Wednesday, February 28, 2018

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Friday, June 2, 2017

Why you need a real estate agent?

You could be in your very own home sweet home very soon with the help of a qualified real estate agent. Rather than trying to do it on your own, getting the help of a real estate agent can make it far easier. When you work with an agent, it costs you nothing. The seller pays the commissions, regardless of whether or not you have one. You'll gain the benefit of the expertise of a realtor on your side who's not working for the seller.

Some of the things an agent can do to help you claim your home is first help you narrow the search. A good realtor will work with you to first identify the price range you can afford based on your income and other factors. He or she will also make other suggestions that can speed the home buying process, such as getting a pre-approval letter from a bank or other qualified lender. The Realtor may also offer a list of several lenders he or she has worked with in the past who have treated her clients well. The pre-approval letter takes time but can be crucial. It tells the seller you're seriously considering the home and can afford it. It also tells the seller's agent to work hard to get this deal because there's a better chance of it being successful. It also helps you complete the closing faster.

Real estate agents also know how to maneuver through the various listings. They know the various neighborhoods and how to find homes that fit your requirements. They also know the subtleties of the listings and that newer doesn't mean new. The buyer's realtor will add an objective eye to the home viewing process. They've seen plenty of homes and know that a little paint can make a dowdy home look fantastic, but a bad well, horrible plumbing and signs of a leaking roof on the interior might be very expensive to fix. Realtors also have a good idea of the average cost of utilities in the area. If they see a home is heated by gas or electric, but the cost is extremely high, it may need more insulation. High water costs can set off a warning signal, due to the potential of leaking pipes. They help you see the entire cost of owning a particular property, such as the cost of taxes and insurance.

Realtors also help negotiate the price. They not only help you make an offer, but will advise you to counter a counter offer if they think it's off base. They also arrange for professionals to inspect the property. Termite inspections and general inspections are often required by the lender, but the buyer's realtor could ask for additional types of inspections, such as a septic inspection for a home in the country or water sample testing. Those extra steps can save you thousands of dollars and heartbreak later. The real estate agent also is at the closing to make sure there are no errors on the paperwork and to help with any last minute issues. Having an agent on your side can make the difference between finding the best possible home and either making a poor choice or spending a lot of time and effort with nothing to show for it.

Cliff Johnson

(678)495-6050, Direct

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Home Buying 101

Home Buying 101
(678)465-6050 (For more info on buying a home)

Most people don’t just wake up one morning and decide that they’re going to buy a home; unless perhaps they are exceptionally wealthy. For most of us it’s a gradual decision brought on by many factors: rising rent prices, the inability to make changes without a landlord’s approval, a growing family, etc. The list goes on, but no matter what prompts you to make the move to owning your own home, it’s a huge decision; and it can be intimidating.

It’s perfectly normal to be nervous and have some reservations about buying a home, especially if you are a first time buyer. Not only is this probably the largest single investment that you’ll ever make, but it will most likely involve an extremely large amount of your hard-earned money. Fortunately there are some tips and tricks that help you decide whether or not you’re ready to be a home owner.

Consider Whether Owning a Home is Right for You

Owning a home isn’t for everyone. Some people are just not cut out to be home owners and the time to decide is well before you enter into a contract. If you find yourself moving or traveling frequently, being tied down to a house can cause considerable problems unless you have someone to care for it while you’re away.

Are you able to do at least some household repairs for yourself? If the answer is no, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you shouldn’t buy, but you’ll need to add maintenance and repair costs into your budget. When you rent, the landlord takes care of these things, but as a homeowner you’ll be responsible for them yourself. Trying to do your own repairs if you are inexperienced is a great way to test your homeowner’s insurance, but it isn’t advisable.

Take a Good Look at your Finances

Look at not only your savings, but your credit card debt, any other loans that you have, and your credit score. The more you can afford as a down payment, the less your mortgage payment will be. Look also at your ability to handle money wisely. This is never an easy thing to do, but it pays to be honest with yourself. Do you make sure that your bills are paid on time even if it means doing without a few luxuries or have you been known to ask for an extension on your rent payment so you can afford to go to that expensive concert?

Talk with a Real Estate Agent

While realtors are not meant to be financial advisors, they are experienced in helping people make decisions about home buying. Contrary to popular belief, most realtors aren’t going to sell you something that you can’t afford. Your realtor can help you look over your finances and find a price range that is suitable for your income as well as giving advice about things like financing and what to expect. They can also help you to decide whether or not you can manage a mortgage payment along with your other obligations.

There is certainly more factors involved with the decision to buy a home, but these are some of the first things that you should consider. These things aren’t hard and fast rules to determine whether you should buy a home and each situation is unique. Deciding to buy a home is somewhat like deciding to have a child. If everyone waited until the perfect moment to start a family, the world would be a far less populous place. Likewise, if you wait until the perfect moment to buy a home, it may never happen. It is always wise however to be sure that at least some of the conditions are right and perhaps make a few adjustments to your way of thinking. In the end the sacrifices that you make are more than worth it in the long run.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Credit Repair. How to do your own!

Credit Repair. How to do your own!

In days past, the transfer of goods, properties, or services involved nothing more than a direct exchange of bartered goods or currency. As time progressed, systems such as promissory notes and promise to pay contracts began to be used in place of cash transactions and transfer of goods became a bit more complex.

These days, anyone who meets certain qualifications can obtain credit with merchants, banks, etc. and while this offers greater flexibility, it brings with it a greater possibility that consumers can overextend themselves. Sadly, it has also opened a window of opportunity for things such as fraud and identity theft. This has led the government to respond by instituting laws that regulate certain aspects within the credit industry that protect not only the companies involved, but the consumer as well. For a more in depth look at these laws and regulations, websites such as offer a wealth of good information about rights, responsibilities, and credit repair options.

It seems that just about everyone has had at least one episode of financial troubles in their lifetime. Unfortunately even one mishap can drastically affect your credit score and prevent you from getting the financing that you need when you want to buy a home. In the event that you can get financing, you’ll most likely pay a much higher interest rate than someone with a good credit score. Credit repair companies offer to repair your credit for you, but as with anything, there is a usually a substantial fee involved. Taking on the task of doing your own credit repair may seem daunting, it isn’t necessarily a complicated procedure; it just takes some organization. Your first step of course is to get a copy of your credit report, which is available free of charge from each of the three agencies once per year.

Check for and correct any mistakes on the report – It is bad enough when you have made credit mistakes in the past so you certainly don’t need to be held responsible for those that you didn’t make. Nearly 70% of all credit reports contain at least one error so check yours carefully and have them corrected.
Get all of your late payments up to date – If you are having difficulties making payments, contact your creditors and set up a payment plan that is agreeable to both parties. In some cases a credit counseling agency can be consulted to negotiate a plan for you.
Be sure that debt payments and other bills such as utilities and rent are made on time – Payment history is perhaps the single largest factor in your credit score. If these payments are timely, they could possibly be used for references when applying for other lines of credit to further your credit repair.
Pay down any current credit card debt – The amount of credit that you use is the second most important factor in your credit score. Avoid closing credit cards because what is important is how much you owe as compared to your total credit line.
These are only a few of the things that can assist you in your personal credit repair. For more ideas as well as tips for buying a home, you can visit When the time comes to purchase a home, a good credit score can smooth the way considerably. Looking online at the many real estate sites such as can be a great incentive to get your credit score back in line and get you on your way into the home of your dreams.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Looking for a homebuyer's downpayment assistance program?

Looking for a downpayment assistance program?

Go to:

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Best Online tool to search for Properties!

Best Online tool to search for Properties!

The age of technology has produced a barrage of online services that deal exclusively with real estate listings and forever changed the way in which Americans search for homes. Gone are the days when engaging a real estate agent and scouting neighborhoods like Stone Mountain, GA was the only way to find houses for sale. In today’s society you need only turn on the computer to find home prices, search for houses in a particular neighborhood, or take virtual tours of those that spark your interest. All of the main services offer mobile apps and some apps even offer suggestions based on homes that you’ve looked at in the past. Most of these services receive their data from any number of sources, including real estate agents, public record, tax assessors, and homeowners.


Zillow is perhaps one of the most popular online real estate services. They gained fame with their Zestimates, which are estimates of home value that derive from their formula that includes public records of home sales. Over time, Zillow has gotten more data and their estimates have become more accurate, although it should be noted that they are still only estimates.

You can also view information from old listings on Zillow, which is a plus if there are no photos included in a listing. There is also data available for homes that aren’t on the market and you can view properties near those that interest you to view old listing data, sales history, as well as satellite maps that allow you to see what amenities are nearby. For example, if you want to buy a home in Stone Mountain, GA, but want to know what hospitals are in the area, all you need to do is look at the satellite map.


Trulia is another popular portal that gets information from various sources. It has all the perks of the other services, with the addition of its unique “heat maps.” These allow you to easily check out crime, commute times, schools, and other amenities such as grocery stores and banks in your neighborhood of choice. You can even view the probability of natural disasters like earthquakes or tornados. Some of these stats are available with other services, but not in Trulia’s unique formatting.

Trulia also allows you to make a map of the vicinity in which you want to search in addition to searching for houses by city or ZIP code. It also suggests houses based on individual search history and sends alerts for new listings as well as homes that you’ve followed.

These are just two of the many search tools that can be used when searching for homes online. One thing that they all have in common however is that they lack that personal attention that your real estate agent can give you. There are a myriad of small search sites such as that offer a more one on one approach to your search. Local sites such as these, along with localized real estate sites, such as , can help you get a more personalized search from an agent who is familiar with the area. While statistics and satellite photos may give you an overall view of the area, speaking with someone who has first- hand knowledge of the neighborhoods, people, and amenities is something that you can’t find with the larger online services.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Buy a Home this Summer!

Buy a Home this Summer!

Real estate can be a tricky market and knowing when to buy can ensure that you get the home that you want at the lowest possible price. There are many factors that come into play when buying a home and the help of a real estate agent can be invaluable. Whether you are searching websites, such as or simply looking through listings in the local paper, your real estate agent can offer sound advice with your best interest in mind. One of the things that you agent will most likely point out is that while spring has traditionally been seen as the best time of year to buy a home, buying during the summer months has some distinct advantages. Typically, people begin the process of buying a home in the spring. By the time summer arrives, the “house hunting” mindset has eased off and results in a quiet period in real estate. Here are a few of the advantages of buying a home during the summer months:

Curb-Appeal is at its Best

As spring marches on and summer looms, homes are shown in their best light. Hedges take on their summer foliage, grass turns green and lush, and what was a slushy, barren landscape becomes a cheerful and welcoming property. This is true of not only Stone Mountain, Georgia homes, but those around the country. By viewing a home when it is at its best, you can assess the property’s potential as well as getting a better idea of what improvements are needed and whether or not they are within your means. During fall and winter, sellers can excuse any unfinished repairs on weather, but during the summer months, those needed repairs can give your real estate agent valuable leverage for price negotiations.

Summer often means Better Prices

Homes are generally put on the market at the start of the new year. Spring months tend to be the busiest for real estate agents, with both buyers and sellers flooding the market. At a certain point, when most of the reasonably priced homes have been purchased, the activity reaches its peak and begins a steady decline.

Summer however, is often the cusp at which the sellers of homes that were overpriced begin to rethink their options. Houses that were priced too high and didn’t move, begin to drop in price. Homeowners who are desperate to sell their home begin to be more open minded toward negotiation and bargaining. This is the perfect opportunity for buyers to make their move and perhaps get a great house that would previously been beyond their price range. Websites like www.stonemountaingeorgiahomes are a great place to begin searching out these incredible bargains.

Less Competition

One of the best things about summertime house shopping is that the competition is much less fierce. With a fairly open market, buyers have more time to make decisions without the worry that their dream house will be sold out from under them.

The fact that the life of a real estate agent is quite hectic in spring means that it becomes more relaxed during the summertime. By this time, most buyers are concentrating more on summer vacations and plans for July 4th than they are on buying a home. Barbecues, family reunions, and weekend getaways are occupying the thoughts of most people in the summer and rushing to place an offer on the table takes less precedence.

Sellers, on the other hand, are more willing to negotiate than ever. The thoughts of upcoming vacations and holidays tend to create a sense of urgency in sellers who want to finish up the stressful business of selling their home. This often results in buyers getting a better deal than they thought possible.

There are many other reasons to continue your search for a home into the summer months. Among other things, you’ll have a better chance of meeting your potential neighbors. Summer is a beautiful time of year in Stone Mountain, Georgia. Homes are surrounded by flowers and residents are outside enjoying the weather. Getting to meet those people who may become your neighbors is often an important factor in whether or not you buy a particular home. While that may not seem like an important factor, more homeowners are dissatisfied with their neighbors than their actual home.

Whether you are a first time buyer or experienced in the ups and downs of real estate, knowing when to shop is at least as important as knowing where. Buying during the summer slump can save you money as well as relieving some of the stress involved. Stone Mountain, Georgia homes, as well as homes around the country, are often at their lowest prices of the year during the summer months.

Websites like are a great way to get an idea of what is available in your chosen area. While summer is the time for fun, postponing that day at the beach to look at houses may be worth it if you find the home of your dreams at a price you never would have imagined.