Property Tax Appeal

 Great info from our new neighbor; Thanks Hans!

The deadline to file a property tax appeal in Fulton County is this
Tuesday, April 1
You have to submit a fairly simple form by that date. (However, the
form does request various legal details about your house.)

Here is the form (front and back page):
http://www.fultonas content/pdffiles /HomesteadFormFr ont.pdf
http://www.fultonas content/pdffiles /HomesteadFormBa ck.pdf

Here is where you can find some of the data on your property (current
appraisal, etc.):
http://www.fultonas Search/GenericSe arch.aspx? mode=ADDRESS
You may also need to look at your deed for the recording information.

The completed form need to be delivered here by Monday, April 1:
Fulton County Board of Assessors
141 Pryor St. SW, Ste. 1047B
Atlanta, GA 30303


Where is Nia??

Can you believe I was stuck in Grand Rapids MI and then Chicago for days?  ……………..It’s true.  Long story short- went on a trip to Grand Rapids (How do people live in that cold?  This is the same thing I said when I lived in New York!) Then when I was due to return, there was a snow storm…I haven’t seen that much snow in about 6 years and it was not welcomed! I’m so glad to be home and enjoying every bit of our sun and bright days.  It was  ‘gray’ in MI – but the lodge I stayed in was beautiful. Very serene lake front property.  (I’ll add a picture of this later) ..

The homes were gorgeous, set within a wooded lot- I almost considered leaving the city for a more suburban environment until I was stranded. LOL… that knocked some sense into me.  I don’t know. I do like the scenery, serenity and the beauty of the suburbs but I can not be dependent on my vehicle.  Is this a control issue? LOL

Also, I will never fly into Chicago again…can you believe they do not have FREE WI-FI? What’s up with that?

 I will have to catch up on the latest West End happenings and will report back. Did you see the water feature being added to park within Rose Circle?  Me either, just heard about it- will check that out too. Some really amazing things are happening…I’m back  right in time…

Feds Charge 19 With Mortgage Fraud

Federal prosecutors announced 19 indictments Monday in a mortgage scheme that stole nearly $13 million in home equity and victimized more than 100 home owners.
Under the scam, home owners facing foreclosure were promised lower home payments and cash up-front if they agreed to add another name to their home’s title. The victims were led to believe they were paying rent to the investors to give them time to get their affairs in order, according to officials.
Prosecutors say the scam was headed by Charles Head of La Habra, Calif. Prosecutors say additional indictments are likely as they continue investigating.
In all, prosecutors say Head defrauded 115 financially strapped home owners in 22 states of at least $12.6 million. The fraud began in and continued through 2006.
Victims ranged from first-time home buyers to the elderly and cost 90 percent of the victims their homes, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Ellen Endrizzi.

Source: The Associated Press, Aaron C. Davis (03/24/08)

What a difference a day makes…

or even an hour.  Just yesterday I had the privilege of working the West End booth at the Atlanta Home Show within the World Congress Center.  Today the show was canceled due to the tornado and it’s damage… (which I slept soundly through).   God does have a way to make us recognize that he is still in control- contrary to what many would like to believe.

The show was very nice- it was amazing how many people THOUGHT they knew the West End, but really had no clue. It was funny watching them try to pin-point this location (which to me is such a simple location- we have so many “buzz” word places such as- Wrens Nest, Hammonds House, or even Ralph David Abernathy Blvd)…I even throw in- “AFTER the AU Center I-20 West, towards Cascade” a few times lol…  but oh- they do remember “Ashby Street” … why did they change the name again? I will always call Joseph Lowery- Ashby- it just fit.. 

I guess with all new beginnings, renaming will help change what “Ashby” was once identified with…. in my mind, when I lived in Atlanta in 92/93 and went to church on Ashby- I picture prostitution… LOL… I know, I know- there is so much more to that location then prostitution however, that is what I associate it with.  No wonder the name needed to change.

Even with the location confusion- we received tons of  “ooh’s and ahhs” at the beautiful  pictures Carl provided of our homes, and we were able to invite many to our home tour in May (May 2,3,4).

I can’t say it enough, but Carl did a wonderful job of making our booth welcoming, professional and informative. It really was a great show. … of course I was suckered into signing up for many sweepstakes, and should just brace myself for all the telemarketing calls 😦  but who knows-maybe I’ll win an RV …or that $75K jackpot…. then I could buy that home on White Street for myself. LOL

Wanna hear something funny?- One of my buyers actually visited that home as a guest years ago- …I hope that is a sign of him buying it now. Keep your fingers crossed!

Hey, did you see the Westview book? Another amazing job by Patrick and Steffi of NuSpace Media. The book features the residents, the homes and some of the different architectural features-the inside of Tonyel’s home is so unexpected- you would think you were looking into a midtown loft.  Love the family picture of Michelle, Yaya and the little princess 🙂 (Michelle you better not pamper her too much, you’ll regret it later! lol).  I think I saw Scott surrounded by a crowd at one time- he whipped out a few  home… Westview is certainly on the move.

I just love my neighbors, their creativity and how they freely give their time and talent for the development of our communities. Kudos to you all. You guys rock!

I’ll add a few pictures later.

Opteum Mortgage Update

FHA 3/1 ARM:  With FHA becoming more and more important in our market, considering the loan limits in metro-Atlanta have increased to $346,250, I would like to highlight the FHA 3/1 ARM this week as a viable alternative to the 30 year fixed option.  The 3/1 ARM has a start rate that is almost 1% below the fixed rate product, currently at 5.125%.  On a $200,000 loan, the difference in the monthly P&I would be $1218 vs. $1308 on a 6.0% 30 year fixed.  The 3/1 ARM has a 1% per year cap after the three year fixed period and a lifetime ceiling of 5% and, of course, no prepayment penalty.

There is no minimum credit score required under this program with Opteum.  Some lenders now have minimum required credit scores for FHA products.

FHA Nehemiah lives on, according to Leslie Kane at Nehemiah.  The federal court ruling last week allows us to continue to offer this program that virtually allows for 100% financing.  If you have read my articles over the past several weeks, you know that conventional 100% financing has basically gone away.  Second mortgage lenders do not want to take the risk of doing the 80/20s any more, and PMI companies’ losses have been too high on the single loan program.  Conventional lending now requires 3-5% down with credit scores over 680.

680 Standard:  Speaking of 680 credit scores, as a reminder, there is an interest rate penalty on conventional loans if the borrower has a middle score under 680.  For example, a score below 620, if Desktop Underwriting approves it, would merit a rate of 6.875% vs. 6.0% for the 680 and above borrower.  That same borrower would probably be better off going FHA.  However, we do charge an interest rate penalty to FHA borrowers with credit scores under 580

A Minus Credit:   A Minus credit is a level of credit that is determined by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac automated underwriting to be sub-standard credit.  A heavy interest rate penalty is applied to these borrowers that raises the rate to the 7.5% level and requires a minimum of 5% down.  This program will become less and less attractive for 95% loans, because most of these borrowers can qualify for FHA loans with the same amount down.  The main reason someone would go to this type of loan would be if they need to put 10-20% down to get approved. 

FHA 203K Renovation Program:  If you want to purchase a home and build in the money in the loan to fix it up after closing, this is the way to go.  A lot of foreclosures are not in good enough condition to qualify as “live-in condition” and thus the 203K program would be the only way to go other than paying cash. 

Declining Markets:  As a final note, I want to warn you again about the possibilities of a house being located in what is considered a “declining market”.   There are three areas where this can pop up and thus cause the LTV to be reduced by 5% (if the loan is at the maximum LTV allowed under the loan program):  1. In the Desktop Underwriting or LP findings, 2. The appraisal or 3. On the List of the PMI company that insures the loan.   So far, FHA is not affected by the declining market issue.  Only conventional loan programs are currently affected.

If you can read between the lines above, I hope you will notice the increasing importance of FHA in our day to day lending activity.  Here at Opteum we are equipped to handle FHA with an in-house delegated underwriter, local processor and closer right in my office.  Please let me know how I can help you.

Best regards,

Sam Thompson

Loan Office

Opteum Mortgage

678-742-6631 (office)1-866-226-2066 (toll free)770-301-0527 (cell)678-585-8345 (e-fax)

222 Chastain Meadows Court, Suite 300Kennesaw, GA 30144



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* The information above was shared with permission from Sam Thompson, it is believed to be accurate but not warranted.

A message to West End Neighbors…

See THIS flyer for additional details
Dear Neighbors and Friends:
Help Build Community in the Historic West End!
A fabulous not-for-profit called SisterSong, which is located right on Abernathy is offering training to women of all cultural and racial backgrounds that are interested in becoming Doula’s.
As a member of SisterSong’s Management Circle, I can vouch for their incredible work in communities across the country and I’m happy to promote their amazing programming.
This is a great opportunity for all women!
For more information see the attached flyer & check out their website:
Also, the organization is trying to raise funds to provide scholarships to women in the community that may not be able to participate due to the fee.
If you have the means, consider a donation to make it possible for women who may otherwise not be able to participate. You can donate on the website. I just did!
Doula’s can make a living wage!!! Let’s create opportunities of self-sufficiency and healthy birthing experiences for families in Atlanta.
Please email this information to everyone you think may be interested.

Foreclosures Dip But Remain High

Daily Real Estate News  |  March 13, 2008

Foreclosures in February were down 4 percent from January, but the rate of foreclosures remain high year-over-year. The February rate was up 57 percent from February 2007.

“The year-over-year increase this February was significantly higher than the 19 percent year-over-year increase in February 2007, indicating we have still not reached the peak of foreclosure activity in this cycle,” says James J. Saccacio, CEO of RealtyTrac, which markets foreclosed properties.

The 10 states with the highest foreclosure rates were, in order, Nevada, California, Florida, Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, Ohio, Georgia, Indiana, and Tennessee.

The 10 states with the most foreclosures were, in order, California, Florida, Texas, Michigan, Ohio, Arizona, Illinois, Georgia, Colorado, and Nevada.

Source: RealtyTrac (03/13/2008)