Real Estate Coffee Break replay is now available! Get it HERE:

CLICK HERE TO WATCH: John Adams invites you to take a short 20 minute coffee break with him. Relax and get up-to-date information and ideas from industry-leading experts in real estate each week online in a twenty minute format>

Today’s Coffee Break replay features John covering the ALL NEW 2014 Landlord Survival Guide which is moving from a PRINT format to an ONLINE SERVICE. Yes, you can still get the print edition, and yes, if you ordered one in the past 6 months and have not yet received it, you will receive yours as soon as the printed book is back. But YES, the ONLINE EDITION is ready and available TODAY, starting at 1:00 pm EDT.

To view the REPLAY of this week’s Real Estate Coffee Break, CLICK HERE.  Don’t forget to go to and click REGISTER to be invited to next Thursday’s event. The goal of the RE Coffee Break is to bring you great information in 20 minutes each week..

The Real Estate Coffee Break will happen every Thursday at 1 pm EDT, and will always be recorded for your replay until Friday night at 11:59pm. After that, these sesisons will go into the VAULT.

How to Get Your Credit Score for Free

AJC 2014 APR 06

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How To Get Your Credit Score For Free
by John Adams

In my last column, we looked at the factors which contribute to your credit score, and found that lenders are relying on that score more than ever before to approve or deny home loan applications.

I suggested you visit to obtain free copies of your current credit history from the three major credit repositories: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

However, it appears I failed to adequately explain the direct relationship between your credit history and your credit score. I also was not clear about how you can obtain your credit score. Thanks to several readers who brought this to my attention.
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Property Tax Reduction ONLINE Workshop

Appeal Deadline Is THIS TUESDAY April 1, 2014.

John Adams presents
2014 Property Tax Reduction Workshop
Only $69 includes 4 hours of ON-DEMAND Audio & Video,
a QuickStart “Appeal Today” video guide, complete downloadable
2014 manual and all necessary forms and paperwork.

Also Include membership to the Property Tax Reduction Resource Center for one year.

CLICK HERE or use this URL:

If you own real property in Georgia, you are likely paying more than your fair share of county property tax. In this fast 4 hour course, veteran property owner John Adams guides you on the path to lowering the property tax assessment first with the county tax assessor, then with the Board of Equalization, then finally with the Superior Court of the county in which your property is located.

The clock is fast ticking for Tax Year 2014, and time for your appeal is running out. DO NOT MISS YOUR DEADLINE!!! The first step is to file your APPEAL OF ASSESSMENT on DOR form PT-311-A, which triggers the appeal process. But once your county deadline passes, you must accept their assessment. If you miss the deadline, you won’t be able to challenge your value for this year.

This course will teach you:
How to research your value on Jan 1 after the fact; how to file your APPEAL OF ASSESSMENT – and why; why you must meet with the appraiser; what actual data you must have; how to find the best comp sales; how to PROTEST your valuation; how to APPEAL your case to the Board of Equalization; how to present your appeal; how to Take Your Case to Superior Court; and much much more!

Note that when you register, you’ll be able to download the PT-50-R and the PTR-311-A immediately. You can also begin watching the videos immediately!

Our video courses are not approved by the Georgia Real Estate Commission for Continuing Education. We will work on that! If you have any advice on getting that done, please let us know.

Property Tax Secrets Webinar – Offer Extended to Midnight Tonight

Low Credit Score Can Damage Home Buying Dreams

AJC 2014 MAR 23

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Low Credit Score Can Damage Home Buying Dreams
by John Adams

In my last column, I reminded you that home prices are still attractive and interest rates are still a giveaway, so this spring might be just the right time for you to start your search for a new or resale home.

The first step you should take in the homebuying process doesn’t even involve a house. Instead, it involves you. What I am suggesting is that you must understand and examine your credit history before you do anything else.
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LOWER YOUR PROPERTY TAX BILL – Deadline is April 01, 2014!

Filing Form Triggers County to Review Sales Data

by John Adams, for the Atlanta Journal Constitution

Now is the time to look back to see if we have been paying more than our fair share of property tax, and look forward to learn what can be done to make sure we don’t pay one cent more than the law demands during the new year.

Here are my recommendations for your property tax review.

1. Know that unless your property is currently under an appeal from last year, it is not possible to revisit your property tax assessment for 2013. It’s over and done with.  It is, however, your responsibility to take control of the process for 2014.

2. Also know that there is absolutely no relationship whatsoever between the assessed value for property tax purposes and the real market value of the property.  While all of us want our homes to be worth as much as possible, you needn’t worry that a low assessment will hurt your selling price should you decide later to sell.

3.  Beginning January 1, 2014, owners may file a TAXPAYERS RETURN of PROPERTY with the Tax Assessor of the county where the property is located. This form simply notifies the assessor of your opinion of the value of the property in question on January 1, 2014. The form is known as “Georgia PT-50R” and can be found on my website at

4. The form requires only your name, parcel ID, property address, and your estimate of value for the land and improvements as they existed on New Years Day 2014.  It should take less than ten minutes to fill out, even less if you have last year’s tax bill or can log on the county tax website to gather your account info.

5.  Your estimate of value should be based on sales of comparable homes which occurred during the twelve month period between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2013.  If possible, find at least three sales which are a) similar in age, style, and size to yours; b) have the same bedroom and bathroom count; and c) are located within a mile of your home.

6. Make sure your estimate of value for 2014 is lower than the assessed value assigned for last year. Because this is simply your estimate of value, you don’t have to be able to back it up with data. Filing the form simply tells the county you want them to re-examine their estimate of value before they propose a valuation for 2014 later in the year.

6. Local real estate agents can help you locate these sales and also provide data such as square footage, so that you can calculate a “dollars per square foot” average for your estimate.  Alternatively, you can choose to hire a real estate appraiser to establish a value, but that usually costs several hundred dollars.

7. If you purchased the property in 2013, you are required to file a return. Include a copy of the HUD-1 settlement statement to establish value for 2014. Georgia law now requires counties to accept the purchase price from the previous year as the value for the following tax year.

8. Your completed Georgia Form PT-50R should be mailed or hand delivered to the local Board of Tax Assessors no later than April 1, 2014.  Late returns are NOT accepted.

Some counties allow you to file your FORM online. However, the safest method of filing is to hand it the assessor and get a receipt. Filing that paperwork tells the county you want them to review 2013 sales data before they calculate a proposed valuation for 2014.

Copyright 2014 by John Adams.  All rights reserved.

Getting Ready To Buy Your First Home

AJC 2014 MAR 09

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Getting Ready To Buy Your First Home
by John Adams

Many of you have been sitting on the sidelines of the real estate market for the past several years. Maybe you thought prices would continue to decline. Maybe you thought interest rates would drop below zero. More likely you just didn’t think.

What ever the reason, it should be fairly clear by now that prices are NOT going to continue to decline. In fact, just the opposite is the case.  Prices have begun a substantial rebound. And the federal reserve has signaled that it will gradually begin winding down its financial support for artificially low interest rates over the next couple of years.
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All Insurance Policies Are Not Created Equal

AJC 02.23.14

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Discover Gaps In Your Coverage Before A Loss Occurs
by John Adams

Homeowners insurance is one of those things we all take for granted. I can’t tell you how many times I have arrived at a closing table only to find out the buyer had neglected to arrange for insurance, and the lender refused to proceed until coverage was obtained.

And if you are not in the insurance business, you probably assumed that your policy covers just about everything bad that might happen to you or your property. And for the most part, you are right.
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Landlord Law Prevents Placing Repair Burden on Resident

AJC 2014 FEB 09

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by John Adams

My recent column about landlording drew a number of questions about the process of renting a residence to others and how to stay out of trouble. Here are some that I wanted to share with you:

Q: I need to rent my house to cover the mortgage, but I don’t want to be responsible for repairs or upkeep. Can I agree with the tenant that they will take care of all repairs in exchange for a reduced rent or something like that?

A: That is a very good question. Georgia landlord-tenant law makes it very clear that a residential landlord may not transfer his responsibility to repair to another party, including the tenant. Any such arrangement would not be illegal, but it would be unenforceable if the tenant failed to make needed repairs. Continue reading