Friday, August 31, 2007

Renters: Stop it!

Yesterday, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote THIS ARTICLE about how rent is increasing in the metro-Atlanta area. The reason? A combination of an increase of regular renters and also the people who got really bad interest-only loans at the peak market and lost their homes. They are moving into rentals while they try to rebuild their credit, which can take up to 7 years.

The demand for rental units is increasing very quickly. Landlords are able to not only be more choosy about their tenants, but also charge more for the units. Many people pay more for a rental than they would their own mortgage. Not only are they paying more for housing per month, but they are also not getting great home owner tax benefits.

Owning a house is a responsibility not to be taken lightly and it certainly isn't for everyone. What holds some renters back from taking the plunge into home ownership can be as simple as not knowing how to plan for it.

If you think you may be ready, I can talk with you and help you assess whether you should try to stop paying someone else's mortgage and start paying your own. If you are not prepared to take that next step yet, I can put a plan together for you to show you what you can be doing now to work towards that end.

The rents are going up and the cost of houses are going down. If you've ever thought about buying, give me a call today at 770.862.8002 and we'll talk it over.

Michael Bradford, Associate Broker
Southern Prime Realty

Thursday, August 30, 2007

What do they think of my house?

This is the questions that I always hear after another agent has shown one of my listings. And in most cases, it is a fairly easy question to answer. I used to have to call the other agent and ask them what their client thought about the house and relay that information to the owners at which time it becomes a comment twice removed from the person who made it.

Welcome to the age of the Internet and technology! For a couple of months now I have been using a new service called HomeFeedback. What a difference this makes in getting first hand information from potential buyers into the hands of owners.

When an agent uses the GE Supra electronic key to access one of my listing, I get an email telling me who, what, when and where. I then add that agent into the Homefeedback system which then emails a list of questions about the property and request feedback from the potential buyers. It only takes an agent a couple of minutes to complete and voila! instant feedback that I can send to my owners.

'What if the agent doesn't respond?' you ask? Well, the system tries three time and after the third request for feedback, it emails both me and my clients and informs us that the feedback has been requested and the agent did not respond.

What does it really mean to a seller to have this information? Higher response to feedback request means sellers will have access to information as to what the market really thinks about their property, price and terms - thereby enabling them to make timely decisions about any modifications they need to make to get their home sold.

That can make the difference between "for sale" and "SOLD"! Call me today and let me put this powerful technology to work for you. Michael Bradford 770-862-8002

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Deep Cleaning/Organizing

My wife loves to organize. It delights her to no end to be given free reign in someone's pile-up room, closet or desk and just make it look neat and tidy.

She came across a "grand plan" for giving your house a good once-over. It is broken down into bite-sized pieces so that it seems quite do-able for the average person. I am really not sure who the author is but it has to be someone very clever.

If you want to give your house a good, deep, organizing, purging cleaning, or if you would like to get it ready to sell, go HERE and check out the Grand Plan.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Cherokee County Georgia unemploment rate is best in Atlanta!

Great news today out of the Georgia Department of Labor for Cherokee County (click here for a comprehensive report about 2006). All of us who live here already know that it is a great place to live. It has also proven to be a great place to work or start a new business. The unemployment rate for Cherokee County was 3.8 percent in July, which is the lowest rate in the metro Atlanta area. Cherokee County has had the lowest rate in the area for the 4th month in a row!

Not only did Forbes Magazine rank Atlanta as one of the 10 most affordable places to live in America (click here to read more), we also have lots of jobs for almost every income level. With lots of jobs, low interest rates for homes and a plentiful supply of homes available at great prices, this could be the best time for first time home buyers to take the leap to home ownership. It could also be the best time for someone to relocate to the area.

If you are ready to take part in the American dream of home ownership, or are ready to move to the best place in Georgia (in my humble, but biased opinion), I would consider it a privilege to help you. Call me today and let's find your dream home. Michael Bradford, 770-862-8002

Thursday, August 23, 2007

When to Rehab?

I often have potential sellers call me to list a property that is in less than perfect condition. These people sometimes want me to list the property for the same amount that the neighbor's house just sold for in perfect condition. It's a delicate matter to tell someone why they will need to either list for less or do some work to bring the house up to date first.

You do have a choice! Just because your house needs work doesn't mean you need to shell out a lot of cash and spend a lot of time to bring it up to date and up to code. There are companies that specalize in updateting homes to get them ready to market. They even offer 6 months or until the home sells (which ever is first) financing with no payments or interest. You can also take advantage of the "6 Months Same as Cash" deals that a lot of the home repair stores offer. And last, you can always market and sell it as a "fixer-upper" with a discounted price or sell it as is to a rehabber/investor.

These investors buy properties at 60-80% of their value, they require no inspections and have no contingencies, they can usually close within 10 days, and they can put a quick end to your housing headaches.

Who sells houses like this? People who are about to lose thier homes in foreclosure, people who are divorcing, have medical issues, have inherited a "fixer" and don't have the time, cash or ability to make repairs, or a host of other valid reasons.

These rehabbers put their own time, money and energy into bringing the property up to code and up to date, and then they list the house for full price. They make the ugly house in the neighborhood the nice one. I not only help connect sellers of distressed properties to reahbbers, but I also buy these properties myself.

If you are in the market to sell a distressed property that you can't or don't want to put the time, energy and money into, please give me a call at 770-862-8002. I can buy your house today or I can find a buyer to meet your specific terms.

Michael Bradford
Southern Prime Realty

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Investors: Now's The Time To Buy!

According to a recent article in the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, saavy investors are taking advantage of the ability to buy low in today's slow market.

When interest rates were at all-time lows and mortgage companies were offering creative packages to get people into houses, many people got loans that offered the first 1-2 years as interest only loans. The idea was that people could go ahead and get into a house with low payments, and after a year or two, the payments would increase. Boy, did they increase!

I received calls from many owners who had payments double! These owners, despite their best efforts, were not able to keep up with the payments and they lost their homes. As a matter of fact, Georgia is leading the nation right now in forclosures.

The deals - they are really everywhere. But what would you do with an investment property?

You rent it out. There will be a big market for rentals in the next 3 years because so many people who lost their homes will be renting while they rebuild their credit. And you will have a nice property that they would love to live in.

I can show you a very specific formula that will help you know what kind of cash flow you can expect from your rental property. I can find a perfect property for you to buy as an investment and I can share with you my very best tips on attracting and keeping a perfect tenant. Give me a call today and let me show you how to get someone to pay your mortgage for you while your property increases in value. 770.862.8002

Michael Bradford
Southern Prime Realty

Monday, August 20, 2007

Some Tips For Moving Day

Some friends of mine are about to move a loved one out of their house due to illness. It made me think of the things I've learned from my many moves and my experience helping other people move. I want to share these tips with them and with you.
  1. Keep a box of ziplock bags with you. They are so helpful when it comes to holding small things you come across. For example, when you are taking a bed frame apart, you can drop all of the screws and washers and other small parts into the bag and label.
  2. Keep a few permanent markers in your pocket. You can use these to label boxes, bags and all kinds of other things. A ballpoint pen is also nice to have.
  3. Box cutters or scissors are a necessity. You WILL need to get into a box that you've already sealed.
  4. If you have little ones, you may want to cut the stress level way down by hiring a babysitter.
  5. Keep a cleaning supply caddy for the last minute messes. You will be surprised at how dirty your house will get as you move. You should also have a new roll of paper towels and a few trash bags.
  6. Try to keep important papers and your checkbook/money together in a safe place that you can easily access. Do not let these items get packed and go with movers. They should stay with you.
  7. Spring for new boxes all the same size. They pack easier, store easier and you can always resell them. While you're at it, buy some foam padding, styro-peanuts and other things that will protect your valuables.

If you'd like for me to send an e-mail to you that has more comprehensive moving tips, send an e-mail to me at Or, you can call me at 770-862-8002.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Gimmick Marketing

This sign at the end of waterfront property says
"Lemonade $62 Million/Glass. House free with Lemonade."
If you want to sell your house, you shouldn't have to resort to gimmicks to get it noticed. Even in our very competitive market, it's important to follow a specific formula or plan to get a house sold.
A common formula for many agents it to first list a house at the top of it's range. If the house has not generated interest after 4 weeks, the agent might begin to place ads for the property in some free listings on low traffic internet sites and print some flyers for drive-bys.
After 8 weeks, the agent may begin to buy some ads in local newspapers and magazines.
After 12 weeks, the agent may come to the owners and get them to reduce their price. The 3 months lost to non-agressive marketing have caused the sellers to carry holding costs.
The closer to the listing contact expiration date, the more aggressive the agent will become to get the house sold.
I start with an aggressive marketing plan. I educate the owners about what they can do to get the house to show well and suggest a price point that I believe will move the house quickly so that any profit will not be eaten in holding costs.
I also immediately implement a marketing plan that includes several paid ads on the busiest web sites on the internet, and also in several print publications.
I personally show my properties to my other clients and contacts that I know who are looking for similar properties. I screen my buyers so that I know they have been pre-qualified to buy.
I communicate with other agents using the lates technology to gain feedback about the property and I will stay in regular contact with you about the statues of your property. If you are ready to sell your Cherokee or Cobb County, Georgia home, I hope you will call me today. I want to work for you.
Michael Bradford
Southern Prime Realty
*If your home is listed with another agent, please do not interpret this as an attempt for you to cancel your current listing and list with me, it is only for informational purposes and you should always ask hard questions about how your home will be marketed before you list with anyone.*

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Ladies, Give Me A Call

Really, my wife said it's okay....

Women Call Shots When House Hunting
U.S. women control or influence $7 trillion in consumer spending annually and make 85 percent of all purchase decisions, according to marketing experts. Single women accounted for 22 percent of all home purchases made between July 2005 and June 2006.

What do women want when they are house hunting?

Women respond best to a holistic approach when buying a house, says Richard Peterson, a psychiatrist who specializes in investment psychology. “They handle global impressions better” than men.

Men's ability to make multifaceted decisions, on the other hand, is diminished when they have to rely on "more than three to four factors," imaging studies of the brain show, Peterson says. For example, when men shop – an activity that requires dealing with an array of facts and feelings – stress hormones increase and focus dwindles.

To read the rest of this article, click HERE.

Michael Bradford


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Home Inspections: Revisited

If you have any questions about making sure your house will pass an inspection, please give me a call today at 770.862.8002. I have over 30 years worth of home repair, rennovation, remodeling, lighting, HVAC and electrical experience.

Michael Bradford
Southern Prime Realty

Monday, August 13, 2007

Seniors Tap Into Equity

Reverse mortgages expected to surge as baby boomers age

Sue Kirchhoff
USA Today
Aug. 12, 2007 12:00 AM

WASHINGTON - Even in the midst of a housing recession, one segment of the mortgage market has been booming: reverse mortgages, which provide a line of credit or monthly payments to seniors 62 or older, using an existing home as collateral.

Reverse mortgages rose more than 9.5 percent on a dollar basis in the second half of 2006, compared with the first six months of the year, while the number of loans was up 19 percent, the Mortgage Bankers Association says. The Federal Housing Administration, which insures about 90 percent of reverse mortgages, announced a 105 percent jump in the loans from 2000 to 2006.

More than 76,000 senior citizens got a federally insured loan in 2006, up from 6,637 in 2000. Lenders may top the 2006 total by the end of this summer.

Read the rest of this article HERE.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Custom colors can be a "no-no"

When you are considering painting the exterrior of your house, it's always a good idea to go with neutral colors that are selling well. When I rennovate houses, I always ask the sales professionals at the stores where I buy materials what the best sellers are. I usually go with those.

The owner of the house above chose to express his individuality and paint the house colors that were not only wrong for his neighborhood, they were wrong for every neighborhood. (except for maybe Key West). THis paint job can severely limit his ability to sell his house for anything less than a deep discount. It will even keep a lot of buyers from bothering to even get out of their cars to look inside.

When in doubt, ask a professional. And if I can serve you, please call me today at 770.862.8002

Michael Bradford
Southern Prime Realty

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Cherokee County Opens $19.9 Million Elementary School

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 08/06/07

The start of classes today in Cherokee County marks the grand opening of Avery Elementary School, a $19.9 million schoolhouse packed with state-of-the-art technology.

The 20th elementary school in the county is the first in which every classroom is equipped with a ceiling-mounted projector and interactive screen. The system can be used to show movies or television programming piped in through a fiber-optic cable network. It can also be used to display screens from the World Wide Web. A teacher, for example, could show the class how to conduct a Google search while doing research for a class project.

Read the rest of this article by clicking HERE.

Cherokee County schools by the numbers:
36,899 — expected system-wide student enrollment
1,903 — additional students for the 2007-08 school year
103 — first-year teachers hired
36 — schools in the system
16 — new school buses

Is where your child goes to school a concern for you? I can tell you where the best schools are and find the house of your dreams in that district. Give me a call today at 770.862.8002.

Michael Bradford
Southern Prime Realty

Monday, August 6, 2007

Now's the time to buy!

Who knew wolves could be so smart!
Give me a call today - let's find your dream home.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Real Estate Tip #9

If you can't do it yourself, hire a professional!

A friend sent this photo of her "landscaper" reading a book while mowing. If you need the name of a good landscaping company to get your property in tip top shape, give me a call today at 770-862-8002.

-Michael Bradford,

Southern Prime Realty

Forbes Names Atlanta A Top Affordable Market

If you're not sweating your monthly mortgage payment and don't obsessively check refinancing rates, chances are you live in one of America's most affordable areas.

Homeowners in Indianapolis know what that's like. Its residents don't have to scrimp and save to afford a home at the median price. There, the bulk of the housing stock is well within reach of the average household. Savings depleted? According to our calculations, it would take just two years of gross salary to become a homeowner there.

Cleveland and Detroit are also reasonably priced. But affordability isn't limited to the Midwest. Pittsburgh, Atlanta and Greensboro, N.C., made our list as well. ( Click here to see areas in which it's hardest to buy a home.)

To read the rest of this article, CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Pending Home Sales Up Nationwide

Source: Inman News

A forward-looking indicator based on pending sales of existing homes suggests the market may stabilize in the months ahead, the National Association of Realtors reported today. Although the Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed in June, was still 8.6 percent lower than a year ago, it rose 5 percent to 102.4 from the downwardly revised May index of 97.5. This is the largest monthly gain in more than three years, since a 6.1 percent increase in March 2004, according to NAR. An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2001, which was the first year to be examined as well as the first of five consecutive record years for existing-home sales.

To read more, click HERE.