Atlanta Real Estate Blog
HOMES FOR HEROES® AND PREMIER ATLANTA REAL ESTATE
We are thrilled to announce an affiliation with Homes for Heroes® - the nations largest Hero network of real estate professionals to make it easy for heroes to save on a home. Shortly after 9/11, Homes for Heroes, Inc. was established to give back to firefighters, EMS, law enforcement, military (active, reserves & veterans), healthcare professionals and teachers for all they do.
To expand the circle of giving, Homes for Heroes, Inc., donates a portion of its earnings to the Homes for Heroes Foundation. Every time a hero buys or sells a home using the Homes for Heroes program, they are helping heroes in need.
Check out more information about the program on our Homes for Heroes® page.
Why We Partnered with Homes for Heroes®
Our mission here at Premier Atlanta Real Estate is to enrich the lives of the people we meet and help them achieve their dreams. As our driving business mission statement, we do our best to answer a basic question to guide our decision making in life and business - will what we are doing or plan to do enrich the lives of the people we meet and help them achieve their dreams? For the Homes for Heroes® program, the answer was simple.
Local heroes are essential to our civil society. They are often also overlooked, chastised, underpaid, overworked and underappreciated. We see this as an outstanding way to give back.
If you are or know someone that is a teacher, firefighter, active or retired military, healthcare worker/EMS or in law enforcement...
12 Farmhouses in North Fulton You Can Buy Right Now
Chip and Joanna have announced that this will be their last season of Fixer Upper but they have forever left their mark on the housing market well outside of Waco with their varied modern/rustic/farmhouse designs. Sure, they weren't the first to do it, but they made it popular and this style has found its way all over the country including right here in North Fulton. Below is a handpicked list of what we think are the 12 best Farmhouse (or variation thereof) style homes you can buy today.
If you see something you like, let us know!...
Shades of Gray
Gray is here to stay! Gray has become a wildly popular color for both interior and exterior paint. It pairs perfectly with a wide variety of decor and can set the tone of a room anywhere from mysterious to glamorous to serene. Gray has become to the go-to color for home updates - simply changing your walls to a great shade of gray can bring new life to an older property. In fact, you could say it's a definitive neutral, an ideal option for maintaining versatility and polish.
Gray can be light and dark, warm and cool, deep and rich, or pale and tranquil. Picking the right shade of gray will help you create the perfect ambiance for your home. When you decide to update your paint scheme it will be important to test the shade(s) you have selected. Check your gray color in all varieties of light - daytime vs. nighttime, fluorescent vs. incandescent, etc. And work with hues and tones. Paint an accent wall in a deeper shade of gray to create interest and depth in your room. Add a light gray to your ceiling to create a polished look. Use sites like www.pinterest.com and www.houzz.com to get ideas of gray color palettes for your painting project. And gray isn’t just for walls.. painting older cabinets a contemporary gray and adding new hardware can be a cost-effective way to update your kitchen.
Here are some fabulous options to use when you decide to jump into the world of gray. Click on each color swatch to get more information about the hue and see coordinating and complimentary colors.
Do Your Homework!
It’s hard to believe, but the beginning of a new school year is just around the corner! Although I am sure your kids are still enjoying their summer vacation, it will be no time before they have picked out the perfect backpack and stuffed it with all the essential school supplies.
One of the top search criteria I hear from buyers is schools. Schools can be a primary reason for moving and a major deciding factor for the home you choose to buy. First and foremost, parents want the best schools for their kids - that is a given. But beyond that, the school district where a home resides can determine the market value of a home and it’s potential to gain value in the future. And, the sought after schools can also help you down the road when it comes time to sell your home - making it more desirable to potential buyers.
Looking for a home in a particular school district? On the Premier Atlanta Real Estate site, we have an awesome tool to help you search for available homes located near the most popular schools in the area. Check out this link:
Want to do some more homework? Request a copy of the Atlanta Business Chronicle annual school guide. When doing research on schools, I recommend reviewing test scores and visiting schools in person to speak with staff who can then provide you with more information about each school. A good place to start is with the annual Atlanta Business Chronicle School Guide. Send me an email at [email protected] to request a copy and I will mail you one directly.
Are you are ready to start...
What's The Real Story? It's Probably Pricing!
Time and again, I come across a home listing that is well kept, with awesome features, in a great neighborhood... but it just isn't selling.
Buyers will ask, "why has is been on the market so long?" Sellers will ask, "why isn't my house selling?"
And the answer is usually: PRICE.
My job, as your highly skilled real estate professional, is to do the research and give you the tools and information to price your home properly, or to make the appropriate offer on a property. To get that information, I look at factors such as style, size, features, geographic location, schools, etc. in comparison to comparable recently sold (in the last 3 - 6 months) properties. I don't set the price - you don't set the price - THE MARKET SETS THE PRICE.
The goal is to sell the property in the least amount of time for the most money. And your pricing strategy will have a direct effect on your success of selling for the most money in the least amount of time. Statistics show that if you price your property too high, you risk sitting on the market for months. And in the end, you will probably be selling for less than if you priced properly from the beginning, because you will need to do price reductions to offset the perception that there is something wrong with the property. Price your property too low, and you aren't maximizing the potential profit from the sale - and the bidding war you hoped to achieve may never materialize.
Take a look at the snapshot below which demonstrates the effect price has on sales vs. listing price and days on market. Getting the price right from the beginning, is your best bet for selling your home for the most amount of money in the least amount of time.
Are you ready to have a chat about selling your home? I would love to meet with you to...
A Tale of Two Markets - Don't Be Fooled!
If you watch the news, read Facebook or know a real estate agent, you've probably heard abut how amazing this real estate market is and how much prices have gone up and it's a great time to sell. Did you also know that certain segments of the market are actually far more favorable to buyers than to sellers? Read on to learn what's really going on in the market...
The market really is actually split into two segments. For one segment, it's a sellers market and for the other, well, it's a buyers market. Do you know which is which?
There is a natural break in the real estate around the $500,000 home price mark. In large part this is because conventional financing in Atlanta goes up to $424,100. If you want to buy a $500,000 home and avoid a jumbo loan with higher rates, you need to put down $75,900 plus you need money for closing costs. This generally means that buyers must have a 20% down payment for loans on purchases over $500,000 and that limits the number of buyers and therefore demand and therefore prices.
The difference between the $500,000 and below market is staggeringly different from the $500,000 and up market. I'll show you 3 different markets in Metro Atlanta that point to this difference and if you jump into this market as a consumer, you need to be armed with this information because it could cost or make you 10's of thousands of dollars.
Point to Remember: If there are less than 6 months of inventory of homes, it is a sellers market and above 6 months of inventory it is a buyers market.
In North Fulton, it is a very strong sellers market below $500,000 and a buyers market for homes above $500,000. Let's look at the numbers:
- Active listings - 335 homes
- Sold listings...
Keys to Successful House Hunting
Use the tried and true newspaper reporters tool to have a fabulous home buying experience! Answer these five Ws and one H to buy your next home with confidence and success!
Why Do You Want A New Home?
The first, and most important question you need to ask yourself is “Why do I want to move?”. Your reason or motivation for moving will drive the rest of the process and will help you answer the rest of the questions. Maybe you are taking a new job in a new city. Maybe you want to be closer to the grandkids. Maybe your family is growing and you need more space. Or maybe you are just ready for new home. Whatever the reason you have for moving, it is the right reason, and it will play a key role in helping you make those key home buying decisions. Figure out your big “WHY” and then keep that as the focus during your house hunting.
How Much Do You Want To Spend?
This will be one of the most expensive purchases you will ever make so you need to begin with a discussion about financing. ALL HOME BUYERS NEED TO MEET WITH THEIR BANKER OR A LENDER BEFORE LOOKING AT ANY HOMES! Pardon my “shouting” - but having your financial ducks in a row before embarking on the home buying process is a crucial step you should take to ensure you start off the process on the right foot. If paying cash, your banker can discuss the status of your accounts, your budget, and provide you with a letter verifying you have the funds available to purchase a home. If financing with a mortgage, the lender can help determine your budget and provide information on the various loan programs available to you, as well as providing documentation of your pre-qualification. The professionals can also help you determine if it is not quite the right time, financially, to purchase a home. Take...
Your Guide To Home Inspections
You have searched and searched and finally found that perfect home to purchase... what is the next step? As soon as you have a property under contract the next important step in the home buying process is conducting an inspection of the property. A home inspection is a valuable tool in evaluating the condition, soundness and safety of the property. The resulting report is a fantastic source of information about the home you are buying, and can highlight items that need to be addressed prior to purchase.
A home inspection should be conducted by a professional, licensed, experienced and highly recommended home inspection contractor. As in every industry, there are good and bad home inspectors. Ask for recommendations from your real estate agent - they have worked with many inspectors and have valuable insights to help with the selection process. Your agent will know which inspectors will provide the best and most useful information and provide excellent customer service, all for a reasonable price. You can also ask trusted family and friends for inspector recommendations. Once a professional is selected, your agent will schedule the inspection, coordinating with the listing agent and home seller.
A home inspection is usually paid for by the buyer. On the day of the inspection, the buyer (along with the buyer's agent) is invited to walk through the property with the inspector so they can verbally discuss and visually point out any findings . The inspector will also provide a written report for the buyer and agent to review, documenting all the things they observed while evaluating the property.
What is usually evaluated as a part of the inspection:
Will You Be Early Out of the Gates?
You have probably heard lots of advice about the best time of the year to put your house on the market … “Spring! Sell in the spring, it’s the best time” they will say. But getting a jump on the real estate market may be your best opportunity to come up a winner when selling your home. Here are just a few of the ways listing your home in January and February can benefit you in the home selling race.
Inventory is Low
The holidays did little to slow down the robust real estate market and we find ourselves still deep into a Seller’s Market. What that means is inventory is low and there are not enough homes to meet the demand of the buyers in the current market. This is the case both nationally and locally. According to realtor.com, on a national level, active listings are down a staggering 11% when compared to 2015.* Here in Atlanta, intense demand is resulting in a 12.1% reduction of listings compared to this time last year.
So who remembers their Economics 101 class? Bueller? Bueller? When demand is high and the inventory is low, it is the BEST TIME TO SELL! As long as you follow the professional and knowledgeable advice of your carefully selected listing agent, you will likely be able to get more for your home and sell quickly.
As we head in to the spring months, inventory will inevitably increase. Your home will have more competition, you will have to work extra hard to get the attention of the buyers out shopping. That may mean pricing lower than the house for sale around the corner, making extra updates to your home, and dealing with fickle buyers. Be the star of the show by listing your house in January or February reap the rewards!
People who are house hunting in January and...
A New Home for Christmas?
Have you been thinking about buying a new home, but planning to wait til spring? You might want to consider doing your home buying during the holidays... this can be a fantastic time of year for you to find that dream home and get a great deal! Who says the best presents come in small packages? How about a two story with a pool and a fireplace sized package? Let’s talk about a home shopping during the holidays.
Deals! Deals! Deals!
Let’s face it, no one really wants to put their house on the market during the holidays. Listing your home usually means the hassle of prepping the house for sale, and keeping it clean for showings, and scheduling open house events. Now try doing all that while putting up festive decorations, hosting special events, attending school programs, wrapping gifts, and still finding time for work and family. So a seller who has decided it is time to sell is probably finding that prospect a necessity, whether for a employment relocation, a family need, or any number of other reasons.
This is where you, as the buyer, can have some purchasing power. Homes on the market during this time may be ripe for offers under the list price, due to the urgency of the seller to sell. Sellers may be more willing to take care of those inspection items because they need to get moving. And if you have the ability to move quickly, sellers may be very happy to oblige a short escrow period. (one caveat - check with your lender to check for any delays the holidays pose regarding time needed for closing the transaction).
Houses that have been on the market a while will likely try to price drop before or during the holidays to get some action on the home and get it sold before the end of the year. With fewer buyers in the market, sellers are trying everything they can to get more traffic...
Willow Springs in Roswell - Market Update
Willow Springs is one of the largest and most popular neighborhoods in Roswell. It consists of approximately 680 homes and is also home to the Country Club of Roswell. Sales in Willow Springs are historically high for a number of reasons including the location and proximity to Georgia 400, shopping, dining as well as NorthPoint Mall and Avalon.
Willow Springs Market Update
This year (as of this writing in November) there have been 35 sales in Willow Springs. The most expensive sale was $750,000 and the least expensive sale was $278,000 so home prices, depending on style and location within the neighborhood vary with options for most buyers looking for the lifestyle offered in Willow Springs. Here are the statistics for Willow Springs
- There are currently 13 homes for sale
- There 8 additional homes under contract
- The average price for sales is $452,404
- The average days in market for homes to sell is 60 days, but for those home which were priced correctly and did not require a price reduction the days on market dropped to 39
- The median days on market, where half the homes took longer and half the homes sold faster is 29
- The median sales price is $410,000 where half the homes sold for more and half the homes sold for less
- The original list price to sold price is 95.46% for all homes sold and the list price to sold price for homes priced correctly was 97.89%
Compared to Roswell in the Same Area
When we compare Willow Springs to Roswell in the same are and price range you can get a feel for how it stacks up to surrounding neighborhoods. There are of course, other factors besides just the statistics that come into play but it still gives a baseline for comparison.
In this area of Roswell at the same price...
Alpharetta Market Update - Things are Changing...
Summer is over and school has started and that means we run into the beginning of the fall cycle of slower home sales through November and the typical uptick in December before the slowest two months of January and February. Inventory is still very low and fully one third of all homes currently listed for sale are under contract but change is coming - it's just a matter of when we see a change and no longer if we see it.
Check out the infographic below for the big numbers:
What Does This Mean?
I don't think I would read too much into the slower sales for a couple of reasons. First, most new home sales are not accounted for in any database so it's difficult to get a totally clean number. Second, even if we do see a little slowdown in the sales, there still isn't enough inventory to drag us into a buyers market. At least not yet. There are of grumblings from buyers about homes being priced too high in their opinions and as an agent, I would agree with certain homes but that's anecdotal and not marked by any substantial evidence. to the contrary, we still see very low days on market for homes that are updated well and priced accurately. There is no shortage of buyers just a shortage of good homes.
When the market does shift, I wouldn't expect any change until the fall of 2017 at the earliest in Alpharetta and when it does if there is a price correction it would be my best guess that we may see a small, 4%-5% downturn in prices that won't last long as long as nothing radically changes in the overall economy.
Questions or Comments?
As always, we welcome feedback as long as it's respectful. Leave a reply below!...
Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, Houses are Beautiful But Not in That Hue!
As a homeowner, real estate agent and a potential homebuyer in the coming months I've come across some extreme examples of what not to do with paint when you have your home for sale. First I would say that what people do inside of their homes really is their business. We all have different tastes and colors we prefer and we often use our home as a primary tool to express those tastes. However, when you make a decision to sell your home and the interior photos are out there for world to see and you are trying to make a great impression on a potential buyer, there are some things that you should never overlook. Bold color is at the top of that list because it's impossible to ignore.
If you want your bedroom painted a soft red/pinkish color, by all means slap some paint up on the walls and enjoy it for all that it's worth to you. But seriously, don't post a photo of it online as part of a commodity for sale that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. It's going to immediately cause an objection and will certainly leave some buyers flipping to the next listing without even giving your home a chance. Here's an example I came across this morning. I'm sure they love it and that's fantastic. But now they want to sell it and it's a great example of how to list a home and not sell it:
The number of people looking for a home that matches this criteria and price that want their bedroom painted this color in the city you live in and in the location you live in and the price your home is for sale for is zero. This really needs to be painted neutral.
Here's a kitchen - please overlook the clutter momentary (if that's possible and could be another ranting blog posts about what sellers aren't doing that they should be) - can we call this one the Christmas kitchen? How could a buyer possibly make sense of what it would be like to make dinner in...
Ranch Homes Near Downtown Alpharetta are Sizzling Hot!
It's true that the real estate market in the general vicinity of Downtown Alpharetta is about as strong as anywhere in Atlanta right now but the market for ranch homes near downtown is particularly strong. There are a number of reasons that make this submarket of homes particularly hot...
Walk to Downtown Alpharetta
If you haven't been through Downtown Alpharetta recently you've missed a considerable transformation. A ride down Academy Street or Cumming Street off of Main Street or even up Canton Street parallel to Main Street is showing some big transformations and that's due in large part to the proximity to all that Alpharetta has brought into the downtown area. There is something going on every weekend and Thursday nights and to be able to walk to the events is a huge selling point - it's what every suburban city is trying to achieve but Alpharetta has accomplished this in a way that many other areas have not yet been able to do and because it's Alpharetta, it makes the area all the more in demand.
Home prices in Alpharetta are as high and demand for the area is strong. To find a renovated ranch home for under $400,000 is an attractive option. New construction starts in the $600,000's and that's just simply out of reach for most homeowners. I think the days of huge homes as status symbols is winding down and people are more interested in lifestyle than 5,000 square foot homes that do nothing but collect dust. It's a more practical approach to home ownership and quite frankly, I welcome it!
You know the saying - they don't build them like they used to...well, I don't necessarily agree in terms of construction quality but they certainly don't give you lots like they used to. Most of the ranch homes in Downtown Alpharetta are older neighborhoods from the 1960's and 1970's and they have wonderfully large and level lots perfect for pools (which you might be able to afford since you aren't buying an $800,000 house).
Roswell Market Update
In our last market update when we looked at the Alpharetta real estate market, it appeared that we were starting to see signs that a pricing correction may be on the horizon. With the overall economy stable, and in an election year, there really shouldn't be too many outside factors that will influence the real estate market. Except for one major influence - the Federal Reserve. There is a strong possibility that the Fed will raise rates.
Rising Interest Rates Make Homes Less Affordable
In recent weeks, the Fed has been hinting at the idea of raising interest rates and if they do, it will have an impact on the market. If interest rates rise, your buying power decreases because it makes it more expensive to buy a home. When this happens there there will be a smaller pool of buyers for homes thus lowering demand and in turn lowering housing prices.
So Should You Wait to Buy?
It all seems so easy - we predict prices to go down so we automatically think the right thing to do is to wait until they do before we buy a home. It's a natural conclusion to draw. However, it really is more complicated than that. First, there is no guarantee that prices will drop and if they do, there will still be certain areas that see very modest, if any price drops. In the higher demand areas, we may only see a leveling off of prices or perhaps an overall drop that only amounts to a few percentage points. That generally isn't enough to draw the conclusion that the right decision is to wait.
How Will it Affect Homes in Roswell?
Roswell is a great example of an area that will have a very small impact in the event that prices to decline as a result of diminished pent up demand and higher interest rates. This is due in large part to the demographics of the area, the schools,...
Alpharetta Market Update Spring 2016
I think you will agree with me when I say:
Home prices, on their face, seem to be high for what you can get in some areas of town. Now it looks like the market may be on the verge of agreeing as well...
There was a lot of optimism going into 2016 for the real estate market to continue with higher prices and higher sales volume. Some of that optimism was due to it being an election year and they tend to be good years for real estate and also with the economy not hitting any speed bumps recently it shaped up to look like it was going to be a banner year.
Where are we now?
January of this year started off a little slower than in 2015 with 78 sales in Alpharetta compared to 84 in 2015 or a 7% decline. In 2015, the median price for a home in Alpharetta (the number where half the homes sold for more and half the homes sold for less) was $308,000. In 2016 the median price was $365,000, or, up 19.5%. The price increases fueled optimism. But February sales were also lower by 28% in 2016 than they were in 2015 and while two months don't quite make a trend, we in the industry started to take notice that demand was lower than expected. March sales were also down 17% year over year and then we started to see a trend. Three months in a row sales were down when compared to the same time period a year earlier. You can see by this chart that year to date in 2016 the sales volume lags behind 2015 for the most current statistics.
Alpharetta real estate sales tend to be more stable than some of the surrounding areas in Metro Atlanta because of the strong local economy, good schools, lower crime statistics and demographics so if we are seeing lower trends here, we would likely see them in other areas of Atlanta as well. But there is more going on here. While sales volume is down, we...
Highland Park in Johns Creek
Highland Park Entrance
Highland Park is one of the hottest neighborhoods in Johns Creek and has been for quite some time. Home prices in Highland Park hover right around the average price for all homes in Johns Creek, but the location, to the west side of Johns Creek gives homeowners a little easier access to Georgia 400 than many other neighborhoods and that shorter commute.
In 2015, only 6 homes came on the market in Highland Park and they sold very quickly. The average days on market was 24 days and that was brought up by one home that was initially overpriced and then reduced. Once it was priced correctly, it sold in about 20 days also. What this means is that the average days on the market for the neighborhood is really about 18 days! The most recent home to come on the market was only on the market for 3 days.
Map to Highland Park
With a convenient location to GA 400 and homes that sell quickly, if you are looking for a home in Johns Creek, check out the homes for sale in Highland Park or you can use this link to check out all of the homes for sale in Johns Creek....
How to Win if You Are Buying in This Market
If there is one thing we are hearing consistently it's that there aren't enough homes on the market - or - that buyers feel like homes are overpriced. You know what? It's the same thing just coming at it from different angles.
Really, it's this: there aren't enough homes to fulfill the needs of the true buyers that are earnestly looking to buy a home. That means sellers can get more for their homes than buyers think they should which makes them APPEAR to be overpriced to buyers who haven't quite accepted the new realities of the market (that's most buyers). It's old news to those of us in the business working with buyers...
First, we tell them that the market has changed, then they find a house they want to buy only to lose it to another buyer because they made a lower offer. It's likely the other buyer lost one too and finally realized they needed to listen to their agent!
Then, we can't find them another house for a month because inventory is so low that most buyers actually have very few homes to choose from.
So, How Do You Win if You Want to Buy in This Market?
Lots of homes are available to buy, but there is a general feeling from buyers in the market that homes are overpriced or they can't find what they want. You need to shift your thinking somewhat so that you are inline with the changing realities of the market if you want to win the best deal on your new home in this market.
Understand this is a Seller's Market
Unquestionably so! There are no more "deals" as defined by what we have seen in the past few years. If you want the new version of a deal, you need to understand what that looks like today.
This is a seller's market which is traditionally defined as any point where the supply of homes is under six months - what this means is that it would take...
4th Quarter 2013 and What it Means for This Year
We now have all of the number in for 2013 and with the last quarter of 2013 numbers in, we can now project forward and shed some light on what we can expect for the coming year in the real estate market. There are also a number of points that I will try to make to put in context because what is reported on the news is often not stated in a way that will apply to an individual looking to buy or sell a home.
Sales Volume Equal to 2012 in 2013 But Different Price Points
When we look at the graph above, you can barely even see the 2012 numbers because the sales numbers are so close to what they were in 2013, but the price points for the sales differ considerably. In 2012, a much larger number of homes sold below $100,000 than did in 2013 and that has had a major impact on other statistics. In 2013, there were far fewer foreclosures and short sales and that number continues to dwindle. While the overall number of homes sold remained similar, the number of investment properties fell dramatically while the number of homes sold above $200,000 was up in every price category.
There are No More "Deals" in the Market
What this means is that owners rather than investors came back into the market creating what is a more traditional balance of buyers in the market. Moving into 2014, this trend is continuing with fewer and fewer distressed sales and fewer investment opportunities becoming available. The takeaway here is that "the deal" is basically dead. If you were looking to pick up a home below market value, your ship has sailed. This is due mainly because the number of buyers looking for these deals has not decreased, but the supply has all but dried up so those...
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