Residential Real Estate Pricing and Online Presence

Residential Real Estate: Pricing and Online Presence

When getting ready to list your residential property in the real estate market, there are a few things that you should implement in order to sell your home quickly and for the highest price. For starters, you need to ensure that you set a proper and accurate price for your home. Homes that are priced too high will languish on the market causing agents and buyers to steer clear. Additionally, you will need to market your home with proper staging and the best photographs possible for the most impactful online presence.

Competitive Listing Price

Setting the price for a residential property can be a daunting experience for any seller, as the majority are not experts at gauging the real estate market nor is it easy to see a realistic value in personal homes as there can be emotional attachment involved. Some property owners are even willing to test the waters by intentionally overpricing their homes in the hopes they will attract a buyer regardless. Although the urge to set a higher price in order to leave space for negotiations can be tempting, there is ample evidence that shows this strategy doesn’t work and can actually delay the home selling far longer than anticipated.

The price you set for your home can determine whether it sells quickly or lingers on the market for months or even years. In today’s real estate climate, buyers are equipped with excellent online research skills, and they can smell an incorrectly priced property from a distance. They can sift through websites and compare similar properties in a given area. In today’s market, a home is likely to gain the most exposure and momentum in the first week of its listing, possibly even promoting a bidding war. After the eleventh day, the possibility of getting an offer will drastically reduce. Incorrect valuation of your property will likely make it stay longer on the market, something that might lead to you missing out on ready, willing and able buyers who may have submitted offers in the first two weeks of listing.

And as the days go by, buyers who view your listing and see it on the market for months will think there is something wrong with it, not just the price. This is a feeling that can persist even if you organize an open house for them to inspect the home. This is what is referred to as ‘stale bread effect’. Buyers don’t want something that has stayed too long on the shelves; they are attracted by fresh items that have joined the queue. With buyers having the impression that something is amiss they’ll start downward bidding, something that could have been avoided with the correct listing price, and you may even be forced to sell the home for below-market pricing.

Photos And Staging

Besides accurate and competitive pricing, real estate listing photos of a clutter-free and properly staged home will also have a significant effect on a home sale. With more than 90 percent of home buyers using the internet as part of their home search, it makes economic sense to have professional photos when listing a property.

The first impression you give a potential buyer is essential. If your listing images are poor quality and not appealing to the homebuyer, they will possibly scroll to the next option. Exciting property photos will instill a positive emotion and affect the buyer’s perception of the home before viewing it in person. And since emotion is one of the most prominent triggers for buyers, you should utilize it to your advantage by striving for excellence and getting creative with the listing photos. Cell phone cameras should never be used in lieu of a professional camera. Likewise professional lighting and video drones are highly recommended for homes in higher price points to gain the most advantage online. A professional photographer specializing in real estate is often a marketing cost well worth spent.

In addition to a high end camera or even a professional photographer for visually compelling images, it is also imperative to have proper staging of your home. Since the goal is to appeal to the homebuyer’s emotions, you need to include details that help them envision living there. A poorly furnished house won’t do that, nor will personal photos and items. One of the easiest DIY’s in this scenario is to declutter. Declutter, declutter, declutter. Look online for ideas of how to stage homes and tips on how to rearrange rooms, and/or use objects and pops of color to make your house feel professionally staged.

We Can Help

In the current real estate market, serious buyers are looking for properties that are priced in line with market conditions. Additionally, they don’t want to see dull and unprofessionally captured photos. They want to envision themselves living in the homes that are displayed on the listing websites. The Meridian Real Estate Group can help you in accurately pricing your home and providing you with the strongest online image possible. We specialize in residential real estate; from starter homes to luxury homes, from secondary residences to investment properties, we can help serve all of your real estate needs.


Commercial Zoning: Processes, Impacts and Considerations

If you are an investor in the real estate market, you may be familiar with the term zoning.  Before leasing or buying a commercial real estate asset, investors are advised to ensure that property is zoned in a way that will resonate with their future goals and needs. For those unfamiliar with what zoning is, it is the process of segmenting and designating land to various uses. It also involves regulating other elements that are critical to real estate such as design, height, and density in some places.

Commercial zoning includes ordinances that regulate commercial structures such as shopping centers, apartment buildings, and office parks, among others.  The purpose of zoning is to specify what type of businesses can reside in a given area, the type of building that can be erected, and how it will be utilized. The zoning bylaws and regulations vary from one state or city to the next.  When buying a property, you should make sure that you are abreast with the updated zoning by laws for any given location in order to avoid future disappointments.

Impacts of Zoning on Your Property

When zoning is changed from one type of property to the next, it can impact your real estate investment. For example if a property is changed from commercial to residential zoning, the value of your property will plummet and lead to massive losses. However, if the reverse happens, the value of the property may increase dramatically. Additionally, banks and lenders may also have some policies which don’t favor the kind of loan you want to acquire when zoning a property. At times the municipality or state can institute a conditional zoning requirement, which can either affect your property either positively or negatively.

Understanding the impacts zoning regulations will affect your transaction can help you make an informed decision. You also need to know the steps to follow if you want to rezone the property.

The Process of Rezoning a Property

At times, investors may feel the need to rezone their properties. They need to understand what steps to follow in order to complete this potentially detailed process.  In the state of Georgia, most of the zoning decisions are handled locally.

The Zoning Ordinance in Georgia requires that you attend three meetings before you submit a Special Use Permit or Rezoning Application.

The first meeting involves the property owner or representative, and a member(s) of the Planning and Zoning Department. Here you will discuss the rezoning process, make your application, and review it together. You’ll have to explain the intended use of the property and the plan you have in place to achieve this. The Planning and Zoning Department will then determine whether your project is consistent with the area’s comprehensive plan.

Next is to attend the preliminary review meeting with the Plan Approval team. Here, you’ll discuss how new development regulations may affect the project. You’ll try to uncover significant technical hurdles and cost items.

The third step is the Community and Input Meeting, which involves the surrounding property owners and interested parties. Here, you’ll seek to know how your neighbors feel about your application.

Once the three meetings are complete, all county departments will review your application to determine whether it is feasible. They will also seek to understand if the project aligns with state and county ordinances.  If the form is complete, it will be placed on the agenda for the upcoming Planning Commission Public Hearing. The application will then be publicized so that interested parties can attend the hearing.

During the public hearing, the Planning Commission will allow the public to make their inputs, after which they’ll send a recommendation to the Board of Commissioners. The board will evaluate the proposals and act accordingly, either by approving, approving with conditions, postponing, or disapproving the application.

Should You Rezone Your Commercial Property Before Listing?

Rezoning a property can be a lucrative experience for property investors. However, it is never a smart idea to rezone a property before listing if it’s based on rumor and speculation. This is because the whole process is expensive and time-consuming. Additionally, if your plan doesn’t meet zoning requirements, it might slow down the process of actually selling your property.

However, if you conduct a thorough due diligence in your research and feel confident that rezoning will lead to a more profitable outcome, you may wish to proceed with it.

Zoning Considerations When Buying a Commercial Property  

When buying a commercial property, you need to examine the current zoning of your potential investment carefully. It would be best if you identify what uses are deemed to be acceptable and unacceptable. Be sure to survey the surrounding properties and seek to know how other property owners in the region intend to use theirs in the coming years. You may identify a property that enjoys scenic views of the sunset, only to learn later that space in between is zoned for storied, heavy metal industry.

You also need to check out design and overlay restrictions. Properties on floodplains and swamps can have limitations. The presence of endangered species or anthropological sites near the property can also have strict regulations put in place to discourage property development.

Also, consider all aspects relating to the future of the area where your property is located. Visualize the property in the next 10 years. Is the city planning to build a highway behind your property? Or a fire department on the lot next door? If so, how will these changes affect your property? Though some of these things are hard to predict with certainty, an area’s Comprehensive Plan may provide a few insights about future development activities.

We Can Help

Obviously there are many factors to consider when investing in commercial real estate and the details and processes can seem overwhelming. We can assist you through every step of the way and have a proven track record of helping investors realize their dream. The Meridian Real Estate Group is a full service commercial real estate team. We service all of the main divisions of commercial real estate including Office, Industrial, Retail, Multifamily, and Land. We are experts in the process of land assemblage for large commercial land development projects as well. Let us assist you in finding commercial property for lease for your business or finding tenants to lease your existing commercial property. Our mission is to provide the highest level of service for all of our commercial clients and to aid investors in finding properties and negotiating deals to build a lasting commercial real estate legacy.

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Understanding The Basics Of Commercial Lending

Understanding the Basics of Commercial Lending

Purchasing a property for commercial purposes is an investment that can be financially rewarding above all other real estate transactions. However, it is an endeavor that needs lots of cash.  And even though it is a lucrative investment that can generate generous monthly cash flow, it is a daunting task to build wealth in commercial real estate without an abundance of funds. This is where commercial real estate loans come in handy.  As an investor, learning the ropes of commercial real estate financing can help you seek the best rates and terms for your enterprise.

What is a Commercial Real Estate Loan, and How Does it Work?

As you may know, commercial real estate is property that is used to generate income. As such, a commercial property loan is a type of financing that is specifically designed to help you purchase a property that is purposely designated for business. A commercial real estate property may include any of the following:

  • Manufacturing industrial properties
  • Office spaces
  • Retail spaces
  • Special-use properties, such as self-storage facilities and car washes, among others.

Now that we understand that real estate loans are those that help you cover the high costs associated with purchasing a business property, how do they work?

Typically, commercial real estate lenders provide loans that are secured by liens of the property being purchased.  This means that if an investor is unable to service the loan, the lender has the legal right to seize the property. Additionally, some lenders require that you make a downpayment on the loan you are asking for. A significant number of commercial real estate lenders require that you make a downpayment of between 20-30% of the property’s buying price.

Application Process/Time Frame

When getting ready to apply for a real estate loan, there are a few things that you need to put in order.

For starters, since a solid credit score is vital for this process, you should ensure that your financial ducks are in a row. Make sure that your credit score is at the minimum above 680. Ascertain that it doesn’t contain recent bankruptcies, foreclosures, and tax liens.   A low credit score can spell doom for your loan application process.

Another important thing is to have a clear and detailed business plan. Lenders will intensely scrutinize what you intend to do with the property once you buy it. Have a clear outline of how you will utilize the property and a carefully thought out forecast of anticipated cash flow. Having the business entity set up before you actually fill out the application can make a huge difference.

Additionally, you need to tidy up your paperwork and ensure that it doesn’t contain things that may appear as red flags. Conveying a sense of preparedness will go a long way and something as simple as organized paperwork may be a determiner of whether you will get that commercial real estate loan or not.

How Long Does it Take to Get the Loan?

For most lenders, they estimate that the loan approval process should take about 30-45 days. However, experience dictates that most commercial mortgages take from 45 to 120 days to appraise the loan, but this doesn’t mean you won’t find exceptions. Nonetheless, if you are on a timeline, it is critical to understand that the process can take longer than expected.

Cash Flow Factors

As an investor, you should also understand other cash-flow factors that lenders consider when it comes to commercial real estate loans.

  1. Loan-To-Value (LTV) Ratio

Since commercial real estate loans don’t have private mortgage insurance, lenders usually use the property being bought as the collateral. Therefore, lenders largely depend on the loan-to-value ratio (LTV).  This calculates the value of the loan against the appraised value of the property.

 Loan-To-Value (LTV) = Mortgage Amount (MA)/Appraised Property Value (APV)

When the LTV is too high, lenders may not be willing to give you a loan as they view it as too risky. Typically, viable commercial real estate loans are those that have an LTV ratio ranging from 65-80%. Additionally, the LTV ratio is used by commercial lenders to determine the interest rate you’ll pay.

  1. Debt-Service Coverage Ratio

Another essential aspect that commercial lenders consider when offering commercial real estate loans is the debt-service coverage ratio (DSCR). To get this ratio, lenders divide the annual net operating income from a property by its annual mortgage debt service (principal and interest payments).

Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR) = Net Operating Income/Total Debt Service

A DSCR of 1 or more indicates a positive cash flow. A ratio below 1 indicates a negative cash flow. Generally, commercial lenders usually require that a property should have a DSCR of 1.25 and above.  However, some lenders may accept a lower DSCR if they offer loans with a shorter amortization, or find out that the prospective properties have a stable cash flow.

  1. Fees

Commercial real estate loans also come with other charges besides the interest rate. You must be aware of the upfront fees that you are required to pay when getting a commercial loan. They include legal cost, property appraisal, loan origination, loan application, and survey fees. While some lenders may ask you to pay the fees upfront, others will bill them annually.

Commercial Loan Repayment Terms and Schedule

Commercial real estate loans are not like residential mortgages, which are often paid in regular installments over a fixed period. They come in two terms:

  • Intermediate-term loans of 3 years or less
  • Long-term loans that last for 5 to 20 years

The loans can also be classified as amortized or balloon loans. Amortized loans are paid in installment plus the interest until the full amount is recovered. On the other hand, balloon loans require you to make fixed monthly payments for some years and then pay in a lump sum to clear the remaining principal when the provided loan period expires.

The Meridian Real Estate Group Can Help

As you can see there are multiple factors that play a part in obtaining a loan for commercial real estate as well as many other components that are involved both before and after the loan process. If you’re an investor wanting to embark on this potentially lucrative journey, we can help. The Meridian Real Estate Group is a full service commercial real estate team servicing all of the main divisions of commercial real estate including Office, Industrial, Retail, Multifamily, and Land. We are also highly experienced in the process of land assemblage for large commercial land development projects. In addition, we can assist in finding commercial property for lease for your business or finding tenants to lease your existing commercial property. Our mission is to provide the highest level of service for all of our commercial clients and to aid investors in finding properties and negotiating deals to build a lasting commercial real estate legacy.

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Getting the Most Out of Your VA Loan Benefits

As a U.S. Veteran, you are entitled to special privileges when it comes to financing. With a VA loan, you can buy the home of your dreams and live comfortably. Many Veterans are relatively unfamiliar with VA loans, how they work, and what they can get out of them. Here is what every Veteran should know about how to get the most out of your VA loan benefits. 

Introduction to VA Loans

One of the first things you should know about VA loans is that the application rate is very low. 

Only 6% of the 21 million Veterans living in the United States take advantage of VA loans to buy a home. That means that there’s a lot of opportunity out there for Veterans looking for financing from the VA. The application rate is exceptionally low mostly because so many Veterans don’t know how to leverage VA loans.  

Blue Water Navy Act

In the Blue Water Navy Act, Congress authorized the following changes to the VA Home Loan benefit beginning on January 1, 2020, for ALL eligible Veterans. The Blue Water Navy Act introduced a number of significant modifications that are largely beneficial to Veterans seeking financing through VA loans. 

Here is a breakdown of these changes, what they mean, and how they will affect you as a Veteran.

What to Know About the VA Loan Funding Fee Change

At this time, there is a temporary change to the VA Funding Fee, which is a congressionally mandated fee associated with the VA Home Loan. Veterans and Servicemembers will see a slight increase of 0.15 to 0.30% in their funding fee (currently for two years), while National Guard and Reserve members will see a slight decrease in their fee to align with the fee paid by ‘Regular Military’ borrowers (permanent). 

Veterans with service-connected disabilities, some surviving spouses, and other potential borrowers are exempt from the VA loan funding fee and will not be impacted by this change.

Overall, the VA loan funding fee change is relatively fair as it rewards injured Veterans and members of the National Guard Reserve. While the fee was increased for uninjured Veterans and Servicemembers, the increase is nominal and should not have a large impact on their ability to secure financing through VA loans. 

How Purple Heart Recipients Can Save Money on a VA Loan

If you are an active-duty Servicemember who has earned a Purple Heart, your funding fee can be waived if you close on your home while still serving on active duty. This is perhaps one of the most significant changes to VA Home Loan programs. 

Earning a Purple Heart represents a great honor and sacrifice. It is only fitting that Veterans with a Purple Heart are honored with easier access to financing a home.  

Conforming Loan Limits

Another thing you should know is that there have been beneficial changes made to conforming loan limits that will give Veterans greater access when using their no-down-payment home loan benefits. Veterans seeking to obtain what is commonly referred to as a “jumbo” loan, or Veterans living in higher-cost markets, will no longer be subject to the Federally-established conforming loan limit maximums. 

After January 1, Veterans may obtain no-down-payment VA-backed loans in all areas of the country, regardless of home prices. The benefits of this will be huge as it means you won’t have to save up for a down payment. 

The down payment for expensive homes can be substantial and even act as a barrier that prevents folks from going after the home that they really want. By using a no-down payment loan and taking advantage of the changes to conforming loan limits that took effect after January 1st, Veterans can rest easy. You will have a wider range of options when house hunting and a higher chance of being able to finance the home of your dreams rather than having to settle for less. Let’s face it, Veterans deserve the best.    

Advantages of VA Loans

There are several great advantages to financing your home with a VA loan. First, there is no requirement for monthly mortgage insurance on a VA loan which means you’ll save a lot of money on your payments. 

The interest rates on VA loans are much lower than what you’d be paying if you applied for a conventional mortgage. 

The credit requirements to qualify for VA loans are exceptionally low which helps Veterans gain access to financing that would have been denied to them otherwise. 

Finally, VA loans offer special protections to Veterans that make it difficult to induce foreclosure. That added foreclosure avoidance protection helps Veterans keep their homes after working so hard to acquire them. 

The Meridian Real Estate Group Is Here to Help

As you can see, Veterans can be well served by participating in this unique and specialized loan program. Let The Meridian Real Estate Group assist you in navigating VA loan requirements and procedures to ensure you get the most out of your VA Loan. We look forward to making your dream homeownership a reality.

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Filing For Homestead Exemption in 2020

If you are filing for homestead exemption, homeowners may need to provide their Warranty Deed book and page, proof of residence, social security numbers, driver’s license, and car tag info. In most counties, to be eligible for the current year, you must have owned and occupied the property as of January 1st.  If the property is located within city limits, the homeowner may be required to file with the city as well.

Cherokee County – deadline is April 1, 2020            678-493-6120

Clayton County – deadline is April 1, 2020               770-477-3311

Cobb County – deadline is April 1, 2020                  770-528-8600

DeKalb County – deadline is April 1, 2020               404-298-4000

Douglas County – deadline is April 1, 2020             770-920-7272

Fayette County – deadline is April 1, 2020               770-461-3652

Forsyth County – deadline is April 1, 2020              770-781-2106

Fulton County – deadline is April 1, 2020               404-612-6440

Gwinnett County – deadline is April 1, 2020           770-822-8800

Henry County – deadline is April 1, 2020                 770-288-8180

Paulding County – deadline is April 1, 2020            770-443-7581

This information was provided by one of our preferred closing attorneys Neel, Robinson, & Stafford, LLC. All rights reserved. NRS has multiple offices to choose from including Glenridge, Buckhead, West Cobb, Inman Park, Alpharetta, and Acworth.

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What are Real Estate Experts Predicting for 2020 and This Upcoming Decade?

2020 not only brings a new year but a new decade. There’s, of course, no way to know exactly what the next decade will bring, but real estate experts have made their predictions for what the housing market could look like in this next year –

Here’s a great blog post from one of our preferred closing attorney’s Perrie & Associates, LLC about real estate trends moving into this next decade.

Mortgage Median

Mortgage rates are expected to stay at their low rate for most of 2020, according to Forbes and data from Freddie Mac. Current rates are at 3.75% and are expected to remain between 3.7% and 3.9%. Realtor.com’s 2020 Housing Report supports this, predicting that the year will end with rates at 3.88%. Ben Lane with HousingWire says this rate will make 2020 a popular year for refinancing. In 2019, reports showed that it was the best year for refis since 2016, and Freddie Mac experts are predicting $834 billion in refinance originations in 2020. The low rates will benefit home buyers as well, with Freddie Mac predicting $1.299 trillion in purchase originations to start the new decade. Sean Hundtofte, with chief economist with lender Better.com, told Forbes this will allow homebuyers to “be able to afford more house than they would have otherwise.”

Price Point

According to the chief economist at Realtor.com Danielle Hale, the price will be the major selling point for 2020. “Many people would prefer to live in the San Francisco’s and other big cities, but for the right price they will make the decision to go to another city,” she said. Forbes says home prices are expected to rise because of inventory shortages and high demand. Experts are predicting prices to rise 5.6% by September of 2020, and the lower-end of price ranges will be hit hardest due to a lack of new starter homes. Ralph DeFranco, chief economist for Archer AMI told Forbes, “low-interest rates and a shortage of starter homes will continue to push up prices. This is especially the case for lower price points, since builders have tended to focus on more expensive, higher-profit houses and less on replenishing low inventories of entry-level homes.”

Millennial Movers 

A large portion of millennials will be turning 30 in 2020 – the prime age to buy a first home, according to Realtor.com, and the oldest millennial will be turning only 39. Therefore, this generation will dominate the market. According to Hale, millennials will hold more than 50% of mortgages by mid-2020, and despite the belief that the generation doesn’t want to settle down, many are at the age where they have started having families and are ready to establish roots. However, these potential buyers will face many difficulties, as older generations are choosing to remain in place, keeping many homes off the market. This is pushing millennials to “Hipsturbia,” according to Forbes. These young homebuyers are looking to suburban markets outside of major cities that offer live-work-play neighborhoods and walkability to many amenities.

Look Locally 

While it’s important to look at market predictions across a national level, Caroline Feeney with Forbes reminds agents to focus on the local picture. Geography, affordability, jobs, and others are all nuanced factors that play a role in a local market. George Ratiu, the chief economist for realtor.com, told Feeney that 2020 will bring a lot more “differentiation between various markets.” In Atlanta, forecasts show a split down the middle between the city and the surrounding metro area as millennials flock to “Hipsturbia.” This split will see lots of activity and growth in lower price points, and “softer price points driven by weaker demand and the affordability ceiling at the higher end.” According to Forbes, Atlanta is predicted to see home values in the bottom tier raising 10%, while raising just 2.1% in the top tier.

Again, you can never be certain of what the new year will bring – but we can be sure to see many changes in real estate in 2020 and the following decade. Be sure to keep your eyes on local markets and follow us here at www.TheMeridianWay.com and like our facebook page facebook.com/themeridianway/ as we share the latest news and trends! Here’s to a wonderful new year of growth!


Did You Accomplish Your 2019 Real Estate Goals and Have You Set Your Real Estate Goals for 2020?

Did you accomplish your 2019 real estate goals and have you set your real estate goals for 2020? We can help.

Are you or someone you know in the market to buy, sell, or invest in commercial or residential real estate within the next 12 months?

Buying? Interest rates are still at historic lows which gives buyers more buying power and bang for their buck. Are you wondering how much you might qualify for and need the name of a trusted commercial or residential real estate lender? We can help.

Selling? All local and national indicators point to us having reached or come close to reaching the peak of the housing market with the commercial real estate market typically following by 18 months. So if you are thinking of selling within the next few years, right now would be the time to take advantage of selling at the peak of the market.

And despite the common mindset that the spring is the best time to sell, consider selling in the winter when your competition is lower which will help you get top dollar for your property.

Investing? It’s always a good time to invest in real estate and in fact, real estate has outperformed stocks by a 2 to 1 ratio for the last 20 years and there are no indications that will change anytime soon. https://www.investopedia.com/investing/reasons-invest-real-estate-vs-stock-market/

Refinancing? Simply refinancing and dropping your interest rate by as little as 3/4 of a point could save you several hundred dollars a month on your monthly mortgage. Need the name of a trusted commercial or residential real estate lender? We can help.

Renovating? You’ve owned your property for a while and you are still fond of it. But it’s no longer exactly what you need or want. So do you put it up for sale and move on, or upgrade and settle in for the long haul? Need help answering that question? We can help.

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What is the Difference Between Getting a Pre-qualification Letter and a Pre-approval Letter?

Is there a difference between getting a pre-qualification letter and a pre-approval letter from your lender when starting the home buying process? And if so, what is it, and is one better than the other?

So the answer is “yes”, there is a difference.

The pre-qualifying process is a preemptive information gathering exercise where your lender will ask you to provide the information necessary to get pre-approved for a loan. However, other than pulling your credit from the social security number you’ll provide them with, they won’t actually verify the rest of the information they may ask you for. This includes W-2s, a current pay stub, a summary of your assets and your total monthly expenses, and if you already own real estate, a copy of both your mortgage statement and your homeowners insurance policy.

Based on the information you provide your lender can run some basic calculations and give you an idea of how much of a loan you’ll likely qualify for. However, since they haven’t verified the majority of the information you’ve given them, your pre-qualification won’t be as valuable as a pre-approval.

So the biggest difference between pre-approval and pre-qualification, at least from a lender’s point of view, is validating the information with documents as opposed to just getting verbal information. In a pre-approval the lender isn’t just going to take your word for it, they are going to verify the information you have given them.

From a borrower’s point of view, the difference is the leverage that pre-approval gives you when it comes to purchasing a home since most seller’s agents won’t accept an offer without a pre-approval letter. They want it to say ‘pre-approval’ at the top because they know the lender has done an in-depth analysis on the buyer.

The pre-qualification letter has its place though in the very beginning of your home searching process. It will help you and your buyer’s agent determine what is a good starting price bracket for your property search. But that will only get you so far in the process and you will soon need to take it to the next level and get a pre-approval letter.

Think of it this way. Getting pre-qualified for a loan is like asking for approval from your significant other’s parents before you propose. While it might be nice to get a “yes” from the parents, until you drop to one knee for the ultimate approval, you aren’t really getting anywhere.

Of course, you’ll still have to go through the underwriting process after you submit the application and wait for final approval.

If you need any help getting a pre-qualification or pre-approval letter, let us know. We have some great lenders we work with that can guide you through the process and put you in the right position to take advantage of this incredible market we find ourselves in.


Breast Cancer Awareness Month

It’s October, which means it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month! Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. Join in the cause to help women in need today. Together, We can make a difference. 

Click the link below to learn more about how you can help in the fight against breast cancer. 

https://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-cancer-awareness-month


5 Amenities Buyers are Willing to Pay Extra for…

 When it comes to the best that money has to offer, luxury homes lead the way. So if you are interested in trying to get the best possible ROI on your next home improvement, you’ll want to know what luxury home buyers are looking for most in their next home, and figure out how you can offer similar features at any price point.

Today’s homes need to be a mixture of the newest technology, upgrades, and open space for its owners and their toys.

So let’s take a look at the amenities topping the latest must-have list for the luxury buyers.

#1 on the list is Home Automation and Smart-Tech. Homebuyers today are looking for the same great technology they have come to expect in their smartphones and mobile devices and there are certainly plenty of ways home tech can satisfy.

The ability to control everything from sprinklers and mowers, to inside temperature and lighting, entertainment and security, to appliances and beds, from one device with a voice command or push of a button is what is fast becoming expected to today’s luxury buyer.

For example why settle for a run-of-the-mill media room, when with today’s technology you can have a dedicated home theater room specifically designed with your comfort and entertainment in mind complete with a Hisense 100-inch 4K Ultra HD Smart Dual Color Laser TV, ranked one of the best TV’s for 2019 by PCMag.com https://www.pcmag.com/roundup/256493/the-best-tvs with a MSRP of $10,995.99? If that is a little out of the budget for your dream Gaming/Theater Room you can choose the equally impressive Samsung 65-inch Class Q90R, with an MSRP of $3499.99 or LG’s similarly priced 65-inch OLED dream screen.

Of course, you’ll have to sit through those long three-hour movies in style so why not select Elite Home Theater Seating, https://elitehts.com one of the finest home cinema seating builders in the world, to create you your own sumptuous custom seating experience?

Additional features in your must-have dream theater room to create the perfect ambiance include a chest-pounding surround sound system, mood-setting dimmable lighting, walls painted with a soothing color palette, and finally, a plethora of lavish materials including throw rugs, blankets, and pillows.

You can expect to spend from $5,000 if you are on a shoe-string budget, to upwards of $50,000 building your ideal high-tech, private, cinematic experience depending on your viewing appetite. But of course, if you’re someone like Tyler Perry you might go all out entertaining your guest at home in this Game of Thrones-style home theater, that according to insiders cost well over $500,000.

See our blog post titled Smart Home Tech https://www.themeridianway.com/blog/ for a list of the 2019 Best Smart Home Devices.

#2 would be a little of this and a little of that. That’s right, combining old and new together, recycled and ageless, classic with modern, has become the hottest trend in designing for luxuriousness, and it is an inclination that is likely to stay around for a while.

Incorporating reclaimed materials, like brick and wood and blending them with modern materials, fixtures, and appliances, is a way to create architectural focal points, great topics for interesting conversation and set your property apart from all the others when it’s time to sell.

By blending reclaimed materials such as this 100 year old chandelier, walnut wood and cabinetry and these massive support beams which were saved from the Savanah Harbor and preserved in The Villa De Cielo https://www.themeridianway.com/listing/683-tarpley-road-nw/ pictured here, with state of the art appliances that are available for the modern kitchen, we are actually being kinder to our world and helping our environment which is a huge selling point to the affluent and discerning buyer.

#3 on the list, and certainly a feature most people think about when creating their must-have amenity that they would be willing to pay extra for is, of course, a kitchen a chef would be envious of.

The kitchen is the heart of the home and a must-have kitchen will include high-end cabinetry, chef-grade commercial appliances, and beautiful inviting design.

Sleek or classic look doesn’t matter, open and integrated with other living spaces for entertaining is where it’s at. However, since cooking can be messy, builders are now incorporating a secondary kitchen in their designs. Called a “dirty kitchen” or a “catering kitchen”, these kitchens are usually next to the designer kitchen for ease and efficiency. But having a second kitchen where all the dirty work takes place will leave your designer kitchen nice and clean for entertaining your guests. And of course, no must-have kitchen will be without smart-technology. Today’s modern kitchen technology can include refrigerators that let you know when you are low on groceries, ovens that clean themselves, precision cookers that use Wi-Fi connectivity so you control them from anywhere, even when you’re not home, and steam ovens, coffee makers and microwaves that you can control with your phone or tablet.

#4 on this list would be living a life of luxury outside. And we’re not talking about camping. We are talking about outdoor space so inviting that you may end up spending more time there than inside your home.

Luxury buyers are used to experiencing decadent outdoor environments while traveling around the world so there’s no reason why they wouldn’t want to experience the same while they are home.

Outdoor gourmet kitchens, resort-style pools or water feature, plush comfy seating under the cover of structures like cabanas, verandas, lanais or terraces, cozy fires, and well-stocked bars are among the essentials of a well thought out, well designed outdoor living space. There are also incredible opportunities to have the best of both worlds by engineering space as both an indoor and outdoor living area. This can be done by designing partitions and walls oftentimes made of glass to break away and or fold back so as to open an indoor space to the outdoors.

 

#5 Last on the list but certainly not least would be a place to keep your collection of toys. That’s right, a grand barn for your modern-day stallions. A garage fitting of the cars that reside in it. And in this case, bigger is usually better. Large garage space has become almost as important as large bedroom closet space when it comes to making decisions on purchasing a home.

A fact not often missed with luxury homebuyers is that when it comes to displaying their items of value, the display case is important. And there is really no limit to what can be done when creating a showroom for a luxury car collection.

One thing you can count on when it comes to luxury homebuyers, they are looking for and willing to pay for the finer things of both indoor and outdoor living, and an excellent agent knows how to help them find or create what they are looking for.

 

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Job Creation Still Strong in Atlanta Despite National Slowdown

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most recent numbers, metropolitan Atlanta added roughly 58,700 jobs over the past 12 months, a 2.12% bump in employment.

The region has comfortably outpaced the national average for much of the economic expansion since the Great Recession and is projected to continue to do so throughout the rest of this year.

Professional and business services led the way in growth over the past year, as Atlanta added 17,500 jobs in this cohort. Overall, with small net reductions in the financial activities and information sectors, office-using employment grew by 13,800 jobs, or roughly a 1.75% increase.

While Atlanta has seen office-using employment slow, the market is on stable footing. From 2010 to 2018, Atlanta added the sixth-highest number of office-using jobs in the nation on a nominal basis, almost 170,000 high-paying jobs. The region boasted numbers higher than Los Angeles with 159,000, Boston with 140,000 and Washington, D.C., with 100,300.

White-collar employment is expected to continue growing over the next few years, as major corporations add thousands of jobs to the area. Investment firm BlackRock, health insurer Anthem and Norfolk Southern Railway are looking to add thousands of high-paying jobs to midtown, arguably Atlanta’s epicenter of corporate relocations and expansions.

Elsewhere in the region, insurance company State Farm, accounting software company LeaseQuery, and Arby’s owner Inspire Brands are in the process of adding thousands of jobs to Perimeter Center. Thyssenkrupp Elevators is expected to hire 600 employees in Cumberland and Ameris Bancorp plans to add 300 positions in Buckhead.

The addition of tens of thousands of high-paying jobs has been a boon to Atlanta’s office market, particularly for high-end properties in the region’s well-positioned markets. For example, midtown and Buckhead will have absorbed roughly 4.6 million and 2.7 million square feet of high-quality space, respectively, by the end of this year.

 

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Multifamily Sales on Pace to Set New Market Trend

The total transaction volume among apartment properties in Atlanta is on track to surpass last year’s numbers, revealing investors’ seemingly insatiable appetite for apartments in the Atlanta Market.

Every year since 2010 has experienced growth in transaction volume in the multifamily sector, and 2012 marked the first year that multifamily sales prevailed as the leading preference for investors.

So far this year, total sales volume is almost at $4.3 billion, compared to just $4.1 billion this time last year. In total, last year saw almost $7.5 billion worth of transactions – an all-time record for the metropolitan Atlanta area. On a trailing 12-month basis, Atlanta ranks third for the most sales volume, only behind New York and Los Angeles.

While apartments have proven more lucrative this expansion across the nation, properties of this cohort in Atlanta are especially enticing as rent growth remains strong and job growth holds comfortably above the national average.

In the chart below, each color corresponds with one of four property types and the amount of sales volume traded in that year. Blue Bars represent apartment complex sales.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Than you to Costar for this article. For other great articles, hit the link. 

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Are 19 Million Millennials Stuck Renting?

Are changing market trends and the growing number of SFR investors hampering the dream of buying a home for 19M millennials who are stuck renting?

Whether or not you are a millennial trying to compete against investors for your starter home, or an investor trying to make a wise investment we can help. www.TheMeridianWay.com

#Millennial #HelpingMillennials #StarterHome #RealEstateInvesting #AdvisingInvestors #ProvenTrackRecord

The following is a snippet from the Inman News article, by Steve Cook, entitled “Competition for starter homes will only heat up. Here’s why”

“Many prospective first-time buyers cannot find a home that they can afford, or, even worse, overpay for their first homes, thanks to the legions of investors in single-family rentals (SFRs), whose cash offers often beat out bids from other buyers. Competition with investors is one of the reasons 19 million millennials who want to buy a home and have the income to do so are still renting…

…However, it is true that investors in single-family rentals prefer the same starter-sized homes sought by first-time buyers. According to CoreLogic, the share of starter homes purchased by investors peaked at over 1 in 5 homes over the past two years. “It’s a truism that homebuyers today are more likely to cross paths with investors during an open house than at any other time in the past two decades,” McLaughlin says.

Last year, investor purchases were the highest on record and nearly twice the level before the 2008 housing crash. Through the balance of 2019 and the first half of 2020, conditions for investors will continue to favor them over first-time buyers.

And here’s why:

  1. Investors are less sensitive to rising prices than homebuyers
  2. SFR rents are rising as fast or faster than home prices
  3. SFR Investing is easier today than ever  
  4. Single-family investors have financing sources that are as good or better than those available to first-time buyers

 Remember, whether or not you are a millennial trying to compete against investors for your starter home, or an investor trying to make a wise investment we can help. www.TheMeridianWay.com  

 


SMART HOME TECH

Have you installed any Smart Home Tech in you home yet? If so what? If not, why not?
 
According to a Harvard Study, Home Tech is on the rise even in existing homes because of the ease of some DYI projects and the growing numbers of folks desiring to age in place.  https://www.jchs.harvard.edu/blog/more-existing-homes-will-have-smart-home-tech/
 
Here are the Best Smart Home Devices for 2019 according to PCmag.com
SMALL HOME HUBS AND CONTROLLERS 
The Echo is a Bluetooth speaker powered by Alexa, Amazon’s handy voice assistant  
 
Wink Hub 2 is the current PCmag Editors’ Choice for home automation hubs. It works with devices that use Z-Wave, Zigbee, Lutron Clear Connect, Kidde, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi. 
 
The Brilliant Control is a unique wall switch that uses Wi-Fi to connect to and control various smart devices in your home.
 
The Logitech Harmony Elite is the ultimate universal remote.
 
The $29.99 iHome iSP6X SmartPlug is a smart switch that does almost everything like allowing you to easily control gadgets and appliances from your smartphone while delivering an unparalleled level of third-party smart home integration.
 
SMART HOME SURVEILLANCE CAMERAS
The iCamera Keep Pro from iSmartAlarm ($199.99) is a full-featured home security camera that not only works as a standalone device but can be incorporated into an iSmartAlarm DIY security system.
 
The Wyze Cam Pan, priced at just $29.99, offers features such as motion and sound detection, time-lapse recording, and free cloud storage, and it adds mechanical pan and tilt and support for IFTTT applets.
 
The SkyBell HD is a video doorbell that lets you see and speak with whoever is outside.  It delivers highly detailed video at 1080p with color night vision and captures several seconds of footage prior to a triggered event. It also integrates with numerous third-party smart home devices and comes with free cloud storage for recorded video.
 
SMART LOCKS AND HOME SECURITY SYSTEMS
The Smart Lock Pro + Connect offers August’s DoorSense technology, Z-Wave compatibility, and Wi-Fi connectivity. It’s easy to install and can be controlled remotely or with Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri voice commands.
 
While ADT Pulse is certainly much more expensive than a DIY system, it offers capabilities those systems simply can’t, including 24/7 monitoring and customer support. It’s the most complete, full-featured home security system PCmag tested, and doubles as an automation platform for your other smart home devices.
 
If you prefer a DIY approach to smartening up your home security, check out the SimpliSafe Home Security System. The system is easy to set up and use and keeps your home safe from intruders and environmental threats like fires and floods.
 
SMART HEATING and COOLING
The new Ecobee4 allows you to have the thermostat do everything that the Amazon Echo and its siblings can, such as control smart devices, shop, play music, and hear the latest news and weather, all using Alexa voice commands.  
 
The Nest Learning Thermostat has Wi-Fi so you can remotely control the temperature from phone, tablet, or PC. 
 
SMART LIGHTING
The Philips Hue line delivers with bulbs that let you control not only the intensity of the light but also the color.
 
Eufy Lumos Smart Bulb White and Color lets you select from over 16 million colors, it doesn’t require a hub, and it supports voice commands via Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
 
Ecobee is the first company to embed Amazon Alexa in a light switch with its $99 Ecobee Switch+. The Switch+ is more than just a smart wall switch that connects to your Wi-Fi and can be controlled using a mobile app: It can do everything an Amazon Echo does, such as tell you the current news, weather and sports scores, play music, and control other smart home devices. It also works with Apple’s HomeKit, Google Assistant, IFTTT applets, and the SmartThings Hub, and it will eventually double as a remote room sensor for an Ecobee thermostat.
 
SMART KITCHEN APPLIANCES
The Anova Culinary Precision Cooker uses Wi-Fi connectivity so you control it from anywhere, even when you’re not home. 
 
The Perfect Bake Pro takes out the guesswork and risk when baking. It’s a baking scale connected to an app.
 
The Tovala Steam Oven, the Smarter Coffee, and the AmazonBasics Microwave are all smart kitchen appliances that you can control with your phone or tablet.
 
SMART VACUUMS
The Ecovacs Deebot N79S at $229, is relatively affordable and offers more for the price than any other vacuum PCmag tested. In addition to long battery life and manual steering, it supports features you typically see in far more expensive models such as app control and Amazon Alexa compatibility. It also delivers a stronger clean than other vacuums tested in this price range.  
 
The iRobot’s Roomba i7+ at $949.99 is the most advanced model PCmag tested. In addition to Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice control, multistory mapping, and adaptive camera-based navigation that cleans better as it learns your home’s layout, it’s the only vacuum tested that can empty its own dustbin.
 
iRobot’s relatively inexpensive Braava Jet 240 is a smart mopping robot. It sprays a jet of water to clean deep, and can even do damp sweeping, like a Swiffer.
 
SMART HEALTH AND FITNESS DEVICES
For tracking fat, BMI, water, muscle mass, bone composition, and even pregnancy, look no further than the QardioBase 2. It shares the info it reads with a smartphone app for your easy access. Plus, it just looks great. 
 
SMART BED
Sleep Number’s 360 Smart Bed, which incorporates biometric sensors actually tracts your sleep to help you snooze better.
 
SMART OUTDOOR GADGET
The Polaris 9650iQ Sport offers superb cleaning performance, easy-to-clean debris canister, and multiple programming options as well as Wi-Fi connectivity and a useful mobile app that lets you control the cleaner from your smartphone.
 
The Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller gives you control over eight or 16 zones depending on the unit you get, with a master valve terminal for systems that have one. It won’t water the lawn if it’s raining, and you can turn it on and off remotely with your phone. Plus, it integrates with lots of other services and devices like Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT, and Samsung SmartThings.
 
The Automower 315X works with a well-designed mobile app that lets you use your phone to start and stop the mower, monitor its progress, create schedules, and see where it’s been on a map of your property. It has user-friendly programming options, outstanding cutting performance, and operates quietly.
IF YOU HAVE A NEED FOR PROVIDERS OR INSTALLERS FOR ANY OF THESE SMART HOME DEVICES, LET US KNOW. WE LIKELY “GOT A GUY” THAT CAN HELP

App vs. Agent: The Rise of the Tech-Enabled Agent

Recently in our team meeting, The Meridian Real Estate Group discussed the question of whether or not a Real Estate App would ever replace a Real Estate Agent.

We determined that despite the many changes in the real estate industry and all the advances in technology to make the process of buying and selling a property faster and easier, the basic steps of haven’t changed.

No matter how many apps are created to try and take the agent out of the equation entirely in order to eliminate their commission, “true professionalism and expertise will never be replaced by the latest app. Technology can do a lot, but the one thing it can’t deliver is that personal touch that comes with great service.” – from Inman News “Why you should never stop learning”

A great example of this was given in our meeting when I proposed a prevailing concern in the real estate industry that Uber basically put the New York taxi drivers out of business, and asked if anyone on our Team thought it would be possible for one of these startup apps or Do-It-Yourself discount brokerage companies to do the same to real estate agents.

John Rose, our Marketing Director, gave a brilliant response. “Uber may put the taxi drivers out of business but it will have little-to-no effect on the limo drivers.” Wait, what?!?! Drop the mic.

That is one of the best examples I’ve ever heard of why professionalism, service, and expertise matter. People will always pay for quality and superior service.

John continued. “That’s why I’m not worried about losing any of our clients to these new DIY Real Estate Apps or Brokerage Companies. Our clients rely on our expertise when it comes to making one of the, if not the, biggest financial decisions of their lives and helping them build their real estate legacy. Our clients expect the best, get the best, and will always be willing to pay for that type of service. No matter what the price point is.”

The newest and latest technology is important but it won’t replace an agent.

“It’s no secret that venture capital firms are spending billions to upend the real estate industry by investing in technology designed to create more efficiencies and conveniences in the home-buying process.

That’s not a bad thing, but without an agent’s involvement in this technology, investors will never see a return on that money. All industries have to adapt in our increasingly digital-based economy or risk becoming irrelevant. Traditional VC firms and strategic investors place bets on companies they feel have the ability to disrupt an industry. However, my colleagues in this field have once again forgotten the fundamentals of disruption. Technology alone will not solve for customer behavior, human emotion, fear of loss, and simple unit economics.

We have an alternative thesis at Keller Williams. Even as we have transformed into a technology company, we have proven that the agents’ experience and customer service remain valuable to home buyers and sellers. The reason consumers will continue to rely on a licensed agent is that buying and selling a home is not a regular habit. This professional’s advice will guide them through a confusing and intimidating process.

The same is true in other industries – doctors still treat patients, lawyers still argue court cases, and real estate agents will continue to help people buy and sell homes. Technology has improved these professionals’ ability to do their jobs, but it has not replaced them. If you are an individual investor or an institutional fund making investments in technology that intends to significantly reduce or replace the role of the agent, you are throwing your money away.”  – from Going all in: Keller Williams invests in bringing its agent-centric technology vision to life, by Mitch Johnson

It’s easy to stay on the cutting edge of technology when you are a part of Keller Williams Realty.

In the next two years, we will ensure that KW agents become “super agents” powered by using one platform to manage the entire home-buying experience.

From accessing listings and scheduling showings to financing, home repairs and more, agents and consumers will soon be able to efficiently coordinate and manage it all with our app.

Ultimately these proprietary technologies will make agents even smarter, faster and more cost-efficient (again, dare we say “super agents”?) when serving their customers and taking their businesses to new heights.”  – from Going all in: Keller Williams invests in bringing its agent-centric technology vision to life, by Mitch Johnson

So, despite the fact that we don’t feel that a real estate app or a do-it-yourself discount broker will ever replace us, The Meridian Real Estate Group does use the most advanced technology available to agents. We look at technology as an aid and not a crutch. It is a tool to make us more efficient and effective for our clients. It assists us in providing them with the best and most accurate information possible. It helps us to provide our clients with a superior experience and the level of service that only “limo” real estate agents can provide.

 

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Eastpark Village: Revitalization Continues in Kennesaw with the City’s Largest Land Assemblage Ever

The Meridian Real Estate Group with Keller Williams Realty Signature Partners worked on behalf of its client, Sanctuary Companies, a Georgia based real-estate development company, to assemble 65 parcels of property located along the Cherokee Street Redevelopment Corridor in Kennesaw, Georgia. Sanctuary Companies along with its partner Varden Properties recently closed on the properties. The $280 million mixed-use development, Eastpark Village, will transform the north gateway to downtown Kennesaw into a vibrant mixed-use community.

Eastpark Village, designed by award-winning architects Miller Architecture, will consist of 850 residential units, approximately 300,000 square feet of commercial, retail, and office space. A Village Green will be surrounded by restaurants, open markets, and residential living. A network of sidewalks and strategically placed parks will connect to Historic Downtown Kennesaw via a 10-foot multi-use trail. Groundbreaking will take place in March 2019 with an estimated three-year completion goal.

City of Kennesaw Zoning Administrator, Darryl Simmons, stated that “this is the largest land assemblage in the history of Kennesaw in terms of the number of parcels with individual owners assembled”. He said the City views this project, along with the Revival on Main in downtown Kennesaw, and the Kennesaw Marketplace at the intersection of Cobb Parkway and Barrett Parkway, as catalyst projects that will change the direction of Kennesaw in a positive way and help to revitalize the entire area.

Mr. Simmons explained that the City identified the area along Cherokee Street stretching from I-75 to downtown Kennesaw as a Redevelopment Corridor Zone, and subsequently adopted an overlay Zoning Ordinance and Form-Based Code to encourage redevelopment of the area. Mr. Simmons has seen significant revitalization efforts along the corridor, including older residential subdivisions and commercial businesses relocating into the area since the adoption of the Ordinance.

“Obviously this is the largest assemblage of residential property that Kennesaw has had; you’re talking over 60 parcels in a small area,” Mr. Simmons said. “There’s a lot of ways it could have gone wrong. There’s a lot of things that could have derailed the project, but because of The Meridian Real Estate Group’s diligent work hitting the bricks every day to keep the project going forward, the assemblage part, which is the heavy lifting, was possible.”

Land assemblages are one of the areas of specialty for The Meridian Real Estate Group. “This one was monumental,” said Tony Morris, Meridian’s founder, “it took us three years to assemble the parcels necessary to put it together, and because of our efforts this will be a legacy project for us, our client, and the community.”

About The Meridian Real Estate Group
The Meridian Real Estate Group is a Keller Williams Signature Partners Team based in Marietta, GA serving clients in both Residential and Commercial Real Estate. The Meridian Real Estate Group is driven by a deep desire to help our clients build wealth through real estate to such a degree that they are able to leave a legacy to their families and loved ones.

 

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Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Today as we celebrate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., I want to encourage you to take a moment and reflect on his life and the passion in which he lived it. He had a dream so big that he alone would not be able to accomplish it in his lifetime. He was so passionate about fulfilling his dream that he was willing to give up everything in pursuit of it.

Below are just a few of my favorite quotes from his lifetime. Feel free to add your own. Don’t make this political! If you don’t have something nice to say don’t say it at all here.

“The only reason evil prevails in this world, is because good men and women do nothing.”

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

Martin Luther King Jr. was a dreamer, and as my friend, Leif Hetland so beautifully said, “I believe each of us has a dream inside that originated in the heart of God. His desire is to dream with us and then give us the desires of our heart (Ps.37:4). As a son, I have the opportunity to partner with God to make these dreams a reality.”

Everything MLK did with his life was to pave a way to move his dream from just a dream to a reality… consider your dream and the legacy you are meant to leave.

Are your goals and dreams big enough? Are you willing to give up everything for them? What will your legacy be?

 

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Why you need an agent when buying directly from a builder

New Home Construction

Have you ever considered having your dream home built or buying directly from a builder? Stop and consider that despite builders having their own in-house lenders, contractors, and inspectors, buying a home without your own representation could be a costly mistake.

Contract errors that aren’t in your favor, delayed closings, leaving money on the table in sales price negotiations, and missed opportunities for upgrades are all examples of why you should engage an agent before entering a builders sale’s office.

Here are 3 reasons you should hire a professional real estate agent to represent you.

1) Advice and Opinion: Two of the most important and valuable reasons to engage an agent before buying directly from a builder is their advice and opinion. Any home buying endeavor can be filled with ups and downs, twists and turns, and lots of opportunities for things to go sideways. Buying directly from a builder is no different. A professional real estate agent can help you navigate through all the pitfalls that can arise during the home buying and building process. Lot selection, upgrade selections for resale value, inspections, and home plan selection are just a few of the consideration an agent can help you through.

2) Preferred Vendors: A builder will likely have their own preferred vendors including sub-contractors for work outside the scope of what the builder provides such as audio/visual installation, landscaping and sprinklers, etc. as well as their own preferred mortgage lender or title company, however they may not be the best option or offer the best value for you. A real estate professional will have their own vendors and affiliates that they know and trust that you can use to comparison shop to get the best value for you.

3) Expert Negotiations: Despite what they say builder pricing isn’t always set in stone and a professional real estate agent is a trained and skilled negotiator who can potentially help you get a price reduction and or a few extra upgrades thrown in.

By hiring an agent you gain an advocate to fight for you and your best interest from the very first meeting through the day of closing and beyond.

If you are interested in purchasing a new construction home and would like a list of builders in your area or would like to learn more about the new home buying process or are interested in finding the perfect lot to build your dream home on, get in touch with us today. We are here to help!

 

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Mortgage News Update

Here is a video update from our preferred vendor Movement Mortgage on the recent changes to interest rates.

 

 

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Eastpark Village: Kennesaw Revitalization Continues with the Largest Land Assemblage in the History of the City

 

The Meridian Real Estate Group recently closed on a land development deal representing Sanctuary Companies that will transform the area to the north of downtown Kennesaw along Cherokee Street into a vibrant mixed-use community focused on walkability and providing more diverse housing options.        

The development called Eastpark Village is being designed by award winning architect Tony Miller, and will consist of 850 residential units along with approximately 300,000 square feet of commercial, retail, and office space. There will be shopping, restaurants, open markets, courtyards, and a network of sidewalks and strategically placed parks connecting the area to historic downtown Kennesaw. It is an estimated three year development project at $280 million with construction starting in January 2019.

A decade ago the City identified the area, that was underperforming economically and high in crime, as prime for redevelopment. The City had to modify zoning ordinances, adopting form based code, to set the stage for redevelopment in the area.

City of Kennesaw Zoning Administrator, Darryl Simmons stated that this is the largest land assemblage in the history of Kennesaw in terms of the number of parcels with individual owners assembled. He views this project, along with the Revival on Main in downtown Kennesaw and the Kennesaw Marketplace at the intersection of Cobb Parkway and Barrett Parkway, as catalyst projects that will change the direction of Kennesaw in a positive way and help to revitalize the entire area.     

Tony Morris, of the Meridian Real Estate Group, worked diligently over the last three years to put this deal together and get it to the finish line. Darryl Simmons had this to say about the efforts of the Meridian Real Estate Group: “I think the reason why we were successful in getting this done is because you guys were really on your game as far as getting out there, talking to your clients, and talking to the property owners. Obviously this is the largest residential assemblage Kennesaw has had, you’re talking over 70 parcels in a small area. There’s a lot of ways it could have gone wrong. There’s a lot of things that could have derailed the project, but because of your diligent work and you guys hitting the bricks everyday to keep the project going forward, the assemblage part, which is the heavy lifting, was possible.”

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Buying a For Sale By Owner Property

Interested in buying a For Sale By Owner?

Properties being sold as For Sale By Owners or (FSBO’s) are more common than you might think – especially in a Seller’s Market. They account for about 8% of the properties currently on the market for sale. So if you’re currently considering purchasing a property you have, or, will likely come across one of these in your search.

Below are 4 things to keep in mind before purchasing one of these properties.

1. Get Agent Representation: Just because the Seller chose not to get representation doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. If you want to ensure the transaction is handled correctly and legally it’s vital that you get a professional to represent you. Market knowledge, proper Contract preparation, access to preferred vendors such as lenders, inspectors and closing attorney are just a few of the benefits of having a real estate professional represent you.

2. Negotiations: FSBO’s are rarely priced correctly. Almost all Sellers believe their property is worth more than it is and almost all Buyers believe a Seller’s property is worth less than it is. This disparity can often become frustratingly evident when dealing with a For Sale By Owner. This is why an Agent is so valuable in these situations. Having a professional negotiator on your side gives you access to real-time property comparable data to help navigate you through the offer and likely counter-offer process to get to the right price and Terms.

3. Home Inspection: An owner may not know that they are legally required to disclose known issues with their property, and that oversight could mean costly repairs for you down the road. A good home inspector can enlighten you on potential problems with the property while you are still in Due Diligence giving you an opportunity to renegotiate or walk away before its to late.

4. Adding Contingencies: Contingencies can allow you a valid way out of a contract should something come up during the Terms of the Agreement, such as hidden issues with the property arising during the inspection, the property not appraising for the sale’s price, or you not being able to acquire a loan. A real estate professional will have the needed expertise to guide you through these Contingencies and other important Contract items such as Exhibits, Amendments, and Special Stipulations. All of which, if crafted correctly, are designed to protect you and your hard earned money.

Contact us for more information on how we can save you time, money, and heart ache by professionally representing you with your next property purchase.

 

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