Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Coldwell Banker Has a Newly Designed Website!

Coldwell Banker has redesigned their website and we love it! What inspired the change? Michael Fischer, the chief marketing officer for Coldwell Banker Real Estate, LLC advised "“For the new we looked at search functionality across various websites including, retail and music, and continuously asked ourselves, ‘Why not in real estate?" They have added some really great features that make it easier to search for your dream home. Here's a quick list of some of the top changes:
  • You may notice upon first arrival to the newly designed site that it picks up on your current location. For example, it knew that I am located in McDonough, GA (looks like Mr. Coldwell and Mr. Banker might be real estate experts and stalkers).

  • They've added a new search feature called Coldwell Banker BlueScape Search. This is a new innovative and creative way to find your perfect home. The consumer rates a series of images "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" and the site will automatically pull properties that you may be interested in. You can then refine the search by the area, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, etc. Check it out! It's pretty awesome.
  • Keyword Searches! How many times do you go to a website to search for homes that only allow you to put in the basic information: number of bedrooms/bathrooms, price range, location, etc? If you know you want a home with a swimming pool, why weed through hundreds of properties that don't have one? The keyword search allows you to narrow down the search results based on the keywords you select.
  • After viewing several properties and selecting your favorites as being "preferred", the new site will feature additional homes that have similar characteristics of your preferred properties through the "You May Also Like" feature.
  • The Coldwell Banker Home File - an e-folder in which consumers save, share, and organize their favorite properties, videos, articles, etc.
These are just a few of the changes, check it out yourself by visiting

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Congrats Union Grove, Eagles Landing, McIntosh & Starr's Mill High Schools!!

Four of our "Southern Crescent" high schools made Newsweek's "America's Best High Schools: The List"! There are approximately 1600 high schools that made the list. While that may seem like a large number, it's really only about 6% of public schools across America. Congratulations to the following schools:

#705, Union Grove High School (McDonough, GA)
Interesting Facts: For the past four years, Union Grove has been in Newsweek's top 5% of American High Schools. They recently received the Gold Award for having at least 97% of students meeting or exceeding standards as measured by state assessments. There were only 15 schools in the entire state to receive this.

#956, Eagles Landing High School (McDonough, GA)
Interesting Facts: Won the Governor's Cup for having the highest increase in SAT/ACT scores for the region. Their SAT's and ACT's are both above the national average. Their graduation rate has also improved - from 70% to 87.8% over the past 3 years.

#1051, McIntosh High School (Peachtree City, GA)
Interesting Facts: McIntosh has been recognized several times as a school of excellence. They were named a Georgia School of Excellence in 2000 & 2008. In 2007 they were named a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.

#1120, Starr's Mill High School (Fayetteville, GA)
Interesting Facts: Starr's Mill High was named a 2005 Georgia School of Excellence, one of only 3 schools in GA to be given the title that year. They offer more advanced placement (AP) classes than any other high school in Fayette County.

To view the entire Newsweek article and list, visit

If you're thinking of moving to the area and want information on the local schools, you may find the following links to be helpful:

Georgia Department of Education:
Clayton County Schools:
Fayette County Schools:
Henry County Schools:

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Zillow Zestimates = ZestiWRONG

When Melissa and I go on listing appointments we review detailed comparative market analysis (CMAs) with the seller as well as expansive market data and in the end, share our opinion of value and/or suggested list price for the current market. We’re definitely not the average agent who walks in with the just a listing agreement in one hand and a pen in the other. We would never expect someone to take our numbers seriously if we didn’t backup our opinions with supporting evidence and facts. After we review the data, we say something like: “Mr. and Mrs. Seller, if we were to list your home today, we would list it for….. (if it sounds like something off of an HGTV show, it’s because it is and we even put a 45 second delay in there too)... $175,000.” Occassionally, and what seems to be more and more these days, the seller will respond with something like “but says my home is Zestimated at $225,000?!” For those of you who don’t know, is the second most visited real estate website after and so therefore, more and more folks are visiting it these days and trusting every piece of information they find on it as if it were the real estate Bible. Browsers can search for homes on this site as well as inquire about their home value which Zillow refers to as “Zestimates”. Unfortunately, Zillow’s numbers are so wrong and they should be shot for giving seller’s false hope in this market! Imagine if you visited the site and thought your home was worth $25-75k more than what the market would support? So you may be wondering what makes us think that our opinion of value is any better than Zillows. For one, we’re good at what we do. Reallllly good at what we do. But most importantly, will tell you themselves how bad they are. It’s on their website, in the small print. Visit their site and scroll down to the very bottom and click on “Zestimate Values & Accuracy”. Then click on “States/Counties” and click on the Peach State. Review the chart and take note of the median margin of error (last column on the chart). Here are some examples: Clayton County’s “Zestimates” are off by 78.2%, Henry County’s by 28.8%, Fayette County 10.8%, Fulton 21.8%, Coweta 16.3%, Rockdale 29.2%.

We wish that Zillow’s Zestimates were more accurate, because if they were, home values would be higher and that would be a good sign, but unfortunately, the Zestimates are Zesti-WRONG. So before you pull up to determine your home’s value, please talk with a local Realtor who knows the area and can provide accurate information. And when we said “local Realtor” we were talking about us. :) Give us a call or send us an email and we’ll be happy to help you determine the fair market value of your home. Even if you’re not in the market to sell and are just curious – we’re here to help. There is one thing that we’ll admit to – while we might have better numbers and more knowledge of the local market than Zillow does, they have something we don’t … a cool name for the home values that they provide – the “Zestimate”. Perhaps we should come up with one! So should you hear a friend, relative, co-worker, etc. talk about their “zestimate”, kindly tell them the news and refer them to us!

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