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Professional Agents

According to this article by KCM, The National Association of Realtors released a report that showed that cancelled contracts were increasing. In fact, according to the article, 18% of all contracts were cancelled in August compared to 9% last august.

So this means that in the past year the percentage of cancelled contracts has doubled!

clipart-man-with-computerIn the article KCM advises both buyers and sellers that it is important to choose “the right real estate professional to assist them with their real estate needs”.

We at Weichert, Realtors® – Sumner Real Estate Group couldn’t agree more! It is extremely important to have a trusted and knowledgeable agent on your side during both the buying and selling process.

When buying a home, look for an agent dedicated to finding that perfect home for you. The agents here at Weichert use every resource to find homebuyers their dream house. Our agents are also very knowledgeable when it comes to getting a mortgage, dealing with the title and many other aspects of the buying process.

Having a professional and qualified agent in charge of selling your house is important because you not only need to sell the home to potential buyers but also to the lending bank via the appraiser. Our agents are knowledgeable about both selling the home on the market and dealing with the banks.

In the end, both the real estate buyer and seller should be discerning when choosing a real estate professional to represent their interests. Look no further than the qualified and diverse staff of agents at Weichert, Realtors® – Sumner Real Estate Group who are here to help you buy and sell real estate in Savannah, Pooler and the Richmond Hill, Georgia areas.

Upcoming events in October in Savannah

We’re transitioning into fall here in Savannah, Georgia and those of us at Weichert, REALTORS® – Sumner Real Estate Group would like to share with you some of our favorite October events:

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[photo via tybeepiratefest.com]

Tybee Pirate Fest: 10/6 – 10/9
Location: South Beach parking lot on Tybee Island

Arrrr, mateys! Join us on Tybee Island for the 7th Annual Tybee Island Pirate Fest! Activities include: the Pirate Victory Parade, Live Entertainment, Costume Contests, Children’s Activities and the Thieves Market filled with treasures, grog and grub! The new Swashbucklers Bash (Ages 21 and up) is on 10/6 and 10/7 starting at 11pm, $30 after September 1st and $35 at the door.

First Friday Oyster Roast: 10/7
Location: Riverside at the Westin

The Westin Savannah Harbor hosts their monthly riverside celebration from 7:30pm – 10:30 pm. Enjoy live music, libations and hot fresh grill items & oysters at this relaxed resort setting. Free admission, food and drink al a carte.

Slavery and Freedom in Savannah Symposium: 10/13 – 10/15
Location: Telfair Museums

This program begins with a keynote lecture by Dr. Daina Berry from the University of Texas at Austin and Dr. Leslie Harris from Emory University followed by a day and a half of lectures, presentations and speakers about slavery and freedom in Savannah, from the Colonial era through Reconstruction.

City Market Fall Festival of Art: 10/14
Location: City Market

Enjoy music, food, beverages, demonstrations and lectures, and a chance to win artwork from City Market artists. Runs from 5pm – 8 pm. Free admission.

Ogeechee Seafood Festival: 10/14 – 10/16
Location: J.F. Gregory Park, Richmond Hill, GA
Times: 10/14: 5 pm to 11 pm, 10/15 : 10 am to 11 pm, and 10/16: 11am to 5pm
Admission: $5 Friday & Saturday until 4 pm, Sunday; $15 Saturday after 4 pm.

The greatest seafood festival in Coastal Georgia is a quality family event and features continuous entertainment on two stages with bands, dancers and headliners Friday and Saturday nights. Other attractions include the 5K Crab Crawl, a carnival midway, car show, and of course, the greatest seafood found anywhere in Coastal Georgia! Enjoy a grand display of fireworks Saturday night.

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Halloween Hike at Oatland: 10/21 – 10/22
Location: Oatland Island Wildlife Center

Come celebrate Halloween with the animals at Oatland Island! Walk with your trickster down our friendly forest trail to meet and gather goodies from our friendly animal characters. This fun and safe trick-or-treat event features face painting, spooky crafts and many more activities. Costumes and comfortable walking shoes are encouraged. Children must be accompanied by an adult. The fun goes from 5pm to 7pm both evenings. Adults $6 and children $8 admission.

Savannah Food Festival: 10/22
Location: Mother Matilda Beasley Park

This festival is a local celebration of national Food Day! Activities include food, music, exhibitors, pet-friendly fun, kids’ activities and educational workshops all aiming to promote healthy, sustainable and just food systems in America. 11am to 5pm, free admission.

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[photo by Michael Weintrob]

Terrance Simien and the Zydeco Experience: 10/22
Location: American Legion Post 135

3 pm: Join Terrance Simien and his foot-stomping zydeco band for an afternoon dance. Learn more about the Creole music of southwest Louisiana and the Texas gulf. 8 pm: The ballroom at Savannah’s Legion Post is transformed into a Louisiana dance hall with the lively, percussive drive of accordion and rubboard. Admission is $20 and $5 for kids under 12.

Coastal Empire Fair: 10/27 – 11/6
Location: Coastal Empire Fairgrounds & Expo Center
Times: Weekdays 5:30 – 9:30 p.m., Weekends Noon-10:30P

The Coastal Empire Fair is an 11 Day Agricultural Fair with rides games and free entertainment plus a Livestock Show on both Saturdays. The fair runs from 5:30pm – 9:30pm on weekdays and from noon to 10:30pm on weekends. Admission is $5.

Savannah Speed Classic: 10/28 – 10/30
Location: Grand Prize of America Track, at the Westin

Get up close and personal with the inner workings of racing with hot lap rides and pit access at the Speed Classic. A unique race track experience brings back Savannah’s racing heritage.

Are there activities that we missed you’d like to share with us? Got some stories from past October activities? Share them with us on our facebook page.

5 Reasons to Get Out This Weekend!

We here at Weichert, REALTORS® – Sumner Real Estate Group want you to Get Out this weekend! Here are some local events going on in Savannah this weekend that you don’t want to miss out on!

1. Junior League of Savannah’s 64th Annual Thrift Sale

Get your holiday hat on and buy some early gifts at the Junior League Thrift Sale. Not to be missed for those who understand discount price shopping. This event is well run, long established and a win, win for everyone. Held at the Civic Center September 23rd and 24th, this thrift sale is the primary source of funding for the Junior League and their community improvement projects. Hours of the sale are 10am-2pm on Friday and 10am to 3pm on Saturday. Admission is $5 on Friday and $3 on Sat. Sat all items reduced 50%. Come do some early holiday shopping and support your community at the same time. Cash only!

2. Forsyth Farmer’s Market

The place to see and be seen. Stock up on fresh fruiet and veggies, meats and even honey! The Farmer’s Market is held at Forsyth Park every Saturday until November 19th from 9am-1pm. The market is located at the south end of the park between the basketball and tennis courts. Come shop for fresh, regionally grown food and food products sold by local farmers. EBT accepted, health pavilion, community spotlight tent for non-profits.

3. Savannah Jazz Festival

The Savannah Jazz Festival concludes this weekend with three performances at Forsyth Park: Friday 9/23 from 545pm-11pm is Evening Jazz in the Park, 9/24: Jazz Picnic in Park from 4pm-11pm, and on 9/25 from 4pm-6pm is the Children’s Jazz Festival.

4. Seersucker Live

The live literary performance of Seersucker Live is held this Friday Night at Kevin Barry’s Irish Pub. Bar opens at 6:30pm, performance at 7:30pm. Tickets are $10. Featured performances by Daniel Handler, Patricia Lockwood and Johnathan Rabb. Stay after the show for live Irish music; Kevin Barry’s offers live music 7 days a week and has been voted one of the top 10 Irish pubs in the US!

5. Heart of Savannah 5k/1 mile Walk

The YMCA is hosting their Heart of Savannah 5k/1 mile walk at Forsyth park Saturday 9/24 at 8am at the corner of Gaston and Bull. Registration is $35.00 and the ¼ mile kiddie run is free. Proceeds go to benefit the YMCA’s Priceless Gifts Campaign that supports their financial assistance program. And for you crazy GA fans out there, they’re also doing a GA fan costume contest prizes for the craziest die hard GA fans and best GA dawg!

Tips to Get Kids on Your Side

The children of home buyers and sellers are becoming more and more of a valuable resource for agents to make the sales according to an article by REALTOR magazine. It offers 16 ways to get these kids on your side and make them feel a part of the buying process.

According to the article “the buying influence of the younger members of the family is definitely not to be underestimated.” Instead of viewing them as an accident waiting to happen, make them feel welcome and a part of the process and in turn they will influence their parents’ decision making.

Below are a few of the tips mentioned in the article on how to work with kids of buyers and sellers and make them an asset during real estate transactions.

  • Point out Kid-Friendly Features: They’ll get excited about that clubhouse in backyard, the Harry Potter cupboard under stairs or third floor nook for the teen.
  • Know your audience: Showcase neighborhood features that might draw kid’s interest – playground in community, nearby theater, ice cream store, etc
  • Babysit for a few minutes: Offer to go outside with kids while parents look around the house.
  • Stock your car: Keep some healthy snacks available to entertain kids while house hunting.

These are just a few of the tips discussed in the article. Click here to read all 16. Tell us your kid-friendly tips while looking at real estate for sale in Savannah, Georgia on our Facebook page.

Why Buy a Home

If you’re on the fence whether or not to buy a home, consider these reasons why buying is the smart option both financially and personally. While the economy is down right now, there are some factors that might be to your advantage when purchasing a home. Mortgage interest rates are low and the overall prices of homes for sale I down roughly 20% according to Freddie Mac’s August 2011 US Economic and Housing Market Outlook.

Reasons to buy a home:

  • Owning your own home means having a stable place to raise your kids and give them access to a good education.
  • A rental home is never truly “yours”. Buying a home of your own means your own personal safe and secure structure, usually with more space, for you, your family and belongings.
  • So you just found out that you’re pregnant with triplets! That 2 bedroom house just isn’t big enough anymore. Now is a good time to upgrade to a home that will support a growing family.
  • Sometimes the reason to buy a home is to be closer to important places that we go to the most in our daily lives such as school, work or a place of worship.
  • Homeownership provides a good financial opportunity plus a financially sound way to build up wealth that can be passed on to one’s family. Renting is not a financially investment, there is no return on the money you put into the property.
  • Investing in buying a home can also be a way to secure a place when you retire, give you access to tax benefits as well as have something to borrow against if you need it down the line.

So what does this all mean to you, a potential homebuyer? It means that now is a good time to consider this investment opportunity and we here at Weichert, REALTORS® – Sumner Real Estate Group are here to help you find the right home at the right price in the right location. Take a look through our website at our listed homes or contact us for more information about how your home buying future!

REALTOR® Safety Month

September is REALTOR® Safety Month and we at Weichert, REALTORS®-Sumner Real Estate Group would like to share an informative article written by REALTOR® Magazine about how agents can use their instincts to keep them out of dangerous situations and prevent violent crime.

“It’s not where you are but who you are around (or who is around you) that matters.”

According to the REALTOR® Magazine article agents regularly meet strangers on the job in vacant homes but have little security training to prepare them for possible dangerous situations.

Some of the most dangerous crimes, the article suggests, are the ones that are committed by those who plan ahead, are premeditated. These people may often seem non-threatening, well-spoken and personable and use these traits to gain trust as a possible prospect from an agent.

The article goes on to describe scenarios where an agent may be vulnerable to a dangerous situation or crime and advocates getting in touch with one’s instincts will help the agent be more aware.

Read the whole article.

Are you a fellow agent? Share your thoughts and suggestions on our facebook page.

Inexpensive ways to add value to your home

So you want to increase the value of your home but you don’t have the budget for big projects such as remodeling or adding rooms? We at Sumner have compiled a list of effective yet relatively inexpensive ways to add value to your home:

1. Paint: A fresh coat of paint does wonders for a home, both inside and out! When re-painting your home’s exterior don’t forget the eaves and window trim. On the inside, choose simple, classic colors that work with the layout of the house. Got a small home? Choose a neutral color as your base for the main rooms to make the space seem larger and more unified.

2. Update Fixtures: Got an outdated showerhead or sink faucet? Replacing them with a more modern-style fixture will help revitalize your bathroom or kitchen. You can replace ceiling lights, porch lights and change out old bulbs for energy efficient ones which will help brighten you home and add to its appeal.

3. Landscaping: A small investment of time and money to keep your lawn looking neat and manicured is key to your home’s curbside appeal. Keep the grass trimmed, add beds for variety – you can use drought-resistant and perennial plants if you don’t have a green thumb. Don’t forget the backyard, too! A potential buyer might be impressed with your well-maintained front lawn but will be turned off by an overgrown backyard.

4. Refinish Floors: Do you own a WWII style bungalow with those gorgeous wood floors but haven’t done much to maintain them? Spruce those wood boards up with a refinish product/company and make them shine! For any home, replacing old vinyl flooring with tile will make a huge difference, too.

5. Update your kitchen: Buyers weigh heavily a home’s kitchen when making the decision to sell. But what if you don’t have the budget to remodel? A few simple fixes will make your kitchen pop such as replacing cabinet hardware or an outdated light fixture. One often overlooked part of the kitchen is the backsplash. Consider adding ceramic tiling or just adding a fresh coat of paint to add a pop of color.

Even if your house isn’t on the market, these tips can help keep your home looking beautiful and will give you that extra value if and when you do decide to sell. Our trusted team of professionals here at Weichert, REALTORS® – Sumner Real Estate Group are here to assist you in your selling and buying process! Those are our low-budget ways to add value to a home, what other things have you done to your home to increase value? Tell us on our facebook page.

Cheap Things to do in Savannah

Looking for some inexpensive ways to have fun in Savannah? Check out our top 5 cheap but enjoyable family activities to do in the Savannah area:

1. savannah-belles-ferrySavannah Belles Ferry – Enjoy a two minute ride with a view of Historic Savannah’s riverfront. This free shuttle service goes from the Waving Girl Landing at Marriott Riverfront park to Hutchinson Island (Savannah International Trade and Convention Center).

2. oatland-island-wildlife-centerOatland Island Wildlife Center – Dedicated to preserving local wildlife as well as teaching the next generation about Georgia’s natural habitats, Oatland features a variety of indigenous wildlife. Wolves, cougars, owls, foxes and more are found along Oatland’s winding nature trails that take you through the trees, the plains and the marshland to see each animal in their habitat. Cool off inside and check out their gift shop with proceeds going towards keeping the animals fed! Tucked away off of Island Expressway, Oatland is a perfect family outing that costs just a few dollars per person! Admission: $5 for adults, $3 for kids 4-18, seniors, students and active military, kids under 4 free.

3. Parks:

Lake Mayer, located on Montgomery Crossroads just off of the Truman Parkway, offers tennis courts, basketball courts, jogging/bicycle path, fishing in a freshwater lake, baseball field, hockey rink, playground, and dog exercise park.

forsyth-parkForsyth Park in downtown Savannah recently put in a new indoor café with clean bathrooms. They also have walking paths, children’s play area, large fountain, tennis/basketball courts, and scheduled concerts in the amphitheater.

Daffin Park: Come cheer on Savannah’s Minor league baseball team the Sand Gnats! Tickets start at $7 for general admission.

4. Museums – There are a variety of museums in Savannah that have unique collections and visitor experiences:

The Roundhouse Railroad Museum, believed to be the most complete and largest Antebellum railroad repair facility still in existence offers scheduled activities such as train rides, car tours, and children’s activities in the Baggage Car. Admission is $10 for adults, $4 for children 6 and under and kids under 1 year are free!

mighty-eighth-air-force-museumMighty Eighth Air Force Museum: This dramatic 90,000 sq ft museum complex houses the best elements honoring the 8th Air Force which helped defeat the Nazis during WWII. Admission is $10 for adults and $6 for kids

Old Fort Jackson: The oldest standing brick fortification in Georgia, Old Fort Jackson is one of only eight Second System fortifications built before the War of 1812 still standing in the US. Experience military exhibits and cannon firing demonstrations all with a great view of the Savannah River. Admission is $6 for adults, kids under 6 are free.

5. bonaventure-cemeteryBonaventure Cemetery – Developed on the historical site of Bonaventure Plantation, Bonaventure Cemetery’s old tree-lined roadways, notable persons interred and unique cemetery sculpture and architecture have been bringing people to the site for over 150 years. The cemetery rests on a scenic bluff off on the Wilmington River, east of Savannah and is the largest of the municipal cemeteries containing nearly 100 acres.

Are there activities you enjoy we missed on our list? Let us know on our facebook page.

Weichert REALTORS® – Sumner Real Estate Group is now selling new and resale homes in and around the Savannah area for any budget!

Hurricane Preparedness

hurricaneAccording to Weather Services International, the 2011 Atlantic Hurricane season will bring approximately 15 tropical storms. Of those tropical storms, roughly 8 will become hurricanes and they expect 4 of those to be category 3 hurricanes or higher. This season is shaping up to be a busy one and we at Weichert REALTORS® – Sumner Real Estate Group want you to be prepared. Here are some of our tips for hurricane preparedness:

  • Have a Family Plan: Come up with a written plan and tell your friends and family. Know your evacuation route, be sure you have ways to contacting your family in case of evacuation, be aware of elderly or disabled neighbors that might need your help.
  • Keep Disaster Supply Kit: non-perishable food and water for at least 3 days, important papers such as insurance and identification, first aid kit, medication both prescription and non-prescription, manual can opener, battery powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries.
  • Have a Place to Go: It’s a good idea to have two meeting places; one near your home and one someplace outside the evacuation area if you can’t get back.
  • Secure Your Home: cover windows and doors; bring outdoor objects like lawn furniture, toys, tools, hanging plants inside; unplug appliances, know how to shut your utilities off.
  • Know Your Pet Plan: If you have pets, you’ll need to prepare for them, too. Make sure they are current on vaccines and most shelters require proof. There are pet shelters, animal control shelters, vet clinics available for sheltering your animals or plan to send them with friends or family. Be sure they have plenty of food, collar with ID and leash, and carrier.

Most importantly, be aware of the situation and know whether or not you’ll need to evacuate. Being prepared means you and your family will be safer and more knowledgeable should the worst happen.

Here are links to some websites that can help you prepare for this hurricane season:

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Why Use Weichert.com?

The number one source of new homes is no longer the newspaper, according to a NAHB profile of home buyers, but has been replaced with the Internet. 18 times more people find a home they buy online rather than in newspapers.

Weichert.com’s award-winning internet strategy includes access to listings by Weichert and virtually all other realtors plus helpful tools, maps and other relevant information to streamline the search process. The “Quick Connect” System quickly links searches to an in-person visit. On the typical real estate website, those searching for a home many not even get a response back at all, so Weichert decided to make a quick initial response their high priority.

Weichert’s unique process gives a response in minutes not hours from a local Weichert sales associate who can set up an appointment as well as give information about the listing. With over 1 million search terms on major search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing, Weichert.com maximizes the number of buyers drawn to listings with an average of 3 million plus visitors to the weichert.com site each month.

Weichert.com outperforms many top real estate companies’ sites in total monthly visits: such as Century 21, Coldwell Banker, Keller Williams, Prudential Properties, Sotheby’s Realty and Exit Realty.

Turning searches into leads is what Weichert does best! It’s easy to receive live, qualified leads, because it’s easy for the homebuyer to receive a prompt response.

We here at Weichert REALTORS® – Sumner Real Estate Group are proud to be associated with this national chain and it’s performance for finding leads for real estate in Savannah, Georgia.