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3/16/2015 Tips for Selling in the Spring

Tips for Selling Your Home in the Spring Atlanta Real Estate Market

With Spring fast approaching in Atlanta, many begin to think about changing addresses by summertime. So, if listing your home in the Atlanta real estate market is on the horizon for you, here are a few tips to make sure your home sells quickly.

1. Keep your home clean--from listing appointment to accepted contract.This means decluttering, reducing amount of furniture if necessary, thinning out closets and possibly even cabinets, having the garage is tidy and not overflowing with extra belongings, and making sure the place looks fresh and clean. This may mean getting the carpets cleaned, the hardwoods shined up or even a fresh coat of paint in frequently trafficked areas. If necessary, rent a small storage unit to keep the overflow.

2. Do repairs you know about now. There's an extremely good chance these will be noticed by the buyer or the buyer's home inspector anyway, so why not take care of that leaky faucet, drafty bay window area, pressure-washing the sidewalk, driveway and siding, fixing doors or windows that stick, etc.

3. Don't forget about the exterior. As temperatures warm, so does the Atlanta real estate market. That's the perfect time to plant some colorful flowers by the mailbox, use flower planters by the front door, trim overgrown hedges, clean any clutter, lay down new mulch, etc. If the outside doesn't look warm and inviting, there's a very good chance potential buyers won't even get out of the car. No matter how amazing or updated the interior may be, you first have to get buyers in the door, so spend that small amount of time and money to make the outside looks like something that buyer would want to call home.

4. Price your home competitively. This can often mean interviewing more than one Realtor. It also means not necessarily accepting the highest listing price if comps in the area don't support that price. Make sure your Realtor comes to the appointment with a Comparative Market Analysis for your area. If homes similar in size and features to yours are selling for $300,000, it would be a mistake to try selling yours for $399,000. Grossly overpricing often leads to a very long period of time on the market, price reductions and can even lead to issues with the appraisal when your purchaser attempts to get a loan. Lending institutions will not issue loans beyond the value of the property. Otherwise, they would lose money should they have to take ownership of the house.

Make use of the tips above to make your home-selling experience go more smoothly. Questions about this or what home values are going for in your neighborhood? Call our RE/MAX Greater Atlanta office today at 770-973-9700. And be sure to follow us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/RemaxGreaterAtlanta or on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/RemaxGtrAtl for the latest news, articles and stats on the metro Atlanta real estate market.

2/21/2015 Quick Home Tips for Cold Weather

A Few Quick Home Tips for Cold Weather

With the extreme temperatures going on in metro Atlanta this week and into next week, a few quick reminders may be helpful to keep your home running well.

First, leave a couple faucets dripping, especially during overnight hours. If possible, leave a cabinet door open to help warmer area get to the faucet's pipes as well. The best faucets for this would be those nearest exterior walls. If you have a bathroom in a basement, do this there as well.

Second, don't make your furnace work too hard all at once. It's understandable to turn the heat down during daytime hours when everyone is away from home. However, upon returning home, it's best not to change the thermostat by more than a couple degrees at a time. This way you can gradually raise the temperature in your home without having your furnace work nonstop for a long stretch of time.

Third, check your furnace filter. HVAC professionals often recommend these be changed monthly during winter months.

Fourth, make sure all vents are unobstructed in your home. If you have an area such as a guest bedroom that's not being used, consider closing that vent so more warm air can flow to other areas of the house. If your basement is not getting a lot of use, these vents should still remain open as that area has closest access to the pipes for your plumbing.

Fifth, don't leave space heaters unattended. Be sure such heaters also have a wide area of clearance.

And finally, while this does not directly affect your home, it could affect being able to leave your home. With such sustained temperatures below freezing level, the oil and other fluids in your car tend to thicken up. Allow a little extra time to warm up your car for a couple minutes before leaving home. Your car will thank you and be less likely to strand you somewhere due to unnecessary wear and tear on your engine.

2/9/2015 Atlanta Real Estate Market Forecast for 2015

Atlanta Real Estate Market Forecast for 2015

We were fortunate to see mortgage rates remain low and even dip a few times in 2014. That trend should, for the most part, continue in 2015, with some economic experts predicting about a half percent rate increase during this year. If the Federal Reserve were to decide to raise that rate higher, it would stunt the new home sales price growth that has already started in the real estate market.

And in metro Atlanta, new home construction is sharply on the rise. When construction is on the increase, that’s a big boost for the local economy—more jobs, more money flowing into the economy for building supplies and from those added workers, etc. The University of Georgia’s Terry School of Business is projecting new home starts to increase nationally by a hefty 30 percent. In addition, existing home values were predicted to appreciate by 4 percent.

RE/MAX Greater Atlanta co-owner Denny Jones believes lower gas prices will have a very positive impact on the spring Atlanta real estate market and possibly beyond. He warned that conflicts in the Middle East, depending upon how much they escalate, could dampen the growth of the American economy, including the real estate market. It’s a gray area worth watching.

Jones also pointed out an important point that most media outlets are not covering. Those who completed short sales of their homes three years ago can now re-enter the real estate market as long as they have kept their credit up in the few years since the short sale. We will start seeing a surge of these people looking to become homeowners again. Nationally, for 2015 alone, this is at least a half million people. Realistically, this would mean several hundred if not thousands of metro Atlanta residents would fall into this category.

Overall, there will be an increase in metro Atlanta housing demand. For those who have been debating about selling or waiting for their homes to appreciate back to a better level, 2015 might be your year to change addresses. Get a market analysis done on your home today by a qualified, full-time real estate professional.

For those potential buyers who moved back in with parents after college or who never thought they could save up a hefty down payment, this may be your year as well, with down payment requirements easing. Pay down your debts such as credit cards as much as possible, check with a mortgage professional to see what you can qualify for and decide from there.

As always our RE/MAX Greater Atlanta real estate team is here to guide you and answer any questions you may have. Call us today at 770-973-9700.

 

12/30/2014 10 New Year's Resolutions for Buyers-Part 2

10 New Year’s Resolutions for Atlanta Home Buyers – Part 2

In part one of this blog topic, we focused primarily on credit ratings and mortgage roadblocks. Here, we will conclude with tips about the home search itself.

 

  1. Create two lists to help pinpoint your home search for both you and your real estate agent. List 1 should be the must have features for your home—number of bedrooms, whether you need a home office, number of bathrooms, garage, etc. List 2 should be more of a wish list for your future home—things not required, like a swimming pool, fenced yard or huge kitchen, but which would be great amenities to have at your new address.

 

  1. Narrow your search area before you begin. This will make it less overwhelming if you’re not criss-crossing over a multi-county area in metro Atlanta. Many home buyers use criteria such as a particular school district, a specific county, or a maximum driving distance from work.

 

  1. Employ the use of an experienced, full-time Realtor who knows the area in which you want to live. It’s great that your cousin’s neighbor sells real estate, but if they live 60 miles from your target area, it’s unlikely that person will have a good familiarity with a specific neighborhood near you.

 

  1. Have patience. Depending on the time of year, you may have fewer available homes on the market. Or your criteria may be so specific or extensive that it limits available inventory. Do not settle just because you are tired of looking for homes or your lease is ending in a couple months. This is perhaps the largest purchase of your life. Make sure your selection ticks off the boxes on your must-haves list.

 

  1. While this may seem contrary to what was just written, you need to develop the ability to decide quickly, especially in areas where it’s a seller’s market. A seller’s market means conditions favor the seller—high demand with low market inventory. If you are purchasing during a seller’s market, this typically means far more home buyers than homes on the market. Taking weeks to decide on a home could easily result in the home going under contract while you’re in limbo. It’s certainly okay to request to see a home a second time before deciding, but in price points, neighborhoods or school districts that are in demand, waiting too long could mean an extended home search because viable options keep getting snapped up.

 

Other questions about the Atlanta home-buying process? Call RE/MAX Greater Atlanta today at 770-973-9700. We have been serving the metro Atlanta real estate market for nearly 30 years.

12/16/2014 10 New Year's Resolutions for Buyers-Part 1

10 New Year’s Resolutions for Atlanta Home Buyers – Part 1

With a new year nearly upon us, our thoughts almost naturally turn to what we would like to accomplish in 2015. If buying a home is on that list of possibilities, our team at RE/MAX Greater Atlanta want to give you some helpful tips for accomplishing this major goal.

1. Know your credit score. This gives you a good starting point to predict any issues with getting approved for a mortgage. As a general rule, your credit score should be above 580 (recently lowered from a previous minimum of 640). The closer it is to the perfect FICO score of 850, the better. Higher credit scores usually equate to better interest rates.

2. Check your credit report for inaccuracies. It’s estimated that as many as 1 in 4 or 1 in 5 credit reports contain errors. Far better to dispute or correct these issues now than when you are in the middle of buying a home. Tensions will be high enough at that point!

3. Get pre-approved for a loan—sellers will take you more seriously and you will know the maximum you can afford and what payments will be. If the monthly payment for your maximum amount seems overwhelming to you, you can adjust your max accordingly. There’s also nothing more frustrating than finding the absolute perfect home, only to realize it is out of your price range.

4. Do Not, I repeat, Do NOT open any new credit accounts (e.g. bank or store credit cards, furniture payment plans, etc.) while in the process of buying a home. This is especially true after your credit report has been run initially. It will be run again before the final closing and we have seen this come back to sting Atlanta home buyers to the point of no longer qualifying for the loan.

5. Pay off or pay down credit cards and any other debts possible before you start the home-buying process. This will improve your debt to income ratio. It will also ease the financial strain you may feel those first months in a new home when expenses such as moving, painting, flooring and furniture have a way of adding up quickly.

Stay tuned next time when we finish out the list. Until then, feel free to call us at 770-973-9700 or email us with any questions about the above tips or the Atlanta home-buying process.

11/21/2014 Atlanta Real Estate

Atlanta Real Estate vs. the Rest of the Nation

As 2014 is quickly winding down, we wanted to provide an update on the metro Atlanta real estate market.

One extremely promising statistic involves the year-over-year median home sales price. Nationally, the average was up 7.4 percent over October 2013. However, Atlanta ranked in the top three cities in the nation, with an increase of 11.9 percent. That's about 50 percent better than the national average!

Nationally, the average months of for sale inventory dropped to 4.9 months. Six months is considered an equal balance of buyers and sellers in the marketplace. We are seeing a similar trend in Atlanta, with a slight shortage of move-in ready homes in most price points.

RE/MAX, LLC, CEO Margaret Kelly summed up the state of the real estate market in the October issue of the RE/MAX National Housing Report newsletter, “Home sales in 2014 started the year slowly and then rose to equal the strong sales in 2013. They’ve now surpassed last year’s levels for two months in a row. Following usual seasonal trends and with prices rising at a reasonable rate, the market appears to be settling into a more sustainable growth pattern.”

It gives much optimism as we move into 2015. Should a new place to call home be among your new year's resolutions? Sustained stats in the Atlanta real estate market and continued low interest rates point to yes!

11/12/2014 The Clock is Ticking!

The Clock is Ticking on a 2014 Home Sale or Purchase

With just over seven weeks remaining in 2014, time is growing short on any real estate sales or purchases you would like to accomplish by the end of 2014. Contract negotiations, loan approvals, home inspections and closings all take time. In addition, at this time of year, those who are buying or selling are usually pretty serious about doing so. Focused buyers can mean increased competition for purchasing a home and it may mean having to put in offers on homes beyond your first choice.

That's why, at RE/MAX Greater Atlanta, we are encouraging those interested in metro Atlanta real estate to focus on their real estate needs now to accomplish their goal of being in a new home by year's end. Better to clear some time over the next couple of weeks to find that next ideal home than be resigned to the fact that "maybe next year" it will happen. Property values are increasing in Atlanta and waiting even another six months could cost homebuyers thousands more to live in the same zip code or neighborhood.

Talk to a qualified, full-time, experienced real estate agent today to learn more about your options in 2014. He or she can let you know what's available in your area, what price points homes start at in your preferred region, show you properties that match your wish list and set you up with a skilled mortgage professional.

With less than 60 days remaining in 2014, the time is now to list or sell your home!

 

 

10/27/2014 Winterize Your Home Now

Tips to Winterize Your Home

 

Preventive maintenance isn’t just for your vehicles. Although the Atlanta winter months are less extreme than other parts of the U.S., fall is a good time to make sure your home is operating efficiently.

 

Preventive measures to keep your home at its best this winter include:

 

  • Have your heating system serviced and inspected—especially if it’s two or more years since the date of the last check. You should also clean or replace the furnace air filter each month throughout the heating season. A clean filter will help the unit operate more efficiently, saving you money in the long run.
  • Monitor your home for excessive moisture in areas such as windows. Excessive condensation there can cause damage over time and may indicate you are losing warm air to the outside because of an improperly installed or sealed window.
  • Be sure the flue is open before building a fire in any fireplace. Once the fire is completely out, be sure to re-close the flue for energy savings.
  • Speaking of fireplaces, how long has it been since you’ve had the chimney inspected or cleaned?
  • Check the pressure and expiration date on all fire extinguishers. You should have at least one for each level of the house and another for the garage. Make sure others in your family are aware of all extinguisher locations.
  • With the time change in the upcoming weeks, be sure to replace batteries in all smoke detectors.
  • Check clothes dryer vents and hoses for lint build-up (which can cause a fire). Clean as needed with a brush and rod tool that’s available at your local hardware store.
  • If you do a lot of holiday decorating, inside or out, be careful not to over-tap a single outlet or circuit within your home. Use heavy duty extension cords and spread your electrical needs to a few different outlets.
  • In addition, the electrical cords for these infrequently used holiday items should be inspected for any wear, fraying, or loose/exposed wiring. If you see this or the cord feels warm to the touch, replace or discontinue using immediately.
  • Check for drafts throughout the house. As the weather first turns cool, this can be the best time to monitor if a door or other area is letting in colder, outside air.

 

To a warm, happy home this fall and winter season!

 


10/13/2014 Happy Fall Ya'll!

Happy Fall, Metro Atlanta!


My fellow metro Atlanta residents and homeowners, fall is finally here. No more extremely warm or humid days...at least for the next several months!  There's so much to do in Atlanta, Georgia, during these next several weeks--Apple Festivals, corn mazes, craft shows, pumpkin-picking, college and high school football games, community events, and much, much more!

So take advantage of this wonderful time and weather in metro Atlanta. Before you know it, we will be turning our thoughts to the holidays, staying warm, etc. Stay tuned here in the next couple weeks when we'll provide a list of some winterizing tips to keep you safe, your home more energy-efficient and prepared for whatever comes our way this winter.

9/12/2014 New Home for the Holidays!

Still Time to be in a New Home for the Holidays

Although we are still basking in decent, end of summer temperatures, it is only roughly two and a half months until the end of the year. If your goal in 2014 was to be in a new place or in your first home, time is running out. If you are determined to celebrate the holidays living at a new address, time is of the essence to begin your buying process. There's still time to close and move by the end of the year, but only if you act very soon.

Check out the real estate search feature on our site, get pre-approved by a reputable mortgage lender (we are happy to suggest our mortgage partner, Shelter Lending Services, see the link and contact information under our Services section), and make sure you have a full-time, experienced Realtor who knows the area, the market and how to negotiate on your behalf.

Getting started can be the hardest part about the home search process, but with the Atlanta real estate market quickly recovering and move-in ready homes going under contract so fast, you will be glad you did it this year, rather than waiting until next year.

To your new home search success!

 

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