Moving? Here are our tips for choosing the right community

Let’s face it, moving is stressful. To reduce stress when you’re moving from another state, another part of Georgia or another city or town around metromailbox Atlanta, start by narrowing down the ideal community for you and your family.

For starters, consider your commute. There’s no denying the traffic issues Atlantans face, especially if they live outside the perimeter and commute downtown. If you’re moving because of a job, you may want to consider the time you’ll spend getting to and from work first and foremost. Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s see how you can narrow down your choices so that when you’re ready to look at homes with your Realtor, you can pinpoint specific neighborhoods.

Here are some things to consider when moving to Atlanta:

  • Do you have children or are you planning to have children anytime soon?
    Research the school systems. Even if you’re single, living in an area with a much sought-after school system raises your property value.  Great Schools.org is one resource – http://www.greatschools.org/
  • What type of home do you want? Are you interested in a single-family home or an apartment, townhouse or co-op?  Do you want acreage or no maintenance? Match your home to your lifestyle. Are you looking for home with historic charm, or new development? Do you like the protection of an HOA, or want more freedom?
  • What does your ideal community have close by?  If you’re an outdoorsman, own a boat or love to mountain bike, you’ll want to be closer to lakes, forests and parks. If you love to eat out and shop, maybe you’ll want to be closer to stores and restaurants, maybe even have those amenities within walking distance of your front door…
  • What are the redlines?  Allergy sufferers or asthmatics may want to avoid industrial areas. Noise haters may want to steer clear of high traffic roads, highways, even college campuses… decide what’s a deal breaker for you.
  • Other considerations: be sure to review an area’s crime rate, police coverage, fire protection and location of medical facilities. If you are older, or have older parents living with you, a hospital nearby may be a must-have on your list.

Once you’ve narrowed down the areas based on the research and criteria above, there’s no better way to get a true picture of the neighborhood than to visit it (and you may want to visit during the weekend, and weekdays at different times of the day if possible).

  • What’s your first impression? Are the streets wide and well lit? Are they clean and well maintained? Are the homes and businesses kept up or run down? Do people look happy, friendly and energetic?
  • Picture yourself here. Do you see your family having dinner at the local café? Are the kids excited that the school has a big playground? Do you see yourself working out at the gym?
  • Talk to people! What better way to get a first-hand impression. Visit the local market and strike up a conversation with another shopper. Talk you your waitress, stop at a house that is for sale and greet the next-door neighbors…
  • Watch out for redlines and warning signs…. Are there several houses for sale on each block? Are homes and businesses vacant? Look for things that may cause your home value to decrease over time.

Once you’ve found the perfect community, you should apply some of the same principles to finding your ideal home.

  • How much can you afford to spend on a home? Use The Mortgage Guys handy mortgage calculator to see how much you can afford.  Apply Now for pre-approval to boost your bargaining power on the new home.
  • Compare your loan options. Read our Mortgage Basics blog post to find out what mortgage is right for you. http://www.mortgageguysatlanta.com/2011/12/19/mortgage-basics/
  • Find a licensed Realtor in your ideal community to help you find the perfect house!

Get your Atlanta Home Ready to Sell FAST – Home Staging Basics

Photo credit: http://wickerandstitch.blogspot.com

When you start thinking about putting your Atlanta home up for sale there are many considerations, from where you’re moving, to who’s listing your property, to who’s handling your mortgage. Before you take the next big step and actually list your home it’s important to get it ready to sell, especially as the Atlanta real estate market begins to change.

The Mortgage Guys have listed 10 basic tips for getting your home in tip-top shape for sale. Here’s how to create a “move-in ready” home that will sell faster and for more money:

  1. DECLUTTER!
    Remove furniture – makes the house look bigger! Whatever you can live without send to a local storage unit with a month to month rental. A de-cluttered home says there’s plenty of storage space available. Remove knick-knacks – especially personal items, photos, religious items. Buyers want to see themselves in a house, so making your home more generic will help them achieve that feeling. And clean out your closets, bathroom drawers and kitchen cabinets because every buyer considers available storage space.
  2. OUT WITH THE OLD!
    If your furnishings are old, outdated and worn, it might be worth the trouble and expense to replace them with new or gently used furnishings in light, neutral colors and updated styles. Consider visiting a local consignment shop for replacement items from sofas to bedding, accessories to art. This may include updating appliances in your kitchen to stainless steel, which are much in demand.
  3. CREATE PURPOSE!
    Rooms look bigger if you bring furniture in from the walls and create conversation groupings of chairs and sofas, giving furnishings a purpose. And while you’re at it, make sure that every room has a purpose and adds overall value to the home and is easy for the buyer to recognize the purpose of the space.
  4. FIX IT!
    Make cosmetic repairs to woodwork, trim, walls and doors. Ensure carpets are clean and wood floors are finished and without scuffs, scratches and dents. Finish unfinished projects and put tools and ladders out in the garage or shed.
  5. PAINT!
    Enlarge the look of rooms by painting adjoining rooms with the same color, creating one larger space. Choose lighter more neutral colors appropriate to each space- bold colors have been known to reduce sales price offers. However, some rooms, like bedrooms can benefit from deeper tones that make the space feel warm, romantic or intimate.
  6. LIGHT IT UP!
    Check to ensure all fixtures have the maximum wattage bulbs in them so that when the Realtor shows your home, they can truly show off the warmth and functionality of the house. Be sure that you have task lighting in the kitchen, ambient lighting in the bedroom, and some accent lighting throughout.
  7. ODD IS IN!
    Interior designers recommend accessorizing with odd numbers, especially three. Arrange your odd counts asymmetrically (in a triangle rather than a row). Choose groupings of varied heights and widths, but select items to group based on a common theme (color, texture…).
  8. FRESHEN UP!
    Bring in freshly cut flowers, stems or greenery from your garden and make them a focal point in your kitchen, dining room, even the bathrooms.
  9. CLEAN IS GREEN!
    A clean home will demand a higher price. Hire a professional cleaning service if you need the help, but be sure to get floors, windows, counters and other surfaces spotless before showing your home. Pet areas need extra attention to prevent unfriendly odors from scaring potential buyers away from your property. Neutralize odors (including the litter box), and add homey scents by baking cookies just before potential buyers come through. The best bet is to make your dough ahead, shape into balls, and freeze. Then just pop a dozen in the oven an hour or so before the appointment.
  10. DON’T NEGLECT THE CURB APPEAL!
    Outside your home requires attention as well. Clean debris from plant beds, mow the lawn and trim bushes and shrubs. Plant brightly colored annuals along walkways or in pots near the entrance. Nothing says “move in ready” like freshly mulched beds. Fertilize the lawn to green it up, same with plants. If you have a porch, add a rocker or two with plush pillows and a book or magazine. You only get once chance at that first impression!

The extra time you spend preparing your home for sale in the Atlanta real estate market can certainly help your house stand-out from other available properties. Staged homes sell faster and for more than their counterparts, so get moving!


George Beylouny is a licensed loan originator and the Branch Manager for Silverton Mortgage Vinings.  He can be reached at 678-428-6514, George@mgatl.com or  www.mortgageguysatlanta.com