Coldwell Banker Hitting Home Runs With TV Ads

There were many reasons I elected to work under the Coldwell Banker umbrella. The training a sales associate receives is unmatched. The tools available to market homes are outstanding. And the people — my colleagues, my broker, etc. — are fantastic.

I didn’t choose Coldwell Banker because of its television advertising campaigns — that would be as smart as grossly over-pricing a split-level with foundation cracks located next to an airport runway. Still, I’m proud to be associated with a company that produces high-quality advertising and hits customers squarely in the heart.

The latest CB campaign is themed “Catch” (above) and it’s going to be perfect for ESPN’s Baseball Tonight this spring.

The “Catch” theme is almost as good as the “Home’s Best Friend” which ran earlier this year and really tugged at the heart strings. Enjoy

Even Our Competitors Have To Love This Commercial

There are a number of reasons I chose to cast my real estate lot with Coldwell Banker. Too many to list in just one blog.

I could talk for days about my broker and Coldwell Banker colleagues, the on-going training we receive and the code of ethics we all follow.

Then there is the Coldwell Banker brand. In terms of national brand recognition, Coldwell Baker ranks right up there with the big boys. It’s mentioned in the same brand-recognition breath as companies such as Nike.

Other brokerages may have commercials that air on national television. Quite honestly, I’m not sure, but I know that Coldwell Banker are the only national real estate commercials I remember seeing.

The latest Coldwell Banker ad is a gem. It also fits my philosophy when it comes to TV commercials: If you want a successful ad campaign, use dogs or babies or both.

CB’s commercial may not me the tear-jerker that Budweiser recently produced, but it makes me happy as a pet-lover. It also makes me proud to be affiliated with Coldwell Banker.

Here’s A Simple, Accurate Way To Look For Homes In Metro Atlanta

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Here’s a website you may just want to bookmark.

If you think that one day, whether it’s in the immediate or distant future, that you may want to purchase a home in Metro Atlanta, this is a good website to begin your search. If you know someone who is considering a move to the Atlanta area, this is an ideal site for them.

This home-search site could not be more simple to use, and more importantly: it’s accurate and up to date.

Full disclosure: I’m biased when it comes to this home-search tool.

My company, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, has provided all its agents with this tremendous tool. Much of the same information you can find on well-known home-search websites can be found here.

Go ahead, play around on the site and let me know what you think.

And if you are curious of what your home is worth, get a free market analysis by just clicking here.

Luxury Home

Legalized Gambling In Atlanta? Sort Of

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From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A plush, 24-hour gaming resort featuring up to 425 machines that pay out non-cash prizes may be coming soon to an underdeveloped area of South DeKalb.

It would be the closest thing to a casino in a state that bans most forms of gambling, according to joint reporting by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Channel 2 Action News.

Backers of the project, including a company with ties to the Tunica-Biloxi Indian Tribe, call it a “barcade” — a place for video games with prizes in the form of vouchers that can be redeemed toward steak dinners or on-site lodging. Envisioned as a sort of Dave & Busters for adults, games may include slots, video poker, a virtual reality roller coaster and golf and military simulators.

The site, called Panola Slope, would feature 2,700-square-foot rooms, butler services, three restaurants, an outdoor entertainment venue, meeting spaces and shopping.

The resort would be the first of its kind of Georgia. The DeKalb County Commission unanimously approved it in December. The next step is to get its license application approved by the Georgia Lottery Corporation, which will complete background checks on the site’s owners and operators, ensure taxes have been paid and verify the site will comply with state law before operations can begin, possibly as soon as Labor Day.

No other business has obtained permission for more than 14 machines in one location. Those games are located at a Chevron station in Stockbridge.

“The whole notion or comparison to a casino is primarily because we want it to be high energy,” said Vaughn Irons, the CEO of Atlanta-based APD Solutions, the project’s developer. “It is important that people understand that we’re not trying to do something new and different that isn’t already allowable. We’re not trying to skirt the law or get involved in some kind of subterfuge. We are very clearly staying within the lines of the law.”

The entertainment complex would be located along the four-lane Covington Highway near Lithonia, where a series of condominiums and shops were built several years ago but failed to attract buyers. Those residences would be transformed into 24 rental “villas” for guests of the Panola Slope resort, and the shopping area will house three restaurants and other retail.

Critics of the effort say Panola Slope is a short step removed from full-fledged gambling, and they question whether it will encourage economic growth or result in more crime and blight.

“This is a fairy-tale dream. … It sounds good, but let’s just be realistic here,” said Tre James, a resident who spoke at the DeKalb Commission’s Dec. 16 meeting. “If no one wants to pay $180,000 to live there, why would you pay $180 a night to go to a resort on Covington Highway? There’s nothing over there.”

Efforts to expand gaming in Georgia — at Underground Atlanta and on the property of fiber-optics manufacturer OFS near I-85 — have failed. Those projects stalled while awaiting approvals that never came from the Georgia Lottery’s board of directors to offer virtual lottery terminals, but Panola Slope would use cash-operated gaming machines that are already regulated and taxed.

But Irons and Red Alligator, the tribal company that bought the 10-acre Panola Slope property for $6 million in March, believe the project will be a success. Irons said the area isn’t as downtrodden as many believe . With a median household income of $74,000, residents have disposable income to spend.

Though cash payouts from these types of games are illegal in Georgia, visitors will come to the resort for a good time, said Marshall Sampson, the CEO of Red Alligator and vice chairman of the tribal council of the Tunica-Biloxi Indian Tribe, which owns the Paragon Casino Resort in Marksville, La.

“Wait till you see the good food, wait till you see the good entertainment, and you will not think you’re in Covington Highway,” Sampson told Channel 2. “It would not be an Indian casino. That cannot happen. So rest assured, the people of Georgia.”

The games would be operated under the rules of the Georgia Lottery and state law, which allow vouchers redeemable on-site. A portion of the proceeds help support the HOPE Scholarship and pre-K programs funded by the Georgia Lottery.

Georgia is one of 10 states without a commercial or tribal casino, according to the American Gaming Association.

Panola Slope is trying to look like a casino without being legalized and regulated like one, said Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling. Whyte said he’s concerned that Georgians could develop gambling problems without having access to prevention and treatment programs.

“The closer you can make your offering to something that feels like gambling, the more attractive and profitable it’s going to be, but of course the more potential you have for addiction. So there’s a trade-off there,” he said.

Doreen Carter, the president of the Greater Lithonia Chamber of Commerce, said Panola Slope is not a typical economic development idea, but it’s worth a try. The resort’s developers estimate they will create 151 jobs with an average income of $51,000.

“We’re not naive. We know this is a unique project,” Carter said. “We know gambling is illegal in Georgia, but there are people who go to other places and play these games. … If it’s done right and they create something positive, it could be good for the community.”

While Panola Slope is planned as an extension of the Georgia Lottery, DeKalb Police Lt. Curtis Williams fears it could lead to illegal activity. Williams wrote in an email forwarded to the DeKalb Commission that a number of convenience stores are illegally paying cash rewards from their cash-operated amusement machines.

“Although the applicant states that there would not be any cash payouts, there is a high probability that the establishment will begin making cash payouts once they realize how lucrative that would be,” Williams wrote.

Georgia law usually caps the number of coin-operated machines in a location at nine, but a local government can approve more,

Irons hasn’t yet sought a location license from the Georgia Lottery as he’s negotiating with gaming machine owners. The license can take a month or more to be approved.

The Georgia Lottery isn’t currently involved with the proposed resort in DeKalb or any resort in the state, said spokeswoman Kimberly Starks. The Georgia Lottery licenses gaming machines and locations but doesn’t operate them.


Village Of Belmont Construction Update: January 29, 2015

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The Atlanta Braves aren’t the only folks moving to Smyrna.

Construction is well underway at Belmont — near Atlanta Road and Windy Hill Road — and this area in changing daily.

I’ll write more about what type of homes, cottages and townhomes that are being constructed in a future blog, but this location is going to be great for almost any home-buyer. This community is being built literally steps away from the Smyrna Elementary School campus and it’s only a football field or so away from Campbell Middle School. And from the intersection of Atlanta Road and Windy Hill Road — you are a short drive away from I-285 and I-75. It’s 12 miles from here to the heart of Midtown.

The homes are being built by David Weekley Homes and this is what is says on the builder’s website:

“Located in Smyrna, GA, David Weekley Homes will soon begin building new homes in Village of Belmont! Choose from several unique floor plans with stunning architectural elements and incredible interiors in this charming community. Here, you’ll also enjoy:

  • Private, gated community
  • Students attend Cobb County schools, with new, onsite Smyrna Elementary School
  • Swimming pool, cabana and central park
  • Walking distance to great shopping and dining
  • Nearby Market Village, Tolleson Park and Smyrna Community Center”

This photo is taken from the southeast corner of the property:
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You can see Smyrna Elementary School in the background of this photo:

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What If You Had An Option To “Try-Out” A House?

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Do any of the following describe you or someone you know?

  • You’d like to purchase a home, but you don’t have enough cash for a down payment.
  • You’re new to the Atlanta area and you’d like to kick the tires on a neighborhood you have your eyes on before you actually buy a home.
  • You’re last house foreclosed or short-sold.
  • You want to rent a nice single-family home, but are discouraged because so few houses are available for lease.

There’s a new program to Georgia that many Coldwell Banker customers are using to get into their dream home without a down payment or even a mortgage. This program allows you to lease the house for as long as you would like, but with an option to purchase it at any time — whether it’s after just two months or two years or even longer.

There’s no obligation to ever purchase the home. After renting it for one year, you can just walk away, no strings attached.

House 1

Obviously, there are many more details, but there are no “catches.” We’ve had numerous customers enjoy successful transactions using this program.

Call me at 404.295.8703 or email me at dean.buchan@coldwellbankeratlanta.com and I’ll be glad to tell you all about it.

Oregon vs. Ohio State: Who Wins The Real Estate Comparison?

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And you thought Monday night’s Ohio State-Oregon game had been broken down every way possible…

As a Realtor, I would be remiss not to compare which city — Columbus or Eugene — is champion when it comes to real estate.

Football may be a game of inches. But what about square feet and acres? Turns out the biggest difference between the Buckeyes and Ducks may be something other than the uniforms.

Using statistics compiled by Trulia, I put together the chart below:

OSUvsOU:Layout 1.qxdIn 2014, Ohio State may have enjoyed a remarkable football season under head coach Urban Meyer, but Columbus’ real estate numbers took a dip during football season. Perhaps Buckeye fans focus so strongly on football, they just don’t have time for real estate. Maybe the early-season loss to Virginia Tech caused a cloud of depression over the city.

Alas, Buckeye fans, one year produces a very small sample size of data and we’re just having some real estate agent fun here.

Meanwhile, real estate flourished in Eugene in 2014. The average sales price for Eugene homes went up 8.4 percent over the previous year.

The difference is median sales price between homes in Columbus and Eugene (in 2014) was $117,000 — which is about the same number of Oregon’s uniform combinations.

So, which team will capture the first ever National College Football Playoff Monday night? That may be even more difficult to predict than the real estate market.

It’s Easier To Own A Home Than Most Millennials Might Think

I think most of us who are older than 30 fantasize at times about going back to college.

The University of North Carolina at Wilmington — I like to jokingly refer to it as “The Harvard of the South” — is where I went to school and I don’t regret it for a second. Campus was just a few miles from Wrightsville Beach, my favorite beach on the planet. Between beach, beer and bikinis, it was difficult to focus at times…

Focus, Dean, focus.

If we only knew then, what we know now.

I happen to know a lot of recent college graduates (through my association with Georgia Tech and Tech athletics) and they are embarking on “the real world” for the first time. Soon, they’ll be getting the largest paychecks of their young lives. Some will spend loosely, some will pay off student loans and still others will start saving and investing.

Almost all of them, however, think that owning a home is a distant dream, or at best, an investment down the road. What many of them don’t understand — as smart as they may be — is that it’s easier than they may think to own a home, and it may not be necessary to continue renting that apartment when you could be making mortgage payments.


This is part of a story written by Jon Coile on Inman.com:

You do not need to wait while you save huge amounts of money for a down payment. As we all know, the mortgage world is changing rapidly and dramatically right now. A mortgage that might have been impossible to obtain before Thanksgiving 2014 may, in fact, be totally possible now in the New Year. Lender standards are regaining some flexibility. Down payment requirements are going down — now, in many cases, a down payment is only 3 percent of the sales price, or even 0 percent for veterans. Underwriting for self-employed borrowers that was incredibly strict in 2014 is moving back towards a common-sense standard.

The pendulum isn’t swinging back to the wild days of 2006, but if a buyer was dis-qualified by a lender just last month, re- engage! We are in a new market with new guidelines. Potential millennial buyers shouldn’t think that just because they have a high-speed Internet connection and the brains to read between the lines on blogs that they also have the ability to self-qualify — or, even worse, disqualify themselves for a mortgage. We need to strongly encourage them to meet face-to-face with a mortgage professional. Help is free, so take it.

Read Jon’s entire story here.


The Millennials will play a huge role in real estate in 2015, according to the experts. Statistics show that owning a home remains a goal for America’s youth, who are just pursuing the dream at a different pace than their parents did.

This is part of a story written on Realtor.com by Melissa Dittman Tracey.

Millennial force: Younger professionals are having more luck in the job market, which is expected to help more of them jump into home ownership in the new year. Overall, employment is on the rise, but jobs for Millennials — particularly those aged 25 to 29 — has risen by 3 percent. That’s one percentage point above the nationwide rate. According to some forecasts, Millennials are expected to drive two-thirds of household formations over the next five years. The forecasted addition of 2.5 million jobs next year, as well as an increase in household formation, will likely drive more first-time home buyers into home ownership, according to realtor.com® projections.

Tracey and Realtor.com do a great job on this article.

More on the Millennials from this Trulia article about what to expect in 2015:

“Undoubtedly, the purchasing power of the millennial demographic packs a serious punch. And it seems that homeownership still plays a key role in the American dream, especially among young adults — an overwhelming 93 percent of young adult renters responded yes when asked if they will be purchasing a home someday.”


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Dean’s List: My Top 6 Running Trails In Atlanta

Piedmont Park

Atlanta is a great city for running enthusiasts, and this should come as no surprise to anyone.

The annual Peachtree Road Race (10k), which attracted 60,000 runners on July 4, is one of the most popular (and largest) races on the planet. Don’t plan on running your best time there (because of the crowded streets) but the scenery and atmosphere makes it a bucket list type of race.

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The Atlanta Track Club, which actually hosts the Peachtree Road Race, is one of the largest of its kind.

It also helps that the climate in Atlanta is suitable for those who tend to go into hibernation during cold months. And don’t be fooled by the outdated label of “Hotlanta” — it’s not any hotter in the A than it is in most parts of North and South Carolina.

I consider myself a running enthusiast, which is a level of running somewhere between ultra-marathoner and couch potato. Below, I list my six favorite places to run in the Atlanta area.

1. Piedmont Park — Located right in the heart of Midtown and the finishing point for the Peachtree Road Race, Piedmont Park is an oasis among the high-rise condo buildings. The paved trail weaves around ponds, a dog park, picnics and frisbee-throwers. It’s a great people-watching, dog-petting route. Warning: there are a couple of big-time hills. And for those who hate hills, in the middle of the park is a completely level half-mile track that envelopes sand volleyball courts, kickball and softball games.

2. Silver Comet Trail — Part running and biking trail, part nature walk and almost completely flat, the “Comet” goes on for miles. Technically, you can bike all the way to Alabama on the trail. This is a great spot for long runs as there are distance markers every quarter-mile.

3. West Paces Ferry Road — I like to start at the intersection with Northside — just a stone’s throw from the Flying Biscuit — and run past the mansions, including the Governor’s mansion, and head toward Buckhead. To Peachtree Street and back it’s about a six-mile loop. It’s slightly uphill on the way out, and a little easier to breathe on the way home.

4. Alpharetta Greenway — I’ve only run there one time, but was impressed. It’s similar to the Silver Comet Trail, just shorter and with a few rolling hills.

5. Atlanta Road in Smyrna — Between Spring Road and Paces Ferry Road, this completely flat little stretch of sidewalk is close to my heart. No, literally, it’s close because that’s where I live. I love Smyrna, in part, because of it’s diversity and you catch a glimpse of that on your run. Want to throw in a couple of serious hills? Just go beyond West Paces Ferry down to Cumberland Parkway and back.

6. The Beltline — You might say that this one has the most upside because it’s constantly growing. The Beltline has been especially great for runners and cyclists inside the city, who can now continue on their trek without having to stop at stoplights and dodge traffic.

Note: I provide random lists like this one in my monthly real estate newsletter, DEAN’S LIST. If you would like to subscribe, just drop me an e-mail to: dean.buchan@coldwellbankeratlanta.com