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OPEN HOUSE - Sunday, February 12 from 2pm - 5pm

by Zac Pasmanick - The Zac Team @ RE/MAX Metro Atlant


OPEN HOUSE - Sunday, February 12 from 2pm - 5pm

275 13th Street , #311 Atlanta 30309

Steps to Piedmont Park! Spacious 2 bed 2 bath end unit with wrap around balcony. Entrance foyer has coat closet. Large kitchen with granite, Stainless Steel appliances, breakfast bar, and side wet bar. Open view of dining nook and living room. Split bedroom plan with over-sized windows. Master has walk-in closet. Balcony accessible from multiple rooms. Washer/Dryer in unit is included. Amenities on level P, pool, business center, gym & club room!

Click here to view the listing. We look forward to seeing you there!

Realtors Predict Strong 2017 for Intown Real Estate Market

by Zac Pasmanick - The Zac Team @ RE/MAX Metro Atlant

 

By Kathy Dean for atlantaintownpaper.com

The key phrase for the Intown real estate market in 2017 seems to be “more of the same.” That’s not a bad thing, since last year’s market saw growth in many areas of the city. Even a bump up in interest rates isn’t expected to dampen interest in Intown homes.

“The Atlanta residential real estate market broke sales records in 2016,” said Dan Parmer, President and CEO, Harry Norman Realtors. “We think that 2017 will look similar to 2016 with a modest increase in the number units and average sales price.”

 

 

Parmer added that since real estate is an extremely local business and metro Atlanta is a very large market, he expects to see some pockets outperform others. “It’s exciting to see numerous condominium projects in the planning phase, something that’s been out of the mix for a few years. We also saw the return of luxury infill spec homes in 2016 and there are no signs of that market slowing down.”

Scott Askew, President of Engel & Völkers Intown Atlanta and Engel & Völkers Brookhaven Atlanta, noted that the last year had been a rather irregular year with metro-wide prices YTD (year to date) through Oct. 31, rising 5.7 percent for attached homes and 4.5 percent for detached homes, when compared to 2015 sales.

“Our Intown market fared better during 2016, with attached home prices climbing 18.4 percent and detached homes at a 7.4 percent rate,” Askew said. “But when looking at the numbers, the Westside really confounded us. Our records show that the average sales price of detached homes in that market has climbed an impressive 46.8 percent over 2015 sales prices…but attached home values have declined 2.9 percent on average.”

 

 

Askew predicted that 2017 will bring a continued rise for both detached and attached home prices in metro-Atlanta at about a 4 percent rate, and that the plethora of new, high-end ‘attached’ units will cause a stagnation in pricing for many of the higher-priced, pre-owned units as they compete for buyers.

“We’re bullish on the coming year, even though 2017 should bring us higher interest rates for mortgage loans. For far too long, we’ve enjoyed artificially low interest rates, so a normalization is warranted,” Askew said. “Will this affect the real estate market? In our opinion, it will for a few months, then sales will climb as consumers recognize ‘It is what it is.’ Don’t forget, while younger buyers and sellers haven’t witnessed this, the real estate business experienced some of its strongest years when we had mortgage interest rates above 10 percent.”

David Boehmig, President and Founder, Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty, said that he expects the number of home sales to grow by 7 to 10 percent and for average pricing to increase by 5 percent in the coming year. “I believe that the general optimism about our local and national economy will drive higher home sales in each market segment.

 

 

“Atlanta is still underserved in terms of new home construction,” Boehmig continued. “I estimate that with the stability in the financial sector continuing, more small to medium sized local builders will be able to garner favorable construction financing, generating more new home construction activity. This activity will focus heavily in the Intown area, as well as the northern suburbs, especially between I-75 and I-85.”

According to Vic Miller, Managing Broker, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Intown, the one thing that’s constant in residential real estate is change. “Right now, the Atlanta residential real estate market appears to be holding steady, but we’re starting to notice some small but perceptible shifting,” he said. “We’re seeing more inventory hit the market and buyers are taking longer to purchase as they have the opportunity to explore more available homes.”

Miller shared statistics for single-family homes, townhomes and condos in all price ranges in the Atlanta metro area, including Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett and Paulding counties. The November 2016 figures were supplied by the First Multiple Listing Service.

 

 

The number of sales and sale prices increased. YTD November 2016 sales were up 9.4 percent over YTD November 2015. However, November 2016 sales were down 7.8 percent from October 2016 sales. The average sales price in November 2016 was up 7.7 percent over November 2015, and up 1.8 percent over October 2016.

Inventory and days on the market decreased. In November 2016, property inventory was down 10 percent from November 2015, and down 5.4 percent from October 2016. November 2016 DOM (days on the market) was down 11.3 percent over November 2015, and up 2.2 percent over October 2016. Miller explained that an upward trend in DOM tends to indicate a move towards more of a buyer’s market.

“For the most part, we’re seeing a continuation of trends we’ve been seeing all year: low inventory, rising prices and an increased number of sales year-to-date,” Miller said.

“Overall, I expect the in-town markets to continue the upward trend, especially the Midtown condominium market,” stated Kerman Haynes, Vice President, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties—CITY HAUS Development Solutions. CITY HAUS Development Solutions is representing three new construction condominium towers that will be opening for sales in 2017.

“We just completed an owner equity analysis on all Midtown high-rise condominium buildings and found that on average, homeowners have approximately $283,000 of positive equity (the difference between the recorded mortgage and market value today). With a five-day supply of inventory in most buildings, there’s just not enough for-sale condo housing to meet the demand.”

 

 

There are several Intown hotspots of real estate activity. Not surprisingly, the Atlanta BeltLine is at the center of much of it. “As the development of the Atlanta BeltLine grows, so do the neighborhoods around it, such as Adair Park, Washington Park and the West End. Certain neighborhoods fraught with mortgage fraud were slow to recover but now offer excellent, affordable housing opportunities for first-time buyers, millennials and investors,” Miller said. “I like Adams Park and Sylvan Hills.”

Miller pointed out the area buyers can get help through down payment assistance (DPA) programs through city development authority, Invest Atlanta, and The Atlanta BeltLine Housing Initiative Program. He said that another area, East Point, offers a great opportunity for investment or starter homes; it’s near the new Tyler Perry studios at Fort McPherson and the Porsche headquarters.

Askew agreed that everybody wants to claim a connection to the Atlanta BeltLine, and he believes the east, southeast, west and southwest corridors will see a vast improvement in housing stock as developers continue to enter those markets because of the attractive opportunities to develop mixed, housing and retail, communities. “The high level of demand from our growing, younger workforce is the driving force in the BeltLine market,” he said.

“With the success of projects like Avalon, in Alpharetta, I can see future similar projects that are coming to fruition being popular,” Boehmig explained. “Also, higher end condominium projects, like The Charles in Buckhead, will be popular with buyers interested in a high-end home located in a thriving area.”

According to Haynes, millennials are driving demand in the Midtown condominium market for entry-level product, causing a traffic jam in the middle and the top. “Most homeowners are aspirational and want to move up to a larger home with new finishes in a new building,” he said. “The challenge we’re facing now in market starts at the top. These owners are not moving; they’re waiting for new product to be launched. Until they move, the owners in the middle have nowhere to go, so the market is stuck. This bottleneck has led to substantial price increases on entry level condominiums, which has seemed to give high-rise developers the confidence to start building again.”

Inside the perimeter has been an especially popular location in 2016 and Parmer said he expects it will continue into the immediate future. He credited two factors – jobs and traffic. “The technology sector is growing exponentially in Atlanta, particularly around Georgia Tech. Thousands of new jobs are being created and home sales closely follow job growth. Therefore, we anticipate that neighborhoods near these jobs – Midtown, Virginia-Highland, Old Fourth Ward and East Atlanta to name a few – will benefit from this growth,” Parmer explained. “Our clients are likely to want to live relatively close to work to better manage the amount of time spent commuting.”

Parmer also noted that the move of the Atlanta Braves to Cobb County has had an impact on residential development close to the new stadium, and the market is showing interest in the opportunities around the repurposing of Turner Field. The same goes for the potential impact around the new Atlanta Falcons stadium and the increased interest in the surrounding neighborhoods.

Buying a Home is More Affordable Than Renting in 66% of US Counties

by Zac Pasmanick - The Zac Team @ RE/MAX Metro Atlant

According to ATTOM Data Solutions’ 2017 Rental Affordability Report, buying a home is more affordable than renting in 354 of the 540 U.S. counties they analyzed.

The report found that “making monthly house payments on a median-priced home — including mortgage, property taxes and insurance — is more affordable than the fair market rent on a three-bedroom property in 354 of the 540 counties analyzed in the report (66 percent).”

For the report, ATTOM Data Solutions compared recently released fair market rent data from the Department of Housing and Urban Development with reported income amounts from the Department of Labor and Statistics to determine the percentage of income that a family would have to spend on their monthly housing cost (rent or mortgage payments).

Rents have been surging faster than home prices in about 37% of the markets measured. Daren Blomquist, Senior Vice President of ATTOM Data Solutions warns that rising interest rates could be the tipping point of affordability:

“While buying continues to be more affordable than renting in the majority of U.S. markets, that equation could change quickly if mortgage rates keep rising in 2017. In that scenario, renters who have not yet made the leap to homeownership will find it even more difficult to make that leap this year.”

Bottom Line

Rents will continue to rise and mortgage interest rates are still at historic lows. Before you sign or renew your next lease, meet with a local professional who can help you determine if you are able to buy a home of your own and lock in your monthly housing expense. 

2 of Nation's Safest Suburbs are in Metro Atlanta

by Zac Pasmanick - The Zac Team @ RE/MAX Metro Atlant

Two of the 100 safest suburbs in the nation are located in Metro Atlanta, according to new rankings from NeighborhoodScout.

Basing its analysis on the rate of property and violent crime per 1,000 residents, NeighborhoodScout found that Johns Creek and Milton were the No. 30 and 84 safest suburbs in the U.S., respectively.

And for good reason. Violent crime in Johns Creek and Milton is a minuscule 0.56 and 0.48 per 1,000 residents, while property crime is 7.02 and 10.41 per 1,000; for comparison’s sake, the violent crime rate for all of Georgia is 3.78, while the property crime rate is 30.22.

Below, we have charted out NeighborhoodScout’s data for the two suburbs, including their national ranking, crime rate, and “Crime Index,” which denotes the percent of communities nationwide that the area is safer than (a higher index means a safer area):

by Peter Thomas Richey - Courtesy of Atlanta Agent Magazine 

Top Three Things Second-Wave Baby Boomers Look for in a Home

by Zac Pasmanick - The Zac Team @ RE/MAX Metro Atlant

~According to data from the U.S Census bureau, there are approximately 76.4 million baby boomers living in the United States today. Contrary to what many think, there are very different segments within this generation, and one piece that sets them apart are their housing needs.

 says his company "is focusing on the preferences of the younger half, or second-wave baby boomers, as they exhibit different needs than the older boomers."

What are 'second-wave baby boomers' looking for?

"They are seeking a fun, dynamic lifestyle with a home that can also adjust to their changing needs in the future. Living space should either include accessibility features, such as doorway space, lower shelves, and nonslip surfaces, or be easily adjustable when the time comes", says John McManus, editorial director of Hanley Wood's Residential Group

In a home buyer study performed by The Farnsworth Group, the participants revealed their reasons for purchasing a new home. The top three factors that influence their purchase include area/location (50.2%), price/affordability (37.4%), and the layout of the home (19%).

The report also found that when buying a new home, there were other concerns like quality of construction (9%), a safer neighborhood (8.4%), better floor plans (8.25%). The most important rooms or areas are the kitchen (82.8%), master bedroom (59.2%), and great room (36%).

Technology also plays an important role! Second-wave baby boomers prefer wireless security systems (7.1%), lighting that senses and adapts to them (6.3%) and integrated home technology, including "smart" thermostats and lighting controlled by a smartphone (6.2%).

Grey Matter Research and Consulting points to a sense of community as a major factor in wanting to purchase:

"The first impressions are important when entering a new community, as is feeling welcome in the community. Amenities such as clubhouses, pools, and walking trails featured prominently in the decision to purchase in a community. Location was key, as residents want their new homes to be near shopping, dining, medical services and entertainment."

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many 'second-wave' baby boomers who is starting to feel like their current home no longer fits their needs, take advantage of the low inventory of existing homes in today's market by selling your current home and moving on to one that truly fits your new lifestyle. If this is you, give us a call at 404-564-7200!

Three Types of Insurance You Need to Buy a Home (and Four You Don't)

by Zac Pasmanick - The Zac Team @ RE/MAX Metro Atlant

~When you buy a home, you will be showered with offers to buy insurance—and not just one type, but many types. Such awesome deals! So which ones do you really need?

There are a few that are downright essential, and others are nice but not necessary. Furthermore, others are total rip-offs to avoid at all costs.

To help you differentiate among them all, here’s a rundown of the types of insurance you’ll likely encounter on your home-buying journey and a reality check on whether you need them.

Title insurance

Do you need it? Absolutely!

Normally, this isn’t even a question because it’s almost always mandatory when you’re getting a mortgage. But if you’re paying all-cash, you have the option of skipping on title insurance. You shouldn’t.

Title insurance “ensures both the lender and the owner’s financial interests in the home are protected against loss due to title defects, liens, or other matters,” says Liane Jamason, a Realtor® and owner of the Jamason Realty Group at Smith & Associates Real Estate in Tampa, FL.

It’s especially important to get title insurance in transactions like short sales and foreclosures, which often carry the high risk of some kind of tax lien being attached to the property. Title insurance is going to safeguard against your needing to pay for liens, and will ensure the title is clear so no one down the road could claim they own the property and file a lawsuit.

If for some reason you’re dead set against getting title insurance, Jamason suggests you should at least get a lawyer to “thoroughly check the property’s history to ensure there could be no future claims to title.”

Homeowners insurance

Do you need it? You bet

Like title insurance, this is another one that’s not required if you own the house outright (you’ll need to have it with a mortgage), but this is necessary. Homeowners insurance covers you for a variety of things like fires and storms. You’ll want it even if you aren’t legally required to have it.

Eric Kossian, agency principal of InsurePro, a Washington state insurance agency, cites an example of a wealthy homeowner who had paid off his house and “figured since he had never had an insurance claim he would save himself the $700 a year in premium.” Then some kids near his home started a fire, which got out of control and burned down several houses—including his. It cost the homeowner about $450,000 in damages. Consider this a cautionary tale.

Extra moving insurance

Do you need it? Yes, if you’re smart.

Bare-bones, federally mandated moving coverage offers just 60 cents per pound of an item, and is known as “released value protection.” So if something breaks and that’s your only coverage, you won’t get back the full cost of the item, just what’s calculated under the coverage limits.

There’s also “full-value protection,” which can be purchased from the moving company, but you need to specify which items are worth more than $100 per pound. The moving company can opt to repair the item back to its original state, or give you the fair market value of the item—not necessarily what you paid for it. Plus, full-value protection excludes items over $5,000. Opt for this instead of released value protection. (Rates vary by moving company—it’ll be more than released value, but it’s worth it.)

If you’re moving some really valuable stuff, you can purchase extra insurance from a third-party insurance provider. This typically costs $100 per $10,000 of coverage.

Flood insurance

Do you need it? It depends on where you live and how lucky you feel.

Flood insurance is a tricky one. Requirement for flood insurance can be mandatory for homes in flood-prone areas. Otherwise, it’s optional. The biggest problem with flood insurance is you don’t know you need it until it’s too late. Last year, flash floods in Texas and Oklahoma washed homes away. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy hit the Northeast and left thousands in low- or moderate-risk flood zones with water-damaged homes.

Torrential rain and freak storms can happen anywhere.

“If you are not in a designated flooding area, it is still a wise idea to get flood insurance, and typically it is very affordable if you are not in a low-lying area,” Jamason says.

So this one’s sort of a toss-up. If you have it, you may never need it. But it’s worse to really need it, and then not have it. A similar argument can be made for earthquake insurance.

Private mortgage insurance

Do you need it? Hopefully no.

For most loans, private mortgage insurance is mandatory if you don’t have a 20% down payment. But if you can put down at least that amount, it’s well worth doing to avoid PMI. The reason: Mortgage insurance benefits only the lender—it does nothing for you, so get rid of it as quickly and cheaply as possible. Some options to avoid PMI include piggyback loans, lender-paid PMI, and single-payment PMI.

Mortgage protection life insurance

Do you need it? Not really.

In case you die while you’re still paying off a mortgage (bummer, we know), this insurance is supposed to make sure your family is financially covered when it comes to paying your mortgage. But it’s basically pointless.

“I would say as a general rule that mortgage life insurance or mortgage protection insurance is unnecessary,” says David Reiss, a law professor specializing in real estate at Brooklyn Law School. Reiss says consumers “are generally better served by a cheap term insurance policy from a well-rated insurance company,” and “you will generally get more protection per premium dollar with a term life insurance policy.”

Umbrella insurance

Do you need it? Usually not.

Umbrella insurance is basically insurance for your insurance. It vastly expands the amount of damages your insurance will cover. But it’s not necessarily worth it.

“One common rule of thumb is that an umbrella insurance policy should equal the net worth of the insured,” Reiss says. So for the average middle-class American homeowner, Reiss notes that an umbrella policy is generally “less relevant,” probably because your regular insurance covers enough. For the rich, or those who are “reasonably expecting” a rise in income, Reiss says it can be a good idea and worth researching further.

by Craig Donofrio for Realtor.com - Craig covers home finance and all things real estate for realtor.com. His work has been featured in outlets such as The Street, MSN, and Yahoo News.

How to Know if You're Ready to List Your Home

by Zac Pasmanick - The Zac Team @ RE/MAX Metro Atlant

Even the happiest of homeowners sometimes find themselves wishing for a better option. When you spend hours each week maintaining a sprawling lawn or have to trip through a living room littered with the kids’ toys, it’s easy to dream of listing your current property and purchasing a new home.

When the idea to list their home starts to become serious, many people find that the decision is much harder than they anticipated. Listing a home (and subsequently finding a new property) is a hefty commitment of time and money. And, you know, a little thing called ‘stress’.

How can you know if you’re ready to list your home? We’ve laid out a few key points to help you understand your situation and make a confident decision.


Does your home fit your needs?

As time goes on, our lives change. In a perfect world, the homes we love would grow and change with us in order to fit our lifestyles; a new addition to the family, a longer commute to a relocated office, or an elderly-friendly space for an aging parent. Unfortunately, the ability to morph our homes so greatly is rarely the case.

And so, one of the biggest signs that you’re ready to sell your home is if it no longer suits your needs. After all, who wants the headache of constantly retrofitting a space when you could find one that already fits your family comfortably?

Making a pro and con list of your home’s features is an easy way to see if your needs are being met. Start with the big-ticket items — a lack of necessary bedrooms or a larger kitchen, and work your way down to the more trivial points.

When you’re finished, you should be able to see very clearly whether it makes more sense to sell your home or to stay put. 


Do you know your home’s current market value?

The real estate market is constantly fluctuating, which can be a hard truth for sellers to accept. Your home’s sale price in the current market may not match the price at which you bought the property.

Obviously, this can be a good thing if the market is stronger now than when you first purchased. But, if you mortgaged the property at a high sale price and now need to pay off that mortgage when values are low, selling your home can become a bit more difficult.

Contact a real estate agent to determine your home’s current value. After taking a thorough look at the property, he or she will generate a Comparative Market Analysis for you. This report takes your home’s condition, upgrades, size, and location into account and compares it to similar properties that have recently sold in order to give you a fair price point.

If you find that sale prices have decreased drastically but you’re desperate to move, consider doing some upgrades. Assets such as a remodeled kitchen, a finished basement, or a central air system are all taken into account when judging a home’s sale price.


Are you financially capable?

Potential sellers often assume that since the buyers are the ones purchasing the property, they are the only ones making a commitment. This is not the case. While the sellers’ financial responsibility in the transaction may not be as large, there is a cost. Before deciding to sell, make sure you have the ability to make payments, if necessary.

Verify that you will be able to pay off your mortgage at the current sale price. Make sure you will have enough money left over after settlement to cover your new living arrangements. Set aside a lump sum to pay for any necessary repairs after inspections and leave a little extra for unanticipated costs that can and will pop up along the way.

However, sometimes the decision to sell your home is a step towards financial security. If you are putting your home on the market to avoid foreclosure or bankruptcy, your concerns are a bit different.

You’ll want to contact a real estate agent who specializes in short sales: a type of transaction where the bank agrees to forgo some of the money owed on a mortgage to keep the owner from defaulting on a loan entirely. Make sure to list your property “as-is” when marketing it, so potential buyers know you won’t be making repairs. Be honest about any financial changes throughout the course of your transaction. 


Have you made the repairs on your to-do list?

Every home has a never-ending to-do list of chores and improvements. When you need to decide whether or not you’re ready to list, it’s time to start checking items off.

These small fixes could help make your decision easier. Once you’ve finished the list, ask yourself whether they have improved your overall opinion of your home. If so, has it improved it enough to convince you to stay?

Even if the answer is no, making these small household improvements will work to your advantage. An improved condition could mean an increase in property value. Additionally, since buyers inspect the property and take necessary repairs into account during contract negotiations, making the repairs ahead of time will put you in a stronger bargaining position. 

 

Do you have a plan for the future?

This may sound obvious, but it’s important enough to bear repeating. It’s easy for potential sellers to be swayed by the prospect of being given hundreds of thousands of dollars for their current property. That is because they don’t always put enough thought into what they’d like in a new home and the associated costs. Before listing your property, take the time to think about your next step.

Think about factors such as location, property size, the amount of maintenance you’d like to perform, and financial concerns like property values and yearly taxes. If you have a growing family, you may want to research the quality of the school districts before settling on a location. For those concerned about maintenance-free living, consider a condo or townhome community rather than a single-family property.

Start planning by having a discussion with your family members about what qualities are important in a new home. Take time to look at properties online to get a feel for your likes and dislikes. Once you have a specific area in mind, spend some time there to get a sense of the community. If you like what you find, contact a real estate agent to help get you ready for the next step.

When deciding whether or not to list your home, there is no right answer. Use these points as a starting guide for how to determine if you’re ready to sell. Whether you end up selling or staying just make sure that you are comfortable and secure in your final decision.

 By Danica Rog November 13, 2016 in Freshome's Very Best

Holiday Tips From Atlantans Who Cook for Celebrities

by Zac Pasmanick - The Zac Team @ RE/MAX Metro Atlant

Before Dec. 23, Tony Conway’s Atlanta-based catering company, Legendary Events, has 161 parties to execute. But Conway, a veteran of the hospitality business for 40 years who’s known for making the impossible happen for clients such as Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry, doesn’t sound the least bit anxious about it over the phone. He sounds positively sedate, the epitome of grace and composure.

“Hosting a party is all about being prepared,” says Conway, “and having a great team to get it all done. At Legendary Events and Flourish (his special-event venue in Buckhead), I feel sort of like the orchestra conductor, and my team members are the players. We know the music, and we have a network in place to help when we break a string or lose an instrument.”

The same philosophy, he says, can be applied to holiday parties. But even if Miss Winfrey or Mr. Perry aren’t in attendance, hosting can still be nerve racking.

So how do you throw a holiday shindig and still manage to feel merry and bright?

“Prepare ahead,” says Archna Becker, restaurateur and owner of Bhojanic in Buckhead, Bhojanic Market on the Emory campus and, since October, at Georgia Tech. Becker’s special love of food and music have a made her a favorite of award-winning musicians such as Dave Matthews, Yo Yo Ma, Phish, Widespread Panic and members of the Rolling Stones and the Allman Brothers Band. “Try not to cook at all the day of the party,” says Becker. “You don’t want to be so exhausted that you can’t enjoy yourself.”

That “be prepared” theme seems to resonate with professionals. Gena Berry, founder and owner of Culinary Works who styles and creates meals and dishes for film and television, agrees. If MacGyver needs a meatloaf bomb, Berry’s the go-to-gal. She’s also the director of culinary operations at prestigious events such as the Charleston Wine + Food festival and kitchen director at Churchill Downs and Atlanta Food & Wine festival.

“I always advise home caterers to do as much in advance as possible,” says Berry. She recommends making detailed lists, and bagging and labeling garnishes and food items for the day of. “You can even set the table in advance,” Berry recommends. She suggests thinking beyond the menu to linens and serving dishes, labeling and looking them over as the date nears so that you can make small changes in case there is a change in your guest count. “Save nothing for the last minute,” Berry advises, “because something will always come up.”

Conway recommends creating a network of professionals, from florists to last-minute food-to-go, as another key in pulling off a successful soiree. Berry says to make friends with chefs and purveyors near you who can provide food items at a lower cost, or who you can borrow or rent items from. “The idea is to have people on the ground, so to speak, that are a phone call away and who specialize in specific tasks to help you get the job done,” says Conway, who’s created elaborate affairs for Winfrey in less than three days.

Another big aspect, says Becker, is to choose items for your menu that are easy to execute. “A party for 25 at your home is not the time to test a new recipe for something complicated,” she says. “Keep it simple. There are plenty of delicious recipes that are easy to prepare ahead. Don’t make anything to order.”

Part of keeping it simple is hiring people to help you, says Berry. “It’s not that expensive, and is totally worth the relief it provides,” she says.

With all this networking and preparation, what taboos are lurking to unhinge all your well-laid plans?

“Make sure your menu accommodates everyone from gluten- and nut-free to vegetarians,” says Berry. “Options make for happy guests.”

Becker recommends varying textures, flavors and spices – and not just in the food. “Your table and buffet area should be like a composition,” she says. “Vary the colors and textures to create interest and appeal.” Another insider tip? Keep ‘bad breath’ items to a minimum, says Berry.

With all these pieces in place, once the party starts, your affair will jingle all the way, and you can relax and enjoy.

Recipes

Planning a party? Celebrity chefs and caterers say the key to success is being prepared. Here are three crowd-pleasing, make-ahead recipes to try for your next dinner party.

Gena Berry’s Marinated Wild Georgia Shrimp

Culinary Works founder Gena Berry loves to serve this dish at parties because it’s easy to prepare ahead of time, serves a crowd, and looks beautiful on a buffet.

2 pounds 26/30 count Wild Georgia shrimp

3/4 cup rice vinegar

1/4 cup pickled nonpareil capers, drained

1 clove garlic, grated on microplane

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup canola oil

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 lemon, an extra for garnish if desired

1 small purple onion, peeled

1 bunch flat leaf parsley

Boil (see detailed instructions below), peel and devein the shrimp.

In a gallon-sized zip-top bag, combine the vinegar, capers, garlic, sugar, salt and oils. Using a vegetable peeler, peel 1-inch wide strips of the lemon rind, thinly slice and add to the marinade. Cut the lemon in half and add the juice to the marinade.

Cut the onion in half, from the root to the stem end. Trim the root and stem ends off and discard. Thinly slice half the onion from root to stem end to make 1 cup of sliced onion. Soak the onion in a bowl of ice and water for 10 minutes. (This will remove the sharp onion flavor and also will crisp the onion.) Drain the onion and add to the marinade.

Remove the stems from the parsley, rinse well and coarsely chop. Squeeze the parsley in a dry paper towel to remove any bitter juices, then add to the marinade. Zip the top of the marinade bag closed and mix the ingredients.

Add the shrimp to the marinade, zip the top closed, squeezing out excess air and turning so all the shrimp are coated in the marinade and the onions and parsley are well distributed. Let the shrimp marinate for 3 hours before serving.

To make ahead, boil, peel and devein the shrimp. Make the marinade up to the lemon and zip the bag closed. Cut the onion and place in a sandwich-sized zip top bag with ice and a little water. Chop the parsley, squeeze and then wrap in a dry paper towel. Store the wrapped parsley and the shrimp in a zip top bag lined with dry paper towels.

Three hours before serving, drain the onion and remove any remaining ice and add to the marinade. Unwrap the parsley and add to the marinade; zip closed and mix together. Add the shrimp, zip the top closed and refrigerate until ready to serve.

To serve, fill a clear, 3-quart bowl half full with crushed ice. Slice a lemon for garnish and slide down into the ice. Serve the shrimp in a 2-quart bowl set atop the ice.

To cook the shrimp: Fill an 8-quart stock pot three-quarters full with water. Place over high heat and bring to a rolling boil. Add the shrimp all at once and stir to combine. Cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. The shrimp will start to curl and turn opaque. Immediately dump the shrimp into a colander in the sink and run cold water over to stop the cooking and chill the shrimp. Peel and devein the shrimp. If you are using frozen shrimp, add to the boiling water and cook just until curled and opaque. Serves: 20

Per serving: 80 calories (percent of calories from fat, 45), 9 grams protein, 2 grams carbohydrates, trace fiber, 4 grams fat (trace saturated fat), 69 milligrams cholesterol, 119 milligrams sodium.

Bhojanic’s Alu Gobhi

This North Indian cauliflower classic is a staple on Bhojanic’s catering menu. It can serve a crowd as well as please one.

3-4 tablespoons oil (preferably an oil with a high smoke point, such as canola)

1 tablespoon whole cumin seed

2 tablespoons tomato puree

2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces

3 teaspoons salt, divided

1 head cauliflower

2 tablespoons ground ginger

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon turmeric

2-4 pinches cayenne pepper

1 cup cilantro, divided

Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the cumin. As soon as the seeds begin to pop, stir in the tomato puree and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in the potatoes and 1 and ½ teaspoons salt; reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, until the outer layer of the potato is cooked, 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the cauliflower, ginger, coriander, turmeric, cayenne pepper and the remaining 1 and ½ teaspoons salt and stir together without damaging the florets. Cover and cook until the cauliflower is tender, 15 to 20 minutes, adding ½ cup of the cilantro during the final minutes of cooking.

Serve garnished with the remaining ½ cup cilantro. Serves: 6 to 8

Per serving, based on 6: 122 calories (percent of calories from fat, 53), 2 grams protein, 13 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 8 grams fat (1 gram saturated), no cholesterol, 1,102 milligrams sodium.

Bengan Bharta (Roasted Eggplant)

Owner Archna Becker uses this dish as a flavorful addition to a buffet table, and the recipe is easily doubled for serving large parties.

2 large eggplants (1 pound each)

3 tablespoons oil (olive, canola, or vegetable)

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

2 cups onion, diced

1 cup tomato puree

2-3 teaspoons salt, to taste

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

3 teaspoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons turmeric

1 cup green peas

1 cup cilantro, chopped and loosely packed

Lightly oil hands and rub them over the surface of the eggplants. Put one or two slits in the skin so no bursting occurs. Either roast on a hot grill or broil in the oven for 25-45 minutes until skin separates from the meat and becomes soft.

After cooling, take the skin off and mash the meat with a potato masher or process in a food processor.

Heat a wok on medium-high heat and add oil. Once hot, add the cumin seeds and brown them; add the onions and cook until brown. Add the tomato puree and cook with onions for 8-10 minutes. Add the salt, cayenne pepper, coriander, and turmeric. Add peas, and cook for another 20 minutes. Garnish with chopped cilantro. Serves: 6 to 8

Per serving, based on 6: 168 calories (percent of calories from fat, 38), 5 grams protein, 23 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams fiber, 8 grams fat (1 gram saturated), no cholesterol, 895 milligrams sodium.

Source - by Meredith Ford, for the AJC

Atlanta #6 Best City for Job Seekers in 2017

by Zac Pasmanick - The Zac Team @ RE/MAX Metro Atlant

Looking for a new job? You may not have to look very far – or hard – based on a new study that lists Atlanta among the top 10 “Best Cities for Job Seekers in 2017.”

The NerdWallet study examined federal data on 100 of the country’s largest cities. It names the places where people are not only most likely to find opportunities, but also where they will earn the most bang for their buck. The cities are scored based on several factors, including October 2016 employment numbers, workforce growth, annual salary and housing cost.

Here is how Atlanta stacked up:

Overall score: 71.34
Unemployment rate in October 2016: 4.9 percent
Employed population growth 2010-2015: 31.61 percent
Median 2015 annual earnings for full-time workers: $50,424
Median monthly rent in 2015: $981
Top 10 “Best Cities for Job Seekers in 2017” (city, overall score)

Austin, Texas, 78.96
Denver, 77.58
Nashville, Tennessee, 72.68
Seattle, 72.63
Durham, 72.10
Atlanta, 71.34
Minneapolis, 70.64
Lincoln, Nebraska, 70.46
Irving, Texas, 69.16
Raleigh, 68.02

Source: written by Phil Hudson, staff writer for Atlanta Business Chronicle

Five Things Baby Boomers Want When They retire

by Zac Pasmanick - The Zac Team @ RE/MAX Metro Atlant

The baby boomer generation is the second largest behind the millennial generation. With so many boomers nearing retirement, which has a new age range and definition thanks to those boomers, we can expect to see certain trends take precedence, especially in the Atlanta housing market. Most of the baby boomer generation is more active than generations before, so they want to have options when it comes to the space they live in. With these five things that baby boomers expect after retirement, they are making a huge impact on the Atlanta housing market.

Convenience

IImage of Ranch Style Home - RE/MAX of Georgian most retirement scenarios, less is more and retirees find themselves downsizing. However, this boomer generation doesn’t necessarily think downsizing is their best option. That doesn’t mean they aren’t moving though. Baby boomers are searching for what’s convenient. Open floor plans, one-story houses, high-end appliances, and energy-efficient windows are just a few key features they are looking for. If they can find a home that meets their must-have list, even if the square footage is high, they will move.

Flex Space

Flex spaces are similar to bonus rooms in that they serve to fill a purpose of the homeowner's needs, but can easily be transformed. What might start out as a craft or hobby room can change into a guest bedroom for family and grandchildren. Baby boomers expect to have at least one of these rooms in their home after they retire and they are not afraid to renovate if needed.

Healthier Lifestyle

Image of Baby Boomers Hula Hooping - RE/MAX of GeorgiaAs a whole, baby boomers don’t consider themselves “old” until around the age of 72. The very thought of playing shuffleboard, boating, or spending the remainder of their days in a retirement community makes baby boomers cringe. In fact, only 10% of baby boomers actually admit to wanting to move into a retirement community. The rest want to maintain their individualism and be in a community/neighborhood they are familiar with. Boomers want to remain active and enjoy the outdoors and are therefore searching for walk-able areas. While some will stay in the suburbs, there is an increasing demand for seniors going back to their roots and living the city life.

Reduced Expenses

This is actually something everyone wants, but baby boomers want (and need) it more than anyone. On average, the amount of debt a person 65(+) carries is increasing rapidly. Roughly 44% of people ages 65 and older have debt and of that, the average debt amount is $25,000 (not including mortgages). Before a baby boomer can consider retirement, they want to be in a better financial situation. Many are working towards paying off mortgages and reducing housing costs so they have more freedom once they retire.

Easier Maintenance

Image of living patio - RE/MAX of GeorgiaBaby boomers strive to have easy-to-maintain homes that accommodate their living needs. Whether interior or exterior, the home they live in must have low maintenance features. Whether realized or not, this has a large impact on the housing market. Boomers consider the house they retire in the last place they will live and are not as concerned with resale value. However, when they replace part of the lawn with a live-in patio or knock down walls to create open rooms or wider hallways, there’s a chance it can impact how long the house stays on market or the sales price. Other features that boomers tend to want are first-floor master bedroom and bathroom, raised dishwashers, and plenty of storage. We’re also noticing a trend that retired people are moving closer to family and friends.

 

If you’re a member of the baby boomer generation, we’d love to hear how you feel about retiring. Do you agree with these expectations? How do you feel about the housing market? What are you planning on doing when you retire? Leave a comment and you might be featured on our social pages.

If you are fully ready to retire and looking to move into a new construction home or even downsize, contact one of our agents.

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Zac Pasmanick
RE/MAX Metro Atlanta Cityside
1189 S. Ponce de Leon Avenue
Atlanta GA 30306
Office: 404-564-7272

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