Springtime Sometimes Can’t make up its Mind!

Mother Nature is Definitely in Menopause! My poor blueberry bushes, all 140 of them, are not sure what to do. It’s Hot and Cold, and everything in between. I’m hoping for 2 things right now; April, the Giraffe needs to have baby!  and that Spring  gets itself in gear! All of Georgia is raining today, so I thought I’d write a little about Big Canoe and the North Georgia mountains.

Big Canoe and Bent Tree are gated mountain Communities in the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains, only a short 1 hour drive to to Atlanta. The air is clean and the roads are windy and full of scenic mountain and pastoral views. There are several other communities in the area as well and farms for sale too. My point is really to state that the whole community up here is a lot more relaxed. People talk in the grocery stores and just don’t seem to be so geared up like the Atlanta suburbs. There really isn’t a competitive attitude up here, but once you move up here there is a period of adjustment. I know this personally because I am originally from New Jersey! HaHa! I think Jersey would eat me alive now! 

So if you are looking for a mountain community with amenities and plenty of social clubs, consider big Canoe and Bent Tree. There are clubs for everything up here; boccie ball, gardening, travel, hiking, horseback riding, writing, cooking, dinner 8, Bunco, the Ridge Runners, and plenty more opportunities to be involved. 

Check out my website at: http://ibamountainhomes.com and take a look. Come on up any time! I look forward to seeing you. 

Karin Elliott/Broker* IBA Mountain Homes*770-655-4303




April 5th, 2017

Posted In: Big Canoe Real Estate

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Springer Mountain Stables

Springer Mountain Stables

I am shamelessly promoting my favorite outdoor activity in the whole wide world; Horseback Riding! I have found that people either love horses or hate horses, and there really isn’t room for the indecisive. I’m writing to convince at least on reader to give horseback riding a try.

If you have never ridden a horse, but want to try, I highly recommend that you go over to Gold Creek Stables in Dalonaga, Ga. Its about a 20 minute ride from North Gate and about 5 miles past Amicalola Falls off Wesley Chapel Road. They have calm horses that know all the trails and and have carried many different riders. They also have carriage rides.
I grew up riding hunter jump horses from the age of 6, but I never found a horse under the Christmas tree. After 30 something years I decided to bite the bullet and get a horse. I bought a beautiful but young Tennessee Walking Horse that I named Sundance.

In order to acclimate I had to relate to life outside of the ring. As a kid who knew how to move out on a horse I found riding trails to be very boring because all you could do was walk. However, I met up with a friend at the barn who showed me all the trails around Cochran Mountain and nearby trails that we could ride over to from our barn; Springer Mountain Stables. We climb and descend steep hills, run through meadows, creeks, and I have even taken clients out on horseback to see homes! It is Heaven on Horseback.

The Barn is about 95% middle-aged women and a few husbands. My husband wouldn’t know how to get there even if I croaked over because he has only been there once. BUT the BEST part about this barn is that you can keep a horse on 150 acres of unbelievable views for $100/month. Big Canoe is not far and I have a friend from Big Canoe that brought her horse there after she heard me talking about it.

Horses are a great stress reliever and they are not that expensive, especially if you pasture board, which keeps a horse happy rather than cooped up in a stall. There are online groups on Facebook that sell used tack and you don’t have to blow all your money at Dover Saddlery.
If you are considering a horse OR a HOUSE, feel free to contact me:
Karin Elliott

March 23rd, 2017

Posted In: Big Canoe Real Estate

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I’m lucky! Very Lucky! A few years back I stumbled across some clients with big ideas and ready to buy real estate in Big Canoe. They bought a little foreclosure from me and made a whole lot happen in a short period. We became a team and are now on our 3rd house. We have the Interior Designers, the Landscaping Designer, the General Contractor, The Broker (That’s me), and the Check Writer. We are all fairly good looking but not quite prime time otherwise we could have our own show.

Listing homes now is an art. You cant just pop a house with Waverly Ivy wallpaper on the market now and scream at your agent because it’s not selling. Buyers don’t want to do the work. They want to move in and not bother with updating. Nobody has time for that anymore when we are waiting for Giraffes to be born. (Local Atlantans will understand).

The KEY items to replace in your house if you really want to make it sell faster are as follows: Carpet is out, rugs over wood floors are in. Plastic Jacuzzi tubs are OUT, freestanding tubs are IN! Blinds are OUT, Drapes are IN, Bold Patterns are out. Monochrome is IN.
Family Photos are now all on your computers. Keep them there. Replace family photos with soothing natural pictures with a theme throughout the whole house. YES, your teen can have whatever they want in their rooms as long as the door is closed and it is fairly clean.

Can you make a dated house look new? YES, is the answer! you will need to do it right. Bigger windows, inviting entries, a consistent theme throughout the house aside from the teen rooms, haha. Kitchens are the heart of the home where everyone wants to be all the time. They are the central hub of the home. Make them spacious and provide seating for as many people as you can. Then Eat, Drink, and be Merry!

So in conclusion, don’t cut corners. Do it right or don’t do it at all. As one of my favorite clients always says, “Once and Done”, that’s the way to do it!

The Armchair Decorating Drill Sargent!

March 23rd, 2017

Posted In: Big Canoe Real Estate

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Springer Mountain Stables in Dahlonega

Springer Mountain Stables in Dahlonega

This week I am celebrating my 14th anniversary of living in the North Georgia Mountains! We left Duluth, Georgia and headed for the hills in a modern day wagon, the Ford Expedition. It was piled about as high as the Clampet wagon including 2 adults, 2 kids, 2 dogs, and 1 cat. Although the ride up there was less than pleasant, it was the BIG change that we all needed. Big Canoe was our new destination and we were ready for anything.  If you’re considering buying in the North Georgia area or in Big Canoe, please allow me a shameless plug of a great listing in Big Canoe.

Big Canoe was, and still is,  enchanting! Pulling through the gates into this emerald forest was instantly decompressing. We moved in and met a lot of friends with kids too. I worried how it would be living here with young children, but it was fantastic! There were so many activities for kids, grand kids, and even the young at heart. The amenities made us feel like we were in camp all year long! We loved the new house too. It was so close to the gate and easy to get in and out of Big Canoe’s North Gate. However, it was time to quit playing so much and get the business running.

Big Canoe is where I started my real estate company, Independent Broker Associates, Inc. I didn’t know a whole lot about real estate, but I had a passing grade and  lot of patience; coming from a 10 year background in Elementary Education. This was just before the website advertising wave. My husband set me up and we started advertising all over the place. It was wild fun and I couldn’t believe how easy  it was. It took a while for the other agents to allow me to join their gaggles, but I persevered, understanding that they were here first and many of them were already retired. Some actually reached out to me and gave me sage advice. Without them I would have had a tough time figuring everything out. For example, the roads. God Bless the person who came up with all those road names but, like a new pair of glasses, suddenly it became clear. I made up songs to sing when I didn’t want to get lost. THIS WAS BEFORE GPS! It’s TRUE! One day I may hold my own concert in Big Canoe where all wayward guests can learn my driving songs! HaHa!

So in honor of this week I will sing my road songs, breathe in clean air, do a happy dance of survival in the mountains and take a good long ride on my horse, Sundance, through these amazing Foothills and confirm that I made the right decision to live happily ever after. Whether you are looking to be in Big Canoe, Dawsonville, Dahlonega, on a farm, or in a subdivision, I can honestly say that life is better in the mountains. Come on down or up, I’ll leave the lights on for you!


Karin Elliott



March 20th, 2017

Posted In: Big Canoe Real Estate

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Lake Petit

Lake Petit

Hooray for coats, hats, and fluffy mittens! They can hide that extra serving of dressing like nobody’s business. Right around October I start to go into a holiday frenzy that usually doesn’t end until St Patrick’s Day! There is something magical that happens after Halloween when the weather gets cold and we can bundle up in sweaters as if we were suddenly given cart-blanche to throw our diets to the wind and enjoy life for all it is worth. We dust off our cookbooks and gather with friends we haven’t seen in a while. Up in the North Georgia Mountains there is rarely a dull moment during this season.

Fall weekends in Big Canoe are full of excitement whether it is a wedding reception or a family football game out on the play field. Weekend drives to festivals, farm markets, vineyards, or just to explore seem livelier knowing that you may be able to find the perfect gift for that special person. Coming home to a warm fireplace or stopping off for a bite first at one of the friendly restaurants is true nirvana.

Holidays are synonymous to celebrating, and in order to host a proper party with plenty of guests you will need some room to gather. After living up here for 10 years I have become very fond of a big open floor plan. It makes last minute drop-in gatherings as easy as pumpkin pie! The homes up here seem to follow through with my theory and if you throw in a finished basement then the kids have a place to watch movies.

So kick up your heels and prepare for the holidays Big Canoe style, with open arms and a warm heart. Cheers to all!

Here are some links to open floor plan homes in Big Canoe. Enjoy!

November 19th, 2014

Posted In: Big Canoe Real Estate

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Halloween Snow

Halloween Snow in Big Canoe

Halloween is the official kickoff to the holiday season. This guilt free holiday beckons all Big Canoers both young and old to put on their favorite costumes and roll down to the Wildcat parking lot in a Cadillac converted into a coffin, or a Trick or Treat Truck.  However, this year we had quite a surprise and Trunk or Treat was shut down a bit early.

Just to set the tone, my kids are at that age where I let them go to town making their costumes. They make their lists, and I purchase whatever gruesome and bizarre things appear on it. This year was busy and last minute. I didn’t have time to shop. They pulled their costumes together from every nook and cranny in the house. We arrived fashionably late in our truck full of pre-teen Trick-or Treaters. I had to make some real estate calls, so I sat in the truck for about 30 minutes while the kids visited with friends and gathered up all the candy they could find.

As I walked up to the crowd I was just in time for the Costume Contest! The first was the Boy’s Costumes. I saw the competition and thought OK bring it on. The boys fidgeted on stage as the judges made their thoughtful decision. Oh the joyful swelling of pride I felt as they announced the winner, my son in his home gathered costume, a horse headed banana. He won $10 and still has it 24 hours later. The girls contest had more competition. My daughter was an Animal Hoarder/Crazy Cat Lady but sadly she was beaten out by a pirate with a sword. As they say, you can’t win them all!

As soon as the contest was over it started to pour down rain and the forecast was calling for snow! We made it home in time for scary movies and got to watch some flurries on HALLOWEEN! That is amazingly early even for the North Georgia Mountains. Happy Halloween and Happy Fall!

November 6th, 2014

Posted In: Big Canoe Real Estate

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Who could ever say no?

The last thing that you think about when you move is which new vet to use. However, if you have pets you are going to need a decent vet up here. Luckily there are plenty of great vets in the Big Canoe area and their prices are much lower than in town. I don’t like to admit that I am that crazy dog lady with 3 dogs and then some, but I have come to terms with it and accepted that badge. I also have a cat, 1 horse, 5 goats, and 17 chickens. Did I really admit that out loud? So, when it comes to vets I am your go-to Gal.

There are several great vets around here that handle more than just cats and dogs. Dr. Haberman in Dahlonega has state of the art equipment and specializes in surgery.  He also takes care of the Big Canoe Animal Rescue pets. There are other options that are closer for quick trips, check-ups, and minor emergencies. Dr Crow in Marble Hill is great and just down the road from IGA.  Paws on Main in Jasper is unique because they are an after hours vet which is perfect since my pets only choose to get sick after hours.  We had to go there a few times, and they were very kind to all our animals. There is a big animal emergency hospital in Canton. I had to take my fake border collie there once when he got into a yellow jacket nest.

I just had to run my beagle, Brandy, to an emergency vet yesterday because her eye was in rough shape. I went to Wayside Animal Hospital in Jasper, and they worked us in with a smile.  It was my first time going to Wayside and they stayed open late for us. I told them my budget and they stuck to it, eliminating a very expensive test. Luckily her eye turned out to be OK. However, I saw a lot of emergency animal patients heading in and out, including a cat fight victim, a cat with cancer, dog with diabetes, and a few others.  The staff was very friendly and it was a short trip down Cove Road.

For most of us, pets are family! We try to do the best we can with our ARK. In conclusion my additional advice on vets would be to shop around and do some online research. We found that word of mouth is pretty good up here too.  It might not be a bad idea to keep basic vet meds and/or a pet emergency kit  on hand, and remember that the temperatures can drop pretty quickly at night so be sure you keep them warm and safe.

Last, just to tie this into real estate, here are a couple of  listings available in Big Canoe that are both close to the dog park as well as the Wildcat area.

 Local Vet Info for Big Canoe

  • Dr. Crowe – Marble Hills Veterinary Clinic – (770) 893-4865
  • Dr. Haberman – Foothills Veterinary Clinic – (706) 216-1356
  • Dr Lewis – Wayside Animal Hospital – (706) 692-2210
  • Paws on Main After Hours Vet Care – (706) 253-2266
  • North Georgia Animal Emergency – (706) 632-7879

October 23rd, 2014

Posted In: Big Canoe Real Estate

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If you are heading up to visit Big Canoe for the first time then you need to make sure you write down the directions the old fashioned way. This is because Big Canoe doesn’t always play well with GPS. The drive is pretty even if you get lost. Once you arrive at Big Canoe, you will need to FIND your destination.  Navigating through the 80 plus miles of paved road in Big Canoe can be tricky if you don’t know where you are going.  Sit tight and follow these simple and hopefully helpful notes about driving in Big Canoe.

  1.  YOU MUST HAVE A GUEST PASS OR A REAL ESTATE AGENT TO GET INTO BIG CANOE. Big Canoe  has 2 entry gates. Both gates are located on Steve Tate Rd in Marble Hill, Georgia.   Most visitors come through the Main Gate, but the North Gate is important too because it is where you will need to throw out your trash. Whoever you are coming to see will tell you which gate to take.
  2. Talk to  the security personnel!  They will be happy to provide you with  a handy map of the community. Maps can also be found on the POA website at:   http://www.bigcanoepoa.org/getmedia/accfe4f3-1dd0-4908-9ee6-117e14973014/Big-Canoe-Road-Map-2013_09.aspx.
  3. The main road, Wilderness Parkway is a horseshoe through Big Canoe and it connects North and Main Gate.  Repeat it as your mantra on your first trip, Wilderness Parkway, Wilderness Parkway.
  4. In the center of Big Canoe you will find the center of the Big Canoe Community. There is a post office, fitness center, swim and beach club, tennis courts, and even a chapel. This is important to know because if you do become lost, THE WHITE ARROWS ON THE STREET SIGNS WILL LEAD YOU TO THE VILLAGE! Hooray, so now you are on the horseshoe and can hook right into Wilderness Parkway.
  5. If you are like me on my first visit, you will be driving for 30 minutes and wonder if you are still in Big Canoe. Guess what, yes you are still inside Big Canoe. The only way out aside from emergency exits are to go through North or South Gate.

So now you have earned your navigation badge for driving in Big Canoe, Congratulations!

Also, remember that you may contact me anytime at (770) 655-4303 to schedule a tour of the Big Canoe Community and look at the latest Big Canoe homes for sale!

~Karin Elliott

*Quick footnote regarding cell service. ATT and Verizon work best. All the other companies have sketchy reception at best.

October 20th, 2014

Posted In: Big Canoe Real Estate

Living in the Big Canoe Community is serene, but where do we go when we need to shop for groceries and go out to eat? Most of the time we just head over to Jasper. Located at the base of Appalachian  Mountain foothills Jasper, Georgia is known as the First Mountain City.  Jasper, the county seat of Pickens county has a real official Main Street complete with charming brick buildings, hand painted Coca-Cola muriels and a plethora of  locally run businesses and restaurants. Conveniently located just off 515 you can dart up to Jasper from Atlanta with only a few turns.

There is a lot of history and tradition in Jasper. Many of the street names are familiar here as a lot of the families are original and still currently residing many generations later here in Jasper and Pickens County. Jasper has it’s own jail house located in the center of town only steps away from the courthouse. Though it’s just a museum now it was active until about 1982. Have no fear, you won’t get thrown in the  Pokey for jaywalking the streets of Jasper, because there are plenty of crosswalks. However, you may get in trouble if you don’t pull over during a funeral procession; an old traditional courtesy that has been lost in larger cities. Plan to spend some time while in town because you are bound to run into friends. Did I mention that Jasper now has a Walmart?

Homes in Jasper range from farms to townhomes but the average Jasper home has a big lot, some shade trees, about 3 to 4 bedrooms and a lot of them even have pastoral views. The oldest Jasper home I found in for sale ws built in 1930, but the majority of the homes for sale are not more than 20 years old. Jasper home prices are from $40K up to over $1M with the average home falling in the mid $200K range. Some of the popular subdivisions are Big Canoe, Bent Tree, Jordan’s Crossing, Arbor Hills, and Hunters Ridge.

If you wish to do a search for homes in Jasper, go to my site and select Jasper for the city search. If you would like to see certain subdivisions, select search and then on the next page you can narrow your search to the subdivision of your choice.

Have Fun!
Karin Elliott-IBA Mountain Homes

September 21st, 2010

Posted In: Big Canoe Real Estate

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 Big Canoe Foreclosure

I just learned some fantastic news about Fannie May! Apparently even the foreclosure market has been slowing down, leaving  Fannie Mae with a huge inventory of homes. This is a big advantage for those buyers who are looking for a great deal. New loans are being offered as low as 10% down, no PMI, and lower credit scores are qualifying all the way down to the 600’s! If  you are looking for a North Georgia or Big Canoe foreclosure, now is the time to get serious.

This is simple 2 step process:

1.Pre Qualify with Fannie Mae before you start looking. Email of call me for more details.

2. Most of my readers are either in Atlanta or out of state so it is very important to secure a local agent (hopefully me) that can save you hours of driving around and getting lost. Having an agent that knows the territory can ensure that you won’t be purchasing a home near the future site of a landfill. There is a misconception that you will save money if you purchase a home without an agent. However the truth is that there is a commission already built in that will go to an agent who represents the bank, not you. So, why not go for the guidance and representation of a local agent?

These homes are promised to be in move in condition, but please take this with the understanding that not everyone lives the way you do, so plan to do a lot of work. Also, please note that not all foreclosures are Fannie Mae. You can only get the loans if you purchase a Fannie Mae foreclosure.

So let’s roll up our sleeves and find a foreclosure!!
Karin Elliott-IBA Mountain Homes

September 8th, 2010

Posted In: Big Canoe Real Estate

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