Buying, Dunwoody GA, Real Estate, Selling, Uncategorized

Patience and Strategy: The Keys to Buying a Home in 2021

The Dunwoody market is exceptionally hot, but the question many homebuyers are facing this year: “Why is it so hard to find a house?” is happening all over the country. We’re in the ultimate seller’s market, which means real estate is ultra-competitive for buyers right now. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) notes homes are getting an average of 4.8 offers per sale, and that number keeps rising.

Why? Low, low inventory. Simple economoics of supply and demand. Fewer houses to sell; more buyers than homes available. And all this is partially a factor of a decline in construction.

While many homeowners paused their plans to sell during the height of the pandemic, this isn’t the main cause of today’s huge gap between supply and demand. Sam Khater, Vice President and Chief Economist at Freddie Mac, Economic Housing and Research Division, shares:

The main driver of the housing shortfall has been the long-term decline in the construction of single-family homes . . . That decline has resulted in the decrease in supply of entry-level single-family homes or, ’starter homes.’”

Patience Is the Key to Buying a Home This Year | MyKCM

When you consider the number of homes built in the U.S. by decade, the serious lack of new construction is clear (See graph below):The number of newly built homes is disproportionately lower than the rate of household formation, which, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, has continued to increase. Khater also explains:

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic and current recession, the housing market was facing a substantial supply shortage and that deficit has grown. In 2018, we estimated that there was a housing supply shortage of approximately 2.5 million units, meaning that the U.S. economy was about 2.5 million units below what was needed to match long-term demand. Using the same methodology, we estimate that the housing shortage increased to 3.8 million units by the end of 2020. A continued increase in a housing shortage is extremely unusual; typically in a recession, housing demand declines and supply rises, causing inventory to rise above the long-term trend.”

To catch up to current demand, Freddie Mac estimates we need to build almost four million homes. The good news is builders are working hard to get us there. The U.S. Census Bureau also states:

The Bottom Line

If you’re planning to buy this year, the key to success will be patience, given today’s low inventory environment. Call me, Tom Florence, at 404-402-8062, and let’s talk strategy for your successful sale.

Patience and strategy are the keys to buying a home in this extra-tight market. Call today and let’s make a winning plan.
Dunwoody GA, Home tips, Real Estate

It’s easy being green after all!

Earth Day is April 22! Celebrate by making some simple changes that will add green to your pocket too!

Going green is great for the environment, but that’s not the only benefit. When you make green upgrades in your home, it can also lead to some major savings. Here are some Red Rabbit Team favs:

1. Plant at tree — or two or ten! And strategically place them on the south and west sides of your home, and if possible, provide shade to your air conditioning unit. The energy savings could add up to as much as $250/yr for your cooling bills.

2. Tuck in your water heater. Wrap an insulation blanket around your water heater and lower its running cost as much as 9 percent.

3. Set the mood. Install dimmer switches in the living and dining rooms and three bedrooms to dial down electricity fees about $37 a year.

4Replace your light bulbs with LED lights. A small upfront investment in LEDs can save hundreds of dollars (and a lot of energy)! Buy them on sale and replace them slowly.

5. Replace the weatherstripping on your doors and windows. Stop the cold air from getting in and the heat from escaping during the upcoming winter

Here are more ideas: Small Footprint and Good Housekeeping.

Real Estate

Selling your home? Get a standing ovation with first-class staging.

Beautiful living room interior with tall vaulted ceiling, loft area, hardwood floors and fireplace in new luxury home. Has large bank of windows

Homeownership is one of life’s most greatest rewards. Your home should be your sanctuary and every bit your own in every single way…

Until it’s time to sell.

Then, your goal is to showcase your home’s features to appeal to the widest audience possible. A neat, clean, organized home speaks volumes from the very first step through the door. Homes without recent updates can benefit from inexpensive improvements such as new lighting, fresh paint and a reduction of clutter. Regardless of how minor, make necessary repairs throughout your home to ensure buyers focus on the positives and not the negatives!

  1. Dress up your yard. First impressions count, and the first one your home gives comes from the exterior. Mow the lawn, clean up shrubbery, rake any leaves, clean the walkway and driveway, plant in-season flowers, and pull up unsightly weeds.
  2. Reduce personal items. Make it easier for buyers to imagine themselves making your house their home by removing personal photos and knick-knacks from shelves, walls, and counters. Instead replace them with clean, simple décor, such as abstract paintings, nature images, vases, plants, and more. Start by eliminating smaller items and space chunkier items across shelves.
  3. Organize your storage areas. Storage is a huge selling point. Tidy up and clear out the accessible closets and cupboards in the home and make sure to point them out during an open house or showing.
  4. Corral your personal items. If you will be living in the home while it’s on the market, prepare each room with an attractive box or lidded basket that you can quickly and easily corral items including mail, grooming products, etc., when it’s time for a showing.
  5. Let there be light! Open blinds and curtains for showings to bring as much natural light into the house as possible.
  6. Appeal to the senses. Consider ways you can appeal to potential homebuyers’ other senses. During a viewing or open house, bake fresh cookies or burn delicious smelling candles and play light, relaxing music in the background.
  7. Consider turning to a staging expert. With their knowledge of current trends and great eye for design, professionally certified stagers can transform a home in a variety of ways and have a keen sense of what homebuyers want and expect in a home. The Red Rabbit Team provides three levels of staging assistance. Ask for details.

Real Estate

Texture: A new trend in countertops.

Thinking of remodeling a kitchen or bath? We’re seeing a new trend that’s worth a look — and a feel.

Granite vs. quartz vs. marble vs. concrete and myriad other options is one debate, but recent design trends show a move toward using more textured, tactile finishes for countertops. While high-polished shine remains the most popular choice, honed or leathered surfaces, are bringing a whole new and different dimension to kitchens and baths.

Marble, granite and even quartz can be honed, which provides a matte, velvet or satin finish, or even “leathered” using a variety of grinding brushes, wheels and water jets that create small ridges of texture to simulate the look and feel of leather. The process works particularly well with darker colors and is often suggested for flooring as it is less slippery. Both processes make fingerprints, watermarks and crumbs less conspicuous, with obvious benefit to busy homeowners. The softer texture can provide more casual feel to a room than a high-polished surface, but also feels very fresh and contemporary.

Concrete countertops provide a lots of options including a seamless design and a wide variety of finishing options.

Honed finishes need to be resealed more often than polished finish as it is more susceptible to liquid stains, but because of the lack of shine, flaws can also be concealed more easily. The choice of finish will also affect the depth and richness of color. Leathered countertops are very pleasant to touch because of their unique texture. The leathering process keeps and highlights the natural color of the stone and gives the countertops a natural and somewhat rustic appearance.

You’ll be seeing more and more of this exciting trend.

Do these ideas make it to the “finish” line for you?

Real Estate

Dunwoody’s historic properties.

Farmhouse 300dpi
The Cheek-Spruill home, circa 1906, at the corner of Chamblee Dunwoody and Mt. Vernon Roads.

In Dunwoody, Ga., there are 27 properties that remain as part of its near 200-year past. Most date from early to mid 1800s and include private homes, churches, cemeteries and two historic homes that are open to the public. White wooden signs mark most of Dunwoody’s historic properties. Three, however, are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

What’s the difference?

The Dunwoody Preservation Trust has identified and erected the white wooden markers for structures and cemeteries that remain from Dunwoody’s earliest days. The markers put a spotlight on the properties as part of its past, but that’s all. Most are privately owned by homeowners that love and appreciate their home’s history, but there are no additional restrictions on how or what the homeowners may do with their properties.

Thanks to the valiant efforts of the Dunwoody Preservation Trust’s first president Lynne Byrd, three properties— the Cheek-Spruill House; the Donaldson-Bannister Farm and Cemetery; and the Isaac Roberts House, a private home at Spalding and Roberts Drive— have been placed on the National Register. Consideration for the designation requires much research and paperwork, and no or little architectural change from the structure’s original design.

What are the restrictions on National Register properties?

To maintain the designation, properties can not be altered without approval of plans and designs that are in keeping with the original design. Beyond that, there are no restrictions, including destruction.

The Donaldson-Bannister Farm is currently undergoing a massive renovation spearheaded by the Dunwoody Preservation Trust and the City of Dunwoody. The property is owned by the city and is considered a public park. The beautiful gardens are open for visitors and tours of the home are available by appointment.

The Cheek-Spruill House is owned by the Dunwoody Preservation Trust. It is partially leased by a law firm, but open to visitors.

Learn more about Dunwoody’s historic properties here:

Real Estate

Buying a house? Know your negotiation points.

Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned veteran, the negotiation part of the transaction can be daunting and stressful. Above and beyond the purchase price, what should you be prepared to negotiate when buying a home?

  1. Closing costs. Your closing costs are determined by a variety of factors, but you can expect it to be between 2% to 4% of the purchase price. Ask the seller to cover some or all of the closing costs upfront or request a closing credit that can be used to make specific updates and fixes to the home.
  2. Inspection and closing timing. Buyer offers that include a quick inspection and close timeline are often more attractive to sellers who have been going through the process for far too long. Just ensure you allow yourself ample time to get your financing in place and complete proper, thorough inspections.
  3. Home warranty. Sellers will often agree to pay the premium on the home warranty at closing and then hand it off to the new homeowner, who is responsible for the deductible on any future claims.
  4. Inspection items. Your inspection may uncover small or large repairs needed to bring the home up to standard. You can negotiate to have these items fixed before closing or ask for a price reduction to cover the costs.
  5. Furnishings. Though this is often best negotiated after a contract is in place, buyers often negotiate keeping couches, fixtures, landscaping items, patio furniture, appliances, and more. Sellers often agree, making a win-win for both parties.
Real Estate

Dunwoody: One ‘o’ or two?

Two. (But only for a post office error.)

Creek Indians settled along the banks of the Chattahoochee River, but it is Maj. Charles Dunwody — just one ‘o’ in his name— that is considered Dunwoody’s earliest pioneer. Raised in Roswell’s Mimosa Hall—which still stands today—Charles returned to the area after the Civil War. He purchased farm land, two horses and built his home at the intersection of Chamblee Dunwoody and Spalding Roads not far from a railroad stop that connected Roswell and downtown Atlanta. Dunwody raised his family there and new families settled close by.

Fifteen or so miles from burgeoning Atlanta, the area was popular for summer homes for many businessmen and their families.

The spelling error occurred with Dunwody’s petition to open a post office for the community. A clerk added an ‘o’ to the application, and the community of Dunwoody was born. Dunwoody became an official city more than 125 years later, on December 1, 2008.

Learn more Dunwoody history on this video produced by the Dunwoody Preservation Trust.