FHA Back To Work Extenuating Circumstances Program

Last month the FHA relaxed the guidelines and requirements for many potential homebuyers affected by the economic downturn through bankruptcy and/or foreclosure, short sale or deed-in-lieu. It’s called the FHA Back To Work Extenuating Circumstances Program and provides home financing opportunities.

So what does all of this mean to you?

First, you should understand what a FHA Mortgage Is

FHA Mortgages provide potential homebuyers the opportunity to purchase a home with a low down payment, and unlike conventional mortgages, the money for the down payment does not have to be verified as the buyer’s money; it can be a gift to the home buyer from outside sources. And the credit qualifications for a FHA mortgage are often lower than those required for a conventional mortgage.

CalculatorWhat is the FHA Back To Work Extenuating Circumstances Program

On August 15, 2013, the FHA offered new guidelines for potential homebuyers who “experienced periods of financial difficulty due to extenuating circumstances.” Basically, they modified the waiting period to apply for a new mortgage, offering you a “second chance”. Instead of taking anywhere from 2 to 7 years to get back into a house, this program can help potential homebuyers get into a new home in as quickly as a year.

Who is eligible for the FHA Back To Work Loan?

You may be eligible for this new program if you experienced:

  • Pre-foreclosure sales
  • Short sales
  • Deed-in-lieu
  • Foreclosure
  • Chapter 7 bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 bankruptcy
  • Loan modification
  • Forbearance agreements

What’s different?

In the past, the waiting period was at least three years, and with this program, it will only be one year. But there are certain requirements.

Did you experience any of the following?

    1. Lost your job over 6 months ago and/or had an income reduction over 20%
    2. Bankruptcy, foreclosure, short sale or deed-in-lieu as a result of an Economic Event

In the last year, have you

    1. Maintained employment for the last 12 months
    2. Paid your bills on time
    3. Re-established credit
    4. Improved your credit score to a middle score of 640

In addition, lenders will be looking at certain items to determine if you are eligible for this program. Some specifics include:

  • Your credit history before the economic event
  • A decline in your credit score after the onset of the economic event
  • Re-establishment of a good credit history with perfect (on-time) payments for 12 months on major accounts

Homeownership counseling must be attended and completed a minimum of thirty (30) days but no more than six (6) months prior to submitting a loan application. The counseling must be provided by an approved agency. A list of agencies can be obtained online at http://www.hud.gov/ or by calling (800) 569-4287.

Some basic definitions from the FHA:

An Economic Event is any occurrence beyond the borrower’s control that results in Loss of Employment, Loss of Income, or a combination of both, which causes a reduction in the borrower’s Household Income of twenty (20) percent or more for a period of at least six (6) months.

The Onset of an Economic Event is the month of Loss of Employment/Income.

Recovery from an Economic Event is the re-establishment of Satisfactory Credit for a minimum of twelve (12) months.

Next steps:

We strongly recommend that you meet with an FHA approved lender knowledgeable about this program to determine if you are eligible, and what your next steps are. The sooner you start, the sooner you may be able to purchase a new home.  And while mortgage rates are still at historical lows, you might want to find out if you are eligible to buy that home you’ve been looking at. If you would like us to connect you with lenders, please contact us.

Color Trends 2014 Part II – Home Decor

Another of the color palettes for 2014 home decorating trends is Physicality, where the colors are muted and energizing joins those quieter. The palette includes lavender and olive green, gray iron and colored fog.
Great Room
I have to say that this is probably one of my favorite color palettes. The colors are calming and easily accented with other pops of color, since they are so subtle.

But as I said before – with any trend, think before you jump in. Color trends can be great, but how does the color make you feel? Just because it’s a “hot” color, doesn’t mean it’s the right one for you. Understand the psychology of the colors you are choosing, and whether they are the right colors for your room.

Lavendar Home Decor

Lavendar kitchen

Olive Green Home Decor

Olive Green Home Decor

Gray Iron Home Decor

Gray Iron

Colored Fog Home Decor

Colored Fog Home Decor

Psychology of Colors




earth element




understated confidence

Check out our Pinterest boards for some ideas on how these colors have been incorporated into home decor.

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The Changing Colors of the Season – Fall Leaves

Nature provides us with magnificent scenery. As we change seasons, many of us look forward to the changing colors of the season seen in the fall leaves. And if my science education memories are correct, a warm and wet spring usually offers magnificent autumn colors. In addition, a summer that mirrors spring typically helps to increase the colorful scenery. So there might be a positive outcome from the wet spring and summer we are leaving behind. In Atlanta leaves change about the end of October, with optimal leaf color viewing usually the first week in November. Since we are in a slightly higher elevation than Atlanta, we might see the changing colors sooner.

What causes the fall leaves to change color?

While I am anxiously awaiting the cool days of late fall and early winter, I also look forward to driving through the mountains taking in the magnificent colors of fall. Warm autumn days and mild nights can offer spectacular red colors.

Trees have the possibility of 3 pigments: chlorophyll, carotenoid and anthocyanin. As our days become shorter, trees have less sunlight. And they respond by producing less and less chlorophyll, which keeps our leaves green in the summer. As trees stop producing chlorophyll, carotenoid becomes the dominant pigment and creates the yellow, gold and orange colors enabling the leaves to become a bright rainbow of glowing yellows, sparkling oranges and warm browns. Trees that make anthocyanin provide us with those spectacular reds I talked about earlier.

Georgia’s Spectrum of Fall Leaves

Here’s a sampling of colors you might see in fall leaves from different trees around the area.



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  • Black Cherry
  • Black Gum
  • Buckeye
  • Persimmon
  • Red Maple
  • Scarlet Oak
  • Sweet Birch
  • Umbrella Magnolia
  • White Ash
  • White Oak
  • Yellow Poplar



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  • American Beech
  • Black Walnut
  • Hickories
  • White Basswood





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  • American Elm
  • Black Oak
  • Chestnut Oak



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  • Sassafras



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  • Scarlet Oak
  • Sumac
  • Sweet Gum



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  • Southern Red Oak






And if you already know what trees you have, here are some of the colors you might see:


Tree Colors
Birch bright yellow
Black Maple glowing yellow
Dogwood purple, red
Hickory golden bronze
Oak brown, red, russet
Poplar golden yellow
Red Maple bright scarlet
Sugar Maple orange, red


Current Market Trends in Dallas and Acworth


As you drive through the neighborhoods of northern Acworth and Dallas, you can’t help but notice all of the new residential construction. Subdivisions that began in 2006 – 2008 are now being completed, some by new builders. Trulia reports that in the last few months homes in Acworth and Dallas have increased over $10,000; and some have seen increases in excess of 20% compared to last year.  According to a recent interview by Jim Strickland of WSBTV Atlanta, builders are back and they are trying to increase the market’s housing stock.  Metrostudy housing economist Eugene James states: “The second-quarter of ’13 starts are up 77 percent from a year ago. That’s a big number.”

Acworth Market Trends

Dallas Market Trends

What does this mean to sellers?

Many homeowners chose to rent out their homes when prices began to drop, hoping to hold on to them until the market turned around. And now might be the time. Some things these homeowners need to consider:

      1. Staging – homes may be in need of repair, and a minimal investment can reap large rewards through an increased sales price and quicker sale.
        TIP: If you need to bring furniture into the home, look at items you might be looking to replace in your current home, or purchase items you may need in your current home and use them in the home for sale until it sells. This may decrease your financial investment. 
      2.  Tenants – when does the current lease end, and are your tenants interested in purchasing the home. If the house is occupied, it can impact your ability to sell, so evaluate where you are with this.
      3. Inventory – what is the current inventory status in your neighborhood? What is the current market situation in your neighborhood? Comparable sales?


What does this mean to buyers?

      1. Are you ready – meet with your banker or mortgage broker and get a prequalification. Knowing you have been preapproved for a specific amount can help if you find the perfect home and find yourself in a bidding war (which is happening more frequently).
      2. Inventory – as housing inventory continues to decrease, your choices are limited, so you need to decide what your timing is, and again be prepared for competition.

As demand increases and supply decreases, prices will continue to rise. These economic principles may be different in your neighborhood. The only person that can decide the right time to buy or sell is you, but if you are ready, we can help.

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Color Trends 2014 Part I – Home Decor

Fashion trends apply to more than wardrobes. Home decor changes just as often. Much like a fashion wardrobe, purchasing basic items that can be accented with trends and pops of colors can be a great way to freshen up a home. Neutrals are tried and true, and never go out of style. Even as stainless steel appliances became all the rage, white and black appliances held their own. So as you review color trends, think of how you might be able to incorporate these trends into your current decor. The color palettes for 2014 home decorating trends are nine: Techno Color, Physicality, Sculpted Simplicity, Fluidity, Collage, Intimacy, Fashion, Tribal Threads and Eccentricities.

Techno Colors

Bright hues will be seen everywhere. These include emerald green, orange, turquoise, and purple. All you have to do is pick up a home decor magazine, or home furnishings catalogue to see these bold colors. An easy way to incorporate one of these colors is to create an accent wall (you can always repaint it) and add some colored accents pieces.

As with any trend, think before you jump in. Color trends can be great, but how does the color make you feel? Just because it’s a “hot” color, doesn’t mean it’s the right one for you.  Understand the psychology of the colors you are choosing, and whether they are the right colors for your room.

Purple Home Decor

Modern Dining Room by Boston Architects & Designers Marcus Gleysteen Architects

Psychology of Color


  • balance
  • harmony
  • rejuvenate
  • restore
  • peace


  • abundance
  • appetite stimulant
  • joy
  • playfulness
  • social


  • luxury
  • passion
  • royal
  • wealth
  • wisdom


  • calming
  • creates stability
  • dramatic
  • heals emotions
  • productive

Check out our Pinterest boards for some ideas on how these colors have been incorporated into home decor.


The Electricity Behind the Gas Station – Electric Vehicles

The other day as I parked my car in front of Krogers, I was surprised to see electric vehicle charging stations. I was even more surprised to not see any signage. Kudos to the shopping center for providing these, but why would you not let shoppers know? Did you know? As gas prices fluctuate on a daily basis, electric vehicles become even more appealing, and the statistics are proving it. Since their inception in 1999, a total of 2,592,221 hybrids have been sold in the United States through December 2012. While this is a small percentage of total car sales, it is continuing to grow.

Benefits of Electric Vehicles

What are the advantages of owning an electric car?  The following information from the US Department of Energy summarizes the benefits of an electric vehicle.

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  • Energy efficiency. Electric vehicles convert about 59–62% of the electrical energy from the grid to power at the wheels—conventional gasoline vehicles only convert about 17–21% of the energy stored in gasoline to power at the wheels.*
  • Environmentally friendly. EVs emit no tailpipe pollutants, although the power plant producing the electricity may emit them. Electricity from nuclear-, hydro-, solar-, or wind-powered plants causes no air pollutants.
  • Performance benefits. Electric motors provide quiet, smooth operation and stronger acceleration and require less maintenance than ICEs.
  • Reduce energy dependence. Electricity is a domestic energy source.
  • Tax savings: Electric vehicles (EVs) purchased in or after 2010 may be eligible for a federal income tax credit of up to $7,500.  Here is some information that might be helpful:  [small_button text=”helpful information” title=”helpful information” url=”http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/taxevb.shtml” align=”left” target=”_self” style=”light”]


Electric Vehicles in NatureWalk

Even home builders are realizing the benefits of electric vehicles and modifying new home plans to accommodate them. The homes being built at NatureWalk at Seven Hills each offer an additional area in the garage for a NEV – neighborhood vehicle. The community will offer miles of golf cart approved streets and trails. While residents won’t be able to drive these vehicles to Krogers, they will be able to use them to get around NatureWalk. The community will be enforcing rules that are consistent with Georgia driving laws, i.e., NEV drivers must be 16 years or older. 15 year olds with learner’s permits can drive a golf cart with supervisory adults or guardians riding along, as well as cart speed limits can not exceed 25 mph. And as always, pedestrians have the right of way.

There may come a time when electric vehicles become more mainstream, and it’s nice to know that you can “fill up” at the grocery store.

A Concrete Decision

You’ve got it all just the way you want it; the perfect landscaping with an expanse of manicured lawn and precisely placed boulders, a spacious back deck with room for a seating area and dining. Everything about the exterior of your home is welcoming and inviting. Everything, that is, except your driveway. Your driveway is like Cinderella; it does all the hard work and everyone else gets dressed up for the ball. Your driveway deserves just as much attention as the rest of your house, doesn’t it?

When was the last time you cleaned the concrete on your property?  Have you power washed it? While there are several new things to do with concrete, one of the old methods works great – just clean it! Regular maintenance of the walks, patios and driveway to your home enhances the exterior of your home. All of the time and investment in landscaping can be lost if the driveway and walkways create a distraction.

Creative Concrete Decisions

But sometimes you might want more.  Here are some ideas to get your concrete properly attired:



Stamped Concrete – This option is usually only slightly more expensive than asphalt, and offers unlimited possibilities. You can stamp out any design, pattern or color that you can think of for the look of high-end stone but with the price and durability of plain old concrete.

A stamped concrete patio is simply a concrete slab with a textured, embossed surface. The process involves:

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  • Pouring and smoothing the concrete.
  • Pressing a pattern into the surface while the concrete is still wet and soft.
  • Depending on your selection, adding color to the concrete as it’s mixed, or sprays it on after the surface has been stamped.



And while we are focusing on the exterior of your home, stamped concrete can be done inside your home also.

Stained Concrete – Applying stain to existing concrete is another option. You can use this process to hide flaws and give it a fresh appearance. Concrete is extremely porous and takes the application of acid-based stains well. In fact, unlike paint, it does not sit on the surface. The stain soaks in as a permanent addition. It won’t flake off. Creative installers can give the illusion of stone or pavers with the use of various stains and by cutting shallow grooves in the concrete.

Here are some images of what can be done:


Traditional Patio


Flagstone Stamped Concrete


Traditional Living Room






Fancy Edging

You might be thinking that stamped or stained concrete is more than you want to take on. What if you have a driveway that is in good working condition? It doesn’t make sense to tear it out and waste all that money. Plus, that is a lot of square footage to cover, even with stamped concrete. Another option is to edge the driveway with a border in the high-end material of your choice, bricks, stones, stamped concrete. It looks great and no one will ever guess that you did it to save money.


[one_half_last]Cobblestone – Everyone has at least seen most of the material choices, bricks pavers, stamped concrete, and natural stone. The newest (really, the oldest) kid on the block is cobblestone. In fact, cobblestone has been around for centuries. But, relax; you are not really buying centuries old cobblestone. The stones are actually cast-concrete, complete with rough edges to look old, weathered and amazing. They are laid just like any other paver, but have a classic look.




If all of the above is too large of a financial investment, don’t worry.  The answer might be an apron. No, not that kind of apron. You can have just the front portion of your driveway, where it meets the street, paved with either brick or cobblestone. You still have a gorgeous entrance and a driveway befitting the rest of your home, just at a much reduced cost.

With just these few suggestions for dressing up your driveway, you can have an entrance to welcome guests into your home.

Cabela’s Selects Acworth

On July 25, 2013 Cabela’s announced it’s plans to begin construction this fall with a scheduled opening in fall 2014 of their new store at Cherokee Village in Acworth. Their store will be an anchor in the new development being built in the northeast quadrant of I-75 and Highway 92. The 100,000 square foot store is expected to employ approximately 200 full-time, part-time and seasonal employees with most coming from Acworth and the surrounding area. According to the press release, the store will be built using Cabela’s next-generation layout, designed to surround customers in an outdoor-like experience with museum-quality wildlife displays. In addition to thousands of quality outdoor products, the store will include a large mountain replica, a Gun Library, Bargain Cave, Boat Shop, Indoor Archery Range, Deli and Fudge Shop.

For more information on the Cherokee Village, you can view their retail site plan at their website and keep updated on who else is coming to our neighborhood.

Wellstar Expanding Paulding Area Facility

In the ongoing effort to bring state of the art health care to our neighborhood, last year we welcomed the first phase of the WellStar Acworth Health Park to the corner of Cedarcrest and Cobb Parkway. The facility offers an Urgent Care Center and Sleep Disorders Center along with several medical specialties. The Center offers an on-site Pharmacy as an added convenience for patients, Medical Imaging & Lab Services, and community education classes and screenings.

WellStar Acworth Health Park

  • Cardiovascular
  • Dentistry
  • Family Medicine
  • Gastroenterology
  • Geriatric Medicine
  • Internal Medicine
  • Neurology
  • Obstetrics & Gynecology

  • Ophthalmology
  • Orthopedics
  • Otolaryngology
  • Pediatrics
  • Pulmonary Medicine
  • Sleep Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Urology

WellStar Paulding Hospital Replacement

And if you drive over to the other side of town, you will find that WellStar is building a Replacement Hospital in Hiram, which is planned to replace the current Dallas location. The new facility plans to offer 30 adult emergency exam rooms, 10 pediatric emergency exam rooms, and six surgery suites. While it will initially open with 56 inpatient beds, the plan is to grow to 112 beds by 2016.  The new facility is being built with environmental and energy sustainability, and according to Perry Crabb they are anticipating receiving LEED Silver certification and EnergyStar performance.


Lake Point – Premier Sports Vacation Destination Under Construction

As you turn left off of Cedarcrest onto Cobb Parkway North for about 5-7 miles, you will quickly arrive at the intersection of Highway 293. If you look immediately to your right, you will see the construction activity that will shortly begin to take shape as Lake Point Sporting Community, the largest and most comprehensive sports vacation destination in the world. The unique complex will comprise more than 1,200 acres featuring state-of-the-art sports venues for 27 of America’s favorite sports, and 5 million square feet of mixed-use development. On July 23rd, the Emerson City Council approved the Lake Point south campus plans which will soon expand area construction.

After three years of planning, Lake Point started the construction process in April of this year. The economic impact, upon completion, is expected to bring more than 4 million visitors a year and create more than 26,000 jobs. The South campus will be the first phase to be completed, with its first venue Terminus Wake Park scheduled to open later this year, followed by baseball and soccer/lacrosse venues in 2014 along with some of the retail venues including Bass Pro Shops in late 2014, early 2015.

Comprised of seven “districts”, the complex will offer 5 million square feet of mixed-use commercial development, including extensive retail, hotel, office, entertainment and medical components. A brief breakdown of the information from their website includes*:

  • District 1 – Medical Village offering medical treatment facilities, medical conference center, retail, quick serve restaurants
  • District 2 – Celebrating Baseball, this District will house Boom Town, Pennant Point and Diamond Walk, 8 Major League-sized baseball fields, including a 1728-seat stadium (with additional berm seating), 12 softball/youth baseball fields and a Miracle League field. The anchor tenant for Lake Point baseball is Perfect Game USA, baseball’s largest and most comprehensive scouting service.  A water park is also planned for the Northeast area of District 2, adjacent to I-75.
  • District 3 – Lacrosse & Soccer will be the highlight of District 3 which will include 14 multi-use fields, including a 2700-seat stadium, as well as a major strip of on-site hotels.
  • District 4 – Terminus Water Park will highlight District 4 at its entrance, but continuing through the District, visitors will be offered track & field, 10 basketball-size/20 volleyball-size courts for basketball, volleyball, wrestling, gymnastics, cheerleading, dance, and elite sports performance training.  At the south end of District 4 there will be 8 more Major League-sized baseball fields and 3 multi-sport lacrosse/soccer fields for Perfect Game USA and others.
  • District 5 – Adventure Ridge, as this District will be known, will be home to Bass Pro Shop as well as a massive ropes course and adventure zip line and 300 acres of green space with running, mountain biking and equestrian trails.
  • District 6 – Golf Academy and a 9 hole, Par 3 Golf Course will be joined with cabins and golf villas available to rent.
  • District 7 – Lake Point Landing incorporates the lake lifestyle known in the area and will feature a resort-style hotel and marina where guests can rent kayaks, pontoon boats and jet skis.

* UPDATE – Districts were the original plan and as LakePoint Sports has developed, the plans have been updated for this destination resort as can be seen on their website.

Original information was found at lakepointsports.com/the-venue/district7