Research key to good fit

Mike and Jasmine Jones moved from Detroit to Georgia in August 2008 for Mike’s job and rented in Newnan while looking for a home to buy.

They took time to learn about the communities in metro Atlanta, getting serious in December 2009 when the tax rebate was extended.

The Joneses worked with Lisa Bennett of Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty to find a home that fit their desires.

They were used to homes with basements in Michigan and sought one for the extra recreational space. They also wanted room for a home office for Jasmine, who telecommutes in the health care industry. The couple, who are in their early 30s, also wanted closer proximity to shopping and restaurants in the city.

Choice No. 1: Renovation with character $369,000

The home on Lamplighter Lane in Marietta’s Fox Hills neighborhood had an open floor plan. The home was built in 1972 but has been remodeled, including the kitchen and a new roof. The four-bedroom, 31/2-bath home also had a home office on the main floor. An advantage of the lot was that it sat back off the street. “It was one of those older subdivisions where they didn’t put the homes right next to each other,” Jasmine said. But the lot wasn’t level in the back, and they would have had to invest in finishing the basement.

Choice No. 2: Impressive kitchen $325,000

The home office in this residence on Brookcrest Drive in Marietta’s Millbrook Farm neighborhood overlooked its wooded lot. The five-bedroom, three-bath home built in 1980 had been expanded to include a keeping room with a fireplace in the kitchen, which had vaulted ceilings. “It would have been a very, very comfortable place to cook in and just kind of chill,” she said. But the basement didn’t have the large recreation area that Mike desired, and they preferred a more flat lot.

Choice No. 3: A true master suite $327,500

The backyard in this home on Indian Hills Drive in Marietta’s Indian Hills Country Club had a level, fenced-in yard and a screened porch. The basement was finished, and the kitchen of this home, built in 1974, was remodeled with granite counter tops and new appliances. The master had a sitting room with a stacked stone fireplace and recessed lighting. They finished the area over the garage, she said. “You really got a bedroom and a true sitting area. It really gives you the feel of a true master suite.”

The choice

No. 3: They waited about a week to put a contract on the Indian Hills home. In their previous purchase in Michigan, it was new construction where they were negotiating with a builder, so it was a different experience to negotiate with a seller who was emotionally invested in the home, Jasmine said.

“When we first put the initial offer in, we really kind of researched those comps [comparative sale prices] to figure out what we really thought the house was worth,” she said. “It really makes it important for you to kind of really stop and evaluate the current market when you’re putting your offer in and doing the negotiating.”

The seller countered twice to finalize the sales price, and they also agreed to a few small improvements before the Joneses closed on the home in February.