Tag Archives: Home Buying

Buying a Home? Set Yourself Up for Success

bigstock-African-American-family-celebr-14087630While some of us may be prone to spontaneous bouts of spending or find ourselves unable to stick to a strict budgeting system, when it comes to buying a home, it’s important to remember that such a large financial decision warrants more than a few helpings of discretion, sensibility, and budgeting.

With that being said, it’s important to stay on the right path, especially if financial discipline remains a challenge for you.  Therefore, the following tips will help you keep your eye on the prize.

KEEP SCORE: Plain and simple, the better your credit score, the better your mortgage terms will wind up being when it comes time to apply for a loan.  While improving a depressed score may take a good deal of work, a good credit rating can literally save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.  Therefore, start by reviewing your credit a few months before you intend to place your loan application and if your score is in the 600s or lower, along with making consistent on-time payments, try to pay down your balances so they sit below 30% of your limit.

CONSIDER ALL COSTS: Sure, the cost of the home itself is a great starting point, but it’s important to factor in all of the other costs of homeownership, such as taxes and insurance, as well as other expenses such as utilities and homeowner association fees.  With that, don’t forget about the ever-necessary rainy day fund which will help you cope when various issues demand repair and go into the process with the understanding that the average homeowner spends 1-4% of a home’s value on property maintenance each year.

BE FLEXIBLE IN YOUR SEARCH: In our culture of instant gratification, it can be a little difficult to distinguish between wants and needs, but in order to make a sensible housing decision, making the distinction between the two is imperative.  When it comes to building your list of must-haves, include items that will directly affect your quality of life, such as the home’s location, its price, the number of bedrooms, and the its square footage.  While you may have your heart set on hardwoods and granite, it’s important to prepare yourself for life’s necessary concessions so that you can remain flexible and stay within your budget.

KEEP YOUR COOL: Purchasing new things is exhilarating for everyone; however, buying a home is not like getting excited over a new pair of shoes.  Using a bit of self-restrain will not only prevent you from overspending or choosing a home that doesn’t fully meet your needs, but it will protect you in markets where the homes are selling quickly.  Even if you have your heart set on someplace you thought would be perfect, be prepared to walk away if the home inspection reveals more defects than your able to deal with.  With this, maintain a sense of calm if you find yourself in the middle of a bidding war, as it can push you to spend more than is prudent.  At the end of the day, maintaining a sense of patience will help you remember that whether your offer is accepted or the home inspection goes off without a hitch, there are always other great homes available.

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

The Myths and Realities of Home Appraisals

78377971Whether you’re planning on buying or selling a home, chances are good that you’ll come into contact with an appraiser at some point; however, while most of us have a basic understanding of what a home appraisal is, there are a lot of myths that surround the process that are worth understanding before making the decision to buy or sell.

MYTH: The appraised value of a property will vary depending upon whether the appraisal has been completed for the buyer or seller.

REALITY: Since the appraiser has no vested interest in the outcome of the appraisal, they should conduct their assessment with a sense of objectivity and no special regard for the party who initiated the process.

MYTH: A home’s market value should be in line with its replacement cost.

REALITY: While market value seems like it should be related to replacement cost, it’s important to understand the distinction between the two ideas since they are actually quite different.  For example, even though your home’s replacement cost may be set at $450,000, its market value may sit closer to $400,000.  In short, market value represents the amount of money a buyer would likely pay when not under pressure to buy or sell, while replacement cost represents the actual dollar amount required to reconstruct the property in-kind.

MYTH: Appraisers use a formula, which details the specific price per square foot, to settle upon the value of a home.

REALITY: When an appraisal is completed, all factors pertaining to the home’s value are taking into account, including its location, condition, size, proximity to local facilities, and recent sale prices of comparable properties.

MYTH: When the sale prices of homes in any given area are reported to be rising by a particular percentage, local homeowners can expect their individual properties to appreciate by the same percentage.

REALITY: While area can make a difference, value appreciation of specific properties is still determined on an individual basis, which takes into account factors such as data on comparable properties and other relevant considerations.

MYTH: When applying for purchase or refinancing loans, consumers pay for their appraisal, which means they “own” it upon completion.

REALITY: While a small portion of your loan may go towards paying for the appraisal, it is, in fact, legally owned by the lender.  Still, under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, consumers who submit a written request must be furnished with a copy of their appraisal report.

MYTH: An appraisal is the same as a home inspection.

REALITY: Yes, at first glance the two job descriptions may seem similar; however, their final functions remain quite different.  The purpose of an appraiser is to form an opinion of the value of a home—and to process the resulting report—while a home inspector determines the condition of the home and its major components before stating their findings.

In the end, if you’re looking to add value to your home for an expected appraisal or you would like to know more about the process, it’s important to speak with an experienced Realtor who can help you not only make the right decisions, but feel comfortable about the appraisal proceedings.

If you would like to know more, please feel free to contact me.  I’m always here.

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

Neighborhood Highlight: Ruth’s Farm – Alpharetta, GA

TPG_logo
12722790Developed through a partnership between The Providence Group and KM Homes, this spacious, upscale neighborhood provides elegant single-family homes starting in the low $600’s.
Each executive style property features all-new designs with standard three-car garages and four-sided brick or stacked stone exteriors; however, buyers also have the freedom to customize their home with an assortment of options, to include third level retreats, covered porches, two-sided fire places, media rooms, bonus rooms, sun rooms, and basement home sites.

Brentwood-Family-Roomw-300x212Currently, Fall move-in dates are being offered and the new Providence Group Design Center is available to help buyers select their interior design options once they’ve settled upon one of our models that range from 3,400 to 5,292 square feet, or four to six bedrooms.

Located just off exit 10 on 400, the division is within walking distance to Milton High School and provides easy access to Atlanta, Northpoint Mall, an assortment of upscale restaurants, and Lake Sydney Lanier.

Ruth’s Farm Schools:

Crabapple Crossing Elementary

12775 Birmingham Highway

Milton, GA 30004sitemap

770-740-7055

Northwestern Middle School

12805 Birmingham Highway

Milton, GA 30004

770-667-2870

Milton High School

13025 Birmingham Highway

Milton, GA 30004

770-740-7000

 

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

So, What Exactly is the Fair Housing Act?

My-interracial-nuclear-familyWhen it comes to real estate and most forms of housing, the Fair Housing Act creates a blanket of sorts that envelops those looking to purchase or rent a residence.  In essence, while there are still stipulations, race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability cannot be a deciding factor in things such as refusing to rent or sell housing, set different terms or conditions, or deny a dwelling.

Dating back to the 1960’s, the large political movements pushing to outlaw discrimination also set their sights on a broad range of housing transactions—to include mortgage lending, advertising, zoning, and homeowner’s insurance.  Termed fair or open housing, President Lyndon B. Johnson urged congress to finally pass the federal Fair Housing Act, which sought to create a cohesive housing market in which a person’s look, culture, or background would not limit their access to property.

WHAT IS PROHIBITED?

In the sale and rental of housing, no one may take any of the following actions based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability:

  • Refuse to rent or sell housing
  • Refuse to negotiate for housing
  • Make housing unavailable
  • Deny a dwelling
  • Set different terms, conditions, or privileges for sale or rental of a dwelling
  • Provide different housing services or facilities
  • Falsely deny that housing is available for inspection, sale, or rental
  • For profit, persuade owners to sell or rent (blockbusting)
  • Deny anyone access to or membership in a facility or service (such as a multiple
  • listing service) related to the sale or rental of housing

In mortgage lending, no one may take any of the following actions on the basis of:

  • race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability
  • Refuse to make a mortgage loan;
  • Refuse to provide information regarding loans;
  • Impose different terms or conditions on a loan, such as different interest rates, points, or fees;
  • Discriminate in appraising property;
  • Refuse to purchase a loan; or
  • Set different terms or conditions for purchasing a loan

Individuals who feel that they have been discriminated against in the housing process can lodge a complaint with HUD’s Office of Fair Housing & Equal Opportunity (FHEO), where the issue in question will be forwarded to the state; however, it’s important to note that local agencies will be investigating the case instead of FHEO.

If you have any questions, I would love to be of service.  Please do not hesitate to contact me for assistance.

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

Traditions: Update on this New Lifestyle Community in South Forsyth

Interest still remains high in this fabulous new 400-home community in South Forsyth County, Georgia, and I will continue to post updates as I have them.   The latest update we received was regarding the initial park plans.

When complete, Traditions will have over 10 parks throughout the 158-acre community.  At the end of this post you will find the initial designs for Phase I parks and inspirational imagery.

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.

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.

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.

Marie Dinsmore, Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist

The Dinsmore Real Estate Team  |  www.dinsmoreteam.com

Marie@DinsmoreTeam.com | 770-712-7789

Traditions Park - 1

Traditions Park 4

Traditions Park 3 Traditions Park 2