Atlanta Foreclosure Homes; Going to the Smartest Bidder

By: philip smith

In a city with among the highest mortgage default rates in the nation, vacant Atlanta foreclosure homes forlornly await the glance of cautious buyers.

Atlanta has been noted as an affordable place, with a busy and vibrant economy. Its problems are those of the broader state-wide trend. Of wage rise rates falling far behind those of house prices, homeowners taking on record levels of debt in the belief house price rises would continue some mortgage fraud on the rise, and now a sharp decline in property values. Increasing rates of loan defaults first drew attention in 2005, when rising numbers were linked to another trend, high interest but easily obtained sub prime loans financed buyers of one in every four homes in Atlanta metropolitan area that year. Between 2000 and 2006 foreclosure sales in Atlanta trebled. Now, with house prices slowly bur surely trending down, faster in areas where foreclosures hit hardest, many Atlantans can neither refinance nor sell at a price to ease their financial struggle. Filings have surged in July and August to levels never before imagined; 5000 new filings in the 13 metro counties.

Neighborhoods affected the most are in southwest Atlanta, south DeKalb and Clayton County, but thousands of properties involving $300,000 and more mortgages in default await auction in all communities, including Alpharetta and other upscale areas. Foreclosure auctions are becoming more familiar and among the curious crowds attracted, there are a few of first time investors and young would-be family home buyers hoping to learn the ropes and make a successful and financially prudent winning bid.

The pre foreclosure period in Georgia is short, the foreclosure process itself swift, some say unrelenting. It can be as little as 37 days from NTS to auction. Advertising the sale begins as soon as the notice of default is mailed and auctions are held in every Georgia county, on the first Tuesday of every month, on the steps of the county courthouse, as they have been for over a century. The county Marshall conducts the sale without government officials or a judge's oversight, and in a process often described as chaotic, 4 or 5 sales can take place at once. Qualifying and experienced bidders arrive with cashiers checks or cash to cover their maximum bids. Some say the Atlanta foreclosure auction process is efficient and saves lenders holding costs, but new buyer beware, it would be easy to end up paying market price or more if you haven't got a sound grasp of the basics.

Foreclosures
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