“Behind the Curtin” provides an inside look at local homeowners’ beautifully-crafted houses, giving insight into what it takes to renovate, upgrade, and style the most coveted parts of their dream homes. In this video series, industry expert and business owner Joanne Curtin explores local homes while interviewing their owners who live well in their homes to better understand their thought processes when making important decisions. Join Joanne to get a look into the world of luxurious real estate one wonderful home at a time.
“Behind the Curtin” Episode 6 – A Historic Home on Roswell’s Wood Place
Charlie and Sharon McCall live in historic downtown Roswell, Georgia. They have updated and renovated a nearly 100 year old home in historic downtown Roswell, Georgia.
Joanne: Where did you live before purchasing your house on Wood Place?
Charlie: We lived in Chicago. Before that, we were in Atlanta since 1982, coming from Salt Lake City due to a company transfer. Then in 1992, we were transferred to Chicago. After about two and a half years, we decided to move back and bought this house 31 years ago.
Joanne: How have you increased your property’s value over time? What renovations have you done?
Charlie: We remodeled the bathrooms, added a master bedroom suite, created a bonus room in the attic, and continuously landscaped the yard. We also added a pool and patio in the back.
Joanne: Did you use a designer for the renovations?
Charlie: We hired a contractor for the inside work like the bathrooms and kitchen. We also had a friend who is a builder help us with the design for the master bedroom area. He incorporated our preferences, like a walk-in shower, into the blueprint.
Joanne: Since the house is 100 years old, were there any restrictions or requirements for adding on?
Charlie: Our street opted out of being part of the historic district, so we don’t have building restrictions specific to that. However, we still need to adhere to the city of Roswell’s permit requirements.
Joanne: What does your home have that you really needed?
Charlie: The main thing we needed was more space, so adding a master bedroom was crucial. We also updated the bathrooms and kitchen for modernization rather than increasing square footage.
Joanne: Which room in the house is your favorite and why?
Charlie: I love the middle of the house where we spend most of our time. We added a sunroom to bring in more natural light since the older part of the house didn’t have many windows. The charm of the house really struck me in that central area.
Joanne: Are there three fireplaces now that come off that central area?
Charlie: Yes, there are three fireplaces in a triangle formation—one in the bedroom, one in the living room, and one in the den. They all work, and that’s one of the reasons I enjoy that part of the house. These three separate fireplaces share the same chimney. We had the chimney rebuilt with new brickwork and mortar, and added gas logs for easy use.
Joanne: Charlie, what’s your favorite part about the property?
Charlie: The den and sunroom are where we spend most of our time. We also love the spacious bedroom and the yard, especially when the weather is nice.
Joanne: It’s interesting how COVID made us appreciate what we value in a property, such as landscape and outdoor spaces.
Charlie: Absolutely, we have added decks and outdoor areas to make the most of our property.
Joanne: Did you have any favorite sources or places where you bought things for your house?
Charlie: We focus mainly on finding items that fit well in the smaller rooms of our house.
Joanne: After living here for 31 years, where do you like to shop for furniture and decor?
Charlie: We do a lot of online shopping and also visit Home Depot and Lowe’s. We also enjoy salvage stores and flea markets for unique finds.
Joanne: Are there any specific salvage stores or flea markets nearby that you frequent?
Charlie: There’s a place called Board of Trade [goboardoftrade.com] where we found our living room sofa and other items that fit well in our small rooms.
Joanne: Was there anything during your home renovations that you splurged on and couldn’t live without?
Charlie: The pool and the kitchen were definitely splurges. We didn’t necessarily need them, but we’re glad we have them now.
Joanne: What did you learn from the process of building the pool and outdoor kitchen?
Charlie: We love being able to enjoy the pool and cookouts outdoors.
Yeah, that’s a nice extra-large patio. And then there’s the outdoor fireplace out there. Gas Grill built in and gas cooktops and sink with hot and cold water.
Joanne: It’s all about being outside and enjoying the space, right?
Charlie: One thing we would do differently is to prioritize privacy in our outdoor area, especially around the kitchen. The neighboring house was torn down, and the new one overlooks our property, making it feel exposed. We added a fireplace to block the view of the pool, but we still plan to find a way to enhance privacy. Overall, we are happy with everything.
Joanne: Let’s discuss your impressive pool. What type of lining does it have? Is it lined with pebble tech? Is it a mineral or a saltwater pool?
Charlie: It’s actually a saltwater pool. The company that constructed it used to be located on Highway nine. The pool is made of concrete with steel walls and steel posts surrounding the edges. Concrete was poured on the floors and slides, and then they applied a hybrid membrane, which I believe is a combination of different materials.
Joanne: And could you please spell the name of the pool company for me?
Charlie: Is it spelled as DESJOYAUX. [www.desjoyaux.com]
Joanne: So now that you’ve completed your pool and everything, if money was not a concern, what would be your next project or improvement?
Charlie: We would focus on the floors. Currently, the floors are a bit challenging because the house is old and uneven. We actually laid tiles in the dining room and sunroom as one of our initial projects. However, due to the unevenness of the house, it’s difficult to lay flooring throughout consistently. We want to match the existing hardwood floors but aren’t sure if they can be laid or if we need to replace them entirely.
Joanne: I agree with you. It might be better to cover the existing tile with something rather than removing it completely. That seems to be the trend nowadays. After completing the pool and the outdoor kitchen area, is there anything you believe should not be compromised when making additions or improvements?
Charlie: Yes, I think getting a reliable contractor who will do more than just come in and install a product, but can also help with issues that older homes have.
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.
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.
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.
You may have heard other investors, gurus and financial planners discussing the virtues of owning rental properties. And it is definitely true that a portfolio of GOOD rental properties can provide lifetime income and financial security. But what really makes a GOOD rental property? What should you expect from your rental portfolio and how do you manage it for maximum return on minimal effort? Tom and Joanne cover those points and more with real examples and data at this GRID meeting.
Join the online GRID community to post deals, ask questions, and connect with other investors across the globe. Tom and Joanne host a monthly meeting discussing a variety of topics so sign up for the entire year! And don’t worry if you can’t make it, you can get a link to the recording so you don’t miss any valuable information. www.gridinvestor.com/atlantanorth
In case you missed last week’s discussion on Relocation with Kanani Briggs, you can sign up to get a link to the ENTIRE video. Kanani and her guests discuss the reasons for relocation, the challenges many people face and the the top resources for helping you feel at home in your new city.
Zoom Class - Ready for Relocation Recording Sign Up 2021
Relocation can be a big move but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Kanani Briggs, Buyer Agent, shares ways to make it more peaceful. Using her own experience relocating to Georgia from New Jersey, Kanani Briggs will explain the general process of relocation, working with a real estate agent, where to find local resources and ways to connect with your new community. Her guest will be Kristin Polaski, a former client, who’s recent relocation experiences can help you navigate your own journey.
Join your friends and neighbors for an indoor morning with a private showing at Aurora Cineplex. We will be watching Toy Story 4! Complimentary for our clients and friends. Showtime is at 9:30am, and check in will be from 9am-9:20am so make sure to arrive early to get your wristband and complimentary family popcorn! Pajamas and costumes are welcome! RESERVE TICKETS
We wanted to take a moment to thank everyone that came out to support us at our grand opening event on January 25, 2018, those who shared kind words and supported from a far! We could not do this without our amazing clients, vendors and of course our wonderful team!
We had such a wonderful time and hope that everyone that had the chance to celebrate with us did too. We are thankful for our business partners, together we all achieve more. We are grateful to those who took the time to come out and celebrate with us, the best part was having time to relax and enjoys one another’s company.
And for those who couldn’t make it, thank you for watching our video and we look forward to connecting soon. We expect 2018 to be our best year yet and thank you in advance for trusting us with your business and those you refer to us.
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Home Styling | How to “Undecorate”
As I was packing away decorations after the holidays it occurred to me how similar the task is to home styling. It’s what I like to call “undecorating”. Undecorating is the process of removing personal and specific decorations, leaving behind a more neutral palette. Having a clean palette is important to attract potential buyers. When the slate is clean, buyers can imagine themselves living in the space.
As new year resolutions are made and we vow to get more organized, this is a wonderful time to start preparing your home to beat the spring selling rush. When you’re packing away holiday decorations go ahead and pack up family photos, decor and personal items. Not only will you be de-cluttering, but you’ll also get a jump start on packing items that you’ll have to pack later anyway!
Where Do I Start?
It’s easy to get overwhelmed, so start off easy. Begin with your junk drawers, closets and pantry. Make three separate piles: one that you keep, one for donation, and one that goes straight to the trash.
Closets should be about one third full so that prospective buyers can see the amount storage is available. Pack away clothing that’s not in season. Use storage baskets and containers in drawers, cabinets and the pantry for a simple and tidy look. Once you have tackled the de-cluttering you can focus on larger projects. Keep in mind that as the spring market approaches, the busier contractors get and the longer it takes to get on their schedule.
Use these easy tips and you’ll be able to stick to your New Year’s resolution and be ahead of the spring market!