Category Archives: Tips & Advice

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  By updating simple features such as your faucet or sink, you can easily bring an outdated bathroom into the current decade.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

What’s the Difference Between a Buyer’s and Seller’s Market?

realtor-4As the spring real estate season starts to get underway, it appears that the market is showing favor to home sellers. However, while the terms “buyer’s market” or “seller’s market” may be something we regularly hear about, especially in regards to the state of the economy, truly understanding what each expression means is important.

Generally speaking, the above terms signify what you can expect when moving ahead with a real estate transaction.

A buyer’s market occurs when you have more supply than demand, which is what occurred after the housing bubble collapsed in 2007. When this happens, since there are more people looking to sell houses than people looking to buy them, many homeowners wind up accepting less money than their homes are worth and in some cases, may even find themselves offering incentives just to secure an interested buyer.

While this obviously presents a problem for sellers, this type of market is fantastic for buyers who—if they have the money—can find themselves in possession of a fantastic home for thousands below the asking price.

On the other hand, a seller’s market is just the opposite because it indicates that the demand is larger than the supply. In healthy economies, people have more money to spend, which means sellers may see several buyers competing for their property. When this happens, prices tend to go up since people are willing to pay more for what they want.

In this case, sellers are definitely the faction that comes out on top because they are more likely to see a great return on their home investment.

Even so, when considering the buying or selling process in your particular location, it’s important to remember that there may be fluctuation within the same state—or even the same county—which is worth thinking about if you’re considering a relocation. In other words, while your current home may be listed in a so-called “buyer’s market,” the area where you’d like to move may be considered a “seller’s market.” When this happens, you may wind up paying more money than if you were to sell your home at an advantage and buy in a location where you’d also buy at an advantage.

As with anything in life, real estate tends to have a natural ebb and flow so market’s never last forever. While experts try, it’s often difficult to predict what a market will do with 100% accuracy, so when deciding when to buy or sell, it’s worth speaking to an experienced real estate agent who can offer some insight into the local area.

At the current time, North Georgia (particularly the Cumming, Alpharetta, Roswell, Milton, and Gainesville) appears to be a seller’s market, so if you’ve been thinking about selling your home, now is the time to do it!

If you’d like more information or would like to obtain a free estimate of what your home is worth, please contact me.

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

What Exactly Do Real Estate Agents Do?

bigstock_Female_Real_Estate_Agent_Handi_6207483“You hire them to help you sell or buy a home, right?”

While defining the role of a real estate agent may seem somewhat cut and dry, the truth of the matter is that many people lack a true understanding of what agents actually do during the buying or selling process.

In short, yes, a real estate agent is someone who helps you either sell or purchase a property (which may or may not include an actual structure).  However, their actual job involves everything from property valuation and the use of successful marketing techniques to negotiation and home organization.

With this, a truly great agent is someone who not only knows the immediate area, but who keeps up with local and regional market activity, as well as industry news.  In addition, they continually research active, pending, and sold listings in an effort to understand pricing trends so that their clients are better equipped to remain competitive within the market.

Furthermore, while it’s one thing to simply list a home and hope it sells, successful agents are able to assist with everything from staging advice to making recommendations for professional cleaners, painters, and contractors.  Generally speaking, most house hunters are looking for certain things when they tour available properties, so real estate agents come armed with an understanding of buyer behavior and the types of home attributes that will garner positive attention.

Therefore, even if you’re not looking to buy or sell at the current moment, real estate agents are a fantastic resource when looking to understand current housing trends, what your home is worth, or what you can do to prepare for the market.

With that being said, if you have questions, don’t be afraid to make contact with an agent who can share a bit of their knowledge with you.  Yes, they assist with the buying or selling process, but more than anything, real estate agents comprise a wide network of individuals who have an abundance of professional connections to assist you with anything you may need.

To learn more about what an agent can do for you, please contact me.  I’d love to help you along the way.

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

Special Home Buying Considerations for Families with Children

norris-familyAs a single person, you can be free to be a bit creative when it comes to buying a home, especially since too much space can be a burden.  However, if you’re starting the buying process with a few kids in tow, you may find yourself in a situation that’s a bit more complex.

Children not only need a safe place to lay their heads at the end of the day, but space to play and express their individuality.

Therefore, to assess a home’s kid-friendly potential, home buyers with children or those planning to start a family should consider the following tips:

NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE IMPORTANCE OF SIZE.  For families, size is one of the most vital considerations since children need an abundance of space to run and play.  Until you have kids, you never fully appreciate how much room they are capable of consuming—along with the amount of constant destruction they can leave in their wake—so making sure you purchase a home with extra square footage is important.

PRACTICALITY.  When taking the size of a home into account, don’t forget to put a little thought into how it fits with your family’s lifestyle.

-Is there enough closet space for everyone’s things?

-Will your entire family be able to fit into the kitchen or dining room at meal times?

-Is the yard large enough to help your children burn off a bit of steam?

-Is there a mud room or laundry room for your children’s dirty clothes or muddy sports equipment?

-How many bathrooms will you need?

SAFETY.  There’s something to be said for feeling like you don’t have to worry about your children at all times.  When looking for a home, search for someplace that will give you the peace of mind of knowing that your kids are safe, both inside and outside the home.  Particular considerations may include the layout and fixtures, as well as the possibility of furniture placement.

If you’d like to be able to supervise them without having to move from room to room, you’ll probably want to make sure your new home has an open floor plan and if there’s a pool, you’ll probably want to make sure it’s surrounded by a fence.

With this, you may also want to check with your agent to see the location of the nearest hospital and to assess additional safety concerns such as local traffic levels, violent crime rates, and sources of pollution.  Additionally, Georgia contracts allow you to check for registered sex offenders, which can be done through the Georgia Bureau of Investigation website (www.gbi.georgia.gov).

LOCATION.  Even if you’ve already decided that the area is safe enough for your standards, location is still important because your children will need to attend the local schools.  Take notice of their distance from your potential home and pinpoint things like after-school child centers and local parks.

Additional considerations may involve the location of the nearest hospital for emergencies, as well as entertainment ventures such as nearby restaurants, stores, and movie theaters.

In the end, if the home buying process feels like a lot—especially if you’re trying to do it with four or five other people in mind—consider starting with a list of items that are essential for your family and go from there.

If you need help, don’t be afraid to hire the services of an experienced Realtor who can organize your wish list and help you search for the perfect home.

For assistance, please call me.  I’d love to help your family find the property of their dreams.

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