Nov. 27, 2020

Here’s How You Can Create the Perfect Space to Accommodate Your Home Business

Home Office

For many people, a commute and working in a shared office space gets them into a professional mindset. So if you’re new to home-based work, transitioning to working on your coffee table at home can be challenging. Whatever your industry or niche, there’s a way to carve out space for your enterprise at home – and stay productive while doing so.

If you’re in the market for a new property that can fit both business and personal life, LifeStone Realty Group can help. Read on for guidance on how to overhaul your home workspace for business ownership.

Prioritize Paperwork for Legitimacy

Working at home when you’re running your own company is different from working remotely for an employer. Not only do you need to handle your own taxes and other expenses, but you’re also responsible for ensuring that your business is legitimate.

Starting a new business can require specific paperwork, depending on your state and local laws. But you may also decide to form an LLC if you’re starting a new business venture. Streamlining the process with a formation service or going the DIY route can save you money on lawyers and other fees.

Orient Yourself on the Current Home Buying Process

Now might be the ideal time to buy a new home to make space for your home-based company. After all, plenty of people are choosing to move despite the pandemic, and the market may be moving fast in your area for both buyers and sellers.

Application requirements can be strict, however, so preparing your paperwork in advance is a smart step. You’ll also need the right home buying resources to get started. Setting aside cash for unexpected expenses is also a smart step.

Plus, you’ll need to outline your budget and determine what you can spend on a mortgage. Applying for pre-approval is another crucial step. And finally, partnering with a real estate agent and beginning your search – whether online or by perusing local neighborhoods – makes the experience feel real.

Plan a Household Re-Design

If moving isn’t in the cards for you, you can still create the office space of your dreams. Even if limited square footage has you balancing a laptop on your knees, there are ways to make it work.

Adopting regular work-at-home routines, like working in the same room each day, can get you into the right work mindset. In some cases, changing things up might be just what some creative minds require to be their most productive, suggests Capital One.

Even if you’re not able to dedicate a full-size desk to your business endeavors, consider a streamlined option that offers the utility you need in a smaller package. With laptop desks, folding tables, standing desks, and more, there’s no need to force a conventional workstation setup unless it’s what you truly need (and have room for).

Add Office-y Elements

When you’re moving to a new home, you want a cozy, homey feel. But for an office, incorporating traditional office elements can help elevate the professional atmosphere. Just like dressing up for your workday can change your mindset, the right aesthetics can help your work area feel more professional.

Think about hanging abstract art on your walls, adding some greenery, and even moving your coffee pot to your office area. Whatever encourages your brain to get down to business is fair game. It also doesn’t hurt to use every design trick in the book to enhance your productivity.

Whatever you decide to fit an office into your living space, balance is essential. Separating your professional responsibilities from nonprofessional ones is one way to ensure both your business and personal life remain healthy and productive.

Need help navigating buying or selling to accommodate your home-based business? Contact LifeStone Realty Group for expert advice and help in finding the perfect blank canvas for your future work-at-home space. Call 678-491-9652.

Photo via Unsplash

Guest Editor, Tina Martin

Posted in Tips and Tricks
Sept. 1, 2020

Top 5 Reasons People Want to Move Despite COVID-19

Even though there’s a global pandemic plaguing the country, there are numerous reasons why someone would need (or want) to move out of their current home. Some move because they received a big job promotion or they want to be closer to family. Some people just want a change of pace and reinvent themselves in a new city. The truth is, it doesn’t matter why you want to move. All that matters is that you do so as safely as possible during the pandemic. 

HomeLight released a Q2 survey where they asked 2,000 real estate agents why are people moving despite the pandemic. Here are the top five reasons why you might want to sell your home fast in Atlanta, GA

1. Space

Real estate agents who participated in the survey said that needing more space is the main reason why 44% of clients are packing their bags. After being under quarantine for months on end, it’s understandable that people are tired of having limited space considering that the average apartment in Atlanta is about 976 square feet. Buyers want more room to spread out and even have more privacy, as open floor plans are falling out of favor for many.

2. Wanting to own instead of rent

The average rent in Atlanta is about $1,795 per month for a 976 square foot apartment, so it’s understandable that 41% of folks want to buy instead of renting. Homeownership helps build personal wealth and gives you a place to truly call the shots (unless you’re in an HOA, but that’s another story). Plus when you consider the median sold price for a house in Atlanta is around $275,000, you could be looking at a monthly payment of $1,650, which means you’ll be saving money. 

3. Move to the suburbs

With so many companies giving their employees the option of working from home, there isn’t much of a need to stay in Atlanta. Instead, 37% of buyers are choosing to go to the suburbs where they can get away from the hustle and bustle of the main part of the city and have some peace and quiet. Plus, since the suburbs tend to be less densely populated that the city, buyers are choosing the suburbs to reduce the possibility of catching COVID.

4. Job relocation

As we previously mentioned, job relocation is a big factor as to why people are moving during the pandemic. With there being 30 million people still unemployed, 31% of buyers are packing up and going where there are better job opportunities. Of course, people who have been employed the whole time may move because their company requires it of them, or they’ve found a better opportunity elsewhere. 

5. Need more outdoor space/privacy

Being indoors during that pandemic is enough to drive a person batty! Then when you take into consideration that local gyms and other places for recreational activities have been closed, 31 % of buyers are looking for large yards with privacy fences and entertaining space - whenever the social distancing regulations have been lifted. By having an outdoor living space, buyers can go outside to get some fresh air, a change of scenery, and even get some exercise. 


In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Atlantan’s demands have been targeted to more space (indoors and out) and the desire to own their own little piece of Atlanta. Who could blame them? Atlanta is one of those cities that’s alive with culture and there’s always something going on! What’s not to love?

June 5, 2020

Staying Proactive & Positioning for a Post COVID-19 World

3 houses - birdseye


It’s been more than a month since shelter in place rules have been lifted in Georgia, and as a home buyer or seller, that means you may be thinking about your next move and how you can stay proactive to position yourself to make your real estate dreams come true post-COVID-19. While we are living in unique times with particular market conditions, knowing what you have to work with can help you get ahead.


For buyers and sellers: Stay up-to-date about the market 

If you were already in the process of buying or selling a house before COVID-19 hit, then you are likely already familiar with the market in Atlanta. The median home value in Atlanta is $299,308, Atlanta home values have gone up 3.4% over the past year, and Zillow predicts that they will fall -1.5% within the next year. If you are a prospective buyer, you may want to go forward with your plans now because interest rates are extremely low and the inventory is growing as we move into the summer market.


For sellers: Get your home in shape

In a buyers’ market, especially now, when people may be ready to buy in the post-COVID-19 world, as a seller, you may be facing increased competition. You can consider some DIY home staging, moving furniture around and changing lighting to create a space that will be inviting for potential buyers. Curb appeal is another area to tackle, assessing your front yard and weeding, or planting fresh spring flowers. If you want to take it up a notch, you can hire a professional stager to give you that extra advantage. 


For buyers: Research your dream home


Interior House



If you are a buyer and you want to wait a bit longer post-COVID-19 to see if the prices decrease even more, now is the time to focus on what you want in your next home. Spending extra time at home during Covid-19 may have cast a spotlight on what those features might be. It could be that you realized your family really needs two bathrooms instead of one, or you may have discovered a love of baking and desire a double oven, or maybe your wish is for a larger backyard for everyone to enjoy this summer. Thinking about what you want now and what location works best for you, can make it easier for you to find that perfect home.


For buyers and sellers: Go virtual 

As many social activities like yoga classes, happy hours, and chats, moved to the virtual realm during Covid-19, so too did home tours and open houses. As a seller, if you haven’t already considered creating a virtual tour of your home, this can be a great way for you to stay on-trend and ahead of your competition, and is one of the top tips for selling amid Coronavirus. As a buyer, searching for homes virtually can help you get a better idea of what you want, and even save you time by looking at homes from anywhere. While in-person showings will return in the post-COVID-19 world, going virtual can open up the possibilities for buyers and sellers.



There’s a lot to consider when you are buying or selling a home, and doing so now, post-COVID-19, adds extra layers of complexity. By keeping an eye on market shifts and trends and working with your agent, you can position yourself well to buy your next home, or sell the one that you are already in. 


For more help, contact me, one of your most trusted realtors in Atlanta, GA.


Posted in Real Estate 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

Curious About Local Real Estate?

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Curious about local real estate? So are we! Every month we review trends in our real estate market and consider the number of homes on the market in each price tier, the amount of time particular homes have been listed for sale, specific neighborhood trends, the median price and square footage of each home sold and so much more. We’d love to invite you to do the same!

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You can sign up here to receive your own market report, delivered as often as you like! It contains current information on pending, active and just sold properties so you can see actual homes in your neighborhood. You can review your area on a larger scale, as well, by refining your search to include properties across the city or county. As you notice price and size trends, please contact us for clarification or to have any questions answered.

We can definitely fill you in on details that are not listed on the report and help you determine the best home for you. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please try out our INSTANT home value tool. You’ll get an estimate on the value of your property in today’s market. Either way, we hope to hear from you soon as you get to know our neighborhoods and local real estate market better.

Posted in Market Updates