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Happy Labor Day

08/30/2012
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We all know that Labor Day is dedicated to celebrate our hard work, productivity and contributions to our economy.  And here’s some Labor Day trivia you may not know: 

  • Labor Day was first observed on September 5th, 1882.
  • President Grover Cleveland declared Labor Day to be the first Monday of September.
  • More than 10,000 workers marched in the first Labor Day parade, protesting 16 hour workdays and were fighting to have an eight-hour workday.
  • Labor Day is also celebrated in Canada. Other nations also celebrate the labor movement but it is called a “May Day” celebration in those countries.
  • The average time it takes to commute to work. 24.3 minutes – Wonder where those people live? Must not be Atlanta!
  • 10.3 million workers are self-employed.
  • 4.5 million people work at home.

Have some extra time this weekend?  Search my site for your dream home: http://www.debbybraun.com/search_atlanta_mls_listings.asp

Hope you have a safe and wonderful holiday weekend!  And for all you college football fans, enjoy the start of the season!

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Back on the Market with a NEW Price!

08/28/2012
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 246 Ashford Circle, Dunwoody, GA 30338

$190,000 

 

2 Bedroom 2 Bath Top Floor, End Unit Condo!!!

Virtual Tour: http://www.homescenes.com/_PGM/hs_TourMain.cfm?PropertyID=60993

 •    Great Location – In the TRUE HEART OF DUNWOODY!  Walk to local restaurants, grocery stores, shopping, the office, MARTA & more!  Minutes to Perimeter Mall, I285 & GA400!

•    Top Floor, End unit – Tree fort like living w/tree top views!  Two spacious bedrooms w/large walk-in closets!  Split Bedroom plan for privacy!

•    Beautiful Bathrooms – Both have tile floors & showers and linen closets!  Elegant Master Bath has a garden tub and double vanities!

•    Kitchen – Maple cabinets, Corian c’tops, tile backsplash & floor, stainless under mount sink, crown molding, newer/stainless steel appliances, laundry room, pantry, breakfast bar & NEW pendant lights!  Open to Dining & Great Rooms!

•   Great Room – custom built-in cabinets& glass shelving, crown molding, fireplace w/gas logs, glass doors and automatic starter.

•    Dining Room – off Kitchen with crown molding, wainscoting, mirrored wall & NEW chandelier!

•    Balcony – has extra storage with shelving!

•    Secure community – gated property access, secure building & elevator entry/access!

•    Amazing Amenities – Clubhouse, Salt water pool, Fitness Center, Sprinkler System, Professional landscaping & drive under garage parking!


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Watch that water, inside the house too…

08/23/2012
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The other week we shared tips about how to protect your home from exterior water intrusion. This week we’d like to address interior water issues. Common areas frequently overlooked for leaks that can cause significant damage if left unattended include:

  • Faucets & pipes – Faucet leaks can be as easy to repair as replacing a washer. If the faucet is leaking, the pipes might be leaking too be sure to look in cabinets for leaks.
  • Toilets – Toilets that constantly run waste our treasured natural resources and will add to your water bill as well. Be sure fixtures fit securely to the floor; i.e. it doesn’t rock. If it does rock the fix could be as simple as tightening the bolts or a little more involved such as replacing the wax seal.
  • Sinks, tubs & showers – Repair cracks in grout &/or caulk; you’d be amazed at how much water accumulates in the smallest of holes. Don’t believe me? You will when water spots appear in the ceilings below.
  • Hot Water Heaters – Leaks in H2O Heaters are usually a sign it’s time for a new one. If yours needs replacing be sure it is installed according to new codes/standards; they must be raised from ground level, include expansion tanks and have a barrier if located in a garage in front of parking areas.
  • Refrigerator ice maker & water lines – This seems to be one of the most frequent of all undetected leaks. Let’s face it; none of us periodically pull our refrigerators out to inspect the rear like we should. BTW, be sure to place cardboard or something on the floor before moving the refrigerator to protect your floors.
  • Dishwashers – Watch for leaks around the sides & bottom of your machine. If you have a basement, check the ceiling under the dishwasher occasionally.
  • Clothes washers – Examine areas behind your washer every once in a while. Replace drain lines every 3 to 5 years.

Here’s another hint; if you’re in unincorporated DeKalb County be sure to follow the County’s guidelines when replacing plumbing fixtures. http://www.dekalbwatershed.com/

If you’re going to be away for an extended period of time, consider turning off the water in the entire house or at least on some of the items that tend to leak. It never fails; leaks seem to arise when there is no one home to see what’s going on. 

If you’re like me and most plumbing or household repairs are out of your league I’m always happy to refer you to a highly qualified, reliable plumber, contractor or handyman. All you have to do is ask.


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Fulton County Homestead Exemption Issues

08/22/2012
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Heads up, if you used a MAC computer when filing your Homestead Exemption for Fulton County, your filing may not have been accepted. It was just brought to my attention that they realized their system did not communicate with MACS. If you filed electronically, whether on PC or MAC, you might want to check and be sure it went through!  You may need to dispute your tax bill &/or have your taxes adjusted.


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Peak Rain Season is near

08/15/2012
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Watch that water…

 

Historically, September is one of our rainiest months in Georgia. Water can cause a plethora of problems on your property. Excessive rain water will find somewhere to go and you want to be sure it’s away from your house. Here are a few things you can do to from easiest to hardest:

Keep gutters clear of debris– This is crucial to facilitate drainage. Clogged gutters can lead to roof leaks, wood rot and other unseemly damage to your home. BTW, this needs to be done several times/year.

Be sure gutters drain far enough away from the house– Add extensions if necessary. Builders turn drain trays (at the bottom of gutters) the wrong way. The open end facing toward the house pushes the water in the structure’s direction instead of away from it.

Land grade should be AWAY from the house-Grades shift over years from runoff, accumulation of leaves, etc. Re-grade if needed so the dirt slopes away from the structure.

French Drains-Sometimes topography angles toward house and that’s something we can’t change. Add French drains in these areas. Be sure to carry the water far enough away from the foundation, preferably downhill, to insure it will not flow back near the house.

Dry Creek Bed-Extraordinarily helpful in areas with significant water runoff. This is HUGE in preventing unsightly erosion.

Homeowners can accomplish any of these tasks themselves. However, if you’re not handy or the project is simply too big to do on your own let me know and I’ll be happy to connect you with a reliable contractor for the job.


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LIBOR loans; again?

08/15/2012
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The first time I heard about a LIBOR loan  I was stunned that this product was being offered. There were so many things wrong with this creation it was hard to know where to begin. Payments were really low since buyers were paying interest and escrows (for taxes and insurance) only, no principal. Understandably, the really low short term payment was very attractive to buyers. Most of them totally disregarded the fact that at some point they would have to start paying toward principal. That’s where things hit the proverbial fan. Many of these buyers lost their homes as a result of poor financial planning (if they had one at all) combined with denial in many cases.

You don’t have to be a financial wizard to understand these loans were destined to fail and were clearly a revenue generating scheme on behalf of the Lenders. Therefore, I have absolutely no pity for Banks that ended up with these homes back on their books.

Now headlines are reporting the London Bankers behind LIBORs manipulated rates to their financial gain. Imagine that? And regulators are just figuring this out now? Another perfect example of how clueless government and banking regulators are about what’s really going on in the streets.


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We need homes to sell!

08/09/2012
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 Inventory is at an all time low!

We NEED homes to sell!

 

Atlanta real estate sales continued at a brisk pace through June. Although sales of single family detached are up 12% YTD vs. 2011, June 2012 sales dropped by 3% for single family homes. The main contributing factor to this decrease is lack of good inventory. Inventory for single family and attached homes is down 36% and 42% respectively. Listings that are priced right and show well don’t last long. The story I shared a few weeks ago about the listing that sold in 30 days with competing offers is a perfect example. It gives me a great deal of satisfaction to be able to get such fantastic results for my clients. Just like a little kid “I wanna do it again and again” and I need your help to accomplish that goal! So if you or someone you know is considering a move let’s talk as soon as possible to take advantage of this unique situation!

Can’t wait to check out sales in your area or to find the perfect property for your new home? Just follow this link: http://www.debbybraun.com/search_atlanta_mls_listings.asp

All the best,

Debby


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How to Make Buyers Compete for Your Home – Part II

08/01/2012
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Admit it, if you were being fixed up on a blind date, you would want your new acquaintance to be attractive. House hunters are no different; when they drive up to a home that’s for sale, they want the exterior to be attractive too.

It’s what the real estate industry refers to as curb appeal.

So what can you do to enhance your home’s curb appeal?

Pay particular attention to the yard. Trim shrubs, pick up fallen branches, rake and bag dead leaves, pull weeds, lay fresh mulch, and add landscaping.

Pressure wash the driveway. That gives the property a brighter appearance and minimize the risk of anyone slipping on slimy build-up.

Clean the gutters. No one wants to see clumps of soggy leaves overhanging your gutters or blocking your downspouts. And make sure little trees aren’t sprouting from these rain-catching conduits too. Not only is all of this unsightly, but clogged gutters can lead to a damaged foundation and siding, problems that will lower the resale value of your home.

Don’t forget the front door. Keep the entrance free of spider webs and cobwebs, replace rusty kick plates and other hardware, and spruce up the area with flowerpots.

If the home isn’t inviting from the outside, buyers might not bother to go inside, so make sure you eliminate that possibility. The next step is to make sure the interior is just as appealing.

Spruce up your home from top to bottom. Clean places you’ve never cleaned before or pay someone else to do it. The investment will be well worth it.

Clear the clutter.  Excess furniture should be placed in storage, donated, or put in the garage. Your goal is to make the interior of home look as big and spacious as possible. De-cluttering applies to cabinets and closets too. Pack up, donate, or toss all that extra stuff now so you won’t have to do it when you move.

Remove collectibles, photos, and personal items. Leaving them in place prevents potential buyers from subconsciously taking possession of the home. I have also seen buyers get so stuck looking at personal items, trying to figure out more about the seller, that the potential purchasers stop thinking about the house.

The bottom line is that you want to create an atmosphere of home.

Visit competing properties with your realtor. This will allow you to see things from a buyer’s perspective and help you realize what you need to do to improve the sales-worthiness of your home.

Finally, get a professional, prelisting home inspection. That way you can nip problems in the bud and won’t have to go through the trauma of a second negotiation before you close.

Remember, if your home looks good, you too can get competitive offers like Mr. and Mrs. Downsizer, the couple I introduced two weeks ago.

Related post: How to Make Buyers Compete for Your Home – Part I


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