Home Warranties – Thoughts to Help Homeowners!

Home warranties are a little on the controversial side of real estate conversation among many homeowners…

For those who have received the benefits of good service and a quality repair or system replacement related to an unexpected and expensive home repair, the home warranty was a wise investment.

For those who purchased the product, and never needed the service, or for those who received poor service, it may not seem like quite the investment coup.

Here are a few thoughts to help homeowners put the question of whether or not to purchase or renew a home warranty into perspective:

* Home warranties are, in many ways, like a form of insurance. They’re designed to assist with unexpected home repairs, but are not intended for use as a substitute for attentive home maintenance or to address pre-existing conditions.

* Home warranty products vary. Each company will have its own version of basic coverage and most will also add “upgrade features” for homeowners interested in expanded coverage. Among others  warranty company may make available coverage for home appliances like a clothes washer or dryer or fridge, for HVAC systems, for automatic garage doors, for limited roof leaks, for pools and spas, and even for wells or septic systems.

* It’s important to review both coverage AND exclusions for the home warranty product you’re considering. Be sure you understand the product, the level of the protections you’re purchasing, and the limits of the warranty.

* As with any important financial decision or insurance purchase, comparison shop warranty products and service reviews too!

We hope this helps! We’re here to help and would be delighted to chat with you about the home you’re hoping to sell, and the home you’re hoping to find!

Call on us… We would be delighted to speak with you!

CONDOATLANTA.com
Andy and Ann Marie
condoatlanta.com, inc.
404.939.5820
http://condoatlanta.com

All information contained herein is believed to be accurate, but is not warranted.

Home Improvement – Making Your Great Room a Great Space!

Ready for a new look in your living room? Make your Great Room a Great Space!

We have some inspirational ideas to share…

Fresh Paint and Color
Consider a fresh coat of paint – and maybe even a new color – for your walls and trim. Perhaps you’re dreaming on the idea of an accent wall or the addition of color above and below chair rail molding or wainscoting?

When trying to make design decisions, you’ll want to focus in on the look you’re hoping to accomplish, your personal tastes and the design and decor of your home overall… Bold. Elegant. Chic. Trendy. Traditional. Serene. There are so many possibilities and resources for ideas and inspiration.

As you’re developing ideas or even refining them for selection decisions… Audition colors and ideas using paint and cloth swatches, and do this from within the room and outside with the benefit of natural light. You’ll want to be sure your colors work well together since these will influence the way you experience the living space. If you’re challenged in the arena of color coordination or color compliments, ask for help!

This is also a great time for a reminder: when you go to paint, carefully and with restraint, freshen your caulk too. Caulk can be an excellent finishing tool when patiently applied.

If lead-based paints were used in your home (most often affecting homes built prior to 1978), and you’re doing any type of work involving the removal of walls, molding, windows or any other renovations that affect areas where this paint is found, it is critical (and required by law) that a lead-certified contractor complete the work. Here’s a helpful link available through the EPA on Lead.

When you’re shopping for your paint products, always request Low-VOC or (even better) No-VOC paints. VOCs are volatile organic compounds and may pose respiratory health risks. While you’re painting (or having your home painted) and after the fact, be sure to ventilate the space.

Remember Your Ceilings
We don’t tend to think about our ceilings when it comes to the look and design of a home, but it’s a great idea to do just that! It may be time to remove the old popcorn-style ceiling in favor or a classic smooth look with paint to match the walls, or maybe you’re hoping for the commanding presence of a coffered ceiling, the modern sophistication of a cove ceiling or the traditional elegance of a tray ceiling. Tin and copper tiles are attractive accent options as well.

Lighting is SO Very Important
It’s always a good idea to update lighting as part of the larger improvement project planning. Update your fixtures and dream on the addition of recessed accent lighting, gallery tracks for your art displays, under cabinet lights for your built-ins or even wall sconces. Remember to add dimmer switches to your fixtures for the greatest flexibility in lighting your living space.

Floor or table lamps are lovely design appointments too. If your floor plan is open, and you’re hoping to place the lamp within that open space, consider the placement of in-floor outlets.

There is an energy saving option too. Next generation LED bulbs will likely last longer than you’ll own the home, have come down in price, and use a fraction of the electricity required by traditional incandescent bulbs. The light spectrum quality is also superior and LEDs do not come with the risks of mercury exposure from breakage associated with compact fluorescents.

Windows are a Natural Extension to Green Spaces and City Views
Enjoy the delightful beauty of natural light in your home, and the ways your windows extend your visual living space to green views including parks and city skylines.

Be sure to keep your windows clean and replace those that have fogged or are otherwise in need of repair. Fogged windows are no longer providing the same level of insular benefit and they’re unsightly too.

You might also want to explore the possibility of window seats or creative window gardens. Winter is upon us, but spring and summer aren’t all that far off now!

The Floors! The Floors!
Our floors are overworked and all too often under appreciated, but they are so important to the look and feel of a home. If you’re ready to update your carpet, consider improving the product grade of the carpet and the pad for look, feel and longevity. Are you thinking about a loop pile carpet like Berber? Or maybe a cut pile carpet like a Saxony, Plush, Textured or Frieze? For homeowners with allergies or other respiratory concerns, there are natural fiber carpets including those made from wool which may make a good alternative.

Tile is a handsome option for style, color, look and wear – often flowing from a kitchen through to the living space in an open floor plan. These can be placed on-the-square or the diagonal and can include decorative insets and designer lines. If you place tile, be sure to consider carefully the selection of your grout color for wear and seal it.

Concrete floors are popular in authentic industrial loft homes. Contrary to the idea that they’re always a drab gray, these floors can be stained or painted, adding lots of design flair to a fabulous loft space. They can also be polished to a high sheen for a look similar to that of marble or another stone.

If you’re hoping for hardwood flooring, do your homework! You’ll want to consider the type of wood floor, your wood selection and your finish.  Are you hoping for site finished hardwoods or an engineered hardwood product? As is the case with paint selection, consider Low-VOC or No-VOC stain, varnish and sealing products.

Among the alternatives to wood – bamboo is a durable, environmentally sustainable flooring option. It may, like other flooring products, emit formaldehyde. Again and in every case – do your homework.

Consumer Reports published a helpful article on flooring which is information-filled and educational: Breathe Easier About Your Flooring

If there is any asbestos (most often in historic homes), be sure you’re working with a qualified contractor who can properly and safely handle encasement or removal. Asbestos might be found, for example, in floor tiles, insulation, duct-work taping, and exterior cladding. 

Fun, Functional Updates and Accessories
Fun, functional updates and accessories will add tremendously to the ways in which you enjoy your living space.

Consider updating your blinds for color, style and the convenience of high tech features like remote controls. Window treatments to match or compliment the fabrics found in your home furnishings are important too.

Install built-ins to add display casing and cabinet-style storage. Perfect for your favorite photographs, art and books, built-ins are both decorative and practical.

Open the space between your kitchen and great room to include a pass through buffet or breakfast bar. You’ll love this for the convenience it creates in serving work week dinners and for ease of entertaining family and friends.

Lift the television up off the table with a wall-mount to create floor space or enclose it in a handsome armoire that will add drawer storage.

Wire your living space for sound – you’ll love this feature whether you’re enjoying enjoying quiet classical, fanciful jazz, your favorite movie or sports event.

Add gas logs to your gas starter fireplace and update your mantle and surround. A lovely hearth is truly charming, and may even be the center piece of your sitting area.

The ideas and options abound!

Consult Community Governing Documents and Your Property Manager
For all homeowners living in multi-family developments like garden-style condominium homes, townhomes and lofts, be sure to consult your governing documents, your property manager and your homeowner’s association for restrictions, permissions and approval or process requirements.

We hope, most of all, that you will really enjoy your home!

If you’re ready to find your home or to resell your current home in search of your next great place? We’re here to help, and we look forward to speaking with you!

Be sure to visit often, and contact us when you’re ready to take the next steps in your home search or sale. We also hope you’ll browse the CONDOATLANTA Photo Galleries of Communities designed to help you search for homes by area with lots of great photos, community descriptions, maps, Walk-Scores and more!

CONDOATLANTA.com is a full service brokerage. We work with buyers and sellers in the Greater Metropolitan Atlanta area. We’re here to help and would be delighted to chat with you about the home you’re hoping to sell, and the home you’re hoping to find!

CONDOATLANTA.com
Andy and Ann Marie
condoatlanta.com, inc.
404.939.5820
http://condoatlanta.com

All information contained herein is believed to be accurate, but is not warranted.

Atlanta Community Updates at the CONDOATLANTA Photo Gallery

We’re updating and expanding the CONDOATLANTA Photo Gallery of Communities!

If your community has fresh new paint colors, an improved landscape or updated amenities, or we haven’t yet added your development to our site coverage, let us know… We’re working hard to keep up with our ever changing city and it’s many wonderful home and communities!

CONDOATLANTA is a full service, Georgia licensed real estate brokerage.

We’re here to help, look forward to hearing from you, and appreciate very much the opportunity to work with you as home buyers and home sellers!

Andy and Ann Marie
CONDOATLANTA.com
http://www.condoatlanta.com/
404.939.5820

All information contained herein is believed to be accurate, but is not warranted.

Gas Service Safety for Your Home – Helpful Links!

Summer is nearly upon us… If you have gas service, it’s a great time to have your systems checked and serviced. We also encourage everyone to review safety information about their home systems and to install detection devices including smoke detectors, carbon monoxide and gas detectors. Atlanta Gas Light also offers helpful safety tips, and we’ve linked those below.

Atlanta Gas Light Safety Information Linked Here

Be safe! Enjoy your home!

CONDOATLANTA is a full service real estate brokerage.

We work with buyers and sellers, and would be delighted to speak with you about the home you’re hoping to sell, the home you’re hoping to buy, or your transition from your current home to your next place!

We would be delighted to speak with you!

CONDOATLANTA.com
Andy and Ann Marie
condoatlanta.com, inc.
404.939.5820 http://condoatlanta.com

All information contained herein is believed to be accurate, but is not warranted.

Home Search, Purchase and Transition Strategies for a Market with Low Inventory!

With the start of the summer home selling season, there is usually an infusion of new listings in the market place of homes for sale! Even so… The Atlanta market has recently experienced very limited inventory which presents some challenges for homeowners interested in moving from their current home to a new place, and for renters trying to time the expiration of a rental agreement or lease with their closing on a purchase.

A couple of suggestions to help!

* If you’re selling your home in the hopes of finding your next great place, consider organizing your belongings and storing them in a climate controlled, secured storage facility with on-site management. This step will help reduce stress when it comes time to move, and may help as well if you need to make temporary arrangements to bridge the time between the sale of your current home in favor of the next one.

* If you’re renting or leasing a home, review your agreement for any terms related to  cancellation and the costs associated with such a decision.

* Once you’ve completed the period of your rental or lease agreement, consider going month-to-month so that your home selection governs the timing of your move rather allowing your rental to govern the homes from which you’ll be selecting yours! There is usually a higher monthly cost to a month-to-month rental, but it’s a worthwhile consideration when inventory is low. Remember that your goal is the successful purchase and closing on the home you hope to call your own — a home you’re hoping to enjoy for years to come!

…and be sure to browse the CONDOATLANTA Photo Galleries of Communities designed to help you search for homes by area with lots of great photos, community descriptions, maps, Walk-Scores and more!

CONDOATLANTA.com is a full service brokerage. We work with buyers and sellers in the Greater Metropolitan Atlanta area. We’re here to help and would be delighted to chat with you about the home you’re hoping to sell, and the home you’re hoping to find!

We’re here to help and look forward to speaking with you!

CONDOATLANTA.com
Andy and Ann Marie
condoatlanta.com, inc.
404.939.5820
http://condoatlanta.com
 
All information contained herein is believed to be accurate, but is not warranted.

Pet Companions and Homeownership!

Searching for a home just right for you — and your pet companion?!

We can help! Here are a couple of thoughts and ideas…

* Multi-family communities often have governing rules related to pets. These are developed for the benefit of everyone in the community and may as well have insurance implications. It’s important to understand and live respectfully within any limitations. The specifics of any pet limits vary, but typically will reference and restrict breed, size measured in weight, or total number of pets allowed within a home.

* Pet walks have become increasingly popular in Greater Atlanta condominium and townhome communities! These areas make lovely additions to communities and are typically grassy spaces designed for both pet relief (with clean up facilities) and play!

* Pet parks have also become a wonderful way for Greater Atlanta homeowners and residents to enjoy time and outdoor exercise with their furry companions including dog parks located in and around the city in Piedmont Park, Oakhurst, Atlantic Station and more!

…and when you’re ready to find just the right place to share with your pet companion, call on us!

We welcome you also to browse and enjoy the CONDOATLANTA Search Engine to scout the marketplace.

CONDOATLANTA.com is a full service brokerage. We work with buyers and sellers in the Greater Metropolitan Atlanta area. We’re here to help and would be delighted to chat with you about the home you’re hoping to sell, and the home you’re hoping to find!

Call on us… We would be delighted to speak with you!

CONDOATLANTA.com
Andy and Ann Marie
condoatlanta.com, inc.
404.939.5820
http://condoatlanta.com

All information contained herein is believed to be accurate, but is not warranted.

Homestead Exemption – An Important Tax Savings for Eligible Homeowners!

As quickly as possible after closing on your home purchase, eligible homeowners should file for the homestead exemption – an important tax savings opportunity! Many Georgia counties now make this process easy and convenient with internet-based filing options. Be sure to check in with your county property tax office if you have any questions.

…and although next year’s tax filing is some time off yet, it’s a great time to set up your organizational files so you have your information ready-to-go!

After the close of the calendar year, watch for your annual mortgage interest details, and be sure to include these with the package of information submitted to your CPA or tax preparer. For all those who are eligible, this is an excellent tax deduction! The IRS also produces and updates publications to assist taxpayers.

Here are a few suggestions to help…

* If you closed on a home purchase or sale this year, be sure to provide your CPA or tax preparer a copy of your settlement statement as well as the financial details of your contract. You’ll want to provide this information every year going forward.

* If you refinanced your mortgage, be sure to let your CPA or tax preparer know and ask if any of the costs associated with this process are eligible deductions.

*  Include also for your CPA or tax preparer, your year-end interest payment details. These will appear on a typical mortgage billing statement, and you should receive a separate year-end document mailer as well. If you have any questions or concerns, contact your mortgage company with the instructions provided on your statement.

* Your CPA or tax preparer may have a helpful check-list for your review as you get ready for your annual filing. Check in early so you have the time to gather the information you need to accurately and timely complete your tax filing.

* Remember that the laws may change from year to year. Your CPA or tax preparer should be able to help you understand how any changes will affect your filing. Reviewing publications available through the IRS may also be helpful, and the tax office is also available to help answer your questions  as well.

* Consider receiving all sensitive financial documents at a secured location. If your mailbox is not locked and secured, it may be helpful to receive your mail at a Post Office box. If you have made such a change, be sure you let your mortgage company know in addition to all other financial and other institutions that may be sending you important year-end documents, billing and other statements, etc.

We hope this information is helpful! We’re wishing you, each and all, a wonderful summer ahead!

When you’re ready to list and sell your current home, or gear up to purchase your next home, we hope you’ll call on us! We’re here to help, and would be delighted to speak with you!

CONDOATLANTA.com
Andy and Ann Marie
condoatlanta.com, inc.
404.939.5820
http://condoatlanta.com
 
All information contained herein is believed to be accurate, but is not warranted.

Homeowner’s Insurance Coverage – A Great Time to Check In!

It’s a great time of year to check your homeowner’s insurance coverage… Compare rates and options, shop insurance products for value, and be sure to review your owner’s policy against community or HOA coverage so you can secure the most seamless coverage possible with the help of your insurance agent. From time to time, communities make changes to their policies (carriers and/or coverage). Some communities will shop carriers, adjust deductibles or scope of coverage or accept first loss provisions to try to reduce the cost of community coverage.

Your personal coverage needs may also have changed. It’s a good idea to review the question of “riders” to your policy once a year as well (or any time there is a change to your circumstances that would need an evaluation).  Among other items, you may want to ask about coverage for expensive jewelry, fine art, family heirlooms, camera equipment and computers, water beds, aquaria and even some kinds of pets from exotic animals to four legged buddies including dogs.

Periodic review of the master policy declarations with the guidance of your insurance agent will help you secure the best policy for your needs and budget!

For those homeowners who have financing on their homes… When there is any change to coverage (community or owner’s policy), be sure to notify your mortgage company. Mortgage statements vary from one company to the next, but often you’ll find instructions on the reverse side of the monthly statement which include contact information for insurance. Be sure to relay updates or changes or corrections with a reference to your property address and mortgage account number and send with proof or confirmation of delivery.  Always follow up to be sure your communications have been received and to answer any questions your mortgage lender may have about your insurance account.

One additional thought for now… Be sure payment is timely made and you have confirmation that your policy remains in continuous effect.

We hope you’ll remember us when you’re ready to take the next steps toward owning a first home or transitioning from one home to another!

My Atlanta Home Search

We’re here to help and would be delighted to chat with you about the home you’re hoping to sell, and the home you’re hoping to find!

Call on us… We would be delighted to speak with you!

CONDOATLANTA.com
Andy and Ann Marie
condoatlanta.com, inc.
404.939.5820
http://condoatlanta.com