Author Archives: Susan Tillman, REALTOR®

About Susan Tillman, REALTOR®

I am a real estate professional helping buyer find the homes of their dreams and helping sellers get the best price in the least amount of time. I can help walk you through the process, and provide a wealth of information on a variety of topics dealing with "The Move" and home ownership.

Get Pre-Approved

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Once you have decided to buy a home, you will want to know how much of a home you can afford. Once you know that, well, you can truly begin looking in earnest. All the search engines out there on the internet allow you enter a minimum and maximum price range, filtering out the homes you cannot afford and focusing on those you can. I recommend you download my mobile application to use as one of your search engines. It draws its information directly from the GA Multiple Listing Service (GAMLS), which has the most up-to-date information. But what is better than that, it has a scan feature you can use from your smartphone. As you are driving around looking at neighborhoods or see a particular house you are interested in, you can point your phone at it, hit scan, and it will pull up that home and any others within a 1 mile radius. Cool, huh? To get my mobile application, simply text “scarroll” to 678-400-6100 and follow the directions.

Let’s step back a moment. If you are just curious what’s out there, look at everything. Dare to dream.

But if you are seriously searching, don’t be one of the many buyers who starts looking for a new home without taking the time to find out how much they can afford.  That’s like going to the grocery store without your wallet! How do you figure out how much home you can afford? Well you can use what is called an Affordability Calculator.

Now call me and while you are getting pre-approved, we will start looking for the right home for you.

But I digress. The purpose of this blog is to tell you how to get pre-approved. A pre-approval is generally a written statement from a lender stating the lender’s preliminary determination that a borrower would qualify for a particular loan amount under that lender’s guidelines. The determination and loan amount are based on income and credit information. Most pre-approval letters are good for 60 to 90 days.

Don’t confuse a pre-approval with a pre-qualification. With a pre-qualification, the lender relies on information provided by the buyer to estimate how much the borrower could qualify for. With a pre-approval, the lender verifies the borrower’s information and documentation to determine exactly how much it would be willing to lend to that borrower.

There are many reasons why you should get pre-approved. The most important reason is that you will get an accurate idea of how much home you can afford. This can help to target your home search and ensure you only look at houses that are truly in your price range. A pre-approval letter also helps you prove to real estate agents and sellers that you’re a credible buyer and able to act fast when you find the home you want to buy. Some sellers might even require buyers to submit a pre-approval letter with their offers, though having a pre-approval letter does not guarantee that your offer will be accepted by a seller. A pre-approval letter can make you stand out in a competitive real estate market. If you make an offer on a house without a pre-approval, your offer may not be taken as seriously as an offer from another person with a pre-approval.

So how do you get Pre-Approved?

Gather Essential Information (gather supporting financial documents – don’t guess)

Financial: Income, asset and expense information
If buying: Estimated purchase price and down payment amount
If refinancing: Estimated property value and loan amount

Select a Loan Company. Feel free to email me if you are stumped. I can send you some contacts who I feel comfortable working with and help you identify one matching your particular situation. My email is susan.carroll@bhhsgeorgia.com.

Begin the Pre-Approval Process

Contact a local mortgage consultant by phone or email.
Complete their online application form.
Your mortgage consultant will ask for the financial and property information you’ve gathered. To complete your request, you’ll need to submit your supporting documents before they issue the Pre-Approval letter.

Complete the Loan Application Process

Once you have found the home of your dreams, you will need to complete your application. If they have not already done so, your home mortgage consultant will probably ask you for Pay stubs, your last two years’ W-2s, last two federal returns, two months’ worth of bank statements of all types of accounts, and permission to pull your credit report.

Based on this information, they will provide a Loan Estimate shortly after receipt of your application. The Loan Estimate provides an estimate of the costs of obtaining your loan and the anticipated cash needed to close. After you review the Loan Estimate, you must indicate in writing your intent to proceed with the transaction. Avoid delays by submitting all pages of legible documents as soon as possible, along with any required fees.

There are more steps in the real estate process which must be followed until you actually close on your new home and walk out with the keys. But they are the topic of other blogs.

Here are some of the sources I used to draft this blog in case you want to read more……

http://www.bankrate.com/finance/mortgages/do-you-need-mortgage-preapproval.aspx

https://www.credit.com/loans/mortgage-questions/how-to-get-pre-approved-for-mortgage-home-loan/

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Filed under Buyers and 1st Time Buyers

Help from Homes For Heroes

HFH Logo

As you are probably aware, I come from a Military background. I was born an Army Brat (who came up with that anyway?) and when I graduated from college, I entered active duty as a Military Police Officer; a 2nd Lieutenant. I served on active duty for 14 years and then, because of several medical problems brought on, according to my doctor, from “being all you can be,” I decided to take an early out and entered the reserves instead. My knees still ache from all the years of running…..

When I learned about the Homes For Heroes program and what I could do as a real estate affiliate to help others who have dedicated their time and their lives to helping others, I knew I had to be a part of it. So if you work or worked in any of the following; military, police, fire, medical field or as a teacher; and you are selling or buying a home; let me know. My way of paying forward is to contribute part of my real estate commission to my clients’ closing costs. Yep. You heard it. I will help you pay your closing costs. I can also put you in contact with lenders and closing attorney’s who will provide a discount of their fees as their way of thanking you for your service.

If you have a moment, take a look at this short film. And remember when you decided to register, let them know that I am your Realtor of choice. Or type in http://www.homesforheroes.com/affiliate/susan-carroll to register.

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Filed under Buyers and 1st Time Buyers, Sellers, The Move

Happy November!

fall-leaves-tree

Happy November, everyone!  Summer is officially over and Fall is in full bloom. The trees are changing color and school is in session. For some, this is a time to take a breath and work a little personal time into your schedule. For others, any personal time you might have had has been overcome with juggling the extra-curricular activities of students with your already busy work schedule.  Studies indicate that taking a few minutes each week to work out or review a schedule can help reduce stress.  They also indicate that you should write down or block out some personal time on your calendar each week and then actually take the time for yourself. You need to consider your time as a priority! Some people think they will find a little time for themselves and at the end of the week they are exhausted and realize they have done nothing for themselves. Every moment of the week was spent taking care of everyone else’s business or doing the chores that keep a household running (shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry, errands, etc.)  If you don’t block the time on your calendar for yourself, other things will fill it!  Remember that you and your health is a priority too and just do it! Read a little, soak in the tub a little, and watch your favorite TV show, or do something creative with your time.

This month is also marked by a major U.S. Holiday – Thanksgiving! It is traditionally a time for gathering with family and enjoying a meal in a warm, cozy and inviting atmosphere. It is a time to give thanks for this wonderful country we live in and celebrate the end of Summer and the bountiful harvests that we have reaped. It is normally marked by a meal, football, parades and shopping.

At this time, I would ask that you set aside a little extra for those who are not as fortunate as yourself. If you are really interested in helping, consider volunteering at a homeless shelter for a day, a soup kitchen or even a nursing home. Just be friendly and take a little time to listen to them – many are starved for companionship and a little human kindness more than they are hungry.  If that level of involvement makes you uncomfortable, but you still want to do something to help, most grocery stores start donation bins that allow customers to buy an extra can or two of food or something else of value an drop it in. Make it a point to drop something in the bin every time you shop or at least twice a month. Local radio stations may be collecting donations as well. Be thankful that you can help!

I just wanted to tell all my family; friends; current and former colleagues; current, former and future clients; and anyone else reading this blog – Happy Thanksgiving. I wish you all the most wonderful of experiences, good health, and a sense of wellbeing and joy!

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Filed under Make Henry County, Ga your Home, The Move

The Move with my Fur Baby.

We love our animals! Dogs, cats, gerbils, hamsters, fish, horses,  even our lobsters.
Lobsters? Pets? Just kidding.
But seriously! Pets are family and we know you are going to take them with you, so how can you best cater to their needs in the midst of chaos? You cannot communicate with them what is going on like your children, so how can you keep them comfortable and give them security in the fact that you are not leaving them behind?

  1. Treat them the exact same. You do not want to baby them and create them to be needy in your new home, but just like a child you want to create emotional stability in the change of living spaces.
  2. Make sure they still have their sleeping arrangements set and that does not change until the actual move occurs. Too much change, especially with their sleeping habits will not create a swift transition.
  3. Take them to the new house! Let them get acquainted with the sounds, smells, and every new room, or part of the yard. Do not rush their “inspection” and allow them to smell everything for how ever long they need too. Smelling is a primary sense for them and it is required for them to get to know their new home.
  4. For yourself: Make sure you receive all your pets’ health information if you will be needing to acquire a new veterinary office.
  5. Do not feed your pet for a few hours before you leave on the moving day. The fact is your pet will be nervous and you do not want them getting sick and creating to your stress as you are traveling and moving into your new home.
  6. Be prepared with your fur baby’s favorite things to make the Move more enjoyable for them.
  7. If at all possible, for your convenience and your pet’s comfort try and not have them at your new home while moving. The constant moving, the multiple people, chaos everywhere, will not put your pet at ease, and will cause stress on you while you are moving items and constantly going in and outside. The last thing you want is your pet to be hurt while you are moving in large furniture or to slip out into an unknown neighborhood and for them to get scared and lost.

Please share with me your Move with Fur Babies experiences so we can better new First time mover’s experiences!

This blog post was co-authored by Christy Bonner.

Susan Carroll

Phone Number

Cell: 404-903-7653

Office Main: 770-692-8050

Office Fax: 678-833-2413

Email Address
susan.carroll@bhhsgeorgia.com

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“You.. you’re… gunnnaa… leave me here?!?! *Loud sobs, crocodile tears, and chest heaving occurs*

That is exactly what Amelia did to her mom as Laurie and Richard broke the news to their four year old daughter. Amelia, like most children her age, is very literal minded. She heard the first part of the sentence her dad said, “Hey sweetie, your mom and I have been talking and we are going to be going to a different house soon…” Little Amelia automatically interpreted that as her parents moving without her.

Kids are fragile, vulnerable, compassionate, and very susceptible to change, no matter if they are moving at the age of 1 year or 25 years old. The fact is though, change occurs in our lives daily, and we want our kids to be able to adapt and overcome change not panic and run away from it. With this being said, we want to watch your kids move in a healthy and exciting way! We know there is heartache, stress, and hurt feelings with moving, they have their whole lives changing, but we want them to think of the benefits too, sometimes it takes kids a long time to see the benefits, but one day they will wake up ready to go to their new school, ready to play with their new friends, or look forward to living so close to grandpa and grandma now.

So the Move is definitely happening. How can I make the transition easier and more exciting for my children?

  1. Talk to them! Even if they are as young as Amelia. Seeing boxes filled up with their things leaving their house is frightening! Communication about every step of the process will make them more comfortable and help them understand what is happening better.
  2. Let them see! Take them to your new house when it is empty. Allow them to explain their dream bedroom to you and talk about what can be done to  make it theirs. It will bring excitement and ownership.
  3. Have a timeline or calendar put up in your house to make it something to look forward to. A countdown, having a list of what will be done when, before, and during the Move will contain less surprises for the kids and help you plan everything out so it will not be as stressful.
  4. Let them help! Decide on a charity, or family in need to donate some of their unused toys to. Create a joyous time of downsizing all of their toys and clothing in order to help someone else. Allow them to label, tape, load the boxes up into an organized fashion for the movers or into the vehicles. If you have a few kids, put the oldest on babysitting duty, to give them a helpful responsibility to them. Let them know you are counting on them so you can be productive.
  5. If you hire a moving company, introduce the movers to your kids. Let your kids be hospitable to them, bringing them drinks or a snack. This will eliminate the fear of the movers from taking their things away from them and show your kids that they want to help them, mommy, and daddy.
  6. Before you pack everything up, make sure their most treasured belongings and favorite clothing are easily accessible (I hope this doesn’t need explanation or a reason why.)

I hope all of this helps! I am sure there will be more helpful tips in the future. Feel free to comment and share your tips, I look forward to learning from your experiences good and bad!

This blog post was co-authored by Christy Bonner.

Susan Carroll

Phone Number

Cell: 404-903-7653

Office Main: 770-692-8050

Office Fax: 678-833-2413

Email Address
susan.carroll@bhhsgeorgia.com

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Filed under "From a Childs Eye"

The Home Buying Process

Ever wonder what steps need to be taken to buy a new home? Well, here is a chart that gives a quick outline of things you need to be thinking about. If it looks complicated, don’t worry. It is my job to help take the confusion out of it. There are a lot of things that happen in each step, but with a knowledgeable Realtor at your side, your home purchase can flow, just like the chart.

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I am standing by to be your guide through the process. Just text me at 404-903-7653.

Susan

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Filed under Buyers and 1st Time Buyers

Uh… How Do I? Where? When is that…? Help?!?

Okay. It is definitely in our best interest to make the Move. Where do I begin?

Always begin with more evaluation and questions.

Do I need to buy first or sell first? Which is best for me financially? Re-evaluate whether you should buy then sell, sell then buy, or rent out your home.

How do I prepare my house to sell? De-clutter.

Moving is the perfect time to go through what you need versus what you want. Get rid of anything you don’t use. The primary part of selling your house is showing it off to potential buyers! And you want it to look clean and simple. Remove the knick-knacks, and declutter! Look for my future post about decluttering and how to present your house to show it off!

STEPS TO BUYING. You have already completed half the battle. Now it is time for research! Start with online sites of looking and researching to get a feel for what you are looking for. Create need and want lists. Create desires for your location. All of the questions you have answered from the past few weeks write down. Find an agent that best suits your needs and discuss all of this with them. Your agent knows the best process and decision for you once you share all this information with them.

This blog post was co-authored by Christy Bonner.

Susan Carroll

Phone Number

Cell: 404-903-7653

Office Main: 770-692-8050

Office Fax: 678-833-2413

Email Address
susan.carroll@bhhsgeorgia.com

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Filed under The Move

Now or Later?

So many questions. It will all be worth it in the end.

When you are all unpacked, when your family is settled, you will know because you are confident in every decision you made because you were given the proper tools to make every decision the best way for you and your family and because you answered every question possible in the planning stages and not in the active stages.

So finally it is time to answer the most important question; based on all the previous questions…

Is now the time to move?

This blog post was co-authored by Christy Bonner.

Susan Carroll

Phone Number

Cell: 404-903-7653

Office Main: 770-692-8050

Office Fax: 678-833-2413

Email Address
susan.carroll@bhhsgeorgia.com

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Filed under The Move

Oh No! Honey, We Left the Kids!

A move is never simple, but it can be a lot easier if we only have to think about me, myself, and I. Typically though, we move for many more reasons than just ourselves and we have to take into consideration every person in our lives that the Move will influence.

So. Do you have children? Will they be transferring schools? Separated from lifelong friends?

Does a parent or in-law live with you? What will change for them? What will they have to leave behind or get a fresh start in?

It is more than just the location of your home that changes. Even the simplicity of your home’s layout can change your family dynamics.

Is/was/will your house be one story when it was two stories? Or vice versa?

This can create a closer or more strained relationship depending on your family dynamics.

Will the Move result in your moving without someone? Or is someone moving without you? Are you moving out for the first time or is your child? Have you had a roommate since college and now it is time to be completely independent?

Or are you creating a new family and adding to your home’s need for space? Could it be you and your new spouse looking for your first home? Or are you having twins you weren’t prepared for in terms of space?

Now that your life is in transition what can and can’t you live without when it comes to location, services, education, etc. for you AND those the Move is impacting?

Thinking of everyone you are going to be moving with or leaving behind, how can we ease the transition? Does everyone need time to process the Move? Or does everyone want it to occur immediately?

This blog post was co-authored by Christy Bonner.

Susan Carroll

Phone Number

Cell: 404-903-7653

Office Main: 770-692-8050

Office Fax: 678-833-2413

Email Address
susan.carroll@bhhsgeorgia.com

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Filed under The Move

Location, Location, Location.

Home searching and buying is personal. This is your future life that we are looking at.

So evaluate what you have where you are now. What would you change? Do you prefer something closer or further from you that you have now?

Do you wish a certain kind of store, environment, entertainment, were available to you?

That can change NOW!

All those wishes, wants, desires, can be motivations and key ideas you look for in your future home.

So what services do you and your family require? Do you want rural, urban?

Look into your personal life, the big and small!

What preferences do you have for your pets, hygiene, lawn care, doctors’ offices, religious activities, etc.? What type of commerce or community activities do you prefer to have?

Think about land geography, weather, will you be commuting with the sun in your eyes every morning?

Only your past experiences can answer these questions. It is all preference, there are no right or wrong answers, but it is all about what you want or need.

This blog post was co-authored by Christy Bonner.

Susan Carroll

Phone Number

Cell: 404-903-7653

Office Main: 770-692-8050

Office Fax: 678-833-2413

Email Address
susan.carroll@bhhsgeorgia.com

Leave a comment

Filed under The Move