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Living Near Top Schools May be More Affordable than Buyers Think

Atlanta (Aug. 28, 2018) – According to the real-estate experts at RE/MAX Georgia, purchasing a home in a quality school district is almost always near the top of buyer wish lists. In addition to the promise of a good education, homes located near well-rated schools tend to increase in value over time, making it a solid investment.

RE/MAX is not alone in this assessment. The 2018 National Association of Realtors Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers found that 40 percent of buyers aged 37 and younger rank school quality as a factor influencing their home-buying decisions. Also, a recent survey of people who closed on a home this year found that 73 percent said buying in a good school district was “important” in their search.

Even for homebuyers without young children, school quality should be a consideration. Great schools often mean great neighborhoods, according to RE/MAX. Often there’s a correlation between high-performing school districts and safer communities, better shopping and transportation and great public amenities like parks. All of these factors increase the desirability of the neighborhood, which translates to higher home values and a better deal for the buyer when it’s time to sell.

But, what exactly does it take to purchase a home near a top school? RE/MAX Georgia recently examined the latest rankings from Niche to determine the best school districts in the Atlanta area. RE/MAX Georgia then analyzed the current median home sale price for each of these communities. The following are the findings according to their ranking:

Niche Ranking School District City July Median

Home-Sale Price

1 Buford City Schools Buford, Ga. $298,800
2 Forsyth County Schools Cumming, Ga. $354,611
3 Decatur City Schools Decatur, Ga. $262,500
4 Bremen City Schools Bremen, Ga. $154,000
5 Fayette County Public Schools Fayetteville, Ga $439,835
6 Carrollton City Schools Carrollton, Ga. $148,200
7 Cobb County Schools Marietta, Ga. $328,500
8 Cartersville City Schools Cartersville, Ga. $192,900
9 Cherokee County Schools Canton, Ga. $301,250
10 Gwinnett County Public Schools Lawrenceville, Ga. $238,000

“The good news for buyers is that buying a home in a top district doesn’t have to break your budget. There are a wide variety of price points available,” said John Rainey, vice president, RE/MAX Georgia. “Buyers need to think long-term about their purchase and homes near good schools tend to hold their value, even in times when the housing market is slower.”

About RE/MAX Georgia

A leader in Georgia real estate, RE/MAX Georgia knows the local markets – from Metro Atlanta, Northeast Georgia and Augusta to Savannah, Albany and Columbus. With more than 1,300 sales associates and 100 offices throughout the state, RE/MAX Georgia has helped thousands of Georgia families with their home buying and selling needs. For more information, visit 

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Make Your Bedroom an Oasis and Go the “F” to Sleep

According to literally every doctor and just common sense, getting enough sleep is one of the most important things you can to for your health. The NIH says that inadequate sleep can lead to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, cardio vascular disease, and depression.  It’s also important for safety, which is why there is a significant uptick in accidents and heart attacks on the Monday after daylight savings. So what does that have to do with houses? Turns out, your bedroom has a major impact on how well you sleep. Here is how you can optimize it.

  1. Get rid of the TV. Save everything but sleeping/sex for the bedroom so that your body knows exactly what it is doing when you go to bed. Turns out that mindless tv isn’t actually that mindless. Same thing goes for scrolling through social media when you get into bed.
  2. Get blackout blinds.  Scientists say  that light pollution from our environment has a seriously negative affect on our health, and that just turning off the lights in the house isn’t enough to tell our bodies that it is truly night. Your body  knows to rest when it is dark, so it is no surprise that light in the bedroom or peeking in from outside has an impact on your sleep, suppressing the production of melatonin and making it harder to fall and stay asleep.
  3. Make your space ideal for sleeping. This means decorating with cool colors, decluttering as much as humanly possible, and making your bed everyday. We tend to think of making our beds as a routine morning chore, but it turns out the ritual may be more meaningful than that. The results of a recent Bedroom Poll by the National Sleep Foundation found that people who reported making their bed in the morning were 19 percent more likely to get a good night’s sleep every night. Many people believe clean, neat and comfortable elements of the bedroom environment are important to getting a good night’s sleep.
  4. Get a fancy sound machine. It’s crazy how white noise can help you turn off your brain. According to the National Sleep Foundation, while you sleep, your brain continues to register and process sounds on a basic level. Noise can jostle your slumber—causing you to wake, move, shift between stages of sleep, or experience a change in heart rate and blood pressure—so briefly that you don’t remember the next morning. White noise works by reducing the difference between background sounds and a “peak” sound, like a door slamming, giving you a better chance to sleep through it undisturbed. If you have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, creating a constant ambient sound could help mask activity from inside and outside the house.
  5. Make the bedroom cooler. Many sleep experts say that a cool room, somewhere around 65 degrees, makes for the best sleep, and research backs this notion. During the course of a normal day, your body temperature rises and falls slightly. This pattern is tied to your sleep cycle. As you become drowsy, your temperature goes down, reaches its lowest level around 5:00 a.m., and climbs slightly as morning begins. This is why the air in your room can affect the quality of your sleep: if it’s too hot, it may interfere with your body’s natural dip and make you more restless through the night. In fact, studies indicate that some forms of insomnia are associated with an improper regulation in body temperature. Of course each of us has a slightly different optimal temperature for sleep, so experiment with keeping your room cool and find what makes you most comfortable.

Besides just being a place where you spend some time, your home and how you design it has a huge impact on your health. It’s up to you to decide whether that impact is going to be positive or negative.

Written by Kyle Barber @ Dart Homes.
Here’s the link to the original article.


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Never fear, Vondala is here!

We are happy to welcome Vondala Lyles, a new agent, to the PREMIER family.  We asked Vondala a number of questions to get to know her a bit better.  Now you can get to know her too! Check out Vondala’s answers.

  1. Where are you originally from?  Atlanta
  2. Fan of Sports? If so what team? NFL
  3. What is your Favorite Restaurant? Anything Mexican
  4. What is something that no one would know about you outside of your family? I love dogs.
  5. What is your Favorite or Current Book that you are Reading? The Plant Paradox
  6. What are your current Hobbies? Water Aerobics.
  7. Do you have any Children? If so what are their name(s)? Yes, one.  His name is Johnny Jr.
  8. What are your Goals for your 1st 12 months with RE/MAX Premier? To sell $2M in real estate.
  9. At what store would you max out your credit card? Dillards.
  10. What was your favorite tv show growing up? Carol Burnette Show.
  11. Can you play any instruments? No.
  12. What, if anything have you re-gifted? Scarves.
  13. Do you have any strange phobias? Needles.
  14. If you could have any super power, what would it be and why? To be invisible.

Have more questions?  Reach out to Vondala today and get to know more about her!

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Where is the affordable housing in Atlanta according to RE/MAX?

As metro Atlanta home prices rise steadily higher, that push has produced an equal and opposite worry: people with modest incomes might be priced out of the market. Sales prices of metro Atlanta homes have been steadily climbing since 2012 – the core five counties of the region have seen a 21 percent rise during the past three years, according to Re/Max Georgia.

That brought the median price to $254,900 – that means, well over half the homes sold are now far out of reach for households with the region’s median income of about $63,000. But people with limited means shouldn’t forget the flip side of the equation, said Jenni Bonura, president and chief executive of Atlanta-based Harry Norman Realtors: many homes are still within reach.

“There are definitely opportunities,” she said. “I think it comes down to, what do you want as an individual?”


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Which Offer Should You Choose When Selling Your House?

We came across this gem of an article, written by our friends at Trulia.

It breaks down some some things that Sellers should consider when determining which home offer to accept:

When you have a home for sale, you may receive multiple offers from prospective buyers. So the smart move is to pick the highest one, right? Not always. Price is just one of many considerations when deciding which offer is best for you and your home. Here are some of the other factors that matter when selling your home, and how each one could affect your choice.


Most buyers include some contingencies with their offer. Contingencies are things that must happen in a set period of time in order for the deal to go through. For you, the fewer contingencies and the shorter the time period, the better. The most common contingencies are inspection, financing, and appraisal. With an inspection contingency, the buyer can back out if an inspector finds a major problem or too many issues with the home. A finance contingency lets the buyer out if they can’t secure a mortgage, and an appraisal contingency goes into effect if the house appraises for less than the offer amount.

All-Cash Buyer
You typically won’t get the highest offer when the buyer is offering all cash. But this is often the safest offer. “A cash offer is usually more appealing than a finance offer as the seller doesn’t need to worry about whether the bank will approve your loan,” says Sam Heskel, president of Nadlan Valuation, an appraisal management company in Brooklyn, New York.

Buyer Pre-approval. Not many people can pay for homes in cash. So a pre-approval letter is the next best thing. This letter comes from a lender and assures home sellers that the buyer can get the loan they need. “A pre-approval makes the offer stronger than one submitted without a pre-approval,” says Lucas Machado, president of House Heroes, a Florida real estate company. Don’t get this confused with pre-qualification, however. “There’s a substantial difference between being pre-qualified and pre-approved,” says Machado. “Being pre-qualified does not mean you will be approved, as very little vetting of the borrower is done in the pre-qualification process.”

Loan Type. There are many types of mortgages, and some are easier to deal with than others. A conventional loan is often the least complicated type, which makes it an appealing choice for sellers. An FHA loan or other types of government-backed loan can cause delays because they require certain repairs and approvals.

Closing Timeline. You might need to close as quickly as possible to move onto your next adventure. A buyer, perhaps an all-cash buyer who can close immediately, will be most attractive to you. Or you might need an extended closing timeline. If, for example, you’re having a house built and don’t know exactly when it will be ready, a buyer who doesn’t want to close for a month or two might save you from having to move twice.

Closing Costs. Sometimes the offer is high, but the buyer asks you to pay all or a percentage of their closing costs. Closing costs are usually between 2 and 5 percent of the purchase price. In some cases, by the time you pay closing costs, the highest offer won’t get you the most money in the end.

Buyer Letters. If you love your home and are concerned about its future, a “love letter” from a buyer could assure you that you’re selling to someone who will care for the home as much as you did. A love letter lets you know your home won’t go to a developer or other undesirable buyer.

Repair Requests. If the home needs some repairs, but you don’t have the time or money to do them, a buyer who will do them for you might be what you need. Expect buyers to get an inspection report. That’s standard. Some buyers will ask you to fix some things—or even everything—in the report, and some won’t.

Appliances and Fixtures. Do you plan to take your appliances and fixtures with you, such as the refrigerator, washer/dryer, favorite light fixtures, and living room furniture? Then a buyer who doesn’t ask or insist on those being part of the deal might put that offer on top.

Earnest Money. Earnest money is a deposit buyers put down to show they’re serious about buying the house. Typically, earnest money is between 1 and 3 percent of the purchase price—the higher, the better for you. Your real estate agent can tell you what the norm for your area is. You can keep the earnest money if the buyer changes their mind about buying in some cases, such as when there’s nothing wrong with the property, but they got cold feet. The larger the earnest deposit, the more confident you can be that the deal will go through.

Offer Price. Of course, price matters, too. It might outweigh the other variables mentioned above, or it might not. The highest offer might turn out to be your best one, but find out all the details before you accept it. If the high offer seems risky—or will cost you a lot in closing costs, repairs or other factors—then it probably won’t be your best offer.

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Meet Kera Morgan – Our Newest Agent

We asked KERA 18 Questions, check out her answers!

  1. Where are you originally from? Atlanta (College Park / Riverdale originally)
  2. Fan of Sports? If so what team? Not really, but my husband is a Raiders fan.
  3. What is your Favorite Restaurant? For breakfast/brunch – Thumbs Up.  For lunch – Cheesecake Factory.  For Happy Hour – Flemings.
  4. What is something that no one would know about you outside of your family? My middle name.
  5. What is your Favorite or Current Book that you are Reading? “Stand Your Ground.”
  6. What are your current Hobbies? Working out (when I have time)
  7. Do you have any Children? If so what are their name(s)? Yes, 3! Malachi, Elyse & Kingston.
  8. What are your Goals for your 1st 12 months with RE/MAX Premier? 2-3 closings monthly.  MILLION DOLLAR PRODUCER!
  9. At what store would you max out your credit card? Express.
  10. What was your favorite tv show growing up? Family Matters, TGIF, Living Single, New York Undercover.
  11. Can you play any instruments? No 🙁
  12. What is the nerdiest thing you do in your free time? Probably Journal Writing
  13. What, if anything have you re-gifted? Baby shower gifts that my kids were not able to use.
  14. Do you have any strange phobias? Not that I know of.
  15. Who or what are you a closet fan of? Grace & Frankie (the TV show)
  16. What are the next 3 things you plan to do on your bucket list? Travel to Hawaii with my family.
  17. If you could have any super power, what would it be and why? Telepathy.
  18. Favorite family member? My cousin even though she drives me nuts (of course my mom too)! 🙂
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10 Ways to Win a Multiple Offer Situation the “Premier Way”

Who would have thought that the market would be where it is today with the minimum levels of inventory. This is lead to a buyers having multiple bidding wars to obtain a home. Here are some successful strategies to assist you in winning your next bid:

1. Strong Earnest Money Deposit-10% usually seals the deal!

2. Short inspection or Due Diligence Period- Three to Five days preferably.

3. Working with a lender that has already provided you with an underwritten approval

4. Adding an Escalation Clauses *See RE/MAX Premier agents for this to ensure that you aren’t over paying for the property.

5. Working with a reputable lender that the listing agent may know about

6. Having the lender call the listing agent the moment your offer has been presented to let them know where you are in the credit/approval process

7. Letting the seller know that your offer is an As-is offer impresses the seller because they know that you will not ask for any repairs thereafter. Consult with your RE/MAX Premier agent to ensure that you aren’t getting any code related defects in the property

8. Adding a stipulation in the contract that gives the owner time to lease back if necessary –This is becoming more common as the inventory levels are staying low sellers aren’t truly sure on where their next move is.

9. Going over asking price- Be sure that your RE/MAX Premier agent includes an appraisal contingency to prevent any discrepancies.

10. Submitting a Buyer Cover Letter to your offer. If not in the form of a cover letter we have had purchasers send Next Day Air heart felt letters to the seller as long as this was within the expiration dates of the original offer.

Happy House Hunting! Let a RE/MAX Premier agent show you how we are selling homes in “Today’s” Market!

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Restaurants: Top 100

Three of the nation’s top 100 restaurants area in Atlanta, according to the reservation service OpenTable. The list, which is in alphabetical order includes Bones, La Grotto, and UMI. This list of 100 Best Restaurants in America reflects the combined opinions of more than 12 million restaurants reviews submitted by openTable diners for more than 26,000 restaurants in all 50 States including Washington DC. Stop by and see why Atlanta remains a great place to relocate for affordable living and also amazing restaurants!

Check out these delicious menus:

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FHA Loan Limits Increase in Georgia!

The new loan limits will take effect for FHA case numbers assigned on or after Jan. 1, 2018.

FHA is required by the National Housing Act, as amended by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, to set Single Family forward loan limits at 115% of median house prices, subject to a floor and a ceiling on the limits. FHA calculates forward mortgage limits by Metropolitan Statistical Area and county.

Back in 2016, the FHA increased loan limits for just 188 counties. Then, in 2017, this number jumped to 2,948 counties that saw an increase. And now, the number of counties increased even further to 3,011 counties for 2018.

In high-cost areas, the FHA’s loan limit ceiling will increase to $679,650, up from $636,150 this year. The floor will also increase from $275,665 to $294,515 in 2018.

However, in 223 counties, the FHA loan limits will remain the same.

The National Mortgage Limit for FHA-insured Home Equity Conversion Mortgages, or reverse mortgages, will also increase, rising from $636,150 to $679,650. Currently, the FHA regulations implementing the National Housing Act’s HECM limits do not allow loan limits for reverse mortgages to vary by MSA or county; instead, the single limit applies to all mortgages regardless of where the property is located.

The FHA’s minimum national loan limit, or floor, is currently set at 65% of the national conforming loan limit of $453,100. This floor applies to those areas where 115% of the median home price is less than the floor limit. Any areas where the loan limit exceeds this floor is considered a high-cost area, and HERA requires FHA to set its maximum loan limit ceiling for high-cost areas at 150% of the national conforming limit.

For most of Georgia Residents FHA loan limit shall now be $358,900

Click here for a complete list of FHA loan limits.