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5 Issues You May Face When Inheriting a House

By Alex Lehr
RISMEDIA, Thursday, October 04, 2018— The recent death of legendary singer Aretha Franklin initially posed a quandary for her four surviving sons. Because she didn't leave a will, her $80 million fortune—including Franklin's numerous real estate holdings—likely will take longer to divide, and the process could become very complicated.
Although Franklin's sons appointed her niece to execute the estate, the situation brings to mind how family feuds and other problems can potentially result when inheritance portions aren't clearly defined, or when an executor may be in over their head. Many newfound executors can face uncertainty and feel stress when inheriting a property after the death of a loved one.
Inheriting a property can come as a shock and may feel like an insurmountable obstacle. In the wake of a family tragedy or death, being the executor of an estate can be especially challenging. And the biggest asset in an estate—and the most difficult to resolve—is usually a house.
Here's a list of important decisions an executor may face when a house is part of an inheritance:
Keep, rent or sell? Competing interests among siblings can make the right decision difficult. Caught in the middle, the executor has to ask the heirs to keep their emotions under control and put the rational facts on the table. Selling is often the best decision if medical bills, tax issues or other reasons require cashing out, and it produces a specific amount that can be divided equally.
Can you manage a property investment? When considering keeping the property in the family, the executor needs to be objective about the beneficiaries' dependability. Would you choose the other beneficiaries to be your partners in any long-term investment? Could they get divorced, go bankrupt or bring other entanglements? If you decide to rent the property, there are issues to consider, such as the local market for rentals and your ability to maintain the property.
Establishing value of the property. If one heir or beneficiary wants to buy the house, the estate must determine the market value and get a fair price for the heirs and beneficiaries. One way is to get two appraisals, and to look at estimates from a real estate website such as Zillow. Alternatively, the executor can put the property on the market with the expressed provision that one of the heirs has the right of first refusal to match the highest offer.
Repair and renovate? The executor must make sure the house is maintained in good condition, necessary repairs are carried out, and that it's kept insured. An executor can be personally liable for failure to maintain a property that results in losses for the heirs. How much work is worthwhile before putting a home on the market? That's a big question that depends on the property and circumstances.
Furnished or unfurnished? It's not unusual for an inherited home to be filled with a 30-year accumulation of stuff. In most cases, when the property goes on the market, thinning out the furnishings will help it show better. Nine out of 10 buyers first see the home in online photos.
Being an executor is a high-responsibility, time-consuming, and often thankless job that people often take on while grieving. It's up to the executor to assess not only the physical assets of an estate, but also the people and emotions involved.
This appeared first on RISMedia's Housecall.
Alex Lehr is the author of The Unexpected Sale: Guidance For The Executor/Administrator Of An Estate. Involved in the real estate business for three decades, Lehr operates a concierge-type real estate firm with an increased focus on selling estate and trust properties—over 700 to date.

Selling inherited real estate is something we have personal experience in. Questions about that or any other real estate questions? We are here to answer them for you! Call us at 404-542-CHIP or email us at 

Home Price Cuts Increase, but Still Not Buyer's Market

RISMEDIA, Tuesday, September 11, 2018—® has announced the findings of its August housing trend report which revealed a surge in price cuts and the second largest drop in the U.S. median list price in three years. Although competition between buyers remained stiff and list prices continue to rise, the report also revealed a slowdown in price growth and easing of inventory declines.

"Buyers, exhausted by bidding wars and little choice in inventory, could finally catch a break," said Danielle Hale, chief economist for®. "An increase in price cuts suggests that sellers are starting to become more flexible, especially in pricey markets. However, affordability is a concern in most areas which continue to be sellers' markets. Fierce competition and low inventory continue to push up prices. While buyers are gaining leverage in some markets, we are still far from a true 'buyer's market.'"

The median listing price in the U.S. decreased by $4,000 in August, dropping to $295,000 from a record-high of $299,000 in July. This is the second largest monthly list price drop since August 2015. While prices are still 7 percent higher than they were one year ago, the year-over-year increase is smaller than the 10 percent year-over-year gain seen last August.

The deceleration in price growth was also observed in the larger markets. The average yearly growth in median list prices in the largest 45 markets combined was 6 percent, down from 8 percent this time last year.

Meanwhile, price cuts are on the rise, especially in pricey markets where inventory is rising. The proportion of listings that feature price cuts rose 1.5 percentage points in the last year to 19.1 percent in August. The share of price cuts among listings is now 1.5 times more prevalent than in August 2012 when 13 percent of listings featured price discounts. This upward movement was more pronounced in major metropolitan areas in the last year including: Seattle with an 8 percent increase in cuts; San Jose with a 7 percent increase; and a 5 percent increase in San Diego, Riverside, Indianapolis and Los Angeles. In fact, 39 of the 45 largest markets saw an increase in the share of price cuts over last year.

As predicted in the® 2018 housing forecast, the rate of inventory decline slowed, with only 2 percent fewer for-sale listings on the market than there were in August 2017. Inventory increased 2 percent over July, in line with the typical seasonal increase. The trend continues to gain strength as the last week of August saw the first year-over-year increase in inventory in four years.  Approximately 488,000 new listings entered the market during August. San Jose, Seattle and San Diego were the three markets with the biggest inventory jumps over last year, all posting increases of 28 percent or more.

The best states for house flipping


Ever since popular shows like Flip or Flop or Flip This House started airing, many people have quit their daytime jobs to join the increasingly popular trend of house flipping. This process can be rewarding, from seeing your hard work come to life, to reaping substantial profits. Becoming a real estate investor and making a profit from house flipping isn’t an easy, overnight process. It takes patience and precision to get your top dollar. However, certain markets make it easier to flip than others. If you’re looking to start investing in real estate, check out these states that are the best for house flipping!


Known for its picturesque mountain ranges and booming job markets, Colorado has become a hotspot for house flippers. As the housing market in key cities like Denver and Colorado Springs have increasing demands and low supply, flips are selling fast and for top dollar. With an average time to flip of 176 days, house flippers are quickly turning profits. Big profits at that — with an average profit of $74,300. Even though Colorado home prices are not cheap, they turn over quickly. This mixed with the high demand brings the state’s average return on investment to 155.6%.


It’s no secret that Louisiana is the destination for flavorful cuisine, rich history, and one-of-a-kind festivals. But Louisiana is quickly gaining popularity in house flipping as well. With a small average time to flip of 166 days and an average profit of $71,866, it’s no surprise that people are investing in Louisiana cities. Baton Rouge and New Orleans are the most notable for their high flipping returns. Overall, the state saw an average return on investment of 104.2%.


Tennessee tops the list for best places to flip houses. This in large part is due to its short turnover time at just 147 days. This quick turnover helps investors get their homes on the market faster and start new projects. People who flip in the country music capital can expect profits at an average of $57,600. While this may seem relatively low, it translates to an average return on investment of 132.7%, the fourth highest nationwide.


Home to many historic symbols, such as the Liberty Bell and the Declaration of Independence, Pennsylvania has a low median house price and ranks high when it comes to making money flipping. Pennsylvanians stand to make top dollar when flipping houses in this mountainous state. Deeply rooted in history, Pennsylvania yields high profits, at an average of $105,190 per flip. With such high profits, house flippers can expect an average return on investment of around 162.4%, the highest in the nation. At this rate of return, the 199 days it takes on average to flip is well worth it.

New Jersey

Another east coast state, New Jersey also tops the list as a great place to flip houses. Though house prices may be a little steep and the time it takes to flip is a little longer (207 days on average), turnover rates prove that the investment is worthwhile. The average profit in New Jersey stands at $102,300, the sixth highest in the country, and the average return on investment is 141.6%, the third highest in the country.

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Ready to Buy? Top Tips for Newbies in the Spring Housing Market



The housing market in some areas may make your home search more difficult. Be aware of what the market looks like before you decide to go house-hunting. Here are some other tips if you're new to the housing market:
Be Prepared to Make an Offer
Get pre-approved for a loan before you start shopping for a home. This will let you know the types of homes you can realistically consider, as the last thing you want to do is find the perfect home and not be able to afford it. Having preapproval will also let you move faster when you do find the right home. In addition, the seller will be more willing to consider your offer if you already have financing secured. In a really hot market, the seller may have multiple offers on the table.
Look Into the Comps
Check out the comparable neighborhood sales or "comps" for the home you want to purchase, as this will tell you whether the price is at fair market value. You can adjust your offer accordingly with the value of the home. A drastically underpriced home may require extensive renovations, or there may be other problems you aren't aware of yet. Comps are the baseline for how houses should be priced; an underpriced or overpriced home can be a red flag.
Have a Backup Plan
There may be instances in which you make an offer on the perfect home and your offer is rejected. If you can't up your offer, it may be time to move on to another home. Keep an open mind when you're shopping and look at more than one house before you make your decision. This may be more of a problem when it's a seller's market versus a buyer's market. The time of year that you're looking to purchase can also play a major factor when you're in the market.
Consider Housing Alternatives
The traditional single-family home may not be the best solution for your first home, so it's important to consider alternatives such as a condo, which will allow you to save money as you're first starting out. A condo typically has a lower asking price, requiring a lower down payment. This can help you grow your equity and purchase a different home in the future. Another thing that you should consider is a home warranty, which can help cover any of the unexpected expenses associated with homeownership.

As a first-time buyer, you should also look into the various programs designed to assist those in your situation. In the end, consider all of your options when it comes to getting your foot in the door in the real estate market.

By Hannah Whittenly
RISMEDIA, Thursday, May 03, 2018— Editor's Note: This was originally published on RISMedia's blog, Housecall.

Thinking about buying a home? We are here to help! We'll help you find the right loan officer, show you how to discover homes that meet your exact criteria, advise you on the best way to "win" a bid on a house in this competitive market and most importantly, we will protect your interests! Did we mention you don't pay a dime for our services? Contact us for more information. or (404) 542-2447 

How The New Tax Law Impacts Homeowners

Big changes for homeowners take effect this year as a result of the tax reform legislation enacted in December and it’s not too early to plan for changes that affect homeowners on their 2018 tax returns.

The biggest issue may not be chances for specific deductions and exemptions, but the cumulative impact on individual taxpayers when they decide whether to itemize or take the standard deduction. Income levels, the state they live in, and whether or not they own a vacation home are some of the issues that arise with individual taxpayers’ tax liability. Many people may alter their behavior or their lifestyles to achieve lower taxes in April 2018.

Below is a brief listing of specific issues followed by a discussion about their cumulative impact may affect homeowners.

Mortgage Interest Deduction

The amount of interest that homeowners pay on their mortgages has been an attractive deduction that lowers the cost of homeownership. Owners can deduct the mortgage interest they pay on vacation homes and second homes as well, as long as they don’t rent them out for more than two weeks a year.

Also, in recent years owners have been allowed to deduct the amount they pay for mortgage insurance or for the value they received from a short sale (a sale for less than the remaining principal, which results in the cancellation of the remaining debt). Also, the value of the mortgage deduction was capped for homeowners with mortgages larger than $1 million.


  • Deducting mortgage insurance payments and second home sales ended in 2017, before the tax reform bill was passed.
  • The cap on the size of mortgages eligible for the mortgage interest deduction was lowered from $1 million to $750,000. Owners can still deduct the interest on mortgages for vacation and second homes.

Property Taxes

Homeowners that have property taxes paid to state or local governments have previously been deductible. The new law limits the amount of property tax a taxpayer can deduct to $ 10,000 a year.

The new year means new laws, but staying on top of what’s going on within the federal government will not only inform you, it’ll make sure you know what options you have as a homeowner.

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10-Year High Profits for Home Sellers


Original article by: Suzanne De Vita

RISMEDIA, Monday, February 05, 2018— Homeowners are profiting when selling—and their average earnings haven't been this high since 2007.
At the close of 2017, the average home seller gained $54,000, or a 29.7 percent return on investment (ROI), in the transaction, according to ATTOM Data Solutions' recently released Year-End and Q4 2017 U.S. Home Sales Report. Contradictory, however, is their length of stay: 8.18 years—the longest since 2000.
"It's the most profitable time to sell a home in more than 10 years, yet homeowners are staying put longer than we've ever seen," says Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions.
The best rates of ROI are clustered on the West Coast, the report reveals. The San Jose, Calif., market has the highest return, at 90.9 percent, followed by San Francisco, Calif., at 73.7 percent, Merced, Calif., at 64.6 percent, Seattle, Wash., at 64.4 percent, and Santa Cruz, Calif., at 59.8 percent.
Appreciation, generally, improves the potential for profit. Annual appreciation has been highest in Ocala, Fla. (+14.3 percent), Kansas City, Mo. (+13.4 percent), San Jose (+13.3 percent), Salem, Ore. (+12.9 percent), and Nashville, Tenn. (+12.5 percent), the report shows. Additional areas are considerably growing, as well: Las Vegas, Nev. (+12.3 percent); Salt Lake City, Utah (+10.9 percent); Seattle (+10.8 percent); and Orlando and Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla. (both +10.7 percent).
"While home sellers on the West Coast are realizing the biggest profits, rapid home price appreciation in red state markets is rivaling that of the high-flying coastal markets and producing sizable profits for home sellers in those middle-American markets, as well," Blomquist says. 
Source: ATTOM Data Solutions 

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Sell Better in 2018: The Science and Art of Home Staging

By Victoria Lim

In the past, home sellers were told to tidy up, mow the lawn and perhaps do a few modifications; however, the current dog-eat-dog real estate market now demands a more hardball approach, and that's where home staging comes in.
In the past, home sellers were told to tidy up, mow the lawn and perhaps do a few modifications; however, the current dog-eat-dog real estate market now demands a more hardball approach, and that's where home staging comes in.
Staging a home is a crucial selling point when marketing a house. Studies show that investment for staging takes 1-3 percent of the home's requested price, while on average, it brings in an 8-10 percent return on investment. Indeed, effective home staging is more than just cleaning up. As a matter of fact, it is a blend of science and art, creativity and psychology. It contemplates how to compose a great looking home. It suitably demonstrates the capacity of a place. The goal of home staging is to provoke potential buyers to feel like they own a home as lovely as the one they're in. The outcome can be a flying sale at a greater price. 
Now that you have made the decision to sell your home, you need to view your home as merchandise that has to be sold at its absolute potential. You need to arrange the interior, as well as the exterior, with an eye on selling your home with the extensive appeal to prospective buyers.
The psychology of human behavior combined with the artistry of interior design results in a quicker, more profitable home sale. For instance, the personal items you treasure in your house—that make it feel like home to you—may not have the same impact on potential buyers. In fact, they could make them feel out of place. And this is where the home staging science comes in. 
To provoke homebuyers to feel like they own a neatly arranged house, professional home stagers work to counteract this negative emotion. Here are some ways to showcase a property at its best:
Never Stage a Flawless Home

The aim of home staging is never to design a flawless home. Why? No two homebuyers have precisely the same tastes. Rather, the goal of home staging should be to create a tasteful, neutral setting that exhibits the potential of the home, which buyers would instantly visualize as their home.
Eliminate the Clutter
Clearly, the room size doesn't vary depending on what's inside; however, clutter certainly does give an impression that a room seems tinier. That being said, you should eliminate clutter, as well as arrange what's left behind to make the rooms look decent enough to display. The first impression is everything, and a house free of clutter seems considerably larger.
Roll on a Fresh Coat of Paint
One of the most economical ways to make your home show well is a fresh coat of paint on your interior walls. You should opt for neutral colors, such as warm beige or pale green. Paint can also work miracles on old woodwork. Simply putting on some paint has the potential to immediately revive your kitchen and make it look more attractive to buyers.
Picking Art
Buying art for the home you live in is very different from choosing the art for staging a home. Selecting art for your walls is an individual choice that mirrors your personal tastes and needs to match the decor. When picking art for home staging, you're not picking art for yourself, but art that would accommodate your buyer. Since you have no idea who that buyer is and what their tastes may be, the art should be less eye-catching and have a broader appeal. 
Curb Appeal
Your curb appeal objective for the outside of your home is the same uncluttered embellishing that you want indoors. The absence of tidiness and allure can be worth several thousand dollars, and probably months on the real estate market. Begin the process of staging your home's exterior by creating a list of things that need attention. Additionally, enhance the exterior with several decorative tools. For instance, one thing you can do is arch your patio with retractable folding arm awnings in a vivid color to add beauty to the exterior. 
Home staging helps a home look and feel balanced to a potential buyer through an artistic science. With the right amount of soft and hard furnishings and accessories placed in particular sections of the house, staging displays space or emphasizes features of a room and bursts of color to make it more inviting and memorable.
One chance is all you have to make a first impression on a buyer. Keep in mind that the first price reduction is always higher than the bottom line in staging. 

For more real estate information, including a FREE Home Market Analysis, please contact me at or on my cell phone at 404.542.2447.

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