What You Don’t Know About a Home

When you’re house hunting you walk through Open Houses or see listings with your Realtor. You have access to all the rooms and you may mentally note paint colors, and flooring, and flow; but to help prospective buyers envision the house as their own, the spaces are usually de-personalized so they look like a Crate and Barrel catalog and not like a real home. No family photographs, no mementos taped to the fridge, all personal items put away.

588 Cameron St

If you’re interested in the house you request a Seller’s Property Disclosure that tells you things like how old the HVAC is, if the ice maker works, and why there’s a little water stain on the ceiling in the corner of the kids’ room. So you get information on the mechanics of the house, but not on what makes it a home.

For instance, at 588 Cameron St. in Atlanta, Georgia the owner has an herb garden in the backyard because he’s an avid pizza maker. Whether grilled outside, or baked in the kitchen, he uses basil, rosemary, and chives from his own garden to make his secret sauce and flavor his ever-changing creations.

The south side of the house is where the tomato patch usually stands, but this season he didn’t plant his usual varieties since he’ll be moving soon. But the garden spot is there, awaiting a new homeowner’s favorite heirlooms or hybrids. (As a tip, Brandywine usually does well there.)

Inside, on warm summer nights, you might find a pup curled in the corner of the hall bath, behind the clawfoot tub, enjoying the cool tile and quiet alcove.

In the living room, the turntable might be spinning records – the homeowner’s original albums – most from the mid 70s to late 80s.

The front bedroom is used as an office, with the closet holding computer paper instead of clothing. Two successful businesses were started in this room and are still running strong today. It’s a great “private corner office” for an entrepreneur and there’s enough space to conduct in-person client meetings or to add another desk for an additional employee.

Instead of installing a mailbox on the porch, he has a stand with a Cuban cigar box on top that USPS puts letters inside – a reminder of his international travels during a past career.

588 Cameron St.

At different times, the house has been a harbor for friends who needed temporary housing, relatives passing through town, and three dogs and a cat (who were rescued from wandering the neighborhood). But right now 588 Cameron St. is the home to just one person and one dog, and they are looking for a new owner to love the house as much as they have. Come check it out and see if it feels like you could make memories there.

Please join us at 588 Cameron St. for an Open House this Sunday, April 17th from 2 to 4pm in the Grant Park neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia. 3 bedrooms / 2 bathrooms. 1667 square feet. Offered at $398,000. View full listing information here: http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/588-Cameron-St-SE_Atlanta_GA_30312_M56663-26215 

Balancing Features, Price, and Having it All

For the last two years I’ve been driving an Infiniti sedan, loaded with luxury features. I didn’t realize just how “nice” it was until last month. That’s when my lease ended and I got a great big dose of sticker shock.

Leasing the car was similar to renting an apartment where you may get lots of amenities, but you’re really just borrowing the item from someone else who owns it. In my case, Infiniti Financial still owned the car, and I needed to give it back.

I had been planning for the purchase and had set aside money to buy a car instead of leasing again. I could have bought a lot of perfectly fine cars, brand new, with the cash I had, but I didn’t want a Mazda or a Honda or a Toyota. I wanted a Mercedes or a Lexus or a BMW.

My biggest issue was that I needed an in-dash navigation system for my real estate work, and that option adds thousands of dollars onto the price. The navigation was important because I have absolutely no innate directional abilities. To keep everyone’s stress level down, I need that little computer voice telling me to: “Prepare. To. Turn. Left. In. 500. Feet.”

So in the budget I had (and that I did not want to go over) I had two options:

Option 1) Get a “luxury” car without the navigation system.

Option 2) Get a “practical” car that had a navigation system and that was loaded with features.

I test drove an Acura and a Volvo and I liked them both. But the models I drove did not have navigation, and I really couldn’t get past this. I even tested out models that did have the in-dash navigation to see if it would be worth breaking my budget, but I was shocked at how terrible the navigation systems were. I was used to the Infiniti system with is touch-screen and easy to use. The Acura and Volvo systems both looked like old Atari consoles, with buttons and knobs and an unnecessarily time-consuming interface. Still, I almost bought the Volvo because I liked it so much, but then I decided to at least test drive the very last option on my list – a Nissan SUV. It was on my radar because it had everything I wanted, except for the brand cachet.

I’ve never had an SUV and the only time I’ve driven one is when a date has gotten drunk and I end up driving his car home. (Yes, this has happened multiple times, with multiple dates, in multiple SUVs. But that’s a whole other blog post…) I was surprised at how much I liked the elevated seating and spaciousness.

The Nissan had heated seats, a sunroof, surround cameras, an upgraded Bose stereo, AWD, Bluetooth connectivity, and my beloved IN DASH NAVIGATION. But this navigation system was touch screen and highly intuitive. (Nissan makes Infiniti, so maybe that may be why I connected with the car, too.) So I surprised myself and left the lot with this:

Nissan - House Cat

Why am I sharing the story of my recent car purchase on my real estate blog? Because I see a lot of people (myself included) who get temporarily discouraged when they aren’t able to buy exactly what they envision for themselves. But here I am, a couple of weeks later, and I love my car.

I’ve been hauling clients around in it, and it’s spacious, has a very nice interior, and the navigation system hasn’t let me down. Plus, my bank account is still fat and happy.

So when we’re looking at properties, remember what’s really important to you. For me, that navigation system was the one thing that I just had to have. If you really need a stepless ranch, or to be in a certain school district, or acreage – let’s start with that. Let’s look at every possibility in that all-important “one thing you must have” search, and you might be surprised at what you like. And often, your must-have feature is an easy add-on: Fenced-in yard for the pup. Covered parking. An additional bedroom or bathroom. All these things can often be added after the sale. So if you can’t find exactly what you want, you can make exactly what you want.


Red Robin REALTORSI’m an agent with Red Robin REALTORS® one of Atlanta’s premier boutique real estate brokerages. Contact me at lynn@redrobingroup.com or 404-247-9981.

City of Atlanta Property Taxes vs Unincorporated Dekalb vs City of Decatur

I’m working with a client who has asked me to only show him properties outside the City of Atlanta, and specifically in unincorporated Dekalb.  I wasn’t sure exactly where all the City of Atlanta demarcations were, so I found a map online.  Here it is:

City of Atlanta Property Tax Map

I immediately noticed that the city looks like an unhappy guy with a gaping mouth, and that he’s in need of a haircut.  (I also recently read an article that said if you see faces in objects you are more likely to be neurotic [Who me? I can’t believe they would say that about me! I find this disturbing and anxiety inducing!])

If you don’t see the City of Atlanta dude, this might help.

City of Atlanta - City Limits

The above was contributed by my friend, Drew, and he made him much smilier than I see; but Drew’s Rorschach is not my Rorschach, so I’m using it to help you envision how nook and cranny the City’s boundary lines are. Unincorporated Dekalb is on the hair side of the city – just outside the eastern boundaries.

I personally just got hit with a couple of big property tax assessments.  The two properties I own are both in Fulton County and in the City of Atlanta.  I have a homestead exemption on one, and no exemption on the other.  (You can only carry a homestead exemption on one property at a time.)  The tax total for my two little properties, which have a combined market value of just a smidge over $315,000 is $4,200 for 2015.  I don’t know about you, but that seems like a lot to me.  (Basically, I’m paying $350 a month just in property taxes.)

So I went in the FMLS and found three properties for sale that have almost identical list prices and similar tax valuations with no exemptions.  But, they are in different areas and have different millage rates (the amount per $1,000 that is used to calculate taxes on a property).  These are all active listings, as of the publishing of this blog.  Here’s how it breaks down (and I’ve included a photo of each kitchen just to show these are “real” listings):


PROPERTY #1
3/2 in Grant Park listed at $299,000
Fulton County, City of Atlanta
No homestead exemption

MLS 5563381

2014 Tax Record
187,400 total value
– 58,100 land
129,300 improved value

2014 county tax: $911
2014 city of Atlanta tax: $2488
Total yearly tax: $3399 (or $283 per month)


PROPERTY #2
2/2 in Kirkwood listed at $299,900
Unincorporated Dekalb County, Not in City of Atlanta, Not in City of Decatur
No homestead exemption

MLS 5553355

2014 Tax Record
191,000 total value
– 55,700 land
135,400 improved value

2014 yearly total tax: $698 (or $58 per month)


So by buying the house in unincorporated Dekalb, over the one in Fulton/City of Atlanta, the new homeowner could save about $2700 a year.  Now what about unincorporated Dekalb vs. City of Decatur…

PROPERTY #3
3/3 in Decatur listed at $299,000
Dekalb County, City of Decatur
No homestead exemption

MLS 5569783

2014 Tax Record
216,000 total value
– 84,600 land
131,400 improved value

2014 Dekalb county tax: $836
2014 City of Decatur tax: $2143
2014 total yearly tax: $2,979 (or $248 per month)


So that’s about $2280 a year more than unincorporated Dekalb, but still about $420 a year cheaper than Fulton/City of Atlanta.

I should have known my smarty-pants attorney-client knew what he was talking about when he stressed his desire to live in Unincorporated Dekalb.  I’m not saying that we all flee the city limits.  After all, the number one rule of real estate is, “Location, location, location!”  But if getting a good value is important to you, then you want to factor the property taxes into the price you’re looking to pay for your next home.

If you have your eye on a property, and aren’t currently working with a real estate agent, contact me and I’ll pull the prior year’s property taxes for you so you can see the tax breakdown and where your money would be going.

BTW, if you want to appeal your 2015 Fulton County taxes, July 20 is the last day. Information on your right to file an appeal is found here.


Red Robin REALTORSI’m an agent with Red Robin REALTORS® one of Atlanta’s premier boutique real estate brokerages. Contact me at lynn@redrobingroup.com or 404-247-9981.

House Stalking

My friends, Steve and Lisa, had a favorite house in the neighborhood next to theirs.  It was right down the street from a friend’s house, and they drove by it often.  They already had a great family home that was fine for them, their two kids, two dogs, and cat.  But it wasn’t their dream house.  They used to joke that if the house they were stalking ever went on the market they would buy it.  And then one day they were driving to a party at their friend’s house … and their dream house was on the market.  They live there now.

My friend Hope had a yellow Victorian in East Atlanta Village (EAV) that she loved.  It was on a hill, and for years she dreamed about that house.  It finally went up for sale, and we walked over to the Open House one Sunday.  We were so curious to see what was inside, and the inside was … disappointing.  Shoot.  Not a match and house stalking turned into house headshaking.  (Ah, what could have been…)

Last week, I had a client contact me to look at a stone cottage in Decatur.  He had been house stalking it for a couple of years and it was finally for sale.  We saw it the second day it was on the market and it literally went under contract at about the time we were driving to the listing.  It really was an awesome house, but as they say, timing is everything.  (I am keeping my eye on the status, and I have to ask … is it wrong to wish for a financing hiccup?  I know it is, but fingers crossed anyway…)  So this client and I continue to look, and he’s okay with missing out on the house. Just seeing the inside seems to have satisfied his curiosity.

For me it’s a little different, I house stalk former residences.  I drive by and see what the new owners have done, and think of what my life would be like if I hadn’t moved.  It’s a mix of heartache and surprise when you drive by a former residence.  I’ve lived in 22 places in 25 years, so I have a lot of former residences, but there are a handful that really made an impression.

The first single-family home I owned was on Berne Street in Ormewood Park, and I still drive by it often.  The new owners added a garage and expanded the back.  But all my front yard landscaping still remains.  (Including the frilly Japanese Maple that cost a fortune.) I house stalk the neighbors there as well, as I still feel connected to that particular street.

One house on Berne has had my attention for several years.  It’s on the same side of the road as my former house and about a block away.  You know I love those Mid-Century Modern (MCM) houses, and take a look at this one from 1945:

931 Berne Street
931 Berne Street – Front. (I’m wild about the paint color and trim lines. And look at that mailbox and the pom pom tree. OMG Love.)

 

Deck Ready For Relaxing!
Isn’t it odd that you don’t often see back porch swings? Love that it’s in the shade. A great little rest spot to have a refreshing iced tea (make mine the Long Island variety).

 

And guess what?  It’s now for sale.  It’s listed by my friend and fellow agent, Tiffanie Jones, and I’m going to co-host the Open House there this Sunday.  (In part, so I have a reason to stalk the street without causing a call to Zone 6. “No officer, I wasn’t casing the house… I was stalking the house.”)

The Open House address is 931 Berne Street, Atlanta, GA 30316.  Click the link for more photos and come by and see us from 2 to 4pm on Sunday, June 28.

And if you’re currently house stalking a property, give me a shout. I can set you up in the FMLS system so you will get an immediate alert if it ever becomes active on the market.


Red Robin REALTORSI’m an agent with Red Robin REALTORS® one of Atlanta’s premier boutique real estate brokerages. Contact me at lynn@redrobingroup.com or 404-247-9981.

My Guidelines for Great Neighborhoods, and Why I’m Disappointed by What’s Developing Around the Beltline Westside Trail

I want to state upfront that this is an opinion piece.  It does not reflect the views of my brokerage.  It does reflect upon what I experienced last Saturday when I participated in the Invest Atlanta and Atlanta Beltline Westside Trail Open House Walking Tour, which showcased affordable housing options in Adair Park, Capitol View, Capitol View Manor, Pittsburgh and Sylvan Hills.  (Also known as Southwest Atlanta – aka SWATL.)  On the tour I learned that the area’s 30310 zip code was the hardest hit in the US by foreclosure and fraud during the real estate downturn, and there are currently 1,000 vacant houses available.  So 1,000+ new residents could move in without displacing any of the current residents.

I am a licensed real estate agent, but I’m also a potential homebuyer.  I will likely be purchasing a new home and moving sometime in the next 24 months, so right now I’m on a personal fact-finding mission, and I’m focusing on narrowing my search to neighborhoods that I can envision myself living in.

I currently own and live on the other side of the Beltline – the Eastside Trail – and I’ve seen that stretch go from weeds and dirt, to being the hottest real estate strip in Atlanta.  But the Beltline itself is not what makes that stretch so desirable, it’s the restaurants, shops, grocery stores and green spaces that line each side, and that the Beltline connects.  It’s the ability to walk or bike from Old 4th Ward to Piedmont Park (over 2 miles) without ever crossing a street.  And on your walk you can stop for coffee or frozen yogurt or a beer.  Get lunch at a dozen different restaurants.  Or shop for unique antiques in a Parisian-inspired warehouse.  Again, this is the Eastside Trail.  Now let’s talk about what’s happening on the Westside Trail…

One of my best friends owned a house in Capitol View about 15 years ago when the neighborhood was pretty sketchy (IMO) and she would give directions to her house by cracking jokes like, “Then you take a left at the hooker on crutches, and that’s my street!”  Back then, I visited her often, but she no longer owns that house, and it’s been a few years since I’ve been that way.  Even though there was a possibility I’d be hit on by a hooker on crutches, I still liked the area, and I loved my friend’s house.  I always thought the architecture of the neighborhood was a huge asset, because the houses each had a unique charm, and most are brick (my personal preference).

At the time that my friend was living in Capitol View, I was living in Ormewood Park – the neighborhood in between Grant Park and East Atlanta.  This is the pre-grocery store incarnation of Ormewood Park, Grant Park, and East Atlanta.  I think the Kroger on Ponce was our nearest grocery store (it’s about 4 miles and 25 minutes away).  But we had the shops and bars in the village area of East Atlanta, a couple of neighborhood restaurants on Cherokee and on Memorial, and pockets of development sprouting up. It was enough to make the neighborhood interesting, but not enough to make it super-desirable, so I was able to buy a move-in ready 2/2 bungalow with a loft for $203k.  Even a dozen year ago, this was really reasonable for a 1450 square foot home.

I’m giving you this backstory to help illustrate that I seek out areas that are a little on the fringe. (After Ormewood I lived on Memorial Drive and then Old 4th Ward – and when I bought each of those places they were practically giving properties away.  No one wanted to be in either area.  Except me, it seems.)

So, back to SWATL, I had this area on my personal radar because I’m currently in a loft, and I’m ready to move back into a single-family home, and I kind of want to be a little out of the way of the hustle and bustle.  The Invest Atlanta and Atlanta Beltline Westside Trail Open House Walking Tour was a very nice event, and I enjoyed the shuttle bus tour and walking through the open houses.  The houses presented still needed work, but were mostly in the $99k to $179k range.  (I thought some were overpriced, but you gotta go out of the gate big, so I understand some agents reaching.)

Here are some photos of houses that I was wild about, (not for sale, just cute houses!) I’m telling you there are gems in this area because they haven’t been “updated”:

cv2

cv3

Capital View, Capital View Manor

But that may be where the love fest ends, because when I got home I read the literature that was given to me by the rep from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a non-profit who owns a 31-acre site directly on the Westside Trail.  It’s an amazing location, south of Pittsburgh and north of Capitol View Manor.  I knew about the tract of land and that developers were currently courting the foundation with proposals, but I incorrectly assumed they would build something INTERESTING there because of the high-profile, walkable, bike-friendly location.  And by interesting I mean something that will catch the neighbors’ attention, and the attention of other developers, like a grocery store to service the insane food desert that surrounds that area, maybe with a coffee shop next door, or mixed use for restaurants and retail, and general services for this under-served area.  But nope, that’s not what they’re putting there.  This is directly lifted from the handouts I received:

The Foundation plans to select a master developer to create a plan for the site that incorporates one or a combination of potential uses identified through the market study. Some possibilities include:

  • a distribution hub and sorting facility
  • an integrated service center that includes supply warehouses, laundry, storage and other offsite functions for regional hospitals and medical centers
  • facilities for activities such as for payroll and billing, packaging and record keeping
  • industrial, commercial or electronic equipment repair
  • incubator space, workshops and labs
  • consulting for design and manufacturing

Further…

With a lack of stores in the surrounding area, residents have expressed interest in seeing retail on the site, and the market indicates this is economically feasible, though not recommended as a primary use. The Foundation hopes new workers and customers connected with the site’s commercial development will generate enough demand to encourage retail development in the surrounding neighborhoods.

So residents want one thing, but it sounds like the Foundation is giving them something else – more industrial and warehouse space – in an area littered with abandoned industrial and warehouse space.  I understand the desire to create jobs (the Foundation is focused on economic development for the site) but wouldn’t a large grocery store create jobs?  The Beltline is there to promote walkable and bikeable communities, but does anyone really want to bike to a “distribution hub and sorting facility”?  In short: No.

On the positive side, the Beltline anticipates that stretch being paved and fully developed within 5 to 8 years.  But will anyone use the Westside Trail if all it does is connect green spaces?  I mean, it’s nice for a walk, but in addition to exercise, the Eastside Trail is used for commutes, and for entertainment.

And there’s also the debacle (IMO) of handing nearby Fort McPherson to Tyler Perry for use as a movie studio, but that’s a whole other post.  For now, I’m left saddened and shaking my head at the missed opportunities for the area.  So, I’ve still got SWATL on my personal radar, but it’s been moved down the list a bit.


Red Robin REALTORSI’m an agent with Red Robin REALTORS® one of Atlanta’s premier boutique real estate brokerages. Contact me at lynn@redrobingroup.com or 404-247-9981.

You Never Know What’s Behind the Door

I had a serious, “Am I going to fall through the floor?!” panic attack last week.  Yep, you never know what’s behind the door when you open that lockbox.  Here’s how it went down…

I’m working with a client who is an architect, actor, and creative mind in search of his next address.  He’s been living in a mid-century modern (MCM) condo on Peachtree Street for well over a decade, and he was actually pretty content there.  But a developer buyout is forcing him to make a change.

Personally, I’ve lived in all kinds of properties.  And by “all kinds” I mean different architectural styles, layouts, density, zoning, etc.  I’ve owned brick ranches, an arts and crafts bungalow, modern and historic condos, etc. Anyway, I mention that because I get it when a client doesn’t yet have a clear picture of “what’s next” – because what’s next can be anything you can imagine.  And this guy has imagination.

At the condo he’s living in now, he fashioned many features that were custom designed (by him, of course) and built to fit the space.  And he wants to also do that with his new home.  So last Friday was an exploratory mission.  I pulled 5 properties covering the 3 categories that interest him:

  1. Modern condo
  2. Historical home
  3. Mid-century modern (MCM) ranch

He specifically asked to see Oakland Park, which is a modern condominium I lived in for many years (and I’m still a property owner there).  The two units we looked at had characteristics of his current condo (like concrete ceilings), and the price point is reasonable, so he felt he could make design changes and still be invested in the property for an affordable amount.  The showing outcome was a “strong maybe.”

Just a few blocks away from Oakland Park was a 1st day on the market listing for a 1920 Victorian on a hilltop corner lot 1 block from Grant Park. The remarks indicated it needed “restoration/renovation” but the listing didn’t prepare me for what we saw when I opened the door. Someone forgot to mention that half the house was missing.

Grant Park Fixer upper

Since my client is an architect and he has a curious nature, we walked through all the rooms on both floors, even though he knew it was more construction than he was interested in.  This was one of those “dream” properties because you are buying into what it can become.  A nice corner lot, a block from Grant Park, on a hill, with instant curb appeal.  But it’s a full renovation.  (If you’re still interested and don’t mind going on a “step with caution” showing, contact me and we’ll take a look together.)

Next up were a couple of MCM ranch homes off LaVista.  Probably not a fit because of the floorplans, but I personally loved the period details including a working, original-to-the-house stove and boomerang-patterned kitchen countertops.

MCM boomerang countertops

For next steps we’re organizing some fact-finding on ownership of another historic property and I’m doing a little sleuthing into some condo units that are still builder-owned.  As you can see, I’ll do more than open the door for you (as long as it’s legal!).  This client wanted to look at an empty property that’s not on the market and I had to remind him that’s called “trespassing” 😉 Thus my need to dig into tax records, so we don’t end up in handcuffs.


Red Robin REALTORSI’m an agent with Red Robin REALTORS® one of Atlanta’s premier boutique real estate brokerages. Contact me at lynn@redrobingroup.com or 404-247-9981.

Even Ugly Houses Can Feel Like Home

My parents lived in the same house for over 50 years. They bought the land and built a one-story brick ranch in an undeveloped area of a mid-size southern town. My mother used to talk about how chickens (that did not belong to my parents) would run around untethered. Pat and Irene were newlyweds and buying a 3/4 acre lot, hiring a builder, and moving a new family were all big endeavors. But when you’re young, somehow change seems easier and you are more open to experiments.

The lot they bought was in a capital city that was also home to a state university. So despite the free-range chickens, my parents were urban pioneers who broke ground in an undesirable area.

House Cat Real Estate
Under construction. 1958.

 

And when the house was built and the family was moved in, I guess my parents felt like the house was “done.” And I mean “done” because they never made any changes or updates to the house. And I seriously mean no changes. Same pink bathroom. Same green bathroom. Linoleum in the kitchen. A wood-panel den. Exterior doors with hand-crank louver glass panels. A tin roof patio. Two car carport.  We never owned a dishwasher.  And the kitchen cabinets, countertops and sink were all original.

I was the youngest in the family and by the time I came along my parents had been living in the house they built for almost 20 years. And as I grew older, the house grew older with me.

I remember sitting alone in my bedroom as a teenager, among the hand-me-down furniture that my two older sisters had already used, and I would dream of how my own space would look when I could finally get out of there and make my own decisions. And in my mind it looked NOTHING like that house.  I hated the architecture and the furnishings and everything about it.

And now that I’m on my own, living in a loft right on the Atlanta Beltline, do you know what my space looks like?

It looks like my childhood home.

When we emptied my parents’ house, I took every porcelain bird knickknack, ugly lamp, and worn piece of furniture I could haul back to Atlanta. I even took their rotary dial telephone. (It still works. I’m not kidding.)

home-1
Can you find my parent’s pieces scattered through my loft? Hint: look for electric orange and avocado green.

 

House cat real estate.
Velvet barrel back chairs. (Note: Orange Cat is not vintage. Circa mid-2000’s!)

 

home-2
An “earth tone” acrylic painting and green lamps (you may not be able to see it, but the gold bases light up, too.)

 

My parents are gone and my time capsule childhood home is gone. But they live in my memories. And pieces of them live with me. But now I embrace the ugly because it’s what make my own space feel like home.

If you want to see how I’ve integrated my mother’s questionable taste (and I write that with so much love) into an industrial live/work space in Old Fourth Ward (O4W) come by my office in Studioplex for a tour and a cup of coffee from Mom’s percolator.  I’d love to help you find a house that makes you feel like you’re truly at home, too.


Red Robin REALTORSI’m an agent with Red Robin REALTORS® one of Atlanta’s premier boutique real estate brokerages. Contact me at lynn@redrobingroup.com or 404-247-9981.

Real Estate Q & A, Frenemy Style

Here’s a question I was asked a couple of weeks ago:

Is your copywriting business so bad that you now have to sell real estate?
— Neighborhood Frenemy

I mean, I get it.  I understand the confusion.  I’ve been a freelance writer for a couple of decades, and real estate doesn’t seem to fit neatly into the industry I’m already known for.  But actually, it all does make sense and go together.  First, I’ve easily connected my professions by starting this site, HOUSE CAT REAL ESTATE – a blog about my personal and professional house hunting adventures that wraps my writing and real estate talents together.  And in my first post I am going to publicly answer my frenemy’s question.  Let’s take a look:

Q. Is your copywriting business so bad that you now have to sell real estate?

A. My copywriting business, which has been around for 18 years, is more than fine. Last month I delivered 5 video scripts to Johnson & Johnson, and I have ongoing work with AT&T and the American Cancer Society.  But real estate is a continuous interest of mine that I haven’t fully explored. So here I am, introducing myself as a Georgia REALTOR® based out of Atlanta.

I bought my first property, a two-bedroom condo in the 30305 area of Buckhead, 18 years ago. (Yes, at the same time I started my copywriting business – when I go in, I go all in and I knew the more responsibility I took on, the more I would push myself toward success. It worked.)

Since then I’ve owned 6 properties (3 single family homes, 1 condo, 1 residential loft, 1 mixed use loft).  At two points in my life I owned 3 properties at the same time, although right now I only have 2.  I stay in a live/work loft located in a renovated factory in Old Fourth Ward, and I lease out a LEED-certified loft I own in Grant Park.

I’m truly fascinated by the tangible and intangible aspects of real estate, everything from architecture styles to population migration. In particular I love niche properties with live/work zoning, unexpected locations, or unique features.  So if you already know me from my copywriting business or other endeavors (did someone say sock puppet film noir or the Feline Film Fest?), let me now say hello as Lynn Lamousin, licensed Georgia REALTOR®.

I may be newly “official” but I have almost two decades of property ownership, contract, and landlord experience.  So let’s talk about your dream home. Or dream office.  Or dream second home.  I have those dreams too and I’ve owned all kinds of properties – I’d love to share my experience with you.


Red Robin REALTORSI’m an agent with Red Robin REALTORS® one of Atlanta’s premier boutique real estate brokerages. Contact me at lynn@redrobingroup.com or 404-247-9981.