Home Buying

Atlanta a top market to invest in residential real estate

Photo Courtesy of Laura Miller Photo Courtesy of Laura Miller A recent report shows Atlanta to be one of the top markets in the country to invest in a home. Ingo Winzer, president and founder of Local Market Monitor, said in a statement released by the company, "These markets also have strong home price appreciation, but are still underpriced by as much as 28 percent." Of course, if you're looking in highly-sought-after Intown Atlanta neighborhoods or Buckhead, you may have a more difficult time finding a deal. These areas have already rebounded in price due to strong demand. By contrast, some of the suburbs are still playing catch up, but the trend is positive.

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Square footage and Atlanta real estate

One of the most popular criteria home buyers have traditionally used when searching for a home is square footage. Until very recently, out-of-state or new-in-town home buyers looking for homes in Atlanta found themselves dismayed at the inability to search by square footage.

Yes, as absurd as it seems, it had been a long-standing policy of the local Multiple Listings Service (MLS) in Atlanta to prohibit the quoting of square footage in property listings. It was explained to me that this was to protect the agents from liability. Sure, there have been cases in the past where the buyer found out later that the square footage was not as quoted in the listing, and sued the agent. However, most markets throughout the country easily solved this with a simple disclaimer, something like "Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed." Also, most Purchase and Sale Agreements are written such that it's the buyer's responsibility to inspect, survey, appraise and measure the property during the Due Diligence period. (The measurement is usually done by the appraiser.) But even though the local MLS's implemented such disclaimers on general listing information, they still persisted with the ban of square footage information. Until now. Recently, the primary Multiple Listing Service used by Intown Atlanta real estate agents, FMLS, began to allow square footage information. For whatever reason, they did this initially on condos only, but now they have finally allowed it on single-family homes as well.

Still wary of a litigious society, they require that the source for the square footage information is included in the listing. Only three approved sources are allowed: tax records, appraisal, or the builder. Keep in mind, that tax records are not...

Do-It-Yourself Home Buying? Three Ways it Can Cost You

Buying a home is one of the largest, most significant investments you will make in your lifetime. The decisions you make during the buying process are critical and will affect you long after the sale. There’s a lot at stake, but by relying on the experience of a real estate agent, you can eliminate much of the uncertainty and stress when buying a home. So, why do some buyers try to go it alone and buy without using an agent?

Unfortunately, some buyers mistakenly believe that they’ll be better off without a real estate agent when buying a home. Following are three common misconceptions that some buyers have about using an agent, and why giving into those misconceptions could potentially put their real estate investments at risk.

Misconception #1 “It will be easier and more convenient to have the agent who has the FOR SALE sign in the yard help me, rather than getting my own agent.”

The person who has the property listed (and who has placed the FOR SALE sign in the yard) is called a Listing Agent. The Listing Agent works for the seller and, by law, must act in the seller's best interest. Not yours. It’s the Listing Agent’s job to sell the home for as much money as possible and with terms that benefit the seller. Therefore, as a buyer, it typically isn’t advantageous to rely on the advice or counsel of the Listing Agent. Be leery of a Listing Agent who volunteers to represent both you and the seller. This is called Dual Agency - a complicated scenario requiring the Listing Agent’s loyalties to lie with both you and the seller simultaneously. Dual Agency is illegal in some states. An agent who represents buyers is called a Buyer’s Agent. It is the job of the Buyer’s Agent to help the buyer obtain his or her ideal home for the lowest price and best terms possible. A Buyer’s Agent works exclusively for you - the buyer - and has a legal fiduciary obligation to represent your...