Beware of down payment Gifts

Last year, 27 percent of first-time home buyers received a financial gift from relatives or friends that they applied toward a down payment on a new home - up from 22 percent in 2009, according to data from the National Association of REALTORS®. While gift-giving a down payment has increased, those who receive such gifts need to make sure they follow IRS and banks' gift-giving rules. 
    1. Home owners still need to come up with at least some of the down payment on their own. A spokesperson with Freddie Mac told Newsday that loans backed by Freddie Mac require that when the loan-to-value is greater than 80%, the buyer will need to come up with at least 5% of the purchase price. For Fannie Mae loans, Fannie allows all down payment funds to come as a gift on one-unit principal residences. The thing that is tricky is few people know whether the loan will get sold to Fannie or Freddie. 
    2. You may need to document where the down payment money came from. "A gift letter should be signed and dated and include the giver's name, address, and telephone number, along with his or her relationship to the borrower," according to the Newsday article.  
    3. If you've had the gift for a long time, you likely won't need to document it. If the gift has been in your bank account for three months or longer, it's considered "seasoned" and doesn't require a gift letter, lenders say. 

We have many homes for sale in the Buford GA, Lake Lanier Real Estate and surrounding areas for sale. There has never been a better time to purchase a home. We have the answers so call me now 770-757-7200 It would be my pleasure to help you personally.


How to avoid foreclosure and stay sane in Georgia

How to avoid foreclosure and stay sane in Georgia

Recent national news from last week is estimating that 3.5 Million homes that have been hanging in limbo from the Robo signing debacle are about to get released to foreclosure.
The banks hands have been tied from moving forward with foreclosures for the past 10 months or so and we as CDPE’s (Certified Distressed Property Experts) are getting the green light from the Banks to close more short sales. This is great news for everyone, especially the homeowner. This will mean more approvals and developing systems to help Short sale specialists get homes sold before they end up in foreclosure.
Unfortunately, homeowners do not realize they have an alternative and we need all of our readers to help get the word out so we can stop this insane foreclosure problem murdering our nation. Strong words right, murder our nation?!?
Here’s the problem, do you know that 60% of the homeowners have no idea they can short sale their home. Homeowners are embarrassed to admit that they can no longer afford their home and are opting to walk away. First let me say, this option is worse; trust me; the homeowner risks a deficiency judgment (a law suit placed by the Mortgage Company for the difference in what you owe and what the home sold for in foreclosure). A minimum of 3 years before any lending institution will consider them for another mortgage and they will always have to disclose in the future that they had a foreclosure against them, it is on the application.
Second, there is no reason to be embarrassed. 1 out of every 3 homeowners is in distress today. Your best friend could be in trouble and you don’t even know it!  I have said to many people that eventually the credit bureau will have to start grading on a curve because so many people are having some kind of issue paying their bills and feeding their families. Don’t be embarrassed, embrace the problem find a solution and then move on and save your sanity.
So how does someone avoid foreclosure? Seek out a CDPE, a short sale specialist. This person must be certified. We know what to do, where to find buyers and who to contact when we need help with every lender. All of the banks are finally supporting short sales and are seeking CDPE’s because we know how to sell, negotiate, and save a foreclosure.  Spread the word, help us help you.


Things To Remember When purchasing a Foreclosure or Short Sale http://ping.fm/1sR9c

Things to remember when purchasing a Short Sale or Foreclosure Property

Things to Remember when purchasing a short sale or Foreclosure Property.

In today’s market short sales and Foreclosures are on the short list for buyers. After all, who wouldn’t want to grab a home for pennies on the dollar! Listed below are some things to remember when you’re looking for a distressed property

1. Short sales are offered for sale for one reason. The Owners do not have enough money to pay their mortgage. Don’t ask for their appliances. Many times the owners will leave those items but not always. Read the disclosure, it is your agent’s responsibility to get this document for you to view.

2. Foreclosures are AS IS properties. Latest figures show 2.9 Million homes foreclosed in 2010 and shadow inventory (foreclosures not listed for sale yet) is sitting somewhere around 900,000. Some investors like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac/Home steps, are finally getting the message to “fluff up the home” (add appliances, carpet and paint) to get more value to sell quicker. This is a decision made by the investor (Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac) not the Bank. If the home offered does not have appliances, new carpet and paint, they will not put it in the home. Asking for it will only put you at the bottom of the multiple offer list.

3. Don’t low ball an offer on a short sale you will be waiting 30 to 45 days just to get a counter offer from the Bank.

4. Similar is true with a foreclosure. These homes are already priced below market value. A low ball offer will still get you a counter from the bank and as referenced in item # 2, be at the bottom of the multiple offer list and won’t be considered.

5. Get your offer in right away. Short sales are working against the foreclosure clock. If you want one of these homes (normally well maintained) you need to act quickly.

Short sales are on the rise because of all the shadow inventory mentioned in item# 2. The investors do not want to foreclose and sit on this home, they already have enough foreclosure inventory. 6. Same is true with foreclosures. Banks are only releasing a few homes at a time. Releasing their entire inventory at once would flush our economy that is already in the toilet. Most of these homes have multiple offers on them. If you want to be considered, remember they are AS IS condition. There are mortgage loans that allow for repair. Speak to your lender before you start looking for a not so perfect foreclosure to see if you qualify. This is an incredible time for an investor, first time buyer or anyone that can afford to purchase Buford Ga real estate and Lake Lanier Real Estate. Interest rates are at an historic low and real estate is too. We will never have another opportunity to purchase like this again. So don’t be ridiculous about making low ball offers you won’t get the house. If you have any interested in purchasing any of these homes call or email me we specialize in short sales and foreclosure properties. Also, sign up for your free monthly foreclosure Market Trends newsletter to keep you updated on what Buford Ga Real Estate and Lake Lanier Real Estate is doing.


Lake Lanier Real Estate and Buford GA Homes For Sale http://ping.fm/knyWV


Short Sale Help in Buford Ga.

I listed a client’s property in November 2010. This family of 5 lost one income and the other income was severely reduced. I put this home on the market at a reasonable price, counseled with my clients on their options and determined that a short sale was their best option.

I do my best to educate all of my clients on the process of a short sale. The most important information that a home owner needs to understand is communication. I cannot stress enough how important it is to keep an open line of communication with the mortgage company as well as your Real Estate Professional during this process.

Mortgage companies employ hundreds of people located in call centers all over the United States. The short sale specialist (Realtor) works with the Loss Mitigation department. The Collection Department will continue to call the homeowner for updates. They do not call the Realtor. The only way the Collection Department knows what has happened and why a home loan is past due is through notes that are posted in a logging system. If you ignore them they put that in the system too.

Having done many short sales, our Brokerage’s philosophy is to communicate with the mortgage companies once a week on homes we have qualified buyers for and every 2 weeks on homes that have not gotten offers.

When I learned of a foreclosure notice sent to my client (2 weeks after it was received) the only way the foreclosure could be stopped was if I had an offer from a buyer for this property. We were fortunate enough to receive an offer 24 hours before foreclosure. We stayed on the phone well into the evening and were on the phone fifteen minutes before it was due to be auctioned and learned we received an extension.

There were 92,000 foreclosure homes in Georgia reported in January 2011, 2,039 homes in Gwinnett and Hall Counties and 369 in Buford. The mortgage companies do not want your house. They want to know that you are doing everything you can to help yourself and the investor to minimize the loss. If you don’t talk to them, they will put your home on the fast track to foreclosure.

I do many short sales in my area, not just in Buford. Your home doesn’t have to be a Buford Ga Real Estate short sale or a Lake Lanier Real Estate short sale for us to help. When searching for options to foreclosure find a specialist that works primarily in that field. Every investor has different required processes and anything can happen. This Realtor should be able to advise you of all the options available. Do your homework. Use the power of the internet to learn everything you can about your rights. Then ask for assistance from your trusted adviser (the short sale specialist) and PLEASE once you have made your choice listen and follow their advice.

If you or you know of anyone that needs help with foreclosure prevention, please call or email me Virginia@AtlantaHomeConnections.com 678-546-7387. All information obtained is held strictly confidential. We are you trusted advisers.


Lake Lanier Real Estate and Holiday Marina Buford, Ga

Lake Lanier Real Estate and Holiday Marina Buford, Ga

Lake Lanier, one of the most popular places to live and play, floats a Marina called Holiday Marina.

This fabulous Marina is located on Lake Lanier and just 3 miles from Buford Georgia. With 38,000 acres of water, 692 miles of shoreline including Lake Lanier Islands, Buford, Ga real estate and Lake Lanier real estate is an exciting place to live. This great marina offers a private boat launch ramp, marina store, 3 facility bath houses and a restaurant. Holiday, open 7 days a week, is the largest floating dock marina in the south east offering 1300 slips.Holiday Marina, known for having some of the most expensive houseboats in the world, offers covered and open slips that can accommodate boats from 22’ to 100’ in length all with shore power connections.

People come from all over the metro Atlanta area to socialize with their dock mates for slow cooker events, overnight tie ups or just to be together on the dock.

Most of these serious boaters either live there year around or visit every weekend. What I love the most about this social outlet is you’re all friends on the dock. You don’t have to live on Lake Lanier to enjoy all the wonderful things Buford, Ga Real estate offers because your 10 minutes away.

If you are looking for a place to live where socializing is a must, contact us, we specialize in Lake Lanier Real Estate and Buford Ga Real Estate. Call or email me now and I’ll tell you all about the available homes. The lake is one more reason why I live and sell Buford Georgia Real Estate and Lake Lanier Real estate! Oh, and we have foreclosures too!


I can't buy a short sale!

I was having coffee with a friend last week and the conversation turned to short sales. She and her husband had purchased a home a while back and chose not to pursue a nice home on Lake Lanier because it was a short sale. We all know that Lake Lanier Real Estate is a good investment as long as you have deep water access. This friend didn't use me as her agent (mostly because I didn't know her then or she would have been crazy not to since my company specializes in short sales and foreclosures, right!?! ) So I decided to list my top 4 reasons why you should consider a short sale.

1. Many short sales continue to be maintained by the homeowner through the short sale process.
2. Many of these homes have not been sitting unoccupied for months which could cause a multitude of problems not just plumbing.
3. Most of them come with a property disclosure. (not going to happen with a foreclosure)
4. The buyer can get a general warranty deed. (foreclosures are only special warranty deeds)

Now, I'm not saying that foreclosures are not a good deal and worth pursuing I sell many of them. You just need to be aware of the problems and legal issues surrounding a foreclosure sale. Short sales on the other hand are also a good deal. It may take a little longer to close on one but you're also helping a homeowner in distress. Homeowners that lose their homes to foreclosure run the risk that the bank could come after them for a deficiency judgement (the balance of the unpaid debt) with most short sales the bank will forgive them of the debt if they at least try and sell. Remember, the investor loses a lot more money if the home goes into foreclosure. It's getting easier to get one closed these days. The banks have figured out that a short sale stops the bleeding. Lake Lanier Real Estate and Buford GA Real Estate.


A Mortgage Principle Reduction for All of Us?

Controversy is arising as the Treasury Department announced some progress in their recent initiative of reducing principle amounts for homeowners in need. Rather than just reducing rates and lengthening loan terms, reducing principal loan amounts as part of the equation seems to be working out. this from the office of the Controller of Currency. The report states that it has gone from 22 reduction actions in the 3rd quarter of 2009 to 6011 actions in the 3rd quarter of this year. It makes sense really, that reducing the principal amount (amount owed on the home) and with the historic low interest rates the payments would be much less, which reduces foreclosures and helps the homeowner. It appears that the government is trying to get the mortgage companies to feel the same pain as the rest of us. After all it was the predatory lending practices that caused the problem to begin with, right!?!

Bank of America beat them to the punch and has already been reducing mortgage principles but only with the mortgages that were the high risk Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARM) of the people in trouble.

This all sounds good but what about the millions of people that are making their payments on time? Should they also get a mortgage reduction? What happens when the market changes, and it will, will the folks that have continued to make payments and still carry the same principle amount be able to sell their homes? Will they have to bring money to the closing table when they sell? To me, it makes more since to reduce the principles of all the homes that are upside down so we can all start over. This is how it would work...Initiate a government appraisal process that re-evaluates all the homes in each state based on current sales then lower each homeowners principle to that amount. Realistically, the people that were going to foreclose will anyway and when they do it won't be sold as an REO (Bank Owned) property for any less money than they would have gotten and could be sold for more because the home won't be torn up!

The investors are already losing millions of dollars but it could stop the bleeding. This would allow people to start selling their property again giving the investors a chance to get new loans from credit worthy borrowers to offset the losses. That way the folks in trouble can sell their homes out right without damage to their credit and the rest can sell too! Win Win, I say :)


Big Mortgage Companies Are Playing Santa Claus

As predicted the larger Banks are putting a hold on foreclosures during the holiday season. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac the 2 Government controlled mortgage companies are freezing foreclosure evictions for mortgages they own or back from Dec 20th through Jan 3rd.

This news gives more time for distressed owners in Buford Ga real estate and Nationally to get help to save their homes or to sell them.

I haven't heard if the other Banks are jumping on the sleigh as of yet, but I'm feeling better about Christmas this year for everyone in need.


Part 2 Foreclosure Freeze Could Save Your Home?

Last week we discussed 2 steps you can do to help save your home. This week we will discuss the other steps.

Step 3: Organize your personal documents and information. No matter what form of foreclosure alternative you decide upon, it is important that assemble the following documents.

1. Checking and Savings Account Statements

2. Mortgage Statements

3. Your last 2 employment pay stubs

4. Past 2 years of tax returns

5. Hardship letter (I can help you with that)

Having this information ready will greatly increase the process and show the lender you are ready and willing to work with them to resolve your mortgage issues.

Step 4: Contact your lender

No matter what you have heard, Lenders do not want to foreclose on your home. They are not in the home selling business they are in the money lending business. Foreclosures add significant cost to the lender, they are eager to work out a situation. In addition, keep your agent informed. When open lines of communication is established the process is more efficient and challenges can be handled quickly and effectively.

Know your options so to make an informed decision for what is best for you and your family. No one is alone in the process there are millions of families in distress. Please contact someone that knows and understands your options to help. Contact me directly or one of our agents to help. click here for more information on foreclosure help. Buford Ga Real Estate


Freeze on Foreclosures Could Save Your Home?

You may have seen all the news that major lenders have put a temporary halt on Foreclosures. This has caused the press and Politicians to call for a foreclosure freeze or moratorium. Unfortunately this is not the answer and it will not stop homeowners from being foreclosed. In the next few blogs I am going to discuss ways to avoid foreclosure.
Step 1: get a pen and paper and jot down any questions as we go through these steps.
Step 2: consult with a Real Estate Agent that is educated specifically in responding to the foreclosure crisis. I suggest a CDPE (Certified Distressed Property Expert) These agents can advise the best avenue to take and help you understand your options so you can make and informed decision. Studies show that homeowners who get housing counseling are 60% more likely to avoid foreclosure and have their payments lowered significantly than borrowers that go through the process alone. Foreclosure help in Buford Ga


Loving Sunset Cove at Lake Lanier Island

Last weekend Marine Max and Lake Lanier Island put on a fabulous event that offered a tour of the halloween lights at lake lanier Islands and Full Moon fireworks at Sunset Cove. Lake Lanier started the Full Moon events every full Moon that began this Summer 2010. It was so successful that they have decided to extend it through the fall and possibly the winter.

This event encompassed a Halloween party that included a halloween contest, dancing with a great band, food and great fun. this is the first time that the Islands have started including boaters. As a result this series has made a good profit for the Islands and will most likely continue. Just another reason why you should make your home in Buford and Lake Lanier. More on this later!


Welcome to Our Lake Lanier and Buford Georgia Real Estate Blog!

We're glad you stopped by to see the latest news about Buford and Lake Lanier homes. We will fill you in on all the latest happenings in our area and help you find that dream house or condo on the lake!  Check back soon for all kinds of good information!