Posts Tagged ‘real estate’


Showcase 2010 offers learning and networking opportunities for Real Estate Professionals

August 20, 2010

The Southeastern residential Real Estate Trade Show “Showcase 2010” is coming to Atlanta on August 25th to the Cobb Galleria.

Showcase 2010 is a unique opportunity for learning and networking with thousands of real estate professionals. It will feature various residential  vendors such as home warranty services, closing attorneys, builders and much more.  There will be exciting door prizes, informative seminars and demonstrations. 

Don’t miss out on this unique event!

Just a sampling of who will be there:

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson who knows the real estate industry as a former REALTOR® & Broker will be speaking. Senator Isakson began his business career in 1967 when he opened the first Cobb County office of a small, family owned real estate business, Northside Realty. When the mortgage & financial crisis hit in 2008, Johnny drew on his decades of real estate experience to offer solutions to reduce the inventory of foreclosed homes and to promote recovery of the nation’s housing market.

Georgia Natural Gas has arranged for celebrity chef Marvin Woods to cook up a storm for attendees!

Showcase 2010 is a unique opportunity for networking with thousands of Real Estate Professionals, learning and fun!

Click here to visit the Showcase 2010 website to find out more.

Wednesday August 25
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Cobb Galleria Centre
Proceeds benefit Habitat for Humanity


Where America’s Money is Moving

June 17, 2010

Low taxes, warm sunshine and deep discounts on real estate. No wonder IRS data shows the wealthiest among us are headed south.


Surprise: America’s wealthy like warm weather and low taxes. That’s the takeaway from IRS data, analyzed by Forbes, on moves between counties. We looked for counties that the rich are moving to in big numbers.

Topping the list: Collier County, Fla., which includes the city of Naples. Tax returns accounting for 15,150 people showed moves to Collier County from other parts of the country in 2008, the latest year for which IRS data is available. Their average reported income: $76,161 per person–equivalent to $304,644 for a family of four. Although slightly more taxpayers moved out of Collier County than into it, the departing residents’ average income came out to just $26,128 per person.

In second place is Greene County, Ga., with a population of just 15,743 at the Census Bureau’s last estimate. The IRS data show that in 2008, 788 people moved to the county, about 75 miles east of Atlanta.

Rounding out the top five: Nassau County, Fla., near Jacksonville; Llano County, Texas, 70 miles northwest of Austin; and Walton County, Fla., 80 miles east of Pensacola.

Top 5 Places Where America’s Money Is Moving

 No. 1: Collier County, Fla.
Arriving average income per capita: $76,161
Departing average income per capita: $26,128
Stationary household average income per capita: $49,959
Total arriving people: 15,150
Total departing people: 16,802
Top origin: Lee County, Fla. (2,987 people)

No. 2: Greene County, Ga.
Arriving average income per capita: $56,414
Departing average income per capita: $25,432
Stationary household average income per capita: $30,875
Total arriving people: 788
Total departing people: 778
Top origin: Putnam County, Ga. (76 people)

No. 3: Nassau County, Fla.
Arriving average income per capita: $51,833
Departing average income per capita: $29,312
Stationary household average income per capita: $32,306
Total arriving people: 4,785
Total departing people: 3,690
Top origin: Duval County, Fla. (1,721 people)

No. 4: Llano County, Texas
Arriving average income per capita: $44,324
Departing average income per capita: $22,541
Stationary household average income per capita: $26,201
Total arriving people: 1,192
Total departing people: 1,018
Top origin: Burnet County, Texas (312 people)

No. 5: Walton County, Fla.
Arriving average income per capita: $45,591
Departing average income per capita: $28,360
Stationary household average income per capita: $30,553
Total arriving people: 3,939
Total departing people: 3,230
Top origin: Okaloosa County, Fla. (1,148 people)

 The dominance of the list by Florida and Texas–the former has eight of the top 20 counties, the latter four– makes sense to Robert Shrum, manager of state affairs at the Tax Foundation in Washington, D.C., since neither state has an income tax. “If you’re a high-income earner, then that, from a tax perspective, is going to be a driving decider if you’re going to move to one of those two states,” Shrum says.

After accounting for property taxes, Shrum’s analysis shows that Texas has the fourth-lowest personal tax burden in the country, and Florida has the eighth lowest. Shrum also points to eight states that have targeted wealthy households with extra-high tax brackets: California, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Hawaii, Oregon, Connecticut and Wisconsin. Six of the top 10 counties the rich are fleeing are located in those states. Read the rest of this entry ?


Real-estate pros offer tips on spotting shoddy remodels.

June 16, 2010

Shoddy remodel work On a 10-minute tour, it’s easy to be blinded by new cabinets, floors and appliances. Real-estate pros offer tips on spotting shoddy work.

By Liz Pulliam Weston

The Victorian looked fabulous.

The owner had poured thousands of dollars into refinishing the hardwood floors, replastering the walls and updating the kitchen.

What she hadn’t done was fix the home’s foundation, floor joists or beams.

“As I entered the dining room, a hutch that was 20 feet away was shaking,” said home inspector Rick Jarrett of First Home Inspections of Belmont, Ohio. Once he peered into the nearly inaccessible crawl space, Jarrett spotted the problem. “There was no understructure. It was all rotted from decay or termite damage.”

Jarrett’s inspection saved his client, a potential buyer, from having to spend tens of thousands of dollars excavating the foundation and repairing the damage.

If you’re looking for a house, you’ve probably seen your share of ill-conceived rehabs: additions that stick out like sore thumbs, for example, or once-trendy materials that quickly became dated.
Harder to spot are the remodels that look great on the surface, but ignore or deliberately try to hide serious flaws. An incompetent, clueless or greedy remodeler can leave you with a house that’s not only expensive to fix, but potentially dangerous for you and your family.

Youll encounter lots more shabby remodeling if:

  • “Flippers” have descended on your market. Investors who buy homes in hopes of reselling them quickly may cut corners on rehabs to boost their potential profits.
  • Expert construction help is costly. The more expensive it is to hire skilled tradespeople, the more tempted homeowners may be to try to do it themselves — even if they have no idea what they’re doing.
  • Building code or licensing enforcement is lax. Substandard construction and incompetent contractors can flourish in areas where no one is checking up on remodelers.

An experienced home inspector can help you avoid trouble. But at $300 and up, inspections can get expensive. Here’s what to look for so you can avoid the biggest money pits and winnow down your candidates before you hire an inspector.
Fundamentally unsound
Unless you have X-ray vision, you can’t peer inside the walls, floors and ceilings to see if a home is fundamentally sound. You can look, however, at the home’s surfaces for some real clues about what’s going on underneath. Such as:

  • Big cracks in the walls, ceiling, floors or foundation. Any foundation crack should be cause for concern. Wide cracks elsewhere, or cracks radiating from the corners or windows and doors, may also be a sign of trouble. They can indicate foundation problems, or ongoing movement that could be expensive to fix. If everything looks good, Jarrett said, check the closets. Remodelers may patch everything else — but forget about what’s hidden there.
  • Sloping, bouncy or “spongy” floors. All homes settle over time, so a slight slope (or even a rather noticeable one on a very old home) shouldn’t panic you. But sloping that’s accompanied by significant, recent wall and ceiling cracking should be a concern. If the new ceramic tiles in the bathroom are already cracking, for example, you have good evidence of serious trouble. So, too, is any floor that feels less than solid under your feet.
  • Doors and windows that don’t open freely. This could be due to settling, foundation problems or poor construction. In any case, it may indicate costly repairs are needed.
  • Wide open spaces. Remodelers often like to combine smaller rooms into larger spaces, but doing so can undermine the stability of an entire house if the remodeler unwittingly removes a structural or load-bearing wall. Sagging rooflines, ceilings or beams should be big red flags. Any time an older house has been updated this way, however, investigate further. At the very least, ask for copies of the permits and for the name and license number of the contractor who did the work. If the work is unpermitted or the contractor unlicensed, consider steering clear.

Shocking developments
Home inspector Jim Gibbs checks out a lot of homes for real-estate investors in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, and he’s seen plenty of truly shocking remodels.

“The biggest problem I see is in the electrical,” Gibbs said. The remodelers are “not doing anything near code.”Some of the most common problems:

  • Failing to update wiring when adding rooms or circuits
  • Making dangerous connections
  • Failing to add enough circuits to cope with today’s households
    It’s not uncommon for kitchen remodelers to spend a fortune on, say, countertops and appliances while skimping on the electrical, Gibbs said. Instead of having five, six or more circuits to run all the microwaves and refrigerated wine cabinets, they have one or two.

You can see if there’s a problem by simply turning on a bunch of appliances at once and see what blows. Or you can take a look at the electrical panel.

“If they’ve had a major remodel and you look at the circuit breaker panel and it doesn’t look new,” said Gibbs, whose Gibbs Residential Inspections is based in Plano, Texas, “you need to be suspicious.”

Even a new box isn’t a guarantee, however, since popping in a new panel is relatively cheap. You might also want to stick your head up into the attic to try to gauge the age of the wiring you see. If you have any doubts, you’ll probably want a certified home inspector to give you a report.

Jarrett has seen do-it-yourself electrical jobs where the remodeler tapped into power directly from the street, running it into a garage or other room without benefit of fuses or circuits. Not only is such a stunt potentially lethal to the do-it-yourselfer, but the unregulated power could easily result in shocks or fire.

“It’s a wonder they’re walking around, that they haven’t been electrocuted,” Jarrett marvels. Read the rest of this entry ?


REALTOR® and Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty agent Suzanne Close quoted in AJC article

May 25, 2010

Taken from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Finding the right location, price and size all in one package can be rewarding for a home buyer.

If one of those elements is missing however, the experience can be equally agonizing for a home seller.

Geoffrey and Brenda Smith have been trying to move their two-bedroom, one-bathroom Mountain Park home off and on for two years. They had no idea it would take so long to sell the home.

“The saving grace for us right now is that we have a fantastic renter in there right now,” Geoffrey Smith said. “It is a little frustrating, but having the renter does take the edge off.”

Even with historically low sale prices, there are still some properties that remain harder to sell than others, regardless of price, veteran agents say. And there are challenging properties on the extreme opposite end of the size spectrum, as well.

“The one-bedroom home is hard to sell in any economy and any market,” said Jill Huitron, an agent for Harry Norman Realtors.

Huitron has a one-bedroom, 1 1/2-bath home in Marietta listed for $53,000. The home, which was originally listed for $83,500 in April 2009, hasn’t attracted much traffic.

“I thought surely this last price cut would bring more interest, but it hasn’t,” she said. “Right now it is almost like price doesn’t matter.”

But price does matter, countered Brenda Allred, managing broker for Crye Leike Realtors in the Smyrna/Vinings neighborhood.

“It is all about price,” she said. “The question is, has the price gone low enough to sell?”

Median homes sale prices have fallen in the first few months of 2010, when compared with the same period in 2009, according to reports from the National Association of Realtors. For the first three months of the year, metro Atlanta’s median home sales prices ranked 124th out of 152 metro areas across the country, according to the NAR’s latest quarterly report.

An average of 25,000 homes were for sale in metro Atlanta during the first three months of the year. Those homes averaged 122 continuous days on the market, according to data from Prudential Georgia Realty.

But those days lingering on the market can be considerably longer for cottages and castles, Allred said

“Some mansions can easily be on the market for well over a year,” she said. “The same goes for small homes, unless the property’s price is that magic number. But the trick is only the buyer knows that number.”

Smith hopes $214,000 is the magic number for his Mountain Park home.

“It is a steal at that price,” he said

With only one bathroom, the home is a hard sell, even in a desirable community, said Smith’s listing agent, Suzanne Close, an agent with Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty.

“The air is really thin on both ends of the spectrum right now,” said Close, who should know. She is also the listing agent on Dean Gardens, a 58-acre estate in north Fulton County and priced at $13.9 million.

Dean Gardens has been on and off the market for better than 15 years and has never sold. The asking price for the estate, which includes an eight-bedroom pink mansion, 18-hole golf course and wedding chapel, has been as high as $40 million, but it has been drastically reduced, Close said.

“For an estate this size, the pool of potential buyers is international, but it is also very small because you need a buyer who wants all of this space,” she said. “The same with my Mountain Park listing. The pool is likely local but very small because you need a buyer who will be OK with a one-bathroom home.”


Most Americans Say Now Is Time to Buy a House: Poll (Charles Gerrick)

April 6, 2010

Charles Gerrick, Buckhead Office , REALTOR®

Charles Gerrick, Buckhead Office , REALTOR®

Submitted by Charles Gerrick of Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty. Taken from

Nearly two-thirds of Americans think the time is right to buy a house, with a majority believing prices will be the same or higher over the next year, according to a Fannie Mae survey released Tuesday.

 The 64 percent that said it is a good time to buy is just shy of the 66 percent that said the same thing in 2003 as the U.S. housing market was racing higher, said the survey.

However, most of the 3,451 polled said that it would be tougher for them to get a loan than it was for their parents.

The survey comes amid signs that the U.S. housing market is recovering after suffering the worst downturn since the 1930s.

But, while home prices in some regions are rising, soaring delinquency rates across the nation mean foreclosures will keep persistent pressure on the market, according to analysts.

Fannie Mae, the largest U.S. mortgage finance company, said that the public still “strongly believes” in upholding their financial commitments, though that weakens once people know someone who is defaulting.

Those who know someone in default are more than twice as likely to have seriously considered stopping payments on their own mortgage, Fannie Mae said.


Buckhead Homes Sales: Market Share for November 2008

December 16, 2008

Market Share of Volume Closed in Buckhead, November 2008


Ten Cities Ready To Bounce Back

October 30, 2008

Charles Gerrick, Founding Member

Charles Gerrick, Founding Member

By Paul Kaihla,, submitted by Charles Gerrick.

The horror show of America’s residential real estate market just keeps getting scarier, what with the sub-prime mortgage crisis threatening to slash demand for homes while the inventory of unsold properties continues to pile up. It’s enough to send any prudent investor fleeing to the relative sanity of, say, the stock market.

Don’t. Instead, get ready for the bounce-back. The oldest rule of investing dictates that you buy low and sell high. Real-estate buyers aren’t at the gate, however, because most local markets have yet to hit bottom. In fact, most cities won’t do so for another year.

But Business 2.0, working with Moody’s, has unearthed 10 major metropolitan areas that are bucking the national housing trend. By the beginning of next year, these markets should be coming back to life — and in our exclusive rankings, we’ve projected the house-price appreciation these cities will enjoy during 2008 and 2009. The gains may seem modest — they range from about 4 to 7 percent — but remember, in the midst of the current housing meltdown, any gain at all constitutes a minor miracle.

What our 10 cities have in common is that they’re relatively affordable. They missed out on the housing bubble, yet they still enjoy steady employment and income growth. Not surprisingly, five of the 10 are state capitals with hefty public payrolls. Even more telling, with the exception of the three Texas metros ( Austin, Dallas, and Houston), the big national builders didn’t make significant incursions into these markets.

“These cities didn’t draw in speculators or investment the way the coastal markets did,. says Celia Chen, the economist who crunched our numbers.” “House prices in these places weren’t untethered from the underlying fundamentals.” These underappreciated — but soon-to appreciate — housing markets offer real opportunities to the savvy investor.

Projected median sales prices for single-family homes:
Q1 2008: $177,750;    Q4 2009: $187,640;  Growth: 5.6 percent

Half a million dollars probably won’t buy you a home in one of Atlanta‘s Martha Stewart-style neighborhoods. And that’s a good thing, argues Dan Forsman, CEO of Prudential Atlanta. Forsman says the smart money here will move upmarket, in exactly the opposite direction of where it will go in New Orleans. A contrarian by nature, he sees the biggest arbitrage in properties priced at $750,000 in high-end communities northeast of the city — suburbs like Druid Hills, Duluth, Johns Creek, and Suwanee. The construction cost of a home in those pockets is $260 a square foot; right now, you can pick one off for $180.

Boding well for the local economy, “Hotlanta” boasts one of the highest rates of job growth in so-called creative-class occupations in the country. Why? It’s the top destination in America for young professionals, a transportation hub ( Atlanta‘s airport is the busiest in the world), and a place where most Fortune 500 companies maintain a regional presence. Projections by researchers at the U.S. Census Bureau and Virginia Tech place Atlanta at the center of a “megapolitan” cluster of urban sprawl that will develop over the next quarter-century, encompassing 7 million people.

This points to another niche real estate play: As buildable land around the city disappears, downtown neighborhoods on the brink of transformation are ripe for investment.

To see all ten cities, and the entire article, please click here.