Is Renting Still the Better Deal?

“Renting is the cheaper way to go!” Is this widely believed “fact” still true?  According to the latest research, renters spend 5% more on housing than home owners.  To find out why it’s more logical to just buy a home, rather than rent, and how the times have changed, visit Renters Outspend Owners on Housing.

Buyer Beware

Think you’re immune to online schemes?  Don’t answer too quickly.  You could find that more than once you’d been so close to being the next online-scandal victim.  When it comes to purchasing a house based on an advertisement from the not-always-so-honest web, it’s imperative that you check things out.
1.  Try trusting your instincts
If something sounds off, it probably is!  You might  have a feeling that a situation is just not measuring correctly.  Don’t just assume that it’s fake, though, or even vice versa.  Find factual reasoning behind that feeling, and then take action accordingly.
2. Be sure to check the advertiser’s sources
Numbers or any other contact information listed should be available to you.  No contact information?  That could be hint.  When you do come in contact with the owner, ask detailed questions and expect to get answers.  Also, when you go to view a home, it’s usually important to eventually see the inside.  If that’s not allowed, it could be a red flag.
3.  Make sure it all adds up
Found a home that’s perfect you AND has the perfect price?  Feeling it’s too good to be true? Well, possibly.  Check the worth of neighboring homes to find if your jewel is being under-priced.  This could easily be a sign of false play.
Getting scammed isn’t hard, but neither is trying to avoid it.  It’s the little things that  are often forgotten (checking numbers, verifying stories)  that could make or break your online-buying experience.  Validate the information you’ve got, and you’ve just avoided being someone else’s free paycheck.
For more information, please view this Consumer Alert issued in 2009. Online Rental Ads Could Be Phony
Cassia Preston

What Do Apartment Dwellers Really Want?

Nationwide apartment rental firm ApartmentGuide.com says the majority of apartment seekers between June 2009 and June 2010 looked for apartments in the $500 to $700 price range, followed by $700 to $900.

Distance from the city center was also a factor, with the majority of apartment hunters seeking homes five miles form the city center, followed by 10 miles, then 20 miles.

These are the other top features that apartment seekers sought over the last 12 months:

Washer and dryer in unit
Pets (allowed)
Air conditioning
Some paid utilities
Washer and dryer connections
Dishwasher
Balcony
Garage
Cable-ready
Furnished available
Fitness center
Swimming pool
Short-term lease available
Gated access
Oversized closets

Sources: ApartmentGuide.com (06/22/2010) 

How to Help a Family Member Buy a Home

Helping someone close to you buy a low-cost property – $50,000 or less – is a fairly straight-forward transaction, although it may require specific legal advice, says Charles Carter, an attorney and a consultant at Haint Blue Realty in Mount Pleasant, S.C.

Carter suggests that buying a property outright, using the gift exclusion ($13,000 for singles; $26,000 for married couples) to pay for a down payment and closing costs and then giving the recipient a 30-year mortgage on the remaining amount at 5 percent interest is a good way to go.

There won’t be any gift taxes. And the mortgage holder may later cancel the mortgage and gift what remains on the loan as another annual gift-tax exclusion.

Source: McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Charles Carter (06/03/2010)

Villiages of Castleberry Hills Open House!

Looking for a great place to rent? Come out to the Villiages of Castleberry Hills open!

When: Saturday, October 10, 2009

Time: 10am-2pm

What: Open House

What to Bring:

$300 Security Deposit $25.00 App. Fees

3 current pay stubs/State issued I.D.

600 GREENSFERRY  AVENUE~ATLANTA, GEORGIA~30314~404-523-1330

Apartment Vacancies Highest Since 1987

The vacancy rate for U.S. apartments rose to 7.5 percent in the second quarter, the highest rate since 1987, according to a report from researcher Reis Inc.

Second-quarter asking rent fell 0.7 percent compared to the same quarter a year ago to $1,040 a month. Including incentives, effective rent was down 1.9 percent from the prior year and 0.9 percent from the first quarter to $975, Reis said.

In some areas, including Las Vegas, San Francisco and San Jose, Calif., effective rents were down 2 percent from the first quarter.

“With general expectations of an economic recovery pushed back to early 2010 at the earliest, it seems likely that apartments will have to endure a few more quarters of distress, lower rents and higher vacancies,” said Victor Calanog, Reis director of research.

Source: Reuters News, Ilaina Jonas (07/08/2009)