New home in Cumming enables son to stay in same school

Wesley and Jakima McCall had a decision to make: stay or go? They could upgrade their 1,600-square-foot Cumming home, built in 1989, or buy a new, larger home with desirable features, such as granite countertops, an island and double oven in the kitchen.

“It was a house that was 25 years old. It didn’t have the modern functionality and convenience,” said Jakima, director of Christ the King Lutheran Church Preschool.

Working with Justine and Gary LaClair of Solid Source Realty, the couple decided to put their home on the market and buy.

The priority

They couldn’t move far. Their 10-year-old son, Ian, wanted to stay in the same Forsyth County school. Some homes they saw in their price range had cool outdoor features, such as a pool or backyard with a creek, but they weren’t in his school district.

The family also looked at their routine, which includes an evening meal together. The home they bought has the dining room adjacent to the kitchen, instead of located in the front of the home.

“A fundamental part of our family life is getting together and eating dinner at our table every night,” Jakima said. “Having the dining room adjacent to the kitchen, where it would be a functional space for us and not just a showpiece, was important to me.”

They desired a floor plan with some separation between the bedrooms. Their son’s bedroom is on the other side of the floor from the master bedroom, and for visiting relatives, there’s a guest bedroom and bathroom downstairs.

The search

The couple spent weekend afternoons driving through the five neighborhoods with new homes in their son’s school zone, said Wesley, who works for a local public safety department. The homes in Cumming’s Pleasant Manor Estates, about 5 miles from their previous home, impressed them with extra details, such as trim work and built-in bookcases.

They put their home, with updates to the appliances, roof and paint, on the market in April 2015 and immediately received five offers at asking price. They signed a contract with one buyer, but about 15 days before closing, the buyer’s financing fell through. After a week-and-a-half back on the market, the McCalls received more offers and selected a buyer who appeared to have the best financial qualifications for a loan.

The home

The McCalls originally wanted to build a home from scratch. When their previous home was set for a June 2015 closing, they were concerned whether a new house could be completed in time. They decided to buy a home already under construction by DR Horton. The five-bedroom, three-bath home, on a half-acre lot, has about 4,000 square feet, and their kitchen has doubled in size.

The bonus room offers a place for Ian to have his friends over, and there’s enough space for him to spread out his model train set and Legos. “He’s in kid heaven now,” Jakima said.

The lifestyle

Pleasant Manor Estates, with starting prices from $290,000s-$333,000s, has amenities such as a pool and playground. Being on a cul-de-sac is a kid magnet, which has been a good way for the family to meet neighbors. “In the afternoons, there are probably 20 to 25 kids riding bikes in the cul de sac,” Wesley said.

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