A recent article by Megan Leonhardt in CNBC “Make It” stated that 70% of millennials who are purchasing homes, have regrets. Wow, that’s a lot of regrets. In a survey by Bank of the West, 4 out of 10 millennials felt they made poor financial choices. Some took money out of retirement funds for their down payment. Some, underestimated on-going costs while others, discovered damages after the sale that were costly. Some found the house did not really work for their family.

Having worked with lots of millennials, Diana and I have discovered, many millennials are coming to the table thinking they are prepared. And to be honest they have done a lot of homework, on line or listened to a friend who had a totally different experience. There are a few problems with this. To begin, all online information is not always true. Take Zillow for instance– there are homes showing they are on the market but, they sold years (that’s right–years) earlier. We have had many calls from listings that closed years ago. Also, forget the Zillow Zestimate–it is not always true. Have a realtor® do his/her homework and look at true comps–it’s what we do–part of our job. A Zestimate does not consider “stressed” sales, updated vs fixer uppers. Zestimates don’t even consider areas other than city or county. We’re not sure where they get their numbers.

Listening to a friend is not really the best way to get information. Though a friend can tell you their experience–every buyer/seller has different circumstances. Everyone has a different experience and no two can be compared. One point in your credit score can change everything about your loan. Location can change your loan–some loans are not offered in some locations–for instance USDA is only offered in certain areas. Your downpayment can change your loan. Trust your lender and answer things honestly. In fact, talking to a lender to find out how much you can afford before looking is very important. It is also important to make sure everything is in order. This is why a realtor® is so important. They can refer you to a reputable lender. We work with different lenders on a daily basis. In fact, Diana and I have a few who we recommend depending on needs. For instance, we have a lender who is a great hand holder–she will  walk you through each step and guide you like you are her son or daughter. Then we have one who will still guide you but, she is a little more direct. They are both awesome but they suit different buyer needs. So, millennials–continue to do your homework but be sure to listen to your lender and realtor.

The survey also showed that half–that’s right, half, of the millennial buyers were not happy with their home. Wow, that is a lot. Perhaps they did not make a want/need list. This is tough because, our millennial buyers have all been happy so we are not sure why the survey had such a high percentage of disappointed homeowners. Maybe all millennials need to use me and Diana. Because, not only do you have to listen to your realtor® but, your realtor® has to listen to you. As long as you open up to us, we will find your home. What we can’t do is read your mind.

As for damages that were discovered after the sale.  Make sure you have a home inspection so you don’t have surprises after the closing. Even if you are purchasing a home that is being sold “as is” you will want to do a home inspection so you are prepared for the cost of repairs.

Diana and I welcome millennials and love working with them. We also have been very successful and had no regrets from our millennial clients. Maybe the millennials need to call us.




Your Home is Your Castle

“Your home is your castle,” is something we have heard many times over the years. And let’s face it–it is. When you go home you should feel safe and protected from everything that is outside–the boogie man, the weather, unwelcome guests, bugs, animals. Really, home is a place  where you should feel safe. So when looking for a home, you really need to consider location. That’s why you hear, location, location, location!

We all cannot afford to live in a castle with moat and huge concrete walls surrounding us but, we can find a home that is well built and located in a safe neighborhood. This all still comes at a cost so save up or prepare to compromise. That’s right, compromise. Sometimes we have to consider what is more important? We may have to forego that spare bedroom we wanted. Or maybe we will have to forego the big yard. Then again, maybe we can have the spare bedroom and the large yard but, we have to move to the suburbs. Are schools important? Well, that’s another thing to consider.

We live in a world of–I need this NOW! But, that isn’t true, we just seem to think that. I remember growing up and thinking I had to wait until I could afford something. Technology has changed our lives and our thinking. Technology has brought things to us so quickly we hate to wait for anything. Our patience has flown out the window. When buying a home, (that’s right you are not buying a house, you are buying a home) you need to exercise patience. Remember, good things come to those who wait.

If you are looking for a home, make your list of necessities and then your wants. You may find homes that have all your necessities and some of your wants. Make sure you know what you can live without–at least for now. Talk to your realtor® and be honest. We really want to help. We want to find your castle.

While you are searching on line please stay off Zillow and Trulia and all those sites that have inaccurate information. Please use to search for your home–it is the most accurate of all the sites for home searches.



Tell Us What You Want to Know

There is so much to talk about with real estate but, we would like to know what you are thinking? What kind of questions do you have for me and Diana. We have been around a long time and we love to help.

Are you looking to buy and do not know where to start? Are you thinking about selling but now sure how to go about it? Thinking of investing? Maybe downsizing? Maybe you are thinking about getting your license. We want to know. Ask us questions or tell us what you would like to hear.

Wondering what people are looking for as far as style and decor? What are the latest colors–we are still looking at lighter colors and more neutral colors but, that doesn’t mean you can’t be bold.

This is going to be short because we want to hear from our readers. Ask us questions.

So, You Want to be a Realtor®

It’s a great career that allows you to work from home, schedule your time and make lots and lots of money. Some of this is true but, some of it is not—we’ll get into all this.

Our favorite is the people who decide to get their license but keep their day job because, number 1 they just want to make extra money and number 2 they don’t want to give up their income until they have “made it”.

One thing we have learned over the years is when you want to do something—jump in and do it. How do you work on your business if you are working all day? Being a realtor®/agent requires hard work. It is not about showing homes and then sitting back and collecting a pay check. In fact, showing homes is the fun part and we probably do that once or twice a week. Of course, if you are working all week you will have to show homes nights and weekends. That could mean you have to go out twice as often because you only have 1 or 2 hours during the week days. In today’s market houses are going quickly. Some won’t wait until you get off work. For instance, Diana and I just listed a house and in less than 12 hours we had a full price offer. This is not the first time this has happened. As a matter of fact, my daughter was looking for a house and I did not represent her because I could not get to Atlanta fast enough to sell her something in the area she was looking. I was not going to be the cause of her missing out on buying her dream home.

If you are a buyer or a seller, do you want a part time agent? Do you want to wait until your agent gets off work? For some people, this could work just fine because they work all day too. They might want to go look at homes in the evenings or on weekends. Full time agents do not have nights and weekends off.  They don’t have week days off either. So, let us tell you what we do all week, each night and on weekends. This is to benefit anyone thinking to become a realtor® or someone looking for a realtor®.

In order to stay in business and keep the paychecks coming, we have to prospect. That means we are constantly looking for new business. We could be calling friends, family, past clients or even cold calling, asking for business. In addition, we could be knocking on doors, networking, or entertaining. We are constantly marketing ourselves to let anyone and everyone know we are looking for work. This also includes making marketing material, mailing things out, and emailing. This takes up about 70% of our time.

If we are working with a buyer, we are constantly searching for their home. Often the buyer will send us homes from Zillow or Trulia and we have to search for them—only to find they were long ago sold. Once the buyer has decided on homes to view, we have to schedule them. That’s right, we can’t just walk in and show. We need to verify they are still available and make sure we have permission to show. Just because it is vacant and there is a lockbox on the house does not give us permission to enter the premises.

If we are working with a seller, we begin by doing Comparative Market Analysis’ and gathering information to price it right. In addition, we have lots of paperwork to complete and sign. Pictures to take, signs to put up and marketing material to make. All this then has to be entered into the multiple listing server before it goes live. Once it is active, we answer all calls from agents scheduling. We show our sellers home to buyers who call us directly and we show our sellers home to buyers who have an agent who cannot show. We give weekly reports to our seller to let them know all we are doing and all the activity on their home.

Then there are the negotiations to contracts. We have to make sure our client, whether buyer or seller, meets all deadlines and adheres to all timelines and agreements. We have to follow up with lenders and closing attorneys as well as our client.

We attend inspections, the walk through and closings. If all goes well, we close and then we get paid. Sometimes, we go through this and at the last minute something goes wrong and there is no closing and we don’t make a dime. We just start over.

Can you get all this done with your nights and weekends? How many times will you—the part time agent—have to tell your client, I can’t, I have to work? Or will you count on the co-op agent to do your job for you? Will you miss a deadline because you were at your full-time job?

Will your buyers lose earnest money because you were working and couldn’t get your part-time job done? Will your buyers miss out on their dream home because you couldn’t take them out because you had to work? Will your sellers miss out because there was a buyer who had a part-time agent who could not show because they were working, and you couldn’t show because you were working?

As a buyer or seller, do you want someone who can’t give you 100%?

If you choose to get your license, please jump in and do it. It isn’t easy but it can be rewarding and there is some fun.

#usearealtor® #bearealtor® #MaryandDianadoitbest!


A Great Time To Sell

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It is still a sellers market and with Spring in the air, this is a great time to get your home ready to sell. Preparing your home to sell may not require a lot of work. Provided you have kept up with basic maintenance, your house may only need a good cleaning, some purging and most importantly curb appeal.  Curb appeal is what temps the buyer to enter the home. This is not a joke. I have seriously taken clients to a home only to have them change their mind in the driveway. Though you may think it is not a good idea to judge a book by its cover, some people do. And for that very reason, you want to invite them in, with your curb appeal.

Purging is required to make sure the prospective buyer does not come in and think there is no room for their stuff. Let me give you an idea what I mean by that. Let’s say the kitchen countertop is covered with: coffee maker, blender, toaster, mixer, bread box. . . That may be an indication that there is not enough cabinet space to store things. It also takes from the countertop space. In addition, if you have excessive furniture, remove some items to enhance the size of the room. Don’t let your closets be so over filled that items fall out when the buyer opens the door–and they do look.

Nothing says no better than a dirty house. The buyer does not want to come in to clean behind the seller. A clean house shows so much better and comforts the buyer. Knowing they are buying from someone who is clean assures them the seller is not leaving years of dirt and grime, odors and maybe some hidden mold or mildew. So make sure even the windows are clean, the fans and AC vents.

Let’s suppose you do have some maintenance issues. Address them before putting the house on the market. It just makes things easier for all parties. You may need some shingles replaced but the buyer will think you need to replace the entire roof. Maybe you had a leak and repaired it but, you never covered the damaged wall/ceiling/floor. Or maybe you did it yourself and it looks just like you did it yourself. It may have been good enough for you while you lived there but, it will be a red flag for the buyer. This just makes the buyer think there is still an issue.

Make sure to have a plan. Homes are selling quickly. Where are you going? Will you know what to do if your house sells the first week? Keep in mind everything is relative. What goes quickly in Atlanta may not go so quickly in Carrollton or Locust Grove. However, houses are selling in record time. Buyers are out there and they need to find a home, will it be yours? Call for a free Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) today.

Mary Lesh 678-619-9688 or Diana Stowe 678-414-6414 Or you may email us at or

Back at General Real Estate

The real estate market is forever changing and with that comes a change in what I need to do with my business. So, it is back to general real estate for me and my wonderful partner, Diana Stowe. Though we love new homes, there are not any opportunities close to where we live. Therefore we have decided to give up the 3-4 hours drive time and work closer to home. We look forward to helping buyers and sellers as they begin a new venture.

With each of us having 20+ years in the business we know a few things. Seriously, we do. We work as a team so we can maximize our service to our clients. So if you are looking to buy or sell a home, you can count on us to work with you to a smooth and happy closing.

Townhomes Near Battery Park




Townhome renderingI am very excited to have moved my license to Engel & Völkers and working with Traton Homes. Traton is a local builder who has been building homes in the Atlanta market for 46 years with outstanding reputation for altogether more!! A family run business that has earned respect and admiration from their peers but most importantly confidence from thousands of homeowners .You cannot ask for more than that in a home builder–can you? You can learn all about Traton by clicking on the Traton name.

Diana Stowe and I will be working at Woodland Parc in Smyna within walking distance of the new Braves Stadium and Battery Park. Our office at Woodland Parc is officially open so don’t hesitate to stop by to visit us. With prices starting in the low $400’s these are going to go fast. With such easy access to the interstate, you can be anywhere in no time. Walk to shopping and restaurants. We are so excited to be working for Traton in this new community. Don’t wait to visit us to  take a virtual tour click here now.

These are 3 story, 3 bedroom, 3.5 baths with 2 car garages, oversized decks and best of all, built by Traton Homes. Check out our floor plans and give us a call.

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Are You Looking for a Home?


Looking for a home today is so different from the days when we first obtained our real estate licenses. There was no internet back then. Everything was print ads or in a book. That’s right, the multiple listing server was in a book and there were no pictures. We actually had to read the description. Print ads did often provide pictures but just the front view of the home. We counted highly on written descriptions.

Today we have so many websites to visit to find a home. The biggest problem with that is accuracy. Some websites do not update daily.  Surprisingly some update on a weekly or monthly basis. In addition to the multitude of websites that feature all the homes for sale, buyers have access to all kind of information that may or may not be true. Or it might be true in one state but not in another. The internet can be a help and it can be a hinderance. We have found less people trust us (real estate agents/REALTORS®). They believe what they read on the internet or what their friends and family tell them. Recently we had a buyer tell us that their parents did not have to do something (something that today is required) when they bought a home. Well it happens their parents bought a home more than 30 years ago. The entire process has changed in 30 years so, it might be best to listen to someone who has had recent experience in the industry. Lending rules and guidelines change constantly and relying on someone who obtained a loan even 3 years ago could lead you in the wrong direction.

4439276478_8bb7a50ab8_qWe would like to meet to explain to our buyers the process–it rarely happens but, when someone takes the time to let us explain how things work–we have a much smoother transaction. Most people think looking at homes and then “picking” one is pretty much it. If only that was the case. Looking at homes is the easy part. It is all the things in between that can become frustrating. In fact, looking for the home can also become frustrating. We have discovered, finding that home is like finding your wedding dress. Once you find it, STOP looking. Seriously, you will always find something you like. The problem with that is when do you stop? How do you stop? How much time do you have? Don’t waste it.


Once you find a home, make your offer. Not that you have to “jump” but, don’t wait to see some more and then find the one you really liked was bought by someone else. Or don’t wait until your favorite has another offer and then you are in a bidding war. We know this is not easy but, we firmly believe a pre-showing consultation with your REALTOR® will help you make decisions that will place you in your dream home. This is your dream and we want to make it happen. Trust us and we will find your dream home




Another Listing Coming Soon!

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This fabulous home in Dallas will be on the market next week. 4 Bedroom 3 Bath home has beautiful commercial grade hardwood floors, exotic granite countertops and a bedroom on the main. Keep your eyes and ears open for this one, you won’t want to miss out.

#forsaleindallas #propertypros #BHHSGeorgia #buyerswanted