North Atlanta Real Estate Update

As real estate experts in the north Atlanta market, we monitor the market constantly. In order to provide our clients with the best service and expert advice possible, we stay up to date on the latest market trends and statistics regularly. Here are some interesting and relevant stats on the current housing market. Like any statistic, the data itself is not very meaningful unless you understand the context and what it actually means for the market. That’s why our clients hire us!

1st quarter 2014 sales are down 7% from the same quarter in 2013, and down 12% from the same quarter in 2012.

residential real estate sales

Analyzing quarterly sales by sales price range shows that the reason for lower overall sales in the 4th quarter was the 37.6% drop in sales of properties priced below $100K.

All price ranges above $200K increased in sales and the shift toward larger portions of purchases in higher price ranges caused the median sales price for all properties to increase again in the 1st quarter of 2014 compared to the same period last year.

graph of homes sold

Even though 1st quarter 2014 sales were lower, the median sales price rose by 16.5% compared to 1st quarter 2013, up to $198,000. An increase in the percentage of sales in price ranges above $200K compared to last year resulted in a higher median price.

median home sale prices

Continued low supply in the 1st quarter of 2014 lowered the median number of Days-On-Market (DOM) by 14.2%  to 66 days, compared to the same period of the previous year, which was higher than any of the previous 3 quarterly periods.

real estate DOM
These real estate statistics are for the metro Atlanta market overall.  However, all real estate is local and housing trends can vary widely from area to area and even within the same high school district. In order to get the most accurate picture of your local real estate market, contact Barry Wolfert and Lisa Wrenn today!

 

3 Ways to Winterize Your North Atlanta Home

clean fall leaves out of your guttersIt’s hard to believe freezing temperatures are already on the way here in Atlanta. With winter just around the corner, it’s important to make sure your home is properly winterized. This seasonal maintenance will not only preserve the value of your north Atlanta home, but will also help prevent winter home repair headaches.

Clean gutters

If your home is surrounded by trees, your gutters can quickly fill up with leaves and other organic debris. In cold weather, water can get trapped behind those “leaf dams” and freeze, damaging your roof and even seeping into your home. Once there is water leaking in to your warm house, you could end up with a mold problem. Avoid all that by simply having your gutters cleaned at the end of fall.

Conserve energy

Think all those little drafts in your home don’t amount to much? Think again! All together, the air leaks in the average American home amount to having a nine square foot hole in the wall! Whether you hire a local home repair company to seal your home or do it yourself with a caulk gun, sealing up cracks around windows, doors, and electrical outlets will conserve energy and save money on your heating bill.

You may also want to add some insulation to your home and have the ductwork checked. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, homes with central air can lose 60% of heated air before it reaches the vents if the ductwork is not properly connected and insulated. Even just adding insulation can decrease your annual heating and cooling bill by as much as 20%.

Warm up

Temperatures in Marietta and throughout north Atlanta are expected to dip into the twenties next week, so go ahead and check your heater. Better to find out it needs repairs now than when you’re already freezing!

If your home features a fireplace, make sure it has proper maintenance. Have it swept and inspected by a certified chimney sweep, and consider installing a screened cap to ensure that nothing gets lodged in the chimney. When not using the fireplace, close the damper to prevent the loss of warm air.

Keeping up with the seasonal maintenance on your home will result in less stress for you and a well-preserved home that will be much easier to sell if you decide to list it.

If you are looking for north Atlanta real estate agents, contact Barry Wolfert and Lisa Wrenn today! With extensive experience as Realtors in Marietta, Roswell, Alpharetta, and other north Fulton and Cobb County communities, we have the local market knowledge and industry experience to help you successfully sell your home for top dollar.
 

Photo by Andrea_44 via Flickr CC 2.0 

The Truth About Residential Real Estate Appraisal Values

real estate appraisalsIf you are thinking of listing your Marietta home for sale, it’s important to understand how real estate appraisals work. Low appraisals in the residential real estate market have become more common in recent years, and this can have serious consequences when attempting to sell your home. To understand why appraisals are coming in so low these days, you must first understand the relationship between appraisers and lending institutions.

Mortgage brokers and home appraisals

Since 2009, the Home Valuation Code of Conduct has mandated that all lending institutions use an intermediary to order property appraisals, barring mortgage brokers from ordering an appraisal. Instead, banks must either have someone outside of their lending department order the appraisal, or go through a third party. Most banks opted to use intermediaries for this task, resulting in the proliferation of appraisal management companies (AMCs). These AMCs ended up undercutting experienced home appraisers by half, and causing a mass exodus of experienced appraisers from the industry. So why have real estate appraisers suddenly started turning in such low appraisal values?

Reasons for low appraisal values

Litigious lenders- Appraisers who have stuck around are often victims of litigious lending institutions who file complaints with the Division of Real Estate, alleging that the appraisal is not supported. To combat this, appraisers turn in low appraisals to guard against litigation if the loan goes into default.
Bank and industry guidelines- Appraisal management companies and banks have their own unique guidelines for home appraisals, as do loans sold through FannieMae, and that’s not including the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice. Many home appraisers are constrained by these restrictions on what they can and cannot use to evaluate the value of a home.

Having a good real estate agent on your side can make all the difference when selling your home, so contact Barry Wolfert and Lisa Wrenn today! As experienced north Atlanta real estate agents, we have the local market knowledge and industry experience to help you successfully sell your home for top dollar.

 Photo by adamr via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What You Need to Know About North Fulton Real Estate Inventory

Roswell GA paradeHome sales and prices are up in the north Atlanta real estate market, but it’s still a tricky situation for both buyers and sellers. North Fulton County home sales in the first quarter of 2013 were up 20% over the same quarter in 2012, but lack of inventory is a real problem. While the high demand and low supply of homes for sale in Roswell, Alpharetta, and other north Fulton areas is creating a seller’s market, the incredibly low inventory of both new construction and existing real estate could be discouraging to buyers.

As a Realtor and associate broker with Keller Williams Realty Consultants, I was recently interviewed for the Atlanta Business Chronicle about the lack of available homes for sale in Roswell and other north Atlanta communities. Whether you are a buyer or a seller, take a look at my insights into the north Atlanta market.

What caused the low inventory in north Fulton County real estate?

Many of the foreclosed homes in north Atlanta were quickly snapped up by investors, while other Alpharetta and Roswell homes for sale were taken off the market by owners who owed more than they could hope to get on the market at the time. The area started recovering in late 2012 thanks to this low inventory, reaching as low as 15,000 to 20,000 homes. Compare that to the balanced market ideal of 50,000 and it’s easy to see why demand has been so strong.

What’s next for north Atlanta real estate?

While the market is still vulnerable, home prices should maintain a steady rise while supply remains low. New residential construction projects are beginning once more, but investors are more cautious now, which will prevent a glut of new homes on the market. The Roswell and Alpharetta areas are going strong as a center for businesses, especially in the tech industry, and continued growth in that regard will ensure demand for homes.

If you are interested in buying or selling Alpharetta or Roswell real estate, contact me, Barry Wolfert, today.  As an Associate Broker at Keller Williams Realty Consultants and an experienced Realtor within the North Atlanta real estate market, I can help you find a great home that fits your lifestyle. To see homes for sale in Roswell, head over to my listings page

Photo via City of Roswell on Facebook

Upcoming Things To Do in Marietta GA

marietta-GA-real-estateMarietta is not only a great place to live but it’s a fun place to visit.  Here are some upcoming outdoor events in Marietta, GA.

Taste of Marietta

More than 70 vendors will showcase their best dishes, including Italian, seafood, steak, BBQ and desserts, which range in cost from 50 cents to $5, at the 20th annual Taste of Marietta Sunday, April 28 from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. on the Marietta Square.

At last year’s event, more than 100,000 people hit the streets to sample their favorite foods. This year, the award-winning festival will surround the Square to accommodate the crowd.

Get more information on Taste of Marietta.

Free Lunch Time Concerts in May

Bring your lunch and enjoy local musicians entertaining every Thursday at noon during May on the stage in Glover Park at the Square.

Performers

  • May 2: Sonya Schell (Country)
  • May 9: New Horizon’s Band
  • May 16: Bob Geresti (Piano)
  • May 23: Jerry Shell (Variety)
  • May 30: To be announced

About Brown Bag Concert Series

  • Free
  • Relax and unwind in Glover Park with coworkers or bring your children to dance and play in park

Sponsor

For more information on how to purchase a home in Marietta or on Cobb County real estate, contact me, Barry Wolfert, Associate Broker at Keller Williams Realty Consultants. As an experienced and professional Realtor within the Cobb County real estate market, I can help you sell your home for the most money and in the shortest period of time. My in-depth knowledge of the real estate market throughout north Atlanta will guarantee you results, not excuses.

Ed-SPLOST Passes

SPLOST UPDATE

The good news story of SPLOST continues for Cobb County taxpayers. The following agenda items approved by the Board of Education are SPLOST-related and/or involve the use of SPLOST funds.

In March 2013, the Board:

[Read more…]

Cobb County School District Kindergarten Registration 2013-2014

kindergarten_registration

Kindergarten Registration
Begins March 27, 2013

 

Cobb elementary schools will be registering all new kindergarten students for the upcoming 2013-14 school year on Wednesday, March 27 from 8:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Georgia law requires that kindergarten students be five years old on or before Sept. 1 and first grade students must be six years old on or before Sept. 1 to be registered.

To find out what school your child will attend, check the CCSD Bus Routes system. The District website includes complete registration requirements.

 

Five Ways To Boost Your Credit Score

As some borrowers are recovering from the past downturn in the market, here are five tips for giving your credit score a boost. Credit scores can be repaired over the course of 6-12 months.  Keeping good credit scores are crucial in today’s market especially for borrowers looking for best rates.

1. Pay your bills on time. Because payment history makes up about 35 percent of your credit history, paying your bills on time is very important. One delinquent payment that is just 30 days late will stay on your credit report for up to seven years. Remember that paying your bill in full and on time is positive for your credit history AND score.

2. Check your credit report regularly. Sometimes people who know they have had some problems in the past (maxed out a credit card, missed a payment or two, or failed to pay a bill that ultimately went to collections) are sometimes apprehensive about checking their credit report until it becomes absolutely necessary. However, it’s important to check your credit report regularly, regardless of whether you think you have a score of 550 or 750. It will help you evaluate which debts need to be paid down, if you have any collections that need to be paid off immediately, or if there is any inaccurate information on the report. You also want to make sure you haven’t been a victim of identity theft, which can destroy your credit.

3. Pay off debt. The debt-to-available-credit ratio is another important aspect of your credit history. It’s more positive to have a higher ratio of available credit to debt. For example, if you have a credit card with a $10,000 limit, and you’ve charged $8,000, potential creditors might be worried about how much additional debt you can take on and about your ability to pay that debt off on time. If you only have a few hundred dollars of debt, you’ll be seen as more likely to be someone who pays debts off quickly and handles credit responsibly.

4. Fix any errors. If you discover an error, whether an erroneous address or a bill marked unpaid that you’re sure you did pay, fix it immediately. A creditor may have missed reporting a payment or you may never have received an important bill that was eventually sent to a collections agency. Start by disputing the error with the credit reporting agency. It will work to resolve the error with you and the creditor. You can also contact the creditor to see if you can resolve the error with that company. Remember to get names and take detailed notes during these conversations so you can reference them later.

5. Consider new credit opportunities. Some people have lower credit scores because they have a very thin file, meaning they don’t have much credit or have a very short credit history. Building your credit history takes time, but you can build a more positive credit report if you open more lines of credit. While it is certainly not recommended to take on debt you don’t need, you may want to try opening a retail, gas, or low-interest credit card. Keep in mind that this credit card isn’t for buying things you can’t afford. It’s about building a positive credit history. Charge only small amounts that you can easily pay off at the end of the month.Also if you cannot qualify for a traditional credit card with an unsecured line of credit, contact a local bank or credit union and ask about getting a secured credit card. This is good for anyone who is coming back from a foreclosure or bankruptcy situation and may have little or bad credit. A secured credit card is when the consumer gives the bank $500.00 to deposit in an account.  The borrower receives a credit card from the bank for that amount secured by the account that was opened. This card is reported to all 3 bureaus and is a great opportunity to increase your credit score and reestablish credit.

For more information on how to purchase a home or place one on the market, contact me, Barry Wolfert, Associate Broker at Keller Williams Realty Consultants. As an experienced and professional Realtor within the luxury market, I can help you sell your home for the most money and in the shortest period of time. My in-depth knowledge of the real estate market throughout north Atlanta will guarantee you results, not excuses.

New Zoning Approval for 125 Luxury Homes in East Cobb on Johnson Ferry Road

East Cobb will be getting a new community soon. The zoning request, which was handled by real estate investment company Brooks Chadwick Capital has been approved at the East Cobb town hall meeting. It’s going to be a good development,” said East Cobb Commissioner Bob Ott. Along with the rest of the Cobb Board of Commissioners, Ott supported the rezoning of 32 acres on Johnson Ferry Road, south of Lower Roswell Road, for a high-density, high-priced 125-unit residential development. East Cobb continues to be a desirable location due to its top quality public schools.

This new residential development will be located between the Parkaire Landing Shopping Center and the Riverhill subdivision. There will be a total of 85 single-family homes that will be priced between $400,000 to $850,000. In addition, there will be 40 townhomes built that will start around $300,000. The new community will include a six-lane swimming pool, tennis courts and a clubhouse for the residents. According to Bob Ott, East Cobb Commissioner who supported the rezoning, the original plans had called for 159 residential units.

This new development will provide the ability to feed the demand for Luxury homes in East Cobb, where  a buyer will find the elegant neighborhoods that have the best school system in the state of Georgia. Whether you are looking for a cluster home or prefer country club living, East Cobb has whatever type of luxury home you desire.

It’s still a great time to buy a house.  Contact me, Barry Wolfert, Associate Broker at Keller Williams Realty in Roswell, GA. I will provide you with my attention to detail while maintaining consistent communication between all parties. With my professional experience and in-depth knowledge of the real estate market in East Cobb, you will get results, not excuses.

Major Changes to FHA in 2013 To Effect Home Buyers

Big changes are coming in 2013 for FHA. The first change is that upfront MI (mortgage insurance) will go from 1.75% to 1.875% on January 1st. On a $200,000 loan, instead of $3500 being added to the loan amount for upfront MI the new amount will be $3750.

The second change is in regards to the annual MI. That goes from a current 1.25% to 1.35%. Again using the example of $200,000, the current monthly MI would be about $208.00 per month but go up to $225.00 per month after the change.

The third change relates to monthly MI as well. FHA has always allowed the borrower to cancel MI once their loan balance hit 78% of the original balance. No more! Monthly MI will remain for the life of the loan unless you refinance into a conventional loan. Under the current rule with normal amortization, the MIP would no longer be required in 9 years and 9 months. However, under the new rule, it would last for the entire 30 year term at about $225 per month using the $200,000 loan example.

Sometime in late January has been announced for the last two changes. If you are thinking of refinancing or buying a home and using FHA financing, it is very important to move on this immediately especially in regards to the lifetime of MI in your payment.

Do you have questions about FSH financing or buying a home?  Contact me and I will get the answers you need.  It’s still a great time to buy a house.  Knowledge is power.  Let me help you be powerful.