What is a Short Sale?

Posted on: October 19th, 2011 by Bob Allen No Comments

Simply put, a short sale is selling a home below the amount currently owed to the lender(s).

 There are times when this makes sense to both the homeowner and the lender. When the alternative is foreclosure, a lender would rather sell a home “short” if financially it is cheaper than the foreclosure process, which costs around $30,000 on average. Largely due to the financial burden, banks do not really want to own real estate. For the homeowner, it is less of a ding on their credit but does not always eliminate the obligation to pay the “shortage” back to the lender. Many times the lender will require the owner to pay back the shortage on a personal loan in exchange for agreeing to the short sale. Depending on the owner’s financial circumstances, the lender may completely “excuse” the shortage and write it off by issuing the owner a 1099 income statement. This brings up another issue – income tax may or may not be owed on the “shortage” amount.

 When purchasing a short sale home it can be quite frustrating and time consuming. Although most lenders have gotten more efficient and better at short sales, responses to offers can take 2-5 months. If you have a short time line to purchase and take possession of a house, then short sales would be best left for others to pursue. With that being said, a buyer that has plenty of time can usually negotiate a favorable price. Remember the “List Price” on a short sale is just an educated guess by the homeowner and listing agent. They simply put a price on the home and gradually lower the price until they get an offer. It is not unusual for the lender to counter offer a price above the listed price. When this happens, some buyers walk away completely frustrated and upset that they have wasted months and possibly missed other great homes in the mean time.

 Having a good buyer’s agent is the key to deciding whether a short sale is worth pursuing or not. Every home has a different set of circumstances to deal with and some are better values than others.

 Call me if I can be of assistance in the purchase or sale of your next home.

Posted on: July 12th, 2011 by admin No Comments

BMW CCA Foundation

Posted on: May 31st, 2011 by admin No Comments

The BMW CCA Foundation funds a driving program for teens to gain skills, safety, and experience behind the wheel. I am a big believer in this cause and the safety of our teen drivers. There is also a drawing for those who contribute to this cause. Here is the letter about the BMW CCA Foundation from the president of the foundation:

The Foundation needs your help and support in the current Spring Sponsorship Drive, and by purchasing a drawing, you might win a new BMW or $45,000 in cash! Our Spring Sponsorship Drive principally supports the Tire Rack Street Survival teen driving safety program. Your purchase of an entry drawing helps offset the cost of instruction of good driving skills to 1,000’s of teens in the Foundation’s hands-on teen driving program.
The current Sponsorship drive is lagging behind, meaning that your odds of winning a partial award are even greater. (Partial award odds are based on number of tickets sold.) The odds of winning that new BMW are 1 in 8,500, so that for $100 (7 drawing tickets), your odds of winning are better than 1 in 1,250. There are bonus ticket entries for larger purchases – just use the pop-down menu on the web site. Proceeds of this sponsorship drive directly offset the costs of each Street Survival® school such as the one hosted by the Connecticut Valley Chapter and held in association with Consumer Reports at CR facilities in CT and shown in the picture below. A report of the school with video can be found here.

An excellent news article with information about a recent TRSS school was published by the Baltimore Examiner. This school was hosted by the National Capital Chapter.

TRSS schools give teens across the U.S. the driving tools and “hands-on” experience to become safer, smarter drivers. In addition to the classroom experience, trained and qualified in-car driving instructors work with each student. Support the efforts of the Foundation’s safe teen driving program by purchasing an entry drawing that could win you a choice of:

Z2011 BMW Z4 sDrive30i
X2011 BMW X3 xDrive35i
V2011 Chevy Volt (electric)
C2011 Chevy Corvette Coupe

OR $45,000 CASH!
drive.bmwccafoundation.org

Choose your Letter (Z, X, V, or C) 1 Entry – $25
2 Entries – $50
7 Entries – $100
(Get extra tickets for larger purchases)

Your participation in is greatly appreciated and will help us to continue our worthwhile activities and perhaps best of all, your sponsorship of the Foundation and our teen safe driving program might win you that new BMW or $45,000 cash.

drive.bmwccafoundation.org

Sincerely,
Leo Newland
President

1031 Exchange – Aging Rental Property?

Posted on: May 29th, 2011 by admin No Comments

If you have owned an Investment property for 20+ years and have been depreciating the asset all of these years, you need to seriously consider a tax free exchange of like property.

Once you have depreciated an asset completely over 20+ years, your tax write off is little to nothing. At that point most of the rental income is taxed as regular income. One of the major benefits of owning investment property is to have the ability to take advantage of the tax benefits associated with ownership.

If you have aging rental property you can sell the property and move the proceeds to new property, tax-free, and gain the ability to depreciate the new property over the next 20+ years; saving immediately and moving forward on Income Tax! On paper the depreciation will cause a loss or very little profit for tax purposes. Check with your accountant to see how it would affect your situation. For details on how a tax-free exchange could work for you call or email me for an appointment.

Considering Offers to Buy Your Home

Posted on: May 28th, 2011 by admin No Comments

When reading an offer, keep in mind that you are out to get the best price AND the best terms for you. If you focus solely on the price, you may overlook terms that could be favorable to you as a buyer.

Some terms that may work in your favor:

  • higher-than-market-interest in a second mortgage for your home
  • the home buyer will pay for most or all of the closing costs
  • the home buyer will take care of any repairs
  • quick close – the buyer is pre-approved and ready to close in a time that best suits you
  • all-cash deal

When reading through offers, remember to look at the whole package. Take the time that you need to assess what is being offered and if it meets your needs.

Investing in Athens Real Estate

Posted on: May 28th, 2011 by admin No Comments

Have you been considering investment property? Many people know that investing in rental property is a good way to diversify their portfolio, but very few actually act on that knowledge. As a rule, most individuals are not “risk takers”; they prefer a “safe option” when it comes to investments. As a matter of fact, I read recently that most Americans rarely change their investments or move funds from one fund or stock to another. If this describes you, you are not alone. A long term investment may be the answer for you. If you look at Real Estate over any 20 year term, you would be hard pressed to find a 20 year span of time that it has not had a good return on investment and in some cases great ROI.

In today’s real estate market you have so many variables pointing to it being one of the best long term investments you could make. We have excess inventory of homes available, prices equivalent to 10-15 years ago in many cases and interest rate at historical lows. Investment loans are commonly below 6% interest on a 30 year fixed mortgage. For baby boomers like me it is an opportunity to secure your retirement income through rental property. For the “X”, “Y” and “beyond” generations, you could not only secure your future, you have the opportunity to amass huge fortunes by getting started now as a real estate investor. Under most circumstances you will need 20-25% down on investment property. Although currently there are other options, like Fannie Mae’s offer for investors at just 10% down. What other investment allows you the chance to invest, say, 20% but reap the benefits of 100% of the appreciation?

On a $100,000 purchase you put in $20,000, but when the property appreciates to, say, $150,000 in 10 years and maybe some sweat equity you gain $50,000 from a $20,000 investment. This does not take into account the income you earned through the monthly cash flow during those ten years. If the monthly income is not needed then paying down the principle with the profits can gain more equity in a shorter period of time. By the way, lots of people don’t want to be landlords and some shouldn’t. There are qualified property management companies that will handle the “landlord” part for a very small fee. Another option would be land purchases–low maintenance, less hassles but normally a larger investment required. For those of you sitting on a pile of cash that is not earning anything to speak of, you have the greatest opportunity in the land and lot market that you are likely to see ever. Banks are not really excited to lend money on land right now so any seller that must sell must be motivated. Many of the land sellers are the banks, especially in developed and undeveloped lots.

So whether you have been considering investing or not, give me a call or e-mail and I will be glad to answer any questions you may have. 

If you are wondering if you qualify for an investment loan, talk to your favorite lender. I will be glad to recommend loan officers if you need assistance.

Athens, Georgia Day Trips & Weekend Get-A-Ways

Posted on: May 27th, 2011 by admin No Comments

About an hour away:

  • Lake Oconee/Lake Sinclair – Swimming, Fishing, and Water Sports.
  • Broad River – Canoeing, Kayaking, and Tubing.
  • Lake Lanier – Water Park, Fun for all ages.
  • Watson Mill State Park – Covered Bridge, Canoeing, and Camping.
  • Gwinnett Braves – Great Park, Loads of Fun.
  • Road Atlanta – Racing and Driving Schools.

About 2 Hours away:

  • Appalachian Trail – Day hikes and Camping.
  • Six Flags Over Georgia – Roller Coasters and more.
  • Georgia Aquarium – A must see in Atlanta.
  • Atlanta – Professional Baseball, Football, Basketball & Hockey (for now).
  • Atlanta – The Fox Theater, World Congress Center, and other music/entertainment venues.
  • Asheville, NC – Slightly over 2 hours, but worth the trip. Biltmore House and Winery Tours.
  • Augusta – The Masters golf experience.

4-6 Hour Weekend Get-A-Ways:

  • Nantahala River – White Water Rafting, Canoeing and Kayaking.
  • Harrah’s Casino – Gambling and Live Entertainment.
  • Savannah – Beach, Boardwalk, Historic Tours and Plenty of Night Life.
  • Myrtle Beach, SC – Beach, Golf, and Fun for All.
  • Florida Pan Handle and Alabama Coast – Beaches!
  • Charleston, SC – Historic Sites, Beaches, Fine Lodging, and Food for all Occasions.
  • Great Smoky Mountains – Camping, Rafting, and Scenic Drives.

Kathryn Hoover

Posted on: May 27th, 2011 by admin No Comments

In March of this year, Paula and I closed on the sale of our Winterville house which was listed with your company and Bob Allen as our agent. Since we now reside in North Carolina, Bob was more than willing to handle many of the details for us including getting the termite letter the day before closing which we had forgotten to do!

This note could be pages long singing Bob’s praises but my hand would give out long before I could finish! Therefore, let me just say that, without a doubt, Bob Allen is one of the finest, considerate, honorable, gentile and all-around wonderful men I have had the pleasure of knowing. As an agent he is second to none. (And I should know, I have bought and sold 8 homes in the last 35 years). I don’t know what this note will do for him in regard to the status of his position with Prudential, but in my opinion he could be considered your “best-ever” agent. He isn’t like any agent I have ever known or dealt with! He is outstanding to say the least. We will always try and send home sellers and buyers to him from now on. You are most fortunate to have him with you!

Setting the Price to Sell Your Home

Posted on: May 24th, 2011 by admin No Comments

The price is the first thing buyers notice about your property. If you set your price too high, then the chance of alienating buyers is higher. You want your house to be taken seriously, and the asking price reflects how serious you are about selling your home.

Several factors will contribute to your final decision. First, you should compare your house to others that are in the market. If you use an agent, he/she will provide you with a CMA. The CMA will reflect the following:

  • houses in your price range and area sold within the last half-year
  • asking and selling prices of houses
  • current inventory of houses on the market
  • features of each house on the market

From the CMA, you will find out the difference between the asking price and selling price for all homes sold, the condition of the market, and other houses comparable to yours.

Also, try to find out what types of houses are selling and see if it applies to your area. Buyers follow trends, and these trends can help you set your price.

Always be realistic. And understand and set your price to reflect the current market situation.

Have an Action Plan to Sell Your Home

Posted on: May 21st, 2011 by admin No Comments
  1. Analyze why you are selling – If you understand your motives, you will be able to better negotiate and to get what it is that you want, whether it be a quick sale, high price, or somewhere in the middle.
  2. Prepare your home for the buyer – Maximize the strengths of your property and fix up it’s weaknesses. You want the buyer to walk away from your home with a lasting good impression.
  3. Find a good real estate agent that understands your needs – Make sure that your agent is loyal to you, and can negotiate to help you achieve your goals. In addition, they should be assertive and honest with both you and the buyer.
  4. Be prepared for negotiation – Learn and understand your buyer’s situation; what are their motives? Can you demand a big deposit from them? Try to lock in the buyer so that the deal goes through.
  5. Negotiate for the best price and the best terms – Learn how to counter offer to get more from every offer.
  6. Make sure the contract is complete – Be honest with your disclosures; you do not want to lose the deal because you were lying or diminishing your home’s defects. Insist the buyers get a professional inspection. This will protect both you and the buyer.

News and Highlights

  • 12Jul

    Pre-leasing for August 1, 2011 at Dennis Drive — College Park Cottages. To view this house, call Bob 706-215-6848!

  • 14May

    Considering Offers to Buy Your Home

    Keep in mind that you are out to get the best price AND the best terms for you.

  • 27May

    Athens, Georgia Day Trips & Weekend Get-A-Ways

    Looking to get away for a day trip or weekend gataway… Look at some great places to check out.

 

Testimonials

Jonathan Schwartz


Over the past three years my wife and I have purchased and sold several properties through Bob. Additionally, I have referred friends and family members to Bob for representation. In all cases Bob provided excellent representation and customer service. He represented us well in all transactions and was always available to answer any questions we […]

Meet Bob Allen

Bob Allen is a licensed REALTOR® in Athens, Georgia, helping home buyers and sellers in Clarke County and the surrounding areas. Whether you’re looking to buy or sell your home, Bob offers courteous, personalized assistance…