Featured Article Category

Home Seller Hit With $216K Fine for Disclosure Inaccuracies – Agent Hit Too

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

The courts ordered a seller to pay $216K for failing to disclose known defects in the home. The agent - representing both parties - is also in the cross hairs as the court said the agent and brokerage should also pay damages to the buyer for having breached their fiduciary duty in representing both the buyer and seller as dual agents. This is a perfect example of common events; sellers not accurately disclosing known defects and agents trying to represent both parties...Read More

15 Reasons Your Home Hasn’t Sold

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

The real estate roller coaster of the last decade has resulted in a market flooded with inventory and one now starved for inventory. Some sellers are exploiting this; others sit and ask “why doesn’t my home sell”? The reason(s) why a home fails to sell are not a mystery. Selling a home is not splitting an atom; when the three key factors are aligned (price-appeal-exposure), homes sell.  Heavily influencing this is the seller's choice of listing agent; not understanding how...Read More

7 Reasons That You Can’t Find a Home to Buy

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

You can’t find a home and you’re not alone. The housing inventory shortage in Atlanta is genuine and the squeeze in the highly desirable micro markets is a tight one. The reasons vary and the impact is broad and not only affecting buyers, but sellers as well. There are inventory challenges to be sure and issues plaguing buyers and sellers. Like most other things in the world there is a “food chain” impact and it starts at the beginning of...Read More

Headwinds Pushing Institutional Investors Away from Atlanta

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

This was very easy to see coming and something we called long before being interviewed by Realty Trac for their May 2014 article about the Atlanta market. The article addressed the very same concerns that we have been expressing; that the impact of the institutional investors has completely skewed the Atlanta market and that while areas have stabilized, removal of the institutional purchases shows a much different and less robust market. The other significant concern is the impact once the...Read More

Buyers & Sellers Should be Careful with Pocket Listings

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

The idea of selling a home without ever listing it can be appealing to many. Similarly, ringing the doorbell on the “perfect home” and finding an owner willing to sell can put a broad smile on a buyer’s face. The risks however, routinely make buying and selling “pocket listings” dangerous to a person’s financial well being; particularly for sellers. The term pocket listing typically refers to an agreement between a seller and real estate broker that allows the broker to market...Read More

What is “Value in Use” & Why is it Often Different than “Value”?

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

The concept of what adds “value” to a home is at best, subjective. One buyer may place a high “value” on a pool while another may see that as a reason to eliminate the home from consideration. Price and cost does not always equal value and there can be any number of reasons why. The most common ones reinforce a basic truth found in all real estate; this is not an exact science and the number of variables – especially...Read More

Part Time Agent, Waitress, Nurse, Vet Tech & Teacher Says “List for Less With Me!”

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Many in this profession consider the issue of unqualified agents "taboo", not to be talked about on any level. Thankfully, that is changing as the industry slowly begins to look inward - especially at the part time agents that consider real estate just another part time sales business. They are the bane of the professional agent's existence. Just as ambulance chasing lawyers, back alley doctors and Ponzi scheme stock brokers stain their industries, these hacks in real estate result in...Read More

The 2013 Atlanta Real Estate Market & Looking Ahead

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

To this point, 2013 might be considered one of the most unpredictable and turbulent real estate markets in many years. There is no doubt that this is most fluid market I’ve seen and real estate has been my full time job since 1989. The boom and bust years were easy; there was no doubt about in which direction things were going. This year however, every week has introduced new variables, some expected and many not. The result has been a...Read More

Federal Reserve of Atlanta Reviews Our Market

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

The Federal Reserve of Atlanta just completed a review of the recovering Atlanta market, a better detailed one than most. Looking at the data down to zip code level produces much more accurate information than the typical Case-Shiller report. The report confirms what those knowledgeable about the micro markets in Atlanta already know. As noted in the report: Using zip code-level data from CoreLogic to take a closer look at home price recovery in Atlanta, we see that this rebound is...Read More

Rising Mortgage Interest Rates Blindside Buyers

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Mortgage interest rates have exploded over the last two weeks and have further confounded Atlanta home buyers. Already squeezed with low inventory, rocketing rates have eroded buying power and scored a bulls eye hit on affordability. Compounding that, underwriting remains combative with appraisal issues still on the radar as prices rise faster than comparable data is developed. Add to the mix, the revised FHA mortgage insurance policy and it's easy to see why many buyers are flustered. Yet and still, the...Read More

Blowing Housing Bubbles in Atlanta?

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Is there an Atlanta housing bubble developing? Google “housing bubble” and you will see reports both for and against. Here in metro Atlanta, we also have a split decision as several markets are active at levels not seen in years while others remain stagnant. As in the past, those Atlanta real estate markets running hot are those with strong locational appeal and well regarded, high performing schools. There are many factors at play right now that are fueling this market; taken...Read More

Investor Groups Hoarding Homes Under $150K in Atlanta

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

As the Atlanta spring real estate market begins to heat up, many buyers of homes under 150K are discovering an alarming trend; a significant lack of inventory. What inventory that is available is presenting additional surprises; very short marketing times, multiple offers and often list or above list price contracts. The culprit is the same as in many other parts of the country hard hit by foreclosures – major investment operations sitting down at the buffet that is the distressed...Read More

FHA Sowing the Seeds for Next Collapse

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

The Federal Housing Administration is planting the seeds for the next real estate collapse. As the recovery process continues, FHA is marketing homeownership to families who can’t afford to repay their loans, setting up these families for failure. In a study of 2.4 million loans insured by FHA in 2009 and 2010, 9,000 zip codes were identified in which 1 in 7 borrowers are projected to lose their homes – and savings – to foreclosure. How is this not recognized...Read More

Looking Ahead to the Spring Atlanta Housing Market…and Challenges Expected

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Much anticipation surrounds the spring ’13 real estate market; will the “improvements” seen over the last year carry forward? Nationwide data suggests the bottom may have been reached but we think there are seven distinct hurdles to be cleared before saying the housing market has corrected. We expect that in many parts of metro Atlanta, the spring market will be a strong one in terms of buyer activity - how that translates to closings remains to be seen. We anticipate significant challenges; appraisals...Read More

Are Appraisers Holding Back the Recovery?

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

The appraisal conundrum continues to rage, we expect this is just a glimpse of what we’ll see come spring. Continued smothering appraisal underwriting, a shortage of closed sales available for use as comps and sellers expecting higher prices due to the “improving” Atlanta market will combine for a testy spring home selling season. But the apparent disconnect between appraisers and agents need not wait for spring. Appraisals have been blamed on derailing a lot of sales in recent years. In fact,...Read More

What Home Sellers Should Expect in Atlanta – 4th Qtr ’12

Inquiries concerning the future of the Atlanta real estate market continue to pour in. While no one knows what to expect, we have a few measured expectations for the last qtr of ‘12 – note the omission of the word predictions. Several micro markets in Atlanta are finding balance, sellers and potential sellers are beginning to file their claws. There seems to be a marked increase in seller confidence – often unsupported. We’ve talked with many that are trying to push pricing and...Read More

Investors Pushing Up Home Prices in Atlanta

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

The "investor" frenzy continues in Atlanta as the number of people looking to "invest" swells; so does their frustration...and the frustration of folks looking for a home to buy and live in. The continued bashing of the Atlanta real estate market and the consistently high level of foreclosures has brought national attention, and professional investors looking to feed. Like sharks on a bloated whale carcass they take big chunks and the rookie investors are left to fight over the scraps. And unlike the...Read More

Atlanta Real Estate Improves in 2nd Qtr ’12

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

So we present some rather positive news about the Atlanta real estate market. Just as we do with the negative reports, we warn you to keep this in perspective; one quarter or half does not constitute an end to the real estate tar pit. Like many other areas of the country, Atlanta home prices can stay down only for so long, everything is cyclical so here's hoping that this is a consistent upward swing. As always, Chartmasters has completed an awesome review of the...Read More

Some Atlanta Home Sellers Finding Plenty of Buyers

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Are you a reasonable home seller? In some metro Atlanta real estate markets, supply and demand has reached equilibrium and in some cases, a seller’s market. As noted in a previous post, many Atlanta home buyers are finding that the news headlines bear no resemblance to the real world. Many micro markets, mainly north from Atlanta between I-75 and I-85 and up the 400 corridor are bucking the bloody national reputation Atlanta real estate presently carries; homes are selling at or near...Read More

Where Are the Great Home Buying Opportunities in Atlanta?

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

The buyer's market is over in many desirable metro Atlanta areas Where are the great home buying opportunities in Atlanta? Well, in most cases they’re where few folks want to be. Despite the continued blood bath media reports about the Atlanta housing market, many Atlanta home buyers are having a difficult time hitting the perfect trifecta; a quality home, in a stable area bought at a “value” price. In some areas, home buyers need to adjust expectations to fit current market conditions; the buyer’s...Read More

Atlanta #9 Market for 1st Time Buyers

The Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta market was noted by Inman News as the ninth best for first time buyers. This is a bit of welcome national news for the Atlanta market as the area has been pummeled for years now due to the lagging recovery. Like a healthy food chain, everything starts at the beginning and markets don't grow without those critical first time buyers. 1st time buyers are the base of any recovery. The Atlanta metro area's median sales price peaked in  third-quarter 2006...Read More

Is it Time to Buy a Home in Atlanta?

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

I think it’s time to consider buying a home in the Atlanta area. I don’t say that as a shill for any real estate organization; I say that as an appraiser, broker and student of this industry for over twenty years. The data, coupled with rates that have been ridiculously low for so long combined with the prevailing expectation by most economic “experts” that rates will/have to rise after the election make now the time to legitimately consider a home purchase....Read More

Home prices stabilizing. So what’s wrong with Atlanta?

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

"Some of America's most closely watched housing numbers are starting to suggest that the big decline in housing is coming to an end, at least in some metros. Home prices in Seattle, Minneapolis, and Denver have begun to trend upward in the past few months, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller housing indices. Even hard-hit metro areas such as Tampa, Fla., and Phoenix have seen a modest rebound. But in Atlanta home prices not only continue to fall, the declines are accelerating....Read More

It is Really All About the Banks, Not Homeowners

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

It is quickly becoming clear that like everything else that has occurred during this "economic slowdown" big business is more likely to land on it's feet than "Joe Citizen". The recent foreclosure settlement stinks a lot like the big bailout, it's a literal slap on the wrist to the very organizations at the center of the continuing housing crisis. From a recent NYTimes article: Last week was a big one for the banks. On Monday, the foreclosure settlement between the big banks...Read More

Atlanta Real Estate Data – 4th Qtr ’11 Review

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Over the last year, two sub markets in the City of Atlanta saw median home values increase over 10% and NE Cherokee County sales increased by 121.7%. Last quarter, Sandy Springs (inside 285) sat with the highest home inventory at 13.8 months (twice as much as many areas) and saw only 35.5% of listings sell, Eastern Gwinnett County led the region with 63.1% of all sales noted as distressed. Many surprises in the data, some with clear explanations, others result in...Read More

Loans Still Due Despite Foreclosure – Deficiency Judgments

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Sweating out a distressed sale or foreclosure may not absolve an owner from the long arm of those due money. Banks can employ what is called a deficiency judgment (the difference between the outstanding mortgage balance and the sale price) to collect the debt, requiring a defaulting borrower to pay the balance of a loan and any fees, minus what the bank recovers when it sells the home. In a worst-case scenario for borrowers, banks could garnishee wages to pay...Read More

Atlanta Home Values are…a Mess

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Atlanta can finally raise a championship banner, and it's one no one wants. But toss the challenge flag because the devil is in the data reviewed. In November, prices of single-family homes were down close to 12 percent compared with a year earlier, the largest decline among major metropolitan areas, according to data released on Tuesday in the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller Home Price Index. Home prices regionally are now below their levels of 2000, making Atlanta one of only four...Read More

Home Values in High School Districts

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Real estate in Atlanta is heavily influenced by schools; in many cases the academic track record of a high school dictates appeal and marketability of an area. Using RealValuator, we can now provide clients the real estate market trends for any metro Atlanta high school district. This snapshot will show the general trends by quarter and can be configured to show different price points. Here's an example of the chart showing home prices in Milton high school. This program can also...Read More

What Kind of Area is That? Find Out

Our job is protect our clients with solid data, but someone buying a home is living there and needs to understand the demographics of areas that interest them. There are legal limits to what agents can say regarding demographics for good reason, every client is different and only that client knows what works for them. The most common question a Realtor is asked that they can’t legally answer for fear of violating Fair Housing laws is “What kind of people live...Read More

Homeownership Survey – Please Help

  Please answer these 6 short questions about homeownership. Your comments are always welcome...    Read More

Spilling Tears Over Bad Appraisals – Stop Already

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Can the real estate industry please stop spilling tears over bad appraisals - stop already! Katie Cosner of AGBeat posted a well done article about "bad appraisals", hitting the very same things I've been hammering for years. The disconnect between agents and appraisers (and now builders as well) inexplicably remains. To be sure, variables exist with any appraisal and they are subjective to a point - but one thing really is central to every appraisal - COMPARABLE DATA. If agents,...Read More

Influence of Distressed Sales in Atlanta – 3rd Qtr ’11

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Overall, Metro Atlanta home prices continue to slip. There are areas of stability, mainly certain zip codes, micro markets and school districts (parts of Roswell, Alpharetta, East Cobb are stabilizing...) but most metro markets remain in the funk. The influence of distressed sales is clear; short sales and foreclosures combined to account for 39.4% of all 3rd Qtr '11 sales in the greater Atlanta market. Several telling charts are below... Chartmasters completed their 3rd Quarter '11 review based upon FMLS data....Read More

How a Financial Pro Lost His House

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

This is without a doubt, the best first hand account of a homeowner losing his home that I've read. This isn't just any homeowner, this is a professional in the finance field; an expert who makes a living advising folks how to preserve and make money in the market. This is someone who acknowledges the obvious; "I should have known better". But the question begs to be answered...would you trust your money to someone like this? One night a few years...Read More

BoA Loves (to Foreclose on) Their Valued Customers

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

It's amazing how banks just run roughshod over everything in this nation, so much for this president getting them under control.They can adversely impact the lives of folks without penalty - and I'm not talking about folks legitimately on the hook; I'm talking about folks that really don't have reason to be hassled. From AG Beat - Bank of America is not new to wrongfully foreclosing on homes, but as seen in the video above, a Texas homeowner whose house was...Read More

It’s Time to Buy That House

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Those of you that have worked with me or read my posts over the years know I'm not a mouthpiece for the real estate community; I don't march in lockstep with what the various real estate industries put out. I don't think everyone should own a home; I don't (and never did) think a home should be regarded as a significant investment vehicle - a piece rather than the main vehicle; I don't think you should ever be house poor...Read More

Stability? Increasing Values? A Lucky Few Areas…

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

As many readers of this or other blogs I write for know, I can spend a bit too much time on the negative aspects of this market. That's probably due to starting my career in the appraisal business - and being consistently at odds with the sales industry and the nonsensical "puffery" that they constantly spew. Agents have a habit of either disregarding or spinning any data that's contrary to the talking points...this agent doesn't. After the blood bath of the...Read More

Help the Housing Market – Increase Foreclosures!

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

It's refreshing to see an article in CNN Money reiterating what many of us in the real estate industry have known for years; that the foreclosure abatement process is simply delaying the inevitable. Many of the homes in the foreclosure process will never be recovered, it's much better to foreclose and get on with the next step which is genuinely trying to sell the inventory, stop the value damage being done to areas by these homes and stabilize the...Read More

Uncle Sam the Landlord – Another Stupid Idea

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Given the bloody mess that is real estate market, the feds are now considering the idea of renting some of the housing inventory. This is a spectacular idea, for all the wrong reasons. The slide into what has always smelled like a double dip recession was fueled in large part due to over-leveraged homeowners. Many underwater owners have tried to work with lenders, other have strategically defaulted and yet others are attempting short sales. To some extent, owners had some skin...Read More

Atlanta Real Estate 2nd Quarter 2011 Area Comparisons

Chartmasters has completed their typical outstanding review of the 2nd Quarter 2011 Atlanta real estate market data. Metro map overlays are posted, there were some interesting results from the data analysis. Highlights from the report include: Compared to this time last year, 1.5% more homes have sold - but this was due to increases in the under 200K market. Most foreclosure activity was in Paulding County, the least in Sandy Springs inside 285 Most short sale activity was in SE Dekalb County, the...Read More

BOA Bulldozing Foreclosures Makes Sense

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

Bank of America leveling some of their nastiest foreclosure inventory is a great idea. Of course there's financial interest in the form of a write off for them, but it's also a big plus for the local neighborhoods. At this time Atlanta isn't on the list, but the types of homes being removed are found throughout many neighborhoods in the city. Appraising since '89 and now focusing on foreclosures specifically, I appraise a good 50-60 homes a month. The number...Read More

A Low Appraisal, Now What?

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

As if there weren't enough land mines to dodge and punji pits to avoid in the current Atlanta real estate market, we continue to see a steady increase in the number of appraisal issues. Low appraisals are most common with refinance loans but over the last year appraisal challenges continue to increase on the sales side. The struggling Atlanta real estate market is similar to the national one; 10 percent of the nation’s Realtors said they had sales canceled because appraisals...Read More

Your Fate is Tied to Your Real Estate Agent

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

What’s the most important thing to consider when selecting a real estate agent? Is a large franchise better than a local independent company? Here in Metro Atlanta there are several of each variety; a few of the independents have hundreds of agents while others are “boutique” or “single/small team” offices. Given the myriad of choices, what are the most important things to consider when selecting a real estate firm and agent to represent you? You are hiring a real estate agent,...Read More

You Are Not Smarter Than the Market

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

There are an infinite number of ways to say “don’t be stupid”. You can tell a kid “that stove is hot” but unfortunately, many times the lesson isn’t learned until that kid gets a third degree burn on his hand. Here’s the real estate equivalent warning – “You are not smarter than the market”. In the last two weeks, two sellers tried to out flank the local Atlanta real estate market; they are now both licking their wounds and realizing that...Read More

Do You Know Who Owns Your Mortgage?

Hank Miller Team Atlanta

If by chance you missed the recent 60 Minutes piece asked "Who Owns Your Mortgage", you need to catch it by hitting the link below. This is nothing short of vile; clear and undeniable fraud has taken place again and again with these legal documents and yet not a single criminal charge has been brought. Thousands of fraudulent documents, forged signatures and improper notarizations are the tip of the iceberg....yet there remains a deafening silence from Washington. We need The...Read More