Smyrna Real Estate and Community News

May 24, 2018

What Is a Whole-House Fan?

 

 

When you’re looking for real estate in Smyrna, assessing the HVAC system is always a significant part of assessing the property on the whole. In recent years, you might have heard the term “whole-house fan” come up more often. Whole-house fans are growing in popularity throughout the nation, as they can significantly reduce the cost of cooling a home. While the principles of operation for these fans are no different than they are for any other fan, the way they’re employed is clever and quite effective.

 

 

 

The Basics

 

 

 

Whole-house fans are mounted in the attic space of a house. These are large units; large enough to get air flow going through the entire home. The airflow they create is the key to how they cool the home.

 

 

 

If you’ve ever spent a hot Georgia day sitting in front of a box fan, you know that there’s only so much the fan can do. It can create a wind-chill effect, cooling you off a bit, but if it’s just blowing hot air around the room, the effectiveness is pretty limited. Hence, most residents in Smyrna use AC during the hottest part of the summer.

 

 

 

Whole-house fans won’t necessarily replace AC, though they might do the trick in some properties, but they can make things easier for your AC system.

 

 

 

When you fire up the whole-house fan, it starts pulling air into the house through your windows. At the same time, that airflow starts forcing hot air out of the house through the attic and roof vents. Think about how, even late at night, an overheated house will have spots, usually near the ceilings and on the upper floors, that are superheated, even after the rest of the house has cooled off. Whole-house fans create an air current that pushes that superheated air out, pulls cooler air in, and that reduces the load on your AC.

 

 

 

Advantages and Disadvantages

 

 

 

For a whole-house fan to work most efficiently and effectively, it generally has to be around ten degrees cooler outside than it is inside. This is why they usually cannot entirely replace an AC unit. If it’s 80 degrees outside and 85 degrees inside, you’re not going to get much relief by pulling that hot outside air in. However, combined with good cooling, whole-house fans really can make a difference, both in terms of how fast your house cools and how much your AC has to work to finish the job.

 

 

 

If you’re interested in whole-house fans, or finding a property with one, talk to us. Whole-house fans haven’t caught on as much in Smyrna as they have farther north but, in some cases, they might be a good solution for a tough-to-cool house, especially an older property.

 

Posted in Community News
May 23, 2018

Summer Pest Control Tips

 

 

 

Whenever you move into a new property, in Smyrna or anywhere else, for that matter, checking for cracks and gaps in the walls is a priority. This is usually done with an eye toward reducing heating and cooling inefficiency, but did you know it can be a huge factor in pest control, too? Read on to learn more.

 

Seal it Up

 

Cockroaches, silverfish, and other pests see a house differently than do the human occupants. For those insects, the insides of walls, undersides of sinks, and other hard-to-reach locations are oftentimes where they spend most of their time. If you want to keep them out of your house, seal up any cracks you find.

 

 

 

You can get expanding foam at most hardware stores that’s ideal for this. Keep in mind that expanding foam really expands a lot, it’s incredibly adhesive, and it makes a big mess if you’re not careful. Nonetheless, if you’re averse to pesticides, this is one of the best ways to keep pests out of your home. Caulking and spackle can also be used to repair holes and gaps, depending upon their location.

 

What Do they Want?

 

Most people assume that pests are always looking for food, and that’s true, but they’re also after water and shelter. Don’t give them any of that. Clean up your food waste immediately and don’t even leave a crumb out. Just as importantly, if you have standing water in sinks or other locations, take care of it. Standing water can be as, or more, attractive than food to some pests.

 

Get the Home Inspected

 

Some pests, such as roaches, flies, and so forth, are just that: pests. Others are genuine hazards to your home, especially termites. Have your house inspected for any damage from insects. We will, of course, help you arrange such an inspection, and any issues resulting from that inspection should be addressed with the seller.

 

Be Wary of Threats

 

On the theme of some pests being downright dangerous, be wary if you or a family member is allergic to stinging insects such as bees or wasps. If so, call a professional to remove nests. There are several benefits to this. The first is obvious: you don’t have to risk getting stung. In some cases, however, beneficial insects such as bees can be relocated to a better home, and you don’t end up harming the environment as you would if they were just killed off.

 

 

 

Controlling pests isn’t hard but, if you see signs that a homeowner whose property you’re looking at hasn’t attended to this work, be sure to bring it up with your Realtor so they can address the problem for you.

 

Posted in Community News
May 17, 2018

Mortgage Rates Up, Still Low

 

 

 

Mortgage rates have been nudging up lately. If you’re in the market for Smyrna real estate, this might seem a bit discouraging, but mortgage rates are still very low and, for many home buyers, the increases might not have much of an impact on their home buying plans.

 

 

 

Where Are Rates Now?

 

 

 

During the last week of April, mortgage rates for 30-year fixed mortgages went up 0.17% and 15-year fixed mortgages wend down 0.14%. These were the national averages. Locally, during the last weekend of April, 30-year fixed mortgage rates were hovering around the 4.5% range, with some lenders offering rates just shy of that mark. While there has been a general rise in rates, as you can see, not all types of mortgages actually saw an increase over the month of April.

 

 

 

Economists predict that mortgage rates could go up during the month of May, but there are numerous different variables that play into that prediction, and nothing is set in stone. Nonetheless, it’s always wise to know what lies ahead where financing your Smyrna real estate purchase is concerned, so here are some ways you can get an advantage when you’re looking for lending, no matter what your situation is to start.

 

 

 

Go Local

 

 

 

Look for local brokers and try to find ones that have a reputation for being very helpful and attentive to their clients. If you’re in doubt, ask us. While some people might feel like they’re imposing a bit with such questions, Realtors field them all the time and they fully understand that navigating the ins and outs of mortgages is very difficult, particularly for first-time buyers.

 

 

 

Think Big, Spend Small

 

 

 

If you feel like higher mortgage rates require you to look for a smaller house than you initially wanted, that might not be true. You have many options. You can look for a more affordable house of an equal size to what you had in mind or, if you’re working with a good Realtor, you can rely on their negotiating skill to persuade buyers to give you a good deal; probably better than you expected. Realtors bring a lot of negotiating skills to the table, so you can rely on them to make a difference in the price you pay for your house. If you’re really worried about the lending aspect of getting a home, just let your Realtor know and they’ll find a property that’s just right for you and your budget.

 

 

 

Reign in Spending

 

 

 

This can’t be said enough: If you want to borrow for a home, don’t borrow for anything else. Any borrowing you can put off makes your credit report that much more attractive to lenders, and that can get you a lower interest rate!

 

 

 

Don’t despair over higher interest rates. For most home buyers, they won’t have that much impact on affordability, and rates are still very low historically speaking.

 

Posted in Buying a Home
May 7, 2018

Inspecting Outdoor Kitchens and Grills

 

 

 

Outdoor kitchens are becoming very popular. Even if a home doesn't have an outdoor kitchen, if it has a sizable yard, there’s a very good chance that the owner modified part of the space for cookouts. Those modifications might include a built-in grill. Here are some things to look for if you’re interested in such a house.

 

 

 

The Eating Area

 

If there are permanent fixtures in the cookout area, such as concrete slabs, a deck, and so forth, these will have to be inspected by a professional. Remember that, even if these areas were very well designed, they’re exposed to the environment and an inspector needs to verify that they’re holding up well. It can be easy to get carried away thinking about how features like outdoor cooking facilities, pools, and so forth will enhance your home and, if those things are in good repair, they are fun. However, if they haven't been maintained, they’re a burden and an expense, so be sure to have such features inspected and to follow our advice on such matters.

 

 

 

The Grill

 

If there’s a permanent grill, again, you’ll want to have a pro take a look to make sure it’s in good repair, but you can certainly do a cursory examination yourself to determine the state of the grill. Take a look at the fittings, if it’s a gas grill, and check for loose or corroded connections. These will have to be replaced. Ask the homeowner to fire the grill up for you, if possible, so you can verify that it works.

 

 

 

Also check the finish on the grill. If the homeowner hasn’t been properly covering or maintaining it, it might require extensive repairs or even replacement, which obviously reduces the attractiveness of the feature.

 

 

 

Why Safety Matters

 

Unsafe, unmaintained grills are hazardous. Literally tens of thousands of people go to emergency rooms every year to seek treatment for injuries they got using grills. If you want an outdoor space to gather with friends, enjoy some outdoor cooking, and relax in the great Georgia weather, ask your Realtor. When you’re inspecting properties, however, make sure those great outdoor features get the once over from a pro because, while they can enhance the value of a property, they can also be significant drawbacks if they haven’t been maintained and repaired as needed!

 

Posted in Community News
May 1, 2018

May 2018 Smyrna Events

 

 

 

 

What’s going on in and around Smyrna in May? Plenty, it turns out. Here are some of the events, one-time and ongoing, that you can check out this month.

 

 

 

Food Truck Tuesdays

 

May 1- September 25

 

3180 Atlanta Road, Smyrna

 

5pm-9pm every Tuesday

 

 

 

The Food Truck Tuesday season kicks off on May 1 at Taylor-Brawner Park at 3180 Atlanta Road. Every Tuesday, until September 25, food trucks show up at the park to offer an incredible range of great fare, and at excellent prices. Each event starts at 5pm and ends at 9pm. This is a great opportunity to get out and meet people, if you’ve just purchased property in Smyrna and, of course, an inexpensive way to get something great for dinner if you don’t feel like cooking at home. Get more information by clicking here.

 

 

 

Free Comic Book Day 2018

 

May 5

 

Great Escape Comics & Games

 

1050 E Piedmont

 

Marietta

 

10am-8pm

 

This is a free event and you can get a free comic book just for showing up. Free Comic Book Day is also a nationwide event and, if you want to get a young person into comics, or just pick up a new one for yourself, be sure to check it out. You can learn more about it by clicking here.

 

 

 

Atlanta Braves

 

May 15-20

 

755 battery Ave

 

Atlanta

 

 

 

Summer’s almost here, so it’s a perfect time to go out and see a baseball game. The Atlanta Braves will be taking on the Chicago Cubs and the Miami Marlins at SunTrust Park between the 15th and 20th of May. To get times and dates for specific games, click here.

 

 

 

Community Conversation: Living with Disability in Smyrna

 

May 22

 

Dogwood Room, Community Center, Smyrna

 

6:30pm-8pm

 

 

 

If you or a family member have a disability and want to give your input on how the City of Smyrna could help network people with disabilities with resources, the City wants to hear from you, and this meeting is designed to provide a place for that conversation to happen. There is a chairlift available at the meeting site for those who require one, and there will be staff that can help those who need other accommodations. The goal is to determine whether the community needs to make improvements, and to make certain that Smyrna is welcoming and accessible to all. You can find more information about this meeting here.

 

 

 

If you’re currently looking for property in Smyrna and need assistance finding a home with existing accommodations or a home that’s suitable to be modified, remember that we can be a tremendous resource for finding such properties.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Community News
April 30, 2018

Painting Outdoor Furniture

 

Smyrna has great weather. One of the advantages of Georgia’s climate is the beautiful summer, during which a lot of people like to spend time in their yards. If you’re putting your house on the market this spring or summer, and you have a great yard or porch, you might want to stage it to show off what a wonderful recreation space it is. If your furnishings are a bit weather beaten, here are some tips for repainting them so they look as good as possible to potential buyers.

 

Problem Areas

 

Georgia has a beautiful climate, but it’s not always kind to outdoor furnishings. Wood is a biodegradable material so, when it’s exposed to the elements, those elements conspire to break it down, and that’s bad news. Rotted wood generally needs to be replaced. If you’re handy and have very basic carpentry tools, you can probably handle replacing rotted out slats on benches, chairs, and swings yourself.

 

A finish protects the wood from the environment, so it takes a beating, too. If you’re going to improve the finish on an outdoor piece, you’ll need to sand the old surface off entirely. That means sanding right down to the bare wood. You can use elbow grease, chemical strippers, power tools, or all of the above to sand down the wood.

 

Double check glue and fasteners when you strip down the wood, as those areas might need attention, as well.

 

Choosing a Finish

 

If you want a natural look, use varnishes that have UV blocking agents in them. Most of these products require that you apply multiple coats to get the maximum level of protection. Remember, however, that clear finishes don’t repel UV rays as well as does paint.

 

For protection, the best bet is to use a primer and an opaque paint. Make sure you get an exterior primer for your undercoat. Whether you use latex or oil paint for your top coats is completely up to you. Again, make sure the paint has UV blocker. Cover the surfaces entirely, and make sure you shelter the piece from rain while it dries.

 

If possible, keep your portable outdoor furnishings out of the direct sun. If you’re having showings, be sure to clean up your outdoor furnishings and your curb appeal will be much improved. Keep your yard in good repair, too, and many more buyers will stop to see your home. Ask us about other ways you can improve the curb appeal of your house!

 

 

 

Posted in Selling Your Home
April 25, 2018

Protecting Your Home Against Water Damage

 

 

Fire safety isn’t the only thing you need to keep in mind to keep your home safe. Water can be a destructive force, as well. Unlike fire, water is routinely being used throughout your home so, in addition to accidents and natural disasters, flooding and water damage can occur because of home system failures: broken pipes, clogged drains, etc.

 

Here are some tips about how you can minimize the chances of and damage from water.

 

Be Proactive with Problems

 

First and foremost, never let plumbing problems go unaddressed. A clogged sink can become a much bigger—and potentially destructive—problem if the clog is of a certain type. Roots growing into pipes, for instance, can eventually cause significant backup issues in your home. If you run into a plumbing problem that you cannot handle yourself, call a pro and call one quickly. Waiting until later will almost always entail an increase in cost versus dealing with the problem sooner.

 

Watch out for slow drains, dripping faucets, moisture under sinks, and other predictors of big problems. Particularly if you’re putting your home on the market, no easily-fixable plumbing problems can be ignored, much less major ones.

 

Protect Your Possessions Against Damage

 

It’s always best to put sensitive documents and other items that are vulnerable to water damage in a watertight container. It’s also advisable to store such items in a room other than the basement, for obvious reasons.

 

There are plenty of affordable storage boxes, and most that protect against fire also protect against water damage. Always double check, however, before you buy, because this isn’t always the case. Also keep in mind that, among inexpensive safes and cash boxes, few are actually safe against break-ins, so be sure you understand the limitations of the product you’re getting. Fireproof and waterproof boxes, even if they’re not thief resistant, are still worth it for protecting your documents against disasters.

 

Always Have a Home Inspected for Plumbing Issues

 

Before you buy or sell a home, make sure it’s been inspected for plumbing issues. We will take care of this for you if you’re buying or selling, and they usually know reliable home inspectors who can handle these jobs quickly and well. If you have trouble with your plumbing, be sure to disclose and fix it. Buyers will walk away from a house in Smyrna, no matter how nice it is, if they think they’re buying an expensive plumbing problem.

 

Image: https://pixabay.com/en/basin-sink-kitchen-sink-tap-drain-1502548/

 

Posted in Real Estate News
April 17, 2018

Mortgage Rates for Q1 2018

 

 

Mortgage rates have gone up a bit recently. If your credit doesn’t qualify you for the best rates to begin with, this might be discouraging. Mortgage rates should play a role in your decision to purchase a home, but don’t be too discouraged by higher rates.

 

Where Are Mortgage Rates Now?

 

Mortgage rates have climbed more than experts expected them to by this point in 2018. However, the current rates are not above what the press had expected for the year. Realtor.com, for instance, predicted mortgage rates would hit five percent by the end of the year, and rates haven't hit that mark yet. Right now, most people can count on getting around 4.5% on their mortgage, with good credit.

 

It’s important to remember that 4.5%, even though it’s higher than what experts expected to see by this point in 2018, is historically very low. Getting a 4.5% interest rate on a mortgage loan, historically speaking—even considering rates as recently as ten years ago—is excellent. Rates might seem high but, overall, they’re really not.

 

If you’re curious as to how much of a difference the current rates would make in the cost of your lending, you can use any of a number of mortgage calculators on line. You can also ask a mortgage lender to crunch the numbers for you, as they might be able to get a more accurate figure for you.

 

Do the Rates Mean I Should Hold Off on Buying or Selling?

 

Buying a home is a big decision and, if you’re interested in property in Smyrna, you should always consider all the pros and cons to buying or selling before you decide upon your best course of action. Mortgage rates, however, are not particularly high right now. In fact, as recently as 2008, mortgage rates were over six percent for a time.

 

One of the real challenges with purchasing a home is not getting caught up in one detail among the many details that apply to becoming a homeowner. Get advice from experts. If you’re worried about how increasing mortgage rates might affect the market for sellers, talk to a Realtor and they can give you experience-based analysis on how big events apply to local markets. If you're worried about the cost of lending, talk to a loan officer about how you can reduce that cost as much as possible. Just as importantly as those things, however, keep things in perspective. Today’s mortgage rates have climbed a bit, but they’re actually still very low.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Real Estate News
April 11, 2018

Getting Ready for the 2018 Jonquil Jog

 

 

 

The Jonquil Jog includes more than one race. There’s a Tot Trot that’s free to run, a 1K fun run and, what most people probably think about when they think of this race, the 5K run. If you want to participate, here are the details and some tips to help you prepare.

 

The Races

 

The races all start in front of Smyrna City Hall. The 5k goes off first, at 8am on Saturday, April 28. At 9am the 1K race starts and, at 9:15am, the Tot Trot commences. Awards will be given to the winners at 9:20am, courtesy of Kenny’s Key Lime Pies. The prizes are, of course, pies!

 

Awards will be given to the overall best male and female finishers, the masters male and female top three finishers, and to men and women in several age groups. The age groups include: 10 and under; 11 to 14; 15 to 19; 20 to 24; 25 to 29; 30 to 34; 35 to 39; 40 to 44; 45 to 49; 50 to 54; 55 to 59; 60 to 64; 65 to 69; and 70 and up.

 

If competition isn’t your thing, you can go for one of the untimed races and still get in on the fun. Registration amounts vary by the race in which you participate:

 

·       Tot Trot, without a t-shirt: Free

 

·       Tot Trot with a t-shirt: $15.00

 

·       1K Fun Run: $15.00

 

·       5K Walk/Run, Untimed Event: $25.00

 

·       5K Timed: $30.00

 

You can register for the event here. Be sure to register soon, because the Jonquil Jog is very popular.

 

The Run Itself

 

If you want to do the 5K timed run, here’s what to expect.

 

This will be a fast run, and there isn’t a lot of land relief to content with. Bottom line, if you’ve been looking for a chance to outdo your previous best 5K time, this might be the race for you. There should be plenty of competition in each age bracket to keep it interesting, but don’t feel like you have to be a very fast runner to have fun participating in the Jonquil Jog; this event is appropriate for anyone.

 

If you haven’t really been training or even running regularly, you might still enjoy the 5K Walk/Run. It’s a good excuse to get out and meet your neighbors if you’ve just moved into a house in Smyrna recently and, even if you don’t want to run, the Spring Jonquil Festival is open on  Saturday and Sunday the 27 and 28, so be sure to check it out! We can let you know about other Smyrna events and attractions.

 

 

Posted in Community News
April 6, 2018

Checking the Numbers on Seasonal Home Sales

 

 

If you’re selling a house in Smyrna, you’ve probably read up on when the best time of year is to put your house on the market. The season during which you market your property in Smyrna might make some difference in selling your home, but perhaps not as much as many people think is the case.

 

There Is Truth to Seasonal Markets

 

Real estate statistics can get complicated very quickly. Realtors, investors, home buyers; these are all demographics that have a lot invested in what the market’s doing and, thus, there’s plenty of motivation for economists, journalists, and others to provide information on a steady basis. The end result is that the numbers, including the numbers for seasonal home sales, sometimes get analyzed and broken down to the point that it’s hard to tell what those numbers really say in the end. Kevin Drum of Mother Jones recently took a clever tact on this: he just compared the sales of new and existing homes over the course of ten years and saw what those numbers revealed. Is there a best season to put your house on the market? Yes and no.

 

Overall, if you believe what most people seem to believe, you’re right: spring and summer saw the highest percentage of total home sales in the years between 2007 and 2017, accounting for fifty-six percent of sales in total. There was variance depending upon whether one measures the sales of new or existing homes, however. New homes don’t show the same degree of seasonal variation in sales as one sees in sales of existing homes. Drum speculates that this might be because new homes go on the market whenever they’re finished, but the owners of existing homes prefer to put their homes on the market in spring and summer.

 

The numbers, by season, are:

 

·       Winter: 19.8 percent of sales

 

·       Spring: 26.5 percent of sales

 

·       Summer: 29.6 percent of sales

 

·       Autumn: 24.1 percent of sales

 

So, When Should I Sell?

 

The takeaway here is that, even though winter is notably slower than the other three seasons, there’s really no time of year that’s bad for selling a house in Smyrna. We can sell a house any time of year. Some times of year might see fewer sales than others, but it’s always possible to sell your home. If you have to sell during winter, don’t think that means you’re not going to get a good price. We can make sure your sale goes well.

 

 

 

Posted in Real Estate News