Monday, June 29, 2015

About Me

Thank you for visiting!

I have a story that is a bit unusual from most other Realtors!

I began my career in the home warranty industry.  Realtors were actually my clients!  I sold warranties to them and to home buyers, and that allowed me to learn about home systems and compliances.  After doing that for a couple of years, I was asked to join a mortgage company.  I once again found myself selling mortgages and our services to both realtors and to home buyers.  This job was invaluable to my current career!  I was able to work through the entire back end of the home buying process.  I saw every step from mortgage application through to the closing.  I gained understanding of qualification issues, lending statutes, and bank regulations as well.  I also became familiar with many of the most popular loans used today.

I became even more intrigued by the "other side" of real estate.  I obtained my real estate license, and 3 years later, became a broker and opened my own office!  Today, I have multiple real estate agents working in my firm, Vineyard Real Estate Group.  Our agents are the best of the best!  We have agents who specialize in everything from residential to commercial to property management... even short sales and HUD homes!

If you have real estate questions, I'm certain we have your answers!
We are anxious to hear from you!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Marietta: 92 acres almost assembled for new businesses- via Atlanta Business Chronicle

Marietta, Ga., is close to assembling 92 acres of city-owned property on Franklin Road by buying and tearing down apartment buildings. Leaders hope the land will attract new development.
The site is less than 10 miles from the Braves new Cobb County home in the Cumberland area. The team's move to Cobb County is credited with sparking more interest in Marietta's Franklin Road area and other nearby areas.
The Marietta City Council moved closer Wednesday night to purchasing the 28-acre 400-unit Marquis Place apartment complex on Franklin Road for $17.3 million, the Marietta Daily Journal reports.

Atlanta home sales gain, prices surge! - from Atlanta Business Chronicle

The dollar volume of Atlanta residential real estate sold continued its torrid pace in May with another double-digit gain from the previous year, while growth in the number of home sales remained sluggish with a 3 percent increase from May 2014, according to Atlanta-based Beacham and Co.
According to the local MLS, there were 5,130 home sales in the five-county metro (Cobb, DeKalb, Forsyth, Fulton and Gwinnett) last month compared to 4,949 a year ago, or a difference of 181 sales. Total dollar volume sold was another story. The combined sales price of all homes sold increased from nearly $1.4 billion to more than $1.5 billion. Both homes sold and dollar volume sold figures include sales of single-family detached homes as well as condos and townhomes.
The average home sales price increased 6.6 percent in May to $300,410 from $281,880. It is believed to be the first time ever that the average home sales price in Atlanta exceeded $300,000. Home prices typically peak in June or July every year, Beacham and Co. reported.
The number of home sales in Buckhead increased 11.8 percent in May. There were 218 home sales in Buckhead compared to 195 a year ago. The average sales price of single-family detached home sales in Buckhead was $1,067,838 last month compared to $949,321 a year ago, or a difference of 12.5 percent.
Sales of luxury properties were particularly strong in May, although the average sales price declined. There were 15 sales of $2 million or more in May compared to 10 in May 2014. The average sales price last month was $2,996,012 compared to $3,217,000 in May 2014, or a decline of 6.9 percent.

Fewer Atlanta Homeowners Underwater -from

The U.S. negative equity rate is dropping, but 43.1 percent of Atlanta homeowners with a mortgage are still effectively underwater, according to the first quarter Zillow Negative Equity Report.
Seattle-based Zillow Inc. (NASDAQ: Z) reported Atlanta’s negative equity rate dropped to 23.2 percent in the first quarter from 26.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014. This was the biggest quarter over quarter improvement in negative equity of the 35 metros included in the analysis. A year ago, the rate was 33.6 percent.
At the end of the first quarter, the cumulative amount of negative equity in the metro area is $15.858 billion.
Spring and summer are the busiest buying and selling seasons, and this year, there is high demand for homes in the bottom third of the market. However, a disproportionate number of those homeowners are simply stuck in their homes and can’t afford to sell to buyers looking for homes in their price range.
The rate of underwater homeowners is much higher among the homes with the least value. In Atlanta, 46. percent of homes in the bottom third are in negative equity, compared with 20.2 percent in the middle third, and 10.1 percent in the top third.
“It’s great news that the level of negative equity is falling, but what really worries me is the depth of negative equity. Millions of Americans are so far underwater, it’s likely they may not re-gain equity for up to a decade or more at these rates,” Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries said in a statement. “And because negative equity is concentrated so heavily at the lower end, it throws a real wrench in the traditional housing market conveyor belt. Potential first-time buyers have difficulty finding affordable homes for sale because those homes are stuck in negative equity. And owners of those homes can’t move up the chain because they’re stuck underwater in the entry-level home they bought years ago. The logjam at the bottom is having ripple effects throughout the market, and as home value growth slows, it will be years before it gets cleared up. In the meantime, we’ll be left with volatile prices, limited inventory, tepid demand, elevated foreclosures and a whole lot of frustration.”
Among the 35 largest housing markets, Las Vegas, Chicago and Atlanta had the highest rates of homeowners in negative equity.

Banks annihilating "zombie foreclosures" - from CNBC

They are a blight on neighborhoods and bank balance sheets: homes in the foreclosure process, some in limbo for several years, their former owners gone but the home still not repossessed by the bank. They were dubbed "zombies" because their empty state was seen as a danger to both the neighborhood and the overall health of the housing market. 
Banks had let these homes sit because they were of so little value and because of endless foreclosure processing issues. Most are in disrepair, some occupied by squatters or drug dealers. But now, things are changing. The legal process has been largely streamlined, and as home prices rise nationwide, so too do the values of these zombie homes; banks are now pushing them through the foreclosure process and out to auction far more quickly. 
Foreclosure house
Marcelo Piotti | Getty Images
There are now about 127,000 zombie foreclosures, down 10 percent from a year ago, according to RealtyTrac, a foreclosure listing and analytics company. That means that one in five homes that are in the foreclosure process, that is the legal process has started but the bank has not yet repossessed the home, are vacant. 
Despite the overall drop, zombie foreclosures are rising in some of the highest-priced markets, such as Los Angeles, New York, Boston and Houston. That is because banks are moving the process more quickly in order to take advantage of rising home prices; so former owners are finally moving out. When the house is vacant, it becomes a zombie. 
"They've been able to stay in that home and maybe fight foreclosure for three, four, five years, and now finally the bank is coming back with all their ducks in a row, the proper documentation, and the homeowner is seeing the writing on the wall that I'm going to have to leave and move on with my life," said RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist. 
In just the last two months, banks have really ramped up on repossessing homes. These so-called REOs (bank repossessions) are now at a 17-month high. This, as the value of these former zombies rises amid strong housing demand and tight housing supply. 
"The average price of a zombie foreclosure nationwide was $195,000, so we're not talking about just $20,000 or $30,000 properties here," added Blomquist. 
That is good news to neighbors, like Ariel Seeley, who recently moved into a transitional Washington, D.C., neighborhood with her young family.
The end unit is a foreclosed, vacant home in Washington, DC's Petworth neighborhood.  RealtyTrac estimates its value at $600,117.
Stephanie Dhue | CNBC
The end unit is a foreclosed, vacant home in Washington, DC's Petworth neighborhood. RealtyTrac estimates its value at $600,117.
"For us as neighbors, we'd love to have people move in and occupy the houses," Seeley said. "It makes it seem a little unsafe or dreary when you're walking by and you see vacant signs, and you don't know what's going on with the houses." 
The phenomenon, however, like all real estate, is very local. While some areas are seeing the zombies annihilated—moved to auction and final sale—quickly, others are not. 
"In Chicago, you've got a real variation within the city among markets. You see stronger neighborhoods where prices have gone up steadily, and those areas are not where the zombie foreclosures are located," said Geoff Smith, executive director of the Institute for Housing Studies at DePaul University. "There are neighborhoods that continue to struggle, and those price levels are still well below where they were at the peak or even in 2000." 
Banks are honing in on foreclosures in stronger local markets, but there is a cost to completing a foreclosure and a cost to selling the property, and in some areas there is not necessarily a market that would bear these costs. In those cases, the vacant homes sit longer and continue to be a blight on the neighborhood. 
—CNBC producer Stephanie Dhue contributed to this report.

Buyers Scramble to Buy Homes as Interest Rates Increase - from CNBC

The interest rate sharp jump to the highest level this year caused a sudden surge in mortgage applications. While that may seem counter-intuitive, there's a reason: fear that rates will move even higher.  
Total mortgage application volume jumped 8.4 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis last week from the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The previous week included an adjustment for the Memorial Day holiday.
"Mortgage application volume rebounded strongly … indicating that the holiday had a larger impact on business activity than originally assumed," said Mike Fratantoni, the association's chief economist.
Refinance volume increased 7 percent on the week, and applications to purchase a home jumped 10 percent, both seasonally adjusted. Purchase volume is now 15 percent higher than the same week one year ago, but refinance volume is off nearly 5 percent. The weekly move higher in refinances was likely due to the holiday skewing the trend. Refinances are still lower than they were two weeks ago. This all comes as rates continue to climb.
The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,000 or less) increased to 4.17 percent, its highest level since November, from 4.02 percent, with points increasing to 0.38 from 0.33 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio loans, according to the association. 
While higher rates make home buying more expensive, sharp moves higher often have the immediate effect of getting potential buyers off the fence, before chilling the overall market in the longer term. That is especially true now, in light of rising bond yields and the Federal Reserve's expected interest-rate hike.
"These increases really help the home-buying market. It really gets buyers to really understand that 'wait a minute, rates are at an all-time low, let's react now, let's react before they go higher,'" said Matt Weaver of Florida-based PMAC Lending.
Weaver said last week that he had a rush of clients calling in to lock-in rates. That was probably smart, as rates continued their move higher in yet another bond market sell-off. Both the spike in foreign bond yields as well as strong U.S. economic data point to an upward trajectory for interest rates, at least in the short term.
While the surge in purchase applications would seem to be welcome news, especially as the usually busy spring market draws to a close, some analysts warn the picture is not as rosy as it looks. 
"We think the excitement is misplaced," analysts at Goldman Sachs said in a note to investors Tuesday. "This index [mortgage bankers' purchase application index] has been largely range-bound since 2010. Even after the recent increases, it is still at levels comparable to 1996 when the size of the population and housing stock were 15 percent smaller." 
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