Deep South Realty
Deep South Realty was opened in the fall of 1996 with the goal of providing friendly, professional service to the Milledgeville-Baldwin County area and surrounding counties. Our main focus is selling residential and lake homes, but we also list and sell lots, acreage tracts and commercial property.
Since opening, Deep South Realty has listed hundreds of properties. We average more than twenty years experience in selling real estate in the Milledgeville market, and many of us were raised in the Milledgeville area. Call us today for dependable advice from a friendly professional.
What can we do for you?
Buying or selling, it's a good idea to use a real estate agent. Think of a good real estate agent as an information coordinator.
Selling your house? Maybe you're thinking of saving money by selling it yourself. If so, here are a couple of things to consider. Do you really have the time, energy and resources, including market information and contacts, necessary to get the results you want - a timely sale and a good price? Not only do agents have access to these resources, but, by pre-screening buyers and accompanying them to showings, they prevent you from having to open your home to total strangers.
On the other hand, when buying a house emotions and excitement often run high. It helps to have the real estate agent there to provide objective information. Is this a suitable environment, a good investment? Once you've made your selection, the real estate agent will help you find qualified professionals to make appropriate inspections and qualified lenders to help you with your financing options.
Listing, looking, negotiating and closing- whether buying or selling, your real estate agent can guide you through these transactions, helping to ensure that the process flows more smoothly.
SELLERS-GIVE YOUR HOME THE EDGE IT DESERVES!
FIrst impressions count alot. A small investment in time and money can give your home the marketing edge it needs. Here are some suggestions that will help: GENERAL MAINTENANCE- Clean debris from roof, repair leaking taps and toilets, oil squeaky doors, clean and reapir windows, touch up chipped paint, repair cracked plaster, tighten door knobs, replace burned out lights and fixtures, recaulk around windows if needed. NEAT & CLEAN - Clean windows inside and out, clean washer & dryer & tubs, remove any spider webs, clean appliances, clean and freshen bathrooms, shampoo carpets, clean chandelieres, clean furnace. FIRST IMPRESSIONS - Keep yard mowed and neat, functional doorbell, blooming flowers in front yard, pots with flowers at front door, make up beds, polish door hardware, good china place settings on dining table, clean and tidy entrance. CURB APPEAL - Cut lawns, freshen mulch, trim shrubs and lawns, pick up any litter, weed and edge gardens, touch up exterior paint, repair gutters and eaves, clear walk & driveway of leaves. BUYING ATMOSHPERE - Be absent during showings, keep pets outdoors, bake cookies or cakes before showings, add fresh flowers around house, play quiet background music, turn on all lights, light fireplace, open drapes in the daytime. CREATE A SPACIOUS LOOK - Make closets neat and tidy, arrange patio furnitue, clear clutter from counters and stove, clear stairs and halls, organize attic area, remove clutter from garage, store excess furniture, arrange furniture for best traffic flow.
HOW TO EFFECTIVELY SHOWCASE YOUR HOUSE
By Alana Klein, www.bankrate.com
Showing your home is a lot like a first date: You get your house all gussied up, put the prettiest face possible on the property and try to impress the heck out of someone you barely know -- the potential buyer. The objective, however, is not to get a phone number or a peck on the cheek. It's to make a sale, which in most cases, is a far greater challenge.
But showing a home does not have to be an overwhelming, costly process. Regardless of your home's size, age, style, and location, there are ways to spruce it up and effectively showcase its assets. So grab your paintbrush, carpet cleaner, lawn mower, and Lysol -- the four ingredients to a great first date -- and get to work on your house.
The condition of your home is one of three factors that influence a buyer's decision, says Judy Wakeley, an accredited staging professional and owner of Refined Spaces, a real estate staging and interior redesign company based in Westchester, Pa., and Lewes, Del. "Unlike location, this is one factor you can control," she says. But the idea is "not to improve the condition of your home to your liking, but to improve it to sell it."
Creating good flow
There are four main areas of the home sellers should focus on, according to Lori Matzke, owner of Center Stage Home, a home presentation company based in Minneapolis, Minn. The first is the entryway. "That is your first impression of the house. Anything visible from this standpoint needs to look great," Matzke says. "If you don't impress them immediately it will be an uphill battle from then on to regain their interest." The family/living room, kitchen, and master bedroom are the three other crucial areas.
The key to showcasing these rooms is to create good flow. "Buyers want to move easily from one room to the next," she says. But at the same time, they need direction. "It's important to assign each room a purpose -- a commonplace purpose," she says. "Even though you may use your formal dining room as your office, you must show the dining room with its intended purpose."
Sellers should personalize the experience for the buyer. "The buyers have to be able to see past your life and your stuff so they can visualize what it would be like for them to live in your home," says Allyson Bernard, regional vice president for the National Association of Realtors' New England region. "Minimizing clutter and packing up personal belongings helps them do that."
There are two schools of thought on de-personalizing your home. "A lot of people say to take down the family photos, but I disagree. You're not fooling anyone by pretending you don't live there," says Matzke. She does, however, recommend that wedding and graduation photos, as well as collections (i.e. stuffed animals, teapots), be removed. "Those are too personal," she says.
Wakely, on the other hand, believes anything that could potentially pose a distraction should be put away. "Buyers only spend 10 to 15 minutes in a home. You don't want them to be distracted by unimportant details like personal mementos. That won't help you sell your house," she says.
Cleanliness is godliness
At the same time, it's not possible to fully neutralize a home that's being occupied. Furthermore, "vacant houses do not show well. A room looks smaller without furniture and stuff in it," says Wakeley. But it must be understood that each person has a different sense of style. That style is often reflected in the type of furniture one chooses and in the way that it is arranged. "As long as the house is clean and well-maintained, buyers can look beyond the purple bathroom or the floral wallpaper in the bathroom, which might not be their style," says Bernard.
Ultimately, a homeowner is selling his or her space, not his or her things. "Rearranging the furniture can help showcase important features of the house or minimize less attractive features," says Wakeley. She also stresses the importance of accessorizing. "Adding a burgundy throw to a neutral-colored couch, or a vase of fresh flowers on the coffee table or fresh towels in the bathroom creates a welcoming environment."
Boosting curb appeal
As far as the home's exterior, it's important to pay attention to curb appeal. "Here is where you can get the most bang for your buck," says Terry Hankner, a Realtor for Comey & Shepherd Realtors based in Cincinnati, Ohio. "It's relatively inexpensive to de-clutter your garage, sweep the driveway, paint the front door, mow the lawn, and plant some flowers," she says. "But it goes a long way and means a lot to the buyer psychologically."
Landscaping is also key. "You don't want to have a lot of brand new plants. You want something that looks more mature and established. Stay away from starter plants -- they look like they've just been dropped in the ground," says Matzke. She says to avoid the other extreme, which is to have too many plants and flowers to the point where the yard looks overgrown.
It's also important to be aware of the condition of your neighborhood. "For most buyers, it's all about location, location, location," Bernard says. While you can't control other people's yards, she says you can make sure there's no garbage in the streets or suspect abandoned cars. But she assures, "If you really take pride in your house, that can be contagious," she says.
10 showing tips
Don't mask smells with candles or potpourri. There's no sense in replacing one odor with another. Buyers will wonder what odor you are trying to hide. But keep the exotic spices and fish to a minimum when cooking the night before a showing. Work towards achieving a "clean" smell.
Remove animals and litter boxes from the property. Find "Spot" a temporary home. Dog smell is not going to entice potential buyers.
Don't turn on all the lights. Nobody looks his or her best under stark light, including your house. Offer a nice balance of natural lighting, table and floor lamps, or tasteful overhead lights. The idea is to create a mood.
Don't paint all walls white. White walls can look too institutional. Besides, colored walls are en vogue. Try a neutral color like beige with yellow undertones or a mossy green.
Get rid of dated wallpaper. While wallpaper is making a comeback, dated wallpaper will always be, well, dated. Since it's not easy to paint over wallpaper, removing it is the best option.
Be mindful of the carpeting. If the carpeting is in bad shape, shampoo it or replace it. Never give the buyers an allowance to replace the carpets. Do it yourself and do it before the showing.
Remove window screens. Screens take away from allowing natural light inside. Plus, no one will notice they are missing.
Remove all knick-knacks under 10 inches tall. We all have random, small objects that clutter our home. Pack them up and put them under the bed.
Put away holiday decorations. Unless you are showing your home during the holiday season, make sure to put away all holiday paraphernalia.
Don't spend a fortune on improving your home. It's worth the investment to spend some money on enhancing your home, but don't go overboard.
Alana Klein is a freelance writer in Connecticut
NEW HOME VS. USED HOME--WHICH IS FOR YOU?
By Steve McLinden, Bankrate.com
The durable argument of whether it's best to buy a new home or older one dates back centuries. And it's never quite been resolved.
For every qualifier, there's a disqualifier. For every "on one hand," there's an "on the other hand."
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Homebuilders and old-line real estate sales people might even bicker heatedly about the topic, with their own "Looks-great! Less-fulfilling!'' twist on the old light-beer argument.
The truth is, builders can never fully re-create the nation's quaint old neighborhoods, where every house was built architecturally distinct from the neighbor's. And home buyers will never be able to fully assemble their dream homes the way they can on a vacant lot with a fantaz view.
So the choice between the two is always a relative call, not a dollar-and-cents one, says business author and investment expert Ric Edelman.
"There are many factors beyond economics that drive the decision," says Edelman. "Buying a home should be more of a lifestyle decision, because so much of the economics are beyond your control."
Edelman, who penned such bestsellers as "The Truth About Money" and "Ordinary People, Extraordinary Wealth," has built two family homes over the years and is now fixing up a "resale" he purchased..
"One of the fundamental mistakes that consumers make is a rush to judgment," he said. "They often dismiss a new home or a resale when one is far more appropriate for them than the other."
So how do you decide which best fits your needs and personality?
Below are a few pros and cons in the own-resale debate:
Locale: The oft-recited real estate mantra of "location, location, location" is still relevant. Most older, established neighborhoods are in the town's center, which can be good or bad depending on the vitality of your urban area. New subdivisions -- and newer schools -- are generally on the outskirts. But the expense of a daily commute is one factor that many buyers forget to consider, Edelman said.
Price: Existing homes are usually less expensive per square foot, in part because of escalating land costs in new subdivisions. But ownership costs are considered more predictable -- almost inevitable -- in a new home, especially considering the cost of a code upgrade or remodeling of a vintage home. Some builders will include closing costs as part of their price of a new home, although that builder has a set amount he must get from that home to make a profit. Price is more readily negotiable for an existing home. Also, a hidden cost in many new subdivisions is a homeowner's association, with mandatory fees and other assessments as well as architectural controls that may surface at remodeling or expansion time. Do your homework.
Move-in complications, advantages: The resale is sitting there waiting for occupancy, warts and all. But the wait for a new home can seem interminable, though the buyer can check on quality control as it's being built. If your finished house is among the first in a new subdivision, prepare to navigate through construction teams and precariously misplaced nails for months on end. And don't forget that daytime hammer serenade.
Neighborhood: "People moving into new neighborhoods are more homogeneous -- the same things that appeal to you also appeal to others like you," says author Edelman. "When a development goes up, it offers an opportunity for you to help create your own neighborhood lifestyle. If you want to move into community where your children have lots of playmates, that may be for you." In an older community, he said, people have moved in and out over the years and you tend to get more diversity of neighbor backgrounds that include older people, singles, families and renters.
Living space and design: Lower building costs of the past mean more home for the money for the buyer of a resale. Resale basements may have been finished out nicely for additional living space. On the other hand, new-construction homes often employ more efficient, innovative uses of square footage and property. Also, newer "zero-lot-line" developments offer more living space per square foot than a same-size lot that surrounds a resale.
Customization: In a new house, you can pick your own color schemes, flooring, kitchen cabinets, appliances, custom wiring for TV's, computers, phones and speakers, etc., as well as have more upgrade options. Modern features like media rooms, extra-large closets and extra-large bathrooms and tubs are also more attainable in ground-up construction. In a used home, you rely largely on the previous resident's tastes and technological whims, unless you plan to farm thousands into a remodeling and rewiring. Be warned: It's unwise to wallpaper for at least one year in a new house until it settles, says Edelman. The wallpaper will tear. (But it is OK to paint.)
Character: While many new homes are built in "contextual" style, which blends elements of the old and the new, it's still hard to emulate a pre-Civil War house in New Orleans, a Victorian home in San Francisco or a brick Row House in Boston. Hardwood floors, vaulted windows, high ceilings, built-in cabinetry and other design nuances express a certain individuality in older homes that's nearly impossible to copy. Many new-home buyers believe they put the character in their own homes.
Safety: Builders have to follow very strict guidelines in new-homes and additions, especially in the West and Northwest, where earthquake safety standards must be observed. In general, new homes are usually more fire-safe and better accommodating of new security and garage-door systems.
Landscaping: Mature trees, robust shrubs, gardens, rose bushes and perennially well-watered lawns are some of the rewards of an older home, while most new homes are apt to yield wee trees, fewer walkways and sparse vegetation. Landscaping is an expensive proposition today for the cost-conscious home builder.
Energy efficiency: Advantage: new construction. Game, set and match as well. New-home designers can use new building materials such as glazed Energy Star windows, thicker insulation and other technology that will lower future energy costs for the owner. Most states now have minimum energy-efficiency requirements for new construction. Kitchens and laundry areas in new homes are designed to house more efficient energy-saving appliances. Older homes, unless they have undergone an energy retrofit, usually cost much more per square foot to air-condition and heat.
Amenities: Many new subdivisions offer neighborhood clubhouses, swimming pools, playgrounds, bike and jogging trails and picnic venues for residents. Older homes don't, although many have better access to urban shopping venues and restaurants because they're part of old, self-containing city-planning philosophies.
Maintenance: The charm of an older home often goes hand in hand with increased maintenance, especially if the previous owner(s) were not vigilant in upkeep. Building materials may be harder to replace or match in an expansion or remodeling. New homes generally come with at least a one-year warranty for the repair of some problems that develop as it settles into its foundation. But know what your warranty covers. Many are elusively written.
Taxes: Newer homes tend to spring up in less-developed, outlying municipalities, which may impose higher taxes on you because they're subsidizing fewer inhabitants than the central metropolitan area. Your community will still need fire and police coverage, sidewalks, sewers and probably a new school. A more established home in a built-out area has a little more predictable tax structure.
Increasingly, "new" is no longer an option in some towns, and neither is "old" for most folks there. Realtor Graham Baxter of Los Gatos, Calif., operates in the Silicon Valley market, where most of the sales are $1 million plus and there is virtually no new housing stock. "The only new homes that tend to get built are the result of tear-downs," he said.
To find new subdivisions and less expensive homes in the region, "You have to go 50 miles from the Valley to Tracy or Stockton. But you'd be surprised how many people make that commute."
Compromise is obviously the name of the new-or-resale home-buying game, as it becomes apparent that the perfect house and perfect site probably don't really exist. And finding what you want can be a protracted headache.
"Buying a home from anybody is much more complicated and challenging than people realize," says Beau Brincefield, real estate attorney and author of "Brincefield's Guide to Buying a Home; The Twenty-One Biggest Mistakes People Make When Buying a Home."
With new-construction homes, "You've got all the same problems you have with resale homes and then some," says Brincefield, who is a frequent lecturer on real estate and civil litigation. Brincefield says dozens of Web sites are created by people who bought defective new homes from builders but who have since discovered they have little recourse. "Obviously, there are a lot of good builders who stand behind their homes...and most people go through this process with no problems," he said. "But those aren't the ones I see."
Some builders create no-asset, limited-liability companies in order to buffer themselves from claims, he said. Home warranties, especially those purchased from third-party warranty companies, usually aren't as all-protective as consumers first believe. Read the fine print, Brincefield advises.
When considering purchase of a new home, make certain you are dealing directly with a builder who has a substantial net worth and not a no-asset subsidiary, he said. Avoid giving builders upfront money, he says. "If they have your deposit and go under, you won't get either the house or your money back. Make sure the purchase contract is contingent on financing."
Whether buying a new or resale home, always hire a properly credentialed individual to inspect the premises before you settle, Brincefield said. "Even some nationally known home inspection firms may send out an individual inspector who is minimally qualified to perform a good inspection."
Because of the contract forms that many inspection firms use, the company typically has little financial risk for a poor inspection, Brincefield warns. "If they miss a bad roof, all they have to do is refund you the $200 or $300 (fee). Anytime you are given a written contract to sign, you should read it carefully and make sure you understand what you are signing."
Buying a new or resale home without an experienced real estate attorney "is like playing Russian roulette," he said. "Sure, there is only one bullet in the chamber, so you're probably going to make it out all right. But there's always that one bullet."
Potential buyers should also scope out any vacant fields in the area surrounding their planned purchase and check with the city or zoning board to determine how that land is zoned, experts say. Recent buyers into both new and established subdivisions across the country have been stunned to discover the long-fallow retail parcel down the block will soon give way to a big-box retail megastore.
Because they like the customization options, first-time home buyers will sometimes opt for a new town home instead of a resale, with intent to move up to a single-family home in a few years, Edelman said. But that means the same builder, who will probably continue to build new units nearby for the next few years, will in essence determine the future value of that town home. That means the selling price for the owner of the town home could be tied to -- or just below -- the price of that newer town house the builder is still constructing.
While buying a used or new home should be largely a lifestyle decision, that still shouldn't prevent the potential buyer from also thinking like a seller, Edelman said.
"For you will be one someday," he said.
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