Family uses FaceTime for Alpharetta home purchase

Texas transplants Jennifer and Scott Lefforge did what few home buyers are willing to do. They put an offer on a home in Alpharetta that they had only seen through Internet photos and a FaceTime walk-through with their real estate agent.

“It was one of the strangest experiences I’ve ever been through, but also one of the best,” Jennifer said. “I would do it again the same way.”

Why Atlanta?

Moving to metro Atlanta from Dallas, Jennifer and Scott, a pilot for Delta Air Lines, chose Alpharetta because it was close to Jennifer’s job as operations manager at the Container Store, which opened in 2016 in Avalon. Her commute would be 10 to 15 minutes, and she had at least two routes, including one that avoided the heavy traffic on Ga. 400.

Schools were also important to the couple, who have three sons: 18-year-old Jack, a recent high school graduate, and 16-year-old twins Matt and Will, who attend Alpharetta High School.

Putting down roots

After making two trips to Alpharetta to search for a home – and losing out on two offers in the fast-paced market – Jennifer decided to try something different. Real estate agent Maria Livingston, with Keller Williams Realty Consultants, emailed Jennifer a link to a home built in 1995 in Windward, a lake, golf, swim and tennis community. Jennifer studied the photos and the home’s details. So far, so good.

Knowing she couldn’t travel to Alpharetta immediately, Jennifer asked her agent to walk her through the five-bedroom, four-bathroom home using FaceTime. She even asked her agent to knock on the wood floors, zoom in on features and tell her if she smelled anything odd. Livingston also walked through the yard and around the cul-de-sac. With “full trust” in Livingston, the couple made an offer. About a week after their offer was accepted, Jennifer and Scott traveled to Alpharetta.

“We walked in the house for the first time, and we knew we were supposed to be here. We absolutely adore this house,” Jennifer said.

Her agent also walked Jennifer through the home inspection using FaceTime.

“It’s really amazing how smoothly everything went,” Jennifer said.

Jennifer moved to the 3,200-square-foot home in November 2015, and the rest of the family joined her three weeks later, during school winter break. Public schools are Creek View Elementary School, Webb Bridge Middle School and Alpharetta High School, in the Fulton County School District.

Relocation tip

Jennifer advises buyers to choose their real estate agent well. Their agent got to know the family and its priorities, so when that Windward home went on the market, Livingston knew it would be a good match. A favorite nearby restaurant is Zen Fuji, which is within walking distance. She also likes her neighborhood’s proximity to Avalon, not only because she works there, but also because of its shopping, entertainment and restaurants.

“We put our lives in Maria’s hands,” Jennifer said. “She was a godsend.”

Moving to Atlanta - Relocation Guide from the AJC

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