Paint Cans – A Real Estate Hot Potato

Want me to leave the touch up paint?

Paint Cans

Paint cans can be a bit of a hot potato leading up to a real estate closing. Emotions range from big hassle to huge favor. Environmental regulations can make disposing of paint cans expensive and difficult. On the other hand, the buyer may really want the paint for post-move touch up IF it is fairly fresh and matches the current trim and wall colors. The problem arises in the between those two and real life almost always lies in the middle.

The Best Scenario

The best scenario occurs when the seller has partially empty paint cans with notes of what was painted with it and the date. There are less than 6 cans and they are neatly stored with a few spare rollers and pans. Nice and tidy and organized.

The Worst Scenario

Cans are left from two to three generations of paint schemes (and all are still liquid) with various other project supplies that have all probably dried out by now. Now, if the paint has solidified, that is a great thing! Then it just becomes a household waste nuisance instead of something that requires special handling for disposal.

Leave Things Better Than You Found Them

I have found that living by this rule pays off for me every time. With camping, its “leave no trace”. That way nature is preserved for the next person. When it comes to turning your house over to a new buyer, leaving behind any helpful tips on how to maximize their enjoyment of it will be a blessing that cannot be calculated. Yes, it might take work. Yes, the buyer may have been a pain in the neck along the way and not appreciate it. But they don’t define who you are do they? Leave the legacy you want to leave and be proud of your reputation. You never know how small the world is. That buyer could very well end up being in position to return the favor some day.

My Listing Just Expired – Now What?

expiredFind a Real Estate Agent who can Solve Your Puzzle.

 

Selling your home can be hard work! The reality is that homes have to be “sold” 4 times before they close. In fact, if you consider cold feet or buyer’s remorse, the Buyers may have to re-buy it a couple of times throughout the process themselves. So, who has to be sold? Here are the usual ones:

  1. The Real Estate Agents
  2. The Buyers
  3. The Buyer’s Inspector
  4. The Buyer’s Lender’s Appraiser

You’re Not Alone

expired listing

Atlanta Single Family Home Sellers in Q2 2016

If your home’s listing just expired, you will fall into one of the red columns below. It may surprise most people but even in great markets, 1 out of 5 listed homes still fails to sell. The higher the price point, the higher the failure rate. The higher price points command fewer buyers with higher expectations. We analyze a lot of Expired Listings and the issues usually fall into three main categories: Price, Condition and Marketing. So, let’s take those in reverse order.

Marketing

Most houses have strengths that can be used to edge out their competition. In a uniform subdivision where there are no significant advantages versus the neighboring homes, price and condition will be the driving forces. The goal of the Marketing is to tell a story that highlights the strengths. With Expired Listings, it should be fairly easy to evaluate the marketing – it is probably still on the online marketing channels like Zillow. Sometimes there are obvious things you can address.

You must stand out in the crowd in a classy way that compels someone to want to come visit your house in person! Staging. Lighting. Professional photos. Lifestyle angles. Story-telling. Social Media sharing. Videos. Events. Email campaigns. Upbeat energy. It ALL comes into play!

Here are some video examples of our marketing.

Condition

Initially, condition shows up through the decor and interior finish materials in the online photos. Even if you get an “A” for staging, poor lighting in the photos can be a show stopper with the online viewing experience! Once the buyer’s decide to view your house, curb appeal and home maintenance come into play the moment they arrive. Landscaping plays into the mix more than most people realize. Even the slightest sign of deferred maintenance, mildew or peeling paint sets off alarms in the mind of the buyer.

But there are two other senses at play as well: detecting sounds and smells. When your house is on the market, you don’t want either one of these to be a factor. Background music and fountains usually mean there is road noise. Plug in air fresheners usually mean there is stale or musty air that must be overcome.

Bottom line with Condition: You need a strong, objective agent to tell you the things others are afraid to say. Everyone has blindspots. You could even be “noseblind“.

Take a look at our “Staging for Sale” folder on Pinterest.

Pricing

Sometimes pricing is straight-forward. Many times it is not. Judgement calls have to be made as to the financial trade-off for a busy road, a steep driveway, no backyard, synthetic stucco, etc. In fact, we have a lengthy list of resale issues that come into play as Buyers compare properties. We do not treat this lightly. We do not swag it. We do not use averages and percentages. We start with the appraisal methodology and work backwards. We build pricing from the ground up with specific comparable properties. We gather multiple opinions from other top agents. We crunch numbers – exhaustively!

Holding it Together

This comes back to selling the house throughout the entire process. We prepare for that. We help our sellers get their house in show ready condition with our stagers. We help our sellers prepare for the inspection with our pre-listing walk through process. We do our homework on pricing so we are ready for the appraiser from the beginning. We know the contracts inside and out so we are prepared to defend your rights. We will not rest until you are closed.

Solving Puzzles is What We Do

If your listing expired recently, you owe it to yourself to find out why. We can help – solving home sale puzzles is what we do! You can reach us through our direct office number 404-939-3202 OR via email at michael@BunchRealEstateGroup.com

expired listing

Top 10 Reasons FSBO’s Fail

“Failing to Prepare is Preparing to Fail”FSBO

There can be multiple reasons why homes don’t sell. Even the professional real estate agents make some of these mistakes. Selling a house is usually HARD work! If you are doing it as a part-time job, I know there is a chance it could go right. But, statistics show that it almost always doesn’t go as well as it could. Here are a number of reasons why FSBO’s fail to sell:

Top 10:

  1. Did not have a process to screen the buyers (and their lender) to make sure they diligently pursued the loan and could actually close the deal
  2. Did not use a professional stager to get the house ready
  3. Did not use a professional photographer and their photos were just not compelling
  4. Did not have enough time to prospect for buyers every day
  5. Buyer prospects knew the inventory better than they did so they had the upper hand in the negotiations
  6. Other sellers with competing houses were better prepared and better positioned in the market
  7. Missed the mark on pricing initially and could not recover
  8. Did not know how to manage home inspection issues without giving away the farm
  9. Talked too much when showing their house and turned off the buyers by hovering over them the whole time
  10. Had trouble coordinating showings with prospective buyers

5 More:

  1. Did not have court-tested contract forms and experience enforcing them
  2. Had no professional sales language and negotiation training
  3. Started out objective but lost sight of the whole reason they were moving when their emotional attachment flared up.
  4. Did not know which marketing techniques mattered most and wasted resources chasing dead-ends.
  5. Buyer found something during the inspection that should have been disclosed up front and terminated the contract.

Painting the Brick could give You the Edge You Need

When it comes to selling your home, competition can be fierce! Painting the brick could give you the edge you need.

painting the brick

Original version with red brick

Figuring out how to maximize your house’s sale price can be a daunting task. Just about EVERYONE has an opinion. Our goal is to help our clients make the absolute most of what they have! That requires seeing the impact of various ideas up front.

painting the brick

Version where the red brick was painted

The photos above show two similar homes that both started out with red brick. The brick on the house in the lower photo was actually even a deeper red than the one above. The problem? One recent trend in the Atlanta marketplace with new home construction has been the use of painted brick. The result? That creates a style gap between the new homes and older homes with more traditional styling.  It exposes their age and that affects their attractiveness to current buyers.

So, one way to make a home feel newer is to close that style gap by neutralizing the brick color. Hopefully the photos above show the impact of that.

Selling Homes with a Luxury Attitude

We believe everyone should approach selling homes with a luxury attitude!

Luxury Attitude

Luxury Attitude as it relates to selling houses plays itself out in many, many ways. We believe every home deserves marketing that highlights its strengths, employs great photography and is full of energy! Whether the property is $175,000 or $1,795,000, we want ALL of our listings to sparkle! Ok, yes, we are competitive. But that’s actually great news for our clients.  They usually blow their competition out of the water.

Here’s an Example Slide show at $175,000

Our goal is always to identify the strengths of a particular home and figure out who the most likely buyer will be. Chances are, our Seller will get the highest sale price from the ideal buyer who love the house for what it is and does not need for it to be anything else. Many times our approach means “going all in” for the strengths – even if it means polarizing the buyer pool. That takes some nerve! Any time you purposefully shrink the number of potential buyers, you have to really believe that less is more. Fewer but much more interested buyers means fewer but much higher quality showings. Fewer stranger roaming around your house? Dealing with only serious buyers? No tire-kickers? Sounds pretty good to us.

On the other end of the spectrum, the general approach is the still the same.

Here’s an Example Slide show at $1,795,000

There is no doubt that we go to extra effort on our luxury listings. They are on a world-wide stage. Our syndication channels for these properties are international, our marketing collaterals are more involved and our service package is expanded. But our attitude is the same. High Standards and Hard Work = Results!

Questions?

Email us at michael@BunchRealEstateGroup.com

Zestimate Goes Haywire!

What do you do if your Zestimate goes Haywire? Or drops by over $150k? You reach into the darkness for answers…

Zestimate

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 6.30.19 PM

Zestimates are an interesting curiosity for me. Not because this is emerging technology and I’m a stuffy, set-in-my-ways, old school real estate guy with 20+ years in the business. I would offer that my curiosity is precisely the opposite.  I graduated college with a degree in civil engineering, took 5 semesters of calculus and played with algorithms a LOT. I have written software packages that performed automated calculations. I embrace models that show trends. I LOVE statistics! My caution here is that even the best algorithm is still just that… a formula. A formula that needs data. A formula that produces results that need human interpretation and context.

Zestimate can’t pick up on renovations

We recently listed a great house in a desirable zip code in Sandy Springs, GA. The graph above captured with a screen shot on 2016-03-09 at 6.30.19 PM showed this home’s Zestimate running at about $620,000 when we put the home on the market.  The owners spent a year in 2007 totally renovating and expanding this home. They also put in a Pebbletec saltwater pool. If you look at the 2007-2008 part of the graph, it shows a steady decline in the Zestimate but generally correlates with overall market forces. It’s ok though, it’s not really reasonable to expect Zillow to pick up on the renovation. How could they have known, right? No harm – no foul.

Listed the Property and the Zestimate goes Haywire

When we listed the property, it founds its way onto Zillow through the local MLS syndication data feed. Just like all of our other listings. The online data was fairly correct – the only thing missing was the full bath added during the renovation. Everything seemed fine. And then, the algorithm went haywire. In days immediately following the listing being posted, the Zestimate mysteriously – AND RAPIDLY – plummeted over $150,000!

Zestimate Goes Haywire

Revisionist History

Now, compare the graph above with this one captured 3 days later. LOOK AT THE DARK BLUE LINE. What the heck? Same house, same algorithm, now has a different Zestimate history dating back to before 2007?!?!? If today was your first visit to this house on Zillow, you would never know the difference. To me, that is scary.

Zestimate

Screen Shot 2016-03-12 at 11.07.18 AM

If it is online, it must be true! Clearly – not

Our recent experience described above serves as a reminder to all of us as we gather information online. Be careful! Each source has an agenda. Zillow’s agenda is to capture leads so they can rent zip codes to real estate agents by making the agents pop up in a side banner as “Premier Agents”. My agenda is to sell houses.  And that only happens when both the buyer and the seller believe a fair deal has been reached. If a buyer is unknowingly using bad data, they could very well miss out on a great house by drawing incorrect conclusions. Buying a house is a BIG purchase! Get some savvy guidance from a human being with local real estate experience and expertise.

Have Questions?

Email me at michael@bunchrealestategroup.com

Chastain Park Breaks Record for Home Sales in 2015

Chastain Park Breaks All-Time Record for Home Sales in 2015Chastain Park breaks record for home sales in 2015 by eclipsing 2005’s record of 98.

Chastain Park sellers achieved an Average Sale Price of $1,239,399 based on the sales from 2015 that have closed thus far. Sometimes a few huge sales can skew the average sale price but that was not really the case here. The median home sold at $1,193,500 so the middle of the pack was around $1.2M.  Days on Market, however, was a different story. The average Days on Market was 91 days which was skewed by several sales that took over a year. The median Days on Market was 47 days which is a much better indication of the true market.

Chastain Park Breaks Record for Home Sales in 2015

The Highs and Lows on Price

The highest sale posted in Chastain Park was $3,600,000 for a king-sized flip project on King Road (pardon the pun).  The lowest sale was for an older, partially complete contemporary house on Dykes Drive at $420,000.  The days of buying a property in Chastain Park under $500k are getting fewer and farther between! There were only three in 2015 out of 104 total sales.

The tables below show the four market slices we track and how they fared each month. First for supply and then for sales.

Chastain Park Breaks Record for Home Sales in 2015

The Highs and Lows by Month

January really set the pace in 2015 with four times as many homes sold as in 2014! April, June and July also more than doubled their 2014 counterparts.

Chastain Park Breaks Record for Home Sales in 2015

The Highs and Lows of Supply

Sellers did their part! They managed to put more homes on the market without flooding it. As the green bars below show, the overall supply of homes ranged between 50 and 60 throughout 2015 which exceeded the numbers from the previous three years.

Chastain Park Breaks Record for Home Sales in 2015

Summary

As a resident and local expert, we study and preview the homes for sale in Chastain Park every day. You can feel even the slightest change in momentum when you watch anything that closely. We have a custom search running constantly that alerts us to any listings or sales in Chastain Park.  That information can be crucial for both selecting the most strategic List Price OR the best starting Offer Price – depending on which side you are on. If you are considering a move in Chastain Park, you owe it to yourself to meet with us first. 

Call or email Michael Bunch directly on his cell at 404-307-4915 or at michael@BunchRealEstateGroup.com

Georgia Real Estate Contract Forms-2016 Changes

Georgia Real Estate Contract Forms change at least once a year to keep pace with legal actions and new laws.

Georgia Real Estate Contract

Before you get all “Realtors just complicate the process” on me, consider this: Without some standardization in the forms that incorporates the legal decisions from recent court cases, buyers and sellers would have to hire an attorney to draft the contracts they use or get one from an office supply house and Google how to fill it out. I would submit that both of those options get you no real representation during the process and could set you up for HUGE liability. Why not learn from the mistakes of others?

Here is a recap of the changes coming in 2016 to the Georgia Real Estate contract forms.

1. GAR FORM F50, SELLER’S PROPERTY DISCLOSURE STATEMENT

One of the major accomplishments of the Committee was a major overhaul of the Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement. For several years now, the Committee has been working to shorten and simplify the Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement. How best to do this has been the subject of an ongoing debate that has largely revolved around whether the purpose of the Disclosure Statement should be limited to a disclosure of latent defects in the property or whether it should also cover past repairs and details regarding the systems and fixtures in a property. Both types of information can be useful to buyers and help prevent claims. However, in an effort to shorten and simplify the Disclosure Statement, the Committee eliminated some of the questions that were focused on the systems and fixtures in the property particularly in cases where the information could be easily determined from an inspection of the property.

So, for example, there is no longer a question in the Disclosure Statement about whether the property contains low-flow toilets since this information can usually be easily determined by simply looking at the inside of the toilet tank. Similarly, the lengthy disclosure of the condition of each heating and air conditioning system serving the property was replaced with a shorter and simpler question on whether any part of the heating and air conditioning system is in need of repair or replacement. The view of the Committee was that unless the Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement was shortened and simplified, it might be hard to continue to get the overwhelming percentage of sellers to fill it out.

The Committee also reformatted the Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement to make it easier to line up the questions with the space where the questions are to be answered. The new form now puts a box around every question on the Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement making it much easier for the eye to travel to the correct spot to answer the question. When the question does not have a “yes” or “no” answer, the “yes” and “no” boxes are shaded to make it clear that it is not a “yes” or “no” question. Most importantly, the box for “Do Not Know” was eliminated from the form leaving only a place on the form to answer “yes” or “no”. This was largely done to prevent some sellers from checking “Don’t Know” on the entire Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement. The directions for the Disclosure Statement now clearly states that all questions should be answered to the “actual knowledge and belief” of the seller. In theory, with this as the standard for answering questions, all questions should be capable of being answered “yes” or “no”. Whether it works this way in practice is yet to be seen. Even though the seller is directed to answer all questions on the Statement, some sellers may choose to leave some questions blank if they truly do not know the answer to the question. There is still an explanations section of the Disclosure Statement (now more conveniently located throughout the Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement) where “yes” answers and presumably the reason for leaving a question blank can be given. Hopefully, sellers will find the reformatted Disclosure Statement shorter and easier to fill out.

The Statement also tries to explain more clearly to buyers that caveat emptor or buyer beware is the law in Georgia and that buyers must carefully inspect the properties they are buying.

2. REVISED GAR FORM F64, FINANCING CONTINGENCY EXHIBIT

The Financing Contingency Exhibit was also significantly revised for 2016. The first major change was to eliminate the obligation of the buyer to apply for a mortgage loan within a set number of days from the Binding Agreement Date. In its place, the Committee added language obligating the buyer to apply promptly for the mortgage loan or loans described in the exhibit such that the buyer could fulfill his or her financial obligations under the agreement. This change was made because the Committee had received a large number of complaints that the old approach left too many buyers in breach of contract when they inadvertently missed the deadline by a day or two to apply for a mortgage. The new approach eliminates this risk to buyers. Buyers are still obligated to promptly inform the seller of the names of the lenders from whom they have sought a Loan Estimate and the name and contact information of the lender to whom they have given a Notice to Proceed with Loan Application. Part of the thinking of the Committee was that requiring buyers to apply for a mortgage loan within a set number of days was generally inconsistent with the wide open nature of the Due Diligence Period and the Financing Contingency Period. The Committee is including two different stipulations in its Forms package for those REALTORS® who still want to require that the mortgage loan be applied for within a defined period of time.

The second major change in the Financing Contingency relates to when the buyer must provide the seller with a letter of loan denial. For many years, the Financing Contingency Period has provided that this must be done before the end of the Financing Contingency Period. The Committee was worried that in trying to comply with all of the new lender regulations in the marketplace, some lenders may not provide loan denial letters to buyers (for them to pass on to their sellers) as quickly as they once did. This could leave buyers in breach of contract for a delay over which some buyers will have limited control. As a result, the Committee decided to give the buyer seven (7) days from the termination of the Purchase and Sale Agreement to provide the seller with a letter of loan denial. This would be the case even if the termination is on the last date of the Financing Contingency.

Let’s look at the examples below to better understand how this will work.

Example #1: A buyer has a 30 day Financing Contingency beginning on May 1. The buyer is verbally turned down for the loans at the end of the first two weeks of the loan contingency period. The buyer sends a letter to the seller terminating the contract due to a failure of the buyer to obtain the loans specified in the Purchase and Sale Agreement. How long does the buyer have to get a loan denial letter to the Seller?

Answer: The buyer has seven (7) days to get the loan denial letter to the seller.

Therefore the buyer would have until the end of the day on May 21 to get the loan denial letter to the seller.

Example #2: The buyer has a 30 day Financing Contingency beginning on May 1. The buyer works hard to obtain mortgage financing but is unable to do so. The buyer finally terminates the contract on May 30 when the buyer is told verbally that the buyer’s loan request was denied. How long does the Buyer have to get the loan denial letter to the seller?

Answer: The buyer has seven (7) days from the date the buyer terminated the contract to get the letter of loan denial to the seller. Therefore, the buyer would have until the end of the day on June 6 to provide the letter of loan denial to the seller. This is the case even though the Financing Contingency ended on May 30. With the letter of loan denial not having to be provided until after the Purchase and Sale Agreement is terminated, this does mean that disputes regarding whether the Purchase and Sale Agreement was properly terminated due to the failure of the financing contingency will, in money unless the buyer can expedite the delivery of the loan denial letter.

Finally, the Financing Contingency Exhibit was revised to make it clear that if the buyer agrees to apply for a loan with a specific lender, the loan denial letter must be from that lender. Also, the loan denial letter must be for the loan or loans for which the buyer agreed to apply.

3. CHANGES TO GAR FORM F20, PURCHASE AND SALE AGREEMENT

Most of the changes to the Purchase and Sale Agreement for 2016 were made in anticipation of TRID (or the TILA RESPA Integrated Disclosure).

First, the number of days that the contract could be unilaterally extended was changed from seven (7) to eight (8) days.

Second, a new provision was added in which the buyer and seller both consent to the closing attorney preparing and distributing to all parties in the real estate transaction and their brokers an American Land Title Association (“ALTA”) Estimated Settlement Statement – Combined. One of the major effects of closing attorneys becoming vendors of mortgage lenders under TRID is that they are obligated to preserve confidential information of the borrower to the same extent as the lender. This has led to an industry wide discussion of what is considered confidential information and whether the seller is allowed to see the buyer’s side of the Closing Disclosure. While most experts have recommended against such an approach, they also recognize that a review of the information in the Closing Disclosure by all parties and their REALTORS® is a great way of ensuring that there are no mistakes. In response to this, the American Land Title Association convened a group of industry experts to prepare a settlement statement that did not contain confidential information. This resulted in the creation of the ALTA Estimated Settlement Statement – Combined. It is expected that most closing attorneys will incorporate this form into their closings and provide a copy of the same to all of the parties in the transaction and their brokers. Nevertheless, to help ensure that closing attorneys felt comfortable providing this information to all parties, the Committee decided to include a consent by the buyer and seller to the closing attorney preparing and distributing this form to all parties in the transaction and their REALTORS® and allowing all parties to use the form for their various uses.

Section B8 of F20 was modified to clarify when the buyer is entitled to a return of his / her earnest money. Specifically, the word “unexpired” was added to the second basis for the buyer to receive back his / her earnest money so that it now reads: (2) failure of any unexpired contingency or condition to which this Agreement is subject. The failure of a contingency is when it does not occur.

So, for example, a financing contingency would fail if the buyer does not get financing. If the contingency has already expired, it no longer applies to the transaction at hand. Adding the word “unexpired” simply clarifies that the contingency still has to be in effect to fail.

4. REVISED BROCHURE: FORM B2, PROTECT YOURSELF WHEN BUYING A HOME

This brochure was revised to warn buyers about a scam where buyers receive a second and false set of wiring instructions regarding where to wire funds to purchase property. Buyers who fall prey to this scam often wire money which they intended to use to buy a home to fraudsters where it is incapable of being recovered. Buyers are, therefore, warned to check with the closing attorney if they receive more than one set of wiring instructions. The brochure was also revised to warn buyers about companies whose advertisements make them appear to be connected to the government who offer to obtain for the buyer a recorded copy of a deed for a fee. Since most closing attorneys offer to provide buyers with a copy of a deed at no cost to the buyer, the brochure explains that buyers do not need to incur this expense.

5. NEW BROCHURE: GAR FORM B8, WHAT NEW LANDLORDS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT LEASING

PROPERTY

A major accomplishment of the Committee for 2016 is the creation of a brochure on whatproperty owners should know before leasing their properties. The leasing of houses is increasingly used by sellers as an alternative to selling, particularly when the seller cannot realize the price for which the seller had hoped. In one brochure, sellers are taught most of what they need to know about leasing. Some of the major topics included in the brochure are as follows:

  • a. Confirm that leasing is permitted.
  • b. Conduct a thorough background check of the tenant.
  • c. Fair housing laws apply to rentals.
  • d. Have a written lease.
  • e. Evicting a tenant is not necessarily a quick process.
  • f. Possession of the property belongs to the tenant.
  • g. Be careful in selling a leased property to a tenant.
  • h. Contractors performing work on property should be insured.
  • i. Landlords need special insurance.
  • j. Follow all Georgia mandated procedures applicable to landlords.

6. NEW FORM: GAR FORM 148, CONFIDENTIALITY AND NON-DISCLOSURE AGREEMENT

For 2016, the Committee revised its existing confidentiality agreement and created a new one. The form entitled Confidentiality Agreement, GAR Form F142, is to be used when there is a desire to keep offers confidential. Considering that sellers are entitled to shop offers, it is surprising that this form is not used more frequently. For 2016, this form was revised so that both offers and counteroffers can be kept confidential by the buyer and the seller. The Committee also created a new form entitled Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure Agreement, GAR Form 148. This form will likely be used more in commercial transactions, rather than residential transactions, and will largely be used by sellers who want to keep confidential information about the properties / businesses they are selling. It is very common for sellers in commercial transactions not to want to release this information without such a confidentiality agreement being signed.

7. GAR FORM C010, BROKER TO BROKER REFERRAL AGREEMENT

The Referral Agreement (Broker to Broker) was revised to clarify that the commission being shared with the referring broker includes any monetary bonus received by the broker to whom the transaction is referred. The Form was also modified to more clearly state when the referral agreement ends and ties the end date to a specific number of transaction for which the referring broker has completed and been compensated.

8. NEW FORM: GAR FORM F13, AGREEMENT TO WORK WITH TENANT AS A CUSTOMER

GAR has long had a customer agreement form for use with buyers who do not want to be the client of a REALTOR®. GAR has now created a new customer agreement from that can be used with tenants. Getting buyers and tenants to sign the customer agreement forms gives the REALTOR® tremendous legal protection. With the new F13, the tenant is agreeing to limit any damages claim against the REALTOR® to the real estate commission actually paid to the REALTOR®. If no commission is paid, the damages claim is limited to $100. The Agreement also contains and arbitration provision which keeps any disputes out of the courts. In this day and age where people sue others at the drop of a hat, having these protections is tremendously helpful to REALTORS®.

9. GAR FORM F76, REMINDER OF IMPORTANT DATES IN PURCHASE AND SALE AGREEMENT

The Reminder of Important Dates in Purchase and Sale Agreement was revised to make it more up to date. This form is an extremely valuable tool for agent not to miss or forget important dates. REALTORS® are encouraged to use this Form (or similar ones that REALTORS® have developed on their own).

10. REVISED GAR FORM F124, BINDING AGREEMENT DATE NOTIFICATION

The Binding Agreement Date Notification was revised to try to make the Form clearer. It includes a revised definition of Binding Agreement Date as “the date when a party to this transaction who has accepted an offer or counteroffer to buy or sell real property delivers notice of that acceptance to the party who made the offer or counteroffer in accordance with the Notices section of the Agreement.” This new definition will replace the old definition throughout the GAR Forms.

The new Form contemplates the Binding Agreement Date being filed out by someone other than a party. There is also a place for the buyer and seller to sign that they are in agreement with regards to the Binding Agreement Date. Finally, there is language incorporating the Binding Agreement Date into the Agreement for which the Notification is given and shall control over any other conflicting Binding Agreement Date previously included elsewhere in the Agreement.

11. REVISED GAR FORM F3, AUTHORIZATION TO SHOW UNLISTED PROPERTY

The Authorization to Show Unlisted Property form was revised to make it applicable to both the sale and lease of property. This change was made to broaden the potential uses of this form.

12. NEW FORM: GAR FORM F24, CONSTRUCTION EXHIBIT

This exhibit had been deleted from the GAR Forms library because much of what had been in this form was incorporated into the New Construction Purchase and Sale Agreement, GAR Form F23. However, it was brought out of retirement and reinstated for 2016 because some REALTORS® wanted to use this form with non-GAR new home contracts.


Hopefully, the changes which have been made will help protect REALTORS® and get transactions closed. REALTORS® with ideas for changes are encouraged to submit them to the Committee for consideration. Under the leadership of Pat Johnson, the Committee carefully considered every request for a change last year. With Karen Loftus as the new Chair of the Committee, this approach is sure to continue.

Seth G. Weissman is GAR’s general counsel, an attorney at Weissman, Nowack, Curry & Wilco, P.C. and a Professor of the Practice of City Planning in the College of Architecture at Georgia Tech.

 

Dekalb County Low Flow Plumbing Fixture Requirements

Moving to Dekalb County? You need to know the Dekalb County Low Flow Plumbing Fixture Requirements

Dekalb County Low Flow Plumbing Fixture

Does this apply to me? Great question! The Dekalb County Low Flow Plumbing Fixture ordinance only applies to properties located in unincorporated DeKalb County. If the property is located within a city in DeKalb County, such as Decatur, Chamblee or Lithonia, the ordinance does not apply. So, if you don’t want to mess with it let’s hope you found a house in one of Dekalb County’s wonderful cities!

Time to look at a map and find your house:

Are you in Brookhaven?

Are you in Chamblee?

Are you in Dunwoody?

If you (or the house you are buying) happen to be located in unincorporated Dekalb County, get a home inspector or licensed plumber to complete a Dekalb Co certificate of compliance.  There may be rebates available too if older fixtures need to be replaced.