Category Archives: Tips & Advice

Simple Updates to Bring Your 1970s Home into this Century

before-and-after-photos_005Whether you’re looking to move in the next few years or at some unknown point down the road, if you own an older home, it can be challenging to think about entering a housing market that is frequently flooded with new builds.  While there’s something to be said for the quality and integrity of older building materials, as well as the character that comes with etched woodwork and crown molding, if your home was built in the 60s or 70s, chances are good that it’s missing that old-time charm anyway.

What you will find, however, are things like wood paneling, dark flooring, dim lighting, and an abundance of popcorn ceilings.  In essence, things tend to feel a bit tight.  Therefore, if you’re looking to bring a home that’s 40 to 50-years-old into this century, a few tweaks can make a great deal of difference.

GET RID OF DARK PANELING

Homes in this era tend to have lower ceilings which, combined with darker wall coverings, often make people feel as if they’re living in a cave.  To really make things feel open and light, one of the first considerations should involve removing the dark paneling.  While this process definitely requires a bit of effort, it will be well worth it in the end.  If you’re extremely handy or have experience with this type of renovation, it’s certainly a project that can be done without professional help; however, depending upon the condition of your walls beneath the paneling, additional assistance may be required.

If you don’t have the time or money to remove the paneling all-together, consider painting over it with a light color.

BRING IN THE LIGHT

Since low ceilings tend to restrict the amount of light that comes into your home, a great remedy involves the installation of a few skylights.  While this is another project that you may be able to do on your own, it’s probably wise to hire the services of a professional.  Not only can they help make sure the installation is done right—you certainly don’t want rain leaking in—they can help you select the right type of skylights for your home, as well as your budget.

ADDING WINDOWS

Although replacing your existing windows may go a long way towards making your home feel a bit more modern, especially if they’ve become drafty over the years, part of allowing more light into your space may simply involve adding additional windows to certain rooms.

Clearly, this is generally a job for a professional, especially if you’re planning on adding windows or expanding existing ones.  Anytime you mess with your walls, it’s important to have a solid understanding of where your structural supports are, so making sure this project is done correctly is pretty important.

REPLACE YOUR FLOORING

Whether you’re dealing with carpeting, tile, or wood flooring, you’ll add more appeal to your home by replacing any dark flooring with lighter alternatives.  Consider swapping dark carpeting with lighter, more muted tones (e.g. beige, grey, off-white, etc.) and refinish any dark-stained wood with a lighter stain.  If you have an abundance of dated vinyl flooring, you may want to opt for a pale colored tile instead.

SAY GOODBYE TO THE POPCORN CEILINGS

Most homes built during the 60s and 70s have popcorn ceilings, which have a tendency to cause shadows and trap dust.  With that, no matter how well you renovate the rest of your home, they will always scream, “I was built in 1973!”  Therefore, updating your ceilings is wise investment and is something that doesn’t necessarily require the services of a professional painter.  Most people are entirely capable of doing it themselves; however, aside from being messy, it requires the use of certain tools that you simply may not have at home.

For tips on updating the curb appeal of your outdated home, stay tuned for next week’s blog.  As always, if you would like advice or want to know what types of home changes will give you the best bang for your buck, please contact me.  I’m always here to help.

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

Top Questions to Ask Your Realtor

Couple meeting with financial advisor.Oftentimes, a home-selling strategy is only as good as the Realtor working to develop it; however, it’s not uncommon to find sellers who have gotten so lost in the process of cleaning, painting, and prepping their home that they forget to ask some of the most important questions.

While your overall strategy and list price may vary depending upon the season and other variables indicative of the current real estate climate, as you get closer to finalizing your listing, it’s important to ask your agent the following questions.

What is the most I can ask for my home based upon the current market? 

Location obviously plays a huge role in how much you can ask for your home, especially since it’s clearly something that cannot be changed.  With that, unless you plan on undergoing a full-scale remodel before you list, chances are good that your number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and square footage will remain relatively static.  With that being said, it’s important to make a point to discuss a proper listing price with your Realtor and to trust that, given the current market, they will do what’s best.

Based upon the current market and my asking price, when can I expect to field a serious offer?

Clearly, your Realtor cannot see the future, but it’s worth asking for their opinion on how long they think you’ll have to wait for a buyer.  If you’re looking to list your home at the top end of your asking range, you may have to wait longer, so it’s good to understand this dynamic in advance.

What is your strategy regarding open houses?

Just like all markets are different, all Realtors are different, as well.  While some agents refrain from staging open houses in favor of viewings, others feel that open houses are a great way to get your home seen by a lot of potential buyers.

Before assuming that your buyer will conduct business in a certain way, make a point to ask them how they develop their strategy and why they choose to do it that way.

In the end, as with most things in life, communication is key.  If you have questions, it’s important to speak up!  The Realtor/client relationship is just that—a relationship—and most of us understand that healthy, successful relationships are dependent upon open and honest dialogue.

A Realtor’s job is to serve the client, so it’s important to make sure that the handling of your home is done in a way that aligns with your interests.  If you’d like to learn more or would simply like a bit of advice, I’m always available to help.

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

Featured Neighborhood: St. Michaels Bay on Lake Lanier in Cumming, GA

Brevard Front 1If you’re in the market for a beautiful home with access to Lake Lanier, this perfectly planned neighborhood is sure to please.  Designed and built by Peachtree Residential Properties, St. Michaels is perfect for active families who are looking for resort-style amenities and the privacy that comes with living in a gated community.

Complete with a private covered marina and courtesy dock, as well as lighted tennis courts, hiking/nature trails, a junior Olympic swimming pool, and luxury clubhouse with fitness center and billiard room, everything you’ll need for a fun weekend just outside your front door.

With homes ranging from $395,900 to $495-900, nothing has been spared.  From three-car garages, gourmet kitchens, and luxurious master retreats to stainless steel appliances, hardwoods, and granite countertops, each house is like walking into a dream.  While some sites have already been built, buyers have the option of customizing their home through our Design Center, which offers professional design services on everything from carpet and tile to countertops and appliances.  Their services are geared towards the client, so you’ll received focused, individual assistance until your home is complete.

Located in North Forsyth County, this stunning development is a short drive from exit 17 on GA-400, with convenient access to an abundance of restaurants and shops.

SCHOOLS

Chestatee Elementary

Little Mill Middle

North Forsyth High School

SHOPPING

The Collection at Forsyth

GA 400 Outlets in Dawsonville

Lakeshore Mall in Gainesville

Hospitals

Northside Forsyth Hospital

Northeast Georgia Health System & Medical Center

If you’d like to schedule a showing or would like to learn more about this beautiful community, please contact me at 770-712-7789.

For free tips on everything from staging and remodeling to the buying and selling process, please stop by the blog on my website.  It’s updated on a weekly basis!

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

Smart Ways to Reduce Expenses After Purchasing a Home

o-OLDER-WOMAN-TALKING-ON-PHONE-facebookWhen it comes to purchasing a home, while you may have been vigilant about budgeting in an effort to make sure that your new property would be affordable on a long-term basis, it’s no secret that the actual act of moving can cost a bit of money.  From movers to interior adjustments such as window treatments and paint, your wallet may take a hit for a few months.  However, while reducing your expenses in the beginning is important, there’s something to be said for fresh starts and cutting costs for an extended period of time.

Therefore, if you’re looking to start fresh with your move, consider the following tips to save money over the long-run.

AVOID THE LANDLINE: Sure, there is some benefit to installing a landline in your home; however, if you currently have one, when was the last time you really used it?  The number of people who are connected to landlines has rapidly fallen over the last few years, which makes sense since most of us have very little need or desire to pay for two phone lines.  Chances are pretty good that your cell phone lives within a 10-foot radius from you at all times, so skip the landline and spare yourself the expense.

SWITCH LIGHT BULBS: While incandescent lightbulbs may appear to be the cheaper option at the checkout, it’s important to realize that CFL or LED lightbulbs are up to four-times as energy efficient, turning a total home switch into a real money saver.

CONSIDER A PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTAT: Most new homes are going come with thermostats that allow you to determine the automatic heating and cooling of your home for all hours of the day, which is great news if you work long hours.  If you find yourself purchasing a home that does not have this option, it may be worth your money.  Plain and simple, if you can turn your thermostat down by 10 degrees while you’re at work for eight hours, you can save anywhere from 5 to 15% on your heating bill—and the same goes for your air conditioning bill in the summer.

UNPLUG UNUSED DEVICES: While you may think you’re saving money by keeping unused devices turned off, the reality is that—whether on or off—if those devices are plugged in, they are still using electricity.  While the amount of electricity actually used is relatively small, when you multiply it by the number of plugged, but turned off, appliances in your home, it adds up.

Clearly, it’s not practical to unplug everything in your home when it’s not being used; however, you may want to consider keeping lesser-used items like the blender or pencil sharpener off the grid.

EAT IN YOUR NEW KITCHEN: While this may sound a bit silly, a large number of people find themselves eating out more than making food at home, which can place unnecessary strain on the wallet.  Even if you’re not much of a chef, what’s the point of having a beautiful, new kitchen if you don’t use it?  Bring a bit of savings into your life by skipping the takeout and packing a lunch or making dinner in the evening.  Aside from being healthier, your bottom line will thank you.

BUNDLE YOUR INSURANCE: If you’ve ever shopped for car insurance, you’ve probably been peppered with options about purchasing homeowners or renters insurance during the process.  While irritating if you’re not in the market for other services, as a new homeowner, bundling your policies can actually be a great thing.  Many insurance companies offer a sizeable discount if you combine your homeowner’s policy with your auto insurance policies, so if you’re currently using separate companies, you may want to look into making a switch.

For other tips, tricks, and ideas for saving money before, during, or after your move, feel free to contact me.  I’d love to hear from you.

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

How to Sell Your Home before the New Year

ddfIf you’ve been trying to sell your home with little success, you may be feeling a bit of angst over the approaching winter months.  As most buyers and sellers are aware, the peak selling season for real estate happens during the spring and summer; however, while most industries tend to slow a bit during the holiday season (unless we’re speaking about retailers), the cooler temperatures are not an automatic death sentence for your home.

Plain and simple, there are some definite advantages to selling your home during the fall and winter, especially if you account for the fact that the internet knows no boundaries—or rather, no seasons.  Just as you’re reading this blog online, there are hundreds—if not thousands—of potential buyers utilizing the internet to search for their next home in your area.

With that being said, as the holiday season approaches, we generally become a bit more bogged down with family functions and travel plans, which certainly puts a limit on the amount of spare time we have in our schedules.  Hence, as a seller, it’s worth remembering that a large number of the house hunters on the market from October through January are serious about their desire to find a new home.  When most of us would simply put a halt to the buying process until life slows down after the New Year, dedicated buyers will stay the course.

From here, when it comes to showing your house and making it look as appealing as possible, you simply cannot go wrong with the warmth of holiday decorations and the emotional pull of strings of lights and freshly baked cookies.  Long-story-short, buyers tend to make home purchases based upon emotion, especially when they can envision their life within your home, so there’s no better time to make an emotional connection with your buyers than during the holiday season.

Still, if you’ve reached a point where selling your home is simply what needs to be done regardless of the season, then there’s really no reason to apply the brakes simply because the temperature has taken a dive.

Therefore, if you’re serious about selling before the end of the year, I can help.  With consistently high sales numbers and one of the most recognizable names in the Forsyth County real estate market, I know how to make the holiday season work for you.

Please contact me for more information.  I’d love to hear from you.

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