I’m a notary pubic in Cherokee County.
I’m providing free notary services for homeowners in Cherokee County. This includes Canton, Woodstock, Ball Ground, Waleska and other places in Cherokee County like Nelson, Alpharetta, Jasper, etc.
Get Your Document Notarized
My free notary service is limited to simple documents that are no longer than a few pages. If you have a large document, contact me and I’ll do my best to accommodate your situation.
Day, Night, and Weekend Notary Public
Since you are in Cherokee County, we are neighbors.
I make my notary service available as a convenience to because I know how hard it is to get something notarized locally, especially if you work during normal banking hours.
I’m available to meet up with you to witness your signature and notarize your document.
Why Do You Offer Free Notary Public Services?
The reason I do this is that I want to meet people in my local community here in Cherokee County.
I’m a licensed real estate agent and Associate Broker with RE/MAX Town & Country. I know that by serving people in my community, it’s a good way to meet people.
Meeting people helps me grow my business over time. It’s a win-win situation and I enjoy helping others when I can.
How Can I Get My Document Notarized for Free?
Just call or text me on my cell phone at 703-371-9548. I don’t usually carry my notary stamp around with me, but I’m almost always in the Canton area near my office.
With a day’s notice I can get my stamp and meet up with you to notarize your document. I may even be able to do it the same day you contact me.
Or you can come to my office in Holly Springs, it’s up to you.
My real estate business is Innovative Properties Group. I’m an Associate Broker and lead a team of agents with RE/MAX Town & Country.
I am not an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Georgia, and I may not give legal advice or accept fees for legal advice.
John Marion is the Agent on Duty who reveals inside information about the real estate industry including how to find the best agent, negotiating strategies, how to make complex transactions simple, and avoiding pitfalls so that you can successfully complete the sale and purchase of any property.
Discover the world of real estate behind the scenes and be ready to see the housing market from a totally new perspective so that you can confidently engage in any real estate deal as a buyer, seller, or agent.
Since 2000 John has progressed through the real estate industry as a landlord, investor, licensed agent and associate broker.
Known as “The Agent Who Buys Houses”, John is business partners with Sandra Watkins who was his agent when he moved with his family to the Atlanta market in 2010.
Innovative Properties Group
John and Sandra lead and train a team of agents with their company, Innovative Properties Group in Canton, GA.
You will find the Agent On Duty listed on all the major podcast directories including Apple Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Spotify, and more.
Call the Agent On Duty Podcast Hotline
Ask John any real estate related question and he will answer on a future podcast episode.
Call 678-288-4181 and voice your question today!
Real Estate is a Team Sport
This is a foundational truth to understand about real estate transactions. A team is required to successfully complete any transaction.
This episode is packed with information about the role of each of these people involved in a real estate transaction:
Seller & Buyer
Real Estate Broker
Photographer / Videographer
Mortgage Lender or Mortgage Broker
Specialty Trades and Inspectors
Real Estate Attorney / Escrow Company / Title Company
Contact John Marion
Visit the contact page for more ways to get in touch.
The one year chart of lumber prices for 1000 board feet is a visual shocker.
Historical Lumber Price Charts
Take a look at the recent spike in lumber prices and compare it to the pricing charts going back 5 years, 10 years, 25 years, and even 40+ years.
My expectation is that the price of lumber per 1000 board feet will come back down below $500 for the new high and fluctuate somewhere between $300 and $500 in the near future.
New Home Construction Impacted by Lumber Price Spike
August 2020. Check out my previous video about lumber prices and how this is affecting the new home construction market:
Contact John Marion
I’m easy to contact. Fill out the form below.
Experts anticipate a V-shaped recovery for our economy, and the housing market is leading the way. Let’s connect to make sure you have everything you need to make your best real estate decisions this year.
Bridle Ridge is a subdivision of new, custom built homes off Land Road in Canton, GA.
Have your custom home built on
Current prices (late 2020) range from $500,000 to $600.000 for homes with 2650 to 3300 square feet of finished living space.
Home sites range from two to seven and a half acre lots.
Take a Virtual Video Tour of Bridle Ridge
Today’s local business spotlight is I Love NY Pizza.
Woodmont Village Pizza Place
Today I want to I Love NY Pizza in Canton, GA. It’s in Woodmont Village at Hwy 20 and E. Cherokee Dr.
The pizza is great and I had the baked ziti today which was also great. Super friendly owner and staff. Good service with a smile eating in.
They also have take out and delivery.
Facebook Page: I Love NY Pizza and Pasta
Their Facebook page is I Love NY Pizza and Pasta. I can’t believe a pizza place in Canton, GA has this Facebook name and the link to prove it is right here: https://www.facebook.com/ilovenypizza…
Here is the address for your GPS:
8012 CUMMING HWY, #105 Canton, Georgia 30115
I Love NY Pizza on YouTube
Business Spotlight Suggestion
If you have a suggestion for a business spotlight, let me know by filling out the form below. If I take your suggestion, I’ll post the business on my website and make a video for YouTube.
See the index of topics listed in Appendix A – Index of the zoning ordinance for Cherokee County, GA. Bold text is the main heading of each section.
“All items are indexed by Sections. References to Definitions section of Ordinance are not included in index.”
Easy Index of Zoning Ordinance
I have inserted a large capital letter at the beginning of each section in the index for the topics that begin with that letter. Hopefully this will make it a bit easier to see how the index is organized by zoning topics and sub-topics.
Please note that the index below does not link to the zoning ordinance. The formatting of the ordinance document provided by the county is not as easy to navigate as one would like. So the index here is provided as a reference to make it easier for you to find and navigate to the topics you want in the zoning ordinance document (online or printed).
Cherokee County Planning and Zoning Ordinance Website
At the end of the index list below, you will find direct links to the zoning ordinance document as well as a link to the PDF page of the index. Both of these links will take you to the Planning and Zoning page for the ordinance on the Cherokee County website.
Cherokee County Zoning Ordinance A to Z Index
Accessory Structures 5.5
Accessory Uses 5.6
Non-Conforming Uses 14.16
Appeals 15.6, 16.4
Appealing Process 15.8 (Table 15.1)
Cash Bonds 11.6-7
Off-Street Parking 12.4-7
Planned Developments 8.8-4
Minimum Width Abutting Districts 10.3-6
Screening Standards 10.9
Screening Standards for Parking 12.4-7a
Building Height 7.3-11
Certificate of Occupancy 15.2-1
Non-Conforming Uses 14.17
Special Use 13.6
Conservation Subdivision 23
DNR Criteria 26
Planned Unit Development 8.5-12
Non-Conforming Uses 14.2
Parking Vehicles 12.3-5
Planned Industrial Development 8.7
Planned Unit Development – Commercial 8.6
Planned Unit Development – Residential 8.5
Development Standards 7.2, 7.3 (Table 7.1)
Home Occupations 9.3
Home Occupation Permit 9.8-8
Rezoning Application 15.6
Sign Permit 11.6-7
Zoning Board of Appeal 16.7
Floor Area Ratio
Planned Unit Development – Commercial 8.6-4
Amendments 18.3-8, 18.3-9
Zoning Board of Appeals 16.5
Planned Developments 8.10-1
Home Occupations 9
Permitted Home Occupations 9.4
Prohibited Home Occupations 9.5
Public Liability 11.6-10
Off-Street Parking 12.4-8
Outdoor Advertising Displays 11.5-2
Illumination of Signs 11.2-4
Loading, Off-Street 12.1,12.7,12.9
Loading Standards 12.8 (Table 12.2)
Loading Variance 12.8-4
Lots 7.3-2 to 7.3-5
Lots of Record 7.3-1
Non-Conforming Uses 14
Non-Conforming Buildings 14.4, 14.6, 14.9
Non-Conforming Signs 11.7
Non-Conforming Use of Lands 14.14
Multi-Family, Townhouse, Zero-Lot-Line 7.5
Planned Unit Developments 8.5-13
Outdoor Advertising Display 11.5
Overlay Districts 16
Hwy 92 16.1
Parking, Off-Street 12.1 to 12.6
Design Standards, Non-Residential 12.4
Landscaping Standards 12.4-7
Planned Development 8.8-2
Parking Standards 12.5 (Table 12.1)
Permit Procedure 15.2
Application Process Table 15.1
Building Permit 5.3, 15.2-1
Planned Developments 8.11-2
Development Permit 15.2-1
Planned Development 8.11-1
Electric Permit 11.6-5
Home Occupation Permit 9.7, 9.8
Manufactured Home Location Permit 15.2-1
Sign Permit 11.6-2
Special Use Permit 13.5, 18.3-2
Permitted Uses 7.6, 7.7
Planned Development 8.4
Planned Development 8
Open Space Requirement 8.5-13
Prohibited Uses 7.8
Standards for Signs Require a Permit 11.4
Standards for Signs not Require a Permit 11.5
Permit Fees, Cash Bonds, & Deposit Fees 11.6-7
Site Plan Requirements
Commercial Districts 18.3-3
Industrial Districts 18.3-3
Planned Developments 8.9-2
Residential Districts 7.5
Special Exceptions 16.6-3
Special Uses 13
Application for Special Use 18.3-2
Permit Application Process Table 15.2
Zoning Board of Appeals 16.6-4
Street, Classification 5.10
Tree Preservation 25
Loading Variance 12.8-4
Parking Variance 12.6
Vision Clearance at Intersections 5.7
Yard 7.3-7 – 7.3-10
Zoning Board of Appeals 16
Appealing Process Table 15.1
Special Exceptions 16.6-3
Links to the Planning and Zoning Ordinance Website
As promised, here are links to the zoning ordinance:
Zoning Ordinance Index Page:
How to Subdivide Your Land
Landowners often ask how they can subdivide their land. Zoning ordinances are the major factor in understanding options for how a property may be subdivided. Sometimes the highest and best use of a parcel of land may require a re-zoning of the property.
If you are a property owner in the Cherokee County area, contact me about subdividing your land. Local developers and investors may want to buy your property and they will pay for the costs of subdividing it.
Here is a shout out to the shopkeeper at Waleska Food Mart!
Convenience Store and Gas Station
Waleska Food Mart is a convenience store and gas station. The store has food, drinks, and other items typically found in this type of shop. They also serve hot food.
When I stopped there today, I bought 4 chicken tenders. They were 4 big pieces of chick breast meat served steaming hot and delicious. I could only eat 3 of them before I got really full and couldn’t eat the last one.
Friendly and Fast
The shopkeeper and his helper were friendly and served up the food quickly and check out was super friendly and fast.
When the shopkeeper learned that I’m a local real estate agent selling new homes in nearby Jasper and Canton, he told me to leave a stack of my business cards on the counter. He wants his customers to know about the new homes!
The shop and gas station is located directly across from Reinhardt University at the intersection of 108 and 140. It’s right there at the 4 way stop sign.
Waleska Food Mart on YouTube
I made a YouTube video after my experience at Waleska Food Mart. Check it out here:
Local Businesses in Cherokee County GA
Do you know any local businesses in the Cherokee County, GA area that would be good to highlight on my website and YouTube channel? Let me know and I just might post a video about your suggested business soon!
Your responsibility as the executor of an estate that has real property (such as land or a house) may require you to sell the property. I have helped many estate executors who need to make a decision about property in probate.
Cherokee County Probate Home Sales
My experience working with families in probate situations is in the Cherokee County, GA area — all over the North Metro Atlanta region.
I have received a lot of kind feedback over the years from the family members who I have helped. Here is a breakdown of some of the things you will experience when you contact me about your probate property.
How Do I Sell Real Estate in Probate?
The process may take some time, but it shouldn’t add complications or stress to your situation. A real estate professional should be able to explain the process to you. Look for a real estate pro who is experienced with investment property and who will listen to your story and take the time to understand your situation.
Investors Who Buy Probate Properties
Some real estate investors are well equipped to help families faced with selling off inherited property, but others are not so good. You will want to work with an individual investor or investment company that has experience with estate situations.
Investors Who Are Licensed Agents
You will have more options to consider if you work with an investor who is also a licensed agent. Sometimes your best option may not be to sell to an investor but to have the property listed on the MLS with a real estate brokerage firm. Better yet, work with an investor-agent who is also a REALTOR.
Options For Selling Estate Probate Property
You will quickly be contacted by many real estate investors. As you communicate with different investors and investment companies who want to buy your house or land, ask about the options they can provide to you. Here are a few considerations:
Can the investor purchase the property on your time frame? You may need to sell very quickly. Or your family may want or need more time, even a year or more.
Will the investor help you with some of the costs of holding the property (such as paying utilities and property taxes for you) until you are ready to sell? This can be a huge stress reliever in some situations, especially if you are short of cash and need more time to get prepared for the sale.
Selling to investor vs. listing with an agent? If you ask an investor this question, you might get some inaccurate information. Here are some considerations:
Investors who are not licensed agents can never offer to represent you in the transaction and they have not studied to get licensed (or they flunked the test).
An investor who is also a licensed agent can offer professional real estate Brokerage services and represent you as a client in selling your property OR offer to purchase it directly and you pay no commission just like you would with an unlicensed investor.
Real Estate Investors Who Buy in Cherokee County
Yes, I’m a Cherokee County real estate investor and licensed Associate Broker with RE/MAX Town & County in Canton. I’m easy to talk to and will be happy to talk to you about your situation.
Give me a call or text me at 703-371-9548.
Or fill out the form below and I will contact you.
We buy houses in Woodstock, GA
Woodstock Zip Code 30189
Call or text me now at
Fill out the Real Estate Solutions form below for a fast response.
I will buy your house in Woodstock zip code 30189 with the following terms:
1. The house must have some neglected maintenance.
2. If your house needs mostly cosmetic improvements (such as painting and new carpet), I may pay top dollar.
2. If lots of repairs need to be made to the house, that’s ok with me.
3. Big issues like structural problems, fire damage, and mold are ok too.
4. If you have been told your house needs to be demolished, call me ASAP.
5. If you are not sure your house qualifies, call me to discuss. I may have other good options for you.
Call or text me now at
Fill out the Real Estate Solutions form below for a fast response.
What is the difference between a modular home and a mobile home?
Here is how a modular home is different from a mobile home (also now called a manufactured home depending on when it was made).
In short, a modular home is a normal stick built house that is built in sections in a controlled warehouse environment. It is shipped to the home site and secured in place and cannot be moved again.
On the other hand, a mobile, or manufactured home, is specifically built to be moved. It’s built on a frame with an axle and wheels to accommodate any future moves. These homes are sometimes also called “trailers”.
Mobile homes are not eligible for a typical mortgage home loan, while modular homes can be purchased with a home loan available from mortgage lenders.
Another way of looking at this is the say a modular home is a HOUSE while a mobile home is VEHICLE.
To learn more about modular homes vs mobile homes, here are some helpful links:
My first modular home project was in Manassas, VA. The modular home replace a burned out home. To read the story of this project and view the photos visit:
Here is some good information from the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, Inc. (InterNACHI):
Make sure you work with a full time professional agent for your real estate transaction in 2019. Here are 5 reasons why.
Call or text me now: 703-371-9548
10 years ago one of the causes of the housing bubble was the increase of housing inventory. It was a 10-12 month supply. This over supply caused prices to fall dramatically.
Today we have a 4.4 month supply of homes for sale, nowhere near the amount we had pre-bubble!
Let’s chat about what that means in our market here in the North Metro Atlanta area!
I train real estate agents to be productive and successful. I’m always looking to connect with other team leaders who are training agents to share ideas. It’s always great to make improvements to help agents succeed.
Merry Christmas from John Marion
John Marion bobble head says hello and Merry Christmas!
Here’s the best options for new homes in Jasper, GA.
I’m including links to videos of the most popular floor plans sold in the Jasper area.
Dogwood Trace in Jasper is just over the Cherokee County line in Pickens County. Easy commute to Waleska, Ball Ground, Canton, Downtown Jasper. New homes priced in the high 300’s to low 400’s on 1 acre lots.
Here is a video I made walking through the Springmill floor plan on lot 2. This is on Hoopers Drive, Jasper.
If you are looking for a new home with a basement, check out this large unfinished basement that has been framed for finishing later.
November 2018 New Home Update in Dogwood Trace, Jasper, GA.
Prevent Mirror Image on Facebook Live Video
When you are creating a selfie live Facebook video, the setting defaults to a mirror image.
This is how to change the setting prior to going live with your video.
Is the text in your Facebook Live video backwards / a mirror image?
If you have been frustrated because the text on your tee shirt or other text and directional locations are backwards and a mirror image of reality, then change the default settings prior to going live with your Facebook video. The process is quick and easy and the screenshots at the end of my short video shows you where the icons are on Facebook Live to change the option settings.
4 Things You Should Know About REMAX Real Estate Agents
1. RE/MAX agents sell more real estate than any other U.S. brand.
*As measured by residential transaction sides.
2. Billions of dollars have been spent promoting the RE/MAX brand and agents.
Our real estate agents agents are empowered by the REMAX brand.
3. Every 30 seconds, a RE/MAX agent helps someone find their perfect place.
REMAX agents are known for working hard to deliver professional real estate services for their clients.
4. RE/MAX agents make up less than 2 percent of real estate agents, but account for nearly 10 percent of all agents’ sales.
Our agents get results for our buyers and sellers.
Find a REMAX Agent Anywhere
Our extensive network of agents and REALTORS means that there is a REMAX agent working locally in your area.
Fill out the form below and I will introduce you the an agent who knows your neighborhood. Anywhere.
Agents: Think clearly about commission splits, fees, and caps.
I made this video to urge you to think clearly about the split you have with your broker.
Different strategies are used depending upon market conditions.
Here are 5 ways I help people make money investing in real estate.
1. Identifying Investment Property: Good Deals & Great Deals
Finding deals is one of my specialties. I have helped investors make a lot of money by finding deals that match or exceed their minimum criteria.
Good deals match an investors criteria. Great deals exceed those investment criteria by a significant margin. And when great deals are found, huge profits can be earned.
Getting Good Deals Consistently
When an investor’s criteria for good deals matches what one can expect to find in the market, then good deals can be found consistently. And consistently finding good deals is a good formula for building wealth over time.
My real estate team specializes in finding good deals for investors. It’s what we do.
Finding and Getting Great Deals
Sometimes great deals become available. These great deals are usually found through personal relationships, relational networks, or highly targeted marketing efforts toward motivated sellers.
When great deals come my way, my investment company makes a quick decision to purchase the deal or sell the deal.
I rarely need to send out great deals to a wide network of investors to sell it. I usually make one or two phone calls to get a great deal sold.
Who do I call? I call the investors on my list who are consistently buying the good deals that I find for them.
2. Creating Notes: Debt Position Money Lending
Being a private money lender to real estate investors is a great way to get a better than average return on your money.
While you can make money loaning money with long term notes, such as a mortgage loan, I have more experience with short term real estate investment loans of 6 months to 2 years.
Be The Bank
The opportunity to be a short term money lender exists because real estate investors need capital that isn’t always available from the banks or other traditional lending sources.
Real estate investors who need capital for a short term real estate project are willing to pay better than average interest rates. When you step into the role of being a private money lender, you in effect become the bank for the investor.
Sometimes the private money loans are needed by real estate investors to cover the entire amount needed, but other times the investor needs a private money loan in a smaller amount in order to complete a project.
So the amount needed for a private money loan can vary greatly depending on the particular transaction.
As an example, the loan can be relativity small ($10,000 to $25,000) or any amount needed to fully finance a transaction ($100,000 and up).
Securing Your Private Money Loan
The key concept to remember in being a private money lender is that your funds secured by the real estate asset which has significant equity.
Barring a sudden and steep decline in real estate values, your short term private money loan does not need to be a high risk venture to get a better than average return.
If being a private money lender seems like a good option for you, contact me and I will explain more details to you.
3. Joint Venture Partnership: Debt-Equity Position
Joint ventures bring people with money together with people who have a good opportunity to make money.
Making Money Two Ways
When getting into a joint venture partnership with a debt equity position, you make money in two ways. Some of the best and most lucrative transactions I have done with investors have been joint venture partnerships. And some real estate deals are best suited for a joint venture because of the nature of the deal and the need for capital.
Real estate joint venture partnerships combine the opportunity to be a money lender while getting a share of the profits.
The first way to make money is getting a return on the money you put into the venture. In this way you take a debt position and get paid interest on the money you lend into the real estate deal.
The second way of making money is by also taking an equity position in the joint venture. With an equity position, you share in the profits.
Due Diligence is Required
The world of real estate investing is filled with joint venture partnerships. While some joint venture partnerships do not always end with the expected outcome, you can avoid disaster by doing proper due diligence.
The most important aspect of any joint partnership is the relationship of the partners. Make sure you know the reputation of the other partner in the transaction, do it with someone you get along with, and put everything in writing.
I have participated in a number of joint venture partnership projects over the years. Feel free to contact me to discuss how investors work together in a joint venture debt-equity project.
4. Property Management: Creating Passive Income
Every investor values passive income. Buying real estate rental property offers a great opportunity to create a passive stream of monthly income.
The best way to truly make rental property a passive income stream is turn the daily management over to a professionally licensed property management firm.
My property management company handles rentals for investors who have purchased properties throughout the North Metro Atlanta region.
5. Managing Risk: Exit Strategy Options
A lot of investors who contact me about getting into real estate don’t always realize the importance of having more than one exit strategy.
Understanding multiple exit strategies for a particular deal prior to committing money helps investors manage their risks.
All exit strategy options are not available for every real estate deal. And some deals may have several options that are not common with most real estate transactions.
Contact me to discuss multiple exit strategies to manage risk in real estate investment transactions.
Download the flyer for this investment property in Lawrenceville, GA. This home mostly needs cosmetic work – flooring and paint.
Suggestions for prospective buyers of investment property.
Here are my recommendations to people who want to buy investment property in the Atlanta area. These recommendations are general in nature and may not apply to specific properties.
These recommendations will help to minimize your risk when buying investment property in the Atlanta market. Each of these recommendations should be completed as part of your due diligence.
Read and Keep Signed Purchase Agreement
The purchase agreement, when signed by all parties, is a legally binding contract. It should be read by the buyer prior to signing. Keep a copy for your records.
Verify Rent Rates on Income Producing Property
If you are buying income producing property (in contrast to fixer-upper homes to renovate and resell for full retail value and capital appreciation), verify the rent rates.
If the rental property currently has tenants, have your agent obtain copies of the current leases. The seller should provide rent rolls to document the past 12 months of rental payments.
Also have your agent provide rental comps so you can see the current market rent for the area the property is located.
Verify Property Taxes, Insurance Costs, and Property Management Fees
The costs for these items should be verified.
Taxes. The public tax records can be provided by your real estate agent which will document the previous year’s tax rate.
Insurance. Contact your insurance company to get a quote for the actual costs for property insurance on the particular property you are considering buying. Your insurance company will also be able to verify if the property is located in a flood zone which carry very high insurance rates.
Property Management. Most companies will charge a fee to market and move tenants into your rental units and also charge a monthly fee for the day to day management tasks. Some companies will add other fees, such as charging a fee on top of every service call and repair made by vendors in addition to the actual costs. Shop around for property management companies and learn about their fee structure.
Have the Property Inspected by a Professional Home Inspector
While some investors with experience in the construction industry do not always hire an independent, professional home inspector, I recommend this to all my investor clients.
I also recommend this step for experienced investors because it never hurts to get a second set of eyes on the property.
Getting a home inspection is absolutely critical if you are an out-of-state buyer who does not intend to personally go and view the property.
An independent inspection by a professional home inspector can help give you peace of mind about buying the property as an investor.
Do not rely on the description of the property in the real estate listing which is written by the agent representing the seller. This is merely marketing copy designed to promote the house for sale and is not an accurate representation of the property condition.
The cost for a home inspection usually ranges between $250 and $350 or more.
In addition to a typical home inspection, several other inspections may be conducted such as the following:
In the Atlanta area termites are an issue. Most home owners should get an annual termite inspection. Sellers are often expected to provide a termite report and the annual contract they have with their termite vendor will transfer upon the sale of the property along with a termite bond to cover any termite damage that does occur. Therefore in most cases, the buyer may not need to pay for a termite inspection out of pocket.
In general, having a radon test may be a good idea. If the results come back positive, the transaction can usually be negotiated so the seller pays to have the issue remediated prior to the sale of the property. Many buyers in the Atlanta market do not have a radon test done on the property they are buying.
Normally a mold test is not necessary unless the home inspector notes the possible presence of mold in the home inspection report.
Lead Based Paint Testing
Homes built prior to 1978 have a high probability of having lead based paint. The purchase contract will include an exhibit with a lead-based paint disclosure filled out by the seller if the home was built prior to 1978.
In most cases the seller discloses that they have no knowledge of lead based paint (usually they bought the home from the previous owner who also claimed to have no knowledge of lead based paint in the home).
It is safe to assume that any property built before 1978 had lead based paint. The costs for having the home tested for the presence of lead based paint may not be an expense that an investor will want to pay, unless the investor only wants to buy properties that do not have lead based paint.
Learn about the Location, Neighborhood, and School District
It’s good to know the area where you are buying. And it’s important to make sure that the location meets your expectations for your investment goals.
The school district is almost always an important factor to most investors.
Other important things about location include the particular neighborhood and subdivision, placement of the property in relation to nearby real estate (other homes or nearby businesses and industry), and governmental jurisdiction (county, city, town, etc.), and nearby zoning.
Get a Survey of the Property
Most buyers of homes in subdivisions and well established neighborhoods do not get a survey of their property. As a matter of fact, a real estate attorney in the Atlanta area told me it’s probably not necessary in these types of neighborhoods.
Most of my investor clients who buy rentals do not get a survey of the home they are buying.
However, I recommend getting a survey. This is especially true of properties that are not in a traditional neighborhood.
One of my clients who decided not to get a survey on a property they bought, later learned that when they sold the property the new buyer got a survey and learned that the land included 50% more area than what the tax records stated! My client lost out on getting more money for their property because they didn’t know how much land they actually owned.
In traditional neighborhoods and subdivisions, neighbors put up sheds and fences. It’s a good idea to get a survey to make sure a neighbor is not encroaching on the property you intend to buy.
Consult with the Closing Attorney about Title Issues
Closing in the State of Georgia are conducted by real estate attorneys.
The attorney will alert you about any issues on the title that may delay the closing if they are not cleared from the title prior to the scheduled closing date.
In any case, the attorney’s office will arrange for a title insurance policy on your behalf which you will pay for at closing. Ask the attorney about options for title insurance. In some cases an enhanced policy may be a wise option for you.
Purchase a Home Warranty
Sometimes a home warranty can be negotiated in the transaction so that the seller pays for this.
I recommend to my clients that they purchase a home warranty if the seller does not provide one.
A basic home warranty is about $500 and more than pays for itself if a high ticket item, such as the furnace, breaks down and needs to be replaced.
Work with an Investor Friendly Real Estate Agent
Most real estate agents do not understand real estate investors and the basics of real estate investing because they devote most of their time and training to represent traditional home buyers and sellers.
An investor friendly agent will be able to guide you through the process of buying investment property, will understand the importance of your investment criteria, and has a network of relevant contacts (vendors and professionals) who provide specialized services to investors.
Real estate agents who are also REALTORS® also promise to abide by a code of ethics and use the contract forms provided by the Georgia Association of REALTORS (GAR forms).
Investors create value in real estate by renovating properties in disrepair. Houses that need many repairs are often referred to as a “fixer upper”.
Houses in Disrepair = Big Profits
Real estate investors actively search for houses that are in need of significant repairs.
In most cases, big profits can be made by investors with a fixer upper property that has neglected maintenance.
Investors create value in the real estate market by performing renovations on houses make use of qualified contractors, tradesmen, and construction work crews.
Scope of Work
Renovating a fixer upper house requires developing a comprehensive scope of work.
A scope of work helps investors run the numbers associated with the renovation costs.
A complete home renovation project can often turn up some surprises during the process of making repairs. The wise investor will always include a line item to cover cost overruns.
Rehabbing Real Estate
Rehabilitating distressed properties is a specialization for some investors.
These investors are often called “rehabbers” within the real estate investment community and the process of repairing houses in disrepair is called “rehabbing”.
You have heard of lease purchase and lease option. Many people call this “rent to own” when talking about lease purchase opportunities.
Lease Purchase / Lease Option / Rent to Own Basics
Rent to Own is basically renting and then buying the house you are renting after a period of time. The details of how the lease agreement and purchase contract are written and structured can include a number of variables.
Lease Purchase Agreement
A lease purchase agreement will include a rental agreement with an agreement to purchase at a later date. Many agents I have talked to consider that a lease purchase agreement implies a stronger commitment to purchase than a lease option. However, clauses in the purchase agreement can be included to give the tenant buyer an opportunity to back out of the purchase.
Lease Option Agreement
The lease option agreement gives the tenant buyer the option of buying a rent to own home after a certain period of time. The purchase agreement allows the buyer to exercise the option to purchase the home under the agreed upon terms. The buyer does not have to exercise the option to buy.
Down Payment / Option Consideration
The landlord seller of a rent to own home will expect a down payment from the tenant buyer in order to enter into the purchase agreement. Some landlords will want a non-refundable option consideration paid with the lease that will be applied toward the purchase price of the house. However, if the option to purchase is not exercised, the buyer loses the non-refundable option consideration.
Rental Agreement and Purchase Contract
Rent to Own can have one agreement contract. However, many real estate agents believe that it is best to structure the lease purchase or lease option using two separate agreements:
Rental Contract / Lease Agreement
This is the lease with all the normal provisions of a rental agreement. The lease should include a sentence acknowledging the existence of the purchase contract.
Purchase and Sales Agreement Contract
This is the purchase agreement and is totally separate from the lease. The purchase agreement will include all the provisions necessary in a typical purchase agreement and should include a sentence acknowledging the existence of the rental agreement.
Benefits of Rent to Own
Both landlord sellers and tenant buyers may benefit by a lease purchase agreement.
Tenant Buyer Lease Purchase Benefits
A lease purchase agreement has several benefits for a tenant. Many tenants enjoy the opportunity to enter into a rental agreement with motivation to become home owners.
Buyers who do not yet qualify for a home mortgage loan can rent the home they want to buy while they work at repairing their credit and increasing their income in order to qualify for a home loan after a year or two.
The tenant buyer also is comforted by the security of living in their house long term without having to move at the end of the rental agreement.
Landlord Seller Lease Purchase Benefits
Sellers benefit several ways by a lease purchase agreement. One good reason many sellers enter into a lease purchase with a tenant is to secure a purchase agreement for sale at a later date if they do not think they can sell fast today.
Sellers would rather someone living in their home paying monthly rent and maintaining the property rather than having the home sit vacant waiting for a buyer in a slow sales market.
The seller may fetch a higher purchase price with a lease purchase. The purchase price can be agreed upon by speculating that the value of the house will rise in a year or two. So a tenant buyer may be willing to offer a higher purchase price than a regular buyer will offer today.
Rent to Own Homes in Cherokee County Georgia
There are always homes available for lease purchase in Cherokee County and nearby areas in just about every price range. Tenants, home ownership may be within your reach now. Sellers, selling your home with a lease purchase agreement may be a good option for selling your house. If you want to rent a home in North Metro Atlanta and with plans to buy a house later, you may want to consider a lease purchase.
Coming Soon: Answer 4 simple questions to find out if Rent to Own is right for you!
Why does your bank put a 10 day hold on your check deposit over $5,000?
Federal Regulation CC
This regulation seems to deal with two specific things regarding holding deposits.
- Making funds available for withdrawal within the times prescribed by the regulation
- Providing funds availability disclosures and notices to customers
As far as I can tell, an individual bank will have their own policies when it comes to holding checks.
For more information about Reg CC visit this page on Federal Reserve website: the https://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/regcc/regcc.htm
Here is my dog barking story and how I was arrested for a dog barking ticket.
Cherokee County Georgia Dog Barking Ordinance
Watch the video of me speaking during the public comment time before the Cherokee County Board of Commissioner on April 19, 2016 here:
On February 19, 2016 I was issued a citation by Cherokee County Animal Control. The offense was “nuisance barking” by my dog Ginger, a 13 year old Golden Retriever/Border Collie mix. I think it probably had something to do with my pet feeding options as well.
The officer who issued the citation pointed out a sticker on the back of the citation indicating the phone number of the Cherokee County Magistrate Court. He informed me that I should call the number to find out more information about the fine, including the amount due and how it can be paid.
When I called the Magistrate Court I was informed that the amount of the fine was $205.50 and was due by April 5, 2016.
Arrested for a Dog Barking Ticket
On April 5 I went onto the Magistrate Court’s website to pay the fine, but didn’t see how to pay online. When I called the court I was told that the fine could not be paid online I was told to come to the courthouse to pay. I left work and went to the courthouse to pay the fine, arriving there about 2:00 PM.
When I spoke to the administrative staff in the Magistrate Court office, I was informed that I could not pay the fine and that there was a bench warrant out for my arrest. I was told to go to the County Sheriff office on Univeter Road and turn myself in.
Not believing what I was told I approached two officers on duty by the entry to the courthouse. I informed them what I was just told and asked them if this was real. They shook their heads in disbelief and said they would check into it.
While I was talking to them, they got a call on their radio about me and suddenly three other officers approached me. I told them what had happened and they also shook their head in disbelief.
One of the officers went into the Magistrate Court office to find out what was going on. When he came back he informed me that the judge had left for the day and he apologized as he informed me that I had to be handcuffed and arrested.
I was taken to a room in the courthouse where I was patted down and searched. All my personal belongings were taken from me. I was put in a van and driven to the jail on Univeter Rd where I was placed in a cell for some time and then processed, including having my photograph taken and fingerprinted.
After waiting for another two hours I was released on bond and told to show up in court on April 19, 2016. I was detained for a total of 5 hours from the time I was handcuffed in the courthouse to the time I was released from the jail.
Dog Barking Court
On my court date the morning of April 19th, the prosecutor stood up and began announcing names and spoke privately with each person. When he spoke with me, I was told that I could plead guilty or not guilty and go to trial. I asked him what the charge was and he said nuisance barking. I asked about failing to appear in court the first time, he said that didn’t matter.
I told him that I want to pay the fine for dog barking. He wasn’t sure if I could pay it before the judge arrived in court so he asked one of the clerks. I was told I could pay the fine and the matter would be finished. The bailiff led me out to the administrative office where I paid the fine and I was free to go.
Local Government Overreach
Everyone agrees it’s an overreach for government to have the power to arrest a citizen for a dispute about a barking dog, even if the fine is paid late. There are other ways local government can enforce a dog barking ordinance.
The ordinance should be rewritten to make it impossible for anyone to get arrested for a barking ticket, even if the fine is paid late. It should never have come to this in my situation and no citizen should live under the threat of arrest for a barking dog ticket.
I’m getting a lot of calls from investors in Canada.
Canadian Real Estate Investors
Investing in Atlanta real estate is attractive to investors from Canada. They are telling me that it’s difficult to find deals in their area. They like numbers they see in the real estate market in Atlanta. Additionally they tell me that some of the Canadian laws make it more difficult to navigate through some investment strategies.
Foreclosures in Canada
One investor in Canada told me that he’s expecting foreclosures to increase dramatically in the next year or so. Housing prices in his area are way too high and it’s a risky time for him to buy locally so he prefers doing deals in the Atlanta area for now.
I’m one of the owners of Georgia Rental Group, an Atlanta area property management company based in Cherokee County.
Rental Property Management for Atlanta Landlords
Georgia Rental Group is managing property in the Atlanta area for landlords who own one property as well as those who own multiple properties.
We have 15 years of experience providing professional management services for property owners in the Atlanta, GA area.
Affordable Property Management
My company does not nickle and dime landlords to death. Ask about the comprehensive landlord services provided by Georgia Rental Group for one flat rate each month, no matter what.
Multi-Family Units and Apartments
Georgia Rental Group has the capacity to manage large portfolios of investment rental property, including multi-family units and apartment complexes.
Contact me directly by calling or texting me at 703-371-9548 or fill out the owner application on the Georgia Rental Group website.
Are you getting phone calls from 678-596-4444?
January 30, 2017 – Mr. Welds was escorted back to my office by a Cherokee County Sheriff. It turns out he is in fact an actual Field Representative with the United State Census Bureau.
I learned that he is authorized to gather certain data that is voluntary for us as agents to provide. But since the information he asks for is private information about a real estate transaction, I can’t simply provide that information to a random person who calls on the phone saying they are with the government.
The approach seems like a scam to me on the first encounter.
January 30, 2017 – I met William A. Wells, Field Representative for the U.S Census Bureau.
Mr. Wells came to my office to ask me to take down this post.
His unprofessional demeanor and attempted intimidation was enough have us file a report to the Cherokee County Sheriff. The fact that he claims that his actions are “authorized by the United States Congress” did not intimidate anyone in my office to suddenly provide private information about real estate transactions. But the encounter reinforced the impression that this might be a scam.
Census Bureau Field Representative
According to the U. S. Census Atlanta Region website (https://www.census.gov/regions/atlanta/www/contact_us/how_to_identify_a_census_field_representative.php), a field Representative “Will provide you with a letter from the director of the Census Bureau on U.S. Census Bureau letterhead.”
I have asked Mr. Wells to provide such a letter via U.S. Postal Service.
Calls and Office Visits
January 7, 2016 – The person calling from 678-596-4444 claims to be a government agent and spends a lot of time trying to track down information about a real estate transactions.
He even stopped by a local real estate office seeking information about an agent who worked at a different office with a competing broker.
Census Bureau Agent
The caller claimed to be an agent with the U.S. Census Bureau. In the phone call he referred to an act of Congress and Presidential policies to bolster his claim that he has a right to get certain personal information.
Frank Betz Floor Plans
The Carswell floor plan by Frank Betz is available for sale by several builders who I represent in North Metro Atlanta.
Download the plan by clicking the link here:
Proud Sponsor of KSU Athletics
Kennesaw State University Real Estate
RE/MAX is a proud partner of KSU Athletics and we are here to serve you for any of your home buying and selling needs.
We can also help you find off campus housing for rent.
Kennesaw Property Management
If you are a home owner and would like to make your home available for rent or if you need property management services for your rental unit near KSU, contact me today.
Here is a test question that only makes sense if you are knowledgeable about real estate terminology.
A lease for two weeks of a vacation cottage is:
1. a periodic estate
2. an estate for years
Fixed Period of Time
Most people would probably assume that since the question above asks about a 2 week rental, that the correct answer cannot be an estate for years. Most people select answer number 1, a periodic estate, when in fact number 2 is the correct answer!
An estate for years is a misleading term. It actually refers to the fact that the lease is for a fixed term or a specific period of time. The fixed term or the time specified in the lease can be any amount of time.
Therefore an estate for years is actually a lease which specifies any fixed term time period.
Georgia Department of Revenue
According to the Georgia Department of Revenue website, “Every holder (lender) of a long-term note secured by real estate must record the security instrument in the county in which the real estate is located within 90 days from the date of the instrument executed to secure the note.”
The intangible tax is due when the note is recorded. According to the website, the lender may collect the amount of the tax from the borrower.
The tax rate, according to the Georgia Department of Revenue, is $1.50 (one dollar and fifty cents) for each $500 (five hundred dollars) or fractional part of the face amount of the note.
Sample Tax Calculation
Let’s say borrower takes a loan out to buy a single family house with a price of $225,000. The loan is 80% of the purchase price. The intangible tax is based on the loan amount, not the purchase price.
$225,000 x 80% = $180,000 (amount of loan)
$180,000 / $500 = 360
360 x $1.50 = $540
In this example, the Georgia Intangible Recording Tax is $540.
For more information, visit the Georgia Department of Revenue page, Intangible Recording Tax @ https://etax.dor.ga.gov/ptd/adm/taxguide/intrec.aspx
Note on Intangible Property
Intangible property cannot be seen or touched. It has no physical existence and derives its value from what it represents.
The Language of Real Estate by John W. Reilly, published by Dearborn™ Real Estate Education
The Red Book on Real Estate Contracts in Georgia by Seth G. Weissman & Ned Blumenthal, published by the Georgia Association of REALTORS®
I’m a business partner with renowned Cherokee County agent Sandra Watkins. We are REMAX Town & Country agents.
Sandra Watkins & Co. Office Address
Our team is called Sandra Watkins & Co. and the address of our office is 102 Overlook Circle, Canton, GA 30115. We are in the same office building with Riverstone Homes.
Where is 102 Overlook Cir, Canton?
My office is located in the office building at the corner of Overlook Cir and Holly Springs Parkway.
From Holly Springs Home Depot
My office is 1 mile north of Home Depot on Holly Springs Parkway. It’s at the corner of Overlook Cir. on the left.
From Holly Springs WalMart
From Walmart in Holly Springs, the office is 2 miles south. It will be on the right at the corner of Overlook Cir.
Between Interstate 575 Exits 11 and 14
The office is located on SR 5 / Holly Springs Pkwy and Overlook Cir. between exits 11 and 14 off I-575.
Exit 11 is the Sixes Road exit so turn left from Sixes Rd onto Holly Springs Parkway. You will pass Home Depot on the left and proceed 1 more mile to the office on the left side of Holly Springs Pkwy at Overlook Cir.
Exit 14 is the Walmart exit onto Holly Springs Pkwy. Pass Walmart on the right and go 2 more miles to the corner of Overlook Cir and Holly Springs Pkwy.
Real Estate Office in Holly Springs GA
Stop by and visit our real estate office in Holly Springs. If I’m not there when you arrive, our staff and team of agents will be available to provide you any information you need.
Real estate agents are normally motivated to get properties under contract for their clients but many confused about working with investors. The following information explains a strategy for investors who want to get multiple properties under contract.
Prepare and Submit Offers Quickly for Real Estate Investors
Real estate investors who have an aggressive acquisition strategy want an agent who is willing to submit offers simultaneously on multiple properties quickly.
Depending on the number of offers to be prepared, an agent may need to have a support team to show properties and prepare the purchase contracts.
The investor client is happy when the offers are submitted as quickly as possible.
Investors Will Make Offers on Too Many Properties
The motivated real estate investor will want to make offers on more properties than they are able to purchase. The strategy is to lock up several properties under contract.
The investor likes having the luxury of deciding which properties are the best deals and even negotiating better terms after inspections and due diligence.
Having several properties under contract simultaneously makes investors happy because they have more options without any competition.
Some real estate agents have difficulty coming to terms with this strategy because the typical home buyer will normally not try to get more than one home under contract at the same time.
Make More Commissions by Helping Investors to Make More Money
Agents who work with investors can close a higher volume of transactions over time with investors who make lots of offers. And sometimes the investor can find funding for more transactions if they have several great deals under contract even though it didn’t not fit into their original plan.
Agents want more commission checks and thus should work hard to help investors find lots of great deals to get under contract.
Real estate agents have an opportunity to expand their business by understanding investors and investment property.
Be an Investor Friendly Agent
The first thing to keep in mind about investors may seem obvious: Investors want to work with a real estate agent who is friendly toward investors.
Believe if or not, many investors have difficulty finding a good real estate agent who will provide the services they need. Agents who do not understand investors lose out on opportunities to expand their business into the investment real estate market.
I’m hoping that the content of this post will provide you with some basic information about working with investors so that you will truly be an investor friendly real estate agent.
Here are 3 things you should know about investors to get started.
1. Investors Want Good Deals
The reason real estate can be considered an investment is because of either asset appreciation and capital growth or positive cash flow. This means investors want to buy property at a discount, otherwise its not a good investment.
The best deals in residential real estate for investors are problem properties that typically will not be sold to an owner occupant.
These types of properties are sold at a discount because of the nature of the problem associated with the property. Such problems include deferred property maintenance or the seller’s need to sell quickly.
2. Investors Analyze Numbers
An investor will decide if a potential deal is actually a deal by analyzing the numbers associated with the transaction.
The numbers important to the investors include ROI and Cap Rate. These numbers are derived by various calculations that take other numbers into account such as the rent rate, after repair value (ARV), repair costs, average DOM, property taxes, insurance, property management fees, closing costs, commissions, holding costs, and funding costs.
Some of these numbers will come insurance agents, attorneys, and contractors. Other numbers will be provided to the investors by their real estate agent. The numbers that the real estate agent is expected to provide include the ARV, rent rate, DOM, management fees, and commissions.
When the investor has all the numbers, the deal can be evaluated to determine if a deal has been found.
3. Investors Develop Multiple Exit Strategies
A real estate investor almost always wants more than one exit strategy. In working a deal, the investor develops those strategies prior to purchase.
For example, if the investor plans to purchase a house and make significant repairs with the goal of reselling for maximum profit in a short period of time, the investor may also want to have the option of making the property a cash flowing rental unit long term or holding the property just long enough to do a 1031 exchange.
The investor will rely on their real estate agent to provide information needed in order the develop these multiple exit strategies.
Agents With Investor Clients
The real estate agent who wants to provide investor services and become known as an investor friendly agent, will be expected to provide whatever information is needed so that the investor can evaluate a potential deal, run the numbers, and develop viable exit strategies.
Armed with a basic menu of real estate services for investors, agents can expect attract investor clients. These client will often buy and sell multiple properties over time. This also opens the door of opportunity to expand business in other areas to include property management, bulk transactions, land development, and new home construction.
Connect With John Marion
NAR releases research showing why proposals in Congress to curb 1031 tax-deferred exchanges would be a bad idea for residential and commercial real estate.
National Association of Realtors Video Report
Eliminating 1031 Exchanges Would Devastate the American economy.
NAR Website Link
For direct link to report on NAR website, click here.
This is a test page to see how Google ads appear on my website.
Why Use Google Ads?
I use Google ads on some of my marketing pages and posts in order to create some additional revenue. The idea behind this is that some visitors to my website do not find exactly what they are looking for and the display of an ad may have the content the visitor wants.
WordPress Theme Slimmy
The WordPress theme that I’m using for my website is call Slimmy. This is important to know, because in addition to the appearances of WordPress themes, each theme has a variety of options that control how a page or post displays on a website browser.
Some themes will allow the webmaster to control various features on pages and posts. The Slimmy themes does not allow me to prevent the right hand sidebar from appearing on individual posts like other WordPress themes allow you to do.
Google AdSense Ads
I’m using and testing a variety of Google ad units on different pages and posts of my website. The reason I have created this test page is to see how different size ads and different types of ads appear on the site.
Google Ads With Pictures and Headings
I’ve noticed that Google ads appear differently depending on where I place the code. For example, some ads are place before or after photographs or headings appear differently from the visual editor and the live view on a web browser. It takes a little trial and error to get the ads to appear in a way that looks best on a web page.
Google Ad Unit Tests
Here are some tests using various Google Ad Units.
Ad Links 728×15
The ad unit above is from code that was place immediately after the heading, “Ad Links 728×15,” which is a “Heading 3.” The ad content and size is Ad Links, 728×15. As you can see, this ad unit is too wide for the particular theme I’m using on my website, so it should not be used.
Text Image, 320×100
This ad unit is also immediately after a Heading 3 heading which says “Text Image, 320×100.”
Ad Links, 468×15
Once again, the code for the ad above has been placed immediately after the Heading 3. In this case it says “Ad Links, 468×15.”
Preliminary Marketing Ad Test Results
Based on the appearance of the various Google ads in the previous section, it’s easy to conclude so far that the best appearing ads are both the Text Image, 320×100 and the Ad Links, 468×15. I’m thinking that the 468×15 Ad Links might be the best option to use between paragraphs.
To test how the Ad Links, 468×15 Google ad shows up between paragraphs, I have place the code for that ad after the previous paragraph and this paragraph. I like the way it displays and I’m thinking this is a very good option to use within the main body of a page within paragraph formatted text and not immediately after a heading.
Fill out this form to get your free report.
View this video: REMAX National Housing Report for May 2015.
RE/MAX researches 53 major metropolitan markets and analyzes the data to get a pulse on the US housing market. Here are some highlights from this months report.
Are you ready to sell your home in Cherokee County?
Cherokee County Georgia REALTOR
Your Cherokee County real estate may be in demand by buyers who are in the market searching for homes or land.
I’m a full time REMAX Town & Country real estate agent in Canton, GA.
In order to determine the best sales price to market your home, I will research recent sales in your neighborhood.
Your home will be listed on the MLS and marketed for sale using the power of REMAX to expose your property to buyers.
List Your Home For Sale on the MLS
Call me or text me on my cell phone at 703-371-9548 or fill out the form below for a free consultation about listing your home or land for sale in Cherokee County.