Is Fall a Good Time To Buy or Sell a Home

Closings Can Be Fun
Closings Can Be Fun

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As the seasons change, we often get questions from people who are considering a move: it is a good time to buy or sell a home? If you have flexibility with your move schedule, then it’s smart to talk to a real estate agent so you can choose the ideal time of year to maximize your equity.

Many people assume that summer is the best time to buy or sell a home. While it’s true that families often move during the warm summer months when the kids are out of school, it doesn’t mean that nothing happens in the real estate industry during the rest of the year.

Talk to our experienced real estate team, and we will tell you without hesitation: fall is an excellent time if you are ready to buy or sell a home!

Why Fall is a Great Time of Year for Real Estate

What makes fall a good time when you are ready to buy or sell a home? Here are a few reasons why:

  1. Serious Buyers: Spring and summer tend to bring out “tire-kicking” buyers. These people are considering the option to buy a home, but they aren’t serious enough to make an offer. On the other hand, buyers in the fall are feeling the pressure to move before the holiday season, which means there is a higher chance that they will act quickly when finding the right home.
  2. Less Inventory: Other sellers in the area might put their real estate listing on hold during this time of year, because they don’t want the hassle of showing a home and moving during the holidays. Often, sellers are rushed to close before September 30th. Then, people assume that it is best to wait until after the new year before taking a serious look at their options. As a result, fall is the perfect time to sell because there is less inventory, which means you will be up against less competition.
  3. Home Improvement Options: Contractors tend to be busier during the summer months due to the construction going on when the weather is warm. If you want to make a few improvements in your home, then you’ll likely find that contractors are more available during the fall months. Your old home could use a little bit of TLC, whether you are preparing it for a real estate listing or buying a fixer-upper.

If you are thinking about buying or selling this fall, then don’t delay your opportunity to talk to a real estate expert. Our team at DUFFY Realty is here to help you put together the right moving strategy based on the needs of your family. Contact us at any time to learn more about the local and seasonal real estate trends. We’re here to help: (678) 318-1700

VA Loans

Veterans and their families may qualify for a home loan through Veterans Affairs (VA). As an insurance program, the VA offers 100% financing of mortgages and guarantees them up to $424,100. They do not require any down payment and mortgage insurance can be included in the loan itself. Lenders have different requirements, but in general, qualifying borrowers should have no more than a 41% debt-to-income ratio. If you can obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) from the VA, you can apply for a no down payment loan through this program.

USDA Loans

First-time homebuyers that live in designated suburban and rural areas may be eligible for a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Housing loan. The program is intended for those who live in remote areas, but there are places in suburbia that do fall under the locational restriction. Loan applicants must have at least a 600-640 credit score and make less than certain income amounts. A loan guarantee of 3.5% is required upfront, but borrowers can choose to include it in the loan itself so that no cash is required when the loan closes.

Navy Federal Credit Union Mortgage Loans

The biggest credit union in the U.S. in membership and assets, NFCU’s no money down mortgage loans are a lot like VA loans. You won’t be required to carry mortgage insurance, but there is a funding fee of 1.75%. This fee can be rolled into the loan balance. However, you need to be a qualifying credit union member to apply for the loan. Membership is exclusive to U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) employees and contractors at DoD installations, personnel from all military branches, and family members of any of these members.

FHA Loans

Loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration are intended to stimulate the economy and housing industry by encouraging first time home buyers to buy a home. They do require a down payment, but it is quite low. You can pay as little as 3.5% of the home sale price.

Talk with a Pro

Buying a home is a big commitment, and for some of us, it can feel out of reach. That’s where no down or low down payment loans can help. They lend quite a bit more than just a helping hand, making it possible for many people to get their little piece of the American dream.

Here at DUFFY Realty, we can connect you with excellent lenders that understand the world of mortgage finance and will help you find a loan to meet your needs. Call us for a conversation today: (678) 318-1700

Rhonda Duffy

Rhonda Duffy

Real estate expert and consumer advocate Rhonda Duffy is documented and ranked the #1 Agent in the U.S. for resales three years in a row and #1 Agent in Georgia 12 years in a row. Rhonda is the media’s go to expert on real estate matters for her commonsense approach, consumer advocacy and work to educate the public on the rapidly changing landscape of her profession. She has been licensed in real estate for 20 years, has been a broker in seven states and is trained in staging certification.

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Self Employed? How to Get a Mortgage When Buying a Home

How to get a mortgage is a common concern, especially for the self-employed. The financial crisis of 2008 drastically altered the world of real estate and mortgage finance. Where stated income loans were quite common before the crash, they became less so after.

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6 Steps to Be Ready for Home Ownership

6 Steps to Be Ready for Home Ownership

 

Have you been dreaming about the possibility of buying the perfect home for your family? Many people want to buy a home, but they assume that they won’t be ready for a few years because they don’t have a down payment for the purchase. Instead of waiting for the stars to align, take control of your finances. Homeownership might be closer than you think if you make these changes:

#1: Downsize for a Year

Most people agree that rent is the biggest hindrance to the family budget. If you are trying to save for a down payment, look at options to live in a smaller rental property for a year so that you can reduce your monthly expenses. Not only will you decrease your rent payment, but you will also save money on utilities for a smaller apartment.

#2: Look at the Little Costs

$5 here and $10 there might not seem like much. But, these small costs can really add up over the course of a month. Look for the smaller expenses that keep popping up, such as monthly subscriptions or coffee runs. Find ways to cut the expenses, such as making coffee at home or washing your clothes instead of taking them to the dry cleaner.

#3: Essential vs. Wants

Evaluate your spending and decide on the essential items. Each time you are ready to make a purchase, ask yourself an important question: do you want the item, or do you need the item? Look for areas where you can make a few sacrifices to save money.

#4: Pick Up Extra Work

Are there any opportunities to pick up extra hours at work? Or, maybe you can find another way to earn money in the evenings or on the weekends. These sacrifices are worth the effort, and you will be grateful that you put in the extra time when you are living in a home of your own.

#5: Negotiate Bills and Expenses

Call all of the companies that receive payments from you each month: cell phone provider, cable TV, credit cards, and insurance plans. Talk to the providers about options to reduce your costs. If the company thinks that they are going to lose you as a customer, then they are often willing to work with you on the price. For example, request a lower credit card interest rate in exchange for keeping the card open instead of cancelling it.

Get Home Buying Advice from the Pros

Here at DUFFY Realty, we are working hard to make it easy for you to buy a home for your family. Not only do we help you save money with our flat-fee real estate commissions, but we will also help you find a beautiful property that fits your budget. Call us right away to learn more about the ways that we can help: (678) 318-1700

Is it Time for Your Family to Upsize to a Better Home?

Is it Time for Your Family to Upsize to a Better Home?

Even though you might have some hesitation about the work that it will take to buy a new home, the upsides of the move far outweigh the effort. In fact, upsizing might be the best thing that you can do to improve your lifestyle and support your family.

If you are tired of squeezing your family into a home that is too small, then you need to talk to the leading real estate team in Atlanta: DUFFY Realty.

Outgrowing a Small Home

A starter home makes sense for newly married couples and college students. But, as you settle into your career and life with a spouse and kids, the cramped space won’t cut it anymore. Not only are the closets overflowing, but many families feel irritable because they are sharing a small home with too many people.

You need room so that the kids can play in the backyard and you can host family gatherings. A bigger house will allow you to have the home office or craft room that you have always dreamed about. You can create a dedicated playroom to keep all of the toys in the same area of the house. Put together your wish list, and we will help you find a home to match!

Current Trend: Upsizing

In the past, the trend was to downsize to match retirement lifestyle or decrease the mortgage payment. But, many families are seeing the benefits of living in a spacious home, so they are looking for ways to incorporate this type of property into their lifestyle. It is common for families to have double-incomes, making it easy for two successful career people to meet the mortgage.

It’s impossible to put a price tag on the many memories that will be created in the new home! Not only will you be more comfortable and happy in the spacious property, but many other benefits are also available for your family.

If you like spending time with friends and extended family, then don’t be fooled into thinking that the tiny house trend will work for you. Even though these small apartments and trailers are featured on TV shows, tiny homes don’t create the lifestyle that you desire. You deserve to live in a home where you can relax with the family and enjoy all of the luxuries of life. People want larger houses because they see how much more they can do in a spacious property.

Find the Perfect Home for Your Family

Are you ready to move your family into a better home? Then DUFFY Realty is here to help! We are experienced in the Atlanta real estate industry, and our goal is to ensure that you are happy with the property that you buy. We offer a flat-fee commission structure, helping you save thousands of dollars on your home purchase. Call to learn more: (678) 318-1700

Is it a Good Idea to Buy a Fixer-Upper Home?

Is it a Good Idea to Buy a Fixer-Upper Home?

 

When you are shopping for a new home for your family, you need to consider the amount of work that you are willing to put into the property. Some busy professionals want a home that is move-in ready so that they don’t have to worry about renovations or home improvement projects. But, there are some families who enjoy the process of transforming a fixer-upper into the home that they have always wanted to own.

Here are a few tips to help you decide if a fixer-upper is a right solution for you:

Consider the Needs of Your Family

Do you feel like you are already stretched thin trying to keep up with school activities, your career, and the other responsibilities that come with family life? If it is overwhelming to you to buy a home that will need repairs, then you should probably avoid a fixer-upper. Or, find a good contractor who can oversee the construction to ensure that everything is completed to match your specifications.

On the other hand, if you love the creation process, then your family might have a fun time planning the renovations together. Talk to your spouse and children to see if a fixer-upper is a project that you can use to strengthen family relationships by working as a team.

Look at Your Budget

It is important that you consider your budget for the project. If you think that you are going to make major renovations to a fixer-upper with only $2,000, then you need to keep looking for a better home! A small renovation budget will limit the options that are available. Make sure that you have a strong budget to ensure that these home improvement projects are done right.

So, you need to consider the renovations that will be necessary, to make sure that you have enough money available to pay for these costs. The right home improvement budget could enable you to buy a home and maximize your investment by improving an outdated property.

Hire the Best Real Estate Team

The best thing that you can do to improve the success of buying a fixer-upper is by choosing a real estate team with a lot of experience in the Atlanta area. Your real estate agent will be able to help you find properties with potential. Together, you can look at comparable homes in the area so that you can estimate the equity that is available if you upgrade the home.

For more information about fixer-uppers and move-in-ready homes, talk to the experts here at DUFFY Realty. We have worked hard to build the best reputation in the Atlanta real estate industry. Our team is here to offer the assistance that you need to choose the best home for your family.

Call us to learn more about the real estate services that are available when you are ready to buy a home: (678) 318-1700

Should College Students Buy a Property to Flip or Rent After Graduation?

Should College Students Buy a Property to Flip or Rent After Graduation?

 

The cost of tuition is going up, so many college students are looking for ways to save money and improve their financial future. Not only do you need to pay for the cost of tuition and books, but you also need to bear the burden of paying for rent and living expenses.

Whether you are planning on a 4-year degree or you are working to get a higher level degree, the cost of rent can really add up over the years. Do the math, and you will see that you will be spending thousands of dollars over the course of your education!

The Solution: Buy a Home in a College Town

Instead of flushing money down the toilet by paying rent every month, consider the benefits of investing in a property where you can live while you are going to college. If you are single, then you can rent out the extra rooms to other students. Or, you can enjoy the entire house to yourself if you have a family of your own.

Renting out a portion of the property is a great way to help you cover the mortgage. With the right real estate strategy, your mortgage can be comparable to the cost that you would be paying for rent. But, you will have the benefit of building equity in the property while you are living there.

What Should You Do After Graduation?

The reason that many college students are hesitant to buy a property while they are going to school is that they are planning to move in a few years. Is it worth the hassle and the expense if you will be leaving the area after graduation?

There are many options that you can consider after you graduate. Some people get married in college and find a job in the area so that they can stay local. So, you might be living in the home longer than you anticipated.

Another option is to rent the property to other students. Maintaining a property that is near a college or university is a great way to create a monthly cash flow, giving you the option to build your personal assets and prepare for the future. These rental units can be a great source of income in the right location.

The final option to consider is to flip the home after you graduate. When you move in, consider the repairs that can be done to improve the value of the property while you are living there. Then, you can get a great return on your investment when you are ready to move after graduation.

Do you need help finding the best home to rent or flip? DUFFY Realty is here to help! We know the Atlanta market, and we will gladly offer the assistance that you need. Call our team to learn more: (678) 318-1700

What Could You Buy if You Were Given an Extra $9,000?

What Could You Buy if You Were Given an Extra $9,000?

Are you ready to buy a new home, but you are feeling overwhelmed by the financial burden associated with moving? Not only will you be taking on a mortgage, but there are many other expenses that pop up along the way. One area where home buyers are losing a lot of money is in the commissions that are paid to the real estate agent.

Here at DUFFY Realty, we have transformed the old-fashioned real estate pricing model into a new format that works better for our clients. The old commission structures that many real estate agents use will cost your family thousands of dollars! Instead, our flat-fee pricing structure will help you save a ton of money so that you can use the money for other things instead.

How much Money will You Save?

So, if you choose DUFFY Realty, how much money will you save compared to the traditional real estate fees? $9,000 is the average commission that we save our clients.

$9,000!

Why spend that money on expensive real estate commissions when you can get top-notch services at a fraction of the cost?

What Will You Do with an Extra $9,000?

By saving this money on your real estate fees, there are a variety of things that you can do with your family instead. Here are a few ideas that might work for your needs:

  • Remodel the bathrooms
  • Update the kitchen
  • Put in new flooring
  • Repaint the walls
  • Upgrade the windows and doors in your home
  • Buy new appliances
  • Upgrade the yard to prepare for summer parties
  • Go on a vacation with the kids
  • Buy a car for your teenager
  • Invest in a camping trailer
  • Pick out new furniture for the living room
  • Pay for music lessons or tutoring sessions for your kids
  • Save for a rainy day
  • Invest in a retirement account

The possibilities are endless! The best thing that you can do is consider the needs of your family and then make a purchase that best suits your preferences and priorities. If your new home needs some TLC, then this money can be used to create the home of your dreams. Otherwise, you can use the extra money to have fun with your family on an awesome vacation or by investing in outdoor equipment such as a four-wheeler or camping trailer.

There isn’t a right or wrong answer. As long as you are spending the money to improve your home or build memories with your kids, then you will be making a great decision.

Here at DUFFY Realty, we want to help you save money so that you can care for the needs of your family. Call us to learn about our flat-fee commission structure that will save you thousands of dollars: (678) 318-1700

How to Clear the Clutter in Your Home Office

How to Clear the Clutter in Your Home Office

Whether you are preparing to sell your home or you are looking for solutions to improve your current living conditions, it is essential that you consider the quality of your home office. As a busy, working parent it can be easy to let your office fall to the backburner because you are spending your time having fun with the family. As a result, your desk might be piled high with papers, and you could be dealing with clutter around the room.

A messy office can negatively impact your productivity when you are working. Additionally, a cluttered office can set the wrong impression if you are showing the property to potential buyers. Before you take photos for your real estate listing, it is essential that you take action to clean up the mess and prepare your home to sell.

Here are a few tips to help you clean up your home office:

Visualize What You Want to Create

How would you like the office to look when you are done with the decluttering? Cleaning up your office could involve more than just filing the excess paperwork. Consider making it a fun project by adding new accessories to the room or updating the furniture.

Holding this picture in your mind can help you to find the motivation that is needed to get the job done right. You might print out an inspirational photo that you find on Pinterest or a home office website to use as inspiration.

Set a Schedule

How long have you had the intention to clean up your home office? A good intention isn’t going to matter if you aren’t willing to put in the work and set a deadline. Decide on a day that you want to finish the cleaning. Make sure that you set aside time in your busy schedule so that you can successfully meet your goal.

Get Rid of Tabletop Clutter

You can’t throw away everything in the room, but you can create an organized system for storage. Invest in high-quality storage containers that will hold these items. Choose decorated containers to add a pop of color and improve the visual décor of the room.

When it comes to visual clutter, the biggest offenders are often papers on the desk or files that are overstuffed. If you can, try to keep the paperwork behind closed doors to create a calming effect in the room. Don’t just stuff the papers away… make sure that you sort through the paperwork so that you can shred anything that is no longer needed.

Create a System

A one-time cleanup can quickly be unraveled if you go back to your old habits. So, make sure that you put a system in place to stay ahead of the paperwork each day. Then, decide on a regular time every week to handle the paperwork and stay ahead of the mess.

Here at DUFFY Realty, we can share other tips to help you prepare your home for the real estate market. If you are ready to sell, then we invite you to contact us to learn more: (678) 318-1700

Should You Buy Your Childhood Home?

Should You Buy Your Childhood Home?

What do you think of when you see your childhood home? Often, visiting the home where you grew up will bring back memories of baking cookies with mom in the kitchen and playing tag football in the backyard with dad. Family culture is important, and this culture will last for many years… even after you have moved away.

Now that you have a family of your own, you want to find a home where you can create these same types of memories with your children. The quality of your home is important because it sets the tone for the interactions that you share with the people that you love.

Some people think that moving into their childhood home is a great way to share those happy memories with their own children. But, you need to remember that the home isn’t what created the memories, it was the family experiences that were shared together! You can create these same feelings in any home that you choose.

Pros and Cons of Buying Your Childhood Home

Here are a few benefits and disadvantages of buying the home where you grew up:

  • Pro: Preserving the home where so many happy memories were created with your parents and siblings.
  • Con: It is an older home, so you will need to spend money on renovations and upgrades.
  • Pro: You already know people in the neighborhood.
  • Con: The home might not be big enough to host events with family and friends.
  • Pro: Keeping the property in the family.

Ultimately, you need to determine your priorities and then decide if your childhood home matches the features that are best for your current family. If the floorplan, layout, yard, and location are a good match for what you need right now, then you might enjoy living in the home once again.

Updating the Property for Your Children

Just because you grew up with 80’s style doorknobs and shaggy carpet, doesn’t mean that your kids should have the same environment. It can be beneficial to make a few upgrades before you move in, to create a home that matches your personality and preferences. A few minor changes can be done to give the home an aesthetic facelift. Or, you might consider major renovations to adjust the floorplan of the home.

One of the benefits of undertaking these upgrades is that you can choose the features that you would like to have in your dream home. It is important that you modernize the kitchen and bathrooms to create a space that is comfortable for the whole family.

Working with a Real Estate Agent

If you are buying a property from a family member, do you still need to work with a real estate agent? Yes! An experienced agent can help you navigate the paperwork, decreasing the likelihood that family members will be offended from the sale. It is important to work with real estate professionals so that you can avoid mistakes that could harm your relationship.

Are you interested in learning more about buying or selling a home? Talk to us at DUFFY Realty: (678) 318-1700

Tips for Finding a Condo with All the Necessary Features

Tips for Finding a Condo with All the Necessary Features

 

Do you love the idea of home ownership, but you don’t want to worry about yard maintenance or a big house to clean? Whether you are looking for a starter home or you want to move downtown, a condo might be the right solution for your family. When you decide to move in the future, a condo could potentially be a great investment property to rent to others.

If you are in the market to buy a condo, it is important that you have a trusted Atlanta real estate agent who can offer advice about the best properties to meet your requirements. Here are a few features that should be necessities for your condo purchase:

Full Kitchen

Even though you are choosing a smaller home, it is essential that you have a gathering place for the family. Make sure that you choose a condo with a cooking space and a place for the family to share a meal together.

HVAC System

A window air conditioner won’t cut it on a hot summer day. Choose a condo with a high-quality central air system, allowing you to manage the temperature and reduce monthly utilities at the same time. Since it is a small space compared to a full home, you won’t have to spend as much in utility costs to keep the condo cool.

Laundry Facilities

There might be laundromats nearby, but it can be a hassle to carry your dirty clothes to another location. Laundry hookups should be non-negotiable, allowing you the convenience to wash a load whenever it is needed. Some condos will have a dedicated laundry room, while others will have a closet or laundry hookups in one of the bathrooms.

Community Services

Most condos require the payment of a monthly HOA fee to cover yard maintenance and other outside repairs. If you are going to be spending money on an HOA, then make sure that you are getting access to the services that you want to enjoy. For example, many condo complexes offer a clubhouse, workout rooms, and even a swimming pool. These features will allow you to create many fun family memories with your kids in the pool. You might also consider choosing a condo in a gated area if you want to protect the safety of your family.

Easy Access

It can be a hassle to get to a third-floor condo! If you have to climb a lot of stairs, then you might find it difficult to bring the groceries into the house. Another drawback to a lot of stairs is that it will be harder to rent the unit in the future because older renters won’t want to climb the stairs. So, it is better to choose a ground-floor unit or something that only requires a single flight of stairs to get to the entrance.

Are you ready to buy a condo for your family? DUFFY Realty is here to help! We are well-connected in the Atlanta area, and we will gladly help you find a property to match your needs. Contact our team for more information: (678) 318-1700

Should You Buy a Property with a Mother-In-Law Apartment?

Should You Buy a Property with a Mother-In-Law Apartment?

 

When you are buying a home for your family, there are many features that you need to consider to ensure that you pick the right home for the future. Find a home that has a big enough garage to store sports equipment and the family boat, a kitchen where you can host fun birthday parties, and a backyard with the perfect setting for a neighborhood football game.

What other features would you like to have in your perfect dream home? Some people see the benefit of including a mother-in-law apartment, which offers versatile uses in the future.

What is a Mother-in-Law Apartment?

Just because you have a separate apartment area, doesn’t mean that your mother-in-law will be living downstairs! This nickname is commonly used for homes that have another living space designed in the home but separate from the main area of the house.

By having an apartment available for family and friends, you can invite people to visit but still provide them privacy at the same time. These apartments usually have their own entrance as well as a kitchen and living space.

Sometimes, a mother-in-law apartment is built into a section of the house. Other times, these apartments are designed to fit over the garage or in a stand-alone building on the property.

Benefits of a Separate Apartment

Why would you consider choosing a home that has a mother-in-law apartment? There are many benefits that your family can enjoy. This space allows you to invite aging family members to live with you, without the need to share the same kitchen and living room. You have the convenience of having that family member nearby without being so close that everyone is uncomfortable.

This space can also be used for a “boomerang” kid: a child who moves away to college, then comes back again for some reason. The apartment gives your child a little bit of privacy to figure out the next step in their career.

Another great solution is to rent out the space to earn some income. If you want to live in a nicer home, but you need some help paying the mortgage, then a mother-in-law apartment is a way that you can generate the money needed to cover your monthly expenses.

If you are planning to rent the apartment, then you need to make sure that it meets specific regulations for your area.

Find a Home for Your Family

Having a mother-in-law apartment or other unique features can be a great way to maximize the value of your property. If you are looking for the right home for your family, then it is essential that you talk to our experienced team for more information. Call us at DUFFY Realty, and we will assist you in finding a property that will comfortably hold your family and guests if needed. We are here to help: (678) 318-1700