The Best Augusta Real Estate Blog

The Best Augusta Real Estate Blog

Caroline Ashe

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Real Estate | Haunted House Disclosure

by Caroline Ashe

Haunted House Disclosure | What are the rules?

October brings out the spooks and goblins, but it also brings out the real estate question, "Do haunted houses have to be disclosed to potential buyers?" Haunted Real Estate

Haunted homes along with homes where a murder or suicide took place are considered "stigmatized properties" under real estate terms. Most states have their own set of rules whether the agent or seller should have to be forthcoming with this information. I however, always rule on the idea of if you have to ask if something needs to be disclosed it's probably best to disclosure it upfront...no matter what.

The internet is a good resource should you want to know if there has been any problems with a particular home. Just Google the address, if there is something spooky going on it will quickly come to light on your computer screen. 

realestate.aol.com Article | Do Home Sellers Need to Disclose Paranormal Activity?

I recently sold a home that, by the looks of this photo had a "visitor."

What are your thoughts? (Spooky Stuff!)

Haunted Houses Disclosure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you have a Haunted House to Sell? VIDEO  | How to Sell a Haunted House

 

Questions asked of me during my day to day real estate activities usually turn in to blog post, this one is no different. I've been asked twice this week about the wait times when buying a home after a foreclosure, short sale or bankruptcy and the chart below has all you need to know. If you have specific questions ask a local mortgage lender, they will be able to guide you through the process. In the local Augusta area I recommend Augusta Mortgage Company, once of the area's oldest lenders. 

Chart Showing Wait Times When Buying a Home After a Foreclosure, Short Sale or Bankruptcy

wait times for buying a home after a foreclosure, short sale or bankruptcy

Augusta Area Bank Owned Homes

We homeowners tend to delay making large home improvements. We know we need to do them, but they're expensive, and we don't want to lay out all that cash upfront. However, some of these upgrades end up paying for themselves in energy savings—and relatively quickly, too. The four biggest culprits for wasting energy around the home are:

Doors

An old, improperly installed or hollow door is a big offender when it comes to wasting energy, and glass-sliding doors lose more energy than other types. Replace your old doors with new, air-sealed doors with proper insulation. A properly installed steel door with polyurethane foam insulation should meet your needs. Solid wood doors are durable, energy-efficient and beautiful, but they're also the most expensive option, and they require regular painting or varnishing to continue looking good.

Roof

Replacing an old, worn or inefficient roof will not only reduce your energy costs, but it will also prevent water damage in your home. Choose a roofing system with an excellent leak barrier, especially in wetter climates. Proper ventilation is also essential; it prevents a host of issues, including mold and mildew, damage to your insulation and stress to your heating and cooling system.

For homeowners interested in going more green, consider installing solar panels. The federal government offers the Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit to help defray the cost, and many states and utilities offer additional tax credits, rebates and other incentives to encourage the use of renewable energy.

Windows

If you have old or inefficient windows, don't simply caulk around them—replace them. New windows are usually more cost-effective than trying to make old windows energy-efficient. The three main types of replacement windows are vinyl, wood and aluminum. Wood is excellent for its insulation value, but it is prone to rot in rainy or humid regions. Wood-clad windows can have the same issues. Vinyl rates higher than aluminum for energy efficiency, but in very wet climates, aluminum may be the best option. Insulated glass and tight construction are essential for energy savings.

Heating/Cooling

Fifty-four percent of the average home's energy costs come from heating and cooling, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). If your HVAC equipment is more than 10 years old, consider replacing it. ENERGY STAR-rated equipment can cut your annual energy bill by up to $200, according to the DOE.

If you don't already have one, install a programmable digital thermostat, too. Older thermostats often contain mercury, which is a hazardous material. Digital thermostats contain no moving parts to break and are more accurate, and you will save money by programming it to cut back on heating or cooling while you sleep and are at work.

Don't Guess What You Need

Consider investing in a professional energy audit to find how you can reduce your home energy consumption and save money. The auditor will evaluate your home's weaknesses and recommend improvements.

Crawford Creek Homes for Sale

by Caroline Ashe

Highlight of Crawford Creek Homes for Sale

The Manor | $190's

Creekside | Mid $200's

The Village | High $200's

Interested in looking at homes in Crawford Creek, please call 706-589-1360 

Contact Caroline Ashe

What to Rent When You are Doing DIY Home Improvements

by Caroline Ashe

Is your garden looking more like a jungle these days? Are the bathroom tiles in your home worn and cracked? Does the paint in some of the rooms need sprucing up? If so, it might be time to head to the local hardware and home improvement stores and buy some supplies to give your home some serious TLC. DIY Home Improvements

As you are doing your shopping, keep in mind that some DIY home improvement tools are better off being rented than purchased. As Mother Earth News notes, tool rental services allow weekend warriors to avoid purchasing a costly tool that they might need only a couple of times a year.

The following list includes a small sampling of some of the best tools DIY-ers should consider renting:

Paint Sprayer — If you have a lot of painting jobs on your to-do list, Rent it Today suggests renting a commercial HVLP sprayer instead of trying to use a handheld sprayer. While the handheld models can be budget-friendly, they also tend to be rather high-maintenance, requiring lots of refilling and extra time to be properly cleaned. An HVLP sprayer also covers more area in less time and can typically be rented for around $60 a day. If your painting job includes some high and hard-to-reach areas, you might want to rent scaffolding to avoid dangling precariously from ladders to finish their painting projects as safely as possible.

Walk-behind rototiller — This tool is perfect for smaller gardens that are overgrown and in need of some serious soil turning. Instead of spending the money to purchase one, homeowners should consider renting one of these handy tools at the beginning and end of the peak growing seasons. The walk-behind model provides the power that is required to turn over often heavy and packed soil.

Reciprocating saw — Does your DIY list include demolition? If so, consider renting this amazing tool. In addition to slicing through materials like pipes, nail-filled wood and plastic with relative ease, there are also cordless versions available that are even more convenient. For folks who are working far from a power source or need to be outside in the rain, the cordless version — which typically comes in 28- and 36-volt sizes — offers a safe and convenient option. If the project requires demolishing a relatively small area, consider renting a professional-grade articulated reciprocating saw. The body of the tool can swivel and bend, so it’s much easier to work around other objects and in tight spaces.

Tile Saw — As Popular Mechanics points out, while there are some pretty inexpensive tile saws available at home improvement stores, the old saying of “you get what you pay for” definitely applies here. In other words, instead of buying a cheap tile saw that doesn’t have a wide variety of functions and can’t work on all types of tiles, DIY-ers should rent a decent tile saw that is able to cut thick tiles like marble, as well as larger tiles, with ease.

Dumpster — Your neighborhood garbage man may leave the can at the curb if you fill it up with rocks, old flooring, broken tiles and other heavy construction materials. If you have a large amount of construction debris, you'll have to haul it to the dump. A more convenient option may be to rent an industrial-sized waste bin from a company like Next Day Dumpsters. It will be dropped off and picked up from your house, making life much easier.

Explore Columbia County Rentable Bikes at Evans Town Park

by Caroline Ashe

Today while enjoying my favorite sunny-day lunch spot at Columbia County's Evans Town Park, I discovered a rentable bike rack. What a great addition to Columbia County! The B Cycle Rentable Bike Kiosk is coming up on it's one year anniversary March 1st and the county has hopeful plans to add other kiosk in area parks soon. I can see a rentable bike rack at Savannah Rapids Park and can image taking a leisurely ride from the Evans Town Center to the Savannah River's edge. 

I visit the Charlotte, NC area often and these rentable bikes are extremely popular. Bikes can be rented and rode to and from different parts of city, it's all so progressive! I was pleasantly surprised to see this kind of Columbia County Rentable Bikes Evans Town Parkforward thinking from Columbia County as well. As a local Realtor for this area, this is just one other special piece of the area that I'm happy and excited to highlight.

The stylish bikes are equipped with GPS and with the addition of future kiosk units the GPS will allow users to see where bikes are available for rental in the area. The GPS technology also gives the county data to use when thinking about placement of other rentable bike racks in the county and where customers are using this unique service.

Columbia County Rentable Bike Rates:

  • $8.00 - 0-2 hours
  • $1.00 each additional hour
  • $65.00 annual pass (2 hours per day)

Anatomy of a Top Realtor

by Caroline Ashe

From head to toe I think there are key elements to every top realtor. To be a best selling agent you can be sure you will work long hours and sacrifice time with friends and family to forward your career in real estate. If you’ve been told differently, you’ve been lied to.

 

Anatomy of a Top Realtor

Image courtesy of smarnad / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

The Head of a Top Realtor

I’ve always said the most stressful moments in a real estate transaction are the last 12 hours prior to closing/settlement. The top Realtor has to have common sense and be able to think quickly on their feet. Issues arise at the 9th hour and the issue is always something different, so a top agent needs to be prepared and fast acting. Along with common sense and quick thinking, the top agent has to be a get-it-done-at-all-cost problem solver - not just your average problem solver, a think outside of the box problem solver! And to be a quick thinker is one thing, but to execute the solution with a win-win outcome for all parties is very different.

 

The Heart of a Top Realtor

If you don’t have the heart or passion for helping others, then you’ll never reach the top. The bottom line is real estate is a service industry, helping families and individuals acquire the American Dream. It sounds idealistic, but it’s the absolute truth and the people saving and working hard towards that dream want to work with a Realtor that truly cares. Buyers and Sellers are looking for an advocate and a guide in the real estate process and if your heart is not in it, it will show.

 

The Stomach of a Top Realtor

Ever used the saying, “I don’t have the stomach for that?” In real estate you must have the stomach for rejection. The top Realtor makes his or her calls everyday not knowing if it’s a happy “yes” or a slammed phone in the ear on the other line, but they make them anyway because they know how to take and deal with rejection. My favorite word on prospect calling day is “NEXT” and I move on. It wasn’t always that easy, but in this business you get a hell of a lot of practice!

 

The Feet of a Top Realtor

Two words - comfortable shoes! Spend a little more on shoes and love your feet. The top Realtor is non-stop and really only making deals happen when it’s that way. I look forward to my “office day” when I can sit behind my desk and shuffle paperwork. The average day of a top agent is 12 hours and it’s on your feet, showing houses, meet and greets, hand-shaking work. If you want the top spot get ready to work.

 

Is it worth it?

Simply put, YES! The first time homebuyer’s smile and hug at closing, the move up home for the couple expecting their first baby and the countless other joyous situations that come with buying or selling a home are the biggest rewards of a real estate career. The top Realtor is there in the trenches with families and individuals during these times and hopefully has done the best job possible. The goal is that these clients will ask the agent again and again to repeat their great service and a successful real estate career is born!

 

 

 

Caroline Ashe Receives Best of Houzz 2014 Award

by Caroline Ashe

Caroline Ashe - Blanchard and Calhoun of Evans, GA Receives

Best Of Houzz 2014 Award

 

Annual Survey and Analysis of 16 Million Monthly Users

Reveals Top-Rated Building, Remodeling and Design Professionals

 

Evans, GA, February 4, 2014 – Caroline Ashe-Blanchard and Calhoun Real Estate of Evans, GA has been awarded “Best Of Houzz” by Houzz, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. As a successful Realtor in the Augusta GA area for more than 14 years, Caroline Ashe was chosen by the more than 16 million monthly users that comprise the Houzz community.

The Best Of Houzz award is given in two categories: Customer Satisfaction and Design. Customer Satisfaction honors are determined by a variety of factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2013. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 16 million monthly users on Houzz, known as “Houzzers,” who saved more than 230 million professional images of home interiors and exteriors to their personal ideabooks via the Houzz site, iPad/iPhone app and Android app. Winners will receive a “Best Of Houzz 2014” badge on their profiles, showing the Houzz community their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz.  

Remodeling and Home Design

Your Source in Augusta, GA Real Estate


“Houzz provides homeowners with the most comprehensive view of home building, remodeling and design professionals, empowering them to find and hire the right professional to execute their vision,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of community for Houzz. “We’re delighted to recognize Caroline Ashe-Blanchard and Calhoun among our “Best Of” professionals for customer satisfaction as judged by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts who are actively remodeling and decorating their homes.”

 

With Houzz, homeowners can identify not only the top-rated professionals like Caroline Ashe-Blanchard and Calhoun but also those whose work matches their own aspirations for their home. Homeowners can also evaluate professionals by contacting them directly on the Houzz platform, asking questions about their work and reviewing their responses to questions from others in the Houzz community.

 

Follow Caroline Ashe on Houzz Profile

 

About Caroline Ashe-Blanchard and Calhoun

 

Services Provided

residential home sales, staging advice, real estate market information, professional photography

 

Areas Served

Augusta, GA

 

Business Description

Successful Realtor with over 14 years of residential home sales experience. Dedicated to giving those who choose to do business with me the highest level of service in the Augusta area.

 

About Houzz

Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish - online or from a mobile device. From decorating a room to building a custom home, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community powered by social tools, Houzz is the easiest way for people to get the design inspiration, project advice, product information and professional reviews they need to help turn ideas into reality. For more information, visit www.houzz.com

The Real Truth About Homeowners Insurance

by Caroline Ashe

When you file a claim with your homeowner's insurance, you risk increasing your insurance rates, and, if your claim goes on a CLUE or A-PLUS database, this is like a permanent mark on your record that could ​ make it difficult to buy insurance in the future. Bankrate.com says these three types of claims are the worst:

1. Dog bites

2. Water damage

3. Slip-and-fall injuries

Homeowner Insurance Blacklist

If your insurance company is one of the 98 percent of insurance companies that report claims to the Claim Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) and Automated Property Loss Underwriting System (A-PLUS), then, yes, you've been marked. You haven't been blacklisted, but your insurance company might charge you higher rates than your accident-free neighbor. Bankrate says some companies will report mere inquiries, even if you don't file a claim; before you go into details about your incident, ask your agent if he or she is going to report your conversation to CLUE or A-PLUS. Insurance companies use data that goes back 5 years from CLUE and A-PLUS to set your homeowners rates. According to CashNetUSA, you can get a free copy of your CLUE report to keep track of how many claims you've filed.

Your dog might be permanently blacklisted, though. Select breeds are flagged by CLUE and A-PLUS for being aggressive dogs. Netquote.com says households that have these breeds might have a difficult time buying homeowners or rental insurance:

  • Akita
  • Alaskan malamute
  • Chow chow
  • Doberman pinscher
  • German shepherd
  • Pit bull
  • Rottweiler
  • Siberian husky

Netquote says most insurance companies will take into consideration the individual dogs temperament, obedience training and other records before declining coverage. If you are declined, you might be able to purchase dog-owner liability coverage, which runs about $150 to $300 per year, according to DogBiteLaw.com.

When Not To File A Homeowner Claim

If the amount of damage and repair is less than your deductible, don't file the claim. If your deductible is $1,000 and the repairs are $500, it's a no-brainer: You'll pay it all out of pocket, so no need to tell your insurer.

Even though it's tempting to file a claim even for a small reimbursement, especially if you live on a shoestring budget, in the long run, you're better off if you bite the bullet. Set up a special savings account that covers your deductible, as well as an emergency fund.

When To Buy a Homeowner Warranty

For a few hundred dollars when you buy a home, a homeowner's warranty will cover things that your homeowners insurance will not. Typical warranties cover appliances, air-conditioning and heating, pumps and some electrical components. Not all are the same, so review your coverage in detail.

Buyer beware when it comes to home warranties. Angie's List members give home warranty service companies the worst grades of all Angie's List categories. When you have a home warranty, you are limited to the warranty company's selection for service providers, and you might have to pay a service fee to the provider. Ask your real estate agent for a recommendation on the best home warranty. If you find a good one, you'll be able to renew the policy annually. In older homes with aging HVAC systems and appliances, the few hundred dollars a month is worth it.

The information in this article is provided for education and informational purposes only, without any express or implied warranty of any kind, including warranties of accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose. The information in this article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial or any other advice. The information in this article is general in nature and is not specific to you the user or anyone else.

The New Army Cyber Command at Fort Gordon...this is a BIG DEAL!

by Caroline Ashe

The New Army Cyber Command at Fort Gordon

For residents of the Augusta area the news of the New Army Cyber Command at Fort Gordon is all most people are discussing at business meetings and dinner tables. As well we should…"it's a big deal!" as I heard Thom Tuckey, Director of the CSRA Alliance say this morning in a presentation. He did a great job outlining the impact this new addition will be to the Augusta area. Not only is this a win for the Army, it's a big win for the area at new army cyber command at fort gordonlarge. Whether it be the housing market (I'm pretty excited about that), local businesses or area communities, the new Army Cyber Command at Fort Gordon is a big deal for the CSRA and there will not be a sector untouched by it's addition to an already thriving Fort Gordon who has seen the addition of  NSA-Georgia over the past few years.

What is the New Army Cyber Command

Cyber warfare is happening now and ever changing. Our enemies are smart and future wars will not be fought on the battlefield, but over computers and information super highways. The Army Cyber Center of Excellence will bring together the Army's cyber and networking operations, showing our enemies and our nation that this is important and the Army intends to protect against this ever evolving threat. The New Army Cyber Command at Fort Gordon will train and teach the next generation of soldiers - the cyber wizards! 

Get the Word out - It's a BIG DEAL

When Mr. Tuckey was asked what the average Augustan could do, he spiritedly answered, "know that this is the biggest thing to happen to Augusta EVER! and we all need to realize it's a big deal." 

Fort Gordon's Impact on the CSRA

  • Largest employer in the Augusta area with 24,000+ strong
  • ​Economic Impact - $2.4 billion
  • Every Military Job = 2 Civilian Jobs
  • Fort Gordon Retirement Services estimates it cares for over 60,000 retired military and families
  • Area schools benefit by receiving and estimated $1.2 million in impact aid which is funded by the Department of Education

Full list of Economic Impact 

So, I urge you to educate yourself on this great announcement for Augusta, talk it up and remind people it is a big deal. The impact on our community and quality of life will be enhanced by the projects, funding and commerce that will be sure to follow the new Army Cyber Command at Fort Gordon.

Search Homes Near New Army Cyber Command

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 220