Preparing for an Appraisal Before Selling a Home

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If you are preparing to move to a new home, one essential step is a successful transaction to sell your current home. Not only do you need an appraisal before selling a home, but you also need to consider home staging, cleaning, repairs, renovations, and more. An experienced real estate team, like DUFFY Realty, can walk you through the most effective strategy to ensure you maximize equity and find a good buyer.

Appraisal: What it is and Why You Need it

The true market value of a home can be obtained by hiring an unbiased appraiser to assess the property. If a buyer is planning to borrow money from a lender or mortgage broker, then an appraisal will be required. This step is a way for the lender to protect their interests by avoiding overfunding (loaning more money than the property is worth).

Did you know that the bank appraisal is a common reason why a real estate deal fails? If a buyer depends on a mortgage to cover the cost of the purchase, then an appraiser will need to come into the property to evaluate the value. Sometimes, it is discovered that the appraised price is less than the offer price, which means that the buyer will not be able to get the full financing needed for the purchase.

Are You Ready for an Appraisal Before Selling a Home?

You can bring in an appraiser to determine the value of your home before listing it on the real estate market. Before you spend the money, it is smart to do a thorough walk-through to look at the property with a critical perspective.

Identify potential areas that need to be repaired or renovated. For example, broken tiles, damaged siding, roofing problems, and other issues should be addressed. Not only should you think about repairing current damage, but it might also be beneficial to invest in home improvements that will boost the value of your home. Make sure to consider aspects such as curb appeal, clearing out clutter inside, eliminating pet odor, deep cleaning, and more.

Consider providing a list of improvements for the appraiser to see, which brings attention to the investments that have been made on the property. Sometimes, the appraiser doesn’t know to look for specific improvements because they aren’t aware of the work that has been completed. This step is especially important if you are selling a high-priced, luxury home.

Finding a Real Estate Team to Help with Your Home Purchase

If you want a smooth, easy transaction when selling your home, then you must enlist the help of an experienced real estate team. DUFFY Realty is here to help! We offer many years of experience in the real estate industry. Our goal is to help you maximize your equity. Not only can we help you find the right buyer, but we offer a competitive commission structure that is the fraction of the cost compared to other real estate agents. Call to learn more about the quality real estate services that are available for your family: (678) 318-1700

History of Real Estate: Pioneers Who Changed the Industry

Rhonda Duffy, Discount Real Estate Broker

The real estate industry we know today is quite different from the roots that started many years ago. Looking back over real estate history, it was around 1900 when real estate brokers began offering services to present homes available for sale.

Founding of the National Association of Real Estate Exchanges

In Chicago, on May 12, 1908, the National Association of Real Estate Exchanges was founded. The goal was to “unite the real estate men of America for the purpose of effectively exerting a combined influence upon matters affecting real estate interests.” The association had founding boards in a handful of cities across the US: Chicago; Baltimore; Bellingham, Wash.; Los Angeles; Cincinnati; Sioux City, Iowa; Philadelphia; Cleveland; Detroit; Duluth, Minn.; Kansas City, Mo.; Milwaukee; Minneapolis; Seattle; Omaha, Neb.; St. Louis; Gary, Ind.; St. Paul, Minn.; and Tacoma, Wash.

A code of real estate ethics was developed in 1913, based on the Golden Rule as the theme of the industry. It wasn’t until 1919 when professional certification and licensing became standard, through the efforts of the association. The association has continued to hold annual conferences over the years, and is now known as the National Association of Realtors after the name was changed in 1972.

The Digital Age of the Real Estate Industry

This industry began to change quickly as digital technology became an integral part of buying and selling a home. As of 2017, 99% of millennial buyers look at online listings to find properties of interests. In the same year, 58% of all buyers indicated that they found their home through mobile apps. Homebuyers, home sellers, and agents have all made the shift to lean on technology as an essential part of the real estate process.

People Changing the Real Estate Industry

Even though the real estate industry was established more than 100 years ago, there are agents today who are continuing to be modern pioneers in promoting new practices in the industry. The most notable changes in real estate are related to the advent of the internet. Online tools help facilitate real estate awareness and transactions, making it easier than ever for buyers and sellers to connect.

A few people leading the current industry include:

  • Rhonda Duffy, founder of Duffy Realty, CEO: A pioneer in adapting flat fee realty services and an 8 step buyer action timeline to help ensure buyers’ rights across the country.
  • Mauricio Umansky, founder of The Agency in Beverly Hills. This brokerage is changing the approach to real estate by offering a modern, start-up look and feel to appeal to the younger generations.
  • Rebekah Bastian, group manager at Zillow. Both homeowners and real estate agents can tap into a variety of tools available, including sales integrations, advertising, and more.

While these industry pioneers have had an impact on the nationwide real estate trends, you can also find local influences as well. Here at DUFFY Realty, we are always looking for ways to improve the opportunities for buying and selling homes in Atlanta. Call to learn more about our services: (678) 318-1700

Why Atlanta is at Its Best in the Summer

Why Spring is a Great Time of Year to Sell Your Home

Summer is a great time of year to enjoy festivals and activities in your own back yard. The kids are out of school, events are happening around the city, and you have the perfect opportunity to build new memories with your loved ones.

What are your planned activities this summer? Here are a few suggestions if you need activity ideas:

  • Shoot the Hooch: The Chattahoochee River is a popular place to go tubing, and this activity has been coined “Shooting the Hooch.” If you don’t own a tube, you can rent one to use for the day. Choose from one of the four drop-in spots along the river, but make sure that you have a car available when you get out of the water down the river!
  • Walk the Beltline: The Atlanta Beltline is a former railway corridor that has been renovated into an urban trail. You can walk between 45 neighborhoods to enjoy the beautiful weather and sunshine during some of the best months of the year.
  • Piedmont Park: Another great outdoor location to enjoy is Piedmont Park. You’ll find a variety of features for the family, including a lake, farmers’ markets, and a swimming pool. You can even bring furry members of the family to the dog park!
  • Atlanta Botanical Gardens: This 30-acre garden area is filled with gorgeous flowers, trees, and more. Take a break from urban living by enjoying nature in these sprawling gardens.
  • Starlight Drive-In: Why sit in a stuffy indoor theater when you can enjoy the beautiful night skies while watching the latest blockbuster hit? This drive-in theater has been open since 1949, giving families a great place to enjoy a movie in a unique setting.
  • Music Festivals: If you love listening to live music, then Atlanta is a great place to live! You can find everything from jazz music to indie to hip-hop. Many of these concerts are held at Centennial Olympic Park, located in the downtown Atlanta area.
  • Six Flags Over Georgia: Adults and kids alike can have fun with a day at the local amusement park. This theme park boasts 290 acres of thrill rides and roller coasters. Not only is there a fun children’s area for the kids, but mom and dad can get their blood pumping on the big coasters.
  • Atlanta Braves: One of the flagship activities in Atlanta is to catch a ball game. Head over to SunTrust Park to enjoy a cold drink and hot dog while cheering on the team.

There’s no question that Atlanta is a great location due to the friendly communities, fun activities, and great weather. DUFFY Realty is here to help you find the best home in Atlanta. Whether you are relocating to another home in the greater Atlanta area, or you are moving here from another state, our team is here to assist. Call the local real estate experts for help finding your dream home: (678) 318-1700

Is House Flipping a Good Strategy in the Current Market?

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Real estate investing offers a great opportunity for those who are willing and ready to put their money into promising homes in the area. But, before you pour your life savings into a real estate investment opportunity, it is important to evaluate the current market and determine the best strategy for maximizing your ROI (Return On Investment). House flipping can still be profitable, as long as you are smart about the investment decision.

Increasing Number of Home Flips

House flipping was popular at the height of the housing boom in 2006. Then opportunities shifted when the crash happened, causing home prices to plummet. Over the years, the real estate prices have been increasing, and many people are finding the opportunity for profit in the current market. In fact, CoreLogic shared a report that showed 10.9% of homes sold in the 4th quarter of 2018 were flips.

What qualifies a home to be a flip? These properties were purchased by the investor or homeowner and occupied for two years or less before being sold to another buyer.

Higher Profit Margins for Home Flipping

One thing you need to consider is the potential profit margin if you want to invest in a home flip. It doesn’t make sense to invest months of effort, time, and sweat equity if you are going to break even or receive a minimal return on your investment. Instead, you need to know the numbers. Buy a property that is priced right, then factor in the cost of renovations and upgrades to boost the overall value of the home.

There’s no question that the current real estate market is offering many opportunities for real estate investors. Inventory is low, which means demand is high. If you have a good home to sell, then it is likely you can connect with multiple buyers who are ready to offer on the property. Maximizing the selling price of the home means you can enjoy the benefit of higher profit margins for your investment.

Learn from an Experienced Real Estate Agent

Whether you are evaluating your options for house flipping or you are preparing to buy a new home for your family, don’t underestimate the benefits available from an experienced real estate agent. A good agent will understand the local area and have the expertise to help you identify a home that fits your needs and desires.

It is important that you choose a real estate agent you can trust. Buying a home is one of the biggest investments that you will make, which is why you need to be sure you have someone to watch out for your interests.

DUFFY Realty is leading the local real estate industry. We are working hard to maintain our reputation as the top real estate team in Atlanta. Call us to learn more about the quality real estate services that are available: (678) 318-1700

Why June is the Best Month of the Year for Getting Offers on Your Home

Essential Repairs before a Home Appraisal

You’ve probably heard the common saying: April showers bring May flowers. In the real estate industry, we like to add that May listings bring June buyers! If you are thinking about selling your home, then right now is the best time of year to act. The local market is hot, giving you a great opportunity to maximize the value of your property and move to a new home of your dreams. Listing your home on the real estate market as soon as possible means you can take advantage of the offers coming in from people who want to move in the summer months.

Timing is Everything in Real Estate

While there are options to buy or sell a home throughout the year, there’s no question that timing is everything. It is important that you think about the overall value of the property, the equity that is available for rollover into your next purchase, as well as potential buyers who are ready to send their offers.

Even if your home is beautiful and ready to sell, it will probably take a while to close on the deal if you are having a hard time connecting with interested buyers. People tend to move at certain times of the year, based on school schedules and seasons.

There’s no question that summer not only brings hotter temperatures to the Atlanta area, but the real estate market heats up as well. Inventory is low, which means it is a great time to move if you are thinking about selling your home.

Get the Price that You Deserve

Listing a home in spring means you can sell your home by summer… and you will get the price that you deserve. Buyers are often motivated to lock in the deal before school starts in a few months, so they are anxious to submit great offers on quality properties available in the area.

While there are varying opinions on the “best month to sell a home,” there’s no question that you can’t go wrong when taking advantage of the summer demand in a strong real estate market. Make sure you choose a good real estate team that can help with the listing and marketing of the property. Quality real estate services ensure that you can sell the property quickly at a price that you deserve.

The Real Estate Leaders in Atlanta

We invite you to learn more about our team at DUFFY Realty. You’ll see that we are leading the Atlanta real estate industry with quality services and an unbeatable reputation. Our team offers competitive flat-rate real estate fees, helping you save thousands of dollars on the transaction.

For more information about quality real estate services, call DUFFY Realty at (678) 318-1700

Atlanta Real Estate Market News: Is it a Good Time to Buy a Home?

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We’ve seen some drastic changes in the Atlanta real estate market over the past 12 years. After the market started falling in 2008, home prices have steadily increased. Now, people are talking about the strong real estate market and whether or not it is a good time to buy a home.

Industry Changes are Guaranteed

There’s one thing that is certain: the real estate market will move up and down over time. No one can predict the exact changes that will happen, but we know that there will be fluctuations over the years. Economic factors, interest rates, and other nation-wide and local changes will influence the prices and demand for homes.

You can try to time the market so you are buying and selling in the seasons that will support your equity goals as much as possible. A good real estate agent can offer recommendations as you are considering the timing of your move. But many times families need to move regardless of the market trends because it is time to relocate for a job, family, schooling, and other life activities.

Long-Term Investment in Real Estate

The real power of buying a home is in the long-term investment that is available for your family. Even if the markets change, you will build equity over the years. Every month your mortgage payment goes to pay down the loan, which means that you have more equity available. Eventually, the hope is that you can pay off the home so that you can reduce your monthly expenses for retirement.

Even if you don’t live in your current home long enough to pay off the mortgage, the equity can be rolled into the purchase of another real estate property. Over the years, you can continue to build this equity until you are in a position to buy a mortgage-free home for retirement. There are many strategies that can be used to build your financial portfolio over time.

Your Personal Circumstances Should be Considered

The best decision that you can make is choosing a home that you can afford. It doesn’t matter what the Atlanta real estate market is doing or how interest rates are changing; you need to be sure that your monthly payment is going towards a real estate investment that supports your long-term goals. Consider your monthly budget and the needs of your family; then you can work with a lender and real estate agent to identify the smartest decisions for your family’s needs.

As you are considering options for buying or selling a home, our team is here to offer advice and recommendations. You can contact us at any time to learn more about the services that are available. DUFFY Realty is here to assist with anything that you need. Contact us to learn how you can save thousands of dollars in real estate commission fees using our low-cost services: (678) 318-1700

Life in a No-Car Garage Home with Uber and Lyft

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While many families choose to live in a home with a car or two in the garage, there are times when it doesn’t necessarily make sense to spend money on the cost of a vehicle. Depending on your location and your commute, there might be possibilities to reduce your transportation costs by eliminating the car by using services such as Uber and Lyft.

Cost of a Garage and Car

Don’t assume that you have to buy a home with a garage, because new options are available making transportation easier than ever. For example, you can pull up your smartphone and call a car using Uber or Lyft. With this service, you pay by the ride. The driver will pick you up at the location of your choice and drop you off at your requested destination.

All of the transactions and driving directions are handled through the app, so you don’t need to worry about a cash payment or pulling out your credit card in the car. You can sit back and enjoy the ride, knowing that your driver is heading toward the right destination based on the request submitted when you requested the ride.

Location and Commute

One motivation to eliminate car ownership is because you are living in a location that doesn’t require a daily driving commute. For example, if you work downtown, then you might choose to buy a condo or townhome that allows you to commute to work on foot or using public transportation.

It can be expensive to pay for a home downtown that includes garage space or a parking stall. If you want to save money on the real estate purchase, then it might be a wise move to skip this feature. Plus, your overall expenses will go down if you don’t need to make a car payment or pay for insurance coverage, maintenance, fuel, and more.

More and more families are making a move to eliminate the need for a vehicle. When you run the numbers, it’s easy to see how you can save money by calling an Uber or Lyft ride as needed, instead of paying the ongoing costs of car ownership.

Finding the Right Home for Your Needs

When you are preparing for home ownership, it is essential that you consider your needs and preferences. You should think about details such as whether you should purchase a home with a garage, or if it makes sense to use public transportation or ride sharing services instead.

As you are searching for a home, our team at DUFFY Realty is here to help. Over the years, we’ve assisted many families throughout the greater Atlanta area with their real estate purchases. Call today to learn about the options that are available based on your wish list for your new home: (678) 318-1700

Selling a Home? Protect Your Money on the Sale

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Owning a home gives you peace of mind in knowing that your family has a safe place to live and build memories together. It is nice to have a family home that can be designed and shaped based on your family culture and the needs of your loved one. Additionally, this property is a great investment to help you build wealth over the years.

Building Equity in Your Family Home

As a homeowner, your ongoing mortgage payments help to build equity in the property over time. This long-term investment creates wealth over the years, eventually allowing you to own the home “free and clear.” Not only do your monthly payments help to reduce the size of the loan, but a strong real estate market means that the value of the property increases with time.

Keep in mind that equity isn’t guaranteed because there is always a risk with investments. But homeownership is a safe choice. You need a place to live, and you might as well enjoy the financial benefits over the years.

Tips for Protecting Equity

The more equity you can build in your home, the more money you will have in your pocket when it is time to sell. What will you do with the extra cash? Many families choose to roll the equity into the purchase of another home, helping to reduce the cost of the new mortgage. Or, you can use the extra cash to buy furniture, work on home renovations, buy a car, or even take your family on vacation.

A few simple strategies can help to protect your home equity:

  • Choose a Good Real Estate Agent: The right agent will use certain strategies to increase the selling price of your home. The higher the price, the more money you will have when the property sells. Your real estate agent should help you find the “sweet spot” so that you can maximize the price of your property while ensuring a fast transaction as well.
  • Flat Fee Real Estate Commissions: When you are selecting your real estate agent, it is important to discuss the commissions and fees that will be charged on the transaction. Many real estate agents charge 3%, which is a significant amount of your home price. Instead, choose our team at DUFFY Realty… our clients save an average of $9,000 due to our low commission structure.
  • Invest in Renovations: As you are preparing to sell, it is smart to invest in a few renovations for the property. Even though you will be spending a little money, it adds up to boost home value. Talk to your real estate agent to identify the best “bang for your buck” when it comes to home improvement projects.

At DUFFY Realty, we understand the importance of protecting your equity to support your financial goals. Our team has many years of experience in the Atlanta real estate industry, and we are here to help you in maximizing the value of your home. Call to learn more: (678) 318-1700

How to Save Money on Moving Costs

How to Save Money on Moving Costs

The costs of buying a home can add up, so it makes sense that you are looking for ways to reduce your moving expenses. Instead of spending a lot of money on the movers, you can save that money for new furniture, home décor, or a grill to put on the back porch. Here are a few tips to help you reduce the moving costs:

  1. DIY Packing: If you have time and friends or family to help, consider packing and driving the small items by yourself. There’s no reason why you need to pay a lot of money for someone to box up your personal items. Plus, DIY packing gives you the opportunity to evaluate your items so that you can take unused items to the donation center.
  2. Cheap or Free Moving Supplies: You don’t need to buy brand new boxes at the local home improvement store. Talk to friends and family to see if you can find anyone with boxes that you can use. Another option is to look on Craigslist where you might find someone giving away boxes that were used for a recent move. Call around to the local grocery stores to see if you can gather up any free boxes.
  3. Protect Your Valuables: One unanticipated cost of moving is damage that might occur to your valuable items. Consider putting the valuable things in the back of your car instead of loading everything into the moving truck. For example, you can wrap the flat-screen TV in blankets or the original packaging and store it in the back seat of the car for transportation.
  4. Ask for Help: Many neighbors, friends, and family are willing to help if you ask. You might use a combined effort of a moving company with friends and family to reduce the time the movers spend on site. Or, talk to people with big cars and trucks who can help you move.
  5. Be Flexible: It is common for moving companies to charge a premium on weekends and holidays. Schedule your move on a weekday to get the lower rates if they are offered. Also, try to avoid moving during peak traffic hours. Since the movers are usually paid by the hour, your bill will be high if the moving truck is sitting in traffic on the way to your new home.

These tips might seem small, but you can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars by adjusting your moving plan. If you are looking for other ways to save money when buying a home, then you need to talk to our team at DUFFY Realty. We offer low-cost real estate commissions that save families an average of $9,000 on fees and commissions. Call to learn more about the options that are available when you are ready to buy or sell a home in Atlanta: (678) 318-1700

Easy Solutions to Make Your Home Appealing to Buyers

Easy Solutions to Make Your Home Appealing to Buyers


Slapping a few cell phone photos onto an online home listing won’t be good enough to sell your property in this real estate market. Your real estate listing is an opportunity to capture the attention of potential buyers and encourage them to schedule a time to visit your home.

If you want to maximize your home value and ensure that it sells quickly, then there are a few things that need to happen before the property is listed on the real estate market. It’s a seller’s market, which means that you can get your desired price if you are willing to put in a little bit of work.

Easy Home Improvement Projects

It might not be necessary to tackle massive home renovation projects before you are ready to sell. Instead, look for the small, simple techniques that will upgrade the appearance of the property and appeal to potential buyers. Here are a few tips to help:

  • Clean and Declutter: The first thing a potential buyer will notice is the cleanliness of the home. Pull out the rags and mop and spend the time to deep clean every room. Scrub the kitchen and bathrooms, have the carpets professionally cleaned, and clear the piled-up clutter in the closets.
  • Fresh Paint: A new coat of paint is helpful to cover up any aesthetic blemishes and create a neutral theme. Research the latest paint trends and stick with basic colors such as white, gray, tan, and more.
  • Cosmetic Upgrades: You don’t have to remodel the entire bathroom and kitchen. But a few cosmetic upgrades will update the appearance of these rooms. For example, add new hardware on the cabinets and replace the faucets to match. Decorate with new, fluffy towels and shower curtains to make the room look cozy and welcoming.
  • Add Lighting: A bright home creates feelings of comfort and beauty. Change out the lightbulbs, bring in a few more lamps, and make sure that all of the curtains are open when a potential buyer is touring the property. Don’t forget to evaluate the outdoor light bulbs to ensure that everything is lit when the buyers walk to the door.
  • Energy Efficiency: Not only do home buyers want to save money on utilities, but they also want to be proactive in protecting the environment. Add energy efficient upgrades by installing a smart thermostat, Energy Star rated appliances, and energy efficient light bulbs. Also, evaluate the insulation and weatherstripping around the doors and windows.

One of the most effective steps to ensure that your home sells quickly and easily is choosing an experienced real estate team in the area. You can learn more about your options to by talking to our experts at DUFFY Realty. Call to schedule a consultation so that you can learn more about the recommendations to prepare your home for the real estate market: (678) 318-1700