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Big changes to the loan and closing process...

9/29/2015

Wow, it's been over a year that I have added to this blog - way to be too busy to market yourself, Mitch!  The good news is that 2015 has been a great year for our team, as we have already closed 40 transactions from January 1 - September 15...and we anticipate a strong year-end finish as well. 

So what's there to talk about at this time in the real estate arena?

The most interesting thing to discuss is the big change coming down the pike effective October 3rd, 2015 for loan applications and real estate closings, called TILA-RESPA Integrated Mortgage Disclosures (TRID, for short).  This is a whole new system that will replace the Good Faith Estimate and HUD-1 Settlement Statement with more detailed forms, and more importantly, will incorporate specific time deadlines for these forms to be delivered to the participants of the transaction.  In my opinion, this will be of tremendous benefit to the participants in the transaction. 

The new form at the beginning of the transaction for buyers that will replace the initial Good Faith Estimate, is called the "Loan Estimate," and this form must be received by the buyer/borrower NO LATER THAN 3 DAYS AFTER LOAN APPLICATION.  The new form at the end of the transaction that will replace the HUD-1 Settlement Statement and the revised Final Good Faith Estimate is called the "Closing Disclosure," and this form must be provided to the participants of the transaction AT LEAST 3 DAYS PRIOR TO THE CONSUMMATION OF THE TRANSACTION (the closing), NO EXCEPTIONS.  How wonderful!  No longer will buyers and sellers walk into a closing having no idea what to expect on the numbers side of their large real estate transaction. 

I am quite pleased with these changes, but I do anticipate some difficulties as these changes are implemented by lenders and closing attorneys transitioning to the new program.  If you are soon to be involved in a real estate transaction, I recommend that you ask your lender and your closing attorney up-front about their preparations to migrate to the new TRID system, and whether they anticipate any problems that you should be aware of.  It is best to anticipate problems in advance, especially if you have a tight time schedule.

And of course, if you ARE in the market to buy or sell real estate, please contact us so we can provide the Finest Agent Representation to YOU as a Buyer or Seller - period.

-Mitch Falkin

Working on the Web Site

1/14/2014

Our website is a work in progress, and hopefully today is one of those days where progress is actually being made!  We had a team meeting yesterday to decide on a new layout for the front page, figure out some changes to the site structure, and create additional content that will be useful to our current and prospective clients.  So please bear with us if the site has some dead ends, or seems myseriously "incomplete" in some areas...we create the changes on the back end, preview them, and then hit the "publish" button to see how it looks live.  Sometimes it works out well, and sometimes we need to tweak it to make it right.  And right now I seem to be doing a lot of tweaking!  We welcome your thoughts and feedback on this website, so if you notice any problems, or have suggestions to make the site better, please click on the "Contact" button above and submit your observations or ideas.  We are happy to incorporate your good ideas into our site to make it representative of our mission: To provide the finest agent representation to buyers and sellers of real estate.  Thank you for visiting.      

 

We adopted a rescue dog!

11/20/2011
Our wonderful dog Ginger passed away last December, and the house was pretty quiet without her - but we didn't want to immediately replace her as a knee-jerk reaction.  So about a month ago, we all decided an adequate amount of time had passed, and we should consider getting another dog.  We have always had good luck with rescue dogs, we just had to decide what type of dog we should consider.  Annemarie (my wife) and Amy (15 years old, a sophomore in HS) loved the idea of another Golden Retriever, but I was thinking maybe we ought to try something smaller.  As you would suspect, the odds were against me...and I realized that I did truly love the Golden Retriever personality traits (you can't go wrong with a friendly, playful, happy dog that doesn't have a mean bone in their body!).  So a Golder Retriever it would be!

We submitted an application to one of the best organizations we know, Golden Retriever Rescue of Atlanta (www.grra.com) and got the process started.  Susie Atcheson was our adoption coordinator; Judy Aube came out to our house and fortunately gave us the "thumbs up;" and the we started looking at the dogs online (we saw that an adoption event was coming up the next week).  We wanted a younger dog so we would have lots of years with the dog, but we didn't want the headaches of training a puppy, so we threw in an application for "Cynthia," and then figured we would check out all the dogs in person at the adoption.

Since Annemarie and Amy were out of town the weekend of the adoption, I had the huge responsibility of going there myself to check out the dogs and to present myself to the foster parents (at GRRA, the dogs come in and are assigned to a foster home, where the foster parents nurse the dog back to health, assess the dog's traits, and then try to match the dog with the most appropriate adoptee).  At the adoption, I was really impressed with how well-attended it was, and how organized it was...I was escorted to meet the different dogs and their foster parents, and had a chance to spend time with each dog, ask questions of the parents, and generally see how the dogs reacted to everyone wanting to meet them.  And interestingly enough, I kept coming back to Cynthia...she was very sweet, not too large, and all she wanted was to have people pet her so she could lean against them (my kind of dog!).  Chris Geiger, her foster parent, told me that she was an ideal dog - got along well with others (human and dog), was affectionate, and had a little mischevious streak in her to boot.  But there was one big problem...everyone at the adoption wanted her!  My hopes were raised just a tad when Chris asked if I wanted to bring the rest of my family to meet here, so I jumped at the chance and arranged for a family meeting the next day (vefore Chris changed her mind about us, or someone else elbowed in). I left there thinking the chances of adopting her were pretty slim, but it never hurts to try!

The next day, Annemarie, Amy, and I pulled into the park where we had arranged the meeting, and spotted Chris walking Cyntha...and it was love at first sight between Cynthia and Amy! The dog just wouldn't stop paying attention to Amy, and when Amy sat down Cynthia plopped right down in her lap - the two were inseparable!  We were very excited, and within a few minutes we said we'd love to have her.  Chris said she would have to talk to the other folks who wanted to adopt her, and needed to make the best decision for the dog (I respected that).

To make a long story short, after we looked at one more dog (which wasn't a good fit), we got the call we were waiting for....Cynthia was ours if we still wanted her!  We immediately said yes, and on Saturday, November 12, we officially adopted Cyntha the Golden Retriever into our family.  And we have been having a great time with her ever since!  After having her in the house for the week, we decided that she was not a "Cynthia," and the name "Charly" somehow fitted her nicely (although I know we will have a lifetime of comments telling us that Charly is a boy name, not a girl name).  What the heck, she's our dog, we'll confuse her if we want to!  And when Allison got home this past Friday from college (she is 19 years old and a Sophomore at the University of Illinois), they became fast friends as well.

For those of you considering a pet, I would highly recommend adopting a dog from one of the many pet rescue groups out there.  And if you don't know what kind you want, you can't go wrong with a Golden Retriever!

Thanks for reading, I'll have more when something else interesting happens.   - Mitch Falkin 

The Hike Inn - always refreshing!

11/6/2011
I decided that since my wife and daughter were in Houston at a soccer weekend, I'd take the opportunity to enjoy the Hike Inn at Amicalola Falls State Park - you know, the place where you have to hike 5 miles to get there, and the accomodations are rustic but oh so scenic. I had a tennis match on Saturday morning, so right after that ended (with a great win, I might add!), I drove the 1.25 hours to Amicalola Falls State Park. Signing in was a snap, but it took FOREVER to snag a parking spot (toughest part of the trip!).  Then I strapped on my backpack and set out into the Georgia forest...and what a great day it was! Crisp autumn temperatures, bright blue sky, and falling leaves made for a wonderful and invigorating 5-mile hike. Quite frankly, I was ready to stop walking when I saw the gorgeous grey outline of the Hike Inn, with the neat timbers that extend past the roof line and the inviting stone patio. I checked into my room, got my bunk bed all made up, and then got a cup of tea from the kitchen and sat in a perfect Adirondack chair overlooking the incredible southern views of the mountains and valleys. It simply couldn't have gotten any better!  The dinner was superb; I read a book in the common room after dinner, then turned in early (and gained an hour due to daylight savings). In the morning, breakfast was incredible, and then I hiked back out on a different path (the Adirondack Approach Trail) that was only about 1/2 mile longer than the Hike Inn trail. All in all, it was a great way to spend a night in a glorious setting while getting out into the natural habitat of Georgia. I highly recommend the place - the staff couldn't be nicer, the setting is devine, and you just feel great about the whole trip.

That's all for now - thanks for reading about my weekend adventures!
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