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Navigating the North Atlanta Real Estate Market: A Comprehensive Guide for First-Time Investors

In recent years, one term has dominated economic discussions: INFLATION. A recent survey revealed that 82% of respondents feel the impact of inflation on their household budgets. I want you to consider how investing in the North Atlanta real estate market can be a strategic response to inflationary pressures, especially for first-time investors.

The North Atlanta Real Estate Market in Numbers

Let’s start by looking at the average sales price increases over the past year in key North Atlanta cities:

Milton: From $1,001,114 in 2022 to $1,071,125 in 2023 (an increase of $70,011)
Alpharetta: From $590,609 to $643,293 (an increase of $52,684)
Roswell: From $554,821 to $598,375 (an increase of $43,554)
Woodstock: From $420,110 to $441,110 (an increase of $20,924)

This translates to an average annual increase of 7.3%.

Real Estate as a Hedge Against Inflation
So, how does real estate investment counter inflation? Here are three key ways:

• Rising Rents, Fixed Mortgages: As inflation rises, so do rental prices, while your mortgage rate stays the same. This means your return on investment increases with every rent hike.
• Paying Less Over Time: Inflation devalues future dollars. Since your mortgage payments are fixed, you effectively pay back less over time in real terms.
• Property Value Growth: Inflation typically drives up property values, enhancing the worth of your investment without increasing your mortgage debt.

Beyond Inflation: The Four Pillars of Real Estate Investment
Besides being one of the best hedges against inflation, real estate offers 4 other key benefits. Leverage, passive income, appreciation and tax write-offs.

• Leverage: Use loans from banks or mortgage companies to amplify your investment power.
• Passive Income: Rental income helps pay off your mortgage, building equity in your property.
• Appreciation: Property values tend to increase over time, boosting the worth of your investment.
• Tax Advantages: Benefits like depreciation deductions can reduce your taxable income.

Understanding Return on Investment (ROI)

Consider you buy a property for $100,000 with a 20% down payment ($20,000). If the property appreciates by 5%:

Gain: 5% of $100,000 = $5,000
ROI: $5,000 is 25% of your $20,000 investment
In comparison, to match this in a mutual fund at 10% yield, you’d need a $250,000 investment.

Getting Started in Real Estate Investment
Hopefully I’ve convinced you to at least consider the idea of investing in real estate now. So where do you start? The first step is to define, with as much detail as you can, the criteria of the investment property. Consulting with a Realtor who has experience with investment property can help you gain clarity around what makes a good investment.

• Define Your Criteria: Detail the characteristics of your desired investment property – location, size, age, HOA presence, condition, and price range.
• Local Focus: Most investors focus within 20 miles of their residence. Narrow down your search to one or two areas.
• Market Research: Use online tools to track property prices and potential rental incomes. Visit neighborhoods at different times to get a feel for the area.
• Create Your Property ‘Avatar’: Develop a clear vision of your ideal investment property to streamline your search.
• Due Diligence: Once you have a property in mind, thoroughly check financial aspects like mortgage, insurance, and HOA rules. Consider getting contractor quotes for any potential upgrades or repairs.

Take the Leap

Armed with knowledge and the right strategy, 2024 can be your year to start investing in real estate. As Warren Buffett advises, be bold when others are cautious. Consulting with a knowledgeable Realtor and lender is an excellent first step.

Navigating the North Atlanta Real Estate Market: A Comprehensive Guide for First-Time Investors

“Behind the Curtin” Presents A Champagne Wall and Museumesque Townhome in Roswell, GA Episode 11

“Behind the Curtin” provides an inside look at local homeowners’ beautifully-crafted houses, giving insight into what it takes to renovate, upgrade, and style the most coveted parts of their dream homes. In this video series, industry expert and business owner Joanne Curtin explores local homes while interviewing their owners who live well in their homes to better understand their thought processes when making important decisions. Join Joanne to get a look into the world of luxurious real estate one wonderful home at a time.

“Behind the Curtin” Episode 11 – A Champagne Wall and Museumesque Townhome In Roswell, Georgia

WATCH THE FULL EPISODE HERE

In this episode of ‘Behind the Curtin’, Joanne Curtin takes you on an exclusive tour of the exquisite home of Billy Reeves Jr., featuring a one-of-a-kind champagne wall that defines luxury living like never before.

Joanne: Billy, where did you live before you moved to this gorgeous townhome in Roswell?

Billy: For the last nine years, we lived in Buckhead at a place called The View at Chastain.

Joanne: So, what made you choose Roswell? You could be anywhere.

Billy: I’ve been here all my life. After graduating Griffin High School, I went to Georgia Tech and I’ve been here ever since. My wife, Eileen, is from Stone Mountain. A friend of ours suggested we check out some new construction on Canton Street. I hadn’t been up to Canton Street for a while so I decided to take a drive up here. When I pulled in to Blacksmith Row, I called the real estate agent and she let me in. Once inside, I emailed Eileen the information and she simply said, “That’s where we’re going to live now”.

Joanne: What was it about this place that checked so many boxes for you?

Billy: Since the unit we purchased wasn’t completely finished, we had the option to make any changes that we wanted. And so, I felt like I literally built this place. I came here every morning and every evening for a year and a half and put this place together.

Joanne: How did your changes to the original design increase the value of the property?

Billy: The biggest thing was changing the layout and since I am in the cabinet business, we upgraded all the cabinetry, the countertops, and the closets. We also upgraded the fans and the showers. In addition, we worked with designer, Jennifer Crosby, of Crosby Design Group here in Roswell to select the tile, carpeting, and colors.

Joanne: Besides working with Jennifer Crosby, did you use a designer? What was that like?

Billy: We worked with a good friend of ours, Mariano. Previously, he had helped us redesign our showroom at Founders Kitchen and Bath. He is absolutely, off the charts talented and just a great guy.

Joanne: What does your home have that you and Eileen just felt like you really needed?

Billy: The layout of this home gives us the opportunity to tell our story, from the paintings to the family memorabilia. And everything has a place, and is very intentional.

Joanne: Where do you source some of your unique finds?

Billy: Most of the furnishings came from 14th Street Modern in Atlanta. The two bookcases in the living room came from the Michael Kors Showroom at Phipps Plaza. Possibly my favorite piece though is a small table in the elevator where we can put our coffee cups as we go up and down to the kitchen.

Joanne: Was there something that you splurged on?

Billy: Well, all of it was a splurge, the art and the furnishings. We definitely went over budget.

Joanne: What have you learned from this move?

Billy: After building an 8,000 square foot home on the golf course at Echelon, I felt like I learned a lot. Moving here from Buckhead, we learned to let our designer handle most things for us.

Joanne: What would you feel like people should not skimp on?

Billy: The biggest thing people should not skimp on is the small things, the little details. For example, the lighting in the hallway is set up to illuminate each step. This is not accidental, it is intentional. And I don’t think you should skimp on the fixtures, the faucets, the door handles, all that kind of stuff. And you definitely don’t want to skip on the cabinetry!

“Behind the Curtin” Presents A Champagne Wall and Museumesque Townhome in Roswell, GA Episode 11

Tom Curtin Talks with Ben and Candice Thornton About First Time Homebuyers


Tom Curtin, CEO of the Curtin Team, and Ben and Candice Thorton from Capital Mortgage Solutions, LLC, actively discuss cooperative buying and aiding first-time homebuyers. They dispel myths regarding down payments and explore alternative financing methods. It is revealed that a primary residence can be purchased with as little as a 5% down payment, and some loan programs mandate even less. Furthermore, they delve into the possibility of gift funds, which parents, friends, or close family members can offer. Conventional guidelines dictate that gift funds must originate from a direct family member or fiancé. 401k loans are also an option for individuals who lack a family member or employer to help with the down payment. Borrowing from a 401k to make a down payment on a home has no impact on the debt-to-income ratio.

Check out our previous blog post about the real cost of waiting to buy –
https://www.curtinteam.com/the-real-cost-of-waiting/

Tom Curtin Talks with Ben and Candice Thornton About First Time Homebuyers

Tom and Joanne Curtin Discuss the History of the Curtin Team

Tom and Joanne Curtin discuss the history of the Curtin Team and how the lessons they learned have propelled them forward to build a successful real estate business in Roswell, Georgia. They discuss their success in real estate investments and outline steps they took to get there. They talk about how they committed fully to the decision to invest in real estate and emphasize taking action instead of waiting for the “perfect” opportunity.

Tom and Joanne Curtin Discuss the History of the Curtin Team

The Dangers of Pricing Your Home Too High

Selling a home is a big decision, and one of the most important aspects of the process is determining the right price. Unfortunately, some sellers make the mistake of pricing their homes too high, which can lead to a host of problems down the line. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the reasons why people price their homes too high when they sell them, and the potential consequences of doing so.

1. Testing the Market
One of the most common reasons why people price their homes too high is because they want to “test the market.” In other words, they want to see if there are any buyers out there who are willing to pay more than what they think their home is worth. While this may seem like a logical strategy, it can backfire in a big way. Overpricing your home can make it less appealing to buyers who are looking in your price range, and it can also turn off potential buyers who might be willing to pay more for a home that is priced appropriately. For example, a home that is worth $600K and the list price was $600K, it would be more likely to get that amount. However, if you listed a home that was only worth $575K for $600K, price reductions might eventually lead to a sale price of only $540K.

2. Leaving Room for Negotiations
Another reason why people may overprice their homes is that they want to leave room for negotiations. They may assume that buyers will try to negotiate the price down, so they start with a higher price in order to end up at the price they really want. However, this strategy can also be counterproductive. If your home is significantly overpriced, buyers may not even bother making an offer, or they may assume that you’re not serious about selling.

3. Believing a Higher List Price Will Result in a Higher Sale Price
Some sellers mistakenly believe that if they list their home at a higher price, they will end up selling it for more money. However, this is not necessarily the case. Buyers are savvy, and they will typically do their research to determine what a home is really worth. If your home is priced much higher than other similar homes in the area, buyers may simply choose to look elsewhere.

4. Misinformed About the Market
Finally, some sellers may overprice their homes because they are misinformed about the market. They may have received bad advice from a friend, neighbor, or another realtor who is not familiar with the local market conditions. It’s important to work with a realtor who has experience selling homes in your area and who can provide you with accurate information about pricing and market trends.

So, what are the consequences of overpricing your home? The most obvious consequence is that your home may sit on the market for longer than it should. This can lead to a variety of problems, including:
• Reduced interest from buyers
• Fewer showings
• Lowball offers
• A lower eventual sales price

In addition, if your home sits on the market for too long, it can start to develop a stigma. Buyers may assume that there is something wrong with the home, or they may wonder why it hasn’t sold yet. This can make it even more difficult to sell the home in the future.

In conclusion, pricing your home appropriately is crucial if you want to sell it quickly and for a fair price. While it may be tempting to overprice your home for any of the reasons mentioned above, it’s important to resist the urge and work with a realtor who can provide you with accurate information about pricing and market conditions. By doing so, you can avoid the pitfalls of overpricing and increase your chances of a successful sale.

The Dangers of Pricing Your Home Too High

The Real Cost of Waiting

If you’re considering continuing to rent, maybe you think it’s best to wait until prices come down, or maybe you’re waiting for interest rates to come down. Or maybe you just don’t see the value in taking on the responsibility of owning a home. But did you know home ownership is one of the largest factors in building wealth? It is the differentiator between those that bought and those that continue to rent. How big of a difference can it really make, you ask? Let’s look at the tale of two friends, Harry and Randy, and really dive into the numbers to see what a difference buying a home now and continuing to rent will make in a 7-year period.

Harry Homeowner just purchased his new home for $400,000. He used FHA financing and put 3.5% down, or $14,000. His loan would be $392,755 because of the up-front 1.75% mortgage insurance that gets rolled into the loan on FHA loans. His monthly payment would be:

Principal & Interest – $2,613
PMI – $273.42
Estimated Taxes & Insurance – $474
Total payment = $3,360.76

After 7 years, Harry will have paid $181,546.66 in interest and $34,171.22 in principal, leaving a loan balance of $351,829.02. Harry has gained $34,171.22 in principal paydown, which can also be looked at as a forced savings. But wait – it gets better. Harry will also gain equity. The average equity increase annually is 4% (in metro Atlanta, it’s been 5% average.) After 7 years at an average of 4% annual appreciation, Harry’s home is now worth $526,327. That’s a gain of $126,327. Adding in the principal paydown of $34,171, Harry is sitting on a nice $160,498 gain. Harry could access some of this equity through a Home Equity Line of Credit and perhaps purchase an investment property (smart choice Harry!) or decide it’s time to upgrade and roll those gains into a new home and start the process over.
Another scenario that would likely have occurred for Harry is that because of the gain in the property value and equity, the PMI would drop off – most likely Harry would have refinanced his house and the payment would have reduced by $300-$400, so Harry’s payment in year 7 would be estimated to be around $2,900.

Randy Renter is renting a cool two-bedroom apartment in a hip, walkable location for just $2,000/mo. Instead of making a mortgage payment, Randy is a disciplined dude and he is saving the difference in his rent payment and what his friend Harry is making in a mortgage payment. So he’s saving $1,360 per month.
Randy is smart with his money, and he’s invested it in a mutual fund and was able to obtain an average annual return of 12%. Randy would now be sitting on a cool $167,000.
Aha you say: “So buying is not the right move! I’d actually have more money by saving money by renting (assuming you’re as disciplined as Randy) and not buying.”
However, we didn’t factor in that rent continues to increase every year. So in reality, Randy’s fixed cost of living continues to increase, while Harry’s fixed housing cost is locked in (and likely reduced when he refinances). Let’s rerun this scenario factoring the rent increases and consequently the savings decreases for Randy.
Average rents increase by 6% per year in our area. Randy’s two bedroom apartment rent looks like this over 7 years:
Year 1 $2,000
Year 2 $2,120
Year 3 $2,247
Year 4 $2,382
Year 5 $2,525
Year 6 $2,676
Year 7 $2,837
At the end of 7 years, again Randy is super disciplined and did not touch any of his savings, he now has $138,855 saved.

Let’s compare.
Harry has $160,498 in equity/net worth.
Randy has $138,855 in equity/net worth.
Harry has a fixed monthly housing payment.
Randy also has a monthly payment that will continue to rise and is beyond his control.
Randy can buy too, but the same house Harry bought 7 years ago will cost Randy a lot more.
It has been said “the best time to plant a tree was 30 years ago, the second-best time is today.” The same can be said of real estate. Don’t wait to buy real estate, buy real estate and wait!

The Real Cost of Waiting

Tom and Christy Discuss First Time Home Buyers

The Curtin Team’s CEO, Tom Curtin and Director of Sales, Christy Smith explain the benefits for first time home buyers in today’s market. One of the biggest advantages of buying a home today is the stability and equity you get. Waiting a year or two can cost you tens of thousands of dollars in equity loss. And as rental rates continue to rise, a fixed rate mortgage payment stays the same. Also, many sellers and lenders are now offering to pay closing costs and buy downs on rates. Large down payments often scare off first time homebuyers, but some loans require as little as 3.5% down. As an example, the down payment on a $400,000 house can be as low as $14,000. And there are many ways to get that down payment including finding places in your budget to cut back and save, loans from family, or loans against a 401K to cover some or all it. The news of interest rate hikes shouldn’t scare off potential home buyers either. If rates go down, refinancing is available and if rates go up, you’ll be glad you locked in a lower rate.

Tom and Christy Discuss First Time Home Buyers