Thursday, February 28, 2008

Housing Prices Falling?

We have all heard the news. Doom and gloom for everyone who owns a home, right? Not so fast! Everyone should know that real estate is all about location, location, location. So how is Cherokee County doing? Are we seeing the drop in prices that other markets are seeing? Well, the answer is yes and no.

Some segments of the market are declining slightly while others are holding their own. So it depends on which part of the market (price range) you are looking at. According to the graph here on, the average home price rose over the last year. We have seen a slight decline in the last couple of weeks though.

If you are concerned about your home's value today, there are several places you can go to get an idea of value. The best place to start is with a local REALTOR. If I can help you determine your home's value in today's market, please give me a call. I can access the latest data available to give you the best picture of your home and neighborhoods current value.

If you are considering selling your home soon, let me arm you with all you need to make your decision to sell now or wait until later.

Michael Bradford

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Paperless Office

Today marks the first time I have used a new service that I will be offering my clients, the paperless real estate sale! Up until now, getting signatures from everyone involved in the sale of real estate has been one of the most time consuming and in-efficient parts of the process. DocuSign has changed all of that.

Thanks to the internet and electronic signature, I can now send documents to anyone with an e-mail address and internet connection for you to review, sign and return from the comfort of your computer. No more having to take a contract to one person for their signature, fax it to another for them to approve, sign and countersign and then return to the original sender. With this new service, you will get an e-mail notifying you that a document needs your review and approval. You then click on the link in the e-mail, sign in to a secure web site, review the document and then electronically sign it.

Now don't panic! If you want to print out a paper copy for your files, you can. You can also save the document to your own hard drive in the form of a pdf (portable document format) document for review later or just for your records.

If you would like more information, please do not hesitate to call me with any questions, concerns or comments. This is just one more way I am committed to helping you buy or sell your next home in as quick and easy way as possible.

Michael Bradford

Monday, February 18, 2008

Interest Rates Climb!

According to Freddie Mac chief economist Frank Nothaft and this article from, interest rates for 30 year fixed loans climbed this week due to several factors. Mr Nothaft said on Friday, "economic uncertainty is responsible for the movement in mortgage rates". He also noted that some borrowers are finding it difficult to obtain mortgages due to stricter credit standards.

If you have wanted to buy a home and found it difficult to get financed, you are not alone. If you truly want to take advantage of the current low rates (before they go up again) and excellent deals available, please call me. I have several techniques that can help you obtain the financing you need to buy your first home. I can help you find a home that will meet your needs and one that also has instant equity. This is very important because when a loan officer looks at the property, you will start out from a very strong position before he even looks at your credit.

Call me today and let's find a home that will put you on the road to financial freedom and also to own your part of the American Dream!

Michael Bradford

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Preparing your House For the Market

I get a LOT of calls from people who are contemplating selling their home. They almost all ask the same thing: what are the main things that I can do to prepare my house for the market. I'm so glad they ask because this is a very competitive market and it takes some time to get your house in top shape. Here are some ideas for what you can do to prepare your house for the market:

1. Paint! If you can do nothing else, paint your walls. A fresh coat of paint covers a multitude of sins. Be sure to use only one neutral color of flat (such as antique white or eggshell) and a high gloss pure white for your trim. Keep it simple and keep it neutral.

2. Be sure to remove any wallpaper - most potential buyers will not want wallpaper and they especially won't want yours. When people see wallpaper, they immediately think of the work that will be involved in removing it (not much if you do it correctly) and it detracts from the house in their mind.

3. PURGE! Yes, get rid of the clutter and get those closets organized. This is very important because it allows the buyers to see the space that your house has to offer. It is very difficult for people to visualize the space looking different when they'll own it so you need to make it look great when they see it. If you could use the services of a personal organizer, please call me and I will be happy to recommend one to you.

4. Stage the house! Get rid (now) of furniture you don't think you'll take with you when you move so you'll have more space to stage the furniture that you do have to give your house an open floorplan feel. If you would like to use the services of a professional stager, please call me for a recommendation.

5. Window Treatments. First, make sure that the blinds that you have are clean. Dusty or dirty blinds are not only unsightly, but they retain odors. To clean them, remove them and soak them in your bathtub for 10 minutes. The water shold contain 3 parts water to 1 part ammonia. Use a scrub brush for blinds that have grease (from the kitchen). Lay them out on a flat surface like a driveway to dry out before rehanging them. Wash fabric window treatments.

6. Speaking of windows, while you have the blinds soaking, clean the windows themselves. Have a clean & clear view for your potential buyers. Use a good streak-free window cleaner.

7. If you can, replace the carpet (be sure you paint first!). This will give the house a nearly brand new feel when combines with the paint. If you really want to sell it and add value to the house, replace the carpet with hardwood floors. Buyers like this because it's healthier (especially for those with allergies) and easier to keep clean than carpet.

8. Perform a spring cleaning! For a light clean, go through and declutter, dust, clean and check all light fixtures for working bulbs. Check your smoke alarm, too. If you really want to deep clean and go over it with a fine-tooth comb, visit this site and get a print out of the most serious spring cleaning plan that I've ever seen: THE GRAND PLAN

9. Upgrade! Kitchens and bathrooms are the 2 rooms where you should focus your energy and your dollars. Replace the old fixtures with new ones. (faucets, lights, towel racks, drawer/cabinet hardware). Be sure that drains are not slow while you're working in there.

10. Landscape. At the bare minimum, your yard should be raked, clean and have a trimmed lawn. You can also trim your hedges, spread some mulch and plant some flowers that require little water. Be sure to remove any junk, toys or yard debris.

11. Look at your mailbox. Is it a rust bucket? Does it look battered? Consider replacing it. It will be one of the first things people see when they come to look at your house. If you don't have the funds to replace it, at least paint it so that it looks new. A small can of spray paint for metal would work well. Be sure to paint the post as well. The mailbox is also a great place to plant some flowers.

12. Odors - get rid of them. Clean every surface that you possibly can. If you smoke, be sure to wipe everything down from the walls to the doors to the ceilings and ceiling fans. If you want to use an air freshener, use the kind that plug in and have a liquid base. Method has some great scents as well as other great home cleaning products. Using matching scents can go a long way in removing odors as you clean.

For more ideas about preparing to sell your home or to find out what it may be worth in today's market, please give me a call at 770-862-8002.

-Michael Bradford
Southern Prime Realty

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Atlanta Garden & Patio Show

This weekend, the 14th Annual Garden & Patio Show will be held at the Galleria in Marietta. This show gives homeowners many ideas for their homes and gardens and puts them in touch with a variety of local companies that can help them with their projects.

The highlights will be the Gallery of Gardens, an Ikea Cooking Corner, hundreds of exhibitors, a pet pavilion, the See-Thru House, special workshops, demonstrations, samples, contests and more.

Ticket Prices:
Adults - $10
Children ages 6-12 - $3
Children ages 5 and under - FREE
Military with ID $5
Senior Citizens 65+ with ID FREE

Tickets are available at the Show Box Office, located at the top of the escalator. Regular tickets are only valid for one day of admission. Multi-day passes are available for $15 and allow attendees to return for a 2nd day of the show. There will be plenty of free parking.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Do It Herself Workshops

The Home Depot is a great store for teaching average people how to make improvements on their homes. One of their more popular workshops is the "Do It Herself" workshops. These workshops are specifically geared for women. Not only do they offer topics that women would find helpful and interesting, but they also offer 10% off coupons to attendees. The next "Do It Herself" workshop will be "The Smarter, Warmer, Eco-Friendly Bathroom". It will be held at your local Home Depot on Monday, Feb. 25th from 7 - 8:30pm. To register, CLICK HERE.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Don't miss the bottom!

Interest rates went up this week. reports (click here for the article): "Following four consecutive weekly declines, Freddie Mac reports a jump in the 30-year fixed mortgage rate to 5.68 percent during the week ended Jan. 31 from 5.48 percent the prior week."

Usually when the Federal Reserve Board meets and lowers the rate they charge banks, interest rates eventually will fall. Due to the high demand for refinances, this time rates have actually risen.

Will they continue to rise or will the demand for mortgages easy allowing the rates to fall again? That is the million dollar question. I think we are at or very near the bottom for now.

Today is a great time to lock in a low interest rate for your new home. Great inventory and low rates together make now one of the best times to buy your new home. Call me today and let's find YOUR dream home!

Michael Bradford