Real Estate Tips: How to Avoid Buying a Lemon

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Any time you are investing money in a big purchase, it is important that you are careful to avoid “buying a lemon.” This term is often used in reference to a car purchase when someone buys a used car and then encounters problem after problem due to breakdowns and necessary repairs. In the same way, you might face expensive problems if you aren’t careful about the home that you buy.

Avoid Buying a Lemon Home

Even if you feel like you have finally found the perfect home for your family, you should never skip the pre-purchase inspection process. Some people assume that an inspection is unnecessary. Others don’t want to hear the bad news because they want to buy the home no matter what.

Remember that it is your responsibility to protect the financial interests of your family. Failing to complete a home inspection could leave you in a challenging situation if you need to invest thousands of dollars unexpectedly into home repairs or maintenance work.

Safeguards for Your Home Purchase

Keep in mind that certain safeguards are built into the real estate industry to protect home buyers:

  • State law requires that sellers disclose known problems with the property, though these issues don’t necessarily need to be repaired
  • Buyers can invest in warranties that cover any problems with the home after move-in
  • Offers are designed with inspection contingencies, which void the contract if problems arise in the home inspection

While no house is perfect, there are a few things that you can do to avoid high expenses related to problems with the home.

Always Hire an Experienced Inspector

Even though the home looked good when you walked through it with your real estate agent, you don’t have the experience to know if there are problems with the plumbing, electrical system, or roof. A professional home inspector should always be hired to evaluate every aspect of the property structure and systems.

You might even consider multiple inspections. The inspection timeframe is short, but you have the option to schedule multiple people to complete the necessary inspections. For example, it is smart to not only check for structural problems, but also bring in a pest control expert, identify potential signs of mold, and complete a meth test.

Finding the Right Home for Your Family

The hope is that the inspection will come back with good news, giving you the opportunity to close the deal. But don’t despair if something comes up in the inspection and you need to walk away from the offer. At DUFFY Realty, we want to be sure you love the home that you buy. Our team is dedicated to helping you avoid buying a lemon. Call today to learn more about the quality real estate properties available here in Atlanta: (678) 318-1700

Is House Flipping a Good Strategy in the Current Market?

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Real estate investing offers a great opportunity for those who are willing and ready to put their money into promising homes in the area. But, before you pour your life savings into a real estate investment opportunity, it is important to evaluate the current market and determine the best strategy for maximizing your ROI (Return On Investment). House flipping can still be profitable, as long as you are smart about the investment decision.

Increasing Number of Home Flips

House flipping was popular at the height of the housing boom in 2006. Then opportunities shifted when the crash happened, causing home prices to plummet. Over the years, the real estate prices have been increasing, and many people are finding the opportunity for profit in the current market. In fact, CoreLogic shared a report that showed 10.9% of homes sold in the 4th quarter of 2018 were flips.

What qualifies a home to be a flip? These properties were purchased by the investor or homeowner and occupied for two years or less before being sold to another buyer.

Higher Profit Margins for Home Flipping

One thing you need to consider is the potential profit margin if you want to invest in a home flip. It doesn’t make sense to invest months of effort, time, and sweat equity if you are going to break even or receive a minimal return on your investment. Instead, you need to know the numbers. Buy a property that is priced right, then factor in the cost of renovations and upgrades to boost the overall value of the home.

There’s no question that the current real estate market is offering many opportunities for real estate investors. Inventory is low, which means demand is high. If you have a good home to sell, then it is likely you can connect with multiple buyers who are ready to offer on the property. Maximizing the selling price of the home means you can enjoy the benefit of higher profit margins for your investment.

Learn from an Experienced Real Estate Agent

Whether you are evaluating your options for house flipping or you are preparing to buy a new home for your family, don’t underestimate the benefits available from an experienced real estate agent. A good agent will understand the local area and have the expertise to help you identify a home that fits your needs and desires.

It is important that you choose a real estate agent you can trust. Buying a home is one of the biggest investments that you will make, which is why you need to be sure you have someone to watch out for your interests.

DUFFY Realty is leading the local real estate industry. We are working hard to maintain our reputation as the top real estate team in Atlanta. Call us to learn more about the quality real estate services that are available: (678) 318-1700

Multifamily Homes: Pros and Cons for Your Family

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Real estate prices are rising, making it more challenging for families to qualify for the financing needed for the purchase of a single-family home. If you can’t afford to buy a single-family property, does it mean that you will need to wait to be a homeowner? No! In fact, many millennial home buyers are turning to multifamily real estate solutions as a way to build equity, which can be rolled into the purchase of a single-family home in the future.

Multifamily Housing Options

Several options are available if you are open to the idea of buying a multifamily home. For example, one option is to purchase a condo or townhome that is part of a larger community. You will own a portion of the building, with other homeowners who own their areas of the property.

Another option is to purchase a duplex or a property with a standalone apartment. In this scenario, you could live in one part of the building and rent the other portion out to receive money that will support your mortgage payments.

Pros and Cons of Multifamily Housing

Before you jump into the purchase, it is important to consider a few pros and cons of being a multifamily property owner.

  • Pros: One of the main benefits is the ability to bring in rental income from your tenants. Use this money to pay off the mortgage more quickly, helping you build up your equity as soon as possible. Many families find that it is possible to live less expensively when they are renting a portion of the property because they can split the costs of the mortgage. Also, consider the investment options for the future. When you are ready to move to a single-family home, then you can rent the unit you were living in previously, resulting in a positive cash flow each month. This strategy is a great way to build wealth and prepare for retirement.
  • Cons: Keep in mind a duplex or multifamily real estate purchase usually costs more upfront compared to the purchase of a single-family home. You need to be qualified for the financing and have the cash available for a down payment. Plus, you will be a landlord, which means you will need to deal with tenants and potential repairs if your renter treats the property poorly. Another potential drawback is some families don’t want to share walls with other people. But it might be worth the sacrifice to live in a duplex for a short time because of the equity and investment that is built over the years.

DUFFY Realty can help you find the right real estate solution in and around Atlanta. Whether you prefer a single-family home or you are looking for a multifamily solution, we are here to help. Call to learn about the properties that are available in the area: (678) 318-1700

What You Need to Know: A Newbie’s Guide to Flipping a Home

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Real estate investing can be a great option if you are looking to boost your income and build your financial wealth with time. But it can be risky if you are flipping a home without the right strategies to protect your investment. Too often, inexperienced investors buy a property with great intentions, and then later discover that the numbers don’t add up when the costs are finalized.

It is important to know what you have signed up for. Also, tap into the expertise offered by real estate professionals. A few precautionary measures can go a long way to reduce your risk and maximize the profits that are available.

Know the Real Estate Market

One of the most critical aspects of profiting from your real estate investment is knowing the trends in the local housing market. Not only do you need to watch the economic fluctuations so that you can buy low and sell high, but you also need to be familiar with the area so you can find the right property.

An experienced real estate agent can help you evaluate the market and identify neighborhoods that offer great potential. Your agent will help with cost comparisons in the area so that you know how much you can expect when the home is ready to be sold. You need to understand the market prices and the anticipated amount that will need to be sold on the property. Then do the math to see what the profit potential is on the deal.

Plan for Unexpected Costs

Even if you are careful about your spending on renovations, there are always unexpected issues that could cut into your profit margins. Be conservative about your anticipated profits so that you have a little extra cushion in case something goes wrong.

Most people agree that it isn’t worth all the time and effort if your profits will be minimal. Aim for the highest profit margins possible, while still allowing room for a little extra spending if needed.

Financing Considerations

Most new real estate investors don’t have the money to pay cash when flipping a home. So, financing is needed to cover the expenses until the home sales. But remember that the more you borrow, the more the interest costs and fees will cut into your profit margins.

Whenever possible, try to minimize the loans on your project. Do your best to pay for everything out of pocket and make sure that you understand the financing terms if you choose to take out a business loan.

Real Estate Support for Your Purchase

At DUFFY Realty, we are familiar with the Atlanta real estate market and can help you find great opportunities for investment. If you are ready to buy a property, then call us right away so that we can assist with your home search. We’re here to help: (678) 318-1700

Common Reasons Why Buyers Have a Hard Time with Mortgage Qualification

Common Reasons Why Buyers Have a Hard Time with Mortgage Qualification

If you want to buy a home in Atlanta, one of the first steps in this process is mortgage approval. Without the financing, you could be facing disappointment and wasted time when you are unable to buy the home of your dreams.

It is essential that you know the price range of the home that you are able to purchase. This information will help you narrow down the options so that you can quickly identify the right solutions for your family. Unfortunately, some buyers run into issues when they find out that they can’t get approved for a mortgage at the current time.

Why are you unable to get approved for financing? Here are some of the most common issues that might be faced:

  1. Credit Score Problems: A low credit score not only affects the size of the loan, but it will also impact the interest rate and the amount of required mortgage insurance. If the score is too low, then it could be a deal killer. When you want to buy a home, it is essential that your credit score is addressed as soon as possible.
  2. Employment History: A lack of consistency in employment history is another reason why you might have a hard time getting a mortgage. A solid work history shows that you will likely have the income to support the payments that are needed. In addition to consistent work, you need to be able to show reliable income sources. For example, it might be a challenge to qualify for a mortgage if you don’t have traceable, stable income. For this reason, it can sometimes be hard for self-employed buyers to qualify for a loan.
  3. Down Payment: While there are various options to overcome the hurdle of a down payment, you will need to have at least a little cash on hand to pay upfront expenses. Talk to your lender about the low- or no-down payment options and identify the amount of cash that you will need to have on hand to qualify.
  4. High Debt Load: During the mortgage application process, your lender will take a look at your debt-to-income ratio. Too much debt could be a red flag that results in mortgage disqualification. Start a focused effort to pay down the balances that are owed. Not only will you reduce the debt load, but debt paydown can also help with credit score improvement.

DUFFY Realty has experience helping many buyers find the right solutions to buy the family home of their dreams. If you are ready to buy a home, then we invite you to talk to us about the services that are available. We offer the leading real estate solutions in the area. Additionally, we have excellent industry connections to help you find a good lender. Call to learn more: (678) 318-1700

Are You Cut Out to Own Investment Properties?

Are You Cut Out to Own Investment Properties?

It seems like every entrepreneur’s dream to invest in real estate and start earning passive income. This article will discuss whether you are cut out to own investment properties.  There are definitely benefits to owning one or more investment properties. But, it is essential to understand what you are getting into if you choose to pursue this path.

While there are many people who have experienced great success with real estate investing, the results can vary depending on your strategy and the properties that you choose. If you are going to spend your money on a property to flip or rent, then it is essential that you do your research and understand the responsibility associated with the decision.

Time and Money for Real Estate Investing

Not only do you need to have the cash to buy the property and invest in renovations, but you also need to be ready to put in the time that might be required. For example, if you are going to flip a property, then you will spend time working with a real estate agent to find the right opportunity. Next, time is dedicated to the financing and closing on the sale. Then, you will need work with home contractors to complete the renovations that are necessary, or pick up the hammer if you are going to take a DIY approach. Finally, additional time will go into the sale of the property before you have the cash in hand.

Many of these steps are applicable to rental properties as well. But, additional time will be required to find renters, check their credit and background, and maintain the ongoing upkeep and repairs that might be needed.

Regardless of your strategy, it is important that you know the numbers so that you can see the long-term financial benefits that will be available. These details will ensure that you have the optimal results from your investment.

Hiring the Services of Local Experts

The most important decision that you can make is hiring the services of industry experts who can help with your new investment. These are some of the people that need to be on your team:

  • Financing: A mortgage professional who can help you find the right financing solutions to pay for the property. Or, you might be working with one or more partners who have cash to put towards the investment.
  • Agent: Don’t attempt a DIY approach when it is time to buy a property. You need the services of an experienced real estate agent who can oversee all of the details to ensure that you are getting a good deal for your investment.
  • Contractors: In most situations, investment properties will need a little bit of work to improve the quality of the home. Find local contractors that offer quality, affordable services so that you always know who to call.

When you find the right property, it can be a great way to ensure your financial future. Real estate investing can be a good way to optimize your cash flow, but you need to be ready to put in the work that will be required. If you need assistance finding the right property, then we invite you to contact our team at DUFFY Realty: (678) 318-1700

Buying a Home? 4 Steps to Improve Your Real Estate Offer

Buying a Home? 4 Steps to Improve Your Offer

The real estate industry fluctuates over the years, and right now we are facing a situation that is known as a “seller’s market.” What it means is that the inventory is low, so buyers need to be more competitive with the homes that are available.

Just because the number of available homes on the market is lower than normal, doesn’t mean that you can’t find a property for your family. But, there are a few strategies that should be used to increase the likelihood that your offer will be accepted. If your offers have been rejected, don’t assume that it is the wrong time to buy a home. Instead, hire the right real estate team to assist with your strategy, making it easier to find the home of your dreams.

Adding a Competitive Edge to Your Offer

A few small changes to your strategy can make a big difference to increase the likelihood that your offer will be accepted. Here are a few tips to use:

  1. Personalize the Offer: Sellers feel good to know that their home will be loved and cared for by a good family. Often, these people have emotions and memories tied with the home, so it is common for them to prioritize families over an investor. Send a personal letter to show that you are wanting to live in the home with the people that you love, instead of using it as an investment property.
  2. Current Preapproval: It can be frustrating to run into problems at closing because of issues with the buyer’s financing. Sellers want to see that you are serious about the purchase, which means that you need to show your ability to pay for the home. Maintain a preapproval letter that is up-to-date so that you can send the details with your offer.
  3. Fair Price: Undercutting the market price is a sure way to put your offer at the bottom of the list. Offer a fair price for the property. You might even offer above appraised value if you know that is the right property for your family.
  4. Be Careful with Contingencies: While it is important to negotiate a fair deal, be careful about the contingencies that are written into the contract. Discuss your strategies for financing or appraisal contingencies with your real estate agent.

Even though these tips seem small, they can have a significant impact on your ability to stand out from the competition. It is important that you are proactive so that you can create an edge over the other buyers.

Most importantly, it is necessary to have an experienced real estate agent by your side. Your agent will offer advice and suggestions that match your needs. You can lean on their expertise, helping to reduce your stress when searching for the right home for your family. For more information, talk to the leading real estate team in Atlanta: DUFFY Realty. We are here to help: (678) 318-1700

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Don’t Overlook These Important Homeownership Costs

Don't Overlook These Important Homeownership Costs

What costs do you need to anticipate if you are planning to buy a home? Often, first-time buyers only look at the cost of the mortgage and utilities… but they fail to consider other expenses that might be incurred. If you are preparing for homeownership, then it is important that you evaluate all of the money that will be needed for the transition. These are some of the most common costs that are incurred when buying a new home:

Moving Expenses

Moving costs will vary based on your decision to hire a moving company. Even if you are planning a DIY move, you still need cash to rent a moving truck. Also, there are always expenses for moving boxes, tape, and other packing supplies. Plan a bigger budget if you have a lot of things that need to be moved.

Home Renovations

There are probably a few small items that need to be addressed in the home before you move in. For example, it is common for new homeowners to change the locks on the doors for security purposes. Some people want to upgrade the flooring or repaint the walls to match the furniture that will be used. If you are planning to buy a fixer-upper, then make sure to have a large budget for these renovation costs.


Even though you put in your due-diligence with a home inspection, there are a few maintenance tasks that might need to be addressed after you move in. Pay attention to some of the common maintenance tasks that are coming up: roof replacement, plumbing, HVAC, windows, and more. Experts say that most homeowners spend between 1 – 3% of the purchase price on home maintenance tasks each year. So, make sure you are ready with a maintenance savings account.

Furniture and Décor

Upgrading to a larger home is essential if your family is growing. But, you also need to consider the cost of the furnishings that will be needed. More rooms mean that you need more furniture. It is common for homeowners to use moving as an opportunity for a fresh start by creating a new theme for the décor.

Utility Bills

Monthly utility costs can be a big surprise if you are moving from an apartment to a home. Find out the anticipated costs for water, garbage collection, electricity, gas, and HOA fees. These costs will change based on the way you use your home. So, you can also make adjustments to the thermostat and electricity usage if you are looking for ways to save money.

Talk to the Best Real Estate Team in Atlanta

Yes, there are extra expenses that will be incurred when you are buying a home. But, it doesn’t mean that you can’t afford to be a homeowner. Talk to us at DUFFY Realty to learn more about the expenses that will need to be paid when you are preparing for homeownership. We are here to help: (678) 318-1700

4 Steps to Get Settled Into Your New Home

4 Steps to Get Settled Into Your New Home

It can take a lot of work to move to a new property. But, it is worth the effort to live in a dream home with your family! Now that you have sold your old home and closed on a new place, it is time to maintain the momentum to ensure that everyone settles in. Whether you are moving across state lines or to a neighborhood on the other side of town, you need to be proactive to make your new home feel comfortable and relaxing.

Follow these four steps to connect with your new community and create a home that you will enjoy sharing with the people that you love:

Step 1: Unpack

It sounds like an obvious suggestion, but dedicate time to unpack the essential items right away. Setting up the kitchen is often the highest priority, especially because the kitchen is the heart of the home. Even if you haven’t unpacked the clothing and toys, a functioning kitchen will create a place where the family can gather for meals. You might be juggling work and family responsibilities, but don’t underestimate the importance of scheduling enough time to unpack the boxes and turn the house into a home.

Step #2: Stick to a Routine

A lack of routine can disrupt kids and parents alike. Set a routine that can be used to help the kids feel the normal rhythm of familiarity. You might be tempted to be flexible with bedtime since you are working to clean and unpack in the new house, but a lack of sleep can lead to grumpy kids. Even though it is difficult to stick with an exact routine, do the best that you can to establish a pattern that will support family members when settling into the new home.

Step 3: Talk to the Neighbors

A simple conversation with your new neighbors can go a long way to build ongoing relationships. Make yourself approachable by taking walks through the neighborhood or sitting on the front porch. Smile when you see others in the neighborhood and don’t be shy about extending a hand of friendship and introducing your family.

Step 4: Support the School Transition

Whether the kids are making a move in the middle of a school year or they have time to settle in for a month or two before school starts, it is important that you are proactive to support the transition to the new school. Attending school not only supports the child’s education, but it is a place where kids and parents can make friendships and connect with other people in the community.

Our team at DUFFY Realty is here to assist with every step of your home purchase. Talk to us to learn more about the things that you should be doing when you are buying a home. We offer unbeatable real estate services in the Atlanta area, and we are here to help with anything that you need: (678) 318-1700

Important Factors to Consider if You Are Going to Invest in a Fixer-Upper

Important Factors to Consider if You Are Going to Invest in a Fixer-Upper


It is amazing to see the equity that can be gained for homeowners or investors who are willing to put in the work to renovate a fixer-upper. If you are considering the financial benefits that are available for your family, it is essential that you understand what you are getting into when you buy a home that needs renovations.

The benefits of a fixer-upper are that you can tap into the charm of the home, and still have the opportunity to customize the features and details to match the needs of your spouse and children. Here are a few things that to consider to increase the likelihood of success in your endeavors:

Hire an Inspector

You might be able to see that the home needs aesthetic upgrades, such as new flooring and paint. But, there could be structural problems that can’t be seen during your walk-through.

Make sure that you hire a home inspector to look at the details of the property, helping you understand the big renovations that will need to be addressed. An inspector will look at details such as the quality of the roof, the safety of the electrical system, and whether the plumbing is in good condition.

Work with the Professionals

Some of the renovations might be great do-it-yourself options, such as designing the flower beds or painting a fun mural on the wall of the playroom. But, don’t undertake big renovations without tapping into the experience of a professional contractor.

For example, you could be setting yourself up for failure if you attempt DIY electrical or plumbing work. Also, you need to be sure that you bring in an experienced team who will get the job done right. For big jobs, it can be beneficial to hire an architect to manage the load-bearing walls and floor plan changes.

Compare Other Properties in the Area

Don’t overlook the many resources that are available through your real estate agent. Look at the comparable homes in the area, so that you can estimate the equity that might be available for your investment. If you plan to invest $50,000 for home renovations, but your value will only go up by $30,000, then you might pass on the opportunity and look for a better investment property.

A good Atlanta real estate agent will be familiar with the industry, and they can make recommendations to help you learn more about your options. This information can be invaluable, giving you the foundation that you need to maximize your equity. Additionally, real estate agents are usually well-connected in the industry and can provide recommendations for contractors and other professionals who can help with the service.

If you are planning to buy a fixer-upper, then make sure that you hire the best real estate team to help: DUFFY Realty. We are the leading real estate group in the area, and our team would love to offer the assistance that you need. Call to learn more: (678) 318-1700