Atlanta Real Estate Blog

buying a homeBuying a home is no small decision, and the process is no minor feat.

To make things less stressful for you, here is a quick and easy overview of all steps along the way. This can help you understand what you’re getting into, and learn how to handle each step as you get there.

Don't forget: if you work with the Keen Team, you'll have an advocate helping you every step of the way. (Check out our testimonials.)

1. Set a Budget

When deciding how much to budget for a home, remember that the mortgage amount you’re approved for doesn’t necessarily equal the amount you can afford.

The cost of owning a home involves more than just the price of the property; it also includes the extra expenses that come along with homeownership — furniture, repairs

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254 Norwood Avenue

254 NORWOOD AVENUE NE
ATLANTA GA 30317

Priced to Sell @ $550,000

MLS #: 5578922

Located in the Historic Kirkwood neighborhood of Atlanta, 254 Norwood Avenue is a 6 bedroom 4 bath neo-craftsman bungalow built in 2001. It sits on a private lot and includes additional “bonus space” on the 2nd level. The galley-style kitchen showcases solid granite counters, a stainless appliance package and wood cabinetry. The living room features a fireplace, soaring 10ft+ ceilings and gleaming hardwood floors throughout the common areas. Upstairs you'll find a master suite with private master bath, large walk-in closet and plush wall-to-wall carpet. There’s a wood entertainment deck off the kitchen and a fully fenced backyard. Sparkling improvements have

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How to Find a Great Real Estate AgentLooking for a new home? Eighty-eight percent of homebuyers use a real estate agent or broker, who becomes their guide, advisor, even confessor. But with more than 2 million active real estate agents and brokers working in the U.S., it’s hard to know which one will be right for you.

We can help. Here are some steps to take and questions to ask when looking for a real estate agent to help you buy or sell a house.

Roundup Independent Referrals:

The National Association of Realtors says 86 percent of buyers are likely to use the same agent again or recommend their agent to others. So work those cocktail parties, PTA meetings and family reunions to gather names of agents who have earned the trust and respect of the people you admire most.

If you're

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lease option lease purchase for sale by owner
If you're thinking about selling your home, you might be entertaining two outside-of-the-box ideas: listing your home FSBO (for sale by owner) or renting out your home on a lease-purchase (or lease-option) agreement.

But both of these options are more complicated than meets the eye.

In this article, we'll walk through the nuances of both of these choices to explain some of the risks that you may not have considered.

In fairness, we'll also elaborate on the benefits, too, and give you tips if you're considering making a move in one of these directions.

The Risks of FSBO

At first glance, selling your house yourself seems like a money-saving idea. After all, you won’t have to pay a commission on a listing agent.

But being your own real

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Is it better to buy a home in July or January?

If you go by the numbers alone, buyers get a better deal on homes during the lazy, hazy days of summer than on the tree-bare, frigid days of winter. A Redfin study shows that in the past five years, more homes listed in winter sold faster and for more money than homes listed in summer. Another Redfin study concluded you’ll likely pay more than the asking price if you buy a home in December, January, February and March.

Or course, numbers don’t tell the whole story. And buying in summer or winter each has its advantages. Here are some things to consider when deciding when’s the best time to look for your dream home.

Summer Considerations

Lots of Choices:

Summer inventory throughout most of the

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house appraisalAre you selling your home?

Home sellers have plenty of concerns, including pricing, inspections, renovations and staging. The last thing sellers should need to worry about is the appraisal.

Unfortunately, many sellers are robbed of sleep by the threat of receiving a property appraisal that undermines your contract price.

And sellers are right to worry about this, because appraising a house is as much art as science (actually mathematics).

But if you’ve set a realistic price – a good real estate agent can help you there -- you should be able to receive an appraisal that helps seal the deal.

To ease your concerns, let's chat about a few appraisal basics, including:

  • What's an appraisal?
  • Can you influence the appraisal?
  • What should
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old vs. new constructionThere’s nothing like a newly constructed home, a pristine place unmarred by floor scratches and nail pops.

On the other hand, an older home has withstood the test of time. Over the years, the house has settled, leaks have been discovered and patched, and, in general, the bugs have been worked out.

Is a new or older home better for you? Here are the advantages of each type of construction.

New Home Advantages

Low Maintenance:

New construction is far less costly to maintain than older construction. The 2009 American Housing Survey by the U.S. Census Bureau showed that 26% of all homeowners spent $100 or more a month on house maintenance, compared to only 11% of owners of newly-constructed homes.

The average lifespan of appliances and HVAC

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Stage Your HomeYou've seen the house flippers on HGTV use staging techniques to make empty properties look lived-in, but as a homeowner trying to sell your house, you’ve already got plenty of stuff. Do you really need to bother "staging" it?

In a word: Yes.

According to the Real Estate Staging Association, professionally staged homes sell 73 percent faster and often garner a higher selling price. That’s because staging is all about showing off your home’s best features while eliminating or reframing as many downsides as possible. Just as you’d dress up a little nicer for a date you really wanted to impress, dressing your home up can help make potential buyers fall in love with it.

And you don’t need to hire a professional to achieve results. Here are 9 great

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Which Home Improvement Projects Increase Home Value...and Which Ones are a Waste of MoneyMaking a major change to your home?

Before you splurge five figures, think about how your update will impact your home's eventual re-sale value.

An upgrade that seems like an awesome idea now (like turning your garage into a giant ball pit for the kids) could come back to haunt you when you put your home on the market ... and find the market doesn’t like what you’ve done with the place.

If you’ve got a renovation or new project on your wish list, take a look at the following first to make sure your future self will remain happy with the changes.

Go For It

A new roof – Roofs are expensive, and if yours is on its last legs, you better believe a home inspector will let potential buyers know. A leaky roof should be fixed immediately, for your

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What to expect when getting a home inspection

A house is one of the most important investments you’ll make, and it's also the place you and your family will call home. 

But what you don't know can hurt you. An unexpected major repair – like needing to replace the roof – can yank tens of thousands from your bank account.

How can you minimize this risk? Before you sign on the dotted line, get a home inspection to make sure you know exactly what issues to anticipate. 

Here’s what you can expect when you schedule an inspection. 

Preparing for the Inspection 

Finding an inspector. Your real estate agent should be able to recommend some good inspectors they’ve worked with in the past, or you can do some research yourself by asking friends and family members for recommendations. Make sure

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