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.

30306 Real Estate Trends By the Numbers

Median Days on Market. Properly priced and marketed homes are still moving very quickly.

Med Days to Contract (Sales) - ZIP- 30306

Median Sale Price and Median List Price are Moving in lockstep. Homes are still selling very close to list price on average.

Pricing Trends - ZIP- 30306

Housing inventory is still very limited. New listings have crept up, but not nearly enough to flip us into an overall buyer’s market. Some of that inventory is going to get snapped up as we move into the next busy cycle closing out 2017 and into the early months of 2018.

Market Activity - ZIP- 30306


“I’m thinking about buying a home in the next year. What can I do to get ready?”

One of the most common conversations I have with clients getting ready to purchase a home tends to center around what they can do to get ready to “take the leap” in the next six months to one year.   I’m fortunate to have some really great experience on the finance side of the industry as well, so here is a general guide around some of the most important things you can do to help smooth the path to owning your own slice of the city.

Step One is not going out to view/walk through properties.  That’s the fun and exciting part and it comes a little further down the line.  Here’s a hard truth:  The current market moves at a high velocity. If you aren’t ready to make an offer and close within the next 30-60 days, you may very well set yourself up for heartache by falling in love with a home that is likely going to sell before you’ve prepared your financing and transition plan from your current residence.

Unless you are paying in cash, step one is to find out what your loan options are, how much cash you need to have on hand for closing and down payment, and discover any credit blemishes or errors that need to be addressed. You are entitled to review your credit report once every twelve months for free (read more about it at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0155-free-credit-reports). Obtaining your annual credit report from http://www.annualcreditreport.com is a great place to start. Beware of impostor sites seeking to steal your information or charge you for something that the major credit agencies are required by law to give you for free once per year. You can always navigate to the correct site from the FTC.gov site I linked above.  Check for inaccuracies and verify the credit lines that show up on your report are actually yours. Whether you are a first time buyer or have been a homeowner for years, this is a great tool to make sure your credit history is up to date and accurate.

Talk to a mortgage professional.  If you don’t have a relationship with a lender already, I can recommend a few.  (Or if you’ve made the questionable and heartbreaking choice of working with another agent, they should be able to recommend a few reputable lenders as well). A good loan officer is going to be able to take a deeper dive into your credit and income history and guide you from there on what loan amount you qualify for, down payment amounts, and more importantly, what purchase price and payments you are comfortable committing to. This is 100% my personal opinion: Be careful with the large online-only lenders.   A reputable local partner is likely going to be more accessible, responsive, and familiar with your market area and have long term relationships with local closing attorneys and appraisers.

Gather the paperwork that the lender is going to need to document and underwrite your loan.  A good starting point is your last 2 years of W-2s, 30 days of pay stubs, 2 months of bank statements for your checking and savings accounts, statements from investment accounts and 401ks, and possibly the last 2 years of your tax returns (mostly applicable to independent contractors or self-employed buyers).  Here’s a pro-tip: Have all of this ready, but only send the loan officer what they specifically ask for after you’ve submitted your loan application.  Modern automated underwriting systems will sometimes issue waivers or ask for less documentation than manual underwriting requirements.  Extra or unrequested documents that make their way into your application can cause more work for you, your lender, and may very well end up requiring even more back-up documentation in the end.  Keep it simple and provide requested documents promptly with all pages, account numbers, and account holder information visible. If you are sending this documentation electronically, make sure that it is over a secure method of transmission.

Nail down your timeline. When is your current lease or rental agreement due to expire?  If there is no hard end date, how much notice does your landlord require you to give?  If your lease ends on the 30th of next month, planning to close on your future home on the 29th, completely move out, and immediately move into your new home in a 24-48 hour period is most likely not realistic and could create a crisis if an unavoidable delay in the transaction occurs.   A buffer time period where you have access to both residences can take a lot of stress out of the move and allow for some personal touches, paint, or upgrades to be completed for your new home before you move in.

Put some thoughtful effort into deciding what area or neighborhood you want to own a home in.  This is the time to start investigating school system ratings, commute times, and how the area will fit into or enhance your lifestyle.  Some things to consider here are walkability or bikeability, proximity to parks and outdoor activities, ease of access to shopping/grocery centers, the vibe of the neighborhood, crime statistics, entertainment and dining options, and access to public transit.  Once you reach this stage, you’ve got a handle on your buying power and what housing expense you are comfortable with. Its time to start talking to your agent (that’s me) about what you are looking for in a location and make sure your budget matches up with the price range of the neighborhood or development.

Sit down and have a conversation with your agent (me, of course). Your time is valuable. My role is to advise, guide, and represent your interests in the transaction. I can also save you more of your valuable time down the road and set up our relationship for success with an initial meeting with you in my office where we can have a focused discussion, get some paperwork out of the way, and take a deep dive into what you are looking for in your future home. The more information I can gather upfront, the more legwork I can do on your behalf behind the scenes so that we are not wasting your time on properties that simply aren’t a fit for your needs.

Communicate, communicate, communicate.  Tools enabled by today’s technology allow me to put an amazing amount of information and statistics at your fingertips and to conduct a focused home search faster than ever before. The more feedback you can give me about what you do/do not like about the listings I’m providing you, the more focused and tailored to your tastes listings I send you in the future search will be. I don’t want to just sell you any house; I want to help you buy the right house for your needs and lifestyle.

That brings us to the point where you are active in the market and ready to purchase. A little planning, preparation, and forethought can take some of the stress out of the process and allow you to enjoy the excitement of buying a place to call your own. It really comes down to lining up your financing, determining a timeline, making some decisions about where you want to live and what you are looking for in a home, and developing relationships with a few good professional partners to help you along the way.