Fulton County Property Taxes

I’ve got good news and bad news.

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If you bought a house in the last few years, your property value is likely up.  In some cases, its up bigly. But, if you own a home in Fulton County you are very likely facing a hefty increase on your property tax bill this year.

Assessments started to arrive in the past few weeks. There is a fair amount of outrage sticker shock out there right now because property value has significantly increased in the past three years while the county has failed  been slow to keep assessments current with the prevailing market.

 

Don’t lose hope quite yet. If you think the county has your Marvin Gardens house confused with the one on Park Place or Boardwalk…You can appeal the valuation here:  http://fultonassessor.org/property-appeals/

Now, for something you may not want to hear: The increased values are likely correct. Appreciation has been significant. Now, that’s great news if you are a homeowner looking to sell any time soon, but the tax man is going to demand his tribute for your appreciation.

It does not hurt to attempt an appeal. Call me and I can help you evaluate what case you may have to make to the assessor’s office.

I could go on for days about what I think the county should have done to smooth the ramp up of a significant expense for the majority of home owning households, but the can was kicked down the road for the past few years and it would appear that this is how Fulton County thought it best to manage the situation.

Its going to be interesting to watch how the county decides to spend the additional 28% (on the lower end by some estimates) in property tax revenue that they stand to collect this year.

Will the tax payers get a clear update on how the county is spending the windfall?

Spring Season, Competitive Housing Market in Atlanta

Rather than throw a bunch of stats at you, I’ll keep this short and sweet:

  • Inventory is painfully low.
  • Realistically priced homes in popular areas sell in a few days (or hours), often with multiple offers.
  • Interest rates are fluctuating wildly on the current stock market turmoil. I think most experts would argue that the long term pressure and trend is for rates to rise, which is exacerbating the drive for buyers to purchase now before the cost of financing rises further.
  • There has not been a better time in recent history to sell your home in the City of Atlanta.

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Its tough out there right now and people do “fight” over in-demand properties, but I can help you get through it.

If You are Buying:

  • Register at scott.viewhomesforsaleatlanta.com.
  • Get your financing in order. Get as far in the loan underwriting process as your lender will allow without a purchase contract on a specific property.
  • Set up showings with me for properties that interest you as quickly as possible.
  • Make the strongest offer you are comfortable making up front and be willing to walk if it doesn’t get the house. Don’t waste time playing the negotiation game. Too often, it just allows more time for other competing offers to come in on the property.

Thinking of Selling?

  • Set up an appointment with me to view your home. We’ll talk about a customized marketing system to get the most money out of your house in the shortest amount of time possible.
  • Check with your lender and see if you need to sell your current home before you can execute the purchase of your next house.
  • Start researching short to medium term housing options in the event that your home sells before we find you the right house to make your next home.
  • Breathe. Its good to be the one holding the house right now. If you bought more than 2 or 3 years ago you are likely in really good shape and we can get you through this with as little stress as possible.

On Wardrobe Malfunctions, Big Brother, and High School Nightmares: Are you being watched while you shop for your next home?

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Is the Real Estate Game the new Spy Game?

( Image from Spy Game: (2001) Robert Redford, Catherine McCormack, and Brad Pitt. Great flick if you haven’t seen it)

I’ve been meaning to get a post out about this for some time now, but a “wardrobe malfunction” last week put it front and center of my mind.

Allow me to set the scene:

Its 3PM on a beautiful autumn Thursday in the city of Atlanta. My out-of-town client is flying in to view several houses over the weekend. They texted me about a specific property and wanted more information on a couple of features in the home. The house was vacant, so I ran over to get a better look at what they were asking about, take some pictures, and to decide whether to add that property to our itinerary to view on Saturday.

I arrive at the home, make my way to the front door, and bend down to activate the lockbox and retrieve the key.  Upon performing this completely reasonable, harmless, and relatively risk-free action, my belt decides that it can no longer take the strain, and explodes right there on the front porch. In what can only be described as clothing carnage, the buckle lay scattered across the battlefield in 4 different pieces.

Two things go through my mind:

1. I am so glad the client isn’t with me.

2. I really, really need to find the time to get into shape.

Now that I am very much reliving a high-school nightmare where my clothing stops functioning, I hurry my now-very-awkward-self inside to get situated. I fumbled with the belt for a good minute or so before surrendering to the sad fact that nothing could be done to fix it. As I gave up the fight, I looked up to see that I had been performing this embarrassing ritual dance directly in front of their DIY internet security camera.

So, a couple of big things to be learned here:

  1. If I show up for an appointment belt-less, please don’t judge. Keep in mind I may have lost it in a recent tragic incident that will negatively impact my mental state for the foreseeable future.
  2. People may very well be listening or watching you through electronic devices while you walk through a potential new home.

I do attempt to emphasize this to all of my clients, but a best practice during home shopping is to wait until you are safely back outside to discuss your feelings on price, condition, and your overall desire to purchase the property. Don’t give the seller the advantage in future negotiations by telling them exactly how much you love the property, and how much you may be willing to pay, before we ink the initial offer. With today’s technology and connectivity, you can never be sure that you are not being monitored.

Top Atlanta Spots To Entertain Out-of-Town Guests

DSC_0868One of the things I love most is introducing out of town guests to the eclectic neighborhoods in our city. The usual tourist spots like the World of Coke and the CNN center are always an option, but I tend to plan our itineraries around three types of activities to give my friends and family the best Atlanta experience. I like to include a park, a museum or historical tour, and a brewery over the course of a couple days. These are my top four favorites in each category: 

Parks

Atlanta is home to some awesome parks. From playgrounds and picnic tables to walking trails and free concerts, there are a lot of options to fit the personalities of your guests. These are a few of my favorites:

  1. Piedmont Park: Piedmont Park has it all…lake, pool, playground, splash pad, green market, dog park, jogging track, green space, picnic tables, charcoal grills and public restrooms. I’m a little biased since I lived next to the park and enjoyed this space every day for several years, but this park is a great spot for guests. The park also offers free historical walking tours every Saturday at 11 a.m. And there are restaurants within walking distance, so if a picnic isn’t your style, you have food options close. One of the things that I love most is heading to the park in the late afternoon and staying for the free concerts on Sunday evenings at Park Tavern. The concerts typically run April through September and start at 7 p.m.
  2. Sidney Marcus Park: Sidney Marcus Park is a perfect place to bring guests with kids. The park is tucked away in the Morningside neighborhood and has great green space and playgrounds. There are picnic tables and it offers a free family-friendly concert series several Friday evenings throughout that start at 6 p.m with music, food trucks and a favorite Atlanta treat, King of Pops.
  3. Old Fourth Ward Park: Old Fourth Ward Park has really grown over the past few years. It’s a kid’s dream. The playground is fantastic and there’s an awesome splash pad and skate park. There are also some free events throughout the year like exercise opportunities and free movies on the lawn. This is a great spot for out of town guests because it’s right across the street from Ponce City Market which offers lots shopping and restaurants.
  4. The Atlanta BeltLine: While this isn’t a park in and of itself, the BeltLine is an awesome trail that connects many of our in town neighborhoods and parks. The BeltLine provides a great activity for guests that like to walk or bike. You can walk from Piedmont Park to Old Fourth Ward Park and head into Inman Park or over to Krog Street Market. There is a lot of shopping and restaurant options along the way, which makes the stroll even better.

 

Museums and Tours

Our city offers quite a few museum and tour options. These are just a few that make my short list when I’m planning for a guest visit.

  1. Oakland Cemetery: Oakland Cemetery is my number one spot for out of town guests because it’s different from the typical museum stop. This cemetery has incredible history and beautiful architecture. I highly recommend a guided tour where you will hear stories about the people that are buried in this rural garden cemetery. I’ve done this tour several times and it’s always a little different, so continues to be one I enjoy. They also have some cool events like malts and valts where you can hear about Atlanta’s history of brewing then enjoy some local beers after the tour. We typically round out this visit with a trip across the street to Six Feet Under for food and drinks.
  2. Fernbank Museum of Natural History: Fernbank is one of my favorites because of the Giant Screen Theater. The museum exhibits are always great, but it’s nice to sit down and enjoy one of the films. They also have 75 acres of outdoor nature adventures that you can explore. And if you’re planning on an adult-only evening outing, they feature Fernbank After Dark the second Friday of each month with drinks, tapas and films.
  3. High Museum of Art: If you have art-lovers visiting, the High Museum is the perfect place. There are some free admission opportunities, which makes it an even more awesome place to take people. Free admission is offered to everyone the second Sunday of each month as part of their ‘Family Fun at Woodruff Arts Center’ promotion and there’s family-friendly programming from 1 – 4 p.m. Bank of America/Merrill Lynch customers have an additional no-cost admission opportunity with free walk-up admission on the first full weekend of each month. There are a lot of family extras, but if you want to leave the kids at home, the third Friday of each month is ‘Friday Jazz’ with drinks, music and art.
  4. Atlanta History Center: One of the great things about buying a ticket to the history center is that it’s much more than just the one museum. You also get access to some really cool historical houses like the Margaret Mitchell House, the Smith Family Farm and the Swan Coach House as well as 22 acres of gardens. Even better, if you are a Bank of America Bank of America/Merrill Lynch customer you can receive free admission during the first full weekend (Saturday and Sunday) of every month (offer expires December 31, 2017). You can also dine at the Swan Coach House Restaurant, which has some delicious Southern dishes and sandwiches.

 

Breweries

As a beer aficionado, I love introducing my guests to the local breweries. Who doesn’t love a tour that revolves around drinking beer? These are my favorites:

  1. SweetWater Brewing Company: Sweetwater is a staple in our town, so I enjoy taking people here. It’s a decent size, so good for crowds and they often have entertainment in their outdoor space. They are open Wednesday through Sunday. If you want to eat while you are there, Friday-Sunday are the best options because a food trucks are on site.
  2. Three Taverns Brewery: Three Taverns has some of my favorite local brews. The space is on the smaller side, but the tour and beer are great. If you want to spend time with your guests in Decatur, this brewery will fit perfectly into your itinerary.
  3. Orpheus Brewing: Orpheus beer is awesome and they are located right next to Piedmont Park and the BeltLine, so if you plan to take a stroll before or after, this would be the perfect stop along the way.
  4. Monday Night Brewing: Monday Night is another favorite. The space is great and large enough to fit a big crowd. The outdoor space has good seating as well.