Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Join us this upcoming for part II for an ALL STAR Real Estate Cast as we prepare for our Home Buyer Seminar and Bus Tour with Brock Built Communities on April 10th 2010. March 30th Part 1. On our upcoming show we will be rolling out the Red carpet for you when it comes to real estate and making HomeOwnership a reality!We will have the pleasure of having one of our favorite guests Ms. Tracey Powell of the Atlanta Development Authority along with Ms.Darnetta Penick, New Home Consultant for Brock Built Properties as well as Leah Dekoskie, Loan Officer for Bank of America and a special guest Marcus Purnell from HomeFree USA! Tune in as this All Star Team explains to you the benefits of becoming a Home Owner with Brock Built Communities and how you still take advantage of not only the First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit but the wonderful programs offered by the Atlanta Development Authority that allow possibly up to $60,000 in Down Payment Assistance but how you can qualify for theses programs and take advantage of the opportunities with Brock Built Homes!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Join us this Tuesday AND next Tuesday for an ALL STAR Real Estate Cast as we prepare for our Home Buyer Seminar and Bus Tour with Brock Built Communities on April 10th 2010. March 30th Part 1. On our upcoming show we will be rolling out the Red carpet for you when it comes to real estate and making Homeownership a reality!We will have the pleasure of having one of our favorite guests Ms. Tracey Powell of the Atlanta Development Authority along with Ms.Darnetta Penick, New Home Consultant for Brock Built Properties as well as Jeff Brown, Loan Officer for Bank of America and a special guest from the City Council of Atlanta Ms Ivory Young, City of Atlanta Councilman! Tune in as this All Star Team explains to you the benefits of becoming a Home Owner with Brock Built Communities and how you still take advantage of not only the First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit but the wonderful programs offered by the Atlanta Development Authority that allow possibly up to $60,000 in Down Payment Assistance but how you can qualify for theses programs and take advantage of the opportunities with Brock Built Homes!

Friday, March 19, 2010

District 4 Councilmember Cleta Winslow Sponsors

Free Homebuyer Seminar and Neighborhood Bus Tour

Atlanta – Atlanta City Councilwoman Cleta Winslow is sponsoring a FREE Homebuyer Seminar and Neighborhood Bus Tour on Saturday, March 27, 2010 at Atlanta City Hall.

This event is from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. The bus tour of southwest Atlanta neighborhoods will start at 11:30 a.m. and is being sponsored by Councilmember Carla Smith and Wells Fargo/ Wachovia. The seminar and tour is open to all metro Atlanta residents. To register, call (404) 330-6047.

Attendees will learn about down payment assistance and first-time homeowner tax credits offered through the Atlanta Development Agency, available homes through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. Wells Fargo/Wachovia will talk about their mortgage programs including 203K mortgage, reverse mortgage, FHA, VA, and Remodel Express. HUS will discuss their ownership incentives and opportunities.

In addition, Wells Fargo will have a private area and be on hand to discuss their Foreclosure Prevention Program. They will assist current home owners who already have a mortgage with them, who live in zip codes: 30310, 30311, 30312, 30313, 30314 and 30315 and who have already made an appointment . HomeFree-USA counselors will also be assisting. For information on foreclosure prevention homeowners should call HomeFree-USA at (404) 607-0800.

“Not only do we want to put people into homes but keep people in their homes,” said City Councilmember Cleta Winslow. “That's why Wachovia and Wells Fargo are participating.”

“The foreclosure intervention comes at time when we are seeing a spike in foreclosure notices in many communities and it’s impacting all neighborhoods regardless of income level,” Winslow said. “We welcome the assistance and advice counselors Wells Fargo/ Wachovia will provide our attendees. When we prevent a foreclosure, we are not only helping that family remain in their home, but we are also helping to stabilize an entire neighborhood.”

What: Free Homebuyer Seminar and Bus Tour/To register, call (404) 330-6047

When: 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. – Saturday, March 27, 2010

Where: Atlanta City Hall

Council Chamber, Second Floor

55 Trinity Avenue, SW 30303

Thursday, March 18, 2010

There’s been a lot of discussion regarding down payment assistance recently. Many in the housing market should know by now that FHA Mortgages, the predominant mortgage product, typically require a down payment in the amount of 3.5% of the purchase price of the home. The buyer in most cases is also responsible for the deposit of earnest money (which also serves as a portion of the down payment), funding the appraisal and the inspection, which all could add up to a sizeable amount of money. This post was written to help readers understand some of the most important parts of working with some down payment assistance programs for owner-occupants.

1. The borrower’s own GA Real Estate Agent should be the first step toward obtaining information on down payment assistance. That agent should be able to assess the buyer’s specific situation and then provide a list of participating lenders that may be the right fit. Please be mindful that Georgia Law prohibits an agent from, among other things, advising someone else’s client on the purchase of a home.

2. The down payment assistance usually is provided in the form of a second lien placed against the qualifying property for a set period of time. Georgia Buyer’s Agents should be able to provide many of the details associated with the right program for that buyer, including resale restrictions, gain on-sale recapture provisions and more so that an informed decision may be made .

3. Some Metro Atlanta Down Payment Assistance Program funds are often available year-round while others are only for a limited time. Those of the greatest demand are often depleted in mid-season, so it is important that the borrower and the agent search for properties with a sense of urgency to increase the likelihood that funds will be available to fund the down payment.

4. The GA Buyer’s Agent and the lenders to whom the buyer has been referred should have sound experience, having actually closed on transactions that involved the program of greatest interest. Both have certain responsibilities in their respective roles that will ensure a smooth transaction if executed properly.

5. Some of the Georgia Down Payment Assistance Programs require that specific language be included in the purchase and sale agreement. Knowledgeable agents know about these clauses along with the risks of entering into an agreement without them.

6. Transactions involving down payment assistance typically will take from 45 to 60 days from the date of binding agreement to close. In addition, some program agencies will require several steps of the borrower before committing to fund the transaction. Buyers, please consider speaking with an experienced Georgia Real Estate Agent prior to searching for your home. Please do not make an offer to purchase a property until you are certain that the entire transaction, including the down payment, can be funded.

7. Please have patience and understanding. Georgia Down Payment Assistance Programs are underwritten by both the lender and the program agency, each with their own documentation requirements. While the borrower should have been provided with a list of items that the lender and agency will likely request, please be mindful that more information, documentation, etc. may be requested right up to the week of closing. Please rest assured that everyone wants the transaction to close and are working diligently to ensure that it does.

8. The programs are offered to qualified buyers. They may be only available to Georgia first time home buyers and they often vary by income limits, minimum credit score limits, the borrower’s industry of employment, location of the property and more, but all of them require some form home buyer education. Your Metro Atlanta Real Estate Agent works with these programs regularly and should know which lenders offer the program that may be right for the buyer.

9. Funds will be required of the buyer in addition to the down payment assistance. The buyer will still be responsible for funding the earnest money deposit, inspections and appraisal, the latter two being non-refundable. An experienced real estate agent will help the buyer manage these expenses as much as possible.

10. Layering, combining multiple programs of down payment assistance, is discouraged unless the buyer plans to keep the property long-term. The redemption periods, the length of time that the second mortgage remains as a lien against the property before it is forgiven, vary by program. If the property is sold, refinanced or is no longer used as the borrower’s primary residence before the expiration of any one of the redemption periods, a portion of the balance may become due and payable. Further, certain programs require that a portion of the gain realized on the sale of the property also be paid to the Georgia Down Payment Assistance Agency.

11. Many down payment assistance programs do not require the buyer to disclose their use of down payment assistance. Therefore, the seller may assume that many of the concessions requested by the buyer are entirely reasonable, never knowing of the buyer’s actual advantage.

12. Experienced Metro Atlanta Buyer’s Agents will also have a back-up plan in place just in case one program will not work after all.

While not all-inclusive, these points should provide valuable insights into the use of Georgia Down Payment Assistance Programs. For more information, feel free to Contact me at 678-886-0874

1. Understand the difference between what you want in a house and what you need. Just because you want a house with five bedrooms, five bathrooms and a pizza oven in the outdoor kitchen, that doesn't mean you need all that. The concept is to get everything you absolutely need in a property and a few of the things you want -- without breaking your bank account.

2. Identify your neighborhood(s) of choice. Write down what characteristics your neighborhood of choice should have and compare that list with actual neighborhoods in which you might want to live and can afford to buy. Then spend time in that neighborhood, driving around during the day and night. Visit the local schools, see who hangs out in the grocery store and coffee shop, and drive the commute to your office during rush hour.

3. Figure out how much you can comfortably afford to spend. While lenders are more conservative in handing out loans, they may offer you a bigger loan than you're prepared to take. Start by calculating how much you can afford to spend -- and want to spend -- on your mortgage, property taxes and insurance each month. Then add in all of the other expenses you pay for each month (and don't forget to save a few bucks for the upkeep and maintenance expenses you'll have to pay for as well). Once you're done, figure out how much money you have left in your paycheck and whether you want to spend a little more of it on your housing expenses each month. (Remember, part of the housing crisis came about because people bought homes -- and lenders that gave them loans -- that they couldn't afford over the long haul.)

4. Pull a copy of your credit history and credit score. Do this at You'll get a free copy of your credit history from each of the three credit reporting bureaus ( Equifax, Experian and Trans-Union) plus, you'll have the opportunity to pay around $9 for a copy of your credit score.

5. Gather your paperwork together before you shop for a loan. You'll need copies of your W2, bank account and retirement account statements, as well as tax information. I have a full list at ( You'll need even more documentation if you're getting a jumbo loan or if you own your own business.

6. Shop around for a mortgage. Talk to at least five different types of lenders. Most lenders will offer you a 15-year or 30-year fixed rate mortgage through Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or FHA.

7. Find an amazing real estate agent. While the information available on the Internet makes buyers feel as though they've got everything they need to negotiate a great deal, they're actually missing the key ingredient: experience. A great agent with years of experience negotiating for buyers and sellers in your neighborhood of choice is invaluable.

8. Understand what "true value" means in your neighborhood(s) of choice. Start collecting information about the local housing stock. Ask your agent to walk you through each home that has recently sold, so you begin to understand the relationship between price, condition and value.

9. Apply for your loan. Try not to chew your nails off while waiting to be approved.

10. Work with your agent to identify the homes for sale in your neighborhood(s) of choice that meet your wants and needs. As you walk through these homes, try to decide if the homes you're seeing meet all of the needs on your list. Is the agent listening to you? Do you need to have another conversation to help you refine what you're looking for? Or, is the agent showing you property that meets your needs and wants better than what you thought you wanted originally?

11. Put together the other pieces of your home buying team. Now that you have the agent, you'll need a few other people to help you buy the right property. Choose your home inspector and your lender (and decide what kind of loan you want). Think about hiring a good real estate attorney (especially if you're buying a foreclosure or short sale, and even if real estate attorneys aren't normally used to close house deals in your state).

12. Understand the true costs of homeownership. You don't want to be stressed out over the monthly expenses of owning a home as well as the other unexpected surprises that come so often with buying a home.

13. Don't let anyone push you around. You should work hard to set your own home buying agenda. If someone demands that you make a decision immediately, politely step back from the situation. Remember, there will always be another house for you to buy -- especially as we continue to work through the glut of homes on the market after the Great Recession.

14. Make a smart offer. Look at how much other homes in the area have sold for, and then build an offer that gives the seller something he or she wants (mostly, that's money, but it might be time) in exchange for whatever you really want.

15. Stay focused until the closing. Schedule the movers. Pack your boxes. Set up utility accounts at the new property and shut off your utilities as of the morning of the move. Put in a change of address notice with the post office, your financial services companies, your employer, etc. And don't forget to buy your homeowner's insurance policy, with enough coverage for the home and its contents. You may also need other insurance that are not generally covered in a policy, such as flood coverage, back-up sewer coverage, coverage for collectibles if you have any or jewelry.

Clip this home buying checklist and keep it in your pocket, so that you're always making a smart move.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The question is when the first-time buyers will say YES! Some are moving quickly because of the tax credit, some because of a child on the way, or a lease renewal looms. But others continue to take their time, thinking there will be more houses to look at, lower prices. Well here’s the problem. While inventory won’t dwindle soon, and some prices affected by foreclosure pressure may still be bottoming, two factors dominate in support of a buy decision soon: These are attractive interest rates that may not last and the spector of inflation given the overall economic outlook, the deficit and the value of the dollar.

Why does inflation factor into this decision? According to Warren Buffett, the best way to fight inflation for the average consumer is to buy real estate with 20% down and a 30-year fixed rate mortgage. If we get rampant inflation and you don’t own a home, you will find your monthly rent obligations soaring. If you buy a home, your mortgage cost will remain the same as your salary increases resulting in more disposable income — which hopefully you’ll start saving so you’ll have a nest egg for maintenance, repairs and, of course, the down payment on a even grander home in a few years!

Few people actually buy at the very, very bottom. The fortunate buy during that dip, somewhere in the low valley, and do well through the recovery, even a slow one. So my cautious buyers, my recommendation is to sign a contract before May 1st. April 1st may be preferable, but let’s finish looking and decide! I’ve got time this weekend. How about you?

The National Association of Realtors® today thanked the many members in the U.S. military on active duty for their services to America, and reminded them of special benefits for them in the recent extension and expansion of the homebuyer tax credit law.

NAR was the main proponent in getting the homebuyer’s tax credit extended into 2010 and expanded to include present homeowners.

“NAR is the leading advocate for private property and homeownership issues, and firmly believes that those who are in service to their country should be full participants in the homebuyer tax credit law,” said NAR President Charles McMillan, broker with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Dallas-Fort Worth. “These men and women are often hindered by hardships from full participation in the American Dream of homeownership because their duty disrupts them in the buying and selling of a home.”

Two special provisions in the present tax credit law assist members of the military, intelligence and foreign services in taking advantage of the homebuyer tax credit, said McMillan.

Armed services members, as well as intelligence service and foreign service personnel, who are on active duty and out of the U.S. for 90 days during any part of 2009, get an additional year to buy their homes, to May 1, 20ll.

Another benefit is a waiver on the time of occupancy of the home purchased with the tax credit. Homebuyers who purchase their home using the tax credit must use that home as a principal residence for a period of no fewer than three years, or must forfeit the entire credit. Military, intelligence and foreign service members do not have to repay the credit if they have to sell their home after fewer than three years occupancy due to official business.

First-time homebuyers who are eligible can obtain a tax credit of $8,000. Current homeowners are eligible for a $6,500 tax credit, provided they have lived in the home they are selling, or have sold, as principal residence for five consecutive years in the past eight years.

Income limits for eligible home buyers are expanded to $125,000 for single buyers and $225,000 for couples. The purchase price of the home cannot exceed $800,000. To help guard against fraud, buyers are required to attach documentation of purchase to their tax return.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

Monday, March 8, 2010

On January 12, 2010, the Urban Residential Finance Authority (URFA), a subsidiary of the Atlanta Development Authority (ADA), was allocated $25 million by the New Issue Bond Program (NIBP) to finance 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, with an anticipated interest rate of between 5 and 5.125 percent. This allocation must be disbursed by December 31, 2010. URFA is currently accepting applications from lending institutions that wish to participate in the single-family NIBP.

"In an economically challenging housing market, we are proud to be in a position to make the dream of homeownership a reality for 180 families this year," says Dawn Luke, deputy managing director of housing finance for the ADA.

Eligible properties must be located within the city of Atlanta and can be newly constructed, existing or foreclosed. The maximum purchase price of a home is $374,268 inside the target area and $306,219 outside the target area. Borrowers purchasing homes in the target area do not have to be first-time homebuyers, but they must sell their current residence before closing on the new property. Outside the target area, buyers should be purchasing their first home and should not have had an ownership interest in a principal residence for the past three years. Loans must be FHA, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac insured loans. Income limits apply.

Buyers may also qualify for the Opportunity Bond or Beltline Affordable Housing Trust Fund mortgage assistance loans, which provide the borrowers with additional downpayment assistance of 10 to 20 percent of the sales price.

URFA has provided assistance to development projects that have contributed $1 billion in construction and mortgage investment to the city of Atlanta since 2002. Using a variety of financial tools such as tax-exempt bonds, federal neighborhood stabilization dollars and housing and homeless opportunity bonds, URFA contributed to the creation of more than 8,600 housing units in the city, where 70 percent are considered affordable for working-class families.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


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