in chicken soup.  And you take your time doing it.

On the other hand, if there's only one can of chicken soup and there are 3 others behind you just waiting to snatch it up as soon as you're done inspecting the label, you're not going to be nearly as discriminating.  You'll simply put in your cart and move on.  And you'll do it quickly and pay the going rate.

That's the difference between a buyer's market and a seller's market.  Buyer's look at things differently depending on the external pressures.

Right now in the Atlanta Real Estate market we've got 10 cans of chicken soup and we only one buyer.   And the recipe that wins is the one that offers...

23 Showings. 3 Offers. 2 Sales.


INTOWN ATLANTA REAL ESTATE RATIOS

In the last 7 days the properties I'm marketing showed, collectively, 23 times.  I'm currently representing 21 properties so that's an average of 1 showing per property per week.  Not bad given the current market.

In the last 7 days I've received 3 offers to purchase - 2 of which we were able to reach an agreement on and 1 I'm still negotiating. 

23 showings.  3 offers.  2 sales.

At the end of the week I'm left explaining to my clients what happened with the other 20 "buyers". 
 
Always remember the definition of a "Buyer" is someone who buys. Until then, they may be anything....
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