Smyrna Real Estate and Community News

April 25, 2017

Worried About Your Down Payment?



If you’re a first-time homebuyer, saving up for the down payment is a big undertaking. In fact, it can take some homebuyers years to save up for their down payment and, for some, that timeline might make it seem like buying property in Smyrna or anywhere else is not a realistic option. That’s not the case, however, and don’t feel alone if you’re struggling to work up a good percentage of the cost of a new home.


Why People Fret Over Down Payments


Having a sizeable down payment can reduce the cost of borrowing money to finance a new home purchase, and that’s the main reason that people put so much time and effort into coming up with the money. People who are buying their second, third or even fourth house have an advantage; they have equity in the home they’re selling and that can go toward the down payment.


For first-time buyers, however, homes can seem prohibitively expensive, particularly if you’re trying to come up with twenty percent of the home’s value, which will generally net you the best interest rates. For most people, that amount of money is two-thirds as much as the average yearly income.


What to Do if You Cannot Afford a Large Down Payment


The first and best option for help with a down payment is seeing if you can borrow the money, or part of it, from a family member or friend at good terms. Not everyone has that option, of course, so most people will have to look elsewhere.


One good option is looking at FHA loans, which have reduced—vastly reduced, in fact—down payment requirements for new homeowners. If you think you might qualify, talking to a mortgage broker is a good way to find out for sure.


You can also see what kinds of deals you can get on funding with whatever down payment amount you can afford. Some lenders might be willing to work with you and, with interest rates ratcheting up a bit, lenders are likely to be more willing to take on higher-risk clients than they would have been in the past, so be sure to ask.


Ask us about the ins and outs of purchasing homes. We are excellent at explaining the complexities in ways that make them as easy as possible to understand, and at finding options for anyone who comes into their offices.


Posted in Buying a Home
April 17, 2017

New Trends in Landscaping for Smyrna Homes





If you’re buying or selling real estate in Smyrna, GA, you’ve no doubt heard the term “curb appeal” by now. Curb appeal refers to how attractive a house is when viewed from the street—a huge selling point, of course—and landscaping is a significant part of any Smyrna property’s curb appeal. Here are some of the trends in landscaping and related areas of home improvement for 2017.


Bringing the Inside Outside


Having a great yard where you can relax and enjoy the Georgia weather is always a good thing, and it will certainly make your home more appealing to buyers. If you want to get in on one of the latest trends, consider making the outside of your home just as inviting, and practical, as the inside.


People are getting more and more interested in landscaping that allows them to create what amounts to another room outside the home. According to Lawn and Landscape, landscaping businesses are getting more clients who want the landscapers to create kitchens and other outdoor spaces that closely resemble interior layouts, complete with seating and other features. If you want to get in on this trend, you have plenty of options. Spaces with retractable doors, cooking appliances and other features can make your yard into the best place in your neighborhood to have a cookout. It’s not the least expensive option for upgrading the landscaping at your Smyrna property, of course, but if you’re looking for the latest, greatest thing, it’s the go-to choice.


Or, Letting the Outside Just Be Itself


Quite the opposite of making your outside space more structured and akin to your interior spaces is the new trend of making gardens that are more naturalistic than the structured designs that have been popular for the last few years. This fits in perfectly with Georgia properties, as the natural beauty of the environment is allowed to define the space. Garden Design describes the look people are after as “more authentic and real” and, for Smyrna properties that need a bit of a face lift, this might be the perfect option.


Designing to Sell


Remember that what’s trendy isn’t always the best option if you’re selling a home. We understand how to balance out a distinctive look with enough neutrality so that, while homebuyers might be impressed with the look of a property’s landscaping, they can still imagine what they want to do with the space and can visualize the property with their own touch applied to the design.


Posted in Community News
April 12, 2017

Are Higher Interest Rates Bad for Homebuyers?



 Mortgage rates have gone up recently. Is that a bad thing for people buying or selling real estate in Smyrna? Not necessarily. In fact, an increase in mortgage rates can actually work to your advantage, whether you’re a buyer or a seller.


Rates Are Still Very Low


Before you start worrying about how much it’s going to cost to borrow for a home, remember that rates have been at historic lows for quite a while. Increases aren’t as significant as they might seem because the average mortgage rates have been very low for some time now, so any stories about increasing mortgage rates have to be taken in that light.


However, there are some ways that an increase in the cost of borrowing can make it easier to sell your house.


Borrowers Will Want to Get Loans in a Hurry


Rates could go higher, and that can motivate some homebuyers to get lending before the cost of borrowing increases more. Some buyers, worried that they’ll have to pay more to purchase property in the future, might want to make an offer sooner rather than later when they find a good deal. If you’re selling, the overall effect might be more buyers making more offers.


The take away is that you shouldn’t immediately assume that higher mortgage rates act as a drag on your odds of getting a good offer. In fact, the effect might be precisely the opposite.


Lenders Face Reduced Risk


If you’re a first-time buyer or have circumstances that have made it hard for you to get money for a home, increased interest rates can actually work in your favor. Higher rates give lenders more leeway in how much risk they can take on. If you’ve had a difficult time of it finding a loan that suits your needs, you might find yourself with better options if rates go up a bit.


Talk to Your Realtor About Options


We can help you find lenders, no matter how much—or little—you need to borrow to purchase a home. Most homeowners have to borrow to finance a home purchase, and some come to the deal with long-established and excellent credit histories, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t options out there for people who are getting their first homes. With interest rates slated to go up a bit, lenders are likely to be more willing to give a wider swath of borrowers a chance and, for those who are selling, those buyers might want to make an offer fast, so they can get the least expensive loan possible.


Posted in Buying a Home
March 30, 2017

Smart Home Improvements




The weather’s getting warmer and, if you have a house in Smyrna and want to improve it a bit, you’re probably getting motivated to do so. If you want to make improvements that incorporate the latest and greatest innovations, consider going with smart tech. It could bring your property up to an entirely new level.


Stop Measuring the Drapes


Smart windows are fairly new on the market, but the technology is offered by several different companies already. The standout feature with these windows is that you can change how much light they block—from none to all—with a switch or a knob similar to what you’d use to dim a light.


This means that you don’t need drapes, of course, because the window provides a means of offering privacy, literally at the flick of a switch. How that’s accomplished depends upon the technology the windows use and there are several different options. The best bet for figuring out which will work for you would be to talk to a few different vendors and get the pros and cons of each of their products.


The ultimate benefit to smart windows is that you could vastly reduce heating and cooling bills by customizing the amount of light that the windows let in. Of course, they’re a nice feature if you’re putting your house in Smyrna up for sale, as well!


Security Is Less Expensive than Ever


Adding some security to your home is always a nice improvement. CCTV systems used to cost thousands of dollars but, today, you can buy a multi-camera system with NVR recording and cloud storage for just over $100. Installation is an easy DIY project.


Depending upon your homeowner’s insurance provider, you might be eligible for a discounted rate if you install a security system. Aside from the peace of mind these systems provide—you can check in on your home when you’re away—there are potential savings. Zmodo, Canary and Nest are all well-known companies in the DIY home security arena.


Smart Thermostats


Yes, there are smart thermostats. What do they do? They learn! These devices learn your temperature preferences as you use them. They also detect when you’re home and away—via WiFi—and automatically adjust the settings accordingly. After you’ve been using your smart thermostat for a while, it will learn your habits and automatically keep the temperature where you want it. These can save quite a bit of money in heating and cooling costs, so consider one for your house in Smyrna!


If you’re interested in finding out which home improvements are currently the most popular, be sure to talk to us!


Posted in Real Estate News
March 21, 2017

Moving into a New House? Here Are Some Cleaning Tips



If you’ve purchased real estate in Smyrna and are ready to move in, being organized about the process will make things go much more smoothly. Plan on spending some time cleaning your new property, and have the supplies on hand to do it on the first day you start moving in.


It’s Usually Not a Big Job


In most cases, any Smyrna real estate on the market is going to be in tip-top shape. It’s likely that the sellers might have even made some improvements to the house before they opened it up for viewings. That doesn’t mean you won’t want to give the house a good cleaning before you start arranging your furniture, wall decorations and other fixtures. After all, when you move in is probably the last time you’ll have the house all emptied out and ready to clean for a very long while!


Clean out the bathrooms and kitchen, first, and make one more good check for leaks in the plumbing and other issues before you start moving your possessions in. Run the faucets, the shower and so forth and, basically, give it a shakedown cruise. Even if the sellers were very forthcoming and there wasn’t any trouble with the plumbing when you had the house inspected, something could have gotten knocked loose or otherwise damaged while the sellers were moving out.


Most of the time, however, you won’t have to do much more than freshen up the place, since the house was likely thoroughly cleaned before being put on the market.


Consider Doing Some of the Big Jobs


Moving furniture and appliances to really deep clean your house is always a pain. Giving floors a shine or polish can also be a big job, owing to having to relocate all your possessions to get it done.


Go ahead and take care of the floors, baseboards and other hard-to-clean areas before you move everything into the house.


If deep cleaning your property is difficult for you, remember that Smyrna has plenty of local services and you can always have the work done before you show up with your possessions. You can ask us about local services, since they’re familiar with most businesses in Smyrna that provide the kind of services people moving in or out of a house require.


Posted in Real Estate News
March 15, 2017

Spring Is The Perfect Time to List Your Smyrna Home


If you want to sell your Smyrna real estate, doing so during the spring definitely has advantages. Though there’s really no bad time of year to put a home on the market, spring is well-known to have an edge, in some ways, over other times of the year.


People Get Out and About


When the weather warms up, people want to get out more and that affects homebuyer behavior as much as it does anyone else’s. People who are touring properties are likely to have an easier, and more enjoyable, time of it driving around Smyrna to look at real estate than they do in the winter.


On top of this, the days get longer in spring and, of course, we move the clocks forward on the second Sunday in March. That means that buyers have more time to tour homes, or just to drive around looking, and that little bit of an increase in foot and car traffic can add up to quite a few more potential buyers.


They Want to Close


Most people like to move in the summer. For families with children, it’s a lot less traumatic to have their children switch schools during the summer break than it is during the school year. If they’re looking to move into a new home, people are likely to want to get the process started as quickly as possible so they’re settled in before the autumn. Homebuyers will start looking in earnest in the spring, so having your Smyrna real estate fresh on the market early in the year does give you an edge.


You’ll Get Great Photos


Marketing photos are very important to selling properties, particularly now that most people start shopping for homes online before they even start driving around neighborhoods. In the spring, flowers, fresh lawn and the other things that make it a wonderful season also happen to make for great marketing photos. It might seem a small thing, but does make a difference.


How to Get Started


If you’re itching to get your home on the market, have us take a look at your property and the market so they can give you an idea of how much you might be able to sell it for. You can talk to us even if you’re not sure whether or not you want to sell. If you’re just curious if 2017 is the right year to put your home on the market, we will be more than happy to let you know what kind of price you could expect to fetch.


Posted in Selling Your Home
March 8, 2017

Are Mortgage Rates Headed Up?



Particularly if you’re a first-time buyer, the recent rise in mortgage rates may have been cause for concern. The rates are expected to slow their climb coming months, however, and there are strategies that first-time homeowners can use to get a good deal on property in Smyrna.


How Much Did Rates Climb?


Following the presidential election, mortgage rates went up. They made a rapid climb north of 4.25 percent, but analysts expect rate changes to slow now and for movement to be slower for the remainder of the year.


There are strategies you can use to get the best possible deal on home financing, even if you’re a first-time buyer, that don’t involve making rushed decisions based on the increased rates.


First, Don’t Worry too Much


Even when mortgage rates go up, there are ways to avoid further increases in rates. One strategy is to take a look at what adjustable rate mortgages you might qualify for.


Adjustable rate mortgages come with a fixed rate for a specific amount of time. Five-year fixed-rate ARMs are popular with first-time homebuyers, in particular.


If you’re planning on buying your first house, there’s a good chance that you don’t plan on that purchase being your last house. Most people do want to upgrade a bit after their investment in their first home starts to pay off and up-market options become available. If you get a 5/1 fixed-rate mortgage and buy a new home within five years, you’ll stay locked in at the rate you got when you signed the paperwork. Thus, any increases in rates shouldn’t be a problem for you.


Good Practices Mean More than Ever


To make sure you have the broadest-possible options for home financing, make sure you monitor your credit score and hold off on taking out any new lending while you’re shopping for a home. Stay current on all your monthly bills and, when you do go to get prequalified, you’ll have the best possible credit score. Your credit score might have more impact on how much it costs you to borrow than the current interest rates do.

Lending rates should level off and not rise so quickly for the rest of 2017, and they’re still very low, so don’t be dissuaded, even if you’re buying your first house!


Posted in Buying a Home
March 1, 2017

New Home Construction Ticks Up

The construction of new, single-family homes went up slightly at the end of last year and was up more significantly than it was a year ago. This is potentially good news for those looking specifically for new construction.


Building Rates Climb


The latest available figures for new home construction are from December of last year, but they show some growth in the market, even though there was a slight decline compared to November of 2016. In December, new home construction, adjusted for seasonal factors, was down 0.2 percent. However, compared to the same time in 2015, new home construction was up 0.7 percent.


Those numbers might not seem that significant, but it could signal a trend for 2017. Adding more homes to the market could impact prices in a way that’s positive for buyers and, beyond the uptick in construction, there’s still more good news for buyers. In the suburbs, where buyers in search of new homes typically look, there was an increase of 47 percent in the number of permits for the construction of single-family homes in suburban areas.


Are They Affordable?


New construction homes tend to fetch a higher price than existing construction homes, though this isn’t always the case. The median price for newly-constructed homes was just over $300,000. That likely puts these homes out of the range of first-time buyers but, for homeowners who are looking to move up in terms of the property that they own, the increased construction rates might make 2017 the year to get a new home. With mortgage rates rising a bit, it’s possible that buyers will be motivated to move more quickly on new property when they see it.


What About First-Time Buyers?


First-time buyers might find the prices of new construction homes intimidating, but that shouldn’t dissuade anyone from exploring their options. Smyrna real estate includes plenty of great, existing single-family homes and there’s plenty of options as far as price ranges go.


For those homebuyers who already own, remember that buying a new-construction home is not the only way to improve your investment. Have us take you around Smyrna to see what’s on the market. There are many homes that have been standing for years that make excellent investments and, of course, new real estate isn’t the only kind worth owning. For those who are determined to be the first occupant of a property, though, it looks like 2017 should be offering some improvements in the market.


Posted in Buying a Home
Feb. 21, 2017

Georgia Has A Strong Real Estate Market According to NAR



According to the National Association of Realtors, Georgia’s real estate market was up in terms of purchases this year. If you’re considering selling property in Smyrna, everything points to 2017 being a great year to go ahead and do it.


Buyers Are Active


The National Association of Realtors reports that Georgia’s statewide market was strong where buyers were concerned. In fact, many states saw strong buying activity, indicating that Americans’ interest in homeownership is on the rise overall.


Conversely, people in Georgia tended to want to hold onto their properties. That means that, if you’re interested in selling, the market conditions could make it a great time to go ahead and do so.


What’s a Seller’s Market?


In real estate, a seller’s market means that sellers tend to have an advantage over buyers. Quite simply, it means that real estate in a given area is desirable and, thus, people aren’t necessarily jumping at the chance to sell. That, of course, means that those homeowners that do decide to sell property can ask more for it, because buyers have to work harder to find a property that suits their needs.


If you have property in Smyrna, you’re probably aware of the fact that property values overall have increased over the past few years. A lot of people, it seems, want to make Smyrna their home, and there’s little wonder why. It’s a great community and it’s very close to one of the most notable cities in the southeast, Atlanta; a city known for both its tremendous amount of commerce and its eclectic, vibrant cultural attractions.


Is it Time to Sell?


If you’re interested in exploring the possibility of selling your property in Smyrna, the first step is to contact a Realtor. While for-sale-by-owner sites offer home valuations and other features, they’re not particularly reliable. Your home’s value needs to be analyzed by a professional and, if you go on the market asking too much—a lot of people who use Internet self-selling sites make that mistake—buyers are likely to stop looking at your home at all. If a property is on the market for too long, it loses desirability.


We can give you a solid estimate on the value of your home and help you come up with a selling strategy. Smyrna homeowners, because the community is desirable, could stand to make a nice profit on their properties, but only if the deal is handled right, from pricing to negotiation to closing the deal. We can guide you at every step of the way.


Posted in Selling Your Home
Feb. 17, 2017

Is Spring a Good Time to Sell a Home?


Summer is when most people think they should put their home on the market. In Smyrna and most everywhere else, summer does tend to be the busiest season. Consider, however, that spring does offer some advantages to homeowners who want to sell, and that waiting for summer might not actually be necessary.


Spring Makes Sense for Buyers


For the past few years, Smyrna real estate has been going up in value. That’s great if you own a home in the community, but consider how that changes the market for some buyers. Some of them might be very eager to make Smyrna their home, but find themselves getting outbid when the market is hot.


Truth be told, the market is hot. A lot of people want to buy in Smyrna; fewer want to sell.


It’s tempting to think that, if you’re competing in the heat of the summer, you’ll inevitably get more for your home. This isn’t necessarily true. During the summertime, some homeowners, particularly those that don’t work with us, are likely to overprice their homes.


That means that a lot of sellers are going to be looking at one overpriced home after another and, perhaps, end up losing interest in the community before they even get to yours.


In spring, in a seller’s market, there can be advantages over selling in summer. Fewer homes on the market means that you can set your home at a very good price, since there’s less inventory. Fewer options for buyers, particularly in a seller’s market such as Smyrna’s, mean that buyers are more likely to take a look at your home. A springtime seller, because of these factors, might end up being able to ask more than they’d get in the summer and still be more likely to get buyer traffic to their home.


Work with The Smyrna Team


Pricing a home might seem easy to do, but it’s hard to do it right. Set your price too high and no one’s going to be interested. Set it too low and, well, you’ll obviously end up settling for less money than you should take.


We can analyze the market for you and, if you go with us, we will also be aware of important goings on in the community that might make your property more valuable than you thought. If you’re going to sell in spring, and you want to make sure you get the best deal possible, work with a pro!



Posted in Real Estate News