I like the Lights!!


Blinking, strobing, colorful lights. Not out on the street or in some club somewhere. No, I like the colorful lights on electronic equipment. You know the ones. When you turn on the power to your TV you are greeted by a red or blue light, beckoning you in to the electronic bliss it offers. 

I was looking at a computer on the Interwebs this morning and it had lights galore! On the front were dazzling moving lights made undoubtedly mesmerizing so that you would forget how much time you have spent on the computer. Open a door on the side and more lights. I was to the point I was fishing out my credit card. Did not care what the machine did! Those lights! 

Sound familiar? Well, certain home buyers can get blinded by the dazzle of a new home to the point where they will forget to look "Under the hood". A good real estate agent will let their buyers enjoy the moment, but also bring them back to reality when it is time to get serious. We are not killjoys, but it is our job to see that you know exactly what you are buying, as best we can. If the dazzling lights are there to make you look the other way and miss important facts, then the deal will probably turn out bad.So, I am putting on my sunglasses to kill the glare from all the lights and will try to forget that computer from this morning. But those lights! 

Bob The Turkey, R.I.P.

Several years ago while driving down the main street of Woodstock, Ga. during the rush hour crush, motorists were treated to the sight of a full grown turkey walking up and down the sidewalk. Now, afternoon traffic through beautiful downtown Woodstock can be a bit slow, so there was plenty of time to watch this big fellow move up and down the street, seemingly checking out each car and saying hello to the occupants.This continued for quite some time. Locals started calling the Turkey by the name of Bob. I suppose someone asked Bob his name and that is what he replied. 

People really looked forward to seeing Bob each day during their afternoon commute through town. I don't remember seeing Bob in the mornings. I can only guess he was a late riser.After weeks of enjoying Bob every day, he suddenly vanished. We looked for Bob high and low with great concern. Did he move on? Do Turkeys take vacations? After several days the news finally came out. Bob had met his demise, apparently under one of the commuters cars!

A search for the driver ensued with the idea of running them permanently out of town, but alas they were never identified.Bob was gone. The pleasant afternoon drive through historic Woodstock downtown was diminished by his loss. Months later a local artist made a bronze statue of Bob the Turkey and it was placed along the street, just about where Bob was usually found in the afternoons. It is now a noted tourist spot. So, if you are ever checking out Woodstock, make sure you spend a moment with Bob the Turkey.  

Video to the Rescue!


We are in a time when sellers are wary of anyone coming into their home. Buyers aren't sure they want to be out and around looking at homes, either. This can really impact the ease with which Real Estate transactions get done. Because of this, the industry is turning more to virtual showing experiences, like increased use of video. 

We at den Boer homes have been creating videos for every home we list since 2006. These are used on the MLS systems as virtual tours and also posted out on social media. For awhile we got fancy and featured intros by the agent, and even interviewed an owner once! But always, we felt then as we do now that true videos of a home can help get more exposure for our sellers. More today than ever. 

So, if you are looking for creative ways to list your home and get more eyes on your home during these crazy times, give us a call and let us share with you how we can help. 

Radon, the invisble menace

 

Radon is a colorless and odorless gas that studies show can cause cancer. It is radiological in nature and comes naturally from the ground and can seep into basements. It is heavier than air so it tends to seek the lowest spots in a home.It is a byproduct of among other things granite. In areas with rock under the homes one is more prone to have it. 

The EPA requirements state that test numbers above 4.0 pCi/l should be addressed. The way we do this is by installing a vetilation system to move air ( And Radon gas) out of the structure.Testing for this gas takes about 48 hours and costs around $195.00. This could be money well spent by a buyer. 

The costs to install a Radon Mitigation system can run between $1,000 and $1,500. If you are looking for a home, make sure your home inspector tests for Radon Gas in the home you are interested in.

Gibbs Gardens


What would you do if you were a successful owner of a landscape business and owned 220 acres of rolling land just outside of Ball Ground Georgia? Well, you start by planting millions of daffodils, designing a beautiful Japanese garden, and open it up to the public, of course! 

Open to the public year 'round, Gibbs Gardens offers acres and acres of walking paths around beautifully landscaped water features, plants of all kinds, and tons of interesting statues. My wife and daughter visited this past weekend and when we got there at 9 am opening time, we were 3 of only about 10 people in the park. Around lunch time many more had shown up, but all were enjoying themselves, and keeping their distance from others. 

Tickets are bought on-line for now so there is very little personal interaction in the park other than a quiet nod to those you pass.If you are in the area, Gibbs Gardens is a wonderful retreat to visit. Come and enjoy the quiet beauty that is this park. Check here for more information. Enjoy! 

"As Is" What?

Sometimes homes are placed on the market in "As Is" condition. This usually means the home has some things that need to be attended to, but the seller has no intention of fixing anything, so don't ask!The seller may not have an interest in fixing anything in the home or may not Have the funds to do so. 

Typically, an As Is sale will pull the ultimate price of the home down a bit to more than cover expected fix up costs.So, should you list your home As Is? Well, the best answer in real estate is, it depends. It depends upon what the issues are, how fast you want to sell, funds you may or may not have available to you to spend, and more. 

The best advice is to consult with a professional real estate agent to determine your best course of action. 

Reverse Prospecting

Our MLS system has a really cool feature called, Reverse Prospecting. It works like this, when an agent enters a search for a buyer, they use specific touch points like price, area, bedrooms, baths, etc. These get matched up with properties on the market that meet there requirements and properties are sent to the buyer for review. 

Reverse prospecting is used by listing agents. We can go into the reverse prospecting system and actually see the agents who have searches entered where their criteria meets our listing. I will then go and email each agent and give them a brief paragraph about my listing and a link for more information. I do this for every listing I have. 

I send out emails each morning to the new searches that come up overnight. Two things amaze me about this system. 1) That these emails prompt agents to bring their clients to my listings, and 2) that so few agents in our area take advantage of this system. 

Reverse prospecting is just another way den Boer Homes markets our seller's homes. If you would like to hear more about our marketing, give us a call today. 

Your house isn't worth it...NOT!


I have many conversations with agents regarding the marketing of listings. Many times I get asked at what price point does my marketing kick in? You know, how expensive a home must I list before they get all the "Good" marketing?Without a second thought, my answer is usually $1. 

ALL my listings get the full complement of marketing. I have listed a single wide trailer before and put a post and sign out front along with fliers. Inside this home I also placed home books for buyers to take that showcased the professional photos I had taken. My question is, why would you not do this? Cost? Come on, the commission money I receive for my services far out weighs the cost of the marketing I provide. 

Besides, you never know who, other than your sellers, you might impress with your marketing skills. Maybe, just maybe, these sellers know more people who need to sell as well.My marketing is available to all sellers (And Buyers too). If someone tells you your home is not worth it, give den Boer Homes a call. 

Just go with the flow...


Interestingly, one local county, Dekalb, in the Atlanta area has enacted a "Low Flow" policy wherein any homes sold within the county must be certified as having all low flow plumbing fixtures. 

This policy came about during the last local drought and is an effort to conserve water.The actual maximum flow rates are 2.2 gallons per minute in the Kitchen, 2 gallons per minute from other faucets, and toilets that use 1.6 gallons per flush or less. 

These all have to be certified by a licensed plumber, home inspector, or Department of Watershed Management inspector. All well and good, but what happens if the fixtures are not low flow?The Buyer is on the hook to bring these items up to code, at a cost not to exceed $1,000 per toilet. Wow, the Buyer?

I would think the Seller should have these items brought up to code before selling their home, but that's just me.

I will get to it, OK?

No, actually it is not OK. As a matter of fact, not getting to it could cost you a bunch of money. 

Once a buyer is under contract to buy a home, the clock starts ticking on several important time lines. For instance, the lender will start asking for lots of different paperwork. The Buyer will need to get this paperwork delivered to the lender in a timely manner. 

I have a current client who has dragged their feet getting paperwork back to his lender. As a consequence, we will not be able to close on their new home as we expected. I have managed to delay the closing by 5 days in hopes that the lender gets what they need. This delay was possible because we have a good agent on the listing side. 

What happens if the seller decided not to delay? Well, with one exception, an 8 day unilateral delay, the Buyer could possibly lose their $1,700 earnest money deposit and the house. Really? Yep.So, when you go under contract to buy that dream home, don't let it become a nightmare by not following your lender's instructions. 

Is It Worth It?

When discussing repairs and updates with clients, I find it useful to be able to tell them whether or not the expected return on investment makes sense. I am able to do this by employing the Cost Vs. Value report available at www.costvsvalue.com. 

In essence, this report gives expected returns for many repairs and upgrades you might do to a home. For instance, I just had my deck rebuilt on my home and added black aluminum balusters and low voltage lighting. While the report says I probably paid too much, and I would agree, it also says the expected return on this investment is around 81%. Good to know. 

I know that this newly rebuilt and updated deck does add value to my home, but I would not have had a clue about a starting point without this report. While you may disagree about some of the numbers in the report, at least it gives you a starting point when discussing needed repairs and upgrades with clients.If you are looking to market your home this Spring and are not sure where to start, give den Boer homes a call. We can help. 

Free Advice?

Let's face it. We all have a friend or neighbor that is a Plumber, Doctor, Nurse, Attorney, or any of the other thousands of job holders that may have information the rest of us need. How often have you caught yourself calling a friend who is a Nurse and asking him/her about a fever or rash instead of going to the Doctors office? Or checking with your CPA or Attorney friend about a question that you swear will only take a second for them to answer? Happens all the time.It also happens in Real Estate. 

We agents get asked all the time from friends, relatives, and neighbors, questions about all sorts of things. What color should I paint my living room? Should I renovate or sell? And these I love, I am selling my home to X investor company. I don't have to pay a buyer agent! Can you help me with the paperwork? Many questions are simple and easy to answer. Others, not so much. 

Honestly, I really don't mind helping when I can. But as agents, we have to be careful how far we go in giving help without representation. Did you know that most agents carry a special insurance that helps if errors in contracts are made? Its called E&O insurance. Did you also know that this insurance probably will not cover the agent in a situation where they are not representing legally the aggrieved party?It's true, in a lawsuit happy society, we agents have to protect ourselves. 

So, when you ask an agent a real estate related question, just know there may be limitations on their answer to you unless you engage that agent in representation. 

Now, any questions? 

It's All About Location...and Price

It's interesting to me to see how differently properties are received by agents and the public. For instance, I have homes listed at $169,900, $315,000, and $395,000. As you might expect, the lower priced property is getting 3-5 showings a day, and we have received 5 offers that the seller is looking over. 

The $315,000 home was just listed, and we have gotten several showings already. What I didn't tell you is that this listing is also a rare ranch home over a basement. I expected it to do well, and it is starting out great. 

Then there is the $395,000 listing. It is in a great established neighborhood, with a great location, and priced well. In just over 30 days, the crickets are the most notable activity we have had. The reason? Several. This time of year is typically slower for home sales in this area. Also, price point.Interestingly, the $400,000 and above price points in our area have really slowed. 

Those homes in the sub $200,000 price points, we can't get enough of them.And so it goes. Sort of a tale of two, no three, cities. 

Subliminal Color Pops


I use a professional photographer to photograph all my listings. It really pays off with spectacular images of the home. However, some homes I list are pretty bland when it comes to color. The walls are "Agreeable Gray", the kitchens are earth tones, etc. In order to catch a potential buyer's eye, I use a little subliminal help. 

Notice the picture at the top of this post. The cabinets are white, the appliances are black. Not much color in between. I add the Reds to the photo. Notice the Tea pot on the stove. The red towels on the oven door. The red bird on the counter. These are all added to the picture to make it "Sticky". I want to make potential buyers linger on a picture. Not just glance at it and move on. The red color does just that. 

To complete the set I also hange red towels in the master bath and secondary baths. I also have a red napkin holder I place on the kitchen table as well.I have found that by adding these Pops of color, people do stop on the picture and often say how pretty the room is. 

If you are looking at ways to spruce up you home pictures look at adding in some color! 

Did we miss the market?

I have a listing going live in a week or so that I started talking to back in May of this year. Since our first meeting, the Sellers have been trying to close on a new build home that for many reasons kept getting delayed. Had it closed on time, we would have been able to list their other home right in the Spring-Summer busy season. Alas, it was not to be. 

So they asked, have we missed the selling season? Short answer, yes. Longer answer, it really does not matter. Other than taking a bit longer to sell, as long as the home is ready for showing and is priced right, the season really does not concern me. What we will do is what we always do when we market a home. We follow a pretty rigorous marketing plan that gets homes sold. 

Every season for real estate offers opportunities and challenges. Look for an agent who understands these nuances when deciding to sell your home. 

Should I wait till Spring to sell?

This time of year in Real Estate tends to be a bit slower than in the Spring for sales. However, we have sold homes in every calendar month. In fact, about 60% of our home sales have been in the last 6 months of the year.So, are there negatives about placing our home on the market this late in the year? 

Well, if your home is show ready and priced right, it will sell, no matter the time of year. In the slower months it might take a bit longer to sell, but sell it will!By not selling in the midst of the Spring madness, you will have less competition for your home. If the neighborhood averages 10 homes for sale in the Spring, it is very conceivable that there could only be 3 homes for sale in the Fall. This is not a bad thing at all. 

So, if you are looking to buy or sell a home this Fall, give us a call. We can help you navigate through the process. 

Fun in Kennesaw Ga. - Part 2



I posted yesterday about a great museum in Kennesaw devoted to the Civil War and the part trains played. However, that is not everything the town has to offer. 

Just a few miles outside of the Kennesaw Town limits is a jewel of a park. The Smith-Gilbert Botanical Gardens. Read more here. I must admit that I had never heard of this before and it has been open to the public for 10 years now. 

The 15 acres of this garden contain a butterfly house, Rose Garden, quiet forest walks, Sculptures, Koi Ponds, and a neat Bonsai display.There are dozens of cool sculptures scattered around the gardens and lots of places to sit and reflect on the beauty that surrounds you. 

If you are looking for a pleasant way to spend an afternoon or morning, check out the Gilbert-Smith Botanical Gardens in Kennesaw Ga. 

Fun in Kennesaw, Ga.


The city of Kennesaw, located NW of Atlanta was the site of a famous Civil War story. In essence, a small band of Union soldiers infiltrated from Tennesee to Kennesaw in order to steal a locomotive. They would race back north to Chattanooga, burning railroad bridges as they went. This would stall any advance from Atlanta and protect Union forces as they attacked Chattanooga, an important railway junction. 

This museum is a terrific place to find out all about this adventure!The museum also has the restored locomotive here, called the General. Also available to see is a special train car gifted to Georgia by the French after WWII. It was filled with gifts from the French people. There were 49 of these individual train cars given to various states by France with their appreciation for the US and their help during the war. 

Very kid friendly as well with a learning center just for them. I enjoyed it too!Just a block from here is a terrific restaurant called Trackside. If you go, ask to sit upstairs in the open air part of the restaurant. If you have never been to Kennesaw Ga. it is definitely worth a look for the great downtown area with shops and apartments, as well as lots of places to see.Posted by  

Top Gun Activities in Marietta Ga. !



There is never a dull moment in the are unless you specifically want one! Marietta Ga. is home to a very large Lockheed plant. Right next to one of the main gates in the Marietta Museum Air Wing, an outdoor parking lot (15 acres) of really cool planes! 

For $5 per person, my wife and I went on a guided tour by a retired Navy flyer and ex-Lockheed employee. This 2 hour tour took us inside and around many Vietnam and later era planes. The picture above is from the cockpit of a C141b Starlifter. 

We also enjoyed seeing an F14 Tomcat, and speaking to the retire airforce guy who flew them. He was also an instructor at the famous Top Gun school in Miramar.All-in-all we had a great time, If you find yourself in the Marietta Ga. area, look this place up. You will not be disappointed. 

Persistence and Preservation Pay Off

Luckily, in Real Estate transactions, the vast majority of closings go off without a hitch. There could be a document needed at the last minute, or something pops up that needs attending to, but all-in-all most closings are happy ones. 

Then there are the ones we agents talk about over and over again. Like the closing where buyers and sellers had to be separated in different rooms so that no one would get hurt. Or the time the attorney disappeared from the table for awhile. She was doing drugs in her office! Or the time buyers refused to show up at the closing table until a feud with the Home Owners Association was resolved. I had to threaten legal action to get them to the table, 4 hours late! 

Yes, closings can be fun, but good agents strive to make sure that the closing for our buyer or seller goes as smoothly as possible. 

Give us a call to find out what we at den Boer Homes do to try and assure smooth closings. And if you ask, we might tell you about some of our more adventurous closings! Names will be changed to protect the no-so-innocent!! 

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