Selling Your Home? How to Boost Your Home Equity

Flat Rate Real Estate Agent in Atlanta

When you are getting ready to sell your home, it is important that you are proactive to maximize the amount of equity that you receive when the transaction is complete. Many homeowners are optimistic that they will have equity to roll into the purchase of a new home, and then they find that a portion of their equity is taken away by real estate agent fees and closing costs. If you want to protect the equity of your home, then you need to make sure that you are proactive to choose the right type of real estate agent to use.

6% Commission: Unnecessary

Most Atlanta real estate agents will charge a 6% commission on the transaction of your home. So, if the property sells for $200,000 then the real estate agent will receive $12,000 in commissions. That’s a lot of equity that you just lost to the agent!

The truth is that the high percentage commissions are absolutely unnecessary, and there is no reason for you to pay these high fees. One alternative is to list your home “For Sale By Owner,” but it is not an advisable route… because many homeowners run into numerous problems when they don’t have an experienced real estate agent available to help with the listing and closing.

The best option to reduce the fees that are paid to a real estate agent is to work with an agent who has a flat-rate pricing structure. You will see that you can have the help of the real estate agent, but you don’t have to stress about paying high commissions. Flat-rate real estate fees are quite a bit cheaper than the 6% that most other real estate agents will charge.

Know Your Costs Upfront

One of the biggest advantage of a flat-rate real estate agent commission structure is that you are going to know the costs of the transaction up front. You will have options for various services that are available, and you can choose the plan that best matches your individual needs.

Flat-rate real estate agents understand that the real estate industry has drastically changed over the years. Previously, it took quite a bit of work to support the sale of a home, especially since a lot of marketing efforts went into the services that were provided. Now, the internet has provided a powerful way for home sellers to connect with potential buyers, and online real estate listings have decreased the marketing efforts that are needed to sell your home. Even though the work load has gone down, many real estate agents have stuck with the traditional commission structure because they don’t want to take a cut in pay.

At Duffy Realty of Atlanta, we offer affordable, flat-rate fees to make it easy for you to understand how much you will be spending on real estate agent commissions. We want to help you maximize the equity in your home, and we invite you to contact us to learn more about the quality services that we provide: (678) 318-1700

The Ins & Outs of the Real Estate Market

How to Sell Your Home: Take the First Steps


Now that the prime selling season is upon us, it is time for you to take action. Whether you are selling your first home or you are a veteran in the home-selling game, there are some things that you need to keep in mind before and during your listing.

Start from the inside-out.

You should make sure that your home is in the best possible condition before selling. To prepare your home properly, you need to begin by clearing out all clutter. Throw away or donate old clothes and trinkets, and eliminate or file away papers in your office or on your counters. Once you’ve effectively de-cluttered your home, you can tackle small jobs around your home to ensure that it will pass inspection. Stick to the old adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” Fix major issues like leaky faucets or broken down, old, or outdated appliances. Don’t waste time renovating if you are hoping to make a quick sell this summer, though. Your buyers can always make aesthetic changes to the home when they move in. But if you want to make small aesthetic edits to your home, try a new coat of paint. Once you’ve made your fixes inside, move outside to improve your curb appeal. Keep your lawn and flower beds tidy and trimmed back. You may even want to plant some colorful, eye-grabbing flowers and shrubs to really stand out from the crowd.

Be picture perfect.

Take photos that feature the best characteristics of your home. Try not to take pictures of works of art or of furniture in your home, since these are all things that will be going with you to your new home anyway. Take multiple photos that will reel buyers in. The majority of buyers start their home-buying process online, so photos can be a big part of selling your home. Make sure they are of the best quality possible and that they showcase your home in a way that persuades buyers to see it in person.

Be accessible.

Allow for buyers to access your property as easily as possible. Add your contact number to your listing and answer all calls that come so that you can open your property for all agents and prospective buyers. On your counters or dining table, leave some fliers or information for buyers and agents to look through. You can include in this information your contact information, seller’s disclosure statement, and information about the property and community.

Overall, be proactive and ready for anything on this journey. Whether you sell your home sells in two weeks or two months, be aware of ways that you can improve the marketing of your home and boost traffic so that you can get your home sold.

Buying a Fixer-Upper? Prepare Yourself!


Buying a fixer-upper can be daunting, but it can also be the exact right thing to do when considering the area that it’s in. If you happen to find an older home with some need of TLC in your dream neighborhood, buying a fixer-upper can give you the chance to renovate and decorate to your exact specifications to create your dream home. Plus, you have the added benefit of a somewhat discounted home so that you can put the money you saved from buying an outdated home towards your desired renovations. Before doing this, though, you need to consider all of the angles.

Get ready for an ongoing project.

Updating and renovating a fixer-upper will force you to take on a myriad of projects to achieve the exact look and feel you imagined. This can take a lot of time and money. Even if you are an avid DIY-er, you will have to prepare yourself for some grueling projects that will require much of your time. Life can get in the way sometimes, too, so be sure that you are ready for your home to be in all kinds of disrepair while you are in the process of working through your new home. The most efficient way to work through the projects on your home is to focus on one to two projects at a time. Finish those before moving on to the next task. The worst thing you can do is start a bunch of projects at once and then never finish them, since this might leave your home worse off than when you found it.

You will have to pay a pretty penny.

Before budgeting for what projects you know you want to accomplish in your new home, put aside some money first for one big unforeseen project. With older homes, sometimes something will end up breaking down in the first year of owning the home, and you should be prepared to fix it in a pinch. So, it is important to keep in mind that while your fixer-upper may have passed inspection, it is not a guarantee of complete working order. If, after the first year of living in the home, nothing needs repair, then you have extra money to put towards more of your cosmetic projects. Once you have budgeted for this possible unforeseen project, then you can consider how much money you have to put towards the rest of your planned renovations. If you aren’t the DIY-er you wish you were, you will have to hire some contractors, which means shopping around for the best deal for the best job done. Add some wiggle room in this budget since most contractors will come in for a job you want done, but will then suggest a mini side project that they can do while completing the task you hired them for. For example, a contractor updating the floors in your bathroom might also suggest updating the vanity while they’re at it.

Remodeling: Should You Embark On This Endeavor Prior to Selling?


Many sellers think that they must make all sorts of repairs and renovations to their homes before even listing. This endeavor can be a daunting one, but sometimes it can give sellers just the edge they need. Before taking on this task, consider all of the angles.

What are the benefits of renovating and what updates should be made?

If you feel like your home won’t be up to the task of competing with newer, more recently updated homes, then renovations can definitely help sell your home faster than it would if you tried to sell it as-is. This is especially true with older homes with out-of-style interiors. One way to bring your home up to scratch is to update counters and flooring in the kitchen and bathrooms, update the cabinetry, and install new appliances. Take a look online to see current trends or visit homes in your area in the same price range to see what kind of updates others have made or to see what renovations are necessary for your home to be competitive in the market. Don’t feel pressured to rip out your entire kitchen or bathroom to renovate, though. Small improvements can be made that will make a big impact. Be mindful to update within your time constraints as well. For example, don’t start multiple projects all at once. Get one project done first before beginning another, in case you decide to go ahead and list after completing one project. Sometimes you’ll find that only having to do one big update is all you need to do to vastly improve your home’s appeal in the competitive market.

What might be the downsides of updating and renovating?

These kinds of renovations can cost a lot of money and time. Depending on the project, you might have to spend a pretty penny and postpone putting your home on the market for a while during the renovations. Remodeling any part of your home can be stressful on top of everything else you are doing to prepare for selling your home and buying and moving into a new home. Sometimes it is best to simply sell your home as-is to get the home off of your hands and put your money towards your new home. Plus, selling your home as-is will give buyers a chance to remodel the home on their own to their tastes. It isn’t necessary for you to go overboard with a ton of different remodeling projects that might not even be right for some of your buyers’ own personal styles. So the best way to get by without renovating is to clean, depersonalize, and simply fix things that are no longer functioning or need repairs.

If you aren’t sure about whether or not to remodel features of your home, discuss it with your agent. They will have sage advice for you during the process of listing and selling your home.

Listing Your Home for the Spring Season!

Need some tips for listing your home this spring?  Rhonda Duffy was interviewed by the Atlanta Journal Constitution and gives you all the advice you need to get your home sold!


Be sure to check out our YouTube channel for more awesome videos from Duffy Realty of Atlanta!

Rhonda Duffy Hosts’s #NextGenAgent Chat


As one of the top reviewed agent on, Rhonda Duffy was asked to host Zillow’s #NextGenAgent chat on Twitter!  She and other top agents shared their expertise on client reviews and the importance of these for overall marketing strategies  Check out all of the amazing tips on Zillow’s blog!

#NextGenAgent Chat: Top Agents Share Tips About Client Reviews

For more helpful tips, please feel free to visit Duffy Realty of Atlanta’s YouTube Channel and Rhonda Duffy’s Twitter!

What You Need To Know About Pest Control

Watch this video to hear Rhonda Duffy and Dave Baker discuss the important points for buyers and sellers to know about Pest Control in their homes.

Be sure to check out our YouTube channel for more exciting and informative videos like this one!

Selling 101: Some Basics You Need to Know When Selling Your Home


If you are selling a home for the first time, chances are you are feeling pretty overwhelmed by the journey ahead. Selling your home can be an incredibly stressful task, but there are some basic steps you can take to make this process as easy as possible. Whether you sell your home with Duffy Realty of Atlanta or with another agent, this process will be the same. Follow these steps to get your house sold asquickly and painlessly as you can.

Check your emotions at the door and make your home a product.

If this is your first home, chances are you have many memories attached to living in it. But you’ll need to distance yourself from this home because it won’t be yours for much longer. A good way to detach is by depersonalizing, cleaning, and making small updates to really make it a product. Make your home marketable so that all buyers can picture themselves in the home. Don’t waste time feeling nostalgic and emotional because this will only make it harder for you to sell. After you have gotten your home move-in-ready, take breathtaking photos to add to your listing to really  sell it. Your listing should be accessible in as many ways as possible, including real estate websites, the multiple listing services, and signs throughout your community.

Marketing is key.

Be forthcoming with information about the property. One of the easiest ways to expedite the selling process is by being available to answer buyers’ questions about the property, or by providing buyers with a Seller’s Disclosure Statement. You should be able to answer any questions about the property’s history that you know. Keep in mind that a Seller’s Disclosure is not an inspection, and that the inspection will confirm information on the property you have already given or expand on any information you cannot provide. Be willing togive your contact information out on your listing or in any advertising you do so that buyers or buyer’s agents can contact you if they have specific questions.

Review and revise all offers and attend closing.

This seems like a no-brainer, but sometimes the process of reviewing offers can be daunting. If you sit down and read through all of the terms yourself, then you will begin to make sense of everything. Don’t psych yourself out. Review all of the terms in the offer, and if they are not acceptable to you, simply revise them and send them back to the buyer to agree upon. Once all parties have agreed to all of the terms, the final step is to attend closing directed by a closing attorney. Once you outline exactly how this process works, it seems a lot less complicated, which is exactly how we want it to feel!

Quick Tips: What to Look for in a Home’s HVAC System


With so many depreciable items in your home, the HVAC system rises to the top of the list as one of the most important items to maintain.  Whether you are buying or selling your home, there are certain things you need to ask to make sure that you are getting the best bang for your buck.


As a Buyer, you need to ask the seller:

-What is the age of the HVAC system?

-Has it been upgraded recently, if ever?

-Is it in good working condition?


As a Seller, here is some advice:

-First and foremost,  change your filters.  Many sellers on the market overlook this maintenance, miss changing the filters, and then this oversight shows up on home inspection as dirty.  This immediately makes the buyer of the property suspicious, asking themselves, “Has this property been properly maintained?”.


-Second, make sure your marketing table is displayed properly with your utility bills if the HVAC system, or any system in the home, has been updated.  This shows the prospective buyers that you have really kept the home in good working order.  You should be proud of your upgrade, whether it be new filters, a new Hepa system, or anything along these lines.  These details are extremely important to your buyer and your maintenance records for the home.

For more tips for buying and selling your home, visit our other blog posts and our YouTube Channel!