Smyrna Real Estate and Community News

March 20, 2018

How Will Rising Mortgage Rates Affect My Home Purchase?




If you’re shopping for a home in Smyrna, particularly if you’re a first time buyer, the recent predictions that mortgage rates will head upward might have you worried. There isn’t necessarily much to worry about and, in fact, a small rise in rates might not affect you much at all.


Mortgage Rates Don’t Always Affect the Housing Market that Much


The first thing to keep in mind is that, even though financial news outlets tend to report breathlessly on any change in mortgage interest rates, those rates aren’t always that significant to the housing market. For example, while data does show that mortgage originations go down when interest rates go up—not surprising—it also shows that the actual affect on the housing market in terms of whether people decide to buy or sell aren’t necessarily significant. Buyers still look for homes and, where sellers are concerned, their reasons for selling aren’t necessarily tied to interest rates at all. The bottom line is, if mortgage rates go up a bit, that doesn’t mean that the housing market will change in a particularly significant way.


You Still Have a Lot of Control Over the Rates You Get


Remember that mortgage rates are only one factor in determining how much you pay for the money you borrow to finance your home. Your credit rating, employment record, down payment, and many other factors all play into your total cost of lending and, for many borrowers, one or more of those elements will have more effect on their prospects for getting lending than will the current mortgage rates. If you’re really serious about finding the best possible deal, mortgage brokers can guide you through the process of getting the least expensive financing.


Another thing to keep in mind is that, if you’re working with a good Realtor, it’s quite possible that you’ll end up borrowing less than you planned, simply because Realtors know how to make deals on properties. The amount of money they can save you may well offset the slightly increased cost of borrowing at higher interest rates. In many regards, what you pay for your home is most dependent upon the diligence and negotiating skill of us. Between having a good Realtor, keeping your credit in good repair, and avoiding taking out any new lending, you have a lot more control over how much you pay for lending than you might think, so don’t be discouraged if interest rates go up, even if you’re a first-time buyer.


Posted in Real Estate News
March 15, 2018

Real Estate Tips: Home Offices



Home offices can be set up in a variety of locations within a property. Extra bedrooms, basement rooms, even attics or small outbuildings can serve well as a place of business within the home. If you’re looking for property in Smyrna, here are some of the things to consider if you want a home office in your new house. Remember, your Realtor is there to help you if you have questions that aren’t answered here.


Space Is the First Consideration


Clearly, the first thing you’ll have to consider is how much room you need. If you’re not even sure where to start with this—which might be the case if you haven’t had a proper home office before—consider how you use your space and the tools you use to do your work. For instance:


·         How big of a desk do you need?


·         Do you need hard copy file storage?


·         How much computer equipment do you have?


·         Will you meet clients at your home office or not?


·         Does your home office need a secure door?


Another thing to consider about how you use the space is how much time you’ll spend in your home office. If you work full time from home, a cramped home office space might get miserable fast. If you don’t need to use your home office every day, you might need hardly any room at all.


Consider Security


It’s never a bad idea to add extra security features to your home office if you have expensive equipment or sensitive information stored there. If you handle information that has specific protection requirements—medical, financial, etc.—you may have to follow very detailed security guidelines. Let your Realtor know if these are requirements. They may know about homes that already have some of the features you’re looking for. If not, consider whether you need a more secure door than what’s normally used in the interior of homes, a safe to secure documents, or any other accommodations.


Consider the Little Things


Consider how your home office will impact the flow of your home. If it’s right next to the master bedroom, for instance, working late at night might disturb your sleeping house mates. If it’s located in a second- or third-floor room, consider that you might want extra cooling for hot summer days. Perhaps you want a big window for natural light in your office, or maybe you prefer a more isolated environment.


Whatever you’re looking for, we can help you find it, so never be afraid to ask them if you have questions.


Posted in Real Estate News
March 12, 2018

Saving for your Real Estate Down Payment



Coming up with a down payment can be one of the most intimidating parts of buying a home, particularly for first-time buyers. Don’t despair, however. Saving up at least part of the money might not take as long as you think and there are forms of lending that require no down payment at all.


The Savings Route


Saving up some money before you purchase a home, even if you’re eligible for a loan that doesn't require a down payment, is a good idea, so these tips apply even if you don’t need a big down payment.


You should check your credit report before you start looking for mortgages, as you’ll have to clean up any delinquent accounts or other issues you might have, and you’ll want to make sure there’s no suspicious activity on your report. As part of investigating your credit history by checking your report and taking other measures, you’ll inevitably get a good idea of where your money is going, and that’s the first part of saving up for your down payment.


Figure out what you can live without. Remember that the payoff is getting a home of your own, so there’s good reason to cut back where you can. If you’re not good at budgeting, there are plenty of programs out there that are designed to make getting control of your finances easier. Quicken, Quick Books, and Moneydance are just a few you might want to take a look at, and there are plenty of other options out there.


When you do start saving, remember that cutting back by seemingly tiny amounts, and putting whatever extra you have, no matter how little, in a savings account will add up over time. You’ll be surprised at how fast setting even a little cash aside will start to increase what you have, and how cutting back a little here and there will add up to a lot over time.


The No Down Payment Route


There are loans that don’t require down payments. Talk to a mortgage agent about them, but the VA, Navy Federal Credit Union, and USDA all have no down payment loans available, and they’re absolutely worth checking out if you qualify. Nonetheless, having a bit of money saved up when you first move in will make a real difference in getting settled, so save up either way.


Ask us about loan experts you can talk to if you’re not sure about your options.


Posted in Real Estate News
March 7, 2018

Fixing Concrete Damage



The environment is always attacking concrete surfaces and, over time, the damage inevitably becomes noticeable. Particularly as winter comes to a close, you might notice new damage on your driveway surface, sidewalks, and on other concrete surfaces on your Smyrna property. If you’re experienced with concrete work or particularly gifted with DIY projects, you might want to take on the repairs yourself, but hiring a professional will likely be a better option for most homeowners.


Potential Buyers Will Notice the Damage


There’s really no way that someone viewing your home isn’t going to notice damaged concrete on your property. For anyone taking a walk through, damaged concrete is going to look like an expensive repair, and it makes your property look less attractive. In some cases, concrete can heave or develop potholes that are serious trip hazards.


Even minor damage can become a serious issue over time. Spalling, when a surface becomes pitted and flaked, is ugly when it first starts, and can result in large chunks of concrete breaking off over time. Cracks will tend to grow and sometimes spur off into entirely other fissures that can make walkways dangerous.


In short, any damage to a concrete surface is a problem, and it may become worse if it’s not addressed quickly.


DIY Concrete


There is a variety of products available on the market that homeowners can use for simple concrete repair. If you haven’t done concrete work before, be aware that it can be difficult, dirty, and it’s surprisingly precise. If you’re not one-hundred-percent certain you can handle the work yourself, it’s probably best to hire a professional to do the work for you.


Don’t try to take shortcuts with concrete work. Generally, doing so won’t fix your problem, and you’ll end up spending money you could have spent on a professional.


Hiring a Professional


Particularly for severe concrete damage, this is usually the safest option. Remember that some types of concrete—the concrete around pools, decorative concrete, etc.--might require a specialist for repairs.


Concrete work can be expensive, but it’s worth it if your surfaces are in bad repair. Cracked and heaving sidewalks detract from a property’s curb appeal, and they give potential buyers the sense that the property hasn’t been maintained, even before they get through the door.


If there are other improvements from which your Smyrna property would benefit that entail a lot of complex and hard work to fix, talk to us about professionals in the area.


Posted in Real Estate News
March 1, 2018

March Events in Smyrna


Red Hare’s Soft J 5K


1998 Delk Industrial Blvd SE, Marietta


March 10, 8:30am-12pm


If you want to get warmed up for Smyrna’s upcoming 5K, consider Red Hare’s Soft J 5K. This 5K race winds through Marietta, ending at the brewery. Once you complete the race, stick around for beer tasting, food, and music in the beer garden. Anyone who isn’t 21 or over can still enjoy some Red Hare Root Beer. Every runner gets a gift of a free glass from the venue. The race is open to people of all ages, and awards are broken up by male and female categories and by age. There is a fee to register; click here for more information.


Six Flags Over Georgia Opening Weekend


275 Riverside Parkway, SW, Austell


March 10-11


It’s getting warmer and that means the big attractions near Smyrna are opening back up for the busy season. Six Flags Over Georgia offers a huge variety of rides, confections, and other diversions and it’s a short drive from Smyrna. There’s plenty to do at the park for people of all ages. Click here for more information.


Spring Atlanta Home Show


Two Galleria Parkway, Atlanta


March 23-25, 10am-5pm


If you want to tackle some home improvement tasks this spring, be sure to check out the Spring Atlanta Home Show. This event features all manner of products and devices for homeowners. If you just moved into a property in Smyrna and want to make it all your own, you’ll find much of what you need to do that here, from landscaping to roofing. Click here for more information.


Easter Egg Hunt


Community Center, 200 Village Green Circle SE, Smyrna


March 24, 10am-1am


This year marks a new location for the annual Smyrna Easter egg hunt. There are four hunts in total, divided up by age groups, with the youngest kids going first, at 11am. Be sure to show up at 10am, however, because that’s when the Easter Bunny is due to arrive. This event is for children up to 10 years of age. The eggs will be hidden at the Smyrna Community Center. Click here for more information.


There’s usually plenty to do in and around Smyrna and Atlanta is just a short drive away. If you need more information about local attractions or services, be sure to ask your us!  


Posted in Community News
Feb. 27, 2018

When You Need New Listing Photos




If your Smyrna property is on the market, the first look that most potential buyers get at it will be on the Internet. That means that your listing photos are likely to make that all-important first impression upon homebuyers and, because of that, it’s important to make sure that your photos make your home look as attractive as possible.




There are factors in play right now that result in some listing photos not looking nearly as good as they need to if they’re to attract the attention of buyers. Here are some of those factors, and why you should consider changing your listing photos if they apply.


People Shooting Their Own Photos


Most people have a camera-equipped phone these days and, for most purposes, those phones take great photos. Where the professional-quality photos required for a real estate listing are concerned, however, smartphones will not cut it. You’ll want a professional with professional equipment to shoot your listing photos. Remember that a photo that looks fine on your phone might look awful on a screen. Aside from the camera, professional photographers bring lighting and other equipment along to ensure a good shoot.


Outdated Photos are Bad


Did you make some improvements to your house or yard? If so, your photos should reflect that. If you’ve made any major changes to your property, look at having it reshot by a professional. Older photos that don’t show the fruits of your hard work sell your house short and may cause otherwise interested buyers to move on from your listing.




Remember that out-of-season photos can be equally detrimental. If your house photos show a snowy yard and the buyer is checking out the property in July, it can make a bad impression.


Ask Us

We can help you with listing photos and will make sure your home looks its best in online listings. Even though most real estate advertising is done online these days, one of the advantages of working with our team is that we set up a professional shoot for your home is that the pictures will be of a high enough quality that they can be used in print advertisements, as well. As is the case with so many things in life, taking the time to have your listing photos done right pays off in many ways. For people selling Smyrna property, keeping your photos updated and having them shot professionally from the start is a big advertising advantage.


Posted in Real Estate News
Feb. 19, 2018

What to Expect when You're Selling and Buying at the Same Time





Whether you’re planning on moving to new real estate in Smyrna or are moving to Smyrna from another location, selling your house at the same time you’re buying another can be tough. Knowing what to expect and planning ahead based on that knowledge can help make it all more manageable.


Know Your Options




Timing is really what people are worried about when they’re selling their old home and buying new real estate. Ideally, you’d close the sale on your present home and on your future home at the same time. That’s not likely, but there are ways that you can set up your sale so that there’s a better chance of making the timing as convenient as possible.




You can put a stipulation in a sales contract that the sale will be completed contingent upon the sale of the property you presently own. The drawback with doing this is that it makes you a less attractive buyer and whatever sellers you’re dealing with might prefer to work with a buyer who can complete the deal on their home immediately.




If there is a gap between selling your home and buying your new home, you can’t really avoid having extra expenses. If you’re trying to sell real estate in Smyrna, remember that working through us is the most reliable way to accelerate the schedule on which your home sells. That being said, expecting some challenges is a good idea.




Make sure you have some sort of arrangement in mind for interim housing, just in case. Remember that, if you get a great offer on your house, renting for a little while until you close a deal on a new property might be less expensive than turning down that offer. Your Realtor can always offer information on what the market’s likely to do, and how much competition there is for real estate in Smyrna comparable to your own.




Don’t forget to line up storage for your items, as well. Storage space is generally pretty inexpensive, and clearing items out of your present property while you’re waiting to close the deal on your new real estate in Smyrna is a constructive use of your time. If you do get a good offer on the house your selling, you’ll reduce the stress of moving quite a bit by having some of your items moved out in advance.




Talk to us if you’re particularly worried about selling and buying at the same time. This is not an uncommon challenge for real estate shoppers and it’s certainly one that seasoned Realtors have a lot of experience helping clients to navigate.


Posted in Real Estate News
Feb. 15, 2018

Reducing the Costs of Moving to Smyrna



Both Smyrna and Atlanta have become popular places to relocate, and that means some of the people moving to a property in Smyrna will be travelling a significant distance to get to their new home. While plenty of attention is generally given to the costs associated with purchasing a home, less is given to the costs of actually moving in. For those travelers coming from a long distance away from Smyrna, here are some ways to reduce the financial burdens associated with moving.


Start Early


There are all kinds of reasons that people wait until the last minute before planning their moves. For people in the process of buying a property in Smyrna, planning the move too quickly might even seem like something that could jinx the deal. There’s no reason to feel that way and, in fact, planning out your move early is the first and best way to reduce your expenses.




Take the time to compare the prices for various moving companies, vehicles, and other services. The earlier you start this process, the better your chances of getting a really great deal. We can likely give you some assistance in this planning, so be sure to ask. Remember, even if the deal you’re working on doesn’t go through, having your move planned in advance is still a huge advantage in terms of saving money.


Learn About Local Utilities and Resources Beforehand


Make sure you find out your options for Internet, phone, and other subscriptions, as well as municipal information, including garbage collection and so forth, before you get to your new residence. In fact, in some cases, you might be able to get all of your utilities hooked up and ready to go before you arrive, which makes things a lot smoother. The need to take care of these things seems obvious enough, but it’s easy to forget these small but vital tasks in the hectic times before you close on your new house in Smyrna!


Be Sure to Ask Questions if You Have Them


Realtors do more than sell houses. They help people make the purchasing process as understandable, manageable and as productive as possible. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, if you have them. In addition to being willing to help, most Realtors are very easy to get ahold of and, rather than waiting until the last minute to get vital questions answered, ask your real estate professional if there’s something about the community and the resources in it you’re not clear on.


Posted in Buying a Home
Feb. 12, 2018

Where Will Mortgage Rates Head in February?



At the beginning of the new year, it’s natural to want to make big plans for the months ahead. For some people, finding a house in Smyrna is the goal for the year and that means that finding financing for that purchase is another goal that they’ll have to take into account.




Financing a home, particularly if you’re a first-time buyer, can be a bit intimidating. There are aspects of financing the home over which you have control--your credit score, the company you work with--and there are aspects of home financing over which you have no control at all, such as what rates are being offered on mortgages at the time you apply. There’s good news, however, in that experts are anticipating that mortgage rates should remain at or near their current very low percentages this year.


Where’s the Trend Headed?


Experts aren’t predicting any substantial movement in mortgage rates over the first quarter of 2018. Toward the end of 2017, mortgage rates were just above 4% and, according to most predictions, the rates during the first quarter of this year should hover around 4.5%. How low is that? A little perspective helps.




Freddie Mac maintains a page where you can take a look at mortgage rates over time, going all the way back to 1971. Over time, mortgage rates have gotten lower and lower. In fact, if you’d been shopping for home financing in April of 1971, the best you’d been able to have done as far as rates went was 7.31%! The rates have gone much higher at times, sometimes topping 13%. As you can see, when economists say that mortgage rates are at historic lows, there’s no exaggeration there. Rates are really remarkably low these days, even for first-time buyers. Remember, however, that you might not be eligible for that low rate if your credit and the other markers of your financial situation aren’t excellent.




If you’re interested in a house in Smyrna, now is a good time to get into the market. While mortgage rates might edge up a small amount over this year, they’re still remarkably low and there’s no reason not to take advantage of that. With the assistance of us, you can find a house in Smyrna that’s within your price range and that satisfies whatever requirements you have for a property. Combine that with the low interest rates--historically low, in fact--and buying a home this year is an investment worth considering.


Posted in Community News
Feb. 6, 2018

How Do I Set My Price Range for Homes in Smyrna?



Take a look at the information aimed at first-time homebuyers and one piece of advice you’ll hear over and over again is to set your price range before you start shopping. This is sound advice. If you’re looking for homes in Smyrna that are far beyond what you can afford, you’re likely to get discouraged quickly. If you aim too low, you might not get the house you really want and end up regretting your decision. So, how do you know what range to shop in? Here are some ways you can figure that out.


First, Get Prequalified for a Mortgage


Prequalification is not the same as getting pre-approved for a loan, but it’s a vital first step in home shopping that can make it easier for you to select homes with the confidence that you can afford them. The process is generally fast and well-worth the time invested.




Keep in mind that, when a mortgage lender prequalifies you, they’re not guaranteeing you the funding. They’re giving you an informed estimate as to how much money you can borrow. While it’s not the same as actually being pre-approved for a loan, it’s a reliable way to narrow down the number of homes for sale in Smyrna to the ones you can afford.


Learn About the Costs of Home Ownership


We can help you figure out the actual costs of owning a property that catches your eye. They can provide tax information and other data that can help you make a good decision.




You should also do research on your own. For instance, it’s a good idea to calculate the cost of your commute to work when assessing the true cost of a property. You should also make sure you’re aware of any work the house might need, and your Realtor will ensure all the disclosure forms are in order, all the inspections are taken care of, and that all the other required information is provided in advance of the sale.




If you have a good lock on your price range, narrowing down your choices to the smartest investments is a lot easier. It saves you time and money, and it helps you avoid stress and disappointment. Talk to us about this important part of finding property in Smyrna.


Posted in Buying a Home