Do you think your spouse or children will automatically get your home when you die? Think again.

How real estate is handled without a will in Georgia.

Buying and owning a home can be a great source of joy. As the years pass, you can look back at all the memories and hopefully a bit of equity you’ve created along the way. Though we often don’t want to think of it, the assumption by many is that when they pass, their property will automatically go to their spouse, children, significant others. When one dies with a will, a specific set of legal instructions are left to follow. Assuming the will is not contested or deemed invalid, the Executor carries out your wishes and everything goes to whom you intended. Die without a will (intestate), and things become far more complicated and often more expensive for those you wished to protect.

One very large misconception is that your home would automatically go to your spouse. In Georgia, as many other states, this is just not true. Unless your spouse is named on the deed (joint tenancy with right to survivorship), the state will oversee to whom your estate is dispersed. Your loved ones will have to petition the court for Letters of Administration. Administration is the process by which the State determines the heirs to your estate. Now, the typical chain is spouse first, children second, then brothers/sisters, grandparents, etc… That’s great if everyone gets along and agrees on everything and/or it’s how you intended things to be done. Too often things do not work out so easily, or those at the top of the list may not be aware of your full intention on how and to whom property is awarded. If no heirs are found, your estate will escheat back to (become property of) the State.

Now, I AM NOT AN ATTORNEY! YOU MUST SEEK PROFESSIONAL LEGAL ADVICE to find your best solution to how and to whom you will pass along your estate. In most cases, you can find general information about the process of probating a will and/or requesting Letters of Administration on your local county or state government website. It’s typically going to be somewhere in the probate court information. Fees and processes will vary by county. Take some time to read up on it, so you can have good questions for your legal professional. If you plan to sell any of this property, consult your legal professional as early as possible. There are periods of waiting which must happen before you can transfer title. Additionally, it’s a very good idea to review family owned properties to which you are a part of the title, from time to time. Things change, and it’s easy to forget when something might need attention.

Contact me with any questions you have about how to sell estate owned properties. I can work with your legal professional to help you achieve a successful outcome!

Gwinnett home values energized by shrinking inventory

Gwinnett home values energized by shrinking inventory

After plummeting for 5 years, home values in Gwinnett County are finally being energized largely due to the shrinking supply of available inventory.  July 2013, average home prices in Gwinnett County rose to $210,541.  This represents a gain of 6.7% from June and nearly 39% from July 2012 where the average sale price was $151,724.  In July 2012 there were 3,768 detached, single-family homes listed for sale. By July 2013, inventory decreased by 42% with only 2,187 homes listed for sale.

The low average sale price occurred in January 2012, and has seen an increase of 39% since then.
The low average sale price occurred in January 2012, and has seen an increase of 39% since then.

In January 2012, the average sale price hit bottom at $126,169.  The abundance of distressed properties on market meant that buyers could really have their pick, placing relentless competition on traditional sellers.  During the spring of 2012, as distressed inventories continued to climb so did home sales.  Meanwhile, large investment firms and hedge funds came in from the west coast and began buying up everything they could get on the courthouse steps. This dramatically reduced the quantity of distressed properties coming on the market and put a squeeze on available inventory.  As many of the short sales have either been completed or lost to foreclosure, the supply of distressed properties has further decreased.  

In April 2013, the available inventory of traditional (non-distressed) homes finally rose above the distressed inventory.  Inventory has remained low and steady at a 2 month supply for most of 2013.  Only in April, did it rise to 3 months, then fell right back again in May. As the inventory has decreased, prices have seen a nice boost. While this is great news, you still have to be competitive with pricing to appeal to buyers. The great news is that many people who have been underwater, or destined for short sale can now consider making a move.  Depending on how far underwater you were, the chances are improving every month that you can at least break even and save further hits to your credit if not leave the table with a little money!

Stay tuned for similar updates broken down by Gwinnett County high school districts.  Don’t see yours listed? Contact me for a report based upon your area.

A chart breaking down sellers by wholesale (distressed), retail (traditional sales) and new homes.
A chart breaking down sellers by wholesale (distressed), retail (traditional sales) and new homes.


This shows the overall trend of single-family detached home pricing for Gwinnett county.
This shows the overall trend of single-family detached home pricing for Gwinnett county.

Available inventory for single-family detached homes in Gwinnett county GA is currently at a 2 month supply.
Available inventory for single-family detached homes in Gwinnett county GA is currently at a 2 month supply.


Demand for Gwinnett real estate stays solid into the Fall

This chart represents contracts written through October 2012. November information will be available mid-December. Click for a better view!

Despite the cooler weather, demand for Gwinnett real estate is staying hot. Comparing October 2011 to October 2012, contracts increased 28.4% in Gwinnett.  It’s not unusual for our market to cool off in the fall, as the peak buying and selling season is typically early Spring to mid to late Summer. However, 2012 started strong and has remained so throughout the year. To date, each month of 2012 has outperformed those months of 2011. This really shows in our steady decline of available inventory and recent increase in average sale price.

It’s no secret that Gwinnett was hit incredibly hard by the housing collapse. Prices went on a horrific free fall for a number of years. Now, what appears to have started out with the “Black Friday” effect of people trying to get in on the incredibly low priced “door-buster” specials on so many of the properties, now seems to be carrying over to the more traditional real estate transactions. These gains in demands, previously felt primarily by the lowest price points are beginning to creep into some of the higher price points, as well. Seeing this kind of activity hold so late into the year makes me very hopeful for 2013.

Remember, real estate is very local. Get to know your area. If you’re looking for more detailed information on your area, I’ll be happy to help. I can provide analysis for most any zip code or high school cluster area in Gwinnett and surrounding areas.

Gwinnett housing values begin a slow and steady increase in 2012

Based upon numbers for Gwinnett County single-family detached home sales through October 2012, prices have begun a slow and steady increase. According to the latest price analysis from REDataCenter, Gwinnett’s price bottom began to form in the middle to end of 2011. Prices remained somewhat flat through January of 2012. Since then, month over month and year over year gains have been noted nearly every month. Gwinnett’s lowest average sale price of $126,049 occurred in January of 2012. The current average sale price of $157,348 represents a year over year gain of 15.9%, when comparing October 2012 to October 2011 sales.

Gwinnett housing values on the rise
This analysis was completed using data from sales completed through October 2012. November statistics will become available in mid December. Please click the chart for a larger image view.

As discussed in my previous Gwinnett housing market update December 2012, inventory levels have fallen dramatically. Months of inventory supply and average sale prices vary by cities, zip codes and high school clusters. If you’re looking to sell, get your home in its best condition possible to achieve the best price and lowest days on market. Whether you’re looking to purchase your first home, or to move up, be quick and decisive. Look around, get to know the inventory and be ready to act quickly if you find “the one”. Well priced homes are receiving multiple offers and frequently selling above list price. Consult a local REALTOR® to help you learn more about homes and pricing in your area, as well as to help you navigate the offering and contracting phases of buying or selling your home. Not all real estate agents are REALTORS®. Insist on finding one who is.

If you would like statistical information or a detailed analysis for your area, contact me. I’ll be glad to help!

Gwinnett housing market update December 2012

Here’s a little burst of good news for a change! Inventory of detached, single family housing in Gwinnett has reached a 3 month supply, according to October numbers. This represents a steady and consistent decline from 6 months of inventory, over the past 15 months. Typically, a 3 month supply of homes indicates a hot market.  October 2012 is the fourth straight month to come in at the 3 month mark. In October 2011 there were 5,088 homes actively for sale in Gwinnett. That number fell to 2,480 in October 2012 for a decline of 51.3%.

Data is through October 2012. November data will be available in mid December. Click this image for larger view.

Why is this good? It’s simple supply and demand logic. Fewer homes on the market give you less competition when selling yours. Gwinnett distress sales are still leading the way. As these deplete, it becomes more lucrative for traditional home sellers to enter the market. Some price points and areas are seeing a lower amount of inventory, with some as low as 2 weeks! Others are a bit higher. Selling in today’s market is still tricky. Price matters!! Even with declining inventory, an over-priced home will fare poorly against today’s competition. However, many buyers who don’t have time or the patience to deal with purchasing a short sale or foreclosure will happily make a solid offer for a well-priced home in good condition. If you want top dollar, you’d better make it shine!

If you would like a detailed analysis for your home or your area, I’d be glad to help! E-mail, call or text me for more information. I also have numbers available for attached (condo/townhouse) property.