2020 Kicking off in High Gear

The 2020 real estate market is already in full swing and it’s only January 5th! 2019 was a time of low rates, low supply (in most areas and price points) and high demand. My guess is that rates stay the same or even slightly lower this year. No one has a crystal ball but, in talking with my favorite mortgage brokers, this is the common thought. This should also help buyers choose homes in early spring, vs waiting. In years that rates are great, buyers are nervous that rates will increase and want to take advantage of locking in early. You have to be under contract to lock your rate, so this will be a motivating factor when looking in early Jan-Feb.

There is a major lack of inventory at entry level pricing in all areas based on varying factors including the cost of build materials and land and the uptick of millennial buyers (1980-1988 birth date) getting out there and buying homes. They are the largest group buying nationally at a rate of 37% of 2019 sales. They typically want walkability (to shopping and schools), smaller homes and clean/modern vibe. They are internet savvy so online presence is key to marketing with millennial buyers.

Our office was buzzing this past week with new contracts and home staging dates. It was this way last year and the one prior so let’s hope it’s another positive year. Cheers to 2020!



Thompson Hotel coming to Buckhead

A new, mid-priced hotel is under development in Buckhead Village. Two Atlanta developers, Loudermilk Companies and Regent Partners LLC, are pairing up to open a 10 story hotel with around 200 rooms at 415 East Paces Ferry Road near the Shops at Buckhead. The hotel will be designed by Atlanta-based Rule Joy Trammell + Rubio LLC and managed by the Thompson Hotel collection of Denver-based Two Roads Hospitality, LLC whose other locations can be found in Manhattan, Nashville, Chicago, Seattle, and Toronto. Slated to break ground sometime in 2019 with a predicted opening date in early 2021, the hotel will feature a rooftop chef-driven restaurant and bar as well as around 6,000 square feet of meeting space. The building will be constructed on the site that is currently home to State Bank & Trust Co. on East Paces Ferry Road.


Piedmont Park is Expanding

The Atlanta City Council gave the yes on spending $20m on three acres of land. The entire project with end up around $100m when complete and will end with a border of the park at the corner of Monroe Drive and Piedmont Avenue.

Envisioned with this project is a new gateway arch along the Beltline’s future route. Per Mayor Kasim Reed, the gateway arch will “provide a landmark gateway entrance to the crown jewel of our park system”.

For the near future, shops and restaurants located there will be paying rent to the city.

I’m wondering how this will effect the traffic on this already busy corner! Let’s hope they are smart there and property route everything in and out as well as tie properly into the traffic pattern and current lights/turn signals.

Excited to see how this turns out as it would be a pretty entry with the Botanical Gardens right behind.  If you have not been to those lately, they have a new children’s garden:  http://atlantabg.org/explore/children-s-garden

Expansion art from City of Atlanta:


Tips for Landscaping Lighting

If landscape lighting is on your summer to-do list, a quick trip to the local home store will leave you with lots of choices and maybe some confusion.

To narrow down the choices, decide if you want solar or wired lighting.

Solar lighting is easy to install and probably less expensive. The downside is that it won’t work well in areas with no sunlight. The LED lights are often not as white or bright as wired lighting.

Low voltage electric landscape lighting is usually the choice of professional landscapers, according to DoItYourself.com. They look professional and offer superior illumination and timers, something you won’t get with solar lights. The downside is wiring, which usually is not that difficult but might require a professional to install.

Once you decide on the electronics, placement is the next consideration.

According to Better Homes and Gardens, landscape lighting falls into three categories: Space, task, or accent.

Space lighting illuminates places like gazebos, decks or patios.

Task lights provide safe access along paths or steps.

Accent lights highlight architectural features and are used to wash a wall with light and accent plants.

No matter what kind of lighting you need, the first rule of thumb is that less is more, according to ThriftyDecorChick.com.

Too many lights distract from the beauty and too-high wattage looks and feels garish.

For wash lighting on the side of the house, use a wide beam. Pay attention to the shadows the lights cast and whether the lights shine too severely into the house.

With wired lighting, wait a couple of days before you bury wires. You will almost certainly change your mind on the light locations and even the number of lights. Experiment with positioning.

The idea behind great landscape lighting is to create safe areas and layers of light.

Avoid creating a runway effect with lights placed in a straight line.

Use lower-wattage wide beams focused upward to wash your home in a delicate glow. Make sure it doesn’t shine in the neighbors’ eyes.

Uplight interesting trees.

Downlight patios and decks. Make sure you can turn the light off if you want just candlelight.


Best time of year for intown condos!

I do not blog much on here but always this time of year, I see the same thing occurring so worth a note. Agents and homeowners with a desire to move want to wait until spring to list their homes based on the ‘market being better’. Yes there are more buyers then but there are also many, many more listings. In Atlanta, there are always people relocating at any time of year. Particularly to intown condos/townhomes, this time of year always feels the ‘time to sell’. Intown condos/townhomes are not typically driven by school timing so why not take advantage of the lower inventory and catch those buyers looking now. Your home will stand out. Also, I see more cash buyers this time of year for whatever reason. In showing this ‘time of year’ works, this past month, I have listed two Buckhead condos (Buckhead Grand 1 bedroom and Paramount 2 bedroom) as well as a townhome in Sandy Springs (ITP by the hospitals). All three we had priced ‘just slightly over all past same home sale prices’. All three sold in the first week and a half on market with multiple offers. This happens each year at this time. Just found that interesting and worth sharing for those of you both realtor friends with clients and intown home owners ‘waiting until spring’!


Home Items to do in the Fall

With winter coming, the following things are always good to do each fall-

  • After leaves have fallen, clean the gutters to keep water flowing away from the house.
  • Remove garden hoses from outdoor faucets/bibs, drain and store hoses, and shut off the water.
  • Check caulking anywhere two different materials meet. Specifically, check wood siding joining the foundation wall and where window or door trim meets the siding.
  • Check for broken or cracked glass and damaged screens or storm windows.
  • Insulate pipes in crawl spaces and attics.
  • Have the chimney flue inspected and cleaned by a certified chimney sweep. Also, inspect the damper.
  • Remove bird nests from chimney flues and outdoor electrical fixtures.
  • Run all gas-powered lawn equipment until the fuel is gone.
  • Clean, repair and store outdoor furniture.
  • Trim tree branches that hang over the roof or gutters.
  • Mulch around bulbs, shrubs and trees to prevent drastic soil temperature change from destroying plant root systems.
  • Check the reversing/safety mechanism on garage door operators.
  • Inspect the roof for missing or damaged shingles and repair.
  • If you have a pool, check the pool cover for damage and repair or replace if necessary.
  • Make sure the seal between your garage door and the ground is tight. Add a layer of weather stripping if necessary.
  • Have your heating system inspected and cleaned by a certified professional, and remember to change your furnace filters regularly.
  • Change the direction of ceiling fans to create an upward draft that redistributes warm air from the ceiling.
  • Test and change the batteries in all smoke detectors.
  • Empty all soil from outdoor pots and planters.

And stock up on hot chocolate and red wine!
Jenny



Do Brookhaven, Dunwoody or Sandy Springs Dekalb County Areas Require Low Flow Plumbing?

This is an oh so common question that I get from homeowners, home buyers and agents on the other side of a transaction.  DeKalb County a few years back (Jan 2009) required that all homes in DeKalb County have a low flow plumbing certification signed off on before they would transfer or start the water for a new homeowner.

Listing agents in Dekalb should add a notice of this ordinance to the seller’s disclosure and/or sales contract. Before the new homeowner can obtain water service, they must provide written proof from a home inspector, licensed plumber, or a Department of Watershed Inspector. This certificate will be required with their application for water service.

The necessary certification of compliance for the DeKalb County Low Flow and Exemption Form can be found and downloaded here:http://www.dekalbwatershed.com/PDF/low_flow_info.pdf

Guidelines are: Single family homes and condos must meet the following: 1. Toilets that use max 1.6 gallons per flush 2. Shower heads max of 2.5 gallons per minute 3. Lavatory faucets max of 2 gallons per minute 4. Kitchen faucets output of max of 2.2 gallons per minute

Below are some exemptions to the ordinance:
1. Foreclosure sale of home
2. Family sales (spouse to spouse or parents to children)
3. Homes that will be demolished after the sale
4. Circumstances where the cost of replacement would be over $1,000.00 per toilet

It’s tricky to know which toilets to change to so to be sure, here is a list of a few that are a-ok:
http://www.epa.gov/watersense/pp/find_het.htm


Protecting Your Home from Water Damage

In about 80% of inspections that my buyers or sellers have, there is a water issue that arises to be fixed prior to closing. Most common is wood rot around eves, window frames or lower areas of home siding on hardiplank, cedar or LP siding homes.  Other times, it can be more pricey and include areas like basements, foundations, roofs and interiors.

There are some key steps that you can take to protect your home from water damage. Below, I have listed a few of ways to help ‘seal’ your home from menacing water damage. This will insure proper aesthetics, sometimes even protect your air quality and definitely save you from a costly bill down the road.

ITEM #1:  Blocking Water from Entry Points:  1)Replace any damaged or missing roofing shingles (curling or cupping shingles are included on the ‘to do’ list)  2) Assure you have all needed gutters and downspouts (making sure they are cleaned regularly, have proper pitch and are not too narrow) 3) Assure all windows and doors have proper paint/glazing and/or caulk.

ITEM #2: Smart Redirection of Water 1) Sump pumps added to collect any water and send it out (clean periodically so silt does not settle)  2) French drains around the perimeter of your house (can be directed to the sump pump if no other extraction route) 3) Keeping your furnace elevated so it cannot/doe not flood

If Water Does Come In, Do the Right Steps – Waiting to fix water damage only causes more damage and can create mold/bacteria 1) Turn off your pipes immediately. You and your spouse should know where your water shut off valve is. If it happens at 1am, you most likely will not get a hold of your realtor, inspector or plumber.  More important than anything, get everyone and all pets out at the time of the problem.

If you ever end up with a high amount of water damage, I recommend in Georgia, calling Servpro to remediate the problem area properly. They are not the cheapest but, do not mess with water damage and a ‘do it yourself program. If you need them, Servpro- http://www.servpro.com/