Wednesday, December 30, 2009

HGTV’s FrontDoor.com Identifies Top 10 Real Estate Predictions for 2010

(BUSINESS WIRE)--With some subtle signs of recovery in the housing market, the real estate industry is due to bounce back – but more challenges could lie ahead for buyers and sellers alike. HGTV’s FrontDoor.com identifies the top 10 must-know real estate trends for the coming year: (http://www.frontdoor.com/top10)

#10: Cash is king. All-cash offers will become even more popular for foreclosures and short sales, as banks would rather get less money than deal with the hassles of loan transactions.

#9: Smoother short sales. As lenders and real estate professionals become more accustomed to short sales (sales in which the proceeds are less than the outstanding debt), the process will become more streamlined and successful for all parties involved.

#8: Tricky appraisal rules. Due to the government’s Home Valuation Code of Conduct passed in May, property appraisals will be more expensive and take longer, sometimes hindering (or breaking) real estate deals.

#7: A conflicted construction market. Though lenders are still reluctant to finance new housing projects for builders, there’s a chance of double-digit increases in new construction next year (according to the McGraw-Hill Construction Outlook Report).

#6: Rising mortgage rates. The Fed’s effort to keep mortgage rates at historic lows is scheduled to end in March. Homebuyers should act now to capitalize on the lowest interest rates in years.

#5: Lending standards still tight. With the subprime mortgage debacle in recent memory, lenders will continue to require stellar credit and thorough documentation from borrowers.

#4: Some stabilizing home values. Nationally, the outlook for home values is good, with a rise in home prices during the last two quarters of 2009. Locally, however, many markets are a long way from full recovery.

#3: More foreclosures to come. Though more homes will go into foreclosure in 2010, some homeowners will be able to lease back their property at market rental rates for a year’s time, allowing more people to stay in their homes longer.

#2: More buyers entering the market. The government’s first-time homebuyer tax credit was extended to April 30 and to a broader range of buyers, which should bring even more buying activity to bear.

#1: Still a buyer’s market. As 2010 looks to be another year of low home prices and a robust inventory of homes for sale, it will still be the best opportunity for buyers to cash in on some great real estate deals.

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Monday, December 28, 2009

New Tax Credit Includes Current Homeowners

(NAPSI)-Many current homeowners can now qualify for up to a $6,500 home buyer tax credit. The initial success of the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit convinced Washington to expand the program and extend it until April 30, 2010. This extension, however, will be the last.

Under the extended home buyer tax credit, current homeowners are eligible as long as they have lived in their present residence for five consecutive years within the past eight. First-time home buyers who haven't owned a home in the past three years are still eligible for up to an $8,000 tax credit. Singles who make up to $125,000 and married couples who make up to $225,000 can qualify for the full credit. Those who exceed those income limits may qualify for a reduced amount.

"The new provisions and modifications make an already enticing real estate market even more attractive and accessible. Interest rates are low and home prices are more affordable now than they have been in decades," said National Association of Realtors® (NAR) Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. "There's never been a better time for potential buyers to invest in their future through homeownership."

Many areas are already seeing a rise in home prices and demand, with multiple bids on properties becoming more common. According to the NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, first-time home buyers became homeowners in record numbers over the past year, comprising 47 percent of all home sales between July 2008 and June 2009. This flood of activity helped shrink housing inventory levels. Reduced inventory is a sign the market is returning to a more balanced state and helps sustain home values.

Yun said that while the housing crisis isn't over, the extended and expanded tax credit is a step in the right direction.

"The bottom line is that the housing market is doing much better now than one year ago, and the home purchases using the tax credit should continue to reduce inventory to acceptable levels. The extension is a big win for consumers, but to take advantage of this rare opportunity, would-be buyers need to get the ball rolling and contact a Realtor® who can help them on the path toward owning a home."

For more information about the tax credit, visit www.HouseLogic.com/homebuyertaxcredit.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

3344 Peachtree Nears 90 Percent Leased

Luxury Atlanta Mixed-Use Tower nearing commercial capacity

Regent Partners, one of Atlanta’s leading real estate development firms and very recent winner of the Urban Land Institute’s prestigious “Project of the Year” for its development of the luxury high rise Sovereign, has leased close to 90-percent of its commercial real estate space at Sovereign. This success comes at a time when Buckhead faces historically high class A office vacancy rates.

The 50 story mixed used tower on Peachtree Road in Atlanta’s Buckhead district that includes more than one-half million square feet of Class A office and retail space, recently welcomed tenants, Asset Preservation Advisors, Crescent Wealth Management and the Law Firm of Weinberg, Wheeler, Hudgins, Gunn, & Dial. Together, these firms represent over 80,000 square feet of new occupancy which comes on the heels of the very successful November opening of Bistro Niko, Buckhead Life Groups’ newest restaurant which is located on Peachtree Road in the buildings retail area.

The luxury high-rise also continues to see success on the residential side, selling two luxury condos during the third quarter, including one of its Penthouse units, which will be the highest residence in Atlanta. The recent success at Sovereign, contradicts the current trend of struggling residential and commercial real estate developments across the Atlanta landscape.

“We are extremely pleased that we are continuing to experience such strong success on both our commercial and residential sides,” said Regents Partners Principal, David Tennery. “When you look at the current realities of the overall Atlanta real estate market, we are truly blessed to be in the position we are in. We worked hard and took considerable risks in order to deliver a project that could make a long-term difference in the community and it would appear that the strategy, combined with significant determination have indeed been well received by the market.”

The development concept for Sovereign began as early as the mid 1990’s, but design plans did not begin in earnest until the early 2000’s. The multi-use project was completed in mid 2008. Designed by architects, Stewart, Stewart & Associates the 635-foot building is Buckhead’s tallest building to date. It’s fluid and organic architecture that includes curved features has enabled Sovereign to quickly become a City landmark and the center piece for the Buckhead district.

Sovereign has consistently been acknowledged with several industry and community accolades over the last few years including the Best of the Best Award in McGraw-Hill Construction’s (MHC) national competition, which recognizes design and construction excellence in residential projects. Sovereign competed against winners from 11 regions in MHC publications’ Best of 2008 Awards to be recognized as the overall Best of the Best.

Their most recent accomplishments complement a series of awards and accolades that Sovereign has received since 2007, prior to its opening in 2008. The multiple achievements include Regent Partners, LLC being named as Development Firm of the Year by the Georgia Chapter of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties and the 2008 Development of Excellence Award – Livable Center Initiative Achievement Award from the Atlanta Regional Commission and the Livable Communities Coalition. Also, The Atlanta Business Chronicle named 3344 Peachtree/Sovereign the 2007 Deal of the Year for Mixed-Use Development and the Development Authority of Fulton County awarded 3344 Peachtree/Sovereign with the 2007 Economic Development Award.

About 3344 Peachtree/Sovereign:
Developed by Atlanta-based Regent Partners, LLC, Sovereign, located at 3344 Peachtree Road in Buckhead is a 50 story mixed-use tower designed by architects, Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart, Stewart & Associates. The 635-foot tower includes more than one-half million square feet of Class A office and retail space crowned by the 82 residences of Sovereign. Homes are offered from $1 million and begin on the building's 28th story affording penthouse-like views from all residences, which range from more than 1,700 square feet to more than 10,000 square feet. Sovereign, which was named Best in Atlanta Real Estate in 2007, includes fine dining at Bistro Niko, a Buckhead Life Signature French restaurant and the services of the distinguished Buckhead Club. As a mixed-use new urban design, Sovereign offers unparalleled private pedestrian and automobile access to major roadways, restaurants, services, shopping and recreation. Residential sales at Sovereign are handled by Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby's International Realty. For more information about Sovereign, please call 404-266-3344 or visit www.sovereignbuckhead.com.

About Regent Partners:
Established in 1988, Regent Partners, LLC is a leading Atlanta-based real estate development, investment and services firm. Currently the partnership has more than one half billion dollars in development projects under way. Since its inception the company has acquired and developed more than 10 million square feet of office, residential and hotel space valued in excess of $2.0 billion. Regent Partners' diverse portfolio includes hotel, residential, office, retail, mixed-use and land holdings. The senior management team consists of executives with more than 150 years of combined experience in acquiring, re-positioning, developing, managing, leasing and constructing commercial real estate assets. For more information about Regent Partners, visit www.regentpartners.com.
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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Lending Industry Still Fighting Mortgage Modification as Foreclosure Crisis Continues

/PRNewswire/ -- As the House debates the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009 this week, the lending industry continues to fight a mortgage modification provision that would allow bankruptcy judges to adjust the terms of mortgages to help struggling families as part of a broader effort to stem the worsening foreclosure crisis.

Lending industry opponents of the measure, some of the biggest recipients of federal bailout money, have spent lavishly on lobbying and campaign contributions in 2009. An analysis by Common Cause and Public Campaign shows that the coalition of banks opposed to the mortgage modification provision - including Citigroup, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase & Co -- have spent more than $80 million on lobbying and more than $6 million on campaign contributions this year, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.

"These Wall Street banks were rescued by the taxpayers after they almost collapsed under their own bad investments," said Common Cause President Bob Edgar. "They took that money and are spending millions lobbying and making campaign contributions to stop proposals that would help those same taxpayers keep their homes."

"From regulatory reform to health care, campaign cash from Wall Street interests is permeating every corner of debate in Washington, D.C.," said Nick Nyhart, president and CEO of Public Campaign. "Congress must create a political system that works for all of us, not just those with money to spare. It's time to pass the Fair Elections Now Act."

The House is currently debating the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009 (HR 4173), the most significant overhaul of the financial industry since the New Deal. It may take up the bankruptcy amendment offered by Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D-MI) and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) as soon as today. The House passed identical language in March, but the effort ran aground in the Senate.

Some House members want the Senate to reconsider the proposal, as most major lenders have not responded to the voluntary initiatives adopted in place of the bankruptcy provision. The Treasury Department estimates that only one-in-five eligible households have received government assistance through these voluntary programs.

Common Cause and Public Campaign continue to work to pass the Fair Elections Now Act (H.R. 1826 / S.752) as the comprehensive solution to the pay-to-play culture in Washington, D.C. exposed by the debate over regulatory reform. The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.) would create a citizen-funded election system for Congress in which candidates could run for office on a blend of small donations and public funds.

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Fattah's Emergency Mortgage Assistance Plan for the Jobless Moves Close to House Passage

/PRNewswire/ -- A $3 billion emergency mortgage assistance program for unemployed homeowners -- authored by Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA) and based on a successful Pennsylvania program that Fattah helped create as a young state legislator -- is on the verge of passage in the House of Representatives.

"There's broad agreement that a major threat to homeowners today is loss of their homes because of unemployment and job distress through no fault of their own," Fattah said. "Our program is a game changer, especially for struggling homeowners in our cities and rural areas and for minorities. It will provide $3 billion in TARP funds for mortgage payments that will keep these families in their homes.

"This has been a six year effort in the House since I first introduced mortgage assistance of the unemployed in 2003, and now we're on the verge of success," Fattah said. "The Obama Administration supports this effort, and I look forward to passage in the Senate followed by the President's signature in the near future."

In Pennsylvania, unemployed and financially distressed homeowners have received $236 million in emergency mortgage assistance since 1983, when the Homeowners' Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (HEMAP) was enacted by the Legislature. (Most of those loans have been repaid.) Fattah, as a 26-year-old freshman state representative, took the lead in designing and winning approval for the HEMAP program.

"HEMAP has been a big winner for homeowners in Pennsylvania, especially in our most impoverished urban and rural areas," Fattah said. "The program has drawn praise from housing and mortgage advocates in Philadelphia and elsewhere, and now it becomes the model for this much needed national scale-up."

Fattah's HEMA proposal was incorporated into H.R. 3766, the Main Street TARP Act, introduced by Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass) of the Financial Services Committee, with Subcommittee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Rep. Fattah as original cosponsors.

H.R. 3766 proposes to use unspent TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) funds to provide relief for distressed homeowners who are unable to meet their mortgage obligations due to financial hardship, as well as providing assistance to renters seeking affordable housing. The mortgage assistance provisions have been included in the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009 (H.R. 4173).

Chairman Frank, sponsor of the overall Wall Street Reform bill, and Subcommittee Chairwoman Waters, have praised the Philadelphia Congressman's initiative on mortgage relief. Frank will include the Main Street TARP Act's key provisions into what's called the Manager's Amendment to the Wall Street Reform bill, which is scheduled for final action in the House this week.

Under Fattah's HEMA proposal, a lender must inform a homeowner in mortgage default about the HEMA program before the lender can begin foreclosure proceedings.

A homeowner found eligible to participate in the program then makes a partial mortgage payment to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development instead of the lender. HUD subsequently pays the homeowner's entire monthly mortgage to the lender provided that the homeowner has a reasonable prospect of resuming mortgage payments within 24 months.

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Bankrate: Mortgage Rates Remain Near Record Lows

/PRNewswire/ -- The average conforming 30-year fixed mortgage moved a touch higher from 5 percent to 5.01 percent, according to Bankrate.com's weekly national survey. The average 30-year fixed mortgage has an average of 0.39 discount and origination points.

The average 15-year fixed mortgage set a new record low of 4.46 percent while the larger jumbo 30-year fixed rate inched lower to 6.02 percent. Adjustable rate mortgages posted mixed results, with the average 3-year ARM jumping to 4.77 percent and the 5-year ARM sinking to 4.52 percent.

Mortgage rates are at ultra-low levels because the Federal Reserve isn't showing any indication of raising interest rates soon and because investors around the globe maintain a healthy appetite for debt backed by the U.S. government. The demand for government debt and federally guaranteed mortgage-backed securities have kept bond prices elevated and held bond yields down. Mortgage rates are closely related to yields on government and mortgage-backed debt. However, there are no guarantees about how long mortgage rates will remain near record lows.

Mortgage rates are nearly one full percentage point lower than one year ago. This time last year, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 5.92 percent, meaning a $200,000 loan would have carried a monthly payment of $1,188.83. With the average rate now 5.01 percent, the monthly payment for the same size loan would be $1,074.87, a savings of $114 per month for a homeowner refinancing now.

SURVEY RESULTS
30-year fixed: 5.01% -- up from 5.00% last week (avg. points: 0.39)
15-year fixed: 4.46% -- down from 4.47% last week (avg. points: 0.32)
5/1 ARM: 4.52% -- down from 4.54% last week (avg. points: 0.30)

Bankrate's national weekly mortgage survey is conducted each Wednesday from data provided by the top 10 banks and thrifts in the top 10 markets.

For a full analysis of this week's move in mortgage rates, go to http://www.bankrate.com/mortgagerates

The survey is complemented by Bankrate's weekly forward-looking Rate Trend Index, in which a panel of mortgage experts predicts which way the rates are headed over the next 30 to 45 days. The majority of panelists, 62 percent, expect mortgage rates to head higher and just 7 percent predict lower rates. Nearly one in three, or 31 percent, forecast that rates will remain more or less unchanged over the next 30 to 45 days.

For the full mortgage Rate Trend Index, go to http://www.bankrate.com/RTI

To see mortgage rates in your area, go to http://www.bankrate.com/funnel/mortgages/

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Monday, November 30, 2009

Tweaking Voluntary Measures Won't Stop Foreclosures

/PRNewswire/ -- The following is a statement by Michael Calhoun, President, Center for Responsible Lending:

"The Obama administration's latest adjustments to its nine-month-old foreclosure prevention program do little but highlight the continued failure of lenders' voluntary efforts to stop the foreclosure crisis. The number of Americans in foreclosure continues to rise dramatically, with up to three million new foreclosure starts this year alone, a trend that undermines economic recovery.

To address the foreclosure crisis that's at the root of the current slump will require more comprehensive action. Specifically, Congress must:

-- Require loan companies stop foreclosure proceedings while loan
modifications are under consideration.
-- Require loan companies to work with homeowners in distress.
Recognizing that the current voluntary system has failed, the House
and Senate currently are considering bills to make loss mitigation
efforts mandatory.
-- Create a low-cost, short-term loan program for unemployed homeowners
who have no other option for keeping current on their mortgage.
-- Require Treasury to go beyond selectively publishing loan servicing
data and make all data available so the public - including taxpayers -
can better evaluate the program and the efforts of individual
companies.
-- Allow stressed homeowners the option of lowering their principal
mortgage balance, including through bankruptcy courts.


Lenders have insisted for almost three years now that they will voluntarily address the foreclosure crisis, but the record shows they've made too few long-term modifications. The HAMP program the administration introduced last spring was an improvement, but it was originally designed as just one part of the solution, along with allowing homeowners to seek loan modifications through the existing court system.

Without mandatory requirements and fully disclosed results, foreclosure prevention efforts--no matter how well-intentioned--will not succeed. And the cost of failure will be borne by not just struggling homeowners, but by their neighbors, communities, and the larger economy."

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Housing conference set for Dec. 17

Real Estate Solutions: Best Practices for Today’s Housing Market—a daylong conference designed to help community leaders throughout Georgia return to the tax rolls abandoned, foreclosed and vacant homes, unfinished subdivisions, and abandoned developments—will be held Thursday, Dec. 17, at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education.

“Few communities in Georgia have been spared from the housing crisis,” according to Anne Sweaney, chair of the department of housing and consumer economics and director of the Housing and Demographics Research Center in the University of Georgia College of Family and Consumer Sciences. “Most communities have large numbers of unsold, unoccupied houses, and many have one or more partially developed subdivisions with vacant lots and vacant homes. In planning this conference, we have found some excellent strategies to deal with these challenges. Vacant homes and vacant lots take a toll on property tax revenue and can result in blight. Many communities, though they would not have chosen the crisis, are making it work for them.”

Among the speakers at the conference will be Dan Immergluck, associate professor of city and regional planning at Georgia Tech. Immergluck is the author of “Forclosed: High-Risk Lending, Deregulation and the Undermining of America’s Mortgage Market,” which was published this year. He has also conducted extensive research in the areas of housing and mortgage market finance; subprime lending, foreclosures and their community impacts; community reinvestment and fair lending; and the impacts of tax increment financing and related policies.

The conference will also include talks by Patricia Hoban-Moore, deputy regional director of the U.S. Housing and Urban Development department, and Shirley Sherrod, who is the state director of rural development for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They will each provide their perspectives on housing issues following a video presentation by U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson.

Several speakers from throughout Georgia will discuss how they are restoring properties to the tax rolls in their communities, Sweaney said, such as the city of Fitzgerald, which has taken advantage of the reduced price of foreclosed properties to improve housing affordability.

“Because Georgia benefited so greatly from the housing boom, we’re also in the top percentage nationwide in foreclosures,” she said. “However, leaders throughout the state have developed effective, sustainable strategies are addressing these issues and are eager to share their successes and discuss their challenges with their colleagues.”

In addition to local elected officials and government employees, the conference will also benefit real estate agents, mortgage bankers and lenders, homebuilders, developers, apartment property managers, non-profit housing organizations and others interested in housing and community development. Elected municipal officials attending the conference will receive a six-hour credit that can be applied toward certification from the Harold F. Holtz Municipal Training Institute.

Registration for the conference is $45 on or before Dec. 1 and $55 after Dec. 1. To register, call 1-800-884-1381 or 706-542-2134 or go to http://www.georgiacenter.uga.edu/conferences/2009/Dec/17/housing.phtml.

In addition to the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, the conference is sponsored by the UGA Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach, the Association County Commissioners of Georgia, the Georgia Municipal Association, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, and the Georgia Department of Labor. Additional partners include U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Georgia State Trade Association of Non Profit Developers.

For more information, call Karen Tinsley, 706-542-4949, or email her at klt@uga.edu.

By Denise Horton
University of Georgia

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Leslie Binion and Andy Rice Join Parks & Mottola Realty

Local real estate brokerage adds experienced agents to its team

Parks & Mottola Realty welcomes two new REALTORS® to its ranks. Leslie Binion and Andy Rice recently joined the Newnan-based firm. Though new to the Parks & Mottola team, neither is new to real estate.

Newnan native Leslie Binion has been a licensed real estate agent since 2006. She holds a BA from Florida State University. Leslie also attended Southern College of Technology (now Southern Polytechnic Institute). Prior to real estate, Leslie worked at her family’s business, Brown Steel Contractors, owned and operated by her parents, Mrs. Pat Brown and the late Sam Brown. Leslie also worked in the technology field as a software engineer and a technical writer.

An equestrian enthusiast, Leslie has competed in eventing, dressage, and amateur Point-to-Points. For ten years she owned and operated Hidden Creek Farm, training and boarding horses. Leslie is a member of the Newnan Coweta Board of REALTORS®. She resides in Moreland with her two daughters, Kendal and Samantha.

Andy Rice is a life-long resident of Coweta County. He attended the University of Georgia and later earned degree in real estate from the State University of West Georgia. Andy has been an active Certified General Appraiser with over 12 years of experience appraising land, commercial, industrial, residential and special purpose properties. He is a MAI Designation Candidate. That professional designation is held by appraisers experienced in the valuation and evaluation of commercial, industrial, residential, and other properties, and who advise clients on real estate investment decisions.

Andy and his wife Rachel are active members of Newnan First United Methodist Church. They have two daughters and make their home in Newnan. In addition to real estate, Andy continues his work as an appraiser. He is a member of the Newnan Coweta Board of REALTORS®.

Parks & Mottola Realty, LLC, is a Newnan-based real estate company serving Coweta, Fayette, Heard, South Fulton, Meriwether, Troup and other counties for more than 24 years. Founded in 1985, Parks & Mottola employs more than 30 licensed salespeople specializing in residential, land, commercial and investment properties. The company has a full-time marketing and relocation director and is a member of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, a global network of 150,000 associates assisting individuals and corporations in the relocation process. Parks & Mottola also offers land-planning services through a Certified Land Planner and Registered Landscape Architect.

To contact Leslie or Andy or for more information on services or available properties, call 770.253.7005 or visit www.ParksandMottola.com.
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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Isakson Praises Senate’s Unanimous Passage of Legislation to Extend, Expand Home Buyer Tax Credit

This Bill in the End Is a Jobs Bill’

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today praised the Senate’s unanimous passage of his legislation to extend and expand the first-time home buyer tax credit. The legislation passed by a vote of 98 to 0.

“The key to returning stability to the economy lies within the housing market, and we have crafted a meaningful credit that will create a strong foundation for future growth and make a measurable difference over the next seven months in our economy,” Isakson said. “Tax credits like this only work by creating the sense of urgency to take advantage of them. This is the last extension of the home buyer tax credit, and I urge all Americans whether they're first-time buyers who’ve always dreamed of having a home of their own or someone who's been gridlocked in the failure of our move-up market to take advantage of this opportunity.”

Isakson has worked with Senate leadership over the last two weeks to expand the home buyer tax credit to include buyers in the “trade-in” or “move-up” market, because he believes the real housing recession is with homeowners who are delaying purchasing their next home. The amendment would establish a new $6,500 tax credit for “move-up” buyers so long as the home they are leaving has been their principal residence for five years or more.

“We are about to do something very meaningful for the American economy,” Isakson said shortly before the vote. “This bill in the end is a jobs bill.”

Isakson added his extension and expansion of the home buyer tax credit to legislation to extend unemployment benefits. The bill now goes back to the House.

Both the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit as well as the $6,500 tax credit for “move-up” buyers would sunset on April 30, 2010. However, individuals who have contracts as of April 30, 2010, would still qualify for the credit so long as they complete the transaction within 60 days. The amendment establishes income limits of $125,000 for an individual or $225,000 for a couple for both credits. The cost of the home being purchased may not exceed $800,000 in order to be eligible for the credit.

For purchases made in 2010, taxpayers would be able to claim the credit on their 2009 income tax return. Home buyers would not have to repay the credit, provided the home remains their principal residence for 36 months after the purchase date. However, this recapture provision would not apply in the case of a member of the Armed Forces, military intelligence or Foreign Service who is on qualified official extended duty. In addition, members of the military who have been deployed overseas for 90 days or more in 2008 or 2009 would have until April 30, 2011, to claim the home buyer tax credit.

The amendment also includes anti-fraud language that gives the IRS the authority to do greater oversight during the processing of the return rather than waiting for an audit situation. The amendment requires the taxpayer claiming the credit to be 18 or older, and requires a HUD-1 settlement statement to be attached when claiming the credit.

Isakson has pushed hard for a tax credit for home buyers since January 2008 because he knows that it will work. In the mid-1970s, America faced a similar housing crisis, and Congress responded by passing a $2,000 tax credit for anyone purchasing a new home for their principal residence. Isakson, who was in the real estate industry in Atlanta at the time, says the results were clear and swift as home values stabilized, housing inventory dropped and the market recovered.

Isakson spent more than three decades in the real estate business, beginning his business career in 1967 when he opened the first Cobb County, Ga., office of a small, family-owned real estate business, Northside Realty. Isakson later served as president of Northside for 20 years, presiding over the company’s growth into the largest independent residential real estate brokerage company in the Southeast and one of the largest in America.
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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Coldwell Banker Bullard: Gordy Earns Agent Leader Status for Jackson Office

Danielle Gordy has been named September Individual Agent Leader for the Jackson office of Coldwell Banker Bullard Realty. Julie Epperson was No. 2 and Debbie Ingram was No. 3.
Gordy attended Griffin Technical College’s real estate pre-license course in 2009 and upon passing the state licensing test joined Coldwell Banker Bullard Realty. Prior to entering real estate, Gordy received her Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Clayton State College and University. She resides in Jackson with her husband and two year old son.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Avoidable Foreclosures Continue Despite Servicers' 'Loan Modifications'

/PRNewswire/ -- Why have several recent programs designed to encourage loan modifications failed to slow America's still-worsening home mortgage foreclosure crisis? A new report from the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) discloses that mortgage servicers - including many large banks - have found it cheaper to foreclose on homeowners than to offer loan modifications that would benefit homeowners and investors.

The result: Americans who might be able to stay in their homes under a loan modification plan are being moved right past that option and on to foreclosure.

The new NCLC report, "Why Servicers Foreclose, When They Should Modify, and Other Puzzles of Servicer Behavior," reveals that servicers, unlike investors or homeowners, generally don't risk losing money on foreclosures. In fact, servicers usually make money on foreclosures.

Report author Diane E. Thompson, an attorney with NCLC, said, "The country is in the midst of a foreclosure crisis of unprecedented proportions. Millions of families have lost their homes and millions more are expected to lose their homes in the next few years. With home values plummeting and layoffs common, homeowners are crumbling under the weight of mortgages that were at best only marginally affordable when made. One common sense solution to the foreclosure crisis is to modify the loan terms in more instances. Foreclosures are a costly ordeal for the homeowner, the lender, and the community. Yet they continue to outstrip loan modifications because servicers have no incentive to help borrowers stay in their homes."

Who are these servicers that profit from foreclosures? Servicers are the banks or financial companies that usually collect payments and administer mortgage loans. They play a key role in the current foreclosure crisis, since original lenders frequently sell loans to investment trusts that rely on servicers to carry out most day to day transactions. Homeowners seeking to save their homes by modifying unaffordable loans typically deal with servicers. That is why the financial interests of servicers have the potential to hurt homeowners.

And too many of those financial incentives encourage servicers to ignore the interests of homeowners. For example, the report found that servicers often deny homeowners principal and interest rate reductions because as servicers they find it profitable to offer repayment plans or forbearance agreements that do little to reduce homeowners' debt burdens.

The consequences of such choices can be grim for homeowners. As the NCLC report notes: "Loan modifications inevitably cost the servicer something. A servicer deciding between a foreclosure and a loan modification faces the prospect of near certain loss if the loan is modified, and no penalty, but potential profit, if the home is foreclosed."

The NCLC report also found that the lack of third-party oversight allows servicers to pursue foreclosure instead of effective loan modifications that would benefit homeowners as well as investors. While credit rating agencies and bond insurers do monitor servicers, their oversight too often encourages servicers to foreclose.

The NCLC report includes a detailed examination of loans in foreclosure from 1995-2009 and how components of servicer compensation affected the likelihood and speed of foreclosure. It also looks at the rise of the servicer industry as a by-product of securitization; and the limited, but only effective oversight of servicers by credit rating agencies and bond insurers.

RECOMMENDED REFORMS

Thompson said: "The people who could change the way servicers are doing business - Congress, the Administration, and the Securities and Exchange Commission - and the market participants who set the terms of engagement - credit rating agencies and bond insurers - have failed to provide servicers with the necessary incentives to reduce foreclosures and increase loan modifications."

The NCLC report outlines the following action steps:

-- Avoid irresponsible lending through regulation of loan origination
-- Mandate loan modifications before a foreclosure
-- Fund quality mediation programs
-- Provide for principal reductions on existing loans in the
Administration's Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) and
through bankruptcy reform
-- Increase automated and standardized loan modifications for borrowers
in default and provide a safety net for borrowers for whom a
standardized modification is not affordable or who later default,
through no fault of their own, on a loan modification
-- Ease accounting rules for modifications to facilitate standardized
review, encourage long-term modifications, and enhance servicer
recovery of the expenses incurred in performing a modification
-- Require more transparency and uniformity in how servicers report loan
modifications to investors
-- Limit fees charged borrowers in default to reasonable and necessary
ones

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Cash for Clunker Mortgages Program Unveiled

/PRNewswire/ -- The Cash for Clunker Cars program ended on August 24, but another stimulus program has recently been established. The Cash for Clunker Mortgages program begins October 19 and enables holders of nonperforming mortgages to trade them in for cash.

Holders of nonperforming First Mortgages are losing money each month as holding costs accrue and property values deteriorate. In an effort to allow lenders and servicers to focus their efforts on the loans more likely to qualify for the Home Affordable Mortgage Program (HAMP), Cash for Clunker Mortgages will pay competitive prices for nonperforming First Mortgages. Nonperforming loans, particularly those in bankruptcy or other litigation, demand a disproportionate amount of time and effort to service. Thus, loans eligible for Cash for Clunker Mortgages include charge offs, those secured by low-value homes and those owned by borrowers in bankruptcy or litigation, all of which are high maintenance for the servicing industry.

In an effort to provide prompt dispositions of these assets, Preliminary Indicative Bids will be furnished within 48-hours. Once the Preliminary Indicative Bid is approved by the seller, due diligence will be completed on the mortgages. Funding typically occurs within 3 to 4 weeks of receiving summary loan data. Cash for Clunker Mortgages is open to all holders of nonperforming mortgages secured by single family homes and 2 - 4 unit properties anywhere in the United States. Furthermore, both bulk pools and single assets are eligible.

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Freddie Mac CEO Charles E. 'Ed' Haldeman, Jr. Statement on New Initiative for State and Local Housing Finance Agencies

/PRNewswire/ -- The following statement was released today by Charles E. "Ed" Haldeman, Jr., Chief Executive Officer, Freddie Mac (NYSE:FRE) :

"We are pleased that President Obama and Secretary Geithner are calling on Freddie Mac to play a central role in this new phase of the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan. This will give critical credit and liquidity support to our nation's state and local housing finance agencies when they need it most."

"Today's announcement marks a new and important way to reinvigorate the nation's housing markets and underscores Freddie Mac's vital role in the nation's economic recovery."

"We look forward to working with state and local housing finance agencies, the Administration and the Federal Housing Finance Agency over the coming months to implement this crucial initiative to deliver affordable housing credit to local markets across the nation."

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

St. Simons Island, Georgia to Offer Oceanfront Estate, Villas, Lots at J. P. King Real Estate Auction

(BUSINESS WIRE)--J. P. King Auction Company, the nation’s leading real estate auction company specializing in high-value properties, is managing the real estate auction of an oceanfront estate, ocean-view villas and beach-view lots on St. Simons Island. The real estate auction will take place on-site, Saturday, October 24, at 2:00 p.m.

“St. Simons Island provides the ultimate in coastal living,” said Craig King, president & CEO of J. P. King Auction Company. “It is one of Georgia's renowned Golden Isles and is well known as a resort community with top-tier golf courses, tennis courts, shopping, art galleries and a variety of restaurants.”

St. Simons Island properties include the following:

* The crown jewel of St. Simons Island, the Idea House is an oceanfront estate located in a gated community on the widest stretch of St. Simon’s beach. It contains three bedrooms and three bathrooms that are situated on 80+/- feet of beach frontage. The home was once designated as “Idea House” by Coastal Living. The most spectacular home site in Georgia, its upper-level master suite is designed with his-and-her baths and ocean views from the master suite. On the main level of the Idea House, two guest suites surround a state-of-the art kitchen and living area along with a wraparound deck that overlooks St. Simons beach. Below the home, the property features a cabana with a spa.
* Two ocean view Villas at Coast Cottages are selling absolute. The four-story villas contain four bedrooms and 4.5 baths. The entry-level floor features a dipping pool and parking garage while three bedrooms and three baths are on the next floor. On the main level is a large living and dining area with a state-of-the-art kitchen, a porch and a half bath. The oversize master suite is located on the top floor with a porch and large sleeping porch or office study. Each villa also features its own rooftop deck with expansive views of the ocean.

* Four ocean-view lots are selling absolute. Two lots with beach access are located within the Villas at Coast Cottages development. They were originally designed for two villas per lot or for a single family home. Additionally, two prime ocean-view residential lots are located on Bruce Drive, which is the prestigious East Beach area of St. Simons Island.

“We felt that the best way to market and sell these properties was through a high-end quality auction house such as J. P. King Auction Company,” said owner Denval Hamby. “We are working on another project that is nearby and decided the best way to move forward with these properties was by conducting an inventory close-out sale.”

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Friday, October 16, 2009

FDIC Real Estate Auction to Offer More Than 100 Properties in Atlanta and North Georgia

(BUSINESS WIRE)--J.P. King Auction Company, the nation’s leading real estate auction firm, will manage the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s (FDIC) auction of over 100 foreclosed properties throughout North Georgia and greater Atlanta. The sale will take place on October 27 and October 28, 10 a.m. daily at the Renaissance Waverly Hotel in Atlanta. A variety of assets are available, and many of each property type will sell absolute with no minimums and no reserves through J.P. King’s Asset Auctions Division.

The sale will offer single-family homes, townhomes and home lots. The residential properties range from one-bedroom condos to six-bedroom homes. Commercial properties include office condos, office buildings, warehouses and a convenience store with gas station and car wash. Land properties range from smaller commercial development land to 137+/- acre agricultural land.

“Whether you are a developer or investor looking for great opportunities in the Atlanta area or a first time buyer still seeking to take advantage of the $8,000 tax credit, the FDIC sale can accommodate every need,” said Craig King, president & CEO of J.P. King Auction Company.

Property locations include the Atlanta city limits and surrounding cities such as Hampton, Convington, Athens, Alpharetta, Greensboro, McDonough and other areas covering much of North Georgia.

Properties will be open for inspection at designated times during the weeks leading up to the auction, which will be posted on www.jpking.com. Individuals interested in information about the upcoming auction may contact J.P. King’s Asset Auctions Division at 800.558.5464 or visit the company’s Web site. Online bidding will be available and interested participants can visit the Web site for additional information. A $1,000 per property registration fee is required via cashier’s check.

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Atlanta Receives $3.5 Million Grant to Support Foreclosure Prevention Counseling Efforts

/PRNewswire/ -- Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS) of Greater Atlanta today announced that it has received a $3.5 million grant to support its national foreclosure prevention counseling efforts in several metropolitan areas. The much-needed boost will enable CCCS of Greater Atlanta to provide more foreclosure counseling than ever before to homeowners in danger of foreclosure.

"This grant will enable us to help homeowners in metropolitan areas that have been hit hardest by the nation's foreclosure crisis," said Suzanne Boas, president of CCCS of Greater Atlanta. "At no cost to the homeowner, counseling provides people with information and resources to help them avoid foreclosure. This is most effective when they reach out for help shortly after they become delinquent on their mortgage payments. We hope people concerned about foreclosure will call us for assistance at 800-251-2227."

Funds from this grant will enable CCCS of Greater Atlanta to conduct 18,400 foreclosure prevention counseling sessions. Based on the agency's historic client distribution, the 10 largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) that will benefit most from the grant are: Atlanta, Miami/Fort Lauderdale, New York/Northern New Jersey, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Orlando, Chicago, Tampa/St. Petersburg, Riverside/San Bernardino, Calif., and Phoenix.

The grant to support CCCS of Greater Atlanta's foreclosure intervention efforts was provided by funds from the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program. The initial funding was provided by Congress in the fiscal 2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act. Additional funding was provided through the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 and the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009.

The National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program is administered through a competitive application process by NeighborWorks® America, within guidelines defined by Congressional legislation. NeighborWorks America is an independent, Congressionally-chartered non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., with a mission to provide access to sustainable homeownership and safe, affordable rental housing.

The $3.5 million grant is the highest amount awarded to any single organization by NeighborWorks America. Four other nonprofit housing organizations also received $3.5 million.

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Mortgage Programs Fall Short in Keeping Homeowners out of Foreclosure

Economists debate whether or not the country is actually currently in a recession. Some say that there are positive signs that we have reached the bottom and the economy is turning around. Others, however, suggest that the country still has a long way to go and it may be years yet before we truly reach financial recovery. Regardless of who is right though, one thing is clear: many people are facing significant financial hardships and need help now.

For many, the place they need the most help is keeping their homes out of foreclosure. The sub-prime mortgage disaster has left many people unable to make their monthly payments and facing the prospect of losing their homes.

In an effort to prevent the national economy from worsening and help alleviate some of the suffering felt by homeowners, the Obama Administration introduced the "Making Homes Affordable" plan last March. So far, however, the plan has failed to have the effect the Administration claimed it would, reaching far fewer homeowners than the millions promised.

Federal Programs to Refinance and Restructure Mortgages

Making Homes Affordable created two programs meant to help homeowners keep their homes out of foreclosure by either refinancing or restructuring their home loan debt.

The first program, the Home Affordable Refinance Program(HARP), is meant to help those homeowners who want to refinance their mortgages, but are unable to secure traditional refinancing because their home has lost value in the depressed market. HARP is only open to homeowners who have their loans owned or guaranteed by the government-run Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Additionally, refinancing through HARP will not lower or otherwise impact the principal owed on the loan.

Other eligibility requirements of the refinancing program include:
-Homeowners must be current on their mortgage payments
-Homeowners cannot have been more than 30 days late on a payment within the last 12 months
-The amount owed on the first mortgage cannot be more than 125% of the current market value of the home
-The homeowner must be able to demonstrate a reasonable ability to pay the refinanced amount

The second program, the Home Affordable Modification Program(HAMP), applies to homeowners who are delinquent in the mortgage payments and either in foreclosure or facing the immediate threat of foreclosure. Once a homeowner's application is in review for the program, any foreclosure proceedings against him or her must be stayed until an eligibility decision is made.

To be eligible for HAMP, homeowners must demonstrate a financial hardship that makes it impossible for them to meet their mortgage obligations. This financial hardship may include things like unemployment and medical expenses. Some of the other qualifications homeowners must meet include:
-The unpaid principal balance on a single home cannot be more than $729,000
-The monthly mortgage payment must be more than 31% of the homeowner's monthly pre-tax income
-The first mortgage on the home must have originated on or after January 1, 2009
-The home must be the primary residence

If the homeowner has more than one mortgage lien on the property, only the first mortgage is eligible for modification under the program.

Criticisms of the Federal Programs

Even as the federal government continues to laud the successes of its Making Homes Affordable programs, those who have sought acceptance into either program are telling a different story. Some of the chief criticisms of the federal mortgage programs include:
- The programs are not helping as many people as the Administration claimed they would. According to reports, only 6% of the 4 million eligible homeowners are participating in the refinancing or restructuring programs. As of September, 88% of the 1 million ARM mortgages had not been modified or refinanced. Only 575,000 homeowners have been offered a trial program and of those, only 360,000 currently are underway.
- The programs only are mandatory for federal lenders and not private ones. Right now, private lenders like Bank of America and Citigroup are not required to participate in either program. Given that private lenders hold 85% of the 14 million mortgages in the country, their participation is necessary to offer any real relief.
- Voluntary involvement by private lenders is limited. Even though the federal government is pushing private lenders to become more involved - and giving them bail-out money as an incentive - the participation rates by private banks and other lenders are still low. Recent reports put JP Morgan Chase at the top of the list, having enrolled 20% of its eligible customers in the federal program. Wells Fargo and Bank of America round-out the bottom of the list with 6% and 4% respective enrollment.
- The process itself is difficult for homeowners. When homeowners are deemed eligible to participate in the program, they are buried under paperwork and may be forced to wait months before they obtain final approval. Many private lenders do not have the resources or personnel to handle the onslaught of requests, leading to lost documents, duplicate requests and long waits. The process is confusing at best, making it not worth the hassle for some frustrated homeowners.
- The programs do not offer relief to those who need it most.Arguably the biggest problem with the program is that it fails to help those in the worst financial straits. Homeowners behind in their payments are not eligible for the refinancing option. Those who qualify for the restructuring option must be able to make three payments on-time during the trial period in order to secure final approval for the restructured mortgage. If they fail to do so, they are dropped from the trial program and their home is subject to foreclosure. It stands to reason that an option should be made available for those in the worst financial conditions who cannot meet the eligibility requirements for either program.

Conclusion

People who have found themselves behind on their mortgages and facing foreclosure have other options besides seeking participation in one of the federally-sponsored Making Homes Affordable programs. Lenders have created their own refinancing and restructuring programs for many homeowners. If a bank program is not an option, homeowners may be able to keep their home out of foreclosure by negotiating a private settlement with the lender or filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection.

Even though the unemployment and foreclosure numbers in Louisiana are considered moderate when compared to other states, this does not mean people in the state are not suffering from the economic downturn. According to the Louisiana Economic Vital statistics, foreclosures in Louisiana increased by 46% in August 2009 over the prior month. For more information on your legal options to reduce debt, contact an experienced attorney.

Article provided by Grand Law Firm
Visit us at www.grandlawfirm.com

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Saturday, October 3, 2009

Valerie Levin Promoted to Recruiting Director at Prudential Georgia Realty

Real estate professional Valerie Levin has just been promoted to senior recruiting director at Prudential Georgia Realty. With the firm since the start of 2007, she previously served as assistant broker and part-time recruiter at the firm’s Midtown office. Levin will continue to be based out of the Midtown location on Peachtree Street, but will oversee agent recruitment around metro Atlanta for Prudential’s nearly two dozen branch offices.

Possessing more than 20 years real estate sales and management experience, Valerie also has experience as a legal headhunter. She plans to put this experience and her knowledge of the Atlanta real estate market to good use in the continued expansion of Prudential Georgia Realty’s 1,200-agent sales team.

“My plan is to focus on seasoned talent who are serious about their business, but are not being given the numerous technology, training and agent support tools offered by Prudential,” said Valerie Levin. Her vision also includes creating enough need to add two additional recruiters under her by the end of 2010.

Valerie got her start in the real estate industry by making prospecting calls for a top producer in real estate while working her way through college. She quickly got the real estate bug and never looked back. “Real estate is and always will be a wonderful career for self-motivated individuals. Regardless, of what you may hear in the media, if you have good support as we do at Prudential and are willing to put in the time prospecting and networking, you will be a success!”

Valerie is a member of the Atlanta Board of Realtors, where she is a life member of the board’s Million Dollar Club for high annual sales production, the Georgia Association of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors. She earned her broker’s license in 1989, her Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR) designation and invested her time and money in a personal business coaching program with the well-known Mike Ferry organization. “Prudential has their own business coach for their agents and all it costs the agents is their willingness to be held accountable. Quite progressive thinking,” says Levin.

“Prudential is committed to maintaining and expanding its sales team with the best agents in metro Atlanta. Right now, we are probably one of very few real estate firms in the area, if not the only real estate company, to commit to having a full-time recruiting director,” said Prudential Georgia Realty President and CEO Dan Forsman.

For more information about becoming an agent at Prudential Georgia Realty, visit www.PrudentialGA.com to learn about the complete menu of agent services, the firm’s DreamBuilder and TeamBuilder programs and the numerous ways the firm is at the forefront of technology in the region. To contact Senior Recruiting Director Valerie Levin for a confidential career consultation, call her directly at 404-879-7009 or e-mail vlevin@PrudentialGeorgia.com.

Prudential Georgia Realty is an independently owned and operated member of Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, a full-service residential and commercial real estate network with offices throughout the U.S. and Canada. Ranked by Real Estate Magazine as one of the top 100 real estate companies in the U.S., Prudential Georgia Realty placed 43rd for most 2008 sales in the real estate trade magazine’s 2009 Power Broker Report. It is the 12th largest Prudential real estate affiliate in North America.

Prudential Georgia Realty recently became the first large brokerage company in the nation to win the Realtor.com Online Marketing Award of Excellence. For five consecutive years, the Atlanta-based firm has been honored with a Consumers’ Choice Award as Best in Class for Executive Home Sales in metro Atlanta. Prudential Georgia Realty annually has real estate sales well in excess of $1.5 billion and just completed its 45th year serving metro Atlanta. Search all available properties including Atlanta new homes and Atlanta foreclosures at PrudentialGA.com.

To learn more about the state of the Atlanta real estate market, visit www.atlantarealestate2009.com to view a quarterly-updated, information-filled video by Prudential Georgia Realty President and CEO Dan Forsman with local housing market outlook details.
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Thursday, October 1, 2009

J. P. King Auction Company to Sell Historic Thomasville Georgia Plantation at Real Estate Auction

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Historic Coalson Plantation in Thomasville, Ga., will sell at real estate auction on-site on Thursday, October 8 at 1 p.m. J. P. King Auction Company, the nation’s leading real estate auction company specializing in high-value properties, is managing the auction of the plantation. The Coalson Plantation will sell to the highest bidder.

“The Coalson Plantation has an authentic Southern Charm that truly takes its visitors back to an era gone by,” said Craig King, president & CEO of J. P. King Auction Company. “The historic plantation has 33 guest rooms with 35 full bathrooms and 13 half bathrooms, making it a prime candidate for a resort in renowned Thomasville.”

The historic mansion is located on 37+/- acres and was originally constructed in the 1800’s. The property features all of the luxury amenities of an elite resort including a fitness center, pool house, Showboat Theater, six brick cottages, honeymoon suite, equestrian facility, tennis court, private gardens and a commercial kitchen. The plantation will sell fully furnished including maintenance and workout equipment.

“This historical plantation is a true treasure with all of its different property themes throughout,” said majority owner Jim Steiner. “The property is perfect for entertaining family or corporate retreats. The numerous amenities including the main house, village and Showboat Theatre can easily accommodate a large party and still provide a feeling of quaint intimacy.”

The Plantation features include:

* Main house was originally built in 1825. It has 11 guest suites and includes a commercial kitchen.
* Honeymoon Suite has historic antique columns with 10-foot ceilings. It includes a bathroom with double sinks and double-jetted tub.
* Showboat Theatre was designed to resemble the stage of Broadway’s Showboat Theatre. The Theatre was built in 1934 and hosted the first private screening of Gone with the Wind.
* Village at Coalson is walking distance from the Main House. It is comprised of six brick cottages with Georgian Revival architecture and includes the Bowden Presidential Suite with wet bar, large-screen television and theatre surrounds system.

Thomasville is known as the City of Roses and famous for its quail hunting. Downtown Thomasville is located only minutes from Coalson Plantation and offers exceptional shopping and dining while remaining only a 30-minute drive to all the sporting and recreational events of Tallahassee, Fla.

For more information about the upcoming auction, individuals may contact J. P. King Auction Co. at 800.558.5464 or visit the company’s Web site at www.jpking.com.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Rasmussen on First-Time Home Buyers Tax Credits

Most Like Tax Credits for First-Time Home Buyers, But 47% Oppose Continuing Them

Most Americans favor the soon-to-expire program that provides first-time home buyers with tax credits of up to $8,000, at least until they hear how much it costs. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 58% of adults support the tax-credit program passed by Congress to help the sluggish U.S. housing market. Just 24% oppose it, with 18% not sure.

Most Like Tax Credits for First-Time Home Buyers, But 47% Oppose Continuing Them

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Bowen Family Homes’ Model Home at Stonehaven Terrace for Sale

Fully furnished townhome move-in ready

Bowen Family Homes recently announced that its fully furnished model home at its Stonehaven Terrace community in Cumming is on the market. The beautifully designed, 1799 square-foot home includes three bedrooms, two full bathrooms and one half bathroom and is priced to sell at $174,900.

The furnished home is a highly sought after end unit and comes complete with window treatments, furniture and appliances. Homebuyers will be impressed by the townhome’s cozy center family room and corner fireplace that is welcoming not only for its owner, but guests and out of town relatives as well. A spacious kitchen and bright Morning Room, makes this an ideal location for homeowners who love to spend time in the kitchen.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for someone who is interested in a country club style lifestyle without the country club style prices,” said Kelly Fink, Bowen Family Homes’ marketing director. “The home comes beautifully furnished, which will lower the eventual homeowner’s cost dramatically.”

The unique master planned community that features150 townhomes, offers over 10 acres of recreational amenities, including an elegant clubhouse where families can gather and entertain. A junior Olympic pool with slide and an aquatic play park where young children can splash, to multipurpose fields where residents can go for a pick-up game of their favorite sport, also highlight this Forsyth County community. Six tennis courts are lighted for play into the late hours, and sidewalks and streetlights throughout the community connect everything for easy, safe access. The community also features a dog park where residents can take their four-legged friends for playtime and to meet with their neighbors.

Families residing at Stonehaven Terrace are served by Whitlow Elementary, Otwell Middle and Forsyth Central High schools. The community is located only 2 miles to The Avenue at Forsyth and is only minutes from GA 400. To visit, travel on Ga. 400 North to Exit 13 (141/Peachtree Parkway) and turn left onto 141. Turn right onto Highway 9, then left onto Piney Grove Road. Stonehaven Terrace is half of a mile on the right. For more information on Stonehaven Terrace call on-site sales agent David Kunis at (770) 844-0779 or 1-877 MY BOWEN.

Since 1969 the Bowen name has stood for excellence in new home construction and community development. Recognized as the 25th largest privately owned builder in the country by Builder Magazine for 2005, Bowen Family Homes is a dynamic homebuilder with operations in Georgia, Florida and Texas. The Atlanta Business Chronicle ranked Bowen Family Homes 5th among metro Atlanta builders in 2007 and 40th among Atlanta’s Top 100 Private Companies for 2007. Additionally, Bowen Family Homes was named the Georgia Family Business of the Year for medium sized companies by Georgia Trend and the Cox Family Enterprise Center at Kennesaw State University in 2006.

Bowen Family Homes was ranked 83rd on the 2007 Professional Builder Giant 400 largest homebuilders in the United States list. These successes have been achieved by simply offering the best new home value in all price ranges. Earlier this year Bowen Family Homes launched their social media marketing plan with a new company blog, www.bowenfamilyhomesblog.com and presence on several social media outlets such as Twitter, twitter.com/bowenfamilyhome, Facebook, www.facebook.com/bowenfamilyhomes and YouTube. For more information about Bowen Family Homes, please call their Atlanta region headquarters at 678-325-4554 or 1-877- MY BOWEN or visit online at www.bowenfamilyhomes.com.

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Prudential Georgia Realty Announces New Leadership Team for its Midtown Office

Experienced real estate professionals Dale Modica and Anne Miller have joined Prudential Georgia Realty as the broker team for the Midtown office. The branch, located at 1409 Peachtree Street in Atlanta, has been an award-winning office within the company.

Formerly the broker team at the Harry Norman Realtors Intown office, Dale will serve as managing broker and Anne is the assistant broker. They will continue to expand the office’s team of real estate professionals and are actively interviewing experienced agents who wish to join a local real estate firm at the forefront of technology and agent training.

“We have watched Prudential grow and prosper inside the perimeter. Their technology and resources for agents are second to none in the area,” said Dale Modica. “And now, as part of the Prudential management team, we can’t wait to lead and grow the Midtown office.”

They each have nearly 25 years real estate experience, are members of the Atlanta Board of Realtors, the Georgia Association of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors. Dale is a life member of the Atlanta Board’s Million Dollar Club, earning its Phoenix Award in 1997, and serves on the Board’s Grievance Committee. Anne is an Atlanta native and Georgia State University graduate.

“Prudential is excited about the opportunity to continue to expand our presence in the Midtown, Intown, Decatur and Buckhead markets. Our company has made significant gains in market share over the past two years,” said Prudential Georgia Realty President and CEO Dan Forsman. “Our innovations in property marketing, agent skills development, technology and agent support are showing in real results for our associates.”

Among these innovations are adding a Job Loss Protection program for home buyers in June (details at www.getjoblossprotection.com); online property search options in several languages; ability to save these searches and receive e-mail notifications when new listings match search criteria; and online search capabilities at www.PrudentialGA.com for foreclosure and bank-owned (REO) properties.

For more information about the Midtown and Intown real estate market or foreclosure properties, call the Prudential Georgia Realty Midtown office at 404-266-8100 or visit www.Midtown.PrudentialGA.com.

Prudential Georgia Realty is an independently owned and operated member of Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, a full-service residential and commercial real estate network with offices throughout the U.S. and Canada. Ranked by Real Estate Magazine as one of the top 100 real estate companies in the U.S., Prudential Georgia Realty placed 43rd for most 2008 sales in the real estate trade magazine’s 2009 Power Broker Report. It is the 12th largest Prudential real estate affiliate in North America.

Prudential Georgia Realty recently became the first large brokerage company in the nation to win the Realtor.com Online Marketing Award of Excellence. For the last five consecutive years, the Atlanta-based firm has been honored with a Consumers’ Choice Award as Best in Class for Executive Home Sales in metro Atlanta. Prudential Georgia Realty annually has real estate sales well in excess of $1.5 billion and just completed its 45th year serving metro Atlanta. The company has some 23 locations in metro Atlanta and 1,200 Realtors. Search all available properties including Atlanta new homes and Atlanta foreclosures at PrudentialGA.com. To learn more about the state of the Atlanta real estate market, visit www.atlantarealestate2009.com to view a quarterly-updated, information-filled video by Prudential Georgia Realty President and CEO Dan Forsman with local housing market outlook details.
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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Construction Resources Joins Elite Artisan Group

Atlanta Kitchen is Georgia's only provider of premium Artisan Stone Collection countertops

Construction Resources, Inc. is proud to be selected as a member of the Artisan Group, a national organization of over 30 independent granite fabricators who have joined together to offer Artisan Stone Collection™, the first and only brand of granite wholly owned by Artisan Group, with a comprehensive lifetime warranty, Heritage Wood™ countertops and Kohler® sinks and faucets. The Artisan Stone Collection™ is the first and only natural stone countertop with a residential limited lifetime warranty, available in Georgia exclusively through Construction Resources' Atlanta Kitchen, Inc. The collection includes a choice of 25 unique stones from sources around the world, each with their own natural characteristics.

Artisan Group members are dedicated to the art and craft of working with natural stone to create countertops of lasting beauty. Members like Construction Resources offer the highest quality granite and wood surfaces from all over the globe and use proven and accredited manufacturing techniques to fabricate and install stunning countertops that will last a lifetime. All Artisan Group members must achieve accreditation from the Marble Institute of America further ensuring absolute perfect craftsmanship.

“We are excited about our partnership with the Artisan Group because with it, we are able to offer the industry’s first and most comprehensive lifetime warranty, ensuring that homeowners are making a wise investment that will bring years of satisfaction and tremendous value. We are certain that this is something that customers will embrace,” says Mitch Hires of Construction Resources. “The partnership also gives us the advantage of the Artisan Stone Collection, which is backed by the people who choose the slab, fabricate and install it and own the brand. Because we share best practices and buying power we are able to offer unbeatable prices and the best warranties in the industry.”

In addition to the Artisan Stone Collection, Artisan Group members offer Heritage Wood, a line of custom, high-end, solid wood countertops. The Heritage Wood line includes extensive choices from the world's finest domestic, exotic and reclaimed woods. When properly treated, solid wood surfaces are waterproof, heat- resistant, stain-resistant, sanitary, food safe and low maintenance.
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Veritas Homes Sees Exceptional Success at Water Stone Crossing

Georgia builder sells 29 new townhomes in six months at suburban Atlanta community

Ask this small home builder about Georgia's troubled housing market and you might not believe his response. Veritas Homes, a Georgia-based design/build home building company has seen phenomenal success at Hall County's Water Stone Crossing, selling 29 new townhomes there in the first seven months of 2009. Water Stone Crossing is a 200-unit Flowery Branch community with townhomes priced from $99,900.

“It is the affordability and value of the homes at Water Stone Crossing that has made the community such a success.” says John Gatlin, president of Veritas Homes.

“The homes at Water Stone are perfect for first time buyers, families and retirees looking for a quiet community of friendly neighbors, great amenities and a new home, at a price that competes with resale homes,” continues Randall Moore, director of sales and marketing of Veritas Homes. At Water Stone, buyers can get the quality and security of a new home built by Veritas Homes at or lower than resale home prices.”

Water Stone Crossing is located just off I-985 and offers 1,600 and up square foot townhomes with single-car garages. Homes are built with either three bedrooms or two master suites and include top of the line standard features such as tile backsplashes and crown molding. Hardwood floors, fireplaces, cultured marble vanities, 9-foot first-floor ceilings and vaulted ceilings are also available.

Amenities at Water Stone include a pool and cabana, park, fully equipped playground, basketball court and double sidewalks. The community has a homeowners association that covers lawn maintenance, as well as amenity and common area maintenance. Children at Water Stone attend Flowery Branch Elementary, West Hall Middle and West Hall High schools.

To visit Water Stone, take I-985 North to Exit 12 (Spout Springs Road) and turn left. Turn right on Thurman Tanner Road and left on Cantrell Road. Water Stone Crossing is on the right.

Georgia-based Veritas Homes is a family owned company founded on family and Christian morals. The knowledgeable staff at Veritas Homes averages over 20 years experience in the home building industry. Veritas Homes has four outstanding subdivisions destined to be reputable, quality living areas: Sycamore Glen, Lynnfield Park, Creekside at Pinecrest and Sandy Creek. The goal at Veritas Homes is to provide quality homes that will facilitate their client’s needs, making their dreams come true. For more information on Veritas Homes, call 770-614-4698 or visit www.veritashomes.net.
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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Windsong Properties Introduces New Floorplan at Somerset

Active Adult Builder announces Worthington model

Windsong Properties, Atlanta’s premier active adult courtyard home builder, is proud to announce its newest floorplan, the Worthington Model at its Somerset community in Woodstock. The floorplan includes 2269 square feet of heated living space with an additional 271 square feet of attic space. Currently priced at $286,000, the model includes three bedrooms, two and one-half bathrooms with the option of adding a garden tub in the master bath. The floorplan expertly designed to suit the specific needs of active adults, features 9-foot ceilings with crown molding and hardwood floors in the main living areas.

“We offer active adults the opportunity to choose from five different floorplans at our Somerset community,” said Steve Romeyn, managing partner of Windsong Communities. “Recently, we have seen an increase of homebuyers interested in our Worthington Model site unseen. We have sold three in the last two and half weeks alone.”

Somerset previously offered four ranch-style floorplans: the Hamilton, the Lexington, the Hampton and the Drayton. The Hamilton floorplan features ten-foot ceilings, three bedrooms and two and one half baths while the Lexington is slightly larger with ten-foot ceilings, three bedrooms and three baths. The Hampton, similar to the Hamilton includes 9-foot ceilings, three bedrooms, three bathrooms with the option of either a study or dining room. The Drayton floorplan, similar to the Worthington includes ten-foot ceilings, three bedrooms, two and one-half bathrooms and the option of adding a sun room or upstairs bonus room.

Windsong distinguishes themselves from other active adult builders by offering buyers the opportunity to make structural modifications to their home plans. All of the homes at Somerset offer elegant details, such as private courtyards with garden retreats; rocking chair front porches; ten-foot ceilings with crown molding; and large master suites with baths that have separate vanities, garden tubs, tile showers with seats and ceramic tile floors.

Every home that Windsong Properties builds meets EasyLiving Homes© standards – no-step access, wide doorways, lever handles, and other amenities that facilitate changing life situations. All of the homes at Somerset are qualified by Southface as EarthCraft Home© and Energy Star certified. This assures that the homes have a lower cost to operate, are healthier and more comfortable and reduce the impact on the environment.

Somerset is located just two and a half miles west of I-575. Take I-75 North to I-575 North to Exit 8. Travel west on Towne Lake Parkway, staying straight on Eagle Drive. Turn left off Eagle Drive onto Putnam Ford Road. Somerset is half a mile on the left.

Locally owned, Windsong Properties was founded by Mark Carruth and Managing Partner, Steve Romeyn. The two bring more than 50 years of local building experience to Windsong Properties, “Where Life’s a Breeze.” As empty nesters themselves, Mark and Steve have first hand knowledge of the desires of active adults and are passionate about creating communities and homes for empty nesters. Every decision made at Windsong Properties, from the design of the community and its amenities to the award winning floor plans and the unique customer service approach, is targeted to the 50-plus, empty nester group.

Windsong Properties earned the highest honor from the Certified Professional Home Builders association in 2007 and 2008 when it was awarded the Customer Satisfaction Award. They were also recipients of four gold OBIE awards in 2008. The OBIE Awards are presented by the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association’s Sales and Marketing Council to honor excellence in building in Greater Atlanta. It is the highest honor given in the Atlanta housing industry.

Windsong Properties invites you to visit one of its two communities and see for yourself just how easy living the Windsong Lifestyle can be. For more information, call 770-516-3409 or visit www.windsonglife.com.
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Friday, August 14, 2009

mRELEVANCE Launches HBA Blog at NAHB's Executive Officers Council Conference

mRELEVANCE is excited to announce its launch of www.HBABlog.com, a new blogging platform designed specifically for home builders associations. HBA Blog was officially launched at the 2009 National Association of Home Builders Executive Officers Council (EOC) Conference in Louisville, Ky. The EOC Seminar provides high-level association management education and motivation specifically related to the home building industry. Managing Partners Mitch Levinson and Carol Flammer unveiled the program during their social media session, Social Media Lab: Building a Social Media Program from the Ground Up, to executive officers and senior staff of state and local home building associations.

HBA Blog is a free blog platform for home builders associations that will help increase the online visibility for associations and their members. Created by building industry professionals and supported by local industry experts, HBA Blog allows associations to share information about their chapters, councils, education events, executive officer and government relations news and more. HBA Blog members also enjoy the added benefit of being able to follow other associations across the nation.

Levinson says, “We created this platform to make blogging easy for HBAs. Best of all, with the mRELEVANCE team supporting the site, HBAs will have support from industry insiders along the way.”

“Many HBAs are interested in blogging and launching social media programs. HBA Blog will provide them with their first step toward online success,” commented Flammer.

HBA Blog is completely customizable and offers eye-catching themes, helpful widgets, podcasts, videos, photos and more. Support comes in three-tiered service plans, offering associations as much or as little support as needed.

For more information, visit www.HBABlog.com.
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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Atlanta Kitchen the Official Countertop of the Golf Club of Georgia

Atlanta Kitchen, Inc., the Southeast's top provider of premium countertops, is now the Official Countertop of the Golf Club of Georgia, again demonstrating their extensive range in capabilities and products. The company recently took part in a total makeover of the Clubhouse, which included the replacement of the existing wooden bar by Atlanta Kitchen with new eco-friendly Cambria countertops in the color Brownhill. Atlanta Kitchen is a leading fabricator of quartz, granite, natural stone and solid surface countertops and a one-stop shop for all residential and commercial kitchen needs for home builders and remodelers.

Cambria is an elegant and practical natural quartz surface that can be used in countertops, floor tile, vanities, fireplace surrounds, wet bars, showers, etc. It has the natural look and feel of granite, but with superior performance because of its strength and durability. It is maintenance-free and nonporous and will not absorb food and liquids like other stone surfaces.

“The bar probably would have been replaced with another wood countertop until the designers learned of Cambria and its many advantages,” said Mitch Hires of Atlanta Kitchen. “We were working together with the same designers on another project for which we used Cambria, and the designers saw the strength, beauty and performance of Cambria on that project, and decided to use Cambria on the renovation of the Clubhouse.”

“The Cambria product is absolutely beautiful and the installation by Atlanta Kitchen was flawless,” says Jeff Paton, Director of Golf and General Manager of the Club. “It has completely changed the look of the main bar area and continues to draw rave reviews and comments from both members and guests.” The grand opening of the newly renovated club house took place in late June during the Club's Member-Guest tournament.

The Golf Club of Georgia is purely a golf club, embracing the game's traditions and presenting championship conditions every day. Since 1990, The Golf Club of Georgia has stood for unmatched service, camaraderie and hospitality and an unrelenting devotion to daily turf quality and performance. The private Club offers two Arthur Hills-designed courses.

Construction Resources, Inc. is a 39-year-old company that provides residential and commercial builders/remodelers, as well as homeowners with a one-stop shop for their kitchen and bath needs. The staff at Construction Resources, Inc. has the ability to provide products from several sister companies including Atlanta Marble Mfg., Atlanta Kitchen, Inc., Atlanta Glass & Mirror, Inc. and Atlanta Garage Doors & Fireplaces, LLC. By offering a diverse selection, Construction Resources, Inc. allows customers to simplify their ordering, scheduling and vendor process by dealing with just one salesperson and company rather than multiple salespersons and companies. Construction Resources, Inc. has four showroom locations throughout the surrounding Atlanta area including Acworth, Alpharetta, Decatur and Lake Oconee. For more information on Construction Resources, Inc., call 404-419-1259 or visit http://www.constructionresourcesusa.com/.
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Monday, August 10, 2009

Brookhaven at Johns Creek to Hold Open House Event August 15

Home tours, exhibits, music, raffle and dinner planned

Jim Chapman Communities is pleased to announce an open house event at its Brookhaven at Johns Creek community on Saturday, August 15 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. The event will include a meet and greet with homeowners, a tour of model homes as well as exhibits including a display by local artist Becky Volpp that will feature homemade gift cards and enclosures. Dinner provided by JR’s Log House Restaurant is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. Music and numerous raffles that you aren’t going to want to miss will also be occurring at this time. Those wishing to attend may RSVP by calling Gail Laney at 770-402-1876.

“We are looking forward to a wonderful afternoon and evening at Brookhaven at Johns Creek, said Jim Chapman. “We have numerous activities planned for the day. If you are interested in learning more about our community, I hope that you will join us for a fun day of activities, food and entertainment.”

Brookhaven at Johns Creek features Jim Chapman Communities’ signature two and three bedroom quad ranch condos as well as two- to four-bedroom single family home floor plans. Bonus rooms with full baths, great rooms with fireplaces and kitchen upgrades are also available. Homes are all-brick and stone construction with inviting front porches, vaulted ceilings and oversized master suites.

Residents enjoy two lighted tennis courts, walking trails, a beautiful heated pool, outdoor fireplace and clubhouse with exercise room and kitchen, as well as activities such as themed parties, holiday get-togethers and planned excursions, coordinated by the communities’ lifestyles director. Brookhaven at Johns Creek is 100 percent fenced for security with a gated entrance with remote openers.

Brookhaven at Johns Creek is located in the highly sought-after North Fulton area between Peachtree Parkway (GA 141) and McGinnis Ferry Road on Technology Circle. From Atlanta take I-85 North to I-285 West and Exit 31B, (GA 141 North-Cumming/Dahlonega). Bear left on GA 141 North to Johns Creek. Turn right on McGinnis Ferry Road, and then right on Technology Circle. Community is approximately one-half mile on left.

An Atlanta-based builder and developer, Jim Chapman began building custom homes in Buckhead in 1998. Today, Jim Chapman Communities applies to the active adult market the same quality and service standards Jim Chapman developed while building luxury homes. Jim Chapman Communities currently builds elegant yet affordable one-level ranch condominiums and detached homes in communities across metro Atlanta including Douglas, Gwinnett, Cobb, Fulton and Forsyth counties. Planning and delivering extraordinary communities designed for the active adult lifestyle, Jim Chapman Communities offers Well-Earned Elegance for today’s active adults. For more information on Jim Chapman Communities, call (770) 319-7474 or visit www.JimChapmanCommunities.com.
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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Bowen Family Homes E-Incentive for Realtors A Success

Facebook page reaches 200 new Realtor fans in five days

Bowen Family Homes’ most recent social media program, that included presenting new Realtor fans on Facebook with a $10 Starbucks gift card, was well received as was evident by the more than 200 Realtors that signed up as fans of the Bowen Family Homes’ corporate Facebook page in less than five days.

“We are excited that we were able to connect with so many Realtors on Facebook so quickly,” said Kelly Fink, marketing director at Bowen Family Homes. “We hope that Facebook will be a great way for us to keep Realtors updated about our current events and available homes.”

To receive a $10 Starbucks gift card, realtors had to log into their Facebook account and become a “fan” of the Bowen Family Homes’ corporate page. Once they became a “fan” realtors were asked to post one thing they love about Bowen Family Homes. After signing up and posting their message, a representative from Bowen Family Homes contacted them directly to mail them their gift card.

Comments left on the Bowen Family Homes’ corporate Facebook page included:

“I am a realtor and I love selling Bowen Homes. It has always been a pleasure.”

“Bowen Family Homes is still here when so many builders have gone away because they are innovative, trustworthy and have good taste! Starbucks cards are a great idea for getting some attention! May I steal your idea?

“I have enjoyed showing Bowen Family Homes! And now a Starbucks Gift Card. I added you as a Fan to my Facebook (page) several days (ago). I will toast you when I am drinking my coffee.”

“Bowen homes offer great value and product for the customer and great incentives for realtors.”

Realtors that are “fans” of Bowen Family Homes Facebook page are the first to know about new promotional programs and have VIP privileges to exclusive deals. Realtors also have the opportunity to become fans of the Bowen Family Homes community Facebook pages to learn about community specific promotions and incentives.

Since 1969 the Bowen name has stood for excellence in new home construction and community development. Recognized as the 25th largest privately owned builder in the country by Builder Magazine for 2005, Bowen Family Homes is a dynamic homebuilder with operations
in Georgia, Florida and Texas. The Atlanta Business Chronicle ranked Bowen Family Homes 5th among metro Atlanta builders in 2007 and 40th among Atlanta’s Top 100 Private Companies for 2007. Additionally, Bowen Family Homes was named the Georgia Family Business of the Yearfor medium sized companies by Georgia Trend and the Cox Family Enterprise Center at Kennesaw State University in 2006.

Bowen Family Homes was ranked 83rd on the 2007 Professional Builder Giant 400 largest homebuilders in the United States list. These successes have been achieved by simply offering the best new home value in all price ranges. Earlier this year Bowen Family Homes launched their social media marketing plan with a new company blog, www.bowenfamilyhomesblog.com and presence on several social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. For more information about Bowen Family Homes, please call their Atlanta region headquarters at 678-325-4554 or 1-877- MY BOWEN or visit online at www.bowenfamilyhomes.com.