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The Atlanta Homes Team Real Estate Blog

choosing a lender

When it comes time to selling or buying a home, hiring the right real estate agent makes your life so much easier throughout the process – but have you considered how much of a difference landing a good lender makes?

Here’s a common scenario: You’ve done the math, then to your surprise, closing costs equate to over a grand higher than the original estimate.

Why? Not all lenders are trustworthy.

It is an unfortunate fact that there are misleading lenders in the business who will sneak in extra fees during closing, because lenders are not obligated to Good Faith Estimates, or to find you the best suited loan for you. Many brokers look for mortgages that offer them the greatest profit, rather than a deal for their client.

Choosing a lender

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When looking into real estate either as an investment or as a first home purchase, you’re bound to hear an agent or a broker throw out the term “absorption rate”. An absorption rate is a fairly common market indicator that can help you know when the best time is to list your house on the market, and can help you predict the sale price of a home in a given market.

What is an absorption rate?

Simply put, an absorption rate is the total number of months it takes to sell currently listed homes on the real-estate market.

When you put a market value on selling your home, you know that it may be logically more, less, or the same as when you purchased it. The absorption rate compares your home against others in the area in terms of supply and demand.

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closing on a home

Where there is money involved, there is also stress.

Closing on a home can be one of the biggest investments in your life. Keeping your cool when closing on a home can be the difference between a smooth transition into your new home and a hair-pulling nightmare at every turn.

Besides getting advice from your mortgage broker and your real estate agent, here are a few home closing tips on how to stay prepared and take the stress out of this landmark life-event:

Budget Accordingly

When you are down to the wire, you do not want the closing to be riddled with extra hotel expenses, storing packed furniture, late rental truck fees, or other unfortunate delays.

Plan a budget that accounts for six months of bills and expenses. Whatever budget

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When it comes to owning a home, you should always expect the unexpected. Lightning, fallen branches, fires, costly repairs, busted pipes, and theft are things you do not typically think of when you purchase a new home, but these inconveniences occur nonetheless.

It makes sense to protect the biggest investment of your life. Homeowners insurance ensures the safety and financial stability of you and your family.

What does a homeowners insurance plan cover?

When you purchase or refinance a home, your lender will require that you have a homeowners insurance plan, as proof that their investment is secure. It is important to have the home inspected to make sure there are no problems that might be affected by insurance.

According to the Insurance

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If you are thinking about selling your home, try to imagine what it was like when you bought your first place. Buyers are looking to start a new chapter of their lives in your home, so making them feel comfortable—and ultimately selling them your home—requires a little maintenance.

Listed below is a checklist of home maintenance tips to prepare your home for sale and get it in top selling condition.

Freshen Up Your Home For Sale

Fresh paint – Apply a fresh base where needed, both inside and outside your home.

Yardwork – Your yard is the first impression people will get when looking at your home. Mow and edge your lawn regularly. Try to fix bare spots in your lawn by seeding them and watering them regularly. Remove and replace dead plants.

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Before you begin selling your home, knowing the right questions to ask will help you determine everything: from your asking price, to how to find an agent, to decluttering your home – making the process of selling your home much simpler.

Listed below are answers to four of the most common questions Atlanta-based home sellers ask:

How much is my home worth?

The two most common methods for determining your home’s worth are appraisals and a comparative market analysis.

Appraisals compare your home to others selling in the area in terms of square footage, location, construction quality, garages, baths and so on. An average appraisal is roughly $300.

Your real estate agent can perform a comparative market analysis to other homes currently on

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In real estate, first impressions are important in creating a good relationship.

Similarly, curb appeal is the first thing that a potential home-buyers notice when looking for new homes. An un-mowed lawn, dead flowers, or even a bare yard are enough to dissuade potential buyers from putting in an offer.

According to studies by Virginia Tech, Michigan State University, and The Appraisal Institute, a well-landscaped yard can add between 5.5% and 15% to the property value of a home. When you break it down into dollar figures, the yard/landscaping has potential to add as much as $19,000 to a $150,000 home.

The Virginia Tech study surmised that three landscaping aspects affect the total value:

  • Design sophistication (42%)
  • Plant size (36%)
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With so many uncertainties in today’s economy, it is difficult to evaluate the options that might be worth investing your money in. Investments hold potential risk, yet the return could prove to be substantial. Putting your money into investment properties, for example, has a high risk of inflation, but if you’re lucky and the market is right, you stand to gain a great deal.

Taking the time to learn which properties are worth investing in and how to keep an eye on the local market near you can put more money in your pocket and help steer you towards financial independence. Check out our tips for buying an investment property below.

First: Are You Prepared to Invest Your Time and Money?

Owning and maintaining investment real estate might prove

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Perhaps you’re moving to a new home, you’re investing in property, or feel like you finally have to scratch that itch on the vacation home you’ve always wanted.  Though it is often more difficult to secure a mortgage when buying a second home – lenders just consider them to be a higher risk – finding and financing a second home doesn’t have to be a fiscal nightmare.

Here are a few simple tips on how to finance a second home more easily:

Keep Your Credit in Check

Make sure your credit score is between average or above-average. There are more programs available for first-time homebuyers than there are for those looking to move or buy a second home. Pay your credit cards and bills on time and keep your debt-to-income ratio in check for better

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Buying a home for the first time can be a daunting, yet rewarding experience. Fortunately, there are existing first-time home buyer programs that provide financial assistance for various needs and circumstances.

Whether you are looking for a loan, down payment assistance, or building from the ground up, there are many federal, state and local agencies that have programs in place that specifically help and are designed for first-time homebuyers.

Federal Programs for First-Time Homebuyers

FHA Loans

FHA loans are property loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration (as part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – HUD), for low-income borrowers or those with credit scores as low as 580.

With FHA loans, a down payment

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