It's that time of year when ghost and goblins come out in search of sweet treats! It is also a great time of year to get some idea of how "family friendly" a neighborhood might be during the rest of the year.
Halloween provides children and adults an opportunity to dress up in all sorts of scary costumes and have some fun. It stands to reason that neighborhoods that provide structured activities for Halloween will generally host structured events around other times of the year. The neighborhood I live in (Kings Cove) hosts a simple pizza party ahead of the "trick or treating" activities and this gives a great starting point for the evenings activities. High Gates in another East Cobb neighborhood that offers a lot of activities and the volume of children there clearly shows thier efforts are paying off. Indian Hills also offers quite a few structured activities and is known as a great place to "trick or treat".
If you are in the market for a home in a particular area, I would suggest you spend some time driving through target neighborhoods and pay attention to the level of decorations. Neighborhoods where residents take the time and effort to decorate generally will have more activities geared towards other activities during the year.
If "family friendly" is is high on your list of home buying criteria, Halloween might be a good time of year to help narrow your neighborhood search.
Let’s face it. At one time or another, most of us adults have asked this question: how do I lower my heating bill? In today’s world, there is one certainty – your utility bills can and will increase in the near future. Don’t let that fact alone scare you, though; there are some steps you can take today to protect yourself against the ever-increasing home energy costs of tomorrow. Following, in no particular order, are just a few proven steps to lower your gas and electricity costs.
A Few Suggestions
- Become an expert at weather-stripping. If your windows do not properly seal and keep out the cold, you can go to your local Wal-Mart or Lowes and purchase some weather-stripping for a relatively low cost. Once you get it home, you will measure it to fit your window(s) and then, using some specialized tape (included with the package) and a blow dryer, you will mold it over the window. Especially with bigger air leaks, this is an effective way to lower your electricity costs.
- Turn down your thermostat. This one is easy. If you (and your family) can stand it being a couple degrees cooler in the house, just turn down the temperature. There’s a good chance that if you turn it down while everyone is sleeping, you just might not notice the temperature drop. Programables are easy to use.
- Check your filters regularly. One of the easiest and cost-effective ways to lower your gas and electricity costs is to make sure you routinely check...
The Real, Big C: How Are Credit Scores Calculated
What is easy to damage and hard to repair? Credit scores. Credit scores are so hard to repair because it is a weighted formula based on several factors. One or two mishaps may not gravely affect credit. However, any mishap is still important as credit scores follow people like shadows. Credit scores will make or break a buyer seeking to purchase a home. A credit score not only determines how much the bank will loan a buyer, but will also determine the interest rate for the life of the loan. Consider a 4.25 percent interest rate and a 6.75 percent interest rate on a mortgage of 279,000. The difference in monthly mortgage is roughly 500 dollars. In order get the best interest rate one needs to minimize credit nicks and dings by understanding how credit scores are calculated.
What is my Credit Score? A credit score is a formula determined by an individual’s use of credit compared with other people. The FICO (current name for the original company of Fair, Isaac and Company founded in 1956) score is the most frequently used score. It assesses five separate categories: length of history, payment history, the amounts owed, new credit, and the type of credit. There are three major credit bureaus and they each have their own formula similar to the FICO score, but they assess those same five factors.
How Do I Fix My Credit? The best way to fix credit is to eliminate debt as quickly as possible, starting with the line of credit with highest interest rate. It has been stated to put three times the amount of the bill towards the interest. Pay attention to the little number in the corner of your bills that states how long it...
Spring is just around the corner and many homeowners are starting to think about putting their home on the market. The vast majority of the Atlanta real estate market is excellent for Sellers right now due to a lack of available inventory. But don't be mistaken; there are still homes for sale THAT ARE NOT SELLING and the reason is most often either price or condition. Correctly pricing a home comes with experience while condition is a factor that you have either prepared for over time (routine maintenance) or one that can be addressed in short order.
Is this what your home looks like? While this is an obviously extreme situation you have to understand that as real estate professionals, we see it all. You would not believe the condition of some of the homes we are asked to sell.
Do you think you are ready to sell? Going to market is not an easy task and just putting up a sign and some flyers may not get you top dollar. You will need to plan and prepare and ask yourself two basic questions. The first is “How do I get my house ready to sell? and the second is "Am I really qualified and do I have the tools to effectively market and sell my home?”
The following "to-do" list may seem simple but they provide a great starting point for you to get your home ready to sell. You want to strive for clutter free and clean. Should you have any questions, want to interview one of our associates or just want to talk about the process over the phone, feel free to give us a call at 678-647-7700 or you can send us a note at [email protected]
Looking At Buying A New Home in Atlanta? Thinking Of Just Going Down To the Lot And Putting A Deposit Down? Don’t Think You Need An Agent To Buy A New Home In Atlanta? You Might Want To Re-think That Strategy!
First things first! Let’s talk about the bottom line which is generally dollars and cents. I rarely have seen a situation where you “save the commission” by buying directly from a new home builder. When a new home builder “comes out of the ground” (starts the building process), the builder knows what they want for the house and marketing costs are already loaded into the project. Going to the home builder’s trailer and working with the “Agent on Duty” generally just means more profit for the builder. Buying a new home in Atlanta is not like going down to the local Christmas tree farm and picking out a tree. Do yourself a favor and find an agent that the verified experience and knowledge of the new home construction business to help you get the best value and highest quality home for your hard earned money.
Benefits of Hiring a Realtor with New Home Construction Experience
There are many reasons besides money to have a broker with new home construction experience representing you. Here are just a few:
- As a Buyer’s Agent, the broker works for the client and has their interests in mind. A builder’s agent reports to the builder and not to the client. This may or may not lead to conflicted interests but there is certainly less motivation...
It is said that the only things in life that are certain are death and taxes. Once again it is tax season. Questions arise like do I have to pay property taxes? What is the purpose? And what happens in the event that I do not pay the taxes? Those are all good questions that should be asked prior to purchasing a home, as it is an additional cost to the mortgage.
But what are property taxes? Simply put, they're a tax levied by local municipalities on any property you own.
Is it Necessary for a Homeowner to Pay Property Tax? The short answer here is yes. A homeowner can opt to not pay property taxes, but that generally results in a lien on the property, making it difficult for the homeowner to sell the property or purchase other properties. A lien is a restriction on the property that encumbers the homeowner. Thus, if a homeowner wants to make future purchases and sell the home quickly, it is necessary to free the property from liens and pay the appropriate taxes and fees associated with owning property.
What is the Purpose of Property Tax? Believe it or not, property taxes serve an important and justified purpose. Assessing property taxes helps communities enjoy public services by defraying the costs of those services to the public. The income resulting from property taxes can fund city services, including sanitation, schools, government, local infrastructure, recreation such as parks and zoos, emergency services, museums, and a host of other public services.
How are property taxes calculated? Not only are property taxes found to be frustrating, but there is confusion surrounding how the number is determined. Generally, the jurisdiction enacting the tax will send an appraiser to determine the value of the property based on several factors, including the amount of maintenance for improvements, depreciation of the property, market factors. The tax is generally a percentage of the...