Atlanta Home Appreciation over the last 40 Years

March 2nd, 2016

Check out the easy-to-read graph below for insight into home appreciation over the last 40 years in Metro Atlanta.  Appreciation like the numbers we’ve experienced the last few years cannot sustain itself long-term, and many experts are predicting a more modest 3.1% appreciation over the next 3 years.  However, inventory is still extremely low in the Atlanta metro areas and the spring market is about to be upon us.  This is why it is a perfect time to sell RIGHT NOW.

Atlanta appreciations chart

Time to Apply for Homestead Exemption

January 20th, 2016

My friends at Shelter Mortgage supplied the following information related to filing for your 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.

Homestead Exemption 
Generally, a homeowner is entitled to a homestead exemption on their home and land underneath provided the home was owned by the landowner and was their legal residence as of January 1st of the taxable year (O.C.G.A. § 48-5-40). 

Application for Homestead Exemption 
To be granted a homestead exemption, a person must actually occupy the home, and the home is considered their legal residence for all purposed. Persons that are away from their home because of health reasons will not be denied homestead exemption. A family member or friend can notify the tax receiver or tax commissioner and the homestead exemption will be granted (O.C.G.A. § 48-5-40). 
Failure to apply by the deadline will result in loss of the exemption for that year (O.C.G.A. § 48-5-45)

Exemptions Offered by the State & Counties 
The State of Georgia offers homestead exemptions to all qualifying homeowners. In some counties they have increased the amounts of their homestead exemptions by local legislation above the amounts offered by the State. As a general rule the exemptions offered by the county are more beneficial to the homeowner. Visit for more information. 

Homestead Exemption in Your County 
Click on a county name below to visit that specific county’s homestead exemption information page. 
The deadline to file for all counties is April 1.

*This is being provided as an information resource regarding homestead exemptions. It is recommended that you contact the appropriate government department for all specific requirements. The information may be subject to change without notification. This is not intended to be relied or a substitution for legal advice. Please contact your loan consultant for further details. All loans are subject to credit and property approval. Programs, rates, terms and conditions are subject to change without notice. Other restrictions apply. Shelter Lending Services, LLC, NMLS# 1033753; 4000 W. Brown Deer Road, Ste. #, Brown Deer, WI 53209. Alabama Consumer Credit Licensee; Florida Mortgage Lender Licensee; Georgia Residential Mortgage Licensee; Tennessee Mortgage Licensee. © 2016 Shelter Lending Services, LLC. Equal Housing Lender.

Wonderfully Renovated 4br/3ba Home in City of Decatur!

November 9th, 2015

This home is perfect for anyone looking to be in the City of Decatur.  It offers 4 bedrooms and 3 full baths, with one of the bedrooms and baths located on the main floor…great option for aging parents, guests, or home office.  There is also a bonus room on the main level which is currently being used as a playroom – perfect to have an eye on the kids while in the kitchen and easy to close off when guests are over (or another great option for a home office).

The home was fully renovated several years ago.  Kitchen has granite counters, marble backsplash, under-cabinet lighting, and stainless Whirlpool appliances.  The current owners added built-in bookshelves and a bar area with refrigerator.  The master suite offers a large walk-in closet, double vanities, separate shower with dual shower heads, soaking tub, private water closet, and travertine tile.  Last but certainly not least, there is a screened-in porch on the back that is to die for.  Many a dinner party has been hosted on this porch.  The yard is private and fenced and a flagstone patio was added for an additional outdoor seating option.

Did I mention City of Decatur?…. Sought-after schools, one award-winning restaurant after another, super cute shops, and minutes drive to the Dekalb Farmer’s Market.  This is a must-see!  Virtual Tour

Woodland Hills Investment Opp

October 14th, 2015


1368 Arnold Ave

1368 Arnold Ave

Investment opportunity… This is in the neighborhood Woodland Hills.  It’s just north of Morningside and south of Lavista Park (both n’hoods are significantly more expensive). The home pictured is a brand new listing for $244,900. Where else in Atlanta can you find a home in such a convenient location?  I think it’s a matter of time before this neighborhood really takes off like everything around it.


Lavista Park Modern featured in New York Times

October 8th, 2015

This home was just featured in the New York Times as ‘what you get for $1,000,000’. It’s one of the increasingly common modern transformations in hot Lavista Park.  LP is a super cool Atlanta neighborhood….check it out if you haven’t seen it.

Lovely private back yardClick here for more info.

For my take on Lavista Park:

Welcome to Lavista Park


Before you ‘poo poo’ a ranch….

September 30th, 2015

We lived in a ranch home until I was about 10 years old.  I’m not sure why, but I always had an aversion to this style of home.  I remember telling my first broker this, and he asked me why.  At the time, I think I said ‘they’re not attractive’ or something silly like that.

It’s funny how things change.  What I’ve come to realize is that ranch homes have many things to offer that other styles of homes usually don’t.  First of all, their footprint is wider, which means they’re typically on bigger lots.  Secondly, they’re predominantly brick homes, which is also a plus.  And…their floor plan makes a lot of sense – daily living is typically on one side of the house, with all the bedrooms/sleeping quarters on the other side.  One floor living also offers a huge advantage.

I know I wasn’t alone in my thinking about ranch homes.  I’ve heard many of my clients say ‘anything but a ranch’.  I do understand this.  There are some disadvantages to the 70s ranches…ceilings are lower and floor plans are very predictable and usually not ‘open’ like many people like. Sometimes people just flat out have a hard time getting ‘jazzed’ about ranches.  With that being said, I wanted to show you the potential of a traditional ranch home….


Example of how opening walls and renovating a kitchen can transform the look and feel.


I just love this….wing was added to give the pool a courtyard feel.


This is good example of how vaulting the ceiling and opening the room gives the space a bigger feel.


This was a listing of mine. It was taken down to the studs and transformed into a modern work of art. Hall was widened and porcelain tile installed throughout the main level.

If you’re looking for an Atlanta neighborhood with ranch homes, Lavista Park is a great one. Merry Hills, Toco Hills, Sagamore Hills, and other unincorporated sections of Dekalb are also good areas to look. I’d love to help you find one!

Welcome to Lavista Park

September 29th, 2015

Lavista Park is an unincorporated neighborhood just north of Atlanta.  Interstate access is minutes away, making the commute to downtown and other areas extremely convenient.  It’s a short drive to Buckhead (both north and south), Virginia Highlands, as well as the Emory/Decatur area.

In the past 10 years, there has been a heavy emphasis on modern homes in this neighborhood.  New construction can be seen throughout the neighborhood, along with many ranch homes.  Streets are wide and tree-lined making it a great neighborhood to take a stroll.

Lavista Park Civic Association

If you would like more information about this area, or any other Atlanta area, please contact me.


Looking for square footage for your home?

September 22nd, 2015

One of the best metrics for comparing the value of one home to another is size.  However, in the state of Georgia, unless the seller has had someone measure their house, many times square footage is unknown.  As agents, not knowing square footage makes it challenging when listing a home.  We would recommend having a professional come measure it so that we can accurately quote square footage in the FMLS systems.  If a seller doesn’t want to do that, many systems default the square footage to what the tax records have….which in a very large majority of cases is incorrect.  Further, we need to know the square footage of the comparables we’re using to help determine a list price.

As of today, I can now offer my clients a tool that will allow me to search the appraisal database for square footage.  I will be able to retrieve the appraisals on record and look at the house size, and in some case the floor plan.  This is just one of the tools I use to better serve my clients.

If you or anyone you know is looking to buy or sell in the Atlanta market, please have them give me a call.

New FHA Appraisal Guidelines

September 21st, 2015

The guidelines are changing for FHA appraisals.  After speaking with an appraiser last week, he said he is now expected to do much more in terms of inspecting the property….so much so that he’s going to put doing FHA appraisals on hold until he can figure out exactly what is required.  As a seller, if you have a buyer who is obtaining FHA financing, you’ll want to make sure you know what the FHA appraiser is looking for.  For example, one of the requirements is that the appraiser must be able to see the four corners of the attic.  If the attic is obstructed by objects, he will have to come back for a re-inspect and someone will incur an additional charge for that.  The primary purpose of the inspection by the appraiser is to look for issues as they relate to health and safety.  If he notes something on the appraisal, it will need to be addressed before the loan can close.

So what’s the advantage of using FHA financing?  The requirements to qualify are usually less stringent than a conventional loan and the downpayment is lower – only 3.5%.  However, FHA mortgage premium costs have continued to increase over the last several years, making it less appealing to some.

Detailed information can be found in the FHA Handbook.

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

August 18th, 2015

Great information brought to you by McManamy, McLeod, & Heller Law Firm:

 1. A neighbor builds a fence and a portion of the fence is on the owner’s property.  What should the owner do?
  • Request that fence owner move the fence onto their property, or
  • Enter into an Easement Agreement allowing the fence to remain, but the owner retaining the right to request the fence be removed at any time the owner requests.
  • Nothing.  This may result in the loss of property over time.
2. An owner wants to build a privacy fence.  How high can the fence be?

  • Most all jurisdictions have limitations on the height of fences, usually six feet for back and side yards and four feet for front yards.
  • In order to build higher, a “variance” would have to be applied for and approved.
 3. A neighbor has built a fence higher than allowed by the local ordinance.  What can an owner do?
  • Inform the neighbor of the fence ordinance.  The neighbor may not otherwise know the law exists.
  • If the neighbor still does not conform the fence to the local ordinance, call the local zoning or planning office and they will take action to seek conformance.
 4. A neighbor’s fence is unsightly. What can an owner do?
  • Check the local ordinance to see if the fence is in conformity.  If not, see (3) above.
  • If in conformity, but ugly to you, there is nothing that can be done unless:
    • There are restrictive covenants in the subdivision restricting fence designs, or
    • The fence poses a danger because of its design or condition, or
    • The fence is dilapidated.
In these cases you may have the ability to have the fence removed or redesigned.
5. An old fence used by both owners sits directly on the Property line?  Who owns the fence?
  • The fence belongs to both parties, neither can remove it without the others permission and both are responsible for maintenance.
If a conflict arises over any fence issue, the first step is to try to understand the law and then to contact the neighbor to discuss remedying any situation.  In any of these cases, a lawsuit should be your last resort.