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Real Talk Real Estate: What are the 3 most googled real estate questions?

This week, I decided to tackle the three top googled questions regarding real estate for you. I was planning to do the questions from 2022, but they are all pretty much the daily question that everyone wants an answer to “When is the housing market going to crash?”

I am over this question, so let’s go with the Top 3 from 2021!

According to propertywire.com, these are three of the most commonly googled property questions, found using google data from 2021.

1. Can you sell a property after probate?

This is a very good question that most people will not have experience with. Probate is the process of finalizing a person’s assets or debts after they have passed away. This can take six weeks to several months depending on the availability of a will. Anytime a property is being transferred and the owner of the record is deceased, the estate will have to be probated before the deed can be transferred to a new owner.

So the bottom line is yes, you can sell a property after probate. It is a required step and cannot be sold before the completion of the probate.

2. What property can I afford?

I think this one should have read, how do I know how much I can afford to spend on a mortgage? Who usually googles things in full sentences anyway, right? Well, this is going to be answered by me in two different ways.

First, most mortgage companies will not allow you to have more than 40-45 percent of your gross income “assigned” to credit reporting debts. For the sake of easy numbers, this means, if you make $100 a month, your total credit reporting debts cannot exceed $45. If you have a $10 car payment and two credit cards with minimum payments totaling $5 combined, the bank should approve you to spend $30 on a mortgage.

Now, common sense says that this is not always the smart option. Everyone’s financial snapshot varies. I say that, as a rule of thumb, you should never have a mortgage or rent payment that exceeds one week of take-home pay. Take home and gross are two different numbers. So the answer to what you can afford is a personal one that should not be chosen for you by anyone who is not responsible to pay the bill!

3. How do property auctions work?

I actually get asked this question a lot. Property auctions that the public can bid on are generally your county tax auction. This typically has a known reoccurring date like the first Tuesday of the month and on the corresponding county government website, you should see a list of homes and the minimum bid, aka, amount of taxes due to the county.

In Georgia, if you buy a home at the tax auction, you will have to legally foreclose on the owner to own the property after the redemption period has expired. The redemption period will be at least one year, and during this time, you actually cannot access the property in any way. You also must pay with cash the day of the auction and the good homes will sell for way more than the tax bill!

If you find a true home auction, and sometimes they do happen, you will always need cash at the time your bid is accepted. If the home is in default and there is a mortgage balance due, typically those will not make it to an auction that the public has a chance at. The bank holding the mortgage typically gets the home at “auction” and they will wait and sell it after they have completed the foreclosure process.

If you have follow-up questions, please reach out to me directly and I will do my best to get you the answers you are looking for!

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