Wednesday, September 28, 2011

How To Turn A Foreclosed Home Into Monthly Income Opportunity

How To Turn A Foreclosed Home Into a Monthly Income Opportunity

Previously, it was very challenging to invest in Atlanta foreclosures for several reasons:

1. Difficulty finding foreclosed homes. (Limited supply)
2. Pricing wasn’t very attractive. (They weren’t deals)
3. Banks wouldn’t negotiate very much.
4. Risky because you needed a quick sale after renovations to protect your profit.

The basic approach was to find a foreclosure and buy it under value. Remodel the house quickly and get it on the market for sale. Price the home well and hopefully sell this home before carrying costs ate into all your profit, especially if you are using borrowed funds to do pay for the project.

This plan carried several risks. One of the risks was “time risk.” You could spend weeks or months looking for the right property only to come up without any real deals. Sometimes the deal blows up after you’ve spent a lot of money doing due diligence. This lost time and money could have been invested into other profitable opportunities.

Another risk was that your rehab costs would usually come in higher than budgeted. Have you been watching those flipping houses TV shows? You may not have noticed but, in almost every flip, the investor ends up having to spend more money than budgeted to make repairs. In many cases, these unexpected repairs were very expensive. Bye bye profit projections!

The last and probably biggest risk was the home selling quickly. Each day a remodeled home sits on the market for sale without a buyer sucks more and more profit out of the deal. When you factor in debt service, taxes, utilities, landscaping and advertising, you’ll see that you have a ticking time bomb on your shoulders each and every day. It’s a lot harder to sell a home than it is to rent one.

These risks kept many investors away from foreclosed homes. However, the current foreclosure crisis has changed the game on this investment opportunity. The first risk has, for the most part, been eliminated. There is a huge supply of foreclosed homes in Atlanta right now. You can probably find a great deal within a matter of hours, instead of months.  Banks are still not willing to negotiate too much, but they are getting better at it, which means you can get a fantastic deal on a foreclosure property. A knowledgeable agent is the best person to help you negotiate. 

The repair risk still exists. This one we cannot avoid. However, the larger selection of foreclosed homes allows you to find homes in better condition and of course, if you are handy, you can do the work yourself; if not, you can always find contractors to do it for you. However, when you hire contractors to do the repairs for you, your costs are higher and they need to be taken into account when you are doing your calculations. In addition, the lower purchase prices available today give you some breathing room in your budget. You can absorb higher repair costs because of the lower acquisition cost.

And the biggest risk, selling the home, can be mitigated through strategies like a “rent to own” program for single family houses and the Section 8 rental program.

The goal of many real estate investors is to create monthly income. One of the best strategies for maximum monthly income is to buy a property and pay it off quickly, or better yet, use your savings to fund the purchase and remodeling costs. Once the property is complete, renting to an agency such as Section 8 will bring you income for many years to come. There are certain aspects of this scenario that you have to be aware of…having a government agency pay the rent guarantees a steady income, however, they will pay significantly less then what you could get from an individual. The flip side of that is the individual, for whatever reason, can stop paying rent and you will be faced with evicting the tenant (which takes about three months in the state of Georgia) and risk having the property sit on the rental market empty and not make you any money. Worst case scenario is that the property will be damaged by the non-paying tenant while you are trying to evict them.

Yes, there are risks involved. However, the potential is there for a non-institutional investor to make money, especially if they would occupy a part of the property and rent out the other part. For example, live upstairs and rent out the downstairs space. See our property at 2066 Ben Hill Road in East Point, GA as a great example.

If you have any questions, please contact us at your convenience.

Good luck in your investment search!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Practical Kitchen Design 101

Boost your kitchen's function and appeal with a practical design. See how a sensible kitchen setup can make cooking, cleaning, entertaining, and more a whole lot easier.
Activity-Based Kitchen Design
As kitchens become larger and more important hubs for family living, activity-based design makes more sense than strict adherence to the old work-triangle concept. Activity-based design organizes the kitchen into zones such as refrigeration and food storage, food preparation, cooking, cleanup, and beverage center. In this kitchen, the long countertop along the wall is set up for food prep, with spices, knives, and outlets for appliances conveniently located along its length. One of two ovens is built into the base cabinetry, and the cooktop is just a step away on the island.

The cooking zone is built into the island and includes two chopping blocks, a four-burner gas cook top, and a wok/griddle cook top. Instead of a range hood, each cook top has a pop-up ventilation system. The raised counter that divides the island from the baking zone incorporates a long, narrow sink that's handy for rinsing produce or for filling large pots with water.
The cooking zone should include storage for the pots and pans as well as frequently used seasonings that need to be added during cooking. If you do a lot of sautéing and stir-frying, consider installing a chopping block beside the cooktop. Include a pull-out garbage bin underneath so you can quickly sweep away vegetable waste. Beside the chopping block, the griddle cover flips up to serve as a splatter shield when the griddle is in use and folds down to provide another work surface when it's not.
The appliance garage anchors one end of the food-preparation counter, where it's grouped with an under-counter ice maker, a steam oven, and a warming drawer. This end of the prep station is closest to the refrigerator and serving station, where food can be plated restaurant-style and taken to the table.
For a baker, a dedicated zone that includes an undercounter convection oven will make baking more efficient and even more enjoyable. A tall cabinet keeps supplies, mixing bowls, and measuring cups in one place, while drawers hold spices specific to baking. On each side of the cabinet, there's plenty of counter space for mixing ingredients and rolling pastry.
For serious cooks, having more than one dishwasher takes the hassle out of cleanup. Located at the end of the counter in the baking center (see slide 5), this dishwasher handles the mixing bowls and baking equipment so there's no need to carry them to the main sink.
A beverage center streamlines entertaining as well as morning coffee-making. Located between the refrigerator and the dining room and not far from a wine cellar, this built-in center includes outlets on each side wall for the blender and coffee maker and a direct water line for the coffee maker. Cups and glasses are in each reach in the cabinets above.
Stash small appliances, such as a mixer, food processor, and blender, in a cabinet close to the point of use. Pullout shelves make storage accessible. To prevent accidents or back strain, avoid storing heavy items such as mixers on a shelf above your head or on the bottom shelf of a cabinet. Plan for adequate counter space and convenient electrical plugs at the food-prep area.

The zoning concept works in compact kitchens, too. Here the range and vent hood anchor the cooking zone, with a built-in microwave on the right. Allow enough counter space on each side of the range to accommodate food-prep activities. The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) advises a minimum of 15 inches beside any appliance, but 18 to 24 inches will feel less cramped. An island that functions as a work surface or staging area for food prep should have at least one electrical outlet for appliances such as a mixer, blender, or slow cooker.
Ideally the dishwasher should be positioned beside the sink so there's a minimum of dripping as you transfer dirty dishes or pots from the sink to the dishwasher. If that's not possible, the NKBA guidelines indicate a maximum of 36 inches between the sink and the appliance.
Satellite Beverage Zone
A beverage zone outside the work triangle of refrigerator-sink-range allows family members to grab a bottle of water or juice without crossing traffic paths and getting in the way of meal preparation. Tucked into one end of a large island that includes the cook top, range, and food-prep area, this refrigerator faces into the family room for easy access.
Convenient Counter Space
Common sense, as well as safety and efficiency, long ago determined the rule that the refrigerator should open toward an adjacent counter top. If you have a side-by-side refrigerator-freezer, the counter space can be on either side, and a nearby island offers another landing pad for groceries going into or coming out of the refrigerator. Because this counter top doubles as a coffee- and food-prep center, it has an electrical outlet at each end to accommodate the espresso maker and other small appliances.
L-Shape Cooking Zone
Increasingly, cooks are opting to separate the cooktop from the oven. Although this divides the cooking zone into two areas, it allows flexibility in kitchen design. It also allows you to choose gas for the cook top (if you have access to natural gas) and electric for the oven, a combination many professional cooks prefer. Here the cabinets frame the gas cook top to create a hearth like niche, and drawers below stash cookware. The cook top defines the short end of an L-shape food-prep and cooking zone, with an appliance garage, a prep sink, a built-in microwave, and under-counter electric oven filling out the long leg of the L. The backslash behind the prep sink includes two electrical outlets to accommodate the mixer, a slow cooker, or food processor.
The Efficient Triangle
The idea of the work triangle -- refrigerator, stove, and sink -- as the most efficient way to organize the kitchen dates back to the 1930s. It's still considered the basis of kitchen design (even with the new zoning approach), and the NKBA advises that the total distance between the three stations be no more than 26 feet. The legs of the triangle don't have to be equal, but major traffic paths and cabinetry shouldn't intrude on any of them. In this kitchen, the island is just outside the path between the sink and the refrigerator (not seen) and provides a landing area for both of these as well as the range.
Combining Zones
In an average-size kitchen, combining food-prep and cleanup zones along one wall makes the most practical use of space. Tasks such as filling the coffee pot, measuring water for cooking, and rinsing bowls and utensils as you finish using them all occur at the sink. For even more convenience, this kitchen includes two dishwasher drawers, hidden behind paneled doors that match the cabinetry, immediately beside the farmhouse sink. Dishwasher drawers are a good alternative to a standard dishwasher if you usually only have a small load but occasionally need more capacity for a crowd.
Appliance Garages
If you have the space, include an appliance garage to house the coffee maker, toaster, and other often-used small appliances. Stashing the appliances behind a door that slides up into the framework behind the wall cabinet keeps the counters clutter-free. Install enough electrical outlets inside the garage to accommodate all of the appliances so you can use them without pulling them onto the counter.
Coffee Center
Be your own barista with a built-in coffee wall unit but be sure to give yourself counter space nearby. A pullout shelf that ordinarily serves as a cutting board can do the trick if your kitchen floor plan doesn't allow for a counter top beside the wall unit.
All the information above is a great way to start thinking about your kitchen remodeling project. For more ideas, please visit our web site at

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

25 Tips to Get the Ultimate Kitchen

1. Highlight the Cooking Area
2. Give Your Island Legs
3. Combine Countertops
4. Put Dishes Within Reach
5. Set Up a Breakfast Station
6. Make a Statement
7. Keep Essentials Close
8. Spotlight Your Work Area
9. Add Function With Furniture
10. Mix Cabinetry Finishes
11. Store Food in Clear View
12. Create a Beverage Center
13. Put Your Cabinets to Work
14. Tuck Away the Microwave
15. Simplify Food Prep
16. Choose an Artful Backsplash
17. Install a Pot-Filler Faucet
18. Use Special Cabinet Features
19. Take Care of Your Wine
20. Plan Seating for Guests
21. Add Flavor with Flooring
22. Showcase Your Hobby
23. Add User-Friendly Areas
24. Create Work Areas / Define Work Zones
25. Strive for Function with Style

Bathroom Makeovers Starring Tile

Bathroom Makeovers Starring Tile
Whether it's for a simple backsplash or an entire wall, tile can transform a plain bath into a standout sanctuary. See how these beautiful baths incorporate tile to create a soothing retreat.
Relaxing Retreat bathroom  
Relaxing Retreat
    Clean lines bring a soothing luxury-hotel vibe to a formerly tired and cramped bath. The rich, warm tones of the double-sided vanity and the ceramic tile on the floor create striking contrast with the white freestanding tub and frosty blue glass tile. The sculptural freestanding tub echoes the clean lines of its surroundings and was strategically located under a window that overlooks a wooded area.
Easily Accommodating Bathroom 
Easily Accommodating
    Back-to-back vanities made of eucalyptus wood give the homeowners their own separate spaces. To maintain an airy ambience amid the dark wood, the vanity bases were kept open, with a lower storage shelf and exposed plumbing. Frosty blue glass wall tile helps balance the dark tones of the vanity and a ceramic tile floor that's designed to resemble hardwood. The homeowners chose to wrap the entire room in the same tile treatment to create a seamless look.
Storage-Packed Bathroom  
    A custom built-in has the look of a cabinet without taking up any floor space, and it offers ample storage for towels, toiletries, and other necessities. This cabinet is recessed into the wall, providing the bathroom with a low-maintenance, stylish storage boost.
Versatile Vanity in Bathroom  
Versatile Vanity
    White-painted maple carts (one on each side of the vanity wall) balance the dark tones of the stately vanity. The carts' glass tops and high-gloss lacquer finish make them easy to maintain. The carts corral cosmetics and toiletries, and their portability makes it easy to slide them over to the bathtub if the homeowners need easy access to contents while soaking.
Sanctuary & Serenity Bathroom  
Sanctuary & Serenity
    The shower's clear glass surround further reflects the bathroom's seamless simplicity. Working in conjunction with the generous-size windows nearby, the steam shower's glass enclosure connects the bath with the outdoors. The glass allows natural light from the windows to shine through while providing a smooth transition to the tub.
Storage Niche in Bathroom 
Storage Niche
    A handy niche in the shower offers convenient storage and a seamless, upscale look. This space carves out a place to keep soap and shampoo within easy reach.
Spa-Inspired Shower  
Spa-Inspired Shower
    Fixtures are an easy way to enhance appeal in a bathroom. With a range of spray options, this showerhead provides an invigorating, spa-like experience. The continuation of the tiled backdrop creates a smooth transition between the shower and the rest of the room.
Reflective Beauty Bathroom 
Reflective Beauty
    In this gorgeous bath, strategically selected surfaces create a light and bright atmosphere. An oversize mirror on one wall of the bathroom helps create the illusion of a larger space while. Glass tile, applied to the bathroom wall and the tub surround, also reflect light and mimic the greenery and trees in the garden just outside the bathroom.
Looking Glass Window in Bathroom 
Looking Glass
    Though most people would expect to see a medicine cabinet rather than a window above a bathroom sink, the homeowners opted to keep the window to preserve the light and the view. When they need a mirror, they simply open the door to the medicine cabinet to the right of the sink. An expansive countertop offers maximum storage and primping space.
Contemporary Tile in Bathroom  
Contemporary Tile
    Green glass tiles capture the essence of the contemporary bath's natural aesthetic. The variegated tile pattern contributes a custom look, while the soft sage green acts as a tranquil buffer to the crisp grout lines and tile shape.
Shaping Up Bathroom  
Shaping Up
    Geometric shapes -- a square tub, rectangular tile and shelf niche, a round showerhead and controls -- are characteristic of contemporary design. A glass door helps this tub-shower combo feel open and inviting, while the tiled surround protects the walls.
Visual Variety Bathroom Sink  
Visual Variety
    Simple lines and a subtle color scheme visually enlarge the bathroom. Here, a sleek wall-mount faucet mingles with the modern simplicity of green rectangular tile. Located under an expansive window, the geometric basin adds a luxurious touch while retaining a spacious, uncluttered look.
Fresh Start Bathroom 
Fresh Start
    A freestanding tub, modern fixtures, gorgeous tile, and a toilet room transformed this dormer-size bathroom into a spa-like retreat. Floor-to-ceiling tile cloaks the walls for a striking focal point. The different hues of blue tile work together to complement the natural feel of the bath. Clean, modern lines add warmth and a little glamour.
Modern Flair Bathroom  
Modern Flair
    Rather than a traditional medicine chest, the homeowners opted for a mirror framed in the same dark-stained oak used for the vanity and storage shelf. The mirror adds an upright sense of style that projects a clean, organized look. Repeated elements, such as the slab style of the mirror, sink, and vanity, make the bath feel stylish and cohesive.
Luxe Lighting in Bathroom  
Luxe Lighting
    Distinctive light fixtures make a style statement in the bathroom. Modern wall-mount sconces dress up walls and add essential lighting to the vanity area. The brown stain on the oak vanity and storage shelf complements both the tile and the flooring.
Elegant Vanity in Bathroom  
Elegant Vanity
    Many materials play off each another for a sleek and sophisticated vanity. The modern vessel sink echoes the style of the tub and contrasts with the dark vanity. A wall-mount faucet frees counter space and adds a finishing touch to the vanity area. Behind the sink, a resin panel allows light to brighten the room, giving the vanity a spa-like feel.
A Modern Take bathtub  
Center of Attention
    As the room's focal point, the soaking tub looks like a piece of modern art at the center of the room. A new energy-efficient window lets in lots of light. Red oak flooring stained a rich, dark brown enhances the sense of warmth and connects the new room to the 1920s style of the home and its neighborhood.
Open & Inviting Shower  
Open & Inviting
    It's hard to say which offers a more luxurious spa feeling, the tub or the shower. Blue mosaic tiles flecked with earth tones cover bathroom walls for a stunning, over-the-top look that's visible through the shower enclosure. Glass shower doors achieve the natural, open feel the homeowners desired.
Extra Detailing Faucet in Bathroom  
Extra Detailing
    In this bathroom, the simple lines of the tub filler repeat those in the rest of the room. Here, blue tiles introduce color and pattern behind the tub, adding contrast and interest to the space while concealing bathroom plumbing.
Tucked Away Toilet  
Tucked Away
    A pocket door that matches the flooring separates the toilet from the rest of the bathroom. Pale blue walls replicate the shade in the master bedroom and match the tile used in the rest of the bathroom, creating a cohesive master suite.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Now representing a new cabinet manufacturer...Integrity Cabinets

I am super excited to announce that we now represent Integrity Cabinets. They are made here in the United States. Offer excellent quality with soft close and dove tail drawers as well as quick delivery and a variety of styles and colors to choose from.  Please check out their web site for door styles and color options. Of course, we have a sample of their door styles and colors here at Atlanta Legacy Homes, but as you know, the more you know the better.

Integrity Cabinets
Integrity Cabinets Maple "Bella" collection.