Category Archives: Tips & Advice

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

Simple Reasons Why Great Agents are Vital to Sellers

iStock_000018444654Small_SignPapersWhether you’ve sold a home in the past or are considering doing so in the near future, chances are good that the thought, “Come on, how hard can it be to sell on my own?” has crossed your mind—especially if you live in an area that has a high buyer demand.  Even so, while it may be tempting to play seller and real estate agent, it’s possible that you may have overlooked a few real estate challenges.

At the end of the day, real estate agents have a significant job, so it’s important to understand why agents prove to be indispensable during the selling process.

  1. Exposure.  A great agent is an expert at marketing, which means they will have the experience and know-how to help you not only increase your home’s exposure, but to market it in a way that will appeal to a wide audience.
  2. Outside Perspective. Sure, you may love your home and appreciate its quirks; however, a good real estate agent will bring a sense of objectivity into the equation.  While you may overlook your home’s imperfections, it’s important to remember that most potential buyers will not, so heeding the advice of a solid agent can make all the difference.
  3. They Handle All Showings. Whether you’ve already moved out or you’re simply dealing with a chaotic work schedule, an agent will be able to show your home to prospective buyers and answer their questions as needed.
  4. Market Awareness. Plain and simple, a great agent will not only be familiar with the area, but have access to an abundance of current market data regarding pending and recent sales.  While it’s completely reasonable to expect top dollar for your home, most agents understand that accurately priced homes tend to sell quicker than those that are priced too high.
  5. Negotiation Skills. While some people truly enjoy negotiating, many people find it to be a stressful experience.  Therefore, sellers with a real estate agent will find themselves in a great position because their agent can help secure a contract that will get them the most money.
  6. Legal Knowledge. It should come as no surprise that real estate transactions involve a long list of state and federal legal requirements, which can catch up with a seller if they decide to market their home without a reputable real estate agent.  To avoid legal trouble, an agent will help prepare the necessary disclosure documents and make sure that all of the seller’s paperwork is filed correctly.

If you’re considering selling your home, I offer free no-obligation consultations and would love to help you get the ball rolling!  Please contact me for more information.

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

How to Sell Your Home Before the End of Summer

DenizHome-Summer-Home-DecoratingAs the weather heats up, so does our affinity for tasks such as laying by the pool or sipping iced tea in the shade.  However, while the higher temperatures and long summer days are often conducive to relaxation and even a little—gasp!—laziness, if you have a house to sell, your down time may need to be cut a bit short.

Plain and simple, your property isn’t going to sell itself—even with a fantastic real estate agent in your corner—so it’s wise to operate under the assumption that you’ll need to get your hands a bit dirty to move things along.

Therefore, if you’re looking to get top dollar for your home before school resumes in the fall, consider the following steps:

HIRE YOUR OWN HOME INSPECTOR.  I know what you may be thinking.  “Why would I drop a few hundred dollars to hire my own inspector if the buyer will be bringing one in anyway?”  In truth, it gives you the fantastic opportunity to deal with your home’s imperfections before they have a chance to destroy a fledgling home deal.

Depending upon the age and condition of your home, the inspector may leave you with a long list of findings that will require some work, but it’s important to remember that you don’t have to remedy every single item.  Start by working with your real estate agent to tackle the most pressing issues and establish which ones can wait.

BRING IN THE SUN!  If you’re attempting to sell your home during the warm, sunny months, why not capitalize on the spirit of summer by showing buyers just how enjoyable your home can be at this time of the year?  To set the stage, consider these ideas:

  • Bid Farewell to the Clutter – Too much clutter will cause your home to feel closed-off and stuffy. The goal is to make your home feel like a breath of fresh air, so give buyers room to breathe by getting rid of those extra piles of papers, trinkets, and toys.
  • Foliage is For Inside, Too! – There’s nothing wrong with bringing in the outside. In other words, places things like vases of garden blooms, lush plants, or bowls of fresh fruit in every room.
  • Cheer Things Up – Yes, the standard advice is to keep your surroundings a bit more on the neutral side; however, add a bit of cheer by incorporating bright accents or pops of color in the form of interesting throw pillows, beachy or nautical décor, or colorful candles.
  • Beautify Your Outdoor Spaces – What’s better than a summer barbeque? Nothing!  Therefore, make a point to dust off your porch and patio furniture, add a few colorful table settings, and make sure your yard is lush and trim.
  • Entice Your Buyers – We all love the feel of cool air conditioning after spending time in the sticky Georgia heat, so make sure your buyers breathe a sigh of relief when they enter your home. While you’re at it, feel free to make a fresh pitcher of lemonade so you’ll be sure to stay at the forefront of their memory.

PRICE IS STILL KING.  Sure, you may have spent a large amount of money making your home look like something straight out of HGTV, but if it’s overpriced, most buyers won’t even cross the threshold.  Plain and simple, while buyers may appreciate the amount of work you put into your home, their main goal still involves getting a great deal.  Therefore, while you still don’t want to simply give your house away to the first interested buyer, it’s important to have an understanding of a proper asking price that will give you the most amount of money in the least amount of time.

To find this balance, make a point to work with a real estate agent with experience in establishing comparative market analysis’ (CMA).  A CMA pits your home against others that have sold near you in recent months so that you can gain a better understanding of what buyers are actually willing to pay.

SURROUND YOURSELF WITH EXPERTS.  There’s no denying that, even in the best circumstances, selling a home is stressful, so make a point to build a winning team to help you get the job done.

A good real estate agent will not only help you with the heavy lifting, but will offer consistent, supportive advice throughout the entirety of the process.  Make a point to look for someone with a proven track record of sales and reputation for being the kind of person who truly treats their customers with respect.

As the 2014 RE/MAX All Properties top selling agent, I have both the experience and reputation to get your home sold quickly—and for a great price!

For more information, please feel free to contact me.  I’d love to help you along the way.

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

10 Ways to Add Value to Your Home

323100_fences-gates-02Sure, you might be preparing your home for the summer real estate market, but working towards a great sale price is a process that may be worth starting well before you’re ready to sell.  In short, no one wants to take a hit on their investment, so taking stock of where you can make a few upgrades or adjustments is important.  Yes, some of them may have a greater impact on your wallet than others, but it’s worth remembering that adding value to your home doesn’t have to break the bank.

To get you started, pay attention to the following tips:

Homogenize Your Lawn.  Sure, some buyers may not be too concerned with the state of your grass, but there’s truth to the notion that a patchy lawn takes away from your home’s overall appearance.  To make things a bit more standardized, consider re-seeding any unhealthy areas.

Organize and Clean.  Cluttered home’s not only look smaller, but dirtier.  To help buyers envision their belongings in your home, it’s always wise to remove excess personal effects or trinkets that simply take up space.

Add Insulation.  Depending upon when your home was built, it may be lacking in proper insulation.  If this is the case, taking the time to add additional insulation is not only considered one of the most inexpensive way to increase your home’s energy efficiency, but it’s also the quickest ways to reduce your heating and cooling costs by more than 25%.

Give the Kitchen Some Love.  Most buyers have a tendency to gravitate towards the kitchen before anywhere else in the home, so kitchen upgrades can make a huge difference.  If the idea of remodeling your entire kitchen seems daunting and generally out of the question, consider updating your appliances or replacing old cabinet doors and hardware.

Add a Fence.  While it’s important to remember that certain fences go over better than others (installing a chain link fence may actually hurt your home’s value), buyers with children or pets will generally appreciate the added privacy and security of an enclosed backyard.

Improve Your Bathroom.  Much like the kitchen, a little change can make a big difference.  By updating simple features such as your faucet or sink, you can easily bring an outdated bathroom into the current decade.

Add Outdoor Lights.  Curb appeal isn’t something relegated to the daytime hours.  If you’re looking to beautify and increase your home’s outdoor space, consider adding outdoor lighting that will make your entire property seem not only more appealing, but safer as well.

Check Your Gutters.  Sure, it’s a pain to clean your gutters, but ensuring that your eaves are clean is crucial when it comes to protecting your home from water damage.

Increase Storage Space.  Most buyers are looking for homes with ample storage; however, if your home seems to be lacking in that department, make a point to organize your closets in a way that will make them look larger and more efficient.

Don’t Neglect the Basement.  Basement remodels add usable space and subsequently, value.  Therefore, instead of adding an additional room to your home, consider turning the basement into a everything from a fantastic workroom or home office to a guest or media room.

If you’d like some assistance or need help deciding which aspects of your home may need a bit of attention, please feel free to call me—I offer free, no-obligation consultations.

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

Increase Your Home’s Exposure: Marketing to Millennials

180717315Marketing your home is all about universal appeal, which means you’ve probably heard an abundance of advice imploring you to “de-personalize” your space and to paint in neutral colors.  However, while following such guidance is important, there’s also something to be said for targeting large sections of the population who are in a position to buy.

Enter the Millennial—someone who reached adulthood around the year 2000, putting them in their early-to-mid thirties.  While this generation may seem like a bit of a tough sell, especially since studies have shown that they’re much more open to the idea of choosing a lease over a mortgage, dismissing their purchase potential could be a costly mistake.

Plain and simple, many Millennials are looking to buy their first home, so if you’re looking to tap into their market, you’ll need to advertise, stage, and prep your home in a way that will appeal to their demographic.

HIGHLIGHT THE RIGHT FEATURES.  While generations of years past may have fixed their sights on things like two-car garages and extra storage space, Millennials tend to favor homes with open floor plans, media rooms, hardwood floors, and granite countertops.  By specifically marketing these features, chances are good that you’ll grab the attention of younger buyers.

MAKE YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD A SELLING POINT.  For many Millennials, the neighborhood matters just as much as the home, so make a point to emphasize your close proximity to desirable locations such as malls, restaurants, major cities, and schools.  Simply knowing that your house is located within a convenient location will increase its appeal and cast an otherwise unremarkable home in a new light.

GO GREEN.  It’s no secret that younger generations tend to place more emphasis on being environmentally-conscious, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that this emphasis also comes into play when searching for the right house.

Most builders already use eco-friendly materials and products in newly built homes, but if your property is a bit older, you may want to consider making a few upgrades to stay competitive.  Simply replacing single-pane windows with double-pane glass can go a long way, as can adding water efficient shower heads.

LESS CLUTTER, THINK CLEAN.  While modern architecture tends to be popular with younger buyers, your house doesn’t need to have a minimalist design to maintain its appeal.  Make a point to clear out your personal clutter and remind yourself that less is more.  Your goal is to make your home appear as open and light as possible, so consider home staging that will create clean, crisp surroundings.

GET ONLINE.  Younger buyers live in a technological world, so if you want your home to be seen, it needs to be there as well.  Personal websites, Twitter, and Facebook are great places to advertise if you’re looking to increase exposure, so don’t be afraid to get online.

If you’d like to learn more about how to increase your home’s universal appeal for all ages, please feel free to contact me.  I’d love to put a little money in your pocket!

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