Perrie & Associates - Blog

Winter Wonderland - Christmas in Atlanta


Published: 12/12/2018



Sleigh bells ring, are you listening? In Atlanta ... there's no snow glistenin'..

But! There's plenty to do in and around Atlanta to celebrate the holidays! From Christmas lights to popup bars, and a new, Insta-worthy interactive museum, Atlanta has plenty to offer to spread some Christmas cheer!

Looking to get festive this season? We've rounded up some of the main attractions and high-lights:


Light the Night 

Atlanta may not be the City of Lights, but for the holidays, there's plenty of extra lights on display.
At Atlantic Station, you can enjoy 250,000 lights by walking around the eight blocks of the complex. In the center of it all is a 50 foot Christmas tree, and starting at 6 p.m. each night, there's a snowfall right there in Atlanta! In addition to the lights and snow, there is also an ice skating rink, a German Christmas market, and Santa may be stopping by as well.
Of course, the Atlanta Botanical Gardens boast an impressive light display this time of year as well. The Garden Nights, Holiday Lights event runs through January 6 and features a tunnel of lights, glowing orbs and a canopy of lights that dance to music, as well as hot chocolate and s'mores to keep you warm as you walk around the gardens.
The Holidays at the Park event in Six Flags is also going on now through January 6. Guests can enjoy more than 1 million LED lights with 16 different themes around the park as well as live performances, delicious holiday foods, and of course, the thrilling rides of the park.
In Marietta, Life College also hosts their Lights of Life, a drive-through light display with Santa, pony rides, and a petting zoo, and Lake Lanier also has a 7-mile drive-through light display along with carnival rides and a Snow Island.
For more lights in the Atlanta area, check out this list.

Miracle on Peachtree Street 

It may not be on 34th street, but there are some Miracles happening in Atlanta.
The Miracle pop-up bar is back again, with several locations throughout the city.
Miracle on Monroe, located at 931 Monroe Drive, is back for its third year. These pop-up bars look like the Grinch's storage room for all that he stole from the Who's down in Whoville.  From Christmas lights on the ceilings to over-sized packages and toys, there's plenty of festive to go around. Aside from the decorations, the menu is also ready for the holidays featuring cocktails like Run Run Rudolph, Jingle Bell Nog, and Christmapolitan. Miracle on Highland, located at 240 North Highland Avenue NE, features its own set of decorations.
Those OTP aren't left out of this new-festive tradition, however. Red Sky Tapas, located at 1255 Johnson Ferry Road in Marietta, is getting in on the action this year with bar based on the beloved movie, A Christmas Story. Not much has been released about the menu according to Eater Atlanta, but you can expect a holiday-themed menu of tapas and drinks such as cranberry mules and spiked eggnog.
The S.O.S. Tiki Bar in Decatur is also featuring a holiday bar with an island-flair. Mele Kalikimaka will return this year with retro-themed decorations and bar tenders with holiday Hawaiian shirts. Last year, the bar featured drinks like rum raisin and hot buttered rum, and the owner told Eater Atlanta that new, and more fun drinks are planned for this year.
With all these pop-up bars, it's hard to believe there are even more to visit, but you can check out the complete list here.

Fantastic Fantastical 

If your Instagram is filling up with people getting sucked into a black hole of peppermint or giant ornaments that seem to go on forever, look no further than Atlanta's newest attraction, Santa's Fantastical.
This is the first year the interactive museum has come to Atlanta and is located at 1155 Mt. Vernon Hwy in Atlanta. Santa's Fantastical is a walk-through immersive experience with 12 worlds that feature synchronized lights, interactive technology, and Instagram-worthy photo set ups like a Christmas house straight from the 50's and a future Christmas set in space.
The museum is great for all ages. There's slides for kids to play, visits with Santa, and live performances. In the Sketch-Tastic world, you can create your own character and then watch it come to life in Santa's workshop. Photos are encouraged, so if you're looking to win social media this holiday season, be sure to check it out.

However you spend your holiday season, spend it with friends and family and spread some holiday cheer!




Feeling Thankful


Published: 11/19/2018




For many, Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends, and good food. However, Thanksgiving is also a time of reflection as we take time to recognize all that we have and all that we are thankful for.

Though the holiday season can get busy quickly, the Perrie & Associates staff took time to pause and reflect on what we are thankful for -


Stephanie Chandler, Pre-Closer 

"I am thankful God wakes me up every day to find joy in the smallest of things. I'm also thankful for my husband of 23 years and the loving, beautiful family we have raised."


Gayle Willingham, Office Manager 

"I am very thankful for my children and grandchildren as they bring such happiness to my life! I enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday so much as we gather together and give God thanks for all he has given us over the past year. I am thankful for the privilege to live in America, the home of the brace and the free. We are so blessed to live in this country and have the opportunities to thrive. Last, I am thankful to work for such a great company that supplies us with a wonderful work environment!"

Jenna Caprington, Pre-Closer 

"I'm thankful for my ever-growing family, a job I enjoy, awesome coworkers (shout-out to Tammy Brett, and Helena) and all our great attorneys. I am also thankful for seasons that change, a warm, soft bed, cuddly puppies, good friends, and a great cup of coffee. Most of all, I'm thankful to God for Jesus and all my blessings!"

Miki Foster, Closer

"There is so much to be thankful for in my life. I am especially thankful for gaining a brand new family at Perrie & Associates (I couldn't be any happier!) and a brand new family at home with my fiance and his two beautiful daughters along with my two beautiful daughters. Thank you all for being so welcoming!"

Brandi Woody, Pre-Closer 

"I am so very thankful for my husband and my two wonderful children. I am also thankful and grateful to work for such a great company here at Perrie & Associates LLC. When work people feel like family it make it so much better!"

Kelsie Bates, Closing Coordinator 

"I am thankful to Perrie & Associates for allowing me to go to school and still allowing me to have benefits (and to my Aunt who got me this wonderful job!). I am thankful for the most supportive fiance in the world and the journeys we are about to embark on together. I am thankful for all of the wonderful memories I have with family and friends. I am thankful that I have so many people who love and support me and all that I do and dream to achieve. I am thankful for this gift of life and for all of the moments leading up to today and all that are to come."

Spencer Knott, Closing Attorney 

"I'm thankful to be back among friends and family in Georgia and for a job that allows me to do that!"

Emily Selby, Director of First Impressions

"This year I am thankful for the opportunities I have had to pursue a new path and for all my friends, family and coworkers who have supported and encouraged me. I am also thankful to my wonderful new fiance and all the love and support he shows me daily. Finally, I am thankful for the opportunity that his band, the Woodland High School Marching Band in Cartersville, has to march in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and for my chance to document their accomplishment as they represent the state of Georgia in this iconic Thanksgiving tradition! Be sure to look for them on TV this Thanksgiving Day!"

Chris Copeland, Disburser 

"I am thankful for my family, at home and at work!"

Stephanie Lee, Closer

"I am so very blessed and have a ton to be thankful for! I am thankful for our freedom and to all of the people past and present who continue to make the ultimate sacrifice for our country. I am thankful for God's word that always reminds me of how lucky I am to have family and friends that I can depend on at all times. I am also so thankful to have been able to continue my career with David Perrie for over 10 years now!"

Linda May, Closing Attorney

"I am grateful for my family and my friends, including my work friends, my networking friends, my church friends and my client friends. I am grateful for my country, for the sacrifices those people who have gone before me have made so that I have had the opportunities that I have had. I am grateful that each day is a new beginning and that I Jesus to guide me!

Stacie Upchurch, Operations Manager

"As another year comes to a close, I am always happy to reflect on the countless blessings and the many things that make me so thankful. My husband, my family (including my P&A work family), and being fortunate enough to come to work every day and truly love what I do all top my list without fail! I think back to a time when everything I had was stripped away and smile when I think of how full my life and my heart are now and how much fun the journey has been. So much of what I have become and what I care about most surrounds where I spend every work day and for that, I am very fortunate! Happy Thanksgiving!"

David Perrie, Owner

"I am thankful that 25 years ago I decided to back to night law school at age 38 such that I didn't get to the end of my career and didn't complete my dreams and goals. It was a tough four years going to work all day and law school all night, but it has given me the greatest sense of accomplishment. I so encourage everyone to chase your dreams.
I am thankful for the incredibly talented and motivated people we have been able to attract and maintain at Perrie & Associates, LLC. I am thankful for our clients who give us meaningful work that supports us and helps people achieve the American Dream of home ownership! I am also thankful for my family and friends. I am thankful for my health and sense of humor, and to God who makes all things possible."

We at Perrie & Associates are also thankful for you, our wonderful clients! We are so grateful for your business and loyalty. Without you, we could not do what we love.
From our family to yours, have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Meet the P&A Team - Spencer Knott


Published: 11/14/2018


We would like to introduce our newest member of the Perrie & Associates family, Spencer Knott! Spencer is a realtor turned closing attorney who is returning home after working in Colorado. He has been with our office for over 6 weeks and has seamlessly established himself with the company both in the closing and marketing departments. We are happy to have him as addition to our team!

. . . 

Name: Spencer Knott
Role: Closing Attorney

Fun Facts: 


  • Loves Braves baseball
  • Saw the first homerun in Fulton County Stadium hit by Ron Gant
  • Attended Chipper Jones' and Bobby Cox's last game
  • Used to be a bartender, and can make a mean martini 
  • Served Bobby Cox and Don Sutton as a bartender 
  • Wife, Kedi is Tswana South African
  • Killed a cow for his wedding in the Tswana tradition


Spencer grew up in Kennesaw where he attended Harrison High School. He later went to Kennesaw State University where he received his Bachelor's in International Affairs. He attended Georgia State University for Law school and graduated in 2015. In 2011, Spencer met his wife Kedi, and they married in South Africa in 2017.

He first started working in the real estate industry as a Realtor in Denver, Colorado. There, he worked for three years establishing a successful business by building relationships and establishing his presence through social media. Spencer and his wife Kedi eventually became homesick for the Peach State, and returned to Atlanta in the fall of 2018.


What brought you to the real estate industry and why do you enjoy working in this field?

I came to Real Estate Law in a round-about way. I first got into real estate because of an old college roommate, who was absolutely killing it in the Denver market and asked me to come out and join his firm. I took the plunge, moved to Denver with my wife Kedi, and had a blast out West. I also learned a lot from my managing broker Rick Cavallaro on how to do things the right way and treat people right. He’s still one of my favorite bosses I’ve ever had. 
My favorite part of working in the Real Estate Industry is that success is primarily attained by creating and maintaining genuine relationships with people. I love meeting new people every day and hearing a piece of their story. When else would I get a chance to hear such a diverse and interested range of origins, views, and outlooks? It’s really fun!

Did you always know you wanted to be an attorney? What made you decide to go to law school?

No.  I was a mirror inspector and it was a job that I just couldn’t see myself doing anymore, so I decided to go to law school.

How do you like to spend the weekend?

I like to fish and hike, relax and read or watch football if it’s fall.

Where is your favorite place you have traveled?

I’m going to cheat and name two: Orvieto Italy and Pilanesberg, South Africa.
Orvieto is a beautiful town in Umbria Italy that is built on a mesa and is surrounded by this gorgeous valley where they make a delicious white wine. I proposed to my wife there in 2014 next to its stunning Duomo that somehow sneaks up on you on foot because of the narrow medieval streets that you have to traverse to get there. After I proposed we ate a fabulous meal and watched the sunset while listening alternately, to an opera practice and a lover’s quarrel in Italian coming from a near-by alley. It was perfect Italy.
Pilanesberg is where we took our honeymoon. We brought all of our guests that made it all the way to South Africa as well. Pilanesberg is an incredible wild animal game reserve in the northern part of South Africa. The whole park is in a giant extinct volcanic caldera. Even without the stunning natural landscape, which there is plenty of, the park is a wonderland of natural splendor. We were so pleased that our whole group was able to observe lions, hyenas, elephants, rhinos (black and white), cheetahs, hippos, and giraffes just to name a few. We even saw a pride of lions with a fresh wildebeest kill. Not only was the setting incredibly beautiful, but all of our friends from different periods in our lives that made it out developed a tight bond. We are all now planning our next adventure with the same crew.

What are some things still on your bucket list?

I want to travel somewhere where I can see the Northern Lights. I also want to travel to a really remote and chilly destination and stay in a cottage with no electricity for at least a month. I want to eat soup and take walks and smoke an old school tobacco pipe (I don’t smoke), and just completely disconnect.  I’m thinking something like the Orkney Islands.

Finally, how do you like working at Perrie & Associates so far?

It’s a great firm that has made me feel truly welcome and valued. I love our culture here and think that we actually follow through on the oft-said promise that “we are a family here”.


Halloween Haunts - Creating Your Neighborhood Haunted House


Published: 10/30/2018



The spookiest night of the year is upon us! Time to dress up in your boo best, watch some scary movies, and - oh no, you forgot - pass out candy! Is your home not ready for the little ghouls and goblins coming to knock on your door tomorrow night? Don't want to be the boring house on the block that turns off their light to ward off trick-or-treaters?

Never fear! We've got a few quick DIY tips for you to make your house haunted for Hallow's Eve!

Light the Night 

Nothing sets the tone for being spooked like some eerie lighting. If you have spotlights in your home, run to the hardware store or craft store to pick up different colored bulbs. A green, orange, or purple light on your home can set the tone, and is a quick and easy way to say you're ready for the night. If you're not feeling bright colors, swap out your bulbs for black-lights for a frightening look at your front door.
For safety for your trick-or-treaters, be sure to have enough light at your front door and around any stairs or small steps that could be a tripping hazard.

Boo Balloons 

If you have a bit of extra time and are looking to get creative, check out these easy ghost balloons from the DIY Network. All you need is white balloons, a sharpie, gauze fabric or tissue paper, and some string to hang them! If you have kids, they will also enjoy getting in on the fun and making your house a home for these spooky specters.

Perfect Pumpkins

Pumpkins are a Halloween staple and an easy and quick decoration that you can dress up or down. While the stores may be running out of their selection, that's okay! Any size or shape will do. Of course, you can carve your pumpkin into a nice, glowing jack-o-lantern, but if you don't have time, just draw a face with a sharpie or paint. If nothing else, a plain pumpkin on your doorstep is a nice nod to the fall season, and you can keep it out through Thanksgiving!

All Eyes on You 

Looking to go for a more chilling look for your front porch? Check out these eerie eyeballs from HouseLogic. Grab a few ping pong balls, some colored markers, and Christmas lights. Draw eye-balls on your ping-pong balls of all different colors and shapes. Then, just create a hole and attach them over the lights. If you don't have a string of lights no problem, just put a few eerie eyeballs in with the candy bowl for a fun fright!

Spooky Sountrack 

An easy and quick way to add ambiance to your home is with a Halloween playlist. Check out this one from Spotify or this Halloween Party playlist on Pandora. Or create your own playlist with all your frightening favorites like the Adam's Family and the Monster Mash!
Play your sountrack with a boombox or speaker by your door. No sound system? No problem! Putting your phone in plastic cup (like a Solo Cup) is a cheap yet effective amplifier!


With just a quick run to the store, you can easily pick up everything you need to make your home Halloween ready! But don't forget the candy!

Happy Haunting!


Explore Your Neighborhood: Fall Edition


Published: 9/26/2018


With the first day of fall last Saturday, the new season is officially here. Crisp weather is on it's way, and it's time to get out and enjoy all the autumn has to offer!

If you're looking for some ways to enjoy the new season, we have a few ideas to help you out!

Touchdown

Football season is finally here, and in the heart of SEC country and the home of the Atlanta Falcons, football fans are rejoicing.
Now is a great time to head over to the College Football Hall of Fame. The hall boasts memorabilia from all of your college football favorites, and the Chick-Fil-A fan experience gives you the chance to train like your favorite players!
After you've enjoyed some college football history, you can head over to the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium to watch the Atlanta Falcons play. The new stadium has great food, an awesome atmosphere, and a new retractable roof that is officially open for business. Check out the Falcon's schedule here.
If you aren't able to snag tickets to a game, check out a local high school football game on Friday night! It will bring back those wonderful high school memories and you can show your support to your local team!

Festivals and Fairs 

Step right up for the height of fair season! Fall is synonymous with county and state fairs, and there are plenty in the metro area!
The Georgia State Fair starts this Friday and will run through October 7 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Guests can enjoy pony rides, pig races, fair rides, a petting zoo and dozens of performers.
Down in Perry, the Georgia National Fair begins October 4 and will run through October 14. It's the biggest fair in the state and will include plenty of fair food, rides, livestock competitions, and performances.
For art and fresh apples, check out the Georgia Apple Festival in Ellijay for two weeks in October. There are also several local orchards in the area that you can visit for fresh fried apple pies, apple cider, and apple picking.
If you're looking for local neighborhood festivals, check out Atlanta.net's list here.

Get outside 

Cool weather is on the horizon, which means those leaves should be turning gorgeous fall colors soon!
This is a great time of year to get outside to find fall color and enjoy the outdoors.
A hike up the the top of Fort Mountain or Mount Yonah will provide some spectacular fall views, or the trails around Red Top Mountain or Stone Mountain can be a nice quick get away out of the city.
There are also plenty of places in the city to enjoy fall foliage including Inman Park, Piedmont Park, the Atlanta History Center and the Beltline. For more fall getaways, check out this list of beautiful autumn locations in the metro area.

Haunted Happenings 

Halloween is quickly approaching, and there are plenty of spook-tacular events to give you a fright if you dare to enter.
Of course, one of the biggest Halloween attractions in Atlanta is Netherworld. A walk-through haunted house, Netherworld is known throughout the scare industry for it's high-quality special effects, impressive makeup, and talented (and frightening) actors. There are two houses for guests to enter, and this year's haunts will feature Primal Scream and Mr. Grendel's 3D Funhouse of Horrors.
For frights and heights, visit Six Flags Over Georgia for Fright Fest. Zombies and ghouls take over the park at night, and several haunted houses and scare zones are placed throughout the park. Rides will also be open during the fest that runs until October 31st.
If you're looking for some less frightening Halloween fun, Little Five Points hosts a Halloween festival and parade on the 21st, and Oakland Cemetery keeps its gates open after dark around Halloween.

So if it's fall fun or terrifying frights you're searching for this fall metro-Atlanta and the State of Georgia has you covered! Happy Fall, y'all!

Fall Fix-Ups


Published: 9/12/2018



While it may not seem like fall in Georgia just yet with this heat, a new season is on it's way. Before we know it the leaves will be on the ground, and (hopefully) we'll be waking up to cool crisp mornings.

With the season change, many other things are adjusting along with the weather. For one, pumpkin spice everything is already hitting the shelves, and you're likely getting ready to freshen up your closet and bring out those jeans and long-sleeves. But what around your home needs changing?

Despite the current Georgia heat, fall is a great time for fixing up a few things around your home. As the weather gets cooler, it's easier to get outside and not only enjoy the new temperatures, but actually enjoy the time you spend making adjustments to your home's exterior. The season is also a great time to get ready for winter because you don't want to be left out in the cold trying to fix your heater when it's only 32 degrees.

Here are a few fall fixes we recommend:

Seal it Up

Fall is a great time to seal up the home and make sure you aren't losing out on precious heat (or in Georgia's case, air conditioning). Take some time to seal up cracks around windows and doors in your home. To find the leaks, HouseLogic recommends using a lit candle or incense stick and walking around your home near the windows and doors - if the light starts to flicker or the smoke begins blowing, you know where you need to add caulking to your home.

Raise the Roof

We don't mean throw a party, but do consider showing some love to your roof this fall. This season is a great time to make repairs or even replace the roof if it's needed. DiTech says it's important to inspect your shingles for any damage, and look for any nails that have come loose that may signify a loose shingle. Roofers are also busiest during the winter months, so calling them out this fall will allow you to beat the rush.

Clean the Gutters

Since you're already up on the roof, you may as well take a moment to clean out the gutters. It's best to wait until all the leaves are off the trees if you can. HouseLogic says that moisture is one of the biggest problems in maintaining a home, and leaves the collect can also hold moisture which can eventually ruin your gutters and cause backups. Sweep them free of leaves and other debris, and make sure all of your downspouts are working properly.

Help the Heater

You may not need it now, but soon your heater will be doing the work of your AC, so it's best to give it a helping hand. Inspect your heating units and replace furnace filters; you may also want to clean your fireplace and chimney before you're able to cozy up next to the fire.

Enhance the Exterior 

The weather is getting nicer, so while you're out enjoying it, you can also get something done, and also increase your ROI if you're looking to sell next spring. Forbes recommends sprucing up the siding, both by pressure washing your home and re-painting the siding if it's needed. Also think about updating and cleaning the deck. Replace splintering or cracked boards, and give it a pressure wash treatment as well so you can fully enjoy those cool fall evenings to come.

Organize the Garage 

This project will get you outside, but more importantly, will help you get your cars inside this winter. It's easy for the garage to become piled with lawn equipment, bikes, and beach toys from the summer. As HouseLogic states, there are countless organizational tools and tricks that you can use to tidy up the garage. While you're there, move any snow equipment to the front where it's easily accessible and take stock of what you have. That way, when the first "snow" in Georgia hits and the kids are ready to play, you will be too! And you won't have to rush to the hardware store before they run out of sleds!



FMLS Showcase 2018


Published: 8/22/2018




We're only one day away from one of the biggest real estate events of the year - the 2018 FMLS Trade Show!

The Southeast Residential Real Estate Trade Show is tomorrow, August 23 from 9:30 to 4:30 at the Cobb Galleria, and we here at Perrie & Associates could not be more excited at this event!

The event brings together realtors, real estate professionals, and other affiliated industries for a day of networking and learning.

More than 3,000 industry professionals are expected to attend this year's event and over 140 industry vendors will be represented at the show. National and regional speakers will be in attendance to discuss timely issues facing the industry, making this a great opportunity for those working in real estate.

For this year's 18th annual show, technology use in the industry will be a primary focus.

More than 15 presenters will hit the stage covering various topics ranging from market stat apps to home staging, and with three theaters running simultaneously, there is always something to learn.

Mark Toro, founder and President of North American Properties, is this year's keynote speaker and will be discussing the "secret sauce" needed to create communities.

"From the repositioning of Atlanta Station and redevelopment of Colony Square to the development of Avalon and Revel, [Toro's] team of 'Experience Makers' redefines how community is created to respond to today's consumer. [Toro] will share what goes into assuring that NAP's properties lead the industry in value creation, both economic and social."

In addition, Mary Hess will demonstrate and discuss market stat tools and apps that can help you become the local housing expert, and Sean Moss will help agents solve their buyer's number one problem of a down payment.

The trade show will also be plugged into technology this year with the Socio App, that will send out networking and event announcements throughout the day.

With all of the educational, networking and business opportunities, it is clear to see why so many call the FMLS Showcase "Hands down - the best trade show value in the real estate market - anywhere!"

Tickets to the showcase are $10 if purchased by August 22, and $15 on the day of the show with proceeds benefiting Habitat for Humanity.

Perrie & Associates has truly enjoyed participating in this event over the years, and we are excited to see you on August 23! Be sure to stop by and see us! We will have great giveaways and prizes we know you will love!

For a complete list of presenters, a schedule of the day's seminars, and a map of the event and booths, visit FMLS Showcase Trade Show.

iBuyer Beware - The Costs of Selling to Startups


Published: 8/8/2018




With all the technology that's out there now, it seems like some jobs are becoming obsolete. Machines have replaced assembly line workers, and even self-checkout machines are taking over grocery stores. But will there be a technology to replace the Realtor?

Some services on the market now that claim to do so, letting sellers "skip" the negotiation process and the work with a real estate agent. These iBuyers, such as Knock, OpenDoor, and OfferPad aim to sell your home quickly and conveniently, often allowing homeowners to close on their home in a matter of days. But does speed and convenience beat out the quality of a trained Realtor? Many industry experts say no.

Most of the iBuyers operate in a similar fashion. A seller contacts the company about selling their home, and the investors use what's called an automated valuation model to determine an approximate value of the home. According to MetroBrokers, this model uses tax records and comps to determine the home's value. Many of the companies make the offer site-unseen, although Knock will make an in-home valuation if requested.

If the iBuyer's offer is accepted, an inspector is sent out to the home to note changes that they feel need to be made before the home is sold. The seller can choose to repair the problems on the list or deduct the costs out of the final price of the home. Once the repairs are addressed, the home is sold to the iBuyer and the seller can close.

For those looking to move quickly for a job or other house, an iBuyer may be the right fit. But as they say, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

As Forbes notes in their analysis of iBuyers, there isn't a person on the other side of the transaction, there's an investor - and investors like to make money. Although the iBuyers claim to skip the fees of going through a Realtor, they still charge a 6% commission, the same commission as most Georgia realtors. Additionally, they charge more fees to account for the risk they are taking in buying a home unseen, having costs potentially add up, or being unable to sell the property for a profit. Though Forbes states there isn't a lot of data on this, they estimate that the cost could be "up to more than 10% of the fair market value of a home.

One local Atlanta agent put the iBuyers to the test. In his article on Inman and also published on WFG National Title Insurance, Chad Schernikau used his own home in the Atlanta area to compare the offers from Knock, OfferPad, and Open Door.

The home, a 1950's renovated ranch style, was updated to add more than 1,500 square feet to the home along with a basement, and was valued at $495,000. Knock's final purchase price offer came in at $373,00 after Schernikau asked for an in-home valuation, and included approximately $22,000 in fees, leaving him with $351,000. OfferPad's purchase price offer came in at $265,000 with fees of more than $15,000. On OpenDoor, a different home was used because the company doesn't buy old homes, but the final difference between the company and a traditional realtor totaled a little more than $45,000.

Clearly, based on price alone, there is cause for concern to sell to these properties. But in addition to low valuations, as Schernikau mentions, these iBuyers lack the human component of real estate. An agent is better qualified to value your home with their knowledge of the local market and what buyers are looking for. They can also help you negotiate the cost of repairs and other fees associated with closing, rather than just paying what an appraiser asks out right. Not only that, but many agents we've spoken to said it's also difficult to get in touch with these companies, and they aren't always available like many Realtors.

For some sellers who are in a rush or need cash quickly, an iBuyer may be the right choice, but it's hard to deny the expertise and quality that a Realtor can provide. After all, both buying and selling a home can be an emotional and important step in life, and it's important to have someone physically by your side to help you through the process.

Mid-Year Contract Changes


Published: 7/31/2018


Beginning August 1, new changes to the GAR Purchase and Sale Agreement will go into effect.

Changes are as follows: 

On the Purchase and Sale Agreement (F20), changes were made to modify language on section B7 regarding the disbursement of earnest money reflecting changes stating that the disbursement of an earnest money check constitutes liquidated damages in the even that the transaction fails to close due to default by the Buyer. This means the Seller waives any right to assert a claim for a specific performance.

Language referencing the Seller's rejection of the disbursement of the earnest money check has also been removed, and the Rights of Buyer or Seller have been broken into two sections titled "Remedies of Seller" and "Remedies of Buyer".

These same changes were made to the Purchase and Sale Agreement forms for purchases on New Construction (F23), Lots (F27), Land (F34), and Leased Properties (F36).

In the event that a transaction falls through wherein the Seller is the defaulting party, a Buyer is now able to seek the specific performance of the contract or terminate the contract after notifying the seller and holder of the earnest money. If this is the case, all earnest money deposits and other payments made by the Buyer will be returned to the Buyer.

What it all means 

In the past, both the Buyer and Seller could pursue all lawful remedies including consequential damages, closing fees, and moving expenses. Now, the seller's sole remedy for a Buyer's breach in contract is to accept the earnest money, meaning that sellers will likely start asking for more earnest money as a result.
For the Buyer, their options for Seller's default are now to either sue for specific performance, or terminate the contract with the return of the earnest money.

For more information on the changes, you can read Georgia Association of Realtors General Counsel Seth Weissman's article here.

Back To School


Published: 7/25/2018




It's hard to believe, but the time for backpack shopping and catching the bus is upon us. That's right - schools all over the state of Georgia are about to start.

Many schools have their first day sometime during the first week in August, but some counties, including Cobb and Cherokee, start as early as August 1. Be prepared as school buses start hitting the road and be sure to watch out for students early in the morning in your neighborhood.

As many in the real estate industry know, the summer is the best time to move for families, and it has certainly been a busy season. If you have moved with your family, then it's likely your children may be starting a new school. While that can be an exciting transition, it can also be a challenge for some students to leave their old school behind and start with a blank slate at a new school.

If you are preparing your students for that transition, we have a few tips to make the first day of school go off with out a hitch and have your kids jumping off the bus with a big smile.

Open House/ Meet and Greet

One of the easiest and quickest ways to make your child feel at ease is to check out the open house or meet and greet that is held before school starts. Many counties will host such an event a day or two before school either in the morning or evening. This is a great opportunity for students and parents to meet their teacher for the year, learn where their classroom is, and get acquainted with their new school.
If you aren't able to attend the meet and greet, email your student's teacher and ask them questions about the year and their classroom, and also let them know that you are new to the area. Having a familiar face on the first day and letting them know the situation can really make a child feel more at ease in their new classroom.

Stock Supplies 

School supply shopping doesn't have to be a thing of dread. Let your child help and have fun with it! While you don't have to buy all new everything, maybe let them choose one accessory, like a book bag or pencil box, that they are excited about.
A few days before school, pack school supplies with your child. Show them everything that they have for the first day of school and let them know that they will be prepared!

Encourage Participation 

Another great way to quickly get accustomed with a new school is to participate in extra curricular activities. Many sports teams will probably begin practicing a few weeks before school, or will at least have meetings early on to get established. Encourage your child to try something new at their school and participate!
In high school this may be a bit easier with a variety of sports and activities to choose from, but elementary students can get involved too with neighborhood and community sports.

Get Some Sleep 

Summer is a time for hanging at the pool, playing outside, and sleeping! It's likely that kids aren't accustom to the early morning wake up call that is needed to get to school on time after two months away, but it is incredibly important to get enough sleep so they can be ready to learn.
A few weeks before school, start having them wake up earlier and earlier each day. It doesn't have to be a dramatic change, maybe just 15 minutes every other day. Those small increases can build up to the time they need to wake up for school, so that way on the first day, they will bounce out of bed ready to go!

Talk it Up 

While it's important to make sure your child is ready with supplies and sleep, it's also necessary to talk to them about their new school and ask them how they are feeling.
You don't have to have a formal sit-down with them, but start asking them what they are excited about, what they are nervous about, and any questions they may have about their new school. Understanding how your child is feeling about school will help you understand what they need and how you can help them be prepared.

Trial Run 

Taking a trial run of the first day goes hand-in-hand with attending open house, but there are other things to consider for the first day besides where your child's classroom is. If they will be riding the bus, walk with them to the bus stop and talk to them about how to be safe when waiting for and riding the bus.
If you will be driving them to school or picking them, make sure they know where to go and how to get to their classroom from the drop-off location. In addition, talk with your kids about what happens after they get home from school. Will a parent be home with them, or will they be with friends or siblings? Letting them know what to expect for all parts of the day can calm their nerves and help them get through the first day.

Merge the Old and New 

Starting at a new school can certainly be exciting, but it can also be a challenge to let go of an old school and friends. That's why it's important to merge the old with the new.
Encourage your child to make new friends, but also be sure to keep in touch with old friends from your last neighborhood or school. Whether that is a play date on the weekends or becoming pen pals, it will make your child feel that they haven't left everything behind and they will always have friends wherever they go.
If you had specific first-day traditions in your old home, keep them going at your new one, and if you want, make a new tradition. It can be as simple as eating pancakes or taking a picture, but having keeping old traditions will allow your child to have something familiar on their first day.

Get involved 

Your child is the star of the show when it comes to starting at a new school, but you can definitely be a great supporting actor!
Talk with your child's teacher and the school's PTA to see how you can get involved with the school. Attend a PTA meeting to learn about what's happening at the school, or, if you're teacher needs volunteers, go and help out by reading to your child's class or chaperoning a field trip. When your child sees that you are participating in their new environment as well, they will be encouraged to participate themselves, and will also feel more at ease knowing you are there.

Stay Positive 

Throughout the transition of attending a new school, it is most important to stay positive. Drop them off for their first day with a smile, a warm hug, and encouragement, and follow up with interest when they get home. If you approach the new community with a positive attitude, your kids will follow suit!




The Art of Networking


Published: 7/11/2018




In the real estate industry, it's all about networking. No matter where you go, there is someone to meet and connect with. One connection can lead to another, which could lead to a sale or future partner, and it just continues to trickle down from there. The more you network, the more you have the chance to receive referrals that can grow your business, which builds your name to be top-of-mind.

However, networking can be a daunting task. Whether you're in a room full of people or just at a small gathering, the pressure of feeling like you have to make lasting connections and sell your business can be overwhelming. But it doesn't have to be. Check out some of our easy tips to master the art of networking:

Be Yourself 

It sounds cliche and maybe a bit over stated, but one of the most important tips when making new connections is to be yourself. Don't feel like you have to be the most flashy or most knowledgeable in the room. Be confident in who you are, what you do, and what you know. It's the easiest way to make a genuine connection that you can later build to help your business.

Listen 

While it's important to talk to others while at a networking event, it's almost more important to listen. When you join in on a conversation, the experts at Forbes recommend taking a few minutes to simply listen to what the group is discussing. Don't immediately jump in to introduce yourself and talk up your business. When you do speak up, show you were listening by discussing your own opinions or bringing up another key aspect on the topic.

Bring a Friend 

If you're on a real estate team or have a good friend in the industry, see if they will come along. It's much easier to approach others when you aren't alone, and you can both talk each other up! It takes the pressure off having to talk about yourself, you'll feel more comfortable knowing at least one person at the event.

Keep it Casual 

According to the experts, the days of the hard sell are over. As Zillow notes, you wouldn't go to a party and begin frantically handing out business cards and asking if people are ready to sell their home. The same rules apply to networking.
Stick to simple conversation starters and ask about others' opinions on a new trend or what brought them to the event. Remember, it's likely that you all have the real estate industry in common, so you already have plenty to talk about right there! You don't have to complain about the state of the market, but engage others in ideas on business or even just personal experiences and anecdotes.

Social Media 

While not a networking tip for face-to-face interactions, social media can play a big role in your connectivity with potential clients and business partners. According to Entrpreneur, real estate professional can greatly benefit from using social platforms to share their knowledge with clients and promote properties and services. Similar to a conversation - be sure to be yourself and be authentic with your posts. Social media does not have to be a formal means of communication and you will best benefit by responding and interacting with clients and connections on various platforms.

Connect with Community 

In addition to connecting with other professionals, it's important to connect with those in the community you serve. Whether it's sponsoring a local sports team, participating in a neighborhood festival, or volunteering with area groups or organizations, you can meet people in your neighborhoods and build local connections that can help support and grow your business. Also, you will feel better knowing that you are doing good in your own community!


A Family Fun Summer


Published: 6/27/2018


June is almost over, signifying the unofficial halfway point of summer, and if you have kids at home, you're probably starting to hear every parent's summer nightmare - "Mom, dad, I'm bored!"

Any suggestion is met with a 'no' or a 'but I've already done that!', and the option for going to the pool has probably been exhausted. If you're facing this battle at this time during summer vacation, or if you're just looking to shake things up, never fear! We've rounded up some of the best summer activities and attractions in Atlanta for kids.


Marvelous Museums 

If you have a young scientist to entertain, there are several great science museums around the metro area.
Fernbank Museum of Natural History features dinosaurs, rocks, and fossils, not to mention an IMAX theater. Their WildWoods exhibit features fun walkways through the forest near the museum as well as a nature inspired playground. Inside, the NatureQuest area has climbing spots and animal encounters for the whole family to enjoy.
Tellus Science museum in Cartersville is another great place to take budding scientists with galleries on fossils, vehicles and airplanes, and a solar house. Their planetarium also features showings of each night's sky and a trip across the galaxy with the gang from Sesame Street.
For a more hands-on and interactive museum, check out the LegoLand Discovery Center that features worlds made entirely of Legos, rides, games, and a builder's academy for kids to test out their architecture skills.
The Children's Museum of Atlanta is another great museum full of interactive exhibits. There is a magical castle to play in, a rocket to launch, an art studio, and performances throughout the day.
If you're looking for more stellar performances, check out the Center for Puppetry Arts. The museum features puppets from around the world including some Muppets and Sesame Street favorites, and there are multiple performances that kids will love!


Animal Attractions 

It's hard not to love some cute critters, and Atlanta offers several opportunities for animal encounters.
Tried and true, Zoo Atlanta is a great place to spend the day with the kids. With playgrounds, a train ride, a carousel, and of course a zoo full of awesome animals, there's plenty to see. Be sure to check out the animal encounters and presentation schedule when you arrive to get even more up-close-and-personal with furry friends.
If you're kids are singing "Under the Sea" on repeat, maybe a trip to the Georgia Aquarium would be best for them this summer. With the new additions of puffins, the dolphin experience, and a virtual reality dive into a prehistoric ocean, the trip will still feel fresh a new even if you've been once before.
For a true experience with nature, head out to the Chattachoochee Nature Center, which boasts a wildlife center, daily animal presentations, and miles of walking trails for you to get out and enjoy the outdoors.

Parks 

You won't mind the heat if you're having fun, and Atlanta offers several parks to play in and enjoy.
Of course, you won't find more thrills and spills than at Six Flags over Georgia. The new Twisted Cyclone, a wooden and steel roller coaster, is now open, and there are plenty of rides and games for all members of the family. To beat the heat and still get your adrenaline pumping, check out Six Flags White Water.
If you're looking for a more casual way to enjoy the outdoors, Centennial Olympic Park has a number of great features including a splash pad that kids can play in that also has a synchronized show at various points in the day. Around the area there are other great attractions including SkyView Atlanta and the World of Coke to extend your day of fun.
Historic Fourth Ward Park has lots of green space and another splash pad and is located just off the Beltline. For more playgrounds in the metro area, check out Atlanta.net's list of the top 21 playgrounds here.
Further from the city is Stone Mountain. You can hike up the mountain to some spectacular views if you want the kids to burn off some energy, or there is a tram that can take you up the mountain with a little less effort. The park also boasts a ropes course for kids, petting zoo, putt putt golf, and a number of shows throughout the day, including the Lasershow Spectacular.

Whether you spend the day learning something new or enjoying the outdoors, there is something for every kid in the Atlanta area. It's not too hard to find somewhere to shake up the summer routine, and soon those complaints of "I'm bored" will be replaced with "best summer ever!"


Going Green in your Home


Published: 6/13/2018



We all know going green is good for the environment, and it's important to help conserve resources to help out planet Earth. You've heard of reduce, reuse, recycle, and you know you should use paper instead of plastic, and turn the water off while you're brushing your teeth. But what can your home be doing to be more green?

If you have the capability to install solar panels on your roof and live "off-the-grid," that's great, but it's probably not an option for everyone. However, there are still a few small changes you can make to ensure that your house is the most environmentally friendly it can be.


Quick Fixes

To start saving on your energy bill, consider switching your light bulbs to be more energy efficient. There are a wide variety of energy saving bulbs available, but you should concentrate on finding bulbs that are either LED, halogen incandescent, or compact fluorescent lamps. These bulbs save between 20 to 80 percent more energy and last longer, and because energy is created through the burning of fossil fuels, you can help reduce your carbon footprint. You'll also see a little extra cash back in your pocket from saving on your power bill, and installing dimmer switches in the main rooms of your home can also help reduce your consumption of electricity.
If you're unable to make the switch on your light bulbs, just focus on flipping the switch more often. Be sure lights are turned off in rooms you aren't in and unplug and shutdown any electronics or devices while they aren't being used.

For water reducing tricks, This Old House recommends starting in your bathroom with a quick test of your shower. Place a 1 gallon bucket under the running water and see how long it takes to fill. If it's less than 20 seconds, your shower head is releasing too much water. Replace it with one that sprays 1.5 gallons per minute, and you could save nearly 14,000 gallons of water per year, plus save a little on your utility bills.
Check for leaks coming from your toilet using a dyeing trick. Pour food coloring into the bowl, and see if any of the color has seeped after two hours. If it has, your tank's flapper is leaking, which can waste up to a gallon a minute, or more than 43,0000 gallons a month. You can buy a replacement flapper assembly at most hardware stores and take care of that pesky leak in no time.


Appliances

According to HomeAdvisor, appliances can be the biggest source of energy consumption in the home, particularly the refrigerator. If you're looking at replacing appliances, be sure to consider Energy Star appliances which are designed to meet the energy savings standards from the EPA and Department of Energy.
Don't worry though if you aren't able to replace your fridge just yet, there are still ways you can cut down on it's energy consumption and save a few dollars. Take the temperature of your refrigerator by placing an appliance thermostat in a glass of water in the center of your fridge and freezer and leave overnight. The fridge should be between 37 and 40 degrees F, with the freezer staying between 0 and 5 degrees. If your thermometer says it's any cooler, bump up the settings to save on energy.

Your dishwasher can also be an energy and water thief as well. Again, if you're making the appliance switch, Energy Star is the way to go;  if not, just be sure to run the dishwasher when it's completely full so you are wasting unnecessary water or energy.
Also, switching to a front loading washing machine from a top-loading can help save water, as top load machines use double the amount of water.

Major Renovations

If you're in the middle of renovations or looking to redecorate, there are some big ways you can go green in the design process.
Flooring is certainly not a green product in many homes. According to HomeAdvisor, carpet padding is made from petroleum, which is non renewable and requires lots of energy, and most old carpet ends up in landfills rather than being recycled. Eco-friendly flooring includes bamboo, cork, stone, tile, or linoleum, and if you have to go with carpet, look for the Green Label or Green Label Plus seal.
Outside, plant trees strategically on the south and west sides of the home to provide more shade, particularly on the HVAC unit. This can save up to $250 a year!

For more tips on how to go green in your home, check out Good Housekeeping's tricks here and find new ways to reduce your carbon footprint every day!



Super Smart Home


Published: 5/23/2018



You know about Amazon Echo, the Roomba, and you may have even heard of the Nest - but did you know there's a robot to mow your lawn and a way to measure the amount of energy you use in your home?

There's seemingly endless opportunities today to make your house a smart home, and there's technology available for practically every room in the house. In fact, Amazon recently announced their plans to create an entire smart community in Cumming with homes that allow owners to be completely hands-free and live more conveniently.

Using smart-home products allows homeowners to not only use their utilities more easily and comfortably, but they can also be major money savers. Most smart technology aims at being more efficient at managing a home's utilities, optimizing their use. Home automation can also improve the safety of a home with improved video surveillance,

As these smart-home products become more commonplace, their costs have come down to be more convenient and available to everyone. If you're thinking about making your home more connected, here are a few products to consider.


Lighting 

To set the connected mood throughout your house, consider smart lighting, starting with the Phillips Hue light bulbs. These LED bulbs save money and energy and can easily be dimmed or brightened using the Phillips app for iPhone or Android. The app also has pre-programmed settings to create an "energized" or "calm" room, and colors can also be set to create a fun atmosphere.
You can also easily install smart plugs that communicate with your Amazon Alexa or other home hub controller, allowing you to turn a light on or off simply by touching a button on an app or using verbal commands.

Security and Surveillance 

There are a number of smart security and surveillance systems available that connect with home controllers. PC Mag recommends the Smart Lock Pro from August Home, a door locking system that includes WiFi connectivity, a door sensor that alerts you if the door is open or left ajar, and even a timer that allows you to set a time for the door to be automatically locked or unlocked.
For video surveillance, the Arlo Pro 2 is an outdoor surveillance system that has excellent video quality and is compatible with other smart home products. The weatherproof camera has a 130 degree view and can be accessed through an app or online browser. You can also use geofencing to set a perimeter around your home that will be armed when you are away, and disarmed when you are home.
PC Mag's list of the Best Smart Home Products of 2018 recommends several other safety and surveillance alternatives, which you can check out here.

Thermostats 

The Nest Learning Thermostat is no stranger to popularity, but for good reason. In the first week of use, it learns your heating and cooling habits, then sets a schedule for your home based on your preferences. The Nest can also detect your presence and will go into ECO (energy conservation) mode when it thinks you are not home, saving you money on your heating and air conditioning bill.
The Ecobee is also another option for controlling the temperature in your home. It includes WiFi connectivity and room control sensors to ensure that the temperature is consistent throughout the room where it is placed. Comfort Settings can also be set on the device to set temperatures for when you are sleeping, at home, or on vacation.

In addition to the utilities in your home, there are also a number of other smart gadgets to help with some of the smaller things in life, such as your sprinkler system, or a control panel to help you manage all of your new smart home devices.

Whether you go big and decide to automate your entire home, or start small with just a few smart plugs, you can expect to see these products gain popularity in homes as they make our lives more convenient and connected.

Mini Movers - How to Help Your Child Prepare for a Move


Published: 5/9/2018



As the start of summer and the end of school looms near, many families are preparing to pack up and move to a new home. While parents may be excited about the new possibilities a new house offers, some children may be feeling sad to leave their friends and comforts of home behind. It's important for parents to prepare their children for a change, and even real estate agents can help play a part in getting kids ready for the transition.

One of the most important things to remember when moving with kids is to communicate. Involving them in the process and keeping them updated will help them to better understand what is happening. Young children may not understand the reasons for moving such as a new job or a larger home; it's easy for them to focus on what all they will no longer have.

Instead, show them what all the new home has to offer, whether that be a bigger bedroom, a fun basement, a pool, or a big backyard. If you can, try to take them to the new home before they move and walk through a normal day in your new home. If you're unable to tour the home, have your real estate agent send over pictures of the new home and consider making a model with your child of their new bedroom.

In addition to preparing them for their new house, do some research and explore your future neighborhood with your child. Explain the new options they will have at their new school, tell them about any sports teams or hobbies near your home that they can join, and show them other interesting and fun activities that you can explore on a map. Consider asking your real estate agent to help connect your child with other kids in the neighborhood or with a local coach or leader. They can begin a fun pen-pal relationship that can help ease the transition.

It's of course important to prepare your children for their new future neighborhood, but don't forget to say goodbye to the old one. Consider throwing a going-away party where your child and their friends can exchange new addresses and create lasting memories in their old home before saying goodbye. Leslie Levine recommended to HGTV passing out goody-bags with self-addressed and stamped envelopes to your child's friends making it easier for them to receive mail and keep in touch. If you don't have time for a party, make sure to get contact information from friends and keep photos of your old home for your child so they can look back on the memories they made there.

On moving day, despite the chaos that is likely all around, do your best to remain positive and excited for your child. Pack a personal belongings bag for each family member, and allow your child to pick 2 to 3 of their favorite toys to keep with them for the first night in the new home. Think about other ways to make moving day exciting as well, such as camping out in the living room for the first night, or surprising them with a new toy or item in their bedroom.

As with many things, your attitude can make or break the transition of moving for your child. If you remain positive and approach the move as an exciting new adventure, your kid will do the same. It's okay to express the emotions you feel about leaving your old home, but always stay positive when preparing for the new neighborhood. An uplifting attitude can make all the difference, and soon your child will be playing with new friends and loving their new home in no time.

Containing the Clutter


Published: 4/25/2018



The busy season of real estate season is here and it's only going to get busier as the summer rolls in. Before everything gets too hectic, now is a great time to sit down and get yourself organized as we head into the summer months. 

Whether it's perfecting your filing system, updating your calendars, or changing your regular routine, even small adjustments to your organization can mean big differences to your productivity. 

We've organized a few tips  for you on where you can save time and contain the clutter - 


Filing System

From listings to contracts to termite letters and everything in between, real estate agents have a lot of paperwork to keep up with, so a filing system is key. 
There are a number of ways to approach your filing, but there are a few main categories you should keep in mind including buyers, sellers, legal documents and administrative processes. 
Depending on your preference, you can sort listings by neighborhood or by client. You can also separate files withing those categories by maps, expense reports, and legal documents. 
It's also important to keep files for administrative tasks such as bill payments and other work expenses. 
Consider using a color coding or labeling system, but remember that whichever system you chose, you should use the same system throughout, including any files you may work on at home. Using a standardized method in all areas where you work will help you be more organized and more efficient with your time filing. 
Finally, don't forget to take the time to purge files. Don't keep what you don't need, but do be mindful of any legal documents you may need in the future. 
If you're looking for a full scale filing plan, check out these tips from Denise Lones at Broker Agent Advisor. 

Calendar

Showings, open houses, closings, marketing events- there's lots to keep up with on a Realtor's schedule, so a coordinated calendar is a must. 
Consider using one calendar for everything you plan from home showings to personal events. Use color codes to distinguish between work functions and personal plans, and if you're keeping track of kids' schedules too, be sure they have their own color as well and a place on your calendar. 
Whether you go digital or paper is up to you; just be sure whatever method you use is easy for you to use and understand. If you're going with paper, think about having a smaller, pocket sized planner where you can copy in events from your larger desk calendar. If you go digital, be sure to merge all your calendar from Google and iPhone so you don't have some events on one calendar and not the other. 
In addition to using one system, plan reminders for your events too. If you know you have a marketing event coming up, set a reminder a week before hand to gather business cards and other promotional materials. If you're headed to a party, a quick reminder to pick up a bottle of wine a day or two before the event can be a life saver. 
Check out the apps IFTTT and Zapier - both are "if this, then that" apps that allow you to set up systems in place based on what's happening in other applications. Without using any applications, you can set up an automation such as "If my Google Calendar has an upcoming appointment, send me a reminder text with the date, time and location." 

In the Car 

In Realtor Mag, Barbara Ballinger brought up the excellent point that as real estate agents travel from house showings to closings and back again, they often spend a lot of time in their car. This means that you're likely trying to carry papers with you as you travel as well, and we all know how quickly a sharp turn or strong wind can send those papers flying and turn you car into a messy filing cabinet.
To prevent this, she recommends plastic containers with lids that can be used as file holders. If you're headed out to hit the pavements and look at listing with clients, bring their file along for the ride, but keep it in the trunk or backseat in these plastic containers. This will prevent papers from flying around, and you can still be organized and prepared. 
Also consider keeping a lap desk stored in your car to take quick notes if need be, and another great tip from Realtor Mag is to keep an envelope in your driver door pocket. Anytime you have expenses that need to be recorded, store the receipts in the envelope and sort through them later to keep track of your costs for the year. 

On the Phone 

Because agents are always on the go, it's likely that your smartphone or tablet contains a large part of your life.
There are a number of apps that can help with organization and productivity from team communication to personal to-do lists. For a comprehensive archive, check out PC Mag's Best Productivity Apps of 2018 

Some of the best include Slack, a team messenger app that allows you to search through messages and send not only group messages but direct messages to individuals. There are also different categories that can be set up to discuss relevant information to that topic, and can be a great option for real estate teams. 
For personal use, check out Todoist - a task manager app that allows you to organize tasks based on type and date that can also send you reminders and help keep you on task. Think of it as a digital to-do list, and we all know how great that feeling is of checking something off that list! 

Personalize It 

The most important part of getting organized is finding a system that works for you. If you work better in the digital world, keep your paperwork and calendar on your computer. If you remember everything best when it's written down, grab some sticky notes and write reminders! 
To increase your productivity, you have to work within a plan that best suits your needs and habits. Take some time to figure out what your organizational habits are, then sit down to arrange your desk. 

It may take some time, but you'll find that once you have everything in it's place, you'll be doing much more much quicker - just in time for the summer real estate season!


Keep Learning in Real Estate


Published: 4/11/2018





If you've been in the real estate industry long, you know there's always something changing. Whether it's a new law, a changing market, or just changing styles, it's always important to be informed and keep track of what's up-and-coming.

If you're wondering where to look first, we've rounded up a few resources for you to check out so you can stay in the know.


Organizations

There are numerous real estate organizations out there to keep you connected and informed. The Georgia Association of Realtors  provides educational classes both in the classroom and on-line, and their website offers various articles and research including statewide housing statistics published every month. Check out their schedule of classes here and you can also sign up for the Georgia Realtor magazine published seasonally.
Local county organization are also a great way to continue learning and be in-the-know. The Cobb Association of Realtors provides continuing education classes, and local networking events provide an opportunity to discuss new market trends with other professionals.

Real Estate News

If you can't make it out to a class or event, you can still learn from your couch!
There are some great real estate news sources out there to keep you up-to-date about the neighborhood.
Curbed Atlanta has everything from local listings to new developments and plans in and around the metro area. The site also discusses happenings that can affect real estate and may be of interest to your clients such as transportation, local sports, and mapped activities around the area.
Realty Times is a great place for advice for homeowners, sellers, and agents alike. If your clients are worried about a particular step in the process, there is likely an advice column that can give them some peace-of-mind and a few ideas about what the can expect or what they should do. Market conditions are also reported, and local professionals can submit their own market observations about their neighborhood for others.

Conferences and Events 

Couch surfing is great and convenient, but it never hurts to get out the door, go to an event, and talk to others about what their seeing out there in the neighborhood. From local marketing and social events with real estate organization to large-scale trade shows, conferences and events are a central hub of learning.
One of the largest, the Southeast Residential Real Estate Trade Show, happens right here at the Cobb Galleria, just a few steps from the Perrie & Associates office! With more than 160 booths featuring local real estate vendors and professionals and over 10 seminars throughout the day, the showcase is a great place to learn about what's up-and-coming in the market and get advice and make connections.
The Georgia Association of Realtors also hosts an annual conference in September with classes and speakers, and there are plenty of events throughout Atlanta to attend!



Explore Your Neighborhood - Spring Break Edition


Published: 3/28/2018



Spring break is next week, but you don't have to go out of town to have a great time!

Plan a stay-cation in your neighborhood this spring break! There are plenty of festivals, gardens, and spring break specials to explore and we've compiled a list of spring fun just for you!


Festivals

With the warmer temperatures on the way, it's time to fling into festival season!
Celebrate the seasonal blooms at the 82nd annual Atlanta Dogwood Festival April 13th and 14th. With food trucks, live entertainment and local artisan booths, there is plenty to explore underneath the blooming dogwoods at Piedmont Park.
In Norcross, Art on the Chattahoochee, held April 15, will feature food trucks, live entertainment, vendors, and a kids art space a chalk contest. Lemonade Days will be in Dunwoody from April 18th through 22 and will include carnival rides, a 5K, and the popular Dunwoody Idol competition.
Many local cities and downtowns have also started their First Friday events, with small businesses and vendors celebrating on the first Friday of every month. Check with your city and see what's happening in your neighborhood!


Spring Color

The buds are in bloom and it's a great time to get out and smell the tulips!
Gardens across the state are bursting with color, and there are a few in the metro-area that have some fantastic flora and fauna to check out this time of year.
The Atlanta Botanical Gardens located in Midtown is currently celebrating Atlanta Blooms! with hundreds of colorful daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths blossoming in their beds. Their Orchid Daze event will also continue through April 8th with thousands of tropical blossoms featured in their greenhouses.
Of course, for the quintessential Georgian azaleas, look no further than Callaway Gardens. With more than 2,500 acres of of azaleas and walking trails, the resort also has special spring events and activities making it a great spring break getaway.
A bit of a drive, Gibbs Gardens is finishing up their color fest full of daffodils through April 15th, and the Goizueta Gardens at the Atlanta History Center are also in full bloom this time of year.


Get Active

If you've been slacking on your New Year's Resolution to be more active, there is no excuse now! Spring is the perfect weather for getting outside and getting active before the humidity of Georgia summers hit us full blast.
Of course, the Atlanta Beltline is an easy walk with plenty to keep you entertained along it's route, and there are also a host of fitness classes available as well!
In Cobb County, the Silver Comet Trail is a great space for walking, running, and biking, and connects Cobb to Paulding and Polk counties. Kennesaw Mountain and Sope Creek are also great places to get outdoors and hike up the mountain or by the river.
For true nature lovers, there's the Chattahoochee Nature Center which overs five wooded hiking trails, a wildlife center and nature programs and activities for the whole family!


Spring Break Specials 

There are a number of local business and attractions hosting spring break camps and activities for families and kids over the next week!
Six Flags Over Georgia will be open for special spring break thrills and spills from March 31 through April 8, and Stone Mountain Park will host Spring FUN Break, with a dog stunt group, live music, selfies with the Easter Bunny and Rocky the Dog, laser tag, and karaoke!
Zoo Atlanta will be hold a Safari Day Camp April 2 through April 6 with different and educational themes, and the Dunwoody and Chattahoochee nature centers are also hosting camps during spring break.
For more camps and spring break specials, check out this list here.

Whether you explore the city, the suburbs, or even just your backyard, enjoy the warm weather spring has to offer and have a great spring break!

. . .

Perrie & Associates, LLC is a full-service law firm centered around real estate property. We strive to provide big firm expertise with small firm concern for your interests. We are committed to focusing our legal expertise to provide you with the highest quality services in a timely and cost efficient manner. The attorneys and team members of our firm take great pride in providing the right solutions to our clients' needs. Give us a call to schedule a closing or for legal consultation!

Spring Cleaning Suggestions


Published: 3/14/2018



Despite this Georgia cold snap that has us bundling up in sweaters and coats, spring is quickly approaching! Be ready for the warmer weather by getting ahead on your spring cleaning!

Not sure where to start? Here are a few tips to have your home shining like new and ready for the spring season.

Around the House

Spring cleaning isn't just a time for loading the laundry and vacuuming the floors on the weekends - it's a great time to do a deep clean in all areas of the house, and get to some of those spots you don't always clean.
Start by dusting all areas of your home, and don't forget those hard to reach areas like the ceiling fans, tops of cabinets, doorways, and baseboards. Deep clean your floors by cleaning carpets and waxing hardwood floors and tile, and consider refinishing and cleaning the grout on tile floors.
After you've cleaned the dryer, let it help you clean your drapes by running them through a gentle drying cycle with a damp cloth to attract the dust, and rehang after drying. Pillows can also be cleaned this time of year by hanging them outside to air out, but some that are years old should be thrown away and replaced as they can collect dust, mildew, and even fungi!

In the Kitchen 

If you spend most of your time in the kitchen, it's probably time to take a hard look and clean up all those leftover crumbs!
After wiping down the counters, take that cleaner to the cabinets that often get overlooked. With everything you are whipping up in the kitchen, grease and spills can easily collect on your cabinets, and now is a great time to wash them down and get them sparkling like new.
If you have lime buildup on your sink, check out this great tip from HGTV - lay paper towels soaked in vinegar over the faucet for one hour. This will soften the buildup allowing you to easily wipe it away.
In the oven, wipe up major spills and then set to self clean. On the stove-top, use a toothbrush to wipe away buildup from underneath the burners and around the handles and knobs.
Your dishwasher can come in handy for non-kitchen items this spring too! Good Housekeeping says glass light-fixture globes, plastic toys, and containers and organizers (think toothbrush holders) can all be washed safely in the dishwasher by skipping the heat cycle!

Clean the cleaners

Your vacuum cleaner is sure to come in handy during your spring cleaning, but it needs a little TLC of its own. Replace the bag, clean filters, and use scissors to cut out the tangled strings caught up in the bristles.
In the laundry room, take out the lint screen and wash soak it in hot water with a bit of dish soap. The dust and lint that buildup can be dangerous can even cause a fire! After it's done soaking, scrub the screen gently and set it out to dry before placing it back in the dryer. The washing machine can be washed too, by adding vinegar and baking soda to a water cleaning cycle.
The dishwasher could use an extra look as well. Clean any left over food from the filter, located below the lower spray arm, and run an empty cycle with a machine cleaner.

Household Cleaners

If you're looking at all these cleaning tips and seeing dollar signs for all of the different cleaners you need, not to worry! Realtor.com has a host of homemade cleaners you can make that are both cheaper and safer than the store-bought supplies.
An all purpose cleaner can quickly be made from a gallon of hot water, 1/2 cup of castile liquid soap, and a few drops of a fresh smelling essential oil.
Baking soda works well as a carpet cleaner, and for tougher carpet stains, equal parts coconut oil and baking soda can be scrubbed in to lift away the blemish.
According to HGTV, salt and soda water is the best combo to tackle the refrigerator.

Baby steps 

Your deep spring cleaning doesn't have to happen all in one day! Take it step by step, room by room, and in just a few days your house will be ready for spring!

. . .

Perrie & Associates, LLC is a full-service law firm centered around real estate property. We strive to provide big firm expertise with small firm concern for your interests. We are committed to focusing our legal expertise to provide you with the highest quality services in a timely and cost efficient manner. The attorneys and team members of our firm take great pride in providing the right solutions to our clients' needs. Give us a call to schedule a closing or for legal consultation!

Out of this World Open Houses


Published: 2/28/2018



Showing a home can be a daunting task. How do you work with the empty space? How are potential buyers going to find out about your home? What do you do once they walk in the door?

Hosting an open house requires a lot of work and preparation but can be worth it when just the right person walks in the door and falls in love with the space.

Whether you're a seasoned pro or a new agent on the block, it's always helpful to learn some new tricks or refresh yourself on some tips, so we've compiled a few ideas to make your open house out of this world.

Advertise

The only way potential buyers will walk in the door is if they know it's open.
Of course, yard signs are a great way to advertise a day or two before your open house. A variety of signs can help draw clients, so consider including other information besides just "open house." If you have giveaways or refreshments, consider adding that to your advertisement. You never know what will draw people in, so cast a wide net with your advertising.
But yard signs shouldn't be your only form of publication. With so many people searching for homes online, be sure that your open house can be found on the web. Consider listing your open house on various sites including Zillow and Trulia, and list the event on FMLS. Social media can also go a long way in reaching your potential buyer. Post the event in a neighborhood group, and let local neighbors know about the open house as well - you never know, they might have the perfect buyer they want as their new neighbor!

Info Sheet

Once you have people in the door, they're going to want some information, so have fact sheets ready for pickup at the door.

Your fact sheet should include:
  • Property address
  • Asking price
  • Square footage of the property
  • Maintenance and HOA fees
  • Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Real estate taxes
  • Outdoor spaces
  • Special features such as a pool or finished basement
  • Recent upgrades

Neighborhood Attractions

Along with information about the home, potential buyers want to know about the new neighborhood they may be moving into.
With your fact sheet, add information about neighborhood features such as local schools and amenities including shopping, transportation, and outdoor and recreational activities.
If there's a really great restaurant in the area, consider throwing in their takeout menu, or include the phone numbers for all the pizza delivery spots in the area. You can also include flyers for big events coming up in the neighborhood, or a small map of spots they should visit - anything to highlight the neighborhood and make the area stand out!

Homey Touches 

Showing a grand, empty home can be great for some buyers, but others may have trouble seeing themselves in the space, so a few homey touches can go a long way.
If you can't stage the home, thinking about bringing in some candles and maybe a house plant or two if you have them. You can also bring in a small rug and a chair or a few stools. You don't have to furnish the home, but seeing a few items in the space can really tie it all together for some buyers and it may be just what they need to see themselves in the space and sell them on the home.

Refreshments

You don't have to host a buffet, but a few light refreshments are a great addition to an open house. Some fruit, water, and crackers are simple and easy to enjoy, and of course, the tried and true freshly baked cookies are a must - no one can resist the smell of chocolate chips!

Talk it Up 

During the open house, be sure to talk to potential buyers, answering their questions and providing any information you can. Some may just be browsing and may not be ready for the 411 on the home, so be sure to give them space, but always be there with a smiling face if they need you!

Thank you's and follow ups 

When your guests are getting ready to leave, be sure they have your information! Whether you want to include that in a thank-you grab bag with your business card and a few promotional items, or just want to hand them out face-to-face, it's crucial that they can get in touch with you after they've left the property.
And it's important for you too - a big part of the work for an open house happens after the event!
Don't forget to have a sign-up sheet for those who show a true interest in the property and want more information. In the days after your open house, follow up with a friendly email or phone call to offer more information and get their thoughts on the property.

For more ideas on how to host a stellar open house, check out this interview at Realtor Mag and take notes from your own observations!

Coordinating a successful open house takes time and effort both before and after the event, but when that perfect buyer walks in, you know it was all worth it!

. . .

Perrie & Associates, LLC is a full-service law firm centered around real estate property. We strive to provide big firm expertise with small firm concern for your interests. We are committed to focusing our legal expertise to provide you with the highest quality services in a timely and cost efficient manner. The attorneys and team members of our firm take great pride in providing the right solutions to our clients' needs. Give us a call to schedule a closing or for legal consultation!

Let's Make Change - HB 410


Published: 2/14/2018




Important changes could be coming to the real estate industry, but not without your help. 


The Georgia General Assembly is currently reviewing House Bill 410, a bill aimed at lowering fees that can be charged for an HOA status letter when a property is being sold. 

The bill will prohibit fees from being "in excess of one-twelfth of the current annual dues" for the property, and an additional, expedited fee to deliver the letter within three business days may not exceed $15 according to the proposed bill.

As many agents, realtors, and industry professionals know, Homeowner's Association letters can run upwards of $150, with expedited fees adding another $50 - $100 to the total cost. This proposed bill could save clients quite literally hundreds of dollars, but it may not go anywhere if local officials aren't made aware of it's importance and need for their constituents.


We are encouraging professionals in the industry to reach out to their local officials and state their support of this bill. Not sure what to say? Don't worry! We've got a sample letter you can send below:


Dear (Congressman/woman), 
I am writing you to express my support in HB 410 and hope that will show your support for this bill in this legislation cycle. 

The bill, which place reasonable limitations on fees a management company may charge for a Homeowner's Association status letter when a property is being sold by a homeowner, is vital to protecting consumers in this industry. 

As a professional in the real estate industry, I have seen many management companies exploit their power time and time again by charging exorbitant fees for a simple clearance letter. Despite numerous complaints, these companies continue with their unjust and unfair pricing, causing homeowners headaches and hundreds of dollars. 

This financial misconduct must be controlled, and HB 410 is a well planned solution to this problem. 

The bill is supported by the State Bar of Georgia as well as the Georgia Association of Realtors, and I hope you will also express your support for HB 410. 

Please announce and share your support for this bill that stands up for the consumers in the real estate industry.

Thank you for your time and consideration. 

A simple letter stating your support can go a long way to show your representative it's importance, and the more people who send letters and reach out, the farther this bill will go. 

Not sure who your local elected official is? Just type in your zip code here to find your representative and their contact information. 

You can also track the bill's progress and read HB 410 in its entirety on the Georgia General Assembly website here.

Please take a quick moment to contact your local official, share with others in your network, and help us bring change to the industry!

A Final Farewell - Real Estate Radio Atlanta ends after 5 years


Published: 1/24/2018




An era in radio is coming to an end, as Real Estate Radio Atlanta's final show will air this Sunday.

The show, hosted by Susan Pryor and David Perrie, has aired on News Radio 106.7 every Sunday for the past five years, bringing together hard-working, industry professionals to discuss the real estate market and educate the consumer on their most important investment, their home.

In 2013, Susan Pryor, Branch Manager of Benchmark Mortgage in East Cobb, started the show after learning about the Real Estate Radio Network, a nationwide group of realtors dedicated to "delivering the timely truth" about local markets over the radio.

She flew out to San Diego to learn more about, liked the idea, and brought it back to Georgia.

"Susan called me up one day and said she was starting a radio show," David Perrie said. "She told me I was going to be on it, and I said 'okay', and she said 'no, you're going to be on it every week', so I said "Yes mam."

The team started recording in 2013, and the show has been going strong ever since.

"When we first started, I only thought it may last a year or two," David said. "I had no idea we would be on the air for five years."

Real Estate Radio Atlanta has hosted countless guests reaching all across the industry from financial advisers, home inspectors, appraisers, realtors, pest inspectors, mortgage brokers, engineers and insurance agents. Each show featured the hosts, guests from Benchmark Mortgage, and two special guests, not to mention everyone working behind the scenes to keep the show running.

"I have a lot of fun memories joking with the staff, our guests, and everyone who worked to put on the show," David said. "Our guest Realtors were some of the top producers, and everyone was a hard worker who was very focused. It was great to see what brought them success. I learned a lot from them."

Throughout the years, the show has discussed a variety of topics to what consumers need, to the changes the market has seen. It has been dedicated to providing accurate and helpful advice and information about the local real estate market.

"I think the show brought a greater awareness of what is needed to make a real estate transaction successful," said David.

As their businesses continue to grow, both David and Susan felt it was best to end the show. The final episode of Real Estate Radio Atlanta will air this Sunday, January 28, at noon on News Radio 106.7.

"It has been a whole lot of fun doing something that is completely different than what I normally do," David said. "While I'm glad to have my half day back each week, I am sad to see it come to an end."

To listen live to Real Estate Radio Atlanta's last show, visit their website www.realestateradioatlanta.com. You can also listen to past shows and find past guests on their website.

To all our guests who have appeared on Real Estate Radio Atlanta, thank you for you expertise, and to our listeners, thank you for listening, learning, and laughing with us for the past five years.










2018 Industry Trends


Published: 1/10/2018


2018 has arrived and as we welcome a new year in the real estate industry, it's important to look ahead at what's to come.As the market evolves, agents must be aware of changes to best meet their clients needs.

There are no definitive answers to what we can expect from the housing market in 2018, but we've compiled some of the top predictions form market experts, and here's what they're forecasting for the new year:


Price Increases

Many experts agree that inventory is the biggest factor in the 2018 housing market, and prices are expected to increase as supply remains low going into the new year. As reported in the Washington Post, Nela Richardson, chief economist at Redfin, said "for the third year in a row, the nationwide inventory shortage is likely to continue to hinder sales, and increase prices."

Just how much prices are to increase is debatable, however.

The National Association of Realtors is predicting a 5.5 percent price increase, with Realtor.com predicting a more moderate increase of 3.2 percent. A survey of 100 economists and housing experts conducted by Zillow predicts an increase somewhere in the middle, at about 4.1 percent, according to the Washington Post.


Supply, Meet Demand (eventually) 

Despite the inventory crisis, some experts are hopeful that by the end of 2018, the market will start to see a turn.

Danielle Hale, chief economist for Realtor.com, anticipates a tough market for the beginning of 2018, but predicts inventory growth starting in the fall.  "We expect the relief to start in the upper tiers, and it will make its way down to the lower tiers," she said.

Initial inventory growth is expected in the $350,000 range and up, according to Realtor.com, but those looking for starter homes and affordable housing may have to wait a bit longer.

"It will get worse before it gets better for buyers of starter and mid-price homes," Hale said.

Generations - Millennials, Gen Z, and Baby Boomers 

The needs are also shifting in the new year for several generations.

Millennials are coming in to their own in their careers, according to realtor.com, and as they begin to reach their mid 20's and 30's they are looking to settle down and buy homes.

"This generation has many different options for home ownership, including tiny homes, investment homes and co-living situations with friends or family... we, as agents, need to become more proactive in the community to become that millennial choice," Kevin Taylor, with Sand to City Real Estate Team told Forbes. "It's going to be a huge learning curve and a fun adventure all around."

Generation Z, those born from 1995 to 2001, are also starting to enter the market, according the Urban Land Institute, as reported by Curbed. They are expected to prefer urban living, much like millennials, and are entering the working world looking for "structure and stability," but are more competitive and easily distracted.

Curbed is also reporting the Baby Boomers will also be a factor in the 2018 market, as many are facing unexpected financial difficulties after the great recession. "While the high end of the market will seek out urban living, an active lifestyle, and luxury rentals, many others will scramble to locate affordable housing options fit for aging in place," they reported.


Small and Co-Living 

With millennials entering the market, smaller living is expected to rise in 2018, and over the next few years.

Nathaniel Kunes, with AppFolio Inc, told Forbes that tiny apartments and mobile living are solutions to large, overpopulated areas, and will become a norm in big cities.

Community spaces and co-living opportunities are also predicted to be popular in the new market in the multi-family sector, according to Benjamin Pleat with Doorbell Inc. "Just as amenities have defined the last decade of commercial real estate development, the need for unique experiences and services will heighten competition," he told Forbes.

The Washington Post stated that technology will also encourage co-living, with the number of households with roommates increasing in the past decade. Nesterly, an app pairing millennials with baby boomers, and CoBuy, which helps group home buying, are technologies to watch for this year.

Taxes 

As the Washington Post stated, the new tax bill passed after many experts gave their predictions for the market. "Some experts are anticipating prices won't rise nearly as fast because of the new law. Others say it will help first-time buyers enter the market," they reported.

Cindy Nasser, with PCVMurcor, told Forbes that the tax bill may increase the cost of doing business, which will "ultimately increase the cost to the consumer."

The tax bill took effect January 1 of this year, and will certainly play a factor in the market.


. . .

Perrie & Associates, LLC is a full-service law firm centered around real estate property. We strive to provide big firm expertise with small firm concern for your interests. We are committed to focusing our legal expertise to provide you with the highest quality services in a timely and cost efficient manner. The attorneys and team members of our firm take great pride in providing the right solutions to our clients' needs. Give us a call to schedule a closing or for legal consultation!

Alternate Resolutions


Published: 12/27/2017




The new year is approaching and it's time to look ahead and start planning for 2018. Undoubtedly, after you get asked what your plans are for New Year's Eve, you'll probably get that dreaded follow up question: so what's your New Year's Resolution?

Of course, there's a number of typical responses for such a question - "lose weight. Get fit. Be better with finances." But how easy are those to keep? It seems that many people let go of their resolutions after a month or two. None of those classic goals are wrong by any means, but if you're looking for a more unique and maybe more "exciting" resolution for 2018, we've got a few ideas for you.

Unplug

In these days of social media and constant connection, it's easy to get wrapped up in what everyone else is doing and lose a sense of what's happening in your own world. If you find yourself Instagramming every meal or constantly checking up on other friends to see if they are doing more exciting things than you, you may want to consider disconnecting as your 2018 resolution.
Unplugging from social media doesn't mean you have to quit cold turkey. If you feel that's what you need, then go ahead and delete all those accounts, but if you find you just need a bit of a break, set some limits. Give yourself an hour or two a day to check up on social media, or limit yourself to a specific time each day, maybe during your lunch break, to scroll through your feed. If you're afraid you'll be tempted to log in when you shouldn't, start reading a best seller or take a walk outside to clear your mind and get some fresh air. Whatever you do, just remember that you don't have to take pictures to show that it actually happened. Just sit back and enjoy your new time away from your screen.

Be Mindful

Do you sometimes feel like you're experiencing too much at once? Thoughts are racing through your mind every second, and between your phone and laptop screen, driving through Atlanta traffic, and coming home to the laundry that should have been done yesterday you just can't seem to find a break in the chaos of life.
Mindfulness may be the answer for you.
Practicing meditation may sound a little off the wall and too much for you, but it doesn't mean you have to sit cross-legged on the floor humming "om." It can be as easy as taking a few minutes a day to shut off your brain, take some deep breaths, and just being still and relaxing. Studies have shown that practicing mindfulness helps reduce stress and helps you become more aware of your surroundings and yourself. It acts as a "volume knob" for your brain, and it's not as difficult as you may think. Check out the apps Headspace or Calm that have guided meditations and simple programs that can help you start being mindful.

Show Self-Love

If you're looking to relieve some stress but don't think that meditation is the way for you, jump on the trendy topic for 2018 and commit to showing yourself more love. Self-love and self-care are so important in the work-driven world of today. Taking time to slow down and check on your wants and needs can help with stress, sleep, and work, as you allow yourself time to relax and unwind.
Now, self-love doesn't mean just going on a shopping spree every week and buying a new wardrobe, but it can mean splurging on something small every month that you've really wanted and worked hard for or that you feel will benefit your overall well being.
You can also practice self-care by setting aside some time to yourself each week where you do whatever you feel is best for you. Whether that's sitting down to a good book or your favorite television show, taking a bubble bath, or just listening to a favorite CD, do what you need and don't forget to listen to your body when it says you need a break.

Get a new Perspective

In today's world of left and right, up and down, backwards and forwards, there's a lot of opinions and ideas circulating out there. Of course, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but it's easier for us all to come together and understand one another if we take the time to listen.
If you're looking to be more well-rounded and learn from others this year, consider getting new perspectives for your New Year's Resolution.
This can take all shapes and forms, from talking to a friend or neighbor who shares a different political view, to reading a book whose author has a different opinion or belief than yours. Take time to watch a documentary on a new subject and see what you can learn. Immerse yourself in literature, conversations, and media that don't always align with your ideas and beliefs. It doesn't mean that you have to agree with everything you read or hear, and you don't have to have an argument about it either, but just take the time to listen to others and see what you can learn from them.

Pay it Forward 

With everything going on in the world today, it's important not to forget about others, and a great New Year's Resolution would be to pay it forward and give back.
Giving back is typically seen as something you do around the holidays, but you shouldn't limit generosity to two times a year.
For 2018, try to commit to paying it forward at least once a month. It doesn't have to be buying a new toy or food all at one time; you can easily accumulate donations during your every-day routine by buying an extra can or box of food at the grocery store and bringing them to a local food pantry every week or two. When the season changes and you're going through your closet, take out gently-worn items that you aren't using or can't wear and donate them to a local shelter. You can also volunteer your time throughout the year by helping at schools, summer camps, shelters, and community events, and just simply helping others with small tasks can go a long way and will bring a smile to your face knowing that you've done something for others.

Finally, don't forget to share your resolution with others. It may be scary or may even seem corny to tell others your resolution, but sharing your goal with even just one friend can help you stay accountable. A friend or family member can remind you of your intentions later on throughout the year when you may start slipping, and keeping a journal, log, or even just jotting down your resolution on a scrap piece of paper can make it feel more concrete and more likely to happen.

Whatever your goals are for 2018, we hope you have a safe and Happy New Year!


12 Days of Holiday Cheer


Published: 12/13/2017




With all the hustle and bustle that comes with the holidays, it can sometimes be hard to get into the spirit of the season. Running from one store to another and checking items of the list isn't much of a way to celebrate the meaning of the holidays. So to truly enjoy this season of giving and love, we've got 12 simple ideas to bring you some holiday cheer.


Elf on the Shelf

For children, Christmas is the most magical and special time of year. Spread the joy and wonder this season with an Elf on the Shelf. The popular toy acts as a "spy" for Santa in your home, and he will report back to the North Pole to let him know if the kids have been naughty or nice. Many elves get up to trouble and move around each night so they can keep an eye on everything going on.
If you're worried about what your elf may get up to, never fear! There is plenty of evidence around, and you can check out hundreds of things that may attract your elf's interest.

Hang Holiday Lights

There's just something magical about holiday lights at night. Whether you've got a few strands out on your porch or you turn your whole yard into a winter wonderland, holiday light can spread cheer to your family and your neighbors.
If you're unable to hang your own, there are a number of fabulous displays in and around Atlanta. Some of the largest can be found at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens and at Callaway Gardens, and there are plenty more displays in metro Atlanta counties, and you may even find great displays just around your neighborhood!

Give Back 

It's the season of giving, and it is so important to share and help others during the holidays. Whether you adopt a child and buy from their wish list, donate toys to a local or national organization, or bring gifts to a local nursing home, consider others during this time. You can also write letters to our military members over seas, send messages to children in hospitals, or even just pay it forward in the drive-thru for a nice surprise for someone else.

Christmas Movie Night

"The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear" - Elf
Elf has become a classic Christmas film, and there are plenty of others out there for a cozy movie night in with the family! From Tim Allen's "A Santa Claus" to the original claymation "Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer" and the classic musical "White Christmas," there is something out there for all ages, and many of these movies are on several streaming services, just in time for the season.

Gingerbread Houses

What's more exciting than a house made of candy? Making it with your family! Gingerbread houses are a great and fun way to unleash your holiday creativity and create a Christmas confection. There are plenty of kits out there at just about every grocery store, and if you're feeling ambitious, you can always bake your own and fill your home with the warm scent of fresh gingerbread. Go elaborate or colorful - either way it's a fun activity to do with your loved ones, and afterward you'll have a magnificent centerpiece!

Bake Cookies

After baking gingerbread, you can continue creating holiday cheer in the kitchen with a variety of cookies. Roll out some dough, cut some fun holiday shapes, bake, and decorate! If sugar cookies aren't your thing, there are plenty of other holiday-themed recipes out there. And once you're done, you can have a cookie swap with your neighbors and friends, or bring in some delicious treats to the office to spread the love!

Secret Santa

If you're having a holiday party or want to bring some cheer to the office, consider doing a Secret Santa. Everyone can draw a name and get one present, or you can spread out the excitement with little treats over several days. For a twist, have everyone leave hints or notes and see if everyone can guess their Secret Santa at the end!

Feed the Reindeer

Santa needs his cookies but his reindeer could use a snack too! Word on the street is they love carrots, oats, and raisins, and don't mind a few chocolate chips too if you're feeling generous.

See a local play or recital

There are a number of big holidays shows and concerts going on in the city, but consider visiting your local theater this holiday season. Many will put on holiday-themed shows, and it's a great way to support these up-and-coming stars and meet others in your community! Check out your local theater or performance venue to see if a local theater company, dance or musical group is performing.

Make an ornament 

Get out the craft gear! Popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, pom-poms and tissue paper - whatever you've got on hand, you can turn it into a masterpiece! Let your kids' imagination run wild with whatever you have, and don't be afraid to get creative. You can create ornaments out of just about anything, including cookie cutters, gingerbread, and even popcorn or construction paper. If you want to share your creations, gift some to your neighbors, or propose an ornament swap!

Send Christmas Cards 

Who doesn't love mail? Sending out holiday cards is a great way to spread joy and show someone you are thinking of them during this time of year! There are plenty of templates available online that will print and deliver to your house, or if you're not looking to send them through regular mail, you can always send an e-Greeting!

Homemade Hot Chocolate

Settle in on those cold winter nights to a cup of homemade hot chocolate! With marshmallows or whipped cream, with milk or with water, there's just something special about enjoying a warm cup of cocoa that didn't come out of a pouch. Check here for some recipes, and settle down for a Christmas movie with your family and friends!

Wishing you a joyous holiday season!

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Perrie & Associates, LLC is a full-service law firm centered around real estate property. We strive to provide big firm expertise with small firm concern for your interests. We are committed to focusing our legal expertise to provide you with the highest quality services in a timely and cost efficient manner. The attorneys and team members of our firm take great pride in providing the right solutions to our clients' needs. Give us a call to schedule a closing or for legal consultation!