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9 Pointers for Moving Day

8/4/2017

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9 Pointers for Moving Day

Moving has been listed as one of life’s top 10 most stressful experiences. Because our job is all about moving people from one address to another, our RE/MAX Greater Atlanta agents know this can be a challenging time for families. We have helped thousands of families change addresses in metro Atlanta. Here are some pointers for making your move a little easier.

  1.          1.Specially mark a few essential boxes.  Make sure these end up in your vehicle instead of the moving truck. These boxes should contain key items immediately needed in the first few days of living in the new residence—toilet paper, hand soap, shower curtain, towels, bed sheets, pillows, blankets, aspirin, a couple changes of clothes for each family member, a few cleaning supplies, non-perishable snacks, coffee pot, mugs, bottled water, a few utensils, paper plates, any medications needed, pet supplies like dog bowls and dog food if you have pets, etc.
  2.           2.Stay as organized as possible. This helps reduce stress levels significantly. Keep packing supplies in the same area, have plenty of supplies on hand so you don’t have to run out in the middle of moving for more tape, packing materials, boxes, etc.                 
  3. Don’t lose sight of the end goal. You’re moving to a new place! Possibilities for new friendships and memories are endless. By being less stressed during your move, you will be more open to new experiences from the moment you pull up to your new address. 
  1. Schedule donation pickups a few weeks in advance as donation companies often have limited staffing and a lengthy lead time. Make sure these donations are picked up at least a week before you leave. Having these items out of the way as you do your final packing will be a relief and show you there’s less to be concerned with moving.
  1. Mark every box. Taking a few seconds to be specific now could save you a lot of headaches later. Instead of simply saying Kitchen, add something like Kitchen—pots and pans or Kitchen—pantry items. That way, when you are trying to find something, you won’t have to open 15 boxes marked Kitchen just to find the silverware.                                         
  2. Be conscious of each box’s weight. Avoid the temptation to find huge boxes to stuff to capacity that then take two people to lift. For heavier items like books, find small boxes such as those found at liquor stores or that held reams of paper with lids. These will sometimes have a reinforced bottom and are a manageable size, even when full of books. Better to have 20 small boxes of books than six boxes requiring a forklift to get off the moving truck!
  1. Buy, borrow or rent a dolly or flatbed with wheels. The small expense will be worth it in terms of moving faster and having fewer sore muscles afterward. 
  1. Time management—it’s essential for reducing your stress as moving day draws near. Don’t get caught up in going through items, reorganizing, etc. Allow time for packing each day for the weeks prior to your move. The time for ridding out was before the moving process began, especially in areas such as clothing, children’s toys, furniture and kitchen items. Those extras should have gone in the donation piles or the moving sale. To rid out now, at the eleventh hour, will result in rash decisions as patience wears thin and your moving deadline nears. You don’t want to be the family with a mountain of belongings at the curb for trash pickup as you pull away from the curb for the final time.  
  1. Pay special attention to pets. This will be a very confusing and stressful time for them. Try to crate them or keep them in an area away from all the action. If necessary, board them for a day or two. The last thing you need to happen is a pet to escape out a frequently open front door on moving day.

 

From RE/MAX Greater Atlanta, may you have many happy memories in your new home!

 

Back-to-School Rush is On--Don't Forget About Upcoming Georgia Sales Tax Holiday Dates

7/21/2017

Back-to-School Rush is On--Don't Forget About Upcoming Georgia Sales Tax Holiday Dates

Metro Atlanta school districts will begin their staggered return dates at the end of July through mid-August. Anticipation is in the air...mainly for the parents!

Before that regular household school schedule can resume, there's all that shopping prep needed for each child. So this is just a friendly reminder from RE/MAX Greater Atlanta that the Georgia Tax -Free Holiday Weekend is next weekend, July 29-30, 2017. Georgia started participating in this state-by-state program in 2012. If you have friends or relatives in other states, they should check into whether a similar weekend is also held there and when because not every state holds it the same time.

In Georgia, the tax exemption includes a broad range of clothing, footwear, computers and related products, as well as school supplies. For a more complete, visit www.thespruce.com/georgia-sales-tax-holiday-dates-3129482.

And, if you're children are grown or you don't have kids, you can still take advantage of some savings! So upgrade that laptop, stock up on those office supplies for the home office, update your wardrobe with some new items!

For Sale by Owner Myths & Dangers

7/7/2017

 

 

 

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For Sale by Owner Myths & Dangers

 

Some homeowners believe selling a property on their own is the best option. Known as for sale by owner, it’s referred to in the real estate business by the abbreviation FSBO (pronounced fiz-bow).

Taking on full responsibility of the sale comes with a long list of myths and cautions. The biggest myth is that you will automatically make more money. After all, you’re saving that 6-7 percent sales commission, right? While homes sold as FSBOs will be saving on commission, the home sellers often fail to place any value on all the time they will spend getting the home sold.  

FSBOs may need to take time off work or time away from family and friends to race home to show it to potential buyers. Many FSBOs get overwhelmed with phone calls from people who either can't afford the home or who would like to talk about renting the home. There’s time spent online posting ads on Craiglist and a multitude of other sites. Time spent buying and filling out signs, then strategically placing them within a few mile radius of the property.  The weekly time spent to be sure these signs are still in place and replacing those that have come down or been taken down. The handling of contract negotiations, writing the contract, being present for the contract signing, making yourself available for the buyer’s home inspector, etc.

 

These buyers are rarely pre-approved, but a quality selling agent would have already made sure of that before taking them around metro Atlanta looking at properties. Another thing to note about this agent-buyer relationship is that most home buyers work with a real estate professional when purchasing a home. Translation? The agents have the vast majority of buyers wishing to buy homes.

 

Meanwhile, you sit at your FSBO, with a sign in the yard, possibly a classified ad in the paper and no listing in the local MLS system (where agents pull potential listings for buyers and where buyers now have increasing access to, thanks to the internet). Do you really want to be responsible for doing all your own marketing, advertising, photography, online presence with a custom website, etc? 

Another pitfall for FSBOs comes in the areas of writing the contract and contract negotiations.  Realtors use a contract available through and approved by the state Realtor association. The verbiage has been gone over thoroughly by attorneys and experienced real estate professionals. What will you use if you go the FSBO route? And will it protect you legally should issues come up about property lines, little known title issues or property liens, etc. post closing?

Homeowners are nearly always guilty of believing their home is worth more than the going value in the metro Atlanta real estate market. It’s understandable—you’re very attached to your home. It’s probably your biggest investment. Being impartial is nearly impossible. Overpricing your FSBO listing, however, will result in a very, very long time on the market for your home. You can’t always go by Zillow or Trulia estimates online—they are often too high or far too low without much logical explanation. You also can’t just blindly price it at the same price as what your neighbor across the street sold his at three months ago. There could be several differences in the home in terms of size, condition, upgrades, etc.

That’s where a Realtor can be a saving grace. He or she will come in armed with “just the facts” as the saying goes. What has been selling in your neighborhood and even on your street in the last couple years? How do these listings compare with yours in terms of size, home finishes, etc? What do homes tend to go for with finished basements, compared to those with unfinished space? How much value is added to your home by having a pool or a larger lot? Is there a great demand in your neighborhood or price point that might warrant pricing the home higher or getting prepared for a possible bidding war on your property?

A good Realtor will also be honest with you about the condition of your home and the small, quick things you can do to make your home more appealing to potential buyers. A real estate agent attempting to get your listing should also have a detailed marketing plan.

At RE/MAX Greater Atlanta, we have been based on Roswell Road in eastern Cobb County for decades and our agents know this area and the surrounding counties and neighborhoods extremely well. If we can answer any additional questions about going FSBO vs. the advantages of listings with an agent, call us at 770-973-9700.

 

Happy 4th of July Weekend, Atlanta!

6/30/2017

 

 

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Happy 4th of July Weekend, Atlanta!

 

Independence Day may not be until this Tuesday, but many are treating this weekend as a four-day holiday weekend. Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is expected to have record traffic this Friday and Saturday. Travel by highway will also be heavy. Keep this in mind when doing your own travels.

 

For those staying in the area, fireworks celebrations abound in several counties, as well as parades and festivals. It’s hard to believe, but Stone Mountain Park is celebrating its 50th Fantastic Fourth Celebration from July 1st through July 4th. KSU is having its 10th annual Star Spangled Spectacular this Saturday evening, July 1st (StarSpangledKSU.com). The Atlanta Braves have two evening home games on July 4th (with fireworks after) and 5th.

 

Marietta is having its annual Fourth in the Park Celebration in Marietta Square area.. The all-day event begins with a parade at 10 a.m. and ends with fireworks shot from the First United Methodist Church parking lot at 9:30 p.m.

 

The 18th Annual Roswell July 4th Fireworks Extravaganza will take place from 5:30 p.m to - 10 p.m. Fireworks start around 9:30 p.m. Free event. Takes place at the Roswell High School front lawn, 11595 King Road, Roswell.

 

Whatever you and your family do this holiday weekend, please take a moment to remember all those who have fought for and continue to keep this great nation free.

 

Happy Independence Day to all !

Youíre on VacationóDonít Let Your Home Give Away Your Absence

6/23/2017

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You’re on Vacation—Don’t Let Your Home Give Away Your Absence

 

Summer is a great time to take a vacation. While you’re taking care of all those last minute trip details, what about your home? You don’t want it to give away your absence. This just makes it a target for a robbery or vandals. Here are some tips for prepping it for your time away.

 

If you and your family plan to be gone more than a few days, let a trusted neighbor know about your plans. Give this person your exact dates as well as any necessary contact information—your cell number, destination, etc. Leave a key with a neighbor in case there’s a need to get in for a water leak, foul odor, smoke alarm going off, plant watering, etc. Have this person check the exterior of your home daily for any signs of forced entry through a window or door.

 

Purchase a few inexpensive timers for various lights inside and outside your home. Setting one for a television or a radio is also a good idea. Lock garage doors, all windows and all doors. Unplug automatic garage door openers, especially if you have an attached garage with an interior door entry into your home. If your neighborhood does not have a restriction against vehicles parked in the driveway, try to leave a car parked there. Barring that, ask a neighbor to park there on occasion to give the home a lived-in appearance.

 

Place small valuables in a locked safe or safety deposit box. Back up computers of essential data, turn off and unplug. Do a quick inspection around the house, double-checking that everything is turned off—faucets, charging devices, stove, etc. Unplug non-essential appliances like televisions, coffee makers, alarm clocks, toasters, microwave and other electronics. Set your thermostat so the air conditioning will only run occasionally. During your final walk-through, be sure to give all plants a healthy dose of water.

 

If you plan to be gone for an extended period of time this summer, say more than 10 days, arrange to have someone cut the grass. This often gets overlooked by people when they go out of town, but you want your home to appear well-kept, even during your absence. Newspaper and mail delivery stoppage are two other areas people often forget about. You can now conveniently go online to put your mail on hold so, even if you forget to do it before you go out of town, you can still handle this detail from your smart phone.

 

Arrange for the proper pet care, whether it’s boarding the animals, having a pet or house sitter or ultimately taking them with you. Just be sure your neighbor knows about your plans so he or she doesn’t panic that the family dog is missing.

 

And finally, don’t forget to go over any security system issues with the neighbor entrusted with a key to your home. Otherwise, an unpleasant situation could arise with your alarm going off nonstop or, worse, your neighbor getting arrested by the local authorities. Once you’ve taken care of these essentials and safely arrived at your vacation destination, sit back and enjoy. You’ve earned it!

Celebrating National Homeownership Month in June

6/9/2017

 

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Celebrating National Homeownership Month in June

 

National Homeownership Month began as a week-long focus on homeownership in 1995 and expanded into a month-long event in 2002. It started as a presidential initiative to support and expand homeownership opportunities for Americans.

 

This month, June, has been designated National Homeownership Month. As is tradition, the month kicked off with the current president officially declaring June as National Homeownership Month. With a new administration in office for 2017, we are hearing of a possible change in focus on priorities for the housing industry as well as those industries related to it.

 

For instance, President Trump says he plans to roll back the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act and lessen regulations in the housing industry. The House just passed a bill this week aimed reversing Dodd-Frank financial regulations, but it is unlikely to pass in the Senate. Trump also points at stats of low home ownership rates, post-recession, and has pledged to increase homeownership rates for the middle class and minorities. He is reportedly working with Congress on a pro-growth plan.

 

However, with foreign trips, NATO meetings, the beginning of the tax plan overhaul, a lengthy  process with healthcare in repealing and replacing Obamacare, unexpected time being taken away with various investigative issues, and still having several unfilled, key government positions such as the directors of both FEMA and NOAA (key agencies that deal with natural disasters as we head into hurricane season), housing has seemingly taken a temporary backseat in the Trump administration.

 

Increasing homeownership has also been announced as a top priority by 2017 National Association of Realtors (NAR) President William Brown, a Realtor from Alamo, California. The NAR is striving to engage and inform consumers through its website, HomeOwnershipMatters.realtor. There, visitors can read the latest news, stories and videos on housing-related public policy issues affecting them at the state, local and national levels.

 

One thing likely to affect housing in the month of June is the next Fed meeting, scheduled for mid-June. Most experts are predicting another small interest rate hike of a quarter to a half percent. This will quickly ripple into mortgage interest rates as well. A quarter of one percent may seem insignificant, but when calculated across a 30-year mortgage and factoring in the amount of your mortgage (often low to mid six figures), it adds a healthy amount to the overall cost of purchasing your home.

 

If buying a home is in your very near future, you may want to try to lock in an interest rate before the increase. Just know that the clock starts ticking on closing that loan (i.e. finding the right home, negotiating the price and actually signing papers at the closing table), all within a time period of just 30-60 days.

 

If you’re looking for a reputable and dependable mortgage professional, RE/MAX Greater Atlanta has a short list of preferred mortgage providers we work with regularly and have no hesitation recommending them. We can tell you from our own experience which loan officers will do everything possible to get your home loan closed in a timely fashion. We share the same goal as our clients—to have a smooth, hassle-free closing. Part of that process going well includes using an experienced lender who knows how to overcome just about any challenge in getting a mortgage approved so a real estate deal can close without delay.

 

Call our RE/MAX Greater Atlanta office today at 770-973-9700 or stop by during normal business hours. We’re at 2050 Roswell Road in East Cobb/Marietta—the large brick building with the white columns. We will be happy to answer your real estate questions, set you up with a RE/MAX agent who specializes in your area/price point and refer you to a reputable mortgage professional to get you prequalified for a home loan today.

 

It's June And The Summer Clock is Ticking on Your Move

6/2/2017

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It's June And The Summer Clock is Ticking on Your Move


With nearly all the metro Atlanta school districts getting out the week before or at Memorial Day this year, this first week in June finds the kids well entrenched into summer routines. You, however, are probably still adjusting!

If a move is a necessary part of your summer plans, the clock is ticking. And this year, it's louder than ever. With the earlier school dismissal, the flipside is the kids also return to school sooner than in years past. Cobb County schools go back July 31st, the Cherokee County school district is scheduled to return August 1st and Fulton County is actually one of the later ones we found with August 7, 2017.

That's basically just under two months! Which means you need to find and get a home under contract in the very, VERY near future in order for it to close in that time period. Prequalification is the first order of the day as is finding a full-time real estate professional who specializes in your price point and the region you want to live.

At RE/MAX Greater Atlanta, we can help with both. One or more of our agents serve nearly every area of metro Atlanta. In addition, we have a preferred mortgage lender we can refer you to who we have the utmost confidence in that you will be treated fairly, professionally and given the best mortgage advice available. Today's mortgage restrictions and qualifying process are much easier than they were a few years ago and Lori and her crew will make it as simple and efficient as possible.

So what are you waiting for? That perfect home may have just been listed on the market! And if it did, it won't be there long. Listing inventory is very low right now so having that pre-qualification will help you know the price range you can afford and will tell sellers you're serious home buyers when you put in an offer. We want to be the agency to help you through that process and negotiate on your behalf. Call RE/MAX Greater Atlanta today at 770-973-9700. You can also conduct a thorough search of available properties at our site, www.realestateatlantaga.net.

Have a Safe & Happy Memorial Day Weekend, Everyone!

5/26/2017
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RE/MAX Greater Atlanta
respectfully honors all those who
have served our country, and we proudly
celebrate this Memorial Day.
 
Make time to honor and thank
all who sacrificed so much for the freedoms
that we enjoy, and celebrate this time
with your friends and loved ones.
Enjoy a safe and happy weekend! 
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What Atlanta I-85 Shutdown Can Teach Us About Alternatives

5/19/2017

 

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What Atlanta I-85 Shutdown Can Teach Us About Alternatives

 

I-85 in Atlanta is once again fully operational, much to everyone’s relief. The Georgia DOT and construction crews worked round the clock to rebuild two entire sections, north and southbound, after a recent fire caused a collapse on one side and structural issues in the other direction.

It forced hundreds of thousands of people to alter their driving routes, driving times, and perhaps even who they were driving with or their work routine (such as working from home more). Even if you didn’t normally use that interstate you were potentially affected by the overflow coming onto your normal driving route or having your public transportation choice be much more crowded than usual.

The Interstate 85 issue in Atlanta, while massively inconvenient, can also be looked at as an important learning opportunity. If you started carpooling, why not continue to do so and save on gas as well as emissions going into the air? It’s also one or more fewer cars on the road during rush hour.

Another important lesson—do you have back up routes planned for at least a few key points along your route home?  A major highway or interstate could be shutdown again for the day because of a massive accident, flooding or other issue and you won’t know this until you are suddenly rerouted. What will you do? Technology like Google Maps and GPS are wonderful aids, but typically give the main route alternatives…and they give everyone else the same ones as well. Why not have your own alternatives mapped out in advance with lesser known side streets?

Did the shutdown show you anything else? For example, maybe you really can work at home one or two days a week and still be on top of your job? Or maybe that long commute is really just becoming too much and the decision has got to be made—either a different job or a move closer to work?

Sometimes a shakeup like this closure  makes you get out of your routine and temporarily find a new normal can be a good thing. To helpful and healthy new alternatives!

Tips for Holding a Successful Yard Sale

5/9/2017

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Tips for Holding a Successful Yard Sale

 

Whether you’re moving or just need to rid out, having a yard sale can be a great way to earn some extra cash and space at the same time. Here are some tips to make it a successful event:

 

  1. Price everything – you’ll never know how many sales you will lose simply because people won’t ask about price. Even if it’s just a generic price area, such as all DVDs $3 or everything on this table $2 each, this let’s shoppers know quickly and easily. Then be sure to price your other individual items as well. Not sure what to price something? Check eBay or Craigslist (Craigslist.org) to see what that pair of roller skates or baseball mitt lists for, on average.
  2. If possible, see if neighbors on your block or even in your community would like to have a yard sale as well. Community yard sales are often a big draw, especially if advertised properly at online sites and with signage. If that’s discouraged in your subdivision or there’s not enough interest, having just a couple families on your street can still make it a multiple family yard sale.

Barring that, have a couple friends or family members bring items to sell at your sale. Even if each additional family only contributes a couple boxes of items, they count as an additional family participating. Hopefully, one member of each family will be there the day of the sale to help out as well and share the workload. Now you can bill your sale as a three or four family yard, which will always be of more interest to yard salers than single family sales.

  1. Be organized. A yard sale is really not something you can throw together last minute. It takes planning, sorting, checking on prices if necessary, organizing the other sellers, borrowing tables from other people, if needed, cleaning out the garage area for extra floor space, etc. You also want to have your items presented in a way that makes sense, just like they do in stores. Books in one area, children’s toys all in another area, kitchen items together on another table, etc.

Otherwise, it appears to the potential buyer, like you just threw everything out on tables 10 minutes before your sale began. And if you don’t appear to care about your items, why should they? As the saying goes, presentation is everything. Just because you haven’t used that crock pot in 5 years and it’s been on a shelf in the garage, doesn’t mean you should sell it with 5 years of dust on it.

  1. Advertise as much as possible. We have already mentioned Craigslist, which has a yard sale area, but do a search of your city’s name + yard sale and see if some more localized sites come up. Put a listing on as many online places as possible. For Craigslist, you can include photos of your big seller items like furniture, exercise equipment, luggage, appliances, etc. Include your address/map, or at least a map to a cross street and say something like “follow the orange signs.”
  2. Have consistent signage if possible. Thanks to technology and great printers, it’s pretty easy to print your own signs. Be sure to use large, bold fonts and clear masking tape to put these up. The tape will, essentially, laminate your paper. Choose a bright colored paper if possible and the same color will allow them to find you the easiest. Make sure signs are up at least 1 hour before the start of your sale. For multiple day sales, be prepared to check each morning and replace or repair as necessary. After your sale, be courteous and take all signage down. Nothing is more frustrating to a yard saler than following signage around to nowhere. It also clutters up the neighborhood and makes it difficult for others in your area having yard sales in future weeks.
  3. Prepare to do markdowns near the end of the day. If you REALLY don’t want to end up storing this stuff again, decide on a time when you want to start marking everything down. Often with a couple hours left on the last day (or the only day, if you’re having a one day yard sale) can be an ideal time. Whether you slash items to half off or allow people to fill a bag, the idea is to get rid of as much as possible. After that, make a decision as to whether to store or donate the remaining items. If you decide to donate to a local charity for their own community yard sale or thrift shop, be sure you make an itemized list as this may be something you can write off on your taxes at year-end.

 

Now is the perfect time of year to have yard sales in metro Atlanta. We hope yours is a huge success!

 

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