FAQ

Real Estate

Why is Backyard Realty Group the best for real estate in the Metro Atlanta area?

Backyard Realty Group is the best for real estate in the Metro Atlanta area for many reasons! First and foremost, when working with BRG agents you get the care and attention that you deserve. Purchasing a home is one of the largest purchases you will ever make and we understand that. Our agents are knowledgeable, experienced, honest, hardworking and want to make this process as easy as possible for you. Our motto is Strength with a Personal Touch and we do just that and more! If you want a personal feel – we have it! Our strength lies in the knowledge we possess along with effective communications and negotiating techniques. We offer a strength with a personal touch on everything that we do to ensure that our clients are not just satisfied but impressed!

Do you handle foreclosures and HUD homes?

We sure do! We have certified HUD agents who are ready to help you with purchasing a HUD home. Our agents can help you with foreclosures as well. They understand the processes involved in working with HUD homes and foreclosures and they can walk you through every step. Find an agent today!

What is the process for a short sale? How long does it normally take?

A short sale is a process in which the homeowner is selling the home for less than what they owe on the mortgage to try to sell the home before it goes into foreclosure. Before a home can be sold as a short sale it has to be approved by the bank. Many homes are advertised as a “potential short sale” this means that the short sale has NOT been approved by the bank yet. The process can be quite lengthy on either end whether you are selling your home as a short sale or purchasing a home that is in short sale. In these instances everything must go through the bank as well as other parties, so it slows the process down quite a bit. If you plan to purchase a short sale the time frame is typically not less than 45 days. Unfortunately, many short sales fail because the home will go into foreclosure before the short sale has been approved or before an offer has been received. However, that is not the case for all short sales. Our agents understand the short sale process and are ready to walk you through it. If you need to sell your home as a short sale we can get you the paperwork you need to apply. If you are looking to purchase a short sale our agents can help you with that as well.

How long does the buying process typically take?

The time frame for purchasing a home varies but the average time is 30 – 40 days once there is an accepted contract. This time frame is contingent on the buyer’s financing, the status of the home being purchased (foreclosure, short sale, etc) as well as the inspections and appraisal. If you are using financing to purchase a property, a month’s time frame is average.

Why should I have a pre-qualification letter before we look for properties?

It is not required to have a pre-qualification letter before going out to look for properties, however it is preferred that a buyer receive one before seriously looking for a home for many reasons. First, we don’t want to waste your time. Lending requirements are constantly changing. It is helpful to know what price range you are qualified for. Second, when you find the home or investment property you want to place an offer on, time is of the essence. Most sellers require a pre-qualification letter because this shows the seller that you have been pre-approved and can afford to purchase the home.

Do I get to pick my own home inspector? Why can’t you just pick one for me?

Yes, you do get to pick your own inspector; actually we prefer that you do! This is something that you will pay for and the decision is yours to make. We would be happy to provide you with three different home inspectors that you can compare, however you can chose whomever you would like. We cannot pick a home inspector for you because it is your money and we do not want to favor any particular company or inspector. Once you chose a company we will gladly set up the inspection for you, if you prefer not to make the appointment, but we cannot chose the company for you.

What real estate services to you provide?

We work with buyers, sellers, renters and investors. We have certified HUD agents, agents who have experience in commercial real estate, foreclosures, luxury listings, etc. Whatever your needs – we can help you with it!

Rentals/Property Management

Where do you advertise your rentals?

We advertise our rentals on many different websites. Research has shown that over 85% of people shop for a home or rental online. We will list your home for rent on the First Multiple Listing Service (FMLS), Real Bird, Active Rain, Postlets, Craigslist and more. Find out more on our rental advertising

What are your requirements for owners who want to rent their property?

We handle your rental with the utmost care and treat it as if it were our own to ensure that we protect your investment. We require from the owner that the home be in rental ready condition and that you have landlord insurance and have Tolley Community Management listed on the policy, as well.

How do I know whether it is in my best interest to rent out rather than just sell my home?

Ask one of the experts here at Backyard Realty Group! They are prepared to do the research needed and keep you informed so you can make an educated decision. Whatever you decide, we can help!

How long do your rentals typically sit on the market?

We do not like our properties to be vacant for more than 30 days however many factors go into vacancy rates including but not limited to – the condition of the home, the number of homes for rent in the same area, the monthly rent amount, pet policies, etc. If your home is priced too high it will be difficult to find a tenant who would be willing to pay that amount when there are a lot of other cheaper choices on the market. Limiting pets also limits your potential tenants because over 50% of Americans have a pet of some type. We work our hardest to find a tenant as quickly as possible and we will be honest with you about the market conditions in your area and what issues may affect your vacancy rate. No more than 9% of our rentals are vacant at any given time which is something we are very proud of!

Do you accept Section 8?

At this time we do not accept Section 8.

What does the tenant pay beyond the monthly rent? Utilities? Cable? Phone?

This is completely up to the discretion of the homeowner. The homeowner can decide if they want to offer the utilities to be included or not included in the monthly rent amount. Typically tenants are required to pay for cable and phone and in some cases all utilities. This is something you would want to discuss with your property manager as they can offer some suggestions.

Community Management

What are my assessments for?

This is different from one Association to the next. Your association’s governing documents explain in detail what both you and your Association are responsible for. Your assessments are generally used to pay for the common areas of the association that everyone enjoys. Many people do not realize that within a covenant protected community the association can be responsible for paying for the private utilities such as street lights and roads; the amenities the association has to offer; insurance; landscaping of the common grounds among other things such as social events in the community. The assessments are what keep the association running.

Are my assessments mandatory?

In most cases, yes. Some associations do have voluntary memberships but most do not. This information will be covered in your covenants. If you have a mandatory membership association then you are required to pay your association assessments. Failure to pay your assessments could lead to late fees, collections, liens filed on your property, etc.

What do I do if I am going to be late paying my assessment?

Every association has different rules and regulations on paying assessments based upon their covenants. Many associations charge late fees if the assessments are not paid on time because the association needs to be able to pay their bills on time. If you are going to be late paying your assessment you must contact our office to speak to your association manager to discuss it.

Can I set-up a payment plan for my assessments?

The answer to this question varies. Again, each association is different based upon the covenants. Some associations leave the discretion up to the Board of Directors. If you would like to look into setting up a payment plan you must contact your association’s manager in writing. You must provide a letter to the community manager stating the reason for a payment plan, the payment amount and a pay off date. You can either e-mail or mail this letter to your manager. The manager will review the letter and send it to the board to review and approve.

Can I pay my assessment over the phone?

No, at this time we do not accept payments over the phone. You can mail a check or pay online.

Can I pay my assessment online? Is there a fee to do so?

Yes, you can pay your assessment online through your homeowner account. There is no fee for using the checking account payment option however there is a small fee for credit card transactions. If you do not have an account, the registration process is very easy. For more information on how to use your online account please read our help section. *Please note: we do not accept VISA payments*

How long does it take for an online payment to show up on my account?

Online payments show up immediately after the payment is made to the account.

Do I have to pay my assessments online or can I pay with a check or cash?

You do not have to pay your assessments online. You are welcome to mail in a check or money order, however we do NOT accept cash.

What information do I need to include on my check?

How you fill out your check for your assessments is very important. Your check MUST be made out to your association NOT Tolley Community Management. You also must include your account number on the check, as well.

Do I mail my assessments to your office?

No. Your assessments should be mailed to:

Your Association’s Name
C/O Tolley Community Management
PO Box 1088
Commerce, GA 30529

How can I find out what my account balance is?

Your account balance and transaction history are available in your homeowner account. In your homeowner’s account you will have access to your account information, as well as, important information about your association. If you have any questions about the information in your account please feel free to call our office at 770-517-1761.

What is an ACC Request?

ACC stands for Architectural Control Committee. When you live in a covenant protected community you must get approval before making large changes to the exterior of your home because this affects the flow of the community and also can affect property values. As a general rule of thumb, if it’s on the exterior of the home you should get approval before making changes. Without getting approval for these changes you could get fined or be forced to change it back and we do not want to see that. Please visit our ACC Request page for more information on how to fill out the ACC request form properly. (Please note: all ACC requests must include the association name and must be filled out completely before it can be reviewed)

How do I submit an ACC request?

Once your request form has been filed out in its’ entirety, you can either e-mail the form and drawings to your community manager, fax, or mail your completed form to:

Tolley Community Management
Attn: your manager’s name
8295 Highway 92
Woodstock, GA 30189
Fax: 770-517-1661

Where can I find a copy of the covenants?

A copy of the covenants should have been provided to you after you closed on your home. If you do not have a copy, you can log into your homeowner account to find this information. The documents for your association are located under the document section along the left side in your account.

How can I find out what the association covers and what the amenities are?

This information will be covered in your association documents which can be viewed in your homeowner account. If you have any questions about your documents please feel free to contact your community manager.

I don’t have a key to our pool, how can I get one?

Check with your community’s website and/or manager. Sometimes there are requirements such as being current on your account.

I want to rent out my house, can I do that?

This information varies from association to association. Some associations have a cap on the number of homes that are allowed to be tenant occupied at any given time. It’s important that you read your association documents to find out the policies and procedures for your particular association. If approval is required prior to renting, contact your community manager.

How do I become a board member?

This depends on your community’s documents. Generally, once per year, prior to the association’s annual meeting you will receive a letter in the mail that will give you important information about the upcoming annual meeting. Attached to this letter will be a nomination application where you nominate yourself or someone you know to be on the board of directors. At the annual meeting the homeowners will be able to vote on the volunteers who are running for the board.

How do I report a violation or issue in our community? Is it confidential?

To report an issue or violation in your community please contact your community manager by email. You may call the office to report the violation if it needs IMMEDIATE attention. Your manager will note the violation and will look into it. This information is very confidential.

My association receives a community newsletter. Can I advertise my business in it?

The company that creates the association newsletters is always looking for businesses who would be interested in advertising. The advertising fee helps the association to be able to provide this service to its residents. For more information contact our office.

I have a closing request, where do I send it to?

You can email your closing request to: closing-request@tolleycm.com or fax it to us at 770-517-1661.

What is the turnaround time for a closing letter to be completed?

Typically it takes 2-3 business days to complete a closing request. If you have any questions regarding the status of a closing letter please call us at 770-517-1761.

I would like to become a vendor for your company, what information do you need?

We require that all vendors be properly licensed and insured. Before allowing a new vendor to work with us we must have a certificate of insurance sent over directly from the insurance company. Please make sure the insurance certificate is made out to Tolley Community Management.

Do you pay vendors electronically? What information do you need?

We do have the capability to pay our vendors electronically. There is no need to wait for a check; we can send it to your bank account allowing the funds to be available quicker. Please fill out our vendor ACH form and mail or fax the completed form to:

Backyard Realty Group LLC/Tolley Community Management
Attn: Accounts Payable
8295 Highway 92
Woodstock, GA 30189
Fax: 770-517-1761