RE/MAX GREATER ATLANTA

Real Estate News

First-Time Homebuyers Are Dramatically on the Rise

11/18/2016

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First-Time Homebuyers Are Dramatically on the Rise

 

When the real estate market is down, first-time homebuyers are often scarce. And conversely, when the real estate market and economy are on the rise or stable, first-time homebuyers make up a more sizable share of monthly real estate sales.

 

Real estate sources like HousingWire and Zillow are reporting a marked spike in first-time homebuyers entering the market. For September 2016, first-timers increased to 34% of the market share, or more than 1 in every 3 homes. This marks the highest share since July 2012 and is up 3% from the previous month.

 

Survey results from Zillow show the importance of Millennials in the real estate market. This young generation "may not only be fueling the housing market, but also changing it," according to the survey.

 

What's more the National Association of Realtors is reporting the existing home sales increase in September is due, primarily, to the drastic increase of first-time home buyers. 

 

RE/MAX Greater Atlanta wants potential first-time homebuyers in the metro Atlanta real estate market to be aware of this national trend. Another important factor to note is that some have started speculating the historically low mortgage interest rates will soon be a thing of the past. An increase of just a couple interest percentage points could mean a large increase in a monthly mortgage payment. Or, in a worse case scenario, may price you out of the home you want.

 

With 2017 marking a significant change in power, beliefs and management styles with the changing of the presidency, no one is sure what Trump will support with key areas like interest rates. It would probably be to your advantage to at least discuss your options and pre-qualification rate with a mortgage professional now or at the start of the new year. After that, it will be time to find that first home.

 

Contact RE/MAX Greater Atlanta today for a trusted mortgage source referral or to learn more about the Atlanta real estate market and have your home-buying questions answered. We're just a phone call away at 770-973-9700!

 

RE/MAX Greater Atlanta Turns 30!

11/4/2016

 

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RE/MAX Greater Atlanta Turns 30!

 A moment like celebrating 30 years of serving metro Atlanta home buyers and sellers deserves its own blog! RE/MAX Greater Atlanta has proudly served the Atlanta real estate market for three decades. It is one of the longest continuously running RE/MAX affiliates in metro Atlanta or, indeed, all of Georgia.

 

RE/MAX Greater Atlanta has been at the same location since the building was completed in 1994. Along with the most recognized name and logo in real estate, the RE/MAX Greater Atlanta building is a familiar landmark in the area—a multi-story, Southern colonial with columns on Roswell Road in the Marietta/East Cobb area. It also features a regularly changing LED sign that is seen by tens of thousands of vehicles driving by every day.

 

Brokers and co-owners Ben Christopher and Denny Jones are recognized names in the metro Atlanta real estate market. Through the years, they have seen good real estate markets and bad ones, double-digit interest rates and the present day, historic lows, for interest rates. 

 

“We are so fortunate and humbled to be such a long-standing and trusted real estate source for metro Atlanta families.”

 

During the company’s lifespan, RE/MAX Greater Atlanta agents have gone on to do repeat business with hundreds of clients and, in some cases, are now assisting their clients’ grown children with real estate purchases.

 

So, if you know a RE/MAX Greater Atlanta agent or Ben or Denny, send them a quick message to celebrate 30 years of hard work and expertise in the Atlanta real estate market!

 

Daylight Savings Time Ends Soon Set Clocks Back 1 Hour Night of Nov. 5th

11/3/2016

 

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Daylight Savings Time Ends Soon – Set Clocks Back 1 Hour Night of Nov. 5th

 

You’ve probably already noticed the daylight hours are shrinking. Each day, it gets dark just a little bit earlier. RE/MAX Greater Atlanta wanted to give you an early heads up about next weekend. Set clocks back one hour before going to bed Saturday night, November 5th.

 

It’s a good news-bad news situation here. Good news is you get an extra hour to your weekend and you might be able to catch an extra hour of sleep! Bad news is you’ll soon be driving home from work in the dark.

 

Here are a few interesting facts about Daylight Savings Time:

 

* DST was extended in 2007, thanks to the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

* DST was officially introduced in 1918.

* Did you know the DST and time zones are regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation? Seems like an odd match!

* Two states—Arizona and Hawaii—do not observe DST.

* DST is now in effect 238 days of the year, or about 65 percent of each year.

 

Halloween and Fall Fun in Cobb County and Metro Atlanta

10/21/2016

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Halloween and Fall Fun in Cobb County and Metro Atlanta

 

Just in time for another great weather fall weekend, here’s a sampling of fun, fall activities in Cobb County and metro Atlanta. Have a scary good time!

 

Owl-O-Ween Hot Air Balloon Festival

Presented by Kennesaw State University Sports department, this popular event is now in its fourth year and will be this weekend, October 21 and Saturday, October 22, 2016. More than 20 hot air balloons will be on hand and tethered rides are an option. There will also be trick-or-treating, food vendors, a costume contest, artist alley and 100 roaming performers. Tickets are $12 for adults and $5 for kids 3-12. See Owl-O-Ween.com for additional details.

 

Eastminster Presbyterian Fall Festival

Same dates—Oct. 21, noon to 8 pm and Oct. 22 10 am – 4 pm at the Eastminster Presbyterian Church in Marietta/East Cobb, 3125 Sewell Mill Road. Event includes a silent auction, crafters, live music, book and bake sale, BBQ, petting zoo, games and more.

 

Ghost Tours in downtown Marietta – aka Scary-etta!

These 90-minute ghost tours are aboard a trolley and provide a narrated ride through downtown Marietta. Tours are based on history and documented stories of ghost encounters. At one point, there’s a two-block walking tour. Tours begin at 8 pm and are held on Fridays and Saturdays through October. Advance reservations are required, www.ghostofmarietta.com/tickets.

 

If haunted houses are more your thing, check out Georgia Haunted Houses [www.georgiahauntedhouses.com] for an extensive list of area haunted houses and the dates/times they will be open to spook you.

 

Halloween Hikes at the Chattahoochee Nature Center

This evening event is Oct. 21-22 and Oct. 28-29, with hikes starting at 7 pm and ending at 10 pm. A short, half-mile, guided night hike through lighted woodland trails. Along the way, you’ll meet friendly, costumed, forest creatures. Trails are not suitable for strollers. Tickets are $10 and the nature center is located at 9135 Willeo Road in Roswell.

 

Haunted Theater: Mad in Wonderland

Presented by Pope High School, the students create a spooky experience for visitors. The event starts at 6 pm, Oct. 26-28, at Pope High School (3001 Hembree Road, Marietta/East Cobb). Admission is $5, but you can get a second ticket free simply by bringing in two canned goods or other non-perishable items. Items collected go to Trick or Treat So Kids Can Eat and MUST Ministries.

 

Local Pumpkin Patches in Cobb

Several area churches are having pumpkin sales and related Halloween events, including Powers Ferry UMC (245 Powers Ferry Road, Marietta), St. Andrew UMC (3455 Canton Hwy., Marietta), and Mt. Zion UMC (1770 Johnson Ferry Road, Marietta).

 

Big Springs Farms

Located in Woodstock at 2100 Sugar Pike Road, Big Springs Farms (www.bigspringsfarms.com) is open Fridays noon – 6 pm and weekends 10 am – 6 pm. Activities include hayrides, a new corn maze, a pumpkin patch, as well as seeing and petting a variety of farm animals. Best of all, admission and parking are free (with small fees charged for hayrides, bounce house and corn maze).

 

Gibbs Gardens

1987 Gibbs Drive, Ball Ground (Cherokee County), www.gibbsgardens.com

Japanese Maples Colorfest, October 22-23, 29-30 and November 5-6, 12-13, 19-20

Gibbs Gardens features more than 2,000 Japanese Maples, all changing with the season. The acres of gardens feature tens of thousands of other plants like wildflowers and goldenrods in bloom on the many acres of the gardens. The website has complete information on what’s in bloom there during each season as well as amazing photos of the landscaped grounds, including a Monet garden area.

 

Roswell Ghost Tours

Ghost tours tell stories of real hauntings. Held nightly in October, cost is $15 for adults and $10 for kids 12 and under. Walking tour is approximately two and a half hours. Reservations suggested due to popularity of this event, www.roswellghosttour.com/reservations.

 

Warbington Farms

5555 Crow Road, Cumming, www.warbingtonfarms.com

In addition to a petting zoo barn, corn crib, corn maze and slides, the farm has thousands of pumpkins for sale. Warbington Farms has put a spin on the corn maze that your children will really enjoy. The Magical Maze involves hunting for favorite characters and having meet and greet/photo opportunities throughout the maze. The farm will host a Trunk-or-Treat on October 29. Kids can walk from trunk to trunk of vehicles for treats, spooks and surprises. The event is included in the price of admission to the farm’s Fun Park.

 

Uncle Shuck’s Corn Maze & Pumpkin Patch

4520 Highway 53 East, Dawsonville, www.uncleshucks.com

By day, a great family outing with food, fall decorations, pumpkins and even a corn cannon. Weekends after dusk, however, it transforms into a haunted maze, bonfires and evening hayrides.

 

Eillijay area to pick your own apples.  The Ellijay area has several markets and orchards where you can buy or go out and pick the fruit yourselves. Ellijay produces more than 250,000 bushels of apples every year in 30 varieties and is known as the apple capital of Georgia. Whether it’s the Red Apple Barn as you take Hwy. 515 north into Ellijay or the many other apple orchards off the beaten path (such as along Hwy. 52 which is nicknamed Apple Orchard Alley), it’s a great opportunity to explore this North Georgia town.

 

Head north another half hour and check out the Blue Ridge area. Take a trip on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway (http://www.brscenic.com/). They offer both weekday and weekend tours. The historic depot is located in downtown Blue Ridge. Mercier’s Orchard is a long-time staple of the area, complete with on-site bakery, ciders, a large variety of apples and large gift shop.

 

It’s an ideal time of year to be living in Georgia and there are so many directions to head out and explore during these fall weekends. For additional ideas for activities, road trips and spooky experiences, check out www.exploregeorgia.org.

 

Fall Planting and Gardening Tips

9/30/2016

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Fall Planting and Gardening Tips

 

While we’re in the early stages of fall in metro Atlanta and the weather is still nice, take advantage of these fall planting and gardening tips.

Choose the Best Plants at the Nursery/Garden Center

Look for healthy foliage among the fall plants being sold right now. You want plants that don’t have roots creeping from the bottom of their containers. This is a sign they are root bound. At the end of the summer season, garden centers often discount summer plants, but the money you save could end up being a waste if all the plants die.

Select Plants Based on Where You’re Planting

Pay attention to plant tags. They will tell you exactly where the plants you are considering buying need to be planted to thrive. These options include full sun, partial sun, and full shade. You’ll want the needs of the plants you select to match where you plan to plant them in your yard. This will give them the best chance to survive and thrive.

Consider Bulbs to Enjoy Next Spring

If you want spring blooming bulbs, fall is the time to go out into the garden and bury a bunch of bulbs. Plant more than you think are needed as you may lose some to squirrels. Fall is also a good time to plant and transplant summer blooming bulbs.

Don’t Forget Your Lawn

Fall is also an excellent time to plant grass seed. The warm soil and cool air are good for establishing new grass. Manually pull weeds in your lawn, then fill in the bare spots with grass seed. Or, if you have a trouble area, reseed and cover with pine straw. Check with an expert at your local garden center for the best grass seed to fit your needs.

Plant Seeds

You could also plant seeds in the fall for perennials and biennials in the garden. The normal freeze and thaw cycle of winter does a good job winterizing the seeds so they germinate in the spring. You can take the seeds and seed heads of perennials and plant them directly into the place in your lawn or flower bed where you want to enjoy them growing and blooming in the future.

Feed Your Plants

When you plant at the end of summer, you need to tend to these with a bit of extra TLC. This means feeding them a nutrient-rich diet. During Atlanta’s hot summer, soil can easily become depleted. You can buy bagged compost at the nursery to help replace those nutrients. Think of it as vitamins for your soil.

Soak Before You Plant

After making your purchases at the nursery, resist the urge to plant right away. Prior to transplanting, soak your new plants thoroughly. This will loosen the roots and soil so you don’t break plants as you remove them. Plant roots will typically ball up some in the containers. Before planting, cut the root ball into quarters to release the roots.

Don’t Forget to Water Regularly

Have a watering plan. We have not been experiencing a lot of rain in metro Atlanta for the last several weeks and this pattern may continue into fall. After all your hard work (and money) getting these plants placed in your yard, it would be shame to have them die from dehydration.

Have a great fall yard or flower bed you want to share with us? Post your photos on our RE/MAX Greater Atlanta Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/RemaxGreaterAtlanta. We look forward to seeing all those green thumbs out there!

 

4 Mistakes First-Time Home Sellers Sometimes Make

9/23/2016

 

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4 Mistakes First-Time Home Sellers Sometimes Make

For some homeowners, selling their first home can be just as emotional and overwhelming as it was buying it. After all, this was the biggest purchase of your life to date and it’s a place where a lot of memories were made.

 

So here are some thoughts and suggestions to aid you in the first-time home selling process.

 

  1. Rely on your real estate agent.

 

Your agent should be a full-time real estate professional with a proven track record in your zip code and price point. Your agent is there to provide a business and marketing plan for selling your home effectively and efficiently. Let him or her do that job with as little interference as possible. One thing that will make your agent appreciate you forever is to declutter your home and keep it clutter-free and tidy throughout the listing process.  You want your home to be ready to show and impress at a moment’s notice—and this is sometimes how quickly a showing can happen.

 

  1. Having an unrealistic asking price.

 

Homeowners sometimes translate emotional attachment to wanting to increase a home’s asking price. Or they go strictly by what they paid for the home. Your local real estate market dictates prices. And there’s a vast list of events, conditions and economic issues that affect your real estate market. Seems unfair, but this was also true when you bought the home.

 

Right now, in metro Atlanta real estate, home values are rising, there’s a shortage of move-in ready listings, job growth is up and housing starts are up. More homebuyers will be flooding the market, between people relocating here for jobs and the fact that, those who previously dealt with short sales or foreclosures during the recession, are now starting to qualify for home mortgages again after a several year period of this affecting their credit ratings.

 

In addition, with regard to what you should list your home for, your agent prepared and presented a competitive market analysis during the listing appointment. This analysis relies on for sale and recently closed homes data in your neighborhood and region. If homes in your neighborhood are routinely selling for around $225,000, expecting to get over $300,000 is very unrealistic.

 

  1. Being present at showings or open houses.

 

If there is any time you need to make yourself scarce, it’s at these times. Let your agent handle this—it’s part of how she earns her real estate commission. Potential buyers may be hesitant to ask questions or look too closely at the property (opening closet doors, cabinets, etc.) out of fear of offending you, the homeowner. They want to be free to look around the house at their leisure—not in a hurry because they think they are interrupting your day or because you hover around them from room to room.

 

  1. Taking low ball offers or other negotiating requests personally.

 

Because it’s now a seller’s market, we are seeing low ball offers come in less and less. However, it can happen and it’s best not to take it personally. It’s not meant to offend you, it’s simply a negotiating tactic. You must always keep in mind that this is a business transaction and such transactions have no room for emotion. If you do let emotion get the best of you, you might walk away from a potential buyer who could be “the one.”

 

Or, if they put in stipulations for certain furnishings or light fixtures, these are usually not things that will make or break the contract. If they asked for your grandfather clock, but that’s something which has been in your family for several generations, you can politely, but firmly refuse. They had no way of knowing this item had such history or was important to you.

 

Again, it’s best to let your listing agent take the lead and negotiate the best deal possible for you. Sometimes, the first potential buyers don’t work out, but let your agent do everything possible to get you the best price and terms.

 

If you have other questions about selling your home and area property values, contact our RE/MAX Greater Atlanta office at 770-973-9700.  We are based in Cobb County, but have agents who regularly work and specialize in several surrounding counties. 

 

7 Ways to Keep Your Home Value Up

9/16/2016

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7 Ways to Keep Your Home’s Value Up

Increasing your home’s value or even the perception of value can be absolutely essential when it’s time to list the home for sale. The metro Atlanta real estate market is currently a very competitive one. With a shortage of listings, this can be an ideal time to sell your home. However, the home still needs to be in the best shape it can be for buyers to give it serious consideration.

1. Home Exterior
A home that has the appearance of being well-cared-for and maintained will more quickly catch the eye of a potential buyer. Go to the foot of your driveway and look at the front of your home as buyers would when they first pull in the driveway. Is the paint peeling or faded? Are the shutters coming loose? Are the gutters overflowing?
If you’re handy, most of this can be taken care of in a weekend. If not, hire someone. It will be money well-spent to have a licensed, general handyman tackle a list of items for you over the course of a half or full day.

2. Front Yard
Are weeds popping up and the shrubs overgrown? Do the driveway and sidewalks need to be pressure-washed to get rid of stains and regain a cleaner, light color? Rent or buy a small pressure washer to tackle these areas. Your home’s exterior might benefit from a pressure wash as well. Buy a few trays of fresh, colorful plants and flowers to put up by the mailbox or the walkway to your front steps. You have to make your home’s exterior inviting enough to make buyers want to get out of the car to see more. The local real estate market may currently be a seller’s market, but you still have to get them interested enough to go inside. And remember: changes don’t have to be drastic or expensive to give your home better curb appeal.

3. Front Entrance
Because you may not use the front door very often, it’s important to closely check that area. If your front steps have a handrail is it secure? Is the welcome mat faded with age? Does the door unlock easily when putting the key in or does it tend to stick? As you enter the front door, are you accosted by loose shoes and jackets strewn everywhere? Or an overflowing front closet area? Buyers who can easily gain access through the front door and who are met with an open uncluttered area are going to gain a great first impression of your home’s interior.

4. Kitchen
The idea that kitchens and bathrooms sell homes may seem far-fetched to some, but we have seen this to be true many times. Laminate flooring and countertops are out, especially in properties not considered to be starter homes. Are all cabinet doors secure? Does the hardware on the doors and drawers appear dated or well-used? A simple fix of changing this out could do a lot to refresh your kitchen’s look. If the cabinets seem outdated, perhaps it’s time to refinish the doors or replace the cabinet fronts (less expensive than all new cabinetry—known as refacing). Does the kitchen seem well-organized and neat? If every cabinet, counter and pantry are overflowing, it will give the appearance that the kitchen does not have enough storage space. Just as with the closets in your home, you may need to thin out. We all have gadgets and kitchen appliances that have not been used in months, if not years. Donate, sell or box up these items for temporary storage.

5. Bathrooms
Sometimes small updates like new faucets or sinks can make a big difference. If the tub is beyond all cleaning help, consider getting it refinished or replaced. The cost will not be that substantial and could really work in the favor of your home’s value and appearance. Even small things like new toilet seats—a $15-30 purchase—can go a long way. White grout must look, well, white. Otherwise, it’s time to replace or use some of specialized grout cleaners on the market. If cleaning is not your thing, pay professionals to come in and do a deep cleaning. It will be much easier to maintain once it’s looking its best and could be well worth the few hundred dollars or so you’ll spend.

6. Interior
A fresh paint job inside, either in most rooms or key rooms like the family room and master bedroom could be worth the investment if the color is looking tired or it’s not a neutral color. Just because you love peach or hunter green, doesn’t mean your buyers will. All they may see is a big, messy job ahead of them and dollar signs to change it. When homebuyers see a list of things which need fixed, changed or replaced, it actually starts to deplete your home’s value in their eyes. Don’t give them a reason to come in at 10 percent below asking price.

7. Flooring
Dirty carpets or streaked tiles demonstrate to buyers that maybe this house has been a little too lived in for their tastes. Buyers want to come in and be able to visualize themselves living there, not you. Pay someone to professionally clean your carpets and you will be amazed at how much newer and fresher they look. Wait as long as possible to do this, say just before you list your home. For hardwood flooring, buffing and waxing can do a lot to restore their look. Worst case scenario, consider replacing highly traveled areas of the home or offering a flooring allowance when the home goes on the market. That way, homebuyers get to select the colors and styles themselves.

To summarize, you want to live in the home without looking like you’re living there. You may have a huge living room, but if a buyer has to squeeze around children’s toys, coffee tables, oversized furniture and lamps to get into the center of the room to look around, that’s a negative for your home. The result could be costly. By thinning out most rooms in your house, you will maximize the square footage you have and possibly even make the home appear larger. Those are the impressions that result in full price offers or even bidding wars on your metro Atlanta home.

Have questions about what you should do to get your home on the market for the highest price possible? Contact RE/MAX Greater Atlanta today at 770-973-9700.

Fourth Quarter is Almost Here -- Still Time to Change Addresses in 2016

9/2/2016

 

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Fourth Quarter is Almost Here -- Still Time to Change Addresses in 2016

 

It may be hard to think about Fall being just weeks away or, indeed, that we will soon be in the final quarter of 2016. The calendar goes by all too quickly.

 

So, if you've been considering a move for an expanding family or to be closer to work, there's still time to make that happen in 2016 and still be settled into your new home by the holidays. Or if you are a first-time homebuyer and have been putting it off because it's so overwhelming, we're here at RE/MAX Greater Atlanta to help make the home-buying process easier for you.

 

We have reputable lenders and home inspectors to refer you to and we know the northern metro Atlanta real estate market very well to show you the best possible matches for your needs.

 

Another advantage to buying a home this year, is that you will still get the tax benefits when it's time to submit your taxes in April. Even though you haven't been in the home the entire year, you can still deduct mortgage interest, property taxes, etc. So, if you've been renting in the past couple years, you will be pleasantly surprised at how much this will help on your taxes. Unfortunately, things like appraisal costs or home inspection fees are not deductible.

 

Be sure to scroll through past articles in our blog archive as well. We have posted many blogs on topics like getting prequalified for a mortgage, prepping your home to list, what to look for in your new home, how to create your home-buying must-have list and many others.

 

As always, you can also call our RE/MAX Greater Atlanta office at 770-973-9700 to get your questions answered by a full-time, experienced real estate professional. Nationwide, RE/MAX agents have an average of more than 15 years experience in real estate. That translates into agents who have been asked just about every question possible and who have been in just about every possible real estate situation. Contact us today!

RE/MAX For Everywhere You Need to Move

8/26/2016

 

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RE/MAX For Everywhere You Need to Move

 

If life's plans require you to relocate outside the metro Atlanta real estate market, you can still have access to some of the most experienced agents in the world. That's because RE/MAX agents, who average more than 15 years experience company wide, are available to you just about anywhere you plan to move.

 

With more than 105,000 real estate professionals in nearly 100 countries, you can rest easy knowing that the most recognized name in real estate is available to help. RE/MAX has more than 3,500 office in the United States and nearly the same number of franchise offices in the rest of the world.

 

At RE/MAX Greater Atlanta, we can assist with the perfect referral to help you during that stressful time of moving. Call us at 770-973-9700 or stop by our office on Roswell Road in East Cobb and we will find the right person to work with you, whether it's across the country or the other side of the world.

 

Collectively, our company had more than 1.5 million transaction sides in the world in 2015. We have been around over 40 years and continue to grow because of our service and expertise.

 

So follow us at www.facebook.com/remaxgreateratlanta or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/remaxgtratl to stay connected in real estate.

Tips and Observations You Will Need to Live in Metro Atlanta

8/19/2016

 

 

  

 

 

Tips and Observations You Will Need to Live in Metro Atlanta

 

 

Metro Atlanta is unlike any other metropolitan area. Up until the last 5-8 years, there was actually very limited housing (condos, apartments, high rises, etc.) in Atlanta proper. That’s been changing a lot in recent years. However, downtown Atlanta is just one of many living options for the metro area.

 

Where our RE/MAX Greater Atlanta office is based, in Cobb County on the eastern side, we have some excellent school districts and award-winning schools like Lassiter High School and Sprayberry High School.  Just north of Cobb, in Cherokee County, you will find an area that is one of the fastest-growing in the entire state. To the east, Gwinnett County continues to compete with other counties with its many amenities, shopping, restaurants and eclectic areas.

 

But what about those you-have-to-live-there-to-know tips? Well, just for our blog readers, here are some of those tips and observations. Feel free to share these with anyone you know who is considering a move to Atlanta or who has recently relocated here.  Some of these are meant to be funny (while still being true).

 

  1. Never use a Waffle House as an anchor landmark for knowing where you are—or how to get back to where you want to be. That’s because, by one count on the internet, there are a whopping 132 Waffle House locations. Two busy metro Atlanta intersections that we know of actually have two Waffle Houses on opposite sides of the street!
  2. Be prepared for streets and highways to change names frequently. For instance, did you know Highway 92 in Woodstock becomes Holcomb Bridge Road in Roswell and later becomes Jimmy Carter Blvd. much farther east in the Gwinnett area?
  3. Be prepared for roads to have official names, unofficial names or dual names. Highway 120 that goes west out of downtown Marietta toward Paulding County is a prime example. Its signs refer to Highway 120, but it is also known as Marietta Highway in one direction and Dallas Highway in the other direction.
  4. Interstate 285, also fondly known of as “The Perimeter,” will, more often than not, have directional signs that make no sense to you when getting on the interstate. You may be getting on 285 and thinking to yourself, okay, I need to go south to get to X. As you approach ramps to enter 285, your options will be east and west. You’re in a moving vehicle with traffic behind you and you now have 1.5 seconds to decide which direction you need. (We like to keep you on your toes here in Atlanta!)
  5. If you are in Cobb County and seeking directions from someone, do not be surprised if the words “the Big Chicken” come into the conversation. This is the famed KFC franchise location at the corner of Cobb Parkway and Roswell Road. You will know it when you see it –it towers some 25-30 feet high and looks like a huge, well, chicken!
  6. Even if you come from a bigger city like Chicago, New York or LA, you will be stupefied at how bad rush hour can get in the lesser-sized Atlanta. You will also be unimpressed by the limited transit system.
  7. If the weather forecast even hints at the possibility of ice or snow, you will need to go into full prepper mode ASAP. Otherwise, you will arrive at your local grocery store only to find empty shelves in areas like bread, milk, lunch meat and water. Go by the assumption that your work and the childrens’ schools will be closed, until you hear otherwise…regardless of whether 1 inch or 5 inches accumulates.
  8. If it’s raining at rush hour and your route includes an interstate, you may as well double whatever your typical commute time may be to work/home. Seriously.
  9. There will be a language barrier at times. We have many different Southern dialects within the same region—some are charming and easy to understand, others not so much. The term “y’all” will sneak into your language…and that’s okay.
  10. Complete strangers, if they are Southerners, will say hello to you when you pass them on a trail or just taking a walk in your neighborhood. It is Georgia after all, and we are big on hospitality!
  11. College sports are far bigger here than professional sports. Even if one didn’t attend the University of Georgia, there’s a good chance at being a die-hard UGA Bulldog fan. Perhaps it’s because our professional teams, with the exception of a year or two here or there, generally have just average win-loss records.
  12. Food, especially comfort food, is very important to Southerners. It’s almost considered a separate food group. Oh, and it’s sweet tea, not iced tea, if you don’t want to appear like a tourist.

 

So, there you have it, a few helpful tips to understand the area, the culture and the roadways. It’s by no means an all-inclusive list, but it highlights some important areas. Know someone who could use this take on Atlanta life? Pass it along or share the link on your social media.

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