Tag Archives: Cumming Homes

Why Realtor Certifications Matter – CLHMS

CLHMSI am frequently asked what the CLHMS designation in my title stands for.  It is one of several professional designations I hold, and for which I am very proud.  CLHMS stands for Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist.

This designation is acquired through the top luxury home marketing organization in the country, The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing.  It begins with intensive training from the Institute, and once the training is successfully completed, an Agent can then be considered a Member of the Institute.  Members of the Institute receive an amazing array of tools and benefits to use in successfully marketing upper-tier properties.

In order to obtain the designation of CLHMS, one needs to have a certain number of verified sales in the top 10% of their local real estate market.   This designation cannot be simply acquired by doing requisite course work; it must be earned and proven

CLHMS designees have the experience and resources that matter to their clients.  One of the many resources that I have in my arsenal is access to the Online Wealth Lookup (OWL) tool.    This powerful tool assists Agents in qualifying prospects, protecting clients’ best interests and gain leverage in negotiations.

Below is a real-life example which demonstrates the benefit of having this tool  (names have been changed to protect the innocent):

Wayne the buyer is looking at my seller’s listing and another one down the street.  He is playing both properties against each other with a buyer’s agent, John.  I start to feel in my gut that this person is not for real.  I ask John if he has checked him out and he said he “seems” real.  They make an offer on the other listing down the street, get close to mutual acceptance, but don’t quite make it with the competing listing.

Wayne then calls me and asks to see my listing on a Sunday.  I accommodate him and he says John is busy and cannot be there with us.  I show him my listing.  Wayne tells me that he owns an Audi dealership, is wearing an Audi Hat, name drops like crazy and is talking a good game.  After the showing, I agree to tell John how much he loved the house and to write the deal.  We then part ways.

Then that feeling of doubt really started in on me.  I felt he was talking too much and there was something up.   I went into OWL and tried every variation of his name.  He does not show up anywhere as having any net worth.  Having used OWL before, I know some type of net worth would have to show up.  So, I call John and tell him that he could not present an offer to my listing like he did down the street without proof of funds.  The sellers were so heartbroken; they negotiated for days and never knew the party making the offer was not legit.  

Meanwhile, the agent down the street is also upset as her sellers were so excited to get their house sold.  She feels the same apprehension, so she calls the police department.  Low and behold, Wayne is wanted. 

Wayne had not been clued in, and so when he goes into John’s office to write up my listing and “talk” about the deal, the police are waiting for him.    Turns out he has 5 outstanding warrants for fraud, theft, breaking and entering and is not be trusted or left alone with anyone, and he is driving a stolen car.  The police haul Wayne the phony buyer away from the office conference room in hand cuffs.

I used OWL to verify my gut.  It worked, and my seller thanked me after it was over for checking him out and saving him the aggravation that the folks down the street went through.

When you are ready to make a move please give me a call.  I have the training, skills, tools and resources to ensure you achieve your objectives.  It would be my honor to assist you.

Marie Dinsmore, Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist

The Dinsmore Real Estate Team  |  www.dinsmoreteam.com

Marie@DinsmoreTeam.com | 770-712-7789

Featured Neighborhood: The Highlands at Sawnee Mountain

This month’shighlands1 featured division is a beautiful, serene community located just outside the city limits of Cumming, GA.  Filled with the restorative calm of country living, The Dinsmore Team is thrilled to introduce this neighborhood, which provides a respite from the stress of everyday life.

Nestled in the foothills of Sawnee Mountain in Forsyth County , this Waterford Homes swim and tennis community comes complete with an oversized refreshing swimming pool, state-of-the-art tennis courts, and easy access to Sawnee Mountain Park, which boasts 44 acres of walking/jogging trails that include several playgrounds, multi-sport fields, and picnic pavilions.

With seven different housing plans available, the homes within the Highlands community are not only built using top-quality materials, but are designed with an open concept that allows an abundance of natural light into each room.  In addition, fine craftsmanship can be seen throughout, as each floor plan comes with marble countertops, a 42-inch fireplace, gleaming hardwood floors, and elegant brushed chrome hardware.

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Located approximately six miles from exit 13 on GA400 North, families interested in this neighborhood have a wide array of wonderful schools to choose from, including Sawnee Elementary School and Forsyth Central High School, while private schools, such as Pinecrest Academy and Riverside Military Academy, are also within reach.

Known for its ability to transport residents from the bustle of a hectic work week to the serene tranquility of nature, The Highlands still provides excellent shopping and dining within a 10 to 15-minute drive, while the glamour of Atlanta is only 30 minutes away.

If you would like to learn more about what this upscale community has to offer, please contact me.  I would love to hear from you!

Marie Dinsmore, Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist

The Dinsmore Real Estate Team  |  www.dinsmoreteam.com

Marie@DinsmoreTeam.com | 770-712-7789770-712-7789

Your Home Appraisal Came In Low. Now What?

This great article came to me in a newsletter house questionfrom Mary Thompson, Certified Appraiser, with Lanier Appraisal Service.  I wanted to share this with you, as a low appraisal can often be a deal breaker, not to mention a huge source of stress for the seller.   An experienced Realtor will be able to advise if you are listing your home too high for the market, or be ready to go to bat for you if the appraisal appears to be erroneous.

Having the right team on your side will help you get your home sold faster, and at the best market-price possible.

Marie Dinsmore, Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist

The Dinsmore Real Estate Team  |  www.dinsmoreteam.com

Marie@DinsmoreTeam.com | 770-712-7789

***

Article courtesy of Mary Thompson with Lanier Appraisal Service.   Please see their website for additional information:   www.lanierappraisalservice.com

You get the BAD news….The Appraisal came in Below Contract Price. What do you do as an Agent now? This one is long, but well worth the READ to help your sellers out of a difficult situation. Print it off  to Read Later Or Save in a Special File in your Email Program for later reference. 

1. First Please Ask Yourself…Did your GUT tell you value might be a problem?  If so, you really need to re-negotiate that contract and make it work, because this is the sellers only option as another appraisal will not fix the problem.

2. If  indeed you feel appraised value is low based upon your own market analysis or A Pre-Listing Appraisal provided to the Bank’s Appraiser, then review the comps used by the Bank’s Appraiser to see if they used ANY of the comps You provided or the Pre-Listing Report included. If not…Why not? The Appraiser needs to answer that question for you. (See “Benefits of getting a Pre-Listing Appraisal” Link to your Left as well as “Letter to The Seller” which you can give to them during your Listing Appointments. This could save You and the Seller very real head aches at contract time!)

3. Closely Check The First page of the Report which has all the Data on the home. If there are many errors on this page, such as wrong legal description, address (yes, I have seen wrong addresses on reports), type of exterior building materials on the home, Roof material, Windows, Number of Garages, number of bedrooms and baths (remember appraisers separate beds and bath in the terrace level from the GLA or gross living area which is above grade/ground), neighborhood description and boundaries, interior amenities,  there is a GOOD chance the other parts of the report are not reliable, such as the comps used and the adjustments made for the comps.

** Check the Comparable Sales Page. If you see adjustment amounts that are  too low or too high, ask why and how they came up with that number? ** IF YOU ARE DEALING WITH LAKE PROPERTY and See NO adjustments under the Lake Site for the Comps, this is a Red Flag. As you know Lake Lot values vary widely and just because each comp is located on the lake, does not mean the sites are equal in value across the board.  In most cases an adjustment is warranted on the lake. This applies to all specialty properties like Golf Course and Mountain View homes, etc. 

*** Check the ADJUSTMENTS very closely as to the POSITIVE + or NEGATIVE – adjustments made to the comps. An Error here can mean thousands more for the subject property. If the COMP is superior to the subject a NEGATIVE adjustment (against that sales price) should be made to that Comp. If the COMP is inferior to the Subject a POSITIVE adjustment should be made. Their comments should clearly show which are positive and which are negative and some are obvious, such as more or less beds, baths and square footage compared to the Subject.  

4. Check the Sketch for errors! This is one area overlooked by most and it could change the value by Thousands in the Sellers favor. If the Appraiser has UNDER Sized the home and the dimensions are not accurate, even if it is only by 100 square feet that could translate into Two, Three, Four Thousand Dollars depending upon the price per square foot used in the report.

(I have found several errors in other appraisers sketches so do not miss out on this opportunity). You can take that sketch and remeasure the exterior walls and see if it jives with the Appraiser’s Sketch) We do offer Sketch service so if you need help just give me a call. The cost will be well worth the ADDED benefit if the original sketch is not correct. 

5. Ask the question….What expertise does this appraiser have in this area? For Example with Lake property, how many appraisals has this Appraiser completed on the Lake in the past 6 months? City Appraisals….How many appraisals has the Appraiser completed in your given City ie; Gainesville. Values can vary widely within blocks of each other.

*** IT IS REQUIRED BY USPAP (Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice) that the Appraiser MUST be competent in the area in which they appraise or they MUST reject the assignment! It is called the Competency Rule. So unless they seek the advice of a local expert and NAME them in the report, they should not be accepting assignments in areas that they do not know or they violate USPAP.  FANNIE MAE is very specific about this requirement being met by both Lenders who assign the orders and Appraisers who accept them!

6. Put together a clear and concise rebuttal letter for the buyers lender. You need to include 2-3 comps that were not included in the report which you feel should have been included and WHY. You also need to state why any or all of the comps that the appraiser used were NOT the most comparable or why the adjustments or lack thereof are a problem.

7. Beware of the Comps You Provide in a Rebuttal. Realtors tend to use Comps that are Sales Price driven. I have seen many cases where the comps actually made the value lower as they were larger or newer homes or located in superior developments, etc. So please be careful to check these comps closely before you include them in your rebuttal. You do not want them to backfire on you.

8. If you have first hand knowledge about some of the COMPS used by the Appraiser and they are not describing them accurately in the report ie; you know that the interior was in bad shape (even if the FMLS photos showed otherwise). You know it was a distress situation, divorce, etc. that the Appraiser would have no way of knowing about. Anything about those homes, recent upgrades, amenities, that you know exists and the appraiser would have no way of knowing about, should be pointed out in your rebuttal.

9. Check the Comparable PHOTOS used by the Appraiser in their report. If any or all appear to have been taken right off the MLS/FMLS listings, CRY FOUL in your Rebuttal! Some are quite easy to detect as the Comp Photos are Spring Time Shots when the appraisal was done in the winter, etc. Appraisers are supposed to drive by the Comps and take their own photos for most every Lending Transaction, unless the home sits way back off the road or is gated, etc. If you see that they are using only FMLS/MLS photos, this likely means they never drove by the home and this is critical in order to get a feel for the neighborhood as well as how the home looks and compares to the subject. 

**In your rebuttal state that some or all of the photos were taken from FMLS/MLS Listings and you are very concerned that the Appraiser never drove by them, otherwise their own photos would be used in the report. Appraiser will have to answer to this. 

10. Consider an Independent Rebuttal Appraisal to provide to the Lender and Bank Appraiser. This will certainly confirm or deny the LOW Appraisal. If it does confirm a low appraised value, it can go a long way to get the Bank’s appraised value up. Even if it is just a few thousand dollars, it is worth the cost of the Appraisal.

This entire process does take time, but if done properly, it CAN and HAS been successful. I suggest bringing your Seller heavily into the process. They can consider it a Challenge to work on. The owner knows their home better than anyone and they can comb through the report for errors which can be included in your rebuttal and which will force the Bank and Appraiser to take a second look at the Report. Sellers can drive by the comps and tell you how they compare in neighborhood location, appeal, etc.

I hope this helps you to bring about a successful conclusion to your Rebuttal. Just come right out and ask the Appraiser & Bank to reconsider the facts put forth in your rebuttal. You can ask for reconsideration or for another appraisal if you feel you are not getting a positive response from the Lender and the Lender’s Appraiser.  They cannot just ignore your request for Review.

Seven Reasons to Have Your Home Professionally Staged

If you’re in the market to sell your home, you obviously want to be able to sell your home quickly and at the highest value you can possibly receive.

Everyone has an inherent knowledge of certain factors,  but I cannot emphasize enough the impact that curb appeal, cleanliness, and how your home is staged matter to attaining your goals.

Here are some interesting facts about home staging from About.com:

  • Most buyers form an opinion about a home within the first 7-10 seconds of arriving.
  • Over 90% of buyers look at homes they’ve found on the Internet. It is critical that your home makes a strong first impression online. Staging will help you do just that.
  • Sellers who spent $500 on staging recovered over 343% of the cost when they sold their home. (Homegain.com)
  • In controlled tests selling identical homes, professionally staged vs. those not staged, the non-staged houses sold in 102 days, while the staged houses sold in 45 days. (Real Estate Staging Association)
  • It is estimated that only 10% of home buyers can visualize the potential of a home. That means 90% are not going to be able to look past imperfections including dirt and clutter
  • According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the average staging investment is between 1 and 3% of the home’s asking price, which generates a return of 8 to 10%. That’s a pretty good investment.
  • Staged homes spent 83% less time on the market than non-staged homes. (HomeGain.com)

There is an art to staging, and I am happy to announce the newest members of The Dinsmore Team, Karen Hartz and Kelly Tam – Karen & Kelly Home Staging and Redesign.   Karen & Kelly possess over seven years of experience in staging homes for sale, and are an effective and affordable option for sellers (as well as realtors).

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Property stagers are not interior designers.   While some property stagers may refurnish an entire home, Karen & Kelly Home Staging and Redesign work with your existing furnishings to ensure proper placement, or removal, in order to show your home in its best light (value) and help prospective buyers see the home as “move-in” ready (selling faster).

Karen & Kelly can be available for a 1-hour consultation to go through your home, assess your home’s inventory and make necessary suggestions, or assist you through the entire process.   They also have partnerships with a variety of exceptional and trusted service providers if you need assistance with painting, construction, handy-man services, etc., as well a full stock of accessories to make your home stand out from the crowd.

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If you are selling your home, I hope that you will seriously consider consulting with Karen & Kelly Home Staging and Redesign before listing.  You can reach Karen Hartz at 404-432-8760404-432-8760, and Kelly Tam at 404-307-6603404-307-6603.

 

Marie Dinsmore, Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist

The Dinsmore Real Estate Team  |  www.dinsmoreteam.com

Marie@DinsmoreTeam.com | 770-712-7789770-712-7789

Georgia REALTORS Predicts Continued Price Gains for Atlanta Sellers

More good news for home sellers in Georgia, and especially in the continuously growing and desirable areas of Cumming, Milton, Alpharetta, Johns Creek, Suwanee and Lake Lanier!  Below is a snapshot of a report from the Georgia REALTORS’ Bulletin.

If you are looking to sell your home, please contact me so that I can ensure you receive the most value from you home for the current market conditions.

Marie Dinsmore, Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist

The Dinsmore Real Estate Team  |  www.dinsmoreteam.com

Marie@DinsmoreTeam.com | 770-712-7789770-712-7789

sellers market

Housing Indicators Show Continued Price Gains in January     

Housing Indicators show that the same factors that catalyzed widespread market recovery in 2012 and 2013 are likely to continue in 2014, though perhaps at a more moderate pace:

  • Median Prices rose 25 percent to $141,100
  • Average Prices rose 23 percent to $183,834
  • New Listings increased 8 percent
  • Pending Sales were down 6 percent
  • Inventory Levels shrank 4 percent
  • Months Supply of Homes for Sale decreased 6 percent to 5.1
  • Days on Market decreased 9 percent to 82 days
  • Percent of Original Price Received increased .3 percent to 94 percent

Click here to access the full report.

Click here to access the 2013 year-end report.

 

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