Tag Archives: Home Buying

Hiring Help for Home Improvement Projects

home repairWhether you are in over your head or juggling too many tasks, hiring help can be a great idea. Projects can benefit from specialized expertise, more work can be accomplished at one time, and as a homeowner you can step back from the tasks at hand to get a wider perspective. The time and energy you save may more than offset the expense.

However, trouble ensues when the wrong help is hired. Establishing what you want to accomplish is essential, so size things up thoroughly. When looking at a specific project or problem, you might benefit from having a few people look at it and offer ideas of how they might approach a solution. Sometimes the first ideas are not the best, and as you look at issues, new priorities emerge. Are you looking for an interim fix that will carry you through until you can “do it right”? What is the scale of the project and is the cost/benefit in line with your budget and goals? Asking the right questions will help you gain insight into the true nature of what you are doing.

For example, let’s say that you have three projects at hand:

  1. You need cosmetic fixes to your guest bathroom.
  2. The deck that is central to your summer enjoyment is rotting and requiring a lot of time and attention so that it can be used safely.
  3. Your septic system is failing.

How do you begin to find help for these projects? You might begin by understanding the level of help that you need. Do you want to supervise or do only a portion of the work? Do you need a handyman or general laborer? What are the benefits of getting someone more skilled with the type of help you require? What is the scope of the project? Will there be permitting/inspections involved with the project? Who is going to manage the project?

A failing septic system becomes a health risk, and often requires sign-off by a licensed professional. Deck projects can fall into a grey area, but when incorrectly built could pose a major safety issue. When in doubt, inquire with your local building authority so that you are certain that you are following the correct course of action, and getting the permits and inspections that are required by law.

Get referrals: Rather than trust your job to luck, find out if friends or family have used a person or service that they would recommend. Many online resources exist to help see the consumer ratings for businesses, but this information could be less than reliable, so check it thoroughly. Look for workers or service providers that are licensed, bonded and insured as protection for both parties should an accident occur on site, or problems with the project later incur liability. Licensure ensures a level of knowledge in an area, and insurance and bonding ensures that there are financial resources available should you need to bring a lawsuit against the service provider that requires a monetary settlement or costly repairs. Yes, you might be paying more for a professional with these credentials, but in the long run, it is worth it when working on any project where money or safety is at stake.

Check those references! Yes, actually talk to people who have previously received services. Find out the details: Was the project finished in a timely manner, within budget, with quality work and materials? How was the communication? Were there surprises, and how were they handled? Was the area cleaned up to satisfaction? In the event that there was a problem after the work was complete, how was that handled? Check with the state department of licensing to see if there have been violations or lawsuits against an individual or company, and the Better Business Bureau can help determine if there have been complaints filed against the business. Look at samples of their work — and talk to those whose projects have been shown. If you find someone great, let them know you might have more work — and find out who they might recommend if they were not available!

Face Value: Meet with the handyman or service provider and get a feel for how things might go if you hired them. If it seems difficult to discuss the project or work prior to beginning, imagine how things might go if the work gets challenging. Even if others recommend this person or service, you are the one who will be dealing with them now, so size them up for yourself.

The Devil is in the Details: Get written estimates and contracts. Understand how payment is expected. Some short jobs are accomplished with no payment up front, other jobs require that materials are paid for as delivered, and some providers require some payment prior to the beginning of work. Arrangements that allow for payment once the job is completed, ensure that the customer has some feeling of control over the job being completed to their satisfaction. Be certain that estimates and guarantees are in writing so that there is clear communication about expectations.

Marie Dinsmore, Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist

The Dinsmore Real Estate Team  |  www.dinsmoreteam.com

Marie@DinsmoreTeam.com | 770-712-7789

New Construction Continues to Boom in Forsyth County

Don’t believe me?   Below are over 30 new construction opportunities in new construction 2Cumming alone.

Remember that when entering into any real estate transaction, even when purchasing a new home, you need a Buyer’s Agent.   The selling agent is obviously interested in getting you to pay top-dollar for their property; however, a buyer’s agent will help counteract this by taking note of other similar sales in the area and making sure you aren’t paying too much.  In essence, they are there to buffer you and negotiate on your behalf so that by the time you close, your house has not only been properly inspected, but has also been placed in perfect condition.

It’s important to have someone in your corner who will make sure that you are taken care of throughout the entire process.   The Dinsmore Team can help you find the right mortgage lender, closing attorney and help you find your perfect home.

Marie Dinsmore, Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist

The Dinsmore Real Estate Team  |  www.dinsmoreteam.com

Marie@DinsmoreTeam.com | 770-712-7789

CUMMING

  • Ansley at Pilgrim Mill: from the mid $150’s – pool; tennis, cabana
  • Bridgetowne:  from the mid $170’s – model home available; four lighted tennis courts; Jr. Olympic swimming pool with separate kiddie area with water fountains; clubhouse with  full kitchen; basketball court; fitness center; large well-equipped playground
  • Brookhaven at Lanier Ridge:  from the $280’s – model home available; pool; clubhouse; gated; convenient location; active adult
  • Brookside: from the $200’s – model home available; swimming pool; tot lot; low Forsyth county taxes; excellent Forsyth county schools
  • Brookstone:  from the mid $150’s – pool; tennis
  • Edgebrook:  from the mid $300’s – model home available; great location & schools
  • Enclave at Avington:  from the $300’s – Lambert High; complete lawn care
  • Fieldstone Preserve:  from the $400’s – model home available, estate lots; lifestyle community
  • Gates at Castleberry:  from the $260’s – model home available; Forsyth County schools; just 2 miles to GA400; beautiful wooded homesites with hilltop views
  • Greystone Trace: from $179 – basements; great schools; small quaint community
  • Heathstone: from the $160’s – pool and cabana; private gated community; excellent Forsyth county schools; low Forsyth county taxes; easy access to GA400; close proximity to fine dining; shops and entertainment; minutes to Lake Lanier and downtown Cumming
  • Highlands at Sawnee Mountain: from the $250’s – pool; tennis; playground; cabana
  • Hopewell Manor: from the $190’s – model home available, close to GA Premium outlet and Lake Lanier; great prices
  • Hunters Walk: from the $240’s – model home available; pool; tennis; sidewalks
  • James Creek: from the $190’s – model home available; pool; water slide; tennis; clubhouse; playground; great schools
  • Lake Forest: from the $340’s – final opportunities
  • Liberty: from the $290’s – model home available; convenient to GA400
  • Longview: from the mid $150’s – minutes to Lake Lanier
  • Manor at Kingswood: from the $200’s – ranch plans available
  • Marseille: from the mid $300’s – model home available; pool; convenient location; cabana; great schools
  • Provence: from the high $300’s – model home available; great location
  • Saddlebrook: from the low $200’s – model home available; best-selling community in Forsyth County; final opportunities available; great amenities.
  • Shiloh Woods: from the high 100’s – pool; tennis; single family & townhome community; south Forsyth high school district
  • St. Michaels Bay: from the high $300’s – model home available, lake living
  • The Springs at Burnt Bridge: from the $150’s – model home available; playground; great schools; ranch plans
  • Stonehaven Pointe: from the $190’s – model home available, pool, water slide, tennis, sidewalks, clubhouse, playground
  • Telfair: from the $200’s – model home available; great price per sq. ft; amazing amenities; great location
  • Trammel Estates: from the $400’s – convenient location, great schools
  • The Villas at Castleberry Township: from the $190’s – model home available; low maintenance; active adult living; well-appointed ranch villas; attached and detached homes with basements available
  • Villages at Settingdown Creek: from the $160’s – pool; tennis
  • Wellstone: from the mid $200’s – model home available; pool; clubhouse; convenient location; active adult; hardwood floors; granite; stainless steel appliances; maintenance free; ranch plans
  • Westbrook: from the $300’s – model home available; beautiful community with fabulous amenities in the popular South Forsyth area; only two opportunities remain
  • Windermere: from the high $300’s – model home available; amenities galore; final new homes

SUWANEE / ALPHARETTA

  • Castille: from the $300’s – estate sized lots; private gated community; excellent schools
  • Champions Run: from the $240’s – model home available, new phase
  • Herring Township:  from the $160’s – model home available; pool; tennis; convenient location
  • Lakepoint at John’s Creek:  from the mid $200’s – townhomes; great schools
  • The Reserve at Settles Bridge:  from the high $300’s – Lambert High School; brand new community
  • Riverbrooke:  from the $300’s – model home available; pool; tennis
  • Waterbrooke:  from the $190’s – model home available

Homeowners, Don’t Forget to File for Your 2014 Homestead Exemption!

homesteadHomestead exemptions reduce property taxes for most homeowners by sheltering a certain amount of a home’s value from taxes.  You are entitled to a homestead exemption if you owned your home as of January 1st in a taxable year, you actually occupy the home, and it is your legal residence.  Homestead exemptions usually apply as long as the homeowner lives in the residence.

The deadline to file is April 1st for most Georgia Counties, but make sure to check with your local County Tax Commissioner’s office to file and save.

Here are links to several counties’ websites for more information on filing your Homestead Exemption:

Cherokee County:  678-493-6120

Clayton County:      770-477-3311

Cobb County:         770-528-8600

DeKalb County:      404-298-4000

Douglas County:    770-920-7272

Fayette County:     770-461-3652

Forsyth County:     770-781-2106

Fulton County:       404-612-6440

Gwinnett County:   770-822-8800

Henry County:        770-288-8180

Paulding County:   770-443-7606

Don’t forget to file and save!

Marie Dinsmore, Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist

The Dinsmore Real Estate Team  |  www.dinsmoreteam.com

Marie@DinsmoreTeam.com | 770-712-7789

Featured Neighborhood: Westbrook

This month, we wanted to highlight another great swim/tennis community in a well-sought after Forsyth County area.   The homes of Westbrook are a fusion of the old and new, craftsman and traditional/classic architecture and estate-sized homes, with all the upgrades you would expect in a custom home.  The builders in this community are known for their quality:  Hedgewood Homes, O’Dwyer Homes and Peachtree Residential.

westbrook3

Covered porches, sundecks, spacious master suites, open floor plans, and gourmet kitchens are the norm in these luxurious homes.  In addition to the homes’ quality, the neighborhood enjoys fabulous amenities:  a clubhouse, community pool, lighted tennis courts, and outdoor basketball courts.  This community also features over seven acres of green space, walking trails, a fishing pond, parks, a playground, and a historic covered bridge!  With the charming streetscapes and so much to do right in the neighborhood, you immediately feel a part of the community.

Looking for more to do?  This vibrant neighborhood is located close to Exit 13 off GA400, so you’re only minutes away from great restaurants and shopping at The Collection, North Point Mall, North Georgia Premium Outlet Mall and Lake Lanier, but close enough to work anywhere in North metro-Atlanta.  The community is also positioned so your children will attend great schools:  Vickery Creek Elementary and Middle Schools, and West Forsyth High School.

If you would like more information regarding Westbrook or other extraordinary communities along the GA400 corridor, please contact me.

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

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