Friday, September 26, 2008

$7500 Tax Credit for First Time Homebuyers

First-time home buyers are now eligible to receive a tax credit of up to $7,500 when buying a home sometime within April 9, 2008 and June 30, 2009. Here are the specifics:
1. First-time Home Buyer is: A buyer who has not owned a principal residence in the prior 3 years of purchase. For married couples, this rule applies to both the buyer and their spouse. It is okay if you already own rental property or a vacation home, as long as it is not your primary residence.
2. Types of Homes that Qualify: As long as the home will be used as a primary residence, almost any type of home will qualify; this includes: single-family detached homes, townhomes, condominiums, manufactured/mobile homes and houseboats.
3. Income Restraints: First-time home buyers are eligible for the full tax credit as long as their income is less than $75,000 for single taxpayers and $150,000 or less for married couples. A partial tax credit may be available for people with an income greater than the limit, for more information on this please visit:
4. Payback Provisions: The tax credit is essentially a zero-interest loan and must be paid back over the following 15 years or when they sell the home, whichever comes first. However, the homeowner does not begin making payments until two years after they have bought the home. Say they bought the home in 2008, then the first $500 payment would be due in 2010. If the homeowner sells the home before all the payments have been made, the rest of the credit would be paid back from the profit of the sale. If there was a loss on the home, the remaining credit payback would be forgiven.
I hope this information has helped you better understand this first-time homebuyer program offered by the federal government. If you have any questions or would like to buy a home, especially in Walton, Barrow, or Gwinnett county, I hope you will contact me. I would love the opportunity to help you through the journey of purchasing your first home. With incredible amount of inventory for sale and the incentives the government is giving, now is the time to buy!
*The information for this post came from Please reference that website for more in-depth information.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Attention Sellers: Open House Tips!

In order to have a successful open house, sellers need to make sure their house is looking its best and standing out from the rest. Here are 11 tips to help your house look attractive to potential buyers:

1. The Outside Must Shine: Curb appeal is so important when selling your home, because it's the first impression a potential buyer gets of your home--it is what makes them want to take a deeper look at the property. Some ways to increase your curb appeal are: mow the lawn, trim the bushes and put out fresh mulch in the flower beds. Also, spending a couple hundred dollars on fresh exterior paint can increase the sales price by thousands. Make sure the trim is touched up too.

2. The Inside Must Look New: Okay folks, paint is cheap, so if a room is looking dingy--go ahead and give it a fresh coat of paint.

3. Make Cosmetic Repairs: Windows that are cracked, holes in the walls and tiles that are chipped send the wrong message to buyers--they figure if there are several minor flaws they can see, then there must be more serious flaws that they can't see. You may tend to overlook these things on an everyday basis, but buyers tend to be very critical and will use the little things as reasons not to make an offer; your home will sell much faster if it's in tip-top shape.

4. Let in as Much Light as Possible: Turn on all the lights, you may even want to increase the wattage, even if it's in the middle of the day. Open all the curtains. Doing so will make your home feel warm, inviting and cheerful.

5. Get Rid of All the Clutter: I don't mean stash all your extra things in a closet--get it off the property! Potential buyers have the right to inspect every room, closet and storage space in the home...and you need to give off the impression that there's plenty of room for all of their things.

6. Set the Dinner Table as if You are Getting Ready for a Dinner Party: It's time to bring out the china, the best glasses and the candles--set the table as elegantly as possible. Help your potential buyers imagine what it would be like to live in this home--how easy and fun it would be to entertain here.

7. Kitchens and Bathrooms Must be Absolutely Spotless: Shelves and countertops should be well organized and clean. Assume that people will be looking through your drawers and medicine cabinet--if there is anything you don't want people to see, remove it from your home.

8. Remove Some of Your Possessions: Spaciousness is key--you want every room of your home to look open and roomy. To achieve this, remove extra pieces of furniture, especially big, bulky pieces. Take down some of the family photos. Make your home a blank canvas, allowing your potential buyer to picture how they would live there.

9. Put Your Pets Somewhere Else: Dogs especially can be a real problem--you don't want them barking when someone comes to look at the home, this could interfere with the buyers looking at your home. Also, don't just put them next door either--dogs can sense when strangers are around and they very well could start barking then too, you wouldn't want a potential buyer to be turned off by the possibility of a loud dog next door, do you?

10. Bad Smells Kill Deals: It is important to make sure your home is clean and odor free, smells that you probably don't even notice anymore will be noticed by visitors. Use air fresheners and carpet cleaners if need be to get rid of pet odors, urine on carpets, cigarette smoke, etc. Baking cookies or lighting cookie-scented candles can send an inviting aroma throughout the house.

11. Leave: As soon as your real estate agent arrives, (do you need an agent? how about contacting me?) you should pack the kids in the car and leave the premises. Potential buyers need the opportunity to freely walk through your home without you standing anxiously by.

Okay, now you know all the things you should do to get your home ready for an open house or to put it on the market. If you have questions, feel free to contact me today or write a comment below!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

New Fitness Center for Bethlehem

The Riverwalk YMCA in Bethlehem opened this past summer and is another great asset to the growing community of Bethlehem. It is part of the Riverwalk neighborhood and is a beautiful craftsman-style facility. The fitness center features a swimming pool, playground, 4 tennis courts, beach volleyball court, fitness classes and plenty of cardio and weight machines.

We are members there and really like it, especially because of the current competition they have going. During the month of September they have a football themed competition where teams of 4 people can do exercise for yardage...basically the team with the most touchdowns at the end of the month wins a prize. For example, if you spend 30 minutes doing cardio you get 5 yards and if you do 3 sets of 10 on eight circuit machines you receive 10 yards. I am ashamed to admit that I've never made exercising a priority in my life, but for the first time ever I've been motivated to go to the gym frequently....I kinda wish they would just keep extending the end of the competition...maybe a year long competition would be better?!

The staff members are always friendly and the equipment is nice and new. They offer plenty of different group exercise classes and also there is free childcare while you are exercising. All in all, it is a great place to workout...and yet another reason for you to contemplate a move to the Bethlehem area. If you are wanting to move to Bethlehem, Loganville, Athens or any other city within the Gwinnett, Walton and Barrow counties, please contact me today--I would love to help!

If you have any questions about the YMCA or real estate in know what to do, comment below.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Just For Fun...Meet Jackson!

I figured since it was Friday I would do a more personal post and let ya'll meet my long-haired Chihuahua, Jackson. Isn't he a pretty dog? I think so! And smart too...let me tell you about some of his tricks. First, he can do all the normal things that most trained dogs can do, such as sit, come and lay down. But Jackson is a unique dog in that he can also do special tricks such as: dance, walk on his two hind legs, twirl, play dead and crawl like a soldier. He can also give a high five and shake your hand. Pretty special, huh?!

He's also a pretty good listener, now of course sometimes he has a mind of his own and just wants to do whatever he feels like, but for the most part he will do as he's told. When we moved into our new house I bought a leather sofa set and I decided he was not allowed on the couch...well I only had to tell him 2 times maybe to stay off the couch and he has not gotten on them since. Now that may not seem like something all that great, except that he knows the difference between the leather couch and the couch in our movie room...he knows he's allowed on that couch and also on the bed.

Now, he has his flaws for sure...I'm not at all saying he's perfect! For one, he is overly possessive and protective of me. So much so that he will bark and growl his head off around anyone new...he is not automatically friendly around people or other dogs. It is a bit of an embarrassment when people come over..and I'm always a little worried (okay a LOT worried) when small children and babies are around, because I'm terrified that he may bite them when they try to pet him. Another character flaw he has is that he is extremely aggressive towards large dogs--as in he runs up to them and tries to bite them and ferociously growls at them...I blame it in large part to the fact that as a puppy (before I got him) he was sat upon by a bulldog, but deep down I know it's my fault for not socializing him properly.

Well, now that you have met Jackson, my precious dog, I would like to meet yours! Do you have any funny or crazy pet stories to share with me? If so, please leave a comment below! I would love to hear from you.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Harbins Park Coming in 2009!

Harbins Park to Open in 2009

The new Harbins Park is set to open Phase I in Spring of 2009. It is located at the intersection of Luke Edwards Road and Indian Shoals Road in Dacula, Georgia. Once complete it will be the largest park in Gwinnett County at over 1,900 acres! This tops the current largest in the Hog Mountain area, Little Mulberry Park, at only 890 acres and Tribble Mill Park in Grayson at 700 acres.

Phase I includes over 3 miles of multi-purpose trails and many more miles for mountain biking and horseback riding. It will also include restrooms, a playground, an open-space play area, a large pavilion and an equestrian-only parking lot.

Phase II will be completed at a later date and will include recreation fields for baseball and soccer; it will be used by the athletic program of the soon-to-be complete Archer High School.
It is a $3.8 million dollar project that is being paid for by the 2001 SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax). SPLOST is a one-cent sales tax that is used to fund improvements in the county.

This park will be a great asset to this area and as a nearby resident myself, I am looking forward to the park opening. If you are interested in purchasing a home convenient in location to this wonderful park, please contact me today!

UPDATE: 3/19/2009

Well, I'm very excited to share that Harbins Park is having their Grand Opening this Saturday, March 21st! I have enjoyed watching the progress of the park as it was being created and let me tell you, it's going to be a really great place to exercise and hang out!

A ribbon-cutting ceremony will officially open the park at 10 a.m. on Saturday and the celebration will last until around 2:00 p.m. Some of the free activities include: hay rides, crafts, pony rides, face painting and bike safety demonstrations. Also, people from local mountain biking and equestrian will be there to answer questions. A concession stand will be available for you to purchase food as well.

I have been anxiously awaiting the opening of this park, especially since it's so close to my home. Unfortunately I won't be able to attend the Grand Opening because I'll be on a plane to Colorado to go skiing...but it's definitely something I'm going to check out first thing when I get back!

This would be an excellent family event to take the kids to and I believe the weather is supposed to be nice and warm on Saturday! Get out there and enjoy the beautiful outdoors!

Thank You For Reading!

If you are in the market to buy or sell your home in the Bethlehem or Dacula area, I would be happy to assist you! My passion is helping people find their dream home and stepping them through this exciting journey. I serve the Walton, Barrow and Gwinnett county areas. Call or text me today!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

First-Time Home Buyer Loan Program

As we all know, it is increasingly harder to obtain a loan on a home these days due to the amount of foreclosures that have occurred. Banks and mortgage companies are tightening their requirements and are hesitant to lend money--especially to first-time home buyers. This is especially difficult because many first-time home buyers don't have much money saved up yet or have perfect credit--the average age of a first-time home buyer is only about 26 years old. However, I have found a loan program that helps first-time home buyers, it is BB and T's Community Homeownership Incentive Program or CHIP. It is a loan program specially designed for first-time home buyers. Some of the benefits are: 1.) up to 97 per cent of financing available on various different property types including singled family homes, townhomes, condos and doublewide manufactured homes on permanent foundations and 2.) the private mortgage insurance is waived--over the long run that saves you a lot of money!!

If you don't have much money for a downpayment, have a lack of credit history and don't have an income that exceeds 80 per cent of your county median income, then this program may be right for you. Please contact me if you are interested in learning more about this program and I will connect you with the loan officer that I work with at BB and T. Don't be discouraged if you are a first-time home buyer--there are still good programs available to you and I want to help you find them and your dream house!

Monday, September 15, 2008

5 Bedroom Home for Sale in Loganville

This spacious home located in Loganville, Georgia is 5 bedrooms and 3.5 baths. It features a large rocking-chair front porch, 2 story great room with a stacked stone fireplace, elegant dining room with lots of trim detail and large open kitchen, complete with a breakfast area and built-in bookshelves. The screened-in porch overlooks the beautiful in-ground pool and the property backs up to 4+ acres of green space so you can enjoy your privacy.

The private master suite is located on the main floor and features a large master bath with a huge walk-in closet, garden tub and separate shower, and dual vanities. The other bedrooms are upstairs and include an over-sized teen or in-law suite complete with its own bath and an additional room attached.

For future expansion, the full basement is ready for finishing and includes two exterior entries. You don't want to miss this beautiful property; for further information, please check out

Thursday, September 11, 2008

My Little Vent About Taxis...

I have decided that taxis are a complete rip-off...let me explain why. We are here in Miami for Matt's technology course and we thought we would save money and just take a taxi places instead of renting a car, boy were we wrong! Our hotel is only 5 miles from the course location and the taxi fare is $20!! Does that sound ridiculous to you? It does to me. Yesterday after checking into our hotel we had to come to the course location for Matt to set-up and make sure everything works $40+tip down the drain right there--you can understand why we stayed at the hotel and ordered in a pizza for dinner. Then we had to do the same thing again today...I think next time we come we will rent a car, that has got to be a more economical way to go. We would like to see some sights while here; however, we've been told the drive from our hotel (near the airport) to South Beach would be a roundtrip of around $70!! I guess sightseeing around Miami will have to wait until the next time we come...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Miami Bound!

Well, today is going to be a hectic day because tomorrow Matt and I leave for Miami!! He teaches a Real Estate Technology Specialist (RETS) seminar to real estate agents and the REALTOR Association of Greater Miami and the Beaches (RAMB) has asked him to teach his course to their agents. His seminar is 6 hours and teaches the most cutting-edge marketing tools for agent's to use when marketing their listings and themselves. Some of the tools taught are: creating picture and virtual tours, researching property information using GIS databases and how to capture satellite images and use them as listing pictures. The course also comes with the Real Estate Flash Drive which has over $1,500 worth of free software with programs essential to your business, including a full office productivity suite. If you are interested in taking his course sometime, please check out his Website:

Monday, September 8, 2008

Signing Contracts is Always Fun!

Tonight Matt and I met our current buyer couple at Outback Steakhouse for a nice meal and to sign the latest revision of their contract and discuss the different tasks that need to be completed before closing happens later this month. It was a fun night for many reasons...for 1. we got some business accomplished--always a plus!, 2. we had a great time talking and getting to know our buyers even more and 3. I had the great advantage of not having to cook tonight...although, as most of you know, I really enjoy cooking--but it's always nice to have a night off now and again! Of course, I should have chosen my food more wisely--the cheesy bacon fries looked AMAZING and I've been craving them everytime I see a commercial for Outback, yep, you guessed it, I ordered them as my meal...I know that makes me sound like a pig for getting it as my entree; however, I did order the half portion (still HUGE) and only ate about half of that...still, my tummy is wishing I had just gotten a salad! Anyways, it was a fun night and we enjoyed taking our clients out to dinner! Only a few things have to be lined up and we'll be all set for our next closing...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

A Restaurant to Try...

Last night Matt and I our neighbor friends went to downtown Buford and tried out 37 Main. This was a neat restaurant with a cool atmosphere and a tapis-style menu. We arrived around 7:30 though and were a little disappointed that we were practically the only people there. However, we decided to stay and try it out and were not disappointed. The food was good--especially the Lobster Ravioli and the Olive Hummis Dip--you could tell the hummus was freshly made and the kalamata olives on the side with the crisp, lightly fried pita chips were great.

The drinks were also very good! I would recommend the colada martini...with coconut rum and pineapple flavors. Another great one was the chocolate martini--a combination of several chocolate liqueors and some cream. If you are more of a wine person, there were plenty of different kinds to choose from as well.

We could have stayed for the live band (which they have every Friday and Saturday night for a $5 per person cover) but we decided to go somewhere else...and headed to Atlanta to Lola's.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Calling All Buyers!!

As you all know, the real estate market today is a buyer's market--there are so many houses for sale these days that buyers have a huge selection of homes to pick from. And with so many foreclosures happening everyday, buyers have the opportunity to get a great deal.

I really enjoy working with buyers because I find it a lot of fun helping people find their dream home! It is so neat to walk through a house with someone and see them falling in love with it...and then they start talking about what they are going to do to make the home feel like their own--discussing paint colors, new floors and furniture. All of that is right up my alley because I enjoy decorating so I have a great time hearing the changes they would like to make.

Don't get me wrong, I like listing homes and helping people get theirs sold, but currently, the market is so flooded with homes for sale, that many sellers get so frustrated and don't have the patience needed to sell their home. With buyers the process is a bit more simple; in fact, the other day we showed a couple five or six homes and they narrowed it down to a top two--from there we put an offer in on their number one--it was accepted and now we have a closing coming up in a few was quick and simple.

When we help people find their future home, we take many things into consideration--we calculate how far their work will be, show them where they will grocery shop, ask them if they like the school system, etc...the point is, we want you to like all aspects of your new home and the community it is in.

So, the question is...Are you ready to buy a home? If so, contact us today!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Barrow Crossing Development Coming Soon!

The much-needed Barrow Crossing development is set to be finished just around the corner, Spring 2009. This development will be conveniently located at the Highway 316 and Highway 81 intersection. Some of the larger stores include: Best Buy, Target, Publix, Belk, Michaels and Ross. It will also include several smaller shops and some restaurants too.

Currently, Bethlehem residents must travel to Winder or Loganville to grocery shop and further to shop at stores like Target and Best Buy.

Speaking as a resident of Bethlehem myself, I am really looking forward to not having to drive so far for groceries, but still live in a great location. I love that Bethlehem doesn't have much traffic and that I can jump on Highway 316 in a matter of minutes.

This new development is sure to impact property values (in a good way, of course)! So now is the best time to buy in Bethlehem. I really enjoy living in Bethlehem, not only do I have the benefit of living in a great neighborhood, but the "country" atmosphere is very relaxing...what I mean is that I love driving around and seeing farms and fields and so much green space.

Bethlehem is one of the areas that my husband and I focus on in our real estate business, so if you have an interest to buy a home in this area, please don't hesitate to contact us! We would love to show you around!! You can visit us at for further information.

UPDATE: 3/6/2009

It is with great excitement that I come with an update on this new development!!

  • TARGET and BELK are now OPEN!!
  • Publix, Staples and PetSmart should all be opening soon
  • A stand-alone McDonald's is already open as well
  • Also, the Barrow Crossing development did not get the Best Buy after all; it was put at the new development in Loganville instead.
Here are a few pictures from driving there today:

Thank You for Reading!

If you are in the market to buy or sell your home in the Bethlehem or Dacula area, I would be happy to assist you! My passion is helping people find their dream home and stepping them through this exciting journey. I serve the Walton, Barrow and Gwinnett county areas. Call or text me today!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

4 Bedroom Home For Sale in Family-Friendly Community...

This spacious home in Bethlehem was recently reduced to $254,900! The community it's located in is perfect for a growing family or those who enjoy having amenities; the neighborhood includes a HomeOwner's Association, swimming pool, 2 lighted tennis courts, a walking trail, 2 fishing ponds and sidewalks.

The home itself is immaculate and definitely worth checking out! Some of its features include: a large great room open to the breakfast area and amazing kitchen that has stainless steel appliances, custom cabinets and corian countertops. Beautiful hardwood floors cover the main floor. An oversized master suite is upstairs with a sitting area and large master bath complete with garden tub, dual vanities, large walk-in closet and separate shower. The home sits on a full basement ready for finishing with a stubbed bath and exterior entry. The property is a wooded lot full of privacy.

Check out its website: for more information and a complete gallery of pictures.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Marketing Your Listings on the Internet...

If most of your marketing for your listings is not being done over the Internet, you should seriously re-think how you are marketing. In a study performed by, over 80% of people check the Internet first when searching for a home; which is why it is so important for the Internet to be covered with your listings.

One of the best Websites I've found for this is; this Website is fabulous because it takes the information you put on Postlets and places this on over TEN other Websites--you don't have to do a thing!!

Some of the sites are:

Hot Pads

So go to Postlets today and's free to create an account!