In The Press...

By Lori Johnston

For the AJC.  October 5, 2011

The Search

Terri Thompson considered the space needs for her daughter, Hadyn, 12, in choosing a home.
Christopher Oquendo/Special Terri Thompson considered the space needs for her daughter, Hadyn, 12, in choosing a home.
No. 1: Two-story with storage. This 2003 four-bedroom, 3 1/2 bath home on Bohler Point in Atlanta was listed for $525,000.
Christopher Oquendo/Special No. 1: Two-story with storage. This 2003 four-bedroom, 3 1/2 bath home on Bohler Point in Atlanta was listed for $525,000.
No. 2: Right location, wrong view. This five-bedroom, 3 1/2-bath home on Waverly Court in Cobb County was built in 1988 and was listed for $400,000.
Christopher Oquendo/Special No. 2: Right location, wrong view. This five-bedroom, 3 1/2-bath home on Waverly Court in Cobb County was built in 1988 and was listed for $400,000.
No. 3: Space for mom. This six-bedroom, 4 1/2-bath home on Vinings Mill Trail in Smyrna was built in 1997 and listed for $425,000.
Christopher Oquendo/Special No. 3: Space for mom. This six-bedroom, 4 1/2-bath home on Vinings Mill Trail in Smyrna was built in 1997 and listed for $425,000.

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Terri Thompson was looking at current and future needs as she set out to buy a home. Thompson, who had been living in Buckhead, hoped to find a place in Cobb County that would lower her taxes and cut the commute to her job and her daughter’s private school.

She also considered the type of space she and Hadyn, who is 12, would need in the coming years.

“I anticipated that at some point, my mom who lives in Chicago, would be coming to live with us. So finding a home that had a separate space for her, whether that might be in a guest house or whether it would be part of the house, but with a separate entrance, that was something I was hoping for,” said Thompson, an executive recruiter for Carlsen Resources.

Since Thompson hadn’t bought a home in a number of years, she wasn’t sure what she would find on the market. With the help of Ann Dabney Hopkins with Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby's International Realty, she found three contenders.

No. 1

Two-story with storage

The four-bedroom, three-and-a-half bath home on Bohler Point in Atlanta was closer to the city than the others and had an open layout, plus a screened porch. Another bonus was the amount of storage space. But the Gardens at Magnolia Pointe neighborhood was gated, which she didn’t want, and she was concerned about the lack of parking for guests. She was interested in having a separate exterior entrance to the basement, if her mom lived with her, and this home didn’t have that access. Thompson also would need to add a small kitchen in the basement. The Fulton County home, built in 2003, was originally listed for $525,000.

No. 2

Right location, wrong view

The five-bedroom, three-and-a-half bath home on Waverly Court had a Cobb County location, which was excellent, Thompson said. The Courtyard of Vinings community, a cluster home neighborhood with a pool and tennis courts, had homes with a variety of looks and well-maintained green spaces. “I really liked that each of the homes was really different and gave the neighborhood a very unique feeling to it.” The home had an exterior entrance to a basement, although a kitchen needed to be added. The view wasn’t as private as she hoped, since it looked out onto a neighbor’s yard. The home, built in 1988, was listed for $400,000.

No. 3

Space for mom

The six-bedroom, four-and-a-half bath home on Vinings Mill Trail in Smyrna came with a full basement apartment, and other areas of the home, such as the kitchen, had been recently renovated. The Olde Vinings Mill community had a pool and tennis courts, which Thompson desired for her daughter. Two decks, including one off the master, looked out onto a yard filled with trees and bordering a small creek. The owner had taken the exterior from stucco to cedar shake and gray stacked stone, which made the home beautiful on the outside, Thompson said. Using The Cornerstone Inspection Group, she discovered that the decks needed additional stabilization and the basement had some radon, which would need to be remediated. The home, built in 1997, was listed for $425,000.

The Choice

No. 3

Thompson found the Olde Vinings Mill home within about three weeks of searching, and she had heard from two families who live in the neighborhood about how much they loved living there. Even when she was looking in the community, it appeared to be family-friendly because kids were riding their scooters and bikes and people were outside talking. “I knew it was the kind of community I was looking for,” she said. It also had a perfect space for her mom. The sellers helped stabilize the decks and she closed on the home in June. The first night, neighbors brought over homemade cookies and bread as welcome gifts and offered their help as she moved in. “That they are just so genuine, so helpful, they’re just wonderful people. So we have found a fantastic community, a great house that we love. “