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Egypt Sherrod

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Making a smart home? The best upgrades are simple and won’t break the bank.

Smart Tech

In the last three years, smart home technology—the ability to control devices or appliances via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth—has become one of the most important upgrades for your house. Why? One word: millennials. The up-and-coming generation represents the largest share of potential homebuyers, and recent surveys suggest they’re willing to shell out more for houses equipped with smart tech. This is not a market to ignore. As a matter of fact, I’ll go out on a limb and predict buyers will consider smart tech standard within three to seven years.

So where do you start in a world with everything from illuminated, vibrating toilets to Bluetooth-enabled showers? The best investments are simple and don’t break the bank. These first three steps total less than $600 and can bring returns in more than one way.

Climate Control
Smart thermostats take all of the thinking out of heating and cooling your house. They can learn your behavior automatically, sensing whether you are at home or away and adjusting the temperature accordingly, saving you an average of $145 per year. One of the most popular smart thermostats is the Nest, which currently costs $249, plus installation. It doesn’t take long to pay for itself.

Smoke Signals
A smart smoke detector can cost $100 or more, but the value is priceless if it saves a life. Nearly two-thirds of all home fire fatalities occur in residences where the smoke detectors are missing or disabled. I have been guilty of disabling my detector while cooking. Some smart products signal fewer false alarms and monitor smoke as well as carbon dioxide and air quality.

Lock Down
High-tech locks are one of the most functional upgrades in the smart-home market. How many times have you come home late or with your arms full, fumbling to find your keys? For around $250, these Wi-Fi- or Bluetooth- enabled devices can automatically detect when you arrive home and unlock the door, thanks to your smartphone. You can even program them to allow access to selected guests.

This article originally appeared in our Winter 2017 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.

In Atlanta, luxe townhomes take off

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Luxury townhomesIncreasingly, young professionals and empty nesters are opting for luxury townhomes with city views and access to restaurants and parks. For the 12 months ending with June of this year, national townhome starts had risen by 25 percent over the same period ending in 2015. Analysts attribute the surge to rising housing costs as a whole. Townhomes offer more space than condos and often provide owners with their own backyards or patios, while eliminating the hassle of landscaping and exterior maintenance—plus, they generally have lower price tags than single-family abodes.

In Atlanta, luxury new builds can range from the low $400s to nearly $3 million. High-end finishes are the expectation: Euro-modern style, elevators, rooftop decks, Carrara marble, Italian custom cabinetry, Sub-Zero appliances, imported tile, five-inch-wide walnut floors, smart home technology, eco-friendly features. And that’s just for starters.

Mark Draper, who recently bought a townhome in Decatur, says, “To get into a decent school district, we were literally looking at $400K to $500K for virtual tear-downs. It didn’t make any sense, not when we could have a new, turn-key townhome for the same price or less.”

Builders such as Epic Development and Cablik Enterprises provide buyers with a complete wish list. Epic is helping to transform Old Fourth Ward and the Eastside Trail, offering spacious contemporary townhomes with dramatic views and fabulous finishes. Cablik built the popular Sky Hill in Poncey-Highland, delivering front-stoop access to restaurants, shops, entertainment, and the BeltLine—all in the mid-$500s to $600s.

In premier Buckhead communities such as Regents Park or 39 West Wesley, a four-bedroom/four-bathroom unit can go for $2.5 million. Buyers are downsizing from multimillion-dollar abodes, using townhomes as second or third residences and lock-and-leave city options.

There is one big challenge, however, and that is lack of inventory. Developers cannot seem to build townhomes as fast as buyers are contracting them.

Egypt Sherrod is the host of HGTV’s Property Virgins and Flipping Virgins, CEO of the Egypt Sherrod Real Estate Group, and author of Keep Calm . . . It’s Just Real Estate: Your No-Stress Guide to Buying a Home. egyptsherrodrealestate.com

This article originally appeared in our Winter 2016 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.

Can residential builders keep up with Atlanta’s fast-growing population?

Atlanta construction boomThis year is shaping up to be a revolutionary one for Atlanta homebuilding. According to the latest analysis from Dodge Data & Analytics (a leading housing indicator), residential construction spending in metro Atlanta totaled roughly $6 billion during 2015—a 15 percent increase from 2014, vaulting us ahead of previous construction meccas like Chicago, Seattle, and San Francisco. We are now the ninth-largest metropolitan area in the country.

New jobs play a major role in the continued growth of Atlanta’s housing market. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Atlanta had the fastest rate of job growth among the 12 largest metro areas in the 12 months ending in November 2015. In December our unemployment rate declined to 4.9 percent—the lowest since December 2007.

With real estate now in full recovery mode, condos and townhomes are becoming desirable again. Midtown’s growth reflects residents’ desire to live near MARTA stations and have access to walkable streets with cultural amenities such as the Woodruff Arts Center and Georgia Tech. Potential homeowners want to enjoy the shopping, restaurants, arts, and parks along the Atlanta BeltLine, which has spurred high-end condos and townhomes nearby. And the city’s outskirts are also getting in on the act as new spec-home neighborhoods are popping up in surrounding counties.

There has been a surge in newly built rentals as well. There are more than a dozen midrise apartment projects planned on Peachtree, West Peachtree, and Spring streets, as well as near MARTA stations, Piedmont Park, and Technology Square. Midtown has never seen so many proposed residential projects at once, and more continue to enter the market.

It all leads to the question: Will all of this new construction reverse Atlanta’s low housing inventory that started in 2013? According to Curbed, homes for sale in mid-2013 were down by a crippling 30 percent from the previous year. Perhaps the rise in new construction will put a Band-Aid on things for the short run. But if our population continues to grow faster than our inventory, our home prices may soon match other large cities. The average price per square foot reigns at $920 for San Fran or a breathtaking $1,455 for New York—compared with Atlanta’s current average of $179 per square foot. That prospect alone makes the banging and clinking sounds of new construction a little more tolerable.

Egypt Sherrod is the host of HGTV’s highly rated Property Virgins and the new Flipping Virgins, CEO of the Egypt Sherrod Real Estate Group, and author of Keep Calm . . . It’s Just Real Estate: Your No-Stress Guide to Buying a Home.

This article originally appeared in our Summer 2016 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.

Atlanta’s best home values, according to Egypt Sherrod

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With so much growth in our ever-changing Peach Capital, buyers want to know, “What can I get for my money?” The answer depends on where you’d like to live. Property values have steadily increased over the past 24 months. Here’s what you can get now for $300,000 to $400,000.

Egypt Sherrod best Atlanta home value
Photograph courtesy of Keller Williams

Smyrna
Popular Smyrna is earning the title “Townhome Capital of Atlanta.” Ideally located, it’s convenient to the airport and major highways. With a quaint market village at its hub, it’s also near the Silver Comet Trail, Cumberland Mall, and the new Braves stadium. Coming in just below $300,000 is this three-bedroom, four-bath townhome with approximately 2,350 square feet. It’s an Energy Star green-certified corner unit in the Ashton Woods community of Laurel Creek. Property taxes are about $2,400.

Egypt Sherrod best Atlanta home value
Photograph courtesy of ReMax

Old Fourth Ward
If you are a city dweller at heart, for about the same price point as the Smyrna townhome, you can land a 1,032-square-foot, two-bedroom, one-bath bungalow in one of Atlanta’s hottest neighborhoods. Although small and cozy, this cute little cottage is just minutes from Ponce City Market, city parks, and Krog Street Market. This property is also zoned for commercial use—double whammy for resale value! Property taxes are estimated at $2,900 per year.

Egypt Sherrod best Atlanta home value
Photograph courtesy of ReMax

Oakhurst
Scaling up a bit to $400,000, this vintage Craftsman is located about one mile outside of downtown Decatur in Oakhurst—a tight-knit, friendly community with an active neighborhood association. Its hub boasts some of the best patio restaurants in Atlanta. This 1920s home has two bedrooms and two bathrooms, with original pine floors, restored windows, and a clawfoot tub. It has 1,180 square feet of living space, plus an adorable garden patio. Taxes are approximately $2,400.

Egypt Sherrod best Atlanta home value
Photograph courtesy of Crown

Camp Creek
This area is about 20 minutes from downtown and from the airport, and is close to shopping and major highways. A new community named the Falls at Camp Creek offers a variety of floor plans. One plan boasts nearly 5,000 square feet of living space, with a gourmet kitchen; a dramatic two-story great room; and five bedrooms, including a master suite on the main floor. At about $400,000, that is a lot of house for the money!

Egypt Sherrod is the host of HGTV’s highly rated Property Virgins and the new Flipping Virgins, CEO of the Egypt Sherrod Real Estate Group, and author of Keep Calm . . . It’s Just Real Estate: Your No-Stress Guide to Buying a Home.

This article originally appeared in our Spring 2016 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.

8 ways to add value to your home, from HGTV’s Egypt Sherrod

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Your home is your castle, right? And likely your biggest investment. Here are eight ways to help it grow in value.

Egypt Sherrod tips
Dress up the exterior.

A good first impression can add 10 percent to the value of your home. Landscaping alone can increase it by 3 to 5 percent. Little changes like fresh paint or power washing can add up to big value.

Egypt Sherrod tips
Update your kitchen.

It’s true: kitchens are a priority for most buyers and often the central social space. A renovation can return close to 100 percent of your investment—but keep it in line with neighboring houses.

Egypt Sherrod tips
Brighten bathrooms.

Replacing dated plumbing fixtures and pipes is a plus. Good lighting and storage space are also priorities in bathrooms.

Egypt Sherrod tips
Add storage.

You can never have too much storage. From his-and-hers closets to a generously sized garage or attic, space for extras such as bike racks, garden supplies, and tools is a sought-after amenity.

Egypt Sherrod tips
Upgrade windows and doors.

Many of today’s consumers are concerned about both ecology and the economy, and insulated, energy-efficient windows and doors often pay for themselves in the long run.

Egypt Sherrod tips
Lighten up.

If your house has small rooms that block the flow of natural light, consider knocking down some (non-load-bearing!) walls or just widening doors. This creates the illusion of a larger space.

Egypt Sherrod tips
Build a sunroom.

Adding a sunroom, heated or not, is an affordable way to increase square footage. In fact, building a glassed-in space typically costs less than half as much as adding a standard room.

Egypt Sherrod tips
Create a home office.

The number of people working from home is growing every year. Creating a dedicated workspace also makes some home-related expenses tax deductible.

Egypt Sherrod is the host of HGTV’s highly rated Property Virgins and the new Flipping Virgins, CEO of the Egypt Sherrod Real Estate Group, and author of Keep Calm . . . It’s Just Real Estate: Your No-Stress Guide to Buying a Home.

Illustrations by Niki Fisher

This article originally appeared in our Winter 2015 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.

Egypt Sherrod’s formula for real estate investing

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Egypt Sherrod
A flipped house in the Edgewood/Reynoldstown area: Before

Photograph courtesy of Egypt Sherrod

Egypt Sherrod
After

Photograph courtesy of Egypt Sherrod

Sales of both new and existing homes are on the rise—welcome news for fix-and-flip investors. And television series have given bravado to novices. The shows make flipping look easy, but it’s far from a walk in the park.

Flipping’s main objective is simple: buy low, sell high. On my forthcoming HGTV show Flipping Virgins (a spin-off of my show Property Virgins), I teach first-time investors how to identify ideal properties and make renovation choices that will yield the highest profit. As a Realtor who got my start in property turnovers, I’ve developed a time-tested formula for success: a third, a third, a third.

  • Property acquisition Spend one-third of your targeted final sales price on the purchase.
  • Renovation costs Before closing, get a hard estimate of renovation costs, also a third.
  • ARV (after-reno value) Make sure your Realtor runs a market analysis on the property to determine its value after the proposed renovation. The difference between this and your all-in costs will be your profit. Ideally, this is another third.

The uglier the house, the bigger the profit potential. Rehabs can range from basic improvements, such as painting and reflooring, to full gut jobs or reframing an entire house, which can cost anywhere from $60 to $120 per square foot. A major kitchen remodel can cost $50,000 or more.

Where do you find properties with profit potential in Atlanta? We are seeing tons of flipping action in Kirkwood, Reynoldstown, and Edgewood. East Point is also starting to bubble for investors.

Ideally, you want to sell the house before the first mortgage payment is due. Holding property incurs hefty costs: insurance, utilities, interest, taxes, mortgage payments. Be sure you have enough savings to carry your project to completion. And tempting as it may be to install upgraded finishes, do only what the market requires. No Chastain Park finishes in a Candler Park bungalow.

Sherrod is also CEO of the Egypt Sherrod Real Estate Group and author of Keep Calm . . . It’s Just Real Estate.

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2015 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.

Lakefront living: HGTV’s Egypt Sherrod picks three great Atlanta-area neighborhoods on the water

Lakefront LivingRecent listing: White columns at Berkeley Lake
Wooded 9,567-square-foot estate with lake view and three master suites. Listed for $974,900.

There’s something about living on water that calms the soul, and you don’t have to leave Atlanta to do it. Many metro neighborhoods are built next to private or public reservoirs, from quaint, Tudor-themed Avondale Estates near Decatur to the 40 different neighborhoods around Lake Windward in Alpharetta. Life on the lake makes every day feel like a vacation. Here are three of my favorite lakefront spots:

Launched in the 1950s as a summer retreat, Berkeley Lake centers on an 88-acre private lake. Home styles range from cottages to sprawling estates. This Gwinnett community is only 20 miles from the heart of Atlanta, with easy access to major highways. Fish, kayak, canoe, paddleboard, or ride around on a pontoon (boat speeds restricted). The community organizes parties with live music, movie nights on the beach, Fourth of July celebrations, and other fun activities. Prices range from $400,000 to $1.6 million near the water.

Lakefront LivingRecent listing: Backyard boating in Acworth
This four-bedroom, 2.5-bath home comes with a wraparound porch and you own floating dock on Lake Allatoona. Listed for $429,900.

Acworth is nestled between Lake Allatoona and Lake Acworth in the foothills of the North Georgia mountains, earning the town the nickname “Lake City.” The area is a magnet for outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy swimming, fishing, boating, sailing, water-skiing, camping, hiking, or hanging out on the white sand public beach. Shoppers enjoy the historic downtown, which offers antique and flea markets, boutiques, and restaurants serving a variety of cuisines, from classic Italian to spicy Cajun. Cauble Park is home to many annual events, including a summer concert series, Smoke on the Lake BBQ Festival, ski competitions, and a Fourth of July fireworks show. Home styles here include Victorians, classic bungalows, and new construction. Prices commonly range from the high $100s to the $700s.

Lakefront LivingRecent Listing: Green fairways at Lake Spivey
Three-bedroom, 2.5-bath home on the first green at Lake Spivey Country Club. Listed for $235,000.

The neighborhoods around Lake Spivey, the largest private lake in Georgia, are in affordable Clayton and Henry counties, only 20 minutes from Atlanta’s downtown. Home to celebrities from Monica Pearson to T.I. and Olympic swimmer Steve Lundquist, Spivey has also served as a backdrop for movies, road races, and concerts. Residents enjoy cruising on pontoon boats, water-skiing, wakeboarding, canoeing, kayaking, tubing, swimming, and fishing. Every Fourth of July, the civic association puts on a fireworks display for area residents. Prices range from the $200s for a kiss of lakefront to $5 million for grand waterfront estates.

Egypt Sherrod is the host of HGTV’s highly rated Property Virgins, CEO of the Egypt Sherrod Real Estate Group, and author of Keep Calm . . . It’s Just Real Estate: Your No-Stress Guide to Buying a Home. egyptsherrodrealestate.com

Illustrations by Brown Bird Design 

This article originally appeared in the Summer 2015 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.

HGTV’s “Property Virgins” host Egypt Sherrod picks 3 great sidewalk neighborhoods in Atlanta

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Atlanta has often been dubbed a car-dependent city. However, our region ranks high for future walkability, indicating a demand for greater density both intown and in the suburbs. In a recent study, George Washington University identified significant walkable urban places—which researchers dubbed “WalkUPs”—within metro regions. They found 558 WalkUPs within the 30 largest metro areas, and 27 were in metro Atlanta.

If you’re looking for pedestrian-friendly communities, consider a few of my favorite areas, such as the intersection of Ponce de Leon and North Highland avenues. Ponce is on the cusp of two walkable neighborhoods: Virginia-Highland and Poncey-Highland. The former has garnered a reputation for vintage stores, quaint little boutiques, and college bars, while the latter has become a hipster hangout. What’s not to love about the merging of two communities with distinct vibes? Whether you walk, run, or bike, you’re guaranteed to meet interesting characters each day. There’s the added convenience of finding every store you need along Ponce.

PrintRecent listing: Garden-style Virginia-Highland condo
2BR, 1 BA. Architecturally significant 16-unit building with courtyard. 1,120 square feet, listed for $295,000.

Another area I adore is downtown Decatur. I’ve heard it described as “Where Mayberry meets Berkeley.” The city has a hearty family vibe but has also emerged as a college town due to its proximity to Emory University and Agnes Scott College; the academic influence contributes to the area’s diversity and progressiveness. A MARTA rail station underneath the courthouse square offers convenient access for visitors to the wonderful restaurants, shops, and events, such as the annual Labor Day book festival (the largest independent one in the country) and the perennially sold-out craft beer fest in October.

PrintRecent listing: Classic 1930s renovated Decatur bungalow
4BR, 3 BA. Near Oakhurst Elementary and Decatur Square. About 2,500 square feet, listed for $669,000.

If, like me, you appreciate the serenity of living a bit farther out of the city but still enjoy a bustling vibe, then Roswell may appeal to you. This small city has a charming downtown area—two, actually: the historic square and the Canton Street district. Both have restaurants, shopping, markets, and art galleries. There are adorable historic homes in the areas below the square and above the Chattahoochee River. You won’t find gridded neighborhoods like those inside the Perimeter, as the area is more suburban, with large lots and cul-de-sacs. But the city is adopting new zoning codes and architectural guidelines that encourage walkability. The plan is based on one that city founder Roswell King created in the 1830s, when walking was how most residents got around the one-square-mile town.

PrintRecent listing: Roswell estate home
4 BR, 4.5 BA. 4-car garage, master suite on main. 4,547 square feet, listed for $819,900.

Egypt Sherrod is the host of HGTV’s highly rated “Property Virgins,” CEO of the Egypt Sherrod Real Estate Group, and author of “Keep Calm . . . It’s Just Real Estate: Your No-Stress Guide to Buying a Home.” egyptsherrodrealestate.com

Illustrations by Brown Bird Design

This article originally appeared in the Spring 2015 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME under the headline “Walk this way.”

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