Friday, October 23, 2015

Lafayette, GA: A Home Buyer's Guide

     Lafayette was originally founded as Chattooga in 1835, named after a French nobleman who fought in the Revolutionary War. The town itself is bordered by Foster Mill Rd, Broomtown Rd, and Hwy 193. It’s located about thirty miles from Chattanooga and main thoroughfares in the metro area, including I59, I24, and I75. Aside from its close proximity to Chattanooga, the city is only about two hours away from larger cities like Nashville, Atlanta, and Birmingham. Lafayette is a great community to consider for commuters to and from Chattanooga. It offers great schools, relatively low cost of living, and a shorter commute with less traffic than Ooltewah, a comparable Tennessee suburb of Chattanooga.

View of the courthouse
Lafayette is the seat of Walker County
     The town’s rich history also sets the tone for the housing inventory available in the area, and antebellum landmarks are a common site. Chattanooga Academy is one notable landmark, which is an antebellum plantation home constructed in 1836. Another notable structure is the Marsh House, which sits on the National Register of Historic Places. Lafayette hosts a notable historic district, with a sizeable amount of homes constructed at least one hundred years ago. In the city limits and county areas, you will find a variety of vernacular farmhouses, folk Victorians, and turn of the century Craftsman-style bungalows. Even though these old homes are scattered throughout the Lafayette area, you can find a concentration of older homes within the city limits—especially on E. Villanow St, North and South Chattanooga streets, and areas around Walnut Grove Road. If older homes aren’t your cup of tea, Lafayette has plenty of newer construction and mid-century ranch style homes in older established neighborhoods. Many of these homes come with a fair share of acreage, as Walker County is one of the least densely populated counties in the Chattanooga area.   
     Lafayette is also working to revitalize its main street image, which began in 1997 with the Georgia Department of County Affairs. The main street community focuses on small business initiatives, building improvements, and historic preservation. The program has been nationally accredited since 2006, and the town even has an airport for small business jets. The program has boosted economic development in the area through historic district research, hosting downtown events, and promoting tourism. These activities encourage economic re-investment, and the director works closely with the Northwest Georgia Joint Development Authority by assisting expansion plans regarding financing, training, building, and land acquisition.

A view of Main Street surrounded by historic buildings

     This town is also a perfect match for any outdoor enthusiast. National parks in the area include Chattahoochee National Forest and Chickamauga Military Park, and Lookout Mountain is nearby—hosting a variety of outdoor activities and hiking trails. If you are seeking more family friendly venues, Lafayette offers plenty of outdoor recreation areas. A municipal park center is located on Main Street, which contains a gym, game room, four ball fields, and picnic shelters equipped with grills. The area also contains a playground, and a walking track. Other facilities include Ross Abney Complex, which contains a football stadium, practice field, and a walking track. The Max Stoker center is located on Glenn Street, and the facility offers dance classes, soccer fields, and a walking track. Simmons Memorial Park is located on Mill Street beside the Marsh House, which contains an outdoor basketball court. Other recreation options include Joe Stock Memorial, which is a passive park with a gazebo and a play fountain. The park serves as a site for many seasonal events, including Christmas lights, an Easter egg hunt, a Fourth of July Freedom Fest, and Scare on the Square for the Halloween season. All picnics and meeting rooms in listed facilities are rentable.

     Aside from parks and sports centers, Lafayette has a city pool that offers swim lessons, lap swimming, party rentals, and public swim hours. The pool also has a one mile fitness trail behind it, and has a parafitness course. The recreation department also offers fitness and drama courses. Another outdoor gym is Queen City Lake off Round Pond Road past Lafayette High School. The lake offers fishing with no gas powered boats allowed. There are also numerous hiking trails and camping sites in the beautiful surrounding countryside, and you will never fall short of outdoor activities. Cloudland Canyon State Park is a short drive up Lookout Mountain, and Chattahoochee National Forest is only minutes away.
If you are interested in viewing homes in this area, don’t hesitate to contact us to set up your personalized buyer consultation! 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Ringgold, Georgia: A Home Buyer's Guide


     Like much of the Northwest Georgia area, Ringgold history is rooted in the Civil War. Though similar in size to Chattanooga, the area’s population density is much lower than the metro area and surrounding suburbs---although not nearly as sparse as most of Walker County. Despite being set back by tornadoes in 2011, the area still remains a popular suburb with desirable school districts that stay on the top of many home buyer's favored areas.
     Ringgold is named after Major Samuel Ringgold, an officer who died in the Mexican-American War. The city is home to the Ringgold Depot, a structure built in 1849 that saw significant Civil War fighting. The historic district also includes a Civil War monument to the New York Brigade. The city center is also a popular wedding venue, and is home to the Ringgold Wedding Chapel. George Jones and Tammy Wynette married at the chapel, and Dolly Parton secretly married her husband in the city to stay out of Tennessee newspapers.

     Even though the area is located in Georgia, it is considered a popular suburb of Chattanooga, with many families choosing to commute either to the city limits or to the neighboring Dalton area. Ringgold is a great location for home buyers seeking a private country setting with a lower commute time. Also, many of the homes on the market are in close proximity to everyday shopping and other amenities near Battlefield Parkway and I75. The area offers a wide variety of homes, ranging from higher end golf course communities closer to Ooltewah and the East Brainerd area of Chattanooga, and older more established neighborhoods closer to the city limits. 
The city center of Ringgold contains a notable historic district, which is becoming an economic hotspot and picturesque setting for regional tourism. The downtown area contains buildings constructed from the 1850's to the early 1900's, and is undergoing a main street revival focused on small business owners. However, this is not limited to Ringgold-similar downtown revitalization can be found in Chickamauga and Lafayette. The city also hosts a local farmers market and a variety of family friendly outdoor activities. 
     The area contains a variety of parks, nature trails and recreational facilities. Elsie A. Holmes Nature Park offers hiking trails, picnic areas, and fishing. Richard Taylor Nature Trail offers two hiking trails along the South Chickamauga Creek. Houston Valley Nature area is another point of interest for more avid outdoor enthusiasts, and is part of the Chattahoochee National Forest. Another popular venue is the Ringgold Creek Walk.

     Aside from nature trails, the area has plenty of recreational facilities for sports fans and ball players. The Ringgold Youth Sports Association offers ball teams and is located near Poplar Springs Road. Jack Mattox Recreational Complex hosts many popular annual events, and contains ball fields, soccer fields, walking tracks, and a new canoe and kayak launch along the South Chickamauga Creek. Martha Denton Pool offers season passes, party rentals, and swimming lessons. Other points of interest include Boyd's Speedway, a drag strip and motor-cross facility that offers practice courses. 

37 Dailey Hills Circle is located only minutes away from Jack Mattox Recreation Complex in one of Ringgold's many well established neighborhoods
     The Ringgold area is very diverse in terms of available housing. The northeast end is bordered by the Tennessee state line to the north, the city of Cohutta to the east, and ends at the West Chickamauga Creek. Just outside the city limitis is the older McNew hicks subdivision, with many homes offering a gorgeous view of White Oak Mountain. This area is accessible to Chattanooga via Ooltewah Ringgold Rd and Graysville Rd. Higher end subdivisions are located here, including Council Fire and Windstone golf course communities that are minutes from the state line. Other pockets of newer construction homes include Pleasant Valley, with smaller homes available in Hurricane Heights off Swanson Rd leading into Graysville. The area between Graysville and Cohutta contains homes that are accessible via Keith Rd, and are in a much more rural setting that skirts the city leading to Catoosa Springs and the Stone Church area near Tiger Creek Elementary School. Condra Heights is a notable subdivision in this area.
1903 Clearview Drive offers a wonderful view of White Oak Mountain, and is perfect for any fan of the  midcentury modern architectural style. 
     Indian Springs is another popular area, which offers older more established neighborhoods with plenty of mid-century ranch style homes. However, pockets of newer construction subdivisions with more modern floor plans are popping up on the fringes of this area, particularly off Haggard Rd. The area remains popular because it's easily accessible to East Ridge, shopping, and amenities in East Brainerd. And if you want to stay in Georgia, all you have to do is take Three Notch Road for a quick drive to amenities on Battlefield Parkway. The area is bordered by Graysville Rd and South Chickamauga Creek to the North, and bordered to the South by Peavine Creek.  
     Southwest of Indian Springs off Pine Grove Rd contains a higher end subdivision called The Pointe, which offers newer construction homes with a scenic view. In this area, you can also find older more established neighborhoods, including Cinderella Hills, Blevins Acres, and Dailey Hills. Other popular subdivisions closer to Battlefield Parkway include Denmoore Estates, White Oak Plantation, Hidden Trace, Hickory Hills, and 100 Year Oaks. The Blue Springs community and neighborhoods off Boynton Road are a great for starter homes, with an excellent elementary school and a variety of decently priced moderate income neighborhoods.
     For those desiring a more rural setting, the area bordered by Alabama Highway and Mount Pisgah Rd is a great option for home buyers wanting more open space, acreage, and options for livestock. Larger estate homes dot this community, with plenty of land and much more private settings. The area is bordered to the west by Beaumont Rd, and leads into Walker County. Modestly priced homes can be found in this area. Higher end subdivisions in this area include Heritage Estates, a large established neighborhood with a variety of custom built homes offering more square footage.  

Friday, March 20, 2015

Chickamauga, GA: A Home Buyer's Guide

  If you are looking for a quiet locale to call your home without being too far from the culture and hustle of Chattanooga, then Chickamauga may be an option for you as a home buyer. The town offers plenty of housing options—ranging from starter homes for first time buyers to high end equestrian farms. The downtown area is fairly walkable, and Chickamauga Recreation Association offers family friendly recreation. Chickamauga is also home to Gordon Lee High School, offering free tuition to anyone living within the town’s city limits. The town carries an extensive historical influence in the Greater Chattanooga Area, and continues to be a popular area for home buyers opting to live in Georgia over Tennessee.  

An interior shot of a 14 stall barn on the grounds of 96 Red Oak Ln, one of our luxury listings available for showings
The Cherokee originally inhabited the area, and fought with Andrew Jackson in the War of 1812. They were forced away from the area during the Cherokee Removal Act, later to be settled by farm communities.  Chickamauga is also famous for the Civil War battle that occurred in 1863, and scattered monuments still reside today in one of Northwest Georgia’s beautiful parks. Consequently, the park is a popular stop for visitors who are touring the Chattanooga area.  Local residents also frequent the park for a stroll, and wildlife is frequently spotted in the fields surrounding the roadsides.
Front view of the Gordon Lee Mansion, which serves as a backdrop for many of the festivals and events that occur in the downtown area
Chickamauga has a sizeable picturesque historic district, which contains several antebellum mansions. The famous Gordon Lee mansion was constructed in 1847, and served as a headquarters to General Rosecran and as housing Union soldiers. Today, the estate serves as a museum and locale for many of the local festivals and events. The downtown area was revamped to resemble an early 1900’s streetscape, sporting a number of boutique shops, sidewalk lined streets, and affordable turn of the century homes comparable to finds in Chattanooga areas like Highland Park and St. Elmo. Aside from its war-torn history, the area retains its natural beauty from the surrounding valleys and mountainsides and small town charm.
A view inside one the many boutique shops you will find in Downtown Chickamauga
Chickamauga is easily accessible to Chattanooga via Hwy 193, which runs through the Chattanooga Valley and (Flintstone) area, which is bordered by the city’s western outskirts along Lookout Mountain. This area also contains High Point Golf Course, with popular newer subdivisions dotting the valleys for house hunters wanting more modern home features. Other popular starter homes can be found in the areas around North Marbletop Rd and areas closer to the Hwy 27 bypass, which is more accessible to other surrounding areas like Ringgold and Chattanooga suburbs. If you are interested in finding a home in this area, contact us today and choose an experienced Buyer Specialist from our team!

Monday, January 19, 2015

December 2014 Market Report

     It has been another recovery year in 2014 but not the same as 2013. With a
broad pattern of rising prices and stable to improving inventory, the market has
shifted from being drastically undersupplied to approaching equilibrium. Price
gains are still positive but less robust than last year. The metrics to watch in
2015 include days on market, percent of list price received and absorption
rates, as these can offer deeper and more meaningful insights into the future
direction of housing.

     New Listings in the Chattanooga region increased 4.3 percent to 630. Pending
Sales were down 23.8 percent to 324. Inventory levels shrank 11.0 percent to
4,467 units.

     Prices continued to gain traction. The Median Sales Price increased 6.8 percent
to $149,250. Days on Market was down 5.2 percent to 128 days. Sellers were
encouraged as Months Supply of Inventory was down 10.7 percent to 7.5

     Interest rates remained lower than anyone expected for the entire year. That
trend snowballed with solid and accelerating private job growth to empower
more consumers to buy homes. This coupled nicely on the governmental side
with mortgage debt forgiveness and interest deduction preservation. Student
loan debt, sluggish wage growth and a lack of sufficient mortgage liquidity still
remain hurdles to greater recovery.

Source: Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors