Posted on 8. September 2011 04:22 by qmiskini


In this current “buyers’ market,” many Buyers start out their home search with the goal of “finding a deal!”  Certainly there are more and more “distressed properties” being sold at prices below current market value. Many are foreclosed or “bank-owned” properties also known as REO’s – a term used by real estate professionals meaning Real Estate Owned. They are being sold, with a condition of the sale to you, the Buyer, in “As-Is” condition.

As-Is means the Seller will not make any representation of prior knowledge of the property’s condition and will not make any concessions for repairs to the property.  So, if the windows are fogged, or the stove isn’t working, or the carpet is stained and the light fixtures don’t work – or are missing – you, the Buyer are responsible for any and all repairs to the property once you purchase the home.  However, as a condition of the sale, you, have the right to inspect the property to determine what the property’s repair issues are.  During that inspection period, also called the due diligence period, you have the option to terminate the purchase agreement if you believe the repair issues are greater than you can handle or afford - because the Seller will not make any concessions for repairs.  They are selling the property As-Is.  However, if your Realtor is experienced in helping their Clients purchase foreclosed properties, they know that Sold As-Is does not always mean Sold As-Is. 

Recently one of our Buyer clients who had been searching for “a really great deal” found the “perfect home.”  It not only fit their space and size and location criteria, but after some tough negotiating on the part of their Realtor, they reached agreement on a price that was 55% of the original sale price when the property was first sold 8 years ago!  Additionally, the Realtor negotiated $10,000 in Seller paid concessions, a pre-paid termite inspection, and a home warranty on behalf of the Buyer.

During the inspection a variety of issues were revealed, most of which were deferred maintenance issues which the Seller would not pay to repair.  Property Sold As-Is!  However two of the three air conditioning units needed repair and the Buyer’s lender insisted these “infrastructure items” must be working as a condition of finalizing the Buyer’s home loan. The cost to repair the units was $2,700.

So now the negotiation began anew.  With some minor concessions by the Buyer and the knowledgeable leverage strategies employed by our team’s Realtor, the Seller agreed to pay for the cost of the repair by providing a check at closing to the vendor selected by the Buyer to do the repairs. The vendor agreed to make the repairs prior to closing, and the Lender agreed to fund the Buyer’s loan.

For a series of short videos about what to look for and how to begin your search for your “great deal” in a distress sale property – whether you’re a first-time home buyer, move-up Buyer, Investor or you are looking for a deal on a vacation home this Foreclosure Video Series will help you get started.

For access to a complete series of free video and informational emails that can provide you with many of the important strategies and information you will need to make the best home purchase you can CLICK HERE ==èSPECIAL E-MAIL SERIES REPORTS and ask for the free no obligation series of email reports to be sent to you regularly over the next few weeks.  Just put FREE VIDEO EMAIL SERIES in the subject line. 

If you just want to start out by searching the MLS to see what types of distress sale homes are available in your projected price range and area of preference CLICK HERE =èSEARCH THE MLS FREE

So when are Sold As-Is foreclosed property sales ONLY Sold As-Is? Only when you and your Realtor fail to challenge that “Sold As-Is” stipulation.  Because not every Sold As-Is foreclosed property is “Sold As-Is.”


Posted on 7. September 2011 02:07 by qmiskini


Having a property inspected by a professional home inspector is a necessary and important part of the home buying process.  Even if you are buying new construction, hiring a qualified professional to inspect the home can provide you with valuable information about key aspects of the property that can, if left unattended sometimes cost you thousands in after-the-sale repairs.

In various Metro Atlanta communities like Roswell, Marietta, Kennesaw, Woodstock, Canton or Alpharetta, homes range in age from new home construction to thirty to fifty years old.  Many older homes have been updated but the original construction features like foundations, the roofing structure, insulation, duct work for heat and air systems, electrical wiring and plumbing are original to the home and may not only be in need of repair but may need updating or even replacement.

In many homes in Georgia and especially in many of the foreclosed properties for sale that have been empty for months and sometimes years, inspecting for mildew and mold and testing for Radon emissions and air quality is also a recommended part of the home inspection process.

As with most aspects of buying a home the home inspection is a necessary part of the process. It can forewarn you of potential issues and down the road repair costs, and give you relative peace of mind in knowing that the home you are about to purchase is in good physical condition and needs only your personal touch to transform it into your home. 

A knowledgeable realty team leader will be able to provide you with a list of names of qualified professionals to assist you in the inspection process.  This short video about the importance of the Home Inspection will provide you with the basics of how the home inspection benefits you, the home buyer. For access to a complete series of free video and informational emails that can provide you with many of the important strategies and information you will need to make the best home purchase you can CLICK HERE ==èSPECIAL E-MAIL SERIES REPORTS and ask for the free no obligation series of email reports to be sent to you regularly over the next few weeks.  Just put FREE VIDEO EMAIL SERIES in the subject line. 

If you just want to start out by searching the MLS to see what types of homes are available in your projected price range and area of preference CLICK HERE =èSEARCH THE MLS FREE

Remember, buying a home is a process, not an event.  Finding a Realtor to help you step through the process – one you can trust – will go a long way toward achieving your goals.



Posted on 6. September 2011 01:34 by qmiskini



The CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) is a very important tool for determining what a home’s value is, relative to other homes similar to the home you are considering purchasing or selling.  There are a number of facts and factors that are considered, compared and contrasted within a CMA.  But essentially, a CMA – when properly prepared and evaluated – can add significantly to understanding a property’s true fair market value (FMV).

A thorough CMA is information drawn from a variety of sources, selected for specific criteria and carefully focused to provide a detailed cost-value-benefits assessment.  It is not enough to simply look at recent activity in one neighborhood or sub division and calculate the average price for a home sold in recent months.  The neighborhood’s current, recent and historical activity, the area’s history – going back not just months but years, activity in a number of categories including homes for sale that both expired and were withdrawn from the market, and evaluative readings of comparable neighborhoods and homes are a portion of the data that helps build a more complete and clear picture of your property’s market value.

The CMA is a collection of broad and fine distinctions – some general, some very specific.  For example in Marietta, Areas 81 and 82, home values differ, sometimes significantly depending on whether a property is in the Sprayberry High School District or Lassiter High School district. Property taxes will differ depending upon whether your property is on the Cobb County side of Roswell or the Fulton County side of Roswell. Your Realtor should be capable of discerning the right information to gather, know the best way to assemble that information, be knowledgeable of how to assess that information and ready to provide you with both a clear picture of the Market Analysis and examples of back-up to support their recommendations and conclusions.

Understanding a property’s history can help you more clearly and confidently assess a property’s current and future worth, and potentially save you thousands of dollars in a purchase or earn you thousands of dollars in the future when it comes time to sell that property.  No two properties are the same.  No two CMA’s should be the same.  Be sure your Realtor really understands the intricacies of developing and evaluating the data, weighing its impact on both properties similar to the one you are considering purchasing or selling and your specific property. 

For an initial evaluation of a property’s potential worth CLICK HERE: On-Line-Home Evaluation.  Don’t underestimate the importance of an accurate CMA.


Posted on 5. September 2011 08:36 by qmiskini


Working with a Real Estate Team when you are buying a home – whether it’s your first or the next - your relationship with your realty “team leader” should not be an adversarial relationship. Trust between you, the Client, and your service team leader – your Realtor – should be the first aspect of the relationship to be established.  Yet that often seems to be the most difficult and elusive part of the relationship to establish.

For the Client, this as an unusual, often daunting process, fraught with shifting emotions and financial ambiguities.   Since most Clients only buy or sell one or two homes in their lifetime, and usually years apart becoming comfortable, no less schooled in the current market conditions, financial and credit requirements, home valuations, location concerns and so many more items on an ever-growing and increasingly complex check-list of do’s, don’ts musts and must not’s, means you must find a professional to educate and guide you. .. a professional you can rely on and trust. 

For the Realtor this is their business…and in order for your Realtor and their Team  to be successful in helping you achieve your goals and dreams, he or she not only needs to provide you with all the education, resources and a team of experts to support your needs, they also need to help you become comfortable in revealing both what you think and feel about the process and the outcomes you are experiencing.  And that takes trust.

To start with, education and patience is key.  Your Realtor has to provide you, not just with a list of homes to go and see, but with a step by step process and plan for helping you determine what price, style, condition, location and dozens of other large and small criteria options are needed to create a picture of the home that will truly fit your home-buying needs. 

Very important from the start is your Realtor’s ability to help you establish your unique criteria using such programs as a HomeHunter ® service to help you begin framing your wants, needs and goals.  For access to a complete series of free video and informational emails that can provide you with many of the important strategies and information you will need to make the best home purchase you can CLICK HERE ==èSPECIAL E-MAIL SERIES REPORTS and ask for the free no obligation series of email reports to be sent to you regularly over the next few weeks.  Just put FREE VIDEO EMAIL SERIES in the subject line. 

If you just want to start out by searching the MLS to see what types of homes are available in your projected price range and area of preference CLICK HERE =èSEARCH THE MLS FREE

Remember, buying a home is a process, not an event.  Finding a Realtor to help you step through the process  – one you can trust – will go a long way toward achieving your goals.


Posted on 3. September 2011 07:56 by qmiskini


Experienced Buyer’s Agents hear this one all the time from their Clients: “We’ve looked at so many houses today, this is the last one, and it’s not very pretty, let’s just call it a day and start again tomorrow.”  Any Realtor who is an advocate for their Client, especially those who have shown thousands of homes and sold many hundreds of homes knows that you should never judge a book by its cover.   A property that you may not think, from the outside is “cute’, or ’pretty” or “elegant,” may have all the attributes you are seeking on the inside; and because it may not be the “prettiest” home on the block, may be far more negotiable in price.  And if you don’t like the home’s color, or the porch is ugly…there’s rarely anything about a home that cannot be changed to suit your individual tastes.

As is often the case, when you open the book’s cover and peer inside at the pictures and words… you discover a story well worth reading.  For example, one of our in-town Clients had very definite views on what they were looking for.  They were at the end of a long day, having seen nearly 20 homes that did not suit.  This last home didn’t have any of the street view attributes they were looking for and they decided to just pass it by.  In their carefully customized HomeHunter ® daily list of the hottest new listings, it looked, on paper, that it had nearly everything they wanted – space, renovated and updated features, right neighborhood, close to favorite shops and restaurants… but a lack of curb appeal turned them off.  It was the last property on the list on a long day of disappointments.

“We’re here,” urged their Realtor, who had heard this refrain before.  Tired, grumpy, disappointed, hungry are all symptoms of frustration, and work against tenacity and judgment, two important attributes Realtors hope to imbue in their Buyers… or that their Buyers come already equipped with.  “Either way,” she urged with the bribe, “I’ll buy the snacks to tide us over until dinner…”

Long story short, inside it was everything - from the front entry to the back fence - they were looking for!  The last home at the end of a very long day at the end of an even longer search turned out to be exactly what the Buyer was searching for.  Offer made, terms negotiated, inspections, appraisal, closing… MOVE IN DAY– WOW “WE LOVE IT – WE’RE SO HAPPY!”  Even the “boring” front, with just a few touches, now ranks high on their “I Love My Home” list.

So don’t give up, and don’t judge a book by its cover… because more often than not, sometimes the last is the best!


Posted on 2. September 2011 02:45 by qmiskini



For years they dreamed of leaving the suburbs and finding the “perfect” cottage in one of the Atlanta “In-Town” neighborhoods.  Where walking was not just a form of exercise but an opportunity to stroll over to a great bistro, an iconic neighborhood art gallery or just shop a supermarket without having to get in their car, drive several miles and then hunt up a parking spot somewhere vaguely in proximity to the store’s entrance.  This year, as their last child was leaving for college, the chance to embrace that dream became real.

Now, facing the reality that the time to move into town was at hand, they needed a plan.  Step 1, find a Realtor who could help them organize a search for their dream home, and help them prepare and then sell their current home in the burbs.  Step 2, working with their Realtor: develop a plan for narrowing their searches – which neighborhoods in-town best fit both their “wish-list” and needs.   Step 3, begin working with a Lender to determine just how much they could afford to spend on their dream.   Step 4, get their current home on the market and “hit the bricks”… start driving through in-town neighborhoods, start looking at homes, start focusing their vision of what really is the perfect cottage in the perfect neighborhood.

Pouring through the daily hot-list of the newest properties to hit the market provided to them by their Realtor through their unique computerized HomeHunter ® Service, they quickly began to learn which neighborhoods provided good value for the asking price, and which neighborhoods did not.  By both driving neighborhoods and also previewing homes with their Realtor, they began to narrow their focus, and determine what features and benefits the home, the street and the neighborhood would best suit their wants and needs.

In the meantime, using a plan provided by their Realtor, they prepared their home so that is was “show quality,” meaning it looked good from the street and lived up to expectations on the inside too.  These days, unless a Buyer is shopping for a distress sale property like a foreclosure or pre-foreclosure short sale where the Buyer expects to purchase at a discount and expects to fix and clean the property, a non-distressed property has to not only be priced competitively but has to be in “move-in-condition.”  Along with a massive marketing plan they developed a pricing plan in order to find the price point where the market positively equated the home’s price with the home’s value and benefits.  Once there, despite the so-called “awful” market, their home showed consistently and shortly received two offers. With a bound agreement in hand, they and their Realtor shifted into high gear.

“We looked at nearly one hundred houses, but with our Realtor’s guidance, we didn’t panic.”  And then, as if it had been waiting for them all along, the “perfect in-town cottage” appeared on their daily HomeHunter ® feed.   And indeed it was perfect.  Recently beautifully renovated, located on a street where walking everywhere was a joy and not a burden, plenty of space for living and for working at home and priced within their budget.  Visit it once…”oh joy!”   Visit it again to be sure it felt just a good on a second look.  “Let’s come back again tomorrow, taking time to stand in each room, get a feeling for the space, the light, the lot.”  Room enough for visitors to stay the weekend?  Enough space for the dogs?  Yes, yes…Yes!

Ok Realtor - make the initial offer…negotiate terms and price… inspections, appraisal, organize a myriad of details… coordinate both closings. 

Dreams do come true – if you have a plan, and have a Real Estate team to help you work for them. 

Having that Urban Christmas is a dream no more!




Posted on 1. September 2011 06:37 by qmiskini

What's a house worth? That's one of the most important - and seemingly difficult- questions to answer for any home search.  And there are many ways to look at answering that all important question.

What is it worth to you... the Buyer?  What's it worth to the Seller? What is its appraisal value? What does the "market" think it is worth? Is it worth less because it is a foreclosed property...often called an REO (bank terminology for "Real Estate Owned.") Is it worth less - or more - as a Short Sale or "pre-foreclosure" property? Is it worth paying fair market value for a home that is NOT a distress sale property - a retail property... or new construction?  Does its location in the sub division affect its value and price?  How about condition, or proximity to schools or shopping? How has the foreclosure rate in some sub division communities affected price and therefore value? As a Buyer you could go nuts trying to wade through the maze of questions, statistics and trends as well as important but less apparent anecdotal information when trying to decide whether the home of your dreams is worth the price it is listed for.

That's where the Realtor you are working with begins to show his or her true value. Experienced Realtors who are members of Teams like TMT Realty Group, for example, where access to data Buyers and Sellers cannot either retrieve or decipher, and their ability to interpret the data adds a high level of confidence that the foundation assessments of properties are based on reliable information and experience and not just intuition...or worse... a "good guess."

All those factors and more go into assessing value and price. Don't get stuck guessing and hoping you not only found a home you love, but can buy it for a price you can love. To start with, ask your Realtor to help you get pre-approved by an experienced lender so you know what your price points are. Next have your Realtor provide you with the most current information daily - from all sources.  TMT Realty Group offers its exclusive HomeHunter Service, completely free with no obligation, matching your exact criteria to the newest and hottest deals from all Realtors and sources.   Then, get in your car and drive by homes and neighborhoods to see how they stack up to your specialized criteria.  And finally - visit homes with your Realtor - compare and contrast their strengths and weakness, and how you "feel" about each home until the right property at the right price makes itself apparent.

By matching superior market knowledge, systems, research and experience with your wants and needs, the right home at the right price will become the end result of a great Buyer/Realtor partnership.  You will not only have found the home you love, but you'll know what it is worth!


Posted on 16. July 2010 02:35 by qmiskini

"I Love my new home."  Those words are music to every real estate professionals ears.  But singing those words the week after you've moved into your new home and singing them again after you have been living there for a year are very different songs.

Buying a home, whether it is your first home or your 10th home is a process, not an event.  The Realtor you select to guide and assist you must be operating with that clearly in mind or else your Realtor is just trying to make a sale and not guiding you through an often emotional time.  But as much as buying a home is a life choice, it is also a business venture... yes a business venture. You are committing to tens of thousands, often hundreds of thousands of (and occasionally a million or more) dollars of long term debt.  That means that your long term asset will be a long term liability until it is fully paid off or returns a profit (equity) when you resell it. 

That means your home - for all the emotional and practical reasons you purchased it - must love you back.  That means your choices like area or neighborhood or sub division, schools, distance to work and transportation, shopping, recreation, friends, relatives and more, all the elements of life and lifestyle your home provides proximity to and "sanctuary from" should be considered when choosing to purchase your next home.  The size, the style, the floor plan, the age it's condition and more are important factors in your purchase.  And it's value - are you making the best possible use of your hard earned money because buying a home is an investment in your future as well as where you are living today. That too is an important part of the home buying process.  Although no one can accurately predict a property's future value, your Realtor can provide you with a well researched history of a property and the area it is in. The research along with the experience of living through the cyclical ups and downs of the economy and its effect on your local communities can give you a perspective that can aid you in your decision making.

Buying a home is exciting. Loving it when you move in and remembering it fondly after you've sold it and moved on - two great songs!



Posted on 14. July 2010 02:42 by qmiskini

This is a tough housing market. Property prices that soared during the housing "bubble" have dropped like a rock since the bubble burst.  Many sellers are paying mortgages on homes that are worth less than they owe, and may be valued at less (meaning negative equity) for some years to come.  There are more foreclosures and distress sale properties on the market than in recent memory.  By some estimates an astounding 12% of all home mortgages are in some stage of default - as many as 7 million home mortgages in default!

For Buyers, there seems to be a lot of "good deals" available. But when you find that good deal, finding a loan to purchase that home is like walking a tightrope in a circus with a blindfold holding flaming torches while being dive-bombed by bees... at least that's how it seemed to one buyer who did finally get his loan but was exhausted and frustrated by the end of the process.  Why is the process so difficult? Because lenders have no confidence in the economy and less confidence in you. As a consequence, lenders, despite ads and ministrations to get you in the door with low interest rates and a variety of new lending plans, look at the economic landscape and continue to make the underwriting process as tough as possible in order to weed out as many future defaults as possible.

That does not mean no loans are available to qualified buyers - people with good credit scores, a consistent work history, money for the down payment and closing expenses, and a property that will appraise at the sale price or more. It does mean even well qualified buyers will have to jump through hoops - prove, verify, re-verify and re-prove their credit worthiness. For buyers whose financial picture is less than perfect it's the tightrope walk for you.  So what do you have to do in order to get a mortgage loan for that good deal?  Homework!

Yes, homework.  Buying a home is actually a business deal... and a pretty big one at that. So if you are not a real estate expert, a significant part of doing your homework is assembling a team of experts to help you through the process - jump through those hoops or walk that tightrope with knowledge, patience and persistence.  Key members of that advisory team are your Realtor and your loan officer. You Realtor will tell you that the most important first step in the process, taken BEFORE you even begin to look at homes, is to work with your loan officer to become a PRE-APPROVED Buyer. Pre-approved means getting, in writing, all the requirements of the lender's underwriters to qualify for a home mortgage loan. Then work with your loan officer and go through the process - right up to the point where the only element lacking is a home that will appraise for a loan. 

You'll get a Pre-Approval Letter from your lender and will have jumped through a bunch of hoops. But when it comes down to obtaining final loan approval for that good deal, there will be no tightrope walk and far fewer hoops.  


Posted on 12. July 2010 06:23 by qmiskini



"Is there any wiggle room in the price?"  It's a great, simple innocently straight-forward question every well-schooled Buyer's Agent should always ask. Why? Because it sets up the conversation with the Seller's Listing Agent that hints the Buyer is interested and is looking at options - of which price is always a big concern. It's a good psychological tactic - and it gets the Listing Agent prepared, when an offer is received, to feel there is flexibility on both sides ("wiggle room") so that the Seller becomes more inclined to find a pricing solution and not be insulted if the original offer is lower than expected.

These days, the strategies and tactics employed in helping a Buyer get the absolute best deal on their home purchase - one of the principal roles of the Buyer's Agent, or helping the Seller receive top dollar for the sale - one of the principal roles of the Listing Agent, requires a higher level of negotiating skill and problem solving posture than any time in recent memory.  So what constitutes a great deal and a win-win for both a Buyer and a Seller?

For short sale and Foreclosed properties, it's all about finding the seller’s lender or the Foreclosure Bank or Investor's bottom line.  The bank's and investors have no emotional attachment to the property; they have a balance sheet and a time-line and are managing revenue and expense - gain and loss and an ever-increasing pile of federal legislative dictums.

Despite the media focus on foreclosures, retail sellers still populate the majority of the home selling market (counter to the belief that distressed properties make up the vast majority of homes for sale today.) Balancing the Fair Market Value (FMV) of a home, the physical condition of the property, level of “showability” and the true bottom line requirements with the perceived “hot competition” of all those supposed “undervalued” distress sale properties is becoming an art as well as a science. 

Everything should start with the bottom line – what is the net cash left in the transaction for the Seller after all fix up costs, fees, expenses and the like. Sale price is actually less important than the net figure at the end. And of course, market pricing in this tough Buyer’s market is critical.  For the Buyer, working with a Realtor who can clearly understand and articulate what the Seller is facing and needs to achieve makes framing a smart, price conscious and negotiable offer – one which beleaguered Sellers can work with – a very important part of pre-offer research.  The same goes for Listing agents who must carefully and fully brief their Sellers on the current prevailing Buyer psychology so that Sellers do not get over emotional when receiving low first offers, and do not miss the opportunity to find areas of agreement that can overcome price negotiations and unnecessary hard feelings.

If ever there was a market that requires patience, persistence and GREAT RESEARCH AND NEGOTIATING SKILLS, well… we’re here!