Apr. 11, 2008
When I moved to Cumming, GA eleven years ago, who knew that it would grow to help Forsyth County to become the 13th wealthiest County in the nation and in the top 5 of favorite places to live?
As I recall, the population was under or about fifty thousand. There was tons of new construction everywhere the eye could see and Exit 14 off Georgia 400 was still “no man’s” land.
Now, I live about a mile from GA 400 and could get there in less than 5 minutes. There were 2 food chains, gas stations, a veterinarian’s office, dry cleaners, pharmacies a handful of eateries and 1 department store – Belk’s.
The 2006 census showed the population at almost 151,000. Although there is still a lot of new construction around, what the eye mainly sees is retail business. The opening of Home Depot in 1998 was the beginning of the retail growth in Cumming. Marketplace, just off Exit 14, became the financial hub. A new venue to eat and shop opened last year right across from Marketplace, known as Cumming Town Center – and there is more to come! We are “eagerly” awaiting the opening of “The Avenue,” a “higher end” mall in the very near future at Exit 13. Rumor has it that more development is expected off Exit 12 at McFarland.
My husband, mother and I went to the newly opened Golden Corral for dinner tonight. The line was out the door and as I waited I thought to myself, Cumming has come of age J.
It now takes me 10 minutes or so to get to GA 400. I no longer have to go to Northpoint Mall or the Mall of Georgia to shop. Traffic backs up further north than Exit 14 in the morning and the roads are pretty crowded.
Mar. 28, 2008
Categorized in: Home Buying
I saw a great summary of one of the reasons for renters to BUY instead of continuing to pay their landlord's mortgage at Inman News written by Bernice Ross:
How much longer do you want to continue paying your landlord's mortgage?
This is a great question for first-time buyers. The Department of Commerce reports that between 1995 and 2004, the average renter accumulated a little over $4,000 in net worth. The average homeowner accumulated $184,400. That translates into $180,000 more, or $1,500 per month. In other words, each month that the average first-time buyer continues to rent, it costs them $1,500 in lost wealth accumulation. Furthermore, renters are subject to rent increases as well as higher tax rates because they cannot take a mortgage deduction. Pointing out the cost of waiting to purchase is one of the classic ways to persuade reluctant buyers to take action.
Today's shifting real estate market and news in the media make it tough for a Buyer consumer to really understand what their choices are and whether it's time to buy. To understand what the choices are, sit down with your Accredited Real Estate Consultant® and work together to complete a Buyer's analysis. Then, talk with your mortgage banker. You'd be amazed at some of the current offerings and your mortgage professional will also be able to guide you down the right path.
Is it time to buy? Well, here in metro Atlanta, Clark Howard says YES! Buying activity appears to have picked up, interest rates are low and new construction homes in particular are offering tremendous Buyer incentives. Why wait for additional price reductions when it is possible that it will actually cost you more to finance?
Help the economy, buy a home!
Mar. 7, 2008
Categorized in: Real Estate Consulting
When one size fits all real estate just doesn't have enough choices...when you want to be consulted with and not sold to, look for an Accredited Consultant in Real Estate (ACRE™). Click on the icon below to learn more!
Laurie Furem is selling Alpharetta, Lake Lanier, Roswell and Cumming GA real estate one ACRE™ at a time!
Mar. 3, 2008
Word just in on pool openings for 2008 season
Good news for Forsyth County residents! The Board of Commissioners has determined that pools WILL open for the 2008 season starting on April 1, 2008 in keeping with the Governor's recent changes on watering restrictions.
I recently became President my Homeowner's Association in Cumming, Georgia. One of the Board's functions is to negotiate maintenance contracts for pool services and to authorize repairs where necessary. So I thought - we need to KNOW if we are going to be able to open our pool this season so that we have plenty of time to ensure that the pool is operational.
With this in mind, I contacted the Department of Water and Sewer who advised me that a decision had not yet been reached. Then, I emailed the Commissioners to see if I could get a definitive answer. I was so pleased by their responsiveness and even more so by their decision to allow pools to open! Thanks Commissioners!
Mar. 3, 2008
Tagged with: alpharetta ga real estate, cumming ga real estate, lake lanier ga real estate, shifting real estate market home seller tips
Selling hints for today’s shifting real estate market
What’s the number one question I hear from Alpharetta, Cumming and Lake Lanier, Georgia home sellers? How’s the market? With so much negative press about real estate nationwide, it’s a pretty relevant question! The market correction that is taking place in states like California, Florida and Nevada causes real concerns regarding sales price and how long it takes to sell a home.
We are in a Buyer’s market, however, that doesn’t mean you can’t sell your home. What it does mean is that there is more competition and more homes on the market for Buyers to choose from and new home construction communities are offering terrific Buyer incentives to reduce their inventory of homes.
How does this translate for YOU, the Seller? First, hire a real estate professional who will be upfront with you regarding expectations and not just tell you what you want to hear and who provides you with a marketing plan that includes a heavy internet presence. In fact, consider hiring an Accredited Consultant in Real Estate if you want to be consulted with and not sold to and when one size fits all real estate just isn’t for you.
Second, be realistic, aggressive and competitive in your pricing. Market value is determined by what a Buyer is willing to pay for your property and nothing else. Your REALTOR® will go over comparable properties to assist you with pricing strategy in terms of your competition. In other words, if there are 15 homes on the market similar to yours, why should the Buyer pick your home? You don’t want to give your property away, however, if you are not realistic in pricing – you help sell your neighbor’s home!
Third, ask your REALTOR® for some staging tips. You only get one chance to make a good first impression. Make it count. Look at your property as objectively as you can. Will it give a Buyer that warm and fuzzy feeling? Have you removed some of your personal items so that the Buyer can imagine the home as theirs? Have you de-cluttered so a Buyer can see the potential? Have you arranged your furniture to maximize room size?
Fourth, some good news! If I am not mistaken, Clark Howard says “it’s time to buy.”
Mar. 1, 2008
Categorized in: Alpharetta GA Real Estate
Tagged with: alpharetta ga real estate, hopewell plantation, laurie furem, luxury estate, luxury home
2280 Hopewell Plantation Drive, Alpharetta, GA
$2.175 million luxury retreat on 3.4+/- acres wants YOU!
Jan. 30, 2008
A thought came to me today as I sit at my computer. What was life like before today's advancing technology came on the scene?
I was born in the era of with black and white televisions, no air conditioning, manual typewriters and boots made for walking
As I look around my desk I see one of my 3 computers
I now have a website
I see blogging as a crucial key to marketing yourself on-line and have already gotten so much from this course. For quite some time I have wanted to learn more about niche marketing and specialized marketing and for the mostly inexperienced blogger like myself, I am getting invaluable information and support from Joeann and Frances like you wouldn't believe! Check it out.
Today, I have lots of toys and gadgets through my house including my new Garmin Nuvi 660 GPS system. Ain't technology grand?
Jan. 30, 2008
Great news for Forsyth County, GA!
The Forsyth County News reported on January 25, 2008 that Forsyth County Georgia ranks 13th in the list of wealthiest US Counties
Brian Dill of the Cumming-Forsyth Chamber of Commerce said "making the list is indicative of the rise in affluency that the community has experienced over the past five years."
What does this mean to us in terms of the Cumming Georgia real estate market? Well, John Clark of the Federation of Forsyth County Homeowners speculates that it could "help property values...
This news is especially good for commercial and retail sectors as the level of disposable income increases. An example of this retail development will be seen in the new "Avenue Forsyth" in Cumming due to open its first phase in April 2008 at GA 400 and Exit 13. This development has been compared to the Forum Shops with higher end stores as well as Barnes and Nobles and AMC Movie Theatres.
How does this affect Cumming GA real estate? Forbes said "the more a county is recognized for its wealth, the more people want to move there." Forsyth County has been on the top ten list of fastest growing counties in the nation as well and people relocating to the area who read this information may be thinking, this is something I'd like to be a part of. Many home buyers and sellers are looking towards Forsyth County Georgia and Cumming Georgia in particular.
Help the economy, buy a house!
Nov. 21, 2007
Categorized in: For Real Estate Professionals
This past Monday, I had the pleasure of starting the "Expired Game" facilitated by our own Frances Flynn Thorsen. It is a cool game that lasts 4 weeks. The premise is to set measurable goals on converting expired listings to YOUR active listings and participants compete against each other to see who can get the most points.
I decided to participate with 10 years real estate experience, a good deal of which has been prospecting to expired listings. Why, you may ask? I felt I needed a "virtual" kick in the butt as I had gotten too complacent.
Frances brings a positive attitude and sense of fun to the idea of prospecting and I am truly enjoying her coaching.
My goal is 4 listings during the 4-week game. Good luck to all my competitors. I highly recommend looking into the next expired game.
Mar. 16, 2007
The 2007 GAR Purchase and Sale Agreement can be confusing unless you read, re-read and then ask a real estate professional for advice - especially in terms of the financing contingency. We need to be careful in the time period allowed to satisfy the contingency. If a short time period is involved, make sure that the contract contains a separate special stipulation making the Buyer's obligation to close contingent on the appraisal.
Case in point: Buyer has 7 days to meet the financing contingency as per the Purchase and Sale Agreement, Buyer is financially qualified for a mortgage for the sales price of the home. The day after the financing contingency has "been met," Buyer finds out that the property appraises about $30K under the sales price. Buyer notifies Seller (through their respective agents) of the discrepancy. Seller responds that the financing contingency period has come and gone. What does this mean to the Buyer with no special stipulation in place?
It means, the Buyer can either make up the difference between the appraisal price and sales price out of pocket; OR, forfeits his/her earnest money.by walking away.
This scenario becomes extremely relevant for those who are unrepresented Buyers. Please do yourselves a favor and work with a professional REALTOR®!
Nov. 29, 2006
Categorized in: North Georgia Information
Tagged with: north metro atlanta news
News just in from today's AJC:
No joke: Highway signs intended to extend 'hospitality' Drivers who creep their way up and down Ga. 400 may have been puzzled by the meaning of several tiny green signs. The panels, which read "A Hospitality Highway Community," can be found beneath every city limit sign in both directions between Roswell and Dawsonville.
The signs are actually part of a promotion to tout Northside events and attractions in Roswell, Alpharetta, Cumming, Dawsonville and Dahlonega.
The signs are not the only part of the promotion. A brochure, which is designed like a map, takes visitors up Ga. 400 and also shows Ga. 9. It highlights such attractions as vineyards, wineries, and gold mines in Dahlonega and Amicalola Falls State Park in Dawsonville. Many nature spots are included, such as Sawnee Mountain Preserve, Autrey Mill Preserve and Chattahoochee Nature Center. Also on the brochure is a listing of annual events through the year. The effort has produced a Web site, www.hospitalityhighway.com.
Apr. 21, 2006
Did you know that on this day:
Mar. 1, 2006
Tagged with: personal
OK, so recently my husband underwent cervical surgery. It seems that some pesky disks in his neck were causing some major discomfort, numbness and a variety of other symptoms. One of the first questions I asked him when he alert was "are you sure in sickness and in health" was in our marriage vows? Here's what I learned from this experience.
Disclaimer: This little entry, written very much tongue in cheek, is in no way meant to offend those of the male species otherwise known as Martians. In point of fact, I adore my husband and wouldn't trade him for anything in the world!
Feb. 23, 2006
Why you should use a REALTOR®
Did you know that only members belonging to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) can use the term REALTOR®?
Did you know that REALTORS® must adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and continually maintain and improve their skills and knowledge with continuing education and certification courses?
Your local REALTORS® are in essence, community experts. We keep up-to-date on market trends, legislation that could affect the community and are in general, "good neighbors who are in the business of helping others buy and sell homes." (cited from Realtor.com)
There are many ways to choose a REALTOR®:
Once you have narrowed down your choices, there will probably be a list of questions you might want to ask. Some suggestions from Realtor.com are:
Your REALTOR® should present you with a written marketing plan of action which tells you exactly what to expect so that everyone is clear.
Feb. 22, 2006
The Georgia Association of Realtors (GAR) sent a member update out today stating that the Governor has announced legislation to limit eminent domain abuse. The legislation known as "The Private Property Protection Amendment" to the Georgia Constitution seeks to protect private property rights of Georgia citizens.
The legislation includes the following (cited from GAR):
Only elected bodies will have the power to exercise eminent domain.
Feb. 16, 2006
Buying or selling a home is a unique experience. Although floorplans can be "identical," can any two homes really be the same? And, the real estate market and variables that affect it are always changing. Interests rates go up or down. Real estate markets become Seller or Buyer markets.
What does that mean to you? I means you need a REALTOR® to prepare a personalized marketing plan for YOUR home and YOUR market conditions.
The general steps might be to put the sign in the yard and the lockbox on the door, get the home into the various multiple listing systems, (FMLS and GAMLS in Georgia) - hopefully with multiple photos and onto realtor.com, one of the largest sites for consumer real estate shopping. As a Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage agent, my listings are also place on the national Coldwell Banker site as well as the local one.
Other marketing tools might include e-mail and regular mail of new listing announcements, advertising in the local real estate magazine and/or newspaper and networking with top agents in the area.
Many of the things that your REALTOR® does are behind the scenes, but exceedingly important. Your REALTOR® spends time on the phones working with contacts, calling around your listing, contacting people in "move-up" markets, following-up with Buyers' agents and keeping current on exactly what is going on in YOUR real estate market.
Did you know that according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) that 37% of all buyers check the internet and that most sellers move within 10 miles of their current home?
Feb. 15, 2006
Categorized in: North Georgia Information
Tagged with: north georgia information
Did you know that one of the first cities to "strike" gold was Dahlonega, GA?
Did you know that the "gold" dome of the Georgia State Capitol was mined in Dahlonega, GA?
Well now, according to the Gainesville Times, one of Dahlonega's famous eateries (and hotel), The Smith House, may be sitting on a gold mine and might have been sitting on it for over 100 years!
The Smith House is currently undergoing renovation and it is believed that workers uncovered the entrance to what might have been a gold mine built in the late 1800s. The workers went into the hole for the first time yesterday afternoon and discovered a 4-foot hole in the ground where the main dining room used to be. Rumor has it that this hole leads straight down to the alleged gold vein which is supposed to run from The Smith House to the Dahlonega Gold Museum in the downtown square.
As the story goes, the home was originally built in 1884 by Captain Frank Hall, but the City wouldn't permit him to dig for gold on the property for two reasons. First, it was too close to the downtown square and secondly, because he was a Yankee! It is speculated that he built the house to hide what he was doing and that when his health failed, he sold it to the Smiths (in the 1920s).
As of now, the family plans to check through dirt samples for signs of gold, coins or tools that may have been used to mine the property. Eventually, they would like to preserve it as a public historical site.
For more information on "Dahlonega gold" see http://www.dahlonegagold.com/dghist.htm
Feb. 13, 2006
How to price your home:
When you get ready to put your home on the market, a couple of things usually happen. You find out how much your neighbor's home sold for and use that for comparison, even if that home has features that differ from your own. Some of us look at the price we originally paid and add a random appreciation figure to come up with a price.
Pricing a home is really based on market value. What is market value? It is the price that the Buyer is willing to pay.
Here are some suggestions to help figure out how much your home is worth:
1. Put your personal point of view aside. Buyers don't generally care about how much the home means to you, how much you have invested in painting or landscaping or how much cash you need to walk away with. They DO care about how your home stacks up against other comparable homes in the area and in getting the most house value for THEIR investment.
2. See for yourself what other homes in your neighborhood are selling for (or have sold for). Educate yourself and try to make an impartial evaluation as to how those homes compare with yours in terms of condition, location and features. If all the asking prices were approximately the same, would you buy YOUR home or someone else's?
3. Consider the condition of your real estate market. What are the real estate trends in your area? Here in the North Metro Atlanta area we are and have been in a Buyer's market. Do you see prices moving up? Does there seem to be an overabundance of homes for sale (buyer's market). Are homes in your neighborhood selling quickly or are they staying on the market for longer periods of time?
4. Think about what incentives you can offer the buyer to put YOUR home at its stronger advantage. Sometimes the bottom-line (price) is not the only way that you can attract a buyer. In the North Metro Atlanta area we are in the unique position of having many families relocating in and out of the area. Can you be flexible in your closing date? Can you see yourself offering a Home Warranty for the Buyer to help level the playing field with new construction? The more flexible you can be, the better chance you have of pricing your home and getting ready to hire that moving truck!
Don't forget, the best place to get house selling assistance is with a licensed REALTOR(r)!
Feb. 12, 2006
Are you ready?
Walk outside, look at your home...how is the curb appeal? Does the exterior view make you say "Wow, I want to see this home" Or, does it make you say "Nope, not for me. It looks kind of blah"?
Do you need to do some touch-up painting? Make some minor repairs? Finally get the caulking done? Have a yard sale?
Your goal is to show your home to its greatest advantage. A home that is priced "right," looks good and maximizes space (get rid of the clutter) will attract many more buyers.
Although part of the "getting ready" phase has to do with repairs, painting and other home improvements, it's also a good time to ask yourself why you really want to sell. Your reason for selling (motivation) can have a strong effect on the negotiating process so it's important to discuss your needs and wants in private with the REALTOR® who lists your home. Ask for suggestions about any necessary improvements and then follow them!
Feb. 11, 2006
According to the Forsyth County News, Georgia will fund improvements to 13 Forsyth County roads under the "Paving the Way Home" transportation funding initiative.
According to the governor's list, Forsyth County will receive funding for 13 roads, plus one in Cumming, totaling 10 miles of repairs. The 13 Forsyth County road improvement projects are Ansley Lane, Bald Ridge Park Road, Bentley Road, Bethel Road, Daves Creek Road, Grassland Parkway, Knoll Drive, Log Cabin Road, Melodie Lane, Mountain View Trail, Pittman Road, Wellington Place and Winchester Drive.
The City of Cumming will get funding for Samaritan Drive off Canton Highway. near where the old hospital used to be.
Now, if we can only get ALL of Ronald Reagan Parkway re-opened, travelling around Forsyth County would be much easier indeed.
Nov. 20, 2006
The beginning of THE holiday season is usually viewed with eager anticipation. For me, it all starts on Thanksgiving Thursday.
In a time where there is so much pain and suffering in the world, it's nice to stop and take a moment to reflect on all the beauty that surrounds us and give thanks. I have so many things to be grateful for in my life and although I am thankful every day, Thanksgiving gives me the opportunity to share those thoughts with the people I love.
In the spirit of sharing, I found a really good recipe for turkey gravy and it is posted below. Let me know what you think.
Yum Yum Gravy:
3 1/4 cup turkey stock
1/2 cup butter
6 large shallots, chopped
2 lb fresh mushrooms - brushed clean and sliced
1 tbl chopped fresh thyme*
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 cup heavy (double cream)
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup chopped parsley (fresh)*
*works fine with the dried
To make gravy, pour the pan juices into a large measuring pitcher and skim/discard fat and set aside. Pour stock into the roasting pan and place on stove top. Bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Remove from heat. In a large frying pan over merium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the shallots and stir to coat. Add the muschrooms and thyme and saute until the mushrooms just start to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring frequently for 1 minute. Add the stock and the pan juices and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add the cream and boil, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in parsley
Blog by Laurie Furem
Hints, tips, suggestions and information for Home Buyer's and Sellers. Miscellaneous tidbits included :)
RE: The World of Technology
Hmm it looks like your site ate my first comment (...
RE: Selling hints for today’s shifting real estate market
Laurie, This is some good advice. The tough...
RE: 2280 Hopewell Plantation Drive
http://www.alpharetta-home.com contains detailed A...
RE: 2280 Hopewell Plantation Drive
Mary, Thanks for taking the time to express your...
RE: 2280 Hopewell Plantation Drive
Why do people continually call SLIDESHOWS video?...
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