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Why 2017 Promises to be an Interesting Year in Atlanta Real Estate

1/13/2017

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Why 2017 Promises to be an Interesting Year in Atlanta Real Estate…   and When & How You Should Take Advantage Of It!

 

The new year is here! Last year was one of many surprises, scandals and crazy sound bites. With the changing of the calendar, however, is always a bit of new optimism, hope and motivation.

With the changing of the presidency later this month, there will also be many other unexpected changes, twists and turns in 2017. Real estate, across the nation, is in an upward trend with new home starts, home values, home sales and home appreciation. Every state, except Connecticut, experienced median home price gains in 2016. On the flip side, mortgage rates are increasing.

The Federal Reserve, or Fed as you may hear it referred to in the news, is in charge of raising, lowering or maintaining rates. The Fed raised the rate in late 2016 for the first time all year (and had only done so once in 2015 and zero times in several of the previous years due to the recession). Economic experts and the Fed, itself, has hinted it may raise the rate as many as three times in 2017. This will have a big effect on interest rates on how much home you can afford.

Those who will be particularly affected are first-time buyers and others with either limited income or high debt-to-income ratios. Your best bet is to not incur any additional debt if at all possible—no new store or bank credit cards, don’t buy or lease a new car, or get sucked into those new furniture ads that say you don’t have to start paying on your purchases until two years from now, etc. Debt is debt, whether or not it’s being paid right now.

If your goal is to go from renting to buying in 2017, you also don’t want to cancel any unused credit lines. It looks better to a lender that other financial institutions believe in you and have extended credit options to you, especially if you have a decent credit limit on that credit card. If you fear you will be too tempted to use the card either cut the card up or turn it into a popsicle in the freezer.

As we have stated numerous times in blog articles and social media posts before, Atlanta is one of those metropolitan areas in which it is cheaper to be a homeowner than a renter. As more people realize this or become stabilized enough in their professional and personal lives to want to settle in a particular area for a number of years, home buying becomes an attractive and viable option.

This year will continue a trend started in the last year or so—more potential homebuyers re-entering the market as people hit the seven-year mark for bankruptcies falling off their credit ratings (a widespread issue during the recession). The housing demand will still be there—at least in the short term, as people keep an eye on interest rates. The Atlanta real estate market should see great activity through the first half of 2017, including the always busy summer months.

After that, we will have to review, evaluate and report again here on the RE/MAX Greater Atlanta blog how the real estate market is doing and where it’s heading. Things can change so much in our world now in just about any area—stocks, real estate, manufacturing, technology, etc.—that it’s nearly impossible to predict an entire year at a time any longer.

That’s why our advice is to seriously consider making a home purchase a goal for the first half of 2017. Start by reviewing your finances. Where can you cut unnecessary expenses and start putting that money into savings instead for a down payment? Are you really using that LinkedIn premium membership billed to your credit card at $29.99/month? Do you need the biggest cable package at your network provider? Are you bad about getting data overage charges on your monthly cell bill? Which small bills can be paid off? Which items are you paying crazy interest rates on that could be done away with?

Next, get prequalified by a reputable lender. Not sure who to use? We have preferred lenders we can recommend. Just contact RE/MAX Greater Atlanta at 770-973-9700. They will run your credit and let you know whether you could qualify for a home loan right now, an estimate of how much your payments would be, as well as the price tag for how much home you can afford.

That way, you’re not prowling the web late at night and finding that “perfect” home for $325,000, only to find out later you qualify in the $240,000 range. It’s ALWAYS better to know, from the beginning, the price range you can afford as it avoids disappointment.

If credit issues come up, you can work to resolve them. Errors happen on credit reports all the time and it can take several steps and a good deal of time to get an item corrected and removed from your report. Or an old, unpaid item could appear on there that you completely forgot about from years ago. Yes, you can get a quick idea of your score by using apps like Credit Karma, but these are not infallible. One loan officer has mentioned finding scores from such places to be off by as much as 50 points.

After the prequalification, it’s all about getting a few key things together—making sure you have some money for a down payment (3-5 percent is more the norm now, vs. 10-20 percent that had been the rumor during the recession), your key must-haves list for your home (number of bedrooms, location, home style, etc.), and a reputable, full-time Realtor to represent you and find your ideal home. Lucky for you, April 15th is coming around soon. Most people get a return (vs. owing money), so don’t delay, file early and file electronically to get that refund back as soon as possible.

We hope you get the opportunity to take advantage of the 2017 Atlanta real estate market, particularly in the first half of the year while mortgage rates are still in the 4 percent range. Check back on our blog weekly (found on our site at www.realestateatlantaga.net) as we keep you informed with market changes and updates. Or contact our office at 770-973-9700 with your real estate concerns or questions. Make it a great year!

Thank You, Atlanta, for A Great Year in Real Estate

12/30/2016

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Thank You, Atlanta, for A Great Year in Real Estate

As 2016 comes to a close, our sales team at RE/MAX Greater Atlanta wanted to thank you metro Atlanta, for allowing us to serve you this year. It was a hallmark year for us, as we entered our 30th year of serving Atlanta, Marietta, Kennesaw, Smyrna, Dunwoody, Roswell, Alpharetta, Woodstock, Acworth, Canton, and the surrounding area.

 

We think most would agree it has certainly been a strange and eventful year that won't soon be forgotten.

As we set our sights on 2017, our goal is to help even more metro Atlanta families change addresses than we did in 2016. With new home construction heavily ramping up in the region, interest rates that will only continue to rise throughout the year, and more people entering the housing market from the rental market, 2017 has all the indications of increased activity.

 

We look forward to continuing to provide real estate news and information here in 2017 and are always happy to take your calls and emails with real estate questions. We wish you a safe, happy and prosperous new year!

 

Happy Holidays, Atlanta!

12/22/2016

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Happy Holidays, Atlanta!


From our entire team of agents, brokers and staff at RE/MAX Greater Atlanta, we wanted to wish you a very happy holiday season to end 2016. Hanukah begins December 24th, Christmas is the 25th and of course we will be ringing in the new year on the evening of December 31st.

No matter what you are celebrating or where your holiday plans take you, make it a time of happy memories with friends and family. You have worked hard the entire year and most people getting pretty stressed out in December with the social and holiday demands of the month. As the last hours of work near before the holidays, do your best to take a few breaths, center yourself and refocus yourself to be in the moment with your loved ones.

We look forward to returning here on the blog again in 2017 with informative real estate topics and stats to keep you informed about metro Atlanta real estate. Until then, HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

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Thank You for Helping Make Our Toys for Tots Drive a Success!

12/16/2016

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Thank You for Helping Make Our Toys for Tots Drive a Success!



On behalf of metro Atlanta's kids in need, RE/MAX Greater Atlanta would like to thank you for your generosity in responding to our Toys for Tots drive. It officially ends today at the end of the business day. However, we've already had to make a run to a main drop-off site this morning because both our collection boxes were filled to overflowing!

We had a nice response from our agents, brokers, staff and building tenants. However, it was thrilling to see non-affiliated people from the East Cobb area stop by and place a toy or two in the boxes. We will make another donation run after today with any additional toys that come in this afternoon. We are already over 100 toys!

Thank you for responding, Marietta residents! With your generosity and giving spirit, we have helped make this Christmas season a little brighter for dozens of area children!

Happy holidays, everyone!

Our Annual Toys for Tots Drive is Under Way!

12/9/2016

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Our Annual Toys for Tots Drive is Under Way!

 

For many years, RE/MAX Greater Atlanta has been a drop-off site each holiday season for the Toys for Tots drive.  And 2016 is no exception. The U.S. Marines National Toys for Tots Christmas toy drive is a cause near and dear to us.

 

From now until Friday, December 16th, at 4 pm, we will be collecting new toys.  If you would like to support the toy drive and donate an item or two, please bring new and unwrapped toys to our office at 2050 Roswell Road in Marietta (East Cobb). We are on a busy road close to several shopping areas. So, while you’re out, won’t you think about picking up an item or two and help make a child in need’s Christmas a little brighter?

 

Toys for Tots donation boxes are located in the front lobby of our office and we are open are Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm.

 

Your donations will help children in the metro Atlanta community. Thank you, in advance, for your generosity! Happy holidays!

 

Atlanta Thanksgiving Blessings & Good Wishes

11/23/2016

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Atlanta Thanksgiving Blessings & Good Wishes

 

From everyone at RE/MAX Greater Atlanta, have a safe, memorable and blessed Thanksgiving holiday weekend. There is so much to be thankful for on both a personal and professional basis.  Professionally, we are thankful for the clients who have entrusted us with the purchase or sale of their homes. This month, we celebrated 30 years of assisting metro Atlanta families achieve the dream of homeownership.

 

For those on the fence about selling their home in the coming year to upgrade, downsize or relocate, you will have much to be thankful for as well—mortgage interest rates still remain at historic lows. New home construction is also coming back with a vengeance, offering buyers more options and upgrades than ever before.

 

However, speculation has already started about whether rates will climb once the new president is in office. We advise you keep an eye on this in early 2017 and begin the prequalification/home-buying process if you see sustained gains of a half point or more.

 

As we close out 2016, it is with gratitude for an active real estate market and for the many metro Atlanta families who have put their trust in our RE/MAX Greater Atlanta agents to handle their real estate transactions. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

First-Time Homebuyers Are Dramatically on the Rise

11/18/2016

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First-Time Homebuyers Are Dramatically on the Rise

 

When the real estate market is down, first-time homebuyers are often scarce. And conversely, when the real estate market and economy are on the rise or stable, first-time homebuyers make up a more sizable share of monthly real estate sales.

 

Real estate sources like HousingWire and Zillow are reporting a marked spike in first-time homebuyers entering the market. For September 2016, first-timers increased to 34% of the market share, or more than 1 in every 3 homes. This marks the highest share since July 2012 and is up 3% from the previous month.

 

Survey results from Zillow show the importance of Millennials in the real estate market. This young generation "may not only be fueling the housing market, but also changing it," according to the survey.

 

What's more the National Association of Realtors is reporting the existing home sales increase in September is due, primarily, to the drastic increase of first-time home buyers. 

 

RE/MAX Greater Atlanta wants potential first-time homebuyers in the metro Atlanta real estate market to be aware of this national trend. Another important factor to note is that some have started speculating the historically low mortgage interest rates will soon be a thing of the past. An increase of just a couple interest percentage points could mean a large increase in a monthly mortgage payment. Or, in a worse case scenario, may price you out of the home you want.

 

With 2017 marking a significant change in power, beliefs and management styles with the changing of the presidency, no one is sure what Trump will support with key areas like interest rates. It would probably be to your advantage to at least discuss your options and pre-qualification rate with a mortgage professional now or at the start of the new year. After that, it will be time to find that first home.

 

Contact RE/MAX Greater Atlanta today for a trusted mortgage source referral or to learn more about the Atlanta real estate market and have your home-buying questions answered. We're just a phone call away at 770-973-9700!

 

RE/MAX Greater Atlanta Turns 30!

11/4/2016

 

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RE/MAX Greater Atlanta Turns 30!

 A moment like celebrating 30 years of serving metro Atlanta home buyers and sellers deserves its own blog! RE/MAX Greater Atlanta has proudly served the Atlanta real estate market for three decades. It is one of the longest continuously running RE/MAX affiliates in metro Atlanta or, indeed, all of Georgia.

 

RE/MAX Greater Atlanta has been at the same location since the building was completed in 1994. Along with the most recognized name and logo in real estate, the RE/MAX Greater Atlanta building is a familiar landmark in the area—a multi-story, Southern colonial with columns on Roswell Road in the Marietta/East Cobb area. It also features a regularly changing LED sign that is seen by tens of thousands of vehicles driving by every day.

 

Brokers and co-owners Ben Christopher and Denny Jones are recognized names in the metro Atlanta real estate market. Through the years, they have seen good real estate markets and bad ones, double-digit interest rates and the present day, historic lows, for interest rates. 

 

“We are so fortunate and humbled to be such a long-standing and trusted real estate source for metro Atlanta families.”

 

During the company’s lifespan, RE/MAX Greater Atlanta agents have gone on to do repeat business with hundreds of clients and, in some cases, are now assisting their clients’ grown children with real estate purchases.

 

So, if you know a RE/MAX Greater Atlanta agent or Ben or Denny, send them a quick message to celebrate 30 years of hard work and expertise in the Atlanta real estate market!

 

Daylight Savings Time Ends Soon Set Clocks Back 1 Hour Night of Nov. 5th

11/3/2016

 

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Daylight Savings Time Ends Soon – Set Clocks Back 1 Hour Night of Nov. 5th

 

You’ve probably already noticed the daylight hours are shrinking. Each day, it gets dark just a little bit earlier. RE/MAX Greater Atlanta wanted to give you an early heads up about next weekend. Set clocks back one hour before going to bed Saturday night, November 5th.

 

It’s a good news-bad news situation here. Good news is you get an extra hour to your weekend and you might be able to catch an extra hour of sleep! Bad news is you’ll soon be driving home from work in the dark.

 

Here are a few interesting facts about Daylight Savings Time:

 

* DST was extended in 2007, thanks to the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

* DST was officially introduced in 1918.

* Did you know the DST and time zones are regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation? Seems like an odd match!

* Two states—Arizona and Hawaii—do not observe DST.

* DST is now in effect 238 days of the year, or about 65 percent of each year.

 

Halloween and Fall Fun in Cobb County and Metro Atlanta

10/21/2016

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Halloween and Fall Fun in Cobb County and Metro Atlanta

 

Just in time for another great weather fall weekend, here’s a sampling of fun, fall activities in Cobb County and metro Atlanta. Have a scary good time!

 

Owl-O-Ween Hot Air Balloon Festival

Presented by Kennesaw State University Sports department, this popular event is now in its fourth year and will be this weekend, October 21 and Saturday, October 22, 2016. More than 20 hot air balloons will be on hand and tethered rides are an option. There will also be trick-or-treating, food vendors, a costume contest, artist alley and 100 roaming performers. Tickets are $12 for adults and $5 for kids 3-12. See Owl-O-Ween.com for additional details.

 

Eastminster Presbyterian Fall Festival

Same dates—Oct. 21, noon to 8 pm and Oct. 22 10 am – 4 pm at the Eastminster Presbyterian Church in Marietta/East Cobb, 3125 Sewell Mill Road. Event includes a silent auction, crafters, live music, book and bake sale, BBQ, petting zoo, games and more.

 

Ghost Tours in downtown Marietta – aka Scary-etta!

These 90-minute ghost tours are aboard a trolley and provide a narrated ride through downtown Marietta. Tours are based on history and documented stories of ghost encounters. At one point, there’s a two-block walking tour. Tours begin at 8 pm and are held on Fridays and Saturdays through October. Advance reservations are required, www.ghostofmarietta.com/tickets.

 

If haunted houses are more your thing, check out Georgia Haunted Houses [www.georgiahauntedhouses.com] for an extensive list of area haunted houses and the dates/times they will be open to spook you.

 

Halloween Hikes at the Chattahoochee Nature Center

This evening event is Oct. 21-22 and Oct. 28-29, with hikes starting at 7 pm and ending at 10 pm. A short, half-mile, guided night hike through lighted woodland trails. Along the way, you’ll meet friendly, costumed, forest creatures. Trails are not suitable for strollers. Tickets are $10 and the nature center is located at 9135 Willeo Road in Roswell.

 

Haunted Theater: Mad in Wonderland

Presented by Pope High School, the students create a spooky experience for visitors. The event starts at 6 pm, Oct. 26-28, at Pope High School (3001 Hembree Road, Marietta/East Cobb). Admission is $5, but you can get a second ticket free simply by bringing in two canned goods or other non-perishable items. Items collected go to Trick or Treat So Kids Can Eat and MUST Ministries.

 

Local Pumpkin Patches in Cobb

Several area churches are having pumpkin sales and related Halloween events, including Powers Ferry UMC (245 Powers Ferry Road, Marietta), St. Andrew UMC (3455 Canton Hwy., Marietta), and Mt. Zion UMC (1770 Johnson Ferry Road, Marietta).

 

Big Springs Farms

Located in Woodstock at 2100 Sugar Pike Road, Big Springs Farms (www.bigspringsfarms.com) is open Fridays noon – 6 pm and weekends 10 am – 6 pm. Activities include hayrides, a new corn maze, a pumpkin patch, as well as seeing and petting a variety of farm animals. Best of all, admission and parking are free (with small fees charged for hayrides, bounce house and corn maze).

 

Gibbs Gardens

1987 Gibbs Drive, Ball Ground (Cherokee County), www.gibbsgardens.com

Japanese Maples Colorfest, October 22-23, 29-30 and November 5-6, 12-13, 19-20

Gibbs Gardens features more than 2,000 Japanese Maples, all changing with the season. The acres of gardens feature tens of thousands of other plants like wildflowers and goldenrods in bloom on the many acres of the gardens. The website has complete information on what’s in bloom there during each season as well as amazing photos of the landscaped grounds, including a Monet garden area.

 

Roswell Ghost Tours

Ghost tours tell stories of real hauntings. Held nightly in October, cost is $15 for adults and $10 for kids 12 and under. Walking tour is approximately two and a half hours. Reservations suggested due to popularity of this event, www.roswellghosttour.com/reservations.

 

Warbington Farms

5555 Crow Road, Cumming, www.warbingtonfarms.com

In addition to a petting zoo barn, corn crib, corn maze and slides, the farm has thousands of pumpkins for sale. Warbington Farms has put a spin on the corn maze that your children will really enjoy. The Magical Maze involves hunting for favorite characters and having meet and greet/photo opportunities throughout the maze. The farm will host a Trunk-or-Treat on October 29. Kids can walk from trunk to trunk of vehicles for treats, spooks and surprises. The event is included in the price of admission to the farm’s Fun Park.

 

Uncle Shuck’s Corn Maze & Pumpkin Patch

4520 Highway 53 East, Dawsonville, www.uncleshucks.com

By day, a great family outing with food, fall decorations, pumpkins and even a corn cannon. Weekends after dusk, however, it transforms into a haunted maze, bonfires and evening hayrides.

 

Eillijay area to pick your own apples.  The Ellijay area has several markets and orchards where you can buy or go out and pick the fruit yourselves. Ellijay produces more than 250,000 bushels of apples every year in 30 varieties and is known as the apple capital of Georgia. Whether it’s the Red Apple Barn as you take Hwy. 515 north into Ellijay or the many other apple orchards off the beaten path (such as along Hwy. 52 which is nicknamed Apple Orchard Alley), it’s a great opportunity to explore this North Georgia town.

 

Head north another half hour and check out the Blue Ridge area. Take a trip on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway (http://www.brscenic.com/). They offer both weekday and weekend tours. The historic depot is located in downtown Blue Ridge. Mercier’s Orchard is a long-time staple of the area, complete with on-site bakery, ciders, a large variety of apples and large gift shop.

 

It’s an ideal time of year to be living in Georgia and there are so many directions to head out and explore during these fall weekends. For additional ideas for activities, road trips and spooky experiences, check out www.exploregeorgia.org.

 

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