FHA Mortgage News for the New Year

January 12, 2015 by

fha_loan_limitsGreat news! FHA loan limits for the major counties in Georgia increased from $320,850 to $342,700 for all new FHA sales contracts written on or after Jan. 1, 2015. This gives homebuyers the opportunity to buy a home with a 3.5% down payment (all from a gift) and FHA has relaxed qualifying guidelines on homes $21,850 more expensive than last year.

The bad news is that the FHA Anti-Flipping Waiver expired on Dec. 31, 2014. Some folks might say, “What Anti-Flipping Waiver?” Many thought a seller had to have owned the home for 90+ days before selling it to a new buyer using FHA financing.

Well, you’re not totally right or wrong. Even though HUD introduced the Anti Flipping Waiver in February 2010 and extended it to December 2014, many FHA lenders and banks ignored the waiver guidelines and continued to require that the seller hold title to the home a minimum of 90 days before re-selling it to a buyer using FHA financing. Since HUD (FHA) only insures loans and FHA approved Lenders actually lend the money, FHA Lenders often have different guidelines than HUD’s guidelines for FHA Insurance purposes. Read the rest of this entry »

Contract in Review: Top 10 Contract Issues

January 5, 2015 by

contract_reviewIn addition to ready, willing and able buyers and sellers, the real estate professionals’ ability to collect a commission is dependent on how solidly the agreement is written. Whether you are the listing agent receiving the offer on behalf of a seller or the selling agent preparing the offer on behalf of an interested buyer, every agent involved in the transaction has an obligation to ensure the contract is well written. Many contracts are filled with loopholes and scenarios that could render the deal void if challenged. Below are the top ten issues that we see in Broker Support that could cause contract nightmares and possibly cause the contract to be voided by one party or the other. Read the rest of this entry »

What’s Ahead for Real Estate in 2015?

December 29, 2014 by

2015_real_estate_marketThis has been a great year for the Georgia real estate industry. Prices throughout metro Atlanta are up and Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers has more top producers than ever before. In some areas, the median sales price has met and exceeded pre-recession levels. This was another rebuilding year, but there’s still a lot farther our market has to go to truly recover. Read the rest of this entry »

The Return of the 97% Conventional Mortgage Loan

December 22, 2014 by

return_of_97_loanDuring the “anything-goes” mortgage days, 97% LTV (3% down payment) mortgages were readily available to homebuyers. In fact, a 97% LTV wasn’t a big deal since many mortgage lenders were offering the 100% mortgages. Then the mortgage foreclosure crisis hit and the mortgage industry experienced extreme new regulation and tightening of loan programs.

Over a year ago in December 2013, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac both announced that their specialty First Time Homebuyer 3% Down Payment loan Programs were also being discontinued. Now, almost one year to the date, both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have both announced the RETURN of the 97% Loan Programs for First Time Homebuyers. Read the rest of this entry »

Holiday Card Time!

December 8, 2014 by

holiday_cardsThis is the best time of year to touch base with all of your past customers. This includes your client base that has relocated to another part of the United States. “Out of sight, out of mind” shouldn’t be your philosophy now. Often those previous clients who moved to Kansas, California, Texas or wherever may still need your assistance and should be on your holiday card radar.

There are lots of ways you can reach out to your customers across the country. If you keep in touch via newsletter, create a holiday theme and offer decorating advice or share a recipe. In your newsletter, let them know what’s happening in the real estate market currently and, oh by the way, if they are looking to make a lifestyle change or move again, you’re still their Realtor® and you can help them anywhere in the country as you work all markets nationwide.

Read the rest of this entry »

What’s a Solid Insurance Portfolio and Why Do I Need to Have One?

December 1, 2014 by

solid_insurance_portfolioMany people have no idea what their insurance limits are. More times than not, they just purchase the least expensive they can legally get by with, as it is considered a “necessary evil”. However, talk to anyone who has experienced a large loss in their lifetime, and they’ll tell you either they’re sorry they did not have enough, or are glad they listened to their insurance agent and went with the recommendations.

The purpose of insurance is to protect your assets, and to put you back in the same place you were before a loss. The homeowner policy pays to rebuild the house, replace the personal property, and pay for a temporary place for you to live while the repairs or rebuild is taking place. It also gives you liability protection in case you’re negligent in causing bodily injury or property damage to a third party. The auto policy provides liability coverage if you’re found to be at fault in operating a car, in addition to repairing your car if you purchase comprehensive and collision coverage.

So what happens if the insurance you carry is not enough to cover the loss that has been sustained?  The answer is simple: You have to come out of pocket for the difference.

What, then, is considered a solid insurance portfolio? Here are my recommendations: Read the rest of this entry »

3 Reasons the Holiday Season Is A Great Time To Sell!

November 24, 2014 by

home_selling_holidaysAs the holiday season nears, many homeowners who are contemplating selling think the holiday season isn’t a good time to sell their house. Because of that misconception, many will wait until after the start of the New Year, or even until spring to put their house on the market.

Contrary to what many think, the holiday season is a great time to sell a house! Putting a house on the market over the holidays can result in a seller getting a higher price and a quicker sale.

How can that be you ask? Here are three great reasons:

  • Buyers will have fewer homes to consider because competing inventory will be at its lowest level over the holidays.
  • Although there are fewer buyers looking at homes over the holidays, those that do are serious and highly motivated.
  • Homes that are tastefully decorated for the holidays show well.

So if you’re thinking about selling and planned to wait until after the holidays, you should consider going ahead now. The first step is to consult a real estate professional who is a local expert in your area.

Happy Holidays… and Happy Selling!

How to Avoid the Grinch Stealing Your Closing!

November 10, 2014 by

mortgage_grinchThe holiday season is upon us and the temptations that come out this time of year make the home buying and mortgage process even more hectic and tricky than normal. A common misconception that homebuyers have is that the mortgage approval is complete when the loan officer gives them a pre-qualification letter or when they receive the telephone call that they have been approved in underwriting.

What most consumers don’t realize is that the mortgage approval process occurs in stages and continues to the day of closing. The changes they make to their income, asset, debt or credit profile can change an approval to a decline very quickly. Read the rest of this entry »

Finding Potential Commercial Leasing Clients

November 3, 2014 by

commercial_leasingMost experienced leasing brokers agree that establishing a commercial tenant population usually requires representing landlords for a period of time. When you have a lease listing, you attract tenants and some number will not have an interest in your listed space but allow you to assist them with finding what they do want. Prospecting for landlords can include small to mid-sized inline shopping center owners, office building owners, retail property owners or industrial property owners. You can locate an ownership list if you want to purchase leads or you can approach landlords directly and solicit a listing. Read the rest of this entry »

Rent It or Sell It?

October 27, 2014 by

rent_or_sellWhat should I do with this property? This is a pressing issue in today’s real estate environment in many circumstances. Owners and agents alike are posing this question every day.

The market has begun its journey toward recovery and home prices are rebounding. The recovery has made it possible for an increasing number of previously underwater sellers to become equity sellers again. While the recovery is in PROCESS, there are many agents and sellers that remain frustrated with the rate of PROGRESS. Read the rest of this entry »

What Would a Veteran Do?

September 22, 2014 by

veterans_usaa_navyfederalAs a proud USAA and Navy Federal preferred broker, Metro Brokers is expected to deliver a high level of service. Our agents are required to attend training classes to service these types of clients, and we preach giving the best service possible. But it occurred to me recently that maybe the best way to provide superior service is to think like a military veteran.

With that in mind, here are some examples on how to think and act like a veteran: Read the rest of this entry »

Texting and Driving a True Danger in Our Industry

September 15, 2014 by

texting_and_drivingI know full well the importance of communication as a real estate agent. If you aren’t the first one to respond to a lead, or you aren’t responding quickly enough to a client, you can end up losing out on valuable business or souring a relationship.

It also doesn’t help that we’re on the road so often. Many times, it feels like we spend more time in our cars – driving around to different listings – than we spend in the office.

But it’s important to remember that safety comes first. ALWAYS. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s Time for a Price Adjustment

September 8, 2014 by

home_pricingThe story is all too common. During your initial listing appointment, you agreed on a price with your sellers. You’ve worked tirelessly with that listing for several weeks (or months), had plenty of showings, put in the research, and you’ve found there’s only one problem: The price is too high. Your clients have already explained to you that they “need to get this amount out of the sale”, and you know that bringing up a price drop will probably cause some friction if not an outright “No!”

Before you start stressing out, remember that a price reduction in is in their best interest and you have a professional obligation to tell them what they need to do to get them home sold. With proper preparation and solid tactics, you’ll not only get the property priced to sell, but you’ll also gain lifelong clients that will truly appreciate you.

Here are 5 ways to properly handle a price drop:

  1. Set the stage: When you take the listing, tell the Seller that although you are comfortable with the price they have selected, the market constantly changes and it’s your job to monitor the market activity and let them know about any changes that affect the sale of their property. Explain that some changes could make it necessary for them to re-evaluate their pricing strategy.
  2. Stay in touch: Before you can even start suggesting a change in price, your clients need to be able to trust you and see you as a professional. The best way to accomplish this is by having regular contact with your clients, even when there’s nothing to actually report on the listing. I suggest calling them at least once a week to give them an update on their home. If you constantly keep them up-to-date with the latest developments, there’s a much better chance that they’ll understand the reasoning behind the needed price reduction. While they may be disappointed, they’ll know that you’ve been working hard and that this is the best option.
  3. Have an in-person meeting: The last thing you want to do is upset your clients, and there is a much higher probability of them being upset if you simply call, email or text them that they need to drop the price. Plan a get together at their home, a local coffee shop or your office. Face to face meetings are always more effective.
  4. Be prepared: Do your research. Be prepared to discuss the state of the market, recent transactions in the area, showings and feedback on their property. Properly presented, it should be clear why you are recommending a change in the pricing strategy.
  5. It’s a “price adjustment”, not a “price reduction”: A surefire way to upset your sellers is to bring a negative attitude and connotation to the pricing discussion. Instead, you should keep positive and upbeat about the situation, and concentrate on the fact that this will help them sell their home and move on to the next phase in their life. Also, using the word “adjustment” instead of “reduction” is a more neutral term.
  6. Listen and respond: Your clients will definitely have questions during the meeting, and if you aren’t listening to the true meaning behind each question, there’s a good chance you could end with an unhappy client and continue to have an overpriced listing. Listen carefully and be sure to respond to any objections you may hear, but don’t be defensive. Be understanding and mindful, and you’ll end up with happy clients.

What are your tips for price adjustments? Please comment below!

Top 5 Most Valuable Exhibits and Addendums

August 26, 2014 by

top5_exhibitsIn the process of writing offers, there are several exhibits and addendums that seem to be more widely used than others. The purpose of exhibits and addendums is to formalize the process of accommodating various common reoccurring situations during the negotiations process. When combined with the standard purchase and sales agreement, the exhibits and addendums give additional definition and requirements to the transaction.

At a quick glance, the following are the most commonly used exhibits and addendums in today’s market. Read the rest of this entry »

The Power of Referrals in Your Business Plan

July 28, 2014 by

referral_techniquesReal estate professionals across the country recognize the value of referrals in their business planning.  Whether referring across town or across the country, referral dollars can increase your bottom line.

Are you capturing referral dollars in your business plan?

As mid-year passes, now is a great time to evaluate your business plan and think about how referral dollars can keep you on track to your goal.

Let’s look at four ways you can increase your referral business. Read the rest of this entry »


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