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How to Buy a Great Home for the Long-Run

Searching for a new home? You may know what you want – granite countertops and an open floor plan – but it’s hard to predict what you someday will need.

That’s the challenge of house hunting in real time: It’s hard to select a home that will fulfill both your current and future desires.

Life as we know it changes. Maybe you’re newlyweds and plan a family down the road. Maybe you’re married with teenage kids who, hopefully, will get a job and move into homes of their owns. Or perhaps your parents are aging, and you envision inviting them to live with you when they need a little more help.

The scenarios are infinite, but home choices aren’t. That’s why it’s important to choose a home that you’ll love today, but that you can also customize...

6004 Manchester Circle, Roswell GA 30075

6004 Manchester Place

6004 Manchester Circle

Priced to Sell @ $275,000

MLS #: 5594119 

Located in one of the U.S. Top Cities, 6004 Manchester Circle is a 4 bedroom 3.5 bath custom designed Townhome built in 2006. It sits in a quiet gated enclave just 3 miles from Downtown Roswell on Canton Street and walking distance to local shopping (Publix, Target), restaurants (Sushi, Taco Mac) and entertainment (Movie Tavern). The unique open floor plan on the main level includes a high end kitchen with solid granite counters,...

The Ultimate Guide to Selling a Home

selling a homeFor most of us, listing a home is the biggest sale we’ll ever make. No pressure there!

Putting a house or condo on the market doesn’t have to be a stomach churner. Experienced real estate agents, like The Keen Team, can guide you through this step-by-step process. Here are a few tips that can help you understand what's ahead.

Prepare to Succeed

Prepping your house for sale means denuding it of “you,” so buyers can imagine “them” living in the home.

Put away photos, kiddy artwork, and that ugly vase Aunt Bertha gave you for Christmas. Clear all clutter, replace stained carpeting, and refinish scratched floors. If you’re confused about what should stay and go, ask your real estate agent, who knows how a saleable house looks, feels and smells.


254 Norwood Avenue NE, Atlanta GA 30317

254 Norwood Avenue


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...

How to Find a Great Real Estate Agent

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...

The Risks of 'For Sale by Owner' and 'Lease-Purchase' Agreements

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...

Should You Buy a Home This Summer? Or Wait Until Winter?

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 U.S. historically is 15 percent greater than in winter, according to the National Association of Realtors. That means more houses to see and more chances to find exactly what you’re...

I’m Worried My House Might Not Appraise

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 you...

Should You Buy a New Construction Home or an Older Home?

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...

How to Stage Your Home Like the Pros

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 DIY staging tricks that can help you sell...

Which Home Improvement Projects Increase Home Value… and Which Ones Are a Waste of Money?

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...

Getting a Home Inspection? Here’s What to Expect

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...

Great Ways to Fix Bad Credit

Great Ways to Fix Bad CreditIn today’s economy and credit driven society, bad credit is becoming the norm rather than the exception.  And bad credit may be keeping you from securing loans for a new home or vehicle, or the resulting high interest rates may be putting heavy stress on your finances. The good news is there are hassle-free ways to repair your credit and improve your rating.

Before you do anything else, get a copy of your credit report to discover what things are weighing negatively on your credit. Contact all of the individual creditors listed and find out if you can put together a workable repayment plan that you can afford. As you pay off the debts, get a letter in writing stating that payment has been fulfilled. If you note inaccuracies on your report, dispute them with the creditors reporting them.


Preparing for the College Years

Preparing for College Years with Real EstateA new trend in real estate investment is emerging: parents investing in real estate to fund their children’s college education.

With the ups and downs of the stock market this past decade, more parents are seeking to invest for their children’s future through other assets, including real estate.

How Does It Work?

These parents believe that the time is right to purchase real estate because of low prices and mortgage rates, and have a strong belief that real estate prices will show considerable appreciation by the time their children are in college.

The idea is to purchase a house as an investment property when a child is born or very young. Ideally, a 15-year fixed rate mortgage is used for a property that cash flows in the first year.

By the time the child has reached college age, the property is...

In the Business, We Call It "Show Quality"

Show qualitySelling a home can be a real pain in the butt.

I talk with a lot of folks who are considering selling their home, but just don’t have the time. Or they want to sell, but don’t know where to begin.

Experience tells me they're referring to upgrading their house from its average, everyday living condition, to a condition that sells. All the cleaning and painting and purging and organizing can quickly overwhelm even the most motivated would-be home seller.  

On the other hand, there are those sellers who  jump head-first into the market without considering how the condition of their home affects the outcome.

In the Business, We Call it "Show Quality"

How well does a home show? How prepared is your home for the market, and how attractive will it be to potential buyers?  

Atlanta Home Inspections: To Beware or Not To Beware

Atlanta Home InspectionsIt’s common for home inspections to be a point of stress for a buyer. I recently wrote a segment about choosing a home inspector and the types of home inspections to consider when purchasing a single family home.  

Experience shows that many buyers, especially first timers, have no idea what to expect from a Home Inspection. I sure didn’t when I bought my first place (well, before I was in the business). I remember how stressed and anxious I was about my home inspection, only to have it all fall into place. I was so excited to move into my first digs.

It's Normal To Stress, but Preparation Helps

Buying a home is a big event for most people, and anxiety can understandably run high when awaiting the results of a professional Home Inspection....

5 Good Reasons To Sell Your Home Now

5 Good Reasons to Sell Your Home

Several of our clients realize now is a great time to buy a home. In Fact, Ben and I helped more buyers purchase this year than any single year in our careers.

I'm realizing as the year comes to an end, I may have overlooked why the next 3 to 6 months might also be a great time to sell.

There are 5 good reasons I believe 2015 will be a good time to sell your home. You'll find them below.

1. Demand

My most recent analysis of the Intown Atlanta Real Estate market shows a 5.2 percent increase in sales when compared to this same time in 2014.

Sales have remained above last year's levels going on 3 years now. There are serious buyers out there, and they're looking for their dream home. It could be yours.

2. Supply

Housing inventory in the Intown Atlanta neighborhoods...

Finding a Trustworthy Atlanta Property Manager

Trustworthy Atlanta Property ManagerProperty management, in its broadest terms, is the oversight of real estate. This can encompass everything from single family homes to large, multi-unit apartment complexes.

Property management is a service provided by local real estate firms who do their best to manage your assets. I don't have to tell you there's a significant range of quality and professionalism in the Atlanta Property Manager you chose to work with.

Before you invest your hard earned capital, you have to ask the question – what Property Management approach and methodology works to the benefit of your business?

Understanding the Purpose of a Property Manager

Experience shows most homeowners and investors decide against using a property manager because they don't ...

Can you buy happiness?

I’m not a realtor... I’m a purveyor of new beginnings.  I’m not a broker, I’m a dealer of memories.  I’m not an agent, I’m a lifestyle consultant.

Buying, selling, owning and investing in real estate is still one of the best ways to build wealth in the long term.  And we work to provide our clients with the right information to make smart decisions for their future. 

But what we really love about our job is helping our clients realize their greatest life dreams. We work with people transitioning from one phase to another, big families with big ideas, college grads with new jobs, and empty-nesters with new found freedoms.  Walkers near trails, bikers near paths and foodies near food.  Open lofts for artists, gardens for urban farmers, kitchens for family gatherings, garages for hot rods, basements for woodworking and nurseries for new arrivals.

It’s our pleasure be part of so many interesting, smart,...

Swimming Pools in Atlanta & Decatur

In Atlanta, surviving the summer heat means having access to one of the numerous pools that are available to residents, typically for those with a membership. No summer is complete without the sights and sounds of tanned bodies by the pool, kids screaming for their mom's undivided attention as they jump into the water, and the brazen teenager who attempts to tackle dad into the deep end.

If you’re searching for your cool-down spot this summer, here's a helpful guide to our to a few of our favorite public and private pools in In-town Atlanta and Decatur.

The Grant Park Pool

The Grant Park Pool is a 50-meter private pool in the center of the neighborhood’s swatch of towering trees and large hills. This pool isn’t your typical shallow-to-deep end pool as it is customized to remain the same depth of 4.5 feet throughout. There is a free swim period Monday-Friday between 1:30 PM and 4 PM. Other swim times are paid.

You can purchase an annual pass for $110 per adult,...

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