Agent of Distinction

I am pleased to announce that I have been awarded the Agent of Distinction Certification (AOD) and have completed the KW Diversity Certification Program, including training in The Color of Real Estate and Unconscious Bias in Real Estate.

Thank you KW for providing me with the tools to assist my clients and help me to grow!

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💐 May 🌻 Housing 🏠 Indicators for GA

New Listings Increase in Georgia Housing Market in May

The Monthly Housing Indicators for Georgia are in for May. Median Sales Prices were up 22 percent year-over-year, Days on the Market decreased 18 percent, and Months Supply of Inventory rose to 1.4 months.

New Listings 📈 increased eight percent to 18,889
Pending Sales 📉 decreased eight percent to 114,183
Closed Sales were 📉 down five percent to 14,140
Inventory levels 📈 increased six percent to 19,566 units
The Median Sales Price 📈 increased 22 percent to $355,000
The Average Sales Price 📈 increased 17 percent to $422,864
Days on Market 📉 decreased 18 percent to 22 days
Months Supply of Inventory was up eight percent to 1.4 months

Looking at the Housing Supply Overview – which takes a closer look at key metrics in relation to price range, property type and bedroom count – stark contrasts exist between single-family homes and townhomes/condos, and as well and lower-priced (199K or less) properties. Pending Sales were down for all properties with the exception of homes priced $300,000 and above:

$124,999 or less – 8 percent 📉 decrease
$125,000 – $199,999 – 39 percent 📉 decrease
$200,000 – $299,999 – 22 percent 📉 decrease
$300,000 and above – 21 percent 📈 increase

Additionally, Pending Sales for existing townhomes with four bedrooms or more posted the largest gain at 84 percent.

*Information supplied from GeorgiaREALTORS®

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Happy Pride Month!

🏳️‍🌈


The month of June is Pride Month, a time to celebrate, educate, and embrace our LGBTQ+ community and Atlanta goes all out! From fun festivals and parades to educational exhibits, there is always a myriad of ways to celebrate and learn. Take some time to check out what events are offered in your area, and let us know what you are most excited for!

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Celebrate JUNEteenth

Happy Juneteenth!

On June 19, 1865 slaves in located in Texas, specifically Galveston learned of their status as free citizens when the union army arrived to deliver the news. For the first time these people were able to taste freedom despite the Emancipation Proclamation legally ending slavery nearly 2 years earlier, in January of 1863. Prior to this day, an estimated 250,000 slaves were not able to enjoy their newly acquired freedom thus marking Juneteenth as our official date of freedom in its entirety.

We wish everyone a wonderful long weekend, but please also take some time to remember what we are celebrating!

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WOODSTOCK

Woodstock is a bustling suburb north of Atlanta and is one of the fastest growing cities in Georgia and even the US. Woodstock truly came to be when a 10 mile wide gold belt was discovered which led to the Georgia Gold Rush of the mid 1800s.

Prior to that Woodstock was a quiet agricultural town specializing in poultry and cotton growth. Today it is a far cry from its early beginnings as a town for mining and agriculture, being more of a quintessential home base for those interested in suburban living while remaining close to local shops, restaurants, and festivals.

Woodstock attributes its fast growing economy mainly to tourism and commerce, but also acknowledges a large amount of its recent growth is due to desirable school districts (Cobb County, Cherokee County, and a variety of private options).

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Carving Out Your Home Office Space

May 05, 2022 Vincent Russo

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When COVID-19 emerged, a lot of employers realized the advantage of allowing at least some employees to work from home. Not only can it act as a benefit for employees, but it can also help to reduce the cost of stocking and maintaining a physical office space. As a result, the number of people working in home offices has increased significantly over the last few years. This trend will likely continue as well, since companies are realizing that many employees like a work-from-home option and are actively seeking out WFH positions.

While there are definite advantages to this, it does bring up one potential problem: If your home wasn’t designed with a home office in mind, where are you going to put it? While some people solve this problem by just sticking a desk in the living room or bedroom, that isn’t exactly an elegant solution, and doesn’t afford you much privacy for work. If you need a new home office space, here are some suggestions that might help you find the room that works for you.

Determining Your Home Office Needs

In general, a home office may be kind of small in scope compared to what you might be used to in a corporate office setting. While you’ll certainly have some requirements that your office must meet, they aren’t going to be as elaborate as if you were planning out an office layout at the workplace. To figure out exactly what you need for your home office, start by making a list.

Most likely you’ll need a computer and a desk, since the internet is usually what makes the “from home” part of work-from-home possible. You may also need a printer and printing supplies, even though a lot of your work will likely be submitted in digital format. From there it gets a bit more specific to you and the way that you work. Will you need sticky notes or a whiteboard to aid your productivity? Does your job require any sort of special equipment to perform? Do you have privacy requirements, either personal ones or legal ones (such as if you’re processing customer/patient data)? Make a list of everything that you’ll need your home office to provide.

Consider Your Available Space

Once you have a good idea of your home office needs, start looking at places in the home that might meet those requirements. It may mean converting a craft room, study, or den into an office, or rearranging furniture to make room for the desk to make those rooms into multi-purpose spaces. You may have to shuffle around a few different rooms to come up with the space that you want. Some people have even converted walk-in closets or pantries into home offices that are small but get the job done. Regardless of how you work things out, just make sure that the office area you choose fully meets your needs before you settle into it. You should also keep track of the square footage of your new home office for tax purposes, since you may be eligible for a tax break on your home office depending on where you live.

Home Office Alternatives

While the most common way that people create a home office is to shuffle things around and set up an office space within the home, there are other options available as well. If no space in your home meets your specific needs, you might consider hiring a contractor to build an addition that matches the specs of the home office that you want. Another option is to install a large shed or other outdoor building and convert it for home office use. Not only do these options give you the space that you need, but they may also help to better define the line between “work” and “personal time” at home.

If you think that an addition or external office is right for you, HomeKeepr can help you find the pros that you need to make it happen. Contractors, electricians, external building installers, and more can be found on our app, ready to match with you and make your home office dreams come true. Creating a HomeKeepr account is free, so sign up today. It’s the first step toward the home office that you need and want!

Original Post: https://blog.homekeepr.com/carving-out-your-home-office-space?sharedby=vincent-russo

Resurfacing Countertops: An Introduction

Apr 28, 2022 Vincent Russo

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A nice countertop can really make your kitchen stand out. Unfortunately, your counters tend to get a lot of use over their lifetime and can really start to show that wear as they age. Conventional wisdom often suggests that when your counters start to stand out because of their stains or damage then it’s likely time to start thinking about new countertops. That can be a really big expense, though… which is why you might be better off considering resurfacing your countertops first.

As the name suggests, resurfacing your countertops provides a new top surface for the countertop that can provide it with a new lease on life. Depending on your reasoning for redoing your countertops and the condition they’re in, there are a few different ways that you can go about resurfacing them. Let’s take a look at some of the options that are available to you to see if resurfacing is a better option for you than replacing your countertops completely.

Improving the Aesthetic

One reason that you might be considering new countertops is that you want to change the look or general aesthetic of your counters. This might be because the countertops don’t really match other decorative aspects of the kitchen, or because various stains, scratches, and blemishes have made them rather unappealing. Regardless of the reason, there are a few options available for this. The most popular of these options are countertop paints and epoxy resurfacing. Bear in mind that this isn’t just a matter of slapping a layer of paint on the countertop and calling it a day; these paints and epoxies fill in small cracks and other damage, seal the countertop, and provide you with a hardened final surface that is resistant to damage and staining.

If that sounds like a little bit more of a project than you’re wanting to take on and you’d just prefer your countertops to have some more protection against future scratches and stains, there are options for that too. The most common treatment of this type comes in the form of countertop films. These functionally work similar to contact paper, but they bond better and provide a better layer of protection than you’d get from using regular contact papers. They also have the advantage of letting you cover only sections of the countertop if you’re trying to establish things like dedicated prep areas or a space by the sink for glassware to air dry.

Repairing Surface Damage

If the damage to your countertops is more severe than surface scratches, there are a few different ways that you can fix the issue while resurfacing. Some counter epoxies are designed to fill in larger areas of damage, providing you with a beautiful and uniform surface once all the epoxy has cured. Filler compounds can also be used; you sand the filler once it’s dried and then apply epoxy or countertop paints as part of the final finish.

Another option, especially if you have stone or granite countertops that have cracks in them, is to have a concrete skim coat applied as a resurfacing material. While this won’t provide you the same longevity as installing full concrete counters, it will patch the damage effectively and give you a rock-hard countertop surface to boot. This can be especially effective if you were looking for a way to shake up the look of your kitchen as well.

Resurfacing Your Countertops

Think resurfacing your countertops solve will your counter problems? That’s great! HomeKeepr can help you find a countertop pro in your area that can help you find the resurfacing solution that best meets your needs. Do you think that you have bigger problems and need a full replacement? We can help you find an installer to aid with that as well. Either way, creating a HomeKeepr account is free, so sign up today and find the professional that your countertops need!

Original Post: https://blog.homekeepr.com/resurfacing-countertops-an-introduction?sharedby=vincent-russo

Always Tour a Home Before Making an Offer: Here’s Why

Apr 25, 2022 Vincent Russo

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At first, the thought of buying a home without having taken a tour to see it in person might seem like an odd choice. When it comes down to it, though, there are actually a few different scenarios in which making an offer on a home that you haven’t toured might seem like a good idea. You might be buying a home in a new part of the country that you’re currently not in and hope to have the property secured before you move, or it might be a home that’s getting a lot of attention and you want to get an offer in quickly. You might even be considering skipping the tour due to lingering concerns about the pandemic, or for other equally valid reasons.

While there are definitely good reasons to skip out on a tour, doing so can be a bad idea, maybe not even for the reasons that you think. Let’s take a look at some of the main reasons that you should avoid skipping a home tour, as well as some options if you don’t want to (or can’t) tour the property in person yourself.

Why You Should Take the Tour

One of the most obvious reasons to take a home tour is so that you can ask questions about parts of the home that might not be covered in its online profile. Signs of leaks or water damage might not be highlighted in photos, and other indicators of past damage are easy to overlook if you don’t see them in person. By identifying them during a tour, you can find out if repairs have been made or if there are other surprises waiting for you after the purchase.

That’s not the only reason that you’ll want to go on a tour yourself, though. By touring a home, you can get a better feel for how the house will actually fit in with your lifestyle and your personal tastes. It can help you to identify all the little things in the home that you’ll love that the photos might have missed, as well as those parts of the house that you’re probably going to want to have some work done to fix up or remove. Touring a home before making an offer gives you a better idea of how much work you’ll need to put into the house to get it to be exactly the home that you want.

Virtual and Proxy Tours

There are a few options available when you can’t be there in person to take the tour. An increasingly popular option is the virtual tour, which can be either prerecorded or live depending on who’s listing the home. Live virtual tours are a much better option when they’re available, since with a live tour you have the Realtor (and sometimes even the sellers) there walking you through the property with a video feed and answering any questions that you might have in real time.

Another option that might be available to you is a proxy tour. In this case, someone you know (or at least, someone acting as your representative) goes through an in-person tour and asks questions that you’ve prepared ahead of time. They may also take pictures or video for you, highlighting potential problems or points of interest to make sure that you’re aware of them. While this isn’t as good of an option as a virtual tour that you take part in directly, a proxy tour is still better than no tour at all.

Making Plans After the Tour

Once you’ve taken your tour and made your offer, you might already have some ideas in your head about repairs, remodels, and other changes you’d like to make. HomeKeepr can help you find the contractors and other pros you’ll need to hit the ground running once the purchase is complete. Creating a HomeKeepr account is free, so sign up today and be ready to turn your new home into the home of your dreams!

Original post: https://blog.homekeepr.com/always-tour-a-home-before-making-an-offer-heres-why?sharedby=vincent-russo

Choosing a Loan That’s Right for You

Apr 21, 2022 Vincent Russo
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Finding the right loan to meet your needs can be one of the hardest parts of buying a new home. There are a number of mortgage options out there, and if you choose one that isn’t really ideal for your situation, then you might end up paying a lot more for it in the long run. With so many options, though, how do you know that you’re getting the best loan to match your situation?

It might take a little bit of homework, but there are actually a few different ways to sort through potential loans to find the best one for you. A lot of things can affect the loans that are available to you, including where you live, what your credit history looks like, and even the state of the economy. With that said, here are a few things that you should keep in mind when shopping around for loans to help ensure that you get the loan that best meets your needs.

Interest Considerations
Getting a good interest rate on a mortgage loan is obviously a big concern for most potential buyers, since even a small difference in interest rates can result in large savings when choosing between two mortgages. This is one of the big reasons that it’s recommended that you shop around for your mortgage, comparing quotes from a few different lenders to find the one that offers you the best interest rate. The rate alone isn’t the only thing that you need to consider when comparing loans, though.

Interest can take multiple forms on mortgage loans. Fixed-rate loans lock in a single rate for the entire repayment period, while variable-rate loans can change over time (usually once per year and with the amount of change capped, but the exact details can differ between loan providers). Some mortgages even act as a hybrid between these two, locking in a low rate for a specific period and then changing it after that period has ended. Understanding the type of interest that a mortgage features and how it will work over the course of the loan can help you avoid unexpected payment changes down the line.

Loan Terms and Features

The term of your mortgage is another thing that you should pay careful attention to, since it can affect both your monthly payment and the amount that you pay in interest over time. Longer-term loans may cost you more in the long run, especially if you have a loan that will increase in interest over time. Likewise, shorter-term mortgages can save you money in interest, but might be harder to pay each month due to a higher overall payment. You should also watch out for loans that only have you pay against interest during the first part of the loan’s term; this starts you off with a low monthly payment, but isn’t reducing the amount that you owe at all until the payment increases.

There are other mortgage considerations that you should keep in mind as well. Most mortgages will require you to cover a portion of the property being purchased in a down payment, and the down payment amount can vary significantly between lenders. Different loan programs such as loans secured by the FHA can reduce this and some other costs as well. Just be sure to do your due diligence in exploring your loan options first.

Finding the Perfect Loan

The key to finding the mortgage that’s right for you is finding lenders that you can trust. Fortunately, HomeKeepr can help you with this. Our app can connect you with lenders and loan professionals so that you can compare offerings and secure the best mortgage that you can find. Creating an account is free, so sign up today and get started in your hunt for the perfect mortgage loan. Your dream of becoming a homeowner is just a few steps away!

Original Post: https://blog.homekeepr.com/choosing-a-loan-thats-right-for-you?sharedby=vincent-russo

Does My Heat Pump or A/C Need Replacing?

Apr 18, 2022 Vincent Russo

Summer is just around the corner, and for a lot of homeowners, that means having to run the air conditioner or heat pump around the clock just to keep ahead of climbing temperatures. These tools are amazing for keeping things cool, but after a while, they too can get worn out and need replacing. Do you know how to tell if it’s time to retire your current unit?

Efficiency Is Everything

Many people believe that if their unit is still working, it’s still doing its job, but with HVAC systems this isn’t always true. Efficiency is really everything, and an air conditioner or heat pump that’s slipping in this department may be on its way out the door. Older units may still cool just as well as they always did, and regular maintenance can ensure they live longer lives, but as parts start to wear, efficiency may begin to lag behind.

You’ll notice it in little things, like the amount of electricity your unit is using to cool your home compared to, say, the same month five years ago. Sure, weather patterns need to be accounted for, but if the amount of fuel used by your air conditioner or heat pump continues to climb year after year, you’re losing efficiency and your unit is showing its age.

Your utility bill is a great place to go for this information, but you can also gauge how efficient your unit is by checking the data from your smart thermostat, too. The longer you’ve had the thermostat, the more data it will have collected about all sorts of things, including, on many models, the weather outside your home.

Some Units Simply Become Obsolete

Although efficiency is really important to your HVAC happiness, another pressing issue is at play when trying to determine if your unit is ready to be replaced: obsolescence. Older air conditioners and heat pumps may have parts that are difficult or impossible to locate from distributors, driving up prices or making repairs untenable.

On the other hand, your parts may be just fine, but your coolant may not be. For example, if you have a slow leak that’s repairable, you’d need to replace the coolant that had escaped, with more of the original coolant. Many older units still contain coolants that are no longer manufactured or legal to sell, and your options are very few when it comes to changing the coolant in one of these units.

As long as your coolant is going strong, there’s no issue, but as soon as there is, even a well-functioning older unit may become completely useless. It’s not that your unit is worn-out, as such, but when you can’t get the coolant you need, and the potential for retrofitting to something more modern is a costly one, it really only makes sense to upgrade.

Not Sure If It’s Time To Throw in the Towel?

If you’re still not certain if it’s time to upgrade your air conditioner or heat pump, it makes sense to have a professional check it out. They can answer any questions you may have about the unit’s longevity and efficiency, as well as its environmental impact, and help you decide if it’s time to retire the beast or keep it in service a while longer. Sometimes, all an air conditioner needs is a good checkup and cleaning to go back to running at its best, after all.

But where will you find an HVAC professional you can trust? Your HomeKeepr community can help! Just ask for a recommendation for the best HVAC pros in your area, and invite them over for a little air conditioner viewing party. They’ll give you an idea about costs, and what your options are for the future of your home’s climate control. If you have more specific goals, like greatly improving your energy efficiency with a high-efficiency unit, they can help you balance those with the cost of acquisition, as well.

Original post: https://blog.homekeepr.com/does-my-heat-pump-or-a-c-need-replacing?sharedby=vincent-russo

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