Is Fall a Good Time To Buy or Sell a Home

young girl in lion facepaint
young girl in lion facepaint

Real Estate Insight

As the seasons change, we often get questions from people who are considering a move: it is a good time to buy or sell a home? If you have flexibility with your move schedule, then it’s smart to talk to a real estate agent so you can choose the ideal time of year to maximize your equity.

Many people assume that summer is the best time to buy or sell a home. While it’s true that families often move during the warm summer months when the kids are out of school, it doesn’t mean that nothing happens in the real estate industry during the rest of the year.

Talk to our experienced real estate team, and we will tell you without hesitation: fall is an excellent time if you are ready to buy or sell a home!

Why Fall is a Great Time of Year for Real Estate

What makes fall a good time when you are ready to buy or sell a home? Here are a few reasons why:

  1. Serious Buyers: Spring and summer tend to bring out “tire-kicking” buyers. These people are considering the option to buy a home, but they aren’t serious enough to make an offer. On the other hand, buyers in the fall are feeling the pressure to move before the holiday season, which means there is a higher chance that they will act quickly when finding the right home.
  2. Less Inventory: Other sellers in the area might put their real estate listing on hold during this time of year, because they don’t want the hassle of showing a home and moving during the holidays. Often, sellers are rushed to close before September 30th. Then, people assume that it is best to wait until after the new year before taking a serious look at their options. As a result, fall is the perfect time to sell because there is less inventory, which means you will be up against less competition.
  3. Home Improvement Options: Contractors tend to be busier during the summer months due to the construction going on when the weather is warm. If you want to make a few improvements in your home, then you’ll likely find that contractors are more available during the fall months. Your old home could use a little bit of TLC, whether you are preparing it for a real estate listing or buying a fixer-upper.

If you are thinking about buying or selling this fall, then don’t delay your opportunity to talk to a real estate expert. Our team at DUFFY Realty is here to help you put together the right moving strategy based on the needs of your family. Contact us at any time to learn more about the local and seasonal real estate trends. We’re here to help: (678) 318-1700

VA Loans

Veterans and their families may qualify for a home loan through Veterans Affairs (VA). As an insurance program, the VA offers 100% financing of mortgages and guarantees them up to $424,100. They do not require any down payment and mortgage insurance can be included in the loan itself. Lenders have different requirements, but in general, qualifying borrowers should have no more than a 41% debt-to-income ratio. If you can obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) from the VA, you can apply for a no down payment loan through this program.

USDA Loans

First-time homebuyers that live in designated suburban and rural areas may be eligible for a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Housing loan. The program is intended for those who live in remote areas, but there are places in suburbia that do fall under the locational restriction. Loan applicants must have at least a 600-640 credit score and make less than certain income amounts. A loan guarantee of 3.5% is required upfront, but borrowers can choose to include it in the loan itself so that no cash is required when the loan closes.

Navy Federal Credit Union Mortgage Loans

The biggest credit union in the U.S. in membership and assets, NFCU’s no money down mortgage loans are a lot like VA loans. You won’t be required to carry mortgage insurance, but there is a funding fee of 1.75%. This fee can be rolled into the loan balance. However, you need to be a qualifying credit union member to apply for the loan. Membership is exclusive to U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) employees and contractors at DoD installations, personnel from all military branches, and family members of any of these members.

FHA Loans

Loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration are intended to stimulate the economy and housing industry by encouraging first time home buyers to buy a home. They do require a down payment, but it is quite low. You can pay as little as 3.5% of the home sale price.

Talk with a Pro

Buying a home is a big commitment, and for some of us, it can feel out of reach. That’s where no down or low down payment loans can help. They lend quite a bit more than just a helping hand, making it possible for many people to get their little piece of the American dream.

Here at DUFFY Realty, we can connect you with excellent lenders that understand the world of mortgage finance and will help you find a loan to meet your needs. Call us for a conversation today: (678) 318-1700

Rhonda Duffy

Rhonda Duffy

Real estate expert and consumer advocate Rhonda Duffy is documented and ranked the #1 Agent in the U.S. for resales three years in a row and #1 Agent in Georgia 12 years in a row. Rhonda is the media’s go to expert on real estate matters for her commonsense approach, consumer advocacy and work to educate the public on the rapidly changing landscape of her profession. She has been licensed in real estate for 20 years, has been a broker in seven states and is trained in staging certification.

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How do the Fed Rate Changes Affect the Real Estate Industry

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The recent Fed meeting brought about a surprising change in the direction of interest rates. In other meetings, the decision was to maintain the same rates, or even to increase rates just a bit. But in the latest Fed meeting, they decided to drop interest rates. So, what does that mean for the real estate industry?

The Fed Rates and Mortgage Rates Aren’t Correlated

Keep in mind that the Fed interest rate changes don’t have a direct correlation on mortgage interest rates. For example, when the Fed drops rates by .25% (which they did in the last meeting), it doesn’t mean that mortgage rates automatically drop by .25% as well.

That being said, the Fed rates announcement is big economic news, which means that the decision after each meeting will affect the economy. In turn, these economic changes have an impact on mortgage rate trends. The market is beginning to slow down just a bit, which is having a positive impact on mortgage options. We’re seeing a reversal in interest rates, and as these rates go down, real estate buying power goes up.

How Lower Interest Rates Affect Mortgage Approval and Payments

When you talk to a lender for pre-approval to buy a home, the numbers will be calculated to figure out your maximum purchase price and mortgage payment. This payment threshold stays the same, which means that a lower interest rate gives you the option to buy a bigger home.

For example, if interest rates drop by 1%, then that decrease gives you 10% higher buying power in terms of the purchase price of your home. Your monthly payment will still be about the same, but you will be paying less interest – which frees up more cash that goes to the principle of the home. As a result, you can afford to buy at a higher price-point. Or, you have the option to choose a home in the lower purchase price, helping to decrease your monthly payments.

Good News for the Real Estate Market

When mortgage rates go down, it’s good news for the real estate market. These lower interest rates make it possible for more people to buy homes. At the same time, the stronger buying power can have a positive impact to help sellers maximize the selling price. These lower interest rates are great to stimulate the real estate industry and option up options if you are thinking about buying or selling a home.

If you are looking for real estate services in Atlanta, then DUFFY Realty is here to assist. We’d love to show you the benefits that come from choosing the best real estate team in the area. Contact us any time to learn more about the top-notch, low-cost real estate services that are available for your family: (678) 318-1700

History of Real Estate: Pioneers Who Changed the Industry

The real estate industry we know today is quite different from the roots that started many years ago. Looking back over real estate history, it was around 1900 when real estate brokers began offering services to present homes available for sale.

Founding of the National Association of Real Estate Exchanges

In Chicago, on May 12, 1908, the National Association of Real Estate Exchanges was founded. The goal was to “unite the real estate men of America for the purpose of effectively exerting a combined influence upon matters affecting real estate interests.” The association had founding boards in a handful of cities across the US: Chicago; Baltimore; Bellingham, Wash.; Los Angeles; Cincinnati; Sioux City, Iowa; Philadelphia; Cleveland; Detroit; Duluth, Minn.; Kansas City, Mo.; Milwaukee; Minneapolis; Seattle; Omaha, Neb.; St. Louis; Gary, Ind.; St. Paul, Minn.; and Tacoma, Wash.

A code of real estate ethics was developed in 1913, based on the Golden Rule as the theme of the industry. It wasn’t until 1919 when professional certification and licensing became standard, through the efforts of the association. The association has continued to hold annual conferences over the years, and is now known as the National Association of Realtors after the name was changed in 1972.

The Digital Age of the Real Estate Industry

This industry began to change quickly as digital technology became an integral part of buying and selling a home. As of 2017, 99% of millennial buyers look at online listings to find properties of interests. In the same year, 58% of all buyers indicated that they found their home through mobile apps. Homebuyers, home sellers, and agents have all made the shift to lean on technology as an essential part of the real estate process.

People Changing the Real Estate Industry

Even though the real estate industry was established more than 100 years ago, there are agents today who are continuing to be modern pioneers in promoting new practices in the industry. The most notable changes in real estate are related to the advent of the internet. Online tools help facilitate real estate awareness and transactions, making it easier than ever for buyers and sellers to connect.

A few people leading the current industry include:

  • Rhonda Duffy, founder of Duffy Realty, CEO: A pioneer in adapting flat fee realty services and an 8 step buyer action timeline to help ensure buyers’ rights across the country.
  • Mauricio Umansky, founder of The Agency in Beverly Hills. This brokerage is changing the approach to real estate by offering a modern, start-up look and feel to appeal to the younger generations.
  • Rebekah Bastian, group manager at Zillow. Both homeowners and real estate agents can tap into a variety of tools available, including sales integrations, advertising, and more.

While these industry pioneers have had an impact on the nationwide real estate trends, you can also find local influences as well. Here at DUFFY Realty, we are always looking for ways to improve the opportunities for buying and selling homes in Atlanta. Call to learn more about our services: (678) 318-1700

Housing Trends and The Suburban Shift in 2019

For Sale By Owner Signs are Practically Invisible in the Real Estate Market

The housing trends are always shifting, making it feel impossible to keep up with the market if you don’t work in the industry. As a homeowner, you don’t need to spend your time scouring through the real estate news and evaluating the way the economy will impact your real estate holdings. Instead, lean on the services of an experienced real estate agent who can guide your decisions when buying or selling a home.

2019 Suburban Shift

So, what should you expect this year in the real estate market? One of the greatest trends predicted for 2019 is in what is known as the “suburban shift.” The largest growing demographic of homebuyers is the millennial generation, and many of these buyers are looking for single-family homes. As a result, the demand is growing outside of major cities.

These homebuyers want easy access to the downtown area so they can work and play. At the same time, they want the quiet, family-focused neighborhoods to raise children and build family memories over the years.

Moving to the suburban neighborhoods makes sense, especially after spending 5 or 10 years living downtown and paying high rents. While the big cities offer excitement and conveniences, it’s hard to imagine settling down with a family in a tiny downtown apartment. A move to the suburbs offers bigger homes, great schools for the kids, and lower real estate prices.

How the Real Estate Markets Will Be Affected

As the millennial generation continues to shift to the suburban areas, it is expected that home prices in these neighborhoods will stay strong. The competition will remain high for single-family homes, and it is anticipated that there will be an ongoing demand for affordable housing.

Of course, there is no way to predict real estate trends with certainty. But high demand is always a factor that keeps prices strong. If you own a suburban home, it’s good news for your investment! You can expect that your home value will stay strong for the foreseeable future.

If you are preparing to buy a suburban home, then it is essential to work with the right real estate team that understands the local industry. The most effective option for leveraging any real estate trend is to ensure that you have a knowledgeable real estate professional to offer the best guidance for your situation.

DUFFY Realty is here to help! We’ve been serving the Atlanta real estate industry for many years and have developed an excellent reputation in the area. We know the best solutions for maximizing your real estate investment based on current housing trends and we’d love to help with your real estate investment. Whether you are preparing to buy or sell a home, we invite you to call us so you can learn about the best strategy for the current industry: (678) 318-1700

Multi-Family Homes: Pros and Cons that Need to be Considered

Multi-Family Homes: Pros and Cons that Need to be Considered

If you are buying a home and looking at options to manage your costs, then you might consider the option to purchase a multi-family home. While there are benefits that can help you manage your spending, you need to evaluate all of the pros and cons and how these factors will affect your family.

What are Multi-Family Homes?

Purchasing a property that falls under the category of a “multi-family” home means that you are buying a property that is connected to other homes with shared walls. For example, a condo building is a multi-family solution that gives every family a private entrance and living space, but the layout of the condos could be similar to an apartment building.

Townhomes are another way that multi-family homes are built. These properties are often placed side-by-side, so you will be sharing one or more walls with the neighbors. Another similar example is a twin home or duplex where you own half the property, with another homeowner carrying the mortgage on the other half of the home. Or, you might own the entire property and rent out the other half or a mother-in-law apartment.

These multi-family housing options are increasing in demand due to the rising cost of living. People want a way to enjoy homeownership without spending a lot of money on a big mortgage.

Pros of Multi-Family Homes

Here are some of the most obvious benefits that are available if you choose to purchase a multi-family home:

  • Faster mortgage payoff if you are renting a portion of your home. The income from the rental increases the cash flow that can be put towards the loan balance.
  • Buying real estate properties helps to build your assets and wealth. If you can pay the mortgage off in a short time, then the equity can be rolled into another investment property. These strategies can add up over the years, helping you prepare for retirement.
  • Tax benefits are available when you own a home instead of renting. Talk to your accountant to learn the best strategies for taking advantage of the tax write-offs that can be used.

Cons of Multi-Family Homes

There are also a few drawbacks that should be considered before you buy this type of property:

  • Sharing walls isn’t always preferred if the family wants to maintain a quiet living space without listening to the neighbors throughout the day.
  • Smaller yards are common. You might not have a private outdoor area because the yard is often shared by all of the families in the community.

There are pros and cons to the purchase of every type of home. The most important thing that you can do is evaluate your goals and the needs of your family. Then, work with an experienced real estate agent to find a home that matches your needs. For more information, talk to DUFFY Realty by calling: (678) 318-1700

What Does It Mean When You Hear About Low Real Estate Inventory?

What Does It Mean When You Hear About Low Real Estate Inventory?

It’s no surprise that the real estate market changes over the years, and these trends often make headlines in the news. In this article we are going to discuss what it means when you hear about low real estate inventory.  Right now, one of the big topics of conversation is about the relatively low inventory and the fact that it is a seller’s market. Do these topics need to be a concern to you and your family if you are planning to move?

Low Inventory: What it Means When you Hear About Low Real Estate Inventory

Having lower than average real estate inventory means that there aren’t as many listings on the real estate market for potential buyers. So, it might take a little longer to find a home that matches your needs. There are still homes that are being listed every day, which means that the right home will become available if you keep looking.

At the same time, homebuyers also need to be ready to act quickly when they find the right property. If you find a home that matches your requirements, then don’t delay the process of submitting an offer. Having your pre-approval paperwork and offer information ready in advance will make it easier to send an offer when the time is right.

Also, consider the option to adjust your “wants” and “needs” for your new home purchase. For example, if you are having a hard time finding a property that matches your desires, then you might think about buying a home that is a close fit, and then invest money into renovations to transform the property to meet your needs. Or, you might look into home construction so that you can choose the details such as the floorplans and finishes.

Why a Good Real Estate Agent Matters

You just need to make sure that you have a proactive real estate team to locate the home of your dreams. Your agent can watch the new listings. At the same time, conversations can be started with industry connections, helping you find potential properties before the listings go live.

An experienced real estate agent in Atlanta will make all the difference when you are buying or selling a home. Regardless of the current trends in the industry, you can rest assured to know that your agent will help you find the right deal to match the needs of your family.

Additionally, your agent will be available to complete the offer when you find the best home. Time is of the essence, which means that you need a team that can act quickly to ensure that there aren’t any delays with the offer submission.

If you are preparing to move, then you need to have a trusted real estate team to help. At DUFFY Realty, we have many years of experience in the Atlanta real estate industry. Our team knows the best strategies to make your offer stand out from the other home buyers. Contact us today if you need assistance finding the home of your dreams: (678) 318-1700

If you enjoyed What Does It Mean When You Hear About Low Real Estate Inventory, read this: Will the Real Estate Trends Be Changing Soon?

Renter’s Insurance is a Must: Is Your Property Protected?

Renter's Insurance is a Must: Is Your Property Protected?

Is your property covered if a catastrophe happens? Hopefully, nothing will damage your home or rental property. But, you never know when the unexpected will occur. So, it is essential that you have a good rental insurance policy to ensure that you won’t be facing financial problems if something damages your home.

Rental Insurance: A Requirement in the Lease

As a landlord, you need to think about the coverage for your rental properties. Not only do you need to have the right insurance coverage for the property, but you should also require the renters to carry a rental insurance policy as well.

This requirement can be written into the lease, requiring that the renters carry an active policy while living in the property. If something happens, the insurance coverage could mean next month’s rent. It offers an extra layer of protection when you have other people renting the space.

Renter’s insurance is affordable; most of the time the monthly premium is less than $20 a month. When you are choosing potential renters, let them know that the policy is necessary if they want to rent the property. Refer them to talk to their existing auto insurance company to see if discounted rental insurance is available as well.

Why Your Renters Need Insurance

Adding this layer of protection helps you avoid a few potential problems of being a landlord. Here are the reasons why you need to require your tenants to carry a rental insurance policy.

  • Avoid Legal Action: If damage happens to your renter’s belongings, then you might be facing a lawsuit to cover the costs. Avoid litigation by having an insurance policy that will pay for the damages if a natural disaster occurs.
  • Reduce Liability: Did you know that you could be held liable for an injury on the property, even if you aren’t on-site when it occurs? For example, the renter could throw a party and have a guest injured on site. If that person doesn’t have health insurance coverage, then they might file a claim against the landlord. But, a renter’s insurance policy will cover the claim, helping to take the liability away from you.
  • Manage Tenant Quality: It is a red flag if you have tenants who are complaining about carrying a rental insurance policy. When you are discussing the agreement, be cautious if the applicant says that they can’t afford the $20 monthly payment for an insurance policy.
  • Temporary Home Coverage: Will you be responsible for finding a place for the renters to live if something damages the home? If a flood or fire make the property uninhabitable, then renter’s insurance will pay for the temporary housing.

 

Not only will you minimize your financial risk, but renter’s insurance also gives you the peace of mind to know that things are covered if something goes wrong.

Do you need more information about buying an investment property? Our team at DUFFY Realty is here to help! Contact us any time for the best real estate services in Atlanta: (678) 318-1700

How Much Will You Pay in Real Estate Agent Commissions?

How Much Will You Pay in Real Estate Agent Commissions?

 

For many years, real estate agents have been paid a commission based on the price of the home. Usually, the agents get 6% of the value of the property, split between the two agents. Even though this has been standard practice in the industry for so many years, times are changing, and there are other options available.

Here at DUFFY Realty, we have put together a proven method that helps us sell homes in record time, at a cheaper cost to our clients. Instead of charging the high rates that are standard in the industry, we are breaking the mold by keeping it at a low flat-fee cost when you are working with our team.

Commission Costs Can Add Up!

How much will be paid to the real estate agent? If your home closes at the price of $200,000, then the real estate agents will get a whopping $12,000 in commissions! The commission costs just go up from there. $18,000 in commissions will go to the agents for a $300,000 home, and the numbers continue rising for the more expensive properties.

Not only are you carrying the burden of signing on a new mortgage and paying for closing costs, inspections, and more, but you also need to work these commissions into the totals. Instead of paying these expensive costs, consider looking for an alternative method that will save you money.

Save Thousands of Dollars

Choosing a flat-fee real estate agent means that you can save thousands of dollars in real estate commissions. Imagine what you could do with that money…

  • Remodel the kitchen or bathrooms
  • Put in new flooring
  • Invest in landscaping
  • Buy new furniture
  • Take the family on a vacation
  • Buy a car for your teenager

Thousands of dollars can go a long way to support your family and upgrade your home. There is no reason why you should be paying these expensive real estate fees when cheaper alternatives are available.

DUFFY Realty: The Best Flat-Fee Real Estate Team in Atlanta

Here at DUFFY Realty, we are working hard to help our clients save money while buying the home of their dreams. We have seen the ways that the real estate industry has been transformed by technology. These changes have made it possible to reduce the time that is required to sell a home. So, we pass these savings onto our customers.

Since the real estate industry has changed, we felt like it was the right thing to adjust our practices and help our clients save money. Don’t worry; just because you are paying less, doesn’t mean that you will receive subpar service. Our team is dedicated to your success, and we have an incredible track record in the real estate industry.

Are you ready to learn more about the ways that you can save money on the purchase of your home? Talk to us at DUFFY Realty for more details about our flat-fee commissions: (678) 318-1700

Moving to Georgia from another State? Here are a Few Tips to Help with the Transition

Moving to Georgia from another State? Here are a Few Tips to Help with the Transition

Whether you are changing jobs or looking for a nice place to retire, you will love the options that are available if you choose to come to Georgia. The Southern cookin’ and warm weather provide a great location for people of all ages.

It’s always a big task to move out of state! Not only do you need to care for the individual concerns of each family member, but you also need to make sure that you have a comfortable home to settle into. The best solution is to buy a home as soon as possible so that you can help your family settle down without the uncertainty of not knowing where you are ultimately going to live.

Here are a few tips to help with the transition to your new home in Atlanta or any other area in the beautiful state of Georgia:

Tip #1: Find a Great Buyer’s Agent

If you aren’t familiar with the area, it makes good sense that you should hire someone who has a thorough understanding of the real estate market. Finding a buyer’s agent should be the first step when you are looking to buy a home for you and your family.

Your agent will be a valuable resource to help you learn more about the neighborhoods, commute times, and other amenities that are available in the area. To work with the best agent in the Atlanta area, make sure to contact us at DUFFY Realty as soon as you find out you are moving here. We’ll roll out the red carpet to welcome you here.

Tip #2: Set a Budget

Take an assessment of your finances to determine how much you can spend on your new home. It is a good idea to go through the mortgage pre-approval process so that you have specific numbers to work with. These details can help you narrow down the homes to those within your desired price range.

In addition to the cost of the mortgage, you might also consider other costs such as HOA fees, property taxes, insurance costs, commute expenses, and other related expenses of owning a home in the area. Evaluate all of the expenses that you will be paying to ensure that your new home will fit into your family budget.

Tip #3: Research the Area

It is sometimes difficult to become familiar with an area in the short term, especially if you haven’t been there before. When you are visiting a potential area that you may be interested in, look for the patterns of the area and the demographics that you observe in the neighborhood. Other factors to consider include freeway access, traffic levels, the proximity of schools, and crime rates.

Talk to your real estate agent about your goals for the neighborhood where you want to live. Also, consider doing some online searches to find information about the neighborhoods that you are considering.

Here at DUFFY Realty, we will make it as easy as possible for you to move to Georgia! If you are preparing to move to the area, we invite you to contact the leading real estate team in Atlanta. We are here to help: (678) 318-1700

Does Curb Appeal Matter for an Investment Property?

Does Curb Appeal Matter for an Investment Property?

There is no doubt that you want the best features and living conditions for your family home. But, criteria often changes when a person is searching for an investment property. If you are ready to buy another home to rent or flip, then you might be looking for a different type of home than what you purchased for your family.

Rental properties can be a great investment because they provide steady cash flow to help you grow your assets. When you are renting multiple apartment units or single-family homes, you need to consider the property features and finishes that will create a comfortable living space for your renters. At the same time, you also need to consider the cost of upgrades and remodeling, because these extra costs can cut into your profit margins.

Attracting the Right Tenants

One thing to consider is that the location and quality of your rental property will affect the type of tenants that you attract. If the outside of the property is run-down, then high-quality tenants might not be interested in living there. As a result, you might have fewer options for tenants, making it harder to find trustworthy people who will take care of the property and pay their rent on time each month.

So, you need to make sure that the curb appeal attracts the type of people that you want to rent to. Responsible people demand a certain level of cleanliness and upkeep, and a little bit of work can go a long way to creating the space that they are interested in renting.

Sprucing Up the Curb Appeal of Your Rental Property

If your rental property is looking old and run down, what is the best way to spend your money to get the best return on your investment? Here are a few things that you might consider:

  • Upgrade the doors and windows, or consider renovating them. Make sure that the front door is appealing and well-maintained. It is amazing to see how much a fresh coat of paint can transform your front porch!
  • Landscaping matters, because it is one of the first things that people will notice when they come to visit. Cut the grass regularly, plant a few flowers, and trim back the bushes and trees that are overgrown.
  • Lighting outside can be a factor that could attract people to your rental property. If the home looks dark and uninviting, then it might leave the wrong impression when people come to visit. Make sure that all of the light bulbs are working on the front and back porches.

Finding the Right Rental Property

Before you buy an investment home, it is essential that you choose a real estate team who will help you pick a property to maximize your investment. Here at DUFFY Realty, we know the Atlanta real estate market. Talk to us for more information about picking the right property for your investment money: (678) 318-1700