How can I get out of my real estate contract?

How can I get out of my real estate contract?

Don't want to buy the home after all? Wondering how you can get out of your real estate contract? It is possible, but terminating a Purchase & Sale Agreement (i.e. real estate contract) is different in each state and the rights of of the Seller versus Buyer may vary. We are going to explore the different ways both Buyers and Sellers can get out of your real estate contract in Georgia. How Buyers Can Get Out of a Real Estate Contract A large majority of the real estate contracts have several contingencies, meaning that the sale of the property is contingent upon certain situations to happen in order to get to the closing table. As a home buyer in Georgia, you are typically protected by the Due Diligence Period, the Appraisal Contingency and Financing Contingency. If you also need to sell your home, you and your agent may also make an offer that is contingent upon the sale of your current home. Let's explore each contingency and how it will help you get out of the real estate contract, if needed. 1) Due Diligence Period During the Due Diligence Period you can terminate the contract for ANY REASON here in Georgia. During this period, it is critical that you do the home inspection, negotiate any repairs (if needed), research the neighborhood, schools, commute times any anything else that you need to to ensure that you are 100% comfortable moving forward with the purchase of the home. If you do need to terminate your Purchase & Sales Agreement, you and your Realtor must submit a Termination and Release Agreement before...
Building or Renovating a Home? Be sure to get a Lien Waiver

Building or Renovating a Home? Be sure to get a Lien Waiver

Are you Building or Renovating a Home? Make sure you get a Lien Waiver from each contractor. Did you know that contractors or subcontractors can put a lien on your home?   ....and that it can prevent or delay the sale of your home in the years to come? Georgia law permits a person who has supplied goods and/or labor to the improvement of real property (i.e. your personal home or investment property) the right to place a lien on your home if the work has not been paid for within 3 months after the date of completion of the work. After that time, the lien shall be valid for 365 days from the date of filing the claim of lien to file Notice of Suit. The lien shall be disregarded after 395 days from the filing of the lien if no Notice of Suit has been filed. This is a concern for anyone improving or constructing a home, because the law allows subcontractors to file such liens as well.  So if you hire a general contractor to renovate or build your home, the person who installed the tile or added the new HVAC system can file a lien.  You may think that your General Contractor paid the subcontractor, but they may have paid them less than what was initially agreed or didn't pay them at all.  There is also a chance that the contractor paid the subcontractor, but they weren't reputable and decided to file a lien to make some additional money. A good way to prevent these types of liens from being filed upon property that you are working with is to obtain "lien...
The 6 Biggest Mistakes Home Sellers Make

The 6 Biggest Mistakes Home Sellers Make

Let's face it, selling a home can be a BIG challenge. Whether is it getting it ready for sale, trying to find the buyer, negotiating the price and repairs and of course, getting it sold at or near your asking price.  Unfortunately, home sellers can unknowingly make the process much more painful by committing these six real estate "NO NOs".... NO-NO #1 :: Selling Your Home on Your Own In many markets homes are selling so quickly that home sellers think they can do it on their own and avoid real estate broker commissions. Unfortunately, less than 8% of all homes sold are sold by the owner and FSBO homes sell for about 18.5% less than those listed by a real estate brokerage. Quick story: I recently purchased a home from a "For Sale by Owner" (or FSBO) in a popular Atlanta neighborhood and believe it or not, they had three offers on the home thanks to word of mouth. The potential buyers didn't have representation either, so the sellers didn't have a real estate contract template, an accurate assessment of what their home was worth and an understanding that the home was in major disrepair. Long story short, all three buyers walked away (in frustration) and thankfully by the time I came along, we were able to work out a contract that was a win/win for both parties. For the sellers, this was a four month process, when they could have sold their home the first weekend (with multiple offers) for about 10% more than their final sales price. Even if there was a real estate commission, they still would have made 4.0% more (about...
How to Get the Best Photos of Your Home | Listing Tips

How to Get the Best Photos of Your Home | Listing Tips

Nest Atlanta Listing Tip: How to Get the BEST Photos of Your Home One of our top priorities when listing an Atlanta home is to hire a professional photographer... whether the home is $99,000 or $5.0 million.  If you are hiring a real estate agent to sell your home that should be one of your first questions during the interview (tip #1!). Even if a professional photographer is hired to take the photos of your property, there are a few things that you can do as the homeowner to make sure that your home looks it's absolute best.   14 Tips to Get the Best Photos  1) Make sure all light bulbs are replaced and consistent throughout the home. A combination of eco bulbs and traditional incandescent bulbs result in color distortion in photos. 2) Turn off all fans and but leave the fan lights on. The photographer may need to adjust the lighting a bit, but keeping the home well-lit is ideal for photos and when your home is being shown to potential home buyers. 3) Double check your bedding. You'd be surprised how much a wrinkle in the bedspread or a sheet hanging out from below the comforter can stand out (not in a good way) in the photos. 4) Fluff those pillows!  Sagging pillows are never appealing, so fluff them up on the couches and if you are able, buy new pillows for your beds. 5) Add pops of color.  A bright colored tea pot on the stove or a new decorative pillows on the bed / couch adds the perfect pop of color in the photos,...
It’s Time to Apply for Your Homestead Exemption

It’s Time to Apply for Your Homestead Exemption

Ready to Apply for Your Georgia Homestead Exemption? If you purchased a home in Georgia last year and were the owner of the home as of January 1, 2016, you can apply for your county homestead exemption that will reduce your property taxes, usually by at least 20%, depending on the county that you live in. As a homeowner, you may need to provide a copy of your Warranty Deed book and page, proof of residence, social security numbers, driver’s license and car tag info. In most Georgia counties, to be eligible for homestead exemption for the current year, you must have owned and occupied the property as of January 1st. If the property is located within city limits (i.e. City of Atlanta or City of Decatur), you may be required to file a homestead application with the city as well.  Because every Georgia county has a slightly different homestead application process and homestead deadline, so look for your county below and follow the simple instructions! Cherokee County Deadline is April 1, 2016 :: 678-493-6120 http://www.cherokeega.com/Tax-Assessors-Office/homestead-exemptions/ Cobb County Homestead Deadline is April 1, 2016 :: 770-528-8600 http://www.cobbtax.org/property/exemptions DeKalb County Homestead Deadline is April 1, 2016 :: 404-298-4000 http://taxcommissioner.dekalbcountyga.gov/TaxCommissioner/pdf/homesteadinfo.pdf Forsyth County Homestead Deadline is April 1, 2016 :: 770-781-2106 http://www.forsythco.com/Departments-Offices/Board-of-Assessors/Homestead-Exemption Fulton County Homestead Deadline is April 1, 2016 :: 404-612-6440 http://www.qpublic.net/ga/fulton/basic_homestead.html Clayton County Deadline is April 1, 2016 :: 770-477-3311 http://www.claytoncountyga.gov/departments/tax-commissioner/exemptions.aspx Henry County Deadline is April 1, 2016 :: 770-288-8180 http://www.co.henry.ga.us/taxcommissioner/formsapplicatons.shtml Gwinnett County Homestead Deadline is April 1, 2016 :: 770-822-8800 http://gwinnetttaxcommissioner.publicaccessnow.com/homesteadexemption.aspx Douglas County Homestead Deadline is April 1, 2016 :: 770-920-7272 http://www.douglastaxcommissioner.com Fayette County Homestead Deadline is April 1, 2016 770-461-3652 http://www.fayettecountytaxcomm.com/subpages/taxpayers_return.asp Paulding County Homestead Deadline is April 1, 2016...
Its Raining! Its Pouring! My Gutters are Snoring!

Its Raining! Its Pouring! My Gutters are Snoring!

Are Your Gutters Ready for the Next Rainstorm? With all the rain that we've had here in Atlanta over the last few months, many people are having problems with leakage because their gutters are full.   It's so important to awaken gutters at least twice a year (regardless whether your gutters are open or covered) with a good cleaning and inspection to avoid:  Flooding both in and around your home, foundation damage, soil erosion, wood rot, mold and/or paint damage. Many reputable gutter cleaners can confirm if your gutters perform their best, and many gutter installations come with a warranty to cover repair. However, if you are a DYI kind, take caution when leaning ladders against the gutters to avoid denting or loosening the gutter. But don't stop the maintenance of the gutters just along your roofline. Inspect the downspouts and leaders to insure they are attached properly, un-clogged and point in the right direction according to the water flow. If using leaders, be sure they lead at least 4 feet away from your home's foundation. And remember, consider your neighbors. Georgia's Water Laws found in O.C.G.A. Sec. 44-8-1 and Sec. 51-9-7 codify what's known as Riparian Rights. In a nutshell, these codes prevent a homeowner from diverting water, including rain water, onto a neighbor's yard. To do so is considered trespassing. Similarly, a homeowner cannot prevent neighbor's run off to flow onto the homeowner's yard when the water follows the "usual channel" of drainage. Fingers crossed that we have some sunny, dry weather in our future.  We want to help protect your...
Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

Do Good Fences Make Good Neighbors? Nothing can be more contentious between neighbors than a property boundary dispute.  Good or strong fences remove the possibility of that contention.  Below you'll find some common fencing issues, frequently asked questions (and answers): . FENCING ISSUE #1 :: Your neighbor builds a fence and a portion of the fence is on your property. What should the owner do? Request that fence owner move the fence onto their property, or Enter into an Easement Agreement allowing the fence to remain, but you retain the right to request the fence be removed at any time you requests. Nothing. This may result in the loss of your property over time. ** It also helps to get a property survey and have a licensed surveyor come out and mark the property line. That way, both you and your neighbor will have a clear understanding of were the fenced should be installed. FENCING ISSUE #2 :: A neighbor has built a fence higher than allowed by the local ordinance. What can an owner do? Inform the neighbor of the fence ordinance. The neighbor may not otherwise know the law exists. If the neighbor still does not conform the fence to the local ordinance, call the local zoning or planning office and they will take action to seek conformance. ** If you are thinking of building your own privacy fence, it is important to note that most jurisdictions have limitations on the height of fences, usually 6 feet for the back and side yards and 4 feet for front yards. In order to build higher, a "variance" would have to be...
5 Common Mistakes That Could Sabotage Your Curb Appeal

5 Common Mistakes That Could Sabotage Your Curb Appeal

Selling your Atlanta home? Avoid these five common mistakes and get more buyers through your front door. When your Atlanta home is on the market, first impressions are everything. Research tells us that a buyer decides if they like a home in the first 15 seconds.... yes 15 seconds! This starts with the curb appeal of your home. An unkept yard or peeling paint will scare some buyers away completely, while a neat, attractive exterior will bring in more potential buyers. Before listing your home, make sure you avoid the following common mistakes that could sabotage your curb appeal: Mistake #1 :: Don't do anything Many home sellers focus on the home's interior and neglect to look at the outside of the house. Walk to the front of your property and take a good look at your home (from the buyer's perspective). Do you need to trim the hedges back? Is there peeling paint? Does the walkway need to be pressure washed? Also, walk around the entire home - there may be some issues on the side of the house and you just didn't notice because it's not a place you frequently visit -- but a serious buyer will! Mistake #2 :: Tired landscaping Are things looking a little droopy or overgrown? Are there too many weeds in the lawn? You don't need to go overboard and hire a professional landscaping service, but seeding the lawn, trimming the hedges and adding pops of color with some seasonal flowers and/or bright new outdoor pillows will go a long way. The pops of color also work wonders when your home is being...