Using Georgia Native Plants

I met the author – she is very dedicated to this effort – please consider using native Georgia plants in your yard…

Here’s an excerpt from her latest post…

“I’ve been writing this blog every week for over 7 years now – the first entry was October 14, 2010. The history is all there and, since plants don’t change much, some of the older January blogs are worth reading again – especially if you weren’t following back then. The pictures may not be as good, but the words are spot on. If you find any broken links, let me know in the comments and I’ll fix them (or remove them if they don’t exist).”

Source: Using Georgia Native Plants.

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Daily Real Estate News from Access Brokerage

References to articles, sources, products, or services are not a specific endorsement and not guaranteed to be true or accurate, but the user must perform their due diligence and investigate whether the information provided is valid, or the product or service is right for them. I welcome any or all comments that would help others……Be careful – if it sounds too good, it probably is!


Post #1: 6 secrets to getting a real estate listing every day.

Post #2: Real Estate Advice: Don’t withhold your condo fees.


Post #1: FDIC hit by 50+ breaches in a two year period. One of the most striking findings was how the FDIC handled notifying the potential victims of their breaches. Of the 18 cases reviewed in the report, the FDIC only contacted victims related to five of the incidents. Additionally, it took an average of 288 days—or more than 9 months—from the date the breach was discovered to the date that the FDIC notified affected individuals.

Post #2: The Inman Files: Ending 155 years of real estate scams.

Post #3: Three Big Things Homebuyers Are On The Look-Out For.

  • Curb Appeal
  • Space
  • Updates


Post #1: Why You Should Sell Your Home in 2018 . According to a recent survey, 31% of respondents expect 2018 to be a better year for selling a home than 2017 – and just 14% expect it to be worse.

Post #2: Reverse Mortgages Draining FHA Resources, Overhaul Needed. Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) program the program is an economic drain…the most recent showed the program with an economic value of negative $14.5 billion


Post #1: All Things Real Estate: Home transfer triggers acceleration clause. Banks pretty much suspended this practice back in 2007-08 as the number of foreclosures due to the Great Recession began to spike.But now, with the economy growing and the real estate market pretty stabilized, the banks are going back to enforcing the acceleration clause.

Post #2: If you prepaid property taxes, will you get the deduction? If not, can you get your money back ? “In general, whether a taxpayer is allowed a deduction for the prepayment of state or local real property taxes in 2017 depends on whether the taxpayer makes the payment in 2017 and the real property taxes are assessed prior to 2018,” the IRS said in its Wednesday advisory. “A prepayment of anticipated real property taxes that have not been assessed prior to 2018 are not deductible in 2017.”


Post #1: 8 Ways To Up Your Chances Of Buying Your First Home .

  • Work with a good REALTOR®
  • Get that preapproval
  • Talk to landlords
  • Consider a home that needs work
  • Look just outside your target neighborhood
  • Consider a transitioning neighborhood
  • Raise your budget
  • Go back to your lender

Post #2: How many credit checks are performed before closing on a home purchase? Hint: More than once.


Post #1: Local real estate agent fined over lead paint charge. Serves time and pays >$50,000 in fines.

Post #2: Man pleads guilty to armed robbery of real estate agent.

Post #3: Ask The HOA Expert: Parking Rules…contractor estimates…etc,.


Post #1: 2018 real estate forecast: foggy, lukewarm. Slower price growth than 2017

Post #2: What Xceligent’s Bankruptcy Says About the Property Data Business. Commercial real estate data firm Xceligent filing for bankruptcy protection, the property data industry was not surprised—it’s an expensive field to be in.


Post #1: Hundreds of robot realtors are helping Bay Area renters find new homes. The three-foot-tall robot had an iPad mounted at the top, connected to real estate agent Rabia Levy in her Sunnyvale office. “I’m a person too!” she responded.

Post #2: 5 Ways Savvy Real Estate Agents Are Using Social Media.

Post #3: 10 tips to have an awesome mortgage in 2018.


Post #1: What To Expect In 2018 In Real Estate.


Post #2: Ask the HOA Expert: Fines Should Be Reasonable.

Post #3: There is an estimated $6.7 trillion of outstanding government guaranteed mortgage (FHA,VA, Freddie Mac, or Fannie Mae) debt.


Post #1: Tax Reform: Here’s What Could Impact Homeowners Most:

  • Cap on Mortgage Interest Deduction
  • New SALT Deduction Limit
  • Preserved Exclusion of Capital Gains
  • Deductibility on Home Equity Loans
  • Doubling of the Standard Deduction

Post #2: A Guide to Selling Real Estate to Millennials – Maximize your opportunities…More than half the homes sold last year were sold to Millennials, and so you need to be able to understand their motivations to reach this generation effectively.

  • Be Online
  • Mobile-friendly
  • Friendly content
  • Make it easy
  • Get out there
  • Be Transparent
  • Re-evaluate Your Listings


Reasons Why Real Estate Brokers Will be Needed Forever.

  • They Have Serious Knowledge Of Your Local Area
  • They Have A Close Eye On Current Market Trends
  • They Know How To Market Your Property
  • They Can Handle Heated Conversations And Paperwork


According to the National Association of Realtors, we’ve been in a Seller’s market for the past 5+ years.

Mixed real estate news— Housing starts rose 3.3% in November from October but residential housing permits fell 1.4% – WSJ, 12-20-2017, Page A2. This probably just means we are heading into the winter season which is traditionally slower housing starts due to weather and weather related delays….which cause extra cots for developers and builders.


Current value of U.S. homes are worth a combined $31.8 trillion.

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The New Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) Rule

On April 25, 2017-the CFPB issued a proposed clean-up rule to correct and clarify the 2015 rule (that expanded the data to be collected and reported by lenders regarding borrowers) to become effective January 1, 2018.

Brief overview:

Lenders are to collect the new data (see complete A Regulatory and Reporting Overview Reference Chart of requested information) required by the rule for loan actions on or after January 1, 2018, and they will need to report this data by March 1, 2019. The new HMDA rule requires reporting on 48 data fields-adding 25 new data fields to the current 23-but also modifying 20 of the existing fields. The new data fields include those mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act, as well as fields required by the CFPB under its discretionary authority. Some of the new HMDA fields include:

  • Age of borrower and credit score;
  • Borrower’s debt-to-income (DTI) ratio;
  • Borrower-paid origination charges;
  • Interest rate; and
  • Lender credits;

Applicable financial institutions will be required to collect, record and report information for approved-but-not-accepted preapproval requests for home purchase loans (the collection, recording and reporting of this information is currently optional).

Also-beginning in 2020-institutions that reported a combined total of at least 60,000 applications and covered loans in the preceding calendar year will be required to report data quarterly. The first quarterly submission will be due by May 30, 2020.

As of the time of this log post, I understand private consumer identification information (name, ss#, address, etc) will remain private and not be released to the public.

Potential impact:

  • Expensive implementation costs for systems and business process changes immediately on the heels of the implementation of the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rule;
  • Confidential information-such as credit scores, if improperly released, could cause significant harm to borrowers’ claims against lenders, and even undermine homeownership;
  • Increased litigation risk. HMDA has been a major source of fair lending claims in the past, and the new data will allow greater analysis of application and loan data to evaluate impacts on protected classes. While HMDA’s purpose is to shine light on lending practices, data can be misused to present unfair claims-forcing costly litigation defense, and/or settlements and causing significant reputational harm.

Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA)/Reg C – Frequently Asked Questions such as:

  • Are “fix and flip loans” reportable for HMDA purposes?
  • Can you be more specific regarding reporting ethnicity and race for loans purchased?
  • Does “Preapproval”, when the final loan disposition is “Approved but Not Accepted”, also mean “Preapproval Mailings”?

Source: The New Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) Rule.

References to articles, sources, products, or services are not a specific endorsement and not guaranteed to be true or accurate, but the user must perform their due diligence and investigate whether the information provided is valid, or the product or service is right for them. I welcome any or all comments that would help others……Be careful – if it sounds too good, it probably is!

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Credit Bureau Contact info for Fraud or Identity Theft problems

Consider freezing your credit with each of the 3 credit bureaus below, but please research the pros and cons of feeezing credit. It can help prevent things, but doesn’t correct existing problems.

Equifax: 888-349-9960

Experian: 888-397-3742

Trans Union: 888-909-8872

Source: The Wall Street Journal, “Don’t Get Burned By A Credit Freeze“, 11-3-2017, Page M8

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Where do all the Buyer Inspection Reports Go?

During the Due Diligence period (time when Buyer performs all desired inspections on a home to understand if any problems exist or may exist), there may be several different inspection reports. Home Inspection, Termite Inspection, Radon Inspection, Structural Engineer Inspection, Roof Inspection, HVAC Inspection, etc.

The inspector prepares a report. Based on the report’s findings, the buyer may then decide to negotiate with the Seller any repairs or resolution agreement and move forward with the purchase, or to cancel the contract. But, what happens to the report?

The original report is normally held by the Buyer and a copy is released either as directed by the Buyer or contractually.

Depending on the terms and conditions of the contract itself, you may have to furnish a copy to the seller as either additional explanation as to what condition needs to be corrected.

Source for inspiration: What Happens to Buyer Reports?

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Difference between FHA 203B and 203K loans

FHA 203(b) Mortgages (below $5,000)

The 203(b) is the most common mortgage loan product insured by the FHA. If you’ve found a home for sale and it needs $5,000 or less in repairs an FHA 203(b) insured mortgage may be for you. FHA 203(b) mortgage funds also are disbursed to borrowers and their lenders in a single loan amount, much as with most conventional mortgages. Many foreclosed homes owned by the FHA and its parent agency, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, also qualify for FHA loans.

FHA 203(k) Mortgages (between $5,001-35,000)

FHA 203(k) mortgages often are known as rehabilitation mortgages, because they’re intended for homes needing significant rehabilitation. For example, you may find a home needing a teardown of its roof plus extensive foundation work. An FHA 203(k) mortgage is disbursed in several stages, including the amount needed to purchase the home and then additional distributions as repairs are certified as complete. HUD-owned homes needing significant repairs are also offered for bid at its website, and they may qualify for FHA 203(k) mortgage financing.

FHA 203(b) Home Appraisals

If you buy a home using an FHA 203(b) loan, it will have to undergo an FHA-specific home appraisal. FHA 203(b) home appraisals are used to ensure that homes being purchased by eligible homebuyers meet agency guidelines for safety and security. For example, an appraiser conducting FHA 203(b) home appraisal will examine the home’s electrical system to ensure it’s safe. Typically, minor repairs identified on an FHA 203(b) home appraisal must be completed prior to the homebuyer closing on her loan.

FHA 203(k) Home Appraisals

A home appraisal for an FHA 203(k) loan takes into account a home’s post-rehabilitation projected value. For instance, you might find a rundown home listed at $80,000 and in need of another $80,000 in repairs. Your FHA 203(k) loan’s home appraisal will determine if your rundown home will actually be worth $160,000 after its rehabilitation. Depending on the FHA 203(k) mortgage lender, an “as-is” value appraisal of your rundown home may be required in addition to its projected post-rehab value appraisal.

Difference Between 203k and 203b.

What’s the difference between FHA 203(k) and 203(b) home loans?

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Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) for Purchase (H4P) of a home

The typical reverse mortgage allows homeowners over age 62 to tap into the equity on the present home and either get a line of credit or a lump sum of money. The HECM for Purchase (H4P) allows you to actually buy a house getting a reverse mortgage loan. While an interesting concept, the program isn’t for everyone. You should fully investigate the benefits and drawbacks before making a decision.

Here’s how it works: You have to be at least 62 years old. If your spouse is not that old, he/she cannot be on title.

In general – and depending on your age at the time you make application – you will be able to get a reverse mortgage loan of between 47 and 52 percent of the purchase price of the new home. The older you are, the more money you are eligible to get. This means you have to come up with the balance. Typically, if you plan to sell your current home, you can use the sales proceeds to make up the difference. And if you have sufficient income from other sources, you can even keep your current home as an investment and still be eligible for the reverse mortgage.

There are a few requirements: You and your spouse must live in the new property; it must be your principal residence. You must go through consumer counseling; the lender – and the government – want to make sure you fully understand what you are pursuing. And you must prove you are financially able to pay the real estate taxes, insurance, general maintenance and upkeep and any applicable community association dues.

To be eligible for this kind of reverse mortgage, the property can be a single-family house, a two-four property so long as you reside in one of the units, or condominiums that have been approved by FHA.

Currently, that is a problem because FHA has recently imposed requirements that to be eligible for an insured FHA loan, the association’s financial reserves must equal at least 20 percent of their annual budget.

Additionally, no more than 10 percent of all units can be delinquent in paying their assessments. Unfortunately, a large number of associations throughout the country cannot meet these requirements. Time will tell how this will play out under the new administration.

There are significant benefits with a reverse mortgage for purchase, but there are also several down-sides. On the positive side, not only will you pocket some of the sale proceeds from your old house but you also do not have to make any mortgage payments. You can use the money you save for whatever you want.

On the other hand, because there are no mortgage payments, the loan balance increases on a monthly basis. At some point, it can – and may – exceed the market value of the house. For those of us who want our children to inherit the house on our death, this may not be desirable. But the good news is that under no circumstance will you – or your estate – ever have to pay the lender any deficiency between the market value of the house and the then outstanding loan balance. It is completely insured by FHA.

This is just one of a number of options seniors should consider. Talk with your children; discuss the pros and cons with your financial and legal advisers. And once you decide this is what you want, make sure you work with a certified reverse mortgage professional.

Although this reverse mortgage process is just like any other loan closing, there are a few more conditions. As mentioned, the buyer must meet with a counselor. The closing must be completed within 60 days from contract signing. And if you are buying in a new development, you cannot even sign a contract until the property has been issued a certificate of occupancy.

And finally, although the seller can pay those costs which are typically – by custom or law – imposed on the seller, the seller cannot give monetary concessions, such as paying some or all of the buyer’s closing costs. However, the parties can certainly incorporate any such concessions into the purchase price, so long, of course, it does not exceed the appraisal price.

For more information, go to or the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association websites at

Source: Home Equity Conversion Mortgage for Purchase, HECM for Purchaser or simply H4P.

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Reporting Waste, Fraud, or Abuse in Georgia

I began my search to see if there was a single hotline phone number in Georgia to report waste, fraud, or abuse for any reason, about any state office or program, regardless of type.

Now, I am not sure how much money the State of Georgia allocates for the investigation and prosecution of these crimes, but at least I assumed a single phone number with options like “For Health Complaints, press 1; for Transportation complaints press 2; for State Patrol or State police complaints, press 3; for other State Government offices, press 4; for all other state complaints, press 5″…or something similar to it. But other than possibly the Office of Inspector General, what I found were the following several different phone numbers for a limited number of reasons:

  • If you see fraud, waste or abuse in state government, call the taxpayers’ watchdog, the Inspector General’s confidential hotline 1-866-HELP-OIG, or visit”

  • Reporting Mortgage Fraud and Common Mortgage Fraud Schemes. Mortgage fraud is a sub-category of Financial Institution Fraud (FIF).

    There are two distinct areas of mortgage fraud—fraud for profit and fraud for housing.

    • Fraud for profit: Those who commit this type of mortgage fraud are often industry insiders using their specialized knowledge or authority to commit or facilitate the fraud. Current investigations and widespread reporting indicate a high percentage of mortgage fraud involves collusion by industry insiders, such as bank officers, appraisers, mortgage brokers, attorneys, loan originators, and other professionals engaged in the industry. Fraud for profit aims not to secure housing, but rather to misuse the mortgage lending process to steal cash and equity from lenders or homeowners. The FBI prioritizes fraud for profit cases.

    • Fraud for housing: This type of fraud is typically represented by illegal actions taken by a borrower motivated to acquire or maintain ownership of a house. The borrower may, for example, misrepresent income and asset information on a loan application or entice an appraiser to manipulate a property’s appraised value.

  • The State of Georgia Office of the Inspector General (OIG) investigates fraud, waste, abuse, and corruption in the State of Georgia’s Executive Branch agencies. Call (866) 435-7644 or submit a complaint online.

  • Georgia Environmental Finance Authority was established to report crimes related to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 even though the program has ended. Please be specific on how the funds related to the entity/program you are reporting is related to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (to include others who may have specific information and/or documents related to your allegation). The ARRA was estimated to cost $787 billion saving 1.6 million jobs over 4 years or about $122,970/job/year.

  • Medicaid Program Integrity – This business unit is responsible for contract oversight, special investigations, recipient investigations and clinical teams. It handles intake and triage of cases before turning them over to the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) of the Georgia Attorney General’s office. The purpose of the Medicaid Program Integrity unit is to guard against fraud, abuse and deliberate waste of Medicaid Program Benefits. Medicaid Program Integrity ensures that Georgia taxpayer funds are used in a responsible manner. The unit also has oversight of state and federal funds.

  • Medicaid Fraud Control Unit – The mission of the Georgia Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) is to serve the public, to uphold and enforce the law, to investigate and prosecute fraud and abuse by providers in the Georgia Medicaid program and to protect vulnerable patients from abuse.

  • Peach State Health Plan – Peach State Health Plan is committed to identifying, investigating, and prosecuting those who commit health care fraud. Peach State Health Plan’s Vice President of Compliance has overall responsibility and authority for carrying out the provisions of the compliance and WAF programs. If you suspect or witness health care fraud committed by a provider, member, or employee, please call Peach State Health Plan’s anonymous and confidential hotline at (866) 685-8664.

  • Georgia Forestry Commission – If you are a member of the public or an employee of another agency, please use this form to report your concerns. You may also contact the GFC’s HR Director who serves as the agency’s Ethics Officer at 678-476-6224 or at

  • Georgia Department of Education – Unfortunately, this is only limited to school employees – Employees at the State Schools will report any known and/or suspected fraud, waste, and abuse of resources to GaDOE officials.

  • The Georgia Collaborative Administrative Services Organization (ASO) is a partner with the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Development Disabilities (DBHDD) that facilitates the provision of integrated behavioral health and developmental disabilities supports and services to more than 200,000 Georgia residents statewide.

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) fraud – SNAP fraud is when (a) SNAP benefits are exchanged for cash. This is called trafficking and it is against the law; (b) SNAP fraud also happens when someone lies on their application to get benefits or to get more benefits than they are supposed to get; or (c) SNAP fraud also happens when a retailer has been disqualified from the program for past abuse and lies on the application to get in the program again.

  • Reporting Fraud, Waste, and Abuse in HUD programs – If you are aware of fraud, waste, and abuse in HUD’s public housing and/or housing choice voucher (HCV) programs, fill out the OIG Hotline Complaint Intake Form.

  • How to report Medicare fraud – You can report suspected Medicare fraud in any of these ways: (a) Call us at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). Office of the Inspector General. (c) Call the Office of the Inspector General at 1‑800‑HHS‑TIPS (1‑800‑447‑8477). TTY: 1‑800‑377‑4950.

References to articles, sources, products, or services are not a specific endorsement and not guaranteed to be true or accurate, but the user must perform their due diligence and investigate whether the information provided is valid, or the product or service is right for them. I welcome any or all comments that would help others. Be careful – if it sounds too good, it probably is!

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Loopholes for Low Income Housing

To stimulate low income housing availability, the US government provides a number of tax credits to the states to distribute to property developers at their discretion following certain criteria including development projects that cap rents for some of the units. However, under odd rules, the developers can sell these credits to banks or other investors. A 2000 study revealed the value of the rent savings to tenants amounted to approximately 35% of the total tax credits. A 2005 study revealed that about half of the units would have been produced without the tax credits. A 2010 study revealed 100% of the development subsidized by the tax credits came at the cost of other developments. In 2017, a Miami area business stole $34 million from 14 low income credit housing projects when they submitted inflated construction cost information to the government. Furthermore, NPR said there is very little public accounting of the costs are actually performed. A 2005 study revealed that increased housing regulations have doubled the costs of construction in many cities.

With all this information revealed, the Senate Finance Committee met this summer in an attempt to “expand” the program. Senators must be led by lobbyists rather than facts.

Is it time to “kill” the loopholes for public housing and try something else?

Source: WSJ, 9-19-2017, Page A17

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The Most Common Questions Asked by Home Buyers—Answered!

These are some of the most asked questions and answers I have fieldeed…good job

    Q: What home can I afford?

    Q: How many homes should I see before making an offer?

    Q: What do you think the seller will accept as a fair price?

    Q: How do I know if the property is a good deal?

    Q: How quickly can I close?

    Q: Should I get a home inspection?

    Q: When can I back out if I change my mind?

    Q: Can I buy a home and sell my current one at the same time?

I would also add that a ball park calculation on the price of house you can afford, you shouldn’t pay more than 30% of your monthly income on a home mortgage payment. Any higher percentage leaves you with fewer dollars for emergencies and other lifestyle expenses.

References to articles, sources, products, or services are not a specific endorsement and not guaranteed to be true or accurate, but the user must perform their due diligence and investigate whether the information provided is valid, or the product or service is right for them. I welcome any or all comments that would help others. Be careful – if it sounds too good, it probably is!

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