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Real Estate Report August Special Section


North Atlanta’s

Sponsored Section • real estate reportAugust 2014

Sponsored Section • | August 2014

News and advertising for new homes, realtors, developers, commercial properties and more.

How landscaping can impact home values By: Jody White Curb appeal is essential when selling a home. It’s the homeowner’s opportunity to make a great FIRST impression. A home with lackluster landscaping or an exterior in desperate need of a fresh coat of paint will likely be unappealing to prospective buyers and ultimately could affect the home’s potential value. Landscaping is typically associated with lawns, trees, bushes and flowers. But today, other items such as fire pits, decks, patios, waterfalls, swimming pools and outdoor lighting…are all large factors that could add to the resale value of a home. Big factors here in Alpharetta, Milton and Roswell! According to a recent study by Lawn and Landscape magazine, about two-thirds of homeowners say they’ll get less than 60 percent of their landscaping investment back when they

sell the home. Thus, homeowners need to consider how long they’ll be in the home and whether to make short-term updates (for sales appeal) or plan for the long haul (enjoyment for themselves). Homeowners should ask themselves several questions when it comes to the quality of their home’s green space. Is the landscaping attractive enough to get the prospective buyer to walk through the door? Keep the design simple and contemporary. Could the landscaping provide cost savings? Landscaping that requires little or no water to maintain is very desirable here in the south. Is the landscaping energy – efficient for the home overall? For example, it’s a good idea to plant trees in a place where they block the sun while adding beauty to the home. Are trees planted a safe distance from the home and are they healthy and well main-

tained? Really important when we have had so much wet weather. Weak, old or damaged trees planted too close to a home need to be removed BEFORE the home goes on the

market. Just one less thing a new homeowner will have to do and shows that the present homeowner has taken steps to ensure safety around the home.

Jody White’s team provides access to the best teams in the industry to assure your home is ready to show, inside and out! Jody White, Atlanta Fine Homes, 404-966-7992.

August 2014

real estate report • Sponsored Section 3

Smarter homes in North Fulton By: Suzanne Close and Robin Ives Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International The dwellings of the future will make you calmer, safer, richer and healthier, and they exist in Roswell. Articles and media are fueling the excitement and promoting the products and culture associated with eco friendly, smart and energy efficient homes. Smart gadgets abound, with the most popular being your smart phone, which can manage and monitor your home from anywhere in the world, control your lighting and security, and measure your energy consumption and production. Surprising to so many buyers, these homes are smart, stylish, and serene, and any visible ‘eco’ features are minimal, but discreetly tucked away into the design of the homes. An Eco-Friendly home is not just good for the environment, but friendly for your wallet as well.  Increasing the sustainability value of your home helps save you energy consumption and reduce your carbon footprint, all with a cost efficient system solution installed. Energy star appliances, solar energy, lighting and lower consumption all work together. Combined with Smart technology, which monitors the output of these pieces, you’ll save

money AND the environment. The best example of the Smart & Eco Friendly Home, and one used to train and educate home inspectors as well as educators on truly leed platinum certified properties, is luxurious Weatherford Place in downtown Roswell. Just steps away from popular Canton Street, this avenue of eight EcoCraft™ Hybrid homes, built by developer Cadmus Construction are the only Platinum LEED-certified homes in the state. With the help of integrated solar panels, 1,500 gallon water cisterns for collecting and storing water for use on the property, and other measures found throughout the homes, expect an average $200 utility bill and tax credits up to $32,000. Murphy beds, dumbwaiters, elevators and even dipping pools are options in these Smart Homes, as buyers work with the designer to plan exactly what amenities and features fit their lifestyle. Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty are representing the development, with Robin Ives and Suzanne Close available to provide more details and tours of the model homes. Green is Good!

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Sponsored Section • real estate reportAugust 2014

5 reasons hiring a real estate professional is a good idea By: Bill Rawlings Vice President/Managing Broker North Atlanta Office Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty Today, nearly 100 percent of people begin the real estate process online. With numerous real estate-focused websites offering enhanced exposure, some sellers choose the FSBO (for sale by owner) route because it seems effortless to position your home to potential buyers on popular real estate websites. The Internet can be alluring in pursuing FSBO, but whether you are buying or selling, consider five important points in the difference between working with a REALTOR® and navigating the process on your own. 1. Paperwork. What, how and why? Contract regulations vary from state to state and are required for a successful sale. Understanding the details and keeping abreast of the ever-changing regulations is a daunting task to undertake on your own. When you hire a real estate professional, you are hiring a market expert who can help you navigate through the confusing, but necessary, paperwork.

2. You found the house of your dreams! So, now what? The Orlando Regional REALTOR® Association conducted rawlings a study and found that every successful real estate transaction has more than 230 possible required actions. A real estate professional is familiar with what each action entails and has a database of resources available, if necessary. Agents possess the knowledge and tools to help make your dream a reality. 3. Can you negotiate well? Some people are not convinced they need an agent to sell their home; however, an agent offers expertise when it comes to negotiating with the long list of individuals required for a successful transaction. The average transaction requires working with a minimum of 11 different people including the buyer, inspector, appraiser and lender, to name a few. It can be an arduous process – who wouldn’t want help with that?

4. Get the most out of your transaction. What’s your home’s real value? Real estate professionals have access to market data required to price your home correctly. Competitively pricing your home right from the start allows you to attract serious, qualified buyers and leads to a quicker sale. You will benefit from the expertise of an agent with no emotional connection to your home in identifying its truest value. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, “the typical FSBO home sold for $184,000 compared to $230,000 among agent-assisted home sales.” 5. Do you really understand what’s going on in the market? When it comes to real estate, there is a constant flood of information about home sales, prices, mortgage rates, the right time to buy or sell – the list goes on. It is daunting to keep up with it all. How do you separate fact from fiction? Do you really know what’s happening in your area? By hiring an agent who is knowledgeable about the market and your neighborhood positions you to have a positive buying or selling experience.

Agents are not just in it for the sale and are honest with their clients. Working with a real estate professional who can educate you on the process and handle the detailed aspects of writing and executing a contract will give you the best conclusion possible. Do you need any more reasons? You wouldn’t skydive without an experienced guide. You wouldn’t want to have an operation without an experienced doctor … do not make one of

the biggest and most important financial decisions of your life without a real estate professional. Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty agents are recognized as experts in the markets they serve. Contact me today and I can recommend an agent to assist you in the purchase or sale of your next real estate transaction or visit us at Article adapted from

Tips on organizing your closets like a pro (NAPSI)—Any time of year can be the right time to give your closets the once-over. A wellorganized closet space offers several benefits. For starters, you can save time when you can find the items you are looking for. That can also mean

less stress and more time to enjoy with family and friends. To help, here are some tips from EasyClosets—an online provider of do-it-yourself custom organization systems for all areas of the home. • Closets can be easily

overrun with clothes, shoes and jackets that you no longer wear or are out of season and are taking up valuable space. Rotating your wardrobe with the season and purging items keeps everything organized and gives your closet some space to

breathe. • When it comes to the closet space itself, create dedicated areas for specific types of items so you will know where to find them—and where to put them away—every time. • Position shelves, hanging rods and drawers in a convenient location that makes it simple to get to items that are used frequently. • Then use your closet’s top shelves to store off-season or seldom-used items, including hats, luggage and extra bedding. • In the master bedroom closet, organize your belts, ties or scarves with pull-out racks that keep items separated and accessible. • In your kids’ closets, you can make it easier to keep things orderly with baskets and shelves placed within their reach. Wire baskets will let your little ones see what’s inside. Double up on hanging rods to maximize space and make clothing items more visible. As they grow, you can move or remove the adjustable rods. • To organize your entryway closet, create zones by dedicating baskets, hooks and shelves to each family member. Use

them to store jackets, shoes, hats, bags, the dog’s leash and seasonal items. • If you want to get your closets organized right away, EasyClosets offers products that are custom made in one business day and shipped to your home. The company even has an intuitive online design tool to make space planning quick and easy for homeowners. Complimentary design service is also available, allowing customers to have an expert review their plan or create it for them. Upgrading to a custom closet can increase the quality and value of your home. Plus, you can save up to 50 percent by designing and installing the organizers yourself. To learn more, visit

August 2014

real estate report • Sponsored Section

Valuing a unique property By Robert Strader Keller Williams Realty I like to say, there are five different values on a home. What the owner thinks it is, the realtor, the buyer, the appraiser and the tax man. The truth is — the value will be defined by the bank’s appraiser. In order to determine that value, they will look at precedent. What have other similar homes sold for recently? When we prepare a market analysis for a homeowner, we look at recent sales as well. In many cases, determining that value isn’t terribly difficult. Most communities have similar homes and enough sales on a regular basis to offer more than enough comparable sales. The differences between homes are typically updates and finishes. In those cases, determining value is usually straight forward. Valuing a unique property can be far more challenging. For example, a recent property we looked at is a lovingly restored farmhouse built in 1912 on a couple of acres of land. You can bet there aren’t

many homes just like that selling every day. On the property was the original smokehouse that has been converted into a potting shed and has had a greenhouse added. The barn has been converted into a workshop as well. Circumstances like this warrant expanding the geographical area in which you look for comparable sales. But when you do find comparable properties to work with, you’ll have to make some judgment calls on the features. Finding properties with barns or workshops would be great, but maybe it’s a detached garage and not a barn. How do you adjust value for a structure while trying to take into account things like character or scarcity in the case of the greenhouse? With character, scarcity and unique restorations, you have to make some “educated assumptions.” There will be some latitude you have with values but you still must be guided by precedent. Maybe there is a sixth value for a home — what the market will bear — but it still has to pass muster with an appraiser. 5


Sponsored Section • real estate reportAugust 2014

Welcome home: top five things to know when preparing to sell or buy a home in 2014 (NAPSI)—For the first time in years, rising home prices are boosting sellers’ confidence. At the same time, interest rates remain relatively low, helping to boost potential homebuyers’ confidence. Millions of Americans will decide in 2014 to put their houses on the market and/or shop for new homes, and need to understand the current housing market conditions as they move closer to buying or selling homes. The following “top five things to know when preparing to sell or buy a home in 2014” should be considered by anyone thinking about a home sale or purchase. 1. Is 2014 the time to make a move? What sellers should know: The pool of prospective buyers hasn’t been this large in several years. Now may be the time to move, depending on your market. What buyers should know: You’re competing with more buyers, but interest rates are still ideal, so the hunt for your next home could be well worth it in the end. 2. The price is right, right? What sellers should know: Don’t overprice your house. After the first 21 days on the market its “freshness appeal” diminishes. What buyers should know: The house is probably too expensive if your debt-to-income ratio (mortgage, prop-

erty taxes and insurance) is higher than 36 percent of your monthly gross income. 3. Look for added value in a home protection plan. What sellers should know: Homes sold with home warranties spend an average of almost 11 fewer days on the market and sell for an average of $2,300 more than homes without a home warranty, according to a recent home sales study conducted by American Home Shield®. For full results and methodology, visit http://bit. ly/1mTrWkU). What buyers should know: If covered home system components or appliances fail, you’ll worry less knowing they’ll be repaired or replaced under a home warranty. 4. make them or not? What sellers should know: View your home as a potential buyer and make improvements accordingly. Consult with a real estate agent to see if improvements are good investments, and to avoid overimproving the property. What buyers should know: Assess your abilities, time constraints and commitment level when it comes to renovation work. Negotiate improvements with the sale of the house, when appropriate.

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Big Builder’s 2014 Public Builder Report Card


In the Atlanta division, prices, plans and specifications are subject to change without notice. Photographs and or renderings are for illustrative purposes only. Information believed to be accurate but not warranted. BUILDER magazine gave Ryland Homes an A+ on the Big Builder 2014 Builder Report Card in the May 2014 issue of Builder 100. See a Sales Counselor for details and a complete list of HouseWorks® features. © 2014 The Ryland Group, Inc.

5. Know the full scope of a Realtor’s responsibility. What sellers should know: Real estate professionals can identify the appropriate list price, determine necessary improvements, create a plan to promote the listing, and facilitate showings of the house to potential buyers. What buyers should know: Real estate professionals can access the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), help you understand what you want in a house and find a good fit. They can provide

market trends and comparable pricing and guide you through the negotiation and closing processes. Learn More If you’re considering selling or buying a home in 2014, visit www. for information that will help you throughout the selling and buying processes. For more information on a home protection plan from American Home Shield, visit or call (866) 250-4313.

The real estate market continues to improve By: Nancy Hamby Harry Norman Realtors Is now the time to buy or sell a home? New construction has been increasing steadily in the North Fulton and South Forsyth area, but not keeping pace with demand. This has created a healthy market for existing homes. Homes that are in good condition and priced right will likely sell fast. Do you know how to get your home ready to sell? A real estate agent can be valuable in helping you properly price your home and advise you in what Buyers are looking for in today’ s market. A good agent will look out for your best interest from listing to closing. Marketing your home on the web, scheduling showings, getting feedback,

screening/pre-qualifying buyers, negotiating a contract and inspection items. Finally, getting the details handled to get your home to the closing table all while looking out for your best interest is the agent’s job. hamby Selling a home can be stressful and as an agent I am there to help make this process easier. Find out what a real estate professional can do for you. Every home and situation is different. Call 678-557-4228 to schedule a time to look at your home and discuss the options that are available for your property.

August 2014

real estate report • Sponsored Section

Staging your house for sale By: Pam Santoro Harry Norman Realtors When staging a house for sale, start with one room at a time. Make sure closets are not over stuffed by removing out of season outfits and organize shoes in a neat manner. When walking in a room, pathways should be clear. Do the walls need a new coat of paint? Neutral walls will help the buyer picture their furniture in the house. If you have children, pack up excess toys. Pack nick knacks and family pictures away. Less is more. Even expensive collections are distracting to buyers if they monopolize the room. You want a prospective buyer to picture this as their new home and to remember the special features and details of your property. Pack excess

linens and then neatly fold all the towels and sheets in your linen closet. Buyers will look in your closets and under your sinks. If you have a spare work room in the basement, pack your excess there in santoro neatly labeled boxes. This gives the appearance that you are preparing for the move. This process is going to make your house appear larger and more like a model home. Even removing the screens on nice clean windows, will give a better appearance both in and out of the house. For more information on the home selling process, feel free to contact me at 678-656-6627.

Consumer confidence is rising By: Tom Stocks Harry Norman Realtors 2013 was one of the most active years we’ve had in Real Estate in quite some time. This “hot” market actually started at the tail end of 2012 and hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down. The two main attributing factors for this resurgence in the market are the lack of Inventory (fewer homes on the market) and the continued record setting low Interest Rates. During the market “crash” of the previous years, we sorted through the huge supply of foreclosures and short sales while new home construction basically came to a halt. Now that most of the short sales and foreclosures have been sold, along with virtually no additional homes being constructed during that period, we found ourselves with a void in inventory towards the end of 2012. We are basically back to “Supply and Demand.” Now is the best time to sell a home in quite some time. Any home priced well in this climate will sell quickly with many sellers getting close to full price and/or finding themselves in multiple offer scenarios. At the same time, it’s still a great time to BUY a home due to the favorable interest rates. It makes for an

interesting time in Real Estate because the existing market is actually beneficial for everyone. Consumer confidence is rising and new home construction is on a frantic pace as they simply stocks try to build them fast enough for the demand. Look for 2014 to be another wonderful year for the Atlanta Housing Market….for both Buyers AND Sellers. Tom Stocks is a Realtor at Harry Norman, REALTORS. He is a 46 year old GA native and has been in the Real Estate profession for 16+ years. Tom has been recognized with numerous achievements such as the Phoenix Award and Life Time Member in the Million Dollar Club. He was a former school teacher and has coached football, baseball, soccer and basketball for the past 8 years in the community as well. He believes his motivation, professionalism and vast experience in the business distinguish him from his competitors. Tom can be reached via cell at (678)-283-9570 or email at tom. 7


Sponsored Section • real estate reportAugust 2014

Real Estate Report, August 2014