Monthly Archives: May 2014

Stay Competitive in a Bidding War

This year is proving to be the best time for sellers in North Georgia in quite a while.  If you’re in the market to buy a home, here are some great tips to help you be prepared from the RE/MAX Housing Blog.

Marie Dinsmore, Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist

The Dinsmore Real Estate Team  |  www.dinsmoreteam.com

Marie@DinsmoreTeam.com | 770-712-7789

                                                      —

Stay Competitive in a Bidding War

Source:  RE/MAX Housing Blog

If you’re buying a home in a hot housing market with frenzied bidding wars, you’re going to want to stay competitive.

Your real estate agent can help you create the best strategy for submitting winning offers in your market.

Meantime, here are some general guidelines you can consider:

  1. Get pre-approved. When you make an offer with a pre-approval letter from a mortgage lender in hand, you’re ready to compete.
  2. Establish the top of your budget. When you determine the maximum amount you can pay, you’ll want to search for homes that are priced lower than this number. This gives you flexibility to increase your offer. When you start at the top of your budget, there’s no room to bid higher. When you can – consider an escalation clause, which automatically increases your offer by a certain amount if other offers come in.
  3. Be ready to act fast. If you can see yourself living somewhere and your instincts tell you to submit an offer, do it as soon as possible. Sometimes your agent can write the offer right there during a showing. Of course, buying a home is a big decision, so if there’s any hesitation, you’re probably better off continuing to shop.
  4. Stay as flexible as possible. This is especially helpful when it comes to escrow periods and closing times. If the seller asks to extend or shorten the process, rest assured if you don’t follow their timeline, another buyer might.
  5. Don’t give up. If your offer isn’t chosen, you can present yourself as a standby in case the accepted offer falls through. But, of course, keep looking. You don’t want to miss another great opportunity waiting around for other buyers to change their minds.

8 Things to Know When Buying a Home

Spring is here, and along with the buds and flowers comes a new crop of home buyers-Are you one of them? If so, you want to be well prepared to get that home you have always http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-sold-home-sale-sign-house-image7181162wanted.

1.  Mortgage Matters:  “Pre-qualified” sure sounds good, but in fact, it doesn’t ensure that homeowners or realtors will consider your offer. Getting “pre-approved” for a bank loan will signal to an informed seller that your offer is within your means and should be given serious consideration which can tip things in your favor in a tight housing market. Pre-approval is more difficult now than in the past, so, beginning the process early allows you to be prepared to make an offer that will be considered seriously when you find your dream property.

When signing mortgage papers, get any help needed to understand what you are agreeing to, including all of the terms, closing costs, and fees. Take the time to understand the difference between the various types of mortgages including fixed rates, adjustable rates and balloon payments as well as the benefits and costs of different loan terms such as 15 and 30 year mortgages. Also, be sure to explore if you qualify for discounts or credits based on income, being a first-time buyer, or a veteran.

2.  Credit Counts:    Higher credit scores garner lower mortgage rates and monthly payments. Financial experts recommend reviewing your credit report to identify and remedy any erroneous entries prior to making major purchases to ensure you attain the highest credit score possible. In addition, since applying for credit can lower your credit score, prospective home buyers should avoid applying for additional credit during the year prior to buying (and through closing) your new property. Credit scores of 750 and above often get the best rates, and while you can get a mortgage loan with scores below 650, you will generally have higher costs. A little planning and preparation can reap significant financial rewards.

3.  Know Your Budget:  A safe “rule of thumb” for mortgage payments is that it should not exceed 28% of your gross monthly income. This ensures you have enough discretionary income available for upkeep, maintenance, and insurance. Buying within your means will also help in the event of any unforeseen circumstances. While plenty of lending institutions are willing to give you a higher mortgage, be mindful of all the costs of owning your home, your other financial commitments as well as the cost of pursuing your hobbies and interests.

Online calculators can help you estimate monthly payments on homes you are considering, and you can see how those payments compare to your current payments. If you plan on buying a home with larger payments than you pay now, think about putting the difference into a savings account each month to confirm the higher payments are realistic. An added benefit is these funds will be available to apply toward a down-payment or closing fees when you are ready to purchase your new property.

4.  Location, Location, Location:  Decide where you want to live, both in terms of general areas and specific geographic requirements. This is as important as the actual house you buy, it will affect your commute, schools, your neighbors, and where you shop and do business. This preparation might be more difficult if you come from further away, however, a real estate agent who gets to know you will help steer you in the right direction. Some locations have specific issues – parking, grounds fees, or other specifics that come with living in a certain locale and a realtor that knows your desires will be able to evaluate any issues accordingly when searching for properties.

You can build your knowledge of an area by reading the local newspaper, visiting local stores and schools, dining at local restaurants, and shopping at a local supermarket.

5.  Timing Things:  When do you want to move? Often, buying a home is a game of hurry up and wait – except when it’s not. Sometimes buyers or sellers want to move quickly, and want expedite the process. Be up front with your moving schedule, and willingness/ability to be flexible. While you may or may not be able to impact the schedule, the more prepared you are with the logistics of the sale; the better off you will be in the long run. Paperwork takes time, and depends on how fast the bank and other institutions move, and how much additional information is needed. Following up with lenders, escrow officers, and your agent can be critical to ensure that documents move through the system in a timely fashion.

Timing affects moves in multiple ways, from the moving of possessions, to completing repairs, to enrolling in schools. Moving on the fly can cost more than those with a little planning. Establish a timeline. If you plan in advance for the home purchase and for the actual move, you gain time to shop around for the best deals on everything from mortgages to moving vans. Additionally, advanced planning and research enables you to move faster on things if you need to move up closing dates or shift schedules for any reason.

6.  Terms of Endearment:  Are the terms that you agree to going to work for you? Negotiate terms you can love as you finalize the sale/purchase of a home. While everything might not be exactly what you want, know the terms you are agreeing to. If you compromise in one area, you might be able to use that compromise to get something in another area.

For example, if the owner needs extra time in the home after closing, and you don’t have to move right away, you can agree to a rental agreement so that they can stay a bit longer while you are orchestrating your own move. In exchange, you might let them know that you will be having some repairs made while they are renting and before you move in. This can all be spelled out in the terms of sale.

7.  How Handy are You?:  Biting off more than you can chew with a fixer-upper can come back to haunt you in the end. Properties that require extensive work might also require more time and money for the move, and any building permits you might need to get. Purchasing a home in good repair or one in which the seller has recently replaced the roof, carpets, and flooring may come with a higher price, but it might still be worth it if you don’t intend to make those repairs yourself.

On the other hand, if you want your home to be your new project, come prepared with what it will take accomplish various tasks in your new area. Doing some things in climates that differ from your own might surprise you – projects that include roofing, heating and cooling can differ substantially between regions.

8.  Permissions:  If you purchase a home with remodeling in mind, take a cursory look into permits before assuming that you can do what you want to. The permitting issues of communities and towns, time-frames around getting those permits and inspections, and costs involved, can all vary. Be certain that the permissions needed for the desired improvements are within your budget and schedule, on top of the cost of materials and labor. There might also be special restrictions if this is in an apartment or community.

It isn’t every day that you shop for a home, but when we do, its best to do it with us much knowledge and preparation as possible. Doing your homework can be daunting and challenging, but on that closing date, you’ll be glad you followed through and got the best home you could get.

Marie Dinsmore, CLHMS

www.dinsmoreteam.com   |   Marie@DinsmoreTeam.com  |  770-712-7789

DON’T BE AFRAID OF OLDER HOMES: KNOW WHAT TO LOOK FOR!

According to the National Association of movin on upRealtors, the average home buyer settles on a house that’s around 20 years old; however, property with a bit of age can still prove to be a fantastic investment.

These types of homes are new enough to boast modern conveniences, but old enough to be considered solid, yet we still need to remember that two decades of life can leave definite signs of wear-and-tear. With this in mind, I always try to make sure that buyers understand what considerations need to be made when evaluating a house of this age.

MAINTENANCE

Although it’s always important to keep an eye on the upkeep of your home, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) states that things such as kitchen appliances, wood fencing, decks, HVAC systems, and asphalt roofs should be evaluated at the 20-year mark.

If you’re looking to buy and you notice that these components are still originals, you don’t have to be overly concerned because 20 years is simply an average. Depending upon the initial product, many aspects of your home will still function with incredible reliability for years to come; however, to be on the safe side, make a point to have extra funds in the bank so you’re prepared for anything.

LEAKY PIPES

While copper piping used to be the norm, Polubutylene (PB) plumbing took over during the late 1970s through the mid-1990s because it was quick and easy on the wallet. Sadly, while they seemed like a wonderful alternative in the beginning, it rapidly became apparent that their quality simply didn’t measure up.

As more-and-more major leaks were reported, a class-action settlement funded replacement plumbing for effected homeowners, but it’s important to note that there are still houses on the market that have yet to be updated. To combat this, make sure to have any home built between 1970 and the mid-90s looked at by a certified inspector who can guarantee the quality of your plumbing fixtures.

DÉCOR

While most of us didn’t really see a problem with the way our homes were decorated 20 years ago, when looking at a property from the 90s, you might find yourself engulfed by mirrored closet doors, gold hardware, ivy adorned wallpaper, and sponge painted powder rooms.

Although this may initially strike you as a budget buster, outdated décor can actually work in your favor since many house hunters will fail to look past the wallpaper and carpet—which could lead to a great deal for you!

If you’re unsure, especially in light of some glaring hunter green counter tops, ask yourself questions that revolve around the home’s actual structure such as, “does it have a good floor plan?” “Is it structurally sound?” “Does it have pleasing curb appeal?”

If your answers are “yes,” then it’s worth considering. Plain and simple, cosmetic fixes are easy to make. While dated homes may require a little extra time and money, they can produce a wonderful return on your investment that makes all of it worthwhile.

Marie Dinsmore, CLHMS

www.dinsmoreteam.com   |   Marie@DinsmoreTeam.com  |  770-712-7789

FEATURED NEIGHBORHOOD: AVALON

Conveniently located at the intersection of GA400 and Milton Parkway, this sprawling $600 million, mixed use development will have their retail grand opening and completion of the first homes in October 2014.   Avalon has promised to bring unique residential opportunities to Alpharetta. After only six months of operation, that ambitious promise is showing a great deal of muscle.

Avalon - siteplan

Built by Monte Hewett Homes, 75 single family homes and 25 courtyard style homes will sit within Avalon’s 86 acres.   Monte Hewett began building new homes in Atlanta in 1988 and has insisted on luxury features, outstanding design, environmentally friendly construction and quality craftsmanship as the hallmarks of the company.  On the leading edge of the home building industry, they are working to develop original, innovative designs that offer open floor plans, flexible spaces, energy efficient features and innovation found only in a Monte Hewett home.

In addition to the homes for sale, there will also be 250 luxurious rental units four stories above Avalon’s bustling restaurants and retail shops.  Designed with community and walking convenience as priorities, Avalon will strive to create a comfortable atmosphere where residents and visitors can walk to various restaurants, shops and entertainment spots.

With the addition of even more major retailers such as Crate and Barrel and J. Crew, Avalon is on track to stand at the forefront as urban development patterns take their place in Atlanta’s suburbs.

Avalon - retail

Below are just some of the renderings for the homes which will be available in October.  There are currently eleven different proposed floor plans (subject to change).

If you would like more information about Avalon and its exciting residency opportunities, please contact me.

Marie Dinsmore, CLHMS

www.dinsmoreteam.com   |   Marie@DinsmoreTeam.com  |  770-712-7789

Avalon - rendering-towerhouse Avalong - rendering-grandterrace-new Avalon - rendering-live-work

 

Community Resources

WELCOME

2019 Welcome Services

The Dinsmore Team has created this handy guide for both Buyers and Sellers. The guide lists trusted service providers that we use personally and professionally. The providers listed service the Forsyth and North Fulton County areas.

2014 Complete Guide to Moving

This 20-Page Guide will be your comprehensive source for selling your home and planning your move. It includes tips for getting ready to sell, planning your move, packing and transitioning into your new home.

2014 Home Owners Tip Guide

This 20-Page Guide will help you develop an annual maintenance schedule for your home's systems and appliances to help you avoid bigger problems by taking care of them while they are small. It's also a great resource for trouble shooting malfunctions on your own, saving you time and money.


utilities

Looking for a fast way to connect all of your utility services online? Try Connect Utilities.

Please let us know if there are other resources you'd like to see.

Marie@DinsmoreTeam.com

770-712-7789