Tag Archives: Home Ownership

5 Important Considerations for First-Time Home Buyers

ffdaWhen it comes to finding the perfect home to rent, your job is much easier because the goal is to find a home that “meets my needs right now” instead of “meets my needs for the next 20 years.”  Plain and simple, making the decision to purchase a property is a much bigger commitment than renting, both in terms of finances and length of time that you’ll wind up staying in one place.

With that being said, due to the amount you’ll have to invest in your final decision, it’s important to do a bit of upfront homework so you don’t wind up in a bind down the road.

Therefore, if you’re getting ready to buy your first place, there are five things that should be considered in advance.

1.) ADDITIONS TO YOUR LIFE – While it’s important to shop for a space that meets your current space needs, it’s always wise to assume that you might need to make adjustments at a later date should your family expand.  Even if kids aren’t in the picture, you never know what other types of changes life may throw at you—such as having a parent move in—so it’s wise to think about your need for extra bedrooms, bathrooms, and overall square footage.

2.) KNOW THE HOME’S CONDITION – Sure, you may not be able to afford a lot of upgrades at first; however, the basics should still be in working order.  Before making the final decision to purchase, you’ll want to have the property thoroughly inspected so you don’t find yourself stuck with a complete money pit.  Speak with your real estate agent about this process and feel free to ask for the names of reputable inspectors.

3.) BE CAREFUL OF EXPECTING PERFECTION – Much like a first job, first homes tend to represent a stepping stone to something better, so finding the right place is often a matter of balancing your wants and needs with what you can reasonably afford.  Make a list of “must-haves,” “nice-haves,” and “not necessary to-haves,” and focus on the areas where you don’t mind compromising.  Are you willing to sacrifice a three-car garage for a larger kitchen?  Is the larger home worth it if it’s in a less desirable neighborhood?  Only you can measure the importance of the amenities you’re looking for.

4.) REMEMBER TO ACCOUNT FOR ALL OF THE COSTS OF OWNERSHIP – When you’re renting, things like regular maintenance and repairs are the responsibility of your landlord; however, one of the key aspects of homeownership is that the property becomes yours and yours alone.  Therefore, don’t forget to account for the fact that your budget will need to include those extra living costs such as utilities, trash pick-up, sewage fees, HOA dues, and other routine maintenance costs.  When approving your home loan, your lending will not factor in these extra costs, so it’s important to calculate them in advance.  If you’re unsure of how to do this, speak with your real estate agent to determine the appropriate price range for you.

5.) ALL THINGS HAVE A LIFESPAN – Manmade things break and deteriorate, so it’s important to not only identify a potential home’s flaws before you buy, but to have an understanding of its components.  When will the roof need to be replaced?  How old is the furnace?  What kind of shape are the appliances and carpet in?  Sure, everything may be in working order now, but all homes will need these types of repairs or replacements eventually, so it’s wise to research the expected lifespan of the larger-ticket items in your potential home.

When you’re ready to get the process started, please contact me.  I’d love to help you along the way.

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

2014 RE/MAX All Properties Top Sales Associate of the Year

10 Tips for a Home That’s Safe and Sound

burglar4There is little that is more important than feeling secure in your own home. While we can only control a small bit of the world around us, here’s some basic information to keep a home safe.

The goal of securing your home is two-fold: protecting your possessions, but also protecting the people who live there. Security professionals advise “deter, detect and delay” tactics. These 10 tips cover a lot of ground, so keep them in mind and you will be well on the road to greater peace of mind.

1. Check your doors, windows and all locks: Deadbolts and secure, steel outer doors are important, as are secure windows that lock. A huge majority of burglaries are no-force entries, where culprits gain access to your home through an unlocked window or door, so check them frequently. Keep trees and shrubbery trimmed to prevent access to windows and decks on upper floors. If a door or window is in an out-of-the-way place that is easily accessible, consider securing it with bars or an outer security door. Simply placing a piece of wood in sliding glass doors or windows can prevent entry. Automatic garage door openers ensure that access to your garage is controlled. Studies show that the more difficult it is to enter the home, the greater the chances are that the burglar will move on.

2. Have adequate lighting: On the outside of your home, lighted entryways and flood lights with motion sensors ensure that everyone, including you and your neighbors can see who is entering your abode. However, care must be taken to replace burned out or disabled bulbs, and to place such that there is minimal annoyance to neighbors. Inside your home, ensure that there is adequate lighting so intruders are easily visible.

3. Create limited entries with a perimeter and gate: Gates and fences can provide a feeling of stable security or of paranoia, depending on how they are used. Tasteful fencing can create a feeling of “place” that provides a positive look and feel to your home, while also adding a deterrent and a delay to criminals. Limiting vehicular traffic to your property and creating barriers to individual entry make your valuables more difficult to remove, and cameras at these points of entry can more effectively capture any activity.

4. Be a friendly and observant neighbor: Neighborhoods with a “community watch” where each person is looking out for the next provide a sense of security. Generally people know each other and who lives where. This activity makes it easier to talk about crime and helps homeowners to solve problems. Let neighbors know that you are crime conscious, and encourage them to be so, too. Provide your neighbor with contact information if you are leaving on vacation so that they can be in touch should there be unusual or unexpected activity around your home.

5. Be discreet: While you do want neighbors to be informed to some degree, advertising more widely that you will be away from your home is less desirable. When seeking to find a house sitter or pet sitter, avoid advertising the dates of your travel. With an increase in social media and local email lists, people who are outside of your immediate circles could gain access to your plans and make use of that information.

6. Put on a good show: When you are going to be away from home for any period of time, one deterrent might be to make it look like someone is home. Often people who break in are simply looking to steal valuable items and prefer not to encounter people at all. Keep shades as they would normally be open or closed, and use timers to control lights and even music. Increasingly, “smart home” technology can enable homeowners to control the environment from a distance. Consider stopping deliveries or better yet, have someone stop by daily or stay in the home to pick up mail and newspapers, and to check on the house while you are gone.

7. Get a dog: In addition to companionship, a dog could be an excellent deterrent to a burglar. Barking serves as an alarm, helping to detect an intruder as well, but often seasoned criminals know how to deal with dogs by feeding them treats (sometimes laced with poison) or locking them in a room. Still, this added unknown might keep a less determined stranger away.

8. Get a security system: There are many types of systems with and without monitoring available. Some produce loud alarms that are designed to alert neighbors, others are silent and contact police. With the advent of inexpensive cameras, homeowners can set up video surveillance as well. While it is good to have a system in place and to post that a system is in use, beware of giving away too much information so that criminals don’t know which system they are dealing with. Typically these systems monitor entries, but many also include motion sensors. Using these systems requires some understanding on the part of the homeowners so that false alarms are not triggered. Also note, these systems require power to run, so during power outages unless there is a backup power source they will not be functional and other preventative steps will be required.

9. Get a safe: Using a home safe to secure valuables, guns and ammunition is an excellent idea. Consider using it to store important paperwork, like deeds, wills, other legal documents, social security cards, passports, as well as computer backups and photos. While safes are often quite heavy, ensure that they are bolted down so they might not be easily stolen in their entirety. Safes can also provide critical “delay time” – enabling police to arrive before the contents are looted.

10. Don’t leave your keys around: If a burglar sees a car in a garage or driveway and the keys are present, the temptation might be too much. In fact, you might be providing a vehicle to take more items than the burglar was intending to originally take! Keys to additional homes or properties are invitations, as well. Have a place for keys that is not well known or easily seen.

Having an eye for security can be like a game. The winning move is to create a home that provides you with a real feeling of security because you have addressed the issues. It isn’t paranoid to “think like a criminal” and imagine that your home is full of valuables. Take the time to follow these tips, and you can deter, detect, and delay crime in your home.

Marie Dinsmore, Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist

The Dinsmore Real Estate Team  |  www.dinsmoreteam.com

Marie@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

Why Realtor Certification Matters: CDPE

I’ve been a Realtor along the GA400 corridor (covering Milton, Alpharetta, Cumming, Johns Creek, Suwanee and Dawsonville) since 2002, and have helped more than 300 families buy or sell a home in the area. My experience and knowledge of this market is extensive. With over 12 years’ experience in the Real Estate Industry, I realize the importance of being able to assist my clients with not only their buying and selling needs, but also to be able to help those in need during difficult financial times avoid foreclosure.

Through years of experience, I have developed what I believe is the most effective short sale listing system available: understanding what works; how banks think; and how to get banks to forgive outstanding debt associated with short sales.

In a previous blog, I explained the importance of having the CLHMS (Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist) certification.    This time, I would like to explain the CDPE certification.

CDPEA Certified Distressed Property Expert® (CDPE) has a thorough understanding of complex issues in today’s turbulent real estate industry and knowledge of foreclosure avoidance options available to homeowners. CDPEs can provide solutions, specifically short sales, for homeowners facing market hardships.

Homeowners regularly proceed without guidance of any kind through the often financially and emotionally devastating prospect of foreclosure. Speaking with a well-informed, licensed real estate professional is the best course of action for a homeowner in distress. Through comprehensive training and experience, CDPEs have the tools to help homeowners find the best solutions for their unique situations and to avoid foreclosure through the efficient execution of a short sale.

So what is a short sale?

A short sale can be an excellent solution for homeowners who need to sell, and who owe more on their homes than they are worth. In the past, it was rare for a bank or lender to accept a short sale. Today, however, due to overwhelming market changes, banks and lenders have become much more negotiable when it comes to these transactions. Recent changes in corporate policy and the Obama administration have also improved the chances of getting a short sale approved.

But to be technical, here’s a more official definition:

  • A homeowner is “short” when the amount owed on his/her property is higher than current market value.
  • A short sale occurs when a negotiation is entered into with the homeowner’s mortgage company (or companies) to accept less than the full balance of the loan at closing. A buyer closes on the property, and the property is then ‘sold short’ of the total value of the mortgage.

For homeowners to qualify for a short sale, they must fall into all of the following circumstances:

  • Financial Hardship – There is a situation causing you to have trouble affording your mortgage.
  • Monthly Income Shortfall – A lender will want to see that you cannot afford, or soon will not be able to afford your mortgage.
  • Insolvency – The lender will want to see that you do not have significant liquid assets that would allow you to pay down your mortgage.

This seems simple enough, but it is a complicated process that takes the expertise of an experienced professional. CDPEs don’t merely assist in selling properties, they serve and help save their clients in need.

While the market has shown definite improvement in the North Atlanta area, you or someone you know may still need advice on how best to avoid foreclosure during difficult financial times.   Please contact me if you have any questions regarding the short sale process.

Marie Dinsmore, Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist

The Dinsmore Real Estate Team  |  www.dinsmoreteam.com

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

Home Price Increases Continue in Atlanta

Below is a great article from the Atlanta Business Chronicle that I thought I would share.    Please see the original article here.

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Jan 7, 2014, 10:23am ESTMetro Atlanta home prices spiked 15.7 percent year-over-year in November, according to the latest date from CoreLogic.

Senior Online Editor and Social Engagement Manager- Atlanta Business Chronicle

Metro Atlanta home prices spiked 15.7 percent year-over-year in November, according to the latest date from CoreLogic.

The real estate data firm’s monthly home price index also showed house prices appreciated 13.3 percent in Georgia — fifth highest in the nation.

Nationally, November home prices rose 11.8 percent compared to November 2012 and were up 0.1 percent over October 2013.

“The housing market paused as expected in November for the holiday season with very low month-over-month appreciation,” said Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic, in a statement. “Our pending home price index projects that home prices will grow by 11.5 percent for the full year 2013. That will make 2013 the best year for home-price appreciation since 2005.”

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