Category Archives: Tips & Advice

Why You Need a Realtor When Buying New Construction

new-constructionAs the economy has improved, so too has the construction of new homes.  What were once sad, empty parcels of land are now beautiful new developments, so it’s no surprise that sales in these neighborhoods have increased as buyers have returned to the market.

Building your dream home can be exhilarating, especially if given the opportunity to not only pick your lot and layout, but everything from your interior finishes to your upgrades as well.  While today’s homebuilders work hard to make the process as easy as possible for potential buyers, it’s still important to remember that purchasing a home involves a large financial transaction that can have an abundance of financial implications if handled incorrectly.

Therefore, while most new housing developments have their own agents on site to assist future homeowners in procuring a home, it’s still extremely important for buyers to maintain their own representation as well.

BUILDER REPS HAVE AN OBLIGATION TO THE BUILDER—NOT YOU.

While builder reps help detail things like the difference between various models and floorplans, as well as upgrades and available financing, it’s imperative to remember that those reps are still contractually obligated to place the interests of the builder first.  Therefore, in order to be sure that your total wellbeing is given priority, buyers should seriously consider utilizing the services of an experienced Realtor who can make sure their wants and needs are placed at the forefront of the deal.

While you may think that you can easily go forth without an agent, especially in the hopes that the builder will negotiate the 3% agent fee back into your pocket, the reality is that they’ll probably keep it unless you have the representation of a Realtor who can research how much negotiating can be done.  Without this outside assurance, chances are good that you may find yourself over paying for your property.

FIDUCIARY RESPONSIBILITY.

Real estate transactions involve a good deal of paperwork and legal considerations which can be difficult to navigate if you are not completely sure how the process should work.  If you’re making the decision to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a home, you need to make sure that someone is looking out for your best financial interest.  A Realtor will not only be contractually obligated to protect you, but can help you navigate the various clauses, riders, and upgrade options embedded in the final new-construction contract.

SMOOTH NEGOTIATION PROCESS.

Part of the buying process involves the negotiation of terms, upgrade options, and closing costs, as well as selecting the best financing for your needs.  A Realtor will be able to present other attractive options for financing or will be able to work directly with the builder’s lender to secure a better rate for your mortgage.

A GUIDING HAND FROM SEARCH TO CLOSE.

From here, it’s important to remember that buying a new home is more than the fun process of selecting your finishes and signing on the dotted line.  It also involves everything from working with title companies to attending numerous inspections, so it’s worth having a Realtor on your side who can manage the overall process and ensure you’re not missing anything before the home is completely yours.

Therefore, if you’re in the market for a new home and would like some help navigating the waters, I’d love to make my services available.  Please call me for more information or to set up a meeting.

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

Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Your Home

selling-mistakesYes, learning from your mistakes is certainly a part of life and can definitely be an extremely worthwhile process.  However, when it comes to something as important as selling your home, it’s probably better to learn from other people’s mistakes.

Therefore, if you’re thinking about listing your home in the near future, the following are five common mistakes that, if avoided, can save you a lot of money and trouble.

FOR SALE BY OWNER. You may have heard that putting a “For Sale by Owner” sign in your front yard is a great way to save money. However, in this era of DIY projects and fix-it-yourself endeavors, you should resist the urge to tackle the real estate market alone.

There’s a reason that people dedicate their entire careers to the housing market.  In short, selling your home involves a lot of money, so it’s not something you should take lightly.  Working with a licensed agent helps ensure that you’re not losing your finances through a poor listing price or faulty closing contract.

If you absolutely feel the need to sell something yourself, consider unneeded furniture or other items that will simply detract from your home’s overall appeal.  Sell your coffee table yourself, not your home.

“BUT SHE’S MY FRIEND…” Plain and simple, not all agents are created equal. In addition to specializing in certain counties or neighborhoods, certain agents are better than others when it comes to residential real estate, luxury properties, foreclosures, etc.

In addition, just because your best friend’s aunt dabbles in the industry doesn’t mean she’s the best person to sell your home.  Picking the wrong agent can have serious consequences, so it’s important to choose someone with ample experience.  Don’t be afraid to do your research before selecting someone who meets your needs.  It’s your home and your money, so feel free to be choosey.

MAINTAIN A BIT OF REALISM WHEN PRICING YOUR HOME. We’ve heard it our whole lives—aim high. Reach for the stars.  While that tends to be great advice in regards to following your dreams or doing well in school, it’s not always very prudent when it comes to pricing your home.  In short, it’s better to be smart than overly eager, so listing your property at a price above its market value may hurt your chances of getting the most for your home.

You don’t want to find yourself getting a lower sale price than you were hoping for, so work with your agent to set the best, competitive price.

DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF. Yes, this may be difficult to remember when stressing about the cost of repainting your pink bathroom or dealing with pre-sale repairs, but keeping things in perspective is important.  The goal is to make it to the finish line of your home sale, so try to keep your eyes on the rewarding outcome instead of the dollar signs bouncing around your head.  Once you sign the closing papers, chances are good that you’ll forget all about those smaller frustrations, so try to enjoy the ride as much as possible.

KEEP YOUR EMOTIONS IN CHECK. As much as you may love the pencil marks on your wall that correspond with your children’s yearly heights, try to remember that those heartfelt stories are not going to win the hearts of prospective buyers.  Sure, no one can argue with the fact that your home may hold an abundance of personal history, but emotions can cloud your judgement.  As an impartial player, a great agent can help you make smart, strategic decisions.

If you’re ready to sell your home or you know someone who is, please feel free to contact me for assistance.  I’d love to help you move to the next chapter of your life.

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

The Legalities of Selling a Home: What You Need to Know

Dont-Sell-Your-House-Before-Talking-with-Colorado-Springs-Bankruptcy-Lawyer-Bob-DoigWhen most people think of preparing their home for the market, they think of things like selecting the right real estate agent and proper staging.  However, there’s more to getting your house in order than esthetics.

Plain and simple, selling your home involves a large amount of money, which means it also involves a sizeable amount of legal regulations that will dictate how the course of your sale will progress.  While each seller may have a different reason for marketing their home—divorce, financial troubles, the need for more/less space—protecting yourself from the snares of the selling process is important.

To get you started, here are four steps you can take to avoid some of the common legal missteps of selling a home.

REMEDY ALL DEBTS, ENCUMBRANCES, AND LIENS

Prior to settling with a buyer, you’ll need to make sure that you’ve resolved any debt that your property may have incurred.  While the outstanding amount may vary greatly depending upon the homeowner, one thing is for certain: the lienholder will get their money.

Therefore, if you are dealing issues such as a civil court judgement, missed child support payments, unpaid debts, or missed homeowner’s association dues, you’ll need to either pay what you owe or expect that the amount will be deducted from your final sale proceeds on the day of closing.

JOINT TENANTS MUST BE ON THE SAME PAGE

If you’re dealing with a property that has more than one owner—which may be the case if you’ve inherited the property—your options for selling are somewhat narrow.  Plain and simple, everyone needs to be on the same page regarding how the proceeds will be split, so you must get consent from all of the owners before the sale.  While each state has different regulations regarding how this must be done, suffice it to say that gathering consent can turn into a lengthy and expensive legal process.

Divorce can also be another example of a joint sale of a home, especially if it was owned through joint tenancy.  In this instance, both owners will need to sign the transfer deed over to the new owners and must agree to spit the proceeds accordingly.

HOME SALE AGREEMENTS

If you’re in a situation where you’re unmarried and living with a domestic partner, it’s important to understand that, in the U.S., property and ownership rights are not necessarily guaranteed.  Therefore, in order to encourage a smooth sale process, it’s important to create a home sale agreement in advance which will clearly set the contract terms for the profit division after the sale.

To accomplish this, make a point to sit down with your partner and establish the current financials of the property, which should include any and all outstanding debt, as well as your asking price and bottom line offer threshold.

While this conversation may feel slightly uncomfortable, taking the time to discuss ownership expectations—including everything from upkeep and improvements to monthly payments and sweat equity—will make the entire selling process go a lot smoother.

From there, it’s important to utilize the services of an experienced attorney (if you haven’t already done so) who can draft a home sale agreement which establishes things like proceed allocations, debt responsibilities, and other terms that require agreement.

GATHER THE NECESSARY PAPERWORK

While this aspect may seem like a bit of a no-brainer, it’s worth stating that gathering any and all important home documents will make sure you’re really ready to sell.

Include things such as:

  • Deed
  • Evidence of encumbrances, liens, judgements, etc.
  • Appraisals
  • Repair Documentation
  • Real Estate Agreements

At the end of the day, while it would be nice to assume it’s entirely possible for everyone to have a clean debt/legal history before selling their home, that’s simply not reality.  Therefore, if you’re dealing with a less than perfect past, make a point to clean up what you can, gather everything in writing, and surround yourself with a team of experts who can help you through the process.

If you’d like some assistance, please contact me.  I’d love to help you along the way.

Marie Dinsmore | The Dinsmore Team | www.DinsmoreTeam.com | 770-724-7789

Sell Your Home Faster with These No-Cost Tips

10_Simple_Home_Staging_Tips_Every_Seller_Should_KnowPurchasing a new home can be both exciting and exhilarating.  Filled with promises of new beginnings and fresh starts, the process can actually be quite fun.  However, while you might be in a hurry to imagine your life in new surroundings, the downside of the equation is that you still have to close on your existing home.

If you’re looking to move sooner rather than later, waiting all summer to get an offer on your current residence might hurt your plans, so it’s important to do everything you can to reduce your home’s time on the market.  Therefore, according to a study conducted by the Real Estate Staging Association, homes that were staged before being listed received an offer within an average of 23 days, which is 87% faster than those that went months after listing before staging.

Still, finding the money to stage your home may be a bit of a stretch, so here are five FREE things you can do to get the job done.

FIND YOUR INNER NEAT FREAK – OR ENLIST THE HELP OF SOMEONE WHO CAN.  Whether you’re already extremely tidy or you have a friend who is a master of organization, it’s time to declutter your way to a speedy closing.

Sure, it’s one thing to simply shove everything into a closet but it’s another to turn your space into an open, pleasing oasis.  Start by tackling common junk areas such as magazine racks, fireplace mantels, kitchen and bathroom counters, and tabletops, and streamline those closets while you’re at it.  Buyers want lots of storage and BIG closets, so the less things clogging them up, the better.  Potential homeowners will want to see how much space is in there for THEIR stuff, not how much of your stuff can fit in the space.

SHOULD THAT COUCH REALLY GO THERE?  Once you’ve taken the time to purge your home of disorganization and clutter, make a point to stop and look at the big picture.  Your house should invite buyers to sit and stay a while, so if they can’t walk through your space without zigzagging through the room or bumping into furniture, it’s time to rearrange a few things.

Start by putting excessively bulky or unneeded items in storage and moving things away from the walls.  Sure, you might have kept Aunt Mildred’s favorite chair out of obligation and nostalgia, but if it’s only taking up space, consider removing it from the home for a bit.  Plain and simple, buyers want to walk in and see an open—yet cozy—space that invites family bonding, so the furniture should be placed in a way which begets this vision.

If, at the end of the day, you simply have no idea where to begin, you can always utilize the services of an experienced agent (free of charge with no obligation), who can walk through your home and help you rearrange things to produce the correct effect.

CLEAN, CLEAN, AND THEN CLEAN SOME MORE.  Taking the time to clean your home before a showing should be common sense, but while many people understand the importance of presenting a fresh house, most underestimate how clean it should actually be.

At the end of the day, selling your home involves a large amount of money, so buyers want to see more than your standard tidy-up.  Preparing your property for the real estate market involves all of those minute details and corners, such as ceiling fans, baseboards, window blinds, and tile grout.  Additionally, don’t forget to clean your windows both inside AND outside.  You’ll want to let in as much light as possible, so make sure they’re nothing short of squeaky-clean!

SET THE TABLE.  The top thing buyers want from a home is to picture themselves living in it, so you need to put an effort into making sure they can do that.  You can start by setting the kitchen and/or dining room table, since nothing represents family life quite like a beautifully staged dinner table.

To set the right mood, arrange your dinnerware like you’re preparing for a big holiday such as Thanksgiving or Christmas.  Bring out your good china and linens, but keep things slightly simple by setting 2-4 places and adding a decorative centerpiece.

LET THE OUTSIDE COME IN.  I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating.  Most of us appreciate the beauty of the outside world, especially when it’s in full bloom.  So, make a point to fill your home with favorite picks from your garden such as roses, zinnias, peonies, lilies, or fresh fruit and vegetables.  If you’re short on vases, utilize the services of that old antique pitcher or Mason jar stashed in your cabinet.

If you’d like to learn more tips and tricks or would simply like some advice on where to begin, I’d love to offer my services, free of charge.  Please contact me!

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

Mortgage Rates are Rising, So It’s Time to Buy!

mortgage ratesWhile most of us are happy to see the end of the foreclosure crisis and an improved national economy, the truth of the matter is that, while buyers were able to land some amazing deals during the recession, their current situation isn’t looking as promising.  Plain and simple, in the majority of markets, the number of people searching for homes far exceeds the available inventory, which means many buyers are having a difficult time finding a home that truly meets their needs.

In the last few years, buyers were able to score big with low mortgage rates; however, the real estate industry—as well as the federal government—made no secret of the fact that rates were expected to go up in 2015.

As it stands right now, mortgages are up 30 to 40 points from last year’s low.  While the actual math behind these numbers may prove confusing, suffice it to say that a higher mortgage rate will increase your monthly payment, which may potentially limit the type of home you can purchase.  Present numbers would suggest that most buyers can expect an additional $40 on their monthly statement, which may prove to be a lot for many middle- and lower-income households.

Therefore, if your goal is to secure a suitable home at the lowest price possible, it’s worth entering the real estate market sooner rather than later since rates are expected to keep going up.  To get things moving, it’s important to utilize the services of an experienced real estate agent, as well as a reputable mortgage lender who can help you look for discounts, government programs, and other savings during the application process.

With increasing mortgage rates, you’ll need all the savings you can get, so surrounding yourself with a solid team is extremely important.

To learn more about finding your dream home before the mortgage rates get even higher, please feel free to contact me.  I’d love to offer my advice or provide you with referrals for several qualified mortgage professionals.

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