Atlanta Real Estate and Community News

May 1, 2020

Backyard Upgrades Your Kids Will Love

In a world dominated by technology, kids are consumed by their phones, tablets and televisions. Designating limited screen time is becoming tougher and enjoying old-school, outdoor playtime has been put on the back burner. Why not spruce up your own backyard and inspire your children to get outside and away from their screens?

With these backyard upgrades, you can help your kids appreciate the great outdoors. Here are some ideas that will help everyone get outside, enjoy the sunshine and connect with nature. 

Treehouse

For kids, there’s almost nothing more fun or classic than climbing a tree, and having a hangout in the treetops makes it that much better! Let your kids decorate to their liking, making this their own nature-filled sanctuary. You can find instructions, materials and tools to make this a DIY project at your local hardware store or hire a pro for a more luxurious look. 

Swingset

A staple in almost every suburban backyard, a swingset is a great way to get your kids outside. With endless styles and sizes, it’s easy to find the right one for your family. Some sets include slides, monkey bars, rock climbing walls and many different styles of swings, such as a classic seat, a tire, baby seats and even specialty seats for two!

Pool

On a hot summer day, having a pool to jump in, play in and cool off is enticing, both for kids and adults. With options for underground, inground and even temporary pools, anyone can enjoy the luxury of a swim. Host pool parties for your children’s friends and purchase pool toys, such as floats, pool noodles and even basketball for days full of fun in the sun!

Yard Games

Whether you have a large or small yard, you can find fun games to play to get your kids outside. From volleyball to cornhole, wiffle ball to croquet, there’s a game for everyone, whatever the age or skill level. If you’re planning a BBQ or birthday party, yard games are the perfect addition to your backyard fun!

 

Posted in Selling Your Home
April 15, 2020

A CDC Recommended Guide for Disinfecting Your Home

Here are some tips for properly disinfecting your home to ensure your family stays healthy during this difficult time. The CDC recommends that you clean and disinfect high-touch areas at least once daily as a precaution.

Focus on doorknobs, bathroom and kitchen counters, toilet seats and handles, light switches and remote controls.

Remove any contaminants and dust by wiping surfaces with soapy water or a cleaning product. After you’ve done that, clean the area again with a disinfecting spray or wipe.

The CDC provides the following instructions for making a homemade bleach disinfecting spray:

Combine 4 teaspoons of bleach and 1 quart of water in a spray bottle and shake. Spray on what you want to disinfect and let sit for 10 minutes before wiping away with a wet cloth.

Posted in Real Estate News
April 3, 2020

How the CARES Act Could Help You as a Small Business Owner

With the passage of the $2 Trillion dollar CARES Act, small businesses will have access to $350 billion in forgivable loans if they meet certain requirements. The Small Business Administration, under the stimulus package, will oversee the Paycheck Protection Program, which will distribute $350 billion to small businesses that can be partially forgiven if the companies have 500 or fewer employees and use them to keep paying people who earn less than $100,000 a year.

How soon will the money arrive?
It will take “a week or two" to get the PPP loans flowing, said Chris Maher president of New Jersey-based OceanFirst Bank.

How long will the money last?
The Payroll Protection loans are designed to stretch for the next three months.

How do you apply?
Call or email your bank and ask for the loan officers who handles SBA 7(a) loans and the PPP program. You can also inquire at the SBA Regional Atlanta Office website.

For more program information, click here.

Posted in Real Estate News
March 10, 2020

What the Coronavirus Means for Your Home Loan and Mortgage Rates

Mortgage rates have plummeted since the beginning of the year to the lowest average since 2016 as a result of market movements in response to the coronavirus. In addition, the Fed recently made the rare move to lower the federal funds rate by a half-point to a range of 1% to 1.25% in between its regularly scheduled meetings noting that the move was in response to the “evolving risks” the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak poses to the economy.

According to NerdWallet, this is is good news for those with or shopping for adjustable-rate mortgages and home equity lines of credit, which are directly guided by Fed rate cuts. ARMs will likely see lower rates at their next reset period, and HELOCs could fall half a percentage point in the next billing cycle or two. 

Buying a Home

If you are in the market to buy a home this spring season, you may face competition from other buyers because there aren't enough homes for sale to meet demand. Because of this, lower mortgage rates and affordability aren't necessarily the biggest challenges in today's housing market as much as a lack of inventory is. However with a mortgage preapproval, flexible closing date and limited contingencies, we can help you prevail in what is soon to be a hot housing market.

Refinancing

Whether or not it makes sense to refinance can depend on a lot of factors, including what rate you currently pay and how long you plan to stay in your home.  But one rule of thumb is that you should consider refinancing if you can lower your interest rate by at least half a percentage point.

Here’s how the math looks according to Money Magazine: For a homeowner with a typical $250,000 30-year mortgage, cutting the interest rate from 4% to 3.5% — roughly in line with today’s average rates — would save just over $70 a month, according the mortgage calculator at ConsumersAdvocate.org, MONEY’s sister site.  If the mortgage started at 5%, the savings would be nearly $220 a month. If you purchased your home using an FHA loan, now would also be a great time to consider refinancing into a conventional loan to get rid of PMI if you have over 20% equity in your home.

Looking to refinance or finance your dream home in Atlanta? Our team of preferred lenders and I are here to help! Reach out to us today and we will get you in touch with our team of preferred lenders.

Posted in Real Estate News
Feb. 26, 2020

Your Ultimate Guide to Deep Cleaning Your Home

The warmer weather and upcoming start of Daylight Saving time is the perfect opportunity to tackle your spring home maintenance must-dos. We’ve put together the checklist below to undo any damage from winter and start your warmer months with your Johns Creek home in great condition with a spring home maintenance tune-up.

Doormats
Refresh your doormats by hosing off and air-dry outdoor mats and vacuuming indoor mats on both sides. Going over the back will push trapped dirt out onto the floor where it will be easier to pick up.

Tree Trimming
Look in your yard for any dead branches or areas that need to be trimmed. It’s much easier to clean up these trees before they’re fully bloomed. Don’t forget to check that dead branches aren’t hanging over your house since this can cause leaf backup in your gutters. Give our preferred vendor, Squirrel Tree Services a call for your tree trimming needs.

Roof 
Check for cracked shingles, failed fasteners and nail pops. Also check for any branches that may have landed on your roof during winter. Hint: you don’t have to get on your roof to observe potential issues, just grab a pair of binoculars as a safe option. if you need a professional, give our preferred vendor, Atlanta Roofing Pros, a call for your roofing needs.

Gutters
Make sure your downspouts are still pointed away from your home’s foundation and that your gutters are clear of debris leftover from winter.

Kitchen Sink
According to Real Simple, to clean the inside of your sink, combine warm water with a small amount of mild dish soap in a bowl. Dip a soft sponge (avoid scrub brushes that can scratch the surface) in the solution and rub the entire sink basin, including the walls. 

If this solution didn't do the trick,  introduce a mild abrasive: baking soda. Sprinkle the baking soda over the entire surface of your sink. Then, using a soft sponge or cloth, rub the baking soda in a circular motion, following the grain of a stainless steel sink. 

Continue scrubbing the entire sink surface, including the walls, to remove residue and stains. When you're done scrubbing, rinse the sink with white vinegar, which will cause the baking soda to bubble and make it easier to rinse down the drain. Rinse the sink with water. 

If the garbage disposal smells, try adding an orange peel or lemon to deodorize it. 

Microwave
According to Good Housekeeping, placing a large microwave-safe bowl with 1 cup of water and a chopped-up lemon, lime, or orange or several tablespoons of vinegar inside works wonders. Turn the appliance on high for several minutes or until the solution boils and the window is steamy, then let it sit to cool for 15 minutes before opening the door. Remove and wipe out the inside and outside with a sponge.

Windows
Double check that your caulking and weather stripping is still in tact. You can also easily clean your outside windows with one cup rubbing alcohol, one cup water and a tablespoon of white wine vinegar. From the inside, raise blinds or shades and wash windows with glass cleaner and a microfiber cloth.

Air Conditioning
Either call an HVAC technician to perform a tune up on your A/C or head outside yourself to ensure your air conditioning is in good working order before summer hits. You can easily change your A/C filters, check that drain pans are draining freely and ensure hose connections are free of any leaks.

Attic
It’s always a good idea to check your attic for signs of colonization of insects and critters that make have occurred over the winter months. Also check for roof leaks and potential mold spots.

If you’re weary of handling spring home maintenance yourself, hiring a licensed handyman or contractor to go through your checklist is never a bad idea. We have a whole network of contacts and contractors, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you need help.

Posted in Selling Your Home
Feb. 12, 2020

East of Main Offers Old Meets New Living in Downtown Alpharetta

If you’ve ever driven on 120 to our office in the heart of Downtown Alpharetta, you’ve surely noticed the beautiful new construction neighborhood known as East of Main off of Academy Street. Developed by the Providence Group, East of Main is an intelligently crafted master plan that seamlessly blends a diverse offering of single family homes, townhomes and courtyard designs around the historic Manning House. Constructed around 1908 and now carefully restored to welcome residents and visitors at the community’s sales center and front door on Academy Street, the Manning House was built by Atlanta attorney Col. Tomas Lewis from brick made in the adjacent pasture before the prominent Manning family, including Alpharetta Mayor Sim Manning, owned it for decades.

You’re sure to find the right fit among East of Main’s wonderful variety of homes, all of which reflect the timeless charm of their surroundings. Once you’ve chosen the home that meets your needs, you’ll work in the Providence Group Design Studio designers whose expertise guide is to guide you through a curated selection of features and finishes to add those beautiful, personal touches that will make it truly yours.

Perhaps the best feature of East of Main is its location. Just one block from all the action on Main Street, residents are able to walk to local hangouts such as Valor Coffee and Butcher and Brew and also soak up the sun at Brooke Street Park directly across the street. Main Street Alpharetta living is truly at its best in this distinct yet comfortably connected community. East of Main is also just a short hop to the abundance of Avalon and soon will offer connection to the upcoming Alpharetta Loop and City Trail so you can easily leave the car behind.

East of Main’s townhomes and courtyard designs are completely sold out, but Providence Group still has a handful of single family home plans to choose from in their final building phase, Park at East of Main. There are a total of only 19 single family homes in this phase and prices range from the high $700s to low $900s and contain up to 3,000 sq. feet and 4 bedrooms. Most of these new floorplans feature a guest suites and bath on terrace level and soaring 10' ceilings and wide open floorplan on the main which includes a spacious fireside family room, casual dining area and gourmet kitchen. The 3rd floor in most of these plans boasts a large master suite and guest bedroom and laundry. In addition, nearly every floorplan also includes a 2 car garage and dreamy front porch.

For information and a backstage tour of East of Main and Providence Group’s final phase, Park at East of Main, give us a call today. We love showing our clients around Downtown Alpharetta and are proud to be located in the heart of Main Street.

For a listing of all available homes in East of Main, click here.

Posted in Buying a Home
Jan. 29, 2020

Great Harvest Bread Company Johns Creek: A Community Staple

In the heart of Johns Creek sits a bakery that locals argue is the best in the greater North Fulton area. Great Harvest Bread Company has been in Johns Creek since 2003 and is all about “customer experience and the promise of phenomenal tasting food made with freshly-milled whole grains and pure and simple ingredients” and was recently taken over by new owners Sunny and Dee. Great Harvest’s fresh milled, whole grain breads are rich with vitamins, nutrients and fiber that are essential to a healthy diet and each loaf of bread is baked fresh daily. Great Harvest’s signature and most popular bread is a perfect blend of five pure ingredients – freshly ground, flavor-rich, 100% whole wheat flour, pure honey, filtered water, salt, and yeast. 

Great Harvest offers a monthly menu and a happy place where Johns Creek residents come to enjoy the great homemade smells and a free slice of bread while they wait to pick up their order. In addition, the bakery offers a full breakfast and lunch cafe menu daily that also includes sweet treats like cookies, teacakes and muffins. To place an order for a cafe item, call the store at 770-622-0222 and they will have it ready for you when you come.

A little known fact about Great Harvest is that the store offers free children’s tours of the bakery to groups of 12 or more. Team members show the children how and why they mill wheat fresh in the bakery every day and walk them through our entire baking process and teach them the basics of bread making theory in a fun way that they can understand and remember. They even send children home with their own mini-loaf.

If you’ve never been to Great Harvest in Johns Creek, we suggest visiting them on Saturday, February 1 for their birthday celebration. New owners Sunny and Dee are thanking residents for supporting the bakery for the past 17 years and are holding a whole-grain pancake brunch in support of a well-deserving charity. Let us know which bread you try while you’re there! And don’t forget that it is King Cake season - stop by the bakery any day between now and March 5th (Fat Tuesday) and get the best King Cake in Georgia!

Posted in Community News
Jan. 16, 2020

Milton's Manor Golf and Country Club Offers a Paradise for Families

Set in the heart of Milton’s horse country in an exclusive gated community, The Manor Golf & Country Club boasts a luxurious lifestyle of Loudermilk Homes custom built luxury homes that feature a world-class amenity package and an unparalleled country club set around Georgia’s only Tom Watson-designed championship golf course. 

The 18-hole golf course was designed to utilize hardwoods, towering pines, quiet lakes, streams and a variety of elevation changes to create a 7,177-yard, par-72 course that offers the right balance of beauty, challenge and playability. The landing areas are ample but the golf course puts a premium on the approach shot. Golfers must think strategically and execute the proper shots in order to avoid well-placed bunkers and land safely on the large and undulating Bentgrass greens. The Club’s professional golf staff offers an excellent lesson program consisting of private lessons, group clinics and a great junior golf program.

Amenities in addition to the golf course include tennis, an aquatic facility with indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a state of the art fitness facility with onsite personal trainers, full dining room and a robust calendar of events for every member of the family. 

The Manor’s community centerpiece is the Manor Clubhouse, an expansive and comfortable 32,000-square-foot clubhouse that features spectacular views across Lake Manor and the timeless European architecture with rich, old-world details and modern-day comforts.

One of the best family benefits of the Manor is the Kid’s Club, a service offered to Manor Members that choose to utilize the Club while their children have fun in a supervised environment. The Kids’ Club offers a variety of activities for children ages 3-12 that include movies, arts and crafts, theme days, and other activities that allow them to make new friends. Flat rate hourly rates for this service are a mere $7 per child per hour which will be billed to the Member account and members can enjoy Kids’ Club free of charge on Wednesday for Family Night. 

 

Homesites in the Manor range from the high $100s off the golf course to the high $400s for lots directly on the golf course. Completed, move-in ready homes start in the mid $1.5 million dollar range through upwards of $3 million. Loudermilk Homes is the featured home builder at the Manor and customizes each home in the community in unbelievable detail. Home styles range from luxury farmhouse to European masterpiece and brick traditional. Most homes have at least 5 bedrooms and include full terrace levels in addition to the main living spaces. Lot sizes mostly begin at a minimum of one full acre with some ranging upwards of close to 3 acres. 

We love showing our clients around The Manor and would love to give you a backstage tour of remaining homesites and available completed custom homes. Call us today to make an appointment!

Posted in Buying a Home
Dec. 17, 2019

Winfield on the River Offers Seclusion in Johns Creek

Winfield on the River is a small, gated community located along the Chattahoochee River in a quiet, secluded area of Johns Creek. The community offers 77 private estate homes along maple lined streets and according to the Winfield HOA, great care was taken to design a neighborhood that borders a beautiful river and resides across from the Medlock Bridge Chattahoochee River National Park Recreation Area (a United States National Park). 

The community’s recreation area offers a protected natural area and several hiking trails with access to the river. Medlock Bridge Road gives residents easy access to shopping, work and play.  But once you are inside the secluded gates of Winfield, residents are in another world filled with elegant homes and gracious lots overlooking a tranquil river.

Throughout the years the HOA has opted to conserve a majority of the mature landscaping which adds to the overall privacy of each home.  This approach also provides areas for community parks and other recreational amenities. According to the Winfield HOA, the result is a neighborhood of homes framed by trees and natural landscaping that allows privacy when needed.

Winfield offers a common grass and tree area in the middle of the community to provide natural trees and a grassy area as a space to walk and rest. The beauty of the river enhances the tranquility of the neighborhood that has the welcoming feel of a small town while offering conveniences such as shopping, restaurants, and supermarkets less than two miles from a secure, camera-monitored gated entrance.

Winfield’s convenient access to the heart of Johns Creek is also within close proximity to some of the finest public and private schools in Johns Creek. Winfield is zoned for Medlock Bridge Elementary SchoolAutrey Mill Middle School and Johns Creek High School and is a short drive to Wesleyan SchoolPerimeter School and the North Campus of Woodward Academy

Homes in Winfield range from the mid to high $800s to over $1.5 million. Annual HOA dues are $1,900 and include common area and road maintenance. Most homes are over 5,000 square feet in size and sit on nearly .5 acre lots or larger. Many homes in the community were custom built in the early 2000s.

Photos in this article are courtesy of Realtors Jason Aldridge and Pete Frye.

 

Posted in Buying a Home
Dec. 9, 2019

Your Guide to Johns Creek and Alpharetta Christmas Light Displays

One of the best times to check out a neighborhood you’re interested in potentially moving to is during the holiday season. While landscaping may be barren, neighborhood holiday decor gives you an idea of what a neighborhood is like during the most wonderful time of the year. After all, there’s no place like home for the holidays, so why not check out prospective neighborhoods as you enjoy family time together?

We’ve put together some of the best neighborhoods and light displays in the greater Johns Creek Alpharetta area. Let us know which one is your favorite!

Ashebrooke Night of Lights in Cumming - Sunday, December 15

On one amazing night, homeowners in the community of Ashebrooke in Cumming put together their passion and desire to “bring joy, community spirit and lots of lights” to raise money for a good cause. Since 2006, the Ashebrooke Night of Lights has been hosted by neighbors helping a neighbor in need and continues in the same spirit. Each year since its inception, Ashebrooke residents continue to reach out and help a neighbor or local community organization in need. This year the event will benefit two Ashebrooke families in need. Out of the 310+ properties in Ashebrooke, generally 90% participate! According to the organizers, in past years there have been Santa sightings, falling snow, reindeer, bag pipers and a live nativity scene. Plan accordingly: the drive through the neighborhood can take an hour or more. Enter at 5505 Luke Drive Cumming beginning at nightfall on Sunday, December 15.

Emory Hospital in Johns Creek

It's always fun to take a quick detour through Hospital Parkway in Johns Creek to see the gigantic Christmas displays Emory Johns Creek installs each year. Enter at 6325 Hospital Parkway Johns Creek to see the beautiful displays.

Christmas in Castille in Alpharetta (Forsyth County side) - Every Thursday through Sunday until December 25

Tune your radio to 89.9 FM and experience a phenomenal 15 minute light display with over 59,000 twinkling set to a four song playlist. Christmas in Castille is a home in the Castille neighborhood in West Forsyth county in Alpharetta. The Castille neighborhood is typically gated, but the gate will be made open each night for the display, which gives you a great opportunity to check out what makes this neighborhood so great. Hours of operation are 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm every Thursday through Sunday, weather permitting. The home is located at 4220 Tivoli Way Alpharetta.

Hillbrooke Neighborhood in Johns Creek - Nightly until December 25

For over 20 years, the Hillbrooke neighborhood in Johns Creek has come together to put on a beautiful neighborhood light display. Once in the subdivision, follow to the first stop sign and then go right. The entrance in Hillbrooke is located at 1600 Gladewood Drive, Johns Creek.

Pierce Lights in Alpharetta

Julie and Stewart Pierce are two IT professionals who are obsessed with Christmas lights. What started as a hobby became a full blown animated light show in 2014.  Years later, the Pierces now have over 50,000 lights in their yard and 90% RGB and have added music to their show. From the beginning our show has been about celebrating the birth of Jesus, and the Pierces take great joy in seeing folks enjoy their Christmas show. Pierce Lights is located about 1/2 mile from downtown Alpharetta off Academy Street in the Spring Run subdivision at 370 Oak Terrace Alpharetta.

Santa’s Village in Roswell - Nightly through December 31

Featuring Christmas characters, trains and lights, Santa’s Village in Roswell is straight out of the things sugarplum fairies are made of. The lights display includes eight settings, each one with a Christmas scene. Weather permitting, train rides throughout the neighborhood will be provided. Stop by nightly from 6:00 - 9:00 pm at 405 Waverly Hall Drive Roswell.

Posted in Community News