Best of the Best – Vote Now!

Written by Joel Gerber. Posted in Real Estate

I am pleased to announce that I have been nominated in the following categories for the Savannah Morning News “Best of the Best”:

Best Real Estate Attorney, Best Individual Attorney and Best Overall Attorney.

Also, my firm Brannen, Searcy & Smith was nominated for Best Overall Law Firm.

Thank you so much for all of your continued support.

If you would like to vote please click on the link below (Services category).

Best of the Best – VOTE NOW!

As always, if you need help with anything at all, please do not hesitate to contact me anytime at (912) 484-1996 (even nights and weekends) or email me at

You can find Joel on | Linkedin | Instagram |

City of Savannah Fire Service Fee

Written by Joel Gerber. Posted in Real Estate

Answers to the BURNING questions you all want to know

As many of you have heard, the City of Savannah will begin charging a separate fire service fee (the “Fee”) in 2018. While all of the details have yet to be disseminated, I wanted to pass along the information to date. First, the Fee only applies to properties located within the City of Savannah. Therefore, properties not located in the City of Savannah who currently use Southside Fire will continue to use that company for fire protection services. In addition, those properties located in cities that have their own fire departments (i.e., Garden City, Bloomingdale, etc.) will not be impacted by the Fee.

Second, while there is conflicting information regarding the amount of the proposed fee, the City of Savannah Department of Revenue recently informed us that the approximate Fee for a standard, single family home will be $256.00 per year. I cannot guarantee this will in fact be the final amount as the City still is in the process of finalizing the details. The Fee is calculated based on the size of the building times a risk factor that is assigned by Savannah Fire Rescue based on the property’s risk of a fire occurring. As such, larger homes and non-single family residences likely will incur a more expensive Fee.

Homestead Exemption … Come On Down!

Written by Joel Gerber. Posted in Homestead Exemption, Real Estate

Homestead Exemption … come on down, you’re the next contestant on the Price is Right! But, is the price really right? For those of you who are a Georgia resident, purchased a primary residence in 2017 (or have made a prior owned property your primary residence as of December 31, 2017) and that property is located in Bryan, Effingham, Liberty, Bulloch, Glynn or Tattnall Counties, the price is right and you should file for the Homestead Exemption. By filing for the Homestead Exemption, you will receive a reduction of your home’s assessed value each year going forward as long as you reside in the home as your primary residence.

To file for the Homestead Exemption in these six counties you will need to bring your driver’s license (showing the new property address) and a January utility bill showing service in December 2017 to your respective county tax assessor’s office. The Homestead Exemption must be filed before April 1, 2018.

For those who are a Georgia resident, purchased a primary residence in 2017 (or have made a prior owned property your primary residence as of December 31, 2017) and that property is located in Chatham County, the price is not necessary always right and you will need to utilize the information below to determine whether it is the right time for you to file for the Homestead Exemption.

Joel’s Selling Agent Checklist

Written by Joel Gerber. Posted in Real Estate

As we approach 2018, many of you will set new resolutions for yourself. Some are personal and some relate to your real estate business. As you know, a single real estate transaction has so many moving parts and no one closing is the same. One of the single most important attributes of a successful Realtor is organization. While many of you have certain procedures in place to ensure you are organized, I wanted to offer a new tool for the upcoming year.

I am pleased to present my Selling Agent Checklist. This checklist takes into account the most important issues that you will commonly encounter in connection with a closing. I have also included certain issues that may not come up that often, but when they do can create a multitude of issues if not addressed properly.

Everybody Loves Cash… Deals*

Written by Joel Gerber. Posted in Real Estate

We all love cash transactions. Generally they are smooth and logistically easier than closings with lender financing. While there are a few issues that you as a Realtor do not have to address with a cash closing (i.e., lending), there are so many other issues that you need to make sure your client is aware of. Below are some points that you want to make sure you have addressed with your buyer (although the closing attorney should be addressing many of them at the closing).


  • 22 East 34th Street
    Savannah, GA 31401


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