Archive for the ‘Real Estate’ Category

Affordable Country Homes to Lavish Downtown Condos!

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Within 30 minutes of Athens & the UGA Arch you can purchase land for $3000-4000/acre and homes as low as $30000. Travel 15 minutes in any direction and you can be in Horse Country or a Private Get Away surrounded by old growth timber. We have executive condos just blocks from campus. Basic living quarters for $50-70K and high-end exquisite homes all closely situated to enhance our diverse population.

The suburbs offer the classic 1950’s – 1970’s neighborhoods predominately brick ranch homes in the low to mid $100’s and the newer and larger homes built in the past 10 years coming in from the $200’s to 400’s on average. We have several Historic neighborhoods where homes have a very wide range when it comes to price. In 2010, I have seen Historic homes sell between $70K and $700K depending on the size and condition. Based on my experience living in Athens and my professional real estate knowledge, I believe the values of historic homes in Athens Georgia near UGA will start to appreciate in the near future. Therefore, historic homes in Athens are a relatively safe real estate investment for UGA students, alumni and fans.

In the current Buyer’s friendly housing market, there are great opportunities in all price ranges in and around downtown Athens Georgia!

Energy, Excitement & Experience of Living Near UGA!

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If you have never been to a SEC College Football Game, put it on your bucket list! There is nothing quite like it and UGA has arguably the nicest venue to experience, with close to 100,000 other fans. Year round, covering every sport from the Gym Dogs to the Equestrian Team you will always find avid fans and family friendly events to attend.

You can take your dog for a walk at the trails by the intramural fields, watch a Rugby match or cheer on the Lady Dogs at the top notch Fast Pitch Soft Ball Stadium. For those that have achieved the “senior citizen” status, you have the ability to take college courses, most for free, expand your knowledge and interact with the youth of America, the future leaders of our great nation. The resources available at the University of Georgia are vast and can be overwhelming at first, but you will find southern hospitality at every turn.

In the downtown area we have some of the finest local restaurants and music venues in the southeast. The Classic Center continually brings in excellent shows and exhibitions for everyone to enjoy. For a truly unique experience and great food, stop by “The Grill” on College Ave. at 3-4 in the morning. Now that is entertainment! Another classic dining spot that has endured the test of time is “The Gyro Wrap”, excellent food and a great selection of your favorite beverages. There is a place for everyone no matter what your taste buds are yearning for.

After my UGA experience in the late 70’s and early 80’s I moved around the country, living in Tulsa, Denver and Bergen County, New Jersey. When it was time to settle down and raise a family it was an easy decision to move back to Athens, GA. My wife and I moved back in 1988 just before our son was born. Our daughter came along in 1990. We enjoyed raising our children here in the Athens area and have fond memories from the past 20+ years. Living near UGA has been a great experience for the whole family and we don’t regret our decision to move back one bit!

The UGA Lifestyle : A Great Place To Call Home

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Yes, it’s true. Athens has four mild seasons. More often than not Athens has great weather. A couple months in the spring and fall we don’t need Heat or A/C, those are special times. Our grills are used 10-12 months of the year and you can garden year round if you pick the right crops. We have big city entertainment with a small town, kid friendly atmosphere. UGA keeps the sports enthusiast busy as well as a wide array of music venues for those that need more culture. Athens has always been a music magnet. The art community is well supported throughout North East Georgia. UGA has even added a Music Business Certificate Program to enhance the local music business.

Are you searching for a community that offers plenty of activities for you and your family? You have found it here in Athens, GA. Besides taking advantage of the abundance of UGA owned facilities; we have excellent recreation properties throughout Athens and the surrounding communities. Our neighbor to the Southwest, Oconee County has a wonderful  200+ acre park, which includes indoor and outdoor facilities. Most of the newer subdivisions are including green space for trails and a pool and/or tennis courts to keep the whole family active. In Athens bike lanes are available all around the town to support the growing biking population.

You can experience rock climbing, backpacking and hiking in the Northeast Georgia Mountains, all within two hours of Athens. Kayak and white water rafting are other weekend activities that are close to home. Although we are 4-6 hours from big sandy beaches, we have plenty of fresh water lakes to keep the water enthusiast happy.

Investing in Athens Real Estate

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Have you been considering investment property? Many people know that investing in rental property is a good way to diversify their portfolio, but very few actually act on that knowledge. As a rule, most individuals are not “risk takers”; they prefer a “safe option” when it comes to investments. As a matter of fact, I read recently that most Americans rarely change their investments or move funds from one fund or stock to another. If this describes you, you are not alone. A long term investment may be the answer for you. If you look at Real Estate over any 20 year term, you would be hard pressed to find a 20 year span of time that it has not had a good return on investment and in some cases great ROI.

In today’s real estate market you have so many variables pointing to it being one of the best long term investments you could make. We have excess inventory of homes available, prices equivalent to 10-15 years ago in many cases and interest rate at historical lows. Investment loans are commonly below 6% interest on a 30 year fixed mortgage. For baby boomers like me it is an opportunity to secure your retirement income through rental property. For the “X”, “Y” and “beyond” generations, you could not only secure your future, you have the opportunity to amass huge fortunes by getting started now as a real estate investor. Under most circumstances you will need 20-25% down on investment property. Although currently there are other options, like Fannie Mae’s offer for investors at just 10% down. What other investment allows you the chance to invest, say, 20% but reap the benefits of 100% of the appreciation?

On a $100,000 purchase you put in $20,000, but when the property appreciates to, say, $150,000 in 10 years and maybe some sweat equity you gain $50,000 from a $20,000 investment. This does not take into account the income you earned through the monthly cash flow during those ten years. If the monthly income is not needed then paying down the principle with the profits can gain more equity in a shorter period of time. By the way, lots of people don’t want to be landlords and some shouldn’t. There are qualified property management companies that will handle the “landlord” part for a very small fee. Another option would be land purchases–low maintenance, less hassles but normally a larger investment required. For those of you sitting on a pile of cash that is not earning anything to speak of, you have the greatest opportunity in the land and lot market that you are likely to see ever. Banks are not really excited to lend money on land right now so any seller that must sell must be motivated. Many of the land sellers are the banks, especially in developed and undeveloped lots.

So whether you have been considering investing or not, give me a call or e-mail and I will be glad to answer any questions you may have.

If you are wondering if you qualify for an investment loan, talk to your favorite lender. I will be glad to recommend loan officers if you need assistance.

1031 Exchange – Aging Rental Property?

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1031 Exchange – Aging Rental Property?

If you have owned an Investment property for 20+ years and have been depreciating the asset all of these years, you need to seriously consider a tax free exchange of like property.

Once you have depreciated an asset completely over 20+ years, your tax write off is little to nothing. At that point most of the rental income is taxed as regular income. One of the major benefits of owning investment property is to have the ability to take advantage of the tax benefits associated with ownership.

If you have aging rental property you can sell the property and move the proceeds to new property, tax-free, and gain the ability to depreciate the new property over the next 20+ years; saving immediately and moving forward on Income Tax! On paper the depreciation will cause a loss or very little profit for tax purposes. Check with your accountant to see how it would affect your situation. For details on how a tax-free exchange could work for you call or email me for an appointment.

Athens, Georgia Day Trips & Weekend Get-A-Ways

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About an hour away:

  • Lake Oconee/Lake Sinclair – Swimming, Fishing, and Water Sports.
  • Broad River – Canoeing, Kayaking, and Tubing.
  • Lake Lanier – Water Park, Fun for all ages.
  • Watson Mill State Park – Covered Bridge, Canoeing, and Camping.
  • Gwinnett Braves – Great Park, Loads of Fun.
  • Road Atlanta – Racing and Driving Schools.

About 2 Hours away:

  • Appalachian Trail – Day hikes and Camping.
  • Six Flags Over Georgia – Roller Coasters and more.
  • Georgia Aquarium – A must see in Atlanta.
  • Atlanta – Professional Baseball, Football, Basketball & Hockey (for now).
  • Atlanta – The Fox Theater, World Congress Center, and other music/entertainment venues.
  • Asheville, NC – Slightly over 2 hours, but worth the trip. Biltmore House and Winery Tours.
  • Augusta – The Masters golf experience.

4-6 Hour Weekend Get-A-Ways:

  • Nantahala River – White Water Rafting, Canoeing and Kayaking.
  • Harrah’s Casino – Gambling and Live Entertainment.
  • Savannah – Beach, Boardwalk, Historic Tours and Plenty of Night Life.
  • Myrtle Beach, SC – Beach, Golf, and Fun for All.
  • Florida Pan Handle and Alabama Coast – Beaches!
  • Charleston, SC – Historic Sites, Beaches, Fine Lodging, and Food for all Occasions.
  • Great Smoky Mountains – Camping, Rafting, and Scenic Drives.

BMW CCA Foundation

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The BMW CCA Foundation funds a driving program for teens to gain skills, safety, and experience behind the wheel. I am a big believer in this cause and the safety of our teen drivers. There is also a drawing for those who contribute to this cause. Here is the letter about the BMW CCA Foundation from the president of the foundation:

The Foundation needs your help and support in the current Spring Sponsorship Drive, and by purchasing a drawing, you might win a new BMW or $45,000 in cash! Our Spring Sponsorship Drive principally supports the Tire Rack Street Survival teen driving safety program. Your purchase of an entry drawing helps offset the cost of instruction of good driving skills to 1,000’s of teens in the Foundation’s hands-on teen driving program.

The current Sponsorship drive is lagging behind, meaning that your odds of winning a partial award are even greater. (Partial award odds are based on number of tickets sold.) The odds of winning that new BMW are 1 in 8,500, so that for $100 (7 drawing tickets), your odds of winning are better than 1 in 1,250. There are bonus ticket entries for larger purchases – just use the pop-down menu on the web site. Proceeds of this sponsorship drive directly offset the costs of each Street Survival® school such as the one hosted by the Connecticut Valley Chapter and held in association with Consumer Reports at CR facilities in CT and shown in the picture below. A report of the school with video can be found here.

An excellent news article with information about a recent TRSS school was published by the Baltimore Examiner. This school was hosted by the National Capital Chapter.

TRSS schools give teens across the U.S. the driving tools and “hands-on” experience to become safer, smarter drivers. In addition to the classroom experience, trained and qualified in-car driving instructors work with each student. Support the efforts of the Foundation’s safe teen driving program by purchasing an entry drawing that could win you a choice of:

  • Z2011 BMW Z4 sDrive30i
  • X2011 BMW X3 xDrive35i
  • V2011 Chevy Volt (electric)
  • C2011 Chevy Corvette Coupe

OR $45,000 CASH!

Choose your Letter (Z, X, V, or C)

  • 1 Entry – $25
  • 2 Entries – $50
  • 7 Entries – $100

(Get extra tickets for larger purchases)

Your participation in is greatly appreciated and will help us to continue our worthwhile activities and perhaps best of all, your sponsorship of the Foundation and our teen safe driving program might win you that new BMW or $45,000 cash.

Leo Newland

What is a Short Sale?

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Simply put, a short sale is selling a home below the amount currently owed to the lender(s).

There are times when this makes sense to both the homeowner and the lender. When the alternative is foreclosure, a lender would rather sell a home “short” if financially it is cheaper than the foreclosure process, which costs around $30,000 on average. Largely due to the financial burden, banks do not really want to own real estate. For the homeowner, it is less of a ding on their credit but does not always eliminate the obligation to pay the “shortage” back to the lender. Many times the lender will require the owner to pay back the shortage on a personal loan in exchange for agreeing to the short sale. Depending on the owner’s financial circumstances, the lender may completely “excuse” the shortage and write it off by issuing the owner a 1099 income statement. This brings up another issue – income tax may or may not be owed on the “shortage” amount.

When purchasing a short sale home it can be quite frustrating and time consuming. Although most lenders have gotten more efficient and better at short sales, responses to offers can take 2-5 months. If you have a short time line to purchase and take possession of a house, then short sales would be best left for others to pursue. With that being said, a buyer that has plenty of time can usually negotiate a favorable price. Remember the “List Price” on a short sale is just an educated guess by the homeowner and listing agent. They simply put a price on the home and gradually lower the price until they get an offer. It is not unusual for the lender to counter offer a price above the listed price. When this happens, some buyers walk away completely frustrated and upset that they have wasted months and possibly missed other great homes in the mean time.

Having a good buyer’s agent is the key to deciding whether a short sale is worth pursuing or not. Every home has a different set of circumstances to deal with and some are better values than others.

Call me if I can be of assistance in the purchase or sale of your next home.