3 Surprising Things You Didn’t Know about Short Sales

Atlanta Short Sale


If you are looking for a good deal on your home, then you might consider the option to buy a short sale. There are pros and cons to this type of real estate purchase though, so it is important that you understand the process before deciding whether this is the right approach for your family.

A short sale happens when a person is unable to pay the mortgage on the property, so the bank decides to discount the loan balance due. There are many factors that the bank needs to consider with this type of sale though, so the process is a little different than a standard real estate transaction.

Here are three surprising things that you need to understand before you buy a short sale in Atlanta or any other area:

1. Be Prepared to Wait

When you are buying a short sale, all of the communication happens with the loss mitigation department at the bank that owns the property. The bank will look at extenuating circumstances, which will determine whether or not the bank will accept the discount on the loan balance. Typically, the bank is looking at the current trends in the real estate market, as well as the financial situation of the buyer.

Often, the bank will choose a short sale in order to prevent the home from going into foreclosure, because they believe that it will result in a small financial loss. Because of the considerations that go into the decision making process, this transaction can take a long time. In many situations, you might be waiting for several months before it is time to close on the property. So, be patient.

2. Be Flexible

When buying a home, it makes sense that you want to find the perfect home of your dreams. But, in many situations, short sales will require a little bit of work to get them fixed up. You might need to be willing to compromise your goals in a few small ways in order to get the right deal.

Remember, if the home was in better shape, then it might have been out of your price range. Choosing a short sale means that you can afford a bigger home, but there is a possibility that you will spend some time and money on repair work before you move in.

3. Keep Looking

There is a possibility that you might not get the house that you want, so it doesn’t hurt to continue looking for other deals while you are waiting. Be open to other options, because you never know when another opportunity will come along. If you find something different, you can always pull your offer on the short sale.

At Duffy Realty of Atlanta, we want to help you find the home of your dreams. Whether you are looking at a short sale or another type of real estate purchase, we invite you to contact our office anytime so that we can help: (678) 318-1700

Short Sales: An Answer to Being Underwater on Your Mortgage

short selling a house - Atlanta Real Estate

Do you feel like you are drowning, trying to keep up with the payments on your mortgage? It can be an overwhelming experience to see that you can’t make the payments, especially when your mortgage is under water. If you owe more on the mortgage than what the house is worth, then we invite you to contact us at Duffy Realty of Atlanta.

A short sale might be the right solution that you are searching for, but it is important that you understand how this process works before you make the decision to short sell your home.

What You Need to Know About Short Selling a House

There are several essential factors that you need to understand before you determine if short selling is right for you. The best thing that you can do is talk with an experienced real estate agent who understands the short sale market, to help you get the most favorable outcome possible from the situation.

Here are a few things that you need to know:

  • Mortgage Higher than Home Value: Is your mortgage higher than the value of your home? If you want to sell but the value of your home won’t be enough to pay off the mortgage, then a short sale is likely your best solution.
  • Your Credit Score: Many people consider a short sale in an attempt to save their credit, but the truth is that short selling a house can still impact your credit score. You are often still better off by getting rid of the mortgage that you can’t pay, especially since late mortgage payments can also cause your credit to tank.
  • Avoid Foreclosure: Are you worried about your home going into foreclosure? Having a foreclosure on your record can cause a negative social stigma, and this situation can be avoided by pushing through a short sale before the foreclosure happens.
  • Buy Another Home: When you are ready to jump into home ownership again, it is easier to have a short sale instead of a foreclosure. When you short sell your home, you only need to wait for 2 years before you are eligible for a home purchase again. In comparison, a foreclosure requires a waiting period of 5 to 7 years.

As you can see, there are benefits to short selling your home, but you should also explore other options if they are available. Working with a trusted real estate agent is one of the best ways for you to proceed with the sale of your home.

Do you have questions about selling your home? Are you wondering if a short sale is right for your individual circumstances? Contact us at Duffy Realty of Atlanta for more information. Our expert team has plenty of experience with short selling a house, and we can help you make the right decision for your financial situation. Call us today at: (678) 318-1700

How to Sell Your Home: Take the First Steps


Now that the prime selling season is upon us, it is time for you to take action. Whether you are selling your first home or you are a veteran in the home-selling game, there are some things that you need to keep in mind before and during your listing.

Start from the inside-out.

You should make sure that your home is in the best possible condition before selling. To prepare your home properly, you need to begin by clearing out all clutter. Throw away or donate old clothes and trinkets, and eliminate or file away papers in your office or on your counters. Once you’ve effectively de-cluttered your home, you can tackle small jobs around your home to ensure that it will pass inspection. Stick to the old adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” Fix major issues like leaky faucets or broken down, old, or outdated appliances. Don’t waste time renovating if you are hoping to make a quick sell this summer, though. Your buyers can always make aesthetic changes to the home when they move in. But if you want to make small aesthetic edits to your home, try a new coat of paint. Once you’ve made your fixes inside, move outside to improve your curb appeal. Keep your lawn and flower beds tidy and trimmed back. You may even want to plant some colorful, eye-grabbing flowers and shrubs to really stand out from the crowd.

Be picture perfect.

Take photos that feature the best characteristics of your home. Try not to take pictures of works of art or of furniture in your home, since these are all things that will be going with you to your new home anyway. Take multiple photos that will reel buyers in. The majority of buyers start their home-buying process online, so photos can be a big part of selling your home. Make sure they are of the best quality possible and that they showcase your home in a way that persuades buyers to see it in person.

Be accessible.

Allow for buyers to access your property as easily as possible. Add your contact number to your listing and answer all calls that come so that you can open your property for all agents and prospective buyers. On your counters or dining table, leave some fliers or information for buyers and agents to look through. You can include in this information your contact information, seller’s disclosure statement, and information about the property and community.

Overall, be proactive and ready for anything on this journey. Whether you sell your home sells in two weeks or two months, be aware of ways that you can improve the marketing of your home and boost traffic so that you can get your home sold.

Schools Can Make the Grade for Your Home


A good school district when buying or selling a home is a huge asset. If you are a seller, you should use the school district to your advantage and market it as a part of the package that a buyer gets when buying your home. If you are a buyer, research the best school districts in the Atlanta area and consider the benefits of buying in that area. You’d be surprised how much a successful school district can help you in the home buying or selling process.

Do your research.

There are many different resources you can use to research the caliber of schools in an area. You can start at the Georgia Department of Education website to research important statistics like teacher to student ratios, enrollment information, and graduation rates. You can even look into the performance on each school on tests and assessments. Another avenue to explore is the actual district website, where they have more specific information about the schools in their area, or you can visit the websites of the schools in your area to see exact information about the community that surrounds individual schools, as well as the courses and services they offer. Keep in mind, sellers: any stellar information you find about a district or school should be a part of your marketing plan. Report information about the schools in your area to buyers so they can see what kind of benefits they will be getting from your property. Buyers, if the seller does not provide this information for you, do some research for yourself to see what kind of investment you’d be making by buying in a particular school district. Another great way to find out more about the school is by talking to parents of students at the school. During a showing or open house, ask the seller or neighbors what they think of the schools in the area, especially the public schools. You may even want to visit the schools in the area to see what the atmosphere is like and meet some of the administrators. If the property is located near high-scoring private schools, it would be wise to also research those schools, their performance, and obviously, their costs.

High-performing schools increase home value.

Even if you don’t have children who will be attending the excellent schools in your area, keep in mind that those schools increase the value of your home. High-scoring schools can increase home value by $205,000 in the surrounding neighborhoods. Buyers should keep this in mind when buying, since this will greatly improve their investment. And sellers should keep in mind that some buyers may actively avoid areas that are in low-scoring school districts. In those cases, you should market your home in different ways.

Overall, never discount the importance of the school district in which a property is located. Even if you don’t have children who will attend the school, consider the effects of living in a particular school district.

Getting Your Home Ready: What Projects Should You Take On Before Selling?


Before selling your home, you may feel like you need to do some updates to your home or general maintenance projects before listing. There are definitely some things that should be updated or fixed before selling your home to help sell your home quicker or to ensure your home passes inspection. Be warned, though: only take on projects that are extremely necessary and that can be done in your budget.

Maintenance projects should be your priority.

Do you live in an older home? Maybe it’s about twenty years old or so, and you’ve started to notice some signs of aging or breaking down. The first, and possibly most expensive projects you should begin with, should be any kind of repair or maintenance projects. You should make sure that everything in your home is in proper working order before even starting to think about aesthetic projects. These projects could include roof repairs, sink and faucet repairs, HVAC repairs, etc. The best way to figure out what you should fix before selling is to go through a seller’s disclosure statement or consider what is checked during a home inspection and fix the most important things first. This will assure that your home will be able to pass inspection before closing, which is why these repair projects should be your priority.

Put your best front yard forward.

This has been said time and time again: curb appeal sells homes. It’s true. The first thing a buyer sees before even entering your home is the front yard, mailbox, driveway, and front door. First impressions are important. Wow your buyers from the minute they drive up by sprucing up your front yard with some colorful flowers and greenery, pressure wash your driveway, and repaint your front door. Improving your curb appeal will make a huge difference, and it should be the next project after your required maintenance projects.

Clean and de-clutter.

During your preparations to sell your home and consequently to buy a new home, cleaning and de-cluttering your home will be one of your saving graces. Getting rid of junk and unnecessary belongings from your home will eliminate a lot of the clutter that can distract buyers when looking at your home. Moreover, you won’t want to bring any of that junk with you on your move anyway, so throw away all of the papers that clutter your counters, donate old clothes or toys that fill your closets and rooms, and store personal items away. You want to create a clean, depersonalized space for buyers to imagine themselves making their own space in your home.

Take on aesthetic projects last (if you have time and money for them).

These projects should be saved for last. Oftentimes, you should assume that your buyers might want to renovate to their liking. But painting or carpeting certain rooms can give a nice, fresh new look in your home without going to any renovating extremes.

Saturated Spring Market: Stand Out From the Crowd


With the spring season upon us, sellers throughout the metro Atlanta area are feeling confident and putting their properties on the market to sell. You might even find that multiple homes in your neighborhood or area are selling, creating extra pressure and competition. With such a saturated market, you might feel a little discouraged and worried that buyers might not come to your home when there are so many properties on the market. How can you get your home to stand out from the crowd?

Curb appeal is key.

With multiple properties on the market in your neighborhood or community, buyers are sure to do drive-bys to check out the homes, and they are going to judge a book by its cover, so to speak. Buyers will cross properties of their list that don’t have pristine curb appeal. During the spring months, improving your curb appeal with simple landscaping and gardening is the best thing you can do. Keep your yard clean and introduce some color to really draw buyers in.

De-clutter and de-personalize.

You need to create a blank space of sorts for your buyers to imagine themselves living in. The best and easiest way to do this, is to clean and de-clutter rooms and spaces in your home. Put into storage or get rid of things you know you don’t need or you know will definitely come with you on the move to your new home. Also, pack up personal mementos and pictures that might distract buyers from looking at the features of the home itself. You don’t want buyers to feel like they are moving into your home; they need to start imagining where their cherished belongings will go in their new home. Consider staging and your home to really impress potential buyers.

Take impressive photos.

Since the majority of buyers begin their home buying process online, it is ideal to have impressive pictures taken to show off your home in the best way possible. These photos will most likely be the first thing a potential buyer sees, and if you only have one photo or poorly taken photos, those buyers may simply decide to pass on your home. Draw them in! Show off the best features of your home in good lighting, or hire a professional photographer to take excellent photos.

Use comps to your advantage.

The best way to be competitive in a saturated market is to price your home correctly. Use the comps your agent provides you with to knowledgeably price your home. Consider what homes have sold for in your area recently and what homes are priced at that are currently on the market in your area with similar features. Stay close in price range to these properties to really be competitive.

Overall, you should try to stand out by going the extra mile to have an inviting and pristine property and listing so that other sellers will try to compete with you.

Listing Your Home for the Spring Season!

Need some tips for listing your home this spring?  Rhonda Duffy was interviewed by the Atlanta Journal Constitution and gives you all the advice you need to get your home sold!


Be sure to check out our YouTube channel for more awesome videos from Duffy Realty of Atlanta!

Up Your Curb Appeal Game For Spring


Curb appeal for your home can be the most important thing when trying to catch buyers. Starting this weekend, temperatures will rise and spring will begin to waltz in, so it’s the perfect time to get outside and put your green thumb to the test! Take advantage of the warmth and set yourself and your family to work in the yard to improve your home’s curb appeal.

Create an immaculate space.

During the winter season, things can get out of hand in your yard. Plants and trees in your yard can look overgrown or decrepit, so cut them back and prune them to perfection. This will allow your plants and trees to grow beautifully during the warm spring season. Rake up or blow away dead leaves throughout your lawn and flowerbeds, since they can create a cluttered look. Be diligent about general upkeep in your yard. Mow the lawn and put down some fresh pine straw or mulch to clearly mark spaces in your yard, creating a clean and manicured look. The key here is to prevent your yard from looking overgrown and out of control. By cutting things back, removing waste, and maintaining the lawn and garden, you are setting your yard up for some beautiful growth this spring.

Introduce some color.

Visit your local nursery to purchase some colorful, healthy-looking flowers, trees, or shrubs. This is where you get to have fun and be creative with the color palette you want to present to your buyers. Some good choices to consider are roses, tulips, daffodils, peonies, hostas, or crepe myrtles. Get several different colors of the same kind of flower to keep it simple, yet vibrant. Overall, you want buyers to drive through your neighborhood and stop in front of your home to ooh and ahh at the beauty of your yard. They will only want to see more of your home.


Don’t neglect your backyard.

The state of your backyard can be an important selling point of your home. You want to create an illusion of privacy, comfort, and fun all at once. You want your buyers to imagine relaxing in the backyard, or hosting a barbecue for friends. At the same time, you want the backyard to bring your buyers a sense of being at one with nature. Introduce some lush greenery to this space, to really create an atmosphere of health and serenity. Place some lawn or deck furniture in the backyard as well to allow buyers to imagine sitting outside on a warm summer evening with their family and friends. You may even want to designate areas in your backyard for different kinds of gardening. Create a space for a vegetable or herb garden to give your backyard more character and allow buyers to imagine themselves getting creative in the backyard gardening as well.

Overall, you want your yard to help sell your home by creating a healthy and colorful look during the spring and summer seasons.

Selling Your Home While Not Living There


If you have already moved out of the house you are selling, the selling process can feel more like a chore than you want it to. You might be living in the next town over or across the country, and you just want to get this house off of your hands. Here are some ways to make this process easier for you.

If you live out of state or far away, prepare for everything.

There are a lot of disadvantages to selling your home while you are not immediately available to run to the house if something goes wrong. For example, what can you do if the house you’re selling in Georgia is showing evidence of flooding while you are in your new home in California? You don’t want to find yourself in this position. To avoid this, prepare for every possible event. Have a designated contact in the area of the home you’re selling to get to the house in such an event. This could be a neighbor, a family member, or a friend who knows the area and has an extra key to access your home in a pinch. Also, have a list of businesses, such as plumbers, electricians, etc. to call if there is an emergency. More importantly, be sure to leave information about the property on the counter, in the form of a seller’s disclosure or take-away fliers with information and contact information for yourself, should buyers or agents have questions.

Be explicit in your showing instructions.

As a seller, you are not responsible for showing your home, so leaving your home vacant during the selling process should not be an issue for agents who bring buyers to your home. However, since you won’t be in your home to prepare it for a showing, or be there afterwards to shut everything down, tell agents in your showing instructions what you would like them to do. For instance, a home is best shown when lights are on in every room and buyers have the option to test appliances. Tell agents that, if they turn on all of the lights in your home, to please shut everything back off before they leave and make sure everything is properly locked up. This might seem like a no-brainer, but explicitly including these directions in your showing instructions will hold agents accountable for shutting things off. If any neighbor notices lights that are turned on when they shouldn’t be after an agent has left, you have the right to call the agent who previously showed your home and tell them to return to the property and shut it down. Of course, the guaranteed solution here would be to have your neighbor or a friend check on the home after every showing or every few days to make sure everything is as it should be.

In general, have a point of contact in the area that you’re selling if things go wrong, and be prepared for every possible event.

Erase the Evidence of Pets


Having pets can be one of the great joys of life, but not for everyone. When selling your home, having pets can actually be a hindrance. It is important to erase all evidence of pet inhabitants as much as possible so that any foul odors or stains won’t distract your buyers. Here are some tips to help!

Keep your pets out of sight.

First and foremost, if you are still living in the house you are selling, you need to make it known that pets live in the house as well. In any private remarks or showing instructions on your listing, you should require appointments or a courtesy call so that you can put your pets in the backyard, in a crate, or in a room with the door shut. It shouldn’t matter whether or not your pet is the friendliest or quietest pet in the world. Not all buyers are going to be animal lovers. Some buyers might even be scared of your big dog or slinking cat. Or, even worse, some buyers might be allergic to your pet and will be too busy sneezing and rubbing their watery eyes to really get a look at your home. So, as much as you love your pets, they should be out of sight whenever buyers come to visit.

Eliminate odors.

One of the best ways to keep odors to a minimum is to use baking soda, a natural odor absorber. Keep an open box out on the counter. You can even sprinkle some baking soda on fabrics and carpet or rugs. Sprinkle a little bit on any foul-smelling fabrics and then wipe clean or vacuum up. Another great way to eliminate odors is to change and clean your home’s HVAC filters regularly, since odors can get trapped in those filters and then circulate through your home. In general, try not to focus on covering up odors with air fresheners or candles. The trick here is to eliminate and neutralize. Other scents that you introduce in your home may be equally offensive to buyers or those scents will just mix with the pet odors that already exist. Avoid this at all costs.

Remove stains and pet hair.

Pets shed a lot, can be dirty, and are prone to accidents. Your carpet may show the history of your pets’ house-training days or rainy day adventures. Wipe down walls that your pets frequently rub up against, use stain removers on carpets and rugs, and vacuum frequently to remove pet hair. Consider using a wet vac to really give your carpets a good cleaning after vacuuming. If carpets are too far-gone, replace them. By cleaning or updating your carpets, you might even help with eliminating a lot of the odor. Also, if your walls are especially bad, painting can help with this issue as well.

Overall, you want to give buyers the impression of a pristine home.