Zillow has announced that its Zillow Offers homebuying service is being expanded this fall into Atlanta
Zillow has announced that its Zillow Offers homebuying service is being expanded this fall into Atlanta.
The service, which is now available only in Phoenix and Las Vegas, enables home sellers to request a no-obligation cash offer from Zillow to purchase the property. If the offer is accepted, Zillow will directly buy the home, prepare it for sale and list on the Zillow site. As with the Phoenix and Las Vegas markets, Zillow will partner with local brokerages and Premier Agents in Atlanta—in this case, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties and Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers—to work with sellers who opt not to accept Zillow’s purchase proposal.
“Sellers love Zillow Offers, because it's a service that offers them more control and convenience—and less stress—when they sell their homes,” said Zillow Brand President Jeremy Wacksman. “Zillow has delivered that to sellers in our first two markets, and we're excited to expand into Atlanta. Once we launch the program in the fall, we will be able to provide Atlanta-area homeowners with more choices, greater control, certainty about price, and transparency when it comes to selling their home, whether they take a cash offer or sell traditionally with a Premier Agent.”

Atlanta’s housing market recorded fewer sales and higher prices in June, according to new data from the Atlanta Realtor’s Association
Atlanta’s housing market recorded fewer sales and higher prices in June, according to new data from the Atlanta Realtor’s Association.
Last month, the Georgia capital saw 5,671 residential sales, down 8.3 percent from May and down 10.9 percent from the previous year. The median sales price in June was $285,000, a 1.1 percent uptick from May and a 7.5 percent from June 2017. The average sales price was $353,000, up 2.9 percent from the previous month and up 8.6 percent from the previous year.
Atlanta area housing inventory totaled 14,396 units in June, a decrease of 7.1 percent from one year earlier. New listings totaled 5,638, up 8.4 percent from the previous month but 1.6 percent lower on a year-over-year basis. The month’s supply over a 12-month period increased to three months.
“We are seeing a leveling out of the inventory of available homes, which is due to the supply available and not due to a weakening demand,” said Bill Murray, President of the Atlanta Realtors Association. “If the consistency in home inventory over the past months was because of a waning buyer interest, price growth would start slowing. Instead, buyer enthusiasm continues to move prices upwards.”

Rick Darlington is Senior Vice President and Regional Manager at Brand Mortgage in Kennesaw, Ga., and President of the Mortgage Bankers Association of Georgia (MBAG)
Rick Darlington is Senior Vice President and Regional Manager at Brand Mortgage in Kennesaw, Ga., and President of the Mortgage Bankers Association of Georgia (MBAG). National Mortgage Professional Magazine recently spoke with Rick regarding his trade association involvement.
 Rick Darlington is Senior Vice President and Regional Manager at Brand Mortgage in Kennesaw, Ga., and President of the Mortgage Bankers Association of Georgia (MBAG)
How did you get involved with the Mortgage Bankers Association of Georgia and what was the path that led you to your leadership role?
Around 2004 or 2005, I became involved in the Georgia Future Leaders Program. One of the requirements of the program was to serve on a Committee. I guess that I never got off the Committee. I’ve been on the leadership Board for five years—it is a five-year commitment—as Secretary, Treasurer, Vice-President and President. My term as President runs until June 30, and then I become Immediate Past President.
What is the MBAG membership level?
We currently have approximately 175 members, but our membership is done by company membership, not by individual membership. Any number of people within a member company can participate.
Why should mortgage professionals in your state join MBAG?
There are many reasons—you could probably write a whole article on it! Among the most important reason is education. Our Education Committee brings up the most relevant updated topics. There is also our legislative outreach, which deals with the rules impacting us on a local and state level. We help pass legislation to help the industry and stop or amend legislation that can hurt our industry.
Can you tell us more about your legislative concerns and activities?
On a state-level, regulations are set by the Department of Banking and Finance. Our members look to us and our lobbyist to keep on top of that. We also keep up with federal law, making sure that Georgia law mirrors national law.
What do you see as your most significant accomplishment in your work with the MBAG?
During the past year, I was most pleased with the implementation of our internship program, which is designed for college-age students—typically, juniors and seniors. We are trying to get more young people interested in careers in the field of mortgage banking. We are also looking into creating a scholarship program, but nothing has been finalized. I was also invited by the Mortgage Bankers Association of Alabama to speak at a business class at Auburn University last fall.
Rick Darlington is Senior Vice President and Regional Manager at Brand Mortgage in Kennesaw, Ga., and President of the Mortgage Bankers Association of Georgia (MBAG)What is the synergy between MBAG and the national Mortgage Bankers Association?
It has always been very good. They are always with us and we’re always with them. Some members of their team came down to speak with us two or three years ago at our Annual Convention.
What is the state of Georgia’s housing market?
It is pretty solid and robust right now. But there is a lack of inventory and a lack of affordable housing, and these are the biggest hurdles we have at this time. However, Georgia is no different from other states in that regard.
Phil Hall is Managing Editor of National Mortgage Professional Magazine. He may be reached by e-mail at

Element Funding, a division of Primary Residential Mortgage Inc. (PRMI), has expanded its footprint in Tennessee with the addition of a new brick-and-mortar branch in Hixson
Element Funding, a division of Primary Residential Mortgage Inc. (PRMI), has expanded in Georgia by announcing the opening of a new brick-and-mortar branch located in Decatur to be managed by Ashley Rustom. Ashley’s team has a combined 29 years of experience in the mortgage industry and is ready and focused to assist community members with their dreams of homeownership.
Ashley is a longtime resident of the area and has been in the mortgage industry for eight years and began her career in real estate as an agent and investor in 2000. Before opening the Decatur branch, she was a Loan Officer at Element Funding’s Atlanta branch for five years. She is also a member of the Dekalb County Chamber of Commerce.
“Our community seems to be on a steady rise for home buying and we are here to help,” said Rustom. “My team wants to give people in our community the tools and resources they need to help them with making one of the biggest financial decisions in their lifetime.” 

Homeowners with mortgages have collectively seen their equity increase 11.8 percent year-over-year during the third quarter, representing a 12-month gain of $870.6 billion, according to new data from CoreLogic
A new bill that came into force this summer changes the licensing requirements for Georgia mortgage brokers and lenders. Mortgage professionals in the state are required to comply with a mortgage broker bond requirement to ensure adherence to state regulations. The new legislation increases the bond amounts.
Georgia House Bill 143 was passed on May 1, 2017 and has been in effect since June 1, 2017. The most significant change that it introduces is that it increases the bond amount for brokers to $150,000 and to $200,000 for lenders.
Another important alteration that it brings to mortgage professionals in the state is that it allows the electronic cancellation of old bonds via the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System & Registry (NMLS). This change aims to make the process of switching to the new bonds easier.
What should mortgage brokers and lenders in Georgia know about the legal changes? Read on.
The new bonding amounts
Previously, mortgage brokers had to obtain a $50,000 to meet state requirements for licensing. HB 143 increases this amount threefold-to $150,000. As for mortgage lenders, the old bond amount was $150,000, which has now been raised to $200,000. Whether you’re a lender or broker, you may need to post another bond amount if the licensing authority deems it necessary.
Getting bonded is one of the main criteria that the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance imposes on mortgage professionals. Surety bonds are a security instrument whose goal is to protect the state and its citizens. They provide a safety net against potential misuse and fraud that brokers and lenders may engage in.
If a mortgage professional transgresses in some way their legal obligations, they can face a bond claim. Potential reasons for claims include intentional failure to provide correct information to customers, knowingly offering unsuitable mortgage products to consumers, and any other fraudulent activities.
In such situations, a claimant can ask for a financial compensation for suffered damages. The maximum penal sum is the bond amount of the broker or lender - which now are $150,000 and $200,000 respectively. As this illustrates, affected parties can now ask for higher reimbursements from mortgage professionals who have breached the law.
Other changes introduced with the new bill
Besides the bond amount increase, House Bill 143 brings a number of other new rules for mortgage professionals in Georgia. Most notably, the new legislation allows brokers and lenders to cancel their previous surety bonds directly in the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System & Registry, rather than with the surety provider.
All mortgage professionals undergo the licensing and bonding process through the website of the NMLS. The period before a bond is effectively cancelled remains 30 days. The purpose of this change is to make the process easier for mortgage professionals.
According to the new legislation, the Department of Banking and Finance can now conduct examinations of licensees’ offices without prior notice. The bill also alters the definition of ‘net assets’ and ‘statutory capital base’ that mortgage professionals should use.
Additionally, it changes the procedure for cases when a lender or broker fails to or refuses to obey an order or a subpoena. Furthermore, mortgage lenders can now charge customers a convenience fee for the electronic payment of the regular charges.
The impact of House Bill 143
Due to the bond amount increase, one of the immediate impacts of the new legislation for Georgia mortgage professionals is that their licensing costs have risen. The surety bond price depends on the bond amount that needs to be posted, which often means that brokers and lenders have to set aside more for their bonding.
While this is true in the general case, you can also exercise a higher level of control over your bond price by improving your financial stats. Your bond premium is determined on the basis of factors such as your credit score, business finances, and assets and liquidity. It can be as low as 1% of the bond amount if your profile is solid. In the same time, the price can go as high as 10% if you have problematic credit.
Since most mortgage professionals would naturally prefer a lower bond price, the bond amount hike may urge a number of them to put effort in ameliorating their financial situation. More financially stable brokers and lenders can have a positive effect on the industry as a whole.
Additionally, the higher bond amounts mean potentially bigger bond claim compensations. In this sense, the new legislation may help reduce fraud and misuse leading to claims, as such cases have become much more costly.
Besides this, the increased bond sums offer a stronger guarantee for consumers that a mortgage professional is safe to do business with. While this is beneficial for the industry as a whole, brokers and lenders must make sure they are staying on top of all laws and regulations affecting their business, so they can stay out of claims.
What are your thoughts about the changes brought by the new Georgia bill? How are they affecting mortgage professionals in the state? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
Vic Lance is the founder and president of Lance Surety Bond Associates. He is a surety bond expert who helps mortgage professionals get licensed and bonded. Vic’s phone number is (877) 514-5146 and his e-mail is

 Equity Prime Mortgage LLC has named Eric Skates vice president of Marketing
Equity Prime Mortgage has announced the opening of a Loan Assistance Center in Lilburn, Ga., designed for borrowers to begin the loan process and to receive assistance from the company's mortgage loan professionals. It is part of Equity Prime Mortgage's outreach in Gwinnett County in the Greater Atlanta area.
"Our new Loan Assistance Center is a place where first-time homebuyers and other borrowers who might not be familiar with the mortgage process can come for help and guidance," said Tim Arrington, Vice President of Sales at Equity Prime Mortgage. "The location is in the heart of Gwinnett County, which has a large Hispanic population, a primary focus of ours."
Potential borrows will be able to fill out pre-qualification forms on their mobile device or on a loan officer's laptop and receive information on loan types and interest rates. Bilingual loan professionals will be onsite to work with Spanish-speaking customers.
"Equity Prime Mortgage is happy to be a part of the Gwinnett community and looks forward to helping borrowers achieve the dream of homeownership," Arlington said.

In 2017, LenderSelect Mortgage Group partnered with local and national groups to lend a hand through its community outreach channel: LSMG Lifeline
LenderSelect Mortgage Group has announced that 20-plus-year industry veteran Greg Heiser has joined the company as an Account Executive for Florida and Georgia.
In his new role as an AE, Greg’s primary focus will be developing new relationships in the Florida and Georgia markets, as well as maintaining existing community lender relationships. He has a strong background in retail banking and has helped hundreds of loan officers increase their sales.
“I bring all that expertise to the table,” Heiser said. “I know the parts of the mortgage process well and understand how they work together in community banks and credit unions.”

Inc. Magazine has ranked New American Funding on its Inc. 5000 list for the fastest-growing private companies in America
New American Funding has announced the opening of a new branch in Kennesaw, Ga.
“We have an awesome portfolio of niche products that provides our homebuyers with options,” said Branch Manager Kim Arrington, who will oversee the new Kennesaw branch. “Our skilled staff handles everything in house, giving our customers the reassurance that they have a local team working on their side. We’re committed to making the loan process a remarkable experience they won’t find anywhere else.”
Arrington is a 15-year veteran of the mortgage industry and has been with New American Funding since 2016 as a top-performing Loan Originator. Earlier this year, she was named to the company’s President’s Council, an elite class of high-achieving originators nationwide. She’s also an industry expert, who has been featured on Atlanta’s Best New Homes TV.
“New American Funding is honored to serve the Kennesaw market,” said Kelly Allison, Southeast Divisional VP for New American Funding. “We look forward to supporting homebuyers, real estate agents, and builders to enhance the growth and prosperity of Cobb County.”

The National Association of Minority Mortgage Bankers of America (NAMMBA) will hold its Inaugural National Conference, Thursday-Sunday, April 6-9, 2017 at the Atlanta Marriott Buckhead

The National Association of Minority Mortgage Bankers of America (NAMMBA) will hold its Inaugural National Conference, Thursday-Sunday, April 6-9, 2017 at the Atlanta Marriott Buckhead, 3405 Lenox Road Northeast in Atlanta, Ga. NAAMBA Chief Operating Officer Marcia Davies will open the conference with a keynote address on April 6.

NAMMBA is a national trade association dedicated to the enrichment and betterment of women and minorities who work in the mortgage industry. The association’s core mission is to increase the engagement of women and minorities in the mortgage banking industry at local, state and national levels. NAMMBA works to enhance the careers of women and minorities in the mortgage industry by hosting professional development programs that offer continuing education, training and networking opportunities.

Industry veteran Tony Thompson, CMB founded the NAMMBA in 2016 and serves as chief executive officer.

“These are exciting and challenging times in the mortgage industry,” said Thompson. “We expect the landscape to change dramatically in the next two years and beyond, with regard to the many ways that mortgage lending will transform the U.S. economy. Our Conference will provide a forum for discussing, developing, and executing strategies that ensure minorities and women will play key roles in the industry as it expands—as officers and executives as well as customers.”

The NAMMBA Conference is expected to draw 500-plus attendees, representing various sectors of the industry: Financial executives, government leaders, housing development entrepreneurs, national sales speakers and others. The range of topics covered during the conference will include:

►Understanding the changing demographics of today’s homebuyers
►Post-election regulatory environment
►The future of technology in the mortgage industry
►Sales strategies for loan originators in an ever-changing market

Conference speeches and panels will feature some of the finest thought leaders in the mortgage industry. Attendees will gain valuable insights into the industry’s future, as they will also obtain knowledge about resources available to help them launch and cultivate their careers. Overall, the Conference is designed to reflect NAMMBA’s commitment toward supporting the development of individuals who are in the mortgage industry or interested in moving their careers in that direction.

NAMMBA is gaining traction all over the nation, with active chapters in Atlanta; Augusta, Ga.; Dallas; Houston; Boston; Raleigh, N.C.; Washington, D.C.; Charlotte, N.C.; Birmingham, Ala.; and Fairfax, Va.

The Atlanta Mortgage Bankers Association Annual Golf Tournament is set for Monday, October 10 at White Columns Country Club, 300 Clubhouse Drive in Milton, Ga. from 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.

For more information, click here, call (478) 743-8612 or visit