2017 Disclosure Forms for Buying Real Estate in Georgia

Download a Copy:

2017 Protect Yourself When Buying a Home

2017 What Buyers Should Know about Flood Zones

2017 Protect Yourself When Buying a Home to be Constructed

2017 Protect Yourself When Buying a Condo

2017 What to Know When Buying in an HOA

2017 What Buyers Need to Know about Short Sales

2017 ABCs of Agency – Representation

2017 Mold Pamphlet

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.

Real Estate Sales is not Rocket Surgery

But you had better handle the emergencies well.

real estate

I just finished watching the movie Sully and it gave the audience a glimpse into the responsibility someone can feel for people under their care. It also highlighted the scrutiny that can follow when events don’t go as planned. What made me want to see this movie was the fact that this was a real life event that thrust normal people into an emergency situation. Captain Sullenberger had been quietly mastering his craft for 40 years. Then came a bird strike out of the blue and the emergency landing… His character in the movie remarked: “I’ve delivered a million passengers over 40 years yet in the end I’m going to be judged on 208 seconds.” Real Estate Sales is a LOT like that! EVERYTHING is colored by the last few days leading into the closing.

How Hard Could it Be?

Buying or selling a house could be straightforward IF… the seller is honest, the house is in tip-top shape, seller continues to maintain the house, the buyer is honest, the buyer behaves at work, the buyer stops buying other things,  the buyer has plenty of money, the buyer chooses a lender who is able to get things done early, the inspector is not an alarmist, reasonable people are involved and they work through the inspection issues, the appraiser actually knows the market where the house is located, the neighbors do not accost the buyer with accusations, the closing attorney has a good staff, the HOA cooperates in a timely manner and mother nature holds off on the surprises. If there are agents involved, they also need to help move the sale forward smoothly rather than introducing drama by suggesting ill will and ulterior motives on the part of the other side.

But real estate sales are rarely free from all of those. Agents joke that real estate sales would be easy if it just weren’t for the people. What they mean is that people come with agendas, motives and selfishness. That mixture can bring drama and it is the drama that takes all the fun out of buying and selling homes. Delivering great service is tough enough. Delivering great service with competing agendas, personal drama and raging emotions can be downright complicated. At times it can feel like rocket surgery.

It is not Life or Death

In the end, it is still just buying or selling house. It is not real surgery on a living person. It is not life or death. No one ever died because a closing did not happen – at least not directly – that I know of. A house is not going to burn down because a deadline is missed or a text is misinterpreted. But houses can burn down – the night before the closing. Movers can drop huge wardrobes off a second story catwalk resulting in a furniture explosion. Washing machine hoses can burst.

Still, we are dealing with stuff – stuff that is most likely insured. Yes, dreams are wrapped up in that stuff and the loss of a dream is stressful. This is when we find out who people really are. Character is not made during a crisis – it is just revealed.

There is No Referee

There is no referee in the game of real estate sales. Selling a property is the equivalent of two countries negotiating a trade agreement. Yes, there are brokers involved above the agents but brokers are biased. There are laws and contracts in place but in the end, there is no ultimate authority watching over the process. No one to rule on an issue. No one who can call a penalty or eject a player. The parties involved just have to work it out. The parties have to work everything out. That means they even have to work out how they are NOT going to proceed if the contract is to be terminated.

Twenty one years down the road, I think what surprises people the most (agents included) is that contract language is not always black and white. The best route is communicate well and work together to address any bumps in the road.

Smooth Landings

As with any profession, witnessing the desired and typical outcome can seem routine. That does not mean it was easy. That means that the professionals involved have practiced enough to be able to achieve the desired outcome even if the unexpected arises.

I believe most people want things to go smoothly once a house goes under contract. Most of the time, everyone on both sides does their part and things fall into place like they are supposed to. As an experienced Realtor, I can tell you that I never relax until a couple of days after a closing. Passing deadlines and milestones is more of a relief than a celebration. There are so many moving parts to a transaction! We know that we can get everything right up to the week of closing and if there is some last-minute drama, we will still be judged. Its human nature. The only way to win is to nail the landing.

 

 

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

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.

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

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.

 

We Need Your Recommendation!

As you might imagine, our industry is HIGHLY competitive!

We Need Your RecommendationYour recommendation would really help us out 🙂  As consumers, we use online reviews for everything these days and real estate is no exception. People want fresh proof that others are pleased with the services they are considering. That is why we need your recommendation and the Zillow online reviews are one of the most popular places for consumers to look. On behalf of all of us at The Bunch Real Estate Group, I would like to say a HUGE Thanks in advance!

The Process is Easy ( PLUS there is a reward just for submitting a review)

Just Click on the image below to get started. And yes, 5 stars is always the best answer. However, we are all suspicious and a bit cynical when it comes to reviews. So please just be truthful and tell your story in your own words.  [See some of our past reviews]

Review Us on Zillow

Why offer a reward?

You have to prove you are a human being to submit a review and that takes a couple of steps at the end to create an account (unless you are a Zillow frequent flyer with a username and password already). So, to motivate you to get you over this minor inconvenience we would like to treat you to a coffee break to rest up after your writing labors. As soon as your review is cleared and posted, we will dash to the post office and happily drop your gift card in the mail!!

Oh, and they will make you promise to be nice… (yes, Zillow does screen these before they hit the world wide web)

Review Us on Zillow

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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

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 – Home Automation & Theaters

Looking for simplicity in the midst of luxury? The answer probably includes some level of  Home Automation

Home Automation

Automation in your home can start with your thermostat. But it goes WAY further than that. Many times, home automation projects start with a Home Theater because the addition of the theater brings an added layer of complexity. Today’s automation systems can integrate the home theater components, audio playlists, TV channels, interior and exterior lighting, security cameras, HVAC systems and even appliances.

Home Automation

We met recently with the folks at Atlanta Home Theater to tour their state-of-the-art demo facility and talk about possibilities and stretching the imagination. They can definitely help you do that! The photo below is “The Castle” where you can see full-scale home theater models.

Home Automation

The consultants at Atlanta Home Theater are wizards at pulling all of this gear together for an integrated solution with a simple controls. In fact, the word has gotten around so well that they stay busy without really doing any advertising. They are not just selling gear – they are managing the project to maximize the homeowner’s enjoyment. Fancy toys are nothing but a major frustration if they are not reliable and easy to operate. What impressed me most though was their philosophy towards expandable automation and their commitment to total client satisfaction.

Luxury and No-Hassle

Luxury Home Automation strategies typically start with main control panel and the top two brands are Crestron or Control 4. Each brand has its strength your best bet is to test drive them with an expert who can put them through their paces. These are flexible and expandable systems but no two are ever exactly alike. No two home theaters are ever alike either because they involve blending of technology and aesthetics. Each homeowner has a vision of what they want because it will become an expression of who they are. For some, the goal is to provide a really cool teen hangout. For others, it is a place to relax and be entertained. The thing about home automation (once you know the possibilities) is that it can be addictive. Convenience is King!

Do-it-Yourself

There are probably some great DIY options on the market. I am just not passionate enough about it to research it. “A man has got to know his limitations.”  I would much rather get expert advice and coaching. The whole point to automation for me is to make life easier. I am not looking for a hobby – I would rather just go sell another house and pay for it.

Philosophy

Generally people fall into one of two categories when it comes to home improvements. Hire it or Do it.

We believe in hiring specialists. That is how we approach real estate as well. The Bunch Real Estate Group was founded to serve busy people who have demanding jobs and want great service when buying and/or selling a home. We do this by having a team of specialists to cover the bases. As a result, we are able to give advice, make recommendations, communicate constantly, treat people honestly and bust it to make sure our clients are satisfied. That goes for the people at Atlanta Home Theater as well.

Looking for Turn-key?

The consultants at Atlanta Home Theater specialize in making your vision come to life so if you need it all pulled together, they can manage it all. They have sub-contractors who can finish the basement space if you need it. Or they can work with your contractor.

Is a Golf Simulator part of the equation? No problem!

Golf Simulator