Homestead Exemption for Cobb County Homeowners

Cobb County Homestead Exemption

2014 Cobb County & East Cobb Home Buyers – be sure to file your Homestead Exemption!

If you purchased your home last year and have not already done so, file for your Homestead Exemption by the deadline (April 1 in most counties) – or you won’t get a tax break for another year! Filing a Homestead Exemption can save you thousands of dollars in property taxes! In Georgia a Homestead Exemption must be applied for by the homeowner – it is not automatic and the closing attorney does not file for you at closing. Depending on your county, this can be done online, by fax, by mail or in person – and you can file for homestead exemption year round. You only have to apply for the exemption once and the exemption remains for as long as you reside in the home as your primary residence – however, any change in the name of the homeowner requires a new filing! A Homestead Exemption provides more than just a tax break. It also provides two important protections. It prevents the forced sale of a home to meet the demands of creditors and provides the surviving spouse with shelter. Deadlines are listed below by county along with a link for a homestead application. Applications received after the deadlines will be processed the following year.

Filing for Homestead Exemption

The Homestead Exemption is available to legal residents of Georgia for their primary homes. You are entitled to the Homestead Exemption if you owned and occupied your home on January 1st of the year for which you apply. Senior citizens may have additional exemptions available – check with your county tax office.

Deadline Dates (in parenthesis)

Cherokee County (4/1): 2782 Marietta Highway, Suite 200, Canton 30114 678-493-6120 M-F 8am to 5pm

Cobb County (4/1): 736 Whitlock Avenue, Suite 100, Marietta, GA 30064 770-528-8600 M-F 8:30am to 5pm

Are you in the City Limits of Marietta? The City of Marietta offers homeowners certain additional Homestead Exemptions in addition to Cobb County Exemptions – see if you qualify: City of Marietta

DeKalb County (4/1): 4380 Memorial Drive, Suite 100, Decatur, GA 30032 404-298-4000 M-F 8am to 5pm

Douglas County (4/1): Douglas County Courthouse, 8700 Hospital Drive, Douglasville, GA 30133 770-920-7272 M-F 8am to 5pm

Forsyth County (4/1): 110 East Main Street, Suite 260, Cumming, GA 30040 770-781-2106 M-F 8:30am to 5pm

Fulton County (4/1): *North Fulton Owners – You may be able to file at one of the Northside annex centers – please check the website for location nearest you. 141 Pryor Street SW, Suite 1047, Atlanta, GA 30303 404-730-4000 M-F 8am to 5pm

Gwinnett County (4/1): Call for application. 75 Langley Drive, Lawrenceville, GA 30046 770-822-8800 M-F 8:30am to 5pm

Hall County (4/1): 2875 Browns Bridge Rd, Gainesville, GA 30504 770-531-6720 M-F 8am to 5pm

Paulding County (4/1): 240 Constitution Boulevard, Dallas, GA 30132 770-443-7606 M-F 8am to 5pm

Rockdale County (4/1): 969 Pine Street, Conyers, GA 30012 770-278-7600 M-F 8am to 4:30pm

Walton County (4/1): 303 South Hammond Drive, Walton County Government Building, Monroe, GA 30655 770-267-1335 M-F 8am to 5pm

What You Need in Order to File: A copy of the recorded warranty deed, Social Security numbers of all persons on the deed, the mortgage holder, and the amount of the mortgage. Some counties may require a copy of the closing statement (HUD 1) and proof of age for senior citizens.

If your county is not listed, please visit the Ga Dept of Revenue online at: to find information for your county.

Mercedes Benz Relocating To Atlanta

Mercedes Relocation US HQ to Atlanta

In early January Mercedes-Benz USA announced that it will relocate its US corporate headquarters to Atlanta, Georgia, in a move designed to better serve its growing customer base and strengthen the company’s position for long-term, sustainable growth. MBUSA executives and staff will relocate from its primary facility in Montvale, New Jersey, to a temporary facility in Atlanta’s Perimeter Center on an interim basis. Mercedes plans to begin relocating employees to Atlanta starting in July 2015. The company will construct a new, state-of-the-art headquarters expected to be completed in early 2017. Word from commercial real estate sources are that Mercedes has several sites under consideration near Sandy Springs and along the GA 400 corridor in North Fulton County. The move will affect approximately 1,000 employees now living in New Jersey, and will be phased to help minimize any disruption to business operations.

As Mercedes USA CEO Steve Cannon explains, there are a number of good reasons for the company’s relocation to Atlanta.

“Atlanta is a premier city which places us closer to our ever-growing Southeast customer base, our port in Brunswick, Georgia, and to Mercedes-Benz US International, our Alabama manufacturing facility, which accounts for half of the vehicles we sell here in the US,” Cannon said in a statement. “For our employees, Atlanta offers a strong quality of life, terrific schools and wonderful cultural and recreational opportunities.”

North Atlanta Specialty Broker, Robert Whitfield of Advantage Realtors said he has already received inquiries from several Mercedes employees who are trying to become familiar with North Atlanta’s better neighborhood options in which to establish new roots. Most families priorities are excellent schools, a reasonable commute, and nicer neighborhoods offering newer homes and good recreational amenities like pools, tennis, and even golf.

Based on the locations under consideration for Mercedes new headquarters, Marietta’s affluent East Cobb community would be an excellent location for relocating Mercedes employees to consider. East Cobb offers easy access and close proximity to the Sandy Springs and GA 400 corridor areas, along with East Cobb’s top public schools, high home value retention and excellent quality of life. Other good neighborhood options are Roswell, Alpharetta, and Milton in North Fulton. Sandy Springs and Dunwoody are other possible options, though families with children should know both have somewhat weaker public school systems and feeders than East Cobb and North Fulton communities.

Mercedes expects to provide additional detail on its relocation plans by the end of January.

Mercedes employees needing more information and unmatched relocation assistance are welcome to contact Robert Whitfield at 678-585-9691.

Atlanta Buyer Activity Trends

ATL Sold Trends 2006 to Oct 2014The above graph of Atlanta Single Family Home Sold Volume is both shocking and telling for Buyers and Sellers. It is shocking because the yearly trend line patterns for Atlanta Sold Volume Activity – which is driven by buyers – has been remarkably consistent for the last nine years from 2006 to October 2014  – even including the “market downturn years” 2007-2011!

The Golden Nugget for Buyers – your competition for the best homes starts early – and that means so should you! Starting in January, more and more buyers enter the market each week, month over month, until activity peaks in June – by June, many of the choicest homes in the best school districts are bought up! That is why you should always retain a skilled buyers expert to represent and assist you as early as possible – even if you’re only in the looking stages! An expert can help you do your neighborhood and homework research far better than you can own your own – so you can hit the ground running when its time to buy! If you haven’t found a home to close on by June, you will have slimmer pickings and extreme competition as unsuccessful buyers and late arrival relocation buyers all jockey and compete to locate and purchase the remaining better homes before school starts in August!

The Golden Nugget for Sellers – there are actually two. 1. Home Sellers DO NOT want to “wait until March or April” to make your home ready and get it “Listed in Spring” – by then you have missed a ton of buyers! I suggest sellers shoot to be on the market in January or early February. 2. If things have prevented you from being ready to list until September or October- do it! If you’re already on the market in September or October, even though showings have probably slowed, stay on the market! (Caveat – hire an agent with a better marketing plan if you have been listed since Spring or early summer)! Autumn is slower, but note the volume bounce that happens in November almost every year – that is the start of good things to come! Buyers out looking during the holidays are usually very serious. Homes do sell during the holidays – I have sold many homes around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years holidays!

Are you a Buyer or Seller with Market or Timing Questions – call Robert 678-585-9691!

Doctor Mortgage Program

Doctor Mortgage Program


Up to 100% Financing Available For Eligible Doctors

We have a new source for Doctor Mortgage Loans that have some of the best terms and most flexibility we have seen. Whether you’re a well established doctor or are in your residency, there is a program to fit your financing needs.

Licensed Residents/Fellowships • Licensed Medical Doctors
• Maxillofacial Surgeons • Doctors of Osteopathy

Program Highlights:

•   Available in 5, 7 and 10 year ARMs

•   Loan Amounts:

• Up to $1,500,000 for medical doctors who have completed their residency

• 100% Financing up to $750,000

• $417,000 for medical doctors currently in their residency/fellowship

•   Primary Residences only

•   Purchase and Rate/Term Refinance

•   No Mortgage Insurance required

•   Program applies to Single Family Residences

For more information contact Robert Whitfield – 678-585-9691


East Cobb Home Inventory January 2014

East Cobb Home Inventory January 2014




East Cobb Home Inventory January 2014 – East Cobb’s properties in the top three high school districts Walton, Lassiter, and Pope. Figures are for single family homes.

For more information on the East Cobb Housing Market, contact Robert Whitfield at 678-585-9691.

Atlanta Braves Moving To Cobb County

Atlanta Braves LogoThe Atlanta Braves announced plans to build a new world-class Major League Baseball stadium in Cobb County, and the plans are for it to be ready so the team can move to the new facility in 2017. The new $672 million stadium, which includes parking and related infrastructure, will occupy about 15 acres near the intersection of Interstates 75 and 285. The deal has not been signed with Cobb County Officials yet, but Braves officials said that is a 100% certainty and will happen soon.

“The Atlanta Braves are a great organization and will be a welcome addition to Cobb County,” Cobb Commission Chairman Tim Lee said. “Our focus is on finalizing an agreement that will bring jobs and economic growth to the area while enhancing the experience of sports fans from across the metro area. Atlanta has evolved over the years into a broader community that offers so much for so many. Cobb County is proud to be a part of the region’s continued success.”

The construction will mean more than 5,200 jobs with a payroll of $235 million. Officials estimate more than 1,590 of those jobs will go to Cobb County residents, with an estimated payroll of more than $53.8 million.

The economic benefits to Cobb County will include:

  • $13.5      million in annual payroll benefits
  • More      than 3,400 jobs created here

There will be multiple access points to the site, as it is also near U.S. 41/Cobb Parkway. Cobb staff will work with the state Department of Transportation to make numerous improvements to the flow of traffic through the area. For more information, please visit

East Cobb SF Home Inventory October 2013

East Cobb Home Inventory October 2013


As the chart shows, inventory is mostly low – by historical standards (except for the 75 homes in the Walton District) there should be two to three times as many homes in each price range. The Lassiter High and Pope High School Districts have very low home inventory in the $700K- $999K ranges, with only 13 and 10 homes respectively. The interesting stat is the composition of the 75 homes in the Walton High District in the $300-$500K range – a big jump in supply over the last few months – there is not one new construction home in the group, and only 16 of the 75 homes are under $350K.

For more information about homes and markets in any East Cobb school district or neighborhood, contact Robert Whitfield: 678-585-9691.

*Disclaimer: “Information is derived directly from FMLS data which is believed to be very accurate but not guaranteed – which is way more than I can say for all the third party online and consumer data sites – Trulia, Zillow, and so many others.”

Fed Bond Buying Sends East Cobb Mortgage Rates Lower

federal reserveFollowing the Federal Reserve’s announcement last week that it will continue its bond buying stimulus to keep homebuyer affordability high, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.32 percent, down from last week’s average of 4.50 percent.

The Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS), also showed the 15-year FRM averaged 3.37 percent, down from last week when it averaged 3.54 percent.

These lower rates will help offset the house price increases we have seen in East Cobb and most other metro Atlanta markets over the last several months.  The S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city composite house price index rose 12.4 percent over the 12-months ending in July – this represents the largest annual increase since February 2006.

If you need a referral to some excellent lenders who can get it done for you, reach out to me. I have great sources for Jumbo Loans and 100% Physician Loans as well.

 Robert Whitfield – Broker/Owner – Advantage Realtors

New Year Begins With Record-Low Mortgage Rates

Record Low Mortgage Rates in 2013The Good News Continues

Freddie Mac has released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey, showing fixed-rate mortgages continuing to hover near their all-time record lows helping to keep homebuyer affordability high and aiding the ongoing housing recovery.

As 2013 began, the 30-year Fixed averaged 3.34 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending Jan. 3, 2013, down from last week when it averaged 3.35 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.91 percent. Also this week, the 15-year Fixed averaged 2.64 percent with an average 0.7 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.65 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.23 percent.