The Search: Alpharetta's Windward

“We zeroed in on north Fulton,” said Catherine, 51, a scientific editor. “We wanted to live this far out, but my husband works in downtown Atlanta, so we had to be close to Ga. 400. He takes MARTA.”

They wanted a large neighborhood with well-lit sidewalks for Catherine to walk with their dog, Gabby.

They became discouraged after finding home after home that needed a lot of work.

“We looked at houses that were filthy,” she said. “The houses where people had them and couldn’t afford the houses, it was kind of sad because things were not maintained. You wouldn’t even know where to start.”

Assisted by Ann Crow with Keller Williams Realty Atlanta North, they found three choices in Windward, a large Alpharetta development with a variety of neighborhoods and recreational amenities.

No. 1

Good condition, but outdated

The three-bedroom, two-bath home on Harbour Ridge Drive had an open floor plan and was spotless, Catherine said. Although it had the three bedrooms they desired, the home, listed for $298,000, needed renovations. Built in 1993, the home also lacked curb appeal, Catherine said, but she could see its potential. It had a basement, which the couple never had in their homes in Florida and California, but wanted. The floor plan included a loft where she could work. “We had the schools for my son, the commute for my husband, and for me, there had to be a good home office,” she said.

No. 2

Short sale situation

The five-bedroom, three-bath ranch home on Spinnaker Drive had a finished basement. The home, built in 1988, also boasted a master on the main, bonus room and a corner lot location. “It needed a little work, but it was well cared for and well decorated,” she said. But the home, listed for $299,000 (down from an original list price of $425,000) was a short sale. The couple had heard that the bank had not responded to other previous offers on the house, even though the seller seemed cooperative and desperate to move, Catherine said.

No. 3

Brick traditional

The four-bedroom, 2 1/2-bath home on White Oak Pass was on a big, beautiful wooded lot, Catherine said. The home, built in 1988 and originally listed for $319,000, had nine-foot ceilings, space for an office and a finished basement. The couple knew they would have to invest in a new roof and new siding, and the kitchen needed to be remodeled, Catherine said. The deck and floors also would have required repairs.

The Choice

No. 1

The couple made an offer on the White Oak Pass home (No. 3), but could not agree with the seller on the price. They then quickly made an offer on the Harbour Ridge Drive home after their agent told them, “If you like this house, make an offer, because it’s not going to last at this price,” Catherine said. They purchased the home in February and worked with a contractor to rip everything out of the kitchen and add custom cabinets, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and new lighting. They replaced the siding, got a new garage door, painted inside, added hardwood floors on the main level and installed new lighting and ceiling fans. “Even though it needed renovations, it was so clean and well cared for that you didn’t feel like you were getting somebody else’s dirt,” she said. Now, they’re enjoying Windward’s amenities, including the 195-acre lake. “For my husband, who works in the city, when he comes home, he can go fishing and he can go sailing. It’s great for him to get out of the work mindset,” she said.

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