Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Keeping your home functioning safely and efficiently in the winter


The winter is upon us again. Here are a few tips to keep your home functioning safely and efficiently:
KEEP THE BILL DOWN.
Installing a programmable thermostat will help regulate your usage. Set the thermostat at 68 degrees or below to save energy and money.  In the daytime keep window curtains and blinds open to let in sunlight. Sunlight helps to keep a warmer temperature in your home.  Now is also the perfect time to complete a household check to prepare for colder weather.

THE FURNACE
Have a professional check furnace to ensure the pilot light and burners are working properly. The filter should be changed regularly.
THE DETECTORS
Be sure to check carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. Make sure they are working properly with adequate battery life.
SPACE HEATERS
Space heaters should be away from anything flammable and be off when no one is at home. Make sure space heater is approved for indoors use, to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
 FIREPLACE
Properly inspected the fireplace before starting a traditional fire or igniting gas logs. It is also wise to have you chimney check and clean by a professional.
HOME RANGE & DRYER
Remember to removing excess buildup from both of these appliances on a regular basis.

KEEP THE HEAT IN PLACE
Keep warm air in and cold air out. Pay close attention to openings around windows and doors.  Seal air leaks with weather stripping and caulking.  Also, check attic to make sure it is properly insulated.


Make  Century 21 Atlanta GA  your go to for all your real estate needs in Greater Atlanta. 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Avoid These Common First-Time Home Buyer Mistakes


Buying a home for the first time can be cumbersome. You’ve never done it before, so it’s normal to feel a bit overwhelmed. Luckily, we’ve pulled together some of the common mistakes first-time home buyers make. Learn from them, and you may have a smoother home buying process.
·         Forgetting About Costs:
Your mortgage will probably not be the only cost when it comes to buying a home. Smaller costs like property insurance, taxes, electric and water bills, and other fees may start to pile up. Before buying a house, you may need to look further into your savings to figure out if you can pay for all of these additional charges.

·         Looking for a Home Before the Loan:
Once you find a house and decide to buy it, you don’t want to spend time wondering if you can afford it. Knowing your budget, and that you are a qualified buyer before you begin your search may make the process easier and more efficient. Once you decide that it’s time to buy a home, get pre-approved for a loan. Contact your Century 21 real estate agent to talk about getting pre-approved for a loan that suits you.


·         Not Hiring Professionals:
Moving isn’t as simple as packing up your stuff and renting a van. It takes a village to move into a new neighborhood. Your team can only be as good as your weakest link, so you may want to ensure that you have only the best players. Get your home buying team in place before starting the search.  A Century 21 real estate agent can help you put the right team together.


·         Being Too Picky:
There’s nothing wrong with knowing what you want when it comes to buying a home. But if your “must-have” list gets too long and too specific, you may end up looking for your perfect house for a very long time. Also, remember that you can make changes once you move in. It may be wise to take the time to figure out what you really need versus what you want. If you are unsure where to start, our checklist may help!


·         Lacking Vision:
Some of the open houses you attend may not look move-in ready. But plenty of homes have hidden potential. When you look for a home, try to look past the 70’s shag rugs and lava lamps. Imagine what the home will look like after you’ve moved in with all of your own belongings, or try to envision the structure of the home without the stuff inside it. This will be an important skill, especially if you’re looking to buy a fixer-upper as your first home.

·         Ignoring the Future: 
If you plan on living in this house for a long time, you may want to think ahead. You may decide to have kids in a few years, and then you’ll have to worry about another set of questions. Will there be enough bedrooms? Is the house located in a good school district? These may be things to think about when buying your home.
So whether you’re just starting to think about buying your first home, or you’ve already spent some time looking, there may be a lot to learn from this list of mistakes.
Source: century21 real estate blog.

 For all your real estate needs in Greater Atlanta, GA visit: Century 21 real estate agent's website.


Friday, October 7, 2016

HOME BUYING ADVICE

 Buying a home is a significant and exciting decision. This section provides professional real estate advice and helpful home buying tips.

First Steps
The Internet and real estate professionals are the top two resources most buyers turn to when searching for a home. When it’s not convenient for you to speak directly with a real estate professional, century21.com can help improve your overall home buying experience and provide the guidance to reduce stress, save time, and make you a savvy, successful consumer.

A CENTURY 21® Agent is ready to make a full-time commitment to help you capitalize on current market opportunities and assist you in making an informed decision.

To ensure you make the right choice for the long term, a CENTURY 21 Agent offers extensive knowledge in:
  •          Neighborhoods, schools and market conditions
  •          Mortgage specialists who can assist you with your financing
  •          Technology that gives them an edge, along with multiple resources available just for you on century21.com / atlantafinestrealtor.com

 Would you like to receive more information on the home buying process? Contact a CENTURY 21 Atlanta GA Agent (My CENTURY21).

1 2010 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers

Finding the right real estate agent can make you a savvy consumer and improve your overall experience.

LOOKING FOR A HOME
The single biggest reason most people buy a home is the simple desire to own a home of their own.1 At the same time, homeowners accumulate wealth for the future while enjoying the benefits of a residence that they can use, improve and enjoy. What’s different is each individual’s wish-list of essentials; from public transportation to the number of bedrooms, we can help you create a comprehensive list and go from there.

1 2010 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers
WHAT'S RIGHT FOR YOU?
Looking for a house to buy? This section will help you create a prioritized list of features to narrow your search.
What's the Right Home For You?
Before deciding which house to buy, consider your lifestyle, current and anticipated housing needs and budget. It’s a good idea to create a prioritized list of features you want in your new home; you'll quickly discover finding the right house involves striking a balance between your "must-haves" and your "nice-to-haves."

If you love to cook, you'll appreciate a well-equipped kitchen. If you're into gardening, you'll want a yard. If a home office is a must, you’ll need a room that will provide you adequate work space. If you have several cars, you may require a larger garage. Use this list as your search guide.

Next, think about what you might need in the future, and how long you are likely to live in this particular home. If you're newly married, you might not be concerned with a school district right now, but you could be in a few years. If you have aging parents, you may want to look at homes that offer living arrangements that could accommodate them as well.

It’s important to think about your new home’s location just as carefully as its features. In addition to considering the distance to work, evaluate what matters to you in terms of services, convenience and accessibility, such as shopping, police and fire protection, medical facilities, school and daycare, traffic and parking, trash and garbage collection, even recreational facilities.

Be sure to talk to your real estate professional about where you want to live and what’s most important to you. While buyers frequently use the Internet to gain access to listings or available properties for sale, an agent brings value to the entire home buying process. He or she is available to analyze data, answer questions, share their professional expertise, and handle all the paperwork and legwork that is involved in any real estate transaction. CENTURY 21® professionals can help their clients narrow their choices by sharing market trends and local information.

TIP:  It’s also important to consider the type of home that suits you best. Is it a condominium or a co-op? A townhouse or a detached single-family home? Do you want brick, stone, stucco, wood, vinyl siding, or something else? Do you prefer a new home or an older one?

WHAT CAN YOU AFFORD?
How much home can you afford? Review your income, savings, and debt to figure out how much home you can afford.
How Much Can You Afford?
Now that you know what you're looking for, the next step is figuring out what type of home you can afford. A review of your income, savings, monthly expenses and debt will be necessary.

Early in the process, you'll want to get pre-qualified for a mortgage loan. It enables you to move swiftly when you find the right home, especially when there are other interested buyers. It also indicates to the seller that you are serious and can afford to buy the property. A pre-approval is a simple calculation done by a mortgage lender that tells you the amount you'll be able to finance through a loan and what your monthly payment will be.

The price you can afford to pay for a home will depend on several factors, such as:

  •          Gross income
  •          The funds you have available for the down payment, closing costs and cash reserves required by the lender
  •          Your debt
  •          Your credit history
  •          The type of mortgage you select
  •          Current interest rates


Another figure that lenders use to evaluate how much you can afford is the housing expense-to-income ratio. It is determined by calculating your projected monthly housing expense, which consists of the principal and interest payment, property tax payments and insurance premiums on your new home loan (also known as PITI).

Each buyer is unique, and a mortgage professional can help you find out just what you can afford. Your income and debts will typically play the biggest roles in determining your price range. It's simple to make an estimate – just run the numbers for yourself using our Affordability Calculator.

YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD?
Evaluating a neighborhood and surrounding areas thoroughly is essential.
When you buy a home, you're investing in a community. You'll spend a significant amount of time and money supporting the schools, community organizations and commercial centers in the area. Before you make the final decision, take a good look at the location and make sure it fits your lifestyle. For example:
·          Evaluate the property’s proximity to other important locations in your life. How long will your commute time be? Is there a hospital or doctor's office nearby? What about schools, childcare, shopping, family and friends?
·          Consider all of your transportation options. A new home could lend itself to public transportation options or carpooling. Depending on the type of community, you may be able to find alternative methods of transportation. Take the time to drive from the new home to your commuting destinations, to get a sense of what your daily life will be like.
·          Make sure you feel comfortable in the area. Drive around the neighborhood at different times of the day and night on multiple days of the week to observe activity and noise levels. An educated buyer is a happy one!

CENTURY 21® real estate professionals are a tremendous resource. Ask your agent for a list of schools, shopping centers, parks or other amenities that are important to you. Buying a new home is about more than the structure and property. It's about your new lifestyle as well.
TIP: Visit and understand the school district. Even if you don't have children in the school system now, you may some day. The district reputation could positively or negatively impact the selling price of your future home as well.


ALREADY HAVE A HOME?
Buying a home while selling an existing home has its own set of considerations; this section provides expert buying advice and can help you navigate these challenges successfully.
What If You Already Have a Home?
Buying a new home and selling an existing home at the same time has its own set of challenges. With knowledgeable planning, you can ensure everything goes smoothly.
Before putting your house on the market or committing to buying a new one, take a look at the prices of houses in the areas where you'll be selling and buying. You'll need a realistic idea of sales prices for similar houses, so you can assess both your buying and selling position.  
What if you're unable to time the sale of one house with the purchase of another? You may own no houses for a time, in which case you'll need money in the bank and a temporary place to live. Or, you may own two houses at once. That's why it's important to have a backup plan. Here are some options to consider:
·         Research short-term rental and storage options (family, friends, storage facilities, containers).
·         Bridge financing (a short-term loan) for the down payment on a new home backed by the equity in your old house.

Buying a Second Home
Buying a second home isn't all that different from buying a first home. Affording it usually depends on your ability to qualify for a mortgage on the second home. Benefits include a getaway for the family on vacations or holidays, a future retirement home, or renters making your mortgage payments for you.
Keep in mind that if you declare it as a rental, your mortgage might be slightly higher and your down payment requirements higher than a standard mortgage. Work with your lender to create a customized loan program with the best combination of rate, points, and closing costs to meet your needs.
TIP: A second home can be a good investment. To make the most of the opportunity, be sure you factor in sources for your down payment and monthly expenses (including the costs of maintaining the property).


The content for this blog is form http://www.century21.com/buyingadvice .The owner of this blog page is a license Century 21 real estate agent.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Home Improvement Tips

Making home improvements not only creates beautiful upgrades to your home but can also increase its overall value. Using a Home Equity Line of Credit can be the smartest way to manage the expense associated with making home improvements. The following tips from industry experts offer some of the most cost-effective and valuable enhancements you can make to your home.
Tip #1
Updated homes frequently sell faster. The renovation of dark or dated kitchens is one of the most profitable home improvements you can make.
Tip #2
Time to refinance your mortgage? If interest rates are lower now than when you closed on your current mortgage, you may be able to save money by refinancing.
 Tip #3
Updating an old bathroom is one of the most profitable home improvements you can make.
 Tip #4
Adding casual living areas like a den or family room is a smart home improvement.
 Tip #5
Thinking of updating your home with one of these home improvements and wondering how long they generally last?
  •           New chimney: 100 years or more
  •           Asphalt shingles: 15 to 30 years
  •           A wooden deck: 15 years
  •           Ceramic tile or terrazzo: 100 years or more
  •           Vinyl flooring: 20 to 30 years
  •           Oak or pine floors: 100 years

Tip #6
Planning to buy new appliances? Here's how long they generally last.
  •           Refrigerators: up to 20 years
  •           Microwave: 10 years or more
  •           Stove: 15 years or more
  •           Washer and dryer: about 13 years

Tip #7
Adding a second bath to a house can be a significantly profitable home improvement.
Tip #8
it’s true: sometimes you have to spend money to save money. Buying a new refrigerator can save you money on electricity. Insulating an attic can save on heating and air-conditioning bills. The improvements you make not only save you money now but may also increase the value of your home.
http://www.atlantafinestrealtor.com/tools/marketvalue.aspx