Cobb County Real Estate and Community News

Aug. 20, 2018

Home Partners of America

Home Partners of America

Home Partners of America


Home Partners of America is a company that offers a lease with the right to purchase program.  It does have specific guidelines, but it does work and helped many people to get into homeownership.

This program can work for a variety of people.  For example:

  • First time homebuyers that have never bought a home before
  • For people have relocated and not sure which area or neighborhood to live in
  • People who cannot obtain a mortgage now, but will in the future and want to live in a community with great schools

How Does Home Partners of America Work?

The Process 

  • Apply to Homepartners.com – a potential homeowner will fill out a pre-qualification application.  Once the pre-qualification is approved, then the buyer will fill out a full application.  When a full application is filled out, Home Partners of America will treat like any loan application.  They will collect all you document, check your income and assets, have a credit and background check completed, etc.  Once the application is approved, Home Partners will discuss the maximum monthly rent for which the home buyer qualifies for.
  • Find a Home Partners Qualified home – You will work with your choice of Realtor.  Once the home has been identified, Home Partners will try and purchase the home. 
  •  Home Partners purchases the home – the potential buyers will have to sign a one-year lease and a Right to Purchase agreement.
  • The Right to Purchase Agreement – allows the potential buyer the right to buy the home, at any time that they are living in the home, at a pre-set purchase price within five years.  If they choose not to renew the lease, they can walk away without penalty.

Pre-qualification checklist for more information

Home Partners will provide a right to purchase price and rent for each lease term up to five years.  A potential buyer must agree to the terms before an offer is made.

  • Rent increases are 3.75% each year
  • Purchase price increases are between 3.5-5% each year
  • Move in date - minimum of 10 business days

Basic Requirements

  • Annual house hold income of $50,000 or more
  • Have stable employment
  • No pending bankruptcy, history of eviction, acceptable criminal history

Potential Buyer Must Provide

  • Full application for everyone 18 years or older
  • Application fee of $75
  • Income and asset verification

One the buyer gets approved then you can look at homes.  The homes on the Home Partners of America website qualify for purchase. The property criteria are below.

  • Single family home or fee-simple townhome
  • The list price of the home must be between $100-$450,000

  • No condo associations
  • Cannot be a commercial or multifamily property
  • Homeowners Associations are allowable on a case by case basis
  • Pool are permitted in certain states
  • Must be a traditional sale or FSBO – no distressed properties (Foreclosure, short sale, or auction).
  • Must be in an approved community
  • Minimum of two bedroom and no more than three acres
  • Cannot have material deficiencies (major structural issues, aluminum wiring, etc.)

This is a basic list of the property criteria for more information click on the link below

1.      Full Property Qualification Criteria

2.      Homeowners Association Guidelines

3.      Fence Policy

Once the potential buyer agrees to all terms:

  • Home Partners will generate a signed contract and return it with a proof of funds
  • The Realtor will make an offer on the home
  • Home Partners pay cash, no appraisals, and closes quick
  • They make offers at fair market value

Once the home is under contract

  • The potential buyer signs a one-year lease and the right to purchase agreement
  • Must provide a two-month deposit
  • Home Partners schedules and pays for a home inspection

Once the home is purchased

  • Home Partners will perform and make ready repairs or agreed upon renovations
  • The potential buyer will provide the first month’s rent – it will be pro-rated from the date they move in
  • The potential buyer may purchase the home at any time they are leasing the property for the predetermined price and must give a 60-day notice.

Renovation Checklist and Property Standards

Some of the information came directly from the Homes Partners of America Website. This program does is not fit for everyone, but it can and does help a lot of people. This is just one of many different types of loan programs.  See link below to get a better understanding of many other loan programs.  If there are any questions, please contact me.  I would be glad to help.

All about Mortgages

 

 

June 22, 2018

Charming Townhome for Sale in Windsor Trace, Peachtree Corners

6195 Windsor Trace Drive

Peachtree Corners, GA 30092

$220,000



Features
Gorgeous private professionally landscaped townhome in sought after Peachtree Corners. This townhome has a great open floor plan with tons of updates which include a stunning renovated kitchen, hardwoods, master bath, and oversized two car garage. It is at the back of the community so it has complete privacy with views of woods off the back deck. Great location and schools, only 10 minutes from 285.
  • 2 bd/2.5 ba
  • Open floor plan 
  • Professionally landscaped
  • Stunning home updates
  • Complete privacy 

Additional Property Links 

Check our Latest Newsletter

Posted in Homes for Sale
June 19, 2018

Gorgeous Home for Sale in Dunton, Smyrna

1120 Dell Avenue SE

Smyrna, GA 30080

$199,000


Features
Fantastic home in the heart of Smyrna. Has open floor plan with master on Main, updated kitchen and bathrooms, windows and flooring have been replaced. Large private yard and within walking distance to Smyrna Village, Jonquil Plaza and Belmont Hills. It is a short drive to the Braves Stadium and The Battery. Excellent schools and location.
  • 3 bd/2 ba
  • Master on main 
  • Large private yard
  • Walking distance to  Jonquil Plaza, Smyrna Village, and Belmont Hills
  • Short drive Braves Stadium and the Battery

Additional Property Links 

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Posted in Homes for Sale
May 18, 2018

Home for Sale in Landmark Estates, Marietta GA

 285 Monument Court SW

Marietta, GA 30060

$104,500

 

Ranch on large, private lot with a one car carport This home has a great open floor plan, spacious bedrooms, and in a great location. Just 10 minutes from Smyrna Village, Marietta Square, and the Battery.

Features

  • 3 bd/1.5 ba
  • Master on main 
  • 1 car carport

Additional Property Links 

Check our Latest Newsletter

Posted in Homes for Sale
May 7, 2018

Home for Sale in Cumberland Creek, Marietta

 1401 Glynn Oaks Drive SW

Marietta, GA 30008

$169,900

 

Fantastic move in ready home.  This home sits on a wonderful mature lot with fenced level yard.  Open floor plan, high ceilings, tons of light - partially finished basement  Master on main - Great location and schools. 

Features

  • 3 bd/2 ba
  • Master on main 
  • 2 car garage 
  • Fenced yard
  • New garage doors
  • Great schools (Dowell, Smitha, Osbourne)

Additional Property Links 

Check our Latest Newsletter

Posted in Homes for Sale
April 9, 2018

PRICE REDUCED: Beautiful Home For Sale - Close to Smyrna Village

3800 Ridge Road SE

Smyrna, GA 30080

$399,000

If you are looking for a move in ready home on a basement, this is it. This home boasts a renovated kitchen and baths, newer roof, new HVAC, exterior paint March 2018, over-sized pantry and laundry room, and a wonderful floor plan. It has a stunning panoramic view from the great room. Minutes to downtown Smyrna, all the great restaurants, and close to Atlanta Battery, I75 and I285. In a great school district as well.

Features

  • 4 bd/3.5 ba
  • New HVAC
  • New roof
  • New windows
  • Professional landscaping
  • Updated laundry room and pantry
  • Close to Atlanta Battery, Jonquil Plaza, Smyrna Village
  • Stunning panoramic view from the great room
  • Close to I75 and I285

Additional Property Links 

Check our Latest Newsletter

Posted in Homes for Sale
April 9, 2018

What is Knock, Offerpad, and Opendoor? And Why You Could Potentially Lose a Lot of Money

Are Knock, Open Door, and Offer Pad really the wave of the future?  I have heard a lot about these three companies over the last six months.  There was an article about all three in Inman called ICNY18: The iBuyers are Coming for Real Estate.  This article talks about how these three companies are going to be the wave of the future.  I do feel they have a market, not to the degree that is being reported.

How These Companies Work

All three are very similar and have similar process.  The idea is that a buyer fills out the information about their house.  Then Knock, Opendoor, and Offerpad do research based on comps and tax records.  Then they offer the buyer a price to buy the home and includes all their fees. If the seller agrees to sell their home, a closing date is set.  This is essentially the basics. There are more details which I will talk about later. One thing to remember, they are for profit companies. This means they are going to offer you a lower price for you home,  Then will relist it at a higher price and sell it to make that profit. Let’s break down the three companies.

I chose to use my house as a test house.  My house was a ranch build in the late 1950’s.  We renovated it in July of 2015. We gutted it and rebuilt it.  It is essentially a new home. We only kept three existing walls and the foundation.  The house was originally 1198 sq feet with an approximate 505 square foot exterior entrance basement.  When finished, it was a 3071 sq ft house with a 505 sq ft unfinished basement. We had an appraisal completed in December 2017 and it was valued at $495,000.  

I went onto all three sites and put my information about my house.  They asked all the relevant information and wanted pictures. I then received offers from all three.  The breakdown is as follows.

Knock

Their initial offer was a price range from $323,000-409,000.  I asked a Knock representative how they came up with the evaluation.  They said it was through the tax records and comps. When I looked at the comps they chose, they picked homes outside of my subdivision and then adjusted them.  All the homes they compared to my house were smaller and had less upgrades. At the bottom of the offer there is a way to rate the offer. I rated it as a poor evaluation.  I got a call from a representative, at Knock, and we had a long talk about the house. They decided to send someone out to take pictures. I had also mentioned that I had an appraisal done two months earlier at $495,000.   Below is the final offer from Knock.

 

Their final offer was $373,000, which is $122,000 lower than the appraisal.  They gave me a suggested list price and a guaranteed sale price which was $24,500 lower.  The guaranteed price is approximately 6.6% lower. These are not the final numbers. There was approximately $22,000 in fees which includes the Realtor fee for Knock buying your home, holding costs while they resell your home, and a fee for the “Knock” experience.  After the seller signs the purchase contract with Knock, they send out an inspector to inspect the home. Knock will send you a repair list of items they feel need to be fixed. The difference is that in a traditional sale repairs are negotiated, not with Knock. Knock gives you the list and prices and either you can fix the items, or they will take it off the price of the house.  There is no negotiating. The repairs will add more to the overall fees paid by the seller. When you look at the overall sale of the house, the true number is $351,000 not including repairs.

Breakdown of Knock vs. Traditional Realtor

Knock

Purchase price - $373,000
Fees - ~$22,000
Total - $351,000 – not including repairs
Difference from appraisal and final price - $122,000

Traditional Realtor

Purchase price - $495,000
Fees – 6% commission - $29,700
Total - $465,300 – not including repairs
Difference from appraisal and final Price - $29,700

Difference between the Knock offer and a traditional Realtor - $114,300

Knock also has a trade in program.   How it works, is a buyer will get the offer on their house and then identify another property they want to buy.  Knock will buy the new home and make improvements, move the buyer in, and they then sell the buyers home. It sounds great, but it is not all it is cracked up to be.  I gave Knock a luxury home, that I wanted to buy, for the trade in program. Here is how it works:

The subject home was an $800,000 home.  Knock will purchase that home and then sell the home to you and charge you fees.  The fees are below – These are typical types of fees but some of them are high.

Fees from Knock

Knock Origination Fee (1% of loan amount) - $6,080.00
Interest ((8% of Loan Amount/365) X 60 days) - $9,994.52
Estimated Knock Closing Costs - $4,757.00
Other Cost Assumptions (Insurance, utilities, etc that you have to pay on your home that you are selling - $2,115.40

Total Acquisition and Hold Costs during Temporary Occupancy - $22,946.92

If you notice, Knock charges an 8% interest rate for at least 60 days. That is almost double what the current interest rate is.  This fee could be higher if you home takes longer to sell. They also charge closing costs that the buyer must pay.  In a traditional sale closing fees are negotiated. So, you take the fees from the sale and add them to the fees for the purchase it would be 44,946.92.  That is a ton of fees.   The three fees that stand out the most are:

  • Holding costs while they try to sell your home
  • “Knock experience” fees
  • The incredibly high interest rate to purchase the home you are going to buy from Knock, while they are selling your home

Total Acquisition and Hold Costs during Temporary Occupancy - $22,946.92

If you notice, Knock charges an 8% interest rate for at least 60 days. That is almost double what the current interest rate is.  This fee could be higher if you home takes longer to sell. They also charge closing costs that the buyer must pay. In a traditional sale closing fees are negotiated.  So, you take the fees from the sale and add them to the fees for the purchase it would be 44,946.92. That is a ton of fees. The three fees that stand out the most are:

  • Holding costs while they try to sell your home
  • “Knock Experience” fees
  • The incredibly high interest rate to purchase the home you are going to buy from Knock, while they are selling your home

OfferPad

OfferPad is very similar to Knock.  The big difference is that they will not come to your house if there is a valuation issue.  I submitted all my information on their website, pictures, and a detailed description of the renovations we did on our home.  The initial offer I received is below.

They were way off.  When asked how they determine a pricing, the Offer Pad representative said they look at tax records and comps.  The problem is, my tax records are not 100% accurate since I renovated my home. Also, they pulled lower comparable properties inside and outside of my subdivision.  I did let them know I had an appraisal that was done two months earlier, and that has the value at $495,000. The asked me to send it to them and I did. This is what their final offer price was and their response.  

“Ok, we’ve sent an updated offer over. They were able to increase the offer by $45,000 based on the additional information.  Comp wise, it looks like one of the primary ones they looked at was 3655 Hickory Circle.  It has no garage like yours, it is a little smaller w/ 3/2, but it is the same age. It sold for 275k in 72 days.  Based on that, we feel like we could sell your home for about the 290K mark, the difference being a factor of our costs to get the home “list ready” (honestly not much), but then our carrying and marketing costs as we work to sell it.”

Comparing 3655 Hickory Circle vs. My House

Features Hickory Circle My house
Year built 1962 1958- complete reno - 2016
Bedrooms/bathrooms 3bed/2ba 4bd/2.5 bath
Square footage 1581 3071
Basement Crawl 505 unfinished
Layout Original layout Open floor plan
Garage/ Carport 2-car carport Driveway
Ceiling Height 8ft 9ft
Patio/Deck Deck Patio
Updates Granite over older cabinets Everything in the house- taken down to the studs rebuilt with new floor plan and addition
Laundry Kitchen Laundry room
Sales price $275,000 Offerpad offer - $265,000

are pictures for comparison.  The house on the left is 3655 Hickory Circle and my house is on the right.  Do you see any comparison? I don’t.



Offerpad sent me an offer $10,000 lower than the sales price of Hickory Circle.  Hickory Circle is half the size and has no updates, compared to our house, which is essentially a new house.  Everything was replaced and rebuilt. How can Offerpad make such a low offer when they were given pictures of my house, a recent appraisal, and a detailed description of all the renovation?  After all that information, OfferPad still felt they could sell it for $295,000 and offered me $265,000. Not only was the offer ridiculous, they were going to charge me an additional $15,400 in fees.  These fees include commissions, their holding fee to sell the property, and the Offerpad experience fee of $2,200. So, lets breakdown their offer.

Offerpad vs. Traditional Realtor

Offer Pad
Purchase price - $265,000
Fees - ~$15,400
Total - $249,600

Difference from Appraisal and Final Price - $245,400

Traditonal Realtor
Purchase price - $495,000
Fees – 6% commission - $29,700
Total - $465,300 – not including repairs

Difference from Appraisal and Final Price - $29,700

Difference between Offerpad and Traditional Realtor - $219,900

OpenDoor

The final company is Opendoor.  Opendoor does not buy older homes, so I used a friend’s house.  How Opendoor works is like the other two. They base their pricing on comparable properties and tax records.  They make a cash offer on the house and if all parties agree they buy the home. Let’s look at the property that I used.

My Friend's House 

  • 5bd/3ba
  • Two story traditional
  • 4,855 square feet
  • Finished Basement

I filled out the paperwork for Opendoor and submitted it to them.  This is the response I received.

Net Offer Details

  • Valuation: $341,000
  • Opendoor customer experience and risk fee, to cover holding costs and liability while finding a buyer: $18,755
  • Net offer price: $322,245

Additional cost to seller to close:

  • Co-broke due to buyer’s agent: $0
  • Seller’s agent commission: (from your listing agreement)
  • Repair request: (to be confirmed post inspection)
  • Seller closing costs: (provided by you)
  • Loan pay-off: (provided by you)
  • Net to seller at close: Net offer less above fields

Opendoor will have inspections performed by a licensed, independent home inspector and will submit a repair request like a traditional Buyer. For the repair request, Opendoor will itemize the requested repairs with their cost to have the repair completed and will provide the Seller a credit in-lieu of repairs option.

Larger repair asks may result from roof, HVAC, foundation and/or pool issues.

The offered price is low.  The last two homes that sold in my friend’s subdivision sold for $335,000 and $337,500.  The $335,000 house is 2733 square feet with similar upgrades. The second home is 3,135 square feet with similar upgrades.  Both homes are on a slab. The sold homes are between 1720 - 2,122 square feet smaller than my friend’s house. That is a huge difference is square footage.  If I were to sell my friend’s home I would price it closer to 375,000. In additional to a lower offer, they are charging $18,755 in fees. These fees include a customer experience fee and risk free (Holding cost they charge while they are selling your home).  The fees don’t include closing costs and repairs. So, the fee could be $5,000-$10,000 or more depending on the repairs. Just like the other two, there is no negotiating on repairs. They will give you a repairs list and then ask you for a price reduction.

Break down Opendoor vs Traditional Realtor

Opendoor

Purchase price - $341,000
Fees - ~$18,755
Commission, repairs, and closing costs - ~10,000 (an estimate)
Total - $306,245

Traditional Realtor

Purchase price - $375,000
Fees – 6% commission - $220,500
Closing costs- average of current sales in neighborhood - $1,219
Total - $351,281 – not including repairs
Difference from Appraisal and final Price - $23,719

Difference between Opendoor and Traditional Realtor - $45,036

This is the best of the three by far.  Still, $45,036 is a lot of money to lose.

Summary of All Three

See below for a summary of all three companies and what a traditional Realtor does.  

Program Features Traditional Realtor Knock Offerpad Opendoor
How they Price Based on comps and experience Tax records and comps Tax records and comps Tax records and comps
Accuracy of pricing Very accurate Very Low Very Low Very Low
Fees 6% 6% 6% 6%
Included in fees Listing and selling agent commission Buyer commission only, holding costs to sell home and “customer experience” fee Buyer commission only, holding costs to sell home and “customer experience” fee Buyer commission only, holding costs to sell home and “customer experience” fee
Repairs Negotiated by Realtors between buyer and seller Not negotiable -are not included in fees – this is additional costs Not negotiable - are not included in fees – this is additional costs Not negotiable - are not included in fees – this is additional costs
Advantage for each Experience, pricing, and negotiating No hassle selling No hassle selling No hassle selling
Place in market Work with all sellers See below See below See below

There is a market for these companies.  The markets would include:

  • Sellers that might be going in foreclosure or they cannot keep up with the payments
  • Sellers that have a new job, need to leave quickly, and have a large amounts of equity in their house
  • Sellers that don’t have any idea about the process
  • Sellers that don’t want to haggle

The concerns that I have with all three companies

  • They will offer you a lower offer price for a home.  They must, because if they offer market value, they would resell the home at a loss
  • Make a seller pay holding costs why they try and sell your home - essentially - you are paying them to sell you house and get the profits
  • Charge high fees, there is no negotiating on price, fees, or repairs
  • Lack of experience of the market, as you see in the three case studies that I did.  These companies either do not know about the real estate markets or they just want to make a profit.  Either way, a seller could potentially lose a lot of money using them.
  • It is a one-sided transaction – it benefits the Knock, OfferPad, and Opendoor

There always need to be a human element (non-biased) when selling a home.  

  • To evaluate the property correctly so that it will sell and for the current value
  • Negotiating price, terms, and repairs– having someone, on your side, to help with negotiations
  • Having a Realtor to call when you have questions or concerns.  If you use any of the companies above they will not help you, because they are the buyer and the only interest they have is in their company and what profits they can make

Hope this helps.  If you have any questions or need anything let me know.

March 26, 2018

5bd 4.5ba New Construction on Unfinished Basement Two Blocks from Smyrna Village - $665,000

 

2906 Davis Street

Smyrna, GA 30080

$665,000

 Stunning new construction has all the bells and whistles.  Open floor plan, Master on Main, Granite and stainless steel appliances, custom built wrought iron work, and barn style doors made from reclaimed wood, and tons more upgrades.  Built by award winning Custom Home Builder- Longo Homes.

Features

  • 5 bd with master on main
  • 4 1/2 Full Baths including a spa like master with separate free standing tub
  • Professionally landscaped with sod grass
  • Premium designer cabinetry with island that includes soft close door hardware, integrated trash pull out bin and deep dish custom details
  • All bedrooms have oversized closets
  • Only one block from the hot Smyrna Market Village and all amenities of the City including City Hall, Activity Center, Gym, Library and Transit

Additional Property Links 

Check our Latest Newsletter

March 12, 2018

A Story About Mortage Interest Rates vs. Buying Power

Interest Rates vs Buying Power

This has been a huge topic, as of late, because interest rates are rising and it does affect how much buying power you have.  So what does an increase in interest rates mean?

Imagine this, you wake up one morning and decide that you want to buy a home.  You start to look on the internet and call a mortgage broker.   The mortgage broker gets you qualified for $250,000 at 4%.  That is fantastic.  You went and hired a Realtor to help.  So, you are going to go out the next morning and start looking at houses.  You wake up and the sun is shining and it is a very nice 60 degrees.  You are all dressed and ready to go.  The mortgage broker calls and tells you the interest rates are at 5% now.  What does that mean?  It means, the the $250,000 home that you wanted to buy will cost you more.  For every one percent increase in the interest rate, you lose 10% of your buying power.  To keep the same mortgage payment, the $250,000 purchase price becomes a $225,000 purchase price.

Lets look at an example to show the difference:

Lets use the $250,000 purchase price in the story above.

4% Interest Rate
Purchase price - $250,000
Interest rate - 4.0%
Monthly Mortgage Payment (Principal + Interest) - $1,194

5% Interest Rate
Purchase price - $250,000
Interest Rate – 5.0%
Monthly Mortage payment (Principal + Interest) - $1,342

Difference
Payment Increase of $148

Interest Rates vs Buying Power

That does not seem too bad, but that $148 is actually costing you $17,760 over a 10 years or $52,280 over 30 years.  To use it in the real world, $148 is about four to five tanks of gas a month.  That adds up.

To keep the same $1194 payment at a five percent interest rate you will need to buy a home around the $225,000 price point.  Knowing Atlanta and how the housing market has become so price driven, the decrease in buying power could affect the size, upgrades, schools, and the area you want to live in.

Current Interest Rates

The interest rates have gone up over a half a point since September 2017.  That is already a 5% drop in buying power.  It also does not factor in appreciation of home.  If that $250,000 home becomes $255,000 then you have lost 5,000 more.

Take a look at the six month chart for interest rates.  You can see an upward trend.  This trend will continue.  Different projections, that I have read, say that interest rates could be above 5% by the end of this year.

US 30 Year Mortgage Rate Chart

US 30 Year Mortgage Rate data by YCharts

I know the inventory is low, but the longer you wait the more it will cost you.  If you need to sell, take advantage of more buyers in the market, low inventory, higher sales prices, and better terms.  Use that extra money for another house.  Interest rates at five percent are still low.  When I bought my house is 2006, I had an interest rate at seven percent.  All I am saying, is that if you have a certain mortgage payment that you want to stay around, the longer you wait the less buying power you will have, the type of home you want and the features and location could change.

Additional Links

Current Interest Rates

Get The Home You Want in a low inventory Market

No Place for a Lowball offer in Today's Market

Feb. 21, 2018

Stunning Luxury Home For Sale in Somerset Oaks at Lost Mountain, Powder Springs

178 Catesby Road

Powder Springs, GA 30127

$765,000

OPEN HOUSE

 

Spacious 6 bedroom custom built, two story craftsman on a finished basement. This home features, open floor plan, a resort style heated salt water pool, screened porch, master on main, dedicated office, media room, game room with a potential for bar area, workshop, and more.

Fantastic Cobb County Schools - Harrison High School, Lost Mountain Middle School, and Vaughan Elementary School.

Features

  • 6 bd/4.5 ba
  • Resort style, heated, salt water pool with waterfall and
    diving rock
  • Custom granite counters in kitchen and master bath; granite
    counters throughout
  • Custom oversized island with custom extra large Silgranite
    sink
  • Close to top Cobb Schools - Harrison High school, Lost Mountain Middle School, and Vaughan Elementary.

Additional Property Links 

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Posted in Homes for Sale