Descriptive Terms in Real Estate Ads for Buying Real Estate in Dallas GA

If you are buying or selling a home, the chances are good you struggle with the meaning of descriptive real estate terms. Here are explanations and definitions for more terms in real estate advertisements.

[glossary_dictionary term=”Living Room”] | [glossary_dictionary term=”Great Room”]

When a home has both a living room and a family room, we know which is which. It used to be that when an ad mentioned a family room, we could assume it also had a living room. Now some builders are building houses with something akin to the first use of “Great Room” above and calling it the “Family Room” on the floor plan. Thus houses and their terminology seem to be evolving. I suppose in the new builder speak we should just think of the room as an informal family living room.

[glossary_dictionary term=”Patio”] | [glossary_dictionary term=”Terrace”]

Both are outdoor living areas paved with something like slate or brick. A patio is level with the ground around it. A terrace has adjoining areas of ground which are higher, or lower, or perhaps both.

[glossary_dictionary term=”Solarium”] | [glossary_dictionary term=”Sun Room”] | [glossary_dictionary term=”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 over winter plants and sit in the garden in chilly or downright cold weather.

[glossary_dictionary term=”Jack and Jill Bath”]

A bathroom with two doors into it. It is frequently situated between two bedrooms with doors to each. Sometimes the doors are into a bedroom and into a hallway.

[glossary_dictionary term=”Waterfront”] vs. [glossary_dictionary term=”Water View”]

Waterfront property actually has a common boundary with (frontage on) the water. Sometimes the property line actually goes into the water. 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! Also, many times a new structure might block the view at some time in the future unless there is a protective covenant or something to prevent it.

If you can get the verbiage down, you’ll be way ahead in the real estate game. Look for future articles on this subject or visit our site to read more terms.

What is a CMA & What Does It Have To Do With Home Values in Acworth

As you consider selling your home in Acworth or Dallas, you should determine what your home is worth. You may have an idea of what that number is, but in today’s rapidly changing real estate market, you might be mistaken. Home values in Acworth and Dallas have changed significantly in the past year, and sometimes in the past few months.

You may have seen what other homes in your neighborhood have sold for or kept an eye on local listings. Your real estate agent will prepare a comparative market analysis (CMA) for you offering an in-depth analysis of any research you may have done on your own. The CMA is used to help evaluate how your home will fare against the competition. It considers homes currently listed and those recently sold in your neighborhood compared to yours. The purpose is to find the highest price that will still make the home competitive in today’s market.

A CMA and Home Values in Acworth

The CMA includes information about your home including things such as number of bedrooms and baths, approximate square footage, size of major rooms, age of the home, property taxes, and desirable amenities such as fireplaces and pools.

Depending on the market the CMA will go back in time as long ago as a year or a month or week ago. The range can also vary. Some will just cover a few streets around your home, CMAs can cover areas as narrow as one or two streets surrounding your home, or as broad as an entire subdivision. Typically this will depend on what data is available to create an accurate comparison. If there have been no home sales in your subdivision in a while, the real estate agent will probably look at nearby areas or go back to the most recent sale.

In creating the comparison, your real estate agent will look at similarities and differences. For example, if  your neighbor’s home recently sold but has four bedrooms compared to your three, and a finished basement while your home is on a slab, these additional items need to be subtracted from the sale price. If the situation were reversed and you had the additional bedroom and basement, those items would be added to the sale price.

Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder (Or Potential Buyer)

Selling a home isn’t just about the facts. Potential home buyers  make decisions based on curb appeal, light, design choices and many other factors. Sometimes that can factor in the sale price, as can location, neighborhood amenities, and more.

At the end of each home’s information on the CMA report there will be a brief statement provided by the listing agent that will address some of these subjective factors such as recent remodels, historic features, or things that might be of interest to the buyers. A real estate agent will likely use this information in marketing your home.

The Changing Face of the CMA

The CMA today is different than it was before the internet era partly because the potential seller does so much of their homework ahead of time. There are still resources that agents have access to that most sellers do not. Also agents have the experience of listing, marketing, and selling many homes on their side. A local expert will know what buyers in the area look for and be able to easily assess how your home measures up. Together you and your agent can find a price that brings you what you need and will be attractive enough to attract your home’s new owner.

Want to know what your home is worth? Get a free home value report for your neighborhood now.

Appraisals: The Ups & Downs of Home Values in Acworth GA

Determining Fair Market Value is an eternal struggle and major balancing act. That’s because buyers want a house to appraise on the low side—to keep the purchase price down. While sellers want the same house to appraise on the high side—to make the sale price higher. And then you’ve got the owners of the house—who also want the appraisal to be on the low side, in order to keep the property taxes down. Right now, some home values in Acworth are increasing rapidly due to increased demand.

So with all these different agendas and points of view, how is the fair market value of a real estate property actually determined?

Once a year, your county sends all area homeowners official notices that put a dollar value on their property. And property taxes are based on those dollar values. But before those notices get sent out, a long, detailed process usually takes place. First, the land is valued as if it’s vacant—an empty lot, in other words. Then any improvements are described and measured. Improvements consist of the house and any other structures, pools, sheds, garages, and so forth. Next, most counties check the Marshall Valuation Service Cost Guide. It’s a standardized nationwide guide for determining the value of the cost per square foot to build a building that fits the description of the improved property. Next, if the house isn’t brand new, the replacement cost is considered, as well as depreciation; the year the house was constructed and the condition of the property are factors here. Appraisers then must take the critical step of comparing the value of the house with recent selling prices of similar homes in the neighborhood. At this point, the appraisal might stand “as is”—or it might be adjusted upward or downward.

Appraisers in Georgia are licensed and certified through the Georgia Real Estate Commission. There are 4 dfferent categories of Appraisers as explained on the GREC website, along with a summary of the permitted appraisal activity.

Market Value is a theory, in other words—not an unchanging fact.

In a perfect world, you have to have willing buyer and a willing seller. Neither is under duress. Both are in a position to maximize gain and are trying to do this. But in the real world, things are rarely that simple and equally balanced. Which is why people feel differently about the appraisal value of a house. It really depends how strong their position is as a buyer or seller.

Does the local economy come into it at all? You bet it does.

Ask a successful real estate agent in your area about that! They should know what’s happening in your neighborhood, including construction updates, new businesses, economic factors, zoning, etc. That helps understand property values.  They have access to data on homes for sale vs. homes sold and other factors that are used in estimated inventory levels. A low inventory level usually indicates a seller’s market and can increase property values.  A real estate agent can prepare a CMA (comparative market analysis) for you to help determine a fair market value for your home.  An appraiser can provide a more detailed analysis of your Fair Market Value.

So—now you know where that Grand Total comes from.

You’re armed with the information you need to make a better house-buying decision. For instance, you can understand how two virtually identical houses that are in two different neighborhoods could be very far apart in price and appraised value. And why your choice of the right house in the right neighborhood could be worth a not-so-small fortune to you right now—and years down the road.

Are Home Inspections A Good Idea When Buying A Home in Acworth

To avoid “being penny wise and pound foolish” buyers have long demanded the closing on a home purchase be contingent upon a satisfactory inspection by a home inspection firm. In many parts of our country, we’re beginning to see a shift from a buyer’s market to a sellers’ real estate market, and sellers often receive more than one purchase offer on the same day for their home. In this environment, buyers are rethinking the home inspection requirement. Is this a good idea?

Some areas of Acworth are currently experiencing high demand with low inventory, making it more difficult for buyers to find their dream home as multiple offer situations arise. A fresh coat of paint, new flooring and a staged home can sometimes appear well cared for, while hiding electrical, plumbing and other issues below the surface.

To Inspect or Not To Inspect

Clearly, if a seller got two offers and one requires a home inspection be done, most sellers will choose the non-inspection offer with all other things being equal. So, a home inspection requirement can put you at a competitive disadvantage. Still, are you willing to risk purchasing a home that has some fundamental, expensive problems? What if you purchase the home and subsequently learn plumbing under the floors must be replaced? What if the repair costs $10,000? So buying a home in Acworth – or anywhere – without a home inspection can be risky and costly.

One option may be to include a provision in your purchase offer that provides for a home inspection done for informational purposes only. That way, settlement under your offer is not conditioned upon the inspection. It would not provide you with the option of amending the contract to have the seller make repairs, nor would it provide a way for you to void the contract should serious problems be uncovered. Should serious problems be discovered, however, the seller is bound to know the deal will be in jeopardy. For that reason, even an “informational” home inspection won’t look as good as a contract with no requirement for a home inspection.

Another option you might consider in lieu of a home inspection is a sub rosa inspection. Instead of using James Bond for spying, you could ask a friend working in the construction or engineering field to walk through the house with you. The goal, of course, is to look for any glaring “red flags” that are deal killers.

If your friend doesn’t see anything disturbing, you can then write a clean contract offer without contingencies, keeping in mind that there may still be issues beneath the surface which are not visible to the naked eye. Sellers love no contingency sales. The chances are good that you’ll get the home you want, but still have a some assurance there isn’t anything seriously wrong with the property.

There is no one right answer when it comes to deciding on home inspections. Each buyer has to ask himself how much risk he is willing to take. If you are the only party making an offer, demand an inspection. If you are one of many potential buyers, well, you are going to have determine your comfort level. Others can provide information, but the decision is yours.

Home Inspections When Buying a Home in Acworth GA

Home buyers in Acworth often review the costs involved in their home purchase and sometimes make decisions to eliminate items to keep those costs down. One item might be the home inspection, especially if purchasing a new home. Unfortunately, this can sometimes be a costly mistake. Unlike a motor vehicle, Georgia does not provide a lemon law for new home purchases, although a few states do. That said, it is your responsibility to ensure when buying a home in Acworth that the home is in good condition, or the condition you expect it to be in, without hidden problems.

Georgia does not currently require home inspectors to be licensed. Here are some things to consider asking when hiring a home inspector:

  • What is included in their inspection?
  • Do they provide a written report listing their findings with photography evidence?
  • What limits do they place on liability for their own negligence?
  • Do they carry liability or errors and omissions insurance?
  • What are their credentials and experience in the industry?
  • How current are their inspection techniques and equipment?
  • Have you checked their references online and off?
  • Do they encourage you and your real estate agent to attend an inspection, and schedule the inspection so this is possible?
  • Are they a member of any nationally recognized home inspection associations and certified through them, i.e., NAHI, ASHI, NACHI or Georgia association such as GAHI?

What’s included in a home inspection in Acworth?

A general home inspection does not include specific items that require a specialist to examine, so you need to understand the different types of home items that should be inspected and that may require an additional inspection by a specialist including:

[custom_list style=”list-2″]

  • Asbestos
  • Chimney
  • Easements and Encroachments
  • Electrical
  • Foundation
  • Heating and Air Conditioning
  • Lead-Based Paint
  • Lot Size and Boundaries
  • Mold
  • Permits and Zoning
  • Plumbing
  • Pool and Spa
  • Radon or Methane Gas
  • Roof Inspection
  • Sewer or Septic System Inspection
  • Soil Stability
  • Square Footage
  • Well
  • Wood Destroying Pests


Depending on the age and location of your home, you may need to hire more than one home inspector. A general home inspector should advise you if any additional inspections are required and why. As the home buyer, you should contract with the home inspector directly and ensure that they are capable of providing the services you require. The Georgia Association of Home Inspectors provides  information on their Standards of Practice which will help you understand what their members are required, and not required, to include in a home inspection.  You can also search their membership for a home inspector.

This may all seem overwhelming, but that is why you have professionals helping you the home buying process including your real estate agent, home inspector, mortgage company, and more. Your real estate agent can help you navigate.


Homes for Sale in Acworth – February Market Trends

The real estate market is improving in metropolitan Atlanta and homes for sale in Acworth are joining the trend. As you can see from the infographic below home prices increased more than 20% with over 70 homes sold in February, and sold in fewer days on average than the previous month and year. In more good news, the average sale price was up 22.9% over the previous month and 25.5% over 2012.

As the nation continues to rebound, so does our neighborhood. As you drive through the area, you will see that subdivisions once abandoned by builders, are being revived and new construction is starting again. So there is currently an assortment of resale and new homes for sale in Acworth to offer home buyers several choices. In addition, investors and developers are able to find opportunities to continue this. The improved economy and real estate market will also be impacted by new businesses coming in to our area like Cabela’s which is scheduled to open this summer, and already beginning to recruit for jobs; as well as the continued construction on LakePointe, which is scheduled to open in stages with completion in 2016 and bringing more than 20,000 jobs to our area. You can read more about Lake Point and see new renderings on their website.

Other new retailers, including restaurants, are choosing Acworth. Mellow Mushroom will open later this summer on Cedarcrest Road just off of Cobb Parkway. Not far from Acworth will be a new Whole Foods Market opening in 2016 at the corner of Barrett Parkway and Cobb Parkway.  The recent opening of the new Wellstar Paulding Hospital in brings state-of-the-art health care to a local hospital in addition to the health care campus in Acworth on Cobb Parkway.

Think you might be ready to consider a home for sale in Acworth? Contact us to help you in your home search.

Acworth Market Trends February 2014


Are You Ready For A Home – Affordable Homes in Acworth GA

Have you spent years renting homes or apartments and have grown tired of paying all that rent money to someone else? It might be time to consider purchasing a home. However, you do need to ensure that you are prepared for home ownership. There are many financial considerations to make note of before you start looking for a home. But, if you can arrange your finances into a sensible plan and secure a mortgage then this can ultimately be the most rewarding purchase you have ever made or will make. There are many affordable homes in Acworth GA.

Step 1 to an Affordable Home in Acworth GA

Finance plays a huge role in the decision to purchase your first home. This is to be expected as if you are purchasing your first home you will not likely have a few hundred thousand dollars sitting around and will have to find a mortgage of some sort. You should really make sure that you are prepared for the application for a mortgage as it will involve a thorough investigation of your past credit history. If there are any issues that you know of with your credit then you should take care of them before you apply for the mortgage. Sometimes this is a simple case of oversight, some things have been taken care of and not recorded as such, and sometimes there can be some debts that you will need to see to. Once these are taken care of, be sure to get a letter of release that you can show to the mortgage broker or company if necessary. If there are no issues with your credit then that will only make the process easier.

There is no stronger tool in the home buying process than having all your financing in line before you start shopping. This is a great attraction for sellers as they want their homes to sell quickly and without incident or trouble in the money phase, a buyer with ready-to-go financing’s offers will hold greater favor with almost any seller. If you are mindful of these things then when the time comes to make your offer, the whole affair will go much more smoothly and you will be able to dedicate your time to what is important – enjoying the benefits of home ownership.

If you think you are ready, look at the affordable homes in Acworth GA currently on the market, as well as subdivisions and other information about Acworth. And when you are ready for home ownership, we would be happy to help you.


How much House can you afford?