Category Archives: Buying a home

Home Values Compared to the Peak of 2006-2007

by The KCM Crew

Home Values Compared to the Peak of 2006-2007

There is no doubt that the housing market has recovered from the meltdown that occurred just a few short years ago. However, in some states home values still have not returned to the prices we saw in 2006 and 2007.

Here is a breakdown showing where current prices are in each state as compared to peak prices.


HPI Price Since Peak



AVALON: Exciting new development for Alpharetta!

Soon residents of North Atlanta will have a fabulous new place to go for shopping, dining, and entertainment.

Avalon will be a destination unlike any other in the Southeast.  Developed by North American Properties, developers of Atlantic Station, it exemplify the “Live, Work, Play” concept.

Avalon is located on 86 acres at the intersection of GA 400 and Old Milton Parkway.  It will feature residential housing including condos and single family homes, world-class shopping and dining, a movie theater, spa, and more.

Retailers include Tommy Bahama, Lululemon, Vineyard Vines, Pottery Barn Kids, Orvis, and many more well-loved brands.  Visitors to Avalon can enjoy everything from a wine bar, to fine dining, to PinkBerry yogurt.

Look for fun and unique restaurants such as the new concept by Ford Frye of “The Optimist”, Esquire’s “New Restaurant of The Year”.

Regal Cinemas will be offering its “CineBistro” concept, featuring reserved stadium seating with food and wine service.  Also breaking ground this summer will be an 18 story hotel and conference center.

Residents of Avalon will enjoy having a Whole Foods market steps away from their front door.

If the YouTube video about Avalon doesn't automatically start in the area above, please click here to view on YouTube.

If the video about Avalon doesn’t automatically start in the area above, please click here to view on YouTube.

Atlanta Fines Homes Sotheby’s International Realty is the broker for the residential sales. 

For more information email

Who says now is a great time to buy a house?

Wall St. Journal & Forbes: “It’s time to buy a home”

We believe very strongly that now is the time to buy a home. Some will say we are just saying this to create real estate transactions and commissions. Because of that, today we will quote what those outside the real estate profession are saying to the people who look to them for financial advice.

The Wall Street Journal

Last week, in an article entitled It’s Time to Buy That House, the WSJ told their subscribers:

“It’s an excellent time to buy a house, either to live in for the long term or for investment income…Houses aren’t the magic wealth creators they were made out to be during the bubble. But when prices are low, loans are cheap and plump investment yields are scarce, buyers should jump.”

In an article two weeks ago, (the on-line blog for WSJ) told their readers:

“Now could be the best time in history to buy a home.”

In a report to their subscribers, Capital Economics reported that:

“The previous declines in house prices and the more recent drop in mortgage rates to record lows have created an unusual situation in which the median monthly mortgage payment is more or less the same as the median rental payment.”

Why is this important? Last week, Forbes explained to their readers:

“If rents simply kept up with inflation at a 3.2% annual increase, a $1,500 rent payment would cost that renter nearly $900,000 over the next 30 years. The same $1,500 payment made to their mortgage would be only $540,000 (because the payments don’t increase with inflation).”

They went on to explain the advantages of homeownership during retirement:

“Even with a dismal 1% growth rate over 30 years, a $300,000 property would appreciate well over $100,000 giving the homeowner an additional nest egg for retirement…

At a time when retirement is becoming much more challenging, an extra $400,000 (or likely more) can make a major difference not to mention the impact of NOT having to pay a mortgage.  How much less would you have to save for retirement if you didn’t pay the mortgage?”

Bottom Line

When the iconic financial newspaper and the iconic financial magazine say that it now makes financial sense to purchase a house, perhaps it’s time to buy a home.

Source:  KCM

13,780 homes sold yesterday

To all those who have declared the real estate market dead, we want you to know that over 13,780 houses sold yesterday, 13,780 will sell today and 13,780 will sell tomorrow.


That is the average number of homes that sell each and every day in this country according to the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) latest Existing Home Sales Report. NAR reported that sales had increased 7.7% over the month before and 18.6% over the year before. According to the report, annualized sales now stand at 5.03 million. Divide that number by 365 (days in a year) and we can see that, on average, well over 13,000 homes sell every day.

We realize that these numbers are below the record for homes sold in 2006. We also know that we may never see those numbers again (and that is probably a good thing). But to say that the current real estate market is dead or that houses are not selling is totally inaccurate. We have over 13,000 pieces of evidence to prove that.

For Buyers – The financial opportunity of a lifetime?

We often point out that a buyer should be more concerned about the COST of a home rather than the PRICE. Price obviously is a component of cost. However, unless you buy all-cash, you must also be concerned about the financing of the purchase. The price and the financing together determine the cost of a home. Today, we want to look at only the financing piece.

An opportunity exists today because of recent government involvement; an opportunity that may never again be available in our lifetimes. There has been much discussion about what role the federal government should have in supporting homeownership. We will leave our opinions on the debate for another time. However, we want to alert you to two advantages available to a purchaser today that may disappear in the future:

  • § Historically low interest rates
  • § The ability to lock in these rates for thirty years

Interest Rates

Because of the financial crisis, the government stepped in and instituted a series of programs which pushed mortgage interest rates to historic lows. If we look at 30 year mortgage interest rates before and after government intervention we see the impact these programs had.

According to Freddie Mac, from 2006 to the start of the financial crisis (the fall of 2008), the average rate was 6.29%. Since then, the average rate has been 4.92%.  

A purchaser can still get a 30 year-fixed-rate-mortgage at approximately 5%. However, interest rates this low may soon disappear. The government has questioned its role in supporting homeownership. In the administration’s REFORMING AMERICA’S HOUSING FINANCE MARKET: A REPORT TO CONGRESS, they are very strong in voicing their thoughts on this issue:

…our plan also dramatically transforms the role of government in the housing market. In the past, the government’s financial and tax policies encouraged housing purchases and real estate investment over other sectors of our economy, and ultimately left taxpayers responsible for much of the risk incurred by a poorly supervised housing finance market.

Going forward, the government’s primary role should be limited to robust oversight and consumer protection, targeted assistance for low- and moderate-income homeowners and renters, and carefully designed support for market stability and crisis response…

Under our plan, private markets … will be the primary source of mortgage credit and bear the burden for losses.

What are the probable results of this decision?

The Royal Bank of Scotland:

“The (government) currently provides 95% of housing finance in the U.S.; any reductions of their involvement in supporting mortgages mean interest rates will have to go up to induce private lending.”

AnnaMaria Andriotis, writer for Market Watch:

“In the proposals were changes that will mean more expensive mortgages, with higher fees and, probably, higher interest rates, larger down payments and, in the near term, fewer lenders to choose from.”

The day of a 5% rate seem to be coming to an end.

Locking in a rate for thirty years

We must also realize that having the ability to lock-in a rate for 30 years may soon be a thing of the past.

There are a growing number of people who think that our mortgage industry should imitate those of other industrial countries around the world. If we do start limiting government support for the mortgage process, the 30-year-fixed-rate mortgage may disappear. Other countries, like Canada, only allow a purchaser to lock in a rate for a five year term. After that, the borrower must renegotiate a new mortgage at current rates. Could that happen here?

Mark Zandi, Chief Economist of Moody’s addressing the administration’s recent report:

“A private system would likely mean the end of the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage as a mainstay of U.S. housing finance. A privatized U.S. market would come to resemble overseas markets, primarily offering adjustable-rate mortgages. Based on the experience overseas, the fixed-rate share in the U.S. would decline to an average of between 10% and 20% of the mortgage market compared with a historical average of closer to 75%.”

Bottom Line

The COST of a home is dramatically impacted by the mortgage component. Today, we can get a 5% mortgage and lock it in at 5% for the next thirty years!! Both of these opportunities may disappear in the near future. You should take this into consideration if you’re looking to purchase a home.


25% of Credit Reports Have Errors

With so many of us affected by the economic downturn, and the tightening of credit, it is more important than ever to have a look at your credit score and what it means to you.
Here are some key points as well as an accurate and FREE way to pull your credit.
Who are the credit bureaus?
There are three Credit Bureaus – Experian, Trans Union, and Equifax. The three report to FICO and FICO generates the score that mortgage lenders and automotive company’s use to deterine your risk and essentially your interest rate.
However, not all lenders or credit companies report to all three, so getting a credit report that pulls from each agency is very important to makes sure everything in your name is reporting correctly with each agency.
Here is an example of how having good credit can impact your monthly mortgage payment for a $300,000 mortgage and the interest rate you qualify for:
Good (Fico score of 720 or higher) APR of 6% Monthly Payment $1,798.
Bad (Fico score of 600 or lower) APR of 9% Monthly Payment of $2,414.
So having a bad credit score and higher interest rate over 30 years cost you $220,000 more on your mortgage!
Will talking to various car dealerships and/or mortgage companies hurt my credit?
You will not affect or lower your credit score if you rate shop while looking for a car, mortgage or school loan. The credit reporting agencies give you 30 – 45 days to rate shop and all of those inquiries will only report after 45 days as 1 inquiry.
How can I get my name off the list so I don’t get blank checks in the mail that say I am pre-approved just sign here?
If you do not want to receive solicitations in the mail about qualifying for a credit card, or get blank checks offering you money then go to and opt out so that the credit agencies can not sell your information to other companies.
How does shopping for consumer items affect my credit?
When applying for a mortgage today, be prepared that the lender will want written explanation of any credit inquiries for the last 6 months. So thinking of buying a refrigerator, new sofa, dining room table with 0% financing? Wait to do that until you close on your new home! These types of inquiries can NEGATIVELY IMPACT YOUR CREDIT AND ABILITY TO GET A MORTGAGE. 
I have heard that my credit may be pulled again the day before I purchase a home…Why?
There is some discussion that Fannie Mae could require that all borrowers have their credit re-pulled the day before closing to verify credit score. Because the agencies all update the data at different points in the month (some weekly, some monthly, etc) this means your credit score is changing daily and could cause major delays and problems for buyers right before closing on their new home.
How can I get an accurate report on my credit and for free? is a reputable source that is owned by the credit reporting agencies and the most secure place to pull you FREE CREDIT REPORT EACH YEAR. Make sure you do this at least once a year to protect your self against fraud and incorrect recordings.  If you do find discrepancies on your credit, you should immediately start the appeal process. Some of the larger lenders, such as Wells Fargo offer this as a service to their existing customers and even have a way to rescore your credit quickly with a system called RAPID rescore.  If you handle yourself,  most of the time you will be successful in the appeal within 30 – 45 days. As you often find, you are your best advocate…you just need a little time and patience.
In summary, everyone should check their credit report once per year.  Don’t wait until you are making a major purchase such as a home or automobile to find out that you have discrepencies on your report.