Metro Atlanta Real Estate Blog

The Dramatic Increase Of Bidding Wars

A REALTOR® facilitating a bidding war on a home amongst a large group of buyers.

Recently, a family in Brookhaven found their dream home. A four-bedroom, craftsman style house, listed at $599,000. Wanting to make sure they got it, the buyers submitted an offer: $20,000 over the listing price, no contingencies, and a letter detailing how their family would benefit from the sale of the home. The home buyers eventually beat out the nine other offers, and they closed on their new home for right around $620,000.

Common Place In Today’s Market

This dramatic bidding war is increasingly common nowadays in many U.S. cities – in fact, 84% of offers in Oakland became involved in a bidding war. Seattle and San Francisco, 77%. Los Angeles, 74% of offers, and 69% of offers in Denver. In Austin, 59% of offers faced a bidding war, and it’s not just entry-level homes, high-end properties are experiencing it too!

Is This The New Norm?

A far cry from the traditional days of home buying, bidding wars are becoming the new norm. And this trend isn’t likely to shift anytime soon – with the spring and summer markets approaching, more buyers will be flooding the market, which means an increase in competition vying for the available homes for sale.

In Metro Atlanta, a historically high percentage homes priced from $200 - $400k are receiving multiple offers, while an increasing share of properties priced between $400 - $600k also faced competition.

Caused By Low Inventory?

According to Trulia, the overall inventory of homes for sale throughout the US is down 38.6% from this time four years ago, with...

Investors vs First-Time Homebuyers In Today’s Market

A home split down the middle with investors vs first-time homebuyers overlay.

Each year since 2003, the National Association of REALTORS® has organized a report entitled The Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Report, based on a survey of those who bought a residential property including a primary residence, investment home, or vacation retreat. The 2015 results are in, and there are several surprising facts.

National Trends In 2015

2015 saw a substantial increase in competition between property investors and first-time homebuyers. According to the report, investors are beginning to search for smaller, more affordable properties in both urban and suburban areas, often outbidding first-time homebuyers. How?

Cash & Favorable Financing Terms

Investors normally have a higher income with more disposable cash flow, which means they are more willing to buy a home outright with cash instead of apply for a mortgage. This makes them more appealing to sellers because they can close quickly and there are less hurdles to jump through to get the sale closed.

Additionally, when investors do obtain a mortgage, investors are able to make a higher down payment, often in excess of the 20% norm, meaning their loan is more likely to get approved. Investors have a lower debt-to-income ratio as well as higher credit scores, making them the total package, as well. Most first-time homebuyers can’t compete with qualifications like that.

More Investors = More Competition For Entry Level Homes

Most investors buy homes to use as rental properties, and with the traditionally low interest rates we’ve been seeing these past few...

Realtor Magazine: A Must-Have For Today's Real Estate Pro

Four issues of Realtor Magazine in front of a luxury home.

About Realtor Magazine

If you’re a real estate professional, whether broker, agent, or builder, then Realtor Magazine is for you. Realtor Magazine is the official magazine of the National Association of REALTORS® and a convenient business aid for all those in the real estate world. Useful articles are featured every month, including real estate best practices, insight into trends, advice on navigating purchases, and strategies for advancing your business.

Articles are separated into different topics, making it easy to find what you’re searching for. Whether you’re interested in the latest updates on an historic court case, tips for staging a large house, or exactly how the increased interest rates will affect your business, Realtor Magazine has a well-researched, in depth article about it.

Print Editions

If you opt to subscribe to Realtor Magazine, you’ll receive plenty of useful information in every edition. Normally, the print edition includes practical articles on selling, law, and management, profiles of successful real estate professionals, interesting summaries of court cases, real estate news, new products, and informative interviews with those on the forefront of the real estate world.

Online/Digital Editions

Like most magazines in the 21st century, there is an online edition of Realtor Magazine. Subscriptions include everything you would get in the print edition, plus exclusive articles and viewpoints, as well as a fully illustrated architecture guide, extensive sales and marketing columns, news from the technology world, and both daily and weekly industry...

7 Tips To Improve The Effectiveness Of Your Online Home Search

 

Do Your Homework Before Getting Started

When it comes to searching homes for sale online, it’s easy to jump right in and start picking out potential dream homes. After all, starting a home search is exciting, and looking at homes can be a lot of fun. However, taking the time to understand the best search practices can save you a lot of time and help you find the perfect home much quicker. In this article, including the video below, I’ll discuss my best tips for maximizing the effectiveness of your online home search.

Essential Tips For Searching Homes Online

Tip #1 - Find a site (or two) that works for YOU.
Tip #2 - Save searches and use auto-notifications.
Tip #3 - Use Google Street View to explore potential neighborhoods.
Tip #4 - Utilize map search options and overlays.
Tip #5 - Learn how to properly use search filters.
Tip #6 - Ignore automated home...

Important Questions To Ask Yourself Before Buying A Home

A young man in deep thought with many questions.

Make Sure You’re Truly Ready To Buy

Are you planning on purchasing a home in the near future? If so, get ready for one of the most exciting and stressful times in your life. To reduce that stress, there are some important questions you need to ask yourself before making the decision to buy a home.

How much home can I afford?

A very important question. Normally, a home should cost between two and three times your gross income. You should also factor in extra costs that you don’t pay as a renter, including property taxes, homeowner's insurance, maintenance, and community association fees. There are numerous online mortgage calculators that can help you with the math and determine an appropriate purchase price. Regardless of how much you qualify for, you should determine a maximum monthly payment you’re comfortable with and stay within that range.

How much do I want to devote to a down payment?

A down payment used to be a solid 20%, but with the numerous loans available today the down payment can be as little as 3.5%. Remember, the larger the down payment, the more likely you will be approved for the loan you want and the lower your monthly payments will be, so shoot for 20% if you can. Mortgages with less than 20% down typically require you to pay monthly mortgage insurance, which adds to your costs. However, you should avoid putting too much down and completely draining your savings.

What do I want in a home?

Make a wish list! This is the fun part. Have you always dreamed of a sunroom? Do you want a huge finished basement to watch the game every Sunday? Know exactly what you want, what you can...

Fielding A Lowball Purchase Offer On Your Home

An older man viewing a lowball purchase offer for his home on his cell phone.

4 Tips For Handling A Low Offer

So, you’ve gotten an offer on your home – just what every person selling their property dreams will happen! But the offer is low, way too low. Don’t worry, lowball offers happen all the time, and if you keep the following four tips in mind, you can overcome the initial frustration a lowball offer creates. Keep in mind, the goal is to negotiate a price and terms that work for you… and that the buyer will agree to. You can always just say no, but these tips will help you and the buyer get to YES!

Don’t Let Your Emotions Get In The Way

After all, this isn’t personal, it’s business. It doesn’t matter if the offer is low and the terms are ridiculous and the closing date is too far away. An offer means someone wants to buy your home. Everything is negotiable, so don’t feel insulted or sad or panicked. It can be tough, but remember to remain calm and move forward. This is where having an experienced real estate agent is most beneficial.

Your agent isn't emotionally attached to the home like you are, so they're in a much better position to approach negotiations with a level head. If necessary, take some time to let your emotions settle before responding to the offer. Once you've had some time to cool down and think about it, the offer may not seem as bad as it did initially.

Consider All The Terms Of The Offer

Though price is the number one element both buyers and sellers look at, the other terms of the offer deserve to be given just as much consideration. You might want to accept a lower offer if the closing date is...

9 Ways To Prepare Your Home For Sale

A man painting a deck railing in preparation to sell his home.

Preparing Your Home For The Market

Before your house goes onto the market, there are a number of things you can do to ensure smooth sailing later on. First impressions are important, so preparing your home adequately is vital. Most of these things are pretty easy to do and will really help you maximize the value of your home. Watch the video below and then keep reading to learn nine ways you can prepare your home for sale.

 


#1. Get A Pre-listing Home Inspection

To save time after you receive an offer, a pre-sale home inspection is the way to go. For a very reasonable fee, a certified home inspector can alert you to possible issues that could cause a problem down the road so that you can address them now. Keep in mind, you may be required to disclose the inspection to potential buyers. If you’re confident in the condition of your home, a pre-listing inspection is a great way to assure potential buyers that your home is in great shape, which can lead to higher offers.

#2. Make Minor Repairs

Have you been putting off some basic maintenance items? Did the pre-listing inspection reveal some more manageable...

Tips For Choosing The Best Offer For Your Home

Illustration of a man with offers up to his waist, unsure which one to choose.

Winning In A Multiple Offer Situation

Congratulations! After all of your hard work, your house has finally received an offer. In a hot real estate market such as Atlanta, there’s a real possibility that you might receive multiple offers. In that case, there are a few things that you should keep in mind when choosing the best offer for your home.

Rely On The Knowledge & Experience Of Your REALTOR®

Luckily, you have an experienced real estate agent on your side to help navigate a multiple offer situation. However, you should still have a general understanding of how the process works. In multiple offer situations, your agent may advise you to pick one offer to begin negotiating, or, call for a highest and best period where a deadline is given to all buyers to submit their highest and best offer. When it comes time to negotiate an individual offer, you essentially have three options: accept, reject, or make a counter offer.

Mentally Prepare For Offers In Advance

Before you ever receive the first offer, you should have your limits and baselines in mind. Determine in advance what is most important to you when selling your home. If price is number one, then be prepared to be flexible on your closing date or the length of your due diligence. If you absolutely must be closed by a certain time, then perhaps you could be flexible when it comes to price or terms. Setting your limits ahead of time will make it easier to agree to a strong offer or reject a low offer and move on.

Keep All Factors In Mind

Yes, price is the number one factor most sellers focus on. But remember, there are numerous...

Top Atlanta Real Estate Closing Attorneys

Group of Atlanta's top real estate closing attorneys.

About Atlanta Real Estate Closing Attorneys

In Georgia, real estate attorneys conduct all closings and must perform dozens of duties before a real estate transaction can be finalized. This is why choosing a great attorney is very important.

Attorneys charge fees to cover the costs of researching the chain of title, preparing closing documents, performing the closing, and recording the transaction with the county. The cost for a standard residential closing varies, but is typically between $400-$800. This may not include fees for the title search, title insurance, recording fees, transfer fees, taxes, bank charges, etc.

Real Estate Closing F.A.Q.’s

1. Who does the real estate closing attorney represent?
2. What does a real estate closing attorney do?
3. Do I need to be present to close?
4. What is power of attorney?
5. What is the GRECAA?

My List Of Top Atlanta Closing Attorneys

I've put together a list of reputable firms that close thousands of transactions each year and are highly regarded throughout the industry. As a top Atlanta real estate agent, I work closely with attorneys like these and others to ensure the closing goes smoothly. The following is my list of the top real estate closing attorneys serving the Metro Atlanta area:

Campbell...

9 Can't Miss Annual Events In The City Of Brookhaven

Family heading to a Brookhaven community event.

Your Guide To Brookhaven's Top Annual Events

Brookhaven, GA is a very community oriented place to live, which is evident by the turnout at local events held throughout the city. Whether you're into great food, a lively social atmosphere, or just like to do a little shopping, there's always something on the calendar in Brookhaven. Great events like these, in addition to a convenient in-town location, has made Brookhaven's housing market one of the hottest in the south.

Brookhaven Bolt

Each May, Brookhaven area residents lace up their jogging shoes and run the Brookhaven Bolt, a charity 5k through Ashford Park. After the race, both racers and attendees alike enjoy sponsor booths, raffles, prizes, and food. Proceeds from the Brookhaven Bolt go to Ashford Park Elementary School and its many programs that benefit both the school and the community.

Brookhaven Arts Festival

The Brookhaven Arts Festival brings more than 10,000 people to the beautiful, tree-lined Apple Valley Road. After taking a short break, the festival returned in 2015 with a rebranded image and fresh ideas, including over 100 artists from all over the United States, food, and live music. The Brookhaven Arts Festival is scheduled for mid-October; what better way is there to spend a cool autumn afternoon?

Brookhaven Beer Fest

Every summer, behind the Brookhaven Marta station, the Brookhaven Beer Fest combines...

Essential Tools For The First Time Homeowner

A black & white photo of various tools for new homeowners.

The Basic Tools For Every New Homeowner

Buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll ever make, so the first time you find yourself sitting at a closing table signing the papers will be nerve wracking, naturally. One of the most shocking things that a first time homeowner will experience is the realization that they can no longer call the landlord when something breaks or goes wrong. As a homeowner, if there is a problem, you have to fix it. Luckily, I’ve compiled a list of the top tools that a first time homeowner will undoubtedly need.

Ladder

Whether A-frame or extension, every homeowner needs a ladder. From hanging holiday lights to cleaning gutters, a ladder makes everyday life much easier.

Circular Saw

If you’re like most new homeowners, you have some ideas for projects and home improvements. A circular saw can help with anything from building a new deck to installing new shelving, any project where a hand saw would take too much effort and time.

Cordless Drill

A no-brainer. A good cordless drill will help you hang curtain rods and pictures, construct shelving and DIY pieces, and just about anything else you can think of. As an added bonus, a battery powered drill gives you all the power without struggling with a long cord.

Hammer

Everyone should have a hammer. Whether you want to be thrifty or buy a quality tool, hammers come in an array of designs, colors, and materials.

Garden Hose

A garden hose is the thing you don’t think of until you need it. Nowadays, you can find garden hoses in a variety of colors and materials. Don’t forget the nozzle and a good storage option.

Tape Measure...

Top Atlanta Real Estate Brokerages

Happy couple holding SOLD sign in front of new home.

About Real Estate Brokers In Metro Atlanta

There are thousands of real estate brokers and more than 35,000 active real estate agents in the Metro Atlanta area alone. Brokerages can range in size from independent one-man operations, to large companies with thousands of agents and hundreds of support staff. These residential real estate companies have agents who specialize in all types of property, including: single family homes, condos, townhomes, land, lots, multi-family, investment properties, vacation homes and more.

This article includes the top residential real estate brokers in Atlanta by firm type, including: large brokerages, luxury brokerages, and boutique/specialty brokerages. I've also included a section about brokerage fees and how they work.

The Top Large Real Estate Brokerages

Large real estate firms typically have hundreds of agents and multiple office locations throughout the city. Many of these brokerages have brand affiliations with some of the most well known real estate companies in the nation.

Atlanta Communities

With more than 600 REALTORS® in Georgia, Atlanta Communities is a full service real estate brokerage that covers all of Metro Atlanta. Atlanta Communities specializes in both residential and commercial real estate sales. With five Metro Atlanta office locations, it’s easy to find Atlanta Communities, whether you live in Dunwoody, Midtown, Kennesaw, West Cobb, or Woodstock.

Berkshire...

My List Of Top 10 Buckhead Restaurants

A young couple enjoying a nice dinner in an upscale Buckhead restaurant.

The Fine Dining Capital Of Georgia?

Known for its popular shopping, dining and entertainment options, Buckhead is Metro Atlanta’s go to destination for fine dining. Not surprisingly, Buckhead’s real estate market, filled with high-end homes and luxury condos, reflects the sophisticated tastes of those who call the area home. If you’re in the mood for great food and an upscale dining experience, keep reading to learn more about the top Buckhead restaurants that made the list.

Bone's

Logo for Bone's steak and seafood restaurant in Buckhead.

Since opening in 1979, Bone's has become one of the most popular restaurants in Atlanta, and possibly one of the best in America. Steaks and seafood are the mainstay at Bone's; prime beef, fresh fish, and Maine lobster, to be specific. Bone's is widely considered the best steakhouse in Atlanta, receiving the Best of Atlanta Steakhouse each year since 1999.

The restaurant has also been recognized by Zagat as having the highest rating for both food and service of any steakhouse in America. Bone's is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner (except most major holidays). The restaurant is a great location for special occasions and regularly plays host to business lunches and dinners.

...

Top Atlanta Real Estate Schools

A teacher in front of a class of students taking a real estate course.

Real Estate Education & Training

Real estate is a business that is constantly evolving, therefore, its practitioners must do the same. Whether you’re an agent, appraiser or a broker, education and training is essential to a successful career.

Real estate schools offer courses on everything from basic principals to advanced selling techniques, as well as designations & certifications that allow for specialized training in various aspects of the business. Some schools even offer online versions of their training courses, so those with challenging schedules can still take part.

New Agent Training

Proper education and training are essential because a career in real estate is sink or swim, with most new agents getting out of the business within their first year. For those looking to get started selling real estate, the Georgia Real Estate Commission (GREC) currently requires the completion of a 75 hour pre-license course.

In addition, perspective agents must pass an examination administered by AMP that is approved by the Commission. These are merely the first steps on the path to becoming a top Atlanta real estate agent. For those seeking training with an accredited company, I’ve put together a list of Atlanta’s top real estate schools.

My List Of Top Real Estate Schools In Atlanta

Metro Brokers Academy

Known as the #1 real estate school in Georgia, the Metro Brokers Academy provides both in-class and online training courses. Additional education for agents is also available. Metro Brokers Academy also...

1716 Moonstone Ct, Decatur GA - SOLD!

Primary listing photo for 1716 Moonstone Ct. in popular Oak Grove school district.
1716 Moonstone Ct listing details with beds, baths, sq/ft, subdivision, schools & tax information.

Open House - Sunday July 12th (2PM-5PM) - Visit for a chance to win $1000 in the monthly Metro Brokers Super Sunday open house drawing.

1716 Moonstone Ct Listing Description:

Amazing opportunity to live in the award winning Oak Grove school district. This classic three bedroom, two bath, brick ranch, is located on a quiet street in a sought after neighborhood. In an area flush with million dollar plus homes, this property provides a chance for a savvy buyer to easily renovate a well built home.

At approximately 2,168 sq/ft, this house has more living area than your average 3/2 ranch, providing ample space for the entire family. In addition, the 640 square foot garage provides parking for two cars and enough room for a small shop or additional storage space. This home has been extremely well maintained and has been in the family since 1964.

Room Descriptions

The light and bright formal living room is highlighted by a large window with panoramic view of the entire front yard. The expansive family room off the kitchen has a large brick fireplace, custom built-ins and a large storage closet housing the washer & dryer. The all original kitchen is ready to be opened up and updated with modern cabinets...

Atlanta's Professional Sports Teams

Banner image with Atlanta Hawks, Falcons, and Braves team logos.

A Great City For Sports Fans

Not only does Atlanta offer dozens of restaurants, museums, and music venues, but it also provides residents with sports teams that entertain year round. It is said that the sport’s pride and spirit in Atlanta is unlike any other town; fans are loyal, even when teams don’t perform to expectations. Tried and true, Atlanta sports fans hang on and keep hoping, which is a trait that makes Atlanta special.

The Atlanta Hawks

The Atlanta Hawks logo.The Atlanta Hawks joined the National Basketball Association in 1949; the team originally belonged in Milwaukee and St. Louis, and then landed in Atlanta in 1968. The team plays at Phillips Arena. Notable players include Dominique Wilkins and Jason Terry.

The Atlanta Hawks have a long-time rivalry with the Boston Celtics, and fans wait with anticipation each year for the game. The rivalry has lasted more than 50 years and is always entertaining.

Basketball season in Atlanta is much anticipated, not only for the game itself but the atmosphere that invades Phillips Arena every time the Atlanta Hawks set foot inside. Any home game is not to be missed.

The Atlanta Falcons

Small Atlanta Falcons logo.After joining the NFL in 1965, the ...

Top Local Parks In Brookhaven, GA

An empty park bench overlooking the lake at a Brookhaven park during sunset.

Brookhaven City Parks

One of the most popular cities in Metro Atlanta, Brookhaven provides not only amazing restaurants, shopping, and entertainment, but also a wide array of public parks. Several parks have been brought to the attention of the city council, specifically Brookhaven Park, Ashford Park, Skyland Park, and Georgian Hills Park.

Park regulars cited a desire for walking trails and on-site restrooms in these particular parks; those that voted to convert Brookhaven into a city have been quoted as saying their main focus was park maintenance and improvement, and they’ve wasted no time in beginning the improvement process.

Map Of All Brookhaven Parks

More About Brookhaven's Top Parks

Some of the city's parks simply have benches and a playground; some house sports teams and walking trails and tennis courts. Local residents propose the addition of new amenities including: shaded playgrounds, water fountains, swimming pool renovations, and an increased number of playgrounds.

Murphey Candler Park

Murphey Candler Park softball and football fields in Brookhaven, GA.One of the largest parks in Brookhaven, Murphey Candler Park provides a well-rounded experience for every visitor. A large swimming pool is a community favorite, and there are numerous...

Top Fortune 500 Companies In Atlanta

Downtown Atlanta skyline with the Coca-Cola building & headquarters of other fortune 500 companies.

The Business Hub Of The Southeast

For many years, Atlanta has been a southern hub of business and commerce. So much so that numerous Fortune 500 companies have decided to call Atlanta home. From startups & tech companies to large & small businesses alike, many are flocking to Atlanta every day due to the city’s educated labor supply, moderate climate and international travel hub.

In addition, Atlanta’s housing market makes relocating employees more affordable, especially when coming from other large cities like New York, Boston and Los Angeles.

The Home Depot

Orange and white Home Depot logo, small.Founded in 1978 by four Atlanta businessmen, including Arthur Blank and Bernard Marcus, The Home Depot is a widely-known home improvement store that is based in Cobb County, Georgia. The chain grew quickly, going from two original stores in 1979 to multiple stores in all 50 states, plus Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Guam, all provinces in Canada, and Mexico.

Stores run about 105,000 square feet in size; some stores are now offering fuel centers to its customers, as well. Several brands are offered exclusively at Home Depot, including Behr, Chem-Dry, and Homelite.

In addition to a wide array of home improvement items, The Home Depot also holds a vested interest in philanthropy and community improvement. The Home Depot Foundation, started in 2002, volunteers time,...

Hartsfield-Jackson International - The World’s Busiest Airport

A Delta flight leaving the runway of Hartsfield-Jackson with Atlanta skyline in the background.

History Of The Atlanta Airport

April of 1925 saw the first rumblings of an Atlanta airport. Originally an abandoned racetrack, the 287 acres soon became a working airport and was named Candler Field, after the old owner’s family and Coca-Cola founder Asa Candler.

During its formative years, Hartsfield-Jackson was visited by Charles Lindbergh and his Spirit of St. Louis, saw Delta Air Lines’ first flight, and in 1948, more than 1 million travelers passed through its doors.

Becoming The Busiest Airport In The World

In 1957, Hartsfield-Jackson became the busiest airport in the country; 2 million travelers passed through that year. Also that year, between 12pm and 2pm each day, Atlanta’s airport became the busiest in the world. In 1971, William B. Hartsfield died and the airport was officially renamed to William B. Hartsfield Atlanta Airport.

Several months later, however, international flights began and the name was changed again to William B. Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport. In 1999, Hartsfield-Jackson officially becomes the World’s Busiest Airport after seeing 73.5 million travelers in 1998.

Expansion & Growth

Throughout the late 70s and 80s, construction was a constant occurrence, whether on terminals or fields, parking lots or towers. The number of yearly travelers was growing exponentially, and the airport struggled to keep up. June of 1988 saw MARTA’s line extended into the airport itself, making travel easier for Atlanta’s citizens.

In 1996, the Atrium was completed as part of the Hartsfield Improvement Program, the goal of which was to make...

Things To Do In Atlanta - May 2015

Sound stage at Shaky Knees music festival, May 2015 Atlanta events.

Top Events In Atlanta - May 2015

April showers are long over, and the month of May has arrived, and with it festivals, concerts, and other outdoor activities that allow you to take advantage of Atlanta’s beautiful spring weather. What follows is only a sampling of the many events that are taking place around this beautiful city in the month of May.

The Georgia Renaissance Festival (Weekends In May)

Back for its 30th year, The Georgia Renaissance Festival is a favorite pastime. With traditional Renaissance food, an artist’s market, games, rides, and dozens of live performances, the festival has made itself a can’t-miss tradition. Each weekend is themed, so a good time is guaranteed, no matter the day you visit. The Georgia Renaissance Festival is an experience that shouldn’t be missed.

Taste of Alpharetta (May 7th)

For the past 25 years, the Taste of Alpharetta has introduced festival goers to new foods and restaurants. With over 60 restaurants participating, you’re sure to find a new favorite or two. The ambience is worth going for, as well, with historic downtown Alpharetta the backdrop; enjoy demonstrations, games, cooking competitions, and live music as well.

Pick’n in Grant Park (May 8th-9th)

Spend a weekend listening to live music and plenty of BBQ – what else could you ask for? Pick’n in Grant Park, organized by the Grant Park Conservancy, is in its inaugural year and brings together Atlanta’s best BBQ makers to compete for top title. While waiting for...