Welcome to my blog. . . .

I hope to bring new topics each week. Homes for sale, buyer information, seller tips, local statistics on the real estate market and more. Please email me if you have an idea that you would like covered.

Monday, March 28, 2011

For Sale - 868 Edgewater Circle - Marietta 30062

Listed at $149,900 this amazing renovated 2 bedroom 2.5 bath townhouse with loads of upgrades is located in East Cobb.  A couple of years ago, the current owner of this property actually moved out for 6 months to accommodate the complete overhaul that took place.  She went way beyond the expected remodel in this price range with upgrades you would expect to see in $500,000 homes.  Real hardwood floors throughout. . .no laminate found here. . . all real solid oak flooring with a medium stain.  Installed ceramic tile floors in the front and back entry, laundry room, kitchen and all bathrooms. Replaced all of the door hardware with rubbed bronze style knobs.  High end light fixtures throughout the home and additional can lighting in the kitchen area.  Speaking of the kitchen. . . silestone counters and stainless appliances - side by side refrigerator with ice maker, gas stove with warming drawer, microwave hood above the stove and of course a stainless dishwasher. 

All of the hand rails and dowels on the stairway leading up to the loft area and bedrooms were replace with oak and wrought iron.  The dining room is complete with a custom built "full length" wall mirror, chair rail/grass cloth and custom made rug.  The standard "builder grade" sliding door to the patio area was replace with an energy efficient french slider.
Custom Hunter Douglas blinds on all of the windows.  All bathrooms were remodeled including the tile floors, paint and hardware.  The guest bath upgrades include a granite vanity top, new tub and surround tile with inlays.  Amazing master bath with custom tile, garden tub, granite vanity top, all new hardware, and expanded shower with custom tile and frameless door.  As if. . .this were not enough . . . . crown molding was installed upstairs as well as California Closets in both bedroom closets.  Aside from all the fantastic upgrades . . .the owner has also paid attention the the maintenance and the service of all components of her home.  
She has painted the exterior several times, replace the HVAC system and water heater as well as all of the polybutylene plumbing.  I forgot to mention. . . the vaulted ceiling in the Greatroom, the gas log fireplace and the 2 car garage.  Call or email for more information.  If you can find a townhouse in East Cobb with better upgrades than this one . . .  and and at a similar price. . .I have
2 words for you. . .

BUY IT . . .

I say that with confidence . . . I do not believe that you will find anything close to this one!

David Arnold
REMAX Greater Atlanta

Friday, March 18, 2011

Step 2 - The home buying process.

Last time we discussed step 1 of the home buying process and that was determining if it is the "right" time to buy.  Step 2 follows closely behind  . . . get pre-approved for the mortgage.  You might think that the loan application should come later in the process when in fact you should start the loan process immediately.  I recommend that you ask your Realtor for a referral to their "preferred" lenders.  They will know who has the experience, knowledge, and resources to provide the best service for you to secure a mortgage.  Trust me . . .(scary words I know) I don't want any of my clients to have a bad experience with a lender.  There is enough stress in buying a home without dealing with an unknown or inexperienced loan originator.


 If all of your contact is on-line with no upfront face to face (or at least on the phone). . . run.  I have never successfully closed a deal with a client who tried to use a "total" on-line mortgage company.


Reason #1 . . . your agent will know you are serious . . . especially if you are approved with a well known lender.  Reason #2 . . . you will have a much better understanding of the loan process and the documentation they require.  Reason #3 . . .  it gives you a chance to analyze the different options available for a mortgage and figure out which one will work best for you.  Reason #4 . . . it will keep you from wasting time considering homes that you could not qualify to purchase . . . or would require a payment higher than you are comfortable paying. Finally, Reason #5 . . .  when you find the home you want. . .and you are ready to make an offer . . . a copy of your pre-approval letter will be submitted to the seller. 


Some sellers will require the letter before they will even consider your offer.  More importantly, an offer including a pre-approval letter from a well known mortgage company will be considered more seriously by the seller and their agent . . .  and that could result in a better response from them.

So. . . determine if it is the right time to buy a home for you . . . and if it is. . .ask your Realtor for a referral to a mortgage company and secure your pre-approval letter.

For more information . . . call, comment, or email.

Have Fun!
David Arnold
REMAX Greater Atlanta

Friday, March 11, 2011

Prices are down. . .Mortgage rates are low. . .Should I buy a house?

Home prices are at a 9 year low by some measurements and mortgage rates continue to hover in the 4% range on 30 year fixed money.  So. . . . now the question . . . . is that a good reason to buy a home?

I think you will be surprised with my answer . . . NO! 

Having great prices and loan rates should not be the reason to buy a home . . . but they are unbelievable benefits of buying now.   Considering market conditions in determining if it is the "right" time to purchase a home should be the last item on the list to analyze.  All of the important considerations are personal evaluations.

1. Job/Career plans - beyond stability of your job. . .what are the chances of transfers, promotions, do you want to work more or less, start your own business etc.
2. Family changes - will you get married, have children, empty nest, parent moving in etc.
3. Financial - income going up or down, cash reserves for emergency, college funds, overall cash flow etc.
4. Life dreams - Are you committed to living in the same area for awhile, expensive hobbies, travel etc.

So you see. . .wondering if it is the "right" time to buy a home is actually a big decision . . .and a personal decision . . . BUT . . .  if it is the "right" time to buy . . . . . .

What great timing because the benefits are HUGE.

David Arnold
REMAX Greater Atlanta

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Career Day at Milford Elementary School

OK. . don't laugh. . .I participated in "Career Day" at Milford Elementary School this past Friday.  I know the competition was tough from the Fireman, Veterinarian, and the Martial Arts Instructor. . .but I think I held my own.  It wasn't really a competition (except in my mind) but I wanted the students to enjoy my presentation and learn something.  I was assigned to the 3rd grade  . . . a total of 5 different classes, and my estimate of about 130 total kids.  The presentation went "on stage" 4 times . . .each one a little different depending on questions from the audience.  Here is the insider truth. . .I started every session welcoming the students to career day, and then asked them "Does anyone know what a Real Estate Agent does?"  Out of all 4 sessions, I only got ONE response. . .OOPS. . .and that boy asked  "Is it like a secret spy or something?" . . . . . .


I guess the word "Agent" in the profession threw him a little . . . or maybe he was just hoping for James Bond or even Maxwell Smart . . . I suppose either would be more exciting than someone who sells homes.  I was able to weave my way past that and proceeded through my bullet points.  We discussed the basics of what a real estate agent does, differences in homes, why people buy homes, and why people sell homes.  For a better illustration I asked for 3 volunteers to come to the front of the class to help me.  Someone very smart recommended to me that when I ask for volunteers. . . let the teacher make the selection.  So I did that, and in every case the teachers picked kids who behaved, willingly participated and cooperated for the "skit" . . . what great advise.  One student was a home seller, one was a home buyer and the third was the mortgage banker.  I had a picture of the home that was being sold, and cash for the buyer and the banker to hold.  We went through a VERY SIMPLIFIED process of listing, borrowing and buying.  I didn't feel the need to get into FICO scores, FNMA guidelines or Commission agreements . . . . and . . . .I didn't want everyone falling asleep including the teachers.

The Grand Finale . . . .

 I handed out some questions to the students (just in case they didn't have any) and let them ask the "right" questions.  How many homes are for sale in the Atlanta area?  What is the lowest price for a home in Cobb County?  What is the highest price for a home in the area?  Showing them a picture of a $9,900 home in Marietta and a $19,000,000 home for sale in Buckhead definitely received the most attention.  They were perfect with the oooohs and aaaaaahs.  After I was finished with one of the presentations, a student approached me to explain that if he had saved all of his Birthday money and allowances since he was born he would have $1,000,000 and then he would only need to save another $18,000,000 and he could buy that home.  Great math . . . but maybe not too realistic in the "savings rate" category.

I was impressed throughout the day with the behavior, respect, and interest that all of the kids showed.  The Milford Elementary School staff and administration should be very proud.  Now . . .  what I am proud of . . . is when I asked them at the end of the session . . .
  "Who wants to be a Real Estate Agent now?"  . . . . .   75% of the students raised their hands.

Lesson learned:  Show someone a picture of a mansion. . .and you have them eating out of your hand!

David Arnold
REMAX Greater Atlanta

Friday, December 3, 2010

Buying a home in the Atlanta area. . . . Check out the highs and the lows!

The highs and lows. . .hmmmmmm?  That could carry a number of meanings.  Are we talking about prices, values, rates or construction activity?  No, nothing that complicated.  Are you curious about the highest priced homes for sale in the Atlanta area and the lowest price? Yes, that is the "high and low" that I am talking about today.  While compiling some sales figures for the area, I came across these homes.  The first, is a 2 bedroom 1 bath brick home in Atlanta and is currently on the market for . . .are you ready? . . . .$4,500. . . .  No. . .not $45,000. . . . . I said $4,500

All major credit cards accepted . . . .  

The next lowest is also in town and boasts 3 bedrooms, a large deck, and fenced yard listed for a whopping $6,600.  Both of these houses obviously need work but neither are "falling down".   Those are mind boggling prices for a house in any condition.  What's the land worth?

And for the rest of you, who are interested in the opposite end of the spectrum, we have a 9 bedroom,  15 bath home on 2 acres in Buckhead.  Including the 16 fireplaces, heated pool, and 7 full kitchens this one is for sale for only $22,500,000.  Just in case you are interested in additional details. . . the property taxes show $132,500 per year. . . .No Problem!   For those of you who are perfectly fine with the runner up, it is a 7 bedroom 20 bath house on 72 acres in Forsyth County.  Complete with 10 fireplaces, heated pool, private golf course, 12 car garage and fully furnished all for a paltry sum of $18,000,000 (recently reduced from $28,000,000) A deal for the taking!

The highs . . . .and the lows. . . . WOW!

The real story here is the number of deals that exist in all price ranges around Atlanta.  If you have questions or comments about homes in any price range. . .please let me know.

David Arnold
REMAX Greater Atlanta

Friday, November 26, 2010

A house is a house is a house. . .but is it a home?

That's Shakespeare isn't it?  . . . . maybe not.  Thanksgiving celebration gives us all a time to ponder life. (A little deep huh?) OK, it made me consider the differences between a house and a home.  I am not proposing that all houses are created equally . . . . but neither are all homes.  A house consists of bricks, siding, wood, nails, glass, tile, hardware, wiring, plastic, shingles, sheetrock, screws, plumbing, and carpet all assembled in a specific way to end up with a "structure" where someone can live.  Differences in that structure can include the number of bedrooms and baths it has. . .if it is a ranch style, two story, or split level house. . . . does it have a basement, a garage or bonus room?  All of these details are "house" and none of them are "home".  

"Home" is what happens within a house. . .

. . . family functions, relationships, eating, playing, watching ball games on TV (had to throw that one in there) all convert a house to a home.    We enjoyed a day of Thanksgiving yesterday with friends and family.  I am in charge of the turkey and gravy and my wife Nancy is in charge of everything else. . . .planning, setup, food and clean up (woo hoo). . .before any of you "equal time" folks get riled up. . . I do other stuff around here too!  Everything came together this year very well.  Fun, food and conversation all fell into place.  A little frightening. . . but. . .  we even had a jam session of Rock Band (you can see the video below. . .but warning. . .it is not for the faint of heart)  Afterward I was thinking how lucky I am and what a wonderful family I have.  That is what I am truly thankful for. .  .and I get to enjoy it . . .in our HOME.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and that nobody got hurt if they went to the mall on Black Friday!


If you decide to watch. . .remember. . .I warned you!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Buying my first home in the Atlanta area.

While doing some research for a client who was looking to purchase their first home, I was amazed at how many homes were available in their price range.  They wanted to be in the Cobb County area and preferred to stay under $125,000.  They also desired a single family detached home as opposed to a condo or townhouse.  Surprisingly, I found that there were 1100 homes currently for sale in Cobb County within their price range.  Shouldn't have a problem finding 1 that they will like!  It wasn't too many years ago that number would have been 10-15 homes total.  I decided to to check out some other areas to see what their numbers looked like.

Cherokee County - 315
Paulding County - 574
Fulton County - 1650
Dekalb County - 1447
Gwinnett County - 1578
Clayton County - 479
Forsyth County - 140
Douglas County - 478

There are over 10,000 homes currently for sale around the Atlanta area priced at $125,000 or less!

My clients decided to limit their search to homes in Cobb County with at least 4 bedrooms and 2 baths and really wanted a basement.   This criteria reduced their choices to 158 homes . . . still plenty to consider!
As an additional bonus. . . .mortgage rates continue to stay in the mid 4% range for 30 year fixed rate loans.  Taking that into consideration along with the interest deduction on their income taxes. . . first time buyers should be lined up to make their purchases over the next six months.  

Please call, email, or comment here, if you have any questions about the overall home buying process.