Atlanta Real Estate and Community News

Aug. 3, 2020

How to Find a Home With the Right Workspace

If there’s one home feature that’s increasingly in demand, it’s the home office. High-end buyers are prioritizing an adequate space where they can work remotely, however, what that entails exactly can vary quite a bit. Everyone has different requirements and work habits, so it’s important to find a home with an office that suits your specific needs. Here are a few different types of workspaces that you’re likely to find in luxury homes.

Traditional Study
A study likely conjures up images of a wood-paneled room with built-in bookshelves, a large desk and maybe even a fireplace. While it might not have this exact aesthetic all the time, a traditional study will always be appealing to luxury homeowners who want a secluded area where they can get work done without being distracted. Check out these traditional study design ideas from Houzz here.

Work Station
You might not necessarily need your own designated room to use as an office. For example, in a home with an open layout, it’s quite common to find a work station that’s designed within a multi-purpose area. All it really takes is a quiet alcove in the living room with enough space for an adequate desk, but this can be a challenge for those who have little ones running around the house. Nonetheless, if you’re the type who prefers to have some activity around them while working, this can be an excellent option. Freshome has some beautiful workstation designs here.

Separate Studio
Some people just need to get out of the house in order to feel like they’re going to work. If this sounds like you, then you’ll want to look for a home with a separate structure that you can use as your office or studio. Whether it’s a guesthouse, annex or in-law suite above the garage, you’ll have a work area with enough space for everything you’ll need throughout the day, such as a comfortable sitting area, kitchenette and en suite bathroom. Check out these creative corner studio ideas from Decoist.

Posted in Buying a Home
July 17, 2020

The Best Indoor Trees to Bring Into Your Home

If you’re looking to liven up your interiors, decorating with plants is a foolproof way to add energy to your home. Of course, for those who like to do things big, you can take that a step further with an indoor tree that’s sure to provide a focal point in any room. Following are a few types of trees that you can grow inside while adding instant appeal to your living space.

Weeping Fig

The weeping fig is an ideal choice for those who are concerned with air quality. After all, it was cited as one of the best air-filtering plants in NASA’s Clean Air Study. When grown inside, they typically don’t get any taller than six feet and require minimal direct sunlight, although plenty of indirect light is vital to keeping them healthy. 

Yucca

Native throughout the US and Caribbean, yucca is a popular indoor tree thanks to its low-maintenance characteristics and beautiful appearance. This hearty plant can do well with direct or indirect sunlight and requires relatively little water to survive. In fact, the biggest threat to your yucca is over-watering it, so when in doubt just let it be and allow this gorgeous specimen to do its thing. 

Banana Palm

Looking to infuse your interiors with a touch of the tropics? The large, glossy leaves of a banana palm are perfect for doing just that, though they are not always the easiest trees to maintain indoors. For starters, you’ll need to find a suitable spot to put it, as they require at least six hours of direct sunlight each day, as well as regular watering. However, if you’re willing to put in the effort, you’ll be rewarded with a stunning display of nature at its finest. 

Olive Tree

If you’re looking to complement your living space with something that’s both elegant and sophisticated, look no further than an olive tree. Choose somewhere that receives plenty of direct sunlight each day and you can make your home reminiscent of a Tuscan getaway with this iconic plant. However, unless you have truly soaring ceilings, you’ll probably want to get a dwarf variety in order to fit it in your home. 

Our favorite place to purchase plants is Pike Nurseries in Johns Creek and Woody's Nursery in Duluth. Check them out for your green thumb needs!

Posted in Community News
July 3, 2020

Splash Pads Offer Safe, Summer Fun

Mid-summer heat is in full swing and an inexpensive option to keep your kids cool and entertained is visiting one of our many area splash pads in and around Johns Creek. Many of them are free or very low cost and provide at least an hour of two of entertainment for your kids who are in the midst of summer boredom. Here are our favorite water parks and splash pads to stay cool in and around Johns Creek this summer.

Duluth Town Green Fountain

Located in the middle of Duluth’s Town Green, this kid friendly fountain sprays water two stories tall in the air and lights up in different colors at night time. Trees provide plenty of shade to enjoy an adult beverage from Truck and Tap and plenty of green space provides room to kick a ball or throw a frisbee. Taylor Park is also located a short walk up the hill by city hall and offers a railroad themed playground if your kids get tired of the fountain.  Cost: Free.

Suwanee Town Center Big Splash Interactive Fountain

One of Gwinnett's largest interactive fountains, Suwanee's Big Splash features 43 jets and uses up to 1,400 gallons of water per minute. Suwanee has a large green space for kicking a ball and bringing a picnic lunch. If you don’t want to bring your own lunch, pick up food to-go from Brown Bag Deli or stop by Rita’s across the street and grab an Italian ice before you leave! Cost: Free

E.E. Robinson Park Interactive Fountain in Sugar Hill

The interactive fountain at E.E. Robinson Park in Sugar Hill offers a large fountain space specifically geared toward toddlers. It’s located next to a large playground, covered pavilion and walking trails. Make sure you use the Peachtree Industrial Boulevard entrance of the park located at 650 Peachtree Industrial Boulevard Sugar Hill for easy access to the fountain. Cost: Free

Spray Station at East Roswell Park

East Roswell Park’s premier sprayground offers many varieties of spray features as well as concession stands including popsicles, chips and hot dogs. A covered pavilion offers shade for cooling off. The cost is $2 per child for children over 1 year of age. Adults are free when accompanying a child. East Roswell Park is located at 9000 Fouts Road in Roswell.

Cumming Aquatic Center

For all day fun lasting longer than a splash pad visit, check out the Cumming Aquatic Center. It features a lazy river, play structure and two water slides. Cabanas are available to rent and family discounts are also offered. Adults are $7 each, ages 2-17 are $6 each and ages 2 and younger are free. The Aquatic Center is located at 210 Aquatic Circle in Cumming.

Posted in Real Estate News
June 17, 2020

How to Create a Mediation Space at Home

Luxury homeowners have increasingly embraced wellness in their living spaces. While some features will require working with a professional to install, such as a water purifier or a steam room, there are also DIY projects that you can tackle to promote healthy living around the house. One way to do so is to create a meditation room where you can escape for a few peaceful moments each day.

Meditation is believed to have far-ranging benefits, from reducing stress to boosting cognitive function. If this sounds like something you could benefit from in your life, here are a few tips for designing a meditation area at home. 

Pick the Right Location


It all starts with finding the ideal space. This should be somewhere you’ll be free from any distractions, meaning you probably don’t want to set up your meditation area near a part of the home that gets a lot of traffic. All it really takes is a small room or quiet alcove, however, if you have a tranquil view to help you settle into a relaxing mindset, that’s certainly a bonus. During the warmer months, you can even design your meditation space outside. 

Create a Zen-Like Atmosphere


Focus on the energy of the room. Meditation studios tend to be designed with a minimalist aesthetic. One reason for this is that removing clutter and chaos from your surroundings can help to promote mental clarity. A simple cushion or mat where you can sit comfortably is all you’ll really need, but a few plants and objects can contribute to the ambience and allow you to disconnect from your daily stress. Check out TJ Maxx in Johns Creek for a large variety of cushions and mats to customize your space. 

Tap the Senses


Another way to make this a tranquil space is to tap into your senses with warm lighting, relaxing aromas and peaceful sounds. Candles or an essential oil diffuser can fill the room with your favorite scent to help you focus on breathing and reflection. If you want some gentle background noise, a small water feature and meditative music are excellent ways to set the mood. Amazon has some great options for yoga and meditation candles here.

And remember, this is a place to unplug, so ideally, there won’t be any screens nearby. 

Posted in Selling Your Home
June 1, 2020

Summer Is Coming! Get Your Deck Ready

Exposure to varying weather conditions can cause a wood deck to look gray and worn. Fortunately, wood is resilient.

Get Rid of Loose Debris
Start by sweeping the deck to remove dirt, leaves, twigs, acorns and any other debris. Then use a power washer to get rid of any tough stains. If you don't have a pressure washer, you can rent a pressure washer inexpensively at Lowes or Home Depot.

Clean the Wood
If your deck has visible stains, a deck cleaning solution can eliminate them and help restore the wood. Use a mop or push broom to spread the cleaning solution evenly across the deck. Rinse, then let the deck dry thoroughly.

Re-Stain the Wood
Give it a fresh coat of stain to protect the wood from moisture. Spread the stain evenly and let it dry. Apply another coat of stain if necessary.

Get Your Deck in Shape for Summer
Exposure to rain, snow and ice can leave a deck looking worse for wear, but restoring it is easier than you may think. Take some time now to tackle that project. Check out your local hardware stores like Ace Hardware and Howard Brothers for a wide selection of wood stains.

Posted in Selling Your Home
May 15, 2020

How to Paint Like a Pro

Summer is a great time to revamp your home's look by painting. Check out our three easy tips to avoid a bad DIY job.

Use the Right Materials
Choose between water and oil based paints and ensure you have the correct tools for which type of paint you decide. Employees at local stores like Ace Hardware Johns Creek, Home Depot and Howard Brothers can help you determine what is best for your project.

Prep Like a Pro
Lay down drop cloths first. Spackle in holes or cracks, apply primer on new surfaces and tape off spots you don't want painted.

Paint Systematically
Start by painting the ceiling if needed. Then tackle areas around windows, doors and moldings. Paint the walls last.

Posted in Selling Your Home
May 1, 2020

Backyard Upgrades Your Kids Will Love

In a world dominated by technology, kids are consumed by their phones, tablets and televisions. Designating limited screen time is becoming tougher and enjoying old-school, outdoor playtime has been put on the back burner. Why not spruce up your own backyard and inspire your children to get outside and away from their screens?

With these backyard upgrades, you can help your kids appreciate the great outdoors. Here are some ideas that will help everyone get outside, enjoy the sunshine and connect with nature. 

Treehouse

For kids, there’s almost nothing more fun or classic than climbing a tree, and having a hangout in the treetops makes it that much better! Let your kids decorate to their liking, making this their own nature-filled sanctuary. You can find instructions, materials and tools to make this a DIY project at your local hardware store or hire a pro for a more luxurious look. 

Swingset

A staple in almost every suburban backyard, a swingset is a great way to get your kids outside. With endless styles and sizes, it’s easy to find the right one for your family. Some sets include slides, monkey bars, rock climbing walls and many different styles of swings, such as a classic seat, a tire, baby seats and even specialty seats for two!

Pool

On a hot summer day, having a pool to jump in, play in and cool off is enticing, both for kids and adults. With options for underground, inground and even temporary pools, anyone can enjoy the luxury of a swim. Host pool parties for your children’s friends and purchase pool toys, such as floats, pool noodles and even basketball for days full of fun in the sun!

Yard Games

Whether you have a large or small yard, you can find fun games to play to get your kids outside. From volleyball to cornhole, wiffle ball to croquet, there’s a game for everyone, whatever the age or skill level. If you’re planning a BBQ or birthday party, yard games are the perfect addition to your backyard fun!

 

Posted in Selling Your Home
April 15, 2020

A CDC Recommended Guide for Disinfecting Your Home

Here are some tips for properly disinfecting your home to ensure your family stays healthy during this difficult time. The CDC recommends that you clean and disinfect high-touch areas at least once daily as a precaution.

Focus on doorknobs, bathroom and kitchen counters, toilet seats and handles, light switches and remote controls.

Remove any contaminants and dust by wiping surfaces with soapy water or a cleaning product. After you’ve done that, clean the area again with a disinfecting spray or wipe.

The CDC provides the following instructions for making a homemade bleach disinfecting spray:

Combine 4 teaspoons of bleach and 1 quart of water in a spray bottle and shake. Spray on what you want to disinfect and let sit for 10 minutes before wiping away with a wet cloth.

Posted in Real Estate News
April 3, 2020

How the CARES Act Could Help You as a Small Business Owner

With the passage of the $2 Trillion dollar CARES Act, small businesses will have access to $350 billion in forgivable loans if they meet certain requirements. The Small Business Administration, under the stimulus package, will oversee the Paycheck Protection Program, which will distribute $350 billion to small businesses that can be partially forgiven if the companies have 500 or fewer employees and use them to keep paying people who earn less than $100,000 a year.

How soon will the money arrive?
It will take “a week or two" to get the PPP loans flowing, said Chris Maher president of New Jersey-based OceanFirst Bank.

How long will the money last?
The Payroll Protection loans are designed to stretch for the next three months.

How do you apply?
Call or email your bank and ask for the loan officers who handles SBA 7(a) loans and the PPP program. You can also inquire at the SBA Regional Atlanta Office website.

For more program information, click here.

Posted in Real Estate News
March 10, 2020

What the Coronavirus Means for Your Home Loan and Mortgage Rates

Mortgage rates have plummeted since the beginning of the year to the lowest average since 2016 as a result of market movements in response to the coronavirus. In addition, the Fed recently made the rare move to lower the federal funds rate by a half-point to a range of 1% to 1.25% in between its regularly scheduled meetings noting that the move was in response to the “evolving risks” the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak poses to the economy.

According to NerdWallet, this is is good news for those with or shopping for adjustable-rate mortgages and home equity lines of credit, which are directly guided by Fed rate cuts. ARMs will likely see lower rates at their next reset period, and HELOCs could fall half a percentage point in the next billing cycle or two. 

Buying a Home

If you are in the market to buy a home this spring season, you may face competition from other buyers because there aren't enough homes for sale to meet demand. Because of this, lower mortgage rates and affordability aren't necessarily the biggest challenges in today's housing market as much as a lack of inventory is. However with a mortgage preapproval, flexible closing date and limited contingencies, we can help you prevail in what is soon to be a hot housing market.

Refinancing

Whether or not it makes sense to refinance can depend on a lot of factors, including what rate you currently pay and how long you plan to stay in your home.  But one rule of thumb is that you should consider refinancing if you can lower your interest rate by at least half a percentage point.

Here’s how the math looks according to Money Magazine: For a homeowner with a typical $250,000 30-year mortgage, cutting the interest rate from 4% to 3.5% — roughly in line with today’s average rates — would save just over $70 a month, according the mortgage calculator at ConsumersAdvocate.org, MONEY’s sister site.  If the mortgage started at 5%, the savings would be nearly $220 a month. If you purchased your home using an FHA loan, now would also be a great time to consider refinancing into a conventional loan to get rid of PMI if you have over 20% equity in your home.

Looking to refinance or finance your dream home in Atlanta? Our team of preferred lenders and I are here to help! Reach out to us today and we will get you in touch with our team of preferred lenders.

Posted in Real Estate News