Posted on 8. February 2014 11:42 by qmiskini

HOUSING NEWS WATCH - February

The Love Doctor is in… (For those who remember this message from last year – we thought it was well worth repeating again!)

If Ira was writing this by himself, this is what he’d probably say: “Not that I am the Dr. of Love or anything like that… But then again most men like to believe they are.  After all – ‘Love is a many splendored thing’… or so they say!”

Here’s what we both say.  When we were planning our wedding way back in 1974, we wanted to reveal to all who attended words that would convey our LOVE for each other.  Those thoughts are best summed up in a wonderful bible verse from 1 Corinthians 13 which says: “Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy. It does not boast. It is not proud. It is not rude. It is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered.  It keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.”

Of Course we are talking LOVE because February is the love month, rightly celebrated with Valentine’s Day.

We could go on with all kinds of examples like – LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF, and even go all business on you with accolades about how much we love doing business with you, or how much we love your referrals and more – but the bottom line is we do love helping people buy and sell real estate.

In fact, if it’s ok with you, we’ll focus just a bit on the REFERRAL request.  Please know that our Team and we, are eager to help you or anyone you know really wanting to make a move, so much so, that for your friends, neighbors associates or relatives considering it, we are willing to make an offer that they will love.

For the month of February, anyone considering making a move that you refer to us, we will guarantee them in writing that their home will sell or we’ll buy it at a price acceptable to them.

 We just need to agree on price and possession date with the seller.

AND remember, YOUR referrals help the kids…

Any one you know considering making a move, wanting to buy or sell their home, please refer them to us without hesitation or delay!  It’s very easy for you to do that and on top of the great services outlined above; your referrals will help the kids at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta!!!

We are on a mission this year to raise $25,000 for Children’s Health care of Atlanta!

They do such great work in helping kids struggle to recover from debilitating diseases.  It’s gut wrenching to see these young people whose lives hang by a thread, struggling for survival.  BUT at Children’s they have a chance, a GREAT chance.

And like many children’s hospitals, they depend on donations and givers to fund worthwhile projects.  These kids who are suffering are made better quicker thanks to Children’s Recovery Center complete with electronics and other fun stuff kids LOVE. But that recovery center requires money to operate and continue.  So we are donating a portion of our income on every home we sell this year to Children’s Health Care of Atlanta, so the kids in their care can continue to recover from these horrible diseases and grow up to experience and LOVE life.

It’s easy to refer your friends, neighbors, associates or family members considering making a move and we hope you will take a few minutes to consider who you know who will benefit from the Exclusive Guarantee we are offering: Your home sold or we’ll buy it*. 

Simply go to www.Friends-And-Family-Referrals.com to pass along your referral.  Or of course you can always call us direct as well at 770-672-7832.

 As we move forward in a brand new year, please know that we and our Team love thanking you for being a special part of our business.

 


With much appreciation,

Stephanie and Ira Miskin

 This month donations to CHOA were made thanks to Team members Amy Johnson, Nitya Grenham and Stephanie Miskin and their Clients Denise & Robert Kinnebrew, Eric Coleman, Colleen Lanning, Kevin Miller and Thomas Mitchell.                   …….The Kids thank you all!

P.S. We love honoring past clients like you. Read all about that at www.Friends-And-Family-Referrals.com. You can read more about Children’s at www.CHOA.org. 

 

P.P.S. We have enclosed an article that discusses the issues many area home owners are facing in today’s market.  As you read it, you will see that our unique offer to guarantee the sale of a home or we’ll buy their home for cash gives home sellers great peace of mind when selling in today’s market.

Market News

Pending Home Sales Drop 8.7% in December, is Housing in Trouble? 

by Peter Ricci      January 31, 2014  See more at: http://atlantaagentmagazine.com/pending-home-sales-drop-8-7-december-housing-trouble/#sthash.s59LhvwR.dpuf

Last year closed out on a sour note for pending home sales, according to NAR’s final tally.  Dec. 2013 was a rough month for pending home sales, with the Pending Home Sales Index dropping 8.7 percent from November to a reading of 92.4, according to the latest report by the National Association of Realtors. That’s the lowest level for the Pending Home Sales Index since Oct. 2011, and in addition to its monthly declines, pending sales were down 8.8 percent from Dec. 2012. 

Weak Pending Home Sales – What’s to Blame?

So, what’s to blame for the sizable drop in pending home sales? Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said that several factors went into the lower numbers. “Unusually disruptive weather across large stretches of the country in December forced people indoors and prevented some buyers from looking at homes or making offers,” he said. “Home prices rising faster than income is also giving pause to some potential buyers, while at the same time a lack of inventory means insufficient choice.”

 

Indeed, the weather/inventory impediments seem to account for the lion’s share of the declines. As the Wall Street Journal‘s Nick Timiraos pointed out, pending sales declined the country over, including in housing markets not affected by weather. The numbers are quite striking: pending sales were down 10.3 percent in the Northeast, 6.8 percent in the Midwest, 8.8 percent in the South and 9.8 percent in the West, where sales were down a whopping 16.0 percent from last year (they were also down by yearly measures in the other three regions).

The Secret Ingredient to a Housing Slowdown

Though Yun’s analysis is sound, there is one dimension to    the housing slowdown that he neglected to mention – rising mortgage rates. Take a look at this graph, which charts the Pending Home Sales Index through 2013: Notice when the index began to falter? In May, when mortgage rates initially spiked. Pending home sale hit a six-year high that month, but as soon as rates increased, the effects on the housing market were immediate. Does this mean the wild and crazy days of early 2013 are history? It’s still too early to say, but we’ll have to watch these numbers closely the next couple of months for any emerging trends. For 2013, though, the data is quite clear – higher mortgage rates slowed the market.

  

CHILDREN’S HEALTH CARE OF ATLANTA NEWS

Teamwork Helps Adopted Daughter Make Important Progress

David and Laura Kelly knew adopting a pair of daughters, Nikki and Karah, from Russia would produce a unique set of challenges. Those challenges were compounded by an injury to the youngest of the pair, Karah. She would require specialized treatment to help her develop into a capable, independent young woman.

While in the Siberian hospital, a nurse left a tourniquet on Karah's left arm after placing an I.V. in the top of her hand when she was 10 months old. It cut off blood supply long enough that doctors had to amputate her middle finger and parts of her wrist, including the growth plates. The injury and resulting surgeries left Karah's forearm scarred and thin and her hand curled and bent toward her forearm.

Early Steps

Laura and David waited to pursue further surgical treatment for Karah's hand after bringing her daughter home when she was 2 in August of 2000. When she finally asked Karah what she wanted, Laura received a definite response.  "I drew a picture of her hand how it is curled up and another of her hand flat," Laura said. "I asked her which hand she wanted, and she said 'flat' enthusiastically."  

When the family lived near Philadelphia, Karah had surgery to remove most of the scar tissue in her hand and to graft on new skin. After they moved to Atlanta nine years ago, they started searching for other options. "Children's came up because Karah went online and did one of her own searches," Laura said. "She sent me an email out of the blue to check this website out and that she wanted to talk about getting her hand improved."

Coming to Children's

The family met with Allan E. Peljovich, M.D., M.P.H., a pediatric orthopaedic hand surgeon and the Medical Director of the Hand and Upper Extremity Program at Children's.  Rather than opt for more surgery, however, Dr. Peljovich recommended Karah receive a consultation with the limb deficiency team to explore non-surgical options. "We were thrilled," Laura said. "We weren't leaping into surgery. We are doing a progressive treatment, and then Karah can make that informed decision about having another surgery."

After a comprehensive evaluation of her limitations and abilities, Karah began occupational therapy with Amy Bohn, C.P.A.M., O.T.R./L., at Children's at Meridian Mark in July 2013. In the first month of therapy, Amy completed scar management techniques, splinting, and range of motion and strength exercises. She also designed an exercise program to help Karah develop strength and function in her left hand.

Moving Forward

Karah, who is now 15, will continue to receive hand and upper extremity therapy for another six months to a year before making a decision about more surgical treatments. They are thrilled with the progress their daughter has made. While the future is still uncertain, Laura said one thing is for sure: Karah will be returning to Children's for the next step in her treatment, whatever that step might be. "Children's has made her feel really comfortable," Laura said. "They work so well as a team and you can see that. They were so compatible."

 

 


Posted on 27. December 2013 06:08 by qmiskini

 

More buyers than ever are streaming into the market in search of a home before, as many have expressed, “all the bargains are gone.”  Some sellers are responding.  The monthly current volume of single family homes available for sale has increased by 6-thosusand homes since January 2013.  Just over 18 thousand single family homes are for sale in the Metro Atlanta area.  Yet that’s just a fraction of the homes that were for sale before the market crash in 2008, when standing inventory was at a peak of nearly 58 thousand single family homes for sale.

With a current total nearly 9,000 buyers in our Buyers-In-Waiting data base, and with 2,583 tagged as “high quality buyer inquiries,” there’s no shortage of buyers who are thinking about, or actively searching for the right home.  With a lack of homes for sale in many key price categories, and since there are fewer foreclosures and short sales on the market, the pendulum has swung from a strong buyer’s market to a mixed market where sellers have leverage in some price categories.

As a result, some believe, there will be fewer opportunities for buyers in all categories if most potential sellers continue to remain on the sidelines.  However, the opposite may actually be closer to market reality in 2014. 

Early trends point to the gradual return to the pre-2005 so-called “normal” market, as homes in many segments of Metro Atlanta, and particularly in Cobb County beginning to recover lost value.  And as prices rise relative to the modest improvements in the overall economy, a return to the normal market seems more likely.

In a normal market, interest rates for home loans hover at around 7 per cent, which is 55 per cent higher than the current interest rate paid on a 30 year fixed rate home loan.  As of this writing the average rate is 4.57%, up 1.22% from the 52 week low of 3.35%.  In other words, interest rates have risen overall 25 percent in the previous 12 months.  Once the Federal Reserve Bank begins to back off “quantitative easing,” by reducing the amount of money it spends each month to help keep interest rates artificially low, all interest rates including home mortgage rates will start to climb.

It will not all happen at once, but with home values continuing a shaky but upward trend in Metro Atlanta, and with buyers struggling to find homes at good prices before rates start to peak, many sellers who were unsure about whether to sell now, or wait, will enter the market now to beat the trend toward tougher lending criteria and higher interest rates.  Even with higher inventory, especially for first-time buyers and move-up buyers in the $200 thousand to $400 thousand dollar price categories, ready-to-buy “now buyers” whose purchase power could be cut in half with the rising interest rates, should be anxious to compete for the best homes marketed at fair market value prices.  That means the potential for more competition among buyers; and more competition means more offers.  More offers means sellers using the best marketing strategists to sell their homes could benefit from both multiple offers and faster sales.

Appealing homes priced competitively and in good condition priced in the first-time buyer categories, usually under $150 thousand dollars in, for example, the Hillgrove, Sprayberry or North Cobb high school districts, when they can be found at all, have sold very quickly with multiple offers.  Even with an uptick in inventory that trend will continue.  Similarly, if your home appeals in price and quality to move-up buyers in the over $200 thousand dollar categories, nearly twice as many homes sold in 2013 as did in 2012 because of increased buyer competition. With the rise in home values coupled with the rise in mortgage interest rates, downsizers needing to sell at top market value and also wanting to buy at the right price now will find navigating those waters a bit more tricky.  As prices rise along with interest rates they’ll net more from the sale of their home but may have fewer choices when competing for a good quality home in the lower price categories.

How do you know if it’s the right time for you to enter the home selling market in 2014?  IF you have to sell, then you have little choice.  For those who would like to sell but aren’t sure, bring in a top professional to perform an In-Home Equity Diagnostic Analysis.  Find out not only what your home will sell for, but what is left in your pocket after the sale.  That is the bottom line, and an agent with a full service team, top research tools and lots of multi-year market experience can give you the information you need to make the most money from the sale of your home.

For the readers of TMT Realty Times you can call me direct at 770-672-8732 and ask for a free and confidential In-Home Equity Diagnostic Analysis to help you understand more fully what your home is worth and how you may be able to get top dollar in today’s market to leverage your purchase of a new home while prices still hover below the market highs despite rising interest rates.  And also ask about how to determine the best strategy for finding the still available “great deals” that may be hidden from the average home shopper.  To prepare for your in-home evaluation you should also ask for a Special Report titled:  27 Valuable Tips You Should Know To Get Your Home Sold Fast and For Top Dollar. 

About the author: Ira Miskin is Market Area President for Optimus Real Estate Brokers.  His new book titled, The Ultimate Now Holds Barred Guide to Selling Your Atlanta Home at Your Price in Your Time Frame, is scheduled for release in the spring of 2014.  Ira is available for private consultation by appointment by calling 770-672-7832.


Posted on 11. September 2013 02:41 by qmiskini

 

Branch Managers and Senior Loan Officers from each of the lenders who consistently serve our Clients met with our Team to keep us ahead of the pack when it comes to helping our Clients wade through the ups and downs of rising home-mortgage interest rates and appreciating home values.    What’s going on, and how will these changes affect the sale of your current home or the purchase of your next home?

According to recent national news reports, the number of sales of existing homes across the USA is the highest it has been in 5 years.  But in the June report by the National Association of Realtors, “pending sales” nationwide were down.  Yet, the highly regarded Case-Shiller report for the same period shows home prices rising, even as home loan interest rates rose.  So is it good news or bad news for buyers and sellers?  The right answer is that it depends on where you live.  No matter how the housing market is performing nationally, conditions in your community could be worse or better because all residential real estate sales are local. 

In Cobb County - a very diverse housing community with a wide range of housing styles and ages – divergent national trends only tell part of the story.  The Atlanta area is divided into several hundred distinct market Areas.  Cobb County is divided in 7 Areas, each with its own housing characteristics, pricing and trends. Here are three Cobb County examples. In Cobb Area 74 which contains parts of both Marietta and Kennesaw, home values rose 16.63% over 2012 prices but were still down 14.92% from the market high in July 2007. In Cobb Area 81 comprising a portion of East Cobb, home values recovered 18.9% of value over the same period in 2012 but are still down 19.87% from the market high in 2007.  In Cobb Area 73 with communities as different as Smyrna and Powder Springs, homes values are still 26.67% below the market high in 2007, but has recovered a whopping 43.8% of value over July 2012 sale prices.  The message is, in Cobb County home values are recovering.

Interest rates on home loans are also on the rise, which would seem to place a damper on home sales.  Rates have risen to a market average of 4.51% for a 30-Year Fixed rate loan from a market average of 3.75% for a 30-year fixed rate loan just 1 year ago.  Yet in Atlanta as a whole, sales have kept pace with rising prices and rising interest rates; and in Cobb County, the number of homes sold to date in 2013 vs. homes sold during the same period in 2012 has risen by nearly 6%.  Rising interest rates and rising prices have not curtailed the housing market; but it has changed who is selling and buying.

Who is selling and buying? Even though the overall economy remains sluggish, the increased number of sales despite rising prices has caused many sellers concerned about their home’s value to take a second look at the market.  Some sellers could not, or would not sell at depressed prices just to take advantage of the market to move up to a larger home at a lower price.  Some however did make the switch and benefitted substantially by making up the loss on their previous home by snaring a “great deal” on their new home, and are receiving the benefit of incremental appreciation.  A seller in Cobb County that may have sold a home in 2012 for 20% less than top market value back in 2007, and purchased a home wisely just a year ago, saw their new home add between 19% and 44% of increased equity value over the previous year’s home prices in just one year of recovery. By comparison, interest rates only rose around ¾ of a point.  The monthly difference on a $200,000 mortgage in monthly payments is only $88 per month.  But a 19% home value appreciation is worth as much as $38 thousand dollars of equity.  Is that worth $88 a month?  If home values continue to appreciate at reasonable rates of recovery, it still may take another 5 years to get back to the market highs.  But if the sale of your current home facilitates the opportunity to benefit from the market lows, and interest rates do not spiral upward but increase gradually as the economy improves, the leverage of selling your current home in today’s market to benefit from market recovery appreciation in a larger, more valuable home could be the smart residential real estate move in the coming year. 

Selling and buying homes in any market can be complicated.  Don’t let a fluctuating market scare you from taking advantage of rising prices despite rising interest rates.  With the right Team in place, one that brings Agents with top negotiating skills, backed up with top marketing experts, and a support team of qualified lenders, inspectors, appraisers, researchers, and more, much of the uncertainty can be anticipated, and profitably factored into both a Sell and a Buy.

For the readers of this blog you can call me direct at 770-672-8732 and ask for a free and confidential market analysis and in-home evaluation to help you understand more fully what your home is worth and how you may be able to get top dollar in today’s market to leverage your purchase of a new home while prices still hover below the market highs despite rising interest rates.  And also ask about how to determine the best strategy for finding the still available “great deals” that may be hidden from the average home shopper.  To prepare for your in-home evaluation you should also ask for a Special Report titled:  27 Valuable Tips You Should Know To Get Your Home Sold Fast and For Top Dollar. 


Posted on 15. July 2013 09:02 by qmiskini

 

                In this still shaky economy, practically no one, it seems is sheltered from the still swirling economic storm.   Even as housing prices inch up which is good news for home sellers, rising interest rates on home loans are beginning to make it tougher for home Buyers to purchase the homes they want. CAUTION: Buying and selling a home in this complicated market can be hazardous to your pocket book unless you know the facts and have the right Team in place to shepherd you through the storm.

                To set the stage, you must be aware of how mortgage interest rates affect Buyers working to qualify for a home mortgage and how, in many price categories, rising and higher interest rates can limit sales and profitability for home sellers.  According to tracking reports provided publically by Freddie Mac, the giant secondary market mortgage buyer, in just the past year, interest rates have been volatile and, in many respects mirrored the volatility of key aspects of the marketplace.   For example, in January of 2012, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey of 30 year fixed rate mortgages, the average interest rate was 3.92%.  By December 2012 it had declined – great news for both Buyers and Sellers – to an average of 3.35%.  But by July of 2013, rates had risen to an average of 4.07%.  Now that might not seem like much but consider the impact of these rising rates for a home buyer trying to get mortgage loan approval to buy a home, for example, in Kennesaw or Acworth for $225,000.

                Many home buyers in this price category are first-time home buyers with enough good credit to qualify for a loan, but not always enough cash to make the down payment and pay the lender fees (called closing costs) required to purchase a home mortgage loan.  Many of these buyers turn to FHA to acquire their home loan.  Most lenders servicing Buyers in Cobb County will initiate the FHA loan process of loan approval for Buyers whose credit scores are above 640 and whose other credit-worthy checkpoints like their debt-to-income-ratio, employment record, loan and credit card payment records etc. meet the lender’s requirements.  FHA will insure a buyer’s loan and allow the Buyer to purchase that loan with only a 3.5% down payment.  In addition to the down payment, the lender’s service fees, the cost of an appraisal, home inspection, 1 year’s home-owners insurance premium, 1 year’s mortgage insurance paid up front to FHA, and advances (called “pre-paids”) on interest, property taxes and other closing expenses can total as much as another 3% (or more) of the loan amount – a cash requirement needed for the Buyer to close their loan to buy your home.

                The interest rate plus a portion of the pay-down of the principle loan amount plus one 12th of that year’s property taxes, plus one 12th of next year’s home-owners insurance premium, plus one 12th of next year’s mortgage insurance premium charged to the buyer monthly for the life of the loan by FHA, makes the monthly payment on that $225,000 home purchase look like this:

Example: Est. Monthly Payments on a $225,000 Home Purchase in Cobb County

Mo. / Year

Int. Rate %

Principle

Interest

Prop Taxes

H.O. Insurance

FHA Mtge. Insurance

Monthly Payment

Jan. 2012

3.92%

$317.32

$709.28

$208.33

$108.33

$244.26

$1,587.52

Dec. 2012

3.35%

$350.76

$606.14

$208.33

$108.33

$244.26

$1,517.82

July 2013

4.07%

$308.95

$736.42

$208.33

$108.33

$244.26

$1,606.29

               

                For the Buyer to purchase your home using an FHA home mortgage loan these are the approximate primary cash requirements for a home loan:

Example: Est. Cash Requirements on a $225,000 Home Purchase in Cobb County

Down Payment

3½%

Inspection & Appraisal

1st YR      H. O. Ins. & 1st Year Mtge. Ins. (1.75%)

1st Month Loan Interest

2 Mos. Property Tax

2 Mos. for 2nd Year’s H.O. Ins.

Lender Fees (est.) 2% of Loan Amt.

Other Closing fees & Taxes-Est.

Est. Total $ Required

 

$7,875

$750

$1300 + $3,799

$736.42

$416.66

$216.66

$4242

$1600

$20,935.74

 

                Although the amounts in both charts are estimates and can vary from loan to loan and from home sale to home sale, it’s pretty easy to see how the amount of cash required for a typical home sale, and the impact on monthly mortgage payments the fluctuating interest rates have, can directly affect the sale of your home.  For a home buyer there’s an $89 dollar per month difference in payments.  That’s an extra $1068 per year paid on the higher interest rate.  The amount of interest paid to your lender is $130 per month higher which is $1560 per year more paid in interest on the loan.  The amount paid toward principle loan is $41.81 per month lower meaning the principle reduction will be nearly $502 less in the first year of the home loan.  If all these numbers start to blend in together – and for many buyers and sellers these details can be somewhat daunting – know these simple but critical factors when it comes to interest rates, home loans and selling your home in a time of rising interest rates:

  •     As prices continue to rise so will the cost of purchasing a home loan

 

  •     As costs rise fewer Buyers in many home pricing categories can afford a loan
  •   Seller contributions to the Buyer’s closing costs will rise to keep pace with loan cost

 

  •   The balance between sale price and Seller’s Net (what’s left for you after all expenses) becomes an even more critical calculation in the sale

Selling and buying homes in any market can be complicated.  Don’t let a fluctuating market scare you from taking advantage of rising prices despite rising interest rates.  With the right Team in place, one that brings Agents with top negotiating skills, backed up with top marketing experts, and a support team of qualified lenders, inspectors, appraisers, researchers, and more, much of the uncertainty can be anticipated, and profitably factored into both a Sell and a Buy.

For the readers seeking more information you can call me direct at 770-672-8732 and ask for a free and confidential market analysis and in-home evaluation to help you understand more fully what your home is worth and how you may be able to get top dollar in today’s market to leverage your purchase of a new home while prices still hover below the market highs despite rising interest rates.  And also ask about how to determine the best strategy for finding the still available “great deals” that may be hidden from the average home shopper.  To prepare for your in-home evaluation you should also ask for a Special Report titled:  27 Valuable Tips You Should Know To Get Your Home Sold Fast and For Top Dollar. 

About the author: Ira Miskin is Market Area President for Optimus Real Estate Brokers.  Ira is available for private consultation by appointment by calling 770-672-7832.


Posted on 3. July 2013 03:47 by qmiskini

As I am writing this  there are 5579 Buyers in our data base who have contacted us over the past 12 months – each who are interested in purchasing a home sometime within the next one to twelve months.  According to the latest statistics for the average value of home prices in Metro Atlanta, all home sale prices for single family homes area-wide have increased by 27%.   But the number of single family homes for sale city-wide has declined 30.4% from 23,000 to 16,000.

 How this trend impacts local communities is instructive. Let’s drill down a bit and see how these changes in the home-selling marketplace have affected Buyers and Sellers in Cobb County as an example.  Here are five well regarded communities that show of how many Cobb County neighborhoods are affected by the market’s recovery.

 

 

Sub Division

# Homes Sold in Past 12 Months

Avg. Sale Price 2012

Avg. Sale Price 2013

%

/ -

Legacy Park

93

$185,120

$188,436

1.8%

Brookstone

109

$262,969

$282,737

9.3%

Heritage Club

19

$178,439

$197,375

10.6%

Cobblestone Ridge

9

$226,050

$230,475

1.95%

Echo Mill

20

$241,923

$257,195

9.4%

 

Both Legacy Park and Brookstone are large and diverse communities.   In Legacy Park diversity in both size and style make the community a strong magnet for buyers as different as first time home buyers and downsizers seeking homes that are comfortable yet manageable in under $200,000 pricing in communities like Lullwater or Annadale vs. move-up buyers seeking more space for growing families and executive style homes with pricing that can exceed $400,000 in Winterhur or Palisades.   

Brookstone offers as wide a selection of homes, sizes and styles as Legacy Park.  There are homes on the golf course with prices exceeding $500,000 and over 5,000 square feet of living space in Brookstone Country Club; there are pleasing and comfortable first-time-buyer homes in the 2,000 square foot size for under $175,000, with many styles and sizes and prices in between.

A mid-sized community like Heritage Club – a swim-tennis community – offers a variety of sizes and styles in a well-cared-for setting with pleasing architectural designs.  Cobblestone Ridge, primarily offering new home construction in single story cottage style – craftsman style homes is a very different type of community and home design, yet sees a significant amount of home-buying traffic.  And pleasing and established communities like Echo Mill provide homes in 4 to 6 bedroom sizes with a variety of Cobb-County Traditional façades and styles that are both attractive and timeless.

 It is in these settings that buyers seek homes – “great deals” in a shrinking housing market where interest rates are beginning their slow but inevitable upward creep.  For the last several years, as equity was forced out of homes in most Cobb County communities, homeowners who didn’t need to sell have held onto their homes, waiting for the residential home market to rebound – and rightly so.  However, there were some who used leverage to shelter their lost equity on the sell side by making smart purchases at the market’s bottom, knowing eventually, their way under-market purchase would surpass any equity loss they suffered in the sale of their home.  Those that were less brave hung on and are being rewarded by their patience too.

But there is a cloud on the horizon and that cloud is rising interest rates, which will make it tougher for many buyers to qualify for loans on homes they could have purchased when home loan interest rates languished below – and at times well below 4% annually for 30-year fixed-rate home mortgages.  Still, though prices are rising, many buyers are in the hunt for non-distress sale homes in good repair in highly regarded Cobb County communities before prices and interest rates box them out of the market. Underwriting criteria for Buyers will not soften as the pricing of homes rises and along with it interest rates.  And the number of Buyers – we get over 600 new buyers inquiring about homes for sale every month – will begin to diminish.

So what should home-owners in Cobb County be thinking about now?  If you were hesitant about selling because of values languishing at the bottom, that time seems to be past.  If you are considering making a move now because you want to use the sell-buy leverage still available to get that bigger home at smaller home pricing, that time is now and in the near future – but won’t be there perhaps even a year from now. 

 In a recent article published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, it stated that although “job growth in Metro Atlanta may not be going gangbusters,” it is “still outdoing national job growth.”  As evidence, this month alone agents on our Team are working with more relocating out-of town buyers than they have in recent years.  These are job relocating Buyers from Michigan, Pennsylvania, Washington State, and California to name a few.  For those who have been sitting out the market downturn but feel the time is now right to make a move, getting a private consultation with both a market analysis of your home and a market analysis of homes you would buy if you sold your home, could get you set on the right path for using leverage to both sell and buy before we return to “normal supply and demand levels” with “normal interest rates.”

 For the readers of this blog you can call me direct at 770-672-7832 and ask for a free and confidential market analysis and in-home evaluation to help you understand more fully what your home is worth and how you may be able to get top dollar in today’s market to leverage your purchase of a new home while prices still hover at well below the market highs.  And also ask about how to determine the best strategy for finding the still available “great deals” that may be hidden from the average home shopper.  To prepare for your in-home evaluation you should also ask for a Special Report titled:  27 Valuable Tips You Should Know To Get Your Home Sold Fast and For Top Dollar

About the author: Ira Miskin is Market Area President for Optimus Real Estate Brokers.  Ira is available for private consultation by appointment by calling 770-672-7832.


Posted on 2. November 2011 02:28 by qmiskini

 

Last week we spent a full day with nearly 200 of the top REO sales and marketing teams from across the USA listening to the collective thinking of eight of the top asset managers from six asset management companies representing billions of dollars of foreclosed properties for both large and small banks and investors.  The information they shared was a stark commentary on the state of the housing market today and their best prognostication of the market to come.

They described the huge backlog of “grey or shadow inventory,” perhaps as many as 6 million mortgages in default or eminent default still to come to the market.  That number in itself is more than 10% of all mortgages nationally.  If the market is depressed today, imagine what would happen to the housing market and home prices if all these defaulting mortgages were foreclosed at once.  A huge quandary for banks and investors holding these defaulting mortgages: How to clear the inventory from their balance sheets, which hurts their financial health, without crashing the housing market.

Although it seems like a large portion of the resale housing available for sale today are foreclosed homes, a rising percentage of the distressed properties for sale in the Metro Atlanta market and across the country are short sales. These are properties whose mortgages are in default and whose owners are attempting to sell and also work out a settlement with their mortgage holder to repay less than what is owed and have the balance (called the deficiency) forgiven.

For sellers of short sale properties this is still, although a good alternative to foreclosure, a tough row to hoe.  Banks, investors and the asset management companies hired to manage the short sale negotiations are still woefully understaffed.  Processing and procedures vary widely from bank to bank, and federal and local regulations and restrictions on how Realtors can represent sellers in short sale transactions are restrictive and inhibiting.  Not a pretty picture out there.

The bright side of this gloomy picture is that industry professionals recognize what a mess the market and the process to clear out the glut of defaulting mortgages is.  But there is much work to be done to stabilize home prices and allow the housing market to help lead the nation out of economic distress.

As Realtors, the more we know about how to navigate the unclear and turbulent waters of marketing and selling short sale and foreclosed properties, and the sharper our understanding of the internal systems of lenders and asset managers when negotiating sales for our distress sale sellers and buyers, the clearer the housing picture will become.  Taking many months to unsuccessfully negotiate a short sale transaction only to see the property go to foreclosure helps no one.  Learning how to successfully bring a short sale offer to a defaulting seller’s lender and thread the eye of the needle in order to get the sale approved, clearing one by one the backlog of distressed homes from the market, can only speed up change in this otherwise dismal residential housing environment.

At the end of the day, it may well be educated and adept Realtors and their Teams, who have become expert at guiding defaulting sellers and bargain hunting buyers through the process, who will clear out the defaulting inventory and bring the market back to health.  We can help distressed home owners find financial relief, and help buyers anxious to find a good opportunity at the bottom of the market to find the “perfect home,”  stabilize neighborhoods, and do our part in forging a path toward economic recovery.

Until then, there’s is no telling how long this tough market will continue.

Remember… selling or buying a home is a process and a journey, not an event; you will want to subscribe to our free video e-mail series for home sellers and buyers. For access to the 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 selling or buying decisions 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 and let us know if want the home seller or home buyer series. 

If you just want to see what other homes in your area are selling for by searching the MLS CLICK HERE =èSEARCH THE MLS FREE

Or contact us directly for free, no obligation information at info@TMTRealtyGroup.net

 


Posted on 13. October 2011 01:35 by qmiskini

 

In the Atlanta Metro Market, the high water pricing mark for all residential real estate was reached in 2007.  The Peak month was June 2007 when the average sale price climbed to just under $270,000.  By August 2007 the price had decreased seasonally to around $265,000.  At the end of August 2011, the average sale price for all residential properties in Metro Atlanta was a seasonally adjusted $173,000.  That’s 63.37% of the August 2007 sale price or… a decrease in value of 36.63%.   

Other markets like Las Vegas, for example have seen much worse declines.  But in Atlanta, those numbers are pretty stunning – especially for Sellers not selling distressed properties such as short sales and foreclosures.  The good news in all this is that sales have accelerated from an Atlanta Metro Market monthly low of 3,500 sold/closed properties in November 2010, and just over 4,000 sold/closed properties at the end of August 2010, to about 5,300 sold/closed properties in August 2011.  Lower prices fostered higher numbers of sales. Tough news for many Sellers.  Good news for many Buyers.

But here are some less evident statistics that add additional perspective to just how different the residential real estate market is in Atlanta…how much it has changed since the heady days of 2007.

In 2007 the number of sold/closed single family residential transactions with no “special circumstances” in Metro Atlanta, completed between January 2007 and December 2007 was just over 37,000 or 85.2% of the total sales.  The number of sold/closed single family residential transactions with “special circumstances” like foreclosures and the rare short sale was just over 6,400 or 14.8% of the total sales.  In 2011 between January and October the number of sold/closed single family residential transactions with no “special circumstances” in Metro Atlanta was 13,360 or 45.1% of the total sales year to date.  The number of sold/closed single family transactions with “special circumstances” like foreclosures and the now prevalent short sale was 16,250 or 54.9% of the total sales year to date.  It is a complete market reversal where in the residential single family market segment, distressed properties have become the dominant sale outstripping non-distressed single family residential home sales.  That’s a 60.6% rise is the number of distressed sales and a decline of 63.9% in non-distressed sales.  Those kinds of swings are dizzying.

In Cherokee County where our Realtors and Team assist many Buyers and Sellers the numbers are rougher still.  From January 2007 through December 2007 for single family residential properties with no special circumstances there were 2,418 closed transactions or 92.9% of the total sales in Cherokee County.  Distressed single family residential properties – foreclosures and a few short sales totaled 185 properties or 7.1% of the sales that year.  In 2011 from January to date non-distressed single family residential properties accounted for 701 sold/closed transactions or 47.6% of total sales while distressed single family residential properties – foreclosures and short sales climbed to 772 completed transactions or 52.4% of the total sales to date. That’s a more than 400% increase in distressed property sales and a 71% decline in the sale of non-distressed properties if sales continue along the same trend lines through the end of 2011.

Wading through these numbers can be mind-numbing.  But they are critically important when trying to both understand what has happened to our local residential market, and even more important to understand when faced with the potential for millions more short sale and foreclosed properties still waiting to enter the market across the USA over the next several years.  How we as real estate professionals parse these numbers, apply these vast market swings to our home pricing, and to our short to medium term market evaluations, can mean a great deal to our Buyers and Sellers.  Knowing how much the market has changed can mean all the difference between a Buyer choosing to take advantage of a glut of distressed inventory and low interest rates now, or waiting it out thinking the market may still drift even lower.  For non-distressed sale Sellers knowing the weight of the competition in distressed sale properties will help them to realistically price their homes for sale and not get slammed by the neighborhood price damaging short sale and foreclosed home sales that will certainly hit the market in 2012 and beyond.

These are challenging and interesting times.  Knowing how things have changed in our local markets can only help our Clients.

Remember… selling or buying a home is a process and a journey, not an event; you will want to subscribe to our free video e-mail series for home sellers and buyers. For access to the 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 selling or buying decisions 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 and let us know if want the home seller or home buyer series. 

If you just want to see what other homes in your area are selling for by searching the MLS CLICK HERE =èSEARCH THE MLS FREE

Or contact us directly for free, no obligation information at info@TMTRealtyGroup.net

 


Posted on 5. October 2011 04:06 by qmiskini

 

What do sellers want?  Buyers!  Pretty simple, right?  No, not so simple. 

First, a few tough but true facts. In the Atlanta Metro Area, the high water mark for residential detached home sale prices peaked in June 2007 at about $275,000.  By the end of July 2011 the average sale price had declined 29.82% to about $193,000.  Interestingly, the number of home sales rose between 2010 and 2011, adding some hope and energy to the residential home sales market.  But that was sparked by a decline in home values overall of 13.96% between July 2010 and July 2011. 

The Atlanta Metro Area is a huge market area, divided into many different Areas where everything from the quality of schools to zoning impact home values in those Areas.  In Area 13 which includes a portion of Alpharetta as well as Roswell and Mountain Park, the average sale price for the months including January through July 2007 was $459,317.  The average original list price to sold/closed sale price was 95.69% of the original List price.  A home run for sellers! 

In the same period this year, the average sale price was $389,859, a decline in home values of 15.12%.  The good news is, in Area 13 the decline is only half the Atlanta Metro Market decline.  The bad news is that unrealistic expectations and pricing showed the overpriced original list price average of $441,924 vs. the final sold/closed sale price average of $386,859, just 88.22% of the original list price.  A home run for Buyers!

If all this sounds very technical, actually it’s pretty basic and very, very important.  Your Realtor and Team must know the numbers, the specific numbers for your Area and your sub division and street, in order to help you accurately price your home for fast sale at full market value.  But price, although a major component of attracting qualified, interested Buyers is only one part of the equation. 

Presentation of a seller’s home – “pin-neat” and “move-in-ready” – elevates a property above the crowded field.  And innovative and aggressive marketing that targets the specific Buyers who would be searching for just this home separates the seller’s home from all those other homes in the price category.  Remember, the numbers are the harsh reality of today’s market.  Understanding what it takes to showcase a seller’s home so that the Buyers in search of the “perfect home” immediately and positively equate this home’s benefits with this home’s price, means the difference between bringing Buyers to the home and Buyers passing that home by without ever crossing the home’s threshold.

Everything about the marketing - from the quality of the photography and presentations showcasing the home, to the articulation of that home’s unique benefits, to understanding what Buyers shopping for a home like this want - must be carefully thought through when showcasing a home for sale.  Even the messages on the yard signs must be unique and enticing to Buyers. 

There is no “trick” to selling a home. There are plenty of Buyers looking for “deals.”  There is an over-supply of homes for sale.    Selling a home in today’s complex market means making sure your Realtor and Team have a firm and clear understanding of pricing and values, past trends as predictors of future pricing, and an aggressive and innovative system of marketing that can elevate your home above the really crowded field.

Remember… selling or buying a home is a process and a journey, not an event; you will want to subscribe to our free video e-mail series for home sellers and buyers. For access to the 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 selling or buying decisions 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 and let us know if want the home seller or home buyer series. 

If you just want to see what other homes in your area are selling for by searching the MLS CLICK HERE =èSEARCH THE MLS FREE

Or contact us directly for free, no obligation information at info@TMTRealtyGroup.net

 


Posted on 27. September 2011 02:09 by qmiskini

 

Realtors who represent a number of listings throughout the Atlanta Metro Area work hard to help sellers prepare their property to look its best for showings to prospective Buyers and their Buyer’s Realtors.  It makes no difference whether it’s an executive level home in Alpharetta or Roswell, or a once popular Contemporary design in Kennesaw or Marietta, or a 60’s 4-side-brick ranch in Acworth or Canton, putting your home into show quality condition helps sell homes more quickly than when a home is poorly presented.

It takes a partnership between the Seller and their Realtor and Team to sell any home.  They share common goals: sell the home for the best price in the shortest time with the least hassle.  Reaching those goals takes cooperation and, occasionally a few dings to one’s pride in order to get the job done.  If your Realtor and their Team is experienced and marketing savvy, they will advise you on what the best plan is for getting your home and property into show quality condition.  Sometimes the changes they may be suggesting won’t necessarily be a message you want to hear.  Why, you may wonder won’t a Buyer like your decorations, curtains, paint colors. Can’t they ignore cigarette odor, unwashed laundry on top of the washer, unmade beds, cat litter odor… the environment you have lived with for years and are used to.

Buyers are trying to imagine themselves living in your home. They often have difficulty looking past your art and decorating and sometimes unkempt yard or messy interior.  If that sounds a bit harsh, remember a property that has not been carefully prepared and maintained during the entire selling process will inevitably take longer to sell and often sells for less than it would have… indeed should have.  Most Sellers do understand the fiscal importance of preparing and maintaining their home for sale.  But some do not agree and therefore the importance of Buyer feedback.

Effective Realtors gather feedback several ways. In the Atlanta Metro area most Realtors utilize the Supra e-key system which sends showing notices to your Realtor and feedback request emails to the Buyer’s Realtors after each showing. Some Realtors also use 3rd party Feedback survey systems that send detailed Feedback surveys to Buyers’ Realtors.  Additionally your Realtor will call the showing Agent to get further details, especially if the survey feedback is negative.

Feedback information is like a window into the Buyer’s, and the Buyer’s Realtor’s minds.  Both positive and negative feedback regarding a property’s physical and aesthetic  condition, their estimate of its market value, details about what the Buyer did and did not like about the property – from the “kitchen is too small” to “the back yard is overgrown” on the negative side, to “a pleasure to show,” “well maintained inside and out” on the positive.  You want firsthand information about why a Buyer has not made an offer on your property. 

These feedback surveys are shared with the Sellers so they know within a day or two of each showing exactly what the Buyer thought of their home.  If you receive the same feedback from more than one Buyer – it’s is a sure sign you have an issue that needs to be corrected in order to effectively sell the property.  A Buyer’s Realtor who may be working with more than one Client won’t be back.  After a few weeks Buyers will just stop coming because Realtors know when a property is unlovable because it is unkempt and in disrepair.

If a Buyer does not like the floor plan you cannot change that.  But you may be able to stage furniture to help direct the flow.  If your home “feels dark” because of heavy draperies covering the windows, or a large tree close to your home that leans toward the home scares Buyers, you can remove these negatives from the equation.

Caution: Do not ignore Buyer Feedback.  Buyers are telling you what they like and don’t like about your home. And they are telling you how to correct the problems.  Often the off-putting problems are easy to correct.  When you eliminate the negatives and accentuate the positives your home will sell faster, for more money and with a lot less hassle.

Because selling or buying a home is a process and a journey, not an event, you will want to subscribe to our free video e-mail series for home sellers and buyers. For access to the 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 selling or buying decisions 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 and let us know if want the home seller or home buyer series. 

If you just want to see what other homes in your area are selling for by searching the MLS CLICK HERE =èSEARCH THE MLS FREE

Or contact us directly for free, no obligation information at info@TMTRealtyGroup.net

 


Posted on 26. September 2011 02:51 by qmiskini

 

Sellers were once Buyers.  Why did they choose the home they are now selling?  Was it the location, home style, floor plan comfortability, the yard, the neighborhood, the color of the front facade?  Was it clean and in move-in condition and met all their wants, needs and wishes when they purchased the home?  Was it a fixer-up they turned into their vision of the perfect home? Whatever the reasons and circumstances, this home was the best fit… it came the closest to fulfilling their wants, needs and wishes.

Now its being sold; now the home that once fit the Seller so well has to be the perfect fit for a Buyer.  In order to attract the Buyer who will see this home as the right fit, the Seller must think like a Buyer.  Helping the Seller think like a Buyer is one of the most important elements of the psychology of selling a home. It is among the primary strategies your Realtor and his or her Team must help you – the Seller successfully accomplish.

Every house, whether it is a cottage or mansion is just a box with defined spaces within it.  How does that box become distinguishable from all other boxes? What is required to make that box appealing to people other than its owner?  What is it about this box that feels welcoming, inviting, orderly, functional, safe?  Are this box’s colors pleasing, cold, vibrant, comforting? Is its outer skin clear and smooth or wrinkled and cracked?  Does it look drab or bright?  How about the window dressing? Is the lawn weedy and sparse or lush and green? Bushes neat and trimmed? Trees cut back away from the roof?

How does the home smell: fresh and neutral or like last evening’s fabulous dinner? Carpets cleaned or stained, wrinkled or stretched?  Wow, look at all the great art this family has collected.  Lots of furniture in this room… it feels crowded. There’s “stuff” in the gutters.  The back yard fence is a little tumble-down.  I wonder why it’s so warm in here… is their air conditioning broken?  Oh look, the windows are all painted shut.  Ugh, there’s all that soap film on the shower curtain, I think this is a dirty house. There are bulbs burned out, I hope that fan-light is still working. There’s a lot of “things” on the kitchen counters; this kitchen is small; not enough storage. Wow these closets are stuffed; not enough closet space.

We were previewing a home in Alpharetta. It was a 1980’s vintage in an elegant executive style sub division.  The owner’s décor, from the kitchen to the huge work-out room was beautifully maintained 1950’s “postmodern.”  The home was decorated in the same style and was filled with extraordinary and expensive art.  It felt like you were visiting a time-warp museum.  The seller had lowered the price more than $100 thousand dollars and still had not received an offer.  Wonder why? The home was eventually withdrawn from the market and two years later has still not sold.

Prior to listing a drab looking contemporary ranch in Kennesaw, the focus for the marketing plan was to offer a home with a bright, cheerful, spacious feeling floor plan that was neat as a pin and in move in condition for a first-time home buyer.  The large dog that was delightfully friendly and shed everywhere was temporarily relocated to a daughter’s home.  Carpets were cleaned. Lots of soap and water and “elbow grease” was used to remove finger prints and smudges from the walls and switch plates. Dark draperies were removed and inexpensive but clean and fresh window blinds were hung.  Half the furniture and 95% of their wall are and room décor was boxed up and put in the garage.  The scruffy lawn and bushes were trimmed, edged and decorated with rich-looking red mulch.  Colorful annuals were planted and the exterior was power washed, gutters were cleaned and the largest tree next to the home was removed.  The home sold in two weeks to a first-time home buyer who was delighted with all the space and how fresh everything seemed compared to their crowded apartment, and “how pretty the garden (the colorful annuals) made the home look.”

Helping Sellers think like Buyers helps sellers sell homes.

Because selling or buying a home is a process and a journey, not an event, you will want to subscribe to our free video e-mail series for home sellers and buyers. For access to the 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 selling or buying decisions 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 and let us know if want the home seller or home buyer series. 

If you just want to see what other homes in your area are selling for by searching the MLS CLICK HERE =èSEARCH THE MLS FREE

Or contact us directly for free, no obligation information at info@TMTRealtyGroup.net