6 Negotiating Tips for Building a Custom Home

Published on October 9, 2020 by Smith Marketing

Are you considering a custom home? There are a lot of benefits to building a custom home over purchasing an existing home. You have so many more options as well as the ability to negotiate. When it comes to Greensboro real estate, the only way to get exactly what you want is to work with a custom home builder. But before that first meeting, consider these negotiating tips to help you get the best deal.

Set a Maximum Price.
If budget is a concern for you, then determine what your maximum amount is to spend and do not agree to anything above that price. It’s easy to get carried away talking about all the amazing features that are available for custom homes, and next thing you know, you’re way over budget. If the builder tells you they can’t build the home you want for the price you want, be prepared to turn down the deal.

Determine What’s Included and What’s an Upgrade.
Your builder will include some features in the basic price and some features will be considered upgrades for an additional charge. Be sure you are clear about what items are included and what items will drive up the price. Use upgrades as a negotiating factor when it comes to price.

Do your Research.
The more information you have about Greensboro real estate before going into a meeting with a builder, the better. Find out what other homes in the neighborhood cost to build. Find existing homes that are comparable in size and features to the home you want to build and use that price in your negotiation. Talk to homeowners who worked with the same builder and find out what kind of deals they were offered and what they liked or didn’t like about their experience. A local real estate agent will have a wealth of helpful information.

Ask about Ways to Save.
Ask the builder if there are any discounts available, such as using their preferred lender or agreeing to use discontinued materials or items the builder already has on hand from another project.

Communicate Effectively.
Be clear about what you want. Ask questions. Ask for clarification if you don’t understand something. You can’t negotiate if you don’t have all the facts and if you aren’t willing to ask the hard questions. Good communicators are good negotiators.

Practice your Poker Face.
Do your best to keep your emotions in check. No matter how much you really want your home to look a certain way or to have certain features, no matter how much you really want a home designed by a certain builder in a certain neighborhood, showing your true feelings could mean you won’t be able to negotiate as effectively. You want the builder to think they have to work to earn your business, which may lead to better pricing and more upgrades.

Negotiate with the Help of an Experienced Greensboro Real Estate Agent

However expert or basic your negotiating skills, it’s helpful to work with a real estate agent when meeting with a custom home builder. Smith Marketing and Allen Tate Realtors® can help you negotiate and provide you with the information you need to get the best deal on custom home. Call today to schedule a consultation: (336) 215-7880.

Multi-Generational Living: Tips for Making Everyone Happy

Published on February 2, 2020 by Smith Marketing

Living in a household with multiple generations can be hard, but it can also be a wonderful experience for everyone. All families are unique and no family is exactly like another. Consequently, each family has unique needs in a home. If you’re in search of luxury homes for sale in Greensboro that can comfortably house a multi-generational family, here are some tips on what features to look for.

Accessible Design can Accommodate Family Members of all Ages and Abilities

Look for an open floor plan and wide doorways for easy maneuverability of wheelchairs as well as strollers. Consider bathrooms with curbless entry showers with handheld shower heads and low or floating vanities for seated use. The kitchen should also be accessible to all, with an open design and low counters. Look for single level homes or those with an elevator or stair lift. Entry into the home should also be wheelchair accessible from at least one entrance, but preferably more for independent exit in case of a fire.

Separate Living Areas for Privacy

Sometimes homes are designed for more than one family or generation by having a separate complete living area on another level of the home, such as the basement or a finished apartment over a garage. Complete with bathroom, kitchen, bedroom, and living area, this apartment can be ideal for an older couple or another family. It can be helpful if the apartment has a separate exterior entrance, such as a basement on split level home so that coming and going doesn’t disturb others. If too much privacy is a concern, such as with aging family members that need a lot of assistance, consider installing an intercom, emergency alert system, or even a monitoring system for safety.

Look for Homes with Potential for Remodeling

Just because a home is not already designed for multi-generational living, doesn’t mean it can’t be adapted. Many homes have unfinished basements or open spaces that could be remodeled to accommodate aging parents, adult children, or a cousin who needs help getting back on his feet. And even when these areas are not being lived in permanently, they are ideal for guests and family when they come to visit. Just be sure to choose a remodeling contractor with experience designing and building fully accessible home additions to be sure every needed accommodation is made for ease of living.

Find Luxury Homes for Sale in Greensboro that are Designed for Multi-Generational Living

When multi-generational living is the number one criteria in your home search, you need a real estate agent that can help you find homes that meet your needs. Smith Marketing agents listen carefully to what you’re looking for in a home and work diligently to help you find homes that have your priority features. Multi-generational families living under one roof is becoming more common and as a result, it’s easier to find luxury homes for sale in Greensboro that are designed accordingly. Call Smith Marketing today and get an experienced agent on the hunt for a home that meets your family’s needs: (336) 215-7880.

Deciding Between a One-Story or Two-Story Home

Published on January 19, 2020 by Smith Marketing

Whether you’re house hunting or designing a custom home, choosing between a one-story or two-story home can be a tough decision. There are definite advantages and disadvantages to each type. You can easily find luxury homes in Greensboro with either floor plan. Consider the pros and cons of each to help you decide which is right for you.

One-Story Home


  • Wheelchair friendly. Whether or not this is a need you have now, it could be a need that arises later for you or someone else in your family. And it makes your home accessible to all guests.
  • Easier evacuation in an emergency. In the case of a fire it is much easier to get out of a one-story house quickly and safely.
  • Safer in tornadoes and high winds. Being lower to the ground is an advantage in severe winds. Your home may receive less damage and offer better protection for you and your family.


  • Less privacy. When your bedroom is on the first floor, be sure to have adequate window coverings. Being on the ground level means you’ll have less privacy.
  • Less security. If you like to sleep with the windows open when the weather is nice, you can more safely do so on the second floor while keeping your downstairs windows and doors closed and securely locked.
  • Takes up more of your lot. A one-story home has a larger footprint and takes up more space on a lot than a two-story home with the same square footage. If you don’t have ample land and prefer more yard, a two-story house could a lot you more outdoor space to enjoy.

Two-Story Home


  • Get more square feet of home on a small lot. If lot size is an issue and yard space is a priority, a two-story house will allow you more indoor square feet while preserving acreage.
  • The look. Two-story homes tend to have a beauty and grandeur that one-story homes can’t compete with. But this is a matter of personal preference.
  • Security at night. Bedrooms on the second floor can feel safer while everyone is sleeping.


  • Not as safe in an emergency. In the case of a fire, it can be harder to get everyone out quickly. Also, in high winds the upper level is not as secure.
  • There are multiple reasons that stairs can be a disadvantage. They can be dangerous, especially for children and older people. They can be difficult to climb for anyone with health issues or injuries. And they can simply be tedious when packing for trips and for moving in and out of the home.
  • In two-story homes the floorboards above can be noisy when someone is moving around upstairs. Sounds carry through the floor, such as the TV while others are asleep.

Compare Available One-Story and Two-Story Luxury Homes in Greensboro

Sometimes the best way to decide between one-story and two-story homes is to tour both types and compare them in person. Your real estate agent can show you a variety of luxury homes in Greensboro with either floor type to help you make your decision. Call Smith Marketing today to schedule a consultation: (336) 215-7880.

6 Tips for Choosing a Home Developer

Published on December 23, 2019 by Smith Marketing

Are you interested in having a custom home built? New home communities in Greensboro typically have one or a few home developers who build most of the houses in the neighborhood and continue to develop it as it grows. You can choose one from among those builders, or go with someone else entirely. Not sure how to choose? Consider these tips.

Find a builder whose homes match your style

Look at the photographs of the homes the builder has built before on their website or drive through the neighborhood they have developed. Most builders have a certain style, a common thread that runs between their homes even though each one may be different. Do the homes look the way you want your home to look?

Make sure the builder can build within the regulations of the HOA

There may be certain limitations on the size and style of home you can build in the neighborhood based on homeowner’s association rules. If you go with an outside builder, someone who hasn’t built a home in the development yet, make sure they can build a home that will meet the requirements.

Check the builder’s background

An established home developer will have built a solid reputation in the community. Find out how long they have been in business and how many homes they have built. Read reviews online, check their licensing, and review their status with the Better Business Bureau.

Look for financial stability

Make sure the builder has no history of financial issues and that they are currently in good standing. Ask for recent financial and sales reports. You may be able to get information from financial institutions.

Get references from previous customers or just ask around the neighborhood

Ask the builder for some references of recent customers and follow through with contacting them. Walk around the neighborhood and ask the residents of homes built by the developer if they are satisfied and if their home was completed on time and on budget.

Look for quality red flags

You want to be sure you choose a builder who uses quality materials and craftsmanship. Any major quality issues with the builder’s previous homes may have shown up in the news. Minor quality issues may have resulted in the builder returning to homes they built to fix problems. This is another point to ask the residents of the neighborhood.

Looking for New Home Communities in Greensboro?

Smith Marketing of Allen Tate RealtorsⓇ can help you find available homesites in the most highly desired new home communities in Greensboro. With inside information on the home developers who have worked in these neighborhoods, you can more easily choose a reliable builder. Real estate agents who have worked in the area have a good idea of the background of the various home developers, their sales history, rate of success, the time frames of their projects, and more.
Call (336) 215-7880 today to schedule a consultation with an agent who can give you the scoop on new home developers in Greensboro and the surrounding area.

Home Buying: How Much House Can you Afford?

Published on December 9, 2019 by Smith Marketing

Thinking about buying a home? The first thing to do is determine your price range, or in other words, how much house you can afford. There’s more to it than just applying for a mortgage and finding out how much you qualify for. You will always qualify for a higher amount than you should actually spend on a house. So how do you figure out your price range and then find homes priced within that range?

Neighborhoods such as Grandover Greensboro have a range of homes in different sizes, locations, and price ranges. Don’t feel like you have a choose a neighborhood where all of the houses are about the same size and price, because it may encourage you to buy a home that is too much for you to afford.

How to Calculate your Home Buying Budget

There are online calculators that allow you to plug in some basic information and it will give you an estimate of how much house you can afford, such as this one on bankrate.com. You’ll need to calculate your income and that of your spouse, partner, or co-buyer. That includes wages, alimony, investments, dividends, and any other sources of income. You’ll also need information about the home, such as the down payment amount, loan term, real estate taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and interest rate. Then you’ll need to calculate your monthly expenses and debts. All of this information is used to determine your house price range.

How Much of Your Monthly Income Should go Towards Housing?

It is recommended that no more than 28% of your income should be absorbed by housing expenses and that no more than 36% of your income should be paid toward debt. Having too much debt can lead to financial trouble because you’re left with no liquid income for emergencies. Just because a lender is willing to give you a mortgage for a certain amount doesn’t mean you should max that out on a home. Take the figure you prequalify for and come down at least 20%, but 30% is even better. That should be the top end of your price range.

Don’t Make Yourself “House Poor”

The phrase “house poor” refers to people who spend so much on their home that they don’t have enough money left over to spend on anything fun. If you buy a luxury home that is out of your price range, you better be very pleased with it, because you’ll be spending a lot of time there. You won’t have any money left over to go out to eat, do activities, or take vacations.

Work with Real Estate Agents you can Trust

A trustworthy agent should respect your price range and not try to talk you into purchasing a home you can’t afford. Smith Marketing and Allen Tate RealtorsⓇ are on your side, to help you find the best home within your budget.

Looking for luxury homes that will fit your budget?

Grandover Greensboro is a popular neighborhood with luxury homes in varying sizes and price ranges. If resort-style living sounds like your style (or even if it doesn’t), call Smith Marketing and Allen Tate RealtorsⓇ at (336) 215-7880 to speak with a reliable agent.

“Move-in Ready”: What Does it Really Mean?

Published on December 4, 2019 by Smith Marketing

Are you in search of a “move-in ready” home? If so, you probably have a pretty good idea of what that means to you. However, to someone else, it could mean something completely different. There isn’t exactly a black or white answer to the question. The key is to be clear about your expectations with your real estate agent when searching for homes for sale in Greensboro.

The True Definition of “Move-in Ready”

Technically speaking, for a home to be “move-in ready” it must meet all local codes for a residence, including electricity, water, and locking doors and windows. That’s the bare minimum requirement for a house to be classified under that term. Most potential home buyers are looking for a little more than that.

What Home Buyers Actually Mean by a “Move-in Ready” Home

There are other terms that more specifically describe the condition of a home. Some examples include:

Newly Renovated

Some buyers are looking for a home that has been recently remodeled to include the latest features, new floors, fresh paint, new countertops, etc. Bathrooms and the kitchen are pivotal rooms of focus in newly renovated homes.

New Construction

Some buyers are looking for a recently finished newly constructed home that is complete and ready to be lived in. Some hope to catch new homes in progress but near completion so that finishing touches like flooring and paint colors can still be customized.

Fully Updated

Similar to a “newly renovated” home, a “fully updated” home has had recent improvements made throughout. The term “updated” tends to refer to technical aspects of the home such as plumbing or electrical, but it can include aesthetic features as well.

Communicate with your Real Estate Agent about the Type of Home you Need

You may have a clear definition of what “move-in ready” means to you, but the key is to make sure your agent also understands your definition. Explain what you want and what you are not willing to compromise on. Don’t waste time touring a bunch of “fixer-uppers” when you really want a home that is “newly renovated” or “fully updated.”

Be Willing to Compromise

You may not be able to find a home that is in the exact condition you’re looking for, so prepare to be open-minded and consider some different options. If your time is limited, don’t look at homes that are in need of major work before you can move in. Look for a home that is “fully functional” which means the plumbing works, the electricity works, and the structure is sound, which may be all you need immediately. The rest can be projects for the future.

Find “Move-in Ready” Homes for Sale in Greensboro with Smith Marketing

Smith Marketing and Allen Tate RealtorsⓇ can find you the type of “move-in ready” home you’re looking for. With so many homes for sale in Greensboro right now, you’re sure to find one that meets your needs. Call (336) 215-7880 today to schedule a meeting with an agent.

Townhome vs. Condo: Which one is Right for You?

Published on November 15, 2019 by Smith Marketing

Trying to decide between a townhouse and a condo for your next home? There are definite advantages and disadvantages to both. Determining which one is right for you comes down to your own personal preferences about how you wish to live. You’ll have no problem finding either condos or luxury townhomes in Greensboro, NC, so consider these different factors to help you choose.


When it comes to maintenance, to what extent maintenance is included tends to differ between condos and townhomes, but it will also differ between communities. Typically condos are individual apartments within an apartment building, so the upkeep of the building itself, land, and common areas is usually handled by the condo association. Repairs to the inside of the individual condo are typically included. In a townhome some maintenance to the lawn and home itself may be included, but not always. This depends on the homeowners association for the townhome community.


The cost of a condo vs. a townhome tends to differ based on the price of real estate in the area. However, townhomes typically cost more to purchase because they have some land included.


Condos will typically have a condo association and the townhome community will have homeowner’s association. These associations are typically made up of residents and govern the community, building, and grounds. The association establishes guidelines and votes to make changes in regulations. As a resident of the community, you will be required to pay dues to the association on a yearly, quarterly, or monthly basis.


Owners of both townhomes and condos are required to pay property tax because the home is actually owned rather than rented.


A townhome will offer slightly more privacy than a condo, in that the home shares a wall with either one or two other homes. A condo may have neighbors that share walls on all sides as well as above and below.


A townhome owner will actually own the home itself and the land it sits on, whereas a condo owner does not own any individual land. A condo owner does have access to the common areas of land owned and maintained by the condo association.


A condo tends to offer a higher level of security. In order to access a condo, it is usually necessary to enter a condominium building from one or a few available entrances. These entrances may require a key, electronic card, or have a doorman or security guard. In a townhome security is up to you as the entrance to your home can be publicly accessed the same as any single-family home.

Still Trying to Decide Between Condos or Luxury Townhomes in Greensboro, NC? Take a Tour

Touring these two different types of homes in person may be the best way to decide which one you’d be happier living in. Smith Marketing and Allen Tate Realtors® can show you condos and luxury townhomes in Greensboro, NC so that you can get a feel for the difference in size and style. Call (336) 215-7880 to speak with an agent today and take tours of condos and townhomes in the area’s most popular communities.

Duck Club Court Home for Sale in Greensboro NC

10 Things to Consider While Searching for a New Home in Greensboro

Published on November 14, 2019 by Smith Marketing

Are you in the market for a new home? With so many homes for sale in Greensboro, it can be difficult to narrow down your search to find the right home for you. You need something that’s the right size, in the right area, and with the right amount of land. Are you taking all of the most important things into consideration? Here’s a list of 10 things that can help you choose a home you’ll be happy with.

  • Think about your daily travels. When it comes to choosing an ideal location, it’s important to think about all of the places you drive on a daily and weekly basis. One home may be close to work but far from other activities like school, church, and ball fields. Determine where you go most often and let that be the pivotal point of location. 
  • Determine what kind of neighborhood you want. Do you want to live in a development with other houses and a homeowner’s association? Or would you prefer to live out in the country at the end of a dead-end road with little traffic and few neighbors? Make sure you and the rest of your family are in agreement.
  • Decide how much land you need. Lot size plays a large part in the type of homes you’ll find in your search. If you prefer a lot of land, you most likely will not find it in a development with hundreds of other homes. If you don’t need much land you may be able to find a larger, newer homes that suit your needs.
  • The number of bedrooms plays a large part in the price range. When you search for homes, you’ll notice that going from 3 to 4 bedrooms jumps the base price of homes up to the next level. It can be nearly as influential as the total square footage of the home.
  • Don’t settle when it comes to the kitchen. If you’re not happy with the size of the kitchen, don’t compromise. In some cases, a kitchen can be expanded to be larger, but often it can’t. A remodel can help, but it can’t create space where there isn’t any.
  • Storage space is a must. “There’s too much storage space in this house,” said no one ever. You can never have too many closets and storage areas in your home. Newer homes tend to have more and bigger closets, but older homes tend to have full-size walk-in attics.
  • Look for natural light. If you walk in a home that looks dark and lacks natural light, don’t waste your time. It’s difficult to create natural light where there is none. You can artificially light up rooms, but without natural light, it can feel like living in a cave.
  • A Floor plan is hard to adapt. If you’re looking for an open floor plan, don’t buy a home that is closed off thinking you can open it up. Often those walls are load-bearing and cannot be removed. Inner walls also contain hidden, yet crucial, things like electrical wiring and plumbing that is difficult or sometimes impossible to reroute.
  • Trust your nose. Have you ever walked into a home and knew for sure you could never live there because of the smell? If a home smells musty there’s a good chance mold or mildew is growing somewhere beneath the surface, which is an expensive fix. If the home smells like cigarette smoke and you’re a non-smoker, that’s a deal-breaker. Some smells are almost impossible to remove.
  • Think about the future. If you’re planning to be in this home for the long term, take that into consideration. Plan for enough space for your growing family and think about aging in place and what that will look like.

Searching for Homes for Sale in Greensboro? 

Smith Marketing and Allen Tate Realtors® can help you find homes for sale in Greensboro that will fulfill your most important criteria. Talk to your agent about these 10 things and make sure everyone is on the same page for your house hunting goals. Call (336) 215-7880 today to speak with an agent.

External View of House

5 Benefits of Maintenance-Free Living

Published on by Smith Marketing

Have you ever considered maintenance-free living? It’s becoming more and more in-demand for current homebuyers. The idea of luxury homes in Greensboro is being redefined by maintenance-free living. This is no longer just a benefit for renters. Many more buyers are purchasing townhomes, patio homes, or condos where the maintenance is included. Even some single-family homes are in maintenance-free communities now. If you’re thinking the maintenance-free life might be for you, consider these 5 benefits.

  • Save time. Think about the amount of time you spend mowing the lawn, weeding, trimming hedges, or power-washing your house. You could be using that time for so many other things, such as sipping tea and rocking on the porch or patio, enjoying your favorite hobbies, or visiting with friends. 
  • Save money. Never buy another lawnmower, yard tools, or gas to fuel them. You also won’t have to find a place to store them. No need to spend money on repairs for yard equipment either.  And if you work the kind of job where time is money, you could use the time you would have spent on home maintenance to get more work done and make more money. Household maintenance and appliances are often included as well, such as a new roof or HVAC system.
  • Less stress. Don’t worry about the condition of your home or when you’ll get routine maintenance done. Leave it to your homeowner’s association and cross one thing off your long to-do list. You won’t have to worry about paying to repair things that go wrong with your home either, such as plumbing issues.
  • Freedom to vacation. Wish you could travel more? Do you worry about leaving your home unattended while you’re away? Maintenance-free living gives you the freedom to travel without worrying about who’s going to mow the lawn while you’re gone.
  • Gets better as you age. Maintenance-free living allows you to age in place. When household upkeep becomes too much, many people have to move or pay someone to do the yard work and housework. Finding a maintenance-free home now prepares you for the future.

Now is the Time to go Maintenance-Free

Such real estate is in high demand and going fast. If you’ve been wondering whether or not maintenance-free living is right for you, the best way to find out is to go see some homes where maintenance is included. See what’s available now, what the homes and communities are like. You’ll find luxury homes in Greensboro that range from condos to single-family homes where upkeep and yard maintenance are included.

Find Luxury Homes in Greensboro with Smith Marketing and Allen Tate Realtors®

There are plenty of maintenance-free communities with homes available now in the Greensboro area. Smith Marketing and Allen Tate Realtors® can help you find a home that suits your needs with maintenance included. Enjoy life more when you don’t have to spend unnecessary time on home and lawn upkeep. Call (336) 215-7880 to speak with an agent about luxury homes in Greensboro that offer maintenance-free living.

How are Mortgage Rates Affecting Current Buying Trends?

Published on November 8, 2019 by Smith Marketing

When is the best time to buy a house? Depending on who you ask, you could get a variety of different answers. One person might say, “In the spring.” Another might say, “When the housing market is good.” Others might say, “When mortgage rates are low.”

Mortgage rates certainly do affect on buying trends. Potential buyers who have been thinking about house hunting may decide to take the plunge and apply for pre-approval when rates are low. While pre-approval does not necessarily lock in the current rate, it’s still a good idea to apply and find out what amount you will qualify for to establish a price range before previewing homes.

Current Buying Trends Lean Toward Higher End Homes

While mortgage rates play an important part in current buying trends, other factors are also at play. One such factor is the housing market and what’s in demand. Low mortgage rates often encourage buyers who are looking for higher-priced homes, such as luxury homes in Grandover Greensboro, to choose this time to upgrade. This also means that lower-priced homes will soon be available as current homeowners prepare to sell their homes and purchase larger homes.

First Time Home Buyers Benefit from Lower Mortgage Rates

Lower rates also put first time home buyers at an advantage. One thing first-time buyers often lack is down payment funds. Current homeowners who are upgrading have typically built-up equity in their current home that eliminates the need for a down payment on their new home. First-time buyers can often get a lower rate and avoid mortgage insurance if they put down 20%. But when rates are already low, buyers with little or no money to put down can still get a low rate and a more affordable monthly payment.

Federal Rate Cuts are Responsible for Historically Low Mortgage Rates

Why does The Fed (Federal Open Market Committee) lower interest rates on loans? The decision to lower rates is usually done to boost the economy. It encourages people to go out and purchase real estate among other things. The Fed has made several rate cuts this year in an attempt to achieve the ideal amount of economic growth. Conversely, if growth goes “too far” in The Fed’s opinion, rates will go up to balance out the economy.

This gives buyers a sense of urgency, to “strike while the iron’s hot” and finance a new home before rates go up again. Current homeowners may decide to refinance their homes to take advantage of the low rates to reduce their monthly payment or cash out some of the equity that has built up in their home.

Now is the Time to Find the New Home you’ve Been Dreaming of

With low mortgage rates available now, it’s time to stop “thinking about it” and start house hunting. Smith Marketing and Allen Tate Realtors® can help you find the home you’ve been looking for. New and existing homes are available now in some of the most highly desired areas of The Triad, such as Grandover Greensboro and other up and coming neighborhoods. Homes of all sizes and price ranges are hitting the market now, so don’t wait. Call Smith Marketing and Allen Tate Realtors® today at (336) 485-1881.