Archive for the ‘Georgia’ Category

Are you sitting in the car rider line RIGHT NOW or waiting on the bus to drop your kiddos off while you scroll through Facebook?

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Summer is almost here, check out the school calendars to start planning your adventures!

Chances are you and everyone else around you are doing just that! You are probably also counting the days until summer break! Well all Atlanta area schools will be out by the last day of May leaving you open to pack as much, or as little, into those days as your heart desires!

Are you planning some fun trips and wondering when you have to be back in town and ready for the new school year? Or just want to know what next year’s schedule is going to look like? Or have you decided that summertime is the PERFECT opportunity to move? If either of these thoughts are running through your mind right now you may be interested in area school calendars!

It looks like most of the counties will start back between August 7 and August 12 this year, follow the links below to see the schedules for the full 2013-2014.





Cherokee and Cobb have not posted a full 2013 – 2014 calendar as yet, but you can see the rest of year and when your summer will kick off!

If you have moving in mind. Click here to see area inventory and then give us a call! The Cueny Team is ready to help!


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On the heels of the General Motors announcing that they will open an IT Innovation Center in Roswell, creating 1,00o jobs over then next 3-5

Ernst and Young opens global IT center Alpharetta GA

Ernst & Young announces plans to open a global IT center in Alpharetta.

years Ernst & Young announced that it will also be opening a global IT center in Alpharetta within  5 years. The Ernst & Young facility will create approximately 400 new jobs. The new positions will be filled by a combination of new employees and relocating existing employees.

IT and software are the largest contributor to Georgia’s economy and workforce. In recent years North Fulton specifically has become known as a great place for IT and tech companies. Alpharetta is in the top 10 of cities considered for tech jobs and IT start-ups on multiple lists. In an interview with Trade & Industry Development, mayor David Belle Isle of Alpharetta was quoted as saying:

“We are excited to welcome EY to Alpharetta, the Technology City of the South,. This decision serves as a continuing reminder that more and more global companies look to Alpharetta as the No. 1 city to locate their technology efforts.”  

The next few years we are going to see big changes in the landscape and employment possibilities in North Fulton.  While not IT related, The Avalon development  has already broken ground  and we will see the positive impact of that project in the next 12 – 18 months. It will add jobs and housing to our communities. These two powerhouses are not only going to add jobs, but continue to make North Fulton known as a place for technology. This is an exciting time to live in our area!

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Source: TopRetirements.com and Wall Street Journal Market Watch

When it comes to the best states for retirement the southern states dominate the new 2012 list from TopRetirements.com. Every one of the top 10 states was from the southern part of the U.S., from Tennessee at number 1 (the northernmost state to make the list) to Nevada, the westernmost state. This year we’ve tried to make our selection process more objective. This list of the 10 best states for retirement uses a numerical scale with up to 1 point awarded on each of 7 factors related to economic issues, climate, and health care costs.

As always, we want to caution that your best states to retire list might look completely different than this one. For example, this list might not work for you if:

– Your children or grandchildren live in another state
– Your income isn’t high enough to make taxes an important factor
– You won’t receive a pension
– Cold weather doesn’t bother you
– You have a strong preference for a geographic area like the mountains or city living
– You have enough money to retire anywhere you want.

Every state has resort areas, places near the coast or a lake, or college towns. But states on our list like Florida and Texas offer more choices on places to live than Alabama, Louisiana, Oklahoma, or Mississippi. This might particularly apply to someone from the northeast who is looking for a more familiar environment to live in.

The seven factors we rated each state on were: Income tax, Taxation of Social Security, Taxation of Pensions, Property Taxes, Cost of Living, Health Care Insurance, and Climate. In most cases a full point was awarded for each positive applicable factor (e.g.; no tax on pensions), although a few states earned partial points. Warmer states received 1 point for more favorable climate. None of our top 10 states tax social security. All but Florida and Nevada have a very low cost of living.

1. Tennessee

2. Texas

3. Louisiana

4. Mississippi

5. Alabama

6. Arkansas

7. Florida

8. Oklahoma 

10 Best States for Retirement – 2012

Photo: Sandy Traub/Georgia Dept. of Economic Development

9. Georgia
Property taxes in Georgia are higher than other states on the top 10 list, but the state is phasing out state income tax on retirement income by 2016 and that (along with a low cost of living and warm weather) are reasons enough to make the Peach state the ninth best place to retire. Lawmakers, according to published reports, approved in 2010 a bill eliminating income taxes on retirement income up to $35,000 per year per person, or $70,000 per couple. With Social Security, couples can earn up to about $100,000 without paying state income taxes, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution report. The new law also does away with retirement income taxes on all income above that level. Seniors would still be taxed on most income they receive from working, the report noted. Pictured, Ebenezer Creek in Savannah.

10. Nevada

*This link to a TopRetirements.com customizable spreadsheet (best states retirement-2012) provides you with an excel doc that also allows you to customize the rankings or change the weightings, in the event you want to use different criteria.

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Atlanta Property Tax Appeal Deadlines Quickly ApproachingThe last day to appeal your property taxes is coming soon!

Typical deadlines include:

Fulton County: 6/28/2012 16 days remaining

Cobb County: 7/2/2012 20 days remaining

DeKalb County: 7/13/2012 31 days remaining

Campbell & Brannon offers professional help and has had a 93.9% success rate with an average reduction of 20.2% of fair market value.

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Appealing Georgia Property Tax AssessmentsThe saying goes, “Death and Taxes are the only two certainties of life.”  Both are inevitable, but with both there are things that can be done to ease the situation. Taxes are essential for operating our local governments, and often for nice amenities. But taxes are supposed to be based on “fair market value”.  If because the “fair market value” has decreased in your community, but the taxes are still based on old higher values, you need to ask for this adjustment.

Appealing your property taxes can be incredibly complex and time consuming, but your tax bill should more accurately reflect your property’s value in today’s market. Cobb County has begun mailing the Annual Notice of Assessments.

When To Appeal

Property owners must appeal their valuation by April 1 of each year or within 45 days of receiving a Notice of Assessment from the Tax Assessor. Senate Bill 346 became effective January 1, 2011 and granted the Georgian taxpayer many new options.

Who Can Appeal

Every property owner may appeal the value of their property so that the taxable value will more accurately reflect what the property is worth in today’s market. Every property owner may also appeal the taxable value on the basis that it is not uniform with other properties in the neighborhood, even if the value is consistent with the fair market value.

If you want professional help, I recommend Campbell & Brannon Property Tax Services, LLC. They will navigate the appeals process for you to achieve a reduced taxable value and resulting tax bill. It’s your right to appeal. Don’t pay more than your fair share.

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Each year I like to offer my clients a reminder that you may be entitled to the Georgia Homestead Exemption if you owned and occupied your home as your primary residence on January 1, 2012.  For more information, visit this link from the Georgia Department of Revenue.

Homestead Exemption in GeorgiaThe Homestead Exemption could amount to a substantial property tax savings and must be filed by April 1, 2012.  If you do not file, you may be subject to penalties and your tax bill could be higher than expected.

You can apply by mail or in person.  If the application is not mailed to you by the end of January, you can go online to get the application from your county tax commissioner.

Please contact your Tax Commissioner’s office for further information.  The most commonly used numbers in Metro Atlanta are:

Fulton County         (404) 224-0102

Cobb County           (770) 528-8600

DeKalb County        (404) 298-4000

Forsyth County       (770) 781-2106

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Jenny Pruitt, CEO/Founder Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby's International Realty

Jenny Pruitt, CEO/Founder Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby's International Realty

I recently had the extraordinary opportunity to interview Jenny Pruitt, CEO and Founder of Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty.  Jenny is an incredible leader and visionary.

AC: What is a benefit of the Sotheby’s International Realty brand to clients who are buying or selling a home under $1 million? Over $1 million?

JP: One of the greatest benefits of the Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty brand is the power of our multi-million dollar marketing at all price points.

Whether your home is $200,000 or $2,000,000, we recognize that your home is your mansion. We utilize our professional, superior marketing strategy and pieces to successfully market your home regardless of price. Each one of our listings receives the same extraordinary marketing and representation from Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty.

AC: Looking back at your time in residential real estate in Atlanta, what changes would you say have happened in the way buyers buy a home now compared to the past? Seller?

JP: I think now more than ever, buyers are looking for a good deal. They are waiting on the fence longer in an attempt to find rock bottom pricing. However, that is not always the best strategy. The Atlanta market is continuing to improve and interest rates will not stay as low as they are forever. Those buyers that are still on the fence might look back in a few months and realize this truly was the time to buy. It is always important to factor not only price into a home buying process but also the interest rate.

In regards to sellers, I think overall everyone is becoming more realistic. It is imperative to list your home for sale when it is absolutely ready. Gone are the days of “testing the market.” Sellers must have the home in its best condition and price the property right from the start. With so many homes on the market, buyers have plenty of options. As a seller, it is more important today to ensure your home stands out – and in a good way.

AC: What is something you enjoy about your role as CEO of Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty? 

JP: I love to see other people succeed and know that I had a small part of their success.  One of the most exciting things about being a part of this great company is to see how marketing and global branding can become such a compelling story to the consumer. The visual impact and exposure for our listings is the best in the industry.

As the CEO Founder of this company it is so rewarding to grow a company with such extraordinary people!

AC: As someone who has purchased and sold many homes in your lifetime, what are a couple of important tips you may have for helping a family to feel at home in their new space?

JP: Moving into a new space is often both an exciting and stressful experience. I find that no matter where I am, as long as my husband, Bob, and my two precious Shih Tzus, Molly and Murphy, are with me, that I always feel at home.

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