Antitrust Efforts Against the “Real Estate Cartel”

boy hugging dog in front of big home
boy hugging dog in front of big home

Atlanta Real Estate Agent

Is the real estate industry being stifled by “cartel” activity, happening among agents who want to maintain fat commissions and big paydays? The Consumer Federation of America (CFA), an organization that focuses on consumer rights, has found that antitrust steps need to be taken to avoid the trend of higher home prices, stifled competition, and poor service for home buyers. As home prices have soared, so have real estate commissions. Many people are questioning the 6% fees that are charged for every home… wondering if real estate agents are working any more to receive the higher commissions? Not only has it gotten easier to sell a home because of the online tools that are available, but these 6% fees are standard – regardless of the real estate agent’s experience.

Class Action Lawsuit

Earlier this year, a class-action lawsuit was filed, aiming at the real estate agents who are sticking with the traditional fees. This lawsuit charges that the four largest real estate brokerages in the nation, as well as the National Association of Realtors, are conspiring to charge inflated fees. The argument is that these high commissions violate the federal antitrust laws. Several problems have arisen because of the high fees, mainly due to how buyer’s agents and seller’s agents choose to structure their fees. For example, some brokers refuse to show homes to clients who are using real estate agents that offer lower commissions. If a real estate brokerage chooses to reduce their fees, then the “cartel” steers transactions away from any agent that isn’t maintaining the traditional way of doing business in the industry.

You Don’t Have to Pay High Real Estate Commissions

The truth is that there is no reason why 6% should be charged in real estate commissions on every transaction! At DUFFY Realty, we’ve found that the digital advancements in the real estate industry have made it possible to cut overhead costs because less time is required to sell a home. As a result, we are reducing our commissions and passing those savings onto our clients. You can expect to save thousands of dollars when choosing our team over a traditional real estate brokerage. We’ve definitely had some kickback in the local industry because of other real estate brokerages who don’t like to compete against our low prices. But we’ve held our ground and focused on the needs of our clients, which is why our team is thriving. Customer service is always our highest priority, and our clients love that they can save money without sacrificing the quality of real estate services offered. If you are looking for a way to save money on your upcoming real estate transaction in Atlanta, then it’s time to talk to us at DUFFY Realty. Call to learn more about our affordable real estate fees: (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 to Get a Mortgage
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Rhonda Duffy

Self Employed? How to Get a Mortgage When Buying a Home

How to get a mortgage is a common concern, especially for the self-employed. The financial crisis of 2008 drastically altered the world of real estate and mortgage finance. Where stated income loans were quite common before the crash, they became less so after.

Read More »

5 Tips For Buying Your First Home

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young boy running after dog

Atlanta Real Estate Agent

First time home buyers often wonder if they’re making a big mistake. The idea of committing to a house and a mortgage payment can feel worrying and unsettling. On the other hand, the allure of owning your own place can also feel exciting! Before you jump into homeownership, here are several quick tips to help you to buy a home that you’ll love without regrets:

1. Determine How Much You Can Safely Afford

It’s a good idea to know how much house you can buy without causing yourself financial stress or discomfort. A safe guideline is to make sure your mortgage plus other debt payments shouldn’t be more than 36% of your gross monthly income.

2. Research Neighborhoods and House Types

After figuring out how much house you can comfortably afford, take some time to research neighborhoods in areas you would like to live. Look for information about neighborhood safety and crime data, identify proximity to local hospitals, grocery stores, restaurants, pharmacy, and any other nearby venues that may be important to you. Even if you don’t have kids, check out local school ratings as well, since these can affect home values.

When looking at homes directly, it’s a good idea to choose a home that will fit your needs. Do you want a spacious single-family home with a yard? Or would you prefer a townhome or condo with a homeowner’s association fee to pay for amenities and maintenance?

3. Hire a Skilled Real Estate Agent

Good real estate agents are experts not only in buying and selling homes, but also in the local areas in which they serve. Their experience and knowledge can be invaluable to the first-time homebuyer. They help to locate suitable homes in desirable areas, as well as to avoid any pitfalls of the process. Look for a skilled agent that you get along with, who has experience in the area you want to buy and a reputation for putting their customer’s needs first.

4. Buy with the Future in Mind

Buying a home that meets your current needs is easy to do, but what will you need in 2 years? 3 years? For example, if you plan to expand your family, you can position yourself for these future changes by buying a home with room to grow. Just be sure you have room enough for the next 5 years in the home.

5. Do Your Homework

When you find a place that you’d like to buy, remember the peripheral things. Talk to neighbors and ask about local benefits and concerns in the area. Visit the property and neighborhood at different times throughout the week to note what is going on around the area.

If you think it may be time to buy your first home here in the Atlanta area, call our team here at DUFFY Realty for a conversation. Our knowledgeable agents are among the best, providing high-quality service and attentive care to our first-time home buyer clients. Call us at (678) 318-1700 to learn how we can help you find your new home.

 

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 to Get a Mortgage
Financial Decisions
Rhonda Duffy

Self Employed? How to Get a Mortgage When Buying a Home

How to get a mortgage is a common concern, especially for the self-employed. The financial crisis of 2008 drastically altered the world of real estate and mortgage finance. Where stated income loans were quite common before the crash, they became less so after.

Read More »

How do the Fed Rate Changes Affect the Real Estate Industry

woman in red dress playing with child in field

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

When Does the Real Estate Season Start?

Atlanta discount real estate commission

Are you trying to figure out the right timing to buy or sell a home? It is smart to consider the trends in the economy and real estate season so that you can maximize the equity available from your investment. We often hear customers ask us about the start of the real estate season because they want to get ahead of the competitors in the area.

Trends Through the Year

Some people will tell you that the main real estate season is spring through fall. But, the truth is that the real estate season never really ends! Even though some months are busier than ever, your real estate team will work all year long to accommodate people who need to move.

In fact, it is smart to start working with your real estate agent before the busy season begins. You can get your home on the market and bring in the right buyers without competing against the higher number of home listings that usually come online in the summer season.

Following these trends will give you the advantage to improve the results for your real estate transaction. Luckily, you don’t have to worry about the market details. Simply choose the right real estate team, and let them oversee the best strategies for each time of year.

Should I Wait to Buy a Home?

There are many reasons why families might be waiting to buy a home: real estate industry trends, school schedules, work changes, and more. Sometimes, it makes sense to stay put for a while based on the needs of your family. On the other hand, there are situations where you should act fast to take advantage of the real estate market trends that are available right now.

Don’t make assumptions about buying or selling a home until you have a chance to talk to an experienced real estate agent. Our team will discuss the current trends, talk about your situation, and help you with identifying the timeline that will fit your needs.

If you are planning to move in the next few months, then right now is a great time to make your move. We are approaching the industry’s busy season, which means that you still have time to get ahead of the curve. Our real estate team is just a phone call away; always ready to help you find a dream home. We are here to answer your questions and assist with your real estate listing.

DUFFY Realty offers the leading real estate services in the Atlanta area. We’ve been serving this community for many years, offering unbeatable quality and attention for homeowners. Our team has industry connections and the quality experience you need when you are buying or selling a home in any real estate season. Contact us right away to learn more about the real estate services that are available for your family: (678) 318-1700

6 Reasons Why Atlanta FSBO is a Bad Idea

6 Reasons Why Atlanta FSBO is a Bad Idea

6 Reasons Why Atlanta For Sale By Owner is a Bad Idea When DUFFY Realty Exists

When you are trying to save money, sticking a “For Sale By Owner” sign in the yard might seem like a simple solution. Atlanta real estate agents charge thousands of dollars in commissions, so it is easy to see why some homeowners are attempting a DIY transaction.

Before you rush into this decision, you need to understand the potential issues that often arise with FSBO real estate. In fact, selling a home without the representation of a real estate agent might be the biggest mistake that you could make. Here are the main reasons why FSBO transactions fail:

  1. Lack of Preparation: If you aren’t familiar with the real estate market, then it’s likely that you will overlook a few important things that need to be addressed before the home goes on the market. Good preparation plays an integral role in ensuring that your home catches the attention of the right buyers. Your real estate agent will help with the pre-listing tasks, such as small repairs and renovations, decluttering, staging, curb appeal, and more.
  2. Screening Buyers: Just because someone indicates interest in your home, doesn’t mean that you should jump at the opportunity to work with them. Many times, FSBOs waste hours and hours because of unqualified buyers who want to see the home. Instead, you can streamline the process when your real estate agent makes sure that the buyers are pre-qualified or pre-approved.
  3. Managing Inquiries: It is assumed that a real estate agent lists the property and then sits around until the home sells. The truth is that your agent will be working hard answering questions and guiding the conversation when people inquire about the listing. If you don’t have the time or expertise to field these calls, then it is best to skip the FSBO and work with an Atlanta real estate agent instead.
  4. Poor Negotiation: Real-world experience with real estate negotiation is essential to ensure the best deal for your family. With a FSBO, it is common for the seller to have limited knowledge of real estate contracts. As a result, they often get the short end of the stick in the final negotiations.
  5. Home Inspections: Another thing that you need hands-on experience with is working through the inspection findings. The home inspection phase can be stressful and costly if you don’t have a good real estate agent to assist with the work. It is likely that your inspector will find something wrong, which is why you need a pro to guide the conversation and negotiations.
  6. Paying the Buyers Agent: Even if you choose to forgo the services of a sellers real estate agent, you still need to be willing to pay the commission for the buyer’s agent. The chances are slim that you will connect with a buyer who is working without a real estate agent. So, refusing to pay any real estate commissions means that you will eliminate most of the potential buyers.

For Sale By Owner in Atlanta isn’t the only way to save money when selling your home. Instead of taking a risk with FSBO, we invite you to learn more about the affordable real estate commissions that are offered through our team at DUFFY Realty of Atlanta. Call today: (678) 318-1700

Is 2019 the Year You Will Buy a Home?

Is 2019 the Year You Will Buy a Home?

January ushers in a season when many people are thinking about their goals for 2019. Have you set a few New Year’s resolutions with the intention to improve yourself or your circumstances this year? While many people think about goals to improve health and wellness, you shouldn’t overlook the importance of improving your home for your family. So that leads to the question, is 2019 the year you will or buy a home?

Creating Memories to Last a Lifetime

Buying a home is more than choosing a safe, convenient place to live. This property is where you will create memories with your family and friends. Your children will look back on their childhood experiences and remember dinner around the kitchen table, game nights in the family room, and stories before bedtime. If you want to build the best memories, then you need to be sure that you have a home that creates the right environment you want to share with your loved ones.

Buying a home means that you have the opportunity to adjust the décor, furniture, and other elements to match your family culture. Be deliberate and selective about the property that you choose as well as the way the rooms are designed and decorated.

Setting a New Year’s Resolution to Buy a Home

If you are excited to buy your first home or you are ready to upgrade to buy a new home, then our team is here to assist. You might not be ready to move forward with this goal, but things can change faster than you might expect. 2019 could be the year that you move into a dream home with your family! The most important thing that you can do is talk to our team to learn more about the preparation steps you need to take to ensure that you are ready for the purchase.

Depending on your circumstances, your New Year’s goals might be focused on building your credit, finding a real estate agent, or searching for the right property. Build these goals around your long-term dreams, and take one step at a time to create the lifestyle and family circumstances that you desire. 2019 is a fresh start and the perfect opportunity to ensure that everyone is comfortable and happy at home.

As you are searching for a new home, it is important that you have the right real estate team to assist with the search, negotiations, and closing. Having an expert real estate agent makes a difference to ensure that you find a great deal and everything goes smoothly with the closing.

At DUFFY Realty, we’re always here to help with your real estate needs. Our team is leading the Atlanta real estate industry by offering an unbeatable customer experience and excellent solutions for every home buyer and seller. We’d like to wish you a Happy New Year and invite you to contact us to learn more about the real estate services that are available: : (678) 318-1700

The Best Gift You Can Give Your Family: A Safe, Comfortable Home

The Best Gift You Can Give Your Family: A Safe, Comfortable Home

As you are wrapping gifts to put under the tree, it is important to think about the best family gifts that might not fit into a box. It is fun to open toys and clothes on Christmas morning, but these items often get lost in the back of the closets after the thrill of Christmas wears off.

Instead of putting money into small items that will be overlooked in the future, consider the ways you are creating a perfect home for your family.

The Difference Between a House and a Home

Buying a home is more than putting a roof overhead. Choosing the right property means that your loved ones will have a safe place to sleep at night and a thriving environment to enjoy the activities of each day.

A family home is a place where you can work together and play together. You can take any property and transform it into a home by adding the personal touches that will create a comfortable, safe environment to share with the people that you love.

The Best Investment for Your Family

If you aren’t satisfied with your current home, then it might be time to invest in a new property. Depending on the stage in your life, it could make sense to upsize to a bigger home to fit your expanding family. Or, you might consider the advantage of downsizing if you no longer have a house full of little ones.

Investing in a real estate property is more than choosing a place to live. This decision will create an environment where you will build memories and cherish the times that are shared over the years. The best thing that you can do is put together your list of essential home features, and then talk to our team here at DUFFY Realty to find the perfect location to match your needs.

You Can’t Put a Price Tag on Family Relationships

Even though it costs money to buy and maintain a home, you can’t put a price tag on the memories and relationships that will be built over the years. Your family deserves a comfortable place to share. Creating the right environment means that you will be able to relax knowing that you are offering the best care for the people that you love.

At DUFFY Realty, we understand the importance of creating a safe sanctuary for your family. Our team is here to assist when you are ready to buy a home. If you are interested in learning more about your options, then we invite you to call us right away for more information about the services that are available: (678) 318-1700

We would like to wish you a Merry Christmas! Sending our thoughts and care to you and your family during this beautiful holiday season.

Halloween: A Great Time to Scout a Neighborhood Where You Want to Buy

Halloween: A Great Time to Scout a Neighborhood Where You Want to Buy

The weather is cooling down, and costumes are showing up in all of the stores. As you are picking out pumpkins for the front porch, it might be a good time to consider your options for a home purchase this season. Halloween is approaching at the end of the month, which means that many families are making plans for the holiday.

Trick-or-Treating in a New Neighborhood

If you are thinking about buying a home, it can be beneficial to take a walk through the neighborhood that you are considering. Often, families like to go trick-or-treating in their own neighborhoods to see friends in the area. Also, consider spending a portion of the evening in a neighborhood where you would like to buy a home.

Halloween is a time when the neighborhood comes alive, helping you see the type of community in the area. You can get a feel for the demographics living in the homes while you take your kids door-to-door to collect candy. At the same time, you can evaluate the way your family will fit into the neighborhood.

A Season of Change

As the leaves start to turn, it is a good time to consider the season of change that your family is experiencing. Whether you are looking for new job opportunities or you want to move your kids to a new school, moving might be the best solution to help you prepare for the upcoming chapter in life. Start the conversation with an experienced real estate agent in the area to explore your options.

Why Fall is a Great Time to Buy

As the holiday season draws near, it might be tempting to delay your home purchase until after the New Year. But, the truth is that fall is an excellent time to buy if you are looking for a good deal. Now that the busy summer season is winding down, there is less competition for the new homes that are listed on the real estate market. Not only will you have more options available, but you might be able to get a better price compared to the home values during the summer months.

Additionally, taking fast action right now means that you could be moved and settled in before Christmas. At DUFFY Realty, we have proven systems in place to ensure timely transactions for our clients. We know that it can be frustrating to be waiting on a real estate deal. Our goal is to help you sell or buy a home as quickly as possible, ensuring quality results for your family.

If you need assistance buying or selling a home, then we invite you to contact our experienced team right away. DUFFY Realty offers quality results and experience you can trust. Plus, we are working hard to help you save thousands of dollars with our flat-fee real estate commissions. Call today to schedule a consultation to learn more: (678) 318-1700

Is Pod Storage a Good Idea When Selling Your Home?

Is Pod Storage a Good Idea When Selling Your Home

When you are preparing to list your home on the real estate market, there is one common piece of advice that you will hear from your real estate agent: clear the clutter in the home. Even if you don’t feel like you have a lot of stuff, it is important to make the rooms look spacious and comfortable. Decreasing furniture, décor, and items in the closets can make a big difference to help your home look appealing to potential buyers.

If you are preparing to upgrade your living space, then you probably don’t want to get rid of furniture and personal items. So, what should you do with these things when you are prepping for the real estate listing? Even if you have storage areas in your home, you need to be sure that the shelves are open and free of clutter. The best solution is to move the items out of your home so that they don’t distract potential buyers.

Is a POD the Right Answer?

One solution that you might consider is using a POD as a temporary storage unit. These large, metal containers are delivered to your property. Then, you can load your furniture and boxes inside at your convenience. PODs make it possible to eliminate the need for a moving company because you have the freedom to load a few things at a time without stressing about the workers on the clock. Plus, the storage container is at ground level, which is easier than loading a moving truck.

The drawback is that you need a place to store the container for a few days while you are loading it. If you live on a busy road without a driveway, then city ordinances might prohibit the use of these storage systems. Make sure that you check local rules before the POD is dropped off.

PODs create a perfect solution to clear the clutter, without getting rid of the items that you will want in the new home. But, you need to keep in mind that it could potentially drag down your curb appeal to have a large metal container in the driveway.

So, there’s a solution that you need to consider: a POD storage facility. The container can be left at your home for a few days to give you the time that is needed to load everything inside. Then, the POD crew will pick up the container and take it to a storage facility. Your personal items will be accessible to you during the storage time. Then, the POD will be delivered to your new home when you are ready to settle in again.

At DUFFY Realty, we’ve found the perfect solutions to help with the home buying and selling process. If you are preparing to list your home on the real estate market, then you need to call us right away to learn about the services that we provide: (678) 318-1700

Finding the Easter Eggs in Your Property Listing

Finding the Easter Eggs in Your Property Listing

Families love to celebrate Easter by hiding dyed eggs and plastic eggs filled with candy. Do you have a traditional Easter egg hunt with your children? These traditions build the lasting memories that are needed to create solid family relationships.

If you are preparing to sell your home, then you need to know that there are more than Easter eggs hidden on your property. Even though the Easter décor will be gone for the real estate photos, there are ways that you can highlight unique features that will make your home more attractive to potential buyers.

These hidden gems should be shown in the real estate photos. They also need to be included in the written website listings as well. Here are a few things that you might highlight in your real estate listing:

Start with a Strong Introduction

An Easter egg hunt usually starts with the kids lined up in one location with baskets in hand. Everyone is excited about the anticipation of the treasures that can be found in the yard. In the same way, you need to start the real estate listing with an enticing introduction that will keep people engaged.

There are two aspects to an interesting introduction: a good photo and an eye-catching headline. Most people look at the photos before reading the text. The headline can be used to draw someone’s attention and complement the cover photo.

Be Specific in the Description

Even though you love certain features of the home, these details might be overlooked if you don’t bring the buyer’s awareness to the features. All upgrades, renovations, and luxury finishes need to be listed in the description and highlighted in the photos. Don’t leave potential buyers in a situation where they need to hunt for the Easter egg features. Instead, be specific and direct so that you don’t leave anything up to the imagination.

Pointing out the obvious features might seem redundant. But, including these details in the listing is an effective way to help your home sell.

Keep it Concise

At an Easter egg hunt, a handful of kids will quickly get tired if they need to search for eggs over multiple acres of land. These fun activities are usually more effective when you have a space that is just the right size for the group. In the same way, you need to be careful that you don’t make buyers look too hard to find the information that they need.

Keep the real estate listing concise and interesting. Less is more! Provide enough information to catch someone’s attention, but still leave them wanting more so that they are motivated to tour the property.

Our team at DUFFY Realty wants to wish you a Happy Easter celebration! As you are enjoying this holiday with your family, consider the possibilities that are available if you moved into a better home this year. Talk to us for help finding the family home of your dreams: (678) 318-1700