Category Archives: News

Featured Neighborhood: Westbrook

This month, we wanted to highlight another great swim/tennis community in a well-sought after Forsyth County area.   The homes of Westbrook are a fusion of the old and new, craftsman and traditional/classic architecture and estate-sized homes, with all the upgrades you would expect in a custom home.  The builders in this community are known for their quality:  Hedgewood Homes, O’Dwyer Homes and Peachtree Residential.

westbrook3

Covered porches, sundecks, spacious master suites, open floor plans, and gourmet kitchens are the norm in these luxurious homes.  In addition to the homes’ quality, the neighborhood enjoys fabulous amenities:  a clubhouse, community pool, lighted tennis courts, and outdoor basketball courts.  This community also features over seven acres of green space, walking trails, a fishing pond, parks, a playground, and a historic covered bridge!  With the charming streetscapes and so much to do right in the neighborhood, you immediately feel a part of the community.

Looking for more to do?  This vibrant neighborhood is located close to Exit 13 off GA400, so you’re only minutes away from great restaurants and shopping at The Collection, North Point Mall, North Georgia Premium Outlet Mall and Lake Lanier, but close enough to work anywhere in North metro-Atlanta.  The community is also positioned so your children will attend great schools:  Vickery Creek Elementary and Middle Schools, and West Forsyth High School.

If you would like more information regarding Westbrook or other extraordinary communities along the GA400 corridor, please contact me.

Marie Dinsmore, Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist

The Dinsmore Real Estate Team  |  www.dinsmoreteam.com

Marie@DinsmoreTeam.com | 770-712-7789

Utility Savings For Seniors and Low-Income Earners

cold winterDo you know any seniors or low-income family that might need some additional help this winter paying their bills?   You might be able to help them by letting them know about the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).  LIHEAP helps keep families safe and healthy through initiatives that assist families with energy costs.

There are both Federal and State assistance programs.  Here are a few, but there are more listed at the site,  or you can call them directly (800-869- 1150).   http://dfcs.dhs.georgia.gov/energy-assistance)

  • SCANA:  The regulated natural gas provider program, provided by SCANA Energy and partially funded by the state’s universal service fund, provides natural gas service to low income households and to consumers who are unable to obtain or maintain natural gas service from another marketer.  Households meeting the low-income requirements established by the Georgia Department of Human Resources qualify for a reduced security deposit, special rates and a lower customer service fee. To sign up, customers need to contact the community action agency serving their county.  Those not meeting low-income requirements may still qualify for service with the Regulated Provider. Call 1-866-245-7742 for complete details.  www.scanaenergyregulated.com/en/rates/
  • Atlanta Gas Light: Senior citizens who are 65 years of age or older and have a total annual combined household income of $14,355 or less are eligible for up to a $14 monthly discount on their Atlanta Gas Light Company base charge. Natural gas service must also be in the customer’s name to be eligible. For questions, call Metro Atlanta at 770-994-1946 or outside Metro Atlanta at 1-800-427-5463.  www.aglc.com/Home/EnergyAssistance.aspx
  • Gas South: Gas South offers its customers, aged 65 and older, various senior rates which provide a discount on natural gas consumption charges. Senior customers may also be eligible for discounted customer services charges and up to a $14.00 monthly discount on Atlanta Gas Light base charges.
    1-877-332-5442  www.gas-south.com/residential/rate-plans.aspx
  • Georgia Natural Gas: Customers who are 65 years of age or older with an annual combined gross income per household of $14,355 or less are eligible for a $14.00 monthly discount on their base charge.  770-850-6200 or 1-877-850-6200     www.georgianaturalgas.com/residential/seniors.html
  • Georgia Power: The monthly base charge ($10.50 for gas and $14.00 for electric) is waived for customers who are at least 65 years old and the total household income is not more than $22,340 annually.  Call 1-888-660-5890 (option #8)
  • The Heating Energy Assistance Team (HEAT): The HEAT program is administered by the Georgia Department of Human Resources statewide through Community Action Agencies. Private citizens and the natural gas industry provide funding.  Call 678-406-0212   www.heatga.org/
  • Project SHARE: A statewide program funded by electric utility customers who donate through their monthly electric bills. The program is administered by The Salvation Army.    Call 404-873-3101 (metro Atlanta) or 1-800-257-4273.  Find your local Salvation Army

Wishing you and your family a safe holiday season!

Marie Dinsmore, Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist

The Dinsmore Real Estate Team  |  www.dinsmoreteam.com

Marie@DinsmoreTeam.com | 770-712-7789

5 Tips for Preparing to Purchase a Home

Whether you are looking toHispanic couple outside home purchase a home for the first time, or you have owned a home in the past, the lending environment has changed and perspective buyers really do need to prepare in advance of their search.   Here are some tips that will make the purchase process a whole lot easier:

1. Make sure you know what’s on your credit report.   Pam Wright, with OnQ Finance wrote a great article on how to check your credit.   You need to get your report early in the process so you can make sure that it is accurate and clear any negative or erroneous information.    It’s free to get your credit report; there’s no need to sign up for services that want to charge you.

2. Get rid of as much debt as possible.   Lenders want to make sure that you are not overextended, and that you pay your debts on time.   The better your payment record, the higher your credit score.  You also need to make sure that once you do start the mortgage process, that you do not take on any new debt.   Here’s another great article from Pam, explaining what not to do.

3. Have cash available for the purchase.    While you may be financing the bulk of your home, you will still need cash for such things as earnest money, inspection/appraisals, HOA fees, utility deposits, moving expenses, etc.   These will be in addition to the down payment.   Your down payment amount can vary, but it would be wise to have at least 20% available for a down payment.

4. Have an idea of where you’d like to live –  This is obviously the more fun part of preparing for a purchase.   If you are looking to purchase in a particular subdivision, I can send you free, no-bother, updates on homes being listed in that neighborhood.    Just click here to sign up, and don’t forget to add the Subdivision name in the Comments section (Georgia subdivisions only please).   You will then receive automatic updates anytime any home is listed, sold, or there is a price change.  If you are looking for new construction in a particular area, let me know as there are new subdivisions coming in the North Metro-Atlanta area.

5. Get pre-approved. There 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.

The purchase of a home is probably one of the biggest investments you will make in life.   Being properly prepared will help make the process go more smoothly and reduce any negative surprises.

Please contact me if you are considering buying or selling.

Marie Dinsmore, Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist

The Dinsmore Real Estate Team  |  www.dinsmoreteam.com

Marie@DinsmoreTeam.com | 770-712-7789

You Can Make a Difference to Local Families in Need this Holiday Season

kid christmas

While there are many ways you can make a difference this holiday season, here are two ways you can help those in need right here in Forsyth County!

Adopt-A-Family for Christmas Program

The Adopt-A-Family for Christmas Program matches families served by Family Haven with individual or group sponsors. When a match is made, the family’s wish list is sent to the sponsor. Each family completes their wish list identifying items that they may need or want. The wish list includes sizes for each family member for clothing items and shoes. Also, the list includes a gift or toy item for each family member. While you may wish to include additional items not listed on the wish list, we ask that sponsors provide only items that are listed to ensure consistency across families. Family Haven will ensure that families receive their gifts during the week before Christmas.

We ask that all wish list items are unwrapped and taken to drop off site by December 13, 2013. Sponsors are welcome to provide wrapping paper to Family Haven for gift wrapping. All wish list items can be taken to our thrift store location at 598 Veterans Memorial Blvd, Cumming, Georgia 30040.

Should you wish to Adopt-A-Family this year, please contact Family Haven at 770-889-6384 or at tasho@familyhavenga.org.

A Great DEAL

Simply make a monetary donation at the Forsyth County Family Haven thrift store (located at 598 Veteran’s Memorial Blvd.) and in return, you’ll be given a playing card. Sign it and the folks at the Thrift Store will happily display it.  That’s it!

Later, the signed cards are given to the shelter where families can use them to play Crazy Eights, Solitaire, and more, all the while seeing the signatures of those who cared enough to help.  All proceeds will benefit the families we serve this holiday.

Forsyth County Family Haven is an advocate for victims and families of domestic violence providing shelter, programs and community education to end the cycle of violence.

I hope you will consider participating in one of these worthy programs.

Marie Dinsmore, Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist

The Dinsmore Real Estate Team  |  www.dinsmoreteam.com

Marie@DinsmoreTeam.com | 770-712-7789

Get Your Home Prepared for the Cold

While we don’t get much snow cold househere in Atlanta, the cold can still cause damage to your home, which may lead to homeowners insurance claims and costly repairs.  Maintaining your home and preparing for the cold is the best plan.

Here are some tips for preparing for the winter:

  • Check your fireplace and chimney.  Wood burning fireplaces collect soot over time, and can clog the chimney.   The best way to prevent this potential fire hazard is to have a professional inspect both every year, or at least every other year.
  • Have your furnace tuned up.   As with your fireplace, your furnace should be inspected at least every other year for optimum efficiency as well as for leaks and cracks.    Also don’t forget to change your filters regularly.   The dirtier the filters are, the hard it is for your system to work.
  • Drain all exterior spigots and remove water hoses.    Extreme cold can cause pipes connected to spigots to burst.   Once hoses have been removed, you can insulate your spigots from the cold for extra protection.   If you have an irrigation system, make sure that is properly drained for the winter months.
  • Keep your gutters cleaned.   Once all the leaves have fallen, make sure to do another check of your gutters.   If there is a snow fall and your gutters are not clear, once the snow melts your gutter could break if they are weighed down with backed up leaves.
  • Check all weather stripping.   This inexpensive ounce of prevention will save you money during all seasons.     Check with your hardware professional for the best solution for your window and door types.   Caulking, stripping and expandable foam are all great tools for keeping the cold out and the heat in.
  • Keep a supply of salt or kitty litter ready for ice.   Again, while we don’t get much snow, we do get ice – which is much more dangerous.    Make sure to check the walkway and steps for any ice accumulation.  A single accident due to someone slipping on your walkway can be extremely expensive.

As we all know, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Please contact me if you are considering buying or selling, and keep safe this winter!

Marie Dinsmore, Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist

The Dinsmore Real Estate Team  |  www.dinsmoreteam.com

Marie@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