Category Archives for "Decatur Homes"

Decatur Homes – Clairmont Heights Neighborhood

Renovated Decatur home with well-kept lawn and walkway

Decatur Homes - Clairmont Heights Area History

Clairmont Heights and the surrounding Decatur neighborhoods have an interesting history.  Clairmont Heights Civic Association put together an intriguing history of Decatur real estate in this area.  Clairmont Heights was developed after a lottery of Creek Indian lands in 1821 by the State of Georgia, when 202+ acres were transferred to individuals.  According to local historians ,by 1860, most of the land was owned by Ezekel Mason, an esteemed citizen of Decatur who died in 1879.  His widow then ran a profitable mill in the area called Mason's Mill.  Remnants of the Mill and the old Decatur Waterworks are still visible along the recently constructed pathways in the area and can also be accessed through several Decatur parks.

Original plats date from 1946 for the development of Clairmont  Heights and records show that the first areas developed were North Superior to Superior Place, Park Lane to Superior Place, Webster Drive to Clairmont Circle, and Clairmont Circle to Emory Woods.

A neighbor on Park Lane told me she was renting a home on North Decatur at the time they were developing the neighborhood and watched them build her home on Park Lane. She used to walk by the property every evening and imagine living there. She was so impressed with the quality of the homes that she talked her husband into purchasing one of the first homes built in the neighborhood!

Wikipedia indicates that the North Decatur area was originally developed as a suburban community to Atlanta.

While Clairmont Heights is no longer quite as suburban today with considerable ongoing commercial development in the area, the proximity to Emory University,  Atlanta midtown, Virginia Highlands, downtown Decatur events, shopping centers and a great school system, make the area a favorite for homeowners who want the convenience of in-town living and the hospitality of a friendly neighborhood.

Fixing up the House – De-clutter First!

Young Decatur Couple with daughter laughing

If you've lived in your house for any length of time, chances are good that it could stand an overhaul.  And, if you are contemplating the sale of your Decatur home in the near future, a few tips might be useful.

Many young families have rooms in their home that serve multiple purposes - dining rooms turned into toy rooms, closets that are overflowing, and hallways jammed with strollers, shoes, and play equipment.  Older homeowners often have homes that are are filled with years of accumulation - their collections and those of their adult children. Most of us could use some de-cluttering advice:

Whatever your circumstances, here are some handy tips compiled by the National Association of Professional Organizers for beginning the job:

  • Thomas Jefferson said "I find the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have".  This seems especially true when faced with a major project like decluttering.
  • Kitchen - Consolidate things that work together, such as baking pans, electrical appliances, and pots and pans.  Get rid of all mis-matched plastic containers or duplicate items you never use.  Remove outdated food staples and spices.
  • Kid's Room - place bins and boxes on lower shelves so a child can put away toys, provide low hooks to hang up sweaters, jackets, book bags, etc., donate old or unused toys on a regular basis, make or buy a hall storage unit to store outdoor equipment, coats and shoes
  • Closets - Pull out everything you haven't worn in the past year, hang like items together - shirts, pants, dresses, etc., display items you want at your fingertips and store the rest in bins or drawers. Make sure your closets are well-lighted.
  • Garage/Basements - Toss things that don't work!, Sort, purge and properly store items you want to keep, decide how to use the space - workshop or storage center?

​And, if you are thinking of selling your home, clean closets, a streamlined kitchen, and a well-organized garage/basement will help a buyer visualize how they can use the space. You may also want to consider renting a storage space to contain your overflow. 

​Good luck in accomplishing this difficult job - remember, the harder you work, the luckier you get.

Young Decatur Couple with daughter laughing
Older couple on couch in their Decatur home

Winter Curb Appeal for Decatur Homes

Decatur home with stone planters at front door

Winter climate in the Atlanta area is generally mild - at least milder than in many other parts of the country.  Temperatures do dip lower, trees lose their leaves, and shorts are no longer popular apparel.  

There may not be snow in the backyard, but cold days and nights are interspersed with incredible sunny days when you could enjoy a picnic on the deck, and many days when curling near the fire or the heat register is an appealing option.

This is a time when most homeowners in Decatur focus on a cozy interior, rather than the bleak exterior landscape.  With a little creativity, however, it is possible to enhance the exterior of your home and enjoy outside activities on those beautiful days:

Once the leaves are raked, consider decorating outside your home for the cooler months.

  • ​Make your front door a focal point with a colorful wreath, incorporate large planters filled with evergreens and berries.
  •  Add exterior fairy lights on trees or try spotlights on architectural features
  • Keep your furniture on the deck for sunny day picnics
  •  Maintain your lawn and remove twigs and fallen debris regularly

You may be lucky enough to enjoy a sparkling 70 degree day in January or February.  Welcome to Decatur winter weather!

Selling Your Decatur Home During the Holidays

Decatur Home with front porch decorated for the holidays

Most homeowners considering the sale of their home in Atlanta or Decatur plan to to sell in the spring, rather than in the winter months.  The weather is generally milder, trees and flowers are in bloom, and there are more prospective buyers are looking for homes in the spring.

There are several compelling reasons, however, why selling your home during the holidays might make sense.  First of all, fewer homes are on the market, which  means the buyers looking during this time are serious buyers.

  • ​Buyers often have more time during the holidays to look for a new home, as work demands ease.
  • During the holiday period between Thanksgiving and New Years, most homes show at their best with all the holiday glitter and decorations in place. A lighted tree, candles in the window and a table set with family china for a feast can be an inviting scene.  No other time of year can complete with the glorious output we present in our homes at this time of year.
  • As there are fewer homes on the market at this time and less competition, a higher selling price may be achieved.
  • There may also be some tax advantages for buyers who purchase before the end of the year, so serious buyers may be anxious to close during this time.

If your home is show-ready now, why wait until spring to sell?  Selling your Decatur home during the holiday season may work to your advantage.  Most homes show better, are cleaner, and smell better during the holidays.  What festive images will a buyer envision when they view your holiday-staged home?

They may be picturing themselves living in your home during the next holiday season!

Decatur, Georgia – Great Lakes Homes

Grey Shingle Great Lakes Home with Dormer Windows

Decatur, Georgia, located just a few miles east of downtown Atlanta off tree-lined Ponce De Leon Avenue, has many lovely neighborhoods.  One of the most desirable is a small community of older bungalows appropriately named Great Lakes after the famous Great Lakes of the Northeast.

The original Great Lakes were discovered by French explorers in the 1600's.  Decatur's Great Lakes neighborhood was developed between 1913 - 1930's.

​According to Wiki: How to Remember the Five Great Lakes, an easy way to recall the names of the five lakes is to use a handy word association.

  • ​H - Huron
  • O - Ontario
  • M - Michigan
  • E- Erie
  • S - Superior

To remember Great Lakes in Decatur, Georgia, you only have to drive through this delightful area along Superior, Michigan, Erie, and Huron - and think HOMES.

Decatur Homes are well-tended and situated on landscaped lots with sidewalks along the roadway. The main architecture in Great Lakes consist of bungalows, tudors and some newer design homes that seem to fit in seamlessly.  Earlier exterior styles have been retained, but many Great Lakes Homes have been renovated to update older kitchens, or to add additional baths or space.

A close inspection of Great Lakes shows how much pride owners take in their community and their homes.  It is truly a beautiful place to live!

There are many other factors that attact Buyers to Great Lakes as well.  Decatur is considered one of the most "walkable" small cities in the Nation.  It is close to downtown Atlanta, a few miles to Emory University, CDC, and Emory Medical Center, has easy access to an international airport, and enjoys numerous cultural and civic events throughout the year.  Clairemont Elementary is located within the neighborhood on Erie Avenue and is part of the respected Decatur School District.

For Sale in Atlanta – Less Than Usual

Pink hue Atlanta evening skyline

Homes in Druid Hills and near Emory University have seen a decrease in real estate sales in the past several years, although not necessarily a decrease in sales price.  The Atlanta housing inventory is down approximately 12% from last year. 

According to First Multiple Listing Service statistics and to the National Association of Realtors, lack of inventory in some areas of Georgia has led to a decrease in the number of Buyers who are able to find homes in certain areas, like Druid Hills, Virginia Highlands, City of Decatur and other close-in Atlanta neighborhoods.

In talking with colleagues who work in these areas. it appears there are more Buyers who would purchase homes - if they could find one.  A number of Buyers have made multiple offers on homes in their desired area, only to be outbid when multiple offers are presented on the same property.

On properties that are likely to produce multiple offers, some Realtors are requiring strict prerequisites for offers that are presented, such as:

  • ​All Cash offers, which go to the top of the list
  • Quick Closings
  • Shortened Inspection Periods or no Inspection Periods
  • And more rare, no property showing until offer is accepted

High-end properties are not as affected as the middle and lower range, but homes in the $250,000 - $550,000 price range go quickly in Druid Hills, Decatur and other close-in Atlanta areas.

​Sellers may be reluctant to put their current home on the market for fear they will be unable to find another home in a crowded Buyers market.  Their home may sell quickly, but where will they go?

​Buyers who are looking for a home in Decatur and near Emory University may continue to experience competition when making an offer.  Here are some suggestions that may help:

  • ​Be Diligent if you lose one
  • Know there will be other houses coming on the market
  • Be willing to make compromises with the next house
  • Use a Realtor that knows your neighborhod!


Give Back to Your Decatur Community

Decatur couple donating excess

Our church recently decided to sponsor a refugee family in partnership with another local church.  They asked for donations of furniture, lamps, school supplies, bedding, alarm clocks and a number of other household items.

​In thinking about what extra things are cluttering my Atlanta home, I realized that my excess would probably furnish several family homes.

Aside from a semi-annual clearing ​of clothes dropped at the Salvation Army and an occasional bag of books donated to my local Decatur library, that's usually the extent of my annual household donations.  A major clear out is in my future!

​Who could utilize all those extra lampshades and lamps we never use, the paintings and pictures we thought we might hang again, or the duplicate glasses, mugs, and stainless silverware taking up space.  What about those outgrown toys, car seats, an extra table and bookcase, old towels folded away, yarn and fabric never used, baskets gathering dust?

When you are clearing out, here are a few Decatur organizations that could use your donations:

  • The American Kidney Foundation - If you live in Decatur, their trucks will come to your house for pickup.  Call them at 770-609-2200.  They accept furniture, clothing, etc.
  • Decatur Cooperative Ministry - In kind or cash donations - check their website for detailed information about needed items - no clothese but do accept packaged food items.
  • Furniture Bank of Metro Atlanta - 404-356-8630 - can make arrangements for pickup of used furniture
  • Your Local Decatur Veterinarian - Old towels are always a welcome donation.
    • If you are in the process of moving or contemplating a move in the Decatur area, now is an excellent to weed out all those items that could be useful to someone else. It seems we all have too much "stuff"!

Decatur, Georgia – Nearly Perfect Place to Live!

Arts Festival in Decatur

If you had a dream hometown, it might be a place like Decatur, Georgia!  Decatur has so much to offer as a small city just a eight miles from Atlanta - convenience, frequent social activities, great shopping and incredible restaurants.

Homes in Decatur are in demand and sell very quickly.  Even rental properties here are at a premium.  Everyone who can possibly afford to wants to live in this lively small town for a variety of reasons.

Near the top of the list of reasons to live here would be the top-notch Decatur School System, Fire Department and Police Department. Being able to walk to breakfast, or dinner without getting in your car, or shopping at the local Farmer's Market, or the upscale shops along Main Street all come to mind.

 Decatur has been named one of the best small cities in the country, and one of the most "walkable" cities in the Nation by several publications. Special events are scheduled throughout the year, including special shopping hours during the holidays, Christmas House Tours, a popular Book Convention, Concerts on the Square during weekday lunch hours, the annual Decatur Arts Festival, a Beach Party with real sand, and too many other occasions to mention.

Decatur is only 2.5 miles to Emory University, Emory Hospital, Eggleston Children's Hospital and the Center for Disease Control.

Who wouldn't want to live in this dynamic small city?  Consider making Decatur your new hometown!

Decatur event with tables

Lively Decatur Event near the Courthouse!

Busy street scene in Decatur

Street scene from one of the many events held each year in Decatur!

View of one of Decatur's outdoor eating places

Busy downtown Decatur street scene!

Changes to Neighborhoods in Decatur and near Emory University!

Historic Druid Hills white house with blue trim and white picket fence

When I began selling homes in the Emory and Decatur neighborhoods back in the early 1980’s, it was a rather settled and somewhat stodgy environment.

1930’s – 1940’s

Families had moved to the area in the late 1930’s or 1940’s when much of the area was developed.  Smaller bungalow style homes were created in neighborhoods like Emory Grove, Great Lakes, and Glendale Estates.

The original owners bought what they could afford in a new area where many of the streets were still unpaved.  In a few years, the area was full of young children, who played together and grew up together on the same streets.  Everyone knew their neighbors, their children and their pets.  Garden Clubs were formed and play areas were established.

It’s hard to image what North Decatur Road and Scott Boulevard might have been like in the 1940’s and 1950’s, but several owners reminisced about walking to the Drugstore in Emory Village or catching the streetcar to downtown Atlanta.  The area was nearly country then, slow-paced and sleepy with dusty streets.

It was a safe haven for everyone and a great place to live.

1950’s – 1960’s

In the 1950’s and 1960’s, developers began building new brick ranch homes in the area. Neighborhoods like Clairmont Heights, Leafmore Estates, Sagamore Hills, and Medlock Park area were formed.

1980’s – 2000

By the 1980’s, the children in these neighborhoods had grown up and mostly  moved away from the area.  It was still a tight knit community, but the original owners were growing older and beginning to make changes.  Their homes needed repairs and their yards needed to be maintained, but often there was no-one around to do the work.  There were a number of widows now on each street, and there were few children.

At that time not many homes came on the market in these neighborhoods because no-one ever moved.  Then, slowly, one or two homes on a street would become available as owners passed away or made a decision to move closer to family.

During the mid-1980’s, the composition of the area began to change from older inhabitants to younger families.  Now younger couples began to purchase homes as they became available.  Within 5-10 years, the streets around Emory and in Decatur were teeming with young children again and the cycle had come full circle.  Now, another generation are raising their families and growing old in the area.

Homes did change ownership more frequently during this period than in the past when owners worked at the same company for 30-40 years and then retired.  Individuals no longer worked for one company, but changed jobs from time to time and often locations.

Present Day

Today, many owners in Decatur and near Emory work at Emory University or Emory Hospital, which is the largest employer in DeKalb County.  Others work at the Center for Disease Control or the American Red Cross.  Decatur is the judicial center for DeKalb County and many work in the Court System there.  The area is close to downtown Atlanta, major shopping centers and handy to Atlanta Hartsfield Airport.

Now Emory Village is sleek and modern, featuring a well-designed roundabout, inviting restaurants and shops.

Downtown Decatur is updated and vibrant with new condo complexes, upscale restaurants and shops.  Decatur has been named one of the most “walkable” cities in the country  and one of the top places to live in the Nation.

There have been so many changes in the area during this period – mostly good constructive ones – some more restrictive, like the increased traffic along North Decatur Road and Scott Boulevard!

Perhaps I’m biased in my opinion, but I believe there is still no better location in Metropolitan Atlanta to live than near Emory University or Decatur!