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Clients Becoming Friends – After the House Purchase

If you have been following me, you know I love all things home! One day recently a client of mine was looking for a table for her new condo. She wanted a drop leaf that could sit by a wall, but expand when she wants to entertain. I went to one of my favorite Atlanta haunts, The Queen of Hearts in Alpharetta and found this little darlin’ the moment I walked through the door! No joke! After sending her photos and measurements, she said it was just what she was looking for! Score! And yes, I’m a realtor, not a decorator! But my client has become my friend and I was so delighted that we found what she was looking for!

While there, I also found this little guy who remind’s me of Jeeves from the P.G. Wodehouse books! It also reminds me to be of service and help where I can. And sometimes serving someone a drink is the best way to be of service!

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Storybook Cottages

As a local realtor, I’m always out looking at what’s on the market. I love to check out new listings every day and visit realtor open houses. I found a beauty the other day on Tuxedo Road in Atlanta!7E3CED8E-502B-4CBE-8A21-51954242DF3F@2x

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I just love that front door and the inside is even prettier! I fell in love with the living room chandelier! The first photo is from the first floor. You can really see how pretty it is from the second floor! Suzanne Haverty with Beacham Properties has the listing on this home. Give me a call if you would like me to set up a showing for you! I’d love to see this home any day!

After this home, I drove to another listing. There was a lovely, rustic tree swing in the front yard that took all of my strength not to sit in! I hope you’re proud of me! I acted like a grown up the whole time! But I did snap a photo for your enjoyment!

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Which do you like better? The first house or the second? I’d love to know! And just let me know if I can be of service to you!  Cheers!

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The Farm

I am originally from a small town in Georgia. My family has been in that area for generations. My parents are aging, and I find myself down there more and more these days. My sister and I are now the third generation to take care of my grandparents farmhouse. My grandfather built the house and moved his family in in 1937. The house is about 1200 square feet. During the depression, seven people called this place home! I always thought that this little house had a lot of charm. And it’s so interesting to go back and be there. I remember it so well as a child. I loved being with my grandparents there making mud pies, baking cookies with my grandmother, doing lots of work in the garden and with the animals.

My husband says it’s hipster heaven! The front and back doors align, so when you open both doors you get amazing cross ventilation throughout the whole house! The dining room and kitchen are actually in the middle of the house and are subject to these great breezes. On either side of the house are four equal sized rooms – three have fireplaces. They always used one of the front rooms as a living room and the other three are bedrooms. And two baths are ensuite with the two rooms in the back of the house.


 

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The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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Lot or House for Sale – Would you tear it down? Or build it up?

I have to admit, I prefer old homes to new. I love the way things used to be built with style and character. I prefer a hand built fireplace and chimney to the more modern box that we buy today. I like a handmade stairway instead of a factory made one. Some people don’t, and I respect that. If you love old homes too, I hope you enjoy this little cottage I ran across the other day. It’s listed as a lot, and in a great neighborhood, so the sellers are thinking that no one will want to keep this 1930’s bungalow. I fell in love with it though! The house sits on a very level lot – front and back.

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Great porch for those long summer days

 

 

First of all, I just love the curb appeal of this little gem! I love the high pitched roofline, the adorable porch space over to the side, the tiny front porch with the cottage door and the precious door hardware.

When I walked inside, I was taken with the special little details that someone had done in previous years. You can tell that families had lived there for a long time and loved this home. There are three bedrooms all on the first floor! Perfect for empty nesters who are tired of stairs. There are wood floors throughout still in good condition. The closets are small, but the space is great, so I would hire an architect to make the most of the space, but it could be fantastic without starting all over again!

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Crystal door knobs throughout the home. This one is on the front door.

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Living Room

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The living rooms opens into the dining room, which opens into the breakfast room

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I love the wallpaper inside the china cabinets. 

What are your thoughts? Am I crazy? Would you consider this a tear-down, or a big renovation?

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Sage Advice for the New Year

Portrait of Benjamin Franklin

Here we are in a New Year! May you be happy and prosper in it! Many of us make New Year’s Resolutions. We want to take good advice from wise people and find ourselves in a better situation this time next year. If reading good books is on your list, I highly recommend Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography.

c221e7b21b259c863048eb272c40c70fBelieve it or not, his life didn’t go so well as a young man. He ran away from an apprenticeship as a teen, an act that was punishable by imprisonment; ran with a crowd that brought him down; and was terrible with money. He tells of a time after all of this, when he was sailing back to America from England, when he realized that he had made a lot of bad decisions. That’s when he made a list of rules to live by and turned his life around. I highly recommend this read! You can read it for free on many sites, but click here for a quick link to the online book.

In the book he writes of moving to Philadelphia and settling down. He is young and just bought his first home and business. He then meets a man named Samuel Mickle who felt the country was going to hell in a hand basket, and tells him how sorry he is that Ben invested all that money. Sam felt Ben was going to lose it all! Nothing could have been further from the truth! We all know how Ben does well with his printing business and goes on to be a leader of our young country!

If you have your ducks in a row, and are tired of renting and thinking of buying your first home, you might run into a few Samuel Mickles telling you what a bad idea it is! But the truth is, interest rates are low, and the economy is running along better than it has been. And over time, life just get more expensive.

Mr Franklin tells us that after years of nay-saying, Samuel ended up buying a house for seven times what he could have paid if he had just bought as a young man instead of renting. We never hear of Samuel Mickle again in the history books! But we all know Benjamin Franklin! He’s so popular that he ended up on our $100 bill! So take my advice and read his advice! And call me! Let’s get moving on your dream to own a home!

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Quick Change for a Well-Built Condo

Suzanne Kasler says that when looking for a new home, “You’ve got to have good bones, and if you don’t you must create them.” How true! So when looking for a new home, think about focal points in a room. Is there a pretty mantel? Are there moldings in the home? Is the room symmetrical? If not, can you add something and make it more balanced?  Here’s an example of a recent example of this.

This couple needed to move closer into the city for work, but were used to a well-proportioned home. They wanted three bedrooms and baths and love a symmetrical living area layout. Since their children were grown and had homes of their own, they really wanted to downsize to a condo with everything on one floor. Their location was also tight – under one half mile commute to work! They were tired of fighting traffic and wanted a more pedestrian lifestyle. After looking for about a year, they found a beautiful flat in Buckhead.

They loved the layout from the beginning: a formal living room and dining room with a foyer in between. They love the way the condo has two balconies, with wonderful windows and doors to the outside. The bones were great, but they didn’t love the color and needed to do a few small renovations. The main thing they changed was paint.

They painted the entire home a soft white, using different sheens for the ceiling, moldings, and walls. I think it really opened up the space.

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The biggest change in the dining room, was a more traditional light fixture and paint.

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There was a lowered ceiling over the island in the kitchen. Since the cooktop is vented underneath in the island, it wasn’t needed. They like the more open feel now.

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The lighter paint really opens the space in the master bedroom also. As you can see, this was a very minor project with painting being the most intense part of the process. I hope you like it too!

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My Favorite Things! (For the Week)

So Tuesday is my day to see all the new, lovely homes on the market. It’s such a thrill to see all the different ways you can live in homes! These listings agents are all friends of mine and Dorsey Alston agents, and I love to see what they are up to! All of these homes are fantastic! You can see the listings if you follow the links, so I just wanted to show you what struck me.

This is the front door of Patti Junger’s listing inside the perimeter in Sandy Springs. I love a door with character. It’s a lovely home with so much charm! This home has a wonderful layout and lots of bedrooms. There is a small bedroom next to the master that the wife made a lovely dressing room/closet! I’ve always thought this would be a great idea, and it is beautifully done here!

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My friend Jason Cook has this fabulous in-town home on the market. I was so glad to get a chance to see it yesterday! Built in 1905, it oozes charm! The ceiling heights make the rooms perfection, and are finished off with amazing moldings. The dining room boasts the original leaded windows and moldings. Lovely!

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There’s a charming basement suite with a kitchen that would be great for an older child, a nanny, or parents.

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And don’t you just love older staircases?? The ones in newer homes are factory built and the tread always seems a bit short and steep to me. This stairway is an easy stride! The curve and gleam of the railing is so inviting!

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Then I popped by Sue Richardson’s listing on Peachtree Battle. So much room and such a great location for under $1M. I fell in love with this gorgeous mantle in the living room! I love marble mantles, but the gleam of this wood and the curve of the design captivates me! Let me know if you would like to see any of these houses! I’d love to work with you and any of these delightful agents! What’s your favorite? I’d love to know!

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Favorite Christmas Ideas in Atlanta

Wow! There are some great things going on to help you start your Christmas right!! Here’s a list of my favorites around town for the holidays!

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Top of my list is Tree Elves!! This wonderful service combines two of my favorite things – Kind of Pops and Christmas trees! Purchase a Christmas tree online. Included in the basic purchase is the tree with a tree stand, a tree bag for easy disposal, and a 4-pack of Holiday King of Pops to enjoy while you decorate the tree. If this isn’t enough fun, the delivery people are dressed as elves!! Joy! But here’s the best part – In January, when the festivities are over, take the ornaments off your tree. They will pick it with the stand, and recycle the tree! I’ve already ordered my tree and am living for my December 2nd delivery!!

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Since no one likes to look at a winterized pool, the delightful people at The St. Regis Atlanta build a skating rink right on top of it every year! It is up and going! The easiest way to make reservations is just to pop by. There’s a holiday reservations desk on the 6th floor just inside the skating rink that handles the skating and Santa Claus tea reservations. screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-9-56-57-am If that’s too much trouble, book online. Many people do both. And if tea with your mother in law and all of your nieces, nephews, sons, and daughters has made you a little edgy, I highly recommend getting your hot chocolate spiked!! It’s the best! They use marshmallow vodka – who knew?? We will have to meet there and discuss your next Atlanta home  purchase over a cup!

 

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My favorite place to shop! Sid and Ann Mashburn in Atlanta, GA

Oh! And stumped on what to get that difficult person on your list? This Friday, December 2, Sid and Ann Mashburn are taking 10 minute phone reservations to personally help you find the perfect gift! If you haven’t been by their store, treat yourself to a great shopping experience and drop by!

So it looks like Christmas is off to a fantastic start here in Atlanta! May your holiday be merry and bright!

 

 

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So You Want to Buy A Home? The Top 5 Things to Do to Prepare

Congratulations! You’ve decided that you are tired of renting and are ready to take the plunge into homeownership! I’m proud of you!

Let’s take some time and organize our thoughts.

  • Find a realtor! He or she is going to be your new best friend for a while! Make sure you like her! What’s her plan? Does she help you use the internet to find great properties and look at properties in your area or price range? Does she listen to you? When my husband and I were younger, we asked a realtor to help us find a three bedroom home within the city limits of a suburban town in Atlanta. She drove us out of the city and county, taking us to some ludicrous exurb forty minutes from the town we wanted to live in! I swore if I ever got back to my area, I’d never get in a realtor’s car again!!! Find someone who respects your wishes, time, and takes your search seriously.
  • What’s your budget? You probably have a good idea of what you can afford, but by getting pre-qualified with a good mortgage loan originator, you can look with confidence.  She will check your credit and make sure that you can qualify for a good FNMA, sellable mortgage loan. This, to me, is the most tedious part of the process, but by being prequalified you entice listing agents to want to work with you. I have seen people not be able to purchase after putting time and money into making an offer and starting the purchasing process, only to be told later that they aren’t able to obtain the loan that they thought they could. It’s heartbreaking!
  • Where do you want to live? Do you want to be near family, great dining and shopping, work? If you don’t have it down precisely, that’s fine. But two or three of zip codes is a great idea. When I work with clients, I have them set up on a daily email that shows all of the activity in their price range and location so they can keep track of the market and really see what homes are selling for and how long it takes a home to go under contract. As they learn where they want to live, they can start to make a good, timely decision on what home to make an offer on and be certain they are offering a good value.
  • House or Condo? This is tied in with where you want to live. If you want to be more urban, you will probably be more concerned about the condo market. In Atlanta, if you are looking in Buckhead or Midtown under $500,000, you will probably looking at condos. There is a good supply of single family homes and condos in this area over $600,000. Right now I have a client looking between $500,000 and $700,000 who is strongly considering either.
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    Westchester in Atlanta.

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  • Make a list of what you really want in a home. I had a client recently looking in the high $100,000 to low $200,000 range who really wanted a tub. It didn’t have to be fancy, but only a shower was a deal-breaker for her. We didn’t even go look! She also really wanted a guest room. It didn’t have to be large, but a place for her guests to have some privacy when they visit. Since she has lots of friends who like to stay with her (she’s a blast!), this was also a deal-breaker for her. She ended up buying in a fabulous, historic condo building in Midtown. Her condo needed a little work to bring it into the 21st century, but that didn’t bother her. She loved the idea of light repairs, updating the kitchen appliances, and painting to make the space exactly what she wanted anyway. I have another client who works constantly and has a very demanding career. He has a much higher price range, but the home has to be updated and ready to move in and love. He has no time or inclination to do any repairs. I can’t blame him! I wouldn’t either with his schedule!

If you are in the area and like this article, get in touch! I’d love to be your agent!

 

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So You’ve Decided It’s Time to Sell Your Home. Five Things to Do Next…

So, you’ve decided. It’s time. It’s been a great relationship, but it’s just not working anymore. You’re ready to end it. What next? No! Not your spouse! Your house!

The moment you put your house on the market, it’s not really your home anymore! It becomes a potential home for someone else. I know that’s hard to take, but potential buyers are going to want to see it at inconvenient times. Babies might miss nap time. You might have to go to the local pub to watch the college game instead of staying home. The last time I sold my personal residence, I got a call at the most inconvenient time. But I canceled my appointments, picked up the house, and those people were the ones who bought my house! Was it a pain? Yes!! Was it worth it? Yes!!!Foyer-3.jpg

Find a great realtor.  Most realtors are motivated to sell your home. We don’t make money until we sell your home. So a realtor is going to come up with a game plan. Can you get behind it? Will you do what she asks? Help her help you!! If you don’t agree with her strategy then keep looking. Do you like her? You are going to have to work with this agent and discuss a lot of important concepts and strategies. Choose someone you feel comfortable working with!

Clean up! Declutter! Look around your house and judge it like a bad mother-in-law! Is it unorganized, cluttered, toys and pet hair everywhere? You know what to do! If you are overwhelmed and can’t get to it, Thumbtack will introduce you to several people who would love to take that job! Maybe hire them weekly until the house is sold. And one last tip here: Lower your toilet seats! ;o)

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Are you downsizing? You might want to call for a dumpster delivery. I moved from a 6,800 square foot home to at 2,800 square foot condominium. We had raised our daughters in that rambling suburban home and they had flown the coop. I was shocked at how much paper and trash we had accumulated! And I call myself organized! Ha! I was also surprised at how many things were broken and not even Goodwill material. I actually used two dumpsters before it was over! How embarrassing! Getting rid of all that extra, unnecessary junk will also organize your home and help buyers see how they can potentially live in the space.

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Have your realtor research comparable properties in your neighborhood. I have found most people have a bit of a distorted view about what a house is worth. They have put a lot of effort into this thing called home; and they want to be compensated for the purchase price, repairs, inflation, and anything else that has come up since purchasing. I wish that the value of your home was what you paid for it plus any other cost incurred and the price of your children’s braces and college education, but the truth is, it might not be. A realtor will find all of the latest sales, and compare all of the data with your, one-of-a-kind property. This is great information for you to peruse to get a feel for the market. Then there are enhancements that could add to the value of your home.  This could be anything from staging, de-cluttering, and landscaping, to suggestions on repainting and renovation. Getting a home ready for its market debut can really help you sell your home quickly and efficiently.

Okay, so now you’ve decided to sell, gotten your house ready for the market, and agreed on a price.  And if you have read this article and like my advice, please include me in your realtor search! I’d love to help you make this exciting transition!

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94 Karland Drive, Atlanta, Georgia A Completely Renovated Cape Cod

I have a friend who purchased this house last year as a project. She is a talented new builder who did a fantastic job! The house was built in 1948 with many families just living there but not renovating and loving it. So she took it down to the studs and brought it into the 21st century! It’s my listing, and I love popping in on a Sunday afternoon for open house and just enjoying it’s cozy feel.

 

It’s a great location at 94 Karland Drive in the city limits of Atlanta, and in the 10/10 ranked Jackson school district.

She chose a lovely, warm gray to accentuate the marble kitchen and baths; and kept the delightful, deep tubs that were original to the house bringing them back to their former glory, and surrounding them with beautiful new tile.

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The house sits on a small, level lot that’s perfect for gardening and bringing the party outside while not taking all day to maintain.

Give me a call and come see! All it needs is a new owner to love it!