Author Archives: Marie Dinsmore

The Importance of Home Maintenance Records

July2015-Trulia-4-Reasons-You-Absolutely-Need-to-Save-Home-Maintenance-Records-girl-filing-away-papersWhen it comes to our cars, most of us understand that it’s important to save our service records—or at least shove them in the glove compartment—especially if we’re hoping to get top dollar when it comes time to sell.  While your latest oil change might not seem like big news, it may be to a potential buyer who will want to see how well the vehicle has been cared for.

On a larger scale, it’s important to think of your home in the same terms.  While it’s always tempting to throw that pink carbon receipt away from your latest HVAC tune-up or leak repair, consider utilizing a digital or standard filing system to keep track of these types of records.  Here’s why:

POTENTIAL BUYERS: Purchasing a home is a massive financial investment, which means some buyers will be more than meticulous when it comes to assessing the condition of your property.  Due diligence often pays off for buyers, so chances are good that if selling is in your future, you’ll want to be able to give dates for everything from when your gutters were installed to your last carpet cleaning.  You don’t want to get caught off guard with questions that you’re simply unable to answer, so let the receipts do the talking for you.

SAVE YOUR MONEY: Maintenance records are just that—records.  In short, they give you the opportunity to keep track of how often something is being worked on so you gain a better understanding of whether you should continue throwing money into repairs or should simply bite the bullet and purchase a new product.  If you notice that those pink slips are piling up, you might save more money with a replacement.

INSURANCE DISPUTES: Insurance companies make money off of the assumption that you’ll likely pay more for monthly coverage than they’ll ever have to pay in the case of an accident.  In essence, it’s a numbers game that makes them a good bit of money; however, it also creates an environment where their goal is to make sure they compensate you with just enough to cover your costs.

Therefore, if—for example—your insurance company pays for a new roof after damage from a massive storm, it’s possible for them to decide at a later date that they paid you too much money.  Should this happen, they will likely request a portion of their funds back, which means it’s extremely important to maintain control of your receipts and maintenance records in order to dispute their claims.

SETTING FUTURE BUDGETS: Following a set maintenance schedule is an important aspect of homeownership, especially if you’re looking to retain your property value.  While no one enjoys feeling like their constantly shelling out money for appliance checks and minor repairs, having an understanding of how much you’re spending each year can set the stage for the establishment of a yearly maintenance budget.

Instead of getting caught off-guard every time you’re forced to drop a couple hundred dollars on a maintenance issue, use your receipts to establish a yearly estimate of how much you spend on repairs so you never have to feel like your scraping to find the cash to cover them.

For more tips and tricks, please feel free to contact me.  Even if you’re not looking to sell your home or buy something new in the near future, I’m always here to offer advice.

Marie Dinsmore | The Dinsmore Team | www.DinsmoreTeam.com | 770-712-7789

Home Showing Checklist: Overlooked Spaces

clean-and-welcoming-foyer-entrywayWhen it comes to staging your home for potential buyers, it’s easy to focus a large majority of your attention on the “money making” rooms in your home—i.e. kitchen, master bath, living room.  However, there’s something to be said for lavishing a bit of your attention on the understated supporting players in your home.

After all, buyers aren’t simply purchasing your kitchen—they’re purchasing the whole package, which means they’ll expect to see a fluid, clean concept throughout your home.  Therefore, pay close attention to the following “second-stringer” checklist.  It may just help you sell your home sooner rather than later.

MAKE AN ENTRANCE.  If your home has a foyer, make a point to show it off!  Feel free to include little touches such as coat hooks for visitors, a vase of flowers, or a table with bottles of water for potential buyers.  In essence, your entrance is for receiving guests, so your goal should be to create a welcoming atmosphere.

KEEP THE MUD OUT OF THE MUDROOM.  Yes, the ultimate purpose of a mudroom is to provide an area where you can remove items—such as shoes and rain coats—that may have gotten dirty in the great outdoors; however, while buyers will most likely understand this, they won’t want to see remnants of your last hiking venture.

Therefore, your goal is to show buyers how organized life can be in your home.  Add cubbies and shelves to hold things like running shoes and winter gloves, and make a point to install wall hooks for discarded coats and book bags.  Make a point to add a colorful rug that can catch dirt before it’s tracked into the house and don’t be afraid to play up the walls with a bright coat of paint.  Neutrals should be the goal throughout the rest of the house, but the mudroom is one area that will handle a bold color quite nicely.

SHOW OFF AN UNFINISHED BASEMENT’S POTENTIAL.  While you may not have taken the time to finish your basement, that doesn’t mean potential buyers won’t.  Plain and simple, an unfinished basement is a blank canvass and many buyers will see it for what it is—a vessel for increasing their home’s value.

Therefore, instead of shoving all of your spare clutter into a haphazard pile in the basement and assuming buyers will understand, make sure things are organized and consider utilizing the services of a good contractor who can provide an estimate for finishing the space.  Buyers like to know what they can expect, so they’ll likely appreciate a little knowledge on how much it will cost them if they decide to make a future renovation.

MAKE USE OF YOUR PORCH.  The front porch is back in style, so if you’re lucky enough to have more than just a front stoop, make a point to stage it for potential buyers.  Everyone loves a comfy porch chair, so consider adding some seating space next to a colorful outdoor rug and a small table with a pitcher of lemonade or apple cider (depending upon the season).  At the end of the day, buyers will remember the refreshment!

DECLUTTER THE GARAGE.  Yes, we know—you park your cars in there (or just use it for storage), which means we’re likely to find a host of oil stains, leaves, and dirt; however, while no one expects your garage to be a spotless vehicle showroom, it still needs to be accessible.  Make a point to organize any sports equipment, tools, and lawn care necessities, and spend a bit of time sweeping excess debris back outside.

CONCLUSION

It’s often said that success is in the details and selling your home is no different.  By assuming that buyers “will understand” or won’t care about accumulated dirt and clutter in certain areas of your home, you’re setting yourself up for a difficult real estate experience.  A quick sale requires a solid showing throughout your home, so make a point to target those oft-overlooked areas.

If you’d like some advice or assistance, I’d be more than happy to offer my expertise.

Marie Dinsmore | The Dinsmore Team | www.DinsmoreTeam.com | 770-712-7789

Tips for Hiring an Experienced Home Service Professional

CHBA.Fall-2012x600One of the most important things to be aware of when purchasing a home is that there’s no landlord to handle all of your maintenance and repair concerns.  As a homeowner, the responsibility for making sure your property stays in tip-top shape rests on your shoulders, so it’s important to pick your home service professionals wisely.

Yes, when it comes to hiring contractors or other specialists, there are a lot of great professionals out there; however, for every experienced, integrity-driven expert, it’s important to remember that not every company is as qualified or honest as they should be.

Therefore, to avoid problems, consider the following tips:

  1. Temper the Impulse to Select the Bargain Bid – While most of us are primed to seek the lowest price, bids that come in substantially lower than the competition aren’t always the best option. When you’re dealing with home materials, it’s important to remember that cheaper bids will often come from cheaper goods. That’s not to say that higher bids are always indicative of better service; however, if you’re dealing with a company who is offering a quote that is significantly higher or lower than everyone else, make a point to ask why.
  2. Ask for Credentials – Reputable professionals should be thoroughly credentialed, so don’t be afraid to ask for current copies of their license, insurance, and bonding capacity. If the paperwork you’re presented with is either expired or does not cover the type of work you need completed, don’t simply take their word for it. If you have questions about the bonding requirements in your town, county, or state, call your local government for more information and make a point to seek out references/customer reviews.
  3. Establish a Relationship – As with anything in life, communication is important. Your home represents a large financial investment—possibly the largest one you own—so you’ll want to make sure that you completely trust the service professional charged with keeping it healthy. If you have pertinent questions, ask!  If they don’t respond in a timely manner or you feel like they’re simply telling you what you want to hear in the hopes of landing your business, look somewhere else.
  4. Be Wary of Large Upfront Payments – Some jobs may require a down payment to cover the cost of materials, but you should never have to pay the full amount upfront. Be careful if you’re asked by an installer, landscaper, or repair person to make substantial payments before you’re satisfied with their work.
  5. Stay on the Look Out for Scam Artists – While it’s easy to assume that a glossy business card and well-designed website signify a reputable company, professional presentations do not always equate to professional service. If someone comes to your door offering a “free roof inspection” or “discounted fence painting” because they have supplies leftover from another job, it’s wise maintain a healthy level of suspicion.  While not all roofers, contractors, or landscapers who come to your door are scam artists, make a point to ask for a business card and do your research before entering into any agreements.

At the end of the day, you don’t want to be one of the 50,000 complaints that the Better Business Bureau receives each year regarding home service professionals.

Therefore, if you have some work that needs to be done and you’d like a personal referral for everything from a contractor to a plumber, please feel free to contact me.  I work with a variety of wonderful professionals and I’d be happy to make a recommendation.

Marie Dinsmore | The Dinsmore Team | www.DinsmoreTeam.com | 770-712-7789

Featured Neighborhood: Danbury Farms in Cumming, GA

LA-Danbury-FarmsFraser-WB142-small-1200x560Just last month, Lennar Atlanta began selling homes in the lovely Danbury Farms neighborhood in Cumming, GA.  These new, single-family homes, which are located in beautiful Forsyth County are located within a swim/tennis community that boasts close proximity to great schools, exciting outdoor/recreational activities, and a fantastic array of dining and shopping options.

Perfect for growing families, Danbury Farms includes 113 homesites that offer everything from first floor guest bedrooms and granite countertops to stainless steel appliances and hardwood flooring.  With the option of homes sized to 3,100 square feet, prices start in the mid-$300s and include the Lennar Homes Everything’s Included® plan, which lets them provide buyers with the most desirable, detail oriented home appointments based upon extensive research into what features homeowners want to see.

Some of the elements include: brick-front exteriors, professionally landscaped yards, grand entryways, cultured marble vanities in baths, brushed nickel features, crown molding, and gourmet kitchens.

SCHOOLS:

Kelly Mill Elementary – 1180 Chamblee Gap Road, (678) 965-4953

Vickery Middle School – 6240 Post Road, (770) 677-2580

West Forsyth High School – 4155 Drew Road, (770) 888-3470

SHOPPING:

North Georgia Premium Outlets – Dawsonville, GA

The Avalon – Alpharetta, GA

The Collection at Forsyth – Cumming, GA

Northpoint Mall – Alpharetta, GA

The Mall of Georgia – Buford, GA

RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES:

Sawnee Mountain Preserve – Cumming, GA

Lake Lanier Parks – Cumming, GA

Fowler Park – Cumming, GA

The Big Creek Greenway – Cumming, GA

Haw Creek Park – Cumming, GA

To learn more about this beautiful, family-oriented neighborhood or to schedule a showing, please feel free to contact me at your earliest convenience.  These homes will go fast, so don’t wait!

I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Marie Dinsmore | The Dinsmore Team | www.DinsmoreTeam.com | 770-712-7789

It’s a Sellers’ Market: Advice for Buyers and Sellers

verico_lozinski_mortgage_corp_21c47bc6_1e78_1bd7_e8ab_31049851a086Real estate season is in full-swing and the Atlanta market has proven itself to be hot for sellers once again.  However, while phrases such as “bidding war” and “multiple offers” may be welcomed by those looking to get rid of their property, similar words may incite a bit of unease in buyers looking to make a speedy purchase.

Still, while it would be easy to assume that, in this climate, sellers can easily field offers with minimal effort, it’s important to remember that both buyers and sellers need to work hard to make the most of the current market.

FOR SELLERS:

Be On Your Game.  Even in a sellers’ market, traditional real estate rules still apply.  In short, sellers must still put their best foot forward if they’d like to get the most for their home.  Houses that are shown in top condition are much more likely to sell—quickly—in a sellers’ market than those that have been haphazardly cleaned and organized.

With that being said, don’t get carried away by assuming that you can overprice your home simply because the market is currently favoring those looking to move.  At the end of the day, buyers will always flock to well-priced homes that show well.  If it’s not priced right or shows poorly, it won’t sell.

Don’t Drag Your Feet.  If you’ve been lucky enough to receive multiple offers on your property, it’s important to move forward with the most qualified buyer.  Waiting too long can cause a loss of momentum, so pay attention to the buyer who is not only working with a local agent and has their loan lined up, but the one who makes an aggressive offer and expresses serious interest in your home.

FOR BUYERS:

Strategize and Plan.  One of the most frustrating things about a sellers’ market is that, as a buyer, even if you’re serious about purchasing and have made a point to secure reputable financing, you may have trouble either finding the right home or getting your bid picked up.  Therefore, since there’s often little you can do in these types of situations, it’s important to make sure that you’ve crossed your t’s and dotted your i’s in advance.  You don’t want to suddenly find yourself in a great position to have your bid selected if you’re not prepared to move through the closing process.

Avoid Resting on Your Laurels.  Sellers’ markets are all about seeing what you want and moving on it.  Truly interested buyers won’t wait for the open house to decide whether they want to make an offer.  If a home enters the market on Monday, you need to be viewing it on Tuesday and if possible, making an offer within a few hours.  If you make the mistake of prudently waiting a week or two, you may find yourself sorely disappointed.

First Impressions Always Count.  Buyers who move quickly show sellers that they mean business.  Remember, no one wants to wait around, so make a point to make your contingencies and timeframes swift, and take as much risk as possible away from the seller.  Consider moving forward with an inspection prior to submitting your offer so that your bid won’t come with contingencies regarding inspections.

In regards to financing, it’s important to consider the state of our current economic climate.  Securing a loan takes longer than it did 10 years ago, so make sure you’re moving to acquire the necessary funds well in advance.  Plain and simple, if you need to ask the seller for an extra month in order to get your finances in order, you’ll have a difficult time competing with someone who can do it in a quarter of the time.

CONCLUSION:

In the end, regardless of the market, both buyers and sellers need to be prepared for the home sale process.  Sure, it may seem stressful; however, if you make a point to surround yourself with a knowledgeable and experienced team of real estate/lending professionals, you’ll be in a better position to get the most out of your investment.

If you’d like some advice or have a home you’d like to list or buy, please feel free to contact me.

Marie Dinsmore | The Dinsmore Team | www.DinsmoreTeam.com | 770-712-7789

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