North Atlanta Real Estate and Community News

Dec. 10, 2019

Beat the Freeze! Tips for Winterizing your Home on a Budget



Keep the cold out, the heat in, and your bills down with these tips for winterizing your home this winter!


1. Clean Out Your Gutters

This tip is free and only costs you your time. By cleaning out the gutters now, you can keep water moving through them and icicles from forming and causing damage. 


2. Window Insulation Film

Covering your windows with a special made window film (about $5 -, or saran wrap, will keep 70% more heat inside your house. It may not look attractive, but it will keep you toasty and your bills down. 


3. Clockwise Ceiling Fans

Not only are ceiling fans helpful in summer months, but they can also help keep your home warmer. Change the direction of the rotation to clockwise and move the heat that has risen to the ceiling back to the floor. 


4. Flush the Hot Water Heater

Particles and sediment can collect over time in the bottom of your water heater, hindering the unit's efficiency. Flush the water through the drain valve to clear out the material and keep your heater functioning at its best.


5. Install Draft Guards

If you have a drafty room, heat may be escaping under the door. Buying a draft guard ($5-$15) or using a rolled up towel will help with your homes’ energy efficiency. 


6. Fiberglass Insulation

Adding rolls of fiberglass to your attic, or basement walls, will greatly help lower your heat bill this winter. Rolls are about $25 each and make a huge impact energy cost!


7. Programable Thermostat

Your house does not need to be as warm when you are not home (But don’t go below 65 degrees because you want your pipes to stay at a nice warm temperature). Installing a programable thermostat will let you control your heat when you’re away. The US Department of Energy states that for every degree you lower your temperature, you save 1% on your energy bill. 


8. Weatherstripping Tape

Fill the cracks around doors and windows with weatherstripping tape. It’s an easy way to keep the cold out! 


9. Change your Air Filter

Changing out your air filter regularly helps maintain the health of your unit, while increasing it’s ability to perform. Doing so in winter months will help will energy costs!


10. Caulk It

Caulk is not expensive and an easy way to fill-in the gaps missed by other methods! 

Posted in Tips and Tricks
Nov. 21, 2019

8 Mistakes To Avoid When Selling Your Home

1. Working Alone

Not hiring a real estate agent may seem like a great way to save by not paying commission, but then you would miss out on the knowledge and marketing abilities a real estate agent has. Statistically, homes sold without an agent sell for much less. In November, the National Association of Realtors stated that the average FSBO home sells for a median price of $200,000, while a property sold with the help of a realtor sold for a median price of $280,000. 


2. Pricing Too High

You want to sell your home for top dollar, but you need to be realistic about the homes’ value and how buyers will see it. The first week the listing is live is the ideal time to sell. 57% of homes get full asking price in the first week of being on the market. By the fourth week, the percentage drops to 32%, and by 8 weeks on market, only 18% of homes get full asking price. By the time you get to 8 weeks, you’ve missed your window to get top dollar. So pricing your home right to begin with is of the utmost importance. 


3. Waiting to Sell

While Spring and Fall are considered the best times to put your house on the market, it does not mean you need to wait months to do so. People are always buying homes, so any time is a good time to sell a home. In fact, February can be a great time because people tend to have more time for home shopping. 


4. Refusing to Make Changes

Thanks to HGTV and home improvement shows, home buyers today expect move-in ready homes. That means, unless you’re planning to sell your house to an investor for a lower price, you’re going to have to make changes and get your home ready to sell. That could mean painting brightly colored rooms a neutral color, replacing old carpet, or updating kitchen appliances. 


5. Keeping Clutter

It can be challenging to remove belongings while you’re still living in the home, but most buyers have a hard time visualizing living in the space when your things are overcrowding it. De-personalizing, removing oversized furniture, getting rid of things you don’t need anymore, cleaning up closets and storage spaces to make them look larger, are all things that will really help sell your home. 


6. Being Unavailable

Your house cannot sell, if it cannot be seen. If your house is on the market, it must be your first priority to show it. Which means, if a buyer requests to see your home, you need to be able to leave quickly and leave the house in pristine condition. 


7. Being Unwilling to Negotiate

If you’ve received an offer, but it’s not quite what you were hoping for, still be willing to negotiate so that all parties feel they are getting a reasonable deal. If you’d like to see the sales price come up, offer to cover some of the buyers closing costs or perhaps a minor repair found by the inspection. Give and take a little so all feel there’s a reasonable negotiation taking place. 


8. Letting Your Emotions Get the Best of You

It is completely natural to have an emotional attachment to the home you lived in for years, made memories and watched your family grow in. But it’s important to remember that the buyers don’t have that emotional attachment (yet) and don’t understand your history there. You have to see it as business transaction, because that’s what it is. A low offer is not a personal offense, but a starting point to selling your home that could begin negotiations or be declined. 


The more you view the sale of your home as a business transaction, the smoother the whole process will be! 


Posted in Selling Your Home
Nov. 21, 2019

Hidden Costs of Buying a Home



You’ve found the perfect home, and understand the cost of downpayment and the monthly mortgage. But most of the time, there are costs that you may not expect, especially if this is your first time buying a home. Let’s break down what those hidden costs may be… 


  1. Inspection and Appraisal Fees: Before you purchase a home, and during your due diligence period, you have the opportunity to conduct an inspection of the home and use the inspection report to ask for any repairs to be done. While it will cost around $500 for the home inspection, it could save you thousands by simply understanding the condition of the home. The appraisal is required by the lender and usually costs around $500 as well. 


  1. Closing Costs: While buyers can negotiate for sellers to pay the closing costs, it is typical to have to pay 2-4% of the sales price in closing costs. 


  1. Taxes: Your property taxes are built-in to your escrow account, which you pay monthly with your mortgage, as a cost that is already factored in. But property taxes can increase, making taxes a potential hidden cost. 


  1. Insurance: Your lender will require you to have homeowners insurance. This cost can range from $75- $200 a month and it is built in to your monthly mortgage. 


  1. HOA and Condo Fees: If you purchase a home in a community with a Home Owners Association, you’ll be required to pay a monthly, quarterly, or yearly fee. These fees cover many different maintenance cost within the community including landscaping, club house roof, pool upkeep etc. 


  1. Moving Costs: Boxes, moving trucks, movers, deposits to turn on your utilities, etc can really add up. Consider theses costs when buying a home. 


  1. Utility Bills: If you’ve been renting before buying, you’ll probably find that your utilities will be more expensive. You’ll have water and electric, and possibly gas, garage collection, internet, cable and phone bill.


  1. Furniture and Decor: This is not a necessary expense, but if up-sizing, it will probably be one that comes up. It’s good to plan for this type of cost. 


  1. Lawn Care: Many people hire law care services, which can be expensive. And even if you decide to handle your lawn on your own, you may still have to invest in lawn-care equipment to get the job done.


  1. Maintenance: Homes require a lot. And there will always be things that need attention: Air filters need to be changed, pests need to be controlled, gutters need to be cleaned out, chimneys need to be swept, and so on. 


  1. Repairs: The most costly part of homeownership are the repairs. They are inevitable: The roof will need replacing, appliances will stop working, tiles will get cracked, trees will need to be removed, and hot water heaters will stop working. It’s just part of owning a home. Which is why it’s smart to budget 1-2% of your mortgage balance per year for these yearly maintenance and repair costs. 



In the end, as long as you can afford the home, homeownership is still worthwhile. There may be cost that you weren’t aware of, but with understanding and planning, you can feel prepared to own a home and run it well! 


Posted in Buying a Home
July 31, 2017

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Posted in Market Updates