Woodstock GA and Surrounding Areas Homes for Sale – Update by Red Hot Atlanta Homes

June 30, 2010

Wednesday Weekly Buyer Specials

This is the second week or our new weekly feature that you’ll see each Wednesday- we’ve reviewed corporate-owned, lender-owned and foreclosure properties that have come on market in the last seven days in Woodstock, North Fulton and East Cobb County- here are the results:

Woodstock Homes for Sale

North Fulton Homes for Sale

East Cobb Homes for Sale

Our favorite “pick” this week is a foreclosure in Woodstock at The Fairways in Towne Lake– this home was built in 1992 and last sold for $379,000 in 2003.  It’s a large home with 4220 sq ft plus a finished basement; take care to check the siding and plumbing as defective products were sometimes used on homes of this age.

Remember that these “deals” aren’t always what they seem– sometimes banks and corporations list their homes at or near market value regardless of their condition, so you always want to make sure you know what other homes have sold for in the neighborhood/area and how the neighborhood/area is trending in value.

June 28, 2010

Independence Weekend Events in North Metro Atlanta

Wondering how to celebrate our Nation’s Birthday?  In North Metro Atlanta, you have a number of events to choose from.

Kick off your weekend on Saturday morning in downtown Woodstock GA with a 5K Freedom Run at 7:30am.  The annual Independence Parade begins at 10am; there will also be vendors and entertainment at City Park until 3pm.  Later that evening will be a fireworks display behind Target on Hwy 92.  As a reminder, the Farmers Market will be closed this Saturday.

Marietta on Saturday starting with their Independence Parade at 10am.  This year’s parade features 44 floats and approximately 2,000 participants.  For a special treat, try a rooftop continental breakfast atop the Strand Theatre or enjoy a BBQ dinner and drinks during the fireworks display.  The Glover Park stage will have entertainment at noon and a bluegrass band beginning at 8pm.  There will also be carnival games, arts and crafts vendors and food concessions on the Square throughout the day and evening.

Alpharetta has day long events at Wills Park planned on the 4th- the pool opens at noon; children’s activities begin at 4pm to dark.  The Alpharetta City Band will stir the emotions with patriotic music starting at 6pm with fireworks at dusk.  Food is available all afternoon and evening with local eateries participating.

On the 4th, Roswell has entertainment and fireworks taking play at Roswell High School, located on King Road north of Hwy 92.  Three groups will play starting at 5:30pm; additionally, there will be childrens’ activities before the 40-minute fireworks display at dark.  Food and drinks will be available throughout the evening.

Tips to consider when Remodeling your Home

Filed under: North Atlanta, Staging to Sell — Tags: — Kathy and Ben @ 12:46 pm

According to a recent article in the AJC, Americans are expected to spend more than $270 billion, yes billion, this year on home remodeling projects.  Here is a brief summary of the recommendations in the article:

  • Get at least two estimates from contractors
  • Insist on references and follow up on them
  • Pay for your project in thirds; one-third up front, one-third halfway thru and one-third on completion to your satisfaction
  • Don’t automatically take the lowest bid (our recommendation– get more estimates if you’re unsure about the ones you’ve received)
  • Make sure you have a clear and specific contract defining the scope of your project
  • Make sure your contractor has sufficient liability coverage in case they damage your home or a worker gets injured
  • Make sure that if you need a building permit for your project, it is in your contractor’s name

An important issue that was not vetted in the AJC article is the decision-making process involved in deciding what you should update or change in your home.  Our experience is that generally homeowners make these decisions based on what they want to have in their home, sometimes without considering whether the remodel will add value to their home.  Studies show time and again that home improvements never add value equal to the cost of the project.  Generally, the best you can hope for is getting back a 70-80% on your investment in home improvement.

We often get calls from past clients asking whether they should go forward with home improvements they are considering, such as putting granite countertops in the kitchen, changing out carpet for hardwood floors, etc.  Sometimes our response is clear-cut; for instance, is it really smart to spend $40,000 redoing a kitchen in a home you may only stay in another year or two and which will only give you $10,000 or less in return.  More often the answer is less clear; spending a few thousand to have hardwood floors that you will enjoy for the next few years or adding a fence so that you can let your dog run or children play worry-free cannot be measured by value added to your home alone. 

Sometimes the best answer is to buy a new construction or resale home- for instance, if you want a Keeping Room off your Kitchen or larger closets, it is not usually financially smart to take on a major renovation to your current home when you buy a newer home that already has the features you want.  Remember that a home that already has the features you want is likely in a neighborhood where the other homes are similar in size and features, so you’re paying fair value to live in that neighborhood versus being overbuilt and overpriced in your current neighborhood.

To sum this post up, think carefully about your projects and whether they make financial sense, then do your research on who you hire and finally protect yourself to assure that your home improvements are done to your satisfaction.

June 25, 2010

Senior Tax Breaks Can Save You Thousands!

Seniors and Active Adults looking to buy a home in Metro Atlanta, particularly those relocating from out of state, may not be aware of two large tax breaks available for residents.  The first tax break is for all residents upon reaching age 62; at this age, you pay no taxes on the first $35,000 in retirement income each year ($70,000 for married couples).  Additionally, a new law has been passed that will phase out all state income taxes for seniors beginning in 2012- the full exemption will be reached by 2016.  This tax break alone can save thousands a year for most seniors.

The second tax break is for homeowners with their primary residence in Georgia and varies by county. Several counties in our marketing area allow exemptions on the school tax portion of your property tax bill.  Generally, these savings amount to $1000 or even more each year on your property taxes, depending on the value of your home. For example, in Cherokee County, the school tax exemption is available beginning once you turn 62 and exempts you of school taxes on the value of your home up to $358,475 of market value; in other words, you pay no school tax on homes below this amount, those valued over this amount would  pay school taxes on the additional value only.  Cherokee County also has additional tax breaks available based upon your income.  In Cobb County, you are exempt fromall school taxes after turning 62- again, other exemptions may also apply.  There are no income or home value restrictions to obtain the school tax exemption in Cobb County.  Forsyth County has an income based school exemption at 62 and a full school tax exemption at 65- there are other income based exemptions on your entire bill at 65.  Fulton County has a variety of exemptions available based on age, income and where you live in the county; the exemptions begin at age 62 with additional exemptions at 65 and 70 in some areas of the county.

Most other Metro Atlanta counties also have exemptions; generally if you are older, disabled, a veteran or have a limited income, it’s a good idea to research whether you are eligible now or will be eligible for exemptions in the future.  A little research could save you thousands of dollars!

June 23, 2010

Wednesday Weekly Buyer Specials

Today we’re kicking off a new weekly feature that you’ll see each Wednesday- we’ve reviewed corporate-owned, lender-owned and foreclosure properties that have come on market in the last seven days in Woodstock, North Fulton and East Cobb County- here are the results:

Woodstock Homes for Sale

North Fulton Homes for Sale

East Cobb Homes for Sale

Our favorite “pick” this week is a foreclosure in Alpharetta at Parkside Manor- the John Willis built home originally sold for $615,800 in 2007 and is now for sale at $439,000.

Remember that these “deals” aren’t always what they seem– sometimes banks and corporations list their homes at or near market value regardless of their condition, so you always want to make sure you know what other homes have sold for in the neighborhood/area and how the neighborhood/area is trending in value.



June 21, 2010

*The Villa’s at Claremore Lake – Woodstock GA Homes for Sale

Have you ever driven through the Villa’s at Claremore Lake or noticed the lovely lake on Highway 92 leading into the community?  Designed for folks Villas at Claremore Lake Woodstock GA Homes for Salewanting one level living, the Villa’s at Claremore Lake are attached homes with complete living on the main level.  Some of the homes have basements and all  have a bonus area over the garage for additional living space and storage. The space can be used for a 3rd bedroom and bath, home office/den, or storage.

Continue reading here…

June 16, 2010

Newsweek’s “Top Schools” list includes several local High Schools

Filed under: Milton, North Atlanta — Tags: — Kathy and Ben @ 3:58 pm

Metro Atlanta is well represented on Newsweek’s 2010 “Top Schools” list.  Each year, the magazine selects the best high schools in America based on how hard a school works to challenge students with advanced-placement college-level courses and tests.  This year only about 6% of all the public schools in the US- just over 1600, made the list.

Here are some of the High Schools in our market area that made the list, in order or ranking: Walton (E Cobb), Riverwood (N Fulton), Milton (N Fulton), Alpharetta (N Fulton), Wheeler (E Cobb), Roswell (N Fulton), Northview (N Fulton), Duluth (Gwinnett), Lassiter (E Cobb), North Springs (N Fulton), Kell (N Cobb),  Dunwoody (N Fulton), Pope (E Cobb), Marietta (Cobb), Peachtree Ridge (Gwinnett), Collins Hill (Gwinnett), Sequoyah (Cherokee), Sprayberry (E Cobb), Kennesaw Mtn (N Cobb), Harrison (W Cobb) and North Cobb (N Cobb).  You can find profiles of each school by clicking on the school’s link here.

Congratulations to all the schools- we’re proud to have homes for sale in these areas!

More Improvements coming to Downtown Woodstock GA

Filed under: Woodstock — Kathy and Ben @ 2:45 pm

Soon you’ll see major work taking place in Downtown Woodstock GA.  According to the Cherokee Tribune, last Monday the Woodstock City Council approved nearly $1M in improvements with work to begin shortly after the Independence Day Parade on July 3.

The city won a Livable Communities Initiative grant which will pay for most of the work.  The project improvements include wider sidewalks, new streetlights, more trees and converting Main Steet parking from parallel to angled spots.  The new sidewalks will be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and would include “bulb-outs” (perhaps similar to the photo), which extends sidewalks into intersections.

We suspect that downtown Woodstock merchants share the opinion of Tracy Wood, owner of LKT Sports Art on Main Street.  While looking forward to the finished project, he states, “I’m really nervous about what’s going to happen when November and December gets here”, since those are his peak months for business.  Wood, who started the business in 2000, added, “I’m all for it because it’s going to look nice” once the work is done.

For it’s part, according to Richard McLeod, Woodstock’s Community Development Director, the contractor is on track to complete the project before December 4, the date of the Christmas Jubilee.  “We’re trying to be sensitive to the Christmas shopping season for merchants.”

We’ve blogged about numerous other exciting Woodstock developments, but it’s great to see so many signs of the city’s leadership and vision towards the future!

June 14, 2010

Visit Woodstock GA Farmers Market this Summer!

The 2010 Main Street Woodstock Farmers Market kicks off this Saturday, June 19 and will be open each Saturday this summer from 9am to noon excepting July 3rd.  The final Saturday for the market will be September 18th.  This year’s market is sponsored by Cherokee Bank and has secured a permanent location for the entire summer.  The market will be open just west of Main Street on Towne Lake Pkwy in the public parking lot, with lots of space for local farmers and customers to park as well.

The Farmers Market allows only local gardeners and farmers to participate and may have a sprinkling of craft vendors allowed each week.  In addition, management is working to have interesting and entertaining demonstrations each week at the market, starting with this week’s live demo of how to make a “living herb wreath”.

So check out the market- you’re bound to get fresh fruits and vegetables at a great price!

June 10, 2010

Woodstock City Park is Expanding

Work has begun on the City Park expansion in downtown Woodstock GA. The Park is expanding to the East along Arnold Mill Road on the former site of the Woodstock Police Department and City Hall.  The buildings on the site were demolished to the foundations a couple of weeks ago.  We’re told the bricks from the buildings were saved to be recycled as brick pavers in the expansion.  To our amusement, there are still a couple of jail cells on the site (see photo)- don’t really think they are intended to stay as part of the expanded though who knows?  Perhaps the cells will remain to discourage rowdy concert goers! (Just kidding)

Here’s the conceptual rendering for Woodstock City Park that includes a permanent stage for concerts and other events, an interactive splash fountain and an amphitheater layout with brick pavers incorporated throughout the park.  The rendering is on display at the Woodstock Visitors Center.  We’ll keep an eye on the progress and give you updates in future posts.

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