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A graphic look at 30 year fixed mortgage rates since 1971


Freddie Mac publishes this on their website. Rate tables going back to 1971. Highest year and month – July 1981 16.83% Lowest year and month – November and December 2012 3.35% Average over the past decade – just 5.6%. That’s a photo of my kitchen, looking as it did circa 1972 with it’s cocoa two-tone Hotpoint appliances, goldenrod wallpaper and nasty green linoleum. Great era for style, huh? Rates were 7.4% in the month of July 1972. Anyone fretting over a rise in rates recently needs to study history and feel a whole lot better about this week’s 4.51%… … [Read more...]

Questions to ask your listing agent

My good friend Jon Effron is the best real estate blogger in Georgia. Jon always encourages me, and I always encourage Jon. Jon knows that I’ve answered 1598 questions on the internet about real estate in less than 6 years. He knows that I’ve made 26 internet contributions about real estate in the past 30 days. He knows that I have accumulated 32,352 points on Trulia as of this morning and that a number like that places me in the top 1% of Trulia contributors, worldwide. Jon also knows that I’m lazy about blogging, however if I simply used my frequent Trulia content here at The Intown Insider, I would have way more blog power. So, I’m resolving to increase my blog power this year – here goes… This question arose on’s “Trulia Voices” forum yesterday: “Which questions should you ask your agent about selling your house?” I answered with the following list… What's the current absorption rate in my submarket? How does my house compare with my 2 … [Read more...]

Lockbox or by appointment only?


A seller on Trulia asked me: What is your opinion regarding the use of a lock box vs. showing by appointment only? “Lockbox, but... How long do you plan for your house to be on the market? This is all about price, and your non-negotiable terms, and making those very simple for buyers to understand. At a take it or leave it price, you will attract 8-10 showings and your Realtor will line them up over like 2 or three days. You probably have a reasonable take it or leave it price in mind - use that. It's your market in almost every submarket across Atlanta because there are probably buyers clamoring for exactly what you have to sell. Take offers - call for highest and best - don't accept a single one if they are not a win-win. Plan B starts if it's not under contract after three days on market. Better than implementing plan B next season. Plan B should start with a lockbox, 95% of the time. But first, reconsider plan A. There is tremendous certainty in this market for savvy … [Read more...]

Jon Effron and I are your local economists of choice in Intown Atlanta

Jon Effron wrote this insightful article entitled “WHERE ARE ALL THE ATLANTA FORECLOSURES? on January 8 and he asked me to comment on it. He wrote: “Healthiest” Areas (aka lowest % distressed sales): 121,131,132,21,23,51 (Sandy Springs, Dunwoody, Buckhead, Brookhaven, Ansley Park, Virginia Highland, Morningside, Inman Park) Most “Distressed” Areas (aka highest % distressed sales): 66,53,42,33 (Exurbian Gwinnett County, Southeast Dekalb County, South Fulton County). Note that Clayton County is not included on this chart. This chart is, of course, just one way to evaluate a housing market, and a very broad approach at that. FMLS Area 52 is a perfect example- it covers the area spanning east of Emory, Inside The Perimeter, north of I-20 and south of I-85.  Not exactly what I’d refer to as a single sub market, and certainly one that has some very hot pockets (it doesn’t get much hotter than Decatur).  Generalities aside, I think you get the picture. As a … [Read more...]

Georgia Property Tax Issues: Assessments and Millage Rates Q & A

I don’t know where I copy/pasted this from but I decided that my friend Trulia Atlanta needed to read some seriously deep, dry and boring Q&A on property taxes...before I do that, does everyone realize the awesomeness of Trulia's reporting and graphics ? Q:  Property values and assessments have been going down over the last few years.  Why are property taxes still just as high or even higher? A: Each county still needs a certain amount of tax revenue to operate. They still have to provide schools, police, fire protection, and all other county services.  If the assessments go down, the county has to raise the millage rate. Q: What is the millage rate? A: The millage rate is a number that is multiplied by 40% of the final property assessment (after all exemptions) to get the tax bill amount on each property.  The millage rate is the same for everyone in the same county or city. Q: Then why does it help homeowners to get their assessments reduced?  A: … [Read more...]

Equipping failed sellers for success in Atlanta


Good news! More sellers are selling their real estate nowadays instead of failing to sell. I remain steadfast in my mission to help those who have failed, find success after they fire their first or second agent… Check out the recent chart that reveals the basic dynamics of our market. Just three years ago, this chart looked almost opposite of the recent Third Quarter 2012 chart above. Check this link out that I published in my article entitled “The mother of all Intown Atlanta real estate charts” in February 2009. Back then, only 30 out of 100 were selling. “Of the 30 sold listings, 20 (73%) had a price reduction, when listing prices from previous listing periods are included, before a Buyer was found. Therefore, if 70 failed due to overpricing and another 20 required a price reduction in order to sell, 90 out of every 100 listings were overpriced in 4Q 2008, resulting either in either no sale, or a sale at a much-reduced price after a much-longer … [Read more...]