Flat Grassy Backyards are Boring and Hot!

One thing we never hear in real estate is that flat grassy backyards are boring and hot.

Backyards

Most of the time we hear buyer’s say they want a¬†“flat backyard” or a “usable backyard”. And, yet, when we look at where kids actually play – they get bored with flat green grass. Unless it has white stripes on it somewhere ūüėČ

Organized Sports

Organized sports play a big role with many kids these days. Organized sports are FULL of life lessons. Some of them are indirect though. For parents, it can be a serious challenge to schedule all the practices and the games. Mastering that is a skill that can serve in all aspects of life. This post, though, is about thinking through the pros and cons of buying a house primarily because of the backyard. We have seen that by the time kids get home, they want to rest. They probably also have to do homework. When it comes to play, they usually seek shade and things that are creative (forts, creeks, playhouses, neighborhood pools, etc.).  If they practice a sport, it is usually on a small scale for accuracy (pitching net, soccer goal, basketball goal). So, buying a house primarily because of the flat grassy backyard could be a mistake.

Adventure

Studies are showing that playtime is seriously underestimated in today’s culture. In fact, entire playgrounds are being re-developed to pull adventure back in. Imaginations run wild and get bored easily. In days gone by kids rode bikes all over the place – usually seeking out a trail or a creek or something interesting to explore. There were no electronics. They made up games like “kick the can”. Unless there was a sprinkler or a slip-n-slide involved, the flat grassy backyard was boring and hot!

Comfort

One thing we learned when we bought a playset for our kids was that playing in the shade is a LOT more fun than playing in the sun. Thankfully our yard had a mixture of both. Looking back, our poor backyard would have been judged harshly by the buying public though. Not flat enough. Not big enough. Not enough sun. We loved it. It was great – still is.

A Blend is the Best

I recently visited a client’s yard for a party and had to capture the photo below. First of all, most people would have NEVER envisioned this when we initially looked at the house. We were focused mainly on location and potential. The backyard was a mess of overgrown sloping nothing. These buyers saw the potential and over time created magical spaces both inside and out. The results are amazing! But, it is not flat. There are flat pockets. The grassed area is not big. And there is only partial sun. But there is PLENTY for kids to do and this is a backyard that gets used.

Backyards

Are you getting real coaching in your home search or just someone with a lockbox key?

So many agents are afraid to give advice for fear of liability. We just speak from the heart and many times that slows down the process. That is probably why our buying clients double the national average in the time spent in their homes after they purchase. If you want a real estate agent who takes the long view with you, give us a call! 404-939-3202 Direct or email us at michael@bunchrealestategroup.com

 

 

Home Loan Applications Started after Oct 3, 2015 will be a Whole New Ballgame

Home Loan ApplicationsIf you OR someone you know is going to buy a house in the next few months, a big door is closing on¬†Oct 3rd… Home loan applications started after that time will be a whole new ballgame!

Unpredictable¬†is about the best way to describe what will happen for loans initiated on or after October 3, 2015. ¬†No one really knows how things will go! Many project that it will take at least 60 days to close a loan once the new disclosure rules are in force – versus a norm of 21 to 30 days today. ¬†October and November closings for real estate transactions will likely be an adventure¬†as all parties involved adjust to these new regulatory changes. ¬†Honestly… times like these are¬†when we will find out who the real professionals are! “Adversity doesn’t build character it reveals it.” Vince Lombardi

What are the New Rules?

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Here is a link to the changes coming from the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act).

What is likely to change?

Increased document security, longer disclosure timeframes and new closing forms. Closing Attorneys have been bracing for this for months. Just imagine attorneys hiring attorneys to advise them on how the new rules could possibly affect them. Offices have had to be reconfigured to prevent the accidental viewing of sensitive documents. The universal standard HUD-1 Closing Form is being be replaced. The lenders will not be able to deliver money as fast due to increased disclosure requirements and notices.

The CFPB is a relatively new regulatory entity with broad enforcement ability and the penalties can be stiff.  This adds up to unknowns and risk. You can rest assured, no one is going to go very far out on a limb to help you borrow money until the dust settles.

What can you do?

Home Loan Applications

Buckle up! Make loan application before October 2nd if you plan to buy a house in the next few months. That way you will be “grandfathered” in under the current system.

Where do you start?

If you haven’t already, call your Realtor for a recommendation to a great lender. We have a great starting lineup of lenders who have proven to be the best in the industry. Talk to the lender about your plans and get them to coach you through the process.

Questions?

We are happy to answer questions if you have them. Just email us at michael@BunchRealEstateGroup.com

Living in Chastain Park

Living in Chastain Park is an experience that is hard to describe. And yet, it’s a neighborhood people rarely want to move out of and here are some reasons why…

Chastain Park

North Fulton Golf Course

Chastain Park as a neighborhood is a collection of around 1500 homes that surround the park. The park holds a wide range of amenities with the North Fulton public golf course being the largest landmark in the middle. As you can see in the map below, Chastain Park is located inside the I-285 “perimeter” interstate loop just north of Buckhead.

Chastain Park

Want a bird’s eye perspective? Click on the photo below

Chastain Park Bird's Eye View


Real Estate:

Single family home prices in 2015 ranged from $425,000 up to $8,900,000 with the average sale price in Chastain Park currently running around $1.1M. To put that in perspective, the figure below shows the Median Home Sale Prices in each MLS area in the Metro Atlanta marketplace. Chastain Park straddles the boundary of Areas 21 & 132 (dark green in the figure below). Here is a quick link to view the homes currently listed for sale in Chastain Park.

If you have a Pinterest account, you can view sample home styles and neighborhood photos on our Chastain Park Pinterest Board.

Chastain Park


Amenities:

Chastain Park has one of the most diverse mixture of amenities of an park in the Atlanta. Below are photos of some of the primary venues.

Chastain Park

Chastain Park has wonderful wide concrete walking pathways around the perimeter.

Thanks to the Atlanta PATH foundation, concrete pathways were constructed around Chastain Park and today they are enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.

Chastain Park PATH

Chastain Park Trail Map

Click map above for more info on The PATH Foundation

For more information and a trail map, click here. There are multiple loops winding around the park venues and mileages are marked for those with distance walking goals. Public parking is limited to the north part of the park and can be found primarily along West Wieuca Rd and in parking lots by the Chastain Horse Park.

The path is widely used at all times of the day with the flattest sections being along West Wieuca Dr and Lake Forrest Drive. The topography is rolling along Powers Ferry Rd on the left (western) side and there really are just a couple of steep sections.

The Chastain Park outdoor amphitheater hosts a wonderful blend of artists during the summer concert events. Check out the concert line up!

One of the most magical parts of attending a concert at Chastain Park is the picnic atmosphere. Pack as much as you want to haul and make it as fancy as you want. For most concerts there are reserved seating tables for six down front. It is very common to see candles, silverware, wine glasses and gourmet dishes as patrons unwind under the stars.

Living in Chastain Park

The ballfields host baseball and fastpitch softball teams in the spring and then convert over for football and baseball teams in the fall.

The ballfields and gym are managed by the Northside Youth Organization (NYO) which has provided team sport experiences for countless young people over the years. Click on the link above to check out all of the sports opportunities available at the park!

Living in Chastain Park

The Chastain Park Gym

Chastain Park Gym

The Chastain Park pool is operated through a public/private partnership with the Chastain Park Athletic Club.

It is also home to the 2014 ASA Champions Chastain Park Tidal Waves! As a public facility, residents of Atlanta can swim for FREE during certain hours daily.  Click here for full details and hours of operation.

Chastain Park Pool

Chastain Park Tennis Center

The Chastain Park Tennis Center features 9 hard surface lighted courts and is home to some 40 USTA & ALTA teams. Activities through Universal Tennis Academy are going on constantly thru Chastain’s¬†MeetUp app.

Chastain Park Tennis Center

Chastain Horse Park

As one of the premiere equestrian facilities in the area, the Chastain Horse Park provides riding lessons and boarding along with therapeutic riding programs. The facility also provides event space for lease and pony parties for birthdays.

Chastain Horse Park

The Chastain Park Playground

The Chastain Park playground is nestled under the big oak trees between West Wieuca and Park Drive.

Chastain Park Playground

A planned expansion is underway to more than double the size of the current footprint and add bathrooms.Play Chastain

Chastain Arts Center

The Chastain Arts Center provides a wide range programs, camps and exhibits available to the general public.

Chastain Arts Center

Another park venue is American Legion Post 140 which is tucked in the south corner of Chastain Park overlooking the path.  It is also available to rent for parties.

American Legion Post 140

If you or someone you know is considering a move to Chastain Park, contact us today.  We are working daily remain the local expert real estate expert and the best resource for Buyers and Sellers in the Chastain Park neighborhood.

Email us at michael@bunchrealestategroup.com

Visit Us at ChastainPark.info

Follow us on: Pinterest and Facebook.

 

What to Expect – Setting up Your Home Search Radar

What to Expect – Setting up Your Home Search Radar

What to Expect - Setting up Your Home Search Radar

The second step in the home buying process, after you have established your budget with a lender, is to come into our office and get your custom search radar set up. There a several benefits to having this run directly out of the MLS! As you will see in the photo above, we can avoid homes close to interstates by constructing pockets that automatically leave a buffer zone. We can also use this tool to watch several different neighborhoods at the same time without having multiple searches running. Spending an hour with us in the office getting this set up in the beginning saves you countless hours down the road by filtering out properties that do not match your goals.

Our Results are Hyper-Focused

When homes are listed in the MLS they are categorized by areas.  The map below shows the area numbers designated by FMLS in Atlanta, GA.  These numbers are a bit cryptic because they have no correlation to zip codes or anything recognizable to the public. Yet, these area numbers are what we as agents use to build our searches when we are working with buyers. Online search tools on the other hand typically use zip codes and cities. The challenge? Zip code and city boundaries can envelop very diverse areas.

What to Expect - Setting up Your Home Search Radar

Our searches are hyper-focused so you can have the luxury of skipping the GOOD properties that may distract you from the ones that are the BEST fit. Few things are more frustrating to a home buyer than missing out on a great house because they got distracted with the fringe inventory. Curiosity can be costly!

The photo below shows the same custom search above overlaid on the MLS areas.  There is no way to do this with an online search tool. These pockets straddle 3 zip codes, multiple school districts and two MLS areas.

What to Expect - Setting up Your Home Search Radar

Our Updates are FAST

Once your Custom Search Radar is set up and running, updates come to you via email within about 10 minutes.  That means you will have access to the source MLS data virtually real-time. When inventory is low and multiple offers are common, speed matters! Online real estate search tools have a routine they use to extract and reconcile MLS data on a set schedule. These alerts may be delayed.

What to Expect as a Buyer

Welcome to our What to Expect as a Buyer page!

What to Expect

Even though the fee for Buyer Agent services is paid by the Seller, make sure you get the best service experience available! Buyer Clients of The Bunch Real Estate Group enjoy access to some amazing real estate coaching throughout the process. The steps below provide a quick overview of our “What to Expect” library for Buyers:

  1. Buyer Representation and The Form
  2. Access to our Team
  3. Rules of the Road
  4. How Much Money do You Need?
  5. Getting a Loan
  6. Analyzing Your Needs and Goals
  7. Setting up Your Home Search Radar
  8. Avoiding Resale Issues
  9. Short Sales
  10. Touring Homes
  11. Research and Pricing
  12. Preparing the Offer
  13. Negotiating
  14. Going Under Contract / Important Deadlines
  15. Due Diligence / Homes Inspections
  16. Dealing with Needed Repairs
  17. The Appraisal
  18. Final Loan Approval
  19. The Walk Through
  20. The Loan Package
  21. Reviewing the HUD-1 Closing Statement
  22. Wiring the Funds to Close
  23. Closing Day
  24. Filing for Your Homestead Exemption

What to Expect – Home Warranty Coverage

What to Expect – Home Warranty Coverage

Home Warranty Coverage

We typically use Home Warranty of America for our Buyers and Sellers because they offer 13 months of coverage versus the typical 12 for a competitive price. Many buyers want the protection in their first year to hedge when cash is tight. We even get Listing coverage for our sellers when they are on the market for sale because that protection is offered for FREE. Below is a video explaining home warranties. Want to know about specific HWA coverage in Georgia?

The question usually is: How old are your systems and which one(s) do you think you really need coverage for? Bottom line for me is this: Home Warranty coverage is a cheap safety net in real estate transactions but I would not want to have to really rely on it for a repair down the road. The fine print in home warranty agreements can frustrate you Рusually at a time when you are already dealing with something unpleasant. After the home purchase, I prefer to take my chances with my contractors Рknowing I will get the straight story and a reasonable price to fix it.

Signing an Exclusive Buyer Agency Agreement

When it comes to signing an Exclusive Buyer Agency Agreement, one common reaction is:

You want me to sign what?

Georgia state law prohibits us (as a Broker’s representative) from representing you as a Buyer without first entering into a written agreement with you. ¬†Agents who do not do this are breaking the law and if they will break this law, you have to wonder what others they may disregard as well. ¬†It doesn’t have to be with this form; but it does have to be in writing. ¬†This just happens to be the form we use.

Buyer Agency Agreement

 

You can hear all kinds of things like “I have bought several houses and I did not have to sign any agreement” or ¬†“I would never sign something like that”. ¬†Opinions… everybody has them and they are easy to throw around. ¬†We follow the law. So, we only work with clients who sign the agreement. ¬†In fact, we feel like working through this agreement is where we begin to earn trust. ¬†If a potential client has reservations about signing the agreement even after we meet and discuss all their questions, we do not need to be working together. This relationship has to be a win/win for it to make sense.

If there are concerns, we would love to know specifically what they are. Under all the legalese and paper, we view this as a trust relationship – trust we are more than happy to earn. If you have reservations about working with us OR prefer to leave all of your options open, let’s definitely discuss it. As you might imagine, it will difficult for us to let our guard down and give you all of our knowledge, experience and coaching with no assurance of ever getting paid for it. I doubt any agent who is really good at what they do would risk working for free. We work in an industry where idiots and experts get paid the same though… And, it is hard to tell the difference in the beginning.

I am sure we can figure it out; we almost always do.  Our goal is a partnership with mutual benefit Рnot tying you up in a contract that does not benefit you in the end.

So, what is an Exclusive Buyer Agency (or Brokerage) Agreement?

It is simply an agreement whereby we agree to invest time with you to find a property for you to buy and you agree to make sure we get paid – by working exclusively with us. ¬†The reality is that NO piece of paper is strong enough to make someone be loyal. ¬†It may cause someone to keep their word though. ¬†Our goal is to be on the same page as our clients – not to lock someone into a relationship they do not want to be in. ¬†Our expertise is hard-fought and our experience is expensive. ¬†We bust our tail to make sure our clients get what they want and are well coached along the way. ¬†Agents can also play several different roles in real estate sales. ¬†The category for these roles are called “agency”. ¬†Here is a link to the various types of real estate agency in Georgia.

How long is an Exclusive Buyer Agency (or Brokerage) Agreement for?

Generally around 90 days.  It really depends on the mission.  Our goal is to make it long enough so that we can focus on finding the right property without having to keep renewing the agreement to stay in compliance with the law.  YOU are in control over how long it takes you to buy a home.

Who pays the real estate commission?

Our Exclusive Buyer Agency Agreements state that the Seller pays the commission.  There is no obligation on you to pay any portion of our commission.

What Buying a Short Sale is going to feel like

If you are looking to get a deal on your next home, you may be wondering what ¬†Buying a Short Sale is going to feel like. ¬†Well, it is going to feel like you have no control. ¬†However, the presumption is that at the end of this you will be rewarded with a great property at a below market price. ¬†The process is straightforward but it relies heavily on the owner’s hardship, their honesty and their lender’s independent assessment of current market value. Which means…the homeowner and the listing agent need to be organized and on top of their game because your success depends on it.¬†¬†In the end, if the the short sale is to be approved the owner will have to convince the lender that the property will go into foreclosure regardless of whether the short sale is approved or not. And, that the contract submitted for their approval will be the least costly way to dispose of the property. ¬†The figure below outlines the general path to short sale approval.

Short Sale Flow Chart

THE HOMEOWNER / SELLER: 

Once a homeowner realizes that there is no way to continue making payments on their loan, there are only a handful of options:

  1. Seek to modify their loan to achieve a lower payment.  The statistics on this are not encouraging long-term though.  Loan modifications usually only last about a year because the underlying distress is larger than a marginally lower payment can make up for.
  2. Seek a real estate agent who is a Certified Distressed property Expert (CDPE) and work to get a Short Sale approved. ¬†As a CDPE it is hard for me to imagine not at least trying this route. ¬†If successful, the homeowner’s credit is impacted less than a foreclosure, the debt many times is forgiven and it shows good faith in helping to make the best of a bad situation.
  3. Offer the lender the deed to the house back (Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure).  The lender will only consider this if they belioeve the property is worth close to or more than what is owed.  Otherwise it makes no sense to let the homeowner off the hook and take back the property just to have to sell themselves it at a huge loss.
  4. Stop paying and let the home go into foreclosure. Sadly, Homeowners go down this path sometimes out of ignorance or because of embarrassment.  Either they do not know the options OR do not want their friends and neighbors to know their situation buy putting the house on the market as a short sale.  I use the word sad because if the distress is real, help is available.  Close friends and trusted professionals can at least reduce the feeling of helplessness and isolation in a very difficult and emotional time.

THE BANK:

The Lender is basically the judge who needs to be convinced.  The homeowner and their real estate agent make their case and answer questions until a decision is rendered.  The stronger and more convincing the case Рthe more likely the Lender is to approve the short sale.

LIST PRICE:

Our strategy regarding the list price is geared to start at the likely market value for the neighborhood, condition and features.  Then, systematically reduce the price as necessary to obtain an acceptable offer from a qualified buyer who is willing to stay with the process for at least 120 days.  The whole goal is to demonstrate a genuine effort to obtain the highest sale price with full-time credible marketing, showing data, showing feedback and price adjustments only the extent necessary to obtain an offer.  When mortgage payments are NOT being made, the clock is ticking and foreclosure is looming.  Price reductions are made about every two weeks in those cases Рwhich is plenty of time for the market to respond.

TIMING:

All parties need to realize that neither Listing Broker/Agent nor Selling Broker/Agent can guarantee a specific date or time response from the bank, nor guarantee approval of and specific offer or terms. ¬†The Buyer is advised to discuss the nature of the transaction with their lender to discuss common concerns in financing properties sold in this manner.¬† After the Seller‚Äôs lender(s) receives the short sale packet, their lender(s) may require at least 60 ‚Äď 90 days to approve the short sale. ¬†After approval, the sale will have to close within lender approved time frame, typically 25 ‚Äď 40 calendar days but a shorter time window could be imposed.¬† The possibility does exist that this property could be sold at a foreclosure auction in spite of the efforts being taken under a contract for short sale.

LENDER TERMS:

Quite often there is a complex negotiation between Seller and their lenders as to the precise terms of the release(s) and short sale approval is not assured.  After the contract is signed, Seller’s lender(s) may impose other obligations and restrictions on Buyer and Seller including but not limited to Seller’s net funds to close, financial contributions, and other matters which relate to the amount of funds available to lender to satisfy the debt which may require the parties to renegotiate or cancel the transaction. One thing is for sure Рthe seller will be netting $0.00 in any short sale and in some instances may be required to make some sort of good faith payment to the lender in exchange for approval.

CLOSING DATE:

The closing date is really just an estimate.  The actual Closing will take place on or before the date set by the Lender in their written acceptance of short sale.  All parties will need to acknowledge that this may require that the closing happen earlier than the closing date stated in their contract.  Everyone has to be flexible and this will require a very responsive lender if the buyer is getting a loan.

PROPERTY CONDITION:

This Property is almost always being conveyed in ‚ÄúAs-is‚ÄĚ condition at the time of closing. ¬†The Seller may not make any repairs and may be unable to pay for maintaining the property. ¬†It is important to make sure that the¬†Seller agrees to not make any alterations to the property following the acceptance of this agreement that would reduce its value (like removing fixtures).¬† Buyer also needs to realize that conditions at the property may change and needs to take on some responsibility monitoring the property as they deem necessary.¬† If the condition of the property worsens substantially during the time between acceptance of the contract and the date when written approval is received from the lender(s), Buyer needs to make sure they can opt to seek relief from the lender(s). ¬†The lender(s) will be under no obligation to fix anything and may do nothing so the buyer needs the ability to terminate the agreement if they don’t.

PROPERTY TAX PRORATIONS:

Seller and Buyer will have to agree that the proration of taxes at closing will be based on the most recent bill issued by the appropriate taxing authority and may not be the final bill for the current year. All prorations at closing will be final and there will be no further adjustment after closing between Buyer and Seller.

UTILITIES:

Buyers should know that utilities may not be on at the property. If any utilities are necessary to complete Buyer’s Due Diligence, establishing service for said utilities will probably be the sole responsibility of Buyer, and at Buyer’s expense.

INSPECTIONS:

Buyers should obtain property inspections, including but not limited to: roof and systems, appliances, engineer’s inspection if applicable, radon, septic, stucco, lead paint and wood infestation inspections.  Buyers should probably also obtain enhanced owner’s title insurance in addition to seeking the advice of legal counsel for review of contracts and addenda, and review of title work.

RISKS:

Buyers assume certain risks associated with a short sale purchase. Typically buyers will be asked to waive and release any and all claims and shall hold harmless Listing Broker and Agents for loss or damage suffered in connection with the attempted or completed purchase of a short sale, including but not limited to costs and delays to Buyer, and expenses which may arise should the property be withdrawn from the market, foreclosed or not close within desired time frames.

QUESTIONS:

If you have questions about a specific situation or the short sale process, please feel free to email us at mb@michaelbunch.com

Be Careful with Concrete Repairs

Concrete RepairWhen you are going through your home inspection, be careful with concrete repairs! It is not uncommon at all to notice cracks in sidewalks, driveways and patios.  There is an old adage that says:

“There are two kinds of concrete: Concrete that has cracked and Concrete that will crack…

And, not all cracks signal trouble.  The photo to left was taken in a commercial setting at the entrance to our office building.  I watched as the cones were put out to direct foot traffic as some crack was repaired.  Frankly I go in and out of this door every week day and I never noticed a problem.  Dutifully the contractor performed their work and those of us who work in the building dodged the cones.  Fast forward!

Concrete Repair

Now we have this bleached out fresh new cement look.  If you look closely you can see a former repair in the curb in front of the new one that did soften with age.  I just have no idea how long that took.  My goal with this post is to warn of some unintended consequences when approaching your home inspection with zeal.  If your requests involve concrete repairs, you need to consider them carefully.  The repair could end up being worse than the crack if it is small and mostly cosmetic.

 

Filing for Homestead Exemption in Metro Atlanta

Every spring, home buyers are filing for Homestead Exemption in Metro Atlanta.

Homestead ExemptionDon’t leave money on the table! For this post, we asked Pam Robinson with closing attorneys Neel, Robinson and Stafford, LLC to simplify the Homestead Exemption process for us. ¬†So, Pam, thanks so much for your help on this!

What is a Homestead Exemption

It is a Tax Savings. When it comes to Property Taxes, a homeowner is entitled to a “homestead exemption” on their personal home and land underneath provided the home¬†was owned by the homeowner and was their legal residence as of January 1 of the taxable year. (O.C.G.A. ¬ß 48-5-40) ¬†Buyers only have to file for this once following their purchase. After that initial filing, it stays in place in subsequent years. Typically, when someone buys a home (other than an investment property) there is Homestead Exemption in place through the current owner. When that property is sold, the Homestead Exemption will drop off. The new buyer must then apply for the Homestead Exemption so it can be reinstated under their name. If a new Buyer does not file for their Homestead Exemption by the county imposed deadline, the taxes will be higher than the previous year because the Homestead Exemption was not in place. Unfortunately, there are no exceptions of the deadline is missed. The only action to take is to file for the Homestead Exemption as soon as possible so that the exemption will be in place for the next year.

What and/or Who Qualifies?

You only get one homestead exemption at a time and it is on your primary residence. To be granted a homestead exemption, a person must actually live in the home and the home is considered their legal primary residence for all purposes.  Persons that are away from their home because of health reasons will not be denied homestead exemption. If this is the case, a family member or friend can notify the tax receiver or tax commissioner and the homestead exemption will be granted. (O.C.G.A. § 48-5-40)

How Do You Apply?

Homestead Exemptions applications must be filed by April 1. Applications filed after this date will not be granted until the next calendar year. (O.C.G.A. § 48-5-45)

Failure to apply by the deadline will result in loss of the exemption for that year.  (O.C.G.A. § 48-5-45)

Applications for homestead exemption must be filed with the tax commissioner’s office, or in some counties the tax assessor’s office who has been delegated to receive applications for homestead exemption.¬†Filing for Home Exemptions is a one time event.

A homeowner can file an application for homestead exemption for their home and land any time during the calendar year. We suggest you apply at least 30 days in advance of the filing deadline to allow plenty of time for the tax office to review your application.  To receive the homestead exemption for the current tax year, the homeowner must have owned the property on January 1 and filed the homestead application by the same date property tax returns are due in the county. 

Exemptions Offered by the State and Counties

The State of Georgia offers homestead exemptions to all qualifying homeowners.  In some counties they have increased the amounts of their homestead exemptions by local legislation above the amounts offered by the State.  As a general rule the exemptions offered by the county are more beneficial to the homeowner.

What is needed to Apply?

Homestead ExemptionYes, this is a bit of a pain.  Here is a quick checklist to help you achieve success in just one trip:

  • Driver’s License – that matches the property address
  • Social Security Number
  • Motor Vehicle Registration(s) – that matches the property address
  • Warranty Deed – book and page numbers (recorded copy received from closing attorney 3-4 months after closing)
  • Mortgage Statement – proof of residence
  • HUD-1 Closing Statement (received at closing)

Below are links to the various Metro Atlanta Counties:

Cherokee County ‚Äď deadline is April 1 ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†678-493-6120

Clayton County Рdeadline is April 1               770-477-3311

Cobb County ‚Äď deadline is April 1 ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†770-528-8600

DeKalb County ‚Äď deadline is April 1 ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† 404-298-4000

Douglas County ‚Äď deadline is April 1 ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†770-920-7272

Fayette County ‚Äď deadline is April 1 ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† 770-461-3652

Forsyth County ‚Äď deadline is April 1 ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† 770-781-2106

Fulton County ‚Äď deadline is April 1 ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† 404-612-6440

Gwinnett County ‚Äď deadline is April 1 ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† 770-822-8800

Henry County ‚Äď deadline is April 1 ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† 770-288-8180 ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†

Paulding County ‚Äď deadline is April 1 ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†770-443-7606

Fine Print

This is our best effort to provide a quick convenient resource to get started.  It is not the be all/end all.  The links could stop working.  The municipal websites could change. Life is not perfect! Hopefully, though, this will still save you some time.