Tag Archives: Choosing the Right Agent

Utility Savings For Seniors and Low-Income Earners

cold winterDo you know any seniors or low-income family that might need some additional help this winter paying their bills?   You might be able to help them by letting them know about the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).  LIHEAP helps keep families safe and healthy through initiatives that assist families with energy costs.

There are both Federal and State assistance programs.  Here are a few, but there are more listed at the site,  or you can call them directly (800-869- 1150).   http://dfcs.dhs.georgia.gov/energy-assistance)

  • SCANA:  The regulated natural gas provider program, provided by SCANA Energy and partially funded by the state’s universal service fund, provides natural gas service to low income households and to consumers who are unable to obtain or maintain natural gas service from another marketer.  Households meeting the low-income requirements established by the Georgia Department of Human Resources qualify for a reduced security deposit, special rates and a lower customer service fee. To sign up, customers need to contact the community action agency serving their county.  Those not meeting low-income requirements may still qualify for service with the Regulated Provider. Call 1-866-245-7742 for complete details.  www.scanaenergyregulated.com/en/rates/
  • Atlanta Gas Light: Senior citizens who are 65 years of age or older and have a total annual combined household income of $14,355 or less are eligible for up to a $14 monthly discount on their Atlanta Gas Light Company base charge. Natural gas service must also be in the customer’s name to be eligible. For questions, call Metro Atlanta at 770-994-1946 or outside Metro Atlanta at 1-800-427-5463.  www.aglc.com/Home/EnergyAssistance.aspx
  • Gas South: Gas South offers its customers, aged 65 and older, various senior rates which provide a discount on natural gas consumption charges. Senior customers may also be eligible for discounted customer services charges and up to a $14.00 monthly discount on Atlanta Gas Light base charges.
    1-877-332-5442  www.gas-south.com/residential/rate-plans.aspx
  • Georgia Natural Gas: Customers who are 65 years of age or older with an annual combined gross income per household of $14,355 or less are eligible for a $14.00 monthly discount on their base charge.  770-850-6200 or 1-877-850-6200     www.georgianaturalgas.com/residential/seniors.html
  • Georgia Power: The monthly base charge ($10.50 for gas and $14.00 for electric) is waived for customers who are at least 65 years old and the total household income is not more than $22,340 annually.  Call 1-888-660-5890 (option #8)
  • The Heating Energy Assistance Team (HEAT): The HEAT program is administered by the Georgia Department of Human Resources statewide through Community Action Agencies. Private citizens and the natural gas industry provide funding.  Call 678-406-0212   www.heatga.org/
  • Project SHARE: A statewide program funded by electric utility customers who donate through their monthly electric bills. The program is administered by The Salvation Army.    Call 404-873-3101 (metro Atlanta) or 1-800-257-4273.  Find your local Salvation Army

Wishing you and your family a safe holiday season!

Marie Dinsmore, Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist

The Dinsmore Real Estate Team  |  www.dinsmoreteam.com

Marie@DinsmoreTeam.com | 770-712-7789

5 Tips for Preparing to Purchase a Home

Whether you are looking toHispanic couple outside home purchase a home for the first time, or you have owned a home in the past, the lending environment has changed and perspective buyers really do need to prepare in advance of their search.   Here are some tips that will make the purchase process a whole lot easier:

1. Make sure you know what’s on your credit report.   Pam Wright, with OnQ Finance wrote a great article on how to check your credit.   You need to get your report early in the process so you can make sure that it is accurate and clear any negative or erroneous information.    It’s free to get your credit report; there’s no need to sign up for services that want to charge you.

2. Get rid of as much debt as possible.   Lenders want to make sure that you are not overextended, and that you pay your debts on time.   The better your payment record, the higher your credit score.  You also need to make sure that once you do start the mortgage process, that you do not take on any new debt.   Here’s another great article from Pam, explaining what not to do.

3. Have cash available for the purchase.    While you may be financing the bulk of your home, you will still need cash for such things as earnest money, inspection/appraisals, HOA fees, utility deposits, moving expenses, etc.   These will be in addition to the down payment.   Your down payment amount can vary, but it would be wise to have at least 20% available for a down payment.

4. Have an idea of where you’d like to live –  This is obviously the more fun part of preparing for a purchase.   If you are looking to purchase in a particular subdivision, I can send you free, no-bother, updates on homes being listed in that neighborhood.    Just click here to sign up, and don’t forget to add the Subdivision name in the Comments section (Georgia subdivisions only please).   You will then receive automatic updates anytime any home is listed, sold, or there is a price change.  If you are looking for new construction in a particular area, let me know as there are new subdivisions coming in the North Metro-Atlanta area.

5. Get pre-approved. There was a time when you went house hunting, put in a bid, and then you went looking for a mortgage.   Those days are gone.   In today’s market, you need to be able to show up front that you can qualify for a home in the price range for which you are looking with a Pre-Approval.   This will also you save you time and frustration when your realtor is trying to find homes for you that will fit your needs and budget.

The purchase of a home is probably one of the biggest investments you will make in life.   Being properly prepared will help make the process go more smoothly and reduce any negative surprises.

Please contact me if you are considering buying or selling.

Marie Dinsmore, Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist

The Dinsmore Real Estate Team  |  www.dinsmoreteam.com

Marie@DinsmoreTeam.com | 770-712-7789

More Good News for Georgia Home Sellers

According to the Georgia Association of Realtors recent monthly indicator report, October continued to be a great month for sellers.    The report shows that home values continued to rise and inventory continued to decline.

Even better news for sellers…  Days on Market was at the lowest point in 9 years and Percent of Original List Price has significantly increased for Georgians!

2013-10 Days on Market2013-10 Percent of Asking

Some of the highlights from the report are:

•           Median Prices rose 34% to $147,150

•           Average Prices rose 23% to $186,362

•           New Listings increased 8%

•           Pending Sales were up 17%

•           Inventory Levels shrank 10%

•           Month’s Supply of Homes for Sale decreased 13% to 5.4 months

•           Days on Market decreased 22% to 75 days

•           Percent of Original Price Received increased 1% to 94.5%

Click here to access the full report.

Please contact me if you would are considering selling and would like to know more.

Marie Dinsmore, Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist

The Dinsmore Real Estate Team  |  www.dinsmoreteam.com

Marie@DinsmoreTeam.com | 770-712-7789

2014 Housing Market Forecast

Housing UpThere was a great article in the Washington Business Journal on the 2014 Housing Market that I thought I would share, quoting two notable Economists.

According to Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors, good things will continue to happen in the housing market in 2014.   Due to suppressed activity during the past four years, rising demand, and a steady decline in inventory, Mr. Yun expects home prices to increase in 2014 as well as 2015, nationally.   He predicts that the nation median existing home prices should increase by 6% in 2014.

“Real estate will be a hedge against inflation, with values rising 15 percent cumulatively over the next three years, also meaning there will be fewer upside-down home owners,” Yun said. “Today is a perfect opportunity for moderate-income renters to become successful home owners, but stringent mortgage credit conditions are holding them back.”

Mark Vitner, Managing Director and Senior Economist at Wells Fargo, predicts that distressed homes (short-sales and foreclosures) will still be around, but will be declining.  “Distressed homes right now are like an after-Christmas sale – most of the best stuff has been picked over, but make no mistake they’ll be with us for a while.”

Yun projects the market share of distressed sales will decline from about 25% in 2012 to 8% in 2014.

Marie Dinsmore, Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist

The Dinsmore Real Estate Team  |  www.dinsmoreteam.com

Marie@DinsmoreTeam.com | 770-712-7789

Traditions – New Lifestyle Community in South Forsyth

While groundbreaking just took place, this new 400-home community in South Forsyth County, Georgia is drawing a lot of interest.

130917_Traditions_Rendering-01

Traditions will feature amenities for families of all ages including playgrounds, sports fields, tennis courts, a signature pool and lakefront clubhouse as well as multiple parks and open spaces sprinkled about the community. All of this will be within walking distance to Fowler Park and the Big Creek Greenway Trail. In addition, a grocery-anchored neighborhood marketplace with pedestrian access from Traditions is planned directly adjacent to the community.

Traditions - Phase 1

The homes, ranging from $300,000 to $500,000, will be designed by the award-winning architecture firm Wakefield Beasley and will include standard features that would be considered extras in other communities.  Local artists and designers have also been contracted to provide unique touches to Traditions homes and its outdoor amenities, creating inspiring outdoor spaces and floor plans for today’s busy family.

Traditions siteplanTraditions is located near top-rated schools (Vickery Elementary School, Vickery Middle School, West Forsyth High School) and is less than two miles from GA 400 and will be the closest residential community in Forsyth County to Atlanta (accessible by either the McFarland Rd. or Hwy 141 exits). Residents will be a short drive to The Collection (formerly known as The Avenue) and many other popular restaurants, shopping and other entertainment venues.

FrontDoor Communities is the developer for this new community.   Terry Russell, FrontDoor’s CEO and Partner said, “Forsyth County is one of the most sought-after and fastest-growing residential submarkets in the area. We couldn’t have chosen a more ideal location for our entry into the metro Atlanta market.”

Phase I should be completed by mid-2014.   If you are interested in this fabulous new community, please contact me before the choice lots have been taken.

Marie Dinsmore, Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist

The Dinsmore Real Estate Team  |  www.dinsmoreteam.com

Marie@DinsmoreTeam.com | 770-712-7789