3 Things You Need to Know When Buying a Luxury Home

buying luxury real estate Cobb CountyWhether you are a first time buyer or have purchased multiple homes, buying a luxury home entails a more complicated process than lower-priced properties. To ensure you end up with a home you will enjoy for years to come, it’s important to know these tips for buying luxury real estate.

Financing Luxury Real Estate

The majority of luxury real estate buyers purchase homes with loans, as opposed to only a third who pay cash. But contrary to popular belief, cash buyers don’t always have the upper hand. Luxury buyers who offer good terms and a large down payment (think 30% of the full price) will almost certainly trump cash buyers looking to undercut the market price.

When it comes to getting a home loan approved by your bank, count on waiting longer. The approval process could take up to 60 days and requires extra documentation and verification.

Don’t Neglect Inspections

Luxury homes come with more amenities and features than lower-priced homes- but that can also mean more potential problems. From pools and home theaters to home automation and security systems, it’s important to have a thorough inspection. Some of the home’s systems could even necessitate specialized home inspections. Be patient and give the professionals time to adequately vet your potential home.

Work with a Realtor

Considering the specialized nature of luxury real estate, it is even more important to work with an experienced Realtor who knows the ins and outs of the field. Pricing of luxury homes is often tricky, so choosing an agent who is well-versed in the local luxury real estate market means you will get a better idea of what is reasonable or not. Agents who do not routinely handle luxury real estate transactions won’t be able to give you the necessary guidance.

Despite the extra steps involved in buying a luxury home, with the help of an experienced Realtor you will be thrilled with your purchase. To explore Cobb County luxury real estate and the surrounding areas, browse Marietta, Alpharetta, and Roswell homes for sale.

For more information on how to purchase a home or market your home for sale, 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.

 

Is A Home Seller’s Market Returning to Atlanta, GA?

That’s not a typo in the headline.  Could we be seeing the return of a seller’s market in Atlanta?  In some cases, the answer is pointing towards yes.  But first, we need to understand exactly what causes the home buying and selling market to favor one side over another.

It all works off the simple dynamic of supply vs. demand.  For the past several years, as the number of available homes on the market swelled, the number of available buyers declined.  This resulted in a dramatic excess of supply vs. demand which causes prices to drop. [Read more…]

FHA Tightening Lending Guidelines for Home Buyers

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) announced last week that it will be raising it’s down payment requirements for borrowers.  It will also be raising the monthly mortgage insurance that is a requirement of their loans.  All of this is being done to address the risk in the mortgage and housing markets and to make sure that the FHA remains financially solid and maintains its long-term ability to guarantee affordable mortgages for families.

The FHA issues about 33 percent of all new mortgages and is the largest single source of lending for home purchases.  FHA Commissioner David Stevens says the tighter lending standards are significant, but not overwhelming for most borrowers.

[Read more…]

Home Buyer Tip #5-Buy or Sell First

Home Buyer Tips

These tips answer many common home buyer questions.  They apply to whether your buying a high rise condo in Atlanta, a townhome in Smyrna or a single family home in Marietta or anywhere in Georgia.

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The classic dilemma for many homeowners is whether to buy or sell first.

There is no “right” answer. It depends on your specific circumstances and finances.

Most homeowners agree that it’s more prudent and less stressful if you sell your existing home before you buy a new one. However, if a great buying opportunity presents itself, you might consider buying first.  Then, you can be more aggressive in selling your current home knowing you have already secured a good deal on the buying side.

If you sell your current home first but haven’t found the right new home, you may need to rent for a period of time until you find the right home.  Having cash in hand is always an advantage and may allow you to negotiate better terms since you are now waiting for your other home to sell.  No one wants to move twice but sometimes it can have an advantage.

If you currently own a home, I would be happy to provide you with a current market valuation so you know what your home is worth today. I can provide you with a precise valuation by briefly visiting your home.

Please call or email me when you’re ready to discuss your options or if you would like a valuation of your current home. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if I can answer any questions.

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All Home Buyer Tips

Home Buyer Tip #4-Items To Consider

Home Buyer Tips

These tips answer many common home buyer questions.  They apply to whether your buying a high rise condo in Atlanta, a townhome in Smyrna or a single family home in Marietta or anywhere in Georgia.

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When we begin looking for a home, we often get wrapped up in the physical details like style, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and amenities. But we don’t always consider the quality of life issues that may impact your ability to enjoy the home. Here are some other things you should keep in mind:

* Transportation is an important consideration that’s often overlooked. Consider traffic flow and commute time.

* Recreational facilities such as playgrounds, parks, and pools are important to many people. Are they nearby? Is there a fee for these amenities?

* How far is the grocery store, day care and school?

Be realistic. There are no perfect homes. Decide what’s most important to you, and make sure you find a home that has the essential features that you require. Be prepared to compromise on some of the items on your wish list in order to get others.

As your personal real estate consultant, I will help you identify the key items and assist you in prioritizing them. When you’re ready to purchase a home, I’ll be happy to answer any questions and help you find a house that truly feels like a home to you.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if I can answer any questions.

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All Home Buyer Tips

Home Buyer Tip #3-Making A Move

Home Buyer Tips

These tips answer many common home buyer questions.  They apply to whether your buying a high rise condo in Atlanta, a townhome in Smyrna or a single family home in Marietta or anywhere in Georgia.

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When you’re thinking about making a move, here are a few things you should consider:

* Being clear on why you are moving.

* Deciding when you want to make your move.

* Considering how much money you would like to spend.

* Thinking about what type of home you would like .

* Deciding where you would like to live.

The next step is usually finding out how much you can qualify for and deciding the type of financing that will work best for you. I am happy to refer you lenders I work with who can answer your questions and get you pre-approved.

As you get more serious about buying, you will want to speak with a lender about getting pre-approved. The lender will determine how much you can borrow based on financial information you provide.

Once you’re ready to start the process, I’d be happy to meet with you help outline your goals and needs and discuss the what to expect during the buying process. Please don’t hesitate to call or email me for additional information about the buying process. My goal is to provide you with practical information as you consider your next move. And, when you’re ready to make your move, I’ll help you find your dream home and handle all the details of the transaction, so all you need to do is pack!

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if I can answer any questions.

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All Home Buyer Tips

Home Buyer Tip #2-Wish List

Home Buyer Tips

These tips answer many common home buyer questions.  They apply to whether your buying a high rise condo in Atlanta, a townhome in Smyrna or a single family home in Marietta or anywhere in Georgia.

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What type of home are you looking for?


There are so many factors to consider that it is important to have an idea of what you want and need before you begin looking. As a real estate professional, part of the service I provide is to assist you in making a checklist of your needs and prioritizing this list with you.

The list below may help you clarify your thinking on what is important to you when you are ready to purchase.

* What type of neighborhood would you like to live in?

* What monthly payment are you comfortable with?

* What type of home interests you? (one-story, two-story, split-entry, townhouse, condo)

* What style appeals to you? (contemporary, traditional, ranch)

* Are schools a factor?

* How long of a commute are you comfortable with?

* How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need?  How many do you want?

* What features are important to you? (basement, fenced yard, office, etc.)

* What about exterior features such as # of garages, corner lot, cul de sac?

* Which of these are MUST have and which are NICE to have?

When you are ready to start your search, I will be happy to help you find a home that meets your needs. My goal is to make this a fun and enjoyable experience and to use my experience to find you the right home.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if I can answer any questions.

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All Home Buyer Tips

Home Buyer Tip #1-Buying A Home

Home Buyer Tips

These tips answer many common home buyer questions.  They apply to whether your buying a high rise condo in Atlanta, a townhome in Smyrna or a single family home in Marietta or anywhere in Georgia.

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When is the right time to buy?

People buy homes for a variety of reasons. Some want to become established in a community or to provide a more permanent home for their family. Others are motivated by good schools or commute time. And, many know that real estate is a good long-term investment.

[Read more…]

Atlanta, GA Housing Market Review

The most common questions I am asked are: Is the market getting any better and is activity picking up?

The problem in providing an answer is that is really depends on the day you ask.  Over the last 12 months, there really has been any consistent trend in the market.  Some weeks see lots of activity and interest while others have no activity.  It has been this lack of consistency that has made this such a difficult market.

Positive News

Interest rates continue to be low (in the high 4%/low 5% range) and the $8000 federal tax credit for first time buyers and $1800 Georgia state tax credit for all buyers are good until the end of November.  In fact, houses are probably the most affordable they’ve ever been.  And, if you’re a home buyer, it’s still a buyer’s market.

On The Other Hand

National unemployment in about 10% and Georgia’s is slightly over 10%.  Job losses and uncertainty have undermined the confidence of home buyers.  In addition, while money is cheap, it is also still difficult to get a mortgage if your credit is not very good.

To get a clear picture of the overall Atlanta market, I have broken down the sales trends for 2006 through 2008. For 2009, I kept my original analysis period of January thru April  and have added May thru September.  This way you can see how the year is trending. The chart below shows the trends for all of the Atlanta using the FMLS data for single family homes.

EXPLANATION OF CHART

This chart shows the number of homes sold in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 (thru September). 2007 and 2008 are also broken down into Jan-July an Aug-Dec time frames.  The last column represent the the number of currently active listings and their average asking price.  The actual data for each bar and line is shown at the bottom of the chart.

Metro Atlanta Housing Market Analysis

ANALYSIS

Units Sold – 2006 – 2008

2006 saw 46,437  homes sold with that number increasing to 58,115 in 2007.  We know that that market slowdown began in summer of 2007.  This is clear by looking at the breakdown of 2007 sales: 37,497 units from Jan-July and 20,618 units from Aug-Dec.  Total units sold in 2008 declined to 46,677 with the second half of the year seeing only 18,178 homes sold.

Units Sold – 2009

Thru April 30, 2009, 11,631 homes sold.  If we extrapolate this for the entire year, 2009 would see approximately 35,000 homes sold.  From May thru Sepetmber, 21,317 homes sold with an average sales price of $207,000.  This represents an 83% increase in home sales AND a 12.5% increase on average sales price.

There are currently 37,674 homes on the market which is approximately 15% less homes than at the end of April. This also represents 10.3 months of inventory at the current absorption rate. Clearly we are seeing a positive trend in sales. However, inventory is still above the 7-9 months which would represent a balanced market.  In addition, the current average list price of $361,000 for active listings is way too high and will need to come down in order to sustain this sales trend.

Average Sales Price

In 2006, the average sold price was $264,000.  This increased slightly to $265,000 in 2007.  The average sold price peaked in the first half of 2007 at $269,000. By 2008, the average sold price was down to $229,000.  For the first four months of 2009, the average sold price was $184,000. From May thru September, the average sales price increased by $23,000, approximately 12.5%, to $207,000.

Average List Price

The average list price in 2006 was $271,000.  The difference between the average list and average sold in 2006 was 2.7%.  By 2007, the gap between list and sold price increased to 3.4%.  In 2008, the gap had further increased to 6.1%.  For the first four months of 2009, the gap reached an amazing 20.0%. From May thru Deptember, the gap between asking and sold prices had narrowed to 9.1%.

Average Days on Market

This data is not shown on the chart but in the table below:

2006: 76

Jan – Jul 2007: 84
Aug-Dec 2007: 91
2007: 87

Jan-Jul 2008: 95
Aug-Dec 2008: 91
2008: 94

Jan – Apr 2009: 98
May – Sept 2009: 93

As we can see, the average days on market has decreased slightly increased from to 98 to a current 93 days.

Please feel free to contact me with questions about your specific market or community.  You can request a FREE home market analysis here.

RELATED POSTS:

Atlanta, Georgia Housing Market Review

North Fulton County (Roswell, GA and Alpharetta, GA) Housing Market Review

The most common questions I am asked are: Is the market getting any better and is activity picking up?

The problem in providing an answer is that is really depends on the day you ask.  Over the last 12 months, there really hasn’t been any consistent trend in the market.  Some weeks see lots of activity and interest while others have no activity.  It has been this lack of consistency that has made this such a difficult market.

Positive News

Interest rates continue to be low (in the high 4%/low 5% range) and the $8000 federal tax credit for first time buyers and $1800 Georgia state tax credit for all buyers are good until the end of November.  In fact, houses are probably the most affordable they’ve ever been.  And, if you’re a home buyer, it’s still a buyer’s market.

[Read more…]