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A Father’s Real Estate Wisdom: Investment Tips for My Kids

Hey Kids,

As you start exploring the world of real estate investment, I want to share some insights I’ve picked up over the years. Our hometown of Roswell offers opportunities for smart investments. Here are a few tips to help you navigate the real estate landscape and find your own path to success.

Roswell is famous for its beautiful historic homes, top-rated schools, and cool vibe. When thinking about investments, it’s important to understand what makes this area special. Check out market trends, property values, and neighborhood vibes. Keep an eye on new businesses, infrastructure projects, and zoning changes that can boost property values.

You’ve probably heard this a million times, but it’s true: location is everything in real estate. In Roswell, great locations often mean being close to excellent schools, parks, shopping centers, and restaurants. Look for properties in areas like Historic Roswell or nice established neighborhoods. A prime location can make a big difference in rental income and property value.

While Roswell has plenty to offer, it’s smart to diversify your real estate portfolio. Think about a mix of property types—single-family homes, townhouses, even commercial properties. Each type comes with its own perks and risks. Diversifying helps protect against market ups and downs and gives you a balanced approach to building wealth.

When looking at potential investments, check out the condition of the property. Older homes in Roswell might need some work, but they can be real gems if renovated properly. Look for places with room for improvement, like cosmetic updates or expansions. Investing in well-maintained properties or those with high potential can really pay off.

Tap into the expertise of local Realtors (like your ol’ dad here), property managers, and contractors. Their knowledge can give you valuable insights and help you make smart decisions. Networking with these pros can also lead you to off-market deals and opportunities you might not find on your own.

While short-term gains are tempting, real estate is often most rewarding when you think long-term. Consider how property values might appreciate over time and look for areas with strong growth potential. Buy real estate and wait, time will do the rest. Even if you don’t get a screaming deal when you purchase,over time you’re investment will continue to increase. Roswell’s mix of historic charm and modern amenities makes it a great place for long-term investment. Hold onto properties that are likely to grow in value and provide steady rental income. Don’t be tempted to sell with market ups and downs, stay the course.

The real estate market is always changing, so staying informed is crucial. Keep up with local market trends, economic factors, and zoning law changes. Attend local real estate seminars and join investment groups to stay connected and learn new things. Being adaptable and ready to tweak your strategy based on market conditions will help you stay ahead.

Financing is a big part of real estate investment. Explore different options like traditional mortgages, home equity loans, and private lenders. Knowing the terms and conditions of each option and developing trusted relationships with lenders will help you make the best financial decisions. Keep an eye on interest rates and loan conditions, as they can greatly impact your returns. Sometimes it makes sense to buy and lock in a longer term low rate even if the price isn’t great.

Real estate investment isn’t just about making money; it’s also about improving quality of life. Think about how your investments can benefit the community and enhance your own quality of life. Treat your tenants and property well and this will pay dividends over time and lead to sustainable and rewarding investments.

Investing in real estate offers a unique mix of opportunities and rewards. By understanding the market, focusing on prime locations, diversifying your investments, and leveraging local expertise, you can build a successful real estate portfolio. Stay informed, think long-term, and remember the importance of quality of life. With these principles in mind, you’ll be well on your way to making smart and rewarding real estate investments.

I’m so proud of you for taking this step. Remember, this journey is as much about learning and growing as it is about financial success. Trust your instincts, stay curious, and never hesitate to ask for advice. Don’t wait to buy real estate, buy real estate and wait. Here’s to your future success!

With love and wisdom,

Dad

A Father’s Real Estate Wisdom: Investment Tips for My Kids

37 Things You Didn’t Know About Buying A House In Roswell, GA

There are several reasons why someone might want to buy a house in Roswell, GA. Firstly, Roswell is a growing city with a strong real estate market, making it a smart investment for those looking to purchase property. The city’s population has been steadily increasing in recent years, indicating a strong demand for housing. Additionally, Roswell has a diverse range of neighborhoods, each with its own unique character and charm, providing a range of options for prospective buyers. Whether you’re looking for a historic home in the heart of downtown or a newer build in a suburban development, here’s a list of 50 things you might not know about buying a house in Roswell.

1. The average home price in Roswell is $502,000, according to Redfin.

2. Roswell has a total area of 42.0 square miles.

3.. Roswell is located 22 miles north of Atlanta.

4. Roswell has a population of approximately 94,000 people.

5. As of April 2023, the median home price in Roswell, Georgia is approximately $490,000.

6. The city of Roswell is known for its historic downtown district, which features a variety of shops, restaurants, and entertainment options.

7. The Roswell Farmers and Artisans Market is a popular local attraction that takes place every Saturday from April through October.

8. Roswell has been recognized as one of the best places to live in Georgia, and was named one of the top 100 places to live in the US by Money magazine in 2019.

9. The city has a highly rated school system, with several elementary, middle, and high schools serving the area.

10. Due to its proximity to Atlanta, Roswell residents have access to a wide range of employment opportunities.

11. The Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area is located in Roswell.

12. Roswell was founded in 1839 and is the eighth largest city in Georgia.

13. The average commute time in Roswell is 29.2 minutes.

14. The Roswell Farmers and Artisans Market is held every Saturday from April to October.

15. The Roswell Roots Festival is held every February to celebrate Black history.

16. The Roswell Arts Festival is held every September.

17. The Roswell Memorial Day Ceremony is held every year to honor veterans.

18. The Roswell Cultural Arts Center hosts concerts, plays, and other events throughout the year.

19. The Roswell Park System includes 18 parks and facilities.

20. The Roswell Area Park includes a swimming pool, tennis courts, and a dog park, walking trails and multiple sports fields.

21. The Vickery Creek Trail is a popular hiking trail in Roswell.

22. The Big Creek Greenway is a popular trail for biking, walking, and running.

23. The Chattahoochee River provides opportunities for fishing, boating, and kayaking.

24. Roswell is home to several golf courses, including the Country Club of Roswell and Brookfield Golf Club.

25. The Roswell Ghost Tour takes visitors on a spooky journey through the city’s haunted sites.

26. The Roswell Beer Festival is held every March.

27. The Roswell Wine Festival is held every October.

28. The Roswell Restaurant Week is held every January.

29. The Roswell Farmers Market is open every Saturday from April to October.

30. The median home price in Roswell range from around $200,000 to over $2 million.

31. The most popular style of homes in Roswell are single-family homes, but there are also townhomes, condos, and luxury properties available.

32. Roswell is home to several historic homes and landmarks, including the Archibald Smith Plantation Home, which dates back to the 1830s.

33. The city has a strong economy, with several large employers in the area, including Kimberly-Clark and UPS.

34. The city has a well-developed infrastructure, including excellent transportation options and high-speed internet access.

35. Homeowners in Roswell are required to pay an annual stormwater fee to help maintain the city’s drainage system.

36. The cost of utilities in Roswell is relatively low compared to other cities in the Atlanta area.

37. Roswell has a diverse dining scene and over 100 restaurnats, with options ranging from casual cafes to upscale restaurants. The city is known for its Southern-style cuisine, but there are also international options available.

Roswell a great place to put down roots and build a life. If you’d like a tour of all that Roswell has to offer, please reach out to us!

Opportunities in Real Estate: Learning from the Past

Remember your friends who bought a house right at the beginning of Covid 19? At the time, we thought it was risky, as time went on we see what an amazing opportunity it was to purchase. Similarly, we may be looking back at those friends who purchase in the first few months of 2024 in the same light. There’s hesitancy with Buyers right now between interest rates, an election year and uncertainty in the real estate market.

Our data points to a rising market. The Federal Reserve has already indicated they will ease interest rates in 2024. Waiting for lower rates, like the majority of Buyers will do, means you’ll likely pay more. That’s because as mortgage rates drop, housing demand will surge, driving prices up. As mortgage rates drop, Buyers will come flocking back into the market, driving up competition. So as prices rise, and competition rises, we will be back to multiple offers and Sellers back in the driver seat. There is a window now with a more balanced market. Over the next few months, Buyers don’t necessarily have to make a rushed decision with little due diligence period and reduced negotiating leverage, giving Buyers more time to make an informed decision.

Home prices in our area rose over 6% from the start of 2023. Home prices are expected to continue to rise throughout 2024. Several factors are contributing to home price appreciation in our area. Despite the new home construction that is going on all around us, the new home inventory is still falling short of the housing stock we need. This problem goes back to the recession of 2009-2011, home building came to a screeching halt. For 3 years, we didn’t see any new building, and builders haven’t closed that gap. Adding to that were supply chain issues caused by Covid 19, to some degree builders are still dealing with short supply and labor. There’s still not enough being built at a fast enough pace to meet demand. Couple this with the homeowners who are not willing to part with their 3% mortgage rate, there are not enough homes on the market. Supply and demand dictates prices. More supply of Buyers, less supply of homes equals rising prices. Additionally, we continue to have a healthy supply of Buyers relocating to our area from out of state, attracted to the lifestyle and affordability compared to many other metro areas. Many out of state Buyers purchase in the late Spring and Summer (choosing to move in between school sessions). Waiting will place you in direct competition with these Buyers who often have company support and a tight timeline, making for tough competition. Often they are willing to pay asking price or above to secure their housing quickly and get settled in their new job and state.

If you’re renting, and you’re financially able to purchase, you should consider buying now. The sooner you purchase a home, the sooner you start building equity through mortgage paydown and price appreciation. Your costs are fixed, unlike rent that is likely to be increased each year. And when mortgage rates fall, you can consider refinancing. There’s peace of mind having predictability with your monthly housing costs. Inflation, interest rates or a change in your landlord’s situation will not impact your housing or payment situation once you’ve locked into a fixed rate loan in your own home. There are tax advantages you may be missing as a renter as well. Consult with your CPA for how these tax breaks would apply to you as some income limitation may apply, here are a few common ones.
 Mortgage Interest- you can deduct your mortgage interest.
 Real Estate Taxes – you can deduct state and local taxes in the year you pay them.
 Home Office Deduction – if you’re a small business owner who works from home and use part of your home exclusively for the primary place of business, you can deduct many home expenses.

Opportunities in Real Estate: Learning from the Past

“Behind the Curtin” Presents A Champagne Wall and Museumesque Townhome in Roswell, GA Episode 11

“Behind the Curtin” provides an inside look at local homeowners’ beautifully-crafted houses, giving insight into what it takes to renovate, upgrade, and style the most coveted parts of their dream homes. In this video series, industry expert and business owner Joanne Curtin explores local homes while interviewing their owners who live well in their homes to better understand their thought processes when making important decisions. Join Joanne to get a look into the world of luxurious real estate one wonderful home at a time.

“Behind the Curtin” Episode 11 – A Champagne Wall and Museumesque Townhome In Roswell, Georgia

WATCH THE FULL EPISODE HERE

In this episode of ‘Behind the Curtin’, Joanne Curtin takes you on an exclusive tour of the exquisite home of Billy Reeves Jr., featuring a one-of-a-kind champagne wall that defines luxury living like never before.

Joanne: Billy, where did you live before you moved to this gorgeous townhome in Roswell?

Billy: For the last nine years, we lived in Buckhead at a place called The View at Chastain.

Joanne: So, what made you choose Roswell? You could be anywhere.

Billy: I’ve been here all my life. After graduating Griffin High School, I went to Georgia Tech and I’ve been here ever since. My wife, Eileen, is from Stone Mountain. A friend of ours suggested we check out some new construction on Canton Street. I hadn’t been up to Canton Street for a while so I decided to take a drive up here. When I pulled in to Blacksmith Row, I called the real estate agent and she let me in. Once inside, I emailed Eileen the information and she simply said, “That’s where we’re going to live now”.

Joanne: What was it about this place that checked so many boxes for you?

Billy: Since the unit we purchased wasn’t completely finished, we had the option to make any changes that we wanted. And so, I felt like I literally built this place. I came here every morning and every evening for a year and a half and put this place together.

Joanne: How did your changes to the original design increase the value of the property?

Billy: The biggest thing was changing the layout and since I am in the cabinet business, we upgraded all the cabinetry, the countertops, and the closets. We also upgraded the fans and the showers. In addition, we worked with designer, Jennifer Crosby, of Crosby Design Group here in Roswell to select the tile, carpeting, and colors.

Joanne: Besides working with Jennifer Crosby, did you use a designer? What was that like?

Billy: We worked with a good friend of ours, Mariano. Previously, he had helped us redesign our showroom at Founders Kitchen and Bath. He is absolutely, off the charts talented and just a great guy.

Joanne: What does your home have that you and Eileen just felt like you really needed?

Billy: The layout of this home gives us the opportunity to tell our story, from the paintings to the family memorabilia. And everything has a place, and is very intentional.

Joanne: Where do you source some of your unique finds?

Billy: Most of the furnishings came from 14th Street Modern in Atlanta. The two bookcases in the living room came from the Michael Kors Showroom at Phipps Plaza. Possibly my favorite piece though is a small table in the elevator where we can put our coffee cups as we go up and down to the kitchen.

Joanne: Was there something that you splurged on?

Billy: Well, all of it was a splurge, the art and the furnishings. We definitely went over budget.

Joanne: What have you learned from this move?

Billy: After building an 8,000 square foot home on the golf course at Echelon, I felt like I learned a lot. Moving here from Buckhead, we learned to let our designer handle most things for us.

Joanne: What would you feel like people should not skimp on?

Billy: The biggest thing people should not skimp on is the small things, the little details. For example, the lighting in the hallway is set up to illuminate each step. This is not accidental, it is intentional. And I don’t think you should skimp on the fixtures, the faucets, the door handles, all that kind of stuff. And you definitely don’t want to skip on the cabinetry!

“Behind the Curtin” Presents A Champagne Wall and Museumesque Townhome in Roswell, GA Episode 11

Joanne Curtin Interviews Roswell Mayor Kurt Wilson

In the heart of a bustling city lies the promise of a dynamic future, shaped by the vision, determination, and leadership of its residents and officials. Roswell, a city known for its vibrant community and rich history, stands at a crossroads where possibilities are endless. Joanne Curtin, sits down with Mayor Kurt Wilson, a visionary leader committed to propelling Roswell into a new era of prosperity. This candid conversation is about the city’s future trajectory, the challenges it faces, and the timeless principles of leadership that will guide its journey towards an even brighter future.

Joanne: Thank you for having me over today. I am admiring your wall of photos here. Can you tell me more about it?

Mayor Wilson: I am glad you’re here. It’s a pleasure to finally meet you. I’ve enjoyed your “Behind The Curtin” videos. These photos on the wall are all people that have had an impact on me.

Joanne: I think it’s great that you reflected on who to put up there. That’s awesome, because you don’t get where you’re going without learning from others. So, if you could have dinner any of these people, who would you invite?

Mayor Wilson: That’s a great question. I would probably be more contemporary oriented than historically oriented. I definitely would talk to Mother Theresa. Everything I read about her is authentic, honest, and courageous. She’s an incredible warrior who has this great courage most of wish we had and she’s challenging her faith all the time. And Johnny Carson, of course. My dad was Carson’s doppelganger, they looked like twins.

Joanne: Most of our clients are in the area we like to call “The Platinum Triangle”, that’s Roswell, Alpharetta, and Milton. I’m curious about what you think sets Roswell apart from Alpharetta and Milton?

Mayor Wilson: I love my sister cities, let’s start there. I routinely have the mayors of Alpharetta and Milton over to my home. I believe in personal engagement because we are all in this together. Roswell has been successful in part because it won the geographic lottery. It was once the crown jewel of North Fulton County. Now, I acknowledge that Alpharetta has grown and they have some advantages over us, take for example the number of exits off the 400. Whereas Milton has stuck to their vision of being made up of mostly single-family homes. And that works for them.

The city of Roswell is 42 square miles, that’s it. And 65% of that is made up of single- family homes. We’re looking at the other 35% that, until now, did not have a viable long term economic strategic narrative. How do we get ahead in terms of industry? We can’t chase manufacturing businesses that we don’t have the room for. And without an intentional strategy, someone else was going to make the strategy for us – the state, the federal government, Fulton county. When I came in to office it was clear to me that Roswell needed to be a city of 120,000 people in 20 years. We are currently at 96,000. That means the city of Roswell is going to be very intentional. In other words, the development community is not going to come to us. We’re going to do the placemaking for the development community. As I said, we have limited space, 42 square miles, and because we have limited space we have scarcity. So, we’re about to use that to our economic advantage. The city is already heavily invested in zero based budgeting. That means we’re really serious about how we spend our money and reimagining how each department works and what services to provide, from an entrepreneur perspective. We are looking at what we do well, and what we don’t do so well.

Joanne: Since you’ve been in office, what’s something you are most proud of?

Mayor Wilson: All credit goes to God and my team. I am proud to say we’ve gotten more done in 12 months that has been done in 20 years. We have the best in class police force focused on de-escalation, a full-time fire department, and passage of the $180 million dollar bond overwhelmingly approved by voters.

I am a big believer that we’re building our organization in a different way. I hope we are building a political legacy and leadership that will last beyond my term. The question we ask ourselves is “what’s the right thing to do for the city of Roswell?” I hope the legacy is an organization that is highly competent, highly effective.

Joanne: You talked about looking at things done well and things that need improving. Is there something in particular that you’re working on?

Mayor Wilson: Communication is the hardest thing for us. We’re a fairly static organization and it seems we’re always playing defense. The challenge is to reach people with consistent, authentic, and sophisticated messaging.

I really believe that leadership has responsibility, not just for governing, but for bringing rational discussion into the marketplace. The overwhelming majority of us want to have sober discussions with healthy skepticism. I hope we heal the acrimony that has overtaken our political debates.

Roswell is a great place to live, There’s an unbelievable quality of life here. And I want to people who live here to really know that, to enjoy it, and to celebrate it.

Joanne: We love Roswell. In 2017, Tom and I started a 501c3 non-profit, Curtin Team Cares. We are committed to helping local families and organizations where help is needed most. Currently we are actively working with the Children’s Development Academy of Roswell (CDA). Are there any other organizations in Roswell that you feel others should know about?

Mayor Wilson: I love our community and I love CDA with the leadership of Maggie DeCan. I believe in the mission of CDA [www.cdakids.org]. We have so many great charities that operate in Roswell. HomeStretch [www.homestretch.org], North Fulton Community Charities [www.nfcchelp.org] with Sandy Holiday at the helm, Sunny and Ranney [www.sunneyandranney.com], and can’t forget The Cottage School [www.cottageschool.org]. The Cottage School has a beautiful mission and has really helped save students and their families.

Joanne: Since we’re in the South, I’m sure you know that people are just as interested in where you are from as who you are for.

Mayor Wilson: You saved the toughest question for last. Well, I grew up in Huntsville, Alabama where half the town loves Alabama and the other half loves Auburn. I went to college at Ole Miss. And then I moved to Georgia and I’m still learning how to respond whenever someone says, “Go Dawgs!”. I love the Braves. So, I guess, I root for everyone. How’s that for a politician’s response?

Joanne: (laughs) Okay. That’s a fair answer. It’s been pleasure talking to you today. I am excited to hear about the new developments in Roswell that will soon be announced. We’ll have to meet up again so we can talk more about them.

Mayor Wilson: Thank you! It’s been a pleasure talking to you. Roswell is a remarkable place and I’m looking forward to its bright future.

Joanne Curtin Interviews Roswell Mayor Kurt Wilson

“Behind the Curtin” Presents A New Construction Home in Roswell, Georgia Episode 8

“Behind the Curtin” provides an inside look at local homeowners’ beautifully-crafted houses, giving insight into what it takes to renovate, upgrade, and style the most coveted parts of their dream homes. In this video series, industry expert and business owner Joanne Curtin explores local homes while interviewing their owners who live well in their homes to better understand their thought processes when making important decisions. Join Joanne to get a look into the world of luxurious real estate one wonderful home at a time.

“Behind the Curtin” Episode 8 – A New Construction Home in Roswell, Georgia

WATCH THE FULL EPISODE HERE

Max Reiboldt and his wife, Kay, built a new home across the street from where they were living. This short journey resulted in a huge transformation of their living space.

Joanne: Max and Kay, it is a pleasure to talk to you. I am excited to hear about where you lived before you built this home.

Kay: We lived on Fowler, just literally diagonally across the street. We liked the neighborhood so much that when this property became available, we latched on to it quickly. We wanted to be on one level, and we didn’t want much yard. When the builder realized that two homes could not be built on this lot, Max said, “Why not purchase the entire property?” So, we ended up with a larger lot than we expected.

Joanne: What does your new home have that your previous one didn’t have?

Kay: The problem we had at Fowler is that you could not get into that house without stairs. We needed all of our living space on one level, but we have six grandkids, and we thought, we really would like to have space for them if they all want to come and stay. We also built over the three-car garage. We added that additional space in case we need live in help to stay with us. Caregivers, nursing homes, they are so expensive, we thought it would be better to have space for someone to live here and we can stay in our home which is our goal.

Joanne: What is your favorite room in the house?

Kay: I think the whole downstairs – the kitchen, dining room, hallway. In the morning I love to sit in the hallway with the big windows and plants.

Max: We have an outside covered porch patio and pool and that is a nice setting and pretty enjoyable when the weather isn’t too hot or too cold. I also think the high 25-foot ceiling with a balcony view upstairs is a unique feature in this very custom home.

Joanne: So, upstairs is really for visitors and grandkids?

Max: We entertain quite a good bit actually. And each bedroom has a theme. For example, I am President of the Board of Directors of a medical missions effort serving central America, primarily Guatemala. And we’ve gone there so many times, we have named one of our guest rooms “The Guatemala Room” because we modeled it after some of the places we stay when we are there.

Kay: We have a purple room for our granddaughters. We also have a living room [on the second level] for the grandkids that has an arts and craft area. The third floor was actually not planned for anything more than storage. But we made it in to a game room where we have a pool table and we also have some extra storage up there as well.

Joanne: What is your favorite source for décor?

Kay: Working with our very talented interior designer, Christie, who has worked for HGTV and Netflix, I will buy something that I love and she will find a way to make it work. I love unique pieces and bargains! So, she and I are always on the hunt for a good sale. Locally, I pick up things at antique stores and sometimes I will find pieces online at Wayfair or Serena and Lily. I have a good friend and along with Christie’s assistant, we are able to purchase larger items that I could not transport on my own.

Joanne: What is a splurge in your home that you feel you couldn’t live without?

Kay: I can you right off the bat! It’s the master bathroom tile we had imported from Mexico.

Joanne: And, in your opinion, what is something that you feel someone should never skimp on?

Kay: I think flooring is something you need to get right. And it needs to be the right color, especially when you have a big open space. It has to go with everything. You don’t need to buy the most expensive stuff in the world, but you need to think about upkeep. I also think good quality furniture that will last for a long time is worth the investment.

Joanne: What would you say you and Max learned through the process of building this home?

Kay: Along with our vacation homes, we learned that location is very important. Here we are centrally located for our grandkids. We also learned that some of our original ideas changed as we built the home. For example, we originally planned for a simple little garden. But because of the drainage issues we had on the lot, it was necessary to build the house longer and route the drain system properly to keep the lots from flooding in heavy rain. And with the addition of an elevator, we can have multiple floors that I still have access to, even though we originally planned for a ranch-style home.
But I have to say, being prepared for additional costs that will inevitably come up is important. And be sure to have an attorney look over contracts with builders and vendors so that your financial interests are protected.

“Behind the Curtin” Presents A New Construction Home in Roswell, Georgia Episode 8

“Behind the Curtin” Presents A Net Zero New Home in Roswell Georgia Episode 7

“Behind the Curtin” provides an inside look at local homeowners’ beautifully-crafted houses, giving insight into what it takes to renovate, upgrade, and style the most coveted parts of their dream homes. In this video series, industry expert and business owner Joanne Curtin explores local homes while interviewing their owners who live well in their homes to better understand their thought processes when making important decisions. Join Joanne to get a look into the world of luxurious real estate one wonderful home at a time.

“Behind the Curtin” Episode 7 – A Net Zero New Home in Roswell Georgia

WATCH THE FULL EPISODE HERE

Joanne Curtin, Wynn Tierney, net zero home consultant, and Steven Sanders-Myers, Brightwater net zero engineer, discuss the newest Brightwater Homes project, a neighborhood of new construction, net zero homes in Roswell.

Joanne: Thank you for sitting down with me. What made you choose to build in Roswell?

Steven: It was part of our overall 2025 plan, and the Barrington neighborhood was ready for new construction, so we got to work here.

Joanne: What is “Net Zero”?

Steven: Net zero energy is as much energy that is needed to operate the house. That energy is generated onsite with solar arrays and we are generating the same amount of energy that’s needed to run the house. So basically “net zero” means nothing on the meter. You produce as much as you need.

Joanne: What is the main benefit of a net zero home?

Steven: Livability is the biggest benefit. These homes are designed and built to be more energy efficient using better systems and better construction methods. The home is built as a more complete structure with an extremely efficient HVAC. It is better able to control the temperature and humidity coming in to the home. It exceeds all of the code minimums by a large margin. Your HVAC is your biggest energy user. So that’s something that we’re really keen on.

Joanne: So, what does this home have that we all need?

Steven: Cost efficiency is the reason many builders use when they build to code minimums. But in the long run, there are better ways to spend your dollars to build a product that is going to give you a much more comfortable home. Again, the elements that we use to create a better envelope for the house include the HVAC, insulation, and construction techniques save you money over time. The other things people can do in their current homes is add low flow toilets, upgrade to highly rated Energy Saver appliances and even replace their current lightbulbs with energy efficient bulbs.

Joanne: Talk to me a little bit about how you used a designer with this community.

Steven: We actually use energy modeling and an energy designer. We have our architecture team designing the floor plan and the exterior. Then we have a designer work on all the interior finishes. Our buyers will go through a detailed process to curate a specific package for them.

Joanne: What is your favorite room in these homes?

Wynn: I always like the kitchens and the sculleries. With the advent of everyone working from home, you’ve got more people in the kitchen at different times. Some people want an extra sink or dishwasher, some want a wine fridge or an appliance garage.

I also like our FROGS (finished room over garage). They can be more versatile than a finished basement, providing extra guest, work, or workout space.

Joanne: What are you hearing from buyers? What do they like?

Wynn: Our buyers love our new curated design process. We get to know the family and their likes and dislikes and what they need. We ask questions about the music they like, the food they eat, if they like to entertain, etc. We try to get a complete picture of their tastes without overwhelming them. We then create a unique curated package of design choices and materials that fit such as Modern or Timeless Elegance. It is more than a visit to a showroom with basic choices.

Joanne: What are buyers splurging on? Are they being too frugal in some areas?

Wynn: We see buyers upgrading materials in the primary bathroom, such as tile, and we see higher end appliances in the kitchen.

Since we build these homes at such an elite level, there really isn’t a reason to scrimp on anything. If anything, people with basements sometimes choose not to finish every room right away.

Joanne: What have you learned from this process?

Steven: I have been researching net zero homes and techniques for a while but to actually see it in reality is great. There are so many extra things that are done beyond a standard new construction build. For example, window glazing that is required to meet Energy Star standards. Our technical team and energy advisors are here on site to make sure the homes are as efficient as possible. Our goal is the top HERS rating of zero (most efficient). HERS (Home Energy Rating System) is a national standard for demonstrating a home’s energy efficiency. The average home is between 100 and 130.

Also, there is a big debate about building a house too tight. This could lead to moisture build up and mold growth. That is why we install fresh air flow ventilation sized appropriately per cubic feet. Our homes are “healthy homes” for that reason.

Joanne: Is there anything else you’d like to see added to these homes?

Steven: There are strict guidelines from the city of Roswell about water flow calculations and so the footprint of the home, porches, and sidewalks limit the size of the backyard pools that can be installed. As a solution, some buyers are installing smaller splash pools.

Joanne: What is the next Brightwater project after this?

Wynn: “Aster” is coming soon. That is a 24 -home neighborhood off of Cox Road. And then we have the next phase of “Sweet Apple” off of Ebenezer Rd.

“Behind the Curtin” Presents A Net Zero New Home in Roswell Georgia Episode 7

New Construction Home Tours with Joanne Curtin

Join your host, Joanne Curtin, as she takes you on an exclusive tour of new construction homes and townhomes in Barrington Place, Ecco Park, and Millstone Park. Can you guess the price?

WATCH THE HOME TOURS HERE

House #1- Barrington Place home, built by Brightwater Homes, is in historic Roswell near The Mill Kitchen and Bar and is a net zero home (Net zero means the home generates the renewable power to match the needs of the home). Did you know that Roswell is a certified Green Community – platinum level?

Townhome #2 – Ecco Park is located in Alpharetta 30022. This townhome community is being developed and built by The Providence Group.

Townhome #3 – Millstone Park townhomes are located near Deerfield Parkway, Alpharetta. These three story townhomes are conveniently located near Exit 11 (GA-400) and close to shopping and restaurants.

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New Construction Home Tours with Joanne Curtin

“Behind the Curtin”Presents A Fixer Upper in a Golf Community in Milton, GA Episode 5

“Behind the Curtin” provides an inside look at local homeowners’ beautifully-crafted houses, giving insight into what it takes to renovate, upgrade, and style the most coveted parts of their dream homes. In this video series, industry expert and business owner Joanne Curtin explores local homes while interviewing their owners who live well in their homes to better understand their thought processes when making important decisions. Join Joanne to get a look into the world of luxurious real estate one wonderful home at a time.

“Behind the Curtin” Episode 5 – A Fixer Upper in A Golf Community in Milton, Georgia

WATCH THE FULL EPISODE HERE

Aleisha and Chris Porto live in Milton, Georgia with their two children. Recently, Aleisha and Chris renovated a home in the golf community of White Columns.

Joanne: So, where did you and Chris live before you moved to this house?

Aleisha: We lived a mile from downtown Roswell in a smaller home. It was a good first home.

Joanne: What made you want to move?

Aleisha: We had updated almost every single square foot of our old home. And we had people knocking at the door asking to buy our house. A young couple made an amazing offer on our house. And I really connected with her.

We needed a bigger house. We have two very active boys and we had no backyard. And so that was really what started it and then it slowly progressed from looking in Roswell to Milton. Our design studio is in Milton and a lot of our clients are in Milton, so I know the area well. And the more we looked, the more we loved these homes with larger lots.

Joanne: And what made you pick this house specifically?

Aleisha: Our realtor appeared genuinely taken aback when she discovered that we had different plans in mind. Initially, she was eager to showcase the stunning homes, particularly the new builds, such as those in Toll Brothers and Milton Overlook. But then we started contemplating the value we would receive for our investment. And we both have professional expertise in home design. My husband possesses excellent handyman skills, while I have a clear vision for what I want to achieve with our future home.

I expressed my desire to explore homes that required some fixing up but had already undergone updates. Our realtor proceeded to show us a few options, and one in particular caught our interest. However, after conducting an inspection, we realized that the required repairs would far outweigh any aesthetic improvements. The house’s structural elements needed attention, leading us to ultimately walk away from that opportunity.

During my search, I stumbled upon another house that piqued my curiosity. Since my husband, Chris, was out of town, I enlisted the help of my dad, who, like my husband, is quite skilled in handy work. Chris even asked my dad to assess certain aspects like plumbing, HVAC, and so on while he was there.

Upon entering the house, it was immediately apparent that it was in a state of disarray. Nevertheless, I made a conscious effort to overlook the mess and focus on the layout and potential. In fact, I walked straight through the house to the back deck, where I laid eyes on the backyard. It was exactly what we had envisioned when considering a location like Milton—a spacious yard perfect for entertaining, with ample grass space and even a pool. It checked all the boxes: a desirable neighborhood, a backyard that met our criteria, and a reputable school district, not to mention the ideal number of rooms.

Joanne: How did you improve the value of the house?

Aleisha: Firstly, we prioritized the essential tasks and checked them off the list. The HVAC system required replacement, and the pool pump needed fixing. We hired someone to repair the large fridge instead of replacing it, considering the cost. Additionally, we had to re-service and level the septic system. We removed some dangerous trees, including a beautiful one that was planted in the wrong spot and too close to the roof in front of the house.

We also had to inspect and replace some missing boards on the back deck, and fix the completely dilapidated under decking to ensure proper drainage during rainfall. This was crucial because the previous work was not done correctly, causing water damage.

To increase the property value, we added hardwood floors in the upstairs catwalk, the downstairs sitting room, and the main staircase. We also refinished all the floors and redid the entire stair system, including the spindles, bolsters, and handrails.

We made significant changes to the house, including replacing every light fixture and fan and updating all the lighting. We also repainted every surface inside and outside the house. In addition, we removed several outdated archways that didn’t make much sense in their placement. To create a more modern look, we opened up our columns and updated all of them. We also removed some of the dated wall niches and completed a lot of drywall work, as there were numerous holes in the walls. We also added new carpet.

When we first inspected the house, we were impressed with the state-of-the-art appliances. We were delighted to find that the original owners had installed high-quality Viking and Sub-Zero appliances, as well as a top-of-the-line whole-home humidifier system. The pool was also well-maintained, heated, and equipped with a saltwater system. However, the upkeep of the property had been neglected, so we had to restore and update it to bring it back to its former glory.

The kitchen had a fantastic layout, and the previous owners had expanded it, which was well-done. Overall, the floorplan of the house was great, but it required some much-needed TLC and updating to bring it up to standard. So, we gave it the love and care it deserved.

Joanne: What is your favorite room in the house?

Aleisha: The home has a slightly more open concept, typical of homes built in the early 2000s. As you enter, there is a formal sitting room or office and a dining room, but I appreciate that the living room is not immediately visible. The space is a little narrow, but the living room and kitchen merge into a large, open area, which is the main part of the house. I focused most of my design efforts on the kitchen, which I believe is the heart of the home. While the other rooms still needed attention, I knew that we had to renovate the kitchen while redoing the floors and painting everything. I’m thrilled with the outcome.

Joanne: What does your home offer that you feel you absolutely needed? You hinted at it earlier when you walked in and saw the mess and went straight to the backyard. What aspects of your home do you think other people might need that you have incorporated?

Aleisha: To be honest, what we have is a space that is both kid-friendly and perfect for entertaining, whether it’s adults or children. We can now host families with young kids and they have plenty to do while the adults enjoy the space as well. This was a big concern for us when we had young kids, wanting to have friends over with kids and not being able to keep an eye on them while still enjoying adult time. We wanted a space where we could all hang out and have fun while knowing the kids are safe, and that’s exactly what we have now.

Joanne: As a designer, you have a great advantage in terms of knowledge and expertise. Can you share some of your elements that you incorporated into your home?

Aleisha: To be honest, lighting played a crucial role in transforming our home. Whenever someone buys a new house or plans to update it, they often prioritize the furnishings and decor. However, creating a cohesive lighting plan that complements the overall design and style of the home is equally important. That’s why I spent a lot of time planning and selecting the right lighting fixtures for both the interior and exterior of our home. From the porch lanterns to the lighting in every room, I wanted to ensure that it all flowed together seamlessly.

Joanne: What is a splurge that you feel like you couldn’t live without in your house?

Aleisha: The splurge that I believe was totally worth it was the addition of the floor-to-ceiling limestone fireplace. While there were other options such as installing a mantel or creating a wall to add height, we decided to bring in a team of stonemasons to hand-cut each piece of limestone specifically for our fireplace. As a designer, I was able to guide the process and determine the placement of each piece. The result is a stunning 20-foot limestone fireplace that adds a touch of elegance to the space. Although we could have chosen a different route, I believe the investment was worth it in the end.

Joanne: Throughout this entire process, what have you learned as both the client and the designer?

Aleisha: Living outside of the house during the renovation process was a nice break, but as a designer and client, I always emphasize to my clients the importance of being present and checking in regularly. Even though we weren’t physically living in the home, I was here every day, working and overseeing the progress of the contractors. Contractors may not always understand your vision, so it’s important to communicate clearly and often. I found that constant communication with the contractors, general manager, and tradespeople was like holding hands and made a huge difference. I learned that things will inevitably change during the process, so it’s important to be adaptable and open to pivoting as needed.

Joanne: What would you do different?

Aleisha: I would have devoted more time to carefully selecting and vetting my contractors. Unfortunately, due to time constraints, we were unable to meet with potential contractors and had to start work immediately after closing on the house. Since it was a foreclosure, there was uncertainty as to whether we would even be able to secure the property. This put us under a lot of stress and we ended up hiring some contractors who did subpar work. At the time, we just wanted to move in and put these issues behind us, but in hindsight, I wish we had taken the time to properly vet our contractors before signing any contracts with them. We now have to go back and fix some of the shoddy paintwork and other problems that could have been avoided if we had more time to plan and select our contractors carefully.

Joanne: What would you like to do next?

Aleisha: I am considering investing a bit more into our backyard, which happens to be my favorite place. Although we have primarily focused on furnishing the interior with any extra funds we had, our outdoor furniture is currently outdated and mostly comprised of hand-me-downs. As we spend most of our time in the warmer months entertaining in the backyard with friends and neighbors, it would be lovely to spruce it up with beautiful outdoor furniture and custom grill for an outdoor kitchen. Making it a more inviting and enjoyable space to spend time in.

Joanne: What do you think are some things that you should not skimp on? If people are considering home renovation or buying a fixer upper? What should they not skimp on?

Aleisha: One valuable lesson I learned is to never skimp on the expertise of tradespeople involved in renovations or moving. It’s crucial to hire professionals you trust and who are knowledgeable in their field. Even when receiving quotes from painters, I inquire about the paint they plan to use because opting for cheap, generic options may end up costing more in the long run. I always recommend high-quality paint brands like Benjamin Moore or Farrow & Ball to my clients, as store-matched colors are not the same as the original quality. Cheaper quotes from contractors may be due to the use of low-quality paint, which can lead to poor results and may not last as long. This is especially important for families with children who require durable and easy-to-clean paint that won’t yellow over time.

Joanne: Speaking of materials, you mentioned using limestone for the fireplace, and I’m curious about the materials you used for your staircase and flooring. Did you replace any materials, and if so, what did you choose as replacements?

Aleisha: We removed the leopard carpet in the basement staircase and added real hardwood floors that match the existing red oak floors. We also added iron spindles to the staircase and continued the red oak upstairs in the two rooms where we removed the carpet. Initially, I wanted to bleach the floors for a more modern look, but I decided against it and went with a 50/50 blend of a darker stain with a matte finish, which is better for kids and dogs. We also used marble in the kitchen but opted for a granite that looks like soapstone on the island for durability. For the fireplace, we used limestone and had a cabinet maker custom create new doors, a vent hood, a kitchen table, and a mantel to match my desired style.

“Behind the Curtin”Presents A Fixer Upper in a Golf Community in Milton, GA Episode 5

Tom Curtin Talks with Ben and Candice Thornton About First Time Homebuyers


Tom Curtin, CEO of the Curtin Team, and Ben and Candice Thorton from Capital Mortgage Solutions, LLC, actively discuss cooperative buying and aiding first-time homebuyers. They dispel myths regarding down payments and explore alternative financing methods. It is revealed that a primary residence can be purchased with as little as a 5% down payment, and some loan programs mandate even less. Furthermore, they delve into the possibility of gift funds, which parents, friends, or close family members can offer. Conventional guidelines dictate that gift funds must originate from a direct family member or fiancé. 401k loans are also an option for individuals who lack a family member or employer to help with the down payment. Borrowing from a 401k to make a down payment on a home has no impact on the debt-to-income ratio.

Check out our previous blog post about the real cost of waiting to buy –
https://www.curtinteam.com/the-real-cost-of-waiting/

Tom Curtin Talks with Ben and Candice Thornton About First Time Homebuyers