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Get your home ready for winter!

With our unseasonably warm fall days, it’s hard to imagine that winter will soon be upon us. It’s time to prepare now. Cotton States and State Farm wants you to be ready this season with few helpful tips on preparing your house and BEING prepared for the upcoming winter months.
The comforts of a cozy, warm home in winter can help you forget about the short days and the multiple layers of clothing. Following a maintenance schedule throughout the year will certainly benefit you in the winter, but it’s important to be aware of the hazards the cold conditions can bring to your home. These guidelines can help you weather the winter season with a well-maintained home.
Be energy efficient

Since your heating system will probably be running constantly throughout the winter, remember to change out your HVAC filters every month. Inspect the insulation in your attic and crawlspace. Warm air rises and leaves the house through the roof, so you should focus on insulation in your ceilings. Seal areas around recessed lights, the attic hatch, and plumbing vents that may be allowing warm air from the living space below to enter the attic. Proper attic ventilation, adequate attic insulation, and a tight air barrier between the attic and the interior of the house will work together to prevent ice dams.
If you don’t have double-paned windows, remove the screens and install storm windows to ensure that the heat stays in and the cold stays out. If you’re on a tight budget, pick up an inexpensive plastic-film sheet kit from your local hardware store. These will only last one season, but they do help with energy efficiency and are able to halt the cold flow of winter drafts. If you have a fireplace, burning firewood is another way to save energy costs. When you use the fireplace, reduce heat loss by opening dampers in the bottom of the firebox (if provided) or open the nearest window slightly — about an inch — and close doors leading into the room. That will prevent the fire from drawing warm air out of the rest of the house and replacing it with cold air.
And remember to store your firewood in a dry place at least 30 feet from your home to avoid a fire hazard.
Protect your pipes

Pipes located in attics, crawl spaces, basements, and near outer walls can be susceptible to freezing in extreme temperatures. When the forecast calls for unusually cold temperatures, let water drip from hot and cold faucets overnight. Also try keeping cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate in places like below sinks. If you open the cabinet doors, be sure to remove anything inside the cabinets that may pose a safety to hazard to children, such as household cleaners. For exposed pipes in your attic, basement, or crawlspaces, add extra insulation around them. View the tips to avoid frozen pipes for more information.
Be ready for an emergency

Blackouts and snow-ins can occur during winter months, so take a moment to prepare yourself and your family for such emergencies. Having the following items ready will help you make it through safely.
Flashlights
Bottled water
Nonperishable food items
Blankets
Phone numbers for your utility companies
Battery backup to protect your computer and other important electronic equipment
First-aid kit
If you have an emergency generator, make sure you have gasoline stored and available to fuel it.
Decorate safely

‘Tis the season to be festive, but remember to stay safe with your holiday decorations. Inspect the wires of your light display before switching them on—they may be frayed and present an electrical fire hazard. Same goes for the Christmas tree inside – always check the light strands for any sign of wear and tear from being in storage. If you have a real Christmas tree, keep it watered, since dry trees catch fire easier. Check with your local municipality for instructions on how to dispose of the tree once the new year arrives.
Don’t forget yard care

Even with the cold weather conditions, your yard still needs to be maintained. Make sure tree and shrub branches are well away from the house and windows. Icy conditions can cause branches to break and damage your home. Walk around your home and survey the roof to see if any ice dams have formed; call a contractor if you suspect this is the case. As you walk around your house, check the foundation for small cracks or openings where mice or other pests can tunnel in. Winter is when they seek the warmth of your house, so seal up any possible entrances. While you’re outside, clear snow off gas meters and away from basement windows and your dryer exhaust vent.

Create your own disaster preparedness kit

 

The Management and Staff of Cotton States Properties is sending thoughts and prayers to all those millions of people who were adversely affected by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. Although these storms are now over, we are still in hurricane season and winter will be on our door step.  Below you will find 10 steps written by Sandra Pawula on how to prepare for a natural disaster.  We hope these tips will help you and your family prepare for what might come your way. 

So how do you prepare for a disaster?  This is what I’ve learned from my recent research.

Disaster preparedness is actual complex if you start thinking about actions like bolting down your gas water heater and bracing overhead light fixtures.  All these types of actions are important to consider, but the first step is to create a disaster preparedness kit.

The following tips cover only the essential items you need to help you cope in response to a disaster.  There’s more to consider, but these steps will give you a good start.  Remember, the bottom line is water, food, and shelter.  In Japan, more than 2 million people are without water.  Another 500,000 are homeless.  These are real possibilities.  So focus on the priorities first.  Then, add the other items to your kit.

Keep your supplies in an easy to carry kit.  There’s actually quite a lot on this list so use your imagination when it comes to an appropriate container.  Store your kit in an accessible place, one that will be within reach once a disaster strikes.  It’s also wise to have a set of basic emergency supplies in your car and at work.

These are the most essential items:

  1. Water

1-2 gallons of water per person, per day.  A 3-day supply for evacuation, a two-week supply at home.

  1. Food

Easy to prepare, non perishable items and a mechanical can opener.  Canned soup, meat, vegetables, and fruit.  A 3-day supply for evacuation, a two-week supply at home.  For food preparation, have on hand a simple barbeque, charcoal and starter fuel or 1 propane unit with 2 canisters of propane and some basic cooking utensils.  Don’t forget waterproof matches or lighters.

  1. Shelter

An emergency blanket, sleeping bag or regular blankets, and tent.

  1. Medical

First aid kit, a supply of essential medicines for at least a week, other crucial medical supplies like an inhaler.

  1. Light

Flashlights, extra batteries, and extra bulbs.  Candles.  Waterproof matches or lighter.

  1. Radio

A battery-powered AM/FM radio.

  1. Cash

Cash machines won’t work without electricity.  Have a minimum of $50 on hand in small bills plus phone change.

  1. Cell Phone and Charger

Although a cell phone may not work in a disaster, it might also be your line to life-saving support.

  1. Sanitation and Personal Hygiene Items

Toilet paper, toothbrush, soap and other essential supplies.

  1. Personal Documents

Driver’s license, birth certificate, passports, insurance policies, proof of address or lease, medication list and medical information, copies of credit cards, checks.

Everyone’s situation will vary so you need to adapt the list to your own circumstances and the types of disasters that might occur in your region.  If you are able to drive, there’s no guarantee you will be able to obtain gas since fuel pumps depend upon electricity.

In addition to creating a disaster preparedness kit with the items like the ones listed above, the Red Cross also recommends taking time to:

  • create an emergency plan with your family;
  • educate yourself and your family about the type of disasters that might occur in your community;
  • have one household member trained in first aid and CPR/AED.

Overwhelmed, hesitant, or indifferent? Some of us find it challenging to prepare for a disaster.  What holds us back?  The Vizier explored this question in his excellent article 5 Factors that Hinder Preparations.  You might want to start there if you find the thought of disaster preparation difficult to embrace.

Keeping It Simple

I suggest tying to prepare in a simple but complete way.  Do only the necessary without going overboard. Given the fragility of the environment, it’s not useful to over-buy unnecessary, ecologically unsound items.

Not all the supplies above will necessarily make the grade from a green living perspective.  I would love to hear your suggestions for a greener approach to disaster preparedness.

There’s more to disaster preparation that this basic list, but I hope this list will inspire you to begin or fine tune your preparations further.

Life is precious.  Preparation saves lives.  It’s that simple.

Resource: The Red Cross offers a full range of Emergency-Specific Preparedness Information.  Whether you need to prepare for a tsunami, earthquake, winter storms, oil spill, or another threat, you will find the comprehensive information you need at the Red Cross.

East Cobb Named Georgia’s Best Place to Live!

 

 

Cotton States Properties offers stunning quality crafted homes in 4 beautiful communities of East Cobb.  Visit Highlands Ridge Estates, Childer’s Manor, Wesley Manor, and Princeton Manor and discover the beauty of ours homes in what Money Magazine calls “East Cobb, Georgia’s Best Place to Live”.

East Cobb Named Georgia’s Best Place to Live

By Ben Brasch-Atlanta Journal Constituion

When you brag to your friends about East Cobb being awesome, you can now say a national magazine agrees.

The area was named the top spot to live in Georgia by Money Magazine in its “Best Places to Live in America” list released Monday.

The magazine describes the community: “The unincorporated area administered by the Cobb County government was once dominated by chain restaurants, but it’s now embracing mom-and-pops that will give your taste buds a pleasant surprise — and make the most of the small-town Dixie hospitality.”

Did y’all hear that? “Dixie hospitality.”

Here’s how Money made its decision:

This year’s list included all 823 municipalities with populations between 50,000 and 300,000. Then they sorted through almost 300,000 demographic data points, cutting first the 100 places with the lowest predicted job growth, the 200 communities with the most crime and any place “without a strong sense of ethnic diversity (more than 90 percent of one race),” according to the magazine’s website.

They looked at home values by comparing median property values with median household incomes and singled out communities with strong local economies and low taxes. They also considered accessibility to health care, culture, “strong public schools” and sports.

And to correct for “geographical biases,” they limited the list to have no more than four places per state and one per county.

Then comes the footwork.

“Reporters spent time in each town, interviewing residents, checking out neighborhoods and searching for the kinds of intangible factors that aren’t visible in statistics,” the magazine said.

Apparently East Cobb was on its best behavior when reporters came.

 

 

http://www.ajc.com/news/local/money-magazine-names-east-cobb-georgia-best-place-live/LVeOBwmRX0R2NTTLAzY0YI/

The Top Ten Reasons To Buy New Constructio

                                                                                    

 

Here in the Metro Atlanta area there are numerous reasons for purchasing new construction.  Here are the Top 10 reasons why many homebuyers prefer to buy a new home as opposed to a resale home:
1) Choose the Designs YOU Prefer: Why settle for someone else’s choices when you can choose what fits your tastes and desires including, countertops, appliances, lighting, carp flooring and more? Your new home will be a reflection of your tastes and style, not someone else’s.

2) Choose a Floor Plan and Room Layout that Meets Your Needs: Whether you desire an open floor plan, owner’s suite on the main floor, large outdoor living room, or guest room on the main floor, you have the ability to choose what the home’s layout best fits your lifestyle and family.
3) All New, Under Warranty: With a resale home, you’re likely to have large ticket items such as a roof, water heater, HVAC systems and more, that may need replacing in the near future. New construction not only gives you a home warranty, but also gives you piece of mind that it’ll be years before you have to consider replacement on anything regarding your new home.

4) Energy and Cost Savings:  Your new home is far more energy efficient than homes built just 5, 10, 20 year ago. There’s no need to settle for drafty, energy-wasting, single-pane windows with a resale home? New homes today offer double windows, high efficiency HVAC systems, water saving features and Energy Star Appliances. What does that mean for you, the NEW home owner?  Less money paid for utilities, more money left in your pocket.
5) Comfort and Indoor Air Quality: New homes of today meet stringent energy standards and codes not in place in the past. They combine high-performance energy efficiency with state-of-the-art ventilation and air filtration. The result is year-round, draft-free comfort and higher indoor air quality.

6) Low Maintenance: Technology today has brought us a more efficient way of living from computers to cars and New Homes Homes are the same. With cutting-edge building materials, new homes today require less care and maintenance. Best of all, today’s latest building systems and components are designed and engineered to work together.

7) Community Amenities: Many new home communities offer a variety of amenities including hiking trails, lakes and ponds, lighted tennis courts, sparkling pools and more and are tucked away among superlative shopping, dining and high ranked schools.
8) Advanced Technology and Design: Replacing new single-pane windows, new insulation and even new pipes and plumbing with high performance materials and products can be extremely expensive to replace.  Even replacing these items may not give you the open floor plan or architectural attributes you desire which is one more reason to choose new construction over resale.

9) Safety: State-of-the-art circuit breakers. Electric garage door openers with infrared beams that stop if a tricycle or child is too near. High-efficiency furnaces and air conditioners that use the latest environmentally-friendly coolants. Cabinets, carpets and paints that use fewer volatile organic compounds, so that you and your family can breathe easier.

10) That New Home Feel: A resale home reflects the original choices of some one else, not yours. Your new home is a place the you and your family can create first time memories.  A place that lends a feeling that this haven really IS your new home with nobody else ever having lived in the home before you.
Cotton States offers the latest designs, style, comfort and quality. We provide a care-free lifestyle so that you can enjoy your home, not work on it. Stop one of our beautiful communities and find your new quality crafted home that you and your family can enjoy for years to come.

 

Make the Most of Your Outdoor Living Space

Make the Most of Your Outdoor Living Space

     

With spring and summer quickly approaching, it’s time to think about outdoor living. Here are some tips for maximizing your outdoor living.

Bring Indoor Conveniences Outdoors
Supply your grilling or food prep area with similar amenities as you would your indoor kitchen. Set aside a small storage space to keep separate sets of grilling utensils, serving dishes, stemware and other food prep items handy. With a fully stocked area you will allow yourself more time to interact and spend more time with guests by not having to run inside for missing supplies.

Cooler Weather Doesn’t Mean Staying Indoors
Even though fall and winter can bring cooler temperatures, that doesn’t mean it can’t be warm outside. Provide maximum comfort for your family and guests with heat lamps, a fire pit or fireplace. Any one of these items can help to warm up a space and allow for use in colder temperatures.

Light Up the Night
Extend your outdoor living space with lighting up your space at night. A variety of methods can be used including installing a combination of landscape lighting to highlight design elements as well as direct lighting over communal areas. Dimmer switches and decorative lighting can provide just the ambience for outdoor living. Outdoor lighting can also help to make your space safer for guests and your family, providing safety for walkways, staircases and grilling areas.

Take Advantage of Technology Outdoors
Although many people escape outdoors to unplug and relax, technology can be an added benefit to your outdoor living. A Bluetooth speaker system or hardwired outdoor sound system allows you to control music and set the tone for your outdoor living experience. You can turn your outdoor space into a second living room with outdoor televisions and projectors, allowing you to further use your space for watching sporting events and movies.

Quality Outdoor Furniture- A Good Investment
Quality and comfortable furniture can go a long way toward making your space an inviting area, as no one is going to want to spend time outside if they are not comfortable. Furniture made from heavy, durable materials is ideal, as it will be able to withstand regular cleanings and will not weather as easily. Newer synthetic materials provide a great option here, as they have the look and feel of wood and other natural materials without the maintenance issues. Be sure to also purchase correctly fitting furniture covers so that your furniture is ready to go at a moment’s notice without needing to be cleaned beforehand. These covers will also help preserve your furniture for many years.

Outdoor Living with Cotton States Properties
Cotton States Properties has been building quality crafted homes in sought after communities in the Metro Atlanta Area since 1972. Many of our new home designs feature customizable options, such as covered patios and outdoor living rooms with fireplaces, allowing new home buyers to take full advantage of the their outdoor space year round.

Tips from the pros to make your move as simple and care-free as possible

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Cotton States has a variety of new homes to choose from in gorgeous communities in the Metro Atlanta area. Let us build a quality crafted home for you and once moved, here are a few tips from Kathleen Ashcraft with Newhomesource that will help you and your family settle in to your new place.
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Lot27-BE_Kitchen_1Lot27-BE_Kitchen_1Tips from the pros to make your move as simple and care-free as possible.
Settling into a new home can be a big adjustment for you, your family and even your pets. The moving process definitely entails some planning, but it also rewards your efforts with a smoother move-in. And once you’re in your new home, there are some fun and creative ways to make your new house a home. Here are a few tips from homeowners and experts to help you settle into your new home as quickly and seamlessly as possible:
New Address
When you move into a new home, it’s important to spread the word. Be sure to file change of address forms with the post office so that your mail is sent to your new address. It’s best to do so before you move to make sure you don’t miss important mail, and so bills in need of payment are not delayed.
There are a few other places you’ll need to update your address, including your driver’s license, voter registration and credit cards. Be sure to notify the company that provides your auto insurance, as well. A new address can affect rates and they’ll want to know where your vehicle is garaged. Do you shop online? Make sure to update your address at your favorite websites, as well.
Also, remember to transfer your utilities (or choose new providers) at your new address. In addition to gas, water, electric and phone, don’t forget to contact your Internet and cable TV suppliers, as well. If you subscribe to newspapers and magazines, remember to change your address with them, too. The post office will forward magazines and mail, but only for a limited time.Unless you stash your money under the mattress, don’t forget to notify the bank, as well. And while you can pay most bills online or by phone, it pays to get checks with your new address, as well.
Store Important Documents
Many things can get lost or temporarily misplaced in a big move. Moving van documents and important real estate papers can all too easily end up looking like trash in the midst of all your boxes, so be sure to keep these papers safe. Your closing documents make note of your mortgage, costs and ownership of the house.
Other receipts and papers that document your moving expenses may be tax deductible, so save those receipts. Furthermore, there will be several new appliances and systems in your new home. Keep all warranties and instructions for these items so that you know how to operate them properly or who to call for service. You will thank yourself in the long run.
Security
If your new house is not already equipped with a security system, you may want to consider setting one up. “For many people, a new home is a new environment and sometimes knowing that you’re protected can give you some sort of peace of mind,” says Kevin Raposo, of SimpliSafe Home Security, a home security company based in Boston, Mass.
Also, consider changing your locks. Many builders use construction locks during the building process, and only key the permanent locks shortly before you move-in. In that case, it’s likely not necessary to change your locks, but it pays to check.
Double-Check Repairs
Most builders conduct a final walk-through shortly before you close on your new home. This is the time when last minute details are noted. Many will have been taken care of before you move in. If there are any open items, check with your builder so that each item is attended to. A burned out light bulb, a chipped electrical outlet cover, or a spot of touch-up paint that’s needed are typical items that can show up during a final walk-through.
Know Your Home
Your new home can be a bit of a mystery to you until you take the time to get to know it. That’s why most builders conduct a new home orientation. This is the time when the builder will show you the location and operation of key systems and components in your new home. The builder will likely also explain warranties and provide you with printed and/or electronic versions of operating manuals and warranties.
This is the time to make sure you know where the electrical circuit breakers, water cutoff valves and other key aspects of your home are located and how to operate them.  Many builders also provide a record of the paint colors and brands, carpet and flooring choices and other decorative aspects of your home. It’s wise to file this information for future reference. Make sure you know where, when and how to change your furnace and air conditioning filters. Jotting down filter sizes is a great idea, too.
Learn to operate any and all systems — and save the manuals for them. This includes home security, home automation, home theater, garage door openers, water softeners, sprinkler systems, programmable thermostats, appliances and more.
Last, consider determining the best plans in case of a fire or other emergency. Locating these basic parts of the house and planning ahead will serve you in the future.
Home Owners Association (HOA)
You may love homeowners associations or you may be skeptical. Either way, it’s important to review your HOA rules since each community has slightly different regulations. Find out what you can and can’t do in terms of renovations and decorations. Your HOA guidelines can also help you figure out what the trash and recycling collection schedule is, as well as many other important “need-to-knows.”
Make Your Vision a Reality
When you first looked at your new home, I am sure you imagined what it would look like with full paint, furniture and accessories. The first few months of living in your new home is the perfect time to bring that vision to life. Decorate your home in the manner you imagined so that you love it. You must make your home your own if you want to feel comfortable in it and proud of it.
Know Your Neighborhood
Your house doesn’t stand alone; it’s part of a whole community! So, don’t wait for your neighbors to come to you – go out and meet them. Your neighbors can become some of your closest friends. They can help watch your home when you’re away. The benefits are endless. Have kids? Your new neighbors may, as well. A playgroup or swim team may be up and running. Other residents may share your interests. Many a new home community has a vibrant club for movie buffs, travel aficionados, wine enthusiasts and more. Don’t find a group with your interest yet? Start one!
It’s also important to know your community for practical reasons. “Collect emergency information for the fridge — know the address and phone numbers of the nearest hospital, police station and fire station,” suggests Marc Jungers, president of Houston-based Grand View Builders. If you have pets, it’s a good idea to know where the closest vet and animal hospital are located. The more you know about your neighborhood, the more assimilated you will feel.
Housewarming Party
Once you and your family are settled and feeling comfortable, celebrate your home with friends, family and neighbors. Show off all the hard work and effort you put intomaking your new home beautiful and unique. In addition, as a bonus, some people have been known to bring gifts to these parties.
Relax
You’ve moved all your stuff in, contacted the proper places and businesses, and taken the steps to make your new house a home. What’s next? Relax, of course! Enjoy your new home, neighbors and community amenities. Sit back, unwind and bask in the success of creating a home made just for you.
Kathleen Ashcraft is a writer for NewHomeSource. You can find her on Google+.
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How to Choose a Neighborhood

Cotton States has been building homes and neighborhoods since 1972 and continues that tradition today. We have a variety of neighborhoods, floor plans and areas to choose from. From much sought after East Cobb, to the rolling hills of Cherokee County, Cotton States has the community you’re looking for. Here are some good tips by Liz Gray with HGTV, to get you started.

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If houses are like spouses, a neighborhood is like the extended family. But while you can have a good marriage and still dread holidays with the in-laws, you’ll never love a house if you don’t like your neighborhood.
How can you choose the right community? Become a neighborhood detective. Figure out what you’re looking for, do research and find a neighborhood that fits your description. You don’t even have to wear a trench coat — but it probably wouldn’t hurt.
Step 1: Profile Your Perfect Neighborhood
Before you start scrutinizing neighborhoods, turn the magnifying glass back on yourself.
Think about what you’re really looking for in a new neighborhood. Remember, you’ll probably have to make compromises, so put the “must-haves” at the top and the “would- like-to-haves” at the bottom. Not sure what fits your lifestyle? Here’s a list of 12 types of neighborhoods to get you started.
Here are some things to consider:
Do you have children or are you planning to have children anytime soon? Parents know that the first thing to do when looking at a neighborhood is to research the school system. Even if you’re single, living in an area with a much sought-after school system raises your property value. If you have kids, you’ll also want to live close to parks and community centers.
What type of home do you want? Are you interested in a single-family home or an apartment, townhouse or co-op? Read more about the different types of homes.
How far are you willing to commute? Do you plan to drive, walk or take mass transit to work? Do you have a car or would you be willing to get one?
Do you want to be in a historic neighborhood or a new development? Historic neighborhoods have tons of character, but often require lots of repair work and are governed by community associations with strict standards. Newer developments have more modern features, but are typically far from the city center. Read more about the different types of architecture styles.
What is your current community lacking? If you’re currently landlocked, but have always wanted to live on the waterfront, put that at the top of your list. If you’re a coffee junkie, having a Starbucks down the street may be a dream come true.
Do you want to be able to go places on foot? Would you like to be within walking distance of shops, restaurants and bars? Or would you be willing to drive to nearby businesses?
Think about what you don’t want in a neighborhood, too. If you can’t stand late-night noise, you’ll probably want to steer clear of the college area or an area with a lively bar scene.
Step 2: Zero In on the Area
If you’re moving within the same city, you may already know the various neighborhoods. Choose the ones that best match your list of wants. If you’re moving to a new city, you’ll have to do more research. Start by picking a part of town to search in. For instance, if your job is on the west side of town, start there. In a really large city, narrow it down to a few-block radius, say, SoHo in New York City. This will make your search more focused.
Step 3: Get the Suspects
With your area of the city in mind, start digging up information. Find interesting neighborhoods online, ask local real estate agents for recommendations and compile all the background information you can, including:
School information: Look into the local public and private elementary, junior and high schools, as well as daycare programs.
Crime statistics: Most real estate sites have statistics that tell you how the zip code’s crime rates measure up to the national average. If you want specifics, call the local police station.
Parks and recreation: How far is it to the closest park or recreation center?
Neighborhood associations: Does the community you’re looking at have one, and, if so, are there lawn or construction restrictions? Is there a yearly fee?
Tourist attractions: Get a guidebook or check out the convention and tourism bureau’s Web site to see all the city has to offer.
Step 4: Find the Clues
Once you’ve done the background research, visit neighborhoods that made the preliminary grade in person. There’s no better way to paint a real picture of life in the neighborhood. Use your senses to get a complete picture of the prospective community.
Sights:
Remember your first impression. What do you notice first about the neighborhood? Do the streets have curb appeal? Are the houses well-maintained? Do the shops and restaurants look hip and inviting? You’ll want to feel good about where you call home, and impress buyers when you’re ready to move on.
Visualize yourself in the neighborhood. Think of your daily routine. If you can’t live without a morning latte, is there a coffee shop nearby? Where will you walk your dog or go jogging? You’ll enjoy the neighborhood more if it’s easy to do what you like.
Observe the neighborhood at different times of the day. Driving through will help you get a snapshot of life in the community — good and bad. Do the roads turn into a parking lot after school or during rush hour? Are people using grills or decks in the evening? Are neighbors and kids socializing or do people keep to themselves? Are the streets well-lit at night? These visual clues can help you decide if you’ll fit in.
Make sure the local schools make the grade. Even if you don’t have kids, pay a visit to the nearby schools. High ratings are great, but seeing the buildings is much more telling. It will be easier to sell your house later if the schools are nice.
Look for warning signs. Be on the lookout for signs that the neighborhood is in trouble. Do you see abandoned buildings or vandalism? Are there a lot of “For Sale” signs or rentals? If the community goes downhill, so does your house’s value.
Sounds:
Stop and listen. Bird and nature sounds are generally pleasant, but what about noise from the highway, airport, hospital, train tracks or nearby clubs and bars? It’s not very relaxing to listen to trains screech by during your morning coffee — especially not every morning.
Talk to your future neighbors. Ask how they like the area, and get the dirt on anything they don’t like about the place. What do they want to change? What’s their favorite place to hang out? If they’re rude to you, they probably wouldn’t be good neighbors anyway.
Talk to more people. You’ll get the best information from regular people who aren’t trying to make a sale. (Read: not your real estate agent.) Hit up your waiter for information when you’re checking out the local food, or ask a gas station attendant to spill what they know about your chosen neighborhood.
Smells:
Specifically, are there any? You can’t experience unpleasant smells on the Internet and they’re not advertised in tourism brochures, but they can certainly affect your decision to live in an area. Take a big whiff of the air, and ask around if you smell any fishy (or just bad) odors.
Taste:
No, I’m not asking you to lick your prospective home’s mailbox. But ask yourself if the neighborhood matches your taste in a living environment — and if it meets your criteria. Just because it’s a nice neighborhood doesn’t mean it’s the one for you. If the neighborhood meets your list but still feels wrong, search out another area. Trust your gut feeling — after all, you’re the one who has to live there.
Step 5: Close the Case
You’ve chosen your neighborhood. Now for the hard part: finding a house you love. Luckily, you’ve narrowed it down to a few streets. Now, make sure to:
Find out how much house you can afford. The amount of money a lender offers you is often more than you can truly afford to pay. Use FrontDoor’s handy mortgage calculator to add all your current debts and see how much you can afford. You don’t want to be stuck eating ramen noodles for the next 15 to 30 years.
Compare your loan options. Ask yourself these basic questions to find out what mortgage is right for you. Decide between fixed and adjustable rate mortgages by using an online tool to see which loan term is best for you.
Draw up your vision of home. It worked for your neighborhood — now think about what you want in a home. Write your own vision of home and stick to it while you’re house hunting.

By: Liz Gray, HGTV

Top 25 High Schools in Georgia

Looking for a home in a top School District?  Atlanta Journal Constitution has just published the Top 25 Public High Schools in Georgia.   Cotton States Properties is proud to have subdivisions in some of Georgia’s best High School districts!

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Here’s a look at the top 25 public high schools in Georgia, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Criteria used to determine the rankings included how the school fared in comparison to others in its state, the academic performance of the school’s black, Hispanic and low-income students, its graduation rate and how students performed in Advanced Placement or the International Baccalaureate program.

The following is the top 25 list for Georgia. U.S. News & World Report reviewed 28,561 U.S. public high schools; 99 Georgia schools made its rankings.

 

1.Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology

970 Mcelvaney Ln

Lawrenceville

Gwinnett County

#27 Nationally Ranked

2. Columbus High School

1700 Cherokee Ave

Columbus, GA 31906

Muscogee County

#80 Nationally Ranked

3. DeKalb School of the Arts

1192 Clarendon Ave

Avondale Estates, GA 30002

Dekalb County

#102 Nationally Ranked

4. Savannah Arts Academy

500 Washington Ave

Savannah, GA 31405

Chatham County

#104 Nationally Ranked

5. Davidson Magnet School

615 12Th St

Augusta, GA 30901

Richmond County

#188 Nationally Ranked

6. Alpharetta High School

3595 Webb Bridge Rd

Alpharetta, GA 30005

Fulton County

#248 Nationally Ranked

7. Milton High School

13025 Birmingham Hwy

Alpharetta, GA 30004

Fulton County

#255 Nationally Ranked

8. North Gwinnett High School

20 Level Creek Rd

Suwanee, GA 30024

Gwinnett County

#286 Nationally Ranked

9. Chattahoochee High School

5230 Taylor Rd

Alpharetta, GA 30022

Fulton County

#300 Nationally Ranked

10. Walton High School

1590 Bill Murdock Rd

Marietta, GA 30062

Cobb County

#313 Nationally Ranked

MORE: read about graduation rates, camps and more

11. Northview High School

10625 Parsons Rd

Duluth, GA 30097

Fulton County

#328 Nationally Ranked

12. Johns Creek High School

5575 State Bridge Rd

Johns Creek, GA 30022

Fulton County

#374 Nationally Ranked

13. Decatur High School

310 North Mcdonough St

Decatur, GA 30030

Decatur City

#403 Nationally Ranked

14. Lassiter High School

2601 Shallowford Rd

Marietta, GA 30066

Cobb County

#428 Nationally Ranked

15. Roswell High School

11595 King Rd

Roswell, GA 30075

Fulton County

#446 Nationally Ranked

16. South Forsyth High School

585 Peachtree Parkway

Cumming, GA 30041

Forsyth County

#513 Nationally Ranked

17. Cambridge High School

2845 Bethany Bnd

Milton, GA 30004

Fulton County

#549 Nationally Ranked

18. Brookwood High School

1255 Dogwood Rd

Snellville, GA 30078

Gwinnett County

#555 Nationally Ranked

19. Pope High School

3001 Hembree Rd Ne

Marietta, GA 30062

Cobb County

#610 Nationally Ranked

20. North Oconee High School

1081 Rocky Branch Rd

Bogart, GA 30622

Oconee County

#644 Nationally Ranked

21. Chamblee Charter High School

3688 Chamblee Dunwoody Rd

Chamblee, GA 30341

Dekalb County

#685 Nationally Ranked

22. Lambert High School

805 Nichols Rd

Suwanee, GA 30024

Forsyth County

#691 Nationally Ranked

23. Harrison High School

4500 Due West Rd Nw

Kennesaw, GA 30152

Cobb County

#693 Nationally Ranked

24. West Forsyth High School

4155 Drew Rd

Cumming, GA 30040

Forsyth County

#709 Nationally Ranked

25. Oconee County High School

2721 Hog Mountain Rd

Watkinsville, GA 30677

Oconee County

#787 Nationally Ranked

 

http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local-education/these-are-georgias-top-25-public-schools-according/nq8DL/

East Cobb consistently a great place to live!

WesleyManor

East Cobb, well known for its beautiful neighborhoods, top performing public schools, low crime, abundant activities for families, and some of the lowest taxes in Atlanta, has long been one of the most sought-after communities in metro Atlanta. An affluent north Atlanta suburb located in unincorporated Cobb County, east of the city of Marietta, East Cobb has 169,000 residents, making it one of the largest suburbs in Metro Atlanta. Offering easier access to downtown Atlanta and the Airport than the neighboring cities of Roswell and Alpharetta, East Cobb is bordered by:

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Cherokee County and Hwy 92 to the north
Willeo Creek and Roswell in Fulton County to the north and east
the Chattahoochee River and Sandy Springs in Fulton County to the southeast
I-575, and the Marietta city limits to the west, and
Interstate 285 and I-75 to the south.Johnson Ferry Road is the major transportation artery between East Cobb and Sandy Springs. Its intersection with Roswell Road (Hwy 120 — the main artery between East Cobb and Roswell or Marietta) is one of the busiest is what many consider the heart of

Merchants Walk — Whole Foods

East Cobb. This area is called Merchant’s Walk, named after the shopping center near this intersection. The shopping center originally developed in the 1970′s has recently undergone a major redevelopment and includes a very nice mix of new boutique shops, restaurants, and a new Whole Foods fresh food market and gourmet emporium. To the east of the intersection is a popular shopping center called The Avenue shopping which contains many upscale shops like Williams Sonoma, Ann Taylor, and restaurants designed in a pleasant park-like atmosphere, complete with
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The Avenue — East Cobb

outdoor speakers playing soft music as shopper stroll among the stores. To the west of the intersection is the Indian Hills subdivision, which is built around an 18 hole golf course and is one of the first major residential developments in Cobb County.

Cotton States Properties offers 3 new home communities in East Cobb.  Those communities are Wesley Manor, Princeton Manor and our Newest addition, Highland Ridge Estates. Call Mark Judge with All Atlanta Realty for more information regarding  these quality crafted East Cobb homes at 770-403-5059.

 

Kennesaw: Voted One of the Top 10 Places to Live by Movato

 

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This Cobb County city is well known for its unique festivals and community events, like the Big Shanty Festival, filled with arts and crafts booths and delicious food.
According to our analysis, Kennesaw may want to add a few more things to its list of bragging rights, like a crime rate 48 percent lower than the rest of the state, and a quality life ranking of 18th overall. What’s so great about the quality of life here? Kennesaw residents enjoy a variety of amenities and a median household income of $61,355, one of the higher incomes in the state.

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Cotton States Properties is proud to present their thoughtfully planned community of Sutter’s Pond in Kennesaw:

Sutter’s Pond is a beautiful 66 lot conservation community located in West Cobb on the former farm of MLB “Hall of Fame” pitcher, Bruce Sutter. The 59 acres of land was developed with the idea of “bring families closer to nature.” With large open green spaces, meandering creeks, a 7 acre lake and groves of large hardwood trees, Sutter’s Pond truly is a special place with slightly curved streets, rolling hills and serene natural surroundings around every turn. With quality craftsmanship and superior design, Cottons States Properties can build your new dream home in this stunning community!