Can You Afford This House?

Christina Hammond is a real estate agent for Keller Williams Greater Athens Realty in Athens, Georgia.

Contact her today to learn more about available homes and property in the Athens, GA, Clarke-Oconee area.


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The Real Cost of Buying a Home

From the blog of Alan Kennedy:

If you’re actively looking for a new home or just thinking about it, contact me and I’ll help you find a home that will fit your family, your lifestyle and your budget.


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Buying a Home with the Future in Mind


Buying a home is an exciting and stressful endeavor, with what seems like a million things to consider and a million things to do. But remembering to keep the future in mind will save homeowners significant money, work and frustration down the road.

When young couples or young professionals find a perfect home for entertaining, they may be shocked by it’s lack of “childproof-ability” when baby shows up. Open stairways, wide doors and archways, open cabinetry, stone fireplace, heavy drapes – all of these are hard to deal with when little one is just learning to walk.

When family members start to have health problems related to disease, accidents or aging, there are difficulties with mobility. Narrow doorways, stairs, and thick carpeted floors may make wheelchair or walkers impossible to use. High cabinets and bathtubs may be inaccessible for someone with limited joint movement.

What features can allow a family to grow from toddlers to senior years with ease? Here are just a few for you to consider:

Built-in ovens at least 3 feet above the floor

Closed lower cabinetry that can be easily secured

Main living areas, including bedrooms, on most-easily accessible floor of the house

Wide doorways which will accommodate wheelchairs, but may require custom (or creative) gating for toddlers

Doors or gates for stairways, both top and bottom

Low carpeting or bare wood floors for easy wheelchair or walker mobility

Separate tub and shower – tub for the little one, low-step shower for limited mobility

Handrails near toilets which can be appreciated by everyone

Uncluttered rooms with plenty of space for movement and limited obstacles

While this list by no means contains all the features that will make these challenging stages of life easier, hopefully this will help home buyers start thinking about this issue and find a home that will grow with them.


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Today’s Housing Market and its Effect on Tomorrow

This article is from the blog of Alan Kennedy:

With mortgage interest rates at historic lows, home buyers have been able to buy homes for a more affordable price, and able to buy more expensive homes than during times of higher interest rates. But how does that affect the future of the housing market?

Those who have bought homes at an interest rate of under 4% will not be as inclined to invest in another home when the rate hits 6% or higher. Having the same total mortgage amount for a smaller or less valuable home will seem an undesirable option. Those who were dependent on the low interest rates when buying their homes will be unlikely to move once the mortgage rate rises.

Expect to see an increase in home improvements and renovations as homeowners strive to hang onto the lower rates. Rather than taking on the added expense of the new mortgage, they will make do with what they have and alter that home as needed.

Also, expect to see fewer out-of-area job changes. If the current mortgage allows the homeowner a little more security and a little more expendable cash, they may be hesitant to change that and opt to stay in their current situation and current home.

It is understandable that people want to take advantage of the historically low mortgage rates the U.S. is experiencing of late. Understanding how today’s mortgage news can affect tomorrow’s home buying activity can help you plan accordingly.

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What Home Buyers Are Looking For Today

Homes that can grow with them

A home is a costly investment and home buyers want to ensure that they can stay in their homes long enough to make their investment worthwhile. Young buyers are looking for space for children, buyers with young children are looking for spaces where teenagers can have privacy as well as gatherings, and middle aged buyers are focusing on homes that will offer them mobility and accessibility in their later years.

Three or more bedrooms

Having at least one bedroom for every person (or couple) in the household plus a guest bedroom seems to be the norm, and anything less may seem claustrophobic. Home buyers would rather have too many rather than too few, since bedrooms are versatile spaces that can double as exercise rooms, studies and playrooms.

Large master suites

Master suites with bathrooms and closets and even sitting areas are gaining in popularity among buyers. These suites offer a haven in a busy home, and privacy. Having the master suite on the main floor is a bonus as the buyer can avoid stairs as they enter their later years.

Large kitchens

Large kitchens that include enough space for several cooks, as well as space to socialize, are becoming more popular. The kitchen can truly be the hearth of the house in this type of design, and can even include an informal eating area.

Large closets

The typical rod and shelf closet doesn’t allow much room for clothes, much less accessories or shoes. Larger closets offer not only more space for a larger wardrobe, but also for organizing systems to make getting dressed easy, and even a bit elegant.

Media rooms

Large screen televisions and home theater systems in comfortable rooms with limited traffic allow for the “movie night” experience at home, allowing families more time together. While this room is completely a luxury, it gives kids and teens a place to entertain and “chill” while safe at home.

Home office space

With the increase in work at home, or telecommuting jobs, a dedicated home office space makes a home more attractive to buyers.

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Can You Afford This House? An Experiment


When looking for a new home we get carried away looking at the amount of space, the architecture, the fixtures and other details, the landscaping, and the list goes on. We pay so much attention to the looks of the house that we forget to look at what we will actually pay for the house. Yes, we look at the actual cost of the house, but we rarely convert that into what the reality of that particular mortgage payment would be.

If you are looking at a particular house, or a particular price range of homes, try this experiment to see if you can realistically handle the mortgage for that price house:

Go to  (this particular calculator includes taxes and PMI insurance, which gives a more accurate number) and enter the price of the home you are considering. Calculate what your monthly mortgage payments would be.

For several months put this amount of money aside to see if you can manage the payments comfortably. If you are currently paying rent or a mortgage, set aside any difference in your current mortgage and your “goal” house.

The point of this exercise is to see if you are being realistic about your income and what you can really afford. If you determine the mortgage amount is one you can live with, you can confidently take steps toward a purchase. If not, you may need to set your sights on a lower priced house, or alternately try to adjust your other expenditures. Either way, this experiment will give you a better idea of your ability to pay for the house comfortably.

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What Can Sellers Do to Help Their Homes Sell More Quickly?

From Alan Kennedy’s blog, Home Mortgage Help:

Prepare in advance. Several months before listing your house for sell:

1. Take an honest assessment of your home and yard. Look critically at the structure of your home, noting any repairs that need to be made. Hire an inspector if needed to find damage that may not be obvious to you. Do the same for cosmetic issues that need attention, such as peeling wallpaper, molding that may be loose, walls that need painting, etc. Taking care of these issues before listing will cost you money and time, but will encourage potential buyers to take action.

2. Walk through your home and make sure it is decluttered and arranged attractively. Enter your own home from the front door and any secondary doors and look objectively at what you see. Do you need to remove some furniture to make the house look more spacious? Can you move about the space easily? Are closets too crowded? You want to present your home in the most attractive manner possible, and it may be worth your while to hire a professional to stage your home for a faster sale.

3. Give your home a deep clean, paying attention to those areas that are often overlooked, like the tops of door and window facings, light fixtures, and inside cabinets. This will give potential buyers assurance that the home is well-maintained, and they will appreciate that the home is in “move in” condition. Hire a professional if needed to ensure that your home will look its best.

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