Water view attracts Florida buyers

Newcomer Living is a new feature that will appear regularly in Homefinder. If you moved to Atlanta in 2013, bought a residence and are willing to share your story, contact Lori Johnston at lori@fastcopy.biz.

A lake view setting in a Mableton neighborhood reminded Elaina Labossiere of her home in Florida, which was a welcome sign as she and her family relocated to Atlanta for work.

It wasn’t an easy process, though. Over the three-month search period, she frequently found that many of the homes they planned to view at the end of each week already were under contract.

“It was really, really frustrating,” she said.

Why Atlanta?

For Labossiere’s job as a security compliance examiner with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Co-workers had warned about traffic. Labossiere said she desired to have a half hour or less commute to her job near Lenox Square in Buckhead and to avoid congestion on roadways such as I-285.

Putting down roots

In addition to location, the home’s age was a priority. The Labossieres preferred a newer home with high ceilings and wide-open spaces, instead of the more compartmentalized layouts found in older homes, Elaina said.

Elaina and Garry, who works for the Transportation Security Administration, desired a family-oriented neighborhood with amenities such as a pool and playground for their three children, Malika, 7; Cassandra, 5; and Samantha, 2.

The search expanded from older homes in Dunwoody and Sandy Springs, to Smyrna and then Mableton.

“The age of the homes (in Mableton) generally was much newer. Then it was just a question of which neighborhood,” she said.

The 2002 home they purchased in the Retreat at Old Vinings Lake had been listed two days before Elaina and her agent, Brendan B. Wright with Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty, viewed it. The layout placed all the bedrooms on the second floor, and the Cobb County home also had a basement. The lake is visible from the numerous windows in the living room.

“Brendan is the one who took the initiative and said, ‘We need to see this right away before it gets off the market,’ ” she said. “Immediately I was like, ‘OK, let’s just make this happen.’ “

The two-story living room was another key feature in the five-bedroom, four-bath home.

“While I lose some bedroom space or second-floor space, I don’t care, because I don’t feel closed in,” she said.

The family closed on the home in February, and Elaina said she hopes to make gradual changes to customize it, just as they had done in Florida.

Relocation tip

If you’re unfamiliar with the Atlanta area, the metro area’s size and different types of neighborhoods can be overwhelming. Talk to co-workers who know the areas and schools, and narrow down the location, Elaina said. She also used websites such as GreatSchools.org and Zillow.com to compare school districts, and then to find homes in those areas.