On October 28, the National Association of Realtors announced breaking news: Congressional leaders have released a long-awaited framework for President Biden’s “Build Back Better” program, which includes hard-fought NAR priorities like investments in affordable housing and down-payment assistance. A top-line price tag and an outline of new social programs directly affect the real estate industry. It includes $150 billion in affordable housing investments.
Funding for the following programs is included within the housing section:
Housing Trust Fund — Builds and preserves housing for extremely low-income households
HOME — Investments Partnership Program — allows state and local governments to use HOME funds for grants, direct loans, loan guarantees or other forms of credit enhancements, or rental assistance or security deposits.
Downpayment Assistance — Downpayment loans are forgiven over a certain period, such as five years. The money doesn’t have to be repaid as long as the borrower still owns and lives in the home at the end of the period.
Minority Business Development Assistance
This bill will be particularly meaningful for lower-income households, millennials, and households of color. It ensures stable, affordable housing for millions of Americans and will enable Americans to improve and/or preserve over 1 million existing homes. Americans often have a distinct and very real fear when it comes to home ownership. This legislation can reach many in need. Industry professionals laud the inclusion of affordable housing provisions in the final bill.
The National Low Income Housing Coalitionpublished an articlewhich describes specifics of the legislation and urged support of the legislation. “We are one step closer to achieving historic housing investments and keeping the country’s lowest-income people affordably housed, but we’re not done yet. We’re urging all members of congress to enact this legislation as soon as possible” said NLIHC president and CEO Diane Yentel.
For more information on the Build Back Better legislation, you can visit WhiteHouse.gov.
Did you know that 97 people a day are moving to the Atlanta area? Not everyone chooses to live in the city. In fact, there is a solid demand for homes in the suburbs. Many buyers want space for activities such as working from home, schooling from home, and entertaining & gathering — both indoors and outdoors. Some simply want a bigger yard, with more private outdoor space for themselves and their families. Homes in Peachtree Station neighborhood meet all these criteria and and have even more to offer! We have an impressive seller’s real estate market in my neighborhood…Peachtree Station subdivision, in Peachtree Corners, Georgia.
Peachtree Station neighborhood homes are always in high demand, but inventory is currently low. This is creating attractive selling prices for homeowners. Here is a snapshot of the Peachtree Station real estate market:
The following charts present a more detailed look at recent market activity in Peachtree Station, including active listings, pending sales, and recent sales. There has been a lot of fascinating activity lately, to say the least!
If you live in a different neighborhood and would like a Market Update for your own neighborhood, please comment below or send me an email email@example.com — I’d be happy to create a complimentary Market Update for you!
As a Harry Norman Realtor®, my goal is to guide my clients seamlessly through the ever-evolving real estate landscape, as a trusted ally, creating a positive experience for everyone.
If you haven’t made homemade ice cream before, I encourage you to try it! There is something quite special about making your own summer dessert, something industrious about getting out the ice cream machine, and something magical about lifting off the cover and seeing that your cream custard has transformed into a frozen treat!
The recipe I share below is fairly straightforward and has always produced great results.
Start with an egg custard cooked on the stove (it’s not as complicated as it sounds!).
After the custard has cooked, strain it to remove any solids from the eggs.
Here you’ll mix in half-and-half, whipping cream, and vanilla, and chill for around an hour.
Next pour it into the canister, add ice & rock salt all around…and turn on the machine.
In less than an hour, you can have yummy, creamy deliciousness!
After removing the paddle, fold in the crushed cookies. (Never works to add when the canister is spinning — the cookies just dissolve!) Then I pour the “soft-serve” into a shallow plastic container and freeze for 5-6 hours. You can also serve it just like this. It’s yummy either way.
Do you like to make homemade ice cream? What’s your favorite kind? I’d love to know — please leave a comment!
I first learned about this wonderful cream, sometimes called Rosemary’s Perfect Cream, from my niece, 6 or 7 years ago. Originally created by Rosemary Gladstar, this recipe is floating around different sites on the Internet, and there is a wonderful how-to video on YouTube featuring Ms. Gladstar. The first time I made it I was astounded! I had made my own beautiful, rich, face cream, and it was a pretty easy process.
I Love This Moisturizer
It is luscious — lightweight, creamy, mild, non-irritating. . . You can customize this cream however you like. You decide which types oils to use (avocado, apricot kernel, coconut, almond oil), you decide if you would like to have a scent (lavender, rosewater, orange, almond) or none at all. And you decide how thick you want it to be. Use this as a face cream or a body lotion. In fact, you can make the recipe using only the “oils” ingredients, and make yourself a thick balm that is terrific for soothing rough, dry winter skin. Be creative with it — or follow the recipe exactly.
It’s Easy to Make
The recipe is divided into two ingredient types — waters and oils. Combine the waters in one container, and in another bowl, melt the oils and cool to room temp. Then put oils in a blender, turn the blender on medium and slowly drizzle in the waters. Once the waters are all poured in, you may want to turn off the motor a moment and use a small spatula to incorporate all the oils from the corners into the center. Turn the motor back on, and soon you will hear the motor slow down, as the cream begins to thicken. When it slows way down — Voilá — Parfait! You have Rosemary’s Perfect Cream:)
I prefer using jars that have easy-on, easy-off lids. I’ve found it’s easiest to use jars with a wide opening, that aren’t too deep. I’ve bought glass jars from The Container Store and plastic jars from Amazon. I also use a mason jar to store a larger batch and then decant it into smaller jars as needed. Some people recommend storing this cream in the fridge. I store it in my pantry when it’s in a mason jar, or on the kitchen counter and bathroom vanity in smaller jars. I have never had an issue with the cream going bad.
Some of the benefits of making and using this moisturizer: it’s a wonderful, effective, and rich moisturizer; it’s made with natural ingredients you can easily ID and pronounce; it is customizable to your preferences; make it all organic if you choose; it’s easy to make a fresh batch; it is cost effective; it makes a wonderful and unique gift for teachers, co-workers, your favorite barista . . . everyone loves receiving and using Rosemary’s Perfect Cream!
I hope you will try making a batch yourself. Please let me know, in the comments section, when you make it, how you like it, or if you have questions about it! Happy blending:)
Waters 2/3 cup distilled water (or rose water) 1/3 cup aloe vera gel 1 or 2 drops essential oil of your choice Vitamins A and E as desired
Oils 3/4 cup apricot, almond, or grapeseed oil 1/3 cup coconut oil or cocoa butter 1/4 teaspoon lanolin 1/2 to 1 ounce grated beeswax
Combine the waters in a glass measuring cup. Set aside. In a double boiler over low heat, combine the oils. Heat them just enough to melt. Pour the oils into a blender and let them cool to room temperature. The mixture should become thick, creamy, semisolid, and cream-colored. This cooling process can be hastened in the refrigerator, but keep an eye on it so it doesn’t become too hard. When the mixture has cooled, turn on the blender at its highest speed. In a slow, thin drizzle, pour the water mixture into the center vortex of the whirling oil mixture. When most of the water mixture has been added to the oils, listen to the blender and watch the cream. When the blender coughs and chokes and the cream looks thick and white, like buttercream frosting, turn off the blender. You can slowly add more water, beating it in by hand with a spoon, but don’t overbeat. The cream will thicken as it sets. Pour into cream or lotion jars and store in a cool location.
My family bought our 1980s Williamsburg-style home, in Peachtree Corners, GA, in 2006. The home is tucked near a nice little cul-de-sac, deep in a subdivision full of 1980s Williamsburg-style homes. The homes are not too varied, interesting, or exciting, but do we love our home, our yard, and our neighborhood. The previous owners, who were the original owners, had made some quality upgrades to the house over the years. We have enjoyed continuing with numerous renovations ourselves.
One update we made a few years ago was kind of a big leap for me. It wasn’t a huge project, but was definitely a commitment. We limewashed the brick fireplace surround. When it comes to painting brick, there’s no going back…you can’t really “unpaint” brick. I’ve always felt that brick and wood are some kind of Sacred — you just can’t paint them on a whim! I realize many people feel this way. …but many don’t!
To my eye, the brick in our family room was a drab color, and while the surrounding oak bookcases were a great quality and of nice workmanship, I was tired of the heavy, honey-colored oak. That whole end of the room was dark.
I looked into adding a fresh, current tile over the brick to update it, but after looking at pricing and logistics, we decided to try the limewash (since it’s inexpensive), and if we hated that, we could reconsider the work and expense of adding tile.
I was inspired by a few photos I found after Googling “painted brick fireplace” and settled on the limewash effect. We went withRomabio Avorio White Limewash Interior/Exterior Paint, which was in stock at Home Depot. I liked the limewash because it wasn’t going to completely cover the tones of the brick. Limewash paint gives a unique “whitewash” effect. The product we chose is a one-coat process, no priming required. That’s what sealed the whole deal for me. According to the Romabio website this product is toxin free and environmentally friendly. Romabio Limewash is mineral-based and is derived from sustainable materials. . . . Bonus! And we were thrilled with the results!
The limewash process gives an old-world, antiqued/weathered look. Some of the brick color remains exposed, which results in a warmth you just wouldn’t have with a painted brick.
We decided to keep the oak mantle in place, as is, as it compliments our oak floors, and has a nice, neutral style. So after taping off the edges by the mantle, bookcases, floor, and ceiling, we were ready to experiment.
The application was very easy. We went with the recommended 50% dilution (see chart below; the .67-gallon can was plenty for our fireplace surround). Before applying the limewash, we misted a 3’x3′ area of the brick with a spraybottle of water. Once the brick was damp, we used a paintbrush to apply the wash. It soaks right in!
We adjusted the look by applying plenty of the product and then washing off in random areas, so the brick color would peek through. We were able to balance out the intensity with some vigorous buffing, and there was lots of stepping back to observe, adding or removing the wash, and more observing after that!
Removal is possible for up to two days after the initial application — very forgiving. This product can be re-applied to add color depth, even past the two-day removal limit. Since the finish is flat, touchups are undetectable. Nota Bene: the product dries more opaque and it looks “thicker” or “darker” when dry than when it’s wet. We ended up removing quite a bit over the next couple of hours, adjusting the amount of brick color and the “location” or “pattern” of the red that showed through.
After the wonderful transformation with the limewashed masonry, we decided to go ahead and have the woodwork painted to coordinate with the wall color, Silver Strand (7057, Sherwin Williams). The paint colors we used are: bookcases “Attitude Gray” (7060); wainscoting “Unusual Gray” (7059); all Sherwin Williams colors.
This update truly brightened this part of my home. Adding the limewash to the fireplace surround and then painting the woodwork gave everything a fresher, cleaner, more updated feel. I just love it!
Mortgage rates are continuing to hold below 3% this spring. Rates were at record-breaking lows throughout most of 2020, during the unprecedented real estate market during the global pandemic. After rising a fraction in early 2021, the rates for a 30-year mortgage were averaging at 2.98% on April 29, 2021. It’s natural to see homebuyers as reaping the real benefits from this. But consider others who benefit … even if you are not in the market for a new home, you could benefit from these low rates.
Advantage for buyers
It’s obvious that homebuyers are the most directly benefiting from the low interest rates. Says Realtor.com® Chief Economist Danielle Hale, “Today’s mortgage rates give home buyers a much needed boost in purchasing power that will help them navigate higher home prices, which nearly every housing market across the country is seeing right now.” Perhaps reluctant would-be homebuyers are actually ready to act now in response to the lower interest rates. With the usual springtime increase-in-inventory, the market is turning a little more friendly to buyers the coming months.
Now is also a great time for 2nd-home buyers to make their dreams come true. Even if a great purchase price bargain is hard to come by in today’s housing market, you can still lock in at a respectable low interest rate and save a lot of money in the process. If owning a beach condo has been a goal for your family, this is a great time to buy, as the market for condominiums is not quite as competitive as the market for single-family detached homes.
Advantage for sellers
The climate of today’s housing market is by far the most advantageous for the seller. Low mortgage rates spur buyer demand, plain and simple. The more buyers, the more bidding wars and the higher the sales prices go. This also gives more negotiating power to the seller.
Houses are on the market for a shorter time right now, with the average days on the market (DOM) being 18, as compared to the average over the last few years being 35-50, depending on the city. Higher DOM can make buyers wonder what’s wrong with the home, and after a few weeks, as interest drops, the appeal of the home drops.
Advantage for the homeowner not planning to sell
Lower rates are a positive incentive for refinancing, which can reduce monthly mortgage payments. An increase in the homeowner’s equity can result, as well as the possibility of eliminating the pesky mortgage insurance.
All this can enhance a homeowner’s overall financial status. Quoted on the CNBC.com website, Matt Schulz, chief credit analyst for LendingTree says, “One of the best things Americans can do right now is build up their savings while trimming their debt.” When any loan balance is high compared to the original borrowed amount, credit scores are lower. Eliminating debt leads to financial security and peace of mind.
Even an advantage for renters
Landlords may take advantage of refinancing their rental property, which can lower their monthly payment and thus eliminate the need for increased rents during the hard times of the pandemic.
Many Americans are purchasing rental properties, taking advantage of the low interest rates. This makes more homes and apartments available to renters. “There’s just been extraordinary demand for rental homes in a lot of these secondary cities, tertiary cities, suburban markets, where a lot of the single-family rental properties are located,” said Gary Beasley, CEO of Roofstock, a marketplace for buying and selling single-family rental properties. According to an article on money.com, large portion of rental purchasers are first-time investors and many of those are moving from renter to landlord. Many of these properties become short-term rentals, through Airbnb or VRBO platforms. Since the onset of the pandemic, there seems to be a move away from hotels and motels and a trend of vacationers choosing detached homes, or condominiums, which don’t require as many close physical interactions during the vacation stay.
Mortgage rates are inching upward monthly. March saw the first dramatic increase over the previous 12 months, but the trajectory has slowed back in the last month. Rates are expected to stay below 3.20%, which is still a relatively low rate compared to the last few years. 2021 looks to be a safe time to make that home purchase, or secondary home purchase. Still, it’s good to keep in mind, the market is volatile, and speculation is just that. But home value growth is sure to remain in 2021.
If you are interested in selling or buying a home, I’d love to be of help as your Harry Norman Realtor. As a seller listing your home with me, you can be assured that your home will have the best market exposure. Harry Norman properties are featured on thousands of real estate websites visited by millions of qualified viewers. No other Atlanta residential real estate brokerage offers greater local, national, and international exposure. We are relocation specialists, so your home will be marketed not just to local Georgians, but specifically to the thousands of buyers relocating to the Atlanta area. We will present your home in the best light, with an eye toward the shortest time on the market and the best selling price. As a buyer’s agent with Harry Norman, I will work closely with you, taking in to account your specific and individual needs in the home buying process and I will be your exclusive advocate. It is to your advantage as a buyer, especially in this erratic market, to have a realtor who can make sure your offer stands out from the others, and that the contract is aligned with your best interests.
If you have questions about your neighborhood housing market trends, or are interested in buying or selling, I’d love a chance to chat with you about it all. Please contact me via email at ElizabethKay.Pinder@HarryNorman.com so we can set up an in-person or phone appointment.
[For “1969 Poodle Wall Plaque” giveaway, see end of post and leave a comment!]
Do you ever go “thrifting”? The phrase is trending, but the act itself has been around for decades. As a teenager (early 1980s), I loved heading to Little 5 Points, in Atlanta, to visit the vintage clothes stores (Stefan’s, Junkman’s Daughter) and then head over to the AMVETS thrift store on Moreland Avenue, for hours of perusing. I scored all kinds of wonderful, magical things in those shops…clothes, of course, but also jewelry (they don’t make ‘em like they used to!!) shoes, purses, scarves, gloves, and at AMVETS they sold household items as well — I got some fantastic blown glass vases and some glasses, framed art, all the fun stuff! I still have a lot of the things I bought. Some are put away in boxes, but some are out, about my home, and I enjoy them every day!
Currently I frequent just two thrift shops in the Atlanta area, City Thrift in Lilburn, GA and the Goodwill near my home in Peachtree Corners. I have scored some SERIOUS loot at these places! I want to share some of the amazing finds I’ve had recently, and how I’ve upcycled some of the items. I also want to note how appreciative I am that people are willing to take the time to donate items they no longer need.
Visiting a thrift shop can be overwhelming, so I have a few tips to share for folks who are interested.
Tip 1 — Visit often, keep it short.
I found that if I visit the shop often, say — once a week, and stay for about 30 minutes, I tend to be able to spot great stuff easily. Some items will stay on the shelves for weeks, so if you visit regularly you will stop noticing the things that don’t interest you and be able to recognize the new inventory. Taking in everything on the shelves or racks can be overwhelming. Thirty minutes is about the maximum time I can focus while thrifting, too.
Tip 2 — Focus on one or two departments per trip.
This is related to my first tip: One thrifting trip might be a visit down all the “home goods” aisles — kitchen items, home decor, small appliances, and outdoor decor such as flower pots and garden items. In another visit, focus on shoes, handbags, belts, hats/scarves, and jewelry. Or focus on looking at just jackets and sweaters. My brain gets foggy when I try to take on much more than that. I do admit, I always head straight to the small appliances, though, every single visit. I am obsessed with finding espresso machines — I’ve found three so far (gifted them to two of my sons)!
Tip 3 — Fuel yourself!
Make sure you aren’t hungry, thirsty, or in need of a bathroom visit. Sorta ruins the fun otherwise…
Tip 4 — Keep your eye out for the unusual, and keep an open mind!
Most everything is cheap in a thrift store. If something really catches my eye, I will buy it even if I don’t want to keep it “forever”. As my sister-in-law once said, “Think of it as a rental program! Buy it, enjoy it a while, then re-donate it!” That actually makes a lot of sense to me. I’ve always been of the mindset that, when I buy something, I’m going to always have it, and I’d better make the best use of what I have. I do that to a degree, but thrift shop items are low cost, and it can be fun to buy something a little outside my comfort zone or my taste, and get creative with it! Upcyling (refashioning something thought to be useless into something of greater value) can be delightful and rewarding, too!
Tip 5 — Prepare for AMAZING finds!
Read on to see the fantastical stuff I’ve found while thrifting!
More kitchen and housewares
Unicorn Thrifting Find — A 3-D Printer
Do you enjoy thrifting? Have you had fun and success, upcyling? I’d love to read about your experiences. Please share in the comments!
***If you’d like to enter my Thrifted Giveaway, (randomly chosen 4/30/21) to become the lucky owner of this adorable pair of 1969 Miller Studios Poodle Wall Plaques, please leave a comment below!***
PANTONE Color System is best known for its PMS (Pantone Matching System). This color matching system is used internationally among designers in graphic, interior, and product design, and printing. The system is used to assure that colors are accurate when products go into production regardless of the various equipment used, whether by professional designers or amateur artists.
Starting in 2000, PANTONE assigns a Color of the Year annually, to provide a cohesiveness across design industries. Complimenting lifestyles with color, they declare, “has always been an integral part of how a culture expresses the attitudes and emotions of the times.” All design industries immediately engaged in this approach and this resulted in a unified theme across genres of design, connecting color ideas in clothing, to interiors, to products and even printed materials.
Last year’s color, Classic Blue (PANTONE 14-4052), offered peacefulness with a sense of elegance. Announced well before we were all sequestered by the pandemic, PANTONE still saw the need for “reassurance, confidence and connection that people may be searching for in an uncertain global milieu.” As the year unfolded, PANTONE executive director Leatrise Eiseman suggested how appropriate the themes of “tranquility,” “clarity,” and “restfulness” continued to be, and encouraged incorporating them into our lives through the Classic Blue color.
Looking ahead to 2021, this year offers much promise to many. In presenting two independent colors, Illuminating Yellow (PANTONE 13-0647) and Ultimate Gray (PANTONE 17-5104), PANTONE hopes to encourage “people to look for ways to fortify themselves with energy, clarity, and hope to overcome the continuing uncertainty, spirited and emboldening shades satisfy our quest for vitality.”
“PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating is a bright and cheerful yellow sparkling with vivacity, a warming yellow shade imbued with solar power. PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray is emblematic of solid and dependable elements which are everlasting and provide a firm foundation. The colors of pebbles on the beach and natural elements whose weathered appearance highlights an ability to stand the test of time, Ultimate Gray quietly assures, encouraging feelings of composure, steadiness and resilience.” PANTONE announcing 2021 Color of the Year
Even though the Color of the Year was announced in December 2020, the nature of the colors selected lend themselves to Springtime decorating! I’ve collected some images that may inspire you to incorporate these colors into your home decor. No need to change your whole design theme, just add these colors as you are inspired! When used as accents, they are harmonious with most palettes. For 2021, PANTONE offers “A marriage of color conveying a message of strength and hopefulness that is both enduring and uplifting.”
What made the ATL real estate market resilient last year? How is it possible that we had a market boom during a pandemic? I believe the resiliency of the Atlanta real estate market was due to the very nature of our great city: the strong economy for jobs and growth, and the housing affordability of Metro Atlanta. Add to that the fortunate favorable mortgage rates, and you have a resilient real estate market.
Jobs and growth
Georgia showed impressive economic progress in the first half of 2020, despite alarming closures and job losses. And according to an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, by the end of 2020, while jobless rates were still considerably lower than in 2019, employment rates were growing in 10 of the 14 metro areas. Labor commissioner Mark Butler spoke enthusiastically of “the resilience that Georgia has to offer during this economic rebound.” Where are all these jobs?
There has been an increase in jobs in construction, legal, tech, finance, and the education and health industries. Many Atlantans already worked from home pre-pandemic, and this number certainly and necessarily increased in 2020. Last year many jobs were retained in Atlanta due to the flexibility of both employers and employees.
Metro Atlanta has a significant and growing tech hub and home to 23 Fortune 500 companies. That equals a continual increase in jobs; many of them high-paying. Under construction now are Midtown Union, the new Invesco headquarters located at W. Peachtree and 17th Street; 1105 West Peachtree — a mixed use development which will include Google’s Southeast headquarters; and the Norfolk Southern 1.5 million sq. ft. headquarters, also located on W. Peachtree. Microsoft just announced its new hub in Atlantic Yards, bringing 2,500 jobs with it, and future plans for developing the mixed-use Quarry Yards in West Atlanta. These developments not only provide construction jobs now, but they guarantee thousands of jobs in the tech and hospitality industries and ultimately increase the demand for housing in Metro Atlanta.
The entertainment industry loves Georgia — we rank #1 for film production. In 2019 over 400 feature films and tv shows were shot in Georgia. And despite the pandemic, in 2020 $2.2 billion was spent filming. Over 40,000 production workers will be employed on an expected 75 production projects during the next year, with 50 currently in production or filming prep.
Mortgage rates are one of the primary drivers of the success of the housing market. Interest rates in 2020 reached lows not seen since the 1970s. Rates dipped as low as 2.66% in December for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage. This factor alone can boost home sales dramatically. Millennials are leading the way for first-time homebuyers thanks to these low rates. Leading institutions indicate that although there will be increases in 2021, rates will remain relatively low, possibly reaching 3.4%. Rates are predicted to increase more in 2022, making 2021 a promising year for new mortgages.
Mortgage Interest Rates Forecast Source
Mortgage Bankers Association
Harry Norman, REALTORS® Metro Atlanta Residential Real Estate Forecast
Metro Atlanta’s Affordable Housing
Even with housing prices increasing by an average of 8% last year, Metro Atlanta has remained an affordable place to live. The national monthly average cost of home ownership is 30% of income. Metro Atlanta comes in at 23.8%. Compared to New York City (40%) Atlanta is in the upper tier of affordable cities with a large population. For many people relocating to Atlanta from more expensive real estate markets, the increase in the local cost of housing here was not an obstacle.
Affordable housing, a robust (but still unsettled) economy, and job growth are factors that combined last year for an expected increase in real estate demand. Add to this: changes in lifestyles, relocations for jobs, and the record-breaking low interest rates and the results speak for themselves. Atlanta has a booming real estate market. One plain obstacle to a thriving market in 2021 is the short supply of homes. But even that angle won’t slow the Metro Atlanta market. Although there are building materials supply challenges, new construction is expected to increase 9% in 2021, with a forecast for 50,000 new units (MetroStudy). In this exciting and profitable market, many would-be sellers are recognizing the opportunity and are ready to cash in on their equity.
What is your experience with the 2020 housing market? Do you have any stories to share? I’d love to read about them…please comment below!