Understanding Real Estate Terminology

If you are buying or selling a home, the chances are you are experiencing some confusion with the meaning of some descriptive terms and real estate terminology. As we begin to develop our “dictionary”, here are explanations and definitions for some terms we are often asked about.

Naming the Rooms

Traditional houses usually contain a family room, a living room and a kitchen, but newer houses usually contain a great room, and sometimes also have a keeping room.  As you begin to visit homes, it might be important for you to understand the difference.

Living Room

A Living Room is usually a separate room used for formal and informal entertaining in a house. This is usually located in the front of the house, and in some areas may be called the Front Room.

Family Room

A Family Room is usually an informal room used for recreation and relaxing. It is frequently situated close to the Kitchen.

Great Room

This combination room is used for entertaining and on many floorplans today combines the purposes of the family room and living room and sometimes the kitchen. Typically, a Great Room has the same square footage as two or three regular-size rooms and is organized into separate zones for dining, entertainment and cooking.  The kitchen area of a Great Room usually faces out into the room creating what many consider an open floorplan. As lifestyles have changed, the need for formal entertaining space has decreased in many homes and been replaced with Great Rooms. 

Identifying Outdoor Space

Patio and TerraceAs you visit homes, you may determine what type of outdoor space you would like. Understanding the differences can help in making these decisions.


A patio is level with the ground around it, typically offering concrete flooring.  It also adjoins the house, usually with one wall. Access to a patio can usually be made from the backyard or side yard, as well as from the house.


Courtyards have become increasingly popular and are often seen in active adult communities. They provide open space surrounded by walls or buildings, adjoining or within a building such as a large house or housing complex. They are pretty much enclosed on at least three sides and sometimes four.  Access to Courtyards is usually only from within a house.


A terrace has adjoining areas of ground which are higher, or lower, or sometimes both. It may have a concrete floor like a patio, but that is not always true. It can also refer to a colonnaded porch or promenade, a relatively level paved or planted area adjoining a building or a raised embankment with the top leveled, and sometimes it refers to one of usually a series of horizontal ridges made in a hillside.

Indoor/Outdoor Living

SunroomThe home you are looking at might state that is has a Solarium, Sun Room or Florida Room.  And while they are different terms, they each refer to the same type of room, but they are distinctly different. 


Solarium is typically a room completely enclosed by glass including the roof. Often referred to also as a “Conservatory”, Solariums can be freestanding and offer the benefits of the sun without being exposed to the elements.


Sunroom is a general name that a builder or architect identifies a room with very large windows or even a wall of glass. The structure is simply designed for homeowners to enjoy the sun, and evolved from people just wanting to enjoy their porch or patio, which is now enclosed. This is also sometimes called a Florida Room.

These terms are used to describe rooms with lots of windows (often on three sides). Many times these areas also have skylights. The choice of what to call them seems purely personal. They tend to be charming, bright, sunny places in which to enjoy the outdoors year round, even when it’s chilly or downright cold weather.

Important Details

Jack and Jill Bath

A bathroom with two doors into it. Frequently situated between two bedrooms with doors to each, it usually offers a sink and vanity area with the bath and toilet separated from that with a door, enabling both spaces to be used at the same time.

Water Closet

As bathrooms become larger in some homes, they frequently offer a Water Closet (sometimes marked WC on a floorplan). This is a room with a toilet that has a door. Instead of a toilet placed in the open space of a large bathroom, a separate room is offered within the bathroom.

Defining Your View


Waterfront property actually has a common boundary with (frontage on) the water. Sometimes the property line actually goes into the water.

Water View

Water view just means water can be seen from the property. Sometimes there is a beautiful view. Sometimes it means the water can be seen from one upstairs window when the leaves are off the trees! Unlike Waterfront property, Water View property may change depending on the distance from the water, in that another home or structure may be built that could block the view in the future, unless there is a protective covenant or something to prevent it.

I think that’s enough for now. Look for future articles on this subject or check our glossary page.

Winterizing Your Home in Acworth and Dallas, GA

As we experience colder than normal temperatures for late October, we are reminded that it may be time to think about winterizing our homes. And unlike northern states, we typically don’t experience freezing temperatures until January or February. While I was prepared to keep mowing my lawn until next month, Mother Nature appears to have saved me the trouble, and I can begin to prepare for the dormant winter months. So outside and inside, here is the checklist I recommend:

  1. Turn off the outside water including the irrigation system by shutting off the inside cutoff valve for outside hose spigots and the irrigation system.
  2. Caulk windows to prevent cold air leaks and seal any exterior cracks. Change out screens for storm windows, if you have them.
  3. Put weatherstripping around doors and windows. And if your doorways seem drafty, place draft dodgers by them, which can usually be purchased at home improvement stores. Or if you prefer, you can make them by following the directions here.
  4. Change the filters on your furnace and consider having it serviced before the season really starts.
  5. Check your chimney. Place a screen or cap on the top to keep critters out. If you haven’t done it in a while, you might want to have your chimney cleaned by a professional chimney sweep – and no, they probably don’t dance like in Mary Poppins.
  6. Make sure your damper opens and closes properly. Or if you have a gas fireplace, make sure the gas line to your fireplace is working properly and shuts off and on.
  7. Clean your gutters with a hose (before you turn the outside water off). You might want to consider getting leaf guards to keep water away from your house.

You might want to also consider a home energy audit, as shown on the Department of Energy video below or a DIY energy audit as explained on their website. [small_button text=”DIY Energy Audit” title=”DIY Energy Audit” url=”http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/do-it-yourself-home-energy-audits” align=”left” target=”_self” style=”light”] .

Depending on your home and location, your list may contain more items. But it’s a great place to start.

Pumpkins … After Halloween

As Halloween draws closer, you may be wondering what to do with your pumpkins? If you have already carved your pumpkin, here are some options:

  1. Bury it in your garden – it will decay quickly and enrich the soil
  2. Wash, dry and save the seeds to plant next year (they will grow!)
  3. Wash and roast the seeds – they make good eating.
  4. Dump it in the trash, if you haven’t got a garden

What not to do with your pumpkin?

  1. Keep it. It will rot and stain your floor, as well as smell.
  2. Attempt to eat it or cook with it, once a pumpkin has sat out for more than 24 hours, it could be unsafe to eat. 

But, if you haven’t carved your pumpkin yet, you can still save it!  

Pumpkin Puree

Start by cutting your pumpkin down the middle. Scoop out the seeds and guts, and set them aside for later. Place your pumpkin cut-side down in a baking dish with about a cup of water, and bake for about 90 minutes or until the flesh is tender. Then, scoop out the flesh and puree in a food processor. Once you’ve made your pumpkin purée, you can use it in your pumpkin recipes, from pies to pancakes. The extra pumpkin puree can be stored in the freezer for several months, so you can use it instead of canned pumpkin for your Thanksgiving recipes.

Pumpkin Facial

Pumpkins are rich in zinc and vitamins A, C and E, so they are just as good for your skin as they are to eat. Be prepared to be pampered. Start with about five teaspoons of pumpkin purée, add three teaspoons of brown sugar – which will naturally exfoliate your skin – and a tiny splash of milk. Mix it all together, and apply to your face in circular motions, avoiding the eye area. Relax for up to 20 minutes and allow all that pumpkin goodness to seep into your skin, while you enjoy the aroma. Rinse with warm water.

Pumpkin Presents

When you cracked the pumpkin open, you separated the seeds from the guts and placed them aside. Now you can roast the pumpkin seeds for a tasty snack or prepare them for holiday hostess gifts.  Here’s the recipe for roasting pumpkin seeds.

  1. Rinse the seeds thoroughly and remove and strands of pumpkins.
  2. Place in a pot of salt water and boil for 10 minutes.
  3. Drain the seeds in a colander and dry lightly with a paper towel. They may stick to the towel, just rub them off with your fingers. 
  4. Spread seeds onto a baking sheet in a single layer and drizzle with extra virgin oil. You can sprinkle with sea salt for classic roasted pumpkin seeds, or add some brown sugar and cinnamon for a sweeter treat. 
  5. Roast seeds at 325° F for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and stir.  Return to the over and roast for another 8-10 minutes. Check during the last 5 minutes of roasting by checking a few seeds to make sure the inner seeds are not burning. 
  6. Enjoy!  You do not need to remove the outer shell, it should be crispy and easy to bite into.




Is A Home Warranty For You?

When we buy a new car, appliance or computer, we typically ask for information on the warranty. For most of us, it’s standard operating procedure. But when it comes to the largest purchase most of us will make, it’s not. Why not? A home warranty is usually provided on new home construction, but most of us don’t think about it on a resale. Understanding what a home warranty is would probably help.

Basically, a home warranty is a service contract that covers the repair and/or replacement costs of home systems and appliances.  Not everything is covered, but many of the items that typically break down are included like attic fans, garage door openers, garbage disposals, ductwork, electrical, plumbing, furnaces, major appliances, pool equipment, and more.  Coverage varies based on the company and plan you select.

Home Warranty Policies are provided by several different companies and consumers are encouraged to research a few before making their final selection. Since coverage varies from state to state and from policy to policy, ask to see a sample copy of a policy for your state and coverage level before you commit.

Although they each vary in services and pricing, most of them operate in a similar manner:

  1. If a covered appliance or home system malfunctions, the homeowner calls the home warranty company for service.
  2. The home warranty company arranges for a service provider.
  3. The homeowner usually pays a service call fee as per the terms of their contract.
  4. The service provider fixes the problem, or if it cannot be repaired, depending on the contract coverage, the home warranty company may replace the appliance with a “like quality” item. Keep in mind that an older appliance may have been the top of the line when purchased, but is not considered top of the line today, so a replacement appliance of “like quality” may be a base model and not top of the line.

Other things to be aware of with a Home Warranty Program, are that sometimes a claim may be denied. Understanding the terms of your contract will help you to be prepared. Some common reasons claims are denied include:

  • Poor and improper maintenance
  • Code violations
  • Unusual wear and tear
  • Improper installation – DIY installations that may not be to code, etc.

Items that may or may not covered:

  • Irrigation systems
  • Faucets
  • Appliances such as refrigerators, washers & dryers, garage door openers
  • Air conditioners
  • Spas and/or pools
  • Permit fees and haul-aways

As you prepare to sell your home, and/or purchase a new home, you might want to think about a home warranty.  

Make an informed decision – research a few companies. And if you are considering selling your home, or looking to buy a home, please contact us here or at 678-920-3099.

Vineyards and Wine Tastings in North Georgia

Afraid to fly? Well, you don’t have to get on a plane to California in order to tour vineyards. The North Georgia mountains are home to several vineyards and wine tasting rooms offering an assortment of wine varietals. The elevation and terrain combined with red-clay soils offer favorable conditions to grow grapes offering unique character and quality. Harvest usually occurs in September and October, offering yet another reason to schedule a weekend getaway.  [pullquote style=”left” quote=”dark”]Experts have observed as much as a $400 million dollar economic impact for the state based on the number of bonded wineries and farms producing fruits and honey for wine production.[/pullquote]

Wine GrapesGeorgia was actually an important winegrowing region in the 19th century, but was destroyed by Prohibition in 1907. It didn’t make a comeback in Georgia until the late 1970’s – early 1980’s when Gay Dellinger began to harvest grapes at Split Rail Vineyard in Cartersville and a local heart surgeon, Dr. Maurice S. Rawlings, began The Georgia Winery on 52 acres of land in the northwest corner of the state.  Shortly after that, Clarkesville saw its first winery when Tom Slick established Habersham Vineyards & Winery in Clarkesville. The Panoz family launched Chateau Elan Winery in Braselton in 1981.

These wineries led the way for more vineyards and farm wineries in the 1990’s throughout the Georgia Mountains from Dahlonega to Tiger and into western North Carolina. As wines were harvested, tasting rooms began to pop up as well as wine tours throughout the region. Some of the varieties available from Georgia vineyards include Touriga Nacional, Sangiovese, Mataro, Tannat, Tinta Cao, Nebbiolo, Petit Manseng and Viognier.  More common varieties are also available in Georgia including Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Grigio, Riesling and others.

Information Resources on Georgia’s Wines


For detailed information on some of the Wineries please download the Winegrowers Association of Georgia brochure – [small_button text=”Download” title=”Brochure” url=”http://www.georgiawine.com/sites/all/themes/wag/images/WAG_Brochure_2012.pdf” align=”left” target=”_blank” style=”light”][/one_third]


Plan your adventure by reviewing this map of wineries and create your weekend adventure – [small_button text=”Wineries Map” title=”Wineries Map” url=”http://marnafriedman.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Georgia-Wineries.pdf” align=”left” target=”_blank” style=”light”][/one_third]


Create your own map including some newer wineries, like Montaluce Vineyards, by reviewing this directory –  [small_button text=”Winery Directory” title=”Winery Directory” url=”http://www.lowtechwine.com/location/georgia/” align=”left” target=”_blank” style=”light”][/one_third_last]

Quote taken from http://www.georgiawinecountry.com/

Drunk drivingDo Not Drink and Drive

And if you are planning to visit some Tasting Rooms, here are some lodging optionsREMEMBER NOT TO DRINK AND DRIVE.

Color Trends 2014 Part 7 – Home Decor

Indicative of the fashion trends, this palette offers a glittery, theatrical look. Rooms using this palette offer deep, dramatic tones with colorful flourishes.  Gold tones offer a glimmering finale to any of the color combinations. The Fashion palette offers the rich tones of cranberry red dahlia, purple and green amber, blue and magenta Corsica opaque.


Fashion Home Decor[/one_half] [one_half_last] The colors of this palette speak of attention to detail and drama when translated into interiors. Like the rich velvet draperies of a stage, this palette offers the ability to design interiors that can be theatrical in nature, displaying fashionable or whimsical flourishes, but always done with tasteful finesse. You can see the artistic creation as red dahlia  and blackberry cordial combine with wood violet offset by the rich gold accents. You can continue the decorative script with amber green, corsican blue meets and linden green, with the sparkle and glimmer of gold for the final finishing touch.

But as I said before – with any trend, think before you jump in. Color trends can be great, but how does the color make you feel? Just because it’s a “hot” color, doesn’t mean it’s the right one for you. Understand the psychology of the colors you are choosing, and whether they are the right colors for your room.




Red Dahlia Decor
Red Dahlia Home Decor[/one_fourth] [one_fourth]

Linden Green Decor
Linden Green Decor[/one_fourth] [one_fourth]

Corsican Blue Decor
Corsican Blue Decor[/one_fourth] [one_fourth_last]

Wood Violet Decor
Wood Violet Decor[/one_fourth_last]


Psychology of Colors



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Check out our Pinterest boards for some ideas on how these colors have been incorporated into home decor.

Color Trends 2014 Part 6 – Home Decor

The subtle toned and pastel shades evoke an  ‘intimate’ atmosphere that provides a cozy environment. Inside colors like white gardenia and rose, fawn and cream, the lavender and pale gray offer a delicate and relaxing palette no matter which room they are used in.


Intimacy[/one_half] [one_half_last] Intimacy implies a close relationship and rapport, and the colors of this palette offer that in their subtle tints and tones. The hues, when placed in home decor, offer an environment that is inviting and soft; a blend of warm, cool and neutral tones. Colors like gardenia white, rose cloud, fawn and café crème all blend together, while pale lavenders and opal gray create balance.

But as I said before – with any trend, think before you jump in. Color trends can be great, but how does the color make you feel? Just because it’s a “hot” color, doesn’t mean it’s the right one for you. Understand the psychology of the colors you are choosing, and whether they are the right colors for your room.




Cafe Creme Decor
Cafe Creme Decor[/one_fourth] [one_fourth]

Lavendar Decor
Lavendar Home Decor[/one_fourth] [one_fourth]

Opal Gray Decor
Opal Gray Decor[/one_fourth] [one_fourth_last]

Rose Cloud Decor
Rose Cloud Decor[/one_fourth_last]


Psychology of Colors



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Check out our Pinterest boards for some ideas on how these colors have been incorporated into home decor.

Color Trends 2014 Part 5 – Home Decor

The Collage  palette communicates energy, a little less intense than the previous one, but still great fun. It was designed for those who have the spirit of enterprise and for those who have a strong personality. Within this palette includes shades such as pink, dark red, the color pumpkin, green margarita, blue and green water.


Collage Decor

Evoking tones of nostalgia and charm, the colors in Collage create a resourceful palette of familiarity. Even the names of the colors and the foods they represent offer some poignancy as you see in Tea Rose, Pumpkin Spice and Rhubarb.

But as I said before – with any trend, think before you jump in. Color trends can be great, but how does the color make you feel? Just because it’s a “hot” color, doesn’t mean it’s the right one for you. Understand the psychology of the colors you are choosing, and whether they are the right colors for your room.

Tea Rose Decor
Tea Rose Decor

Pumpkin Spice Decor
Pumpkin Spice Decor

Rhubarb Decor
Rhubarb Decor

Green Margherita
Green Margherita Decor

Psychology of Colors









Check out our Pinterest boards for some ideas on how these colors have been incorporated into home decor.

Closet Organization

Over the years I have lived in homes with large closets and small closets. My wardrobe remained the same no matter what. Since the walls in the closets could not stretch, I needed to come up with creative solutions. And as someone who does not like to lose, I usually found them. When I became a professional organizer and member of NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers), I discovered more resources that could be used to organize closets. If you aren’t up to tackling your closets on your own, they can also suggest some professional organizers that are available to help you.

Closet Organization Tips

In the meantime, here are the things I discovered:

  1. Using the same hanger makes a closet look neater.
  2. Skinny velvet covered hangers take up less and offer you more hanging room.
  3. Organizing your like-items together, and light to dark, makes your closet look larger. (i.e., slacks together, light to dark).
  4. Add double hanging where you can to create more space and eliminate wasted space; but check to make sure your clothes will hang properly before you attempt this.
  5. Add shoe storage if you have space. Stores like Lowes or Home Depot usually offer these.
  6. Folding t-shirts and turtlenecks with paper keeps them neat and a consistent size.
  7. Using PVC pipe can help to organize scarves, socks and ties in a drawer. Just have PVC pipe cut to a little less than your drawer height and place them in your drawer. Roll scarves, socks and ties into the pipe to quickly organize.
  8. Have a space for empty hangers and place them there as you use items. This way you don’t need to search for them after you do laundry. 

Benefits of an organized closet:

Economical: even though you may need to invest in some new hangers and organizing items, you probably won’t need to buy new clothes since you will be surprised at what you find once everything is organized.

Peace of mind: as potential buyers visit your home, they will be able to see how much space your home offers, and won’t be turned off by a mess or even worse, what you might be hiding under that mess.

Space: you will probably be amazed at how much more room you have once your closet is organized.

More time: since you no longer have to spend so much time looking for things, you’ll have more time for things you actually enjoy.

More relaxed: you will no longer be changing your wardrobe at the last minute because you can’t find something, an organized closet is less chaotic.

Doesn’t that sound like something you could live with?

Design your new closet

There are websites that offer online closet organizing programs to help you see what is possible.

    ClosetMaid offers closet organizing systems at Home Depot. You can use the DIY designer to design your closet before you start.
    Just like ClosetMaid, Martha Stewart closet organizing systems are available at Home Depot, and you can the DIY designer on your computer to design your closet before you shop.
    After you create your closet with their online DIY system, you can purchase items at Walmart and Sams Club, including their closet kits.


Closet organizing companies:


Closet organizing resources:


Closet organizing supplies:





Color Trends 2014 Part 4 – Home Decor

A colorful and exciting palette evocative of a tropical waterfront, Fluidity includes blue, coral, purple, absinthe green, turquoise and yellow. These colors fulfill the need for life-sustaining cool water tones underscored by seagrass shades and undersea-creature colors such as Absinthe Green, Violet Tulle, a blazing Samoan Sun, a Dewberry purple and two tones of eye-arresting orange-corals.


[one_half] Fluidity Color Palette[/one_half] [one_half_last] The colors are calming and remind me of vacationing on cruises and relaxing on the tropical islands. The bright pops of color can be refreshing, especially to subtle decors. The palette includes the colors of water from blue to absinthe green, turquoise and purple, accented with coral and yellow.

But as I said before – with any trend, think before you jump in. Color trends can be great, but how does the color make you feel? Just because it’s a “hot” color, doesn’t mean it’s the right one for you. Understand the psychology of the colors you are choosing, and whether they are the right colors for your room. [/one_half_last] [clear] [one_fourth]

Scuba Blue Decor

Scuba Blue Decor[/one_fourth] [one_fourth]

Coral Decor

Coral Home Decor[/one_fourth] [one_fourth]

Dewberry Decor

Dewberry Home Decor[/one_fourth] [one_fourth_last]

Somoan Sun Decor

Somoan Sun Color Palette[/one_fourth_last] [clear]

Psychology of Colors

[one_half] SCUBA BLUE

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  • calm
  • clean
  • peaceful
  • reflective
  • tranquil [/custom_list]


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  • friendly
  • playful
  • romantic
  • sensual
  • welcoming  [/custom_list] [/one_half]


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  • balance
  • creative
  • harmony
  • kindness
  • optimistic[/custom_list]


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  • cheerful
  • enthusiasm
  • focus
  • sensitive
  • uplifting[/custom_list] [/one_half_last]

[clear] Check out our Pinterest boards for some ideas on how these colors have been incorporated into home decor.

Room Color Visualizer