Monthly Archives: August 2013

Can Landscaping Affect the Value of Your Home?

Having a manicured lawn and a few plants is no landscape2enough for most, and sometimes less can even be better.   An example would be a fish pond that you installed.   While you believe it’s a beautiful enhancement to your property, this feature might detract from the value of your home, as a perspective home buyer may not want to bother to maintain it and will be factoring in the costs involved to remove it while considering your home for purchase.

On the other hand, Alex X. Niemiera, Extension Horticulturist, Department of Horticulture, Virginia Tech authored an article on the subject of landscaping and the value of your home which was based on a survey of home and garden show attendees in seven states.  In “The Effect of Landscape Plants on Perceived Home Value”, the results of this survey indicated that “a home valued at $150,000 with no landscape (lawn only) could be worth $8,250 to $19,050 more with a sophisticated landscape with color and large plants. Interestingly, the multi-state study found that very minimal landscapes (simple design with small plants) detracted from the value of a landscape.”

landscapedThe point is to understand where to draw the line.   What makes for sophisticated landscaping and what makes for a minimal landscape?  In the above-mentioned article, a minimal landscape would probably be one that doesn’t have a variety of color and shapes, but maybe some low-lying simple plants.  A more sophisticated garden or landscape would probably be best achieved by investing in a professional landscape designer.  If the value is as much as the author of the study suggests, it would be money well spent.  However if you are a “do it yourself” sort of person, there are several good websites that provide landscaping tips and ideas.   Here are a few good sites.

Keep in mind though that hiring a professional, even just for a consultation to get ideas, could save you money in the long run.   They have the experience with the plants and shrubs that are right for your climate, soil and drainage, in addition to knowing how to lay out the landscape to your home’s advantage.  If you need a landscaping referral let me know; I’m here to help.

Marie Dinsmore, Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist

The Dinsmore Real Estate Team  | | 770-712-7789

Go Away Rain, and Take the Mold with You!

umbrellaWith all the rain that we’ve had here in North Georgia it’s a wonder that we’re not covered with mold.  I found some information about research done at the University of Florida that indicates that while mold can occur in almost every room in the house, bathrooms, closets and bedrooms are the three areas that usually have the most problems.

Here are some tips to control moisture in these three hot spots:

Bathrooms: Signs that indicate you have a moisture problem in the bathroom include peeling paint or wallpaper, rotting windowsills, curling flooring, and condensation on walls or toilets.  It’s essential to keep your bathroom clean to avoid mold, but even tiny amounts of water can support mildew growth.

  • Get water off the walls and doors of your shower by using a window squeegee.  It only takes a minute after your shower to scrape off excess water into the drain.
  • Use the exhaust fan to vent out humid air during and after your showers. You should allow the fan to run for about ten to fifteen minutes after you finish.  Make sure to turn it off after that time, otherwise you’ll be bringing too much outside air into the rest of the house. Open the windows only if the air outside is dry.
  • If you have an ongoing mildew problem, you may want to remove wet towels from the bathroom, and take them into a better ventilated room to dry.
  • Try to use cooler water for showers, so that less moisture gets into the air.

Closets: Moisture is hard to remove from closets.  Anything damp put into your closet (like shoes or outerwear), can add to moisture problems and encourage mold growth.

  • If you have a linen closet in the bathroom, keep the door closed when shower moisture is present.
  • Open shelving and louvered doors provide more air movement and will keep a closet drier. If you have a solid door to your closet, keep the doors open if it has a musty smell.
  • Keep items off the floor as much as possible as moisture can be trapped underneath.
  • You can purchase products like DampRid at places like Wal-Mart.   However, if the rest of your house is humid they will be of little use.   Mold thrives in temperatures between 77°F and 86°F, so you need to be sure to use your air conditioner in the summer.

Bedrooms: Many of us like to sleep with the windows open, but when the humidity is high, like it has been for us, too much moisture can come in.

  • Don’t open windows unless the outside air is dry.
  • If you have a ceiling fan, it will help keep air circulating in the bedroom.
  • If you are using your air conditioner, but there is no return duct, keep the door ajar at night.

Marie Dinsmore, Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist

The Dinsmore Real Estate Team  | | 770-712-7789

Pre-Approval – Why do I need this?

pre approved1There was a time when you went house hunting, put in a bid, and then you went looking for a mortgage.   Those days are gone.   In today’s market, you need to be able to show up front that you can qualify for a home in the price range for which you are looking with a Pre-Approval.   This will also you save you time and frustration when your realtor is trying to find homes for you that will fit your needs and budget.   So what is the Pre-Approval process?

First let’s clarify that we are talking about Pre-Approval not Pre-Qualification.  Pre-Qualification is when a bank or loan company calculates what price range you should shop in based on your income, assets and down payment amount.   This is usually done over the phone and no credit check is involved.  This is a great first step in the process for a buyer but frankly, there are probably 100+ sites on the web that will get you this same information without having to pick up the phone.  However, when it comes down to it, you still may not be able to purchase a home in the price range stipulated.  The credit check is really the clincher when it comes to solidifying to finding out if you can get a mortgage for the particular home you want to buy.

The Pre-Approval process is usually a bit more involved.  You may have to meet in person with the lending institution and will be asked many questions.  You will be asked to provide documentation which will include, but not limited to, recent bank statements (usually 2 months), W-2 Forms, proof of any IRA, 401K’s or Pension Plans, Driver’s license and paystubs.  During the Pre-Approval process a credit check will be run and that may lead to more documents you have to provide.  These could include recent year’s income tax returns.  If you have lived outside the country in recent years, this may lead to even more documentation.  So as you can see this process can be somewhat involved and takes time.  If you are not fully committed to buying a home, you may want to reconsider at this point because of all the documentation you have to provide and the time it can take.

Keep in mind though that having a Pre-Approval will still not guarantee that you will be able to secure the mortgage you want, or at the rate on the day you start the process.  As we all know, rates fluctuate over time, your financial position changes over time, the housing markets shift over time.  The key word here is time.  Your realtor can help you with questions on when to seek Pre-Approval.

Marie Dinsmore, Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist

The Dinsmore Real Estate Team  | | 770-712-7789

Forsyth County – Deerfield Township Final Phase Approved

Forsyth County approved rezoning last week to complete the final phase of Deerfield Township.  The entire development comprises of 500 acres of mixed-use property and was launched in the 1990’s by Seven Oaks and Orkin.

The $300 million dollar final phase will be 164 acres, and will include more than 400 senior-oriented housing units, 560 multifamily units, 283-single-family housing units, and at least 250,000 square feet of retail and commercial development.  It is expected to take at least five years to complete the project, located west of GA400 at McGinnis Ferry and Strickland Roads.

The Georgia 400 corridor remains attractive for developers as north metro-Atlanta is the home to many corporate headquarters, executives and top performing schools.  Residents of Forsyth County also enjoy lower taxes than Fulton County.

Front Door Communities acquired 158 acres in south Forsyth to start a 400-home project last month; the largest residential land transaction in seven years in metro-Atlanta.

Featured Neighborhood: The Cottages at Daves Creek

This month’s featured neighborhood is The Cottages at Daves Creek. This exclusive community of homes is located in South Forsyth County, approximately one mile south of the intersection of Georgia Highway 20 and Trammel Road, adjacent to the Windermere Golf & Country Club.  In fact, you can even walk to the clubhouse from the front door of your new home.

Homes in the community exhibit unique architecture and feature charming English and Craftsman inspired design.   The homes are built with exceptional materials demonstrating superior quality, craftsmanship and great attention to detail.

In addition to golfing and the clubhouse, amenities include a swimming pool, lighted tennis court, playground, as well as sidewalks and charming streetlights throughout the subdivision.

Inside, the homes have upgrades galore, featuring 10+ foot ceilings on the main level and 9+ foot ceilings on the upper level, hardwood floors throughout, walk in closets, butlers pantry, granite counter tops, stainless appliances, irrigation system, and professional landscaping.   You’ll enjoy ample space for entertaining, including open kitchens with keeping rooms, formal dining rooms and outdoor entertaining areas.

With homes ranging from ranch to two-story master on main, The Cottages at Daves Creek offers something to meet every lifestyle.  Within The Cottages at Daves Creek, families will enjoy the relaxed natural surroundings and central gathering areas as well as the preserved park space along Daves Creek.

Children residing in The Cottages at Daves Creek will attend Daves Creek Elementary, Lakeside Middle and South Forsyth High School.

There are currently two new homes available.   Both are 4 bedroom, 3-1/2 bath, two story homes with the master bedroom on the main floor.   The quality of these homes is good, that the builder even offers a lifetime guarantee on the tile roof.  To see the details on both of these homes, click here.

2415 Bradwardine Court

2415 Bradwardine Court

2395 Bradwardine Court

2395 Bradwardine Court

Please call me if you are interested in viewing this fabulous community.

Marie Dinsmore, Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist

The Dinsmore Real Estate Team  | | 770-712-7789