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First-timer? Mortgage Approval 101 By: Bill Rawlings Vice President/Managing Broker North Atlanta Office Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty Buying a home is most likely the biggest purchase decision you will ever make.
There is a lot to know and consider; I understand it can be overwhelming. Factor in the new mortgage regulations that have been put in place and you now have more obstacles than ever before when you apply for a mortgage. Let’s try to make it as easy
to navigate as possible. You want to find mortgages that fit your needs and lifestyle. So, where to begin? Consider the following suggestions as you begin to navigate the loan process: Know your budget. Know where your income is going in
terms of what you spend on rent, utilities, entertainment and transportation. Get your documents organized and ready. You rawlings should have your paycheck stubs, tax returns, W-2 forms and bank and investment statements from the last two years. Check your credit. Know your current credit score before applying for a loan. You are entitled to a free report each year from your credit reporting agency. Log your spending habits. Maxing out your credit cards or falling behind on your other loan payments will likely give you trouble when you are trying to apply for a mortgage. Though it may be tempting, avoid going on a spending spree before and after, too. Research your options. Figure out how much you should
borrow and which mortgage product is the best option for you. Make sure your research includes learning about rate adjustments, fees and other loan features. This will help you to avoid any surprises at closing. Learn the current rates. Your community banker is there to help you understand how today’s rates translate into monthly mortgage payments. Go local. Check with your state, city and county government agencies to see if they can assist you with down payments and closing costs. Sometimes they offer special first-time homebuyer loan or grant programs that are worth checking out. Let us help you navigate the housing market by reaching out to an agent on our team. We would be happy to meet with you personally. We look forward to the opportunity to earn your business. Bill Rawlings c.404-2108396 o.770-442-7300 Source: Independent Community Bankers of America
Preparing a house for sale is not compilicated By: pam santoro Mostly it requires elbow grease: packing items away, donating items to charities, and staging the house so it looks new. From the moment potential buyers drive up to a property, they have a feel for your home. Is there pine straw in all the flower beds? Are the shrubs trimmed? Does the front door need a new coat of paint? Do the gutters need cleaned? Are there flowers on the front porch welcoming you in? Little touches can really be the difference in how someone feels about your property. Getting the inside ready is another story. No one wants you to permanently get rid of
the magnets, photos, or artwork. Just pack them away for your new home. Buyers want to imagine themselves living in the santoro house not you living in it. Once you decide to put your home on the market, remember it is now a commodity just wood, bricks and mortar. Take a field trip to a model home in a new construction neighborhood to see a good example of what your staged home should look like. Start with one room at a time and call me.
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1. Deferred maintenance. If there is wood rot on the outside, then what might be on the inside? If the paint is so old you can see the grain of the wood, then more questions arise and buyers will wonder what might be discovered after itâ€™s too late. 2. Too few pictures. OK, this could be your agent and not you, but itâ€™s imperative that you look at your listing online. If there are only photos of the outside of your home, everyone will wonder what horrors are hiding inside. If there are only four or five photos, buyers will be wondering why. Itâ€™s better to show what you have, even if your home needs updates, than letting the buyer assume. 3. Offering an allowance. Have you said this to yourself before, â€œWhy should I put in carpet the buyer may not like, Iâ€™ll give them an allowance and let them choose?â€? What the buyer says, â€œSure they are offering an allowance, but look at that carpet.â€? 4. Unrealistic expectations on buyers. Telling buyers they have to pre-qualify with your lender is an unnecessary pain for any buyer, if theyâ€™ve already gone through the process with their lender. Another is limited hour showings. If you work a night shift, donâ€™t think that buyers will wait until after 5 p.m. to see your home. Of course, there are occasions when your home may be unavailable, but if possible, you want to make it easy for a poten-
Local Realtor Keller Williams Realty
tial buyer to get inside. 5. Being there for showings. Yes, you probably know your home better than anyone else and your discount broker may not be calling to get feedback for you after every showing. But tagging along on the showings and pointing out how great your home is will not give the buyers and their realtor any time to discuss what they see. Take a walk down the street and give them time. 6. Overprice your home. Your Realtor has shared the comparable homes with you, contrasting recently sold properties in your neighborhood. Donâ€™t take the high end of the range, tack on $30,000 and say, â€œthey can make me an offer; if I donâ€™t ask, Iâ€™ll never know.â€? Trust me, youâ€™ll never know. If youâ€™re too far out of line, then buyers will look at your competition, which by then, will look cheap.
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Don’t judge a home by its looks By: Julie Martin, Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty
Cosmetic fixes are easy, so consider what’s important to you by prioritizing your criteria. What can’t you live without? Focus on the floor plan, storage space, location and area amenities. Overlook scuffed floors, terrible paint colors, poor landscaping and unattractive décor. It can be hard to martin see past a home’s flaws, but try and envision what fresh paint, new windows and revitalized landscaping can do to enhance appearance without a considerable financial investment. You can even head back to Pinterest and Houzz for inspiration on inexpensive ideas. Keep in mind that unless you build your dream home from the ground up, your quest for the perfect home may never come to fruition. Every home needs a little tweaking to make it yours.
Whether you are in the market for a new home or not, you are likely guilty of browsing Pinterest or Houzz for ideas about designing you picture-perfect home inside and out. The seller’s market continues to be hot, which for you, means overlooking a few of those cosmetic imperfections and recognizing potential. Your soon-to-be-home is out there waiting for you to come in and make it your own. First things first: time is of the essence in a seller’s market. Get pre-approved for a loan so you are offer-ready because you need to be prepared to act quickly. Although the screaming good deals are gone, limit yourself by not looking at homes that are asking for more than 5 percent above your maximum budget – otherwise, you might set yourself up for disappointment when you find the perfect home that you cannot afford.
FOUR events in the home buying process that rank most stressful By: Marta Wild
belong to organizations like ASHI. STEP 4: CLOSING FIRM Again, a good Realtor is your source for recommending a reputable, reliable firm, to avoid overdue closings and unforeseen problems at the closing table. The communication between the Realtor, wild lender and attorney during this final stages of home buying is probably the most important factor to avoid the elevated stress home buying can produce. Keep in mind, the closing attorney who work with lenders, title companies and prepare all the necessary paperwork for the actual transfer of ownership. ABOUT MARTA: Marta is a tri-lingual native of Czechoslovakia who speaks Slovak, Czech, and English. She believes that through hard work, education, and ambition anything is possible. Marta is a college graduate with a degree in Business and Economics. Her greatest asset to her clients is her ability to really listen to their needs, read between the lines and then come up with solutions and results.She is a Board Member of the Gainesville Newcomers Club, member of BULLI, Frances Meadows Aquatic and Community Center, as well as a member of the 400 Board of Realtors, GA Association of Realtors and National Association of Realtors. Marta strongly believes that the American dream of owning a home will never fade and she hopes to help as many people as possible to capture this privilege we have in this great country of ours.
According to a landmark stress study developed by psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe, FOUR events in the home buying process rank among the Top 43 of life’s most stressful circumstances: Changes in someone’s financial state ranked No. 16, large mortgage loans ranked No. 20, change in living conditions ranked No. 28, and a change in residence ranked No. 32. The purchase of a home should be a joyous event, but sometimes, the process can be overwhelming. Experts recommend partnering with trusted professionals whom should advocate for you, the buyer, to avoid mishaps. STEP 1: FINANCES Prior to home search, secure a pre-approval. This will allow you to not only get acquainted with your loan office, but it will also help you steer clear of surprises in the loan process later to come. STEP 2: HIRE A BUYER’S AGENT Having a Realtor who represents you, the buyer, is the best decision in order to avoid costly mistakes. They advocate for your interest and ensure the process is as smooth as possible by using their expertise and education to guide you. STEP 3: INSPECTION A good Realtor should be able to recommend reliable inspectors in your area. Inspectors must adhere to code of ethics, which prohibits them from accepting kickbacks from contractors, or real estate agents. Insist on inspectors who go beyond state regulatory requirements, take continued education courses in their field and
Superintendent of the year among Buster Evans finalists for honor ► PAGE 14
hold Courthouse to donated American artifacts Society by the Historical ► PAGE 4
Post See this year's Auxiliary 307 Legion and members ► PAGE 11
& News, Johns circulation Revue com | 73,500
| forsythherald. August 28, 2013
Ssssnake bites on the rise bitten Area pets being at alarming rates ► PAGE 7
ey Forsyth mulls Cauln Creek sewer optio
closed facility Fulton Looking at reopening State law prohib-
sewerage its pumping to from one basin Etowah another. The most of Basin serves Ga. – but JOHNS CREEK, needs to Forsyth County, porForsyth County the southeastern capacity in Johns add sewerage and tion is in the southeast Forsyth, Creek Basin. owns County one option the looking The county is as Commission 300 acres known Cauley AMOS at is reopening and the Threatt property. Creek opCreek Reclamation as an As for the Cauley Reuse Facility it was too early building a facility tion, Amos said alternative to to say anything. the process of from scratch. Reclamation “We’re still in Cauley Creek plants to see 5 million-gallons comparing sewer Facility is a us best,” Amos facility that had in which will suit per-day (mgd) discuss that County in east said. “We will served Fulton but we haven’t Last fall, Fulton the near future, Cauley on Johns Creek. contract with made any decision bought out its saying Fulton’s Creek.” Cauley Creek, into focus, EnvironmenAs plans come own Johns Creek be cheaper county will have would Amos said the discussions” tal Campus long the in “full and open and as effective Creek and ALDO NAHED/STAFF with both Johnsabout Cauley run. to expand its Fulton County Forsyth needs at Fowler. in the Shakerag enjoys skating Creek. sewer capacity has been at that point Elementary student, it “But we’re not a Vickery Creek area, because growth area. Samuel Cushman, yet,” he said. tapped as a are Forsyth Commissioner Forsyth officials on represents commenting Brian Tam, whosaid it is just are guarded about also negotiations since Shakerag, the idea about where bids for building too soon to talk ongoing and -perForsyth is at. a new 2.5 million-gallons situation. opened only “It’s a delicate is a numday facility werecounty has $27 there to Somewhere, last week. The sense for us for construcber that makes to say we are million budgeted facility. do this. It’s fair tion of the ShakeragChairby renowned options includwas designed Hollyday, of assessing our Forsyth County rmed the Tam said. – Fowler confi architect Wally in 2008 met ing Cauley Creek,” CUMMING, Ga. man Pete Amos -foot is in a good with Cauley California, who “Forsyth County look at these Park’s 23,000-square to draw county has talkedbut it is still county skaters can with about 40 final design position. We we have budskate park continues CEO Ron Green, the to help craft bids for which million. And enthusiasts. who very much preliminary.our opfor the park. to skaters, geted up to $27Cauley Creek. For Mark Cushman, “We are evaluatingare still he was at In addition now, we a we can look had skated when have joined tions. Right need to keep a great opbids we have other enthusiasts and BMX So all of them younger, it was comparing the new plant to hang out with the in. Stunt scooters the numerALDO NAHED/STAFF Page 6 portunity to received for 10, and See SEWER, of that basin,” bikers now share of Cumming, two sons, Samuel, serve the needs McKeon, Conor 7. ramps. a place ous Benjamin, said Amos. —Aldo Nahed said it’s nice to have really “The lights are US TO ARRANGE said. “You to BMX. HERE NOW! CONTACT good,” Cushman on page 24 A TEST DRIVE TODAY dark.” More photos can stay until skate park The county’s HURD By HATCHER lton.com hatcher@northfu
Shredding k at skate par
The 2014 Infiniti
Real Estate Report
Special section ► PAGE 16
'We own the mistakes'
Schools take blame for jam ► PAGE 4
Residents open hearts, homes ► PAGE 6
New Birmingham Cross raised
Symbol of welcome for congregation ► PAGE 10
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February 5, 2014 | northfulton.com | 73,500 circulation Revue & News, Johns Creek Herald, Milton Herald & Forsyth Herald combined | 50¢ | Volume 9, No. 6
Cities grapple with gridlock, snow
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| northfulton.co January 16, 2014
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gns Figueroa resi 1 effective Feb.Georgia Councilman
NORTH FULTON, Ga. wanted to know what – If you ever looked like with every Atlanta’s roads resident driving on them, Tuesday, Jan. 28 should give a glimpse. Schools, businesses and governments all shut same time, turning down about the workers out onto the streets at the same time. Variously called “Snowmageddon,” “Snowpocalypse,” or “SnOMG,” local governments were quickly overwhelmed by the sheer volume of motorists on the road and the worsening conditions throughout the day. A would normally take commute that 20 minutes turned into a 10-, 14- or 20-hour drive. Alpharetta had 50 Department employeesPublic Works begin salting the roads as the snow began on Tuesday, said Public Works Director Pete Sewczwicz. Over the course of Tuesday and the following day, Sewczwicz said hundreds of tons of sand and salt were put down by workers working 12-hour shifts. Unfortunately, as traffic grew, so did Above, in Milton, the problems. Hopewell was like so many others Road “We had all our trucks – clogged with traffic and abandoned ready to go,” he said. “Our problem vehicles. is we couldn’t get anywhere once we treated The worst intersectionsit once.” and bridges were hit first, however, day as the salt trucks with the slugbegan using gish lines of traffi police cruisers as c, the salt trucks escorts to move could not get to the traffic aside. hot nor could they return spots quickly; Conditions became to those already treated. The trucks cal police departments so bad, lobecame as stuck as the traffic. help stranded motoristsrefused to or come to It’s a problem a frustrated fender-benders. Sewczwicz said was unavoidable. “People didn’t know “When cars are backed turn,” said Lisa Holland,where to up and with the you cannot get your Roswell Police Department. vehicles there to treat roads again,” 911 call centers were he said, “and where busy with people are stopped endless calls for help in snow and rain, and police. you get ice. There’s “We had to save our resources nothing we can do with that. We were for the most serious frustrated. Because calls,” Holland of the saturation said. “In 30 years, of traffic, we couldn’t I’ve never seen do more.” anything like this.” A solution showed itself later in the
See GRIDLOCK, Page 4
South relocating to
hold a place Ga. – Johns in our JOHNS CREEK, Ivan hearts. We Creek City Councilman Jan. 9 are relocatFigueroa announced his City Council ing to South he will resign Feb. 1. Georgia, Post 4 seat effectivehe said, “I closer to In a statement citizens for our my sales wish to thank serve seven to territory in allowing me as a City Georgia and FIGUEROA wonderful years in Johns Florida. The Council memberKaren and I move will alCreek. My wife daughters in both markets low me to be have raised our by wondertime on the and spend less time at home here, surrounded supported by road and more ful friends and we could with my family.” the ﬁnest schools Page 4 imagine. and all it See COUNCIL, “Johns Creek, forever will encompasses,
ls JC Council mul ack 1 mil tax rollb reduction urges Raffensperger windfall sales tax made up with
Mattress." "Once upon a the cast from rehearses with as Winnifred Simone Bosch
’s rm Broadway JCHS to perfo Mattress’ ‘Once Upon a Classic musical based on ‘Princess and the Pea’
Fulton County Schools let out just as the snow on buses and in classrooms began, leaving students LOU HABLAS due to heavy traffic. stranded
Ga. – Once JOHNS CREEK, (1959), a fairy upon a time and the tale (“The Princesson Broadlife Pea”) came to going strong. way and is still
upon a Mattress” Today, “Once musical for remains a popular all ages. audiences of has been Now, “Mattress” Creek Johns chosen as the This winter play. High School musical will fun, entertainingthe Johns by be presented Performing Creek High SchoolJan. 30 to Arts Department Feb. 1.
as the veBest rememberedthe career hicle that launched actress named of an unknown it was created Carol Burnett, the daughter by Mary Rodgers, composer Richard of legendary Rodgers. upon a “We chose ‘Oncefor several year Mattress’ this
24 See JCHS, Page
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HURD By HATCHER lton.com hatcher@northfu GA. – City JOHNS CREEK, RaffensBrad Councilmen Figueroa perger and Ivan Year with a started the New city millage the call to reduce STEWART Fellow councilR rate by 1 mill. RAFFENSPERGE they were willmembers said proposal, but based on the tax it will receive ing to study numbers. effect such a wanted see what on the city’s 2010 Censusit is time to have “I believe move would rate. The reduce the millage and budget. cited the fund is ﬂush, Raffensperger city reserve windfall the 9 $1.85 million beginning in See TAX, Page experience will sales 2014 from additional
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