Category Archives: Tips & Advice

Get Ready for Home Builder Year-End Sales

cyrus-exteriorWhen it comes to big-ticket purchases such as cars and electronics, many people expect year-end sales and incentives; however, what they may not realize is that developers and builders are also willing to propose incentives as well.

By offering a variety of extras such as freebies, upgrades, reduced prices, and other enticements, many builders hope to boost sales during the typically slow winter months, especially since most buyers are too busy with holiday events to focus on relocation.  By sweetening the deal, builders create a win-win situation for themselves, as well as the buyer, which allows them to finish one division before embarking on newer projects.

Still, year-end incentives are not just about drawing potential home owners to close-out communities—in many ways, they help attract shoppers to start-up developments as well.  In these neighborhoods, once the first four or five homes have been sold, the early-bird pricing goes up, making it important to take advantage of low prices as they occur.

In regards to what types of year-end incentives are offered, it generally depends upon what the developer thinks local buyers will value the most.  Kitchen upgrades tend to garner a lot of attention; however, other builders offer everything from third garages and closing costs, to design options and flat screen TVs.

As we get further into fall, if you’re in the market for a new home, it’s wise to consider your options before the year is through.  Instead of waiting until spring when prices will have gone back up, you’ll save a lot of money by getting a head-start on the process in November or December.

If you need assistance or would simply like some advice on how to best utilize the next few months, I’d love to speak with you.

Please do not hesitate to contact me.

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

Why You Need a Realtor

RealtorWithClients-wide8Right off the bat, I understand that having a licensed Realtor write a blog about the reasons you should hire an agent may seem like a conflict of interest; however, I entered the complex world of real estate specifically because I believe that all current and future homeowners deserve to have someone in their corner when attempting to navigate the often confusing process of purchasing a home.

Plain and simple, with the over-abundance of technology flooding our consciousness every day, it’s no secret that searching for the perfect house has gotten easier.  Right at your fingertips, there are thousands of homes with details about everything from neighborhood locations and prior purchase dates, to photos, virtual walk-throughs, and a variety of builder specifics.  Gone are the days when you would have to spend hours driving through neighborhoods while collecting home fliers and scheduling dozens of showings—today, your access is instant.

Still, there’s a tried-and-true saying that is extremely pertinent in today’s market and it helps explain my list of reasons why you should hire an agent:

“Keep calm & let a Realtor handle it!”

1.)  APPRAISERS – When it comes time for an appraiser to look at your home, it helps to have someone who can run interference and provide them with the comparable sales which were used to determine your home’s proper listing price (this is especially helpful if the appraiser is not familiar with your neighborhood).

2.) BRING EVERYONE TOGETHER – While you may not realize it, closing on a home requires a lot of parties to be on the same page—from the loan officer, inspector, and appraiser, as well as the buyer’s Realtor and closing attorney—which means a lot of behind the scenes work will need to take place before everything is settled.  If you don’t want to see your deal fall apart before closing, it’s important to understand that a Realtor will keep things running smoothly.

3.) THEY KNOW THE MARKET – When it comes to getting a fair property price, a Realtor who understands the area is imperative so you don’t wind up overpaying for a home.  Plus, when it comes time for those nerve-wracking negotiations, an experienced agent will be able to fight on your behalf.

4.) SERVICE RECOMMENDATIONS – One of the great things about Realtors who have been in the business a while, is that they have a wealth of information about a myriad of service providers.  From contractors and painters, to roofers, landscapers, and electricians, your odds are good that a Realtor will be able to send honest, good providers your way.

5.) GREATER ACCESS – Sure, the internet will help you see some of what’s available; however, to truly gain access to the listed homes in your area, you’ll need a Realtor.  Otherwise, while you may be able to peruse “For Sale by Owner” homes on your own, it’s also important to note that those owners are NOT obligated to use sales contracts or disclosure forms (which protect you as the buyer) upon closing.

6.) CUTTING ACROSS STATE LINES – If you’re looking to move to another part of the country, a Realtor is imperative, especially if you aren’t familiar with where you’ll be heading.  Instead of worrying about the unknowns, a local agent will be able to take note of adequate neighborhoods, schools, shopping venues, etc.

7.) EXTENDED REACH – If you’re considering listing your home on your own, it’s important to remember that this may drastically limit your pool of buyers.  Realtors have an abundance of networking, advertising, and marketing resources at their disposal, so your home will sell that much faster.

In the end, an important bonus of working with a Realtor is that they will be there AFTER your sale is complete.  It’s only natural for questions to arise weeks—or even months—after you sign those papers, so if you’ve been working with an agent, you can rest assured that you’ll never be left in a lurch.

If you’re looking to buy or sell your home, or if you simply need some advice about the current market in North Georgia, I would love to be of service to you.

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

 

So, You’ve Bought an Imperfect House – Learn How to Deal With It

After months—and possibly even years—of planning, searching, and organizing, you’ve finally done it—you’ve signed the paperwork and left with the keys to your new home; however, unless your purchase is totally move-in ready, you’re just getting started.

renovation-businessIf you’ve decided to close on a house that could use a little bit of TLC, it’s important to understand the amount of money and effort it will take to make your home something you are truly happy with.  At the very least, a little paint will help spruce things up; however, in all reality, if there’s updating to be done, it may take more than a new color scheme.

Still, if this is your first house, it’s important to go into the process with realistic expectations about what kinds of time and money will be involved, as well as what you can reasonably expect for a final result.

To help you along the way, here are a few tips to make the process easier:

1.)  CAPITALIZE ON AN EMPTY HOUSE: While it may not be possible to delay your move-in date, if it’s even in the realm of possibilities, it presents a great opportunity to begin the transformation process without having to worry about getting your things covered with renovation dust.

2.) DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP: In our individualistic culture, many of us feel that we have to deal with things on our own, but what’s the point of having friends and family if you can’t exercise a bit of reciprocity when you need a few extra hands?  When it’s time to paint, turn it into a fun party with food and drinks, and chances are good that no one will mind the work.

3.) RELY ON EXPERTISE: There are times when pride can be a good thing; however, if you’re not totally sure what you’re doing, it’s important to swallow it when you need to admit that you cannot get the job done without the advice of your local hardware pro.  Don’t be shy about asking questions—that’s what they’re there for!

4.) HAVE PATIENCE: Yes, renovating your home—especially when you’re attempting to do it on your own—takes work, but if you attempt to rush or try to go beyond your comfort level, you’re likely to make mistakes.  Don’t risk making bad decisions when a little patience would have saved you a botched design.

5.) ORGANIZATION, ORGANIZATION: When you’re attempting to leave your old home, move into your new one, and manage renovations, staying organized is clearly easier said than done, but it doesn’t mean it’s not extremely important.  To get started, make a point of keeping all of your receipts in one place, registering new appliances and electronics, and filing for rebates within the first five days of making a purchase.  It might be tempting to postpone these tasks in the chaos of getting settled, but all that will do is lose you money in the long run.

If you’re considering a move, I’d love to help you get things going.

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

Get Started on Your Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

fall-house-e1410287548221While the weather is still relatively warm in this part of the country, it’s hard to miss the whispers of fall that have begun to make their way into the rustling leaves and cool, crisp mornings.  While autumn is characterized by a sort of sleepy transition into the frosty winter months, it’s also the perfect time to put a bit of effort into some do-it-yourself tasks that will have a positive impact on both the state of your home, as well as your wallet.

1.) GUTTERS: It’s not uncommon for most of us to overlook the true impact that gutters have on our property.  Without a whole lot of aesthetic appeal, it’s easy to forget that they divert thousands of gallons of water from our homes on an annual basis.  Unless you make a point to keep them clean, clogged gutters can lead to water in your home and an abundance of rust, rot, and corrosion.  Therefore, before the foliage really begins to change, make a point to have your gutters thoroughly cleaned and covered with a mesh guard.

2.) STOP LEAKS: When it comes to energy costs, nothing can hurt your wallet like air leaks around windows and doors.  Generally speaking, gaps in your weather stripping and caulk may actually add about 10% to your heating bill, so it’s important to look for leaks.  For areas that appear to need your attention, replace any worn weather stripping or missing/damaged caulk and don’t forget to check around all electrical, cable, and phone entry points.

3.) DON’T NEGLECT YOUR ROOF: Instead of waiting until there’s water coming through your ceiling, it’s important to inspect your roof so that little annoyances are stopped before they become massive problems.

Start by inspecting your roof from top to bottom and looking for cracks and wind damage, as well as missing, broken, or curled shingles.  While you’re up there, take a look into your gutters—if you notice large accumulations of granules, your roof may be shedding its coating, which means further issues are just around the corner.

4.) INSPECT YOUR FURNACE: While it may seem a bit redundant, it’s important to have your furnace inspected by a professional once a year.  Again, while it may cost you a little bit of money, prevention will save you from having to shell out an abundance of money for large repairs and replacements.

On your own, pay attention to things such as noisy belts, erratic behavior, and general poor performance.  All of these things can be signs that your parts are faulty, worn, or damaged, or that your heating ducts are blocked.

5.) STAY ON TOP OF GAS PROBLEMS: If you have a gas heater, keeping it in working condition is not only a cost issue, but a safety issue as well.  Having a professional check it each year will not only save you money in operating costs, but help prevent poisonous gases from leeching into the air of your home.

6.) FIRE PROOFING: Sure, the likelihood of your home going up in flames is pretty slim; however, it happens and for anyone who has seen what a house fire looks like, the sight is truly horrific.  Therefore, as we head towards winter and things like Christmas lights and trees, it’s important to take some extra steps to protect your family in case of a fire.

The first step involves not only replacing the batteries in each of your smoke detectors (don’t neglect your carbon monoxide detectors as well!), but testing them and making sure one is installed on every floor of your home—including the basement.

Next consider drawing up a few fire escape plans and make sure there’s no furniture or large items blocking any potential exits (to include windows).  If you’ve found yourself accumulating things like old newspapers or leftover hazardous chemicals, be aware of the fact that they present an increased fire hazard, so getting rid of them will help keep your family safe.

CONCLUSION

In the end, keeping your home in working order throughout the winter doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money.  If you stay on top of the little things and diligently complete them on an annual basis, then the chances that you’ll have to deal with large issues goes down exponentially.

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

Tips For Purchasing a Luxury Home

Luxury Home Pool ShotIf you’ve worked hard for years in an effort to accrue a certain income level, then at some point, you’re likely to want to invest your hard-earned money into a lavish home that you and your family can enjoy.  Whether it’s a modern high-rise condo or a sprawling golf course estate, there are a few items that should be considered before purchasing a luxury home.

1.) UNDERSTAND THE SEARCH PROCESS: While most buyers have the option of perusing home listings on large real estate search engines, the house hunting process can be somewhat different if you’re looking to buy within the luxury market.  Often times, in an effort to protect the seller’s privacy, many high-end homes go unlisted and tend to be found through the Realtor’s personal connections instead of the MLS.

2.) DON’T PLACE TOO MUCH WEIGHT ON PHOTOS: Surprisingly, large homes don’t always show well in photos, especially since many of the details which make them truly amazing are better seen in person.  If you’re concerned about what is around the property, perform a search on Google Earth to get a better idea of what the area looks like, but when it comes to viewing the home itself, make a point to go beyond the pictures.

3.) WORK WITH A LOCAL EXPERT: While this is important in any real estate transaction, it’s even more important when you’re considering a luxury home.  Plain and simple, working with a knowledgeable Realtor is critical since most high-end properties offer viewings by appointment only.  By selecting a buyer’s agent who not only knows the area but has an abundance of connections, you’re more likely to have success.

4.) DOCUMENTATION IS VITAL: Even though the housing market has begun to turn around, there is still a great deal of scrutiny in the luxury market, which means financial documentation is imperative.  Generally speaking, most people who are able to afford high-end properties are working with accountants and money managers who have diligently sheltered their money; however, while this may be important wealth protection, it makes things difficult when banks are pushing for income verification.

5.) HIRE SMART ADVISORS: Since you’re the one purchasing the home, you want to be the one making the ultimate decisions; however, it’s important to have reliable advisors to help you along the way.  If you’re working with both a financial planner and a Realtor, you’ll want to make sure they’re on the same page.  Good advisors will not make your decisions for you, but they will keep you from making rash decisions that may hurt you in the long run.

In regards to hiring the proper Realtor, don’t make the mistake of assuming that all agents are the same.  Just like any other industry, real estate professionals tend to have varying specialties, so when it comes to working with someone, it’s a good idea to consider Realtors who are Certified Home Luxury Marketing Specialists (CHLMS).  This designation, which is given by the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing (www.luxuryhomemarketing.com), helps buyers feel confident that they’ve selected an agent who has documented performance in the top 10% of their market and has also successfully demonstrated their expertise in the luxury home field.

In the end, making a purchase within the luxury home market is obviously not something you just want to jump into without a lot of planning and preparation.  Purchasing a home is a massive investment for anyone; however, there’s something to be said for spending the amount of money that most high-end homes require.  Don’t get caught up in the excitement—think smart, hire smart, and make sure you’ve dotted your “I’s” and crossed all of your “t’s.”

If you’d like to speak with a Certified Home Luxury Marketing Specialist in your area, you can search for members through their website at www.luxuryhomemarketing.com, or you can contact me at your earliest convenience.

Marie Dinsmore, Certified Home Luxury Marketing Specialist | 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