Thinking about putting your home on the market and wondering what you can do to get it sold quickly? As a homeowner, you want to keep your home in great condition for both your enjoyment and when it comes time to sell. Summer is a great time to tackle some essential home maintenance tasks that can not only keep your home in top shape but also boost its resale value. Here are some tips to keep your home looking great and appealing to potential buyers. Remember to put together a binder documenting all the improvements you have made in the home. Tracking all the projects, records, and expenses will be helpful to you if and when you go to sell the home.

Inspect and clean your gutters

Clogged gutters can lead to water damage and other issues, which can be costly to repair. By keeping your gutters clean and in good condition, you’re not only protecting your home from water damage but also boosting its curb appeal. Potential buyers will appreciate a well-maintained home, and clean gutters are a sign that the homeowner takes pride in their property.

Check your air conditioning system

A well-maintained air conditioning system is essential for a comfortable living environment in the hot and humid summer months in the South. Buyers looking for a new home will appreciate a home with a functioning air conditioning system that can keep them cool and comfortable. Plus, a well-maintained air conditioning system can help save on energy costs, which is an attractive feature for potential buyers.

Maintain your landscaping

Well-maintained landscaping can add significant value to your home’s resale value. A beautiful lawn, healthy plants, and well-trimmed shrubs and trees create a positive first impression for potential buyers. Good landscaping can increase a home’s value by up to 12%, making it an essential aspect of summer home maintenance.

Prepare your home’s exterior

Curb appeal is crucial for attracting potential buyers, and the exterior of your home is the first thing they will see. Maintaining your roof, windows, and doors, as well as pressure washing your home’s exterior, can improve its appearance and appeal to potential buyers. Small repairs and touch-ups can make a significant difference in the resale value of your home.

Keep your home cool and comfortable

A home that is cool and comfortable is more attractive to potential buyers. Keeping your home’s temperature under control and reducing humidity can make it more appealing. Homebuyers are looking for energy-efficient homes that can save them money, so installing a programmable thermostat or other energy-saving features can be a significant selling point.

Homeownership and renting both have benefits and drawbacks. The decision between the two depends on individual circumstances and priorities. Potential benefits of homeownership compared to renting include:

Building Equity: One of the biggest benefits of homeownership is the ability to build equity over time. Each mortgage payment you make goes toward paying down the principal balance on your loan, which increases your ownership stake in the property. What does this mean? As you continue to pay off your mortgage, you are building wealth and increasing your net worth. In contrast, when you rent, you are paying someone else’s mortgage, building no equity, and you don’t own the property! Seems like an easy decision to make.

Control and Flexibility: Owning a home provides you with more control and flexibility over your living space. As a homeowner, you can make changes to your property that suit your personal preferences and needs. You can paint the walls, install new fixtures, or even remodel the kitchen or bathroom. Renters typically have less flexibility and control over their living space, as they must abide by the rules and regulations set by the landlord.

Tax Benefits: Homeownership comes with a range of tax benefits that can help you save money in the long run. For example, you can deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage from your taxable income, which can significantly lower your tax bill. Additionally, you can deduct property taxes and some of the closing costs associated with buying a home. These tax benefits can help make homeownership more affordable and accessible for many people.

Stability: Owning a home can provide you with a sense of stability and security. When you own a home, you have a long-term investment in the property and can establish roots in the community. This can be particularly beneficial for families with children, as it provides stability and consistency in their living situation. In contrast, renters may have to move frequently due to changes in rental rates, the landlord’s decisions, or other factors outside of their control.

Appreciation: Another potential benefit of homeownership is property appreciation. Over time, home values generally appreciate, meaning that the value of the property may increase in the future. This can be a significant benefit for homeowners who are looking to sell their property and potentially earn a profit. Additionally, as the value of your property increases, so does your net worth and your overall financial stability.

Pride of Ownership: Finally, owning a home can provide you with a sense of pride and accomplishment. Homeownership is often seen as a significant milestone in one’s life, and it can provide a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction to own a property that you can call your own. Additionally, homeownership can help you establish a sense of community and belonging, as you become invested in the neighborhood and the people who live around you.

The decision between renting and owning your home depends on your individual circumstances and priorities. However, for those who can afford it and are looking for long-term stability and wealth-building potential, homeownership is a great choice. It’s important to carefully weigh the pros and cons of each option and to speak with a financial advisor or real estate professional before making a decision.

As published in Around Kennesaw magazine:

Have you ever walked into someone’s home and instantly felt calm and relaxed, but you couldn’t put your finger on why it felt so good? I remember going home from college after a long semester and instantly feeling the weight of the world lift as I entered my childhood home. Was it the smell of chicken soup? Or was it the television up loud with the Detroit Lions winning? Most likely it was not that, but because it was HOME.

What makes a house a home? As an agent, I walk through hundreds of houses.  Each one has a certain feel to it. After being in so many, there are a couple of simple things I’ve noticed that can make any space calm, relaxing, and inviting. Give these suggestions a try this month and show your home some love!

Clear the Clutter.  We all have too much stuff. Take the time to clear countertops and surfaces. Visual clutter can drain your energy.

Clean the Sink. When you have a clean kitchen sink, it makes your entire kitchen feel better. Let’s face it – a full sink is like a to-do list that never gets done.

Make your bed. There is a reason luxury linens exist.  Fancy hotels have fluffy sheets and towels that make you feel so special.  Why not spoil yourself and get new sheets and pillows for your bed?  You are so worth it.

Bring nature inside. Be your own valentine and best friend and buy yourself some fresh flowers.  Get your favorite flowers and put them on your cleared tidy counters next to your empty sink.

Add your favorite scent. What makes you feel like you are on a vacation… is it the beach?  Light that beachy coconut-smelling candle.

Do the maintenance. When something breaks, be kind to your home and fix it the right way.  Not doing so can cause significant expenses and damage to your property value.  

Honor the memories.  Frame and fill your home with meaningful art.  I took old wallpaper from a client’s home that she was gutting.  We wanted to remember the history and remind ourselves of the hard work in the renovation.  We all signed the wallpaper.  Contractors, plumbers, all of us.  It still hangs in her kitchen.

Loving your home is like loving yourself.  It matters.  Your home is not just a place to lay your head.  It is your safe space.  Take care of it, love it, and it will love you back.


As published in Around Kennesaw magazine:

The Holidays are upon us, and the spirit has moved me to adapt a familiar Christmas tune to share some tips on ways investor clients can and should benefit from the current shifting real estate market.


On the 1st day of a shifting market, savvy investors… Invest in hybrid cities. Cities like Ellijay, Kennesaw, Macon, and Savannah are offering decent cash flow and stable prices.


On the 2nd day of a shifting market, savvy investors… Negotiate with sellers. Know the market and be aggressive with your terms.


On the 3rd day of a shifting market, savvy investors… Purchase multi-family housing to live in and rent. This is my favorite house hack! Purchase a duplex, triplex, or any multi-family property of up to 4 units with an FHA loan. You can live in one of the units, collect rent on the other(s), and still only make a 3.5% down payment on the loan. This is a no-brainer!


On the 4th day of a shifting market, savvy investors… Buy New Construction. Yes, you can build it to rent it! Builders with existing inventory need to pay taxes and as the year ends, they are ready to make a deal.


On the 5th day of a shifting market, savvy investors… Take advantage of creative financing. One example is “Subject to” which is a little-known approach where the buyer can take over the existing financing.


On the 6th day of a shifting market, savvy investors… Get a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC). This is a great time to cash out the equity in your home and jump into the market!


The key to understanding how to benefit from a shifting market is to know that national news is not always relevant to your local real estate market. Some areas are trending toward complete buyer’s markets and some toward seller’s markets, but the trends in your individual market are what’s important. It’s important to know the following key factors: days on the market, inventory available, and absorption rate. Understanding this information will help you decide what to do next, and help you act fast when you are ready to jump into the market.


Wishing you and yours a safe and blessed holiday season!


As published in Around Kennesaw magazine:

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter. In this world, everything changes with the season as it’s meant to do. Nothing is static. Just as we have seasons in the year and in a lifetime, we also have seasons in the housing market.


As a Realtor, I have watched as the last two years have been the season for Sellers. High home values, low inventory, and unprecedented interest rates meant folks selling their homes were loving life like every day was the Fourth of July.


As we transition to a season for Buyers, it’s true that the hot market is cooling. Interest rates are rising into the 7% range. Inventory has increased. Homes are staying on the market for longer. Sellers are accepting contingencies, paying closing costs, and lowering their asking prices by thousands of dollars.


While some see this new real estate season as a time to hunker down for a cold spell, others are just getting warmed up! Investors are loving this market. They are primed and ready to scoop up properties from fatigued sellers.


The end of the fourth quarter of 2022 and the beginning of the first quarter of 2023 will be a wonderful time to invest. It’s time to diversify your portfolio! Think long-term rental, Airbnb, student housing, and multifamily. Add an investment property and cash in on the shifting market. This is quite literally how people create generational wealth.


Real estate markets change like the seasons. It’s all about how you look at it. While Sellers are experiencing a chilly forecast, investors are headed to the sunny beach of Return on Investment (ROI).

As published in Around Kennesaw magazine:

Realtors have differing opinions on the value of open houses and whether they are worth the time and effort. In my experience, the answer is YES, they are definitely worth it! And when you do it, you should do it BIG!


Does the open house sell the home? Sometimes! What it ALWAYS provides me, as the listing agent, is the perfect opportunity to highlight all the assets of the property. The home is clean, and the owners are gone, giving me a live studio for promoting the property through all my social media and networking channels. Whether it’s an Instagram Reel or a Facebook Live broadcast, I’m ready to go when the home is prepped for an open house.


Prep is key to ensuring a successful open house. From the first listing presentation with my clients, we map out a calendar of events including an Agents only preview night and weekend open houses conveniently timed for when the most people will be out and about looking at homes. I reach out to my real estate network and promote these events on my social media channels as well.

Marketing a home is everything. Getting people excited about a property is what it’s all about. “Coming Soon” sneak peek promotions, and an open house party that no one wants to miss, are all part of the way I like to create anticipation for the listing and frankly a line at the door thirty minutes before the event. I also like to include special extras like grazing tables, prosecco, baked goodies, prizes, and swag bags.


As Realtors, we work hard to gain the trust of our clients. I encourage all agents out there to employ a savvy open house strategy to show the client’s home to the public in its best light. Bring in the neighbors and those who are just curious. You never know whom they are going to talk to about the amazing open house they went to over the weekend. Get people talking. Surprise and delight them. Make it memorable!

As published in Around Acworth magazine:

In real estate, all the planning I do as an agent is based on what I want to happen 90 days from now. Everything I am doing right now will come to fruition in three months. Looking forward, three months from now is the Fall. It’s hard to think about cooler temps and back to school when we are enjoying the neighborhood pool and family vacations!

With four college age kids, I am always thinking about college. Always! Questions like: Are they ready for next year? Are they going to change their major yet again? How’s the budget looking? Where will they live? Some of these things are beyond my control. But two of them I can manage easily – the budget and the living situation.

Over the course of their lives, my husband and I had put away money for the kids’ college years. Traditional savings accounts that would yield a traditional nest egg for them. As we approached the first kid being ready to “launch”, I began to think bigger. I had been doing a lot of research on investment properties, and I had a big idea. We took a gamble and used a portion of the college money as a down payment on a house.

My kid moved into one of the rooms – and not the best one, mind you! We rented out the other rooms to my child’s friends or other college kids. Each room had a lock and key and a separate lease. While my child lived in a great property, the mortgage was paid by the roommates and in four years we sold the house for a very nice profit. Boom – budget and living situation problem solved! We are currently amid what I like to call a “rinse & repeat” for the other kids. This crazy market has certainly helped the plan work extremely well for us!

Have kids nearing those college years? You can put this plan into action as well. If implemented carefully, you will make a profit and will have peace of mind about where your child resides for this time of their life. There are a lot of moving parts in doing so, though. Make sure to enlist a Realtor who has expertise, not just with the housing market, but with the rules and regulations of your child’s college system.

As published in Around Acworth magazine:

What does luxury mean? Is it a price point? A vibe or feeling? An attitude or expectation?

In real estate, luxury properties are typically those that are above a certain price point. While all real estate deals must be handled with care and expertise, the high-end features in luxury listings, from larger square footage to country club memberships, mean that a higher level of mindfulness must be paid to the property.

Luxury agents use a common phrase: the Ritz Carlton effect. The goal is to anticipate needs and provide solutions before clients even realize what will be required. Service, surprise and delight is the goal.

That doesn’t mean the cost to sell has to be higher. How does an agent achieve this level of service for a client? It’s simple really – by being the best. By knowing that the real estate business is a balancing act. By understanding the process inside and out and having exceptional vendor partners with the same goals and values. The agent must have excellent communication skills and be able to set the stage for what’s next. These things make all the difference, along with knowing what issues are urgent and the ones that can wait.

Patience is key when guiding clients from the first appointment to the closing table. It’s a dance. So much complex footwork takes place in this process. Choosing who to work with to sell your home can be a complicated decision. You must consider the typical things, such as who knows the area, who has successfully sold the most homes, etc. In a luxury listing, you also must consider who has the right expertise, who you can trust with your property, and who will have led you through the process with the utmost care and kindness.

Joannie Bates is a Realtor for Keller Williams Signature Partners. She works with clients in the surrounding area, with a focus on luxury and investment properties.

As published in Around Acworth magazine:

I’m sure you know the show… homeowners enlist a Realtor and an Interior Designer to help them decide if they should keep their home or go find a new one. Usually there is some seemingly insurmountable obstacle to renovating their existing home that the designer is magically able to tackle. And the Realtor easily finds a home in the owners’ price range and neighborhood where they want to live that is leaps and bounds better than their existing home. We all hold our breath until the very end when the homeowners decide if they will stay or go.

We can all relate to the show’s premise because it really IS so hard to decide if we should stay put or finally move on from the place we call home. There are pros and cons to both that you could consider.

A major pro for selling your home now is the hot seller’s market we are still in – yes you heard me, it’s still happening! You can get top dollar for your home with, in most cases, your choice of offers and a quick turnaround. I’m seeing a lot of “as is” offers as well, meaning that some of those pesky issues in your home that you’ve been meaning to fix can be left alone. You will want to keep in mind that inventory is still low so you might not be able to find the house of your dreams right away, and you may end up having to find an interim place to live. While this is not ideal, some patience and the right Realtor will mean that you will find what you are looking for eventually!

If you are not ready to take the plunge and want to stay put, there are many benefits. Number one, you don’t have to move! And you won’t have to change school districts or any of your local conveniences like doctors and shopping. If your location is right and you have a good amount of space for your needs, then staying in your home might be the best option for you. If you have renovations planned, keep in mind that costs are high right now so a renovation will likely be more expensive than you are expecting. Contractors are very busy right now too, so once again, patience is key!

Joannie Bates is a Realtor for Keller Williams Signature Partners. She works with clients in the surrounding area, with a focus on luxury and investment properties.


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