I just got back from a  family reunion in my home town of Park Ridge, New Jersey. Getting my children reaquainted with all their long lost cousins was a blast, albeit a bit overwhelming at times. We could tell that my mom was reaching critical mass and needed a few moments to herself before the 30 some odd family members arrived. My brother suggested that we all hike down to Bear Brook; our childhood hideaway. Not quite prepared in the jeweled sandals I was wearing, I had a memory flash of the time I went down there on Roller Skates and was no worse the wear.

Our journey was full of stories for the four cousins (ages 3-8), stories about our daredevil antics, wildlife encounters, and especially about our most prized treasures found in the brook; fossils, rocks, and crayfish. The kids were interested, but when we mentioned Dead Man’s Cave their eyes got big and they were hooked. Dead Man’s Cave was the local urban myth about a small cave in Bear Brook where a man was frozen to death one winter. The rumor was that if you looked hard enough into the cave you could see his skeleton. When we finally got to the cave and although there weren’t any skeletons, we found a chair that had fallen into the water. The children decided that the man died because he fell off his chair and into the water. Hence, the next generation has been inspired.

There is just something about going to a brook, creek, river, or lake that starts when you are a child and follows you the rest of your life. I’m writing this now with a sore back because I spent most of my visit to Bear Brook hunkered over looking for fossils, rocks, and of course, crayfish. This must be why I ended up in the North Georgia Mountains.  This whole area including Big Canoe is chock full of crystal clear creeks rushing down sheets of bedrock and splashing into pools under a canopy of everchanging hardwoods. Visitors that flock to this area and are often found in our creeks with their cuffs rolled up and shoes tied over their shoulders smiling, splashing, and searching for whatever it is they feel they might find.

Some believe life comes from water. I don’t know if it is true or not but given a choice I will always live near water.

Karin Elliott, IBA Mountain Homes

August 26th, 2010

Posted In: Big Canoe Real Estate

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2307yanoo-ext-2

This home must sell this weekend. Price has been dropped significantly and sold As-Is

If you are thinking about moving to the Big Canoe Community or looking for an investment home, 2307 Yanoo Trace has a lot to offer. Located only one mile from the North Gate and the Wildcat amenities this 4 bedroom, 3 bath home is perfect for families with young children. The quiet cul-de-sac leads to walking trails where you can enjoy all four seasons ensconced in the beauty of this 8,000 acre wooded community with clear rushing streams, wildlife, and state of the art amenities.

The owners of this home have done a complete renovation including wood floors throughout main level. The original kitchen was relocated from a closed in room to the great-roomwhere guests and hosts can mix and mingle from the large screen porch to the warm stone fireplace on the opposite side of the great room. The custom cabinets are striking and make quite an impression when entering the home. The original kitchen was opened up and converted to a dining room making the front entrance much more elegant.  A master and two guest bedrooms, one full bath, and a large laundry room complete the main level. On the terrace level the owners have added a media room. In addition the terrace level has a guest suite and family room.

The main level master has a double tray ceiling and a private sun-room/office overlooking the very private lot, dogwoods, and wildlife. The master bath has new travertine tile and plenty of space. Separate commode room, jetted tub, large shower, and double vanities are rare in this price range. The custom closet is a very efficient use of space.

Other mentionable notes are that the home is hardwired for a generator, and it there is new paint throughout. Compare this home to others at this price ($299,999) to appreciate the value. Please see below for slideshow and contact me for a showing via email or phone 770.655.4303

Karin Elliott-IBA Mountain Homes

August 25th, 2010

Posted In: Big Canoe Real Estate

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Congratulations! you found the home you want and you’re ready to make an offer. You have secured your loan, picked out furniture, planned the guest list for Thanksgiving Dinner, and you finally are ready to roll out an offer, but then Brrrr..here come the cold feet. Why? You’re not sure what to offer.

One of the toughest parts of purchasing a home is choosing the right initial offer. Thoughts swing back and forth from “I don’t want to insult the buyers” to ” If I go in at my highest price I won’t have room to negotiate”. Then there are the buyers who try to psyche out the sellers by coming out with a crazy number like $342,678, hoping the Sellers will think it is based on either a percentage, or Lotto numbers. There are so many techniques/idiosyncrasies to coming up with an initial offer that I sometimes get confused between real estate and Major League baseball.

Whether listing or buying there is one sure-fire way to make an offer and take away the jitters at the same time. Ask your agent for some comparable sales, aka comps in the neighborhood over the last 6 months. This can give a general idea of what Sellers are taking and it can give you an edge when negotiating. Because all the homes are so different, comps are not always that easy to find in a neighborhood like Big Canoe where the prices can range from 100K to nearly 3M. However, if you have an agent that knows the neighborhood and sales statistics by heart then you will have a big advantage. For example take the Laurel Ridge Section of Big Canoe. Last week one of my 5BR 3.5 BA listings closed at a selling price of 369K. I also have 362 Laurel Ridge listed (also 5BR 3.5BA) for 369K. It’s a realistic price and should sell very close to 369K because the homes in Laurel Ridge are very similar in style and view.

A good comp will have similar lots, bedrooms/bathrooms, age, and style. When buying a non-foreclosure home, foreclosures as comps are not always adequate because they are sold as-is with no disclosures. BUT if you add one foreclosure comp to every 5 non-foreclosure comps it should balance out to suit the current market competition. In conclusion be sure to know your neighborhood and how it is selling so you can get a bargain to brag about!

Happy House Hunting! (See 362 Laural Ridge below)
Karin Elliott-IBA Mountain Homes

362 Laurel Ridge, Big Canoe

362 Laurel Ridge, Big Canoe

August 4th, 2010

Posted In: Big Canoe Real Estate

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It’s been some time since I have posted but I couldn’t resist writing about this house! So many buyers are looking for the perfect second home that they can dart off to on the weekends. I have been waiting for this foreclosure to surface on the market and all of a sudden it popped up this morning hotter than toast! The best part about this darling chalet is that it would make a GREAT rental property too! Why not supplement with some rentals and use that extra income to pay the utilities and POA dues for the year? A 2 bedroom, 2 bath house like this could rent for about $130 per night or $700/week.

Yes, you will need to put some work into it but this home is NOT a trainwreck in any way shape or form. The floors will need refinishing. The kitchen could use some love, including appliances and a facelift. Please note that I am not an inspector but you are allowed to have an inspection period while buying a foreclosure. An inspector will be able to tell you more about the house including info about the HVAC, electrical, plumbing, roof, and potential structural issues.

Why did I choose this house to blog about? I have been selling and renting here for years and know Big Canoe like the back of my hand. This home wears all four seasons well and has all the charm that a second home buyer/renter is looking for in a weekend retreat. The location is far enough away from the village to provide plenty of privacy, peace, and quiet. BUT the trip out the house from the village is not a treacherous one. The winding roads gently rock you into a the feeling that you are a million miles away. Sit out on the front deck at night and wish on the shooting stars. OR watch the snow fall in winter through the alpine style windows while sitting beside the fireplace.  If you are willing to do a little work, you won’t regret snapping this home up for 145K. Enjoy the slide-show!

Feel free to call or email me with any questions.

Karin Elliott, IBA Mountain Homes
Selling the Big Canoe Community and the North Georgia Mountains.

August 2nd, 2010

Posted In: Big Canoe Real Estate

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When my clients contact me about moving to Big Canoe I am usually greeted with the same phrase that goes something along the lines of, we are ready to kick back and relax! That term can be interpreted many ways. Some buyers come here to downsize, others for a lifestyle change, or even to raise their children in a less congested environment. Whatever you are looking for you may want to take a look at 1054 Owls Brow because to me, it is the epitome of the Big Canoe lifestyle.

Starting from the gates, the decompressing drive over Lake Petit and through the emerald canopy of mature trees invokes a Walden Esque spirit. The winding roads mediate between rocking you like a gentle wind and swinging you like a samba until you pull into the circular driveway and are greeted by a welcoming front porch complete with swings and rocking chairs. This log cabin ranch on a terrace level features an open kitchen and great room, 2 private bedrooms and 2 private baths on the main along with a screen porch, stone fireplace, and wood galore. The terrace level has a large family room with a ping pong alcove and a large guest suite with a private bathroom. There is also a large lower deck.  Be prepared to entertain depending on the season have a crock pot of chili in fall and winter, or plenty of charcoal to barbecue for spring and summer.

After settling in you may feel like taking a walk to the Lake to fish or catching up with the neighbors. The Lakeside neighborhood is famous for it’s quite and gently sloped streets. Neighbors are often seen in the mornings or right after dinner casually sauntering down the streets with their faithful four-legged friends. The Indian Rocks Park and walking trails are a short walk down the road. Big Canoe’s parks all have some type of local history attached to them. The Indian Rocks Park is named for it’s mysterious rock cairns left by the Native Americans. The trail meanders over bedrock streams and eventually makes it’s way to crystal clear Lake Petit.

This home is unique because it is priced like a weekender at 289K but big enough for a full time home. If you plan to come up this weekend for the tour of homes be sure take a drive by to take a look. I will be here this weekend also if you are interested in a showing.

April 28th, 2010

Posted In: Big Canoe Real Estate

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Teaching My Kids to Fish

Teaching My Kids to Fish

 

This time of year always makes me think of fishing! My grandfather taught me to catch flounder in the Great South Bay in Long Island when I was the ripe old age of six. Since then I have enjoyed just about every type of fishing  with the only exception being ice fishing (not my cup of tea). My husband and I have just started bringing our kids out to the lakes in Big Canoe and teaching them the art of fishing.  Last Sunday was the perfect. It was about the third day and as the kids were getting the hang of it, more fish were ending up on our stringer. I couldn’t help but to compare this experience to real estate and realize how important it is to use every minute, even the slow ones wisely. Six years of higher education has helped me in many ways but both fishing and real estate require two very important skills that do not have  a “101” at the end,  patience and persistence. 

Like fishing, the career of a real estate agent is fairly simple.  A fisherman needs a pole, some bait on a hook, and of course  a body of water that has fish. A real estate agent needs marketing tools, buyers, and sellers. Aside from dumb luck neither the fisherman nor the agent will have any success if they are not familiar with their territory. for example; You shouldn’t hire a deep sea fishing guide from Florida to take you fly fishing in North Georgia,  just as you shouldn’t have a city agent find you a home in the north Georgia mountains. Then once again comes the 2 most important skills of all for both fisherman and agents, patience and persistence.

Many different conditions will affect the outcome of success when both fishing and selling real estate.

  • Attitude: Being positive does not cost anything whereas being negative can sink you. The fish will know and so will the clients. 
  • Climate is a huge factor: A storm on the ocean makes fishing dangerous, just as a poor economy makes selling a home difficult.
  • Too Much of a Good thing: a saturated market can lower the value of your home just as too many hooks in the water will lower your chances of catching the elusive trout.
  • Presence: You can’t force a fish on a hook but you can attract them to it and a home won’t sell if it is not advertised.
  • Technology: GPS, Depth Finders, graphite poles and invisible line are tools for fisherman. MLS, IDX , GPS, may look like the Roman Numeral for 1 million, but along with a strong Internet presence they are technological necessities for agents.

The old saying goes something like this: Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime. In the end we didn’t just teach our kids to fish, we taught them to love fishing! After catching several Tree Bass  they were a little discouraged but they used the slow times to  perfect their fishing techniques by casting into a bucket set at the end of the driveway. They practiced for days, went back to the lake,  and now we have a lot of trout in the fridge!  Parallel to the kids’ experience, I found that staying active and educated in real estate technology has given me a leg-up in this competitive environment. Having patience and persistence not only keeps my buyers and sellers loyal, but it also generates a lot of referrals which is by far the best compliment I can receive.

Whether on the buying or selling side my company, IBA Mountain Homes ensures your real estate experience with guaranteed patience and persistence.

April 21st, 2010

Posted In: Big Canoe Real Estate

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Tired of Sitting Around the House?

Tired of Sitting Around the House?

 

 

What’s to do in Big Canoe: Join the Club!

I’ve been promising myself for the last 5 years that I’m going to LIVE in Big Canoe one of these days. Yes, I live here but I’m a working mom and find it hard to squeeze out time to dive in to any extra-curricular activities. This being said I have joined a few friends and we are informally working on a movie club. This club is for chicks only and we focus on movies that our significant others would prefer not to watch. We are taking turns hosting Chick Flick Night and each attendee brings an appetizer, while the host picks a movie. The last one was at my house and we all watched Best in Show. It’s not really a chick flick but we had a ball watching it. To liven the snowy evening, I made a summery sangria! One of my favorite things about Big Canoe is that there truly is something for everyone.

If watching movies with a bunch of sangria sipping divas is not up your alley then there are about a million other clubs to choose from. There are so many book clubs here that they are running out of names, hence the No Name book Club! Depending on your style and personality, there is a book club for everyone. Heck, I think I’ll start the Cliff’s Notes Book Club, since I fall asleep the second I recline with a book. The Writer’s Club is also very popular, and some of the authors have even been published. If you are into dining socially then join Dinner 8, a rotating cooking club where 4 couples host a theme meal ex: Mediterranean Night. The hosts make the main course and the guests bring sides. Other fun social clubs include, the singles group, hiking, travel, knitting, quilting, and more.

Not all clubs are based on fun or hobbies. There are several volunteer, fellowship and support groups too including Big Canoe Animal Rescue, Good Samaritan Clinic, AA, Al-Anon, Elder-hostel, and grief support. Chapel clubs include Bible studies, Men’s Fellowship, a Handbells choir, youth and family fellowship.  The Ridgerunners and the Womens’ Guild are very popular also.

Regardless of what tickles your fancy in Big Canoe, chances are there is a club or organization for it. If not then you are free to start your own club and expand additional social opportunities, so you too can Live Well in the Mountains of Big Canoe. So, get off the couch and join a club!

Please feel free to email me for a full list of clubs and organizations.

Sincerely,
Karin Elliott, IBA Mountain Homes

March 24th, 2010

Posted In: Big Canoe Real Estate

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Just in case you are in the market for a high end foreclosure with a killer view, I stumbled across another goody on McElroy Mountain! This 4br, 3.5BA foreclosure is contemporary and sophisticated. The architectural design takes full advantage of the Mountain and Lake Views on McElroy Mountain in Big Canoe. Plenty of natural sunlight reflecting off the subtle curves in the kitchen and family room invoke feelings of total bliss. The round kitchen is as unique as it is efficient. The ample island has 2 full size under counter ovens. Gorgeous granite compliments the natural light and celebrates the outdoor spirit of Big Canoe. The master bath and shower are full of natural tile, while the over-sized master closet is truly elegant.

Enjoy the pictures of this home and let your imagination run free. It is far more amazing to see this home in person on a sunny day. Commuters are invited because this home is just a short ride to the North Gate. Amenities are only 5 minutes by car. The Big Canoe community, only a short 1 hour drive to Atlanta has golf, tennis, fishing, swimming, a marina, and a state of the art fitness center. Foreclosures are few and far between but when a great one pops up I feel compelled to write about them! At $689,900 this home has million dollar neighbors and is priced to sell! If you have any questions or would like to come up for a tour, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I live in the community too and would love to help you find a primary, secondary, or even a rental property in Big Canoe.

March 21st, 2010

Posted In: Big Canoe Real Estate

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Buck Right Outside Window of 9369 Wilderness Knoll

Buck Right Outside Window of 9369 Wilderness Knoll

Today is the first working day for Spring Forward and I’m ready to Fall Back right now! All joking aside I noticed right away how bad Spring Forward was when I drove the kids to school this morning and my beautiful sunrise up on Petit Ridge was still asleep. The sun did eventually rise and I saw something interesting on these brown mountains. At first I thought my eyes were blurred but then I realized that the trees have just starting to bud and it looks like spring may really be on the way this time! Time to get ready for warmer weather and Spring Cleaning.

My Lucky 7 Honey-Do Spring Clean up List

1. Pressure Wash: You may not have to wash everything, but focus on decks, trim and sidewalks.

2. Clean out the garage and donate to charities whatever you no longer need. Tate Elementary is having it’s Annual Garage Sale so call me if you want to donate anything (770-655-4303)

3. Prepare your yard and lay down a nice layer of pine straw or mulch. I have a great crew if you need one.

4. Have your windows cleaned so you can show off those gorgeous mountain views!

5. The Birds and the Bees-Keep some fake owls around to keep the birds from nesting in your gutters, or you will be paying the window cleaner more than you want! Check for wasp and bee nests before it gets too warm and there’s a problem.  

6. Dress up your decks and porches. Buyers LOVE  breathing in this mountain air. Give them an opportunity to rest for a minute and appreciate how wonderful your back yard and views are.

7. Get your chimney cleaned before you forget.

This was one of the coldest winters on record in Georgia. If it wasn’t snowing on the weekends, the rain was washing away the salt and gravel, leaving my house hunters to search for their homes online. From what I hear searching for homes in the rain is a great way to see how well the natural drainage is and whether or not there are any roof leaks. It also helps to see how the lighting is in the house, especially in places like kitchens and work rooms. If it is cold and windy while you are house hunting you may want to flick your Bic to check for drafts near windows and doors. Any air movement will pull the flame or even blow it out. Please do not do this near any window treatments or friends with long hair. Happy Spring!

Karin Elliott, IBA Mountain Homes 
Specializing in the Big Canoe Community and North Georgia Mountains

March 15th, 2010

Posted In: Big Canoe Real Estate

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Lake Tamarack in Bent tree

Lake Tamarack in Bent tree

Today I am pleased to announce that I am writing this post with the windows open and listening to the busy birds preparing their nests for Spring! After all the snow this winter it is truly music to my ears. Days like these are a gift. Since my feet are begging to go for a walk in the woods I’ll get straight to the point of my post, another amazing bargain!

If you have been house hunting in Big Canoe you may have heard about a similar neighborhood called Bent Tree. Today I found a super foreclosure in Bent Tree with spectacular mountain views,including a glimpse of sapphire blue Lake Tamarack! This 2008 home has 4 bedrooms, 3.5 bath, a 3 car garage and a fun terrace level with a full wet bar. I was shocked at all the upgrades this house has for only $324,900 including granite, 3 (Yes, 3)  fireplaces, coffered ceilings, tiled Master bath shower, and many architectural accents throughout.

Bent Tree’s amenities include golf, swimming, tennis, fishing, lake, equestrian facilities,  and nature trails for both riding and walking. It’s a short drive to Jasper and convenient to local restaurants, grocery stores, and shopping. There are two security gates, however only the main gate has guards.

See this link for pictures and the complete listing. Please call me for an appointment.

March 8th, 2010

Posted In: Big Canoe Real Estate

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