Friday, February 27, 2015

Buying a New Home In Hinesville/ Ft. Stewart (Part III)

Okay so we're finally continuing my home-buying series for the Hinesville and Fort Stewart areas. So a few weeks ago, we talked about the second step, meeting with your agent for a Buyer's Consult. This week, I want to write about what happens once you actually find a home to write an offer on.

So you're prequalified, you've met with your agent, you've seen dozens of homes, and, you've finally found your dream home. So what now? Well, that's where your agent comes in. Once you decide on a home, we help you figure out what to offer (we can pull comparative pricing from the surrounding neighborhoods and give you advice on the value of a home). Once we've decided on an initial offer, your agent will write it up (beyond a few exceptions, we use GAR forms in the state of Georgia) and submit to the folks on the other side (whether it's a builder or the Listing agent). And then we wait.
If you've offered less than the asking price or asked for a few concessions, the Sellers will come back with either a "Yes" a "No" or a "Yes, but with conditions". In the event of that third option, you're agent will go over their response with you and help you draft what's called a counter offer. Once you and the Sellers have come to a mutually beneficial decision, everyone signs and you're officially "under contract". Note: if your contract calls for Earnest Money within a specific timeframe, this is when that timeframe begins, NOT from the date you sign your offer.

Now what happens next depends on what kind of agent you're working with. If you're working with the Lisa Scales Team, we'll introduce you to  our super awesome Transaction Manager. It's her job to assist both you and your agent with all the paperwork and scheduling that happens between and now and your closing date. If you've opted for new construction (which is pretty popular in our market right now), you may need to schedule an appointment to pick your interior and exterior selections and she'll help with that. If you're buying an existing home, it's probably time to schedule your Inspection with which you'll also receive assistance.


new construction fort stewart
Lastly, if you're participating in our Homes for Heroes rebate/ discount program (more info on that later), the Transaction Manger helps you decide what to spend that money on! As always, if you've got questions that just can't wait, you can always register here to schedule your own one-on-one appointment. Not quite ready to come in? You can also message us with any questions no matter how small.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Thinking About Staying In Orlando? The Caribe Royale Is It!

So the week before last, I was in Orlando for a few days, first for the KW Family Reunion and then that weekend to do Disney with the hubby (more on that later). I FINALLY got video of a hotel for you guys (see, I promised I would!) so I wanted to share my thoughts on the hotel we ended up staying in.

In one word? Perfect. And cheap. Which is two words, but whatever. So my mom and I were originally going to stay at another hotel that was much more expensive and much further away from the convention center where the event was held but we changed our minds at the last minute, and boy am I glad we did. We were searching for cheaper options when a friend at work suggested the Caribe Royale, which, incidentally, is less than 15 minutes from Disney and about 10 from the Orange County Convention Center.

The room was roomy, clean, and well-decorated. The toiletries were actually Bath and Body Works Rainkissed Leaves (being a former BBW sales associate, I appreciated this touch especially) and there was a microwave AND small refrigerator (that WAS NOT crammed with tiny, super expensive bottles of liquor and wine). Besides the room, the property itself was beautiful. They had this huge pool (which was apparently heated) that featured a lovely waterfall and pathways between all the suite buildings and the main building where the restaurants are (we stayed in Building 3).

The biggest thing I loved about this hotel is their military appreciation program. Not only did we get our room at an amazingly low rate, we also got a $120 food and beverage credit. We had room service one night and breakfast the next morning completely free (for the record, we're a talking a REAL breakfast with fresh scrambled eggs, French Toast, the whole nine. NOT  the usual continental)! Unfortunately, by the time I realized how awesome the hotel was, it was too late to book for Disney with the hubby, but I know for sure where we'll be staying next time we visit Orlando!

What's your favorite Orlando hotel? Perhaps you've had an awesome experience with the Caribe Royale? Tell me below!

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

It's That Time of Week Again...Thankful Thursdays!!

So this week, I'm really excited about traveling. One of our big plans for this year is to travel more, not necessarily big extravagant trips, but just get out of Georgia every once in a while. And I guess I'm thankful for the ability to do that. Right now, gas is relatively cheap, which means flights aren't as crazy expensive (by the way, Huffington Post recommends purchasing tickets exactly forty-seven days before takeoff) as they can sometimes be. And being stationed in Southern GA, as we are, there are so many different cities to visit and opportunities to take advantage of. Already, we've been to Charlotte, Orlando, Jacksonville, Hilton Head and Miami (to name a few) and this year, I want to add a few more to the list.

And while I'm on the subject, I'm thankful that I have a hubby who is as filled with wanderlust as I am. He's normally pretty cool about letting me pick the destination and going along for the ride which is pretty much half the fun! What are you thankful for this week? Tell me below!

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

February Obessions!

So I'm suuuper late with this post. BUT there are still some exciting, fun things going on around Hinesville and Savannah that I thought you guys should know about so, I'm writing it anyway. And next month, I promise I'll be on time!


MyMilDeals Oscars Viewing Party
So this event is literally this Sunday at the Mellow Mushroom in Pooler. Attire is "upscale casual" (basically no t-shirts or sneakers) and the first 100 guests will grab a free swag bag. There'll be raffles, a contest for best dressed, hors d'oervres, and, of course, a cash bar. And if you've got kids, the Sk8 City in Pooler is hosting a skate party exclusively for the parents attending the event, six bucks a kid which included skates and snacks. The event itself is free to get in so, hope to see you guys there!

Wine & Canvas- Savannah
So I stumbled across this a few weeks ago while I was playing around online and I seriously can't believe I've never heard of it before. Founded in Indianapolis in 2010, Wine and Canvas hosts local painting parties instructed by local artists and of course featuring wine. Can't wait to get a group together to check this out; if you've already tried it or something similar, tell me about it below!


Sojun Ru Gullah Art Exhibit
So this exhibit opened at the beginning of the month, but it doesn't end until the 27th so you've still got a few more days to check it out. Located at the Hinesville Area Art Gallery on Commerce, the exhibit features Geechee Kunda arts and crafts in honor of Black History Month. The gallery itself is open Monday through Friday from 10-2 so it's the perfect educational outing for kids that may not be school age yet (or you by yourself if you happen upon a free weekday!)


5th Annual 2015 A-Town Get Down Music & Art Festival
Blind Boys of Alabama are headlining this year's festival; they'll be joined by about 25 other bands and visual artists. The festival will feature awesome performances (click here to snag tickets) as well as exhibits, jam sessions, and family friendly workshops. Established in 2011 as a tribute to Alex Townsend who passed away that year on Valentines Day, the festival serves as a super fun vehicle to introduce the public to aspiring musicians and artists as well as give audiences a chance to catch their favorite local acts. Check it out February 21st and 22nd!


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Thursday, February 5, 2015

How to Pick the Perfect Engagement Ring

Okay, ladies, so I'm taking a break and talking to the guys for this post! If you can't already tell from the hundreds of new "Oh my God, he proposed!" Facebook posts every morning, engagement season is in full swing. In honor of that, I wanted to do a special post about picking out the perfect engagement ring. The hubby and I picked out my ring together but a lot of would-be fiancées take huge leaps of faith and pick out the engagement ring on their own. There's a lot of erroneous information out there so I went straight to the master, Tom, Gemologist and licensed Appraiser at Thomas Hill Jewelers for the skinny on how to pick a rock that your girl won't be able to resist.


So the biggest thing? DO NOT shop online! Tom tells me you just won't get an accurate idea of the difference in quality and detail between pieces looking at a picture on a screen, and I have to say, he has a point. (Fun fact: for the hubby's birthday last year, I ordered him a pair of half-carat diamond studs online. Got them in the mail and, needless to say, they were incredibly tiny! I ended up keeping them, but I'm the only one who wears them and he swears I owe him a re-do!).


Tom does custom pieces like this as well. Check out the ruby tail light!
The next important thing to remember: DO NOT try to guess your girl's (or guy's) ring size. Standard sizes are 7 for women and 10 for men; Tom recommends going for the standard size and bringing the newly engaged back in for a final fitting. I know, big surprise right? All those websites instructing you to subtract 10 from the girl's shoe size and then multiply by 15 or whatever. Totally wrong!

The other thing I asked about was price. When the hubby and I picked out our rings, that was a deciding factor before any other because we were also building a house. Tom's advice? Go with a jeweler that features diamonds with great quality at ANY price. Just because you can't necessarily afford the VVS, princess cut, ten carat diamond doesn't mean that you and your fiancée don't deserve something special!

And speaking of jewelers, consider hitting up a real jeweler versus a big box store like Kay or Jared. The thing to remember with those stores; you're working primarily with a salesperson, not an experienced jeweler like Tom. Not that there's anything wrong with salespeople (I worked as one at Bath and Body Works, and I work as one on the Lisa Scales Team now technically!). BUT. Just like I, along with the other agents on my team, am an expert in my field, Tom is the go-to guy for diamonds and jewelry. You're not going to go into his store and be "sold" on something, you're going to get more of a consultation and advice on things like quality, clarity, color, etc.

One of Tom's favorite pieces; this beauty boasts 884 diamonds!

Tom has been in the jewelry business for nearly forty (yes, forty!) years and has had his store in Hinesville on East Martin Luther King Drive for about fourteen, so he knows the score on picking out that special ring to razzle and dazzle. Every year, he and his wife travel all the way to Antwerp, Belgium to pick out the insanely gorgeous jewelry that fills their shop so you can be sure you're getting a piece that they've put a lot of thought into (he says his wife picks for beauty and he checks for the quality).

Okay, so the last few things I want to leave you with:
  • When in doubt, go for a round diamond; Tom says it's their most popular cut.
  • If you've ever wondered about the difference between and an Emerald and a Radiant cut (I know I have!) the Emerald is completely clear while the Radiant features more facets (READ: more sparkle!)
  • No matter how much you spend, get that ring insured! Most folks don't realize a diamond ring isn't typically covered under Homeowners or Renters Insurance unless it's lost in a fire or stolen during a home invasion or something like that. Tom recommends Jewelers Mutual.
  • Ask about the warranty. Thomas Hill Jewelers, for example, offers a standard warranty completely free of charge and with no extra hoops to jump through.
  • If you've ever wondered what the heck VVS refers to, it stands for Very Very Slightly, and it's as close as you can get to a perfect diamond.
The Four C's of Diamond Selection: Color, Cut, Clarity, Carats
Okay I lied, the very last thing I'm leaving you with! If you're in the Hinesville/ Savannah area and are interested in a little competition, check out the Thomas Hill Jewelers Facebook Page. Just in time for Valentines Day, they're giving away this amazing pendant to the cutest couple (you enter on their Facebook page and get your friends to vote on you) called Rhythm of Love. The diamond in the center picks up the vibrations from your heart beat so it never stops moving. Now tell me that isn't the coolest thing you've ever heard!


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