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Date Archives: January 2018

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What Impact Will the New Tax Code Have on Home Values?

Every month, CoreLogic releases its Home Price Insights Report. In that report, they forecast where they believe residential real estate prices will be in twelve months.

Below is a map, broken down by state, reflecting how home values are forecasted to change by the end of 2018 using data from the most recent report.


As we can see, CoreLogic projects an increase in home values in 49 of 50 states, and Washington, DC (there was insufficient data for HI). Nationwide, they see home prices increasing by 4.2%.

How might the new tax code impact these numbers?

Recently, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) conducted their own analysis to determine the impact the new tax code may have on home values. NAR's analysis:

"…estimated how home prices will change in the upcoming year for each state, considering the impact of the new tax law and the momentum of jobs and housing inventory."

Here is a map based on NAR's analysis:

Bottom Line

According to NAR, the new tax code will have an impact on home values across the country. However, the effect will be much less significant than what some originally thought.


The Coffee Fox

The Coffee Fox is located in the heart of Historic Downtown Savannah. The innocuous café is perched neatly on the corner of Whitaker Street and Broughton Street. On busy mornings, patrons waiting in line watch the space with darting eyes. Their hope is to snag an empty stool at the bright red bar, or possibly one of the rustic banquettes along the far wall. 

 Coffee Fox features locally-roasted PERC coffee in a variety of beverages. But those looking for a flavored beverage "a la' Starbucks," beware. You won't find any blended drinks or flavored syrups on this menu. The Coffee Fox serves, as I once heard a barista eloquently put it, "Coffee-flavored coffee." That's not to say that there isn't a variety of coffee drinks on the menu. The café menu features coffee-shop standards like Cortaditos, Americanos, Mochas and Lattes. The Coffee Fox even has Matcha Green Tea and Chai Lattes, as well as a Horchata Latte which features horchata made fresh on premises daily.

The Coffee Fox

The Espresso Tonic has gained something of a cult following with locals. Made with PERC espresso, Fevertree tonic water and garnished with a fresh orange twist, the beverage is admittedly an acquired taste, but those in the know can tell you that it's ideal for beating the heat and getting a bit of caffeine buzz at the same time. An added bonus is how the drink looks — served in a snifter glass emblazoned with The Coffee Fox brand, the tonic and espresso separate into individual layers, while the fresh orange twist rests jauntily on top of the beverage.

Those looking for something to drink with a little more punch can find solace in a selection of wine and craft beers. The Coffee Fox also offers its own version of a mimosa, made with guava nectar and champagne. Another Coffee Fox favorite is the Eye Opener, which is PERC espresso and Left Hand Milk Stout beer. Not for the faint of heart or appetite, this rich beverage delivers a double buzz. 

The case at the front of the café houses a dazzling display of freshly-baked goods. The kolache, of which there are usually 5 or 6 different flavors, are prominently displayed on the top shelf. The case always holds egg, sausage and cheddar, bacon and cheddar, and cream cheese kolache. A savory variety, as well as a fruit and cream cheese variety, rotate every few days. Some of the more popular savory flavors are bar-b-q pulled pork and cheddar, the sunrise scrambler, and sausage and Vidalia onion with thyme. The fruit and cream cheese variety run the gamut from cherry and cream cheese to the ever-decadent Nutella and cream cheese. 

While sometimes the line in the limited space of the café can seem daunting, the efficiency of the baristas along with a mostly paperless transaction, keep people moving, cup in hand. With locals grabbing a cup before heading into the office, tourists sleepily scanning the menu, or SCAD students hunched over sketchbooks,  the Coffee Fox has managed to capture that feeling of quirky community that makes living in Historic Downtown Savannah enviable.

The Coffee Fox

102 W Broughton St, Savannah, GA 31401
Open Daily at 7 a.m. (8 a.m. on Sundays)
(912) 401-0399

Home Buyers

Many people wonder whether they should hire a real estate professional to assist them in buying their dream homes or if they should first try to go through the buying process on their own. In today's market: you need an experienced professional!

You Need an Expert Guide If You Are Traveling a Dangerous Path

The field of real estate is loaded with landmines; you need a true expert to guide you through the dangerous pitfalls that currently exist. Finding a home that is priced appropriately and is ready for you to move into can be tricky. An agent listens to your wants and needs, and can sift through the homes that do not fit within the parameters of your "dream home."

A great agent will also have relationships with mortgage professionals and other experts that you will need in order to secure your dream home. 

You Need a Skilled Negotiator

In today's market, hiring a talented negotiator could save you thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of dollars. Each step of the way – from the original offer to the possible renegotiation of that offer after a home inspection, to the possible cancellation of the deal based on a troubled appraisal – you need someone who can keep the deal together until it closes.

Realize that when an agent is negotiating his or her commission with you, they are negotiating their own salary; the salary that keeps a roof over their family's head; the salary that puts food on their family's table. If they are quick to take less when negotiating for themselves and their families, what makes you think they will not act the same way when negotiating for you and your family?

If they were Clark Kent when negotiating with you, they will not turn into Superman when negotiating with the buyer or seller in your deal. 

Bottom Line

Famous sayings become famous because they are true. You get what you pay for. Just like a good accountant or a good attorney, a good agent will save you money…not cost you money.

Contact Cora Bett Thomas Realty Today!


What Did You Discover During the Snowpocalypse?

Winterizing Your Home | Cora Bett Southern Realty News

Savannah doesn't always experience winters that are as harsh as other parts of the country. Every winter in Savannah there will be a few days when you discover an extra draft or two around the house. But as this season has already shown us, it's always good to have strong plan to winterize your home. A draft or two during a typical cold snap is pretty tolerable, but a few days and nights well below freezing can make a older Southern home more uncomfortable. Here are a few tips for making sure your home is ready for whatever the rest of this winter throws at you.

4 Easy Post Storm Winterizing Your Home Tips

Winterizing Your Home | Cora Bett Southern Realty News

Run Fans in Reverse

Many homes in Savannah have ceiling fans, which are absolutely necessary in the sultry summer weather. But many people don't realize that running fans clockwise will change the distribution of the air in your house produce a warming effect. Most ceiling fans come with a handy little switch that will reverse the direction of the fan blades from counterclockwise (cooling by driving air down) to clockwise (warming by drawing air up).  Just don't forget to switch them back!

Reduce Drafts

Drafts can waste anywhere from 5%-30% of your home energy use. This is a problem that can be easily remedied with a draft snake. Make one of your own by using a rolled bath towel, or get creative with scraps of cloth and fillings such as sand or kitty litter for added heft.

Mind Your Thermostat

It's easy to forget to turn down the heat when you're leaving your house, but doing so is one of the easiest ways to save money. Most houses shell out 50%-70% of their energy budgets on heating and cooling. For every degree that you lower your thermostat during the winter, you will save between 1% and 3% on your heating bill. Better still, invest in a programmable thermostat such as a Nest.

Put Up Some Plastic

Like the draft snake, this is an easy and inexpensive and temporary method for winterizing your home. Pick up a window insulation kit at your local discount or hardware store. If properly installed, the plastic will be virtually invisible. A little patience, the kit and a hair dryer and you will have less drafty and more efficient home. Speaking from experience, you will notice a difference in the amount of heat that your home retains from insulating your windows with one of these easy-to-use kits. 


When to Go Beyond Your Budget

Determining Your Budget

As we've mentioned before, most homebuyers should be conservative when determining your budget. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. These exceptions include:

  • People who have stable employment and have a high probability of remaining stably employed, such as government workers;
  • People who know they will have a big increase in income due to something like a spouse returning to work, or an impending signing bonus/pay raise; and
  • People who are about to get a large amount of cash by selling off their liquid investments.

So, if you already have significant savings and you know your monthly income is going to remain stable and/or increase in the near future, then it is relatively safe for you to push to the high end of your mortgage budget. Of course, this is provided that you a) feel comfortable doing so, and b) you know that you still will have cash on hand every month to make your full mortgage payment. If you decide to push to the high end of your mortgage budget, then you should  make sure to stick to this new limit.

Some lenders will approve you for a mortgage that takes your debt-to-income ratio higher than 43% if they believe that you will be able to make your payments in full and on time. However, other lenders may deny you because they are not confident in your ability to fulfill your loan obligations. If you encounter such a situation, and a lender refuses to approve you for a loan, you may ask if you are "approve eligible." This term means that you are eligible for a loan based on your application, and if you can confirm that you are "approve eligible," then you may be able to find another lender to approve you for a loan. 

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