A couple of weeks have passed since the Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate by a quarter point, or 0.25 percent. It’s the fourth time since December 2015 that the Fed has raised interest rates. Projections are that the rates will be increased at least one more time in 2017. The good news behind that is that it means the economy is much healthier. And, despite the increases, the rate is still extremely low by historical standards. But what does it mean for home buyers?
First, don’t panic! While the rate increase will raise borrowing costs for consumers (ie. home buyers) and may impact the price of the home you can afford in order to maintain a monthly mortgage payment that’s within your budget, it doesn’t mean you have to reconsider buying your new home. There are many more factors to consider–such as the trends and sales data an experienced and licensed real estate agent can provide. REALTORs act in their client’s best interest to get them the best deal possible–giving you the information you need so you’ll know what to expect and not be caught by surprise. Let our #1 team help you maximize your purchasing power. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org today or check us out at www.PetersenPartners.com.
Are you planning to sell your home this year and need to get it ready to go on the market? Do you need a reliable plumber or electrician? Maybe a tree removal service or home stager? Download your free Vendor Resource Guide here.
Petersen Partners has compiled sources for its Vendor Resource Guide from a select group of REALTOR® colleagues based on personal or client experience. We recommend you do your own research to find the vendor(s) that best suits your needs and situation. We welcome your positive or negative feedback on any of the names contained in this list. Your comments and suggestions will help us achieve our goal of providing the names of the best, most reliable vendors in our area.
Colorful blooms all over the country are evidence that spring has sprung. It’s time to chase the winter gloom from your home and prepare to welcome summer.
A little seasonal maintenance can go a long way toward ensuring safety and security. Traveler’s Insurance provides a home maintenance checklist to help you do just that:
- Furnace – clean or replace the filter
- Fireplace – remove any ash and have the chimney swept
- Smoke detectors – change the batteries and check that detectors are working
- Water heater – inspect for leaks or corrosion
- Air conditioning – have the system checked and tuned by a professional before turning it on for the season
- Electrical outlets – check outlets and cords for frayed wires or loose-fitting plugs. Fuse boxes and extension cords also should be checked to make sure they are not overloaded.
- Dryer – Clean lint build-up from the clothes dryer exhaust duct and the space under the dryer. Use a specialized brush to clean out the vent pipe.
- Windows – Let the sun shine in through clean windows all over the house
- Roof – Check for loosened shingles or any damage from snow or ice, and make repairs now to reduce the possibility of leaks
- Gutters: Clean leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts to keep water flowing and reduce the possibility of water damage
- Trees: Visually inspect trees for damage or rot and remove, or have professionally removed, any dead trees or limbs. Be sure all healthy trees and bushes are trimmed and away from utility wires
- Lawn Equipment: Make sure lawn mowers, tractors and other equipment are tuned up before using. Store oil and gas for lawn equipment and tools in a vented, locked area.
- Walkways and Driveways: Repair any cracks and broken or uneven surfaces to provide a safe, level walking area.
Reposted courtesy of http://rismedia.com/2017/06/11/are-your-home-garden-ready-summer/#close
When you read or hear advice about staging your home for sale, it’s predictable—declutter, depersonalize, and neutralize as much as possible. But what you’re never told is how to make your home really memorable. One way is to make it look like a really fun place to live.
Here are three ideas for making your home more appealing to a potential buyer:
- Put a badminton net in the backyard. Leave a note by the racquets with some bottled waters inviting homebuyers to play. Ping pong is also becoming a popular backyard activity—ask a local store if you can rent a ping pong table for the day.
- Most homes are older, so turn age into a positive. Set the dining room table with a fondue pot surrounded by flower power napkins and plates. Put some Al Green on Pandora for showings. Showcase the trendy, vintage quality of a home with history.
- Speaking of history . . . Include a fun detailed history sheet explaining that unique aspects of your home. For instance, mid-century homes epitomize the postwar automobile, jet and space travel culture. That’s why the garages are attached and Sputnik stars were a popular motif. Better vacuums meant no more rug beating—hence the luxury of wall-to-wall carpet.
Click here for more tips and benefits of staging your home.
As the spring housing market heats up, you may have to act fast to get the home you want. But that doesn’t mean you should skip crucial home buying steps. Have a plan and stick to it to find the home you want.
- Be prepared. Choose a lender, share your financial information, and decide the down payment amount. The lender will come back with the highest amount you can borrow and your interest rate. Don’t fool yourself with a risky loan; get the safest loan for the longest term you can afford.
- Shop within your means. By fixing the financial variables, you also fix your price range. While you may be tempted to look at fancier homes to see what they have, but that will only make you less happy with the homes in your range.
- Don’t skip inspections. Sellers expect you to examine the home. You not only need to know what the home costs, but what it’s likely to cost soon for repairs, replacements and remodeling.
- Think long term. To recover closing and moving costs, you will likely need to occupy the home you buy for five years or longer. Choose the home that is most likely to meet your household’s needs for the longest foreseeable future.
- Add value. By adding on or making other improvements, you’re bringing the home up to the area’s best standards, which will help it hold and increase its value and appeal strongly to the next buyer.
- Compare lenders. A loan officer works for a bank or savings and loan and offers you proprietary loan packages. A mortgage broker shops your deal around to various lenders and gets quotes for you. You’ll have to share personal financial information to get a realistic rate, and then pick the lender’s offer you like best.
- Pay attention to terms. All fees are negotiable. It’s all in your loan estimate and closing disclosure form when you’ve applied for the loan, so ask for a blank one up front so you can compare fees. Ask the reason for each fee if it’s not apparent.
- Choose the right type of loan. Current market conditions favor fixed rates, because rates are rising from all-time lows. Yes, they cost more than hybrid loans or adjustable rate loans, but the base amount is fixed and doesn’t change. Only your taxes and hazard insurance will cost you more over the years.
If you get an adjustable rate mortgage, you are at the mercy of market conditions. While there’s a cap on how high your interest rate can go, it’s only a good risk if you plan to occupy your home less than five years.
Ask your lender to explain the risks and benefits of the types of loans available.
- Get everyone on board. Selling your home is a team effort. Start good habits now so there’s less for everyone to do later. Remind kids to put their toys away and hang up their clothes before bedtime and to make their beds every morning. For weekends, assign each household member a room to pick up in addition to their bedrooms.
- Keep baskets handy. Make a five-minute clean up drill fun. Give each household member a basket. Show them what belongs and what should be put in the basket for each room. Blow a whistle to begin and then a quick pick-up drill becomes a fun race.
- Clean litter boxes daily. Pets contribute a lot of odors to homes, so make sure cat litter boxes are sifted daily and wash dog beds weekly. Don’t forget the back-yard dog run!
- Shortcuts for speed. It’s crucial that kitchens and baths are spotless for showings. Keep a plastic housekeeper’s caddy loaded with toilet bowl cleaner, bleach wipes, paper towels and glass cleaner. Be ready to go for a five-minute once-over on counters, mirrors, etc.
- Reward good jobs Look over each room before heading out the door with the kids and the family dog. The one who did the best job gets to pick a treat – ice cream, a movie or the park.
According to this article from our friends at RealSimple.com, these 8 plants can beautifully help fight mosquitoes and bugs! Most on this list do really well here in Georgia, plus they’re pretty and some are even tasty! Check it out before you do your spring planting!
Selling this spring or summer? Realtor.com® offers the following often-overlooked tips for home sellers:
To-do No. 1: Google your address
Not all sellers scour the Internet to find out what’s being said about their property, but they should. Nearly all buyers—90%—search online during their hunt for a home, according to the National Association of Realtors. You should be aware of what your online listing looks like, since it will influence the kinds of concerns buyers will have, says Avery Boyce, a Realtor with Compass Real Estate in Washington, D.C.
“Is the site’s estimated value very different from your asking price? It might be because tax records have the wrong information about the number of bedrooms or bathrooms your house has, and this is easily fixed,” Boyce says. Consider this too: Google Maps’ street view of your property may not show improvements that you’ve made, so you’ll want to be sure to include those updates in your listing.
To-do No. 2: Account for improvements and issues
“If you’ve owned your home for a while, make a list of all the problems you’ve solved while you’ve lived there,” says Boyce. This could include chimney fires, water damage, or a flood in the basement. Whether you solved the problem or not, you should disclose this information to the buyer so you don’t wind up in a lawsuit after the sale. Disclosing “invisible improvements” that you’ve made, like re-grading or adding a French drain system, can also be a great source of comfort for buyers, adds Boyce.
“The same goes for sewer lines or tanks, radon remediation, or leaky skylights.”
To-do No. 3: Check your real estate agent’s references
An agent’s bad behavior or incompetence could cost you time, money, and peace of mind, so it’s well worth taking extra steps to find the best real estate agent for you. Ask friends for recommendations.
Check that the people you’re considering have a current real estate license—with no complaints filed against them. Meet with the agent and reach out to a few of their references directly.
“Real estate agents should be happy to provide a number of references for a new client to call,” says Marianne Leonard Cashman a Realtor with William Raveis Real Estate in Andover, MA. As far as talking to your friends about a real estate agent recommendation, here are some questions Cashman suggests asking:
- Did you have confidence in your real estate agent?
- Do you think he/she had good knowledge of the local market?
- Did your agent communicate well and keep you informed during the entire transaction?
- Do you think that he/she negotiated well on your behalf?
- Did your agent have good vendors who could assist you?
- Did your agent returned calls/emails in a timely fashion?
- Would you recommend this person? Why? (Or why not?)
We’re proud of the reputation we’ve built in our community. We have the experience and professionalism you can trust. Please contact us at email@example.com or check us out at www.PetersenPartners.com. We will be happy to provide you a list of references and answer any questions you may have!
To-do No. 4: Insist on social media marketing
You staged your home beautifully, picked a competitive price, and listed the property, but there’s something else you’ll need to prepare before you’re fully ready to sell—a social media marketing plan. Video tours, floor plans, and photo galleries promoted on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are must-dos, advises Cashman.
“You want to make sure that your agent is using all avenues to attract the right buyer for your home,” she explains. “Make sure your home has a presence on your agent’s website, their agency’s website, and is promoted on various sites that will market the home and give information about open houses.”
To-do No. 5: Make sure the doorbell rings
Ah, attention to detail. It’s those little cosmetic repairs that could cost you your home sale. If buyers see that you can’t even be bothered to repair a busted doorbell, they’re automatically going to think about what else may need fixing and view the home negatively.
“First impressions make all the difference,” says Cashman. “A well-kept home, starting with the view from the curb, gives the perception that the seller has great pride in the home and has taken good care of it—which translates into less energy and costs for the buyer as they prepare to move in.”
To-do No. 6: Clean inside everything
Storage is a huge selling point for homes. So be warned: Buyers are going to poke around inside closets, drawers, cabinets, ovens, refrigerators, and even the dishwasher, whether they’re cleaned or not—so you’d better make sure they are clean.
“Spending the money on a service to deep-clean your home will come back to you at least 10 times in your sales price,” says Boyce. Even if you’ve swept up and scrubbed all surfaces to a shine, you’re not done until dust, crumbs, and creepy crawlies are cleaned out from within the small spaces too.
To-do No. 7: Clarify which items are not included
You don’t want a buyer to fall in love with your house because of the custom window treatments and then rescind their offer when they find out the curtains aren’t for sale.
“The law says that anything bolted to the wall or ceiling goes to the buyer unless specifically excluded in the contract,” says Boyce. “If you want to take your flat-screen TV, chandelier, or custom pot rack, be sure to label it as soon as the house goes on the market, so that buyers don’t bank on owning that item and wind up disappointed.”
Atlanta Parent compiled this great list of spring festivals around Atlanta. Lots of fun activities to check out!
With the weather finally warming up in Atlanta, weekends are going to be jam packed with outdoor festivals for your family to explore. These festivals are often free, and include multiple children’s play areas, inflatables, face painting and arts and crafts stations. The Dogwood Festival includes high-flying swings and big slides, and the Inman Park Festival has a parade complete with colorful costumes and a funky community band.
If you are looking for a new art piece for your home or want to grab a bite to eat from the window of a food truck, spend your spring weekends festival hopping. The kids will love Lemonade Days at Brook Run Park with carnival rides and games, and you will enjoy tasting samples from over 75 restaurants at the Taste of Marietta. If you want to travel back in time and watch knights joust on horses or be amazed by a juggling show, visit the Georgia Renaissance Festival through June. Our spring festival picks bring so many ways to plan quality, weekend family time. Grab the sunscreen and head to a park!
Olmsted Linear Park
April 1-2. Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
150 local and regional artists, children’s area, local food and more. 1451 Ponce de Leon Ave., Atlanta. Admission, free.
April 7-9. Fri., noon-11 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Three-day festival features artists from around the country, musical performances, children’s area with inflatables, arts and crafts, face painting and more. 14th St. and Piedmont Ave., Atlanta. 404-817- 6642. Admission, free.
Reynolds Nature Preserve
April 8. 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Azalea showcases, guided nature hikes, face painting, animal shows and more. 5665 Reynolds Rd., Morrow. 770-603-4188. Admission, free.
April 8 and 9. Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Over 100 artists displaying paintings, pottery, metalwork and more. Children’s area includes arts and crafts projects, bounce houses, sand art and face painting. 4415 Senator Russell Blvd., Acworth. 770-337-4049. Admission, free.
April 15. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Live entertainment, vendors, artist demos, children’s area, kid’s chalk art contest, food trucks and more. 4758 South Old Peachtree Rd., Norcross. 678-277-0920. admission, free.
April 15 and 16. Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Children’s area, local musicians, interactive art stations, plus up to 150 arts and crafts participants. 6100 Lake Forrest Dr., Sandy Springs. 404-873-1222. dmission, free.
Sat. and Sun. April 15-June 4 and Memorial Day. 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
Artist market, fire whip show, jousting, a hypnotist, belly dancing, aerial trapeze acts, knife throwing and more. Grab a turkey leg and travel back in time. 6905 Virlyn B. Smith Rd., Fairburn. 770-964-8575. Adults, $22; ages 6-12, $10;ages 5 and younger, free.
Brook Run Park
April 19-23. Wed.-Fri. 4-10 p.m. Sat. 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sun. noon-6 p.m.
Rides, games concessions, arts and craft fair and live music. 4770 North Peachtree Rd., Dunwoody. 770-668-0401. Admission, free; unlimited ride pass, $20-25.
April 20. 5-8:30 p.m.
Samples from local restaurants plus live entertainment, children’s area, carnival rides and more. N. and S. Court Square, Newnan. 770-253-8283. Admission, free; tasting tickets, $1.
April 21. 6-9 p.m.
Over 30 Henry County restaurants serve tasting samples plus kids can enjoy slides, moonwalks, face painting and more. 101 Lake Dow Rd., McDonough. 678-432-1630. Adults, $20; ages 3-12, $5; kid zone tickets, $1 each.
April 22 and 23. Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (parade, 9:30 a.m.); Sun., noon-5 p.m.
Enjoy the artist markets, children’s area and live music. 2829 Cherokee St., Kennesaw. 770-423-1330. Admission, free.
April 22 and 23. Sat. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun. noon-6 p.m.
Traditional music, dancing, arts and crafts, Arabic calligraphy, face painting, carnival games and food from local
Arab restaurants. 3288 Marjan Dr., Atlanta. 770-936-8770. Adults, $5; ages 11 and younger, free.
Grant Park to Westview
April 23. 2-6 p.m.
Enjoy biking, skating or walking down the car-free streets. Local businesses will have booths and displays along the route. Bike parade at 2 p.m. Georgia Avenue and Ralph David Abernathy Blvd. Admission, free.
Downtown Gainesville Square
April 29. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Chicken city parade, upcycled arts and crafts show, live entertainment, children’s area and chicken cook-off. 104 Main St., Gainesville. 770-531-1102. Admission, free. Chicken sample card, $5.
April 29. 4-7 p.m.
100+ cars on display, barbecue, live music and more benefitting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. 8200 Roberts Dr., Atlanta. 678-892-1200. $20; ages 8 and younger, free.
April 29. 2-6 p.m.
Visit the Atlanta BeltLine for games, live music, dance performances, food trucks, health and wellness screenings, fitness demos and more. 102 Ollie St. NW, Atlanta. Admission, free.
April 29 and 30. Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun. noon-5 p.m.; 5K: Sat. 8 a.m.
Artist market, Jonquil Jog/Walk 5K, puppet shows by Peter Hart, food for purchase, live music and children’s area. 200 Village Green Cir., Smyrna. 770-423-1330. Admission, free.
April 28 (home tour only), noon-4 p.m. April 29 and 30. Sat. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. (parade, 2 p.m.); Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
A self-guided home tour of the neighborhood’s historic houses, an artist market, kid’ yoga, live pet shows and children’s area. Euclid Ave., Atlanta. Admission, ree; home tour, $20.
Historic Marietta Square
April 30. 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
75 Cobb County restaurants, live entertainment and children’s area. 50 Park Sq., Marietta. 770-429-1115. Admission, free; tastings, $1-$5.