Piedmont Heights

August 27, 2014
Atlanta, GA
Make This Page Your Homepage
Contact Site Sponsor
Make a Suggestion
Area Map
Piedmont Heights
HOME
Neighborhood News
Community Calendar
Neighborhood History
Atlanta Real Estate
New Neighbors
Atlanta Area Jobs
Neighborhood Pictures
Local Resources
Atlanta Schools
Neighborly Referrals
Home Renovation Tips
Recipe Exchange
Classified Ads
Goods and Services
Favorite Links
Homes For Rent
When Planting a Tree...

Want to know what’s going on?

Sign up for your monthly neighborhood newsletter today!

Name
E-Mail
 
More Info | Privacy Pledge


Neighborhood News Today's Tips 
Want to know what’s going on around our neighborhood? Find out here on the Community News page! Visit throughout the day to get your updated local news headlines. In addition, you can also find out about local happenings.

If you know of an event, such as a city picnic, local high school graduation or a wedding, post it here to let all of us know! Be sure to keep yourself informed by checking this page frequently!
Add Neighborhood News

Why It's Time To Buy... Now!

Posted on: 2011-06-07
Why It's Time To Buy... This is a long one, but well worth the reading.

by Ruth Simon and Jessica Silver-Greenberg
June 4, 2011

Back in June 2006, when the housing market peaked, the prospect of a five-year national housing bust seemed unimaginable to most people. And yet here we are, with the latest Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller index showing that prices hit new bear-market lows, falling back to 2002 levels nationally and to 1990s levels in some battered regions.

Despite all the gloom, however, there are growing indications that it is a good time to buy. Mortgage rates, which fell to 4.55% for the week ending June 2, according to Freddie Mac, are near 50-year lows. Homes have become more affordable than they have been in years: According to Moody's Analytics, the ratio of home prices to income is now 20.9% lower than the 15-year average through 2010, and 12.5% lower than the 1989-2004 average. A historic glut of homes, meanwhile, has created a buyer's market: There were about 15 million vacant homes in the U.S. last year, according to John Burns Real Estate ConsultingInc.—some 3.1 million more than normal.

Such conditions might not last long. Moody's Analytics predicts that the number of distressed sales will begin to fall in 2013, and that prices will begin to edge upward then. Home building is at a virtual standstill, so the supply overhang isn't likely to get much worse. Meanwhile, demographic indicators such as 'household formation'—the number of new households each year—are on the rise, and promise to take a bite out of the glut in coming years.

The upshot: 'While we might not see rapid growth in the next couple of years, there are a tremendous number of positive signs that could lead to a rebound,' says Anthony Sanders, a real-estate finance professor at George Mason University.

The short-term outlook isn't encouraging. Job growth remains weak, foreclosure sales are making up more of the market, and economists are predicting that home prices will fall more in the coming months.

But the long-term benefits of homeownership remain very much intact. For now, at least, you can deduct the mortgage interest on your taxes—a big perk for people in higher tax brackets. You get to paint your walls any color you wish, without having to clear it with a landlord. And assuming you can buy a home for about the same price as you can rent one, buying will give you the ability one day to live rent-free. Come retirement time, a paid-off mortgage means your monthly expenses are significantly reduced, and you have a chunk of equity to play with.

So what might the next five years look like? Once the foreclosure mess begins to clear up, say housing economists, the traditional drivers of the housing market—demographics, affordability, loan availability, employment and psychology—should take over.

Here is a glimmer of what the future may hold: While overall home prices fell by 7.5% in April over the same period a year earlier, according to CoreLogic, a Santa Ana, Calif., provider of real-estate data and analytics, if you exclude distressed sales, prices were off just 0.5%. So if you are in a market that isn't battered by foreclosures, you may be close to a bottom already.

'The regular marketplace is hanging tough,' says CoreLogic chief economist Mark Fleming.

Here is a look at five key factors that will govern local markets over the next several years:

Household formation fell during the economic downturn as a weak economy led some people to stay in school, double up with roommates or move in with family members. According to Moody's Analytics, the number of new households renting or owning a home dropped to 578,000 in 2008 from nearly 2 million in 2005, just before the peak of the housing boom.

But household formation increased to nearly 950,000 last year, says Moody's, and should average 1.2 million over the next decade.

That, combined with increased obsolescence and higher demand for second homes, should begin sopping up excess inventory in much of the country over the next two years, Moody's says.

'Whatever the excess supply of housing is, it is shrinking pretty fast,' says Thomas Lawler, an independent housing economist.

Some of the uptick in household formation is likely to come from the leading edge of the echo baby boomers, who have been waiting for the economy to recover before striking out on their own, says William Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institution. That is likely to fuel an increase in demand for both rental apartments and starter homes.

The portion of people moving across the country has fallen to the lowest level since World War II, he adds. That is a sign that many people have put their lives on hold because of the weak economy.

'When things do pick up, there will be this pent-up demand for everything involved with starting a household,' Mr. Frey says.

Of course, when prices in healthier regions begin to rise, many would-be sellers who have sat on the sidelines could begin putting homes on the market, muting the price gains at first, says Susan Wachter, a professor of real estate and finance at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. Even so, she expects home prices to stabilize and begin to strengthen over the next two or three years.

There also are some powerful demographic cross-currents worth considering. The first baby boomers turned 65 in January, an age when demand for new homes falls and many begin to think about downsizing. 'The baby-boom generation pushed prices up as they got older,' says Dowell Myers, a professor of urban planning and demography at the University of Southern California. But in the coming years, 'boomers will start flooding the market on the supply side' with larger homes, while fueling new demand for smaller properties with more services and amenities.

Rising home prices made renting cheaper than buying in many parts of the country. But that dynamic has begun to change: Housing affordability, as measured by the ratio of median home prices to median household incomes, has fallen below pre-housing bubble levels in just over two-thirds of the country, according to an analysis of more than 380 metro areas by Moody's Analytics.

Renting is still cheaper than buying in most markets, but rising rents and falling house prices mean that, in some areas, this won't be the case for long. Buying a home is already cheaper than renting in Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit and Orlando, Fla., according to Moody's Analytics. In other markets, including Dallas, Las Vegas and Sacramento, Cailf., the equation is likely to soon turn in favor of homeownership if current trends persist, the firm says.

In Ann Arbor, Mich., where home prices fell 11.2% between 2007 and 2010, according to Fiserv Case-Shiller, housing affordability has risen well above historical levels, according to Moody's Analytics.

That is good news for home buyers such as Steven Upton, a 42-year-old photographer, who in June will close on four-bedroom brick house on 10 acres in an upscale community in Ann Arbor. Mr. Upton paid $400,000 for the home, which previously listed for $600,000. 'It's a tremendous deal,' he says.

Before buying a house, it is wise to compare rental prices for similar properties. To be ultraconservative, wait until the monthly outlays, including taxes and insurance, are equal. You also could factor in the tax savings of owning, which would make buying more attractive even if the gross monthly outlay is slightly higher.

The strength of the housing market depends largely on the economy. Rising incomes and increased employment tend to give more would-be buyers confidence and buying power. For now, job growth remains sluggish: On Friday the Labor Department reported that just 54,000 jobs were created in May, far below expectations.

But signs of how a stronger job market could fuel housing demand are evident in the Dallas metro area, which added 83,100 new jobs in the 12 months ending in April—the largest gain in the nation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Dallas never had a big housing boom or bust and has benefited from trade with Mexico, a strong telecommunications sector and a central location.

The opportunities for a job with more responsibility drew Duane and Linda Elmer to Dallas from Des Moines, Iowa, where Mr. Elmer was a banker for nine years. The couple has agreed to pay $415,000 for a four-bedroom, four-bath house with a Jacuzzi and pool. Their Des Moines home, purchased nine years ago for $410,000, is on the market for $390,000. 'We are willing to take the loss for the opportunity to live in a more diverse community and to take a job with greater breadth of responsibilities,' Mr. Elmer says.

Borrowers like the Elmers who are relocating for job opportunities are a big driver of home sales in nearby Plano, Texas, says Harry Ridge, a real-estate agent. He says such sales accounted for 20% of his business last year.

A similar influx of job seekers is fueling housing demand in the Washington area, where 25,700 new jobs were added in the 12 months since April 2010. Washington was the only one of the 20 cities tracked by Standard & Poor's and Case-Shiller that saw home prices rise both on a month-to-month and year-over-year basis.

Mortgage financing remains plentiful for borrowers with good credit scores and solid employment histories. But for borrowers who don't fit traditional lending standards, getting a loan can still be nearly impossible. In the first quarter, about 10% of banks tightened standards for nontraditional loans, according to the Federal Reserve. Meanwhile, higher down-payment standards are locking some would-be buyers out of the market. Just 35% of renters have the minimum 3.5% down payment needed for an FHA loan on the median-priced home in their market, according to a recent survey by Zelman Associates.

Credit is likely to remain tight for at least the next six months, says Clifford Rossi, a former Citigroup Inc. consumer-lending executive who teaches at the University of Maryland.

But conditions should improve over time, he says: 'There's no question that it will gradually get easier.'

That will be welcome news to borrowers like Greg Silver. The 50-year-old real-estate developer would like to buy a second home, but hasn't been able to secure a jumbo mortgage because his income consists of capital gains from sales of the properties he develops. Mr. Silver closed three sales in the past 12 months, netting him a total of more than $25 million, but didn't record any capital gains in 2008 and 2009. Sure, he could use some of that cash to buy a home outright, but he would prefer to mortgage it, get the tax deduction and keep his cash free for business purposes.

'It's a little devastating,' says Mr. Silver, who is living in Greenwich, Conn.

The long-term case for buying over renting remains in force. Yet nowadays, 'People are simply scared,' says Aaron Galvin, chief executive of Luxury Living Chicago, which finds rental apartments for wealthy clients.

Mr. Galvin says he has seen a 30% increase in business in the last year, driven by would-be home buyers who can afford to purchase a property but are choosing not to do so.

The portion of Americans who believe homeownership is a safe investment dropped to 66% in the first quarter from 83% in 2006, according to Fannie Mae, the government-controlled mortgage company.

But it isn't clear whether the fear will result in a prolonged change in attitudes, as during the Great Depression, or have little long-term impact, as was the case for the housing bust that shook California and the Northeast in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Eighty-seven percent of people surveyed by Fannie Mae said they preferred owning to renting, though access to schools, control over one's environment and other quality-of-life issues now are seen as the key benefits of homeownership, with building wealth and other financial factors viewed as less important. In addition, 67% of renters surveyed by Zelman Associates said they planned to buy a home in the next five years.

Jeffrey Connor may be a bellwether for the future of the housing market. The 40-year-old finance director at a corporate law firm says he thought briefly about buying a house when he moved to Chicago from Washington in October. But he opted instead to rent a luxury two-story apartment in downtown Chicago for $3,559 a month. Mr. Connor says it will take substantial job growth and a sharp drop in foreclosures to convince him to buy.

'The market is clearly soft,' he says, 'especially when we consider it good news that the unemployment rate is hovering around 9% instead of 10%.' Mr. Connor says he isn't worried about missing out on today's low interest rates and will consider buying once unemployment falls to 6%.

Other buyers are showing less willingness to wait for the absolute perfect time to buy. Doug Yearly, chief executive of luxury builder Toll Brothers Inc., told investors in May that 'some of our clients, after waiting so long, are starting to move off the fence and into the market, motivated by attractive pricing, low interest rates and, most important, the desire to take the next step in their lives. The family with elementary-school kids and a puppy when the housing debacle began five years ago now has middle-school kids and the dog weighs 80 pounds.'


Everyone Still Wants to Own a Home

Posted on: 2011-06-06
Daily Real Estate News | June 3, 2011 |

Seventy-five percent of Americans say that “owning a home is the best long-term investment they can make and is worth the risk of ups and downs in the housing market,” according to a new survey of 2,000 bipartisan voters by the National Association of Home Builders.

Despite their situation — whether underwater on their home or even renters — the survey found Americans to be optimistic about home ownership. Eighty-one percent of those who own their homes outright, 76 percent with mortgages, 67 percent of renters, and 65 percent who have underwater mortgages cited home ownership as the “best long-term investment.”

When survey respondents were asked whether they’d recommend buying a home to a friend or family member just starting out, 80 percent of Americans said “yes.” Even home owners currently underwater — those who owe more on their mortgage than their home is currently worth — overwhelmingly (78 percent) said they would recommend home ownership to family or friends starting out.

More buyers are coming up through the pipeline too. The survey found that 73 percent of those surveyed who do not own a home said their goal is eventually to buy one.

The NAHB survey also found:

▪ 58 percent of Americans oppose eliminating the mortgage-interest deduction and 63 percent oppose lowering it. What’s more, 57 percent of those surveyed say they are less likely to support a candidate for Congress who wanted to eliminate the mortgage-interest deduction.
▪ Respondents were split on about requiring a 20 percent down payment to purchase a home: 49 percent were in favor and 49 percent opposed it. However, mortgage holders and renters aged 18 to 54 were more opposed to it: 58 percent of younger mortgage holders and 59 percent of younger renters opposed adding a 20 percent down payment requirement.


Protect Your Home When On Vacation

Posted on: 2011-05-31
What can you do to protect your home while on vacation?

Many families decide to take advantage of the summer months by going on vacation. Before heading out the door, you might want to prepare your home for your absence. Even for a short absence of 3 to 5 days, there are a few things to consider.

Air Conditioning. Air conditioning should be limited in your time away. Either turn it off, or turn it up to 85 degrees or above. Taking advantage of this tip will save energy and and save you money while you are away.

Sump pumps. If you have a sump pump, it should be tested before you leave. One thing that can ruin a vacation is returning to a flooded home.

Set timers for lighting. The use of timers for interior lighting can be a great help when your house is left unattended for a short time. This makes it look like your home is occupied while keeping electrical use to a minimum. No one will know you're not around.

Taking a few minutes to prepare your home for your next vacation can save you money and headaches.


It's Cheap to Buy a Home

Posted on: 2011-05-09
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) just released another annual forecast, this one predicting a 1.8% drop in the median price of existing homes this year. Sales of existing homes, however, are expected to grow almost 8%, which shows that more buyers are realizing there are some outstanding bargains in the market, especially when lower home prices are coupled with the low mortgage interest rates. In solid support of this is the recent report that shows it's cheaper to buy a home than to rent in 39 of the 50 largest cities in the U.S. Who do you know that should be looking for a home?


Grindhouse Killer Burgers Opening

Posted on: 2011-04-15
Now open for business, Piedmont Heights has another neighborhood restaurant.

Grindhouse Killer Burgers has their first success in the Sweet Auburn Curb Market location. This Spring the owners, Alex Brounstein and Mike DiLonardo, have re-developed the old abandoned Detail Car Wash at the corner of Wimbledon Road and Piedmont Road into a swanky new patio restaurant called Grindhouse Killer Burgers.

The first location at 209 Edgewood Avenue has featured 100% angus burgers, and turkey and veggie burgers of various sizes, each freshly-made. They offer a multitude of toppings, side items, and various ice cream selections and hand-made milkshakes. They will also have a license to sell beer, wine and mixed drinks.

This new location is open for business from 11:00 AM until 11:00 PM with longer hours on the weekends.

Website: www.grindhouseburgers.com


MAN - Mosquitoes Are Nasty!

Posted on: 2011-04-15
Tiny Pest — Major Concerns

Mosquitoes can become an incredible nuisance to the point they actually deter you from venturing into your own backyard during some of the nicest times of the year. Moreover, they pose a significant health risk due to diseases they can carry like West Nile Virus and Encephalitis which can be transmitted to your family and pets through a single bite.

While mosquitoes tend to be the most bothersome at twilight and in the early morning, conditions around the home can promote their activity all day long, dramatically limiting your enjoyment of your outdoor living space both night and day. It’s a serious issue, which is why you should give serious consideration to a customized mosquito control program for your home.

Heavy rains and rising temperatures create a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes and are contributing to a noticeable increase in the number of infestations in our area. In addition, mosquito-borne illnesses continue to plague communities, especially in the South, as evidenced by the increasing incidence of West Nile Virus this past summer.

Mosquitoes are one of summer’s best-known pests. They breed in small amounts of stagnant water such as storm drains, children’s wading pools, old tires and birdbaths. Mosquitoes can develop from egg to adult in as little as 10 days. Once they are born, they are most active from dusk to dawn and will fly up to 14 miles for a meal. Female mosquitoes feed on human blood while male mosquitoes feed on plant nectars.

Arrow Exterminators offers these tips to prevent mosquitoes from interfering with the enjoyment of your property this spring and summer:

• Replace all standing water at least once a week; this includes birdbaths, ponds and unfiltered pools.
• Remove unneeded vegetation or trash from around any standing water sources that cannot be changed, dumped or removed.
• Screen windows, doors and other openings with mesh.
• Avoid going outdoors during dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
• Use insect repellent containing DEET on exposed skin whenever or wherever mosquitoes are likely to bite.

To mount a counter attack and reclaim your yard from mosquitoes, call Toby Miller at Arrow Exterminators for a free, no-obligation complete home evaluation. His number is 770-833-8588. As part of their STEPS™ Total Protection System, Arrow offers a wide range of mosquito prevention alternatives, and, all of Arrow’s services are 100% guaranteed.

Seasonal Mosquito Protection — To protect your family and home from mosquitoes throughout the season, Arrow will service your home monthly. This plant friendly process is used on bushes and shrubs, trees and other surfaces around your home where mosquitoes are most likely to land.

Special Event Service — For an upcoming barbecue or other outdoor event, many homeowners call Arrow Exterminators for a one-time mosquito control service to provide a barrier for a short period of time. These highly effective mosquito exterminator treatments are a great way to ensure the health and comfort of your family and guests.

Website: www.ArrowExterminators.com

Email: tMiller@ArrowExterminators.com


Upcoming Events at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens.

Posted on: 2011-04-13
Springtime is heating up in the Gardens with fun events being cooked up every day...

HAVE A BITE...

May is all about food, and the Edible Garden Outdoor Kitchen will be the hub of the party. Gourmet in May kicks off the spring and summer seasons of cooking demonstrations, wine pairings, tastings and classes.

FEAST YOUR EYES...

Explore the beauty of eight private gardens and get inspired with ideas during the Gardens for Connoisseurs Tour on May 7 & 8.

FORK IT OVER...

Spruce up your home with plants from the Gently-Used Plant Sale on April 14 & 15. Choose from orchids and other houseplants left over from Orchid Daze – still fresh and blooming – and at jaw-dropping prices.

Website: www.AtlantaBotanicalGarden.org


5 Things Home Buyers Do That Turn Sellers Off

Posted on: 2011-04-13
1. Trash-Talking. Trash-talkers are the home buyers who think they’re going to negotiate the list price down by slamming the house, telling the sellers how little it is really worth, how the house across the street sold for nothing, why the school on the corner should make them desperate to give the place away, etc. This strategy never works; in fact, when you attack a seller and their home, you only cause them to be defensive, and think up all the reasons that (a) their home is not what you say it is, and (b) they shouldn’t sell their home to you!

2. Being unqualified for mortgage financing. When a seller signs a buyer’s offer, most often the seller agrees to effectively pull the home off the market, forgoing other buyers who might be interested. As such, the only thing worse than getting no offers on your home is getting an offer, getting into contract, then having the whole thing fall apart when the buyer’s loan falls through – especially if that could have been predicted or avoided up front.

3. Making unjustified lowball offers. No one likes to feel like they are being taken advantage of. And sellers generally know the ballpark amount that their home is worth, as well as what they need to sell it for to get their mortgage paid off. Yes – the price you pay for a home should be driven by its fair market value, rather than the seller’s financial needs, and deals are more available in a market like the current one, in which supply so vastly outpaces demand. But just throwing uber-lowball offers out at sellers hoping one will hit the spot is not generally a successful strategy, especially if you really, really want a given property.

4. Renegotiating mid-stream. Sellers plan their finances, moves and, to some extent, their lives around the purchase price a buyer agrees to pay for their home. If you get into contract to buy a home, find out during inspections that costly repairs need to be made, then propose a lower sale price, repair credit or even actual repairs to the seller, that’s sensible and fair. But, if you were aware that the property needed a lot of work before you made an offer on it, then you come back asking for beaucoup bucks’ worth of credit or price reductions midstream, expect the seller to cry foul. And, holding the seller up two weeks into the transaction because you caught a case of buyer's remorse? Not cool, and not likely to foster the spirit of cooperation you may need to get your deal closed.

5. Misleading or setting the seller up. Offering way over asking with the plan to hammer the seller for a reduction when the house doesn’t appraise at the purchase price? LAME! Making an as-is offer planning the whole time to come back and ask for every penny ante repair called out by the inspectors? LAME squared!

In this rollercoaster real estate market, buyers and sellers, and their agents, must be congenial and cooperative to make things happen. You'll always catch more flys with honey than with vinegar.


576 Wimbledon Road is For Sale

Posted on: 2011-03-08
This is a Fantastic Opportunity for an Owner/Occupant that also wants to be an Onsite Landlord. Rent the lower level for $1000+ per month!

The main floor of this All-Brick Ranch is a Renovated 3-bedroom, 1.5-bath home with new Granite, Stone, Stainless Steel kitchen with High-end Appliances, all new Wood Cabinets, new Stone Floor and all new Lighting. Refinished Hardwood Floors throughout. A super-sized Sunporch can be a playroom, office, or workout area.

The Terrace Level on the back of the home is a legal 2-bedroom, 2-bath apartment that has a Renovated Living Room, Dining Room, Kitchen and Sunroom. The square footage is the same as the main floor. It's a perfect roommate floorplan.

The huge Rear Yard is totally Privacy-Fenced.

Priced at a cool $439,900, this one will sell quickly!

Call Norm for more details. 404.874.6699.

Email: nHatke@bellsouth.net


To Increase Your Home's Chances of Selling...

Posted on: 2011-02-06
If you are selling your home and want your home to appeal over your neighbor's home, the most important thing is also pretty easy: Clean it!

While a new kitchen and updated bathrooms are certainly important, a well maintained home is priceless. There is no bigger turnoff than walking into a dirty, cluttered home for a buyer, especially after they've seen 20-plus homes in a given day. The home must look, and smell, clean.

I've worked with hundreds of buyers, and I can tell you that it is easier for them to visualize what can be done to a home when it is neat and clean. To be honest, most people would rather not pay for someone else's upgrades that they will be re-doing anyways, and would rather just move into a clean, well-maintained home.

A clean home tells the buyer that this home is loved -- and that when things go wrong, they are corrected, not just left to worsen over time.

When you see that the windows and window sills have been cleaned, when a homeowner has maintained the exterior of the home, you know that they respected their property and are passing along to you a gem, not a white elephant!

Of course, this isn't the only factor affecting resale; let's look at some of the many things that affect your home's resale value -- things that you can affect, if you so desire to put so money into your home to have it stand out.

Bathrooms
The best value as far as bathrooms go is at least a 2.5 bathroom home -- this allows one for guests, one for the secondary bedrooms and one in the master. Having too few will definitely adversely affect your home value.

Storage and More Storage
A three-car garage is ideal as this gives the extra storage space homeowners desire. I have some clients who have turned this third car space into a home gym, a home office or just an extra storage space, and this is definitely appealing to future buyers.

The Kitchen
This is probably the most important room in the home. The larger kitchen, the better, and it should also have newer appliances. A lot of homes today have granite counters and while this is certainly an added feature, be sure that the granite is installed correctly (over the sink, not under), has been bull-nosed rather than the straight edge and is a slab rather than the tiles -- and be sure you like the colors.

Kitchen cabinets can also be extremely expensive but also deceiving in looks. You may think you are buying maple but are getting pressboard or some other far less superior product.

Be sure your dining room can withstand your dinner parties. I've also noticed today's buyers are really into the “great room,” combining the family and living rooms as well as the kitchen. This is a really nice feature as well but if it is the only living space, be sure it is off of the kitchen in order to make the best use of the space.

Convenience for today's buyers is highly coveted, so easy access to the back yard is a benefit, especially if you're into barbecuing or entertaining. The little things like having to walk up stairs with groceries, versus coming into the kitchen off of the garage, also makes a difference to future buyers.

Fireplace
Everyone loves a good fireplace, and some modern homes will have 2 or more. The best place to have one is in the living room as it becomes the focal point of the room. If it were in the family room it is competing or interfering with the television and will remain largely unused. A lot of homes today also have a fireplace in the master bedroom and again, while this is a nice feature, it only adds value to those that will use it.

Swimming Pools
A swimming pool will not add as much value as they cost. To a potential buyer who does not want a pool, it adds zero value. A pool with all the latest and greatest gadgets will only increase your home's value about 10% to 20% of the cost of the pool.

Add one simply for your own enjoyment and not as an investment. Something to also take into consideration with a pool is the safety considerations as well as the cost of insurance.

Here is a list of the other things you can do to make your home stand out above all others.

Power-wash exterior walls, sidewalks and driveways.
De-clutter all rooms and all closets.
Repair all cracks.
Repair or replace leaky faucets.
Replace cabinet hardware with a modern design.
Install new, modern light fixtures.
Replace any goofy electrical cover plates.
Add higher wattage bulbs to all fixtures.
A new coat of paint will look, and smell, clean.
Replace worn and damaged carpeting.
Minimize the furniture in every room.
Clean all windows, and un-cover them for more light.
If the home if vacant, hire a staging company.

Call me at any time for an evaluation, or for additional suggestions. Call me too when you are ready to sell your home. 404.874.6699


Piedmont Heights Property Taxes

Posted on: 2011-02-06
Fulton County tax bills are mailed each year in July to the most current owner of record for every property in Fulton County. It is the responsibility of each property owner to verify the name, property location, street address and correct spelling of names on the bill. It is also very important to verify that any and all exemptions to which the propery owned is entitled are listed and calculated on the bill. Depending on your age, health status and annual earnings, you may be entitled to multiple exemptions.

Many times properties owners are dissatisfied with the current property assessment used in calculating their property taxes. January 1 through April 1 is the time to review and make any changes to a property record to affect the taxes owed and paid.

A property owner has two options to dispute the property tax calculation. A property tax return can be filed with the Board of Assessors between January 1 and April 1 to dispute the value, or, if a re-assessment is received anytime during the year, the property owner may appeal the value to the Board of Assessors within 45 days of the date of the re-assessment notice.

The appeal must provide the Board of Tax Assessors with a value that the owner believes to be fair and must be substantiated by facts and comparable properties.

The website for the Tax Assessors Office is www.FultonAssessor.org.

Website: www.FultonAssessor.org


Water, Water Everywhere! Call for help!

Posted on: 2011-02-06
Remediation Group, Inc. offers Emergency Services!

CALL NOW at 404-214-1470. They are located 2 miles from Buckhead near Peachtree Battle (Creek)

Atlanta has been hit hard by rain and flash flooding ! The Rem Group can help. They can handle floods, pipe breaks, rainstorms; anything that leads to water damage.

Services include:

Water Extraction
Structural Drying
Fire, Smoke and Soot Restoration
Contents Pack Out
Furniture and Contents Decontamination
Mold Remediation
Restoration Services
Structural Reconstruction
Deodorization
Dry Ice Blasting
Insurance Claim Specialists

Their team of certified restorers, water loss specialists, and mold remediators are trained to follow an organized plan with scheduled priorities and disciplined procedures. With their state-of-the-art revolutionary drying techniques, they are the only remediation service worth your recovery dollars. They will save you thousands of dollars in ongoing recovery repairs. The key is response.

The sooner you call REMEDIATION GROUP, INC. to respond to water damage emergencies, the sooner they can act to overt long-term problems in your home or facility.

To learn more about this company, please visit their website at www.remgroupinc.com and call their Atlanta office at 404-214-1470. Be sure to mention me and this website when you call them.

Website: www.RemGroupInc.com


12 Months of Giving, and then some.

Posted on: 2011-02-06
Do you know a family in need of a replacement heating & air conditioning system? Perhaps a friend, family member or co-worker that has fallen on hard times and is going without heating or cooling?

Submit your story of a family in need, and once a month, Reliable Heating & Air will select a winner who will receive a complete 13-SEER comfort system ( heating & cooling.)

Send an email directly to info@reliableair.com with their story. Please be as detailed as possible and also be sure to include the contact information for the nominee and yourself.

Winners will be announced at the end of each month.

The following restrictions apply:

Employees, affiliates, and family members of Reliable Heating & Air and WSB are ineligible. Free system includes the following: 80% afue single stage furnace, 13-SEER a/c, matching cooling coil and digital thermostat. 1.5-ton to 5-ton system only. Nominee's equipment must be verified by Reliable Heating & Air as inoperable and beyond repair. We reserve the right to verify all information submitted for accuracy.

Reliable Heating & Air's professional, experienced and highly-trained service department offers emergency service, routine service and yearly maintenance contracts. They service and repair ALL makes and models of residential and light commercial heating and air conditioning equipment. The installation department is known for quality work installing replacement systems, as well as new construction on custom houses, and remodels.

Reliable Heating & Air offers a full line of Trane equipment , the very best in high efficiency, heating and cooling products available. They also offer a variety of other lines of equipment to fit any need or budget.

For more information on any of the services they provide, to schedule a free, in-home estimate for a replacement syste, or even if you just need some free advice on heating & air issues, please call 770.594.9096 and ask for Dan Jape.

Website: www.ReliableAir.com

Email: info@reliableair.com


Save Money and Avoid Big Problems Later

Posted on: 2011-02-06
In this economy, you may be tempted to delay or even skip minor home maintenance repairs, cleaning jobs and inspections in your home. But, that $200 or $300 you save today could result in expenditures of $3,000 or even tens of thousands next month or next year if hidden problems in your home go unnoticed and become worse.

Spring or fall is the best time of the year to have your HVAC system checked and maintained. Companies aren't as busy, and you're not in dire need of heat or air conditioning. Continual maintenance prolongs the life of the equipment. You're sitting there with an investment of thousands in your HVAC system and you're investing a few hundred dollars in maintenance to keep it in tip-top condition. Call Tony Gentile of Southeastern Heating & Air for an inspection. 770.457.1575.

Inspect and clean your chimney once a year, before your first winter fire. Be sure to include removal of creosote buildup, which may lead to a chimney fire. Water is also the # 1 problem with chimneys. With water damage, you might need to have your whole chimney rebuilt.

Termites are more active in spring and early summer. If left untreated, these bugs damage framing, trim, drywall, furniture, carpet, copper and other soft metals. Termites cause more than $5 billion in damages a year in the U.S.
Call Toby Miller at Arrow Exterminators. 770.833.8588.

Clean your dryer vent once a year at least to get rid of lint buildup. If your dryer is not on an exterior wall, it's likely that the vent leading outside is clogged up. Clogged dryer vents are the # 1 cause of house fires. A clogged vent will also shorten the life of your dryer's heating element. Don't risk your furnishings, your belongings, your home, or your life.

Have your carpets cleaned once a year, or at least the heavy traffic areas. Your home will be healthier with less pollen, bacteria, insecticides and dirt removed, and you'll extend the life of your carpet. Replacing 1,000 square feet of medium-grade carpet, including padding and installation, costs about $3,000. Cleaning might be $300. Call Patrick Spencer at ZeroRez. 770.242.1313.

For a variety of home repairs, call Karen King at Dog Gone Handy. Their repair persons are qualified to make all kinds of these home maintainence and repairs. Call Karen at 404.876.3000 to schedule a visit.

Website: www.DogGoneHandy.com

Email: karenking@homerebuilders.com


A Plethora of Entertainment Venues

Posted on: 2010-12-17
WOW! Do we have a plethora of entertainment venues nearby, or what?
and they almost all include Dancing Naked Ladies…
and they’re all within a mile of Piedmont Heights…
21 of them...

The Gold Room of Dancing Naked Ladies on Piedmont Road
The Onyx Gentlemen’s Club of Dancing Naked Ladies on Cheshire Bridge Road
Bare Necessities Dancing Naked Ladies on Cheshire Bridge Road
The Doll House Dancing Naked Ladies on Cheshire Bridge Road
Naughty Girls & Uptown Novelty & Dancing Naked Ladies on Cheshire Bridge Road
Kamal’s 21 Club of Dancing Naked Ladies on Piedmont Road
Tattletales Club of Dancing Naked Ladies on Piedmont Road
Room Service Lounge on Piedmont Circle
Maurice's Room on Piedmont Circle
XTC Club & Blowout Video on Piedmont Road

Inserection on Cheshire Bridge Road
Inserection on Piedmont Road

Peek-a-Boo Peep Houses ( 2 ) and Dancing Naked Ladies on Monroe Circle
LIFE on Cheshire Bridge Road ( does anyone know what it is? )

New York NY SPA on Lakeshore Drive
Spring SPA on Manchester Drive
St Jaime SPA on Piedmont Road
Gold SPA on Piedmont Road
Aroma Therapy SPA on Piedmont Road
Quality Health Spa on Chantilly Drive

In case you have an opinion about this plethora...

Alex Wan is your councilperson for District 6.
His phone number is 404.330.6049
His email address is: awan@atlantaga.gov

Why not give him a call or send him an email.

Email: awan@atlantaga.gov


Holiday Security Around the House

Posted on: 2010-12-07
Tips For Making Your Home More Secure

No one likes to talk about it, but burglary is a scary thing. Thieves usually look for potential targets that are the easiest to break into. You can make your home much less attractive to them by taking a few simple steps to beef up home security.

Most of these security measures are easy tasks and only require a few simple tools. A little free time is a small investment for your peace of mind.

1. Installing a quality lockset not only adds to your home's beauty, it also sends a message to would-be intruders.

2. Deadbolts are an inexpensive and effective way of adding security to exterior doors, and make a great supplement to standard locksets.

3. Adding a peephole allows you to see who's knocking before you open the door.

4. To make your sliding patio doors more secure, cut a piece of closet rod to fit in the track behind the sliding door and adjust the track clearance so the doors can't be removed from their frame.

5. Install keyed sash locks on your windows to make them more secure. If you like to let in fresh air, look for locks that also have a vent-locking position.

6. Low-voltage lights are easy to install and provide an excellent, low-energy light source to highlight areas you don't want in shadow.

7. Lights with motion detectors are a convenient and efficient source for outdoor security lighting. Well-positioned motion detectors make it virtually impossible for anyone to sneak up on your home.

8. Security cameras are great for keeping an eye on children playing in the yard and they allow you to see who's coming to the door from inside your home.

9. A storage barn with a good lock keeps your outdoor items organized and safe.

10. Keep your hedges and foundation plants pruned so they don't hide potential entry points to your home. Overgrown plants offer intruders a place to hide while they attempt to break in.

For real security, and real peace of mind, upgrade your current security system, or get a new one. The wireless models provide even more security, and can also include protection from fire and smoke.

Call Chris Bean at Ackerman Security Systems. They are the only locally-owned and locally-monitored system in Atlanta. Their services are guaranteed. His number is 770.798.8376.

Website: www.AckermanSecurity.com

Email: chris.bean@ackermansecurity.com


Can I Sell My Home in December?

Posted on: 2010-12-07
There is a lot happening in the month of December.

Some home sellers don't want to add 'trying to sell my home in December' to the mix of holiday priorities, so they choose to wait for warmer weather in February.

With that said, there are some advantages to having your home on the market at this time of year, too. Although there will be a larger pool of buyers out and active after the first of the year, the ones who are out in the wet and the cold right now tend to be really motivated to buy.

Holiday house hunters usually fall into two camps: they either just need a place to live... fast, or they need to close on their new home by year's end for tax reasons. Given that post-tax credit buyers have been characterized by an almost stunning lack of urgency, keeping your home on the market over the holidays is one way to try to capitalize on the urgency this season's motivated buyers face, due to their circumstances.

And the key to getting your home SOLD ( for top dollar ) fast in this market is curb appeal inside and outside. Do everything you can to make your home shine from the street. And once inside, everything needs to sparkle as well.

Repair anything that's broken.
Remove excess furniture.
Re-paint and re-carpet.
and Clean, Clean, Clean.

For more tips on holiday selling, call me at 404.604.3350.


Atlanta Landmarks

Posted on: 2010-12-07
Here's another nearby landmark.
Where is it?


the ReinDog Parade at the Botanical Gardens

Posted on: 2010-12-07
Reindog Parade
December 11
11 AM - 1 PM

Registration begins at 10:30 AM.

Join the once-a-year fun of dogs in the Garden! Dress your pooch in holiday finery to compete for prizes or to just show off. Also, connect with local canine enthusiasts and businesses in the Doggie Expo.

This year the competition is going to be hosted by celebrity dog trainer Victoria Stilwell of Animal Planet’s hot TV show “It’s Me or the Dog.”

Don't have a dog? Come enjoy the show!
This Holidays in the Garden favorite is doggone fun for everyone.

Dogs compete in following categories:

Best Dog-Owner Look-Alike
Best Botanical
Best Puppy ( under 2 years )
Best Senior ( older than 10 years )
Best Dog Pack
Not competing – just showing off!

Pre-registration Closed

Walk-up registration is $20 per dog ( maximum two dogs per person ) and subject to availability on day of the event; walk-ups may only participate in the 'Just Showing Off' category. Regular admission rates apply to owners.

Download the Reindog Rules & Guidelines

Email reindog@atlantabotanicagarden.org for more information.

The other big events at the Gardens in December:

Holidays in the Garden
November 2 – January 2

The Garden is open holiday Mondays, December 20 and 27. The Garden is closed other Mondays, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.

Enjoy the Garden at its merriest! From imaginative model trains and children's train rides to charming costumed doggies and classy high teas, Holidays in the Garden includes popular traditions and fun activities for everyone.

Quaint G-scale trains chug through a beautifully planted outdoor landscape and the Botanical Express Ride-on-Train departs for trips around the Great Lawn. Check the Ride-on-Train schedule for dates and times.

Dogs dressed in holiday finery have their day during the third annual Reindog Parade – the only day of the year man's best friend is allowed in the Garden. Enter your pooch in the contest or just come out to watch the fun.

Discover gorgeous holiday decor including an 18-foot-tall poinsettia tree towering inside the Fuqua Orchid Center.

Seasonal Highlights:

Holiday Model Train Show

The Botanical Express Ride-on-Train

Holiday Market

Saint Nick

Holiday Puppet Shows

Reindog Parade

Holiday Chocolate High Teas

The Atlanta Botanical Gardens are located at 1345 Piedmont Avenue, Atlanta GA 30309. Their phone number is 404.876.5859.

Website: www.atlantabotanicalgarden.org

Email: reindog@atlantabotanicagarden.org


Our October Yard of the Month

Posted on: 2010-10-06
Congratulations to Lorrie Griffin at 472 Wimbledon Road! Her yard is the Wimbledon Road Yard of the Month.

Lorrie, by way of an attractive mixture of annuals, perennials, and shrubs, has created the perfect combination for charming curb appeal.

Lorrie is also available on a consulting basis for anyone in the neighborhood needing some good advice on general landscaping. Summer grasses is one of her specialties.

Thanks Lorrie for being a great neighbor, and Congratulations!




A New Tacos & Margaritas Bar

Posted on: 2010-09-27
Opening this fall will be a new tacos and margaritas restaurant in the old Mrs. Winner's location at the corner of Piedmont Road and Piedmont Circle.

Owner/developer Chakib Touhami, very familiar with the restaurants of Atlanta, has recently worked as manager of the popular Two Urban Licks restaurant on Ralph McGill Boulevard . This location will feature a surprising variety of tacos, and many, many exciting flavors of margaritas.

Under renovation now, Perla Tacqueria is scheduled for opening later this year.


Show & Sell - Smells that Sell

Posted on: 2010-09-12
Humans can discern about 10,000 smells. And a good smell can help sell… your home.

We instinctively know that the power of scent can be good or bad. Strong smells from pets, cooking or other activities can make prospects run from buying a home. But, the right clean scent can have quite the opposite affect.

To help would-be homebuyers be more excited, more attentive, and make decisions more quickly, use scents like rosemary, peppermint or grapefruit for alertness and stimulation. For an older home with many rooms, use citrus scents or lavender; they are refreshing, energizing, and they promote mental clarity and calming while easing any tensions.

The soothing scents that are the most calming and relaxing are the ones that will ease anxiety, tension or stress. These are chamomile, clary sage, jasmine, lavender, mandarin, orange blossom, and sandalwood. The energizing scents that promote alertness are eucalyptus, lemon, peppermint, and rosemary. Whatever mood you desire, just don’t overdo it with the power of smells.


The Benefits of a 1031 Exchange

Posted on: 2010-09-12
Every dollar saved in taxes can be used to purchase even more of something else. Tax deferment increases leverage. Leverage is a method of acquiring real estate worth many times the value of the initial investment.

A 1031 Exchange allows a property owner to sell his or her investment property and defer the capital gains tax owed by reinvesting his or her equity into a new investment property of equal or greater value. The true power of exchanging is found in being able to meet investment objectives without losing equity to taxation, allowing investors to purchase replacement property many times the value of their initial investment.

An investor can exchange raw land for a rental home, an apartment complex for a shopping center, or rental houses for an office building. The use of the properties is a key factor in determining the tax treatment. The newly-acquired property does not have to be exactly like the relinquished property type. It must be a “like-kind” property, referring to its intended use; a duplex for a quadplex, bare land for improved property, a rental house for a retail center, or an apartment building for an office building.

“Like-kind” properties can be any combination of raw land, retail properties, rental houses, apartment complexes, office buildings, industrial sites, commercial buildings, or farms and ranches.

Properties do not have to be swapped simultaneously, but, there are strict time constraints that must be met with this option. In a “delayed exchange,” the “like-kind” property must be designated within 45 days of the sale closing, and the replacement property must be closed by the 180th day. The law also allows for a replacement property to be purchased first; this is called a Reverse Exchange. And, the transaction can involve multiple properties being “consolidated” into one; a Multi-Property Exchange.

The exchange must be performed with the help of a Qualified Intermediary, or Safe Harbor. The Intermediary is the third party involved in the transaction. This person or company enters into the transaction to buy or sell the exchanged properties. They will also produce exchange documents and forward them to all of the appropriate parties.

And, taxes can also be deferred using Section 1031 on most personal property including, but not limited to, businesses, planes, boats, trucks and equipment.

Think about using the 1031 Exchange tax benefits on your next investment transaction. As with all financial decisions, an investor should consult with his or her accountant, tax advisor, financial advisor and/or attorney to determine if an exchange is in their best financial and investment interest. For an accountant, call Mike Rusenko, CPA at 404.668.6107, for a financial advisor, call Josh Harper, Capstone Financial Advisors at 404.926.1303, and for a real estate attorney, call Kirsten Howard, Partnership Title at 404.207.1620.


Still More Short Sales and Foreclosures

Posted on: 2010-09-10
September 10, 2010—With the bulk of the subprime mortgage resets behind us as of early 2009, it may seem that the only direction to move is straight up toward recovery.

Projections through 2012, however, show two more waves of resets on more than $1 trillion in Alt-A and Option ARM mortgages. Many owners of these properties may face foreclosure, as did subprime borrowers. This means the current shadow inventory is expected to remain at record levels. NAR estimates that there are 2.7 million delinquencies (90 days or more), foreclosures and REOs that have yet to reach the market. Absorption of these properties could take several years in some major markets.

It’s in everyone’s best interest—including the banks’—to release shadow properties onto the market in stages. Until the backlog is cleared, however, the housing market will continue to recover slowly. You can expect to see the market conditions you’re seeing today for the next few years.

Focus on Pricing with Sellers

The release of shadow inventory typically puts a strain on home prices, and can create a clogged pipeline of homes on the market. Pricing homes competitively is one of the simplest ways to buck that trend and stimulate demand among all types of buyers, including first-timers, repeat buyers and investors.

Make Buyers Aware

Although any of us would prefer this slump be behind us, there are positives in the market for qualified buyers. With interest rates so low and prices extremely competitive, there are opportunities for some buyers to find deals on previously unobtainable properties. Investors, in particular, will play a larger and larger role in moving inventory. It’s smart to reach out to all categories of buyers.

There is some good news in all this. By the end of 2012, the bulk of Alt-A and Option ARM resets will also be behind us. With no guarantees on how long it will take to re-establish balance in the market, it’s important in the short- and long-term that you’re prepared to face this challenging inventory head-on.

article by Margaret Kelly, CRB, is chief executive officer of RE/MAX LLC.


Atlanta Landmarks

Posted on: 2010-08-27
Atlanta has many famous Landmarks.
Here's one. Where is it?
hint: It's nearby.


New Neighbor at Cheshire Bridge

Posted on: 2010-08-25
Piedmont Heights is getting a new neighbor at the corner of Piedmont Avenue and Piedmont Circle in September.

Five Star Auto Care will be opening its third business in mid-September. Owner Doron Ben-Shitrit is excited about this new store, in the old Brake-O location. He is offering $9.99 oil changes for the first month in celebration of this new opening.

This will be his third store and they will offer complete automotive services for foreign and domestic cars. They offer free diagnosis, brake service, tuneups, oil changes, transmission service, and tires.

Their regular business hours are Monday - Friday from 8:00 AM until 5:00 PM, but they also offer 24-hour emergency service.

Stop by to say hello in mid-September and take advantage of the monthly special.

Website: www.FiveStarAutoCareAtlanta.com

Email: info@FiveStarAutoCareAtlanta.com


Wimbledon Road Yard of the Month

Posted on: 2010-08-25
Congratulations to Barbara McClintock at 410 Wimbledon Road! Her yard is the Wimbledon Road Yard of the Month. Every month of the year this attractive yard is a cheerful example of a personal and neighborly dedication to charming curb appeal. Thanks Barbara, and Congratulations!


Getting Ready for Autumn

Posted on: 2010-08-10
It's that time of the year again…

Autumn is the best time to prepare for the next Spring/Summer selling season.

Autumn is a great time to do foundation planting - bushes and shrubs planted close to the house. Especially if you're thinking about putting your house on the market in the Spring, now is the time to do the landscaping. Curb appeal is everything. Call Scott Weise at Gardenology. 404.995.9405

Get new energy efficient windows installed now and you'll save a lot on Winter heating bills. The investment will pay off big when you are ready to sell. Potential buyers place a high value on new windows. Install them now and enjoy both benefits. Call Jeff Gaines at Strategic Construction Services for an estimate. 404.222.0823.

Do your roofing now. Warm weather is the best time to install new shingles. Leaking roofs can lead to all kinds of costly repairs later. A new roof is an extra assurant to possible buyers. They'll choose your home, and pay more for it. Atlanta ReRoof has a vast array of architectural styles. Call Nathan Speers at Atlanta ReRoof Specialists for an appointment. 770.640.0009

Newly-painted homes sell faster and for higher amounts. Paint the exterior now. Protect your biggest investment from Winter's wrath with new paint. According to national statistics, the #1 most-appealing color to paint your home is yellow ( mellow yellow. ) It attracts more buyers and sells faster. Call Ed Murphy at Superior Pro Painters. 678.327.1125

Have the handyman do the minor repairs. Don't ignore the leaky faucet, the cracked roofing joist, the broken window pane, or the torn laundry room vinyl floor. When a house is on the market, and the home inspection comes along, it's all the little annoying things that cause the most problems for buyers and sellers. Call Karen King at Dog Gone Handy. 404.876.7000

For re-financing, talk with Victor Nassar of Phoenix Global Mortgage and Kirsten Howard of Partnership Title. 404.607.0035 for Victor and 404.207.1620 for Kirsten. Rates are incredible. Let Victor guide you to the best mortgage plan for you. You may be able to save hundreds of dollars every year. And, let Kirsten handle all of the closing details for you.

And, speaking of hundreds of dollars each year, if you haven't checked your insurance in a long time, now would be a good time to get a great quote from Drew Niess at AllState Insurance. 404.477.5500. Compare your home, auto, and business all at the same time, and save more.

Enjoy the Autumn!


Housing Industry Facts & Figures Nationwide

Posted on: 2010-07-07
47% of recent homebuyers were first-time buyers. Other buyers include move-up and repeat buyers, landlords and investors, and vacation home buyers.

The typical first-time buyer was 30 years old, while the typical repeat buyer was 48 years old.

When considering the purchase of a home, commuting costs were considered very or somewhat important by 78% of buyers.

The typical home purchased was 1800 square feet in size, and was built in 1991.

The ranch and the two-story traditional remain the most popular styles of homes purchased.

The median price of homes purchased in 2009 was: $210,000 in the Northeast, $158,000 in the Midwest, $175,000 in the South, and $240,000 in the West

The 2008 median household income of buyers was $73,100. The median income was $61,600 among first-time buyers and $88,100 among repeat buyers.

In 2009, 10% of buyers purchased a home in Foreclosure, up from only 3% in 2008. And that percentage is running 3 times higher so far in 2010, fueled mainly by investors looking for good deals.

I would like to add to these numbers; if you know of someone looking to buy or sell a home this year, please give me a call at 404.604.3350. Thanks. Norm.


Second Quarter 2010 Home Prices Survey Results

Posted on: 2010-07-07
RISMEDIA, July 2, 2010—HomeGain, one of the first websites to provide free online instant home prices, announced the results of its 2010 second quarter home prices survey based on the responses of over 900 real estate agents and brokers and 3,500 homeowners nationwide.

Real estate professionals and homeowners continue to differ on the current values of homes and the direction of home prices. According to surveyed agents and brokers, 75% of homeowners think their homes are worth more than the recommended agent listing price. Forty-seven percent of real estate agents and brokers and 49% of homeowners think that home prices will remain the same in the coming six months.

Twenty-eight percent of homeowners think that the values of their homes will increase over the next six months vs. just 20% of agents and brokers who think the same. Thirty-three percent of agents and brokers and 23% of homeowners think that home prices will decrease over the next six months.

Sixty-one percent of surveyed agents and brokers indicated that their home buyer clients think homes for sale are overpriced.

“It is not surprising to see that homeowners are slightly more optimistic about the direction of home prices than real estate professionals and that neither group is predicting a rise in home prices over the next six months,” stated Louis Cammarosano, General Manager at HomeGain. “Real estate industry watchers tracking the direction of home prices will continue to focus on the impact of the expiration of the home buyer tax credit, the direction of interest rates and unemployment, foreclosure and shadow inventory data.”

Website: www.HomeGain.com


How Long Should It Last

Posted on: 2010-07-07
Replacing any component of a home can be a pricey situation, so knowing the age of an appliance and its approximate replacement value will help buyers and sellers set proper expectations. Buyers need to consider the ages of the various components of a home when making an offer to buy. Sellers need to be aware of the impact that dated components might have on any offers received. The actual longevity of any device or appliance will depend on quality of installation, use, maintenance, and climate conditions.

Here are some approximations of expected life expectancies of some components.

100 Years or more

Brick Siding
Wooden Floors
Cellulose Insulation

50 – 100 Years

Copper Gutters – 50+ years
Kitchen Cabinets – 50 years
Acrylic Kitchen Sinks – 50 years
Vinyl Floors – 50 years
Slate, Copper, Clay or Concrete Roofs – 50+ years

30 – 50 Years

Thermostats – 35 years
Wooden Windows – 30 years
Wood Shake Roofs – 30 years
French Interior Doors – 30-50 years

10 - 20 Years

Built-in Audio System – 20 years
Aluminum Windows – 15-20 years
Asphalt Shingle Roofs - 18-20 years
Faucets, Kitchen Sinks – 15 years
Gas Ranges – 15 years
Cultured Marble Countertops – 20 years
Dryers, Refrigerators – 13 years
Air Conditioning Units – 10-15 years
Lighting Controls – 10 years
Interior & Exterior Paints – 15 years
Water Heaters – 10 years
Furnaces – 15-20 years

5 – 10 Years

Security Systems – 10 years
Heat & Smoke Detectors – 10 years
Dishwashers – 9 years
Microwave Ovens – 9 years
Carpets – 8 years


Great Housing News, and Higher Interest Rates Soon

Posted on: 2010-04-26
The big news for the week of April 18 was that, while inflation remains low, stronger than expected economic data released this week was negative for mortgage markets. As a result, mortgage rates ended the week a little higher.

The bigger news was the week's economic data coming from the housing sector. March 2010 Existing Home Sales rose 7% from February, and existing home sales were 16% higher than one year ago. The inventories of unsold existing homes fell to an 8-month supply, from 8.5-months in February. And, March New Home Sales were even better, jumping 27% from February to the highest monthly rate since last July. This marked the largest single-month increase in new home sales since 1963. The chief economist of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) credited the homebuyer tax credit for the strong March housing data. Buyers must have signed a contract by April 30 to take advantage of the tax credit, so the April data should benefit as well.

CNBC news reported that support is growing among Fed officials to begin sales of the mortgage-backed securities (MBS) from the Fed's portfolio. In a program which ended March 31, the Fed has purchased $1.25 trillion of MBS to help lower mortgage rates and boost the economy. According to CNBC, 'at least' six members of the Fed's policymaking committee support near-term MBS sales if the economy continues to improve. The selling could begin as soon as the third or fourth quarter of this year. Fed Chief Bernanke still views the likely time frame to begin MBS sales as next year, but his recent comments have indicated a willingness to keep more options open. If the Fed actually conveys an intention to begin to sell MBS soon, mortgage rates would be likely to rise on the news.


your Homeowners Insurance policy

Posted on: 2010-04-26
How much is your deductible? Your homeowners coverage is there for sudden, accidental emergencies. You should evaluate the situation before filing small claims; your premiums may go up if you do. Filing for small claims, something under $1000, may increase your current premium or even lead to cancellation of your policy. Also, you could stigmatize your home, and, if you try to sell it soon after a couple of claims, the new owner may not be able to get coverage at a reasonable rate. That could cause you, the home seller, a big problem right before the closing. It may be better to dip into an emergency fund rather than risk higher premiums, or worse, the cancellation of your homeowners policy. Raising your deductible to at least $1000 will also lower your monthly premium payments and keep you from filing small claims under $1000. If there is any doubt as to what claims should be filed, contact your insurance agent to discuss the situation before filing claims.

Consumers who make water damage claims risk losing their insurance and may even find that coverage is unavailable at any price. Did you know that Flood Insurance is administered by insurance companies but is actually provided by our federal government through the National Flood Insurance Program? Most homeowners insurance policies don't cover flood damage. It may be required for you to get a separate flood insurance policy to protect against losses from flooding. Most insurance policies provide that a flood caused by a phenomenon occurring in nature and coming from outside the home to the inside WILL NOT be covered under the policy unless flood insurance has been included in the policy. If water damage occurs because of a burst pipe inside the home, it may be covered. Check with your provider to be sure.

If your neighbor has a tree that is on their property that shows visible signs of decay, or a dead or dying tree on his/her property, and you notify him/her by certified mail about the tree, and the tree subsequently falls in a storm and damages your property, you neighbor is now liable for the damages. If you have failed to notify him/her by certified mail, when the tree falls, it is considered an act of nature and each party is responsible for their own damages.

Don't neglect your home. Most home insurance policies specifically exclude damages that result from pest infestations, rot, or other preventable problems. They also frown on substandard maintenance. If a storm blows off part of your roof, get it fixed properly and quickly. If you choose to settle for some makeshift repair, you may lose coverage on contents that were exposed to further damage.

How much does your homeowners policy say they will pay to replace your existing home? Is there a clause in your policy to rebuild it at full replacement value? If not, you may be under-insured. Check your policy now, and check with your provider.

The final suggestion is to take pictures of the complete outside of your house. Also take complete pictures of everything in every room of your home. Store those pictures on a CD or DVD and keep it offsite somewhere safe. Ask your agent to keep a copy in your file or folder at his/her office. You may need those pictures later in time of a disaster to prove the value of everything lost in the disaster.

A great contact for you to discuss these or other insurance topics is your neighbor, Drew Niess with Allstate Insurance. He is a Piedmont Heights resident, and his phone number is 404.477.5500.

You should rely on insurance when it's necessary. Using it with some restraint will insure that your protection will be there for years to come, should you really need it.


Save Yourself the Cost of a Battery...

Posted on: 2009-12-05
Winter is here, so the furnace is now working hard. But, should you awaken one night or one morning to discover that your furnace is not running, before you quickly call the HVAC repair person, check a couple of things first. By doing so, you'll save yourself the cost of a service call.

First, check the breaker panel box to make sure the breaker has not tripped. Second, open the panel on your thermostat and see if there is a battery inside. Many thermostats require a battery to run properyly, and many times the homeowner is unaware that there is a battery ( that needs to be changed occasionally ) inside the thermostat. This is one of the most-frequent issues when the HVAC does not operate. This one check will save you the cost of a service call, maybe $60 to $120.

Also check to see that the panel on the front of the furnace is secure, and that the filter panel is locked in place. Does your furnace have an auxiliary switch on it or near it? Check to be sure it is turned on.

If all of these checks are good, and the furnace still will not operate, call Tony Gentile at Southeastern Heating & Air at 770.457.1575 to schedule a service call.

Website: www.SoutheasternHVAC.com

Email: southeasternhvac@aol.com


Dying Trees Can Be a Big Problem

Posted on: 2009-12-05
Because of all the recent storm damage that's occurred this year in GA, we all need to be extra aware of dangerous situations, sometimes in our own backyards. And, it could become a big legal issue.

When a neighbor has a tree in his yard that crashes down into your yard, or onto your house or property, you are responsible for your own repair and clean up. Also, if a tree falls and does not damage property then your insurance provider generally will not pay a claim to remove the fallen tree. This is considered an Act of God. ( If the tree falls onto your house, then your homeowner's insurance will pay for home repairs, but why wait for this to happen? )
And... it doesn't matter whether the tree is dead or alive.

However, if you have previously notified your neighbor, in writing, about your concern for life and property should his tree ( dead or alive ) fall onto your property , then your neighbor is solely responsible for all expenses to repair and clean up your property. This is only true if you have notified the neighbor in advance, and in writing, not verbally.

'I would add that having an arborist look at the trees in question and giving that information to the neighbor along with a letter is what we recommend' says Neil Dobbs with Allstate Insurance.
And maybe remind the neighbor that a fallen tree is usually more expensive to remove than is a standing tree.

I am not an attorney and I am not intending to give legal advice. For more detailed information on this issue, contact your homeowners insurance agent, check with an attorney, or see the website, www.nolo.com. Also talk with the City Arborist for the City of Atlanta at 404.330.6150 before removing any trees. A permit from the city is required prior to removing a tree.

For a referral to a recommended tree surgeon, go to the Neighborly Referrals page of this website, and look under Tree Services.


Winter's Chill Drives Rodents Indoors

Posted on: 2009-12-05
WINTER'S CHILL DRIVES RODENTS INDOORS...

National Pest Management Association Offers Preventative Advice to Deter Invasive Animals

During the chilly winter months, most people seek refuge in the warmth of their homes, but they are not alone. From October through February, rodents, including mice, rats and squirrels, often take shelter in homes, causing potential hazards to both health and property.

“Rodents seek to protect themselves from winter’s chill by invading your home,” said Cindy Mannes, vice president of public affairs for the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). “Rodents invade an estimated 21 million homes in the United States every winter and are a considerable health and property nuisance.”

Rodents can enter homes through almost any opening. Once inside, rodents can cause severe damage as they can chew through wallboards, cardboard, wood and even electrical wiring, increasing the potential risk of a fire.

Mannes advises homeowners to inspect for rodent droppings in undisturbed areas, including pantries, attics, and garages as these droppings can cause allergies and disease, such as Hantavirus.

NPMA also recommends taking these precautions to keep rodents outside:

Make sure all holes, cracks and voids are sealed.
Don’t overlook proper drainage at the foundation and install gutters.
Keep branches and other plants cut back from the house.
If you find rodents in your home, call a local pest professional to identify and correct the problem.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently proposed limiting the use of several rodent bait products “to certified applicators who have had sufficient training to know when and how to use these products in order to limit risks.” Although homeowners will be prohibited from purchasing these rodenticides, licensed pest professionals will be allowed to purchase and apply these products to meet critical public health needs.

Homeowners facing rodent problems can benefit from the knowledge and training of licensed pest professionals in areas such as rodent biology and integrated pest management. They should feel encouraged to contact a pest professional for a complete inspection and treatment, if necessary.

For more information on rodents and other pests, visit www.pestworld.org.

The NPMA, a non-profit organization with more than 5,000 members, was established in 1933 to support the pest management industry’s commitment to the protection of public health, food and property, reflected both in the continuing education of the pest professional and the dissemination of timely information to homeowners.

For professional helping in removing unwanted pests, call Toby Miller with Arrow Pest Control. His number is 770.833.8588.


Area Flooding Causes Increase in Pest Problems and Poses Health Risks

Posted on: 2009-09-23
Due to the storms and flash flooding which are hitting Georgia, and the Atlanta area, Arrow Exterminators, a local pest and termite control company, is reaching out to educate the public on issues related to pests and the diseases they carry. As the water recedes in most areas, it is creating prime conditions and breeding grounds for pests and pest related diseases.

The public should be made aware of these potential problems to help safeguard their families from associated health risks. The excessive rain will have disrupted these pests’ natural habitats and they will be forced to relocate – unfortunately, many times this relocating will put them in resident’s homes and yards.

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, mosquitoes rank first in insects posing a risk to human life. West Nile Virus, just one of the diseases carried by mosquitoes, will certainly be of high concern. Even after flood waters subside, standing water – found in large trash receptacles, the root balls of uprooted trees or in clogged gutters – can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes. September is the peak season for West Nile Virus, and the rapid reproduction of infected insects may lead to a much larger outbreak of the disease than previously anticipated.

Although Georgians are used to dealing with pests, the potential number of pests may push residents out of their comfort zone. Arrow is warning homeowners about the following pests that may be more active due to the floods:

· Rodents – Rodents are attracted to water, and are well-known for appearing in areas after heavy rains or flooding, sometimes related to their natural habitat being destroyed. If homeowners notice any rodents in their home or on their property, they should contact a pest professional or health officials.

· Mosquitoes – Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water, and with these heavy rains and continued warm temperatures, they may become a serious problem during the next few days and weeks. Areas of Georgia have already been dealing with significant mosquito problems, as evidenced by the recent incidence of West Nile Virus in Tifton.

· Ants –While ants may be considered a nuisance more than a health threat, most homeowners want to keep them outside. During heavy rains they tend to seek shelter inside homes.

· Cockroaches – Cockroaches are also attracted to water and homeowners may be seeing an increase inside and around the home.

Call Toby Miller ar 770.833.8588 with any questions and to schedule an evaluation and treatment. Be sure to mention my name and this website.

Website: www.ArrowExterminators.com

Email: tMiller@ArrowExterminators.com


Water, Water Everywhere!! HELP!! Emergency Services!!

Posted on: 2009-09-23
Remediation Group, Inc. offers Emergency Services!

CALL NOW at 404-214-1470. They are located 2 miles from Buckhead near Peachtree Battle (Creek)

Atlanta has been hit hard by rain and flash flooding ! The Rem Group can help. They can handle floods, pipe breaks, rainstorms; anything that leads to water damage.

Services include:

Water Extraction
Structural Drying
Fire, Smoke and Soot Restoration
Contents Pack Out
Furniture and Contents Decontamination
Mold Remediation
Restoration Services
Structural Reconstruction
Deodorization
Dry Ice Blasting
Insurance Claim Specialists

Their team of certified restorers, water loss specialists, and mold remediators are trained to follow an organized plan with scheduled priorities and disciplined procedures. With their state-of-the-art revolutionary drying techniques, they are the only remediation service worth your recovery dollars. They will save you thousands of dollars in ongoing recovery repairs. The key is response.

The sooner you call REMEDIATION GROUP, INC. to respond to water damage emergencies, the sooner they can act to overt long-term problems in your home or facility.

To learn more about this company, please visit their website at www.remgroupinc.com and call their Atlanta office at 404-214-1470. Be sure to mention me and this website when you call them.

Website: www.RemGroupInc.com


To Increase Your Home's Chances of Selling...

Posted on: 2009-01-24
If you are selling your home and want your home to appeal over your neighbor's home, the most important thing is also pretty easy: Clean it!

While a new kitchen and updated bathrooms are certainly important, a well maintained home is priceless. There is no bigger turnoff than walking into a dirty, cluttered home for a buyer, especially after they've seen 20-plus homes in a given day. The home must look, and smell, clean.

I've worked with hundreds of buyers, and I can tell you that it is easier for them to visualize what can be done to a home when it is neat and clean. To be honest, most people would rather not pay for someone else's upgrades that they will be re-doing anyways, and would rather just move into a clean, well-maintained home.

A clean home tells the buyer that this home is loved -- and that when things go wrong, they are corrected, not just left to worsen over time.

When you see that the windows and window sills have been cleaned, when a homeowner has maintained the exterior of the home, you know that they respected their property and are passing along to you a gem, not a white elephant!

Of course, this isn't the only factor affecting resale; let's look at some of the many things that affect your home's resale value -- things that you can affect, if you so desire to put so money into your home to have it stand out.

Bathrooms
The best value as far as bathrooms go is at least a 2.5 bathroom home -- this allows one for guests, one for the secondary bedrooms and one in the master. Having too few will definitely adversely affect your home value.

Storage and More Storage
A three-car garage is ideal as this gives the extra storage space homeowners desire. I have some clients who have turned this third car space into a home gym, a home office or just an extra storage space, and this is definitely appealing to future buyers.

The Kitchen
This is probably the most important room in the home. The larger kitchen, the better, and it should also have newer appliances. A lot of homes today have granite counters and while this is certainly an added feature, be sure that the granite is installed correctly (over the sink, not under), has been bull-nosed rather than the straight edge and is a slab rather than the tiles -- and be sure you like the colors.

Kitchen cabinets can also be extremely expensive but also deceiving in looks. You may think you are buying maple but are getting pressboard or some other far less superior product.

Be sure your dining room can withstand your dinner parties. I've also noticed today's buyers are really into the “great room,” combining the family and living rooms as well as the kitchen. This is a really nice feature as well but if it is the only living space, be sure it is off of the kitchen in order to make the best use of the space.

Convenience for today's buyers is highly coveted, so easy access to the back yard is a benefit, especially if you're into barbecuing or entertaining. The little things like having to walk up stairs with groceries, versus coming into the kitchen off of the garage, also makes a difference to future buyers.

Fireplace
Everyone loves a good fireplace, and some modern homes will have 2 or more. The best place to have one is in the living room as it becomes the focal point of the room. If it were in the family room it is competing or interfering with the television and will remain largely unused. A lot of homes today also have a fireplace in the master bedroom and again, while this is a nice feature, it only adds value to those that will use it.

Swimming Pools
A swimming pool will not add as much value as they cost. To a potential buyer who does not want a pool, it adds zero value. A pool with all the latest and greatest gadgets will only increase your home's value about 10% to 20% of the cost of the pool.

Add one simply for your own enjoyment and not as an investment. Something to also take into consideration with a pool is the safety considerations as well as the cost of insurance.

Here is a list of the other things you can do to make your home stand out above all others.

Power-wash exterior walls, sidewalks and driveways.
De-clutter all rooms and all closets.
Repair all cracks.
Repair or replace leaky faucets.
Replace cabinet hardware with a modern design.
Install new, modern light fixtures.
Replace any goofy electrical cover plates.
Add higher wattage bulbs to all fixtures.
A new coat of paint will look, and smell, clean.
Replace worn and damaged carpeting.
Minimize the furniture in every room.
Clean all windows, and un-cover them for more light.
If the home if vacant, hire a staging company.

Call me at any time for an evaluation, or for additional suggestions. Call me too when you are ready to sell your home. 404.874.6699


Piedmont Heights and Property Taxes

Posted on: 2009-01-18
Fulton County tax bills are mailed each year in July to the most current owner of record for every property in Fulton County. It is the responsibility of each property owner to verify the name, property location, street address and correct spelling of names on the bill. It is also very important to verify that any and all exemptions to which the propery owned is entitled are listed and calculated on the bill. Depending on your age, health status and annual earnings, you may be entitled to multiple exemptions.

Many times properties owners are dissatisfied with the current property assessment used in calculating their property taxes. January 1 through April 1 is the time to review and make any changes to a property record to affect the taxes owed and paid.

A property owner has two options to dispute the property tax calculation. A property tax return can be filed with the Board of Assessors between January 1 and April 1 to dispute the value, or, if a re-assessment is received anytime during the year, the property owner may appeal the value to the Borad of Assessors within 45 days of the date of the re-assessment notice.

The appeal must provide the Board of Tax Assessors with a value that the owner believes to be fair and must be substantiated by facts and comparable properties.

The website for the Tax Assessors Office is www.FultonAssessor.org.



Website: www.FultonAssessor.org


2008 Home Sales and the Future

Posted on: 2008-12-12
Lawrence Yun, National Association of Realtors chief economist, said a review of the past year is instructive. “Despite the turmoil in the economy, the overall level of pending home sales has been remarkably stable over the past year, holding in a generally narrow range,” he said. “We did see a spike in August when mortgage conditions temporarily improved, which underscores two things - there is a pent-up demand, and access to safe, affordable mortgages will bring more buyers into the market.”

Conditions remain uneven around the country, but some areas that are showing healthy gains in pending home sales from a year ago include many Florida and California markets, Providence, R.I.; Lansing, Mich.; Oklahoma City; and Las Vegas.

The Pending Homes Sales Index in the South jumped 7.8 percent to 95.9 in October but remains 2.9 percent below a year ago. In the Northeast the index rose 0.6 percent to 68.1 but is 14.1 percent below October 2007. The index in the Midwest declined 4.3 percent to 79.7 in October and is 6.8 percent below a year ago. In the West, the index fell 8.7 percent to 103.7 but is 17.4 percent higher than October 2007.

“Efforts to bring down mortgage interest rates demonstrate a clear understanding of the role housing plays in stabilizing the economy. We’re very encouraged by all of the proposals getting serious consideration in Washington to help home buyers. More sales will stabilize home prices by bringing down inventory, and would lessen foreclosure pressure.”

Yun expects growth in the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) to contract through the first half of 2009, then stabilize and expand in latter part of the year - lifted by a home sales recovery. “Given the critical role of housing in an economic recovery, we’re confident sufficient stimulus will be offered to bring more buyers to the market,” he said.

Looking at middle-ground assumptions, existing-home sales are forecast to total 4.96 million this year, and then increase to 5.19 million in 2009 and 5.55 million in 2010.

New-home sales for 2008 should total 486,000 this year, decline to 393,000 in 2009 and then grow to 446,000 in 2010. Housing starts, including multifamily units, are projected at 934,000 units in 2008 and 731,000 next year before rising to 772,000 in 2010.

“Price projections are challenging in an environment with so many variables and divergent local conditions,” Yun said. “The home price correction to date has brought prices in line with fundamentals, but buyer pessimism could cause prices to overshoot downward, resulting in further economic deterioration.”

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage will probably decline to 5.6 percent in the first quarter, rise slowly to 6.0 percent by the end of 2009, and average 6.2 percent in 2010. NAR’s housing affordability index is likely to remain quite favorable, averaging 138 in 2009.



Chimneys and Fire Safety

Posted on: 2008-10-13
As Winter approaches, many of us will be building fires in our fireplaces. Before you build your first fire, ask yourself “When was my fireplace last cleaned and inspected?”

A fireplace should be cleaned and inspected every 1-2 years depending on how often you use it. A good inspection company will clean your fireplace and inspect it using a camera that allows them to examine every inch of the pipe in your chimney.

If you've just moved into your new home, don't take someone's word for it. Play it safe and have your chimney inspected by a professional. The inspector will look for soot build-up in the chimney. If the chimney has not been cleaned in many years, this soot can easily catch fire. The inspector can also identify cracks in the cement hearth that can create a dangerous situation. After the cleaning and hearth repair, you'll feel much safer knowing that you can build a fire in a SAFE fireplace. As an extra precaution, keep a fire extinguisher handy... just in case. And, remember, fire extinguishers have a limited lifespan as well.

You can find many chimney cleaning companies at www.HomeReports.com, www.Kudzu.com, and in the yellow pages. If you act quickly, you may still be able to receive a pre-season discount.


Two Minit Car Wash

Posted on: 2008-09-15
Our neighbor, the Two Minit Car Wash, opened for business back in 1954, the same year that many of the homes in Piedmont Heights were first built. There have only been two owners over the years. The current owners, the Coleman family, purchased the business in 1974.

The landmark emcee out front, George the Gorilla, is there to greet patrons daily except for New Years Day, the 4th of July, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Otherwise, the car wash is open for business Monday through Saturday from 8:30 - 6:00, and on Sunday from 9:30 - 5:00. The address is 1836 Piedmont Road.

This car wash recycles all of the water they use.

Save yourself $2 on a wash next time by printing this page and taking it with you to the car wash.


Buster, the Cat

Posted on: 2008-09-12
This cat is friendly, smart and inquisitive. Whenever someone says Hello to him, he flops down, rolls over and wants to be petted.

This page is about Buster the Cat.

If you live on Wimbledon Road you may have Buster as a visitor. He is very curious and friendly, and likes dogs. Buster goes to the vet regularly and has had all his shots, and has monthly flea treatments. Buster knows his name and the word 'NO'. We are not sure if he knows any other words, but if you say hello to him, he will likely say hello (meow) back.

Buster is very inquisitive and friendly and wanders about the neighborhood trying to make friends and perhaps looking for a place to stay where people will wait on him and tell him how wonderful he is. If he tries to come into your house uninvited, tell him 'No!'. But be aware, he is fast and sneaky. He has been seen to jump right over a dog standing in the doorway in order to get inside and explore.

Check out Buster's personal website for more personal details, and say Hello next time you see him out and about.

Website: www.ungerworks.com/buster

Email: bustertheorangecat@yahoo.com


a Quiet Neighbor...

Posted on: 2008-09-12
You may not yet know about a quiet neighbor in Piedmont Heights… Heritage Preparatory School of Georgia opened in 1998 in Atlanta with 15 students and has since grown to an enrollment of nearly 150 students. The school relocated to its current location on Montgomery Ferry Road where the school offices and grades Pre-K through 8 are housed. Heritage is a non-denominational, independent school that maintains a strong partnership with Morningside Baptist Church where it has established a long-term lease.

The name of the school was chosen because of the meaning of the word 'heritage,' which is: 'the preparing and creation of that which can be inherited; a legacy of truth which passes down from generation to generation.'

The 12-acre campus features a main school building with over 16,000 square feet of space for classrooms, a media center, science, art, and nature studies rooms, and a computer lab. The campus also offers a full- size gymnasium, a beautiful sanctuary, and outdoor playgrounds and courtyards. The school will be renovating additional buildings on the property in the near future. The latest addition was a new regulation soccer field and a new nature trail that encircles the property.

At Heritage, the students, board members, teachers, and families represent over 29 different churches. The Elementary and Middle School class sizes average about 10-12 students. Academically, the school consistently scores in the top rankings of standardized tests. The school’s vision is to remain small and stay focused.

Heritage is a member of the Association of Classical Christian Schools, Association of Christian Schools International and is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

From their website, “at Heritage we believe that the best gains in education are made when school and home share a common educational philosophy and cooperate both in goals and in methods.” Community involvement and participation are encouraged. Heritage promotes a volunteer program as part of its “good neighbor” program. All students are encouraged to volunteer some extra curricular time to work on community service projects. Call Amanda Gregg, Director of Student Life, at 404.815.7711 to discuss how you might be considered for one or more service projects. The school is ready to help. The students and chaperones want to prove how good neighbors cooperate to get things done.

Website: www.HeritagePrep.org

Email: administration@heritageprep.org


Security Solutions

Posted on: 2008-07-19
The Security Tip of the Month:

Keep your car keys close at hand.

Before crawling into bed tonight, put your car keys on the nightstand next to your bed, along with your cell phone.

If you hear a noise outside your home in the middle of the night, or if you think someone is trying to get into your house in the middle of the night, reach for the keys and press the panic button. The alarm on your car will sound ( from almost any room in the house ) and will continue to sound until either the battery runs down or you reset the alarm. ( maybe test this method from your bedroom first to be sure it can be done. )

A lot of would-be burglars will cut telephone lines before trying to break into a house. The car alarm should send them running. Call 911 from your cell phone and alert the police. Then go back to sleep.

The next morning, check the phone lines, apologize to the neighbors, and pass on this tip.


12 Ways to Save Money on Homeowners Insurance

Posted on: 2008-06-13
1) Shop Around
Friends, family, the phone book and the Internet are some of the sources you can use to find homeowners insurers. Get a wide range of prices from several companies. But don't consider price alone. The insurer you select should offer both a fair price and excellent service. Quality service may cost a bit more, but you buy insurance in case you need to make a claim, so it's important to get a company with a good reputation. Talk to a number of insurers to get a feeling for the type of service they give. Ask them what they would do to lower your costs. Check the financial ratings of the companies with AM Best or Standard and Poor's.

2) Raise Your Deductible
Deductibles are the amount of money you have to pay toward a loss before your insurance company starts to pay. Deductibles on homeowners policies typically start at $250. Increase your deductible to
$ 500 -- save up to 12 percent
$1,000 -- save up to 24 percent
$2,500 -- save up to 30 percent
$5,000 -- save up to 37 percent

3) Buy Your Home and Auto Policies from the Same Insurer
Some companies that sell homeowners, auto and liability coverage will take 5 to 15 percent off your premium if you buy two or more policies from them.

4) When You Buy a Home Consider How Much Insuring It Will Cost
A new home's electrical, heating and plumbing systems and overall structure are likely to be in better shape than those of an older house. Insurers may offer you a discount of 8 to 15 percent if your house is new. Check the home's construction: In the East brick is better, because of its resistance to wind damage, and in the West frame is better, because of its resistance to earthquake damage. Choosing wisely could cut your premium by 5 to 15 percent. Avoiding areas that are prone to floods can save you about $400 a year for flood insurance. Homeowners insurance does not cover flood-related damage. The closer your house is to firefighters and their equipment, the lower your premium will be.

5) Insure Your House, Not the Land
The land under your house isn't at risk from theft, windstorm, fire and the other perils covered in your homeowners policy. So don't include its value in deciding how much homeowners insurance to buy. If you do, you'll pay a higher premium than you should.

6) Improve Your Home Security and Safety
You can usually get discounts of at least 5 percent for a smoke detector, burglar alarm, or dead-bolt locks. Some companies offer to cut your premium by as much as 15 or 20 percent if you install a sophisticated sprinkler system and a fire and burglar alarm that rings at the police station or other monitoring facility. These systems aren't cheap and not every system qualifies for the discount. Before you buy such a system, find out what kind your insurer recommends and how much the device would cost and how much you'd save on premiums.

7) Stop Smoking
Smoking accounts for more than 23,000 residential fires a year. That's why some insurers offer to reduce premiums if all the residents in a house don't smoke.

8) Seek Out Discounts for Seniors
Retired people stay at home more and spot fires sooner than working people and have more time for maintaining their homes. If you're at least 55 years old and retired, you may qualify for a discount of up to 10 percent at some companies.

9) See If You Can Get Group Coverage
Alumni and business associations often work out an insurance package with an insurance company, which includes a discount for association members. Ask your association's director if an insurer is offering a discount on homeowners insurance to you and your fellow graduates or colleagues.

10) Stay With an Insurer
If you've kept your coverage with a company for several years, you may receive special consideration. Several insurers will reduce their premiums by 5 percent if you stay with them for 3 to 5 years; by 10 percent if you remain a policyholder for 6 years or more.

11) Compare the Limits in Your Policy to the Value of Your Possessions at Least Once a Year
You want your policy to cover any major purchases or additions to your home. But you don't want to spend money for coverage you don't need.

12) Look For Private Insurance First
If you live in a high risk area, one that is especially vulnerable to coastal storms, fires, or crime, and have been buying your homeowners insurance through a government plan, you should check with an insurance agent or company representative. You may find that there are steps you can take that would allow you to buy insurance at a lower price in the private market.



Top 10 Home Inspection Issues

Posted on: 2008-06-09
Are you thinking about selling your home one day soon?

Before you put it on the market, please review the list below and check around your house for any needed repairs. Making repairs first will help you attract more buyers and ultimately get you a better sales price.

1. The house has poor drainage.
This is the most common problem found by home inspectors. To improve drainage, you may have to install a new system of roof gutters and downspouts or have the lot re-graded to better channel water away from the house.

2. The house has faulty wiring.
An insufficient or out-of-date electrical system is a common problem, especially in older homes. This is a potentially hazardous defect and not to be taken lightly. You may have to replace the entire electrical system, or at least part of it, to bring this home up to code or to make it safe.

3. The roof leaks.
If the roof has water damage, it may be caused by old or damaged shingles, or improper flashing. It's cheap and relatively easy to repair shingles and small amounts of flashing, but if the roof is old, you face a much larger expense to replace the whole thing.

4. The house has an unsafe heating system.
An older heating system or one that has been poorly maintained can be a serious health and safety hazard. You may have to repair or replace the old furnace. This is a major expense, but new furnaces are more energy-efficient, which will probably save you money down the line. If your heating system is anything but electrical, install carbon monoxide detectors in a couple of locations in the house.

5. The whole house has been poorly maintained.
Examples of poor maintenance include cracked or peeling paint, crumbling masonry, broken fixtures or shoddy wiring or plumbing. You can easily repaint a wall, replace a fixture or repair a brick wall, but makeshift electrical or plumbing situations are serious and potentially dangerous problems. Replace any such wires or pipes.

6. The house has minor structural damage.
Minor structural damage means the house is not likely to fall down, but you should deal with the problem before it becomes more serious. Such damage is usually caused by water seepage into the foundation, floor joists, rafters or window and door headers. First you need to fix the cause of the problem (a leaky roof, for example), then repair or replace any damaged pieces. The more extensive the damage, the more expensive it will be to repair.

7. The house has plumbing problems.
The most common plumbing defects include old or incompatible piping materials and faulty fixtures or waste lines. These may require simple repairs, such as replacing a fixture, or more expensive measures, such as replacing the plumbing itself.

8. The house's exterior lets in water and air around windows and doors.
This usually does not indicate a structural problem, rather poor caulking and weather stripping that require relatively simple and inexpensive repairs around windows and doors..

9. The house is inadequately ventilated.
Poor ventilation can result in too much moisture that wreaks havoc on interior walls and structural elements. It can also exacerbate allergic reactions. Install ventilation fans in every bathroom if there are no windows, and regularly open all the windows in your home. To repair damage caused by poor ventilation, you may only have to replace drywall and other inexpensive pieces. If you have to replace a structural element, it will be more expensive.

10. The house has an environmental hazard.
Environmental problems are a new and growing area of home defects. They include lead-based paint (common in homes built before 1978), asbestos, formaldehyde, contaminated drinking water, radon and leaking underground oil tanks. You usually need to arrange a special inspection to determine environmental problems, and they're usually expensive to fix. For example, it costs $1,000 to install a radon-ventilation system, and about $6,000 to remove a leaking oil tank.

Buyers love homes that have obviously been very well-cared-for, and they'll usually pay more for them.



Should you Refinance your Adjustable Rate Mortgage??

Posted on: 2008-06-09
Adjustable Rate Mortgages ( ARMs ) typically offer low introductory rates that are scheduled to 'reset' to a new rate after a certain amount of time: typically three, five, seven or ten years. An ARM reset could lead to substantial increases in your interest rate and monthly payment. If you have an ARM that is due to reset, you may be thinking about refinancing into a fixed-rate mortgage. First, consider the factors below.

Predictability: Refinancing into a fixed-rate mortgage will lock in stable payments for the life of the loan.

Closing Costs: When you refinance, you effectively take out a new mortgage to pay off your old mortgage. This process incurs closing costs, which typically range between $2000 and $5000.

Your Housing Plans: You should weigh the costs of refinancing with the potential savings from a lower interest rate, given how long you plan to live in the house.

Prepayment Penalties: Check your loan documents to see if your ARM charges a prepayment penalty. If so, consider whether your likely savings from refinancing will be enough to offset the penalty, as well as your new closing costs.

If you determine that refinancing makes good financial sense for you, then call Bill Bulloch at Georgia Lending Partners to discuss a new loan. He'll guide you into the perfect loan program for you. His number is 770.573.9386.

Website: www.GeorgiaLending.com


Maximize Room Size

Posted on: 2008-05-12
6 ways to maximize room

Here's how to create the illusion of space without adding square footage.

With a few well-placed windows and built-ins, it is possible to make more of less. And remember, often what the eye needs is the illusion of spaciousness -- not more space, says Sarah Susanka, architect and best-selling author of 'The Not So Big House.'

Think diagonal views. Think back to geometry and how the hypotenuse of the triangle was the longest of the three sides. Apply that to the sightlines within your small-house design. “If you can stand at one corner of the house and look to the far corner, you will think your house is much bigger than it actually is,” says Susanka.

To add space … add a wall? It’s intuitive to assume that to maximize space one would take out walls -- but “you rarely feel you’re comfortable in that spaciousness,” Susanka says. Don’t chop up rooms a la old tract homes, but consider adding a wall that slightly breaks up a room, or putting a freestanding bookcase in the middle of a room, to make a space seem bigger.

Vary ceiling height. Altering the height of the ceiling, even within one room -- lower at first, higher as one proceeds -- creates a sense of entrance and welcome. A simple cloth hanging over a bed creates “a different flavor of space” and makes an area more human-scale and intimate, Susanka says.

Layer your area. Though it’s counterintuitive, adding different elements in the middle distance of a room -- a pillar, a low bookcase -- can act rather like punctuation marks in a sentence, slowing down the eye and letting it experience the space, Susanka says. “I’ve had fights with clients over putting a column in,” because the clients think it’s blocking, not opening, she says.

Think like a sailor. Think-small architects often refer to their creations as sailboats, which have no wasted space. Look for opportunities for built-ins, such as bookshelf opportunities in staircases, cool cabinet possibilities, drawers under beds, etc.

Remember: Glass is good. In addition to letting in light, which is crucial to lending a house an airy feel, well-placed windows steal space from the outdoors and give it to the house. To give the best view of outside, place windows no more than 2 feet, 6 inches higher than the floor, Susanka suggests. For a horizon view, place windows together at a corner of the house. Author Michelle Kodis likes clerestory windows -- windows placed high on the wall that people can’t see in, but make space feel bigger, while bringing in natural light.

By Christopher Solomon, MSN Real Estate


Landscaping is So Valuable

Posted on: 2008-05-11
Growing Your Home's Value
It's a no-brainer: A nice landscape increases the value of your home, will help the home sell quicker and for a higher sales amount.

The statistics back it up. A home with excellent landscaping sells for about 6 to 7 percent higher than equivalent houses with merely good landscaping, a Clemson University study found. And upgrading landscaping from average to good can increase the sale price by 4 to 5 percent.

Further, a Gallup Organization study found that landscaping can add between 7 to 15 percent to a home's value. And according to Money magazine, landscaping can bring a recovery value of 100 to 200 percent at resale, compared to 75 to 125 percent for a kitchen remodeling.

Here are some of the best landscape investments you can make to cultivate a highly saleable home:

Add Curb Appeal
Use your front yard to set your home apart from the others on your street. Small trees, flowering shrubs and flowerbeds frame your home and add personality. Use low-maintenance plants for more enjoyment with less hassle.

Rebuild worn-out driveways and replace straight walkways with curving paths that add visual interest to your front yard — natural stone and paving bricks both work well and add texture.

TIP: Don't forget the basics — clear the weeds, fix patchy lawn areas, and keep the lawn mowed and shrubs pruned.

Create Outdoor Living Space
Add a covered deck or patio so you can entertain outdoors without fear of the elements. Compared to a basic concrete slab, patios of paving stone or pressed concrete add both more personality and more value to the property. In areas with high mosquito, black fly or other irritating insect populations, removable insect screens are another selling point.

Make your yard larger by reclaiming the parts that are too noisy or too public. Add a privacy hedge. These 'living fences' define your space and add visual interest while preserving your privacy and cutting noise.

Plant Big Trees
Adding trees adds value, but not if they are small saplings. Invest in larger trees — an 8-foot or taller tree provides immediate shade and visual interest, and grows in value as it grows in height. Older trees need more care to start, but pay off more in the long run — especially if you are selling in 3 to 5 years.

TIP: Don't plant a tree in the center of your yard; it splits the space and makes your yard look smaller. Talk to a landscape professional about which trees are best for your home.

Build in Irrigation
It's not visually impressive, but adding a zoned irrigation system with automatic timers saves money and water, and makes yard maintenance easier. Buyers who like good landscaping will also like how easy you've made it to maintain.

Cultivate a Good Lawn
A nice lawn — especially in front where it enhances that all-important curb appeal — does for your outside what a fresh coat of paint does for the inside. It bespeaks overall good maintenance and makes the house feel like someone could move right in with minimal renovations.

Further improve your lawn by keeping it well mowed and watered. Keep up with fertilizing and weed control — if you're not sure how, hire a lawn care service, if practical. If grass is struggling in shade, replace it with a bed of colorful impatiens or a fast-growing shade groundcover. Or just cover it with mulch — wood chip mulch is better than depressing, struggling grass.

Do It Your Way
Unless you are planning on immediately selling your home, plan your landscaping around your own needs and desires. No matter how much value a particular style of landscaping adds to your yard, if it doesn't make you happy, it's not worth the investment.




House Numbers & Safety

Posted on: 2008-03-15
Every month should be a national safety awareness month.

In any kind of an emergency, your house number being prominently displayed ( on your door, on your front porch column, on your mailbox, or on your driveway ) will make a tremendous difference. Emergency personnel need to be able to find your home in an emergency situation, and, time is of the essence.

If you would like to have your house number painted on your driveway as an extra safety measure, please call me at 404.874.6699 to arrange this free service.

The painted numbers are white lettering inside a black oval. It looks nice, and it's easily identifiable in an emergency situation.


Stay in Shape During the Winter Months

Posted on: 2008-01-07
Easy Ways to Stay In Shape for the Winter - Top 11 Winter Workouts

When the weather turns cold, you don't have to put your fitness routine on ice. Look at our gallery of 11 fun, calorie-burning activities that will help you stay in shape and lose weight all winter.


Number 11: Fitness DVDs
Don't feel like warming up your car to go to the gym? Invest in some dumbbells and a stash of fitness DVDs and get fit in your living room. With your gym at home, all you have to do is roll out of bed and press 'play.'

Number 10: Pilates
Sculpt your abs and back with Pilates. Whether you use DVD instruction or take a class, this mat-based exercise is a great way to strengthen your core.

Number 9: Mall Walking
Attention shoppers: Walking around the mall does double duty -- burning calories while you get your errands done. To get the best burn, intersperse 2-minute intervals of fast walking into your regular pace.

Number 8: Jump Rope
An intense workout, like jumping rope, burns calories in a short amount of time. Jump ropes are inexpensive and light enough to pack when you travel. Just remember to wear a good pair of shock-absorbent shoes.

Number 7: Yoga
Escape the winter blahs and find your inner zen with yoga. Not only is yoga meditative, you'll build muscle holding those tough poses, so you'll be more relaxed and toned after your winter-long practice.

Number 6: Dance
Salsa, swing or freestyle your way slim with dancing. It's a fun way to work your glutes, abs and legs when you're stuck indoors. You may not be ready for a guest spot on 'Dancing With the Stars,' but you'll be sure to break a sweat and groove pounds away.

Number 5: Spinning
Cycling indoors will help you shed pounds and firm up your legs and rear. Crank up your favorite music and start spinning. Keep the revolutions-per-minute high for an intense cardio workout.

Number 4: Circuit Training
Whether you're at the gym or at home, you can easily burn calories by switching up activities. Start with a 5- or 10-minute workout on the treadmill, elliptical machine or bike, then mix in bicep curls, squats and back extensions into your circuit training. Repeat the routine for 30 minutes to an hour.

Number 3: Ski or Snowboard
What's a better winter sport than hitting the slopes? Skiing and snowboarding use all the major upper- and lower-body muscle groups -- and you get to play in the snow.

Number 2: Running
Don't let the cold weather derail your running routine. Wear extra layers of moisture-resistant clothes and put on a hat and gloves and be sure to choose a safe, ice-free running route. If you're averse to the outdoor chill, the treadmill or indoor track at your local gym is the way to go.

Number 1: Snowshoe
If you're looking for an intense winter workout, grab some snowshoes and poles. Just 30 minutes will test your endurance and incinerate mega-calories. Walking on snow may look easy but you'll feel the burn in your butt, thighs and arms.


Compliments of AOL Body.



When Choosing a Realtor...

Posted on: 2008-01-03
Questions to Ask When Choosing a REALTOR®

Make sure you choose a REALTOR® who will provide top-notch service and meet your unique needs. Part-time won't get the job done for you in a full-time market.
Agents working as flight attendants, florists, hairdressers or waiters can't spend the time needed to attend training classes, gain the real-time experience, devote time to marketing, and learn the market.

1. How long have you been in residential real estate sales? Is it your full-time job? While experience is no guarantee of skill, real estate — like many other professions — is mostly learned on the job.

2. What designations do you hold? Designations such as GRI and CRS® — which require that agents take additional, specialized real estate training — are held by only about one-quarter of real estate practitioners.

3. How many homes did you and your real estate brokerage sell last year? By asking this question, you’ll get a good idea of how much experience the practitioner has.

4. How many days did it take you to sell the average home? How did that compare to the overall market?
The REALTOR® you interview should have these facts on hand, and be able to present market statistics from the local MLS to provide a comparison.

5. How close to the initial asking prices of the homes you sold were the final sale prices? This is one indication of how skilled the REALTOR® is at pricing homes and marketing to suitable buyers. Of course, other factors also may be at play, including an exceptionally hot or cool real estate market.

6. What types of specific marketing systems and approaches will you use to sell my home? You don’t want someone who’s going to put a For Sale sign in the yard and hope for the best. Look for someone who has aggressive and innovative approaches, and knows how to market your property competitively on the Internet. Buyers today want information fast, so it’s important that your REALTOR® is responsive.

7. Will you represent me exclusively, or will you represent both the buyer and the seller in the transaction? While it’s usually legal to represent both parties in a transaction, it’s important to understand where the practitioner’s obligations lie. Your REALTOR® should explain his or her agency relationship to you and describe the rights of each party.

8. Can you recommend service providers who can help me obtain a mortgage, make home repairs, and help with other things I need done? Because REALTORS® are immersed in the industry, they’re wonderful resources as you seek lenders, home improvement companies, and other home service providers. Practitioners should generally recommend more than one provider and let you know if they have any special relationship with or receive compensation from any of the providers.

9. What type of support and supervision does your brokerage office provide to you? Having resources such as in-house support staff, access to a real estate attorney, and assistance with technology can help an agent sell your home.

10. What’s your business philosophy? While there’s no right answer to this question, the response will help you assess what’s important to the agent and determine how closely the agent’s goals and business emphasis mesh with your own.

11. How will you keep me informed about the progress of my transaction? How frequently? Again, this is not a question with a correct answer, but it reflects your desires. Do you want updates twice a week or do you not want to be bothered unless there’s a hot prospect? Do you prefer phone, e-mail, or a personal visit?

12. Could you please give me the names and phone numbers of your three most recent clients?
Ask recent clients if they would work with this REALTOR® again. Find out whether they were pleased with the communication style, follow-up, and work ethic of the REALTOR®.

This info provided by the National Association of Realtors.


When you need a helping hand...

Posted on: 2007-12-17
For all of our neighborhood residents age 65 and older,
if you ever need some shrubbery or small trees trimmed, give me a call at 404.874.6699. I have a chainsaw and will be glad to help you. If you have an extra-heavy piece of furniture you need moved, call me.
If you have a long list of handyman projects that you need help with, call me and I'll put you in touch with a couple of handyman services. My number is 404.874.6699.


Managing Your Credit Wisely

Posted on: 2007-12-06
Keeping your credit reports healthy will improve your credit scores and help get you to get the best rates on major purchases and more importantly your home mortgage. It is recommended that you check your credit reports every 6-12 months or at least 3 months before a major purchase in order to guard against damaging inaccuracies and identity theft. Routine check-ups along with paying your bills on time, keeping credit card balances below 35% of their limits and correcting any negative inaccuracies will help you maintain a healthy credit profile.

Many different formulas are used to calculate credit scores, but most are based on the following factors, which each scoring model weighs differently:

35% of your score is established from your payment history, collections, and public records

30% of your score is established from the outstanding balances being carried on your accounts. It’s important that you consider these factors in managing your own finances, debts and credit. Now we’re at 65% with these two issues alone. Drill down and focus on these two issues to keep your credit score high.

15% of your score is established from your length of credit history. Remember that it is better to have credit for longer timeframes, so that a history is built up on your record.

10% of your score is established around the types of credit you have. A good common sense mix of credit use is best. For example, one mortgage, two car loans, and four to five credit cards would be a good mix for a family of 3 or 4 people.

10% of your score is established around your request for credit (credit inquiries). This means that every time you apply for credit, this impacts your score within certain FICO rules. You can, however, apply for as many mortgages and car loans you want, as long as you keep the applications within a 14 day window period. FICO allows for this because they recognize that many people shop for these big-ticket items, causing several different creditors to pull your credit.

For a free credit consultation, call Bill Bulloch at Georgia Lending Partners, 770-573-9386, or www.georgialending.com.



Website: www.GeorgiaLending.com

Email: Bill@GeorgiaLending.com


So, Your House is Nearly Paid Off...

Posted on: 2007-11-04
That's a question that I am frequently asked: I have nearly paid off the entire mortgage on my home, what should I do next?

The answer is: It depends on several other aspects of your life. It depends on your current age, your current employment, your current tax situation, your current financial position and your future plans.

How old are you now?
Will you be retiring soon?
Do you have family members to consider?
Will you be moving to another state?
Does your current home need some repairs?
How diverse is your financial portfolio?

Two options available to you are:

Borrow against the equity in the home
for fixups, repairs or add-ons; to buy other
investment property like rentals or vacation
homes; or buy some things you've always
wanted like boats, jewelry, or education.

Another option is to sell the current home
and buy another one, maybe a little smaller
if you no longer need all that room, maybe
a better home with nicer features you need,
or, maybe a new home like you've always
wanted.

All of the above can be mixed and matched in
almost any combination. I would be glad to talk
with you, view your home, discuss your plans, and
help you evaluate the options. As with any major
life changes, please be sure to seek the advice
of your accountant, financial planner and a
qualified mortgage person before changing anything
about your current mortgage.

Call me with any questions at 404.874.6699

Congratulations to you on your major success!


WINTER'S CHILL DRIVES RODENTS INDOORS

Posted on: 2007-02-03
WINTER'S CHILL DRIVES RODENTS INDOORS
National Pest Management Association Offers Preventative Advice to Deter Invasive Animals

During the chilly winter months, most people seek refuge in the warmth of their homes, but they are not alone. From October through February, rodents, including mice, rats and squirrels, often take shelter in homes, causing potential hazards to both health and property.

“Rodents seek to protect themselves from winter’s chill by invading your home,” said Cindy Mannes, vice president of public affairs for the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). “Rodents invade an estimated 21 million homes in the United States every winter and are a considerable health and property nuisance.”

Rodents can enter homes through almost any opening. Once inside, rodents can cause severe damage as they can chew through wallboards, cardboard, wood and even electrical wiring, increasing the potential risk of a fire.

Mannes advises homeowners to inspect for rodent droppings in undisturbed areas, including pantries, attics, and garages as these droppings can cause allergies and disease, such as Hantavirus.

NPMA also recommends taking these precautions to keep rodents outside:

Make sure all holes, cracks and voids are sealed.
Don’t overlook proper drainage at the foundation and install gutters.
Keep branches and other plants cut back from the house.
If you find rodents in your home, call a local pest professional to identify and correct the problem.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently proposed limiting the use of several rodent bait products “to certified applicators who have had sufficient training to know when and how to use these products in order to limit risks.” Although homeowners will be prohibited from purchasing these rodenticides, licensed pest professionals will be allowed to purchase and apply these products to meet critical public health needs.

Homeowners facing rodent problems can benefit from the knowledge and training of licensed pest professionals in areas such as rodent biology and integrated pest management. They should feel encouraged to contact a pest professional for a complete inspection and treatment, if necessary.

For more information on rodents and other pests, visit www.pestworld.org.

The NPMA, a non-profit organization with more than 5,000 members, was established in 1933 to support the pest management industry’s commitment to the protection of public health, food and property, reflected both in the continuing education of the pest professional and the dissemination of timely information to homeowners.

For professional helping in removing unwanted pests, call Toby Miller with Arrow Pest Control. His number is 770.833.8588.

Website: www.pestworld.org.


It's all relative...

Posted on: 2005-12-29
In January of 2005,
a gallon of milk cost $3.29
a loaf of bread cost $1.10
a new auto cost $21,345
a gallon of gas cost $1.96
a new home cost $221,800
the average income was $31,191
the Dow Jones was at 10,544

In January of 1995,
a gallon of milk cost $2.51
a loaf of bread cost $1.17
a new auto cost $12,800
a gallon of gas cost $1.35
a new home cost $111,200
the average income was $19,190
the Dow Jones was at 5,117

In January of 1985,
a gallon of milk cost $1.98
a loaf of bread cost $.74
a new auto cost $6495
a gallon of gas cost $1.24
a new home cost $116,705
the average income was $13,351
the Dow Jones was at 1547

In January of 1975,
a gallon of milk cost $1.40
a loaf of bread cost $.28
a new auto cost $3,800
a gallon of gas cost $.57
a new home cost $51,865
the average income was $7,004
the Dow Jones was at 852

In January of 1965,
a gallon of milk cost $1.05
a loaf of bread cost $.21
a new auto cost $2355
a gallon of gas cost $.24
a new home cost $41,540
the average income was $6469
the Dow Jones was at 969

In January of 1955,
a gallon of milk cost $.92
a loaf of bread cost $.18
a new auto cost $1950
a gallon of gas cost $.23
a new home cost $22,900
the average income was $4138
the Dow Jones was at 484

In January of 1945,
a gallon of milk cost $.62
a loaf of bread cost $.10
a new auto cost $1,350
a gallon of gas cost $.16
a new home cost $10,330
the average income was $2390
the Dow Jones was at 193



The NE Atlanta Beltline Development

Posted on: 2005-07-11
The Northeast Atlanta Beltline is a 22-mile old rail corridor that would include trails and green space through several Atlanta neighborhoods, including Ansley Park, Piedmont Heights, Morningside, Midtown, Virginia Highlands, Inman Park and others.

The various NPUs affected by the proposed Beltline project are soliciting, compiling,and combining priorities and issues such as land use & zoning, traffic & transportation, infrastructure & watershed management, connectivity, and neighborhood impacts.

Get involved by attending any of the various redevelopment workshops and presentations on the new Beltline offered by the Atlanta Development Authority and the Beltline Steering Committee. The presentations are opportunities for public input on the use of land around the proposed Beltline and the feasibility of a tax allocation district.

Beltline Development overview presentations are next scheduled on July 12 from 6 PM to 8 PM at the Park Tavern for NPU-F, and July 13 from 6 PM to 8 PM at the Trolley Barn for NPU-M & NPU-N.

Walking tours of the proposed Beltline routes have already taken place, and clean-up projects by local residents have also already taken place. Check the various websites for additional dates of any future tours or clean-up projects.

Mayor Shirley Franklin has announced her intention to ask the City, County and School Board for a Beltline TAD
( Tax Allocation District ) to help pay for the Beltline construction costs and other incentives. A TAD is established for publicly financing certain redevelopment activities in underdeveloped areas. Redevelopment costs are financed through the pledge of future incremental increases in property taxes generated by the resulting new development.

The website for the Atlanta Development Authority is www.atlantada.com. Please take a look at their Quarterly Report which describes Tax Allocation Districts, how they work and answers frequently-asked questions about them.

The ADA ( Greg Gianelli, President, and Tina Arbes, Director of Special Projects ) will be the administrative staff for Ray Weeks, recently appointed Chair of the Mayor's Beltline Committee. Their website is www.atlantaada.org

The main Beltline advocacy group is Friends of the Beltline, Inc. at www.beltline.org


Website: www.BeltLine.org


The Tree Protection Ordinance

Posted on: 2005-07-11
The city of Atlanta is known for its trees. For that reason, the Atlanta City Council passed a law in 1977 to protect Atlanta's trees. The ordinance is a set of rules designed to prevent a net loss of trees and to protect mature trees.

The key features of the ordinance include 1) obtaining a permit for cutting trees, 2) planting new trees to replace trees removed, 3) protecting trees during construction, and 4) determining whether a tree is dead or diseased.

Homeowners must have a permit to remove any tree 6 inches in diameter or greater, or you will be fined. Before cutting or removing any trees on private property call the City Arborist at 404-330-6874 or 404-330-6836.

Permitted tree removals should be posted with a yellow sign which gives a deadline for appealing the removal to the Tree Conservation Commission.

More information can be obtained at www.atlantaga.gov ( under the dept of planning & community development, then the bureau of buildings, then the arborist division ) or at www.treesatlanta.org

Website: www.treesatlanta.org


A Great Investment !!

Posted on: 2005-06-22
Back in 1995:

The average List Price of a home in Piedmont Heights was $185,800.

The average Selling Price of a home in Piedmont Heights was $177,900.

The average Number of Days on the Market for a home in Piedmont Heights was 86 days.


Ten years later in 2005:

The average List Price of a home in Piedmont Heights is now $529,022.

The average Selling Price of a home in Piedmont Heights is now $365,300.

The average Number of Days on the Market for a home in Piedmont Heights is now 83 days.

That's impressive! On the average, there are around 30 homes Sold each year in Piedmont Heights.

If you have any questions about the numbers, please call Norm Hatke at 404-874-6699.

Email: nhatke@bellsouth.net


Bulk Rubbish Pick-up

Posted on: 2005-01-27
To schedule pick-up of bulk rubbish, please call Customer Service at the Bureau of Solid Waste Services at 404-330-6333. Bulk rubbish is any material whose total weight, volume and/or size is too large for the city residential garbage collection trucks. This would be things like appliances, mattresses, sofas, dressers, tables, etc. The city will not collect building materials, construction debris or hazardous materials.

Email: PublicWorks@atlantaga.gov


2009 was a Good Year in Piedmont Heights

Posted on: 2002-01-28
The median sales price for homes in ZIP code 30324 for Sep 09 to Nov 09 was $292,000. This represents an increase of 2.4%, or $6,800, compared to the prior quarter and an increase of 13.6% compared to the prior year. Sales prices have appreciated 18.5% over the last 5 years in 30324, Atlanta.

The median sales price of $292,000 for 30324 is 56.15% higher than the median sales price for Atlanta GA. Average listing price for homes on Trulia in ZIP code 30324 was $315,121 for the week ending Dec 23, which represents a decline of 0.4%, or $1,335 compared to the prior week and a decline of 5.3%, or $17,474, compared to the week ending Dec 02. Average price per square foot for homes in 30324 was $175 in the most recent quarter, which is 35.66% higher than the average price per square foot for homes in Atlanta.

Piedmont Heights and 30324 are great areas to live. Watch your appreciation grow!