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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Spring Cleaning Tips: The Best Way to Spruce Up Your Home Before Summer

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The weather is warming up, and summer is drawing near, making this the perfect time to spruce up your home so that you are ready for the season. When the kids get out of school, you want to ensure that you have time to spend together as a family, instead of spending your free time cleaning the house. A little bit of spring cleaning right now can go a long way to ensure that you have a comfortable, beautiful home for the summer.

Just because you are spring cleaning, doesn’t mean that you need to spend a lot of time scrubbing every surface. Follow these tips to speed up the process and ensure that you get it done right:

Use the Right Cleaning Supplies

A bucket of soapy water and a rag won’t be enough to tackle the grease and grime that can build up over time. If you want to speed up the process, then you need to ensure that you have the right cleaning solutions and supplies. Buy high-quality cleaners, as well as tools such as a good vacuum and a mop that is easy to use.

Clean One Room at a Time

It can feel overwhelming to tackle the entire house at once. A better solution is to clean one room at a time, to make it a manageable project. For example, you might start by deep-cleaning one bathroom each day. Then, spend a Saturday with the family scrubbing down the kitchen. Work through each room in the house until you are done. Don’t forget to schedule a day for the garage and outdoor areas!

Clear Out the Clutter

A lot of items in the house can make it hard to keep your living space clean. If you are overloaded with too many clothes and toys, then make sure that you focus on decluttering while you are cleaning. Take an honest assessment to determine the items that you are using and the other things that are taking up space. Then, put together a pile of items that can be dropped off at the local donation center.

Bring in the Professionals

If you are already busy with many responsibilities for your family and career, then you might consider the option to hire the professionals to take care of the deep cleaning. It is a great investment to pay someone else to dust the cobwebs and scrub every corner. Instead of spending your free time with a dust rag in hand, you can let the professionals clean your home while you spend quality time with your kids.

Are you spring cleaning so that you can prepare your home for a real estate listing? Then, DUFFY Realty is here to help! We make it easy for you to buy or sell a home in the Atlanta area. Contact us to learn more about the real estate services that are available for your family: (678) 318-1700

Three Essential Steps to Prepare Your Home for the Real Estate Market

Three Essential Steps to Prepare Your Home for the Real Estate Market

Too often, homeowners will get it backward when they are ready to sell their property. They will focus on getting their home listed on the market, and then take a closer look at some of the things that can be done to improve the appearance of the home.

However, the smart play here is to consider your real estate listing as the first “showing” of your home. The listing photos need to be professional and eye-catching if you want to capture the attention of potential buyers. It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words… but in the real estate market, a picture could be worth several thousand dollars.

An experienced real estate agent will be able to offer the advice that you need to create the best listing for your home. Here are some of the tips that you might consider:

1. No Photos of the Home (Or Too Few)

The biggest mistake that you can make with a real estate listing is to skip the photos and list a property with no photo coverage. When a new listing goes live, often there are alert notifications in place to help potential buyers to virtually see the property right away. If the listing triggers an alert, then they will likely look at the listing and navigate away if they don’t see any photos. Most likely, they won’t come back to look again.

The second biggest mistake that you can make is only to add one or two photos. The more, the merrier! Choose the best picture of the home to highlight as the main image, then make it easy for buyers to see the rest of the home by offering a variety of pictures.

2. Only Professional Photos for Your Listing

Keep your iPhone camera in your pocket and hire a professional real estate photographer to help with your listing photos. Novice photos are often poorly lit and blurry, and they don’t frame the room in the best way.

The best solution is to have high-resolution photos that will make your home look great. A pro photographer will bring in the equipment and lighting that can enhance the rooms and highlight the desired features in your home.

3. Professional Staging

Before the photographer arrives, makes sure that you spend time clearing out the clutter in your home. Be sure that each room is in impeccable condition so that the photographer doesn’t have to work around messes in each room.

A professional stager can create a space that is inviting and welcoming. When buyers zoom in to look at the images online, they will see that you care about the property and that you’re a serious seller.

Do you need help with your online listing? DUFFY Realty is here for your family! We are experts in the Atlanta real estate market, and we can sell your home quickly and easily. Call us for more details: (678) 318-1700

Basic Marketing Strategies to Quickly and Easily Sell Your Home

Basic Marketing Strategies to Quickly and Easily Sell Your Home

Do you know everything that goes into selling a home? Listing your property on the real estate market is only the one step in a series of things that will help you connect with the right buyer. If you want to speed up the sale and minimize the effort, then it is essential that you consider essential marketing steps before and after the listing goes live.

The real estate market can be competitive at times, which means that you need to have a proactive real estate agent who will handle the marketing and presentation of your property. At DUFFY Realty, we have discovered some tried and true marketing techniques that are offered with our services. These are a few of the marketing strategies that we have found to be effective:

Boost the Curb Appeal

First impressions can make-or-break your chances of getting an offer on the home. The buyer will always view the exterior of the home first on the real estate listing. Also, the outside of the home is the first thing the buyer sees when they come to tour the property.

Make sure that you are setting a good impression by cleaning up the yard and preparing the exterior of the home. Put away the kid’s toys that are in the driveway, wash the porch, repaint the front door, pull the weeds, and trim the shrubs. If your schedule is too full with little league games and family activities, then consider hiring a landscaping crew to help.

Highlight the Positive Features

Have you recently made any improvements to the home, such as renovating the kitchen or putting in new flooring? Highlight these features in the real estate listing. These details can be used in the marketing materials to increase the perceived value of the property.

One of the best ways to highlight the good features is by hiring an experienced real estate photographer. You need someone who has the experience and eye to capture these details in a photo, instead of simply taking a point-and-click picture of each room.

Hire a Stager

Has your home been professionally staged? It is amazing to see how much of a difference it can make to properly stage your home. Changing out the furniture, decluttering, and using modern home décor can transform a room and make it more appealing to potential buyers.

Talk to your real estate agent for advice about improving the quality of your home. Make sure that you finish these staging efforts before the photographer comes, so that the staging can be featured in your listing photos.

Choose the Best Real Estate Team

If you want to sell your home quickly and easily, then you need to be sure that you are working with an experienced team who knows how to get it done right. At DUFFY Realty, we are the leading real estate team in the Atlanta area. We have perfected our marketing system to offer you fast and effective results. Call us today for more information: (678) 318-1700

Homeowner Mistakes that are Negatively Impacting the Value of Your Property

Homeowner Mistakes that are Negatively Impacting the Value of Your Property

Even though the real estate market is strong, there are a few homeowner mistakes that might be having a negative impact on the value of your property. You have invested in a great home for your family, so it is important to be sure that you are managing property value to prepare for the future. With a few small, proactive steps you can boost your property value and maximize your equity when you are ready to sell.

Outdated Plumbing Fixtures and Cabinet Hardware

A quick glance at the kitchen and bathroom sinks could have an immediate impact on the way someone values your home. It is normal for plumbing and hardware to wear out over time, so you need to take a proactive approach to replacing these items as needed.

Even if you don’t know a lot about plumbing, it is simple to switch out the sink faucet. Go to the hardware store to find a stylish, modern faucet. Then, check YouTube to find a tutorial that will guide you through the process. Or, an easier solution is to hire a local handyman who can handle these upgrades for you.

Old Kitchen Appliances

The cost of appliances can add up over time, so old kitchen appliances could be a deterrent to someone interested in purchasing your home. If the stovetop is rusted and worn and the fridge has a constant smell, then you need to invest in modern appliances. Not only will these tools improve the appearance of the room, but they will also make it easy when you are prepping meals for your family.

Neglected Home Exterior and Yard

Curb appeal plays a big factor in property value. What do people think when they pull up in front of your home? If the siding is falling off or the paint is chipped, then you need to invest a little money into renovations that will upgrade the outside appearance of the property.

Also, consider hiring a landscaper to mow the lawn, get rid of old bushes, trim the trees, and clean up other issues around the yard. These factors could influence the value of your property by as much as 5 – 10%!

Weak Doors and Windows

If the original doors and windows are still in place, then you might consider investing in an upgrade. Old windows typically have single-pane glass, which decreases the energy efficiency of the home. Additionally, worn window frames and damaged doors can have a negative impact on the appearance of your home. Improve the safety and comfort of the property with high-quality windows and doors that are built to last.

Are you interested in learning more about simple ways that you can boost your property value? Contact us at DUFFY Realty, and we will gladly make suggestions to help you maximize your equity. Call us anytime for more information: (678) 318-1700

Home Sale Fell Through? Here’s What to Do

Home Sale Fell Through? Here’s What to Do

Buying or selling a home often feels like a roller coaster ride, with many ups and downs along the way. Did you try to sell your home this year and hit a wall with your efforts? It can be frustrating to go through this experience, and the drawn-out process can be hard on the family. Instead of keeping your family in limbo, it is important that you learn how to quickly sell your home so that you can move to a home that is better suited for your needs.

Right now is a great time to regroup and understand the options that are available. With an experienced real estate team, it is possible to get your listing noticed and quickly sell the property.

Here are a few things that you can do if your home sale fell through:

Hire a New Real Estate Agent

Whether you attempted a For Sale by Owner or you were working with an inexperienced real estate agent, if you can’t sell your home then it means that you need to be working with a new real estate agent. Find a team with proven experience, making it easy for you to sit back and relax while the professionals handle the details for you.

Some homeowners mistakenly think that they need to take their home off the market if a home sale fell through. But, an experienced real estate agent can step in to help with staging and rework the listing. Plus, the agent can tap into their network to help you connect with potential buyers. A few changes in the marketing strategy can make a big difference to help you sell the property.

Improve What You are Offering

If you aren’t getting any bites on your real estate listing, then you need to make sure that the property is attractive to potential buyers. Look for ways to improve your current listing. For example, hiring a professional real estate photographer can help your listing stand out in the search results.

Another option is to make a few renovations to the home so that it is more attractive to potential buyers. Or, you might consider reducing the price a little bit to match the value of other properties in the area.

Talk to an Experienced Real Estate Team

The best thing that you can do is make sure that you have a trusted real estate team by your side. There are many ways that homeowners can benefit from working with a real estate agent. Hiring a team with proven experience means that you can benefit from the lessons that have been learned by selling other properties.

At DUFFY Realty, we have a proven strategy to sell your home quickly. If you are having a hard time finding the right buyer, then we invite you to contact us right away for more information: (678) 318-1700

How to Stage Your Home to Highlight the Best Features of the Property

How to Stage Your Home to Highlight the Best Features of the Property

 

Did you know that the layout of your furniture will have a direct impact on the impression that people will have of your home? If you are trying to sell your home, then you need to take some time to stage the home to make it look more attractive to potential buyers. A few small changes can make a big difference to highlight the positive features of the property.

These are a few tips that you can use when staging your home. It is best to implement these techniques before the real estate photographer comes so that the home looks as good as possible in the listing photos:

Make Your Yard the Cleanest on the Street

Is your front yard in need of some attention? If your yard looks shabby compared with the neighbors, then it is important that you spend a little bit of time outside to clean things up. Having the contrast between a manicured yard compared with a run-down yard will set a bad first impression when potential buyers pull up in front for a showing.

Focus on the Kitchen

It has been said that the kitchen is the heart of the home. It is common for home buyers to ask to see the kitchen first, which means that the quality of the kitchen will have an impact on the rest of the showing. Consider small remodeling tasks, such as updating the cupboards or replacing the flooring. Also, take the time to clean the kitchen before every showing, to make sure that the room shines.

Use Gender-Neutral Colors

When a person is touring your home, it is important that they can visualize their family living in the property. If you have unusual paint colors or home décor, then it might be hard for people to see the space as their own. Choose neutral paint colors and minimize the crazy decorations as much as possible. Even though you like to show your personality in the home, it is better to reduce the distractions so that the buyers can focus on the features of the home.

Clear the Clutter

If you have too much furniture crowded into a room, then it will make space look smaller. Reduce the amount of furniture that you have, and get rid of the smaller items that are cluttering up shelves and counter space. Less is better, which means that you might need to pack some things into storage when you are showing your home.

At DUFFY Realty, we have more tips and tricks that we can share to make your home look good. Our expert real estate team knows the best practices in the industry, and we are happy to help with the improvements in your home. For more information about how we can help, we invite you to contact us right away: (678) 318-1700

Rookie Mistakes Made By First-Time Home Sellers

Rookie Mistakes Made By First-Time Home Sellers

Selling your first home can be an overwhelming experience. Most first-time home sellers are torn about their decision to move because they have so many happy memories shared with the family in the home. But, it is also exciting because moving is also an opportunity to move into a different home that may be a better fit.

If you are preparing to put your home on the market, it is important that you have a good real estate company to help with the listing. Since you haven’t yet been through the process of selling a home, an experienced real estate agent will be able to offer insights and advice so that you can quickly and easily sell your property.

To avoid rookie mistakes, here are a few things that you should talk about with your real estate agent:

Price of the Home

When you have an emotional attachment to property, it can be hard to understand its current value in the marketplace. Your agent will make it easier to set a reasonable asking price for the property by offering information about comparable homes in the area that have recently sold. Instead of stressing about the research yourself, let your real estate agent handle the details so that you can spend your valuable time on other important things.

Setting the right price will attract the right types of buyers. With the right price point and a good listing, you will be able to sell your home quickly. Many new home sellers make the rookie mistake of setting the listing price too high, which scares away potential buyers.

Amateur Real Estate Listing

The listing photos and descriptions matter, because the listing is your opportunity to connect with people who are potentially interested in buying your property. You need to make sure that you are setting the right impression when people are browsing the listings online.

An amateur real estate listing is easy to identify, especially if it includes poor quality photos, the listing is lacking in information or even grammar errors. Let your real estate agent help with the listing and make sure that you bring in a professional photographer to help.

Home Staging

If you want to set the right impression when potential buyers visit your home, you need to make sure the space is open, clean, and inviting. It is a mistake to leave personal items where they have always been! Take some time to clean out the closets, clear the clutter, and make your home look presentable. These steps can go a long way to set a great impression when someone walks through the door.

At Duffy Realty of Atlanta, we are here to help you avoid these rookie mistakes. We offer the leading real estate services in the Atlanta area, and we will work hard to be sure that you receive the best service when you are buying or selling a home. Contact our team for more information: (678) 318-1700

Tips for Avoiding Home Renovation and Repair Scams

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Whether you are making small repairs in your new home or you are renovating an older home to get it ready to sell, it is important that you are careful about the types of contractors that you hire to help. Homeowners often hire contractors before and after a big move, because they want to be sure that their home matches the needs of their family.

Hiring a contractor can help you with the finishing details that are needed to make your home perfect. Whether you want to add a specific feature or paint your child’s room in a certain way, a contractor can help. Many people agree that it is easier to hire a contractor instead of spending long hours doing the work on their own. Don’t sacrifice your time with family and friends, let an expert contractor handle the work while you enjoy your day!

Hiring a Repairman

When you are ready to hire a repairman, it is essential that you are cautious about the contractor that you bring into your home. You need to keep your family protected, which means that you need to do the research to ensure that you are hiring a trustworthy company. Plus, it is essential that you bring in a contractor who will offer the best service so that you don’t have to worry about the quality of the work that is completed.

Many homeowners find it beneficial to talk with friends and family for recommendations. You might know someone who has a connection to the best contractor in your area. A good recommendation can go a long way to giving you the peace of mind to know that you are getting the right services for your home.

If you don’t have a recommendation from friends or family, consider looking online to find a contractor for hire. Done carefully, a little bit of research can help you hire a quality contractor so that you can avoid the common scams in the contracting industry.

Avoid Contractor Scams

Once you have found a contractor that you would like to hire, do a little research online to see if you can find any information about the company. You might find negative reviews, which could be an indication that you should consider hiring someone else instead. Or, you might find nothing about the company, which can also be a warning sign since they don’t have a proven track record.

Be sure that you have a signed contract in place before the renovation project starts. Also, you should look for options to make payments on the services instead of paying for everything upfront. If the contractor requires a complete payment before the job starts, then you might be risking the money if the contractor takes off. It is standard to pay a third up front, a third when the job is nearing completion, and the remainder after the project is done.

At Duffy Realty of Atlanta, we know that renovations are sometimes needed when you buy or a sell a home. If you are interested in learning more about renovations that can improve your property value, we invite you to contact us to learn more about the real estate industry here in Atlanta and the surrounding areas: (678) 318-1700

4 Easy Ways to Improve Your Home Appraisal Results

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Whether you are selling your home or getting ready to refinance, it is essential to have an appraiser complete an inspection of the property. This inspection can have a big impact on the price that you get for the home, because the selling price will be based on the value that is determined by the appraiser.

If the appraisal is low, then you will have a hard time maximizing the equity that is available when you sell the home. This equity is essential to ensure that you can buy the home of your dreams, helping you to have a safe and comfortable space for your family.

Even though you don’t have a lot of time to put into home repairs and upgrades, there are a few small things that you can do to improve the results of the appraisal and get the best price for your home:

Boost the Appearance of the Property

First impressions make a big difference, so you need to be sure that you are setting the right impression with the exterior and interior appearance of your home. Hire a handyman to spiff up the yard and property before the appraiser comes. You can boost curb appeal with a fresh coat of paint, strategically placed flower pots, wiping down light fixtures, and staging the porch area with outdoor furniture.

Take Care of Small Repairs

Most homeowners have a list of small, outstanding tasks that need to be done. These small details can have a big impact on the overall results of the appraisal. Bring in contractors to inspect the major systems that haven’t been serviced, such as the heating and air conditioning system, plumbing, or anything else that might need small repairs.

Document Upgrades and Repairs

Have you recently had major renovations on the home? Make sure to save the records, including receipts and any other paperwork to document the upgrades. This information can be shared with the appraiser so that they can see the added value from the time and money that was put into the property. You will be able to prove that the renovations were completed in a way to focus on quality, and no expenses were spared to improve the overall comfort and quality of your home.

Talk with an Experienced Real Estate Agent

Life gets busy, which means that most homeowners don’t have the time or experience to know the changes that need to be made to the property. Before an appraiser visits your home, talk with a real estate agent who will make suggestions about improvements that need to be completed. You deserve to work with a real estate agent who can offer a lot of experience, because they will be familiar with the comps in the area. Plus, their trained eye will quickly identify anything that needs to be addressed to improve the value of your property.

Here at Duffy Realty of Atlanta, we have the real estate experience that you need. Our team wants to ensure that you get the best real estate services in Atlanta, so we invite you to contact us to learn more: (678) 318-1700