Search for home ‘was a fun process’

Richard and Kelly Carswell tried to buy a home in 2007, the year they were married. After being outbid twice, they decided the timing wasn’t right. With the buyer’s market and first-time homebuyers tax credit, they tried again last year. Richard, 25, who works for BB&T, chatted about their home in Marietta’s Independence Square.

Q: How did you approach things after trying to buy a home in 2007?

A: We had kind of kept our eye on the homes that were on the market. Our eye was kind of on either east Cobb or Roswell. We looked in 2007 and 2008 just online; seeing what would pop up. At the beginning of 2009, we decided we had built up enough savings where we could put down a good down payment and we both felt comfortable in our jobs. The tax credit was out there. Mortgage rates came down. We were paying $1,225 in rent. We could pay about that or less based on the rates and what homes are for sale. Why not go ahead and buy? That's kind of what honestly in my mind, being a numbers guy, put me over the edge.

Q: How many homes did you look at during your search?

A: Probably 10 to 15 houses with John Morris (an agent with Prudential Georgia Realty). We would do a lot of research online and would send John an e-mail and say, "Hey do you think we could take a look at this house?"

Q: How did the negotiating process work?

A: It was one of the last houses we went to. The Realtor could sense that we were ready to buy, and we knew what we wanted. We left the house, and probably 30 minutes later, John Morris got a call from that agent. They made us a reverse offer. They said, "Here's what we're willing to do for you. Is this something y'all would consider?" It threw my wife and I quite honestly for a loop. We weren't expecting that. We kind of thought about it and prayed about it. They gave us the lowest they could take. What we found out later on was the sellers were under contract on another house. Basically, my Realtor communicated to them that we could close in 15 to 20 days, so we could make it happen for them. We accepted the offer.

Q: What was so enticing about the offer?

A: It was about $10,000-$15,000 less than it was priced. They had just dropped the sales price a couple of days before. So when we went to look at that house, we weren't thinking the seller would be that willing to come off the price since they had just dropped it. It looked like a great deal.

Q: What is the home’s most impressive feature?

A: The wow factor was the kitchen. Most of the houses we looked at in east Cobb that were in our price range did not have a remodeled kitchen. We thought we were going to have to put money into these homes. This kitchen had all stainless steel appliances, granite countertops and new cabinets.

Q: Did you enjoy the overall home search?

A: It was a fun process. My wife and I really enjoyed just going to houses. We used to do those things as dates on a Sunday. I think that for us it helped out that we knew what we were looking for.

At a Glance

Richard and Kelly Carswell’s home has four bedrooms, 21/2 baths and about 2,500 square feet of livable space, according to tax records. They purchased it in April 2009.

Independence Square

Address: 1394 Logan Circle, Marietta 30062 (See below for listing information)

County: Cobb

Price range: High $200,000s-low $300,000s

Standard features: Hardwood floors, walk-in closets, two-car garages

Lot sizes: One-third to one acre

Amenities: Pool, tennis courts, clubhouse street lights

Homeowners fees: $350 a year

Schools: East Side Elementary, Dodgen Middle, Walton High

More on schools:

Getting there

Take I-75 north to Exit 263 (Ga. 120 Loop toward Roswell). Turn right onto Roswell Road. Turn left onto Providence Road. Turn left on Independence Way into the neighborhood.

For sale

$308,000: 1394 Logan Circle, Marietta 30062. A four-bedroom, two-bath brick home built in 1979 with a screened porch and a fenced-in backyard.

$292,000: 3481 Liberty Land, Marietta 30062 A four-bedroom, 21/2-bath home built in 1976 with a pool.

Recent sales

$308,000: 1237 Independence Way, Marietta 30062. A four-bedroom, 21/2-bath home built in 1978 with vaulted ceilings, a screened porch, a deck and gazebo.

$319,000: 3532 Liberty Lane, Marietta 30062. A four-bedroom, 31/2-bath home built in 1975 with hardwood floors, an updated kitchen and a sunroom.

Neighborhood information provided by John Morris with Prudential Georgia Realty and compiled by Elizabeth Wilson.