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What I Would Spend Money On If I Was Renovating

There are endless possibilities of what you can spend money on to improve your home. From simple upgrades to massive renovations, it can be overwhelming deciding where to start. To help, we’ve put together a list of priorities as we see it from a Realtor’s perspective. It’s important to start with what you love and enjoy (especially if you plan to be in your home for at least 4 more years) and prioritize the area of your home that you know you’ll get the most enjoyment out of first. On the other end, if there’s something in your home that causes you stress every time you see it, change it. Renovating can be a challenge, but assessing your wants, needs, and budget is a great first step.

Up To $5,000 Budget
1. Interior Paint – Fresh paint gives you the best bang for your buck. Depending on the size of your home, you may be able to get most of your main living area painted for under $5,000.
2. New Kitchen Backsplash / Updated Light Fixtures – An eat-in kitchen, dining room, or foyer chandelier provide a fresh, updated look without breaking the bank. If you have the builder-standard fluorescent rectangle in your kitchen: get rid of it! Replace with a new modern handing light or recessed lights.
3. New Bathroom Vanities – If you have any bathrooms that have laminate counters, this signals that the vanity is dated, too. You can purchase a new vanity that also has a built-in stone counter and new sink all together. You’ll just need to purchase a matching upgraded fixture to go with it.
4. New Front Door/ Refinishing Wood Doors – A new front door adds great curb appeal. Front doors make such an important first impression! When you’re selling your home, you always want the entrance way to be in top shape. Picture this: the buyers and their realtor approach your home, the buyers are eagerly looking around to assess the entrance, and the Realtor is trying to open the lockbox. Entry is not immediate — it can take a minute or two to get the lockbox open and enter the home. If you have rotten wood or an old pealing door, this will set the stage for a buyer’s negative impression of your home.
5. Exterior Cleaning – Power washing can be a surprisingly affordable way to make your exterior look new again. Your house, driveway, walkways, and roof can all be power washed for a fresh look. Add professional window cleaning and you’ll be looking great!

Up To $25,000 Budget
1. Flooring – Wood floors in main living areas and new carpet in bedrooms make a big difference. Real hardwood flooring is a timeless style and will never be an outdated choice. Color choices can vary and add personality but try to avoid extremes. And, you can refinish hardwood and change the look if needed.
2. Kitchen Appliance Upgrades / New Kitchen Counters – If your home is in a luxury price point, buyers will expect high-end appliances. The stove or cook top is the center piece, so consider this first.
3. Bathroom Vanities – We covered this in the $5,000 budget section, but if you have multiple bathrooms to upgrade, you’ll easily spend more than that. If your primary bathroom doesn’t have a dual vanity and you can find a way to add one, that will be a great investment. Pro-tip: This may also save you from arguments with your significant other if you’ve been sharing a sink.
4. Retiling – Primary shower and floors can often use new tiling, along with adding a standalone tub. Avoid trendy or colorful tile. Remember, light and bright is timeless.
5. Cabinet Makeover – Painting or refacing cabinets and changing out hardware is a simple but effective project.

Budget up to $100,000
1. Full Kitchen Update – New appliances, quartz or quartzite counters, backsplash, fresh paint; depending on size of kitchen, you may or may not be able to fully replace cabinets with this budget. Style and trends in kitchens change frequently. If you’re worried about making the right design choices, it’s always best to go light and bright, aiming for a timeless look that will last. The average cost of a full kitchen renovation in our area now averages over $150,000, so to stay on budget, consider hiring a professional designer who can help you find cost savings and make the right design choices.
2. Finished Basement – Adding additional finished space is a big bang for your buck. Adding a media room, an exercise room, office space, an additional bathroom, or an additional entertainment area will add huge value to a home.
3. Outdoor Living Space – An exterior gathering area like an outdoor fireplace, a new porch, or an upgraded deck are great additions. Consider high performance composite decking, a common brand is Trex, for great quality and value.
4. Exterior Upgrade – Fresh paint, a new roof, and new landscaping can transform the look of your home completely and even make your neighbors jealous with this project. Maybe they will follow your lead and paint their houses, too!
5. New Cement Siding / Windows – Many homes in our area built between the 1980s-90s were built using a siding referred to as OSB, or Orient Strand Board. One of the common brands that was used is called “LP” siding. This siding is a wood fiber glued together that deteriorates over time and is susceptible to moisture and other weather damage. New cement board siding, one of the popular brands is “Hardie Plank,” is made from a cement fiber that can withstand moisture and weather damage. If your home was built using OSB siding, it is also likely to have wooden single-pane windows. A major upgrade that will pay off when selling your home is replacing all of the siding and windows. Upgrading your windows to new dual-pane windows will enhance the curb appeal of your home and you’ll realize energy savings + noise reduction.

Renovating in today’s market requires patience and flexibility. The pandemic has caused price increases due to supply shortages and rising labor costs. Labor is hard to find, and you’ll need to plan ahead carefully with materials. We suggest that you make a plan and order supplies before you begin. Some appliances and fixtures can take weeks or months to come in, certain paints are hard to find, and the list goes on. In the end, it will be worth it! We hear it all the time: “I should have done this years ago!” Don’t delay and wait until you’re about to sell your home. Do it now and enjoy it without breaking the bank!

What I Would Spend Money On If I Was Renovating

Top 10 Things Dads Want In A Home

When house hunting or making a priority list of improvements for an existing home, most couples will eventually have to compromise. In my 23 years of marriage and 20 years of real estate experience, I have found that most men defer to what their spouse wants first, while making their own private plans for what they really want in their home. When we purchased our own home, I know that my wife Joanne didn’t even notice the built-in speaker systems throughout most of the house, and it was definitely a selling feature for me! In honor of Father’s Day, I’m spilling all of the secrets – here’s Tom’s Top 10 Things Dads Want In A Home.

10. The Shower – We want a spacious shower. It’s not because we need a lot of room, but because we know that our spouse is going to stock the shelves with their products. We need to make sure there’s enough space for our own body wash and shampoo. We also want a great showerhead and good water pressure!
9. The Speakers / Sound Systems – We like our tunes and being in control of the music. Having a speaker system that is beyond a single portable speaker, one that goes throughout the main living areas and out onto the deck, is ideal for any dad who likes to set the vibe of his domain.
8. The Bar – We want a bar area where we can keep that expensive bottle of liquor we are “saving for a special occasion.” It’s also important to have a spot where we can mix a quick drink when friends visit. The ideal bar is either adjacent to or in a comfy room where you can sit and enjoy your favorite beverage with your spouse.
7. The Home Office – When I think of my dream office, the TV show Mad Men is what comes to mind. That means deep wood furniture, leather-bound books on the bookshelf, a box of cigars, and a fully stocked bar. Work hard, play hard.
6. The Garage – We need space for everything from cars and sporting equipment to yard tools and kids’ toys. Having shelves, storage bins, and a workbench turns this space into an organized area instead of a piled-up mess. In a perfect world, the garage floor will have a cool epoxy finish so we are prepared to buy our dream sports car when we hit our mid-life splurge. When it comes to the garage, the bigger the better. We’ll find a way to fill the space.
5. The Kitchen – We enjoy innovations like built-in griddles on a new stove for making the kids pancakes on Saturday morning. Appliances with LCD screens, dual convection ovens, finger swipe screens – we love the technology. A built-in coffee station is also a big yes!
4. The Fireplace – Men love fire. We like to start fires, watch fires, and sit by fires and sit around a fire with family or friends sharing dad jokes. We want a great indoor fireplace, and we would love to have an outdoor fireplace with a seating area, too.
3. The Yard – Men are generally drawn to more space and bigger yards. It’s not because we want to spend all weekend working in the yard, but we do like having a place to go outside where we feel nature around us. If we can occasionally use a chainsaw, that’s a plus.
2. The Outdoor Living Space / The Deck – We want a deck big enough to house a grill and maybe a green egg – a place where we can eat outside as a family and enjoy a cocktail or hang out with friends. Ideally, this deck overlooks our great yard, so we can sit on the deck after working outside all day and appreciate what we’ve done, even if no one else notices the trimmed hedges and freshly cut grass. The icing on the cake is a big screen TV so we can watch the game while grilling and chilling with friends.
1. The Basement – The basement serves as a getaway space – i.e., the man cave. A huge TV and a comfortable seating area are must-haves for enjoying a game or movie. The basement is also the place for us to keep all the stuff that we’re not allowed to have anywhere else in the house. The basement is removed from the rest of the house and doesn’t always fall under the decorative oversight of our spouse, so we can have free reign to hang signed sports jerseys, have a comfortable chair, a ping pong table, or put our favorite piece of furniture from college that we refuse to give up. Lastly, this is a great spot for a home gym. The home gym is where we keep our exercise equipment (hopefully not the kind that was bought at 3:00 AM from an infomercial) whether we use it as often as we’d like or not.

House hunting is made so much easier when you know exactly which features you are looking for. Us dads often don’t seem picky, however there are definitely certain elements that keep us happy in our homes. Most of these revolve around spending time with family and friends, who are the loved ones that make being a dad so great in the first place.
Also, chainsaws.

Top 10 Things Dads Want In A Home

Impact of Interest Rates on The Real Estate Market

Are higher interest rates going to cause a real estate market crash? We’ve been getting some variation of this question a lot lately. The reality is no one knows exactly what will happen yet there are some fundamental truths to consider. I once heard someone say that an economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn’t happen today. With that, let’s start with some facts.

This year, the Federal Reserve raised its interest rates by half of a percentage point. This is its largest rate increase since 2000 and the first time since 2006 that the Fed has increased rates in back-to-back meetings.
It’s important to understand why interest rates are rising. Primarily, raising interest rates is one of the most powerful tools the Federal Reserve has to control the economy and inflation. During a recent news conference, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell explained “inflation is much too high and we understand the hardship it is causing. We’re moving expeditiously to bring it back down.”
Bringing down inflation without causing a recession is a difficult task that requires careful precision. By raising rates, the Fed hopes to cool the housing market without stopping it altogether – quite the balancing act.
As rates increase for borrowers, some buyers are forced out of the market because they can no longer afford homes that have appreciated so much in value. But interest rates will have to go up significantly to soften housing prices and curb inflation. We don’t expect to see prices go backwards, but they also can’t keep appreciating at 20% per year.
Serious buyers view rising rates as a reason to buy sooner, not to wait any longer. When house hunting, budgeting with a higher rate in mind can be greatly beneficial. For example, base your expected payment assuming that it will eventually have a ½ percentage higher rate. If rates go up, you’ll be in budget, and if they don’t move, you’ll have a cushion built in.
Rental rates have increased, too, so first-time homebuyers are still looking to buy because purchasing a home is less expensive than renting in most cases. The most reliable hedge against inflation is a fixed housing cost in the way of a fixed mortgage. As a renter, there is no protection against rising costs of rent because of very few rent-control laws.
These factors lead many to wonder: Will rising interest rates cause an eventual price crash? With the financial crisis of 2008 still fresh in our memory, it’s easy to see why people might expect home prices to fall. This time, however, there are many differences. I remember back in 2006 when banks were handing out “no doc loans” that asked for your personal finances with no written proof. This created artificial demand by making it easy for just about anyone to “qualify” for a home loan or refinance their current home. Today, purchasers and those refinancing homes face much higher standards and stricter guidelines from mortgage companies. Because of this, purchasers can afford the mortgage they’re taking on and there are less defaults. The speculative buyers who were purchasing homes and reselling them six months later for quick gains are not as prolific as they were in 2005-2007. The price drop seen during The Great Recession was caused mainly by the financial crisis, which led to a foreclosure crisis. When foreclosures flooded the market, prices dropped. The fear of another huge foreclosure event in today’s market is just not as realistic as it was a decade ago.
There’s still a very real housing inventory shortage that is driving demand. Even with higher interest rates, buyers are relocating away from big cities and are viewing Northern Atlanta as valuable. With continued demand, supply issues delaying new construction for the foreseeable future, and relative affordability in housing in our area, we expect rising rates to slow real estate sales somewhat, but they will not be stopping completely any time soon.

Impact of Interest Rates on The Real Estate Market

Getting Your Home Picture Perfect

You’ve signed the listing agreement and now you’re getting ready to have your home photographed. As a Curtin Team client, you have the benefit of our Home Stylists who provide exceptional home staging services. But there is plenty that you can do to prepare your home before it hits the market.

We all know that staged homes sell for more money. But very few of us have the time or energy to clean and declutter every square inch of our homes. So, let’s focus on the rooms that will make the most impact and get those potential buyers excited to make a great offer on your home. Take a tour of your home as if you were a potential buyer. What stands out to you? It will probably get their attention as well.

Front Porches – staging means cleaning, decluttering, and depersonalizing. Does your front porch feel inviting? Does the front door need to be repaired or repainted? If you have enough room for a seating area, make sure it is clean with fresh cushions and some potted plants. Buyers will feel welcome before they even enter the home.

Living rooms – or whatever is the very first room you see when you walk in the front door. Get the carpets cleaned, dust and declutter shelves and tables, and paint it a neutral color, if necessary. Also, be sure to clean the windows (or have them professionally cleaned).

Kitchens – the number 1 staging rule is to clear those countertops! Time spent cleaning and organizing the kitchen will definitely pay off. Updates to lighting and paint color are worth it too. Something as simple as fresh hand towels can brighten up the space.

Bedrooms – specifically the owner’s bedroom. Minimizing the amount of furniture can help buyers imagine their own items in the space.

The best staging tip we’ve found is to clean, clean, clean. If you do nothing else, that will make your home feel fresh and welcoming.

Getting Your Home Picture Perfect

Mother’s Day Giveaway

Curtin Team partners with TBK Wellness Spa for a Mother’s Day Giveaway. TBK Wellness Spa is located at 408 Atlanta Street Suite 170 Roswell, GA 30075. Unlike national chains, TBK caters to the unique needs of each client. They take the utmost care to go above and beyond. Their philosophy is “our job is to take care of you, so that you can take care of others”.

In that spirit, Curtin Team is hosting a Giveaway for Mother’s Day, since mothers are the best care givers we know. Entry for the giveaway is simple – a like and tag on Instagram or Facebook.

Highlighting local businesses, like TBK Wellness Spa, is a priority for the Curtin Team. Curtin Team members don’t just work in the Roswell area, but live here too.

Mother’s Day Giveaway

Curtin Team Cares Hosts First Annual Fundraiser

On Wednesday, March 23rd, Curtin Team Cares hosted its First Annual FUNdraiser at Deep Roots Wine Market in Roswell, GA. Supporters of Curtin Team Cares were invited to SIP! SWIRL! and SUPPORT! Deep Roots Wine Market graciously donated wine samples to guests and donated a portion of the evening sales to Curtin Team Cares. Raffle prizes were donated by clients and friends of the Curtin Team, including gift certificates for products and services.

Curtin Team Cares raises money with every successful The Curtin Team home sale. Combined with the generosity of businesses, caring individuals like you, and fundraising events, we provide an ear, shoulder, heart, hand, and the resources to empower the vulnerable and strengthen communities for all.

As owners of a successful real estate company, The Curtin Team at Keller Williams Realty, Tom and Joanne Curtin wanted a way to give back to the communities that propelled their success. This passion for the local community led to their founding of the non-profit Curtin Team Cares in 2018, where the mission is to empower the vulnerable and strengthen communities for all.

Curtin Team Cares Hosts First Annual Fundraiser

Rising Mortgage Rates Still At Historic Lows

Mortgage rates rose today, but rates overall are at historical lows. The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage is 4.47%, according to Bankrate.com, and the average rate on a 15-year mortgage is 3.64%. On a 30-year jumbo mortgage, the average rate is 4.48%, and the average rate on a 5/1 ARM is 2.96%. These rates are just averages and subject to change daily. For current rates contact your preferred lender.

During the pandemic we had historically low rates. The factors that most affect the rate increases today are inflation and economic growth. But rates can change for various reasons. Overall though, rates are expected to continue to go up this year.

Does this mean you should cancel your home buying plans? Absolutely not! Even though rates are higher than in 2021 they are still very low. 30-year fixed rates were in the high 5%’s just a few years ago.

Buying a home isn’t just about interest rates though, it’s also about making a lifestyle choice. It’s best to find right house for you when the time is right for you. Home values have historically risen and now is a good time to get in to your dream home.

Rising Mortgage Rates Still At Historic Lows

Ready for Spring with Kanani and Cheri

Kanani Briggs, Realtor, and Cheri Bartlett, Space Strategist, discuss the ways you can start organizing your home in preparation of a Spring sale. Cheri offers tips on tackling difficult areas to organize as well as the services she offers homeowners to help them move items out of their homes.

For more information, contact Kanani Briggs at kbriggs@curtinteam.com or 678-287-4848.

Preparing for Spring Home Sale – Get Inspection Ready

As you prepare to sell your home this spring, here are some basic tips to help prepare you for the home inspection.

1.Clean and Declutter Inspection Points
– Clean furnace filters, stove and ovens
– Empty storage areas in attic and basement
– Clear at least 4-6 inches of space around the home’s exterior

2.Test the Functionality of the Items the Home Inspector Will Check
– Test locks and seals on windows
– Flush toilets and run all faucets
– Check ceiling and bathroom fans
– Make sure all light switches work properly
– Confirm garage doors work with remote and test the reverse safety settings

3.Take Basic Safety and Security Precautions
– Replace batteries in smoke detectors
– Test carbon monoxide detector
– Exterminate any bugs or rodents

4.Make Necessary Repairs
– Replace light bulbs
– Recaulk around sink and tub
– Clear any clogged drains
– Update dirty grout
– Replace torn window screens and cracked windows

5.Complete Exterior Home Improvements
– Trim trees
– Clear and repair gutters
– Clear any debris around a/c units
– Make sure downspouts are clear

6.Make Last Minute Preparations for Your Inspection
– Plan to leave your home with your pets
– Leave all remotes and keys
– Make sure all utilities are on
– Empty dishwasher, sinks, washing machine and dryer
– Leave any paperwork for maintenance, repairs or insurance claims

Consider hiring professional help if you need to make any repairs. We have a list of licensed and insured vendors we can recommend. Contact us at 678-287-4848.

Preparing for Spring Home Sale – Get Inspection Ready

Not All CMA’s Are The Same

Successful home sellers know that the key to a quicker, less stressful sale begins with an appropriate listing price. Before boxes are packed or walls are painted, understanding your home’s market value should be your number one priority. General Market Analysis Summary also known as a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) is the first step to estimate the value of a home sale relative to comparable properties in your area.

Factors that influence a CMA include:
– Square footage
– The number of bedrooms and baths
– The age of the home
– Construction and style
– Neighborhood and schools

However, not all CMA’s are the same. There is no standard process for creating CMA’s. Each agent has their own tools and methodology. The CMA you receive from the Curtin Team is different than CMA’s developed by other agents because we use a variety of tools such as the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), tax records, and an understanding of off-market sales. This deep knowledge of the local market makes our CMA’s invaluable to sellers looking to price their homes appropriately for the market.
A CMA from the Curtin Team helps match buyers and sellers with the best options in their price range and desired location and allows sellers’ homes to spend the shortest possible time on the market. Our List to Sale price ratio (seller’s asking price to the actual sale price) is above industry averages because of the way we strategically analyze this data to accurately price your home.

Request Your Analysis Here

Not All CMA’s Are The Same