Buying a Home

Should I Rent?

Should I Rent?

Top 5 Reasons to Buy vs. Rent | Harbor Homes

So many buyers are in a quandry over the past few months.  Home mortgage rates have increased from 3.625 to 6.25% since January. Home prices have increased nearly 10% Since January. Every sign says a buyer should wait to buy a home.

Not so fast...  It's very important to dig deep into the numbers and see where we were and where we are heading.  Then, we can make a very educated decision to rent.... or not.

There are a few variables that come into play.  Home prices, interest rates, inflation (and cost of living),  institutional buyers, and rent rates.

Let's start with home prices.  Home prices for the past 10 years have increased.  In the past two years they have increased on steriods.  What caused this?  Low inventory and very low interest rates (helping buying power) helped buyers buy a home that was effectively overpriced.  A home owner who owned a home was willing to buy at a premium because they just sold at a premium.  

Interest Rate hikes have increased the amount per month a new home owner will pay on their new home.  It also decreases buying power for the buyer.  A 1% increase in interest means a 10% decrease in the amount a buyer is qualified for.

Institutional buyers have played a huge part in home prices going up. These companies are not worried about losing money and therefore are paying over listed priced.   This is taking away inventory from home buyers...thus helping drive prices up.  On the flip side...after a year of losing money on each deal they...

Oh No....Interest Rates Are Rising!

Oh No....Interest Rates Are Rising!

Below is information compiled from multiple real estate economists/strategists. It is hoped this full article can be helpful to you in your discernment to buy (a home) now or buy later

“I anticipate the 30-year fixed mortgage rate to hover around 3.9 percent next month, with the 15-year fixed rate between 2.9 percent and 3.0 percent,” says Nadia Evangelou, director of forecasting for the National Association of Realtors. “Rapidly rising inflation and expectations that the Fed will raise short-term interest rates as soon as this month will continue to push up mortgage rates. March is also the month when the Fed’s asset purchase program is set to end. That means the current economic stimulus policies will conclude very soon.”

Greg McBride, Bankrate’s chief financial analyst, foresees even costlier rates.

“With inflation figures continuing to surprise to the upside, mortgage rates will remain above 4.0 percent on the 30-year fixed and above 3.25 percent on the 15-year fixed mortgage in March. The wildcard is the extent to which news like Russia’s invasion of Ukraine takes center stage, as the impact on mortgage rates could go either way,” he says.

The world is intently focused on Eastern Europe and images of bombs, tanks and troops. Sanctions against Russia could shape the direction rates head in the forthcoming weeks.

“Tensions between Russia and Ukraine might affect global markets. This could cause mortgage rates to fall, as more investors would move from stocks into the safety of bonds,” adds Evangelou. “However, the Fed will likely raise short-term interest rates as soon as this month, thereby moving up...

How to Make a Competitive Offer in a Multiple Offer Situation

How to Make a Competitive Offer in a Multiple Offer Situation

Competitive OfferIn today’s competitive market, homes can come and go in a matter of days. It’s likely that buyers will be caught in a multiple-offer situation while hunting for their dream home. If you’re looking to move, here are some tricks of the trade that will help make your offer strong and stand out from the rest.


If at all Possible, Pay in Cash

If you’re able to make an all-cash offer, do it. Making a cash offer gives you a competitive edge over other bidders. Sellers love cash offers because there are fewer hoops to jump through before closing. Home buyers who pay in cash can move through the closing process much faster than those who are financing.  Our preferred lenders have the ability to give you a fully underwritten Preapproval letter if you submit documents and start the loan process before you find a house.  This give you the ability to compete as a Cash buyer, thus, highly increasing your Competitive Advantage.

Personalize Your Offerfamily

If a seller has multiple offers, make sure yours Stands Out! We have our clients write their family stories. You could send a handwritten note that tells the sellers all you love about the home and personal details – like how you can’t wait to make the guest bedroom your child’s new play space! If you want to get really personal, include a photo of your family; this will help the sellers put faces to your offer, too! Many...

Mortgage Interest Rates - How Much Do They Affect Buying A Home?

Mortgage Interest Rates - How Much Do They Affect Buying A Home?

by Stan Jones, Keller Williams Realty 678.467.7554

The Federal Reserve has lifted interest rates, and Chairman Jerome Powell signaled that the U.S. economy wasn’t in danger of overheating. 

Mortgage Interest Rates

What do interest rates do to your monthly mortgage payment?

A $250,000 mortgage amount would look like this

If interest rates rise from 4.5% to 5.5% and the mortgage is for 30 years the total increase in payment for the life of the loan would be approx. $55,185.  

Call us today at 678.467.7554 to learn more how to get qualified for a mortgage and best practice to purchase a home today!

A little about Jerome Powell...

Jerome Powell was confirmed by the Senate in January to become the 16th chair of the Federal Reserve, and occupied his new post on Feb. 3, replacing the successful and widely admired Janet Yellen. The March FOMC meeting will be his first as Fed chair.

The former ...

What You Need To Know Before Moving To Monroe GA

Move to MonroeMoving your family from one city to another can be a great way to change things up and get a fresh perspective on life. You may be tempted to start organizing all of your things and packing up boxes right away, but you should first do a little research. Knowing which area that you plan to move to and the potential benefits for your family is a critical part of making a successful relocation. For example, would a move to Monroe, Georgia be in your best interest? 

Your life will be completely changed by a potential move, including your children’s schools, the recreational activities nearby, and possibly even your finances. It’s only wise to take the time to thoroughly research these changes so you can anticipate the potential outcome.

Take a short break from your weekend frenzy of cleaning out closets and preparing for your upcoming move to find out what you can really expect from a move to Monroe, Georgia.

About Monroe Schools

Remember: In rural communities where there is a wide diversity of affluence as well as relatively small sample size, it's increasingly difficult to score well on online portal information.  

One of the first things that parents consider before making a major move is the quality of the local public-school district. Every child is entitled to a free and appropriate public-school education, so it makes sense to consider what each area has to offer in advance. Your child’s basic education could be the gateway directly to their future.

Georgia doesn’t exactly rank as one of the best states in the nation for education. It comes in solidly in the middle of the pack, so it’s imperative that parents find a school district that has good ratings to make the most...

Moving To Dacula GA Relocation Guide

Dacula Relocation GuideHave you been considering making a move to Dacula, Georgia? Many families are drawn to the southern way of life in 30019. The south tends to represent days that are long and slow with summers that never end. You can enjoy the warm weather, clear sunshine, and a friendlier way of life by moving to the southern parts of the United States. 

Unfortunately, deciding to relocate to Dacula, GA does require a lot of research before making a final decision. You wouldn’t want to uproot your family from their beloved hometown without knowing beyond the shadow of a doubt that your new town is the perfect place for everyone. The school system, recreational activities available, and the projected cost of living are all incredibly important factors to think about before you make a move. 

You can hold off on taping those boxes shut just yet. First, you need to find all of the information you should know about moving to Dacula, GA.

DACULA School Information

Moving To Dacula Guide

Academics should be one of your top priorities if you have children and plan to make a major move with your family in the upcoming years. There is no substitute for an excellent education, regardless of what extracurricular activities or parks and recreation departments may be available in the area. The public-school system can be a clear indicator of your child’s future academic success in higher education through college and potentially even grad school. 

How do the schools in Dacula, Georgia compare to others around the country? 


Atlanta Relocation Guide


If you're relocating to Atlanta from Florida, California or the North East you are not alone!   Atlanta is a very transient city and many large corporations like IBM and Publix will fly families into Atlanta to be trained and then send them back out to their other locations.

Atlanta Relocation Guide

Step 1:  Determine The "general" Location.

Based On Work

The best first step is to narrow down where you want to live.  You might think to yourself that Atlanta traffic can't be that bad, but you have no idea.  What looks like a 20-minute commute is an hour, it's always an hour.   Proximity to your employer is huge.  If you get to telecommute and you want to stretch out to the suburbs then you can move to refine this a bit. 

Typically there's options in Atlanta proper, but also in Duluth, Marietta and Alpharetta (which incidentally is where many of the best schools are).

Based On Schools

If you want to search by the best schools you're looking at the top half of metro Atlanta.  Luckily, there are a few good schools in every county, but Cobb and Gwinnett County boast the top schools and Gwinnett is the largest school system in the state.  If you would like to search by schools, just look below. 

Relocate To Atlanta

Based On Play


How Much Money Do You Need To Buy A Home In Atlanta, GA

This question comes up from time to time in various forms, from, "how much money should I save before buying a house" to "how much money do I need to put down?" or "How Much Money Do You Need To Buy A Home In Atlanta, GA?"  While there are financial entertainers out there that will give you a different opinion there is a "facts-based" answer to this.   One such entertainer, Dave Ramsey, suggests 20% down.  He's so popular that even popular websites like and recommend this same amount.  If you put 20% you'll be way ahead of the game and that's outstanding, however, with a median price of $330,000 in Atlanta, GA, that's $66,000 cash that most don't have.

So, How Much Money Do You Need To Buy A Home In Atlanta, GA?

Fortunately for you, the answer is far less than 20%.  If you're looking for what is required to buy a home for the average American, it's about 4% of the purchase price.   On a $330,000 median price point home, that's roughly $11,550.   This amount includes a 3.5% down payment as well as money for incidentals, appraisals, and inspections while using an FHA mortgage. 

Loganville Real Estate Market Media Price

Keep in mind we're talking about Atlanta real estate here which includes areas like Buckhead.  So there's more affordable homes all over the city as well as the suburbs.  Take Loganville real estate for example, with a median price point of $194,000, you have a better example that matches the infographic below.


April Listings, 2017

The Stan Jones Team listed 3 homes during the month of April!

There has been some great inventory come into the market the past few months here in the Gwinnett County area. Approximately 1,969 homes sold in the month of April and that number is increasing by the day. Don’t lose out on the opportunity to be a part of this market. To view all of our listings, visit our home page at

We have a team of agents that are ready to help serve you into your dream home. Call us today at 678-542-1380 and follow us on Facebook and Instagram to stay in the know!  &


Appraisals - What is important to know?

Appraisals! They can be great and they can be a nightmare!  The most important items to know are the basics of how it all works.  

So, what does an appraiser do and what are the guidelines he has to follow?

A definition that is important is - Gross Living Area.  Scott Murphy from the appraisers association stated the article below about living area.  (this helps to understand how square feet are calculated)

Probably one of the most important elements of a home, in terms of value, is the overall living space or gross living area (GLA). It is probably one of the most misunderstood elements as well. There are a number of standards for calculating GLA but the one that is used by appraisers is the “ANSI” – American National Standard Institute. The ANSI standards define "finished area" as “an enclosed area in a house suitable for yearround use, embodying walls, floors, and ceilings that are similar to the rest of the house.” Measurements must be taken to the nearest inch or tenth of a foot, and floor area must be reported to the nearest square foot. Garages are specifically excluded. The way I explain it is that if you put your foot on the floor of any given level and any portion of that floor is below the grade of the ground, it is considered below grade space and CAN NOT be included in GLA. Another way to think of it is that if you could not put a door on any part of the perimeter than it is below grade space. This comes into play in parts of the country where there are homes with basements and other home styles such as split level and split foyer homes where some levels are below the grade of the ground. The appraiser then will take the areas above grade and count the rooms. The appraiser will count...

Is Getting a Home Mortgage Still Too Difficult?

Getting a Home Mortgage

There is no doubt that mortgage credit availability is expanding, meaning it is easier to finance a home today than it was last year. However, the mortgage market is still much tighter than it was prior to the housing boom and bust experienced between 2003 - 2006.

The Housing Financing Policy Center at the Urban Institute just released data revealing two reasons for the current exceptionally high credit standards:

  1. Additional restrictions lenders put on borrowing because of concerns that they will be forced to repurchase failed loans from the government-sponsored enterprises or Federal Housing Administration (FHA).
  2. The concern about potential litigation for imperfect loans.

What has been the result of these concerns?

6.3 Million Less Mortgages

The Policy Center report went on to say:

“It was so hard to get a mortgage in 2015 that lenders failed to make about 1.1 million mortgages that they would have made if reasonable lending standards had been in place. From 2009 to 2014, lenders failed to make about 5.2 million mortgages thanks to overly tight credit. In total, lenders would have issued 6.3 million additional mortgages between 2009 and 2015 if lending standards had been more reasonable.”

In an interview with DSNews, Laurie Goodman and Alanna McCargo of the Policy Center further explained:

“Our Housing Credit Availability Index (HCAI)* measures the probability that mortgage borrowers will become...

3 Questions to Ask Before Buying Your Dream Home

3 Questions to Ask Before Buying Your Dream Home

If you are debating purchasing a home right now, you are probably getting a lot of advice. Though your friends and family will have your best interest at heart, they may not be fully aware of your needs and what is currently happening in the real estate market.

Ask yourself the following 3 questions to help determine if now is actually a good time for you to buy in today’s market.

1. Why am I buying a home in the first place?

This truly is the most important question to answer. Forget the finances for a minute. Why did you even begin to consider purchasing a home? For most, the reason has nothing to do with money.

For example, a recent survey by Braun showed that over 75% of parents say “their child’s education is an important part of the search for a new home.”

This survey supports a study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University which revealed that the four major reasons people buy a home have nothing to do with money. They are:

  • A good place to raise children and for them to get a good education
  • A place where you and your family feel safe
  • More space for you and your family
  • Control of that space

What does owning a home mean to you? What non-financial benefits will you and your family gain from owning a home? The answer to that question should be the biggest reason you decide to purchase or not.

2. Where are home values headed?

According to the latest Home Price Index from CoreLogic, home values are projected to increase by 5.3% over the next 12 months.

What does that mean to you?...

Have You Saved Enough for Closing Costs?

Have You Saved Enough for Closing Costs?There are many potential homebuyers, and even sellers, who believe that they need at least a 20% down payment in order to buy a home or move on to their next home. Time after time, we have dispelled this myth by showing that many loan programs allow you to put down as little as 3% (or 0% with a VA loan).

If you have saved up your down payment and are ready to start your home search, one other piece of the puzzle is to make sure that you have saved enough for your closing costs.

Freddie Mac defines closing costs as:

“Closing costs, also called settlement fees, will need to be paid when you obtain a mortgage. These are fees charged by people representing your purchase, including your lender, real estate agent, and other third parties involved in the transaction. Closing costs are typically between 2 and 5% of your purchase price.”

We’ve recently heard from many first-time homebuyers that they wished that someone had let them know that closing costs could be so high. If you think about it, with a low down payment program, your closing costs could equal the amount that you saved for your down payment.

Here is a list of just some of the fees/costs that may be included in your closing costs, depending on where the home you wish to purchase is located:

  • Government recording costs
  • Appraisal fees
  • Credit report fees
  • Lender origination fees
  • Title services (insurance, search fees)
  • Tax service fees
  • Survey fees
  • Attorney fees
  • Underwriting fees

Is there any way to...