Second home in Blue Ridge great place for family to gather

Rick and Christy Young moved to the Smyrna area in 2002, and soon began vacationing in the north Georgia mountains. “We talked about buying a place there five or 10 years from now to retire to, but then with the market being what it is right now, we decided to look around to see if we could get a deal,” said Rick Young, a business intelligence developer with River’s Mist.

Checking out a lot on the Toccoa River, the couple met real estate agent Rachel Callihan of Harry Norman, Realtors. Soon Callihan began e-mailing them information on other available property. “When she sent us the note about this one house, she said ‘This one is it!’ and it turned out, she was right,” said Christy, an attorney with Alston and Bird. The view was great, the price was right and the size and construction of the house suited them perfectly.

Looks like a log cabin but conventionally framed: Rick Young is a former builder and says he appreciates the construction of the house. "The house has log siding and pine paneling indoors instead of being completely constructed from logs. That means it feels like a log cabin and settles nicely into the landscape here, but it can be fully insulated and modifications like adding outlets are easy to do," he said.

On the river vs. a mountain view: "Rick loves to fish and we started off thinking we wanted to be on the lower Toccoa River, but when we saw this house and the incredible view, we changed our minds," Christy said. Their home is 4 1/2 miles from public access to the Toccoa, which is just one of the 15 different streams and creeks that are open to fishing. "When we realized we could fish in any number of places, being on the river became less of a factor," said Rick.

A place for family: The Youngs have family scattered from California to Washington, D.C., and they all enjoy spending time in Blue Ridge. "I have six grandkids who have already been to visit, and Christy's sister and family from Chicago just spent a week up here. We'll probably hold our family reunion here with my six brothers and sisters coming in from California," said Rick. Christy's two grown sons are in Atlanta and they're also enjoying the mountain getaway.

Quick access to town: In addition to being just an hour and a half from their home in Smyrna, the house is also 5 miles from Blue Ridge so a trip for milk, bread and eggs takes just 10 minutes. "There's good shopping in Blue Ridge and excellent grocery stores, plus newer restaurants that are really nice. We don't feel we have to take everything from home to go up there for the weekend," Christy said. "The sophistication of what's there is pretty amazing for what seems like a small mountain town."

At a glance

With five bedrooms, three baths and close to 3,000 square feet on three levels, the Youngs’ home offers plenty of space for family visits. The master on the main means the house works well when it’s just Christy and Rick. The bedrooms on the upper level are connected with an open balcony that overlooks the great room, and the lowest level has two more bedrooms as well as a utility room and a huge room “just begging for a pool table,” Christy said. A big space that would work as a recreation room for family was important since their over 1 1/2 acre lot is very steep with little place for outside play.


Community information

The Youngs’ cabin was a foreclosure, and their purchase was made through the government program Fannie Mae. “The house was offered as-is, with absolutely no room to negotiate over any repairs or issues about the condition of the house,” Christy said. “We had a complete home inspection done just so that we were sure we knew what we were getting into. Our first task was to get the wood exterior stained and sealed, and we still need to refinish the decks and repair the screening on the back porch. Otherwise, the inspection showed that the house was in good condition with only some minor repairs needed.”

Rachel Callihan of Harry Norman, Realtors, says the key to working with Fannie Mae properties is making a smart offer. “The listing agent is generally handling many properties for Fannie Mae so having your own agent who can advise you, especially in a situation where there are multiple bids, is really necessary. Remember that once your offer is accepted, you have to sign the paperwork they give you. If you want to alter it, they will just move on to the next bidder. A good agent will let you know when the situation is a good one, and when you should just stop and move on to a better deal,” she said.

Getting there

Take I-75 north to I-575/Ga. 5 north. This will turn into Ga. 515 and U.S. 76. Follow U.S. 76 into Blue Ridge

For sale

$179,000: 577 Blackberry, Mineral Bluff. River access lot, just under 2 acres on a tailwater of the Toccoa River, 50 feet from the Toccoa. Septic approval in place, ready to build.

$279,000: 424 Cabbage Patch, Morganton. Eight-year-old log-sided cabin with three bedrooms and 3 baths. Detached garage with storage and workshop, includes furnishings, just under 2 acres. Porches, wraparound deck, hot tub.

Recent sale

$170,000: 309 Katydid Road, Morganton. Two-level log-sided cabin with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths. Screen porch with hot tub, furnished, 3/4 acre lot. Closed August 2010.