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Real Estate Report December Special Section


News and Advertising for New Homes • Realtors • Developers • Commercial Properties • and more

December 2013

A l p h a r e t ta • C u m m i n g • C h e r o k e e • D u l u t h • F o r s y t h • G w i n n e t t • J o h n s C r e e k • M i lt o n • R o s w e l l • S U WA N N E E

In 2014, will we return to a balanced real estate market? By EVE JONES Harry Norman Northpoint Homes available for sale in our area have declined steadily in 2013, while prices have made significant gains. In many parts of north Ful-

ton, the inventory numbers are down to approximately 2 months which means, at the current sales rate, if no other homes came on the market it would take two months to sell out of those homes. A “normal market” in our

area would see a 5 month supply of homes. So, how will we fare in 2014? The value increases over the last year should bring sellers back to the market this spring which will likely improve the inventory to the

point where we return to a balanced market. You remember those days… where neither sellers nor buyers have the economic upper hand and negotiations were practical and civil. In a balanced market, buyers do not have to make rash decisions and sellers do not have to “give away the farm”. This is a return to the steady, healthy real estate market, where we can expect more moderate value gains. This is good news for real estate professionals who have hunkered down through years of plummeting home values, distressed sellers, a foreclosure flooded market and buyers in-

tent on 10-20% discounts. The agents who have weathered the storm are likely well-seasoned and dedicated to their profession. Even though the market has greatly improved, it doesn’t mean you don’t need a highlyskilled agent. Make sure your agent provides you with a complete market analysis, reviewing sales within a mile or two and closed within the last six months, before you determine your list price. Finally, do your homework to determine if your agent is a full-time, full-service Realtor©, has a marketing plan and the experience to best represent your interests.


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Reverse mortgages provide financial flexibility (NAPSI)—Each day, 10,000 Americans turn 62, according to U.S. Census reports. Many retire with the expectation that a solid retirement account will make it possible to travel or enjoy their home with friends and family. Unfortunately, too often, retirees find that their savings account or investments don’t look as promising as they once did or that other expenses have emerged and need to be paid. The good news is that a growing number of seniors are coming to the conclusion that they can put the equity in their home to work by getting a reverse mortgage. With a reverse mortgage, seniors 62 and older can access the equity in their home to get tax-free funds that can be used for whatever they want. While this kind of mortgage may not be for everyone, it can benefit seniors who want to improve their financial situations after retirement. Plus, the seniors can continue to live in their home without monthly mortgage payments.

Putting Your Home To Work Here are five examples of how seniors are putting reverse mortgages to work for them: Payment of hospital or medical bills—More and more Americans are going into debt because of medical bills. Never before has the cost of medical coverage been so high. Many seniors rely on Medicare, but that only covers a percentage of the total cost of medical expenses. Home improvements— Seniors are hesitant to make

home improvements while living on a fixed income. A reverse mortgage can allow seniors to make home improvements or repairs. Pay off debt—Reverse mortgages provide the funds needed for seniors to pay down debt or eliminate debt completely. This gives many seniors the feeling of financial relief and flexibility. Improvement of quality of life—One of the benefits of a reverse mortgage is financial freedom. With a reverse mortgage, the current mortgage is eliminated and monthly mortgage payments are not required for as long as the senior lives in the home. Seniors receive relief by not having to make a monthly mortgage payment, as well as gain financial flexibility to be able to do more in their retirement years, like dining out, traveling to see family, or simply providing the financial cushion that some seniors seek. Travel—Funds from a reverse mortgage give seniors a chance to take the dream vacation they have always wanted but may have not had the funds to do.

An Attractive Option Reverse mortgages are increasingly becoming an attractive option for seniors who want a comfortable retirement. The consumer no longer makes a monthly mortgage payment but remains responsible for all applicable property taxes and homeowners insurance. When the home is sold, the proceeds go toward paying off the reverse mortgage and any remaining money is kept by the former homeowner. The

money received from a reverse mortgage is tax free and it doesn’t affect Social Security benefits. “Reverse mortgages give senior homeowners financial flexibility so they can comfortably retire and remain in their own homes,” said Richard Mandell, CEO of One Reverse Mortgage. “There is no greater satisfaction than helping seniors do what they thought was impossible with a loan program that is insured by the federal government and has helped thousands of seniors live a better retirement.” To learn more, visit www.onereversemortgage.com.

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More power to your deck (NAPSI)—Americans, it seems, have more leisure time than ever, and more of that time is spent on their decks: Almost 85 percent of U.S. homes have some type of deck.

withstand outdoor conditions, that you install in the deck surface. It securely holds an outdoor extension cord that runs underneath the deck and seals out moisture and debris while in use.

Decked Out For Delight Now, many families are finding they want to make their deck do more. For example, they’re adding an outdoor kitchen, a fire pit or a fireplace with seating. Some set up outdoor speakers or decorative lights and fountains.

Perhaps best of all, it’s easy to install: How to Install It Trace the bottom end of the flange on the deck surface. Cut out the hole and install the flange into the opening. Secure with the two screws provided. Install the female end of an outdoor extension cord into the lid. Snap the lid into the flange in the deck. Plug the opposite end of the extension cord into a GFCI outlet. Open the Red•Dot Deck Grommet by pulling up the lid and pivoting it open. Close the lid, with the cord of the device being powered coming out of the slot, so it’s flush with the deck surface, making a neat and attractive installation.

The Problem While cooking and eating on your deck are easy, other activities, such as reading at night, listening to music or enjoying that fountain, require a nearby power receptacle. Installing an outdoor electrical outlet usually means calling an electrician. And running extension cords over the deck can be unsightly and unsafe. An Answer There is, however, an easy-toinstall solution to put power exactly where you need it on your raised deck: the Red•Dot Deck Grommet, a rugged polymer housing, constructed to

Where To Find It You can find the device at home centers and electrical wholesalers. For more information, go to www.tnb.com/deckpower.


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Making space for the parents VERY UGLY DRIVEWAY? With our aging population it has become more common to have home buyers put an in-law suite on the list of desired features for a home. According to Census data, about 9 percent of older Americans live with family. There are really about three different in-law Local Realtor suite options in our area. Keller Williams Realty The first, and most often thought of, is in a finished basement. This is also the easiest to find. Finished basements with a bedroom, bath and kitchen are fairly common and it isn’t terrieveryone would want to make allowances for bly expensive to finish a basement out this way. their parents to live with them. In-laws though? The only downside would be stairs if your Maybe not so much. parents were at the age where going up and The fact that my mom might be reading this down stairs were difficult. The next option would be a large bedroom on and my mother-in-law won’t has no bearing at all on that statement. the main floor. While this type of floor plan exists, it is much more difficult to find. Typically you have the master bedroom on the main, which would be the only “master” in the home, or you would have a standard secondary bedroom on the main floor. $ • Waterproofing and The remaining bedrooms Mold Repair Full Bsmt Solution over 100’ would be upstairs, which again, • Crawl Space could be a problem. $150 OFF less than 100’ DISCOUNT ONLY BY MENTIONING THIS AD. Finally, on larger lots, it is Encapsulation Expires 10 days after publication. possible to find a property with • Foundation/Walls a guest house.  Bowing or Cracked This might be the perfect Solutions. Guaranteed. solution, as it allows for parents to be close by, but have a Pls Call for Quote place to make their own. And let’s be honest. I’m sure

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December 2013 Real Estate Report