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Archive for January, 2010

Selecting an Atlanta Real estate agent

Sunday, January 10th, 2010

Buying a home is an exciting adventure! It can also be a very time-consuming and costly one if you’re not familiar with all aspects of the process and don’t have all the best information and resources at hand.

How do you select a real estate agent? Whether you are buying or selling, here are some thoughts for you to ponder, before selecting an agent to help you:

I am a Realtor. All Realtors are real estate agents, but not all real estate agents are Realtors. Realtors are agents who belong to a Board of Realtors and more importantly, adhere and subscribe to a Code of Ethics. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) prides itself in their Code of Ethics, which in 2013, will be 100 years old. NAR constantly changes the Code, to be relevant to real estate business practices, market conditions and technology. Realtors do not charge extra for this designation and, typically, are better trained and educated.

Get to know your agent. Let’s get to know each other so that you feel safe and comfortable with me and that I can best serve your needs. This may take a while, whether in person, on the telephone or via email; I will ask a lot of questions and listen closely to your answers.  These conversations, along with every conversation, email, text or meeting we have, will give me the information I need to make sure your Atlanta home search is focused on what you are looking for, so that we don’t waste your valuable time looking at homes that are not appropriate.

Ask questions of your Realtor. How long has she/he been licensed and how many transactions does she/he do in a month or in a year? Is your Realtor a full-time or a part-time agent? Does your agent have repeat clients? In terms of number of transactions and commissions earned in 2009, our office was the #2 office in the Atlanta metropolitan area, city-wide and I was in the top 5% of agents in my office.  Can your agent say that?

Your agent will help you find a lender that will tailor a loan to fit your needs. Getting pre-qualified and pre-approved will lend weight to any offers you make and add valuable criteria to use in your Atlanta home search. I work closely with lenders throughout the purchase, making sure you have a smooth transition from “home buyer” to “home owner.” 

Your Realtor will recommend inspections when necessary, schedule your inspections, make sure the reports get turned into the appropriate parties, schedule repairs (if needed), work with the other agent, your lender, appraiser, closing attorney and other professionals as required to keep your Atlanta home purchase moving forward.  I will help you measure your rooms for furniture, recommend gardeners, insurance agents, places to stay while you’re home-shopping (if you are coming from out-of-town) and places to eat, plus I will be accessable to you for your questions and concerns throughout the process.  I enjoy these details and do not pawn them over to an assistant or to another agent!

If you’re like most people, buying a home is the purchase you will ever make.  Whether you’re buying a starter home, your dream home or an investment property, why not take advantage of my experience to make the most informed decisions you can, every step of the way?

If you or a friend are buying or selling an Atlanta home or property in 2010, call or email me.  Experience TRUE Experience!

Selling a House in Atlanta’s Housing Market

Friday, January 1st, 2010

Are you an Atlanta home seller who has some, but not unlimited, cash for upgrades? Whatever your budget, remember that this market is a beauty contest and in a beauty contest, the “prettiest one” always wins.

According to Realtor Magazine, there are ten (10) big-impact, low-cost remodeling projects you can do to enhance your home and make it stand out in the beauty contest:

  1. Tidy up the kitchen cabinets and the closets. Buyers do open up cabinets and closets to look inside. They want to feel that there is room for their things.
  2. Add or replace tile.  Go for low-cost tile. Retiling will make a kitchen backsplash or bathroom look clean and updated.
  3. Add a breakfast Bar. When a wall separates the kitchen from the family room, think about cutting out an opening to create a breakfast bar. On top of the new cut-out/opening, place a large slab of granite and add chairs in front of it. You’ll only have spent $400-600 and can now claim an “open-to-the-family-room look”.
  4. Install granite tiles instead of a granite slab. Everyone wants the look of granite, but a granite slab can cost thousands of dollars, depending of the size of your kitchen and the type(level) of granite you select. Using granite tiles will give you the look of an expensive countertop, but the labor and materials will be a fraction of the cost of a granite slab.
  5. Refresh a bathroom without retiling. Exchange dated mirrors, vanities and  “jewelry” (plumbing and lighting fixtures). Also consider scraping and regrouting the existing tile, which after buffing, will make the tile look brand new. Installing glass shower doors adds elegance and people will notice the doors, not old tile.
  6. Freshen up the Basement. The basement may not be finished, but it shouldn’t show as a damp dungeon. Have a contractor fill in the cracks with hydraulic cement and then paint the cracks with a waterproofing paint. Sellers can also paint a basement floor with floor paint to add color.
  7. Add a “room”. Look for large spaces that can be enclosed to create a new bedroom or sunroom, for just the price of a wall. Sometimes a $400 procedure can add an increase of $15-40,000 onto the sales price.
  8. Spruce up a kitchen or bathroom cabinet front.  Reconditioning is the most inexpensive way to do this. If the wood is starting to look shabby from use or contaminants in the air, recondition it with oil and put on new jewelry (hardware) on the doors. Or replace the cabinet doors and drawer-fronts. It’s like putting a new skin on the boxes, for a fraction of what new cabinets would cost.
  9. Replace light fixtures. Replacing light fixtures in the foyer and bathrooms provides a lot of pop for a little money. Or, if you have dated track lighting in the kitchen, spend $500-700 for an electrician to replace it with recessed canned lights, with a dimmer switch for added ambience. You can also add pendant lights over a kitchen island or peninsula.
  10. Tech-up the Garage. Replace the opener with a remote touchpad entry system. Another low-cost idea is to install built-ins for more storage space.

The averge cost of every remodeling project has gone up, though at a slower rate than in the previous year. According to Remodeling Magazine, one surprise is the common misconception that contractors are hungry for work and therefore, are willing to wheel and deal.

To get to the finish line (the closing table), you need to get your home ready for the market. If you need help getting your home ready in this highly competitive market, call or email me for more suggestions. Experience TRUE Experience!