May 2010

Found 10 blog entries for May 2010.

With the continuing decline of home values many homeowners are now reviewing their property tax assessments.  These reviews are resulting in a growing concern to see if their property tax assessments are in line with the true current value of their home. For those of us wondering where our stimulus is, this could be a place to look.  

First of all here is a little information on the recent changes on property tax assessments.  Governor Sonny Perdue signed a bill into law, effective May 5, 2009, that holds assessed property values at no higher than their current levels, until January, 2011.  Georgia Senator Majority Leader Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock), the Senate sponsor of House Bill 233, was quoted as saying, “This new law will provide much-needed

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One of the homes we bought recently showed signs of an elevated crack in the lower level slab floor.  Unfortunately it was covered by 1970’s shag carpet so we were unable to really examine it until after we closed and the owners moved out.  It was at this time, under the watchful eye of an engineer that we realized the extent of the problem.  The slab had been poured on top of un-compacted fill dirt, and had no rebar attaching to the poured wall foundation; nor was it poured so that it was supported by the foundation walls. NOT GOOD NEWS.   

THE SOLUTION provided by the engineer was to remove approximately one half of the slab.  This was accomplished by cutting the slab loose in the places that had it wedged so that we could bust it up and remove it

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While virtually all of the 100% financing programs have evaporated there still remains a great resource for securing a good value on your next home purchase and an unbelievable deal on financing.  Homes which have been foreclosed on and taken back by HUD under the FHA insurance guarantee program provide virtually 100% financing for qualified borrowers.  

These homes are made available through various designated asset management companies throughout the country.  These asset management companies then market homes for HUD through locally approved Brokers and an ONLINE bidding process.  We have recently become an APPROVED BROKER for HUD home resale’s. 

What Types of Homes are Available?
Homes available for purchase through HUD reflect the loan limits

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With the regular flow of foreclosures into the market place prices continue to be impacted and appraisals are often times coming in lower that the contract price.  In previous articles, which can be accessed under the Appraisal category of our blog we have addressed how to approach these issues from the appraisal perspective.  We will now look at additional alternatives to resolving low appraisals.

Contracting Basics
Always include an Appraisal Contingency in your agreement.  This spells out the basic guidelines for resolving low appraisals.  Our state approved and most widely used GAR contracts provided an Appraisal Contingency Exhibit that when used will provide the following terms and conditions regarding low appraisals.

1.  Provided the buyer

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In an effort to further reduce the number of foreclosures on the market FHA has waived the 90 day seasoning requirement for properties bought by investors for resale and profit purposes.  This FHA 90 Day Rule Waiver which shall be in effect through January 31, 2011 will provide new opportunities for home buyers and investors.   

Prior to the waiver all homes purchased for resell could not qualify for FHA financing until 91 days after acquisition, provided improvements could be documented to justify the new higher sales price, or 180 days if improvements had not been made.  The FHA 90 Day Rule Waiver  should result in investors being able to buy and sell homes more quickly, buyers will be afforded more options since the property condition would have

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Although the year ended on a positive note as a result of the ending and reinstatement of the Down Payment Rebate portion of the stimulus package the annual numbers are not very good.  Annual numbers are more reflective of volume and prices from 1999-2001.

There were a total of 622 closing for all single family attached units in December, which is an increase of 20.3% over December 2008.

There were 3,357 closing in December for single family detached homes, which was a decrease of 3.9% compared to December 2008.

There were 52,474 closing for all single family units in 2009 which was a decrease of 4.6% from 2008.  Far below the record set in 2006 of 81,071 units and equal to total units sold in 2001. 

Average Sale Prices
The average sales

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Because of the real estate slump of the past two years, the fair market value of most properties has decreased (dramatically in some cases).  However, the “assessed” value of most properties by the county tax assessor has not decreased.  Thus, homeowners are now paying property taxes on assessed values much higher than the fair market value of their property.  To remedy this situation, homeowners need to appeal the assessed value of their property with their county tax assessor.

To begin the appeal process, the property owner must file a Property Tax Return with their county tax assessor (you should check with your local tax assessor’s office to determine the deadline each year to file such return).    The Property Tax Return is typically a

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While there is much talk about the state of the economy and the causes by which we are experiencing the economic challenges we are in, there is no question that interest rates are dominating the news.  As well they should be.  Since 1971 we have not seen rates as low as they are now (mid 4’s).  The effects of low interest rates on the real estate market are tremendous.  Among these are…..Continued

The Ability to Purchase More Home for Less Money
his seems like a no brainer, and IT IS.  For example consider a family wanting to purchase a home that they might live in for ten years. They know that their family will be growing and would like to purchase a home that will allow for that to happen.  They were pre-qualified a year ago when rates were in the

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With the onset of the current market crisis and the number of homes that are currently on the market in what can only be described as less then “move-in” condition, the use of the HUD/FHA 203K loan program has gained in popularity.

The 203K loan program (standard 203k or the 203k streamline loan) are programs that allow the borrower/homeowner to include the cost of repairs/upgrades in the homes financing to get the home in livable condition.  This gives the borrower/homeowner the needed funds to complete the renovations.

The appraiser’s role in these types of loans is quite simple.  The appraiser is given a list of items being considered for repair.  This is typically in the form of an estimate by a contractor that lists out all the items being

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I am writing this month’s article on the misconceptions of Real Estate Agents, homeowners and buyers about the Home Valuation Code of Conduct (HVCC).

Some background:  The Code was established to stop the practice of lenders, borrowers and brokers putting pressure on the appraiser to “hit a number” and possibly inflate an appraisal, so that a deal (loan) could close.  Pressure to make a deal work with threats of being “removed from the list” and effectively losing valuable compensation and clients for the appraiser and his family, forced certain appraisers to overlook the ethical boundaries established.  This expansion of approved appraisal parameters may have resulted in using properties that were not comparable, were not in the market area and could

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