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Important Suggestions for Buyers and Sellers, Part 7

10/15/2016

I hope you are enjoying cooler temperatures this October (keep in mind, we are in the south)! We also want to keep those families and individuals affected by Hurricane Matthew in our thoughts and prayers.

This month's tip is a very important tip to consider. It offers protection for both sellers and buyers:

"Buy an Owner’s Title Insurance Policy. An owner’s title insurance policy protects the buyer if a preexisting title problem is discovered after the closing. Normally, a title insurance policy is purchased and issued at the closing by the closing attorney. A title problem can be as simple as a neighbor claiming to own a small portion of your property based upon a disputed fence line. However, it can also be a serious problem, such as a forged deed, where you could lose the title to your property. Mortgage lenders require the buyer to pay for title insurance covering the lender’s interest in the property. However, in a world where there is an increasing amount of identity theft and the forging of documents, title insurance covering the owner is also recommended. There are different types of title policies offered in Georgia. The most comprehensive are sometimes referred to as “enhanced title policies” and in some cases they protect buyers from title claims arising even after the closing date. Since the premium for title insurance is paid only once, it is recommended that buyers obtain the comprehensive policy." (Georgia Association of REALTORS, Inc., 2016)

Important Suggestions for Buyers and Sellers, Part 6

9/21/2016

Fall is in the air! Football is in full swing and it is time for cooler weather- perfect for those of you who are house hunting or wanting to put your homes on the market. I would like to share two tips with you today:

"Get a survey of the property. Buyers and sellers alike are encouraged to get surveys of the properties they are considering buying or selling so they know where the exact boundary lines of the properties are located. Request that the survey identify the location of any easements of record, whether there are encroachments onto or off of the property and whether the property is in a flood plain. Surveys are not normally done in the sale of condominium units. However, a buyer can review the plat to see the location of the property that is a part of the condominiums.

Make sure that an undeveloped lot can be developed. In most parts of Georgia, lots cannot be developed for residential purposes unless they are properly zoned, have access to a public road and are served by water and sewer. This is important for a seller to know when selling a piece of property so they can know how to properly advertise and promote the property. The seller should be able to inform the buyer of the following pertinent information:

-If there is no ability to connect the lot to a public sewer, the buyer should verify that the lot can accommodate a septic system. This is done by having a licensed engineer perform a percolation test and evaluate whether the lot is sufficiently large enough for a septic tank and field lines to be installed.

-Similarly, if the lot is serviced by a well or private water system, the buyer should arrange to have the water tested to confirm that it is safe for drinking. Meeting with the local governmental department which issues building permits is a great way to get information about whether and how a vacant lot can be developed." (Georgia Association of REALTORS, Inc., 2016)

These are important tips to maintain when buying or selling a property. Knowing and being an informed seller or buyer is wise in today’s real estate market.

 

Important Suggestions for Buyers and Sellers, Part 5

8/15/2016

Today's tip focuses mainly on the buyer, but a wise seller will pay close attention and take good notes!

"Thoroughly investigate the property. There are many other tests and studies buyers can do in deciding whether to buy a property. These include, for example, a radon test to determine if the home has elevated levels of radon, mold tests to determine if the property has high levels of certain kinds of dangerous mold, well water tests when the property is served by well water and septic system inspections when the property is served by a septic system.

Homes should also be tested for lead-based paint. Normally, this is only an issue in homes built prior to 1978 (since after this time lead-based paint sales were prohibited). Ingestion of lead- based paint chips or particles can cause lead-poisoning, a serious condition, particularly in children. Buyers and sellers of older homes should read the EPA brochure entitled, “Protect Yourself from Lead in Your Home.”  Renovators of older homes should read the EPA’s Renovate Right brochure and other related materials.

Many factors can affect the value of a property and the ability of an owner to use and enjoy it. These include, for example, the school district in which the property is located, whether the property is subject to flooding, the availability and cost of property insurance, whether the property is subject to covenants and the nature of those covenants, the governmental jurisdiction in which the property is located and whether the property is on an historic registry or in a special tax or zoning district. Websites exist to determine if a home was used to illegally manufacture methamphetamine (which generates environmental  contaminates) and whether registered sex offenders reside in the neighborhood. Before buying a home, buyers are encouraged to use reasonable diligence to investigate the properties they are buying for issues of special concern to them." (Georgia Association of REALTORS, Inc., 2016)

If you are a seller reading this article, you can take away a great deal of pertinent information. Paying attention to the details buyers are seeking makes your property more marketable. As a proactive seller you could have the information mentioned above readily available to prospective buyers. This comes across that you are saving them time and that you are a very motivated seller, one that goes above other sellers to show your property really is the best fit for the buyer’s needs.

Important Suggestions for Buyers and Sellers, Part 4

7/15/2016

"Have the home inspected for termites and other wood destroying organisms and obtain an official Georgia Wood Infestation Report that can only be prepared by a licensed pest control company. Buyers should have the home they are buying inspected by a licensed Georgia pest control company for evidence of termites and other wood destroying organisms (including powder post beetles, wood boring beetles, dry wood termites and wood decay fungi). The inspection should be done even if the home has a transferable termite warranty since these warranties normally contain exclusions. As a result, buyers can understand risks they may be assuming in this area by having an inspection performed. Obtaining an official Georgia Wood Infestation Report will identify the areas in the house where there is both active and previous infestation from termites and other wood destroying organisms. Buyers should also review any termite warranty being transferred by the seller to determine what is covered and the cost of maintaining the warranty. Some termite warranties cover both re-treatment and repair while others are limited only to re-treatment." (Georgia Association of REALTORS, Inc., 2016)

Proactive sellers may obtain an official termite letter when placing their property on the market. This enhances the property in that prospective buyers can be assured that the property has no termite or other wood destroying organisms present, or that if there are damages what plans the seller has in correcting the damages. This also shows prospective buyers that sellers are serious about selling the property and want to showcase it to its highest potential. Sellers must keep in mind that the letter should only be obtained by a licensed Georgia pest control company.

Obtaining the termite inspection and any needed repair can be negotiated in a contract between the buyer and seller. Normally, the buyer has the right to inspect all conditions of the house including obtaining the letter and negoiating for repairs or damages, if any. This is just one more great recommendation to consider when selling or purchasing a property.

Important Suggestions for Buyers and Sellers, Part 3

7/1/2016

We have already covered several great tips when buying or selling real estate: read and keep a copy of any signed contracts, and have the property inspected by a professional home inspector.  Today we will talk about LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION! The neighborhood in which a home is located is just as important as the home itself (Georgia Association of REALTORS, Inc., 2016). We will see what the Georgia Association of REALTORS recommends when deciding in which neighborhood to live, and I have also posted some tips from Dave Ramsey for sellers to follow when selling in a not-so-great neighborhood.

Inspect the neighborhood in which the home is located. Buyers should familiarize themselves with the neighborhood in which the homes they are considering buying are located to determine if there are any objectionable conditions nearby. If buyers go far enough away from any home, they will eventually discover some neighborhood condition they wish were not there. What those conditions are and how far away they need to be from a house before they are no longer a concern is a decision that only the buyer can make. For example, a nearby grocery store may be a convenience for some buyers and a disruptive commercial use for others. Buyers can also contact local governmental planning officials to determine what changes, if any, are anticipated in a neighborhood over time. (Georgia Association of REALTORS, 2016)

Okay, so that is great for buyers to consider, but what about the seller that is trying to move out of the neighborhood? What can you do to sell the property when you no longer like the location? Dave Ramsey, noted financial wizard, in his article 27 Tips You Should Know to Get Your Home Sold Fast and for Top Dollar, has several great suggestions to help us answer these questions. First, “keep the reason(s) you are selling to yourself. By keeping this to yourself you don't provide ammunition to your prospective buyers. When asked, simply say that your housing needs have changed. Remember, the reason(s) you are selling is only for you to know (Ramsey).” Second, “appearances do matter- make them count! Appearance is so critical that it would be unwise to ignore this when selling your home. The look and "feel" of your home will generate a greater emotional response than any other factor. Prospective buyers react to what they see, hear, feel, and smell even though you may have priced your home to sell…Scrub, scour, tidy up, straighten, get rid of the clutter, declare war on dust, repair squeaks, the light switch that doesn't work, and the tiny crack in the bathroom mirror because these can be deal-killers and you'll never know what turns buyers off (Ramsey).” Don’t forget curb appeal is included in the appearances category! One last tip Ramsey mentions is “be honest and be a smart seller- disclose everything. Smart sellers are proactive in disclosing all known defects to their buyers in writing. This can reduce liability and prevent law suits later on.” Being honest about defects or eye-sore surroundings allows the buyer to be prepared ahead of seeing your property and does not come as a surprise that turns the buyer off. Even if your home is not in the best location following these tips may just make the difference in selling your property.

Ramsey, Dave, 27 Tips You Should Know to Get Your Home Sold Fast and for Top Dollar, https://www.daveramsey.com/media/pdf/realestatecenter_27_tips_fast_home_selling.pdf

Important Suggestions for Buyers and Sellers, Part 2

6/15/2016

I hope you have enjoyed your first week of summer. It is definitely warming up here on the border of Alabama and Georgia! I would like to continue our discussion on important suggestions for a buyer or seller of a home or other type of property. This week I want to focus on the Georgia Association of REALTORS’s tips for a home inspection.  Both buyers and sellers can benefit from having the home or property inspected.

Have the home inspected by a professional home inspector. Home inspectors help buyers evaluate the condition of a home based upon one or more visual inspections of the property. Most homes have at least a few items that will need to be repaired and/or replaced. A professional home inspector can assist in identifying these items by performing an inspection of the property. Requests for repairs are normally received more favorably by sellers when the need for the repairs has been documented in the report of a professional home inspector. Many home inspectors are members of professional associations that, among other things, require their members to perform a standardized inspection of the property. Buyers are encouraged to ask inspectors about their qualifications and expertise in inspecting homes before selecting an inspector.” (Georgia Association of REALTORS, Inc., 2016)

Sellers can benefit from having their property inspected in order to make their home more appealing to prospective buyers and also help determine the property’s worth.  When a seller is made aware of repairs and replacements that need to be made ahead of placing the property on the market then the property is at its greatest potential to sell compared to other properties in which repairs have not been made.  Buyers will be more open to view your property and you will hopefully obtain the asking price you want.  Just remember, “before you select an inspector” it is wise to “ask inspectors about their qualifications and expertise in inspecting your home.”  (Georgia Association of REALTORS, Inc., 2016)

Important Suggestions for Buyers and Sellers, Part 1

6/1/2016

I have had the privilege to be part of one of the most exciting experiences in people’s lives: buying or selling a home. I have been able to help numerous first time and seasoned buyers and sellers during my real estate career. It truly is a thrilling experience for both types of clients. However, whether you are new at the home buying or selling experience or have purchased or sold more than a few, there are responsible steps that any homebuyer or seller should consider in the purchase or sell of their home. Keep in mind, this is probably the biggest investment of one’s life and it should be protected. Over the next several weeks I would like to share suggestions from the Georgia Association of REALTORS for home buyers and sellers to pay attention to in order to maintain a level of expertise in protecting their real estate experience. Today I will share a little about the paperwork.

“Read and keep a copy of any signed contract. A purchase and sale agreement is a legally binding contract. It should be read in its entirety by the buyer/seller before it is signed to ensure that it reflects the business agreement of the parties. Verbal promises not included in the contract are generally unenforceable. Buyers/Sellers should comply with all the time deadlines in a contract since missing a deadline can leave the buyer/seller in breach of contract. Getting an early start on arranging such things as inspections and financing is the best way for buyers/sellers to avoid missing deadlines. The buyer/seller should also keep a complete copy of any contract that he or she has signed in the event a dispute arises regarding the authenticity of the contract.” (Georgia Association of REALTORS, Inc., 2016)

Check Out This Video Of Columbus Georgia

12/5/2012
Are you considering a visit or possibly a move to Columbus Georgia, maybe better known for Ft Benning Georgia?  If so, you must check out this video of Columbus and our surronding areas.  Upon moving to Columbus in 1988 while serving in the US Army, our family decided to call it home after serving in the Army for 20 years.  Once known as a small town that when kids went off to college, they never returned.  These days many of them decide to attend college right here at Columbus State University or one of the other higher levels of education.  So, if you've received orders for Ft Benning or considering a job position here with one of our International Companies, I'm confident that you'll enjoy your new home and to view homes for sale or rent here, be sure to visit www.findcolumbusgahomes.com.

2010 Best-Performing Cities

11/30/2011
Milkeninstitue ranks Columbus Georgia number 45 in the nation as 2010 Best-Performing Cities.  Check their site out at www.bestcities.milkeninstitute.org.  Of course, for those of us that live here, this is something we've known for years.  Columbus has a great diversity throughout it's population with organizations like nearby Ft Benning and internationally known companies like AFLAC and TSYS that draw people from around the world.  Columbus is a great city to live and raise a family.

Leading Economic Indicators

3/11/2009
Leading Economic Indicators

A Snapshot of Monthly Housing Indicators
Updated March 6, 2009

Pending Home Sales Index
Pending home sales showed a healthy gain in December. NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in December, rose 6.3% to 87.7 from an upwardly revised reading of 82.5 in November. December’s gain in pending sales more than offset the decline in November’s index reading. December’s index also posted a year-over-year increase of 2.1%. Big gains in the South and Midwest offset modest declines in other regions.

Existing-Home Sales
Existing-home sales posted 4.74 million seasonally adjusted annualized units in December – a 6.5% increase from November’s pace. The latest rise in resales is only a partial rebound after a big tumble in November. The inventory of existing homes available for sale fell notably – by 11.7% -- and at the end of December was at a 9.3 months supply at the current sales rate. The national median sales price for an existing home was $175,400 – 15.3% below that of a year ago. 

New-Home Sales
New home sales posted 331,000 seasonally adjusted annualized units in December. New home sales were off 13.9% from November’s pace and 44.8% below the pace in December 2007. The inventory of new homes available for sale rose in December, and at the end of the month was at a 12.9 month supply at the current (December) sales rate.

Housing Starts
Housing starts in December posted a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 550,000 units. The rate is 15.5% below November’s and 45.0% below the December 2007 rate of 1 million units. For all of 2008, the Census Bureau estimates that 904,300 housing units (both single- and multi-family) were started – the annual total is 33.3% below the 1,355,000 housing starts in 2007.

Housing Affordability
Lower home prices continue to boost housing affordability for qualifying borrowers. NAR’s housing affordability index in December rose 10.9% to a reading of 158.8 – a sixth consecutive monthly increase and the highest index ever recorded.

Mortgage Rates
Mortgage rates declined again in January. The average 30-year fixed rate mortgage in January was 5.05%, compared with December’s average rate of 5.29%. Lower interest rates, combined with lower home prices and economic and housing stimulus policies, should help home sales activity.

Employment
Business payrolls dropped by 651,000 jobs in February, sending the U.S. jobless rate to 8.1 percent, the highest since 1983. The net loss of 651,000 jobs in February came after even deeper payroll reductions in the prior two months, according to revised figures released Friday, March 6. The economy lost 681,000 jobs in December and another 655,000 in January. 
    Since the recession began in December 2007, the economy has lost an astounding 4.4 million jobs, more than half of which occurred in the past four months. Job losses were widespread in February. 
    Construction companies eliminated 104,000 jobs. Factories axed 168,000. Retailers cut nearly 40,000. Professional and business services got rid of 180,000, with 78,000 jobs lost at temporary-help agencies. Financial companies reduced payrolls by 44,000. Leisure and hospitality firms chopped 33,000 positions. The few areas spared: education and health services, as well as government, which boosted employment last month. (Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution, 3/6/09)

Economic Growth
The nation’s economy shrank by 3.8% (annualized) in the 4th quarter of 2008. This is the first estimate of 4th-quarter GDP growth. Consumer spending contracted sharply by 3.5% in the quarter following a similar cutback in the 3rd quarter. Business spending collapsed by more than 20 percent. Both imports and exports also declined at double-digit rates – not unusual during an economic downturn. One positive contributor to GDP was government spending – more spending is on the way as part of the stimulus package. 

Other Indicators
GDP
- Down 3.9% from last Quarter
Consumer Confidence - Down .9% from a month ago
Consumer Price Index - Down .7% in December 
Producer Price Index - Up to .8% from the previous month
Retail Sales - Up 1% from the previous month


Source: National Association of REALTORS® and Georgia Association of REALTORS®  

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Danny Amberson
Office: 334-214-0777
Cell: 706-681-0302
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Phenix City, AL 36867
Office: 334-214-0777

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