Thursday, October 29, 2009

$8,000 home credit still in play

By Jeanne Sahadi, senior writer
Last Updated: October 29, 2009: 10:51 AM ET

NEW YORK ( -- Confused about whether lawmakers will extend the $8,000 first-time homebuyer credit and what it would look like?

That's understandable, since the situation is still very fluid.

Here's where things stand.

Support for the credit: There is still bipartisan support in Congress for extending the credit past Nov. 30 and making it available to more homebuyers.

It's still not clear where President Obama stands on the issue. Last week, Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan said the administration wanted to review more data to better assess the cost of the credit before weighing in.

What's on the table now: There appears to be a compromise deal that falls between the most and least generous proposals that have been put forth so far.

"There is bipartisan compromise to extend the credit through spring and expand it to existing homeowners who are stepping up to a different home," financial policy analyst Jaret Seiberg wrote in a research note for Concept Capital's Research Group.

The latest idea under discussion is a credit worth up to $8,000 for first-time homebuyers and up to $6,500 for homeowners looking to trade up to a bigger primary residence and who have already lived in their current home for five years. (CNN: Senate compromise may be in the works.)

To qualify for the full credit, however, homebuyers must have adjusted gross income of less than $125,000 ($250,000 for married couples filing jointly).

In addition, the credit would only apply to homes sold for $800,000 or less. Contracts to buy a home must be signed by April 30, 2010, and the deals must close by June 30 in order for a buyer to qualify for the credit.
Rationale for extending the credit: Supporters of the credit say it has helped to boost existing home sales in recent months. Extending the credit would help further support sales, stabilize housing prices and generate jobs in the face of an expected rise in foreclosures next year, which is expected to put downward pressure on prices.

If the credit is allowed to expire, they say, the housing market and the broader economy will grow moribund again.

"The most fundamental argument for the credit is that nothing works in the economy if housing is falling -- it hurts household wealth and credit becomes tight," said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's "[The credit] is a good insurance policy. It's vital to stem the housing price declines."

What critics say: Though extending the credit has bipartisan support, it is not without its critics.

Critics, while acknowledging that the credit has helped to generate additional home sales, say it has been poorly targeted and therefore not cost-effective.

They point to estimates that only 10% to 20% of the nearly 2 million homebuyers who will have gotten the credit by Nov. 30 bought solely because of the tax break.

In other words, a large majority of homebuyers who benefited from the credit would have bought their homes without it.

By one economist's estimate, the government may have spent $43,000 for each sale that occurred strictly because of the credit.

In a position paper published this week, the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said making the credit available to existing homeowners would not help stabilize housing prices or reduce inventory.

"When [they] purchase a new home, they simultaneously put their current home up for sale. As a result, there is no net effect on supply or demand in the housing market."

Timing on a vote: An amendment to extend and expand the credit could be attached to a bill that would extend unemployment benefits and which could pass the Senate by next week.

However, there's a chance the housing credit will be dealt with separately.

The credit could be attached to another piece of legislation or put in a standalone bill with other proposals to extend tax breaks.

First Published: October 28, 2009: 4:14 PM ET

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cash in: Tricks for buying a home at the bottom

Barbara Corcoran shares insider tips to help homebuyers in this market

By Barbara Corcoran

While others argue over whether this really is the bottom, savvy buyers are taking advantage of the best market in years to purchase a home. If you’re an aspiring homeowner, here’s the know-how you need to snatch up a bargain — where to look, what to watch out for, and how to get financing that will make your home-ownership dreams come true.

The best kinds of homes to look for

1. A property with a clear ending! That is, a clear ending when it comes to estates, trusts, divorces and foreclosures.

2. A seller in trouble. Sellers who are behind on their property taxes, have a failed business or just need cash.

3. A scorned homeowner. Just like a scorned lover, the homeowner had another buyer who just backed out. They will almost always sell the house for even less.

4. A shopworn listing. A home that’s been on the market for more than 60 days or a home that’s had numerous or aggressive price drops always signals a good deal to be had.

5. A home with an overgrown yard. It always means the homeowner is ready to give up.

6. A vacant home. No one likes to pay a mortgage on an empty house.

Some don'ts to keep in mind

7. Don’t go for a short sale unless you have plenty of time. They can drag on and on because of the bidding process and you can end up paying the same money or more, with all the increased costs, repairs and the rise in interest rates, while waiting to close.

8. Don’t compromise on what you’re looking for just to get a “good deal.” It’s no deal if it doesn’t meet the criteria you want in your home.

Insider tips to spot the seller ready to take a low bid

1. Check the closets. See if the wife’s or husband’s clothes are no longer there.

2. Check the tax records. Find out how much the seller owes. You can get the records at the county clerk’s office, and in some municipalities the town records are online.

3. Look for give-away words. In advertising, words like “bring offer” or “drastically reduced” mean exactly that.

4. Ask your agent to pull the listing history on the house. It includes how many times the home has been listed and what the price reductions have been.

5. Let the seller talk! If the sellers are home at the showing, let them talk. Often they’ll say more than they should, like, “We close on our new home next month.”

How to get the financing you need as a buyer

1. Order the house appraisal first. The appraisal may come in lower than the price you plan to bid!

2. Ask the seller to pay part of your closing costs. It reduces the cash you need up front.

3. Ask not-for-profit organizations about financing. They’re good advocates for consumers who otherwise get overlooked or taken advantage of by major banks and mortgage companies. Check out NACA (Neighborhood Assistance Corp. of America), NHS (Neighborhood Housing Services) in your part of the country, and ACORN.

4. Review your own credit report early. Correct any errors in the report and fix everything possible before you shop for a home.

5. Ask for owner financing. Many older homeowners are not buying another home and like the idea of a steady 5 percent return using their old home as collateral.

6. Ask for a family contribution. Many parents are very happy to help the first-time homebuyer and their grandchildren secure their first home.

7. Prequalify for financing with your lender or mortgage broker before you begin your search.

8. Don’t take no for an answer. If you’re turned down by a local bank, you may still be approved by a national mortgage lender. If you’re turned down by a national lender, you’re often approved by your local bank.

Milicki & Associates, Inc.
110 Evans Mill Dr. Suite 103
Dallas, GA 30157

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pick the right pro at the right price

To keep a lid on home-improvement costs, hire only the expertise you really need.

By Josh Garskof, Money Magazine contributing writer
October 23, 2009

(Money Magazine) -- For anything from a small upgrade to a major remodeling job, perhaps the most important decision you'll make is whom to hire. You'll seek out a top-notch worker with a stellar reputation, of course, but first you'll have to decide what kind of expert you're looking for.

That choice can have a dramatic effect on the cost of your project. Whether you're wondering if you really need an architect to design your new den or debating whether a handyman can handle your wiring job, here's how to figure out which pro to call.

Specialist or handyman?
The difference: Electricians, plumbers, and other specialists have the know-how to tackle any project in their area of expertise, but they cost at least $75 to $100 an hour.

A handyman doesn't have that depth of experience but has the advantage of breadth: He'll not only hang your ceiling fan but repaint the ceiling too. You'll typically pay just $25 to $50 an hour for an independent handyman. Franchises such as and will charge you more -- $50 to $100 an hour -- but are likelier to insure and bond their crews. (Both handymen and specialists may tack on an extra fee for small jobs.)

How to decide: For jobs that involve inside-the-wall changes to electricity, plumbing, or heating or cooling systems, go with a licensed specialist.

General contractor or several tradesmen?
The difference: A general contractor will handle a renovation, addition, or remodeling job from soup to nuts, bringing in whatever subcontractors he needs -- plumber, tiler, roofer, and so on. In exchange he'll mark up the subs' fees by 10% to 20%. Or you could hire those same contractors yourself and save thousands.

How to decide: If you need only one or two subs -- perhaps a plumber and a granite guy for those new counters -- and you're a veteran home improver, go for it on your own. Otherwise, a GC will spare you the hassle of getting referrals and doing due diligence on a host of pros as well as the delays and cost overruns you'll encounter by juggling multiple tradesmen yourself.

Architect or contractor?
The difference: When a contractor designs a project, he looks for efficient, cost-effective ways to achieve your goals: A family room addition is likely to be a boxy appendage off the kitchen, for example.

An architect is trained to design the new space around your family's lifestyle and to weave it seamlessly into the existing house. But his fees will also add at least 5% to 10% to your project cost -- and his design will probably cost quite a bit more to build than a general contractor's.

How to decide: Bring in an architect for any project that involves a significant alteration to your floor plan or exterior or will entail spending more than 10% of your home's value. You'll stand a better chance of coming away with a design that adds charm and value to your house.

Friday, October 23, 2009

OPEN HOUSE November 5, 2009 4pm-7pm

You’re Invited over to
Open House

We would like to re-introduce ourselves to the community. After nearly 4 years in business in the Dallas area we want to take the opportunity to invite our Friends and Neighbors over for a little meet and greet. In fact we have designed a special drink just for the occasion

“The Milicki Mojito”

Join us for lots of fun, prizes, food and the opportunity to see old friends and meet new ones.

Date: November 5, 2009
Time: 4:00pm-7:00pm
Place: Milicki & Associates
110 Evans Mill Drive, Suite 103
Dallas, GA 30157

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Forbes: Atlanta ranks No. 1 among America's 'recession proof' retirement markets

Metro Atlanta ranks No. 1 on a new list by Forbes of America's 40 "recession proof" retirement cities.

Forbes said it considered such factors as average income for seniors, current and expected home prices, job-growth predictions through 2014, the cost of living and median monthly housing cost.

Atlanta ranked 17th for number of sunny days, 17th for income of residents 65 and older, seventh for median home price, 17th for home price change predicted for 2009-2014, 11th for cost of living and 23rd for median housing cost.

Atlanta was followed by Dallas-Fort Worth, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Houston, St. Louis, Austin, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Kansas City and San Antonio.

New York finished last among the 40 cities, with Milwaukee and Boston near the bottom

click here for the ranking of 40 cities.

Monday, October 19, 2009
Atlanta Business Chronicle

Milicki & Associates, Inc.
Real Estate Specialists
110 Evans Mill Dr. Suite 103
Dallas, GA 30157

America’s First Millionaire

An excerpt from “The Millionaire Real Estate Investor”, by Gary Keller with Dave Jenks and Jay Papasan

“It’s a little-known fact that America’s first millionaire was a real estate investor. A German immigrant and the son of a butcher, he was named John Jacob Astor. In the early 1800’s Astor got rich trading in furs, tea, silk, and fine china, but that was not where his real fortune was made. Eventually he invested his trading profits in something that would prove to be even better: real estate. His most profitable investments were in New York City, and before long the man known as “Manhattans Landlord” was widely acknowledged as the wealthiest person of his time. He has not only become America’s first millionaire, he was now its first multimillionaire. Shortly before his death Astor reportedly said, “Could I begin life again, knowing what I now know, and had money to invest, I would buy every foot of land on the Island of Manhattan.” Astor passed away in 1848, leaving over $20 million to his heirs. ($20 million may not seem like a great fortune now, but in 2005 dollars it would be the equivalent of about $458 billion.) This immigrant butcher’s son not only was America’s first millionaire and multimillionaire, he was also America’s first Millionaire Real Estate Investor.

I love the story of John Jacob Astor because it captures both the art and science of investing. The art inspires us, and the science instructs us. The fact that an immigrant butcher’s son could build America’s first great fortune is the inspiration. The fact that he did it through real estate is the instruction. This is consistent with my experience. I believe there is an art and a science to achieving your highest potential in any endeavor, and building financial wealth is no exception. The art of real estate investing is about becoming inspired to overcome your MythUnderstandings and think like a millionaire Real Estate Investor. The science is about learning and applying the models these successful investors use. Up to this point we’ve addressed the art. It’s now time to address the science: the Five Models of the Millionaire Real Estate Investor.”

Friday, October 16, 2009

215 Lafayette Street, Dallas, GA 30157

This well cared for home features 4bedrooms/2bath. It is located in a well established neighborhood with close proximity to the Silver Comet Trail. Bonus Room / Office / or fourth bedroom on the lower level.

Milicki and Associates
Real Estate Specialists
110 Evans Mill Drive
Suite 103
Dallas, GA 30157
Main: 770-874-2022
Fax: 770-874-2027

Thursday, October 8, 2009

~ Tickle Your Funny Bone ~


* Avoid cutting yourself when slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop.

* Avoid arguments with the Mrs. about lifting the toilet seat by using the sink.

* For high blood pressure suffers: simply cut yourself and bleed for a few minutes, thus reducing the pressure in your veins. Remember to use a timer.

* A mouse trap, placed on top of your alarm clock, will prevent your from rolling over and going back to sleep after you hit the snooze button.

* If you have a bad cough, take a large dose of laxatives; then you'll be afraid to cough.

* You only need two tools in life: WD-40 and Duck Tape. If it doesn't move and should, use the WD-40. If it shouldn't move and it does, use the duck tape.

* If you can't fix it with a hammer, you've got an electrical problem.

And finally, a daily thought:

Hope this put a little laughter into your day!!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Featured Property

3978 Lullwater Main, Kennesaw, GA 30144

Bring your family home to this sunny haven with gleaming hardwoods on the main level. 3bed, 2 1/2 bath with a 4th bedroom downstairs that is versatile. This home has the perfect flow for entertaining. Large backyard is level and shaded. Sellers are installing new stainless steel kitchen appliances for buyer. GREAT SCHOOLS!

Milicki & Associates
Real Estate Specialists
110 Evans Mill Drive, Suite 103
Dallas, GA 30157
770.874.2022 Main
770.874.2027 Fax

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Georgia applies for high-speed rail grant

The Georgia Department of Transportation Friday October 2nd applied for $472 million in federal economic stimulus funds to build a high-speed passenger rail line from Atlanta to Macon.

The money would come from the $8 billion nationwide commitment to high-speed rail announced by President Barack Obama last spring.

If the DOT receives the entire $472 million, the funds would cover the project's full capital costs, from tracks and signals to construction of stations along the rout and enough locomotives to support three round trips per day, said Erik Steavens, the DOT's director of inter modal programs. "One of the issues we've had in the past is being able to (obtain) matching (funds), so we've applied for all of the capital costs," says Stevens.

Steavens also said the only additional funding the would be required would be about $10 million a year in operating expenses. he is confident that the General Assembly would come up with the match if the federal government puts up the rest.

Steavans said the DOT expects to find out by the end of the year whether the grant will be approved. and that the unique public-private partnership the stat has entered into with Norfolk Southern Corp. (NYSE:NSC), the freight rail carrier that owns the tracks, should work in the application's favor. "We'll have to see who else applies and what they bring to the table"

Atlanta Business Chronicle

Harris Poll: ATL, GA among most popular places

When polled where they would like to live, U.S. residents picked Atlanta as the 13th most popular city to reside and Georgia as the 14th most popular state.

New York City topped the Harris Poll this year as America's No. 1 choice to live, followed by San Francisco which was tied with Denver at the number 2 spot.
4) San Diego
5) Seattle
6) Chicago
7) Boston
8) Las Vegas
13) Atlanta

New York City topped the list every year except once in 1997.

California is the most popular state, taking the No. 1 spot for the sixth year in a row as the place Americans would like to live if they didn't live in the state they now live. Florida remains No. 2, Hawaii came in at No. 3, Texas was No. 4 and Colorado was No. 5.

"The most popular states and cities where large numbers of people would like to live tend to attract tourists and businesses" according to the Harris news release.

Atlanta Business Chronicle
October 5, 2009

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Featured Property

102 White Park Drive, Suite 300 D, Dallas, Georgia 30132
This commerical property has approximately 1500 sq.ft of light industrial space, including cabinets and a separate work area. There is approximately 600 sq.ft of finished office space with one bathroom. 14' ceiling height in the warehouse, with 12' high, 10' roll- up, drive in door.

Milicki & Associates
Real Estate Specialists
110 Evans Mill Drive
Suite 103
Dallas, GA 30157
Main: 770.874.2022
Fax: 770.874.2027
Toll Free: 1.866.966.3022