You Can Get a Conventional Loan with just 3% Down

April 8th, 2016

You can get a conventional loan with just 3% downWhen you’re looking to get a mortgage your options are usually going Conventional with at least 5% down or doing a FHA Loan and only putting down 3%.  For first time home buyers the lower down payment meant most went with FHA, since the down payment is usually the biggest hurdle for them.  But now Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have introduced Conventional 97 Loans.  Now you can get a conventional loan with just 3% down.  For first time home buyer’s FHA has been the number one choice.  Conventional Lenders want to get back some of that market share.  Even though you can get a conventional loan with just 3% down now you still might be better off going with FHA.  Let’s look at some numbers.

If you’re getting a FHA loan you’ll get a competitive rate.  And your credit score can be lower (currently 640).  As a FHA borrower if you put down the minimum 3.5% down then you’ll end up paying mortgage insurance at a rate of .85% of the borrowed money or $71/month for every $100,000 borrowed.

A 3% conventional loan can be a great alternative.  However, there are differences.  For on thing with a conventional loan the bank will require better credit.  And yes, you’ll pay mortgage insurance (assuming you’re putting less than 20% down).  But you may get a little lower interest rate and the house appraisal is a little easier with conventional loans.

The bottom line is you now have alternatives.  Before if you had less than 5% your only choice was FHA.  But now with the 3% down conventional loan you may find a conventional loan suits you better.  Whatever type of loan you’re considering you need a Realtor that is on your side and can navigate you through these decisions.  So if you’re thinking of buying or selling a home in Atlanta today you need to give Bottomley Real Estate Group a call at 404-245-4960 so we can get started right away helping you.

Atlanta Dogwood Festival is April 8th through 10th

April 4th, 2016

Atlanta Dogwood Festival is April 8th through 10th


Holy cow the Atlanta Dogwood Festival is 80 years old, which is coincidentally how long a healthy Dogwood Tree usually lives.   And for the 80th annual event the Atlanta Dogwood Festival is April 8th through 10th.  And this Festival has it all.  Saturday morning is the Mimosa 5k.  It’s a Peachtree Race qualifier.  You run through Midtown and end at Piedmont Park where you can have Mimosas….and then take a nap!

Saturday afternoon is Backyard Barbecue & Brews.  It’s a separately ticketed event where you can get great eats from some of your favorite local chefs.  They’ll also have other attractions like corn-hole and private bathrooms (worth the price of admission, amirite?)

Friday is family day and oh yea, how about rides and inflatables in Piedmont Park for the kids?  So when we say this one has it all we mean it.  There will be an international stage with song and dance from around the world, an exhibit of art from high schoolers around the city of Atlanta and, of course, and artist’s market like no other.  This one brings everyone out.  That brings us to an important point.  It’s Midtown…lots of people will be coming… know where we’re going.  TAKE MARTA!

Midtown is crowded enough on a pretty weekend.  You know traffic will be crazy.  And this is the perfect opportunity to use MARTA.  Once you’re here everything you could want is within easy walking distance.   So do Piedmont Park a favor.  It hates your smog.  And do your sanity a favor.  It hates traffic.  But whatever you do remember the Atlanta Dogwood festival is April 8th through 10th.  You don’t want to miss it.

For more details visit the official site at



Festival on Ponce is April 2nd and 3rd

March 31st, 2016

Festival on Ponce is April 2nd and 3rd

Yes, it’s raining today and Friday but Festival on Ponce is April 2nd and 3rd and it’s going to be beautiful weather both Saturday and Sunday.  Festival on Ponce isn’t your usual fried food, beer and bands festival.  This one is more art centric. So you can casually stroll, check out some great art and maybe add something nice for the house.  And it’s for a good cause as this festival supports the Olmsted Linear Park Alliance

Festival on Ponce is a great way to kick off the Spring Festival Season.  Because you know right around the corner is Dogwood, Candler Park and Inman Park festivals, among others.  Be sure to come her for all the details on those, too

It’s going to be gorgeous this weekend.  You’re going to want to get outside.  What better way to spend the day?  Allow me to let the Olmsted Park people tell you more.  From their web site….

The Festival on Ponce is an Atlanta arts and crafts festival set in the historic park, Olmsted Linear Park. Visitors will enjoy the gorgeous landscape designed by one of America’s most celebrated landscape architects, Fredrick Olmsted Sr. along with over 125 displays of fine arts and crafts, folk and “outsider art”. In addition to the fine arts, there will be a children’s area and local food and beverage. Attendance is Free.


The Olmsted Linear Park Alliance has a $10 million capital improvement plan to protect these historic parks. These beautiful parks have lovely trees and paths and great visibility from one of Atlanta’s main traffic arteries between Atlanta and Decatur.

This is a unique and wonderful opportunity for locals and visitors to appreciate the vision and legacy of Fredrick Olmsted, Sr. Learn more about this location by visiting The Olmsted Linear Park Alliance website.

So come on down and for more information check their web site here.

Liens to look out for When Buying or Selling a Home

March 29th, 2016

Liens to watch out for when buying or selling a home 

           Here at Bottomley Real Estate Group’s Blog we’ve told you about some liens, like Mechanic’s liens to look out for when buying or selling a property.  Today we’re going to tell you about liens that may exist even though an actual lien hasn’t been filed or recorded in court.  These liens to look out for when buying or selling a home.  These are liens under ‘operation of law’.  We include the 3 most common liens to look out for below.  They include old unpaid water bills, Homeowner Association Liens and Taxes. 

In various counties and the City of Atlanta in particular, uncollected water bills have become a major problem for the municipalities. Many law firms do not check for water bills as they were customarily considered a utility and not entitled to lien status. The court confirmed in 2009 that this is not the case and not only are water bills liens, but they are entitled to heightened status like tax liens. (Federal Home Loan v City of Atlanta, 674 S.E.2d. 905, 285 Ga. 189 (Ga. 2009). McManamy McLeod & Heller, LLC routinely checks for any water bills associated with the property address in question to ensure that the Buyer will not be inconvenienced after closing with a service cut off or a hefty bill that they did not incur.

If you are closing on a property, in particular a property that has been through a foreclosure, it is imperative that the attorney check with the water authority to confirm that there are no past due water bills. If there are water bills outstanding, even if the water bill is in the name of a former owner of title, the bill must be paid at closing in order to transfer clear title to the Buyer. If it is not cleared and paid, the city may not allow the buyer to turn on water in their name even though all past due bills in the name of the seller have been paid.

If a property is part of a Homeowner’s Association and there have been Declarations of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions filed on the title, then any unpaid monthly or annual dues become a lien on title. For this reason, if a title search reveals Declarations of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions, then the attorney will order an Association Letter prior to closing so that any possible past due balances, transfer fees, special assessments or capital contributions may be collected at closing.

In addition to a regular title search, a tax search should be performed to verify that all outstanding taxes are paid either before or at closing. Some communities, although close together in proximity, have different taxes than others. For example, Fulton County and the City of Atlanta properties have city taxes, county taxes and sanitation taxes. However, unincorporated DeKalb properties have only DeKalb taxes.

It’s imperative that you select a closing law firm who knows what to look for and ensures the taxes are paid on the property to ensure that your clients’ best interests are protected.

5300 Peachtree Road Unit 4305, Chamblee, 30341

March 3rd, 2016

5300 Peachtree Rd, Unit 4305,Chamblee, Ga

Bottomley Real Estate Group has a new listing at The Lofts at 5300.  It’s a spacious 2 bedroom, 2 bath at 1178 square feet.  This complex, built in 2005, is on Peachtree Road and directly across from the Chamblee MARTA station.  The unit we have is 5300 Peachtree Road Unit 4305, Chamblee, 30341.  It’s a spacious 2 bedroom, 2 bath, unit that’s open and is a great roommate plan.  Here’s a pic of the kitchen, with hardwoods, granite countertops and plenty of cabinet space.

5300 Peachtree Road Unit 4305, Chamblee, 30341

It’s a great floorplan.  The kitchen opens to the family room which also has hardwoods.

5300 Peachtree Road Unit 4305, Chamblee, 30341 - Family Room

You can see the unit has lots of natural light and has been well maintained.  This one is also a great roommate plan with 2 spacious bedrooms and it even has 2 (TWO!) walk-in closets.  Besides MARTA, you’re right next door to Brookhaven and Buckhead and there is plenty of shopping and dining within walking distance and a new Whole Foods is on the way.  Walkscore gives this address a score of 61.  So call us today at 404-245-4960 as these units sell fast.



Adding a Name to the Title of Your Home

February 29th, 2016

Adding a name to the title of your home

Today from Bottomley Real Estate Group we examine another question that comes up around closing time.  It involves adding or changing the name on a title after closing.  So our friends at McManamy McLeod and Heller have provided us with some good information on the subject.  Sometimes a couple is buying a house.  Only one person is getting the loan but they want to have both names on the title of the home.  Or a buyer may want to transfer ownership into an LLC or Land Trust after closing.  So if you’re thinking of adding a name to the title of your home then read on.  For instance…

Scenario 1)   Spouse will be on the Title but not on the loan

If there is a lender involved, the first step is to check that the lender will allow this to happen.  If they will, then typically the lender will have the non-borrowing party sign both the Security Deed and the Truth in Lending document.  Therefore, the person being added t the title will need to attend the closing ceremony and both names should be listed on the contract.

Scenario 2)   After Closing Purchaser Wants to Transer the Property into their LLC, Trust, etc.

If there is a typical loan involved this is a violation of the due on sale clause contained in the Security Deed.  Many times the parties are willing to take that risk and if so, they will need to have a deed prepared after closing, transferring the property to the name o the desired entity or party.  If the lender discovers this the lender can call the entire loan due.  The attorney that handled the closing will not typically be willing to prepare a deed under this circumstance.  If a deed is done in this situation, the person being added does not need to be present to sign the deed.

Dangers in Adding a Person to Title

1.  If the title is changed after closing without the lender’s permission the lender could call the loan due under the Due on Sale Clause o the Security Deed.

2.  If a name is being added to title it is advised to do a lien search on the name being added.  Any lien against that person will attach to the property.  The property will not be able to be sold without either paying or cancelling the lien.

3.  The person added to title will have to sign any deed to further transfer or encumber the property.

4.  Changing the name on the title could invalidate or reduce the coverage under the owner’s title insurance policy.


So that’s clear as mud, right?   This article does cover some common questions about adding or changing names on a title but you’ll want to ask an attorney anytime you’re considering a move like this.  And of course, if you’re thinking of buying or selling a home you’ll want to consult an experienced Realtor like someone from the Bottomley Real Estate Group.  Give us a call today!


SummerHill Real Estate Market Update

February 25th, 2016

Summerhill Real Estate Market Update

We’re cruising through the first quarter of 2016 trying to review all our target neighborhoods and see how they did in the last quarter of 2015.  So today we bring you our Summerhill Real Estate Market Update for the Fourth Quarter of 2015.  First a little about Summerhill.  Although Summerhill is a small neighborhood it has a large and colorful history.  Did you know Atlanta’s first public school for black children was in Summerhill? That Summerhill is now 150 years old and was the site of riots in the mid 60’s by the SNCC and Stokely Carmichael?  Sam Massell, Evander Holyfield and Leo Frank are just a few of the famous people born in or lived in Summerhill.

Enough about the past, let’s talk about today.  If we’re going to do a Summerhill Real Estate Market Update we need to see what’s going on around Summerhill.  I hate the term ‘perfect storm’ because it’s so over used but it’s the first thing I thought when looking today at Summerhill.  There are 3 major factors affecting Summerhill today and they’re all good.  First, there’s all the development happening along Memorial Drive.   This corridor is busting out with development including new residences, retail and various mixed use projects.  These technically aren’t in Summerhill but right next door and it’s going to add many grocery, retail and maybe some new transit options.  The second is Parkside Elementary.  Recently the Atlanta Public School System re-zoned the schools.  Summerhill had it’s small under performing school closed and they were being re-zoned to another under performing schools.  Residents of Summerhill organized and raised hell and instead got zoned to Parkside Elementary, a school in Grant Park.  Now, no one is going to confuse Parkside with Woodward Academy right now but Parkside definitely is an improvement over the old school and there are a lot of resources (read money) and influential people (read people who have money) working to make the Parkside/Hill/Jackson a great cluster.  Having Summerhill zoned here helps to blur the line between Grant Park and Summerhill and this also will help future values here.  Last, is the fact that the Atlanta Braves are leaving and Georgia State is moving in  (I know this is not an officially done deal but knowing how our Mayor operates and the political power of GSU we all know this is happening).  The Braves Stadium was a disaster for Summerhill due to myopic planning that never developed the area around the stadium.  Now all of that ugly asphalt that sits empty most of the year will be filled with classrooms, residences and college students.   Win for Atlanta and good luck Cobb County with all that Braves traffic and the bills that will come due soon).  I’ll be honest, I wasn’t initially crazy about GSU but I think it’s good for Summerhill at the end of the day.  But living near downtown, I’ve seen how students have changed the vibe and atmosphere of downtown for the better.  And there’s and old saying in real estate.  You can’t go wrong owning near a University or a Hospital.  Ok that’s enough rambling let’s get to some numbers….

Summerhill is a smaller neighborhood so sometimes the raw numbers don’t tell the whole story.  This is the case here.  In the Fourth Quarter of 2014 just 7 houses sold in Summerhill.  The average sales price was $138,000.  Sellers got 89% of their asking price and homes were on the market an average of 63 days.  A year later in the fourth quarter of 2015 14 homes were sold.  The average price was $214,000; sellers got 93% of their asking price and average days on market was 80.    We need to examine these numbers more closely.  For example average sales price went up 55% but we know values did not increase that much in one year.  Also in 2015 we’re seeing an average days on market of 80, which we know is not true.  One property that sold in 2015 was on the market 720 days!   This really skews our numbers.  If I take out that house, then the average days on market goes to just 31 days.   Thirty-one days on market before you get a house under contract in Summerhill is a number that is reality based.   And the fact it’s about 30 days shorter than 2014 falls in line with other Southeast Atlanta neighborhoods.  Now that we know our days on market lets look at asking price.  We showed buyers only got 88% of asking price in 2014.  Again, we take out the one outlier and we get ab average of 94% which is inline with our 2015 number.  Sellers are getting about 95% of their asking price.  With our knowledge of other neighborhoods this looks rights.  95% is a little lower than what we have seen is some more established neighborhoods.  This is because Summerhill is improving so sellers are testing the market to see how much they can get.  Those that mis-judge end up discounting and pull that number down a little.   Now lets talk about average price which is much more difficult.  That’s because there are a wide variety of types, sizes and ages of homes in Summerhill and we have a small sampling.

We do know that we’re seeing price increases in the 6 to 10% range around the Southeast Atlanta neighborhoods and we’re seeing similar numbers in Summerhill.  In fact, Summerhill is closer to the 10% number.  When we looked at homes of similar size and age what we found was a home in Summerhill that sold for $120.50 per square foot now would fetch $133.40 per square foot.  That’s right around 105 appreciation.

We’re seeing prices increase in Summerhill.  That’s because 1) people are generally moving closer to the city 2) it’s an improving neighborhood that deserves a higher price and 3) there is a real lack of inventory in the market now.  We like checking the numbers in each neighborhood and we hope you’ve found this useful.  But don’t run too far with this info.  If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home in Summerhill you need to seek out a Realtor that’s experienced and knows your neighborhood.  We’d love to help you, so give us a call at 404-245-4960 or send us an email at

Our numbers come from FMLS.  If you like the raw numbers here they are….

Fourth Quarter 2014 Summerhill Real Estate Market Update

Fourth Quarter 2015 Summerhill Real Estate Market Update



Required Documentation for Business Entities when Buying or Selling Real Property

February 12th, 2016

Required Documentation for Business Entities when Buying or Selling Real Property


Whether you’re an investor or an individual that owns a house under a business entity then you may need different and additional documents than when selling as an individual.  Our good friend Kati Heller of McManamy, McLeod and Heller has a complete list of what you may need.  This list is a great reference but it’s also always a good idea to check with your closing attorney or your business attorney.



A Question of Authority.
 As part of closing, the closing attorney must verify the company’s existence, the authorization of the company to conduct the transaction, and the authority of the individual representing the company to act on its behalf. There may be times when a party’s authority to enter into a contract based on the corporate documents is questionable. When you are asked about a person’s Corporate/LLC authority, one or more of the documents listed below will contain the information necessary in order to complete the closing.

Corporation Checklist:

1. Proof of Existence and Good Standing:  Check with the Secretary of State (“SOS”) of the state of incorporation prior to putting the name on the purchase and sale contract to verify that the company is active (not dissolved) and up-to-date with its annual registration (referred to as “in compliance” or “in good standing”). If not “in compliance,” a company should file its annual registration and any back fees due to the SOS.
2. Documents – Common Documents Related to Authority
a. Articles of Incorporation – declaration of formation. Found on SOS website.
b. Bylaws – structure and rules of operation. Not on SOS website. This should be obtained from the person representing the Corporation.
c. Certificate of  Corporate Resolution – statement, usually sworn to before a notary public, containing resolutions authorizing transaction (i.e., the purchase, the loan, the sale and loan to the purchaser) and authorizing the execution of documents by a particular officer or officers (can name the officer or just their title).
d. Certificate of Incumbency – statement, usually sworn to before a notary public, identifying an individual or individuals holding office with the corporation.

LLC Checklist:

1. Proof of Existence and Good Standing.  (Same as for Corporation)
2. Documents – Common Documents Related to Authority
a. Articles of Organization – Found on SOS website.
b. Operating Agreement – structure and rules of operation. Not on SOS website. This document generally holds the key to authority of the individual acting on behalf of the LLC. Generally you will find actions require one or more “Members,” or a “Managing Member,” or an officer, all of which should be identified in the Operating Agreement.
c. Resolution – statement, usually sworn to before a notary public, containing resolutions authorizing transaction (i.e., the purchase, the loan, the sale and loan to the purchaser) and authorizing the execution of documents by a particular person.

Virginia Highland Market Update

February 10th, 2016

Virginia Highland Market Update 2015 was a good year in real estate for most of Atlanta and Virginia Highland was no exception.  Much of the intown market experienced appreciation which exceeded inflation.  It’s a result of the trend of people choosing to live closer in to urban areas and improvements to the quality of life in Atlanta.  So let’s do our quarterly Virginia Highland Market Update for the Fourth Quarter of 2015 and run the numbers to get the specifics on how Virginia Highland is doing.  This quarter the numbers don’t give us a clear story. Let’s go over the numbers and you’ll see what I mean.  In the last quarter of 2014 28 homes were sold.  The average price was $696,713.  Sellers got 97% of their asking price and homes sold in an average of 47 days.  When we fast forward to 2015 here’s what we find. In the last quarter of 2015 there were 21 homes sold.  Sellers got 94% of their asking price and sold in 56 days.  Those numbers all make sense.  We’re currently in a supply driven market.  There are more buyers than sellers out there so most houses are getting close to their asking price and selling in fewer than 60 days.  The problem comes in the average selling price which was $842,905.  This price shows about an 18% increase year-over-year.  We know prices are increasing but not that quickly.  Taking average numbers can be misleading because the mix of homes can change.  For instance, one quarter may be weighed more heavily toward larger or new homes.  This isn’t a problem if we’re looking at a 1000 home community.  But here we’re looking at less than 30 homes per period.  So let’s dig deeper and see if we can learn more.

We pulled out the outliers.  Any new construction and any that needed (or advertised that they needed) renovation.  We still found homes got close to their asking price and sold in less than 60 days.  Then our analysis shows these homes sold for $ 728,000 in 2014 versus an average of $777,000 in the fourth quarter of 2015.  That represents an increase of 7% year-over-year.  This falls right in line with what we’ve seen in other quality neighborhoods in Atlanta.

There is lots of good news in real estate in the intown neighborhoods of Atlanta.  Like other quality urban centers in the U.S. buyers are being drawn to the city.   However, you still need to be smart with when, where and what you purchase. You need an experienced Realtor that knows real estate and knows the areas you’re considering.  Give the Bottomley Real Estate Group a call today or shoot us an email.  We’d love to help you find a great home!  All our numbers come from First Multiple Listing Service.  If you want to see the raw numbers we’ve provided links below.

2014 4th Quarter Virginia Highland Market Update

2015 4th Quarter Virginia Highland Market Update


Grant Park Market Update

January 27th, 2016

Grant Park Market Update

Happy New Year!   Since it’s the end of the 4th quarter it’s time for your Grant Park market update.  Grant Park has been a strong market since the real estate recovery began in 2012.  We’ve seen steady increases in prices here and that’s brought some new infill construction to make this neighborhood even pricier.  Grant park has several good things going for it right now.  To the north and east Memorial Drive is getting a lot of new development and that’s gointo add retail options to this neighborhood that has needed them.  Parkside Elementary is improving and has lots of new resources and energy being put into making it a good school.   The Atlanta Beltline is coming in soon and the new Georgia State University development coming next door to Summerhill will be a another big positive for the near future.  When we’ve done our recent past Grant Park market updates we’ve seen price increases in the 9% range year-over-year.  If you’re a fan of Bottomley  Real Estate Group and our market updates then you know we like to compare year-over-year prices which gives the best indication of the market.  So let’s see what the numbers tell us in this quarter’s Grant Park market update.

In the last quarter of 2014 there were 38 homes sold.  They sold in an average of 72 days for 95% of asking price and these homes sold for an average of $355,000.  The 72 days is a little higher than we’ve seen lately but this was right behind a urge in buying here and of course the fourth quarter include the Holidays that tend to slow down sales.  Overall these are the same trends we’ve been seeing here.  Now let’s compare to 2015.  This time the days on market was just 31 days.  Only 28 houses sold during this period, but that is more of reflection of tight inventory rather than a lack o demand.  Seller’s got 98% of their asking price and the average price was $389,000.   The average price increased 9% over last year.  We can’t expect that to last forever but we can see the market still loves Grant Park.  And how about that 31 days on market?  This is not a neighborhood to sleep on.  If you see something you like you better make a move.  We live in Grant Park and love the neighborhood so if you’d like more info or are thinking of buying or selling in Grant Park en give us a call. We’d love to help!

All of our numbers come from First Multiple Listing Service so if you’d like to see the raw numbers we’ve provided links below.




Grant Park Statistics Fourth Quarter 2014

Grant Park Statistics Fourth Quarter 2015