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Janet Livingston's Blog

By Janet Livingston | Agent in Kennesaw, GA
  • Janet's Blog You are the average of five people you are around most

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Atlanta, Credit Score in Atlanta  |  May 24, 2013 7:17 AM  |  141 views  |  No comments

    Whether your goal is to buy house this year or do better on your job do you know that going step by step in small increments you can accomplish this? There are studies that support the concept of surrounding yourself with best possible people to help you meet your goals. If your work week is 40 hour one in an office you will serve yourself well by adopting this principle. Work on it day by day and hour by hour to move forward to the new home or career advancement.

    Sometimes we have to reset our plans such as when the recession hit in 2008 in order to move forward. We can never quit until the goal is achieved and if you feel overwhelmed or defeated a support group or mentor can help. Maybe there is lender you have come to know who is helping to clean your credit report who can offer support.

    If your goal is to purchase home by Christmas maybe for the next six months you can record the amount of money saved each 30 day period and tract the reduction of credit card spending as well each month. It is a small step however journeys start small and before you know it you may be in the house by December 25.  

  • Janet's Blog Net Zero Energy Homes are Ready

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Atlanta  |  May 13, 2013 4:48 AM  |  148 views  |  1 comment

    Janet's Blog Net Zero Energy Homes are Ready

    May 9, 2013 8:52 am

    Seems amazing to think that even in extreme climates homes with tiny energy bills are appearing because of environmental movements. Builders in the cold weather and hot weather areas are using energy concepts to extreme standards to create comforts buyers want and
    saving them utility bills as well. For instance in Maryland it is possible in the winter to use solar panels to produce more energy than needed to heat to comfortable temps for a family. This net zero- energy home of 2800 sq ft was built for $516K and includes a steam room and xtra large washer and dryer.

    Here is an example in Arizona where the air bills were reduced from $300 mo to $25 mo and with 4 kids on TV and iPads to boot by building in these features. The $450K home is 2300 sq ft and $25K of sales price was spent on environmental features. Solar panels add renewable types of energy so very little loss occurs in air conditioning. 

    Many believe that the "green home" is much more expensive to construct has a pleasant surprise in store when facts are laid out. A cost of 5% -10% more is true and even that is coming down to as low as 2%. With these materials becoming more sought after and common, prices are dropping as evidenced by 
    Washington DC builder Robert Bell doing energy neutral house as he calls it for only 2% cost.

  • Janet's Blog The Case for Keeping Mortgage Interest Deduction

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Atlanta  |  May 2, 2013 7:38 AM  |  149 views  |  No comments

    May 2, 2013 10:14 am

    Is the public aware that for each new 100 homes built today, 300 jobs are created and nearly $9 million in local, state and fed tax revenues are generated? To continue meeting need for affordable housing the National Home Builders Association is continuing to support interest mortgage deduction and tax deduction for real estate property. Congress needs to keep this in tact so small business owners such as builders can continue to grow the economy by creating jobs that pay well. They employ both service business such as decorators and landscapers as well as goods and product services such as paint,furniture and lumber businesses.
    Along with the mortgage interest deduction, the Low Income Housing Tax Credit which is private/public partnership needs to remain. This has created more than 2 million rental units that are affordable since 1986 and the need continues to greater extent. This type of investment in our economy actually needs to increase because 2 million units over 26 years is about 75,000 built yearly which is not sufficient. Nearly 40% of all renters are "rent burdened" meaning the average renter is spending 30% of his income on basic rent. 
    The local and state govern't are getting about $300 billion in each year in property taxes from home owners and the federal government seems to ignore this stat because it is not going into their pocket. They are trying to do away with this deduction and we need to make sure it is here.
  • Janet's Blog How to Attract Buyers to Your Listing

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Atlanta  |  May 1, 2013 6:36 AM  |  154 views  |  No comments

    May 1, 2013 9:23 am

    If you would like to sell this spring but feel that you can't, why not hire an agent with lots of energy and social media know how to set up neighborhood event that causes a person to fall in love with your house? Today selling is all about generating interest through the right exposure media to attract a good buyer and rest will fall in place. It wasn't like that in the 90's when selling was all about "greatness" of the agent. Remember I am # 1 in sales slogans or I am the highest volume agent in my office. Those days are gone and replaced by what can I do for you attitude and ethic.
    It is tougher to choose an agent especially on the internet and recommendations are helpful on Trulia and Zillow but as seller you still want to meet face to face. You may have had dealings with the agent in the past or may have been recommended by friend however it is still the one on one contact that helps you choose. If your agent says let's open the house to the neighbors, you have the perfect time to show it off to all. It can be a wine and cheese party that your agent throws or it can be simple lunch time sandwich affair. What ever you decide your agent should send emails to all neighbors, friends and family and post video on YouTube. 
    Your agent can do the lunch prior to holding the house open say from 11:30-1:00 pm and then 1-4 pm for open tour and this way you will get others in from signage and traffic driven media. We refer to this as Mega Open House. This requires your agent actually do work prior to the Open Event rather than just putting sign up an hour before the house is open. Friends of friends marketing is great investment in sale of your home and should not be over looked because of past experiences.      
  • Janet's Blog Buying First Home as a Couple

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Atlanta  |  April 29, 2013 6:09 AM  |  142 views  |  No comments

    April 29, 2013 9:05 am

    Are you ready to prioritize your list of wants vs needs meaning compromise so you can say "We got what we wanted"? Couples will not have the exact same tastes as one another but with patience and understanding differences can be overcome and conflict offset. We didn't all grow up in the same area, structure, environment or region so variables may be wide ranging and these differences have to be worked out in this process. Some of us grew up in a high rise never opening door and stepping on grass yard, some of us grew up on military base and never stayed in one place very long while others lived in remote area of the desert having to drive 10 miles for groceries.
    Finances are probably at the heart of the home purchase and being able to speak openly and truthfully to one another puts us in a better position to evaluate what we can afford and what we have to do to get to that place. Women tend to view money as success and security while men tend to think of money as a measure of winning vs losing. Neither is wrong it is just how that works in the minds of female and male. Since money is a major factor in relationships it is better to be open and honest no matter how difficult that seems to ensure stable future.
    Every couple has budget for a home purchase so it is best to review that frequently and make list of your priorities once you looked at needs and wants thoroughly. Try to picture down the road 5 years ahead and see how you both view the list that you have come up with today. Will your income increase to match taxes that generally go up each year? Will your employer transfer you next year without notice? Will birth of children affect your household decisions in such a way that you no longer like the house? Some issues to ponder before purchasing.
  • Janet's Blog America's Changing Values

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Atlanta  |  April 25, 2013 12:59 PM  |  135 views  |  No comments

    Janet's Blog America's Changing Values

    April 25, 2013 3:54 pm

    Nearly 60% of all married couples or about to be tied by the knot purchased their home by their 2nd wedding anniversary! That is outstanding because 25% of that figure were couples who had not yet married but purchased before setting wedding date. Therapists are saying that home ownership is strengthening relationships and it is large movement in American culture that is expanding.
    Southerners are taking more time to purchase in that 72% wait until they marry to buy and 60% of Northeast waits until they marry before purchasing a home as a couple. Only a small % of couples never buy a home specifically 16% with current spouse have never owned home.. Nearly 17% of all married couples bought before the ceremony and obviously didn't get cold feet.
    Here is what is interesting about this study in that they learn about each other and how to compromise and be practical rather than just having an emotional decision. Apparently buying a home has greater impact on a couple because of bonds it creates nearly more than any other experience.
  • Janet's Blog Set the Stage for Faster Sale of Your Home

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Atlanta  |  April 22, 2013 1:17 PM  |  157 views  |  2 comments

    Perhaps the most obvious brightening technique is putting fresh coat of paint on interior walls and woodwork. This is very inexpensive and will give your home a big boast. Even if your budget doesn't call for furniture buying at this time it is better to stage room with bright pillows and accents rather than leaving it vacant. Buyers need to visualize how their furniture would work and empty won't don't it.

    If your artwork is limited use your flat screen TV as a silent slide show of nature's images without photos of people for the great room. Think of the flat screen TV as modern day hearth and keep it out of the bedroom and it can function as art. Also it is better to have mirrors or photos to fill a wall rather than leaving dead space.

    Yards should be maintained and grass cut nicely. It doesn't have to be elaborate but pots of flowers next to the door offer welcoming affect. On the interior a fresh bunch of flowers in simple glass vase is so condusive to warmth and charm however, please remove any fake plants as they spell graveyard headstone. 

    Window treatments inside can be simple with rod and solid drapery to avoid sterile feeling. If you have a library in your home or just some rows of books, it is better to remove the jackets and expose the solid color for personal touch. The bedrooms should be non gender related but keep them fresh with simple white bedding look of down or such rich fabric choice. Everything should be neutral shades not too dark or bold.

    Above all the things listed here de-clutter is the key. This will make your rooms appear larger and brighter. Please room things from kitchen counters and tidy the pantry closet. 


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