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What Do I Do About The Tax Assessment I Just Received?

fulton county tax assessor

Don’t expect the Assessor’s office to use the revenue generated from taxing your home on redesigning their website.

You’ve Received Your Tax Assessment, And It’s Not Pretty

2015 Tax Assessments have recently been mailed out.  If you have received yours, it’s likely that it gave you quite a shock.  One of the downsides of an escalating real estate market is that as the value of our homes go up, so does the possibility of the county re-assessing our homes for higher values.  This will ultimately result in higher tax bills.
Now What?
You need to gear up for what’s next.  Some thoughts on how to strategize for what’s next:
1.  File An Appeal As Soon As Possible–  You have 45 days from when you receive your assessment to file an appeal with the County.  Don’t drag your feet on this- the Counties are rigid on this deadline, and we know several homeowners who have procrastinated their way to higher tax bills simply by filing their appeal post deadline.
2.  File An Information Request– The County is required to share the information that they used to determine your home’s value.  Follow the instructions on your Assessment to request this information.  You you will need this information to build your appeal case.
3.  Stop Looking At Zillow–  The County doesn’t care how much Zillow says your home is worth.  No one cares, actually, but that’s a different story.  Better to spend your energy on what’s really happening on the market, not what some obtuse algorithm thinks is happening.
4.  Pull The Relevant Sales Comps– Once you have the County’s supporting documentation, it’s time to go to work.  You’ll need to build your case for your eventual Board of Equalization hearing.  While there are several resources online that you can utilize, you can always give me a call for assistance.  I’m happy to provide relevant sales data, so that you can ultimately reduce your tax burden. My team and I are here to serve your housing needs in any way that we can, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

Live Right On The Atlanta BeltLine

799 Marcus Street (1 of 34)

Our new listing at 799 Marcus Street isn’t technically right on the Atlanta BeltLine.  It’s .25 miles from the Atlanta BeltLine.  And so long as we’re throwing out distances, it’s half a mile from Krog Street Market and a quarter of a mile from Cabbagetown Park.  So for those in the “location, location, location” camp- which should be everybody- this one qualifies as a home run.

Location aside, this is one good looking house.  It’s an updated three bedroom, two bathroom bungalow.  Special features include a sweet front porch, extra large back porch, ceilings so high that Gheorghe Muresan will feel comfortable and a super-large kitchen.  At $325,000, this one isn’t going to last long.

To schedule an appointment to take a look, give us a holler!

Super In Sandy Springs

Our new listing at 60 Battle Ridge Drive brings it.

Of course, that statement begs the question: What does “bringing it” even mean?  We know it when we see it folks, and in this case this is what we see:

  • Centrally located Sandy Springs location
  • Quiet, cul-de-sac street
  • All four bedrooms on the same level
  • Fantastic, magazine-worthy back yard
  • Finished basement
  • 4 bedrooms, 3 full bathrooms, 2 half bathrooms

A few pictures below. Schedule a showing with us to see this beauty in person.



Chip Ivie Joins The Team As Our Buyer Specialist

chip ivie realtorI am thrilled to announce that Chip Ivie has recently joined our team as our Buyer Specialist.

Before I tell you more about Chip, a little background:  I have been searching for a Buyer Specialist for nearly two years.  Somewhere along the way, a friend asked me who I was looking for.  Specifically, he wanted to know what traits, background and skills I was looking for and why it was so challenging for me to find said individual.  My answer was simple: I was looking for someone who had the market knowledge, real estate experience and, most importantly, the integrity for me to be able to recommend them without hesitation to my own family members.  Five minutes in to my initial meeting with Chip, I knew I had found my match.

Chip’s reputation preceded him prior to our initial cup of coffee.  He’s a Past President of the Dekalb Board of Realtors and was the founding Team Leader at Keller Williams Metro Atlanta, where he was responsible for growing the office from zero agents to over a hundred.  He’s widely respected within our industry, a consummate professional  that’s all about client service.  He’s been a licensed real estate agent since 1994 and an Associate Broker.  This is someone who eats, sleeps and breathes real estate… but with the people skills of someone whom you just want to drink a glass of wine or a mug of coffee with.  He is, simply put, good people.

I could not be more excited about my partnership with Chip, and what he will bring to our team.  He’s negotiated hundreds of contracts for happy homeowners throughout the metro area, and will be an invaluable resource to our Buyer clients.

Toco Hill Market Update

If you’re thinking about selling a house in Toco Hill in 2015, the chart below should make you happy.


We’ve taken a close look at FMLS data, and the trends pretty apparent.  A few points of interest:

1.  Prices are going in one direction, with no end in sight.  Average sales price has gone up significantly since 2011, and the climb over the last three years in particular has been steady.

2. Sellers get close to their list price.  It’s just a fact.  List Price to Sales Price ratio has been hovering around 98% for a few years now.  You can look for deals in the neighborhood, but it’s not a playground for low ball offers.

3. Days on market are shrinking.  From 94 days on market in 2011 down to 43 thus far in 2015.  You can sleep on it, but you may not get to sleep in it.

4.  Are Presidential elections bad for real estate?  Across the majority of Atlanta neighborhoods, 2012 is an outlier.  Even as the market started to gain its footing, prices dropped and then exploded in 2013.  I’ve always thought that prices take a beating in part due to Presidential election cycles, as the American public is constantly bombarded with negative messages.  “Our economy is broken!”, “Our country is broke!” and “America is running out of time to reverse course!” isn’t really consistent with “Buy a house!”

5.  The market for homes priced under $250,000 has vanished.  Not only is it gone, but what inventory is left is being gobbled up by investors and house flippers.

6.  The market for homes priced over $500,000 is climbing steadily.  Not surprising, as rates have stayed low and buying confidence has risen.

The Relevant Linkage

Browse All Homes Currently For Sale In Toco Hill

Talk To An Intown Real Estate Expert About Buying and Selling Your Home

Source: FMLS; All single family homes sold within the Toco Hill Eruv

Real Estate and Capital Gains Tax: What You Need To Know

There's nothing quite like reading a blog post about capital gains tax!

There’s nothing quite like reading a blog post about capital gains tax!

I recently had a seller ask me if they’d have any capital gains tax implications due to quicker than anticipated move.  The seller is jetting for greener pastures, and while there’s some potential profit in the home sale, the prospect of handing a handful over to Uncle Sam is less than ideal.  What to do, what to do.

For the uninitiated, when you sell your home you are able to exclude up to $250,000 ($500,000 for couples) of your capital gain from taxes.  In order to take advantage of this, however, a seller needs to have occupied their home as their primary residence for two of the last five years.  In researching the matter for my client, I realized that the answer- for sellers who’ve occupied for less than two years- isn’t so cut and dried.  From an excellent article on

Even if you haven’t lived in your home a total of two years out of the last five, you’re still eligible for a partial exclusion of capital gains if you sold because of a change in your employment, or because your doctor recommended the move for your health, of if you’re selling it during a divorce or due to other unforeseen circumstances such as a death in the family or multiple births. (“I changed my mind about living here” won’t cut it.) In such a case, you’d get a portion of the exclusion, based on the portion of the two-year period you lived there. To calculate it, take the number of months you lived there before the sale and divide it by 24.

In the case of this particular seller, this was a pretty relevant piece of information.  If you have any general question as to how your gain might be impacted by this tax, you should read the article in its entirety.  It’s really interesting, especially considering (and despite the fact) that it’s about taxes.

Image Credit: Copyright Chuck Holton Via Creative Commons License

What Is The Difference Between Mortgage Prequalification and Preapproval?

The Most Important Thing To Look For In A Mortgage Lender: A Big Calculator.

The Most Important Thing To Look For In A Mortgage Lender: A Big Calculator.

I’m often asked by home buyers what the difference is between mortgage prequalification and preapproval. Josh Covett of Movement Mortgage, an excellent mortgage lender, sums up the difference pretty succinctly:

Preapproval Vs. Prequalification: These terms are often used interchangeably — but there are big differences between the two. With a prequalification, the lender is performing a few checks on the prospective borrower’s finances to determine the home loan amount they may qualify for. A prequalification letter tells you how much the client will probably be able to borrow from the lender, if further examination supports the preliminary findings.  For a preapproval, however, the mortgage lender examines and verifies the client’s debt, income, savings, assets and credit report. The information must satisfy the lender’s underwriters that this client is a low risk and a good prospect for repaying the loan. Preapproval is more vigorous vetting and a lengthier process than prequalification; buyers who submit to the process and are approved are serious buyers who are worth your time and energy.  Buyers who can show a preapproval letter to a seller are more likely to be seen as serious, potential buyers who can qualify for the loan and follow through on their bid. 

If you’re thinking about buying a home, it’s worthwhile to ask your lender if they’re going to provide a mortgage prequalification or preapproval prior to writing your offer.   A few other tips in selecting your lender:

1. Do not use a lender with who does not provide you with his or her cell phone number.

2. Be very wary of a lender who does not have a local area code.

3. Use a lender who is either recommended by a trusted real estate professional or trusted friend or family member.

4. Do not select a lender based on an internet promotion, free toaster giveaway or radio advertisement.

Image Credit: Copyright Alan Cleaver Via Creative Commons License

Morningside Elementary Real Estate

If you’re planning on selling a house in Morningside any time soon, you should be pleased with the chart below.  I’ve been slicing and dicing data on the area, and thought it would be interesting to share my findings:




1. It’s Easier To Spend Over A Million Than It Is To Spend Under $500,000-  Really amazing the different four years makes when it comes to real estate.  There was a time- way back in 2011- when 49 homes under $500,000 sold in the area, while 13 over a million traded.  Last years totals capped a four year trend:  only 16 under $500,000 and 28 over a million.

2.  The Story Is Probably More Exaggerated Than The Numbers Suggest-  The reality is that 28 is probably a low number. The majority of homes selling at this price point are new construction, many of which never hit the FMLS (our data source).  And if we were to dig in the 16 that sold under $500,000, we’d also find several tear downs (that will eventually be rebuilt and sold for, you guessed it, over a million).

3. I Have No Idea What Happened In 2012- Only 104 homes sold and a whopping 92 days on market.  Honestly, I have no analysis or color for this one.  If you have an idea as to why 2012 sticks out like a sore thumb, I’d love to hear from you.

4.  Happy Sellers–  Higher prices, favorable list price/sales price ratio and fewer days on market.  If you’re selling in this area, you should be happy.  Historically speaking, these are the days.

The Relevant Linkage

Browse All Homes Currently For Sale Within Morningside Elementary School’s Boundaries

Talk To An Intown Real Estate Expert About Buying and Selling Your Home

Learn More About Morningside Elementary

Source: FMLS; Morningside Neighborhood/Morningside Elementary 

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