3 Home-buying tips for the Atlanta area

Buying a home can be an overwhelming experience. A house is a big investment, and you don’t want to wake up a few days after closing feeling as though you’ve made a big mistake. Buyer’s remorse is all too common — 86 percent of people surveyed feel some level of remorse after a home purchase. These home-buying tips from Duffy Real Estate will help you prepare for the buying process and avoid any last-minute surprises.

Find a buyer’s agent

It’s always a good idea to find an agent to represent you when you’re in the process of buying a home. The services of an agent are always free for the buyer and their insight and experience is invaluable. An agent has easy access to real-time information about the home and the neighborhood that might be more difficult for you to track down on your own. When it comes time to make an offer on the home, if you have asked the agent in writing for representation via buyer agency, the buyer’s agent has your best interests at heart and can help you make a good offer.

Chat up the neighbors

If you’re new to the Atlanta area or are moving to a new county — maybe from a familiar spot in Fulton County to less-familiar Rockdale or Pickens — you want to get a feel for the neighborhood before buying. The neighbors can give you the inside scoop on the house and the area, and can often provide even more insight than the agent.

Before you buy a house, ask around the neighborhood to get an idea of how safe it is. You can also ask if the neighbors spend time together, either during social events or as part of a neighborhood watch committee. A neighbor can also give you a better idea of why the seller might have put the house up on the market.

Get it inspected

A home inspection is part of the buying process. A professional inspector can unmask issues in a home that might not be obvious when an agent shows you the house. During the inspection, all areas of the house are looked at closely, from the heating and air conditioning system to the plumbing and from the roof to the foundation. The information you learn during an inspection allows you to make an informed decision about whether the house is right for you or if it has more issues than you care to deal with at the moment.

Finding the right inspector is as important as getting the inspection done. Your buyer’s agent can help you locate a qualified home inspector who has the right amount of liability insurance, training and experience. Before hiring the inspector, ask for references and to see a sample of past home-inspection reports he or she has completed.

The more you know about a home and a neighborhood, the better equipped you are to make a decision. These home-buying tips can help you avoid making a mistake when looking for and purchasing your next home.

Image Source: Flickr

[cf]skyword_tracking_tag[/cf]

You Are A Sole Proprietor: How About A Solo 401(k)

I am seeing more and more people quit the corporate America lifestyle and venture into becoming their own business owner.  This shape of a business owner can be a freelancer, consultant, or someone who actually starts up a ‘brick and mortar’ operation.    Many of these folks will ask questions about whether they should incorporate their business, which I have discussed in other articles.    Once they become profitable, they often ask which kind of retirement plan would suit them the best.   For someone who is a sole business owner, the Solo 401(k) has been around for about a decade and provides a great alternative to helping maximize your retirement contributions.   Here’s a little history on the Solo 401(k) and how it can be a smart money move for your business. The Solo 401k came about in 2002 after Congress passed Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA). EGTRRA added some small paragraphs to the tax code that put forward the solo 401(k) as the preferred retirement vehicle for…

Continue reading

AMEX Points: Try The Clearance Rack

People often ask me what is the best type of credit card to get when it comes to frequent flier or cash back awards. I’ll cover some of my favorite reward cards in other post, but in today’s blog I thought I would share how to make the most of your AMEX card.   Sad to say, but most people who carry the GOLD or PLATINUM card don’t ever look at or use most of the benefits of card.   What most consumers are aware of is that with each purchase they rack up 1 point for every dollar they spend.   So how do you make the most of your rewards?  Check the CLEARANCE rack.  Here’s an example of three items you can get in the clearance section on AMEX membership rewards today. (source: AmericanExpress.com) When you click the membership rewards link in your AMEX account, you’ll notice on the far right hand side a link called ‘specials’.  If you click this link it will take you to all of the merchandise…

Continue reading

Public School Is Not A Free Ride

By: Genna Jenkin The Your Smart Money Moves Mom Request a FREE consultation: www.oxygenfinancial.net Barely a week into our back to school routine and I’m already aware of some very disconcerting patterns forming.  The kids’ interest in helping get their lunches together is waning, bedtimes are not being adhered to and I’ve badgered them all about their homework more times than I’d like to count.  However, the most troublesome of all, is that every evening I find myself with my checkbook “paying” for my children’s public school education. Now don’t get me wrong, I understand that public education in this country can tend to get the proverbial short end of the stick, so I am well aware for the need to ask parents for some financial assistance.  It’s the changes I’ve seen since I enrolled my oldest in kindergarten (12 years ago) that concern me.  I’m sure that everyone with school age children can identify with the lengthy and detailed list of school supplies that every child is responsible to…

Continue reading

All I Want For Back To School Is My Trapper Keeper

It’s officially back-to-school time in the state of Georgia which means polishing up the old routine of making lunches, doing homework, and the frantic mornings of getting everyone on the bus or into the carpool on time.    It is also that time of the year where you are going to begin stocking up on school supplies if you haven’t it done so already.  All I can remember from my childhood and teen years was my mom taking me to the local K-Mart to pick up a few Bic pens, some No. 2 Ticonderoga pencils, and my color coded Trapper Keeper to organize my classes.   Nowadays we’ve got an entirely different routine with school systems providing lists instructing us to practically buy an entire shopping cart of school supplies. This year, my two middle school children have lists both in excess of thirty items that were ‘necessary’ for them to get.   It seems every year the list gets larger and larger.  So what can you do to save money when it…

Continue reading

Entrepreneur Series – Lesson 7 – Milking The Business

Before I opened up my own business, I spent over 10 years at a very high level of senior management for a Fortune 500 corporation. While I garnered a ton of personal and professional growth over the years, nothing can still really prepare you 100% for …

Continue reading

Should I Loan Money To A Friend?

All of us have had awkward money scenarios happen to us in our lives. There are the immediate face-to-face confrontations when a personal friend asks us for money while out on the town. Or what about the time that your college roommate asked you if they could borrow $5,000 or $10,000? Remember when your 2nd cousin said they would be starting a business and were wondering if you would invest $25,000 in the new venture? So, how do you handle a money situation that may make you lose sleep at night? Here are three smart money moves steps to diffuse the problem. Step 1: Empathize. Listen, and Show that you’ve heard by recapping what specifically the other person is wanting to do with the money. Make sure you initially understand it from their point of view. Indicate that you know that economic times are tough, and their individual circumstances are particularly difficult. In a certain sense you need to be able to step inside of their shoes to feel a…

Continue reading

Entrepreneur Series – Lesson 4 – Avoid Rookie Mistakes

I am not a professional athlete.  However, I would imagine that the rookie year on any of the professional sports circuits has to be daunting in nature.   Not only are you in front of some type of large crowd, it takes some time getting used  to all of the decisions you have to make to be the best of the best in what you do for a living.   Far too often, new entrepreneurs can make first year decisions which can put a major dent in the first year of your new entrepreneurial venture.  Even someone who has a lot of corporate experience cannot understand the firefight of being a business owner until you have to meet your first payroll.One great idea my business partner and I have put into place in our business is the 48 hour rule.   We’ve set criteria around what a ‘key’ decision is for our business and once we have made a decision on the direction we want to go we will revisit the decision in…

Continue reading

How To Get Rich with oXYGen Financial – 07/02/13

Taped 7/02/13 Listen every Tuesday morning at 8:00 a.m. on ROCK 100.5 | Atlanta’s Rock Station to “Your Smart Money Moves” with The Regular Guys and oXYGen Financial. Ted Jenkin, CFP® and Kile Lewis, CRPC® are the founders of oXYGen Financial, and our chief financial officers. All your money questions answered Breathe easier at http://oXYGenFinancial.net

Continue reading

Entrepreneur Series – Lesson 3 – Know Your Role As The Owner

As an entrepreneur starting a new business, you often have to wear the hat of cook, dishwasher, accountant, and general manager.   However, one of the biggest mistakes a young owner will make is not quickly clarify their role within the organization.   Far too often, new entrepreneurs will try to control every aspect of a new business which inevitably slows the growth of the organization.  In some cases, it can make hiring and training new people so difficult it can be destructive to the success of a company. One of things I recommend to new business owners is to draw a T chart with one axis being things you like to do and one access being tasks that you are good at.    What you should quickly try to figure out in the early stage of a new company is to list all of the items that you are good at and those tasks that you like to do.    After figuring out this critical piece of analysis, you should begin to try…

Continue reading