Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Quiet Cul-de-sac Street - Parkview High School

556 Beth Court, Lilburn, Gwinnett County, Georgia. 4 Bedrooms, 2 Baths. Bedroom and bath on main level. Sunroom, Bonus Room, Family Room, Living Room, $199,900. This is a meticulously maintained and beautifully updated home in Hanarry Estates in Lilburn. The exterior is high quality and low maintenance vinyl siding, and architectural roof shingles. The home has been freshly painted inside and out and features all neutral wall colors and flooring.

The fully remodeled and expanded kitchen features warm wood cabinets, solid surface countertops, tile back splash, and new appliances. You'll never be able to fill all the cabinets, roll out shelves, and built in pantry space! Truly the heart of the home, this kitchen is large enough to accommodate a large table and center island with plenty of room to spare.

You'll find extra storage in garage built-ins, a bonus room over the garage, and large outbuilding with double doors and electricity.

Lush landscaping includes a variety of perennials, flowering trees, and low maintenance shrubbery. An in-ground irrigation system serves the front and back yard. The fenced back yard is a private paradise, with an expansive lawn, secret gardens, and ornamental streams, waterfalls, and ponds.

Hanarry Estates offers optional membership to Hanarry Swim and Racquet Club with lighted tennis courts, swimming pool, clubhouse and playground. This is an active Alta Tennis and Swim Team community, convenient to Mountain Park and Lilburn Park, schools, libraries, shopping and restaurants. It is an easy commute to Emory and CDC. Parkview High School is among the best schools in Georgia.

Be sure to take the Virtual Tour, linked from this page: http://www.patsabin.com/556.html

Friday, August 22, 2008

New Listing - 5 BR, 4 BA in Parkview HS Cluster

This is an immaculate home in a quiet neighborhood in the sought after Camp Creek Elementary School district (Parkview High School) in Lilburn. It features two bedrooms and two full baths on the main level, and three bedrooms and two baths upstairs.

The back yard is a peaceful paradise, large, level and fully fenced. The in ground swimming pool is ready to enjoy for the rest of the summer (plenty of time left to swim this year!).

Freshly painted inside and out, new carpeting, and renovated baths and kitchen make this an excellent value. All the work is done. Just move in! Listed for $199,900. No basement, but plenty of storage space! Click on the title above to take the virtual tour.

The Olympics in Beijing

I don't know how everyone else is feeling about the 29th Summer Olympics, but I've been more engaged than I have been for years. China has been an exceptional host to these games, and the opening ceremony was a stunning event that will never be topped.

I've enjoyed some of the sports that have gotten little camera time, like trampoline, synchronized diving and swimming, and rhythmic gymnastics, in addition to the typical audience favorites. I find myself looking at all of the young people representing the USA in these games, their varied skin colors and heritage, and thinking how amazing it is to live in a country that is so diverse. I've also been so impressed with how affectionate the coaches of all countries have been with their athletes, even when they have not performed as well as they'd hoped.

Anyway, I'm so proud and uplifted by the whole experience. It's just what the world needs right now!

Sunday, August 3, 2008


4253 Smithsonia Drive, Tucker, DeKalb County, GA 30084
3-4 Bedrooms, 2 Baths, Fenced Yard $237,900

I'm so excited about this new listing in Tucker in the exceptional Livsey Elementary School district. It is a light filled, dramatic plan with hardwood floors, two-story entry foyer, and dual staircases to the second floor bedrooms in separate wings. The kitchen is adorable, with see through glass cabinets, breakfast bar, and updated appliances. The finished lower level offers a huge recreation room with built in bar and door to the back yard, and a 4th bedroom/den. The back yard is enormous, level, private and fenced. Close to Emory, CDC, Mercer University, Decatur and Atlanta. Be sure to take the Virtual Tour at http://www.patsabin.com/4253.html (or click on the title above). See you there!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

New Listing In Lilburn - Swim Tennis Community

3 Bedrooms, 2 Baths, 2-Car Garage. Offered at $154,900

Spotlessly clean and meticulously maintained by the original owner, this house is an exceptional value in this price range! It has been recently painted inside and out, and all kitchen appliances are included.

Huntington is an older John Wieland swim-tennis community in Lilburn, convenient to I-85, Gwinnett Place Mall, shopping and restaurants. Optional membership to the swim and racquet club is available at a modest annual cost and includes pool, tennis and playground.

This lovely home features a rocking chair front porch, long windows, entry foyer, formal living room, formal dining room, eat in kitchen, and large family room with huge stone fireplace with gas logs.

All bedrooms are very spacious with good closet space. The master bedroom has two closets!

Monday, May 19, 2008


1493 Baron Court, Stone Mountain, Gwinnett County, GA 30087
4 Bedrooms, 3 Full Baths, Full Daylight Basement, Private Level Back Yard on Cul-de-Sac. $285,000. WOW! This gracious home in the Mountain Park area has totally renovated kitchen and baths with granite counter tops, upgraded plumbing and light fixtures, new hardware, and whirlpool garden tub!

There's a huge bedroom with full bath on the main level that could be a second master bedroom. The master bedroom on the second level is bright and spacious with two walk-in closets and a FABULOUS all new bath!

All the rooms in this lovely traditional home are filled with natural light. The formal living and dining rooms are very large and perfect for entertaining. The vaulted family room features a brick fireplace with gas logs, built in bookshelves, and hardwood floor. The full sized laundry room leads to a private home office, sewing or craft room. The full daylight basement offers tons or storage or future rec room or exercise room.

Minutes from Mountain Park Park and Aquatic Centers, Mountain Park Library, Stone Mountain Park, Yellow River Park and Bike Trail, shopping, and restaurants. Gwinnett's sought after Parkview High School cluster! Multi media tour coming soon. Click on the title above!

Friday, May 2, 2008

New Listing! Walk to the Lake! Grayson Area

330 Lake Valley Drive, Loganville, Gwinnett County, Georgia 30052

at Grayson Manor Subdivision

I'm so excited about this super clean and meticulously maintained home that I have the pleasure of offering for only $163,900. What a great value! It's built of low maintenance stacked stone with vinyl siding. It is beautifully landscaped and has a private, level, wooded back yard. Walk right down the street to the Grayson Manor swimming pool, lighted tennis courts, and lake.

Every room is spacious and filled with natural light. Some of the special features are surround sound, upgraded light fixtures, and 2" plantation blinds. All kitchen appliances are included: Side-by-side refrigerator, electric range, dishwasher, and built-in microwave.

The owner's bedroom features a HUGE divided walk-in closet, and a bath with double sink vanity, garden tub, and separate shower.

Grayson Manor is directly across from Vines Gardens, and is convenient to historic Grayson, Bay Creek Park, Tribble Mill Park, shopping and restaurants.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


I have been so fortunate to get listings this year in great condition and in super nice areas. This latest listing is a 4 bedroom, 3 bath home on a .48 acre lot in the Mountain Park-Trickum-Parkview school cluster in Gwinnett County. It has a bedroom and full bath on the main level. It's a slab foundation but has tons of space in the large 2-car garage with separate storage room.

The back yard is HUGE and level, surrounded by azaleas and shade trees. Really a slice of Heaven! The large brick paito is perfect for afternoon iced tea or a big cook out. Priced at $189,500, this is the best value for a 2-story home in this school district. Be sure to take the virtual tour linked above at http://www.patsabin.com/4671.html.

Monday, April 14, 2008

New Oldies Radio Station in Atlanta!

I know this doesn't have much to do with Gwinnett County and real estate, but I was so excited to find out today that Oldies Radio in Atlanta is back on 106.7 FM. I'm sure the country radio fans were disappointed to loose their station, and I know just how they feel. It's been over a year without oldies in Atlanta!

As a child of the 1950's and 60's, the old rock and roll music still makes me roll the windows down and dance in my car at stop lights! My older sister and I attended almost every concert that came through Atlanta in the 1960's, and our parents would drop us off at the old Municipal Auditorium and pick us up after the concert (even on school nights, which is amazing). Most concert seating was not reserved, so as soon as the doors opened, hundreds of teenagers would run down the aisles to get the best seats. Between 1964 and 1966 alone we saw the Beatles, Peter and Gordon (twice), Chad and Jeremy, Stevie Wonder, Tom Jones, Billy Joe Royal, Gary Lewis & The Playboys, Paul Revere and The Raiders (6 times!), Herman's Hermits, The Animals, Mamas & Papas, The Turtles, and Iron Butterfly.

I continued to attend great concerts throughout college and after moving back to Atlanta. Many years later, we attended the Oldies concerts at the old Fulton County stadium (before it was moved to the Omni (?) - but the acoustics were terrible there). Over the years, we attended smaller free outdoor summer concerts sponsored by Fox 97 (my favorite was Johnny Rivers, who is better than ever).

If you are an oldies fan, tune in to 106.7 FM http://www.trueoldies1067fm.com/uc/.

If you were a big fan of Fox 97 and Randy and Spiff in the morning, check out Spiff's blog:
http://spiffhappens.blogspot.com/ I'm hoping that we'll get some of the old Fox 97 gang back together on oldies radio in Atlanta.

Happily Stuck in 1968.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Power Of A Household Budget

I've become a Budget Geek.

Like so many people who grew up during the boom years after WWII, I never learned to do much financial planning. I managed to save for two years to purchase my first home at age 30, but beyond the down payment and closing costs, there never was a budget. If I had money in the bank, I spent it. If I didn't, I charged it or postponed vacations or purchases. It never occurred to me not to give myself everything I desired if I could swing it. Sound familiar?

In working with home buyers for the last twenty+ years, I've encountered the same attitude in first time home buyers as well as seasoned buyers. The lender tells us we can qualify for $XXX,XXX, and instills in us the confidence that the loan and monthly mortgage payment will be a piece of cake!

The lender really doesn't know (or care) anything about our real lives, our personal interests and obligations - not the kind that show up as debts on the credit report, but things like tithing to church, contributions to charity, children's extracurricular activities, hobbies, vacations, out of pocket health expenses, etc., etc.

Other things the lender doesn't consider are daily costs of living and maintaining a home. It's not just the rising cost of adjustable rate mortgages that have strapped homeowners, it's the rising cost of everything else, like utilities, food, insurance, and gasoline. The costs to maintain a home are unavoidable. When it's time to paint, or replace a water heater or roof, it must be done.

This is why it is important to create a realistic budget before planning your home purchase. That way, no matter what your lender tells you you can afford, you'll know what is realistic for you for a long term commitment to a home.

If you haven't already done so, take the time to track your expenses over the last 12 months. To come up with averages, add all the expenses for one category and divide by 12 for a monthly average. For annual, semi-annual, or quarterly expenses like car insurance or dues, take the 12 month total and divide by 12. That's the amount that you should budget every month so that the money will be available in reserve when the bill comes due. If you haven't kept a record of clothing purchases, "fun money" like movies, DVDs and eating out, you may need to estimate your monthly expenses just to get started.

Next, create a monthly budget using your real numbers from the last 12 months and your estimates of unrecorded purchases. Don't worry about any money that comes out of your check before you get it, like IRA contributions, health insurance, income tax. Just budget your "take home" money.

My strongest advice is BE HONEST. This is your budget, and it won't do you any good to lie to yourself. If you have a partner, you need to create this budget together. There are several great software programs that are an enormous help in planning and in tracking expenses. Just search Budget Software on the Internet. I use YNAB.

Your budget may include categories like Mortgage/Rent, Home Maintenance, Utilities, Phone and Internet, Cell Phones, Groceries, Pet Care, Cleaning and Paper Products, Health Care, Car Payment(s), Car Insurance, Car Maintenance, Gasoline and Car Washes, Car Tag, Credit Card Payments, Restaurants, Clothes, Cosmetics & Hair Care, Church, Charities, Vacation, Short Term Savings, Fun Money.

Don't ignore the "small change" items, because they add up. Most people are surprised at how much they spend on fast food and incidental items each month. That's money that can go toward paying off debts and into emergency savings.

Budgets always need tweaking after the first month or two, but you should have a realistic idea of how you've been spending your money. If you are buying your first home, or are moving up to a larger home, your budget will increase. Suze Orman recommends saving that estimated increase for six months before making a home purchase. In other words, if your new monthly payment will increase by about $300, and you'll need $200 more for utilities, and another $200 a month for maintenance, make sure these extra expenses will fit into your current budget. If not, is there something else that you are willing and able to give up?

I believe that home ownership can mean great personal satisfaction and the best investment you'll ever make. If you get started with a budget based on your real life and priorities, you'll be able to move forward with confidence in your decision to buy your first or your next home.


Thursday, April 10, 2008

New Listing in Brookwood High School Cluster

I'm pleased to present this stunning home in the Brookwood High School cluster in Lilburn, GA. Built in 1999, it is located on a quiet cul-de-sac street in Brookwood Corners, convenient to schools, shopping, and Ronald Reagan Park and Dog Park.
Some of the special features include a 2-story foyer, banquet size dining room, formal living room, 2-story family room, spacious kitchen with center island, hardwood floors, and all kitchen appliances included. Also on the main level is a home office which could also be an exercise room, playroom, library, or extra guest space.
Upstairs is a HUGE master bedroom suite with sitting room and luxurious bath, three secondary bedrooms, and a large hall bath.
The back yard is private and wooded. NEW PRICE, July 22nd: $238,900! Take the tour by clicking on the title above or going to http://www.patsabin.com/1080.html !

Monday, March 31, 2008

Photos of Lilburn, GA March 2008

I thought I'd show a few pictures of the spiffy renovations of Old Town Lilburn. I took these on Easter Sunday, a beautiful sunny early spring day. The photos above are views of Lilburn Park, the Main Street shops and restaurants with the new sidewalks and brick paving, and City Hall with the new plaza in the foreground.
Lilburn is one of the quaint small towns in Gwinnett County that has done a great job of promoting its history, charm, and convenient location to attract visitors and new residents.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A House Finch's Housing Market

It's a buyer's market for sure.

The very day that my hanging baskets were put out on the front porch, a very nice looking House Finch couple showed up. At first I was apprehensive. I know that I put the baskets out there, but am I really committed to this process? What if it's a big hassle? What if they kill my plants? However, this really is a much better looking couple than the sparrows I had last year. Mr. F. has a bright red head.

A week went by with my prospective "buyers" visiting the basket every day. They would spend the longest time in conversation about the house and the neighborhood while I anxiously peered out the window. Finally, they seem to have made a decision, but the slightest thing made them so skittish. Sometimes it was the cat sunning on the porch right under the basket. Or, possibly they had second thoughts about a home just outside my kitchen window. I wondered, "Will they get buyer's remorse?"

The yard man came yesterday to cut the grass, and made a lot of racket. I felt that I needed to go out and apologize to Mrs. Finch. What if I loose this sale? After all, there are so many other baskets out there, and it's possible that they are still looking at other locations on weekends.

Mrs. F. absolutely hates for me walk through my kitchen, never mind peering around the corner of my foyer, hoping that she won't spot me. I can't seem to do anything to please her. Her husband is very aloof. Sometimes, he just studies the situation from a nearby branch. I can't read him. Until the eggs are laid and the babies are hatched (the CLOSING DATE), I don't think I'll be able to relax.

Updates to come....

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Master on Main 4 Sides Brick Gwinnett $229,900


If you know anyone who is looking for mostly one level living and an almost new 4-sides brick home in Gwinnett County, tell them about this new listing in Lawrenceville, Georgia! Located on a quiet cul-de-sac street in Courtyards of Sugarloaf off Sugarloaf Parkway and Five Forks Trickum Road, it is close to everything!

Built in 2005, this home includes all the latest features and quality materials. Construction is low maintenance brick on all four sides. It has covered front and back porches, and a level driveway and level, fenced back yard.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

New Listing - Mill Creek High School $334,900

I'm so excited about my new listing in Turtle Creek Lakes! This is a stunning professionally decorated 5 bedroom, 4 bath home with a full daylight basement in Lawrenceville, Gwinnett County, Georgia. It was built in 2002. There is a guest room and full bath on the main level. Among the many amazing features are the luxurious master suite with double trey ceiling, full sized sitting room, gorgeous trim, his and her closets, and huge bath with whirlpool tub. There is a charming screened porch which overlooks the spacious fenced back yard (with in-ground irrigation system). The gourmet kitchen is ideal for large gatherings.
Be sure to take the Virtual Tour! http://www.patsabin.com/2115.html

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Early Spring in Atlanta!

Among the many things I love about Atlanta are the changing seasons. We had a lovely one-day snowfall in January with little effect on our roads. I just looked out my back windows yesterday and saw daffodils beginning to bloom in the woods. Spring is here!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Historic Lawrenceville Georgia

Lawrenceville has been the county seat of Gwinnett County since the first courthouse was moved here in 1820. Still a charming and thriving city of Victorian homes, historic sites, restaurants, shops, and the newly relocated Aurora Theatre, Lawrenceville offers many ways to spend an enjoyable afternoon or evening.

After Lawrenceville was incorporated in 1821 the population began growing, and businesses relocated to the new county seat. In 1829 Lawrenceville had forty dwellings, ten stores, ten machine shops, three law offices, three doctors, one academy, one Methodist church, one Baptist church and one Presbyterian church.

In 1832 ten acres were set aside northwest of Lawrenceville for the Lawrenceville Academy. The Lawrenceville Female Seminary was incorporated by the General Assembly in 1837, and a two story brick building was erected by Daniel Killian in 1838 (now the Gwinnett History Museum). In 1893 a public school system was created in the town, and a new building was erected.

The historic courthouse was the third built on this site, completed in the 1880's, updated in 1903, and expanded in 1935. It was used until 1988 when the new Gwinnett Justice Center was built. It houses the Gwinnett County Historical Society and is used for meetings and exhibits. The City of Lawrenceville and local merchants host concerts on the green during the summer.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Metro Atlanta Housing Market

The good news is that in metro Atlanta, buyers are buying and sellers are selling! Don't let anyone tell you that this is a flat market - 2007 was one of the busiest years I've experienced in over 20 years of full time residential real estate.

Because of the subprime lending debacle and years of mortgage fraud, it's true that we have a little more inventory than we would like to have. However, Atlanta's industry is mostly service based, and people will always be moving in and out of metro Atlanta. When you watch the 6:00 news, remember that it's all LOCAL. We did not experience double digit inflation of housing prices, and we do not have a bursting bubble!

Don't get discouraged! There are buyers out there! If your home is PRICED RIGHT, in GOOD CONDITION, and STAGED PROPERLY, it should compete well in the market. In today's climate, no amount of marketing can overcome the above. REPAIR or REPLACE anything that you know is worn out or not working properly.
If you have a home that is ten years or older, it might be a good investment to have an independent home inspection. The cost is about $300-$450 for most homes. Keep in mind that the purpose is to identify defects, so be prepared to repair, replace or disclose to prospective buyers.Particularly if your home was built from the mid-80's through the mid-90's, it may have pressed wood siding, synthetic stucco, and/or polybutelene plumbing.
For prospective buyers and their agents, it's VERY important to have these items inspected and corrected before listing. If your home has a Septic System, and if you haven't had it pumped in the last three years, expect to have it pumped and inspected. Buyers who are unfamiliar with septic systems will be encouraged, knowing that it is in good maintenance and repair. Remember, from an inspector's point of view, there is a difference between normal wear and tear and deferred maintenance.

PACK, PAINT AND CLEAN. Agents and buyers use the Internet to search for homes, and a home that is filled with color and accessories may just look cluttered in photographs. Minimize plants, wall hangings, and knick knacks. Store or get rid of extra furniture, and arrange remaining furniture in an attractive and sensible patter.If you have a lot of wall color, paint in a warm neutral color (cream to light gold). If you are planning to buy new bed linens for your next home, think about doing it now. It may help to sell your home, and you can take them with you!Clear off kitchen and bath counter tops to make the rooms look brighter and more spacious.
Turn on lights and open the blinds!!!!! This is not a good time to be stingy with light bulbs and utility bills. Replace burned out bulbs, and add lighting to dark rooms. Buyers like to see a bright, cheerful home when they walk through the door. If your home is going to be vacant, consider spending $100 or so to add just a few colorful towels, kitchen and mantle accessories.
Photograph your home from the curb, and compare it to photographs of other homes listed in your area. If the home is obscured by trees, consider removing one or two. If the lawn is not crisp and clean, have it professionally maintained, edged, and leaves blown off. If at all possible, park in the garage with the doors closed. If the trim, gutters, or front door area look worn, it's time to paint. For a buyer looking at hundreds of homes, the first impression may be the only shot you'll get.