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Archive for January, 2010

Why Can’t I Rent or Sell My House?

We have experienced an overabundance of rentals over the last 12 months and are continuing to find the rental market extremely competitive. Because of low interest rates, easy credit, and loans with very low down payment requirements most people who can qualify for a loan have done so.

It has reached the point that in some cases ownership is cheaper than rent. There is now a push to make home ownership easier for minorities to achieve, with lenders, real estate companies and agents tooling up to market in Spanish, etc.  The owner of a tenant screening network was commenting to me that an apartment group client of his was offering 3 months free rent for new tenants in several of their complexes.  A well-respected property group with upscale multi family rentals is offering 2 months free rent and other concessions to fill units.  Because of the time of year (Dogwood season), there are more lookers. But not necessarily more qualified tenants. The economy is not wonderful with 3700 pre foreclosure ads running in the 13 county metro area and substantial numbers of people going into bankruptcy.

In addition, Atlanta has recently won the distinction of becoming the Mortgage Fraud Capitol of the country with Fulton and Dekalb Counties coming in at a respectable number one and three nation wide!  So, with all this good news it is no wonder that the market is a little exciting. There is an old Chinese Proverb that says that chaos equals opportunity. There are a number of individuals that need help with their real estate/debt problems, a number of lenders sitting with bank owned properties and individuals needing to sell their homes as a result of job loss. Depending on whom you talk to, either these are great times or not. Sure there are lots of people trying to be Real Estate Investors in this market. But there are lots of opportunities for well-educated motivated investors.

The Metro Atlanta Area is growing, people continue to move here and we have a national reputation as an area of opportunity. We have a widely diversified economic base and a large housing stock that is suitable to investors. Builders are reporting a brisk market and the mortgage market is picking up. So how should an investor operate in this market? To use just one word, they should do so PRUDENTLY.  There are opportunities, just do your homework. This is a good time to buy. In fact investors in other parts of the country are purchasing properties here.  They feel that Atlanta real estate has better growth potential and is better priced then their home markets.

If you are selling or renting in this market remember the three rules of moving product:

1.  Price realistically. Check your competition.  The MARKET determines what you can get for a property, not what your costs are. Properties need to be properly priced.

2.  Make sure your property is Market Ready.  In a competitive market the property needs to be ready to sell/rent and properly staged for the particular market you are selling/ renting to

3. Properties need to be properly marketed for the TARGET MARKET you are selling/ renting to. Know who your market is and what media to utilize to reach your specific market.

If you buy right and manage your investments prudently, this is a great time to own Atlanta real estate.  The foundation of fortunes is being made right here in Atlanta right now. Don’t look back ten years from now and say I wish I had been active in the early 2000’s

Fair Housing is No Joke

Fair housing is no joke.  An acquaintance of mine in another state recently received a communication from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regarding an allegation of a fair housing violation. Foolishly, he ignored the request for information and did not properly respond. It is probable that he did not violate the law.  Unfortunately, the situation escalated and now has become a very serious matter. My friend may have his real estate license pulled until this is resolved and may be enjoined from doing business

Next month is fair housing month and a good time to review your knowledge of fair housing regulations.  Look for an upcoming workshop on fair housing offered through GaREIA. Information is also available also on the HUD web site.

Recently, HUD announced a package of grant funds to groups that will use the funds to investigate allegations of housing discrimination, educate the public and housing industry about housing discrimination laws, and work to promote fair housing. Of the $17.6 million grants, $10.2 million was awarded in “Private Enforcement Initiative” grants to assist private, tax-exempt fair housing enforcement organizations for investigation and enforcement of alleged violations of federal, state, and local laws.

Approximately  $5.3 million in “Education and Outreach Initiative” grants was allocated to groups to educate the public about the rights and obligations under federal, state and local fair housing law.  Nearly $800,000 went to ten groups that focus on the needs of persons with disabilities. Another $2.1 million in “Fair Housing Organizations Initiative” grants was awarded for projects that serve rural and immigrant populations in underserved areas or where there currently is no existing fair housing organization.