Smyrna Halloween Saftey Tips

October 24th, 2016


Are you planning on taking the kids out to trick-or-treat this Halloween? Or want to open your home up to assorted ghouls and goblins yourself? We have you covered with some basic Halloween safety tips for Smyrna, GA. One of the big selling points with Smyrna real estate is the safe neighborhoods in the area, but you still have to be careful of everyday hazards that can present themselves in particular during this popular evening to get out and about. 

Kids and Cars

Quite a few things make trick-or-treating an occasion when parents really have to keep a close eye on their kids, as well as the neighbor kids, if they’re all going together. First and foremost, people don’t stop driving on Halloween. Be extra cautious when kids cross the roads and keep them off of it when they’re going house to house.

It gets dark early on Halloween night, so make sure your kids have reflective tape on their costumes. It’s a better idea to take them out when the sun is still up, and make sure your kids don’t wear masks that obscure their vision.

Give Kids a Way to Communicate

Be sure your kids have a cellular phone or, if you’re planning on sticking closer together, a walkie talkie. You can get Family Radio Service–no license required, no truckers talking like on CB–radios for very inexpensive prices. You can read a long explanation of them here, or you can just go to the store and look for a set. They’re cheap and easy and might be a better option than cell phones for younger children. Just remember that the range isn’t all that far, and requires line of sight, even if the box says the radios work to 50 miles.

Have a Plan

Plan out your trick or treating adventure beforehand. Google Maps is great for this. You can zoom right in on Smyrna itself here.

If your kids are older, make sure they let you know where they’re going and around what time they should be back. Between a cell phone and a planned route, parents can avoid a lot of anxiety.

Remember it Gets Dark Fast

The sun will go down in the Atlanta area at around 6:40pm on Halloween night. Again, with younger kids, it’s best to go from house to house during the day, so keep the sunset time in mind when planning. Also keep in mind that drivers aren’t going to be used to it being dark so early, so remember what was said about traffic.

If you want an idea of which neighborhoods are best for taking the kids out, ask us! A lot of people move into houses this time of year, and getting out for a family night in the neighborhood is a great way to meet the people living around you! Have a safe Smyrna Halloween!


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Tips On How To Save Money This Winter In Smyrna, GA

October 12th, 2016

Smyrna Homes For Sale

If you’ve purchased property in Smyrna or are about to, you’ll be moving in during that time of year when the nights get longer as the year winds down. That can mean some inflated utility bills, particularly if you’re doing a lot of home improvements or even just changing a few things around in your new house after dark. Of course, you want your home to be a good investment, too. Reducing the amount of money you spend as a homeowner involves both complex and simple things, but being more energy efficient, it turns out, doesn’t require a lot of time or money invested at all.

Buy LED Lights

If you’ve seen LED light bulbs available in stores and you haven’t picked any up yet, it’s probably for one, or both, of two reasons: you’re worried that the lighting is harsh and unpleasant or you’re put off by the expense of buying one compared to just buying new incandescent bulbs. You might want to reconsider on both counts. LED Lights come in a much larger range of light temperatures than they did even five years ago. They can put out light that’s comparable in warmth to that of an incandescent. While it might cost you a bit more to buy these lights, consider that they can last for a decade and that the cost of running them, over time, works out to a significant savings in what you pay for power. It’s a quick, simple change that doesn’t require so much as a screwdriver to complete, but switching to LED can make your home greener and reduce your cost of living.

Check for Air Leaks

Moving in usually means opening and closing the doors quite a lot, and that can do damage to your weather stripping. Damaged weather stripping can mean that you pay a lot more to heat your house this winter than you should. It’s easy to check your weather stripping and to change it, if needed. This Old House has a complete guide to weather stripping. Check it out if you’ve noticed some drafts that you want to take care of before the nights get cold. As one more cost-free tip that might actually mean more money in your pocket, keep your curtains open during the day to let sunlight heat your house–they call it “passive solar” these days–and close them up at night to keep the drafts outside where they belong.

Have Your HVAC Inspected  

This should be done before you move in, but have it redone if you moved in during the summer. It’s always a good idea to have your HVAC equipment looked at before the heating season begins. It can save you a lot of money versus having an emergency repair done in the middle of winter! If you want more non-biased, non-commercial information on how to make your home a bit more energy efficient, check out If you’re thinking of selling your house in Smyrna, remember that energy efficiency is a huge selling point, so ask your Realtor how you can use it to make your house more interesting to buyers.

October Events Around Smyrna

October 4th, 2016


October is here! There are plenty of events in October to check out if you’re in town looking for real estate in Smyrna. Because of Smyrna’s great location, you’re also within a short drive of several other major events in Cobb County that are well worth a visit. Below you’ll find some of the best attractions to visit this October.

Taylor-Brawner Park with Art

This event runs from October 7 until October 17. Hours vary by the day, so check here to make sure it’s open when you want to go. This is an exhibition and sale at the Taylor-Brawner House. The Taylor-Brawner house is located in Brawner Park at 3182 Atlanta Road. Many different types of art will be featured, ranging from paintings to pottery to textile art. This is a free event, and it’s worth stopping by if you have some time to explore Smyrna.

Casper’s Friendly Castle

While people from their teenage years on up might want to drive to one of the bigger area attractions this October, Smyrna makes it easy for parents who have younger children, who probably won’t be as interested in taking a long drive. If you have preschool-age children and want to get them out and about for Halloween, check out Casper’s Friendly Castle on Friday, October 28. The event starts at 10am and runs until 12pm. You’ll have to register, which you can do online by clicking here. You can get more information about the event, which will be held at 200 Village Green Circle, by clicking here.

Six Flags Over Georgia Frightfest

Six Flags is located at 275 Riverside Parkway in Austell. The amusement park hosts events and has rides and other diversions for people of all ages. This year’s show features the Rage of the Gargoyles Virtual Reality Coaster. That particular offering starts at 6pm every night, but there are other events to check out throughout the day. The daytime events are more kid-friendly, in general. This event runs until October 31, but be sure to check the Frightfest website if you want to make sure a particular attraction is available on any given night. You can see the official website by clicking here.

Corn on the Cobb

The Still Family Farm hosts this event on their farm, located west of Atlanta proper, in Powder Springs. You can get directions by clicking here. Starting in the later part of September, the Still Family Farm sets aside 11 acres of land for a fall-themed attraction. The offering is likely to appeal to families with children the most, with a hay bale climb, a pumpkin patch to explore, a corn maze–it’s five acres in size so that should be worth the price of admission alone–and plenty of other fun things to do.

If you’re looking for real estate in Smyrna and want to explore different neighborhoods and learn more about what there is to do in the community, talk to us!


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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



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.


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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