Should You Wait to Buy a Home?

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With the rush of the holidays fast approaching, it may seem like now is not the best time to purchase a home. But that’s what makes it the ideal time to buy. While other buyers temporarily drop out of the market, sellers still have to sell their homes, which puts you in an advantageous position to negotiate.

If you’re willing to use the time that others are spending decorating, baking and entertaining, you’ll have plenty of room in your schedule to look for and compare homes on the market.
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You may find that homes for sale are slightly lower in price than they were in the summer at the height of the buying season. It may already be cooler weather where you live, making it harder for sellers to keep their homes and lawns pristine. Again, you’re in a better position to negotiate.

For new homes that come on the market, you’ll be first in line to see them without having to compete with many other buyers. These sellers are motivated, perhaps due to being transferred, or some other urgent reason.

Mortgage interest rates are near all-time lows. As the National Association of REALTORS® points out, mortgages 35 years ago were four times as expensive as they are now, and mortgage money is the cheapest money you’ll ever borrow. With fewer homes to close, your lender should be able to expedite your loan so you can move in quickly.

Tell your friends and family what you’re planning … next year, you can have everyone at your home for the holidays.

Let’s have a conversation. My 30 years plus of experience will help you make the best business decision. Call or Email Cathi at The Lund Group …

Should We Add-on or Move?

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One question that I get frequently is this: should we add-on to our home or should we sell it and buy a larger one?

My answer is … it depends! It will certainly depend on both your personal and your financial goals. What do you want to achieve with the renovation or with the move?

There are important tax implications to your decision. Read more at the end of this article.

Houses are usually designed to be the size they were originally built. When you add additional rooms your traffic flow might become awkward and your home could decrease in value. On the other hand, an addition could open up a closed floor plan and make it more functional and highly desirable in the eyes of a buyer. That, in turn, would increase your home’s value. I am happy to come by at any time to make recommendations on where you will get the most “bang” for your buck. We know what makes a difference in today’s market. We can advise you where to spend your time and your dollars on improvements and help you make the right decisions.

Add on or move? We can help you make the right decision.

Add on or move? We can help you make the right decision.

Another issue that might come up is whether or not you are overbuilding for the anticipated values in your neighborhood. You need professional guidance to make that determination … don’t rely on what you find in the well-advertised real estate value websites. Most often, those sites are looking at the broad picture only. I can fine tune that picture and focus on your immediate neighborhood. We are immersed in the real estate world on a day to day basis, and we have the pulse of the marketplace! When I meet with you, I can familiarize you with comparable competing homes and with sales in your immediate price point and area. I can tell you whether or not you will be over-improving for the neighborhood.

Every situation is different. If your lot is exceptional because of its location that could be a huge factor. If it’s on the water or on a golf course, it will have a lot of desirability. Supply and demand will dictate what makes sense and what does not.

Not sure which way to go? Let us help. We have a list of contractors who have done work for many of our clients and have received rave reviews.

Let’s have a conversation. My 30 years plus of experience will help you make the best business decision. Call or Email Cathi at The Lund Group …

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Tax Implications

The following paragraphs were written by my personal tax consultant, Earl W. Morrow, CPA, PC. We firmly believe in using the best professionals when it comes to our business! You can reach Earl at his office, 770-642-9855.

If you decide to undertake the renovation or addition, be careful to carefully document your basis in what was spent for the improvement.   You will need that information eventually when you sell that home for this reason:  since 1997 homeowners who sell a principal residence that they have occupied as their principal residence for 24 of the 60 months preceding the sale can exclude up to $250,000 of the gain on the sale of that home ($500,000 on a married filing joint return) from taxable income!

You cannot declare this type of exclusion from income any more often than every two years.

To determine what your gain in the home you sold actually was you must document purchase price, cost of all capital improvements  and costs to sell your home. If you have more gain than the $250,000 ($500,000 married filing joint) your ability to document your basis becomes tax dollars saved!

Adequate documentation consists of  Invoices for  materials and labor from contractors and vendors and  canceled checks, charges to credit cards or other proof of the payment of the invoice.

Borrowing the funds to finance the improvement or renovation can and usually is from HELOC or equity line loans secured by the residence. If not secured by the residence, the interest paid is not deductible.  The interest on HELOC debt in excess of  $100,000 or first mortgage debt in excess of $1,000,000 is not deductible. If borrowed to renovate or improve your  principal residence, that debt is considered  acquisition debt and may be deducted from regular taxable income and from Alternative Minimum Taxable Income.

 

More Renters can Afford to Buy in Atlanta!

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According to a recent report by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), of the top 10 metro areas with the highest share of renters who earn enough to buy, the Atlanta market was #7.

Atlanta was the largest city of those named with slightly higher percentages.

The two factors named are housing affordability and local job market strength.

With mortgage rates now at their all time low, it really is, in the Atlanta area, the best time to purchase a home!

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If you are a renter, and you want an experienced Realtor® to guide you through the process, Email Cathi at The Lund Group to set up a convenient time for a confidential interview!

Price Your Home To SELL

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New construction can be stiff competition for the resale seller

New construction can be stiff competition for the resale seller

No matter whether we have what consumers like to call a “buyer’s market” or a “seller’s market,” we still see some homes that sell quickly, perhaps with competing offers, and other homes that sit unsold. The best way to price your home to SELL is to look at the same criteria that homebuyers do: market conditions, location, condition and price.

  • Market conditions: Smart buyers hire a real estate professional to help them navigate market conditions and to employ strategies to get the best home possible for their money. Sellers need to have their strategies too!
  • Location: Buyers narrow their searches to neighborhoods within their price ranges. They look at your home and its competitors and choose the one they perceive to be the best value.
  • Condition:  With so many new developments coming on the market, the resale homes have stiff competition.  Buyers want the “latest and greatest” in upgrades. These include kitchens and baths, lighting fixtures, granite types and hardwood floor colors.  White cabinets are becoming popular once again, and buyers seem to love the lighter granites.  If you are considering investing money in renovations, it is likely to be money well spent when it comes time to sell. We can advise you on what makes sense and what doesn’t.
  • Price: Price your home to get immediate and serious offers. You can’t put a price on everything, but many features such as upgrades, fine workmanship, room flow and convenient storage are worth more to buyers. A buyer may compromise on a neighborhood, or they may pick a home in less than perfect condition, but only if the price is right.

    Trust The Lund Group, your Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices professionals, to show you how to make your home the best choice in any market.

Hardwood floors in the Atlanta market

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Hardwood flooring enhances the look of any room and creates a classic ambiance. Real estate agents agree that those homes hold their value better, sell faster and attract higher prices. Hardwood floors are always a draw. They impart warmth, depth and richness that can’t be matched by carpeting, tile or laminate flooring.
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The American Hardwood Information Center cites a national survey of real estate agents in which 99% of respondents agreed that restoring hardwood flooring in the home is one of the best long-term investments one can make. And 90% said these homes sell for more money. Though wood floors will probably need to be refinished at some point, when properly taken care of they are much easier to maintain than other floor surfaces.

In our Atlanta area, the dark hardwood floors have become very popular and are featured in new homes. Many people who purchased their homes as recently as 10 years ago are finding that the golden oak floors, popular at the time, are no longer desirable for many buyers. When a homeowner invests in refinishing their hardwood flooring, it makes the home stand out and greatly increases the appeal for today’s buyers. It is money well spent and can make the home sell over the competition.

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Renovations: Are They Worth the Cost?

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assorted_toolsA stressful part of putting your home on the market is determining what to fix and upgrade to get the very best price possible. Rely on The Lund Group to recommend which projects to consider and which to avoid. Putting money into renovation doesn’t always mean you will recoup the money in a sale.

We can refer you to qualified contractors who consistently do excellent work for us and for our clients.

You may want to consult Remodeling’s website for their most recent Cost vs. Value Report for a breakdown of typical returns on renovation projects large and small in various regions throughout the country. You can download a report specifically for the Atlanta area or for most other parts of the country.

While your needs and budget will have a big impact on your choice of home-improvement projects, it helps to know the cost vs. return ratio when making the final decisions.

And it also helps to call us! Email or check in with Cathi at 770-993-9572.

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New Construction in North Fulton

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Once again, the demand for new construction is high, and builders are rushing to accommodate the buying public.  You may have noticed new home subdivisions popping up virtually everywhere. This is especially true in the cities north of Atlanta … Roswell, Alpharetta, and Milton.

The new construction makes it important for us to price resale homes more competitively in order to get them sold.  The resales must be in pristine condition so they can compete with new. The more updated a home appears to the buyers in today’s market, the better.  Things like updated lighting fixtures, updated colors for paint, darkening the hardwood floors, having granite in the baths, and kitchen updates will give the best return on your investment.

Once priced right and pristine, and marketed aggressively (of course) they will sell.  For a buyer, there are many advantages to purchasing an existing home, however, the lure of “new” has once again become a big factor in today’s real estate market.
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How can a seasoned agent help?

A seasoned agent can add a lot of value to the process of purchasing a newly built home.  Many buyers think they will get a better price if they go directly through the builder, yet, that is not the case.  Since most new home sales are generated by cooperating brokers who are working with a buyer, the selling broker commission is built into the price and is not discounted when there is no buyer’s agent.  There are thousands of real estate agents and few builder representatives, so the sheer numbers dictate that most homes are sold by cooperating agents.  For that reason, builders want agents to work with them, and they even offer incentive programs to both buyers and to their agents.  New home agents welcome the buyer representatives with open arms!

Another advantage

Another advantage of working with experienced agents like The Lund Group on new construction is that we know what the builders will typically negotiate, what contract stipulations might need to be added to their contracts, and how inspections work.  We know just what you can and can’t do, since we have worked with so many builders for so many years.  The builders are accountable to us, and a great relationship with us creates future business for them.  If you are considering a new home purchase, we can help in many ways, so be sure to give us a call.  We also have a lot of experience in knowing which builders have the best reputations.

At The Lund Group, we are happy to help our past clients, friends, and neighbors in any way we can!  Call us at 770-993-9572 for your real estate questions or needs.

The Lund Group at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices

We want to thank Berkshire Hathaway for such a warm welcome!

We want to thank Berkshire Hathaway for such a warm welcome!

We are pleased to announce that we have joined Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Georgia Properties.  The company’s innovative programs will provide many advantages that will benefit our clients.

We are excited about our growth and the new level of energy this company has created.  They are redefining the real estate experience!

As always, whether you need to sell or buy real estate in or outside of the Atlanta area, we would love to help you. Just give us a call at 770-993-9572.

Brookfield Country Club update for 2015

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Brookfield Country Club

The last quarter is finished…the holiday season has ended, and we are into the beginning of a brand New Year!

As of the writing of my letter, there are 11 homes listed currently in Brookfield, ranging from a low of $395,000 to a high of $1,375,000.  With a total of 39 homes sold in 2015, there has been great activity this year.

Brookfield Country Club has been one of the most sought after communities in North Fulton, especially, in recent years. We can attribute it to the value of the homes, the neighborhood’s great location, the convenience to Historic Roswell, the award-winning parks that Roswell has to offer, along with the outstanding Parks and Recreation programs, and the top rated schools! In addition, the lush landscaping is absolutely gorgeous, particularly in the springtime and in the fall.The club is a huge draw, as well as all the neighborhood activities. No wonder there are homeowners in Brookfield who move from one house to another within the neighborhood. We have done so ourselves!

We are seeing a turnover in the neighborhood as many long-time residents are opting to downsize.  At the same time, others are moving into Brookfield to be close to the schools for academics and sports as well as for the unique charm of Roswell. Many relocation buyers are also drawn to our area for these same reasons.

During 2015, we saw many homes sell very quickly. In fact, two dozen sold within the first two weeks, often with competitive bids.  These were typically homes which had been renovated or were priced lower than market value.  And still, some homes, not priced properly in the beginning, have remained on the market for a long time.  Price still drives the market, even when the supply is low and the demand is high.  With the resources available today, buyers are making well-informed decisions, and they are choosing Brookfield!

Looking back over the past few years…

In 2013, the average sales price in Brookfield was $419,307 and homes were selling at 93.42% of the list price.  In 2014, the average sales price was $421,720 and homes were selling on average at 94.35% of the list price.  And in 2015, the average sales price was $468,323 with homes selling on average at 95.22% of the list price! So, prices are going up and Brookfield sellers are getting more for their homes.

If you plan to sell in 2016, it is a good idea to get ahead of the spring market’s typical increase in inventory. Since pricing is a factor of supply and demand, the earlier in the year a home is on the market, the quicker it will sell, and often for a higher price since there is less competition.

Right now, inventory remains extremely low, and interest rates are beginning to climb.  If you are thinking of selling your home, you will have the best chance to get the highest price right now.

The homes which sell for top dollar are those with recent renovations and lots of “bells and whistles.”  So, if you are considering home improvements…updating with the newer granites, darkening the hardwood floors, lightening the cabinets, and updating to granite in secondary baths, it will be money well spent!

We have sold more than 100 homes in Brookfield with eight sales in 2015, and we pride ourselves in staying abreast of market trends and values.

If you are considering a move, give us a call. We’d love to work with you!

Cathi Lund, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices
cathilund@bellsouth.net
770-403-0360

 

 

 

Happy Holidays from The Lund Group

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snowman-christmasThe holiday season is now in full swing, and most people think there isn’t much going on in the real estate world.  However, this December, as in Decembers past, we at the Lund Group have been quite busy helping buyers and sellers.  We put 6 properties under contract in November and most of them will be closing in December.

We will also be working with sellers this month to get their homes on the market sooner, rather than later.  Homes show beautifully when decorated for Christmas.  Although there are not as many buyers looking at this time, those who are out looking at homes tend to be very serious about making a purchase.  As a seller, you would have fewer showings, yet those who are looking at homes, instead of Christmas shopping, will be serious buyers!

In addition, many families relocating from another area will be making the move while children are out of school at the mid-year break.  After the holidays, there will be considerably more competition since many people wait and list their homes after the first of the year.

Right now, inventory remains extremely low, and interest rates are beginning to climb.  If you are thinking of selling your home, you will have the best chance to get the highest price right now.

That is why as we roll into 2016, we are encouraging our sellers to go on the market as soon as they can.

Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season!