Is Your Deck Memorial Day Ready?

Ah, Memorial Day…

The school year has drawn to a close and neighborhood pools are opening. It’s kind of the unofficial beginning of summer. It’s a time to reflect on those brave individuals who gave their lives protecting our freedoms and those who continue to boldly take that risk serving our nation. It’s also time to fire up the grill! But what if your patio isn’t as excited as you?

Maybe it’s time to give it a little face lift before you fire up the barbecue. Better Homes and Gardens Magazine is always full of great do-it-yourself and low budget ideas. It really can be as easy as some potted plants or throw pillows. A little paint can also work wonders. If you’re really feeling inspired, check out some of their great ideas for privacy screens in their recent article on “14 Ways to Improve Your Deck”.

U.S. Homeownership Aspirations Aren’t Dead: Owning a Home Remains Defining Element of American Dream

As the country continues to emerge from the turbulent mortgage period, a Homebuyer Poll released by TD Bank reveals aspirations of homeownership are still very much alive in the U.S. The majority (84 percent) of today’s younger renting generation (ages 18-34) responded that they intend to buy a home. Overall, more than half of consumers polled say homeownership is a vital component to defining the American Dream and 59 percent associated feelings of excitement or pride as part of their first time home buying process.

TD Bank surveyed more than 1,300 consumers across the U.S. to better understand the perceptions and attitudes surrounding home ownership, specifically examining the attitudes of current renters and prospective home owners, as well as past and present home owners.

Owning the American Dream

The majority of current home owners surveyed report purchasing their first home early in life with 4 out of 5 buying between ages 18-34. Close to two-thirds of those polled continue to be homeowners. The poll also found that first time homebuyers are more likely to cite achieving the American Dream as a primary motivation for purchasing their first home.

“There’s no denying buying a home is a pivotal point in a person’s life. Our survey tells us that people are looking to buy homes, and attitudes towards homeownership have continued to remain positive over the years,” says Michael Copley, Executive Vice President, Retail Lending, TD Bank. “TD Bank remains committed to helping keep the American Dream alive by giving customers the hassle-free tools to borrow smarter and make this dream a reality.”

Of those who intend to own, the American Dream (18 percent) is considered as important or more than other motivations for buying a home, such as:
• Good opportunity (17 percent)
• An evolving family (11 percent)
• Being financially ready (10 percent)

The survey revealed that plans to own a home tracked similarly across genders, with 66 percent of female respondents planning to own a home compared to 57 percent of men.

Financing Your First Home

“With more than half of homeowners surveyed stating getting a mortgage and making a down payment is the preferred method of payment, choosing a lender remains a vital step in the home buying process,” continues Copley.

Other Key Findings From The Survey Include:

• Three out of 10 homeowners consider their house their dream home.
• While younger homeowners are more stressed (20 percent) compared to older homeowners when asked to look back on their first home, older homeowners were more proud (51 percent), more confident (20 percent) and far less stressed (9 percent).
• Seventy-eight percent of respondents said that they plan to stay in their current home.
• Staying within budget (43 percent) is a top consideration when buying a home among those who intend to buy.

TD Bank developed the First Time Homebuyer Kit to create a rewarding home-buying experience. Available on the TD Bank website ( as well as in stores, the kit is designed to take the customer through the process of purchasing a home, providing advice and information needed to choose the house and mortgage to best suit individual needs.

Some things to consider when buying your first home are:

• Determine how much you can afford: By looking at your income and current monthly debts you can determine what you can afford.
• Buying a home isn’t for everyone: Know the benefits of owning vs. renting before making any decisions. Also stop to think about what type of home you can afford and which style suits your lifestyle such as single-family homes, townhouses or fixer-uppers.
• Narrow the focus of your search: Many factors impact the ideal type of house for each buyer, including desired features and benefits, life stage and how many improvements you are willing to make before moving in.
• Make the mortgage process as hassle-free as possible: From fixed-rate to adjustable -rate, there are several options to fit your needs.

For more information, visit

Article printed from RISMedia: URL to article:

7th Annual Mableton Day Promises to be Fun for the Whole Family

Saturday, May 19 is Mableton Day as proclaimed by The Cobb County Board of Commissioners and all of Mableton will be coming together for the 7th annual Mableton Day Celebration. The event will be held at the Mable House Arts Complex on Saturday, May 19th from 8am until 2pm.

The day will start with a 5K race. The second annual 5K Race will also feature the first annual Mableton Junior Youth Race for kids 12 and younger. Kids will also enjoy the jumpies, games, face painting, and more at the Kid’s Corner. Plenty of food vendors will be on hand to dish out tasty treats everyone loves to indulge in at a festival. Car enthusiasts will enjoy the classic Car Show. Be sure to check out the vendors and arts and crafts as well. Performers from throughout the metro area will be providing entertainment all day long. Some of the featured artists include Bradley Hill, FUGM, Catherine Lennon “Cricket”, L. Jaye, Beauty, and Hannah Anderson.

Mableton Day brings together the diverse residents of Mableton with the goal of fostering awareness and instilling pride in the community. It is also a great way to meet your neighbors and to learn more about businesses, organizations and services in the Mableton and South Cobb area. The celebration is hosted by the Mableton Day Coalition, which is a partnership of three non-profit organizations: the Mableton Improvement Coalition; the South Cobb Arts Alliance; and the Amateur Advocate Association. In support of local community organizations, two grants will also be awarded to two not-for-profit organizations. The first place grant is $1,000 and the second place grant is $500.

Admission to Mableton Day is free. The Mable House Arts Complex is located at 5239 Floyd Road SW. For more information, visit

Win an iPad at Our Super Sunday Event May 20th 2-4pm

National Open House Weekend was a few weeks ago and Prudential Georgia Realty hosted over 45% of the open houses in the metro Atlanta area with Petersen Partners hosting five right here in South Cobb. It was a great opportunity to introduce some of the great neighborhoods in our community to buyers.  The event was so successful, we are doing it again.

On May 20th, Petersen Partners and Prudential Georgia Realty will be hosting our Super Sunday Open House Event.  Right now, there are beautiful homes available at affordable prices and mortgage rates remain at historic lows. But this window of opportunity will not last as we are seeing prices stabilize and the “for sale inventory” getting very low in many of our local markets.

Stop by one of our open houses in the Mableton neighborhood of Vinings Estates on Sunday from 2pm till 4pm. Some of our top agents will be on hand at 5121 Crescent Cove Lane and 5304 Whitehaven Park Lane to answer any of your real estate questions whether you are buying or selling. Both of these fantastic homes exemplify some of the wonderful properties currently available in the South Cobb area.

When you visit the open houses on Sunday, you will also have the opportunity to participate in the “Text, Scan or Browse” contest. One lucky winner will win a brand new Apple iPad. Plus, sign up for a free market analysis from Petersen Partners and you will be entered to win a table at a Mable House summer concert!

Petersen Partners is a top producing team in Atlanta for Prudential Georgia Realty. Our success comes from our experience and professionalism, but it is also rooted in our love of our community and the great resources we are able to provide thanks to Prudential Georgia Realty. Prudential Georgia Realty is Ranked #1 in Homes Sold by the Atlanta Business Chronicle, Trendgraphix and RealValuator. We are #1 in overall transactions and homes sold for 2010, 2011 and year-to-date 2012. And we have the best market information resources so you will know exactly what is happening in your local market. Contact us today so you can make the best real estate decisions. Please visit for more information or find us on Facebook.

The 2012 Smyrna Wine Stroll is Coming!

The 7th Annual Smyrna Wine Stroll is coming up on Saturday, May 19th from 2:00pm until 5:00pm. The 2012 Smyrna Wine Stroll will feature more wine, food, music and fun than ever!

With more than 60 different wines from around the world, along with food samples provided by local restaurants and sponsors, the $45 price of a ticket is an absolute bargain. This is the 7th annual event, designed for a fun and educational wine experience. Enjoy live music, delectable wine, and fabulous food samples while shopping. It’s a fun way to give something back to the local community!

Event sponsor The Wine Cellars, is partnering with the Smyrna Heroes Gala and awarding 100% of the net proceeds of this year’s Wine Stroll to the Smyrna Public Safety Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports Smyrna’s police officer and firefighter heroes. Over the past few years, The Wine Cellars has been able to donate more than $20,000 to local charities and foundations.

The Smyrna Wine Stroll is a fun event designed to allow patrons to stroll through the beautiful Smyrna Market Village shopping center while sampling a variety of wonderful wines and shopping with merchants and vendors. Smyrna Market Village is located at 2840 Atlanta Road, Smyrna, Georgia 30080.

Tickets to the 2012 Wine Stroll are available at The Wine Cellars (located at 1295 W. Spring Street, Suite 100 Smyrna, GA 30080) or you can visit to purchase online. Everyone and anyone is welcomed to attend; however, you must be 21 and over to participate and a valid photo ID is required.

This Month’s Featured Community: Vinings Estates

Welcome to Vinings Estates!

There are so many wonderful neighborhoods around Cobb County that offer great amenities and such a wonderful sense of community, we’ve decided to begin featuring some of them. The first neighborhood to be featured in our new segment is Vinings Estates.

Vinings Estates is a premier club neighborhood located in prestigious Cobb County just outside I-285 off Cooper Lake Road in Mableton. With easy access to downtown, Midtown, and the airport, Vinings Estates is just minutes away from great shopping, fine dining, and entertainment.

The master-planned John Weiland neighborhood features a collection of distinctive townhomes, single family homes, and custom built estate homes nestled in rolling hills along wooded terrain. Residents enjoy some spectacular skyline views while escaping everyday cares in the haven of a resort-like community.

Vinings Estates offers its homeowners a variety of entertainment and recreation. Amenitites include two clubhouses, grills and cabanas, a fitness center, playground, lighted tennis courts, an interior walking path, and a multi-purpose sports court. Kids especially enjoy the waterslide at one of the three neighborhood swimming pools. The nearby Silver Comet trail is easily accessible for bike rides, long walks, or a quick jog.

The neighborhood has an active homeowners association and there are frequent events held in the neighborhood. Last weekend, Petersen Partners hosted a free community shred event in Vinings Estates. Neighborhood residents and business owners from Bailey-Bruster & Ellis Orthodontics helped sponsor the event and ten student volunteers from nearby Whitefield Academy showed up to help unload documents for shredding. Altogether, the community shredded over 2300 pounds of paper and saved over 20 trees! Neighborhood events are frequently posted on the homeowners association’s website at or shared in the printed monthly newsletter.

For more information on the fantastic community of Vinings Estates, please visit www.ViningsEstates.Info and be sure to take a virtual tour of this beautiful neighborhood at


Southern Gardening Tips for May

Get your garden ready for summer with these gardening tips for the South from Better Homes and Gardens. For more monthly gardening tips, Pike Nurseries is also a great resource. Their website is updated monthly with lawn and garden tips.


  • Add Some Color: There’s still time to plant annuals for spring and summer enjoyment. Begin planting hot weather annuals such as Zinnias and Marigolds. Now is also the perfect time to plant perennials like daylilies, coneflowers, and shasta daisies. Try climbing mandevilla or bougainvillea around your mailbox for bright flowers all summer.
  • Veggies: All warm-season vegetables should be planted. Now is the time to plant tomato, pepper, okra, pumpkin, squash, sweet potato, eggplant, melon, corn, cucumber, beans, and more.
  • Fertilize: Fertilize your roses, gardenias, and azaleas now and continue feeding them on schedule. Liquid fertilizers mixed from powder or condensed liquid and added to water should be applied every two weeks until late August. Even easier is a slow release fertilizer added into the soil around the plant. Try adding a little compost, too. Don’t forget your lawn, too! Zoysia and warm-season Bermuda prefer high-nitrogen fertilizers.
  • Water Wisely: Mulch all your garden and flower beds well to help regulate soil temperature, retain moisture, and keep weeds at bay. May is a good time to test your sprinkler system, too. Replace any damaged heads and inspect the water delivery to be make sure it’s getting to your plants and lawn, not the pavement.
  • Move Outdoors. If you haven’t already, now is a great time to move your houseplants outside for the summer. Place them in a shady area and be sure they get plenty of water. It’s also the perfect time to repot and fertilize them.

Enjoy Private Garden Tours and A Plant Sale on May 12th

Plant enthusiasts will have the opportunity to enjoy this year’s Through the Garden Gate tour and Garden Party/Plant Sale Saturday, May 12. The tour will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through seven private gardens and projects of Master Gardeners in east and central Cobb County. Tickets are $10 per person in advance and can be purchased at the Cobb Extension Office or for $15 on the day of the tour at any of the gardens. Proceeds go back to the community, benefitting project gardens supported by the Master Gardener Volunteers of Cobb County.

Also featured in the event is the Garden Party and Plant Sale, which will include local artisans and growers, children’s crafts, local organizations and demonstrations. It will be held at Chestnut Ridge Christian Church, 2663 Johnson Ferry Road, Marietta, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. No ticket is required for this event. The Jean and Elwood Wright Environmental Center is adjacent to the Garden Party location and will be open for tours. The CrossRoads Community Garden is also on the property to browse and learn about vegetable gardening. Master Gardeners will help with a children’s craft at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., for a $5 materials fee. There will be face painting and a complimentary drink and snack for children under 10 years old. For more information, visit

Can Short Sales Heal the Housing Market?

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac recently decided to start requiring mortgage servicers to be quicker about making decisions on short sales. In the past, short sales could take several months to complete as everyone — servicers, borrowers, buyers, investors, lein holders — had to agree on a transaction before it could proceed. A shortened timeline and more streamlined process means homeowners considering the option of a short sale may be able to sell their homes faster.

Recent statistics show short sales are outpacing foreclosures. That’s good news because short sales often aren’t as damaging as foreclosures are to neighborhood values. Short sales usually don’t sell quite as low as or sit on the market quiet as long as foreclosures. Short sales occur when a lender agrees to let a homeowner sell their home for less than what is owed on the mortgage. The lender forgives the difference and the borrower is able to walk away from a home they can no longer afford. A short sale can be a nice option for homeowners who are struggling.

A recent article on suggests short sales could be the housing market’s knight in shining armor and suggested better informed buyers and sellers can also speed up the process considerably.

The President and CEO of BSI Financial Services, spoke about short sales at a mortgage servicing conference last week. “A better educated borrower from our perspective is a better borrower,” he said, noting that the more a buyer is educated about the process, the less in denial they are about their ability to get themselves back on track. “This,” he said, “leads to a more rational discussion that results in a faster turnaround and an easier time for the servicer and the homeowner.”

A short sale production executive for Bank of America agreed with Sharma, and said more real estate agents are also catching on to the short sale process. “They are the primary person that guides the process and ensures its success,” she said. A real estate agent who has experience in short sales can make it a very easy and effective process by keeping the homeowner informed. Homeowners with questions about the short sale process can contact any member of our experienced team at 678-439-6699 or



Finding the Money for Home Improvement

You have the vision, now how do you pay for it? Whether it’s time to expand and update your long time home or you just purchased a fixer-upper, there are many options for funding home improvement projects.

Home equity loans or unsecured consumer loans can be easier for homeowners and lenders to manage than a home improvement loan because they don’t require inspections and the money can be spent as needed. Some homeowners find refinancing their mortgage or taking out cash is the best option, but that does require having some equity in the home, as well as a steady income and good credit score. Another option is a second mortgage, which typically allows you to borrow up to eighty percent of the appraised value of your home minus the balance due on your first mortgage. There are also many government run home improvement programs you may be eligible for.

For help deciding which option best fits your financial needs, talk to your lender and do some research on available options. A recent article in This Old House Magazine speaks more in depth on options for financing home improvements. Your real estate agent is also a great resource!