I often receive a lot of questions about investing in townhomes or condos in Alpharetta, and I wanted to share what I know to help make the process smoother. Alpharetta is an incredible subburb to invest in, from the award winning schools, great shopping, tons of green space, job opportunities, and entertainment you can’t go wrong. I meet a lot of prospective clients who would like to invest in a property to rent out, but don’t know where to start. Most Alpharetta townhomes or condos have what is called a rental restriction, these restrictions are put in place for a lot of good reasons 1 being to keep the communities in good standing with FHA. This means that a would be buyer would be able to use FHA financing and their low 3.5% down payment. There are still a lot of communites in Alpharetta priced between 150k and 220k where rentals are allowed. Below are a few. These properties rent between $1200-$1800. I would encourage anyone to invest in Alpharetta.

Regency at Windward Village

Deer Valley

New Haven

Rosewood Park

Spring Valley


St. Claire


Jun 29, 2017

Neighborhood Checklist

Posted by: Janell Carter

When you buy a home, you’re getting more than just the structure of the house — you’re getting the neighborhood, too. We recommend visiting the new area multiple times at different times of the day to get a feel for it, since that may determine your family’s experience while living there. A great house might not be as enjoyable if the surrounding community isn’t a good fit. To help out with your neighborhood evaluation, use this checklist of important items to look out for.

Sidewalks – The presence of sidewalks may indicate that the neighborhood is an active one. It may also be safer for those with children, since drivers and pedestrians won’t be sharing the same space.

Parks – A nearby park might be beneficial for you and your family to get some exercise while meeting new people.

Schools – Check to see how far away the schools are, and how your children would be getting there. This may not be as important for homeowners who don’t have children.

Major Roads – Drive around to locate the closest major highways. If big roads are close, they may increase noise level around your home or become a security concern for those with small children and pets.

Transportation – Depending on the area, you might not always depend on a car to get around. Explore the local public transportation options to see what works for you.

Shopping Centers – Figure out how close you are to shopping centers so you can estimate how long it will take to run errands on a typical day.

Restaurants – If your family likes to dine out, check out the food scene near your house to see if you’ll enjoy frequenting those restaurants.

Recreational Centers – Whatever you and your family do for fun, make sure there’s something within a reasonable distance. Think fitness centers, pools, dance or martial arts studios, painting classes, or anything else that could entertain you and your family.

At your next open house, bring this checklist with you as you go for a walk around the neighborhood. Your new community might be a perfect fit!

Jun 29, 2017

5 Numbers You Need To Know When Buying A Home

Posted by: Janell Carter



There are so many things to consider when buying a new home, from house features to location, that it’s easy to overlook what’s really important. However, remember that buying a home is more than just picking out floor plans and backyard space — it’s a financial investment. Plan for a home you can afford by keeping these important numbers in mind.

Buying a home can be daunting, but CENTURY 21® can help. Visit www.century21.com for more home buying resources.


Jun 29, 2017

How To Decorate for Outdoor Entertaining

Posted by: Janell Carter

How to Decorate for Outdoor Entertaining


Even though you don’t have a sprawling backyard, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy entertaining outdoors. Make the most of your petite patio and turn it into a pocket-sized paradise. Here are our tips for how to decorate small spaces for outdoor entertaining.

  • Arrange furniture the right way: The best way to maximize space is to arrange your furniture around the perimeter of the deck or patio. Think twice before placing a table in the center, and instead give your guests plenty of room to stand or move around.
  • �Add extra seating with large pillows: Get a few extra spots for guests to sit without taking up too much space by throwing in some large floor pillows. They add an extra element of coziness, plus they’re easy to add or subtract.
  • �Use color wisely: Color can make all the difference when decorating, especially in such a small space. Keep things fresh and airy by sticking to a monochromatic palette in whites or grays. Or add a bit of fun by using colorful accents in eye-catching patterns.
  • �Be strategic when choosing furniture: Save space by investing in two-for-one pieces of furniture, such as nesting tables, storage ottomans and benches (which can also be used for seating), and folding tables and chairs.
  • �Bring on the plants: There may be plenty of foliage outside already, but use it strategically in your entertaining area. Plants are a simple way to liven things up and make your modest space feel like an exotic retreat.
  • �Hang up lights: Strings of bistro lights can instantly open up a small space. Plus, that warm glow will give things a cozier vibe.

Get ready for a summer full of outdoor entertaining!

Jun 22, 2017

Luv- A- Bowl Johns Creek Review

Posted by: Janell Carter

For the first time last week I got to try out this very cool, and healthy Acai bowl shop called Luv-a-bowl located at 9700 Medlock Bridge Rd in Johns Creek. The shop is tucked away inside the Medlock crossing shopping center across from the Medlock Regal Theatre. I actually stumbled across the shop after my daughter’s decided that they wanted ice cream for a job well done at school. Me trying to shed a few pounds and trying to change my eating habits decided I needed something a little more healthy and low and behold I found it. Luv-a-bowl is very bright and welcoming upon entering. I told the young man taking orders that it was my first time in, and asked what he suggested. He told me the Johns Creek bowl was the most popular and I took his suggestion. My bowl had yummy creamy blended acai fruit topped with granola, berries, coconut, and honey. It was delicious and just what I needed to beat the Georgia heat. Luv-a-Bowl is that place to come to enjoy delicious, one-of-a kind acai bowls, as well as to experience a range of products to help you look and feel better! I promise you will not be disappointed. Stop in today and tell them I sent you!

May 10, 2017

Free Summer Events At Newtown Park

Posted by: Janell Carter

I know finding things to do over the Summer break with the kids is not easy especially free things to do! Well for all of my Alpharetta/Johns Creek residents you don’t have to look any farther than Newtown Park. Year after year they have a ton of free events over the Summer to help with boredom. Below are just a few of the events scheduled. For more information visit their site http://www.johnscreekga.gov/RecreationandParks/Special-Events

Johns Creek Farmers Market

Be a part of the local food movement and shop at the Johns Creek Farmers Market. The market is held during the summer at Mark Burkhalter Amphitheater at Newtown Park on Saturday mornings (May 6 - Aug. 26) from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Each market features local farmers and vendors with organic and/or sustainable foods and produce.

Movies At Newtown Park

“Movies at Newtown Park” is a free summer outdoor series of family-friendly movies presented on a huge inflatable screen.

Pre-show activities include an inflatable moonwalk, face painting, children's activities, giveaways, and music. 

Dates: Saturday, June 10; Saturday, July 8; Saturday, Aug. 12
Time: Movie starts at dusk. Pre-Show activities begin at 7 p.m.
Location: Newtown Park

Families are encouraged to bring blankets and relax as they watch the movie. No alcohol or pets please.

Foodtrucks are scheduled for each of the Movies at Newtown Park events! 
Saturday, June 10: Patty Wagon
Saturday, July 8: Flatbread Bistro
Saturday, Aug. 12: Big C's Chicago Kitchen

Independence Day Celebration

Celebrate our country's independence at Newtown Park with live music, activities, food, and an exceptional fireworks display!

Date: Saturday, July 1
Time: 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Location: Newtown Park
Ages: All ages
Cost: FREE!


May 9, 2017

Kentucky Derby Party At Avalon

Posted by: Janell Carter

This past week was the 2nd ​annual Kentucky Derby Party at Avalon! This is becoming one of my favorite events to attend. There are plenty of big fancy hats, bow ties and mint juleps. Not into mint juleps there was a choice of plenty of beverage selections including beer, wine, and specialty cocktails. There is live coverage of the races on a big screen, raffles, cornhole, retailer activities, and a 8 man band. Place your “bets” on your favorite horses by placing your tickets in their raffle jar. Prize Packages will be given to the raffle winners from the First, Place, and Show horses. Best part is proceeds benefit The Lionheart School. The Lionheart School is a 5013 non-profit independent school for children ages 6 through 21 with autism or other disorders of relating and communicating. The school was established in 2000 and is located in Alpharetta, Georgia. Don’t miss out next year you definitely want to be there! I give this event 2 big thumbs up!

Mar 29, 2017

How Much Home Can I Afford?

Posted by: Janell Carter

How Much Home Can You Buy?

There are a few methods for roughly estimating how much home you can afford. A house payment should be no more than 25% of your gross monthly income (before taxes and deductions).
Annual Salary Max Home Value
$50,000 $125,000
$60,000 $150,000
$70,000 $175,000
$80,000 $200,000
$90,000 $225,000
$100,000 $250,000
$110,000 $275,000
$120,000 $300,000
$130,000 $325,000
$140,000 $350,000
$150,000 $375,000
$160,000 $400,000
Keep in mind that these are guidelines. There are many other factors that determine how much home you can afford.

Feb 21, 2017

Do I Need My Own Realtor If I'm Buying A New Contruction Home?

Posted by: Janell Carter

Yes you absolutely need your own Realtor when you are purchasing a new construction home! I know the on site agent is extremely nice and it really seems like she is trying to help you, but I need you to remember one thing she works for the builder not you. Since the builder has someone working for him why not have a Realtor that is on your side and is looking out for your best interest? You need someone that will look over the contracts, stay on top of deadlines, contact the builder or construction manager when there is a issue, hire the inspector, and is constantly checking on the progress of the home. The on site agent has hundreds of other homes she/he is helping to get sold for the builder your home will not be a priority. Before you decide to walk into a new construction site you should have your own Realtor with you. You will be happy you did.

Feb 10, 2017

How Will I Know This Is The Home For Me

Posted by: Janell Carter

How Will I Know This Is The Home For Me

​I get asked this question a lot and the truth is there is no right or wrong answer to this question. I have had clients that purchased the first home they viewed. With that being said I have also had clients that searched months and months, and viewed over 30 homes. Home is a feeling not just a place. When you walk into the home of your dreams you will know it because you will get the feeling that this one is the right one for you. If you start thinking about the Christmas mornings and Thanksgiving dinners that would be spent at the home and you can literally see it then that particular one may be right for you. Buying a home is a very personal decision you may not want to run it by family or friends because they aren’t the ones living there you are. Make a decision that is right for you.

Jan 30, 2017

Your Frequently Asked Questions Answered

Posted by: Janell Carter







Your Frequently Asked Questions Answered

​As a Realtor I get asked a lot of questions on a daily basis from home buyers and sellers that I work with and meet with. I wanted to share some of the answers to those questions in hopes that it will help you in this process.

  1. ​Should I talk to a lender before I start looking at homes? The answer is YES you should definitely speak with a lender first. Speaking with a lender will help you understand how much home you will be able to afford. Getting pre qualified should be your first step in the home buying process.
  2. Do I really need a Realtor when buying a home? I strongly recommend you hire a Realtor during your home buying process. There are many reasons why you should have a Realtor represent your best interests when buying a home. Having the right Realtor on your side will make the home buying and selling process much smoother.
  3. Who pays the Realtor fees when buying a home? I think when home buyers are scared of speaking with a Realtor it is because they don’t understand who pays the Realtor fees. In a typical home transaction the seller pays the listing agent and the buyer’s agent fees.
  4. How many homes should I look at before putting a offer on a home? This is a personal choice. There is no specific number of homes you should look at before buying a home.  Don’t feel that if you were to purchase the first home you look at that you’re making a mistake. With that being said if you were to look at 20 homes that is not a mistake either. You have to feel comfortable with your decision.
  5. Do I have to have a home inspection? The legal answer is no you are not required by law to have a home inspection. My answer as a Realtor is I would never allow my client to purchase a home without getting a home inspection from a reputable home inspector. If you have a Realtor who suggest that a home you are purchasing looks to be in great condition and you don’t need a inspection you should get a new Realtor.
  6. What is earnest money? Earnest money is a deposit made to a seller showing the buyer's good faith in a transaction. The earnest money goes into a escrow account until closing then it goes toward the purchase of the home. It ends up being a credit to the buyer for the purchase of the home.
  7. ​How much is earnest money typically?​ Earnest money is typically 1% of the purchase price of the home. If the purchase price is $200000 the earnest money deposit should be $2000. If the purchase price is $350000 the earnest money deposit should be $3500 etc.
  8. Who pays for the home inspection and appraisal? The buyer typically pays for their own home inspection and appraisal. The lender orders the appraisal.
  9. Once I put my offer in on a home are there any instances in which I could back out and get my earnest money back? I often get this question from first time buyers with buyers remorse. If you as a buyer back out of the contract to purchase within the due diligence period you will get your earnest money back.
  10. What if the home does not appraise for the amount on the purchase and sale agreement? If the home does not appraise the seller has a chance to lower the price of the home. The seller can also request a second appraisal. If the appraisal still comes back lower it is up to the seller if they would like to lower the price or take the home off the market. If the sellers decide to take the home off the market the buyer would get their earnest money back as long as there was a appraisal contingency put in place.

Jan 23, 2017

Cost Associated With Buying A Home Before Closing

Posted by: Janell Carter

Cost Associated With Buying A Home Before Closing

A lot of first time home buyers often times are very aware of the cost associated with purchasing their first home but what about your out of pocket cost before closing. I have had a few clients that felt blindsided by these cost and thought they wouldn’t have to have any out of pocket cost until the actual closing. Let’s talk about the most common!

Earnest Money

​Earnest money is going to be your first out of pocket expense. Earnest money is a deposit made to a seller showing the buyer's good faith in a transaction. Earnest Money is typically held by the listing agent or buyer’s agent’s broker in a escrow account until closing. At closing you will see the earnest money on your closing statement as a credit to you.

Home Inspection

A home inspection is something I recommend to all of my clients. If ever you are working with a agent and they tell you that you don’t need to bother with a inspection the home looks like it’s in great condition get you a new one. They do not have you best interest in mind. A home inspection can cost anywhere from $325-$800 depending on the size of the home. Below are some items a home inspection will normally check.

  • Appliances
  • Plumbing
  • Foundation
  • Roof
  • Attic
  • Electrical system
  • HVAC system
  • Fireplaces
  • The general interior & exterior

You can also ask for additional services like an asbestos inspection, radon inspection and a termite inspection. In Georgia where it is very warm most of the time a termite inspection should always be added.


​Your appraisal will be ordered by your mortgage lender. A appraisal will typicall cost $300-$600 depending on the kind of loan FHA, VA etc. Also depending on the size of the home.

Jan 17, 2017

10 Questions You Should Ask Your Agent When Buying A House

Posted by: Janell Carter










When you start thinking about buying your first home there are questions you should ask the agent whom you are going to be working with. Asking these questions ahead of time can save you time and trouble in the long run.

  1. Is this your full time job or are you a part time agent? A full time agent is more likely to be up-to-date on the current market, housing trends and real estate law.
  2. Are you a Realtor or a real estate agent? Not all real estate agents are Realtors. Realtors are held to a higher standard. The term "REALTOR®" is a registered collective membership mark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® and abides by its strict Code of ethics.
  3. How many sales have you handled in my target neighborhoods? You want a Realtor who knows the local market, and has had recent sales in those neighborhoods.
  4. Will there be anyone else that will work with me besides you? A Realtor that has a large team may have too much on their plate to work with you the entire buying process. They may have one of their team members helping you at some point. That should be a question asked now so that you are made aware and you aren’t blindsided half through the process.
  5. Can I see reviews from your past clients? Looking up the Realtor’s reviews you are going to work with is rather easy. You can simply look their name up on Zillow or a google search and look at them from there. You can also simply ask the Realtor and they should be able to provide you with that information.
  6. Has anyone ever filed a complaint againgst you? I know this question may be uncomfortable to ask and if you would rather not you can always check your State’s licensing board.
  7. What are some of your characteristics that your client’s like most about you? You want the Realtor your working with to be trust worthy, hardworking, honest and upfront.
  8. Am I ogligated to work with your preferred lender, inspector or other service providers you recommend? You should never feel ogligated to work with the Realtor’s preferred providers. You always have a choice. You should speak with a few different providers to see who you feel more comfortable with.
  9. How do you handle communication with your client’s? I personelly try to get back with all of my client’s within 1 hour. I am always available by email and text as well. My client’s are usually very surprised when I answer my phone on Holidays, weekends and evenings.
  10. How quickly can you get me into a home? Hot homes move fast. Ask how the agent handles tours on short notice.

Be prepared to ask you Realtor these questions they will help your home buying or selling process go a lot smoother.


Feb 15, 2016

Awesome Tips To Get Your Home Ready For The Spring Selling Season!

Posted by: Janell Carter

When selling a house in the springtime, you should know how to stand above the rest and increase your odds at success. Many homeowners are unsure of how to proceed when they sell a home in the spring months. With this in mind, here are the top six tips to selling a house in the spring.

Property inspector

When you sell a home, you want it to be in great shape. Otherwise, a potential buyer won’t want to offer the highest price. To do this, you should call a local property inspector who can take a look at the foundation and other parts of the house. If you have trouble finding an inspector, contact a real estate agent who can give you advice on how to find a professional.

Prepare the yard

After a long winter, the yard can look dirty and disheveled, so you should clean out your yard and throw away old leaves and rubbish. Remember, plenty of folks will check out the yard, and you will want it to look great in the spring. If you already have a nice looking yard, buy some flowers and place them in and around the yard. This will excite visitors and help them see your home’s potential.

Porch and patio

While people love the yard, they also love to check out the porch and patio. Since springtime is a great time of the year to sit on the porch and enjoy the weather, you should improve your patio and make it attractive to potential buyers.

Spring cleaning

Of course, when people want to check out a place, they are likely to enjoy it more if it is clutter-free. If you want to get to get the highest possible offer for your house, you should de-clutter it and get rid of old possessions. You’ll also have an easier time moving if you sell off some possessions.

Power wash

If you power wash the sidewalk and parts of the house, you can improve its curb appeal and excite a potential buyer. Think about it: when a person walks up to a house that was recently cleaned, they will be much more interested. This is an inexpensive way to improve your house, since you can rent a power washer for about $50.

Open it up

When you show you’re house, you need to accentuate its positives. To do this in the spring, you should open your windows and let the sun shine through. You’ll let in fresh air that makes the house more enjoyable, and also show off the outdoors. 

With these six tips, you can sell your house in the spring with little effort. Remember, the competition is tough, and you will want to stand above the rest by doing more.

- See more at: http://www.realestateinsidermag.com/business-tips/top-six-tips-to-selling-a-house-in-the-spring/#sthash.BeiI4euz.dpuf

Oct 22, 2015

Avalon Restaurant Kona Grill Review

Posted by: Janell Carter

I want to start by saying I had an amazing time at Kona Grill at Avalon. My husband and I visited one night before going to view a Movie at Regal Cinema. It was just what the doctor ordered a night away from the kiddos at a very cool, and trendy restaurant. The food, decor, and service was outstanding. The decor reminded me of a LA restaurant complete with blue ice fire pit on the terrace perfect for dining al fresco. It was really crowded but we only waited a few minutes for a table. Our server was really attentive, and checked on us several times throughout the night.  I ordered the Lemon Garlic Shrimp Penne made with parmesan, baby arugula, roasted tomoatoes, and lemon cream. It was divine. Pasta is my weekness. When I do go back I will be ordering it again. My husband ordered the Sweet Chili Glazed Salmon with Sauteed Green Beans, and fried rice. The green beans were delicious, and prefectly cooked with just a little bit of garlic. I will say the next time I visit I would like to sit outside there weren’t any tables available, and I can see why the fire pits and open air bar are a major draw. Overall I would give Kona Grill 5 stars it definetely met my expectations.

Oct 16, 2015


Posted by: Janell Carter

Sometimes saving money for your down payment can be a big challenge, but I am here to tell you it doesn’t have to be. Whether your goal is $5000 or $20000, consider some of these easy ways to save.

  •  Create a savings account that will be solely designated for your down payment. Then set your savings on autopilot. If you set your savings to a automatic draft it is already done for you and you will hardly miss it. Use your IRA to fund the down payment. The first-home exemption rule allows individuals to use up to $10,000 in IRA funds toward the purchase of a first home without incurring the 10 percent early withdrawal penalty that applies to withdrawals made from a traditional IRA.
  • Put all extra or unexpected income toward your down payment. Bonus checks, gifts, tax refunds or other random sources of income that you don’t normally rely on or live off of all fit this example.
  • Create a second income for yourself. If you enjoy writing freelance writing or editing may work for you.You can always use a monetary “gift” from a parent, spouse or family member willing to help contribute to your down payment fund.Move bank accounts to take advantage of perks and earn more interest.
  • Write a list before you go shopping – and stick to it.
  • Stay in instead of eating out. I am totally guilty of this one. I eat out every chance I get, and I know first hand how expensive this habit is.
  • Check out free events. Entertainment these days can be really expensive, especially if you have children. Next time your thinking about the movies or Main Event check out Atlanta Parent it will give you tons of free things to do.
  • Quit using credit cards. If you have a habit of getting into trouble with credit cards, hide your credit cards and keep them in a safe place in your home, not in your wallet. If you need to keep a card for emergencies, that’s okay. Just don’t carry it around with you. If you’re often tempted to use it, keeping your card “out of sight and out of mind” might help.
  • Cancel unused club memberships.
  • Remove your credit card numbers from your online accounts.It’s easy to spend online when you have your card information stored in an account – just click and buy. The best way to break this habit is to simply delete your card from the account.
  • Create a visual reminder of your debt. I am a huge believer in visual boards they really work. Put a picture of your dream first home and look at it everyday. It will encourage you to spend wisely.
  • Design your debt snowball. Everyone needs a plan to help them get out of debt. Once your debt snowball gains momentum it will be unstopable.
  • Consolidate your student loans.
  • Research down payment assistance programs in your area. A great one to start with is Georgia Dream. They will pay up to $5000 of your down payment.
  • Auto insurance companies often give discounts for paying for a full six months or a year for insurance coverage instead of paying month to month.
  • Create a monthly budget and stick to it.
  • Downsize before you upsize. Moving to a one-bedroom apartment from a two-bedroom apartment can drop your rent by 20% to 30% in most areas.
  • Sell items you no longer need or use.

Oct 15, 2015

Investing In Condos and Townhomes In Alpharetta

Posted by: Janell Carter

I often receive a lot of questions about investing in townhomes or condos in Alpharetta, and I wanted to share what I know to help make the process smoother. Alpharetta is an incredible subburb to invest in, from the award winning schools, great shopping, tons of green space, job opportunities, and entertainment you can’t go wrong. I meet a lot of prospective clients who would like to invest in a property to rent out, but don’t know where to start. Most Alpharetta townhomes or condos have what is called a rental restriction, these restrictions are put in place for a lot of good reasons 1 being to keep the communities in good standing with FHA. This means that a would be buyer would be able to use FHA financing and their low 3.5% down payment. There are still a lot of communites in Alpharetta priced between 150k and 220k where rentals are allowed. Below are a few. These properties rent between $1200-$1800. Alpharetta values are only rising. I would encourage anyone to invest in Alpharetta today.

Regency at Windward Village

Deer Valley

New Haven

Rosewood Park

Spring Valley


St. Claire