The Adkins Team Background

IMG_1568   Everyone has a story, so I thought I would share ours!  My name is Chassidy Hodgins, and I write the blogs for the Adkins Team.  We are a mother and daughter team and enjoy helping people with their real estate needs.  Phyllis Adkins is my mom, and let me tell you, she is one hard worker. She got married very early, in high school as a matter of fact, to my dad, Ted Adkins.  Phyllis wanted children more than anything in this world, and she wanted to provide us with the things in life she never had the opportunity to afford growing up.  My mother was a waitress, a bus driver, and later started cleaning houses as it provided her with more flexibility and income to support her three young children.  Before we entered college, my mom also started breeding Shih Tzu’s.   My siblings and I are roughly a year apart, so she knew to get us through college she would need extra income.  I watched my mom work and work to provide for us.  After we were out of college, she was getting older, and realized that she needed to do something different.  A customer that she cleaned houses for was a real estate agent, and she helped my mother get started.  My mom got into real estate in 2005, when the market was horrible.  Everyone told her she would never make it…however, they obviously underestimated my mom.  Every business endeavor she has gone after has been successful because of one thing….she puts in more effort than most people.  She genuinely enjoys helping others.

I (Chassidy Hodgins), joined my mother roughly over a year ago!  I graduated from the University of Georgia in 2003, with a Bachelors in Science.  I coached young swimmers and worked in the Aquatics industry for a couple of years before having children of my own in 2009.  I then became a stay at home mother, just as my mom was getting really busy.  After my first child got older, my mother wanted me to join her in real estate, but I was still focused on my family, and had my second child in 2012.  However, as all of us know, life can have ups and downs.  In 2016, I got divorced, and it was time for me to go back to work.  So I joined my mom in real estate, in hopes of having more flexibility for my children.

So far, I am really enjoying it, and my mother and I are a great team.  We are full time real estate agents, that strive to be there when our clients need us.  Please let us know if we can be of any assistance to you!  Reach out to us anytime!  We work several different counties around Atlanta.

Phyllis Adkins 678-592-9973

Chassidy Hodgins 678-596-9057

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An immaculate home, SALES!

As an agent who has shown many houses to buyers, I also walk into homes to preview them as if I were a buyer myself.  My number one complaint would have to be cleanliness.   Even if you decide you are not making any updates and everything is 20 years old, please deep clean your home.  There is nothing worse than walking into a stinky, dirty house. Your home may stink because it is not clean, so cleaning actually improves the smell!  Here is my genuine thought when I walk into a smelly home, “Eww, I would never live here!”  Is that the message you want someone to ponder about when they walk through your home?

Growing up, I had to clean houses with my mom every summer, as she cleaned houses for a living.  I found deep cleaning was her secret to keeping happy customers.  I still remember her giving me tasks to help clean the house and she was so picky, I’d have to do it again.

Here are some quick tips on cleaning your home:

  1. I prefer to start in the bathroom, and clean the hardest thing in your home, which is normally the bathtub/showers. Remove all soap scum, and mildew, and make sure the grout is clean everywhere.  You may have to use a toothbrush for hard to get places.  If you have a glass shower with hard water stains or soap scum, you can mix Dawn and Vinegar together to approve the appearance.  There are so many hacks to cleaning your shower, but the bottom line is to make it look squeaky clean, so your bathroom smells delightful.  We want to make sure it smells like Roses, and not like someone took a… well never mind….  I’m sure you catch my drift.  When you clean the toilet make sure you scrum under the rim also, where mildew normally accumulates. I would even get on your hands and knees to clean the floors.  Yep, a trick taught by my mom, as you can see better when you are super close to the floor.  You may need to use that toothbrush if you have dirty grout in between your tile floors. I’m not going to lie, cleaning bathrooms is hard work!  Which is why I prefer to tackle them first, when I have the most energy.
  2. Next, I would move into the kitchen!  You want to start with the appliances.  Clean the stove, microwave, dishwasher, and refrigerator inside and out.  Most appliances will be staying with the home, so it’s important that you clean them to look brand new.  I would like to suggest cleaning underneath all appliances as well, if there is a lot of grime underneath.  People often ask why do I have to clean, inside the fridge?  Well, because buyers open everything!  So next I would recommend you organize the pantry as well.  You would be surprised how many buyers determine if they like the kitchen by the size of the pantry.  People like their food, and since you are already cleaning, you mine as well clean out the pantry, and show that it’s functional for all your dry goods.  Once all these hard to reach places are clean, you can start cleaning the surface areas.  I would clean the face of the cabinets next, as they collect a lot of dirt and grease throughout the years.  The whole countertop needs to be cleaned.  If you have an appliance taking up counter space, it needs to be removed so you can clean underneath it.  Also, the backsplash and/or wall needs to be wiped down as well.    This is a good time to decide which items need to stay on the countertops.  Only leave necessary items on the counter, and store everything else underneath.  I normally save the sink for last because you will use the sink for cleaning out your rags.  The biggest cleaning hacks for the sink include the edges of the sink where it meets the countertop (I use a toothpick to get these areas clean), the garbage disposal that collects a black film around the opening and beneath the black rubber (I use Clorox clean-up and a paper towel to clean inside the opening), and behind the knobs and spout.  These are all the places that most people forget to clean, but collect tons of dirt and grime.  I would save the kitchen floor until after the other rooms are cleaned.
  3. Third, you will need to clean the rest of the house.  I would strip the beds and clean all the sheets, comforters, or bed toppers so you can get ready to dust, Windex, and vacuum the rooms.  Bedding holds onto a lot of dust and smells, so please do this first.  If you have a lot of dust, I would recommend doing two rounds of vacuuming.  Vacuum the whole house first and make sure you use the handy vacuum wand to clean the cobwebs from the ceiling and hard to reach places such as under the bed, corners, and behind furniture.  I have even used the wand to suck dust off of furniture, especially if it is super thick.  Dust flies around and settles back down, so if it’s been a couple months since you have cleaned, start with the vacuum and suck up as much of the dead skin cells as possible (yes, dust is old skin).  I prefer to use a damp rag to dust furniture.  Please do not forget to dust the fans.  I’ve been in several clean homes where they have missed thick dust on the fan!  Make sure you remove any items from surfaces before dusting.  Remember we want deep clean!
  4. Last, after everything is clean, I detail the house.  I go around with a rag and wipe down anything that is white.  Doors, the light switch plates, woodwork, stairs, window seals, etc.  This is also a great job for your kids.

I hope this has helped you understand how to clean your home for sale.  We all have a different idea of a clean house.  However, there is only one type of clean when it comes to listing your home for sale, and it is a deep cleaning!  No one wants to live in someone else’s filth and smells.  We want to walk into a home, open the front door, and get a pleasant feeling!  As an agent, I appreciate a home that is clean, and smells nice.

 

 

Knowledge for New Home Buyers

Many potential home buyers seem hesitant on owning real estate because they do not understand the process.  I am here to help explain the steps it takes to purchase real estate, so you feel more comfortable.  Here we go….

  1. Find an agent you can trust and has your best interest in mind. Buyers rarely pay a realtors’ commission! Sellers pay all commissions. The two biggest cost are the down payment and closing cost! The other minor cost are inspections (less than $400) and appraisal (less than $450). Also keep in mind, that normally you skip a month of making a house payment after closing! There are many programs now that will cover your down payment or roll it into the loan. Many times we can get the seller to pay part of the closing cost or all of the closing cost if you make a great offer.
  2. An agent can give you a list of preferred lenders to discuss finances. The lender will ask a couple questions regarding income and debts to determine if you are financially ready to purchase real estate. Based on your debt to income ratio, they will inform you of the loan amount you qualify for in order to purchase real estate.
  3. Once a lender pre-qualifies or approves you for a loan, the agent will send you homes that match your criteria.  Agents have access to one of the best databases for real estate. When you see something that sparks your interest, an agent will show you these homes in person.
  4. When you find a home you want to make an offer on, the agent will walk you through the process of making the best offer.  They should be able to show you similar houses (comparables) in the area, so that you feel confident with your offer. The agent will also get the properties’ disclosures, which will include things like flaws, prior improvements or repairs, or potential environmental hazards. By law, the seller has to disclose known defects that a buyer would not visually see in the home.
  5. Once an offer is submitted, you may have to negotiate several things with the seller before coming to an agreement on price and other stipulations.  Some of the things to include in an offer will be price, home warranties, termite bonds, certain items to remain in the home (such as the refrigerator), or things that need fixed.
  6. After the offer is accepted, the buyer will pay a deposit, or earnest money, to an escrow account with their broker (never to the seller).  This is basically a deposit to secure the house for purchase until after inspections and appraisals are finished.  It tells the seller that you are serious about the purchase of their home.
  7. During the due-diligence period, which varies, the buyer should hire an inspector.  Based on the outcome of inspections, buyers may elect to ask the seller to make repairs, offer more closing cost, or reduce the sales price.  Once again, everything is negotiable. The buyer has the right to walk away without penalty of losing their earnest money, during the due-diligence period, if they can not reach an agreement with the seller.
  8. After inspections, and due-diligence, begins the mortgage process on the buyers end.  The buyer will need to secure a loan for the home with a lender.  Once approved for the loan, the lender will issue an appraisal for the property.  If the appraisal comes in lower than the purchase price, the buyer has until the appraisal contingency date to request a reduction in price from the seller. If the seller rejects the request, the buyer can walk away from the contract without penalty.  If all parties agree on the purchase price after the appraisal, the lender will require you to purchase home insurance.
  9. After the mortgage process is secured, it is important to make no changes to your employment or credit until after the closing. Do not make any large purchases, change employers, open a new credit card, or anything else that can affect your credit report.
  10. CLOSING!  Here is the last step.  Immediately prior to closing, the buyers’ agent will perform a final walk through, to insure the property is in the same condition.  The closing takes place normally at an attorneys office where the buyer, seller, agents, and lawyer is present.  The lawyer will run a title search on the property prior to closing, collect any closing cost due, and have the sellers and buyers sign a ton of paperwork to switch ownership of the new property.  The buyer receives the keys and officially takes possession of the property (unless otherwise indicated in the contract).

-Please call The Adkins Team with any questions!

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Phyllis Adkins 678-592-9973

Chassidy Hodgins 678-596-9057

Marketing your Home for Sale!

Today we are going to discuss marketing your home for a quicker sale!  Say what?  I have to prepare my house and make it look nice for customers!?  YES!  A home can be one of the our largest investments.  It makes complete sense that we want our new home to look as new as possible and wrapped up with a Big Red Bow! Otherwise, buyers will want a good deal, and a good deal means dropping the price.

The main goal with marketing your house for sale, is to make it look like a model home.  Model homes are spotless (clean), they have very little clutter and personal items, neutral in color, and have trendy updates.  In my experience, staging a home has been a difficult topic to discuss with sellers.  Home owners like their personal belongings and don’t see the need to pack up their clutter until it actually sales. Everyone has a different view of clean, and in my opinion, clean means you can eat off the floor! Suggesting easy and cheap updates, can offend the seller, because their home is personal and decorated to their liking.

First, let’s discuss how to declutter and depersonalize!  Anything you are not currently using needs to be packed up!  You are moving anyways, so this should help you have one less thing to do after you get an offer.  Family photos seem to be a hard thing to remove from your home, but very necessary.  We want the buyer to picture their family living in your home.  The kitchen should have only a few of your nicest small appliances on the counter, and everything removed from the front of the refrigerator. If you have young children, it can be difficult to remove clutter such as toys.  However, the more you declutter and depersonalize, the better.

Second, if you have a lot of paint colors on your wall, I would recommend choosing a neutral color such as Gray.  Gray is a popular color trend right now (see image), and fresh paint helps the house appear new.  Many buyers in this market, want a house to be “turn key,”  which means they want to move in without having to do any work.  Do not forget to touch up trim and repaint doors if needed.  If you have older cabinets, I would encourage you to paint over them and add new hardware for a fresh new look.  New construction is everywhere right now!  Buyers are walking into these model homes and seeing new and fresh!  I don’t know about you, but a new sparkling clean home is very hard to walk away from when house hunting.  The older homes are nice because you get more bang for your buck; however, if we can make it appear like new, then it’s more favorable!Grey

Third, let’s talk about updates other than paint!  If you are a handy person this may be something to consider.  My favorite thing to update are the light fixtures (see image).  These are an easy update and fairly inexpensive, and can give a room a whole new look.  Replace light fixtures in the foyer, kitchen, dining room, living room and bathrooms.  We recommend using daylight bulbs to brighten up a home.  Rooms that have a lot of light are more attractive.  If a room does not have a lot of natural light, then daylight bulbs can help tremendously.  If your home has outdated window treatments (see image), I would suggest taking those down.  It will also allow more light to shine through and help the room appear larger.    Family Room

Last, if you have pets, I would consider finding a temporary home for them. Pets are one of the hardest things to have in a home when trying to sale it.  Many people have allergies and fears of animals.  I have had a few buyers immediately walk out of a house when they see it has pets.  They do not even want to look at it once they hear or smell a pet.  If you do not have friends or family that are willing to babysit, then I would recommend taking the pets with you when you have a buyer viewing your home and cleaning is even more important.

The first two weeks on the market are the most critical, as you get the most viewings.  So don’t wait and see if it sales as is, because it could take longer to sale.  Sellers should be reasonable when pricing their house based on other comparable houses near them.  Agents can show you the comparables that have sold in the area and how much each have sold for, so you can price your property correctly.  If your house has been completely cleaned, updated, and painted, than your house will show well.  These are only recommendations, but at the bare minimum, the house needs to be decluttered and cleaned.

New Appliances = New Kitchen

In this market, where the value of real estate is increasing, it would make sense that most buyers want NEW!  Many would agree, that unless the house is a true fixer upper with a great price tag, you are competing with new construction with all the latest trends.  Some say the kitchen sales the house. and I would agree!  The kitchen is where the family comes together, and spends most of their time. I have had many buyers pass on purchasing a home with an outdated kitchen.  Why is this the case, you might ask?  The simple answer is most buyers are cash poor after down payments and closing cost.  This means buyers will not have extra money after purchasing a home to make upgrades.

Once a buyer is interested in a home (and sometimes before viewing a home), buyers inquire about three main features of the property:

1. How old is the roof? 2. How old is the HVAC? 3. How old are the kitchen appliances?

These are the most expensive items to replace when purchasing real estate.  My recommendation if all three are outdated is to update the kitchen first.  If the idea of doing a full kitchen remodel gives you anxiety, updating the appliances should be at the top of your list!!  Stainless steel appliances help a dark kitchen appear brighter, and adds the value of NEW!  (See below  for before and after pics)   Other important upgrades include light granite countertops (dark is out, light and bright is in), fresh paint, and updated or painted cabinets!

Divorce and Real Estate

Let’s be brave and talk about the BIG “D.”  So you own a piece of Real Estate and you are going through a divorce?  I’ve had several friends, and myself, go through this process and it is very difficult.  What you should do, that is the question?  It certainly doesn’t help that most of us are an emotional train wreck during this time!  We are mourning the loss of someone close to us, some are dealing with children’s emotions, stay at home moms are panicking about finances, others are figuring out how to divide the debt load or split the equity and assets.  The list goes on and on….which is why, to put it simple, Divorce Sucks!

For me, I was in a good position to keep the house because my children were very young and I did not want to remove them from their family home.  I was a stay at home mom, and was extremely stressed about finances.  However, I knew with my education, hard work ethics, and family, I could make it work.   I also live in a humble home, with great mortgage payments.  The memories in this house as a complete family made it hard at times, but I am 2.5 years out, and it’s much better now.

Everyone’s situation is different, and these are some questions to ask yourself:

Can you afford to stay in your home long term?  If you decide to stay in your home, can you afford the payments?  Owning a home is a huge financial liability!  Right after my divorce my HVAC system failed, and I immediately panicked about my decision to keep the house.  However, knowing that I have always been great with finances,  I just had to take a deep breath.

Can you deal with the memories in the house as a complete family?  This is TOUGH…  especially if you are the one who didn’t want the relationship to end.  For me, I loved the memories of my children in their first home, and that trumped the memories with my ex.  I’ve had friends who just CANNOT function in their home without breaking down, and that is okay too.  We are all different, and that is why you need to be asking these questions to yourself.

What is the market like?  Right now the market is great for selling!  Most homes are going up in value, making it a great time to sale!  Both parties can profit on the real estate they owned together.  It certainly helps to have some extra income when you are going through a divorce.  However, if you are already living in a place that is reasonably priced and the mortgage isn’t that much, it may make more sense to stay.  Where else are you going to live for that amount?  On the other hand, if you are currently living in a house that is way above your means, it’s a moot point.

These are just a few questions, but there are so many variables when it comes to Real Estate and divorce.  If you need any help or have any questions please reach out to us.  Being a product of divorce, I know how sensitive and emotional this time can be for you.  We would love to help you, even if you are unsure of what you want to do!Phyllis_Adkins_Ad_2017 Final2

Spiffy up your Bath, on a dime!

Sometimes making renovations can be overwhelming. Maybe you don’t have the finances to support a full makeover, or you’re not sure what to renovate, or maybe you are too busy! Whatever the reason… always try to improve upon your biggest investment no matter how small!  I’ve been working on my bathroom for about two years!  The first thing I did was change the paint color to a lighter blue!  This color immediately made the bathroom appear cleaner and brighter!   A year later, I decided I may want to take down the ten-year old shower curtain and outdated towels/bath mats.  I decided to go with a clean white curtain to brighten the space even more!   To update the mirror, I chose to frame the mirror! As a single mother, I do not have a lot of time or extra income.  The small changes I made took very little time and money.  At some point, I will change out the light fixture and possibly paint the cabinets. I assume in the near future I will also change the floor and update the shower!  When it comes time to sell your house, you will be glad you made the changes over time rather than waiting till the last minute. I would much rather enjoy the newness while living in my home!

Less is More!

I have two clients that are in the process of packing up, and moving out!  It’s fun getting their phone calls and hearing very similar details from both people.  They ask me “What am I to do with all my crap??!!”  Do you keep it, get rid of it, sale it, or trash it!?  I always like to advise folks….  Less is more!  We are all are wired differently, but in this modern day, most of us have way too much stuff taking up space, and in return our spaces are cluttered. I read an article that said people who have less clutter have lower stress levels! Maybe because we have less to clean up;).

I am a minimalist by nature, but even I struggle with getting rid of things I have spent money on acquiring.  My advice would be to get rid of item if you are questionting it in the first place or sale it fast (which means putting a reasonable price tag on the item).  My favorite place to sale items are the Facebook online garage sales, because they are located in your community!  When you are moving, the last thing you want in your new home is junk you really don’t need!

Curb Appeal Fun: Part 1

Who doesn’t love a good first impression? I love showing and listing homes that have  great curb appeal, because let’s be honest… Most homes do not!  Landscaping is difficult to most, but let me tell you, it’s important when selling your home!  Below are some images of my front island before and after! I wanted to have color year round so I planted a variety of perennials that will bloom spring to fall.  All the bushes are evergreen (which means they will stay green year-round)! When re-doing an island, always start with your evergreen bushes first, then plant flowering perennials, and finally plant annuals to fill in bare areas. In this article I will cover the evergreen bushes and tree! Here is what I planted:

1. Azeleas: (Back row) intermediate encore azaleas- these are still growing to about 4.5 feet tall, and will bloom in the spring and fall. Some say encore azaleas can bloom during the summer also. Mine are new so we will see if I get flowers in the summer next year! I love encore azaleas because they tolerate more sun than the regular azaleas, and they bloom more often! I chose pink for the back row!

2. Tea olive tree: (back row and to the right of the gutter) – I think everyone should have this tree in their yard because it smells so awesome when blooming! I found out about this tree when visiting Pike’s nursery because I wanted to know what smelled so good? The salesman pointed to a tree about 15 yards away! It blooms small white flowers in the spring and the fall, and will grow to about 9 feet tall. I bought mine as a baby so it is still very small but I saved about $100! This tree will grow pretty fast but will not get huge.

3. Azeleas: (Second row from the back) Dwarf Encore Azalea- Did I mention I love azaleas? These are smaller than the back row but will grow to about 3 feet tall!  I bought baby azaleas, so they are still growing. These azaleas are purple! The first flower appeared just this month, in June, so that’s great news! Flower power!

4. Gardenia: (second row from the back) – I put a gardenia near the walkway because this Evergreen has great smelling white flowers in late spring! Gardenias will sometimes flower in the summer as well. I only planted one Gardenia because the flowers turn brown quick, but they have one of the best smelling flowers out there, and it is very delightful!

5. Abelia Kaleidoscope: (Third row from the back) these are another great Evergreen, that provide great color in the fall with white flowers! These shrubs have grown a ton since I planted them! I may have to put them in the second row if my azaleas do not catch up! However, they turn a beautiful orange in the fall with white smelling flowers.

I’m waiting to see if the Bermuda grass will cover the bare areas where we installed the wall!  It’s not perfect but it’s definitely an improvement!  Never stop improving upon your most expensive investment!

Spring is Here!

Don’t we all just love spring?!  There is something about spring that has us all rushing out to get flowers and making our outdoor space nicer!  My mom and I just finished her yard and what a difference it makes!  Landscaping is hard work, trust me I know, especially since my mom bought 12 tons of Rock to put out around the pool!  The toughest jobs are always the most rewarding! So with all that said…. if you are listing your home, how do you think your yard makes a buyer feel when visiting your property?  Great landscaping can make a lasting first impression of your home!  Plus it’s something most people never take the time to do when selling their home.  Stand out, make that buyer say “Wow, I want to live here!”  Hard work pays off!Never forget hard work always pays off!