Selling Your Smyrna Home This Summer

May 6th, 2016

Selling your Smyrna home this Summer?

If you’re planning on selling your home this summer, you’ve got an advantage in that the market will inevitably be busier than it is at other times of the year. Of course, that means there will be more competition, as well, so you’ll want to make sure your property stands out.

Here are some ways you can get the attention of people shopping for homes in Smyrna.

First, Lean on Expertise Before Making Improvements

A lot of information out there will concentrate on telling you to increase your curb appeal and so forth. That’s all good advice, of course, but where do you even start?

Everyone knows that curb appeal increases the chances that buyers will tour a property, but you have to be sure that you’re making the kinds of improvements in the look of your house that will be effective. We know how it’s done; ask us. It can save you a lot of time, effort and money.

Make Sure Your Property Is Advertised Online

For-sale-by-owner sites tend to be very unreliable where the quality of the photography, listings and each site’s overall reach is concerned, so you’ll do best to have your property listed on a Realtor’s site and the MLS. Remember that not all Realtors are equal in how they use the web.

We can help you make sure that you have good photos of your property, which are more important than ever, given how many people shop for Smyrna real estate online these days. We also use social media and other channels to advertise your home.

Be Ready to Accommodate Showings

Be sure you can accommodate showings. The best policy is to not be at home so people can walk through the house with us and enjoy the environs without feeling like they’re intruding. If you’re getting ready to sell, the first and most important step is contacting us. We will provide the fastest way to sell your home and can get you the best possible price.

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Spring Jonquil Festival Coming to Smyrna

April 15th, 2016

Outdoor gardening tools on old wood table

April is here and that means it’s time for the Spring Jonquil Festival. Every year, the city of Smyrna holds the festival at the Village Green, right downtown. There are plenty of events going on, including activities for animal lovers, athletic types and those who just want to enjoy a bit of the interesting and curious.

About the Festival

The Spring Jonquil Festival has been held in Smyrna for nearly three decades. Many of the events feature arts and crafts. This year, the city expects to host more than 175 booths featuring arts and crafts, in fact.

Some of the artists are very off the beaten path, which definitely keeps things interesting. This year, for instance, you can check out Brian Ruth, Master of the Chainsaw. Ruth uses his chainsaw to create very impressive pieces of art, which will be auctioned off every day during the festival at 4:30 pm. If you want something eye-catching for your property in Smyrna, the auctions will definitely be worth checking out.

If you’re an animal lover, there’s plenty to do this year. This year’s festival will feature, for the first time, the Tenasity Dog Agility Demonstrations. If you‘ve got a dog that wants to compete, bring them along. The specialists from Tenasity will be roaming around the grounds during the festival, so keep an eye out for them.

You can also check out the Robinson’s Racing Pigs and Paddling Porkers Show if you want to see something a bit more unusual than agility dogs.

If you’re competitive, the 2015 Jonquil City Jog 5K and Fun Run will be held on Saturday, April 25. Registration is at 7am, so be sure to be up bright and early if you want to compete!

Get the Info!

If you want a full schedule of information, you can check out the City of Smyrna’s homepage. The Spring Jonquil Festival is a big deal in Smyrna, so the city goes out of its way to make schedules and other information available.

The Village Green, where just about everything happens during the festival, is very close to the Market Village, so there are plenty of places to get something to drink, eat or to just relax for a bit away from all the activity.

If you’re interested in property in Smyrna and want to see the city during the events, be sure to contact me.

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Mortgage Rates Reservsed Their Trend

April 4th, 2016

Dollarphotoclub_98477592

 

Mortgage Rates Reservsed Their Trend:

After a month of heading northward, mortgage rates reversed their trend and headed down during the last half of March.

According to the Washington Post, the Federal Reserve announced that it was lowering its forecasts for the economy, which played into the reduction in rates.

For those looking for real estate in Smyrna, this is good news, particularly with the weather getting nicer and more people heading out to look at suitable properties.

Complicated Relationships

Mortgage rates can rise and fall based on some rather arcane relationships within the national and world economies. The Post reported that the yields for 10-year Treasury bonds went down after investors started moving toward them for more security. When those rates fall, so do mortgage rates, in most instances, and the lower rates could meaningfully help those looking for mortgages at the beginning of the spring real estate shopping season.

What Does it Mean to You?

If you’re shopping for a mortgage on a new property, those lower rates could mean quite a lot to you as far as the end price of the home goes. As is the case with most things real estate related, however, low rates don’t mean that you don’t have to be smart about borrowing, and there are still things you have to do to make sure you’re eligible for the best rates out there.

You’ll want to:

  • Repair any bad spots on your credit history
  • Make sure you’re shopping for homes that you can realistically afford
  • Be certain you’re getting the best deal possible on the homes you can afford
  • Be very careful about applying for any new credit

How We Can Help

You can get prequalified for a mortgage and get a ballpark idea of how much you can afford to borrow. Following that, you can have me take you to look at Smyrna properties in your price range. The better the deal you get, the less you’ll have to borrow and the less you’ll pay back in interest.

Provided you have good credit,  you should be able to find quite a lot to choose from in the Smyrna real estate market!

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Discounts In Your Homeowner’s Insurance Policy

March 14th, 2016

Insurance Picture

Moving into a great new piece of Smyrna real estate? Want to save with your Homeowner’s Insurance Policy? Here are some ideas for shaving some money off of your premiums.

Ask About Discounts in Your Homeowner’s Insurance Policy

 

Homeowner’s insurance providers will usually be amicable to taking some money off of your premium if you’re willing to make a few home improvements here and there. One of the easiest–and most sensible–is adding some security enhancements to your home.

You don’t have to go overboard with this and make your home into a fortress. In fact, if you ask your insurance provider what they would consider valid upgrades for the purposes of reducing your monthly premiums, you might be surprised

Most often, burglar alarms, deadbolts and other improvements will qualify. It might seem like just moving money from one payment to another, but remember that the insurance companies do this because it really does have safety benefits and that’s another reason, aside from the money, to consider going ahead and adding these improvements.

Speaking of Safety

 

Ask your insurance company if they’d be willing to reduce your rates if you made structural improvements to the home. If you have a steep set of stairs on your front porch, for instance, you might be able to negotiate a discount if you install something a bit safer. Doing so would reduce your exposure to liability claims, and might persuade the insurance company to see your policy as entailing less risk.

Update the Property’s Electrical, HVAC and So Forth

 

It’s always worth asking your insurance carrier if improving your electrical, plumbing and other systems might net you a discounted rate. These upgrades could increase the overall value of your home, as well, and that’s always a good thing if you decide to put your home back on the Smyrna real estate market.

Be certain you do ask your insurance provider before spending money on such improvements, however, because not all upgrades will qualify. If you tell your insurance agent that you’re interested in improving your property, they’ll certainly be more than happy to help you by letting you know what their company would consider worth a discount on your premium.

If you’re interested in upgrading your home before you sell it and want to know what home buyers, as opposed to insurance companies, want to see, ask us! We always know what’s trendy and desirable in the Smyrna Real Estate Market.

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Avoid These Real Estate Disasters by Working with a Realtor

March 1st, 2016

realtor deliver with house keys

 

Sometimes things happen during a real estate deal that turn what should be a smooth transaction into a total disaster. If you’re working with us, however, you can avoid the following three disasters, and many others.

1: Repairs Not Completed as Requested

 

If you’re buying a home that’s in more-or-less great condition, but you want a few repairs done here and there, sellers will quite often agree to handle the repairs to keep you interested in the house. If they don’t follow through, however, and you don’t find out until you’ve made the purchase, it could turn into a real mess.

We will help you arrange for an inspection to make sure that everything’s handled as agreed upon in the deal. We have a list of preferred vendors we work with. We know which local contractors do excellent work, as well and can make a recommendation, if required.

2: That Was Supposed to Go with the House!

Fixtures: hard to define, until one you expected to be part of the sale isn’t there when you move in.

We understand which parts of a home are considered to be fixtures and, thus, are expected to be included with the sales price.

You might have to hash the particulars out with the homeowner, however, and this is where conflicts can arise. The homeowners, for instance, may want to take a lighting fixture or other element of the house with them when they move without realizing that it is a fixture and you have every reason to expect it’ll be included in the sale.

This is where good contracts come into play. If you aren’t sure whether something is included with the sale or not, talk us. We might be able to convince the sellers to include parts of the home that wouldn’t normally be considered fixtures as part of the sale, as well.

3: Non-Disclosure

When sellers don’t disclose important facts about the house, it can turn into a legal nightmare. We know what’s required and will expect that the sellers provide all the proper paperwork to establish that they’re following the applicable legal requirements.

Non-disclosure is a particular problem with homes put on the market by their owners. If you’re shopping for Smyrna real estate, work with us. The disclosure and other legal requirements involved in selling a home are numerous and detailed and, even if they mean well, someone selling their own home might overlook something and completely ruin the deal for you.

 

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Why Should You Get Pre-Qualified For A Mortgage?

February 12th, 2016

house in smyrna

If you’re not paying cash for your home, you should go through the process of prequalifying for a mortgage before you start shopping for Smyrna real estate.

For most people, verifying their income is going to be easy enough. With self-employment, freelancing and working from home becoming very popular options, however, some people have a harder time verifying how much they make. Social security and retirement income also needs to be verified before a lender will offer you a prequalification figure.

If you don’t have a traditional, 9-to-5 type job, here are some of the things prospective lenders will likely accept as verification of your income. It’s a good idea to ask the lenders you’re considering working with however, just in case they have other requirements.

Self-Employment Income

A lot of people are self-employed these days. The easiest way for any lender to verify your self-employment income is by checking your tax returns.

If your record-keeping habits have been less than perfect over the years, you can still get your old tax returns. The IRS has a process for requesting them. You’ll need some sort of verifiable proof of your income before any lender can prequalify you. Since it might take some time to get copies of your old returns, it’s a good idea to take care of this sooner rather than later.

It’s likely that a lender is going to want to see at least two year’s worth of self-employment income.

Keep in mind that any income you’ve been making “under the table,” as the saying goes, will not be considered by the lender when calculating how much you can borrow. The only exception to this is if you have verifiable income that is legally exempt from taxation.

Retirement or Social Security Income

If you’re retired, proving your income from pensions or other retirement plans usually requires no more than your bank records. The lender will need to verify that you’ll continue to receive this income into the future, however.

Social Security income is also typically very easy to verify. Don’t despair if your Social Security income isn’t as impressive as you’d like: the lenders do factor in that your Social Security income is typically not taxed, though they’ll have to verify that, as well.

Do It ASAP

Once your Realtor knows how much you’re prequalified for, they can start showing you Smyrna real estate that fits your price range. That can make the homebuying process much faster, more efficient and a lot more rewarding, since all of your efforts will be focused on homes you can afford!

 

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Shopping for Real Estate in Smyrna, Georgia?

February 2nd, 2016

Smart Move

Interest rates are below four percent and, at least for the time being, it looks like they’re set to stay there. Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or are looking for a more suitable property than what you already own, it’s important to be realistic when you’re shopping for Smyrna real estate.

Low Rates Help, but You Have to Be Grounded

Particularly for first-time homebuyers, getting a mortgage at a desirable rate can be difficult. With interest rates on both 15- and 30-year mortgages below four percent–which some financial experts consider to be a very significant number–it’s likely that buyers, even new buyers, will be able to get more favorable borrowing terms than they may have expected.

The mortgage, however, is only one of the variables that has to be calculated into buying a home. Here are some other things to keep in mind, and tips to help you buy a home you can truly afford.

Borrow as Little as Possible

It’s best to keep your borrowing to the lowest possible amount. Even with interest rates as low as they are right now, a loan is a loan and it will definitely cost you something to borrow.

See if you can save up for a bigger down payment, get help from family or use other means to avoid having to rely completely on borrowing from the bank. If you’re fortunate enough to have friends who might be willing to lend you money, they can be great resources.

Plan for the Long Haul

Don’t get so fixated on closing the deal that you forget what owning a house means. Smyrna real estate presents plenty of options and there is no reason that you have to buy above your means. Buying too much house is not winning. In fact, buying modestly means that, in the future, you can probably afford to improve or maybe even expand upon the home you buy rather than finding yourself burdened with house payments, property taxes and other expenses you cannot afford.

Look Only at What You Can Afford

Don’t tempt yourself to over borrow. When you start working with a Smyrna Realtor, let them know what you can safely afford and they’ll help you to get the most out of the market. Realtors are there to help you find Smyrna real estate that works for you, not to sell you more than you need or to try to upsell you into a bad situation.

Getting prequalified is a great starting point. Once you have that done, you can work with a Realtor to see what’s available in your price range. Given the inventory in Smyrna, you’ll be able to find something not only suitable, but very desirable.

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Rising Rents Show Buying is Still Better in Smyrna

January 21st, 2016

Smaller Rent vs. Buy   There are plenty of persuasive reasons that one might want to call the Atlanta area home. The weather’s great, the area is vibrant and diverse and there is plenty to do in the way of work. The low cost of living, relative to other major urban centers, also makes the Atlanta area attractive to many. When you start taking a look at housing prices, however, it’s important that you not forget the fact that you always have two options: rent or buy. In Atlanta and nearby communities like Smyrna, as is the case in many places around the nation, you really are better off buying than renting.

Renting Is Expensive

Most people who rent real estate in Smyrna or one of the nearby areas are trying to save money, a completely understandable goal. When one factors in property taxes, maintenance, homeowner’s insurance and the other costs of owning a home, it can appear to be an expensive endeavor. For some people, particularly those who have very bad credit, renting might actually be the only viable option. If you do have the option, however, it’s important to consider the difference between paying rent and paying down a mortgage. Doing a quick number crunch, you might get the idea that renting is objectively cheaper, but that’s an illusion. In fact, renting is becoming more expensive in Smyrna and Atlanta in general. According to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, Smyrna real estate ranked as among the most expensive rentals in the area. The average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Smyrna came in at $1,100 per month. Smyrna’s rental rates also increased steeply over the last year, going up by 9.4 percent. With rental rates being that high, it might seem like buying would be even more expensive. It’s vital to keep in mind that buying and renting are far different things, and that buying has real advantages over renting.

Investment vs. Simple Payment

You’ll never “pay off” your rent. As long as you’re a renter, you’ll continue to pay the same or more as you do now into the future. Homeowners gain equity in their Smyrna real estate every time they make a payment. While owning a house might seem like it is more expensive than renting in some ways, remember that every time you make a house payment you’re actually gaining wealth. Make a rental payment and, well, you’re just losing over a grand on average, every month, forever. If you want to make the jump from renter to buyer, contact a Smyrna Realtor to find the best prices on property.

 

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Need a Mortgage on Smyrna Real Estate? Now Is a Good Time!

January 13th, 2016

Mortgage Contract Signed

Need a Mortgage on Smyrna Real Estate? Now Is a Good Time!

 

You might be surprised to hear it, but crisis in one sector of the financial world can mean opportunity in another. It’s a clichéd thing to say that crisis equals opportunity, for certain, but sometimes clichés are born because they’re true.

If you happen to follow financial news, you’re probably aware that the first part of January was not good for the stock market. The Chinese stock market took a serious tumble, falling by more than seven percent by January 7. This caused a chain reaction in financial markets across the globe, bringing the markets down in both the US and Europe.

What does any of this have to do with mortgages and Smyrna real estate? More than you might think and, despite it perhaps feeling a bit wrong to celebrate someone else’s financial woes, these market fluctuations are actually good news for those who need a mortgage.

Stocks, Bonds, Mortgages and Everyday People

The stock market, bond market and mortgage market are very much intertwined. When there’s a shock in the stock market, investors tend to sell off their stocks and move into bonds, which are generally regarded as safer places to keep money than stock markets, particularly when things are looking bad for investors.

All that activity in the bond market drives the yields down. That’s important for mortgage holders, because mortgage backed bonds are priced based on their yield.

Like anything having to do with investment, this can all get very esoteric, and fast, but the bottom line is that all these fluctuations drive mortgage rates down, sometimes by a lot. When 2015 ended, mortgage rates had gone up quite a bit. That was very bad news, particularly for first-time homeowners, the segment of the real estate buying market that typically gets hit with the highest interest rates of all.

With the fluctuations in the stock market, it’s likely that mortgage rates will continue to drop a bit or, at least, won’t go up to where they were at the end of 2015 for some time. If you need to borrow money for a piece of Smyrna real estate you’ve been eyeing up, or just want to lock in a good rate on lending while the getting is good, now is a good time to act.

If you need assistance finding a lender or just general advice on the Smyrna real estate market, get in touch!

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For First Time Buyers, Autumn Is a Great Time to Buy

September 30th, 2015

Smyrna Homes For Sale

The real estate market in Smyrna and anywhere else can be affected by strange factors. Believe it or not, the seasons can make a difference!

The Seasons?

The seasons can make a big difference in what kind of deals you can get on Smyrna real estate. If you give it some consideration, it’s actually pretty easy to understand why.

One of the primary reasons that you’re not likely to run into as much competition among buyers in the fall as you will in summer has to do with school.

If a family has children in school, they’re going to want to move during the summer break, when it will be less traumatic. That means that they’re going to be motivated to sell their properties in the summer, which is advantageous for buyers.

During the summer, that means that there will tend to be greater inventory to select from. This isn’t always advantageous for buyers, however, because of the aforementioned competition. The inventory drives prices down, but the competition can drive Smyrna real estate prices right back up.

During the autumn, with a less active market, buyers might run into even more motivated sellers, who are willing to cut a deal to get the property off of the market and to move onto their new home.

Taxes

Potential tax breaks are significant reasons to consider buying in the autumn. You’ll have to talk to your financial advisor or accountant to get the specifics, but some people decide to buy a new property in the fall because they can use the mortgage interest and the taxes on the property as ways to get breaks on their income taxes, which can sometimes be significant.

There are plenty of other reasons to consider buying in the autumn. Real estate in Smyrna is very desirable compared to many other markets but, like other markets, it tends to move in predictable cycles, at least in some regards.

If you want to get started looking for a new home, remember that mortgage rates are low right now and that it’s a good opportunity for first-time buyers to consider getting into the market.

If you’re a seasoned buyer, it’s even better, so be sure that you speak to a Smyrna Realtor about what’s on the market, what might suit your needs and how you can use every possible advantage, even the time of year, to get a great deal!

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