What are the Best West Cobb Neighborhoods?


Cobb County is the third largest county in Metro Atlanta and is considered the most financially stable county in the Metro Atlanta area.

It is really just one big county, but when it comes to talking about it in real estate terms, you will often hear the county referred to as East Cobb and West Cobb.

While you won’t really find an actual physical line dividing East Cobb and West, a lot of people consider the “Big Chicken” as the defining point that separates the two parts of the county.

Where to Live in West Cobb

In geographic terms, you can consider it to be just about anything that is west of I-75, but not all (more about that in a minute).

West Cobb – The Early Years

Prior to the late 1980s and early 1990s, West Cobb was for the most part a rural area and East Cobb had much of the growth due to its closer proximity to Atlanta. If you wanted the best schools, newest shopping malls and state-of-the-art theaters, you bought a home and lived in East Cobb.

Land was much more inexpensive in West Cobb back then.

Today, West Cobb has just about everything that East Cobb has to offer – only newer. This includes its shopping centers, businesses, restaurants, and movie theaters.

West Cobb Communities

Although it is sometimes subjective as to which communities are considered part of the West Cobb area (some people also include areas like Austell, Smyrna, and Mableton, but most consider those areas South Cobb), it is usually noted as being these four cities. Each has its own uniqueness and charm:


Who lives there? There is a mixture of both white and blue-collar workers with 18 percent of Acworth’s residents working in retail sales and 12 percent work in accommodation and food service industries.

Best known for. Acworth is home to not one, but two lakes. Lake Allatoona, which is the second largest lake in the Metro Atlanta area with over 12,000 acres of water and features 270 miles of shoreline and Lake Acworth, a 260 acre man-made lake with a public beach and park along its northern shores. Enjoy fishing, boating, and swimming.

Places to shop. If you’re looking for one-of-a-kind items, Acworth is the perfect place to find them. Its historic downtown has a variety of boutiques, jewelry and gift stores, art galleries, and antique shops.

Where to eat. There are around 94 restaurants, bars, and coffee shops in Acworth. Some of the more notable local dining establishments in the area include, Fish Thyme Restaurant, Henry’s Louisiana Grill, and Tapestry at The Old Mill.


Who lives there? There is a mixture of both white and blue-collar workers with 15 percent of Kennesaw’s residents working in management and 13 percent work in the sales industry.

Best known for. Kennesaw National Battlefield Park. The park, which is visited by thousands of hikers and walkers each week, has a 1-mile trail up the mountain, which rises 800 feet during your hike to the top.

Places to shop. With over 175 stores, Kennesaw’s Town Center at Cobb is considered one of Northwest Atlanta’s main shopping destinations.

Where to eat. There are around 150 restaurants, bars and coffee shops in Kennesaw. Residents can enjoy dining at restaurants, such as Capers Restaurant and Bar, Big Shanty Smokehouse, and The Rotisserie Shop.


Who lives there? There is a mixture of both white and blue-collar workers with 20 percent of Marietta’s residents working in the construction industry and 12 percent work in retail sales.

Best known for. The city is perhaps best known for its downtown area, which is commonly called Marietta Square, or the Square in Marietta. Residents enjoy shopping and dining at the local stores and eateries, which are conveniently located around the square.

Place to shop. In addition to the local businesses on the Square in Marietta, residents can enjoy shopping at The Avenue West Cobb. Setup like a mall, but with outdoor entrance access to stores, residents can enjoy shopping at stores like The Sunglass Hut, Barnes & Noble, and Jos A Banks.

Where to eat. There are around 367 restaurants, bars, and coffee shops in Marietta. Pizza, hamburgers, and even Cuban food. Marietta has something for everyone. Some of the more notable local dining establishments in the area include, The Red Eyed Mule, Marietta Pizza Co., and the Cuban Diner.

Powder Springs:

Who lives there? There is a mixture of both white and blue-collar workers with 10 percent of residents working in sales and 10 percent working in installation, maintenance, and repair occupations.

Best known for. A local farm was featured prominently in the second season of Stranger Things giving this quaint city of West Cobb a new claim to fame. It also is known for its seven springs, however, which is where the city gets its name.

Places to shop. The city is currently going through a bit of a facelift, so while there are some specialty shops and antique stores to visit, you’ll have to wait and see what the city has planned for its downtown area after the renovation project is completed. Meanwhile, there are plenty of brand name stores in the area for your everyday needs.

Where to eat. Home cooking and BBQ are what’s on the menu for places to eat in Powder Springs. Notable restaurants in the area include Johnny’s BBQ, Carzell’s Kitchen LLC, and BB’s Fish and Wings.

Why Live in West Cobb?

Thinking of moving to West Cobb? Here are some things I like to share with my clients.

  • There have been three new high schools built in West Cobb during the past seven years (Kennesaw Mountain, Hillgrove, and Allatoona).
  • When it comes to buying a home, many of my clients find that West Cobb is a much more affordable option, especially when they realize that they can’t find what they want in East Cobb.
  • With its close proximity to I-75 and ease of commute into Atlanta, the West Cobb Area has increasingly become a popular place to live.

kristen-reed-cartersville-realtorIf you’re looking to downsize into a smaller home or find you have outgrown your current home, I can assist you in locating the house that is right for you. House are selling quickly, so don’t miss out! Sign up today, so you’ll receive all of your free home listings as soon as they appear on the market.



What is a Home Inspection and Why Do You Need One?


When it comes to buying a house, homebuyers always want to make sure that they’re getting a good deal. While most people think that this simply means that a buyer is not overpaying for a house, it actually goes way beyond that.

You not only want to buy a house for the lowest price that you can, you also want to make sure that you’re not purchasing a property with hidden surprises, or rather, that your new home is not in need of some major repairs that you don’t know about.

That’s where a home inspection comes in and getting one done before you purchase a home can save you a lot of time, trouble, and money.


Why are Home Inspections so Important?

A home inspection is a comprehensive examination of the condition of a home. It is usually performed right after a house goes under contract, but before the house is actually sold (I generally recommend getting a home inspection during the due diligence period right after the house goes under contract).

The purpose of a home inspection is to ensure that everything about the house is in good working order and that once the house is bought, the new home owner will not have to spend a lot of money fixing things before they can move in.

Without a home inspection, the buyer may purchase the property unaware that there is a major issue that could cost them a lot of money to fix, or even present a health or safety issue.

Although the home buyer is free to have anyone they want inspect their home, using a certified home inspector to perform the home inspection ensures that everything is thoroughly examined and looked at.

What Does a Home Inspector Do?

Before we discuss what a home inspector is and what they really do, let’s first talk about what they aren’t.

A home inspector is not the same thing as a building code inspector. A code inspector’s job is to determine whether certain elements of the property meet the current local or city code. A home inspector’s job, on the other hand, is to perform function and safety inspections that help to determine the condition of a piece of real estate.

The home inspector’s primary objective is to look for issues of concern that could cause safety or usability problems for the potential home owner. That being said, some inspectors will inform their client if they see that an area of the home doesn’t conform with the current local code.

As an example, kitchens in Cobb County, as well as the rest of Georgia should have ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protection. This protection cuts the power to the circuit if a current change is detected which could produce an electrical shock.

If the home inspector discovers that the kitchen does not have GFCI protection, they would then address this in their report that there is a potential safety issue.

In most areas, a home inspection costs between $300 to $600. This amount may vary depending on individual pricings, as well as the size and age of the house. You can typically find a home inspector by performing an Internet search or your real estate agent can provide you with a list of reputable home inspectors that you can contact.


What Does a Home Inspector Actually Inspect?

A home inspector will inspect nearly every element that is in and around a home, as well as other structures that may be on the property.

This can include:

  • Heating and air condition
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical system
  • Roofing
  • Full exterior of the home
  • Structural elements
  • Full interior of the home

Once the inspection is finished, the home inspector takes the information collected during their inspection and creates a written report with their findings that is sent to the home buyer. The home buyer can then use this report to further negotiate on the selling price of the home.

For instance, they could ask the seller to make necessary repairs, lower the purchase price, or (if the problem is serious) use the issues as a reason to terminate the contract between the buyer and home seller.


Are You Thinking of Buying a New Home?

kristen-reed-cartersville-realtorKristen Reed is an experienced Realtor who is familiar with the housing market in the Metro Atlanta area. Houses are selling fast right now and most listings go under contract quickly once they are on the market. Don’t miss out! Take a moment and sign up today to start receiving your free home listings.



City Spotlight: Acworth, GA


Welcome to Your New Home in Acworth, GA

  • Acworth is part of the Atlanta metropolitan area and is located in Cobb County.
  • As of 2016, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that Acworth had a population of approximately 22,418 residents.
  • Acworth is located in the foothills of the North Georgia mountains.

Who lives in Acworth?

Acworth has a mixture of both white and blue-collar workers. Interestingly, 18 percent of Acworth’s residents work in retail sales and 12 percent work in accommodation and food services. According to City-Data, other types of industry jobs held by residents in Acworth include:

  • Manufacturing (10%)
  • Construction (9%)
  • Other services, except public administration (7%)
  • Professional, scientific, and technical services (7%)
  • Transportation and warehousing (7%)

Getting Around in Acworth

Acworth is considered a car dependent city, since almost all of the errands that you may need to make will require you to use a vehicle.
The average Walk Score for Acworth is a 23. Residents in Acworth can walk to an average of 0.5 restaurants, bars and coffee shops in 5 minutes.

Dining and Shopping

There are around 94 restaurants, bars, and coffee shops in Acworth. Some of the more notable local dining establishments in the area include:
Fish Thyme Restaurant — 3979 S. Main Street. If you’re looking for a fine dining experience, but don’t want to make the long drive to Atlanta, Fish Thyme is the place to go. As the name suggests, Fish Thyme offers a variety of fish and seafood items with everything from Parmesan and Potato Encrusted Flounder to Blackened Texas Redfish. If fish and seafood aren’t really you’re thing, no need to worry. The restaurant also has items for land lovers, including Baby Back Ribs and a Grilled Double Chop.

Henry’s Louisiana Grill — 4835 N Main Street. From crawfish to jambalaya, Henry’s Louisiana Grill serves a wide selection of Louisiana favorites, including Chef Henry’s Sea Scallops that were featured on ABC Nightline and Henry’s Hush Puppies as seen on Food Network. All dishes can be served extra spicy and they have some healthy dinner options that you can select from as well.

Tapestry at The Old Mill — 4271 Southside Drive. As the name suggests, Tapestry at The Old Mill is situated in an old converted mill that sits in historic downtown Acworth. Formerly known as Gabriel’s at The Old Mill, this restaurant has reinvented itself and now offers a variety of American cuisine sourced from local farms. Try the Tequila Lime Chicken Soup and a House Salad, or a Forest Mushroom & Swiss Burger served with cole slaw or hand cut fries.

Acworth School System:

Acworth has 9 elementary and middle schools, 5 high schools, and 0 colleges.

Elementary/Middle Schools

  • Durham Middle School – 2891 Mars Hill Rd NW (Grades 6-8)
  • Pitner Elementary School – 4575 Wade Green Rd NW (Grade PK-5)
  • Barber Middle School – 4222 Cantrell Rd NW (Grades 6-5)
  • Acworth Intermediate School – 4220 Cantrell Rd NW (Grades 2-5)
  • Ford Elementary School – 1345 Mars Hill Rd NW (Grades PK-5)
  • Baker Elementary School – 2361 Baker Rd NW (Grades PK-5)
  • Oak Grove Elementary School – 6118 Woodstock Rd (Grades PK-5)
  • Frey Elementary School – 2865 Mars Hill Rd NW (Grades PK-5)
  • McCall Primary School – 4496 Dixie Ave (Grades PK-1)

High Schools

  • Allatoona High School – 3300 Dallas Acworth Hwy NW (Grades 9-12)
  • Cornerstone Preparatory Academy (Private) – 4310 Moon Station LN (Grades KG-12)
  • Furtah Preparatory School (Private) – 5496 Hwy 92 (Grades KG-12)
  • Harvest Baptist School (Private) – 198 Shaw Dr (Grades PK-12)
  • Brookwood Christian Language School (Private) – 4728 Wood St (Grades 3-12)


3 Reasons to Live in Acworth, Georgia

There are a lot of great reasons to live in Acworth. Here’s a list of my top three favorites that I like to share with my clients.

Go for a swim. Situated in Cauble Park, Acworth Beach opens at the end of April each year and remains open until Labor Day weekend. The 25-acre park also has a boardwalk, two playgrounds, and an open play area. There is also a lakeside gazebo, beach house, and four pavilions available to rent for special occasions.

Fore! If you like to golf, you’ll love Cobblestone Golf Course. Considered one of the most popular public golf courses in North Atlanta, Cobblestone has won a variety of awards over the years, including a Four-Star rating by Golf Digest and made a spot on the “Top 100 Courses You Can play” by Golf Magazine for 2011, 2012, and 2013.

Visit the park. Whether you want to walk, takes your kids to a playground, or simply enjoy communing with nature in an open green space, Logan Farm Park is the place to do it. The 120-acre park, which is located in the center of the city of Acworth has a 1/3-mile walking trail that was recently expanded to include some multiple-use pathways that go around a multi-purpose recreation field. The park also has restroom access and a group pavilion.

Take a walk back in history. If you enjoy learning about the past, Acworth’s self-guided Historic Walking Tour is a great way to do it. The walking tour starts at the Liberty Hill Cemetery and winds through town to the historic Acworth Antiques and Awtrey Corner situated on the corner of Cherokee, Northside, and Southside Streets. If you would rather take a guided tour, wait for Fall and check out the Acworth Ghost Tour held on Friday and Saturday evening (weather permitting) in the month of October.

Are You Thinking of moving to Acworth?

kristen-reed-cartersville-realtorWhether you’re just starting out and want to buy your first home or you found that you have outgrown your old house and need something that is a little bigger, Kristen Reed can help. She is an experienced Realtor that is familiar with the housing market in Acworth. She states that houses are selling fast in the Acworth area, so make sure you take a moment and sign up today to start receiving your free home listings.


How to Choose a Realtor


kristen-reed-cartersville-realtorFrom yard signs to Facebook ads and even direct-mail postcards, real estate agents promote themselves in a variety of ways. You would think with all that advertising it would be a fairly straightforward process when it comes to finding the right agent, but the reality is that it can sometimes be difficult to choose the real estate agent that’s the right fit for you.

You might even say that it is a bit of a balancing act. You want to choose a real estate agent you like, but you also know that it is important to find someone who will look out for your best interests and negotiate on your behalf.

If you’re thinking of buying or sell a home and don’t yet have an agent, here’s some tips that can help make sure you choose the right one.

Seven Tips to Help You

Tip #1: Ask your friends and family for a referral. Most people are more than happy to tell you who they used to buy or sell their home, and if they had a bad experience, they’ll be sure to tell you about that too.

Tip #2: Look for a real estate agent who is familiar with the area. Whether you want to buy a home in Kennesaw or sell your home in Marietta, when you choose a Realtor who knows the area, you know that they can help you get the very best deal because they know the local market.


Tip #3: Find a real estate agent who will listen to your wants and needs. A lot of buyers don’t really know what type of house they want when they first start looking. A good agent will listen to what you are saying and help you narrow down your search to the houses that best meet your criteria.

Tip #4: Seek a Realtor who really cares about what they do. There’s a big difference between a real estate agent who just wants to sell you a house and a real estate agent who cares about you and genuinely wants to help you find the perfect home.

Tip #5: Avoid the agent who offers the lowest commission. It may seem counterintuitive to not choose a real estate agent who appears to be saving you money, but there is usually a reason they are offering to work for less. You may discover that while they offer a low commission, you have to pay extra for your listing to appear on MLS or that you are expected to show your home all by yourself.


Tip #6: Remember the old song “You Better Shop Around?” Well, Mama was right. Your agent may be in your life for a good six months or more, so before you choose a real estate agent to list your home, you should always interview a few agents to find out which one is the best fit for you.

Tip #7: Stay away from agents who attempt to “buy a listing.” For example – an agent may try to set an unrealistic high selling price on your Cartersville home as a way to lure you into giving them your business. Your house will then sit for a period of time before the suggestion is finally made that you need to lower your sale price.

Are You Ready to Choose a Realtor?

If you’re interested in buying or selling a home, I’d love to talk to you. Contact me today and let’s talk about your real estate needs! I’m always ready to help you buy or sale your home.


City Spotlight: Marietta, GA


Welcome to Your New Home in Marietta, GA

  • Marietta is considered one of Atlanta’s largest suburbs and is located in the central part of Cobb County.
  • In 2013, it had the distinction of being the fourth largest principal city (by population) of the Atlanta Metropolitan statistical area.
  • As of 2016, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that Marietta had a population of approximately 60,941 residents.

Who lives in Marietta?

Marietta has a mixture of both white and blue-collar workers. Interestingly, 20 percent of Marietta’s residents work in the construction industry and 12 percent work in retail sales. According to City-Data, other types of industry jobs held by residents in Marietta include:

  • Accommodation and food services (10%)
  • Professional, scientific, and technical services (8%)
  • Manufacturing (8%)
  • Administrative and support (7%)
  • Waste management services (7%)
  • Educational services (6%)

Getting Around in Marietta

Marietta is considered a car dependent city, since almost all of the errands that you may need to make will require you to use a vehicle. Marietta does have minimal public transportation, however, and you may be able to use it to get around some areas in the city.

The average Walk Score for Marietta is a 35 and it has a Transit Score of 20. Residents in Marietta can walk to an average of 2 restaurants, bars and coffee shops in 5 minutes.

Dining and Shopping

There are around 367 restaurants, bars, and coffee shops in Marietta. Whether you are in the mood for pizza, a hamburger, or even Cuban food, Marietta has something to offer everyone. Some of the more notable local dining establishments in the area include:

The Red Eyed Mule1405 Church Street Ext NE. Featured on The Food Network, this restaurant has a variety of culinary delights, including Jake’s Sloppy Slaw Burger that was a featured favorite of Alton Brown on his show. Other notable items on the menu include the Redneck Reuben, Smoked Meatloaf Sandwich, and Chipolte Wings.

Marietta Pizza Co.3 Whitlock Ave. SW. Known for its fun vibe, the Marietta Pizza Co. is located right on the square in Marietta. As you might have guessed, this restaurant is best known for its pizza, but you can also enjoy calzones, strombolis, and sub sandwiches. Marietta Pizza Co. provides outdoor dining when the Georgia weather is warm, allowing guests to people watch and enjoy the ambiance of dining on the Marietta Square.

Cuban Diner — 1484 Roswell Rd. One of Marietta’s best kept secrets. The building may seem unassuming, but step inside and you’ll know you’re in an authentic Cuban diner. Guests can enjoy dishes like the Vaca Frita, yuca fries, and even Mango Pie. Plan to dine early if you want to try the Mojito Chicken, however, as they often run out of this popular dish long before closing time.

Marietta School System:

Marietta has 20 elementary and middle schools, 16 high schools, and 7 colleges.

Elementary/Middle Schools

  • East Cobb Middle School – 380 Holt Rd NE (Grades 6-8)
  • Dodgen Middle School – 1725 Bill Murdock Rd (Grades 6-8)
  • Dickerson Middle School – 855 Woodland Dr NE (Grades 6-8)
  • Cheatham Hill Elementary School – 1350 John Ward Rd (Grades PK-5)
  • Sope Creek Elementary School – 3320 Paper Mill Rd (Grades PK-5)
  • Dowell Elementary School – 2121 Sandtown Rd (Grades PK-5)
  • Marietta Middle School – 121 Winn St NW (Grades 7-8)
  • Mouth Bethel Elementary School – 1210 Johnson Ferry Rd (Grades PK-5)
  • East Side Elementary School – 3850 Roswell Rd (Grades PK-5)
  • Hightower Trail Middle School – 3905 Post Oak Tritt Rd (Grades 6-8)
  • Mt Bethel Christian Academy (Private) – 4385 Lower Roswell Rd (KG-8)
  • St Joseph Catholic School (Private) — 81 Lacy St NW (Grades KG-8)
  • Eastside Christian School (Private) – 2450 Lower Roswell Rd (Grades KG-8)
  • The Woods Acres School (Private) –1772 Johnson Ferry Rd (Grades PK-8)
  • Faith Lutheran School (Private) – 2111 Lower Roswell Rd (Grades PK-8)
  • Casa Dei Bambini (Private) – 150 Powers Ferry Rd SE (PK-6)
  • West Cobb Preparatory Academy (Private) – 270 Windy Hill Rd SE (Grades PK-2)
  • Shreiner Academy (Private) – 1340 Terrill Mill Rd SE (Grades PK-8)
  • East Cobb Christian School (Private) – 4616 Roswell Rd (Grades KG-8)
  • West Cobb Christian Academy (Private) – 2732 Macland Rd SW (Grades KG-5)

High Schools

  • Walton High School – 1590 Bill Murdock Rd (Grades 9-12)
  • Lassiter High School – 2601 Shallowford Rd (Grades 9-12)
  • Marietta High School – 1171 Whitlock Ace (Grades 9-12)
  • Wheeler High School – 375 Holt Rd NE (Grades 9-12)
  • Pope High School – 3001 Hembree Rd NE (Grades 9-12)
  • Kell High School – 4770 Lee Waters Rd (Grades 9-12)
  • Sprayberry High School – 2525 Sandy Plains Rd (Grades 9-12)
  • Osborne High School – 2451 Favor Rd SW (Grades 9-12)
  • George W Hartmann Center – 729 Lawrence St NE (Grades 9-12)
  • Marietta Regional Youth Detention Center – 1575 County Services Pkwy SW (Grades 9-10)
  • The Walker School (Private) – 700 Cobb Pkwy N (Grades PK-12)
  • Dominion Christian High School (Private) – 4607 Burnt Hickory Rd NW (Grades 6-12)
  • Covenant Christian Ministries Academy (Private) – 170 N Fairground St NE (Grades Pk-12)
  • Cobb County Christian School (Private) – 545 Lorene Dr SW (Grades UG-12)
  • In His Image Christian Academy (Private) – 630 Kurt Dr SW (Grades KG-9)
  • Collins Academy (Private) – 729 Lawrence St NE (Grades 9-12)


  • Chattahoochee Technical College – 980 S Cobb Drive Dr SE
  • Southern Polytechnic State University – 1100 S. Marietta Pkwy
  • Life University – 1269 Barclay Circle
  • Shorter University-College of Adult & Professional Programs – 1090 Northchase Parkway, Suite 140
  • Everest Institute-Marietta – 1600 Terrell Mill Rd, Suite G
  • Lincoln College of Technology-Marietta – 2359 Windy Hill Rd

Top 3 Reasons to Live in Marietta, Georgia

There are a lot of great reasons to live in Marietta. Here’s a lost of my top three favorites that I like to share with my clients.

You can picnic in the park. Marietta Square, or rather, as some residents call it – the Square in Marietta is more than just the focal point of the city. It’s a park and a colorful garden all in one. During the warmer months, you can often see people sitting on park benches and eating frozen yogurt or lounging next to the Square’s impressive water fountain. It’s also just a hop, skip, and jump across the street to shops and dining places. Spend the day browsing boutiques and antique stores or come in the evening and dine al fresco under the street lamps.

Frankly, my dear…. The story of Gone with the Wind didn’t really take place in Marietta, but you won’t really remember that once you step inside the Gone with the Wind Museum. The museum features a little bit of everything, including one of Scarlet’s dresses and the original hallway chairs that appeared in several of the movie’s stairway scenes. Please note that while the museum has been located in downtown Marietta, as of April 23, 2018, it will have a new home in the historic Brumby Hall on Powder Springs Street.

Enjoy the great outdoors. McFarland Nature Park was initially scheduled for development, but the land was saved from development by the Chattahoochee Plantation Homeowners Association along with the help of the Cobb County Land Trust. The park offers visitors a place to play Frisbee, go walking or simply sit back and enjoy the local wildflowers. This park is a bit hard to find and considered a bit of a secret, but we won’t tell if you don’t.

Are You Thinking of Moving to Marietta?

kristen-reed-cartersville-realtorKristen Reed is a Realtor that is familiar with the Marietta area. Whether you’re retiring and want to downsize or looking for your very first home, Kristen can assist you in finding the house that’s right for you. Houses are selling fast in the Marietta area, so be sure to take a moment and sign up today to start receiving your free home listings.


[Infographic] Why Use a Realtor?




What is a Zillow Zestimate?


If you’re thinking of selling your home or buying a new one, then I can make a fairly safe bet that you’ve heard of Zillow.

I say this, because one of the first things that a lot of sellers and buyers usually mention when we are discussing the selling or buying of their home is that they know what the Zillow Zestimate (pronounced ZEST-ti-met) of the property is, or rather, the estimated market value of what Zillow thinks a home is worth.

How Do You Get a Zillow Estimate?

One of the reasons that I think sellers and buyers are so drawn to the Zillow website is that getting an estimated value on a house is just so darn easy.

You simply put any metro-Atlanta address on the Zillow website and it does the rest. In just a matter of seconds, it not only gives you a Zestimate, but it shows you a satellite image of the property itself.

How Does Zillow Know What a Home is Worth?

When it comes to determining a property’s estimated market value, Zillow uses what they call a “proprietary formula” that combines information from both public and user-submitted data to arrive at a calculated price for what they think that a home should be worth.

That sounds high-tech and complicated, but it simply means that they use a computerized algorithm created by an automated software process that uses certain sets of data to arrive at a certain price.

Some of this data may include:

  • Physical details of a home. A home’s location, the square footage, lot size, and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms are all part of the information that is used in the calculated data.
  • Tax assessments. This data typically contains information gathered from the tax assessor’s records, such as the amount of the property taxes paid and any exceptions to tax assessments.
  • Past and current sale transactions. This looks at what a home has sold for over time and how it compares to the more recent sales of homes that are nearby.

Now that you have a better understanding of what a Zillow Zestimate is and how it arrives at an estimated home value, let’s look at some of the pros and cons of using it.


What are the Pros of Using Zillow’s Zestimate?

Zillow is a quick way to get an idea of what a home might be worth. Keep in mind, a Zestimate is not an appraisal. It does make a good starting point, however, when you are try to get an idea of the values of homes in a neighborhood.

They have some really great graphic maps. One of the more interesting things that I do like about Zillow is that it provides users with graphic maps and satellite overlays that pinpoint the pricing for every property that is in a given neighborhood.

This not only gives you a good idea of what other houses in your area are worth, but it lets you get a bird’s eye view of how lot sizes compare in a neighborhood, which can help explain why two houses that are similar in detail may have estimated values that are more or less than the other.

Zestimate updates daily. Although they may occasionally have an update that interrupts their schedule, the site does keep prices updated as soon as they get the information that there has been a change. It will even send you notifications when it receives new pricing data about the areas or houses you are interested in.

The website works well across different types of electronic devices. Android or iPhone. Tablet or iPad. Even if you are using a regular desktop, Zillow still functions well on almost every kind of device.

No humans are involved and the service is free to use. Maybe you are ready to sell your home and maybe you’re not. If you’re on the fence, but just want an idea of what your home could be worth, it’s a quick and easy tool to use to get some idea of the value of your house and what other houses in your neighborhood are selling for.


What are the Cons of Using Zillow’s Zestimate?

A smart algorithm can still only do so much. No matter how you look at it, a Zestimate is not an appraisal. As the name suggests, it is merely an estimate created by an algorithm that calculates what your home is worth and bases it only on the data that it has available.

Your Zestimate won’t really profile a neighborhood. Zillow can give you a good idea of what a home may be worth, but it doesn’t do as good of a job as some other sites, such as RealtyTrac or my blog which has neighborhood spotlights that include information on schools, traffic, and demographics. Here’s an example for the Kennesaw neighborhood.

Zillow can’t tell you what the neighborhood is actually like. The site may have a fairly good idea of the prices in a neighborhood, but it really doesn’t tell you much about the neighborhood itself. It just has no way of letting you know that the neighbor’s outdoor dog barks all the time or that the house that sits right across the street looks as if it hasn’t been lived in for years.

“Make Me Move” offers are often wildly overpriced.  Some people like to test the waters by using Zillow’s Make Me Move feature. This feature allows potential home sellers to list their home on Zillow without actually putting it up for sale. The problem is, many of these home sellers don’t really have any intention of moving unless someone wants to pay their price and you can waste a lot of time thinking that you’ve found your dreamhouse when there is no way that the house would ever appraise for that amount if you wanted to buy it and tried to actually get a loan.

Lenders won’t loan money based on a Zestimate. Even Zillow states that you can’t use a Zestimate value to buy or refinance a home. There are just too many unknown factors that Zillow’s algorithm doesn’t or can’t know about for a lender to ever rely on using one as a decision maker on a loan.

It’s somewhat reliable, but it does make mistakes. Zillow does sometime get it wrong. This is especially true if you have an unusual house or property feature that the algorithm doesn’t quite know what to do with. It’s best to speak with a lender who knows the market and is local.

Are you thinking of selling or buying a home?

kristen-reed-cartersville-realtorWhen you first start thinking about selling or buying a home, a Zillow Zestimate is a good place to start. It’s not a replacement, however, for a real estate agent’s professional opinion of value.

If you’re interested in selling or buying a home in Cobb County, get your Zestimate, but then give me a call at 770-480-7879. I’ll be able to show you what your home is really worth, or give you an idea of whether the home you may want to buy is a good deal for you or not.


City Spotlight: Kennesaw, GA

Welcome to Your New Home in Kennesaw, GA

  • Kennesaw is a medium-sized city located in Cobb County.
  • As of July 1, 2016, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that Kennesaw had a population of approximately 33,627 residents.
  • Since 2010, Kennesaw has had a population growth of about 10 percent.

Who Lives in Kennesaw?

Kennesaw has a mixture of both white and blue-collar workers. Interestingly, 15 percent of Kennesaw’s residents work in management and 13 percent work in the sales industry. According to City-Data, other types of industry jobs held by residents in Kennesaw include:

  • Food preparation and serving (9%)
  • Building, grounds cleaning, and maintenance (7%)
  • Office and administrative support (7%)
  • Computer and mathematical occupations (6%)
  • Architecture and engineering occupations (6%)

Getting Around in Kennesaw

Kennesaw is considered a car dependent city, since almost all of the errands that you may need to make will require you to use a vehicle. The average Walk Score for Kennesaw is a 23. That being said, the neighborhood of Kennesaw Woodland Acres has a Walk Score of 39. Residents in Kennesaw can walk to an average of about 0.6 restaurants, bars, and coffee shops in roughly five minutes.

Dining and Shopping

There are around 150 restaurants, bars and coffee shops in Kennesaw. Whether you are in the mood for BBQ, old-fashioned southern cooking, or shrimp and cheesy grits, Kennesaw has something to offer everyone. Some of the more notable local dining establishments in the area include:

The Rotisserie Shop — 2615 George Busbee Pkwy. This restaurant prides itself in offering its patrons a unique gastronomical experience. Start with Pork Poutine as an appetizer or go straight for the glory with Chicken and Waffles or an Italian Chicken Panini sandwich.

Capers Restaurant & Bar — 1635 Old 41 Hwy, Suite 403. A New American restaurant offering fine dining in a casual atmosphere. Try a Hawaiian Ribeye or Crispy Brick Duck for an entrée and finish your dining experience with a Chocolate Mousse Cake or Strawberry Pound Cake. A popular dining spot, this restaurant does take reservations.

Big Shanty Smokehouse — 3393, 1905, Cherokee St NW. Featured on Georgia Traveler and voted one of Atlanta’s top 10 best barbeque joints by Atlanta Magazine, the Big Shanty Smokehouse has everything from Brunswick Stew to Killer Ribs. This restaurant may be small, but its BBQ is big on flavor. Bring your dog and enjoy the outdoor dining on the patio.

Kennesaw School System

Kennesaw has 12 elementary and middle schools, seven high schools, and 4 colleges.

Elementary/Middle Schools

  • McClure Middle School – 3660 Old Stilesboro Rd NW (Grades 6-8)
  • Bullard Elementary School – 3656 Old Stilesboro Rd NW (Grades PK-5)
  • Lost Mountain Middle School – 700 Old Mountain Rd NW (Grades 6-8)
  • Palmer Middle School – 690 N Booth Rd NW (Grades 6-8)
  • Hayes Elementary School – 1501 Kennesaw Due West Rd (Grades PK-5)
  • Lewis Elementary School – 4179 Jim Owens Rd NW (Grades PK-5)
  • Kennesaw Elementary School – 3155 Jiles Rd NW (Grades PK-2)
  • Awtrey Middle School – 3601 Nowlin Rd NW (Grades 6-8)
  • Big Shanty Elementary School – 1575 Ben King Rd NW (Grades 3-5)
  • Chalker Elementary School – 325 N Booth Rd NW (Grades PK-5)
  • St Catherine of Sienna Catholic School (Private) – 1618 Ben Kind Rd NW (Grades KG-8)
  • Foundations for the Future (Private) – 1500 Stanley Rd NW (Grades PK-5)

High Schools

  • North Cobb High School – 3400 Old 41 Hwy NW (Grades 9-12)
  • Harrison High School – 4500 Due West Rd NW (Grades 9-12)
  • Kennesaw Mountain High School – 1898 Kennesaw Due West Rd NW (Grades 9-12)
  • Devereux Ackerman Academy (Private) – 1291 Stanley Rd NW (Grades 2-12)
  • Mount Paran Christian School (Private) – 1275 Stanley Rd NW (Grades PK-12)
  • North Cobb Christian School (Private) – 4500 Lakeview Dr NW (Grades PK-12)
  • Shiloh Hills Christian School (Private) – 260 Hawkins Store Rd (Grades PK-12)


  • Kennesaw State University – 1000 Chastain Rd
  • ITT Technical Institute – 2065 ITT Tech Way NW
  • Empire Beauty School – 425 Ernest Barrett Pkwy
  • Cobb Beauty College Inc – 3096 Cherokee St

Top 3 Reasons to Live in Kennesaw, Georgia

There are many reasons to purchase a home in Kennesaw. Here’s a list of my top three that I like to share with my clients.


Stop and smell the roses. The Smith-Gilbert Gardens in Kennesaw has over 3,000 species of plants and consists of several different garden groupings, including a Bonsai Exhibit, Rose Garden, Camellia Garden, and waterfall area. Visitors can see the historic Hiram Butler House, which is centered in the middle of the gardens, as well as a live butterfly display that opens in late July and runs through September.

You can go for a hike. One of the best things about living in Kennesaw is the easy access to the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park. There, residents can hike the 1-mile trail up the mountain, which rises 800 feet during as you hike to the top. Just remember that what goes up, must come down. Fortunately, there are plenty of rocks you can sit on if you need to rest along the way.

Take a trip back in time. If you like history or trains, the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History is the place you want to be. The museum is home to the “General,” a locomotive that was commandeered by the Union Army and taken northward toward Chattanooga with the Confederate Army in hot pursuit. The museum is divided up into different sections, which provides a little something for everyone, allowing all age groups from young to old to enjoy their visit.

Are You Considering a Move to Kennesaw?

kristen-reed-cartersville-realtorKristen Reed is a Realtor that is familiar with the Kennesaw area. Whether you’re just starting out and looking for your first house or your family is increasing and you need more space, Kristen is ready to help you find the perfect home. Houses are selling fast in the Kennesaw area, so take a moment and sign up today to receive free home listings as soon as they become available. You’ll never have to worry about missing a new listing again.



City Spotlight: Dallas, GA


Welcome to Your New Home in Dallas, GA

  • Dallas is a small city and is the county seat of Paulding County, Georgia.
  • As of 2016, the city is estimated to have a population of approximately 13,108.
  • Since 2000, Dallas has had a population growth of about 149.8 percent.

Who Lives in Dallas?

Dallas typically consists of blue collar workers. Residents primarily work in construction and extraction occupations (19%) although many have jobs in sales (13%) and production (12%). They also work in transportation (7%), food preparation and serving (5%), and education (5%).

Getting Around in Dallas

Dallas is considered a car dependent city since almost all of the errands you may make will require you to have a vehicle. The average Walk Score for Dallas is a 15.

Dining and Shopping

Dallas has been going through a revitalization period for the last few years. Although shopping and dining is somewhat limited, residents can enjoy browsing through antique stores and boutique shops along Main Street in Dallas. Some of the more notable dining establishments around the city include:

The Hickory Hut – 531 W. Memorial Drive. This restaurant is unique in that it has no sign and no telephone. Don’t let the non-descript building fool you though, The Hickory Hut is well known for its BBQ, chili burgers, and chili hot dogs. Established in 1965, the restaurant has been serving some of the best BBQ in the area for over 50 years.

Audry’s Neighborhood Café -105 Village Walk. If you want to experience old-fashioned Southern cooking, this is the place. This restaurant serves a variety of dishes including, fried chicken, turkey & dressing, fried okra, and cornbread.

House of China – 230 Paulding Plaza. Serving Paulding County since 1987, House of China provides a casual dining experience for guests with wide variety of Chinese food selections. Go hot and spicy with Yu Shiang Scallops and Hunan Beef, or try the House Special Chow Mein with an egg roll and Won Ton Soup.

Paulding County School System

The Paulding County School System has 14 elementary and middle schools, three high schools, and three satellite colleges.

Elementary/Middle Schools

  • Abney Elementary School – 4555 Dallas Acworth Hwy (PK-5)
  • Allgood Elementary School – 312 Hart Road (PK-5)
  • A. Roberts Elementary School – 1833 Mount Tabor Church Road (PK-5)
  • Dallas Elementary School – 520 Hardee St (PK-5)
  • East Paulding Middle School – 2945 Hiram-Acworth Highway (6-8)
  • Floyd L. Shelton Elementary at Crossroad School -1531 Cedarcrest Road (PK-5)
  • Hershel Jones Middle School – 100 Stadium Drive (6-8)
  • Lena Mae Moses Middle School – 1066 Old County Farm Road – (6-8)
  • Lillian C. Poole Elementary School – 1002 Wayside Lane (PK-5)
  • Nebo Elementary School – 2843 Nebo Road (PK-5)
  • Northside Elementary School – 2223 Cartersville Highway (PK-5)
  • Roland W. Russom Elementary School – 40 Dallas Acworth Highway (PK-5)
  • Sammy McClure Sr. Middle School – Harmony Grove Church Road (6-8)
  • South Paulding Middle School – 592 Nebo Road (6-8)

High Schools

  • East Paulding High School – 3320 East Paulding Drive (9-12)
  • North Paulding High School – Harmony Grove Church Road (9-12)
  • Paulding County High School – 1297 Villa Rica Hwy (9-12)

Satellite Colleges

  • Georgia Highlands College – 25 Courthouse Square
  • Kennesaw State University – 25 Courthouse Square
  • Chattahoochee Technical College – 339 Coach Bobby Dodd Rd

Top 5 Reasons to Live in Dallas, GA

There are many reasons to purchase a home in Dallas. Here’s a list of my top five favorites:

  1. Go for a Walk. If you enjoy walking or hiking in the great outdoors, walking the Silver Comet Trail is a great way to do it. The 61.5-mile trail travels behind the Paulding County Chamber of Commerce in Dallas and heads west near Braswell to the Polk County line. Make a day of it and walk to the 750-foot restored Pumpkinvine Trestle near Rambo Road or bike to the 800-foot Brushy Mountain tunnel near the Paulding/Polk County line.
  2. Take in a Show. Although The Strand began as a movie theatre back in 1927, the Dallas theatre has been through a lot during its time on Main Street. It burned down in 1948 and was rebuilt. In 1965, it was converted into an office building and then, for the most part, it was abandoned. In 1999, the City of Dallas bought the old building and began a lengthy renovation process. Today, the theatre is the star itself and not only hosts a variety of live events, but also appeared in the movie Joyful Noise, starring Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton.
  3. Appreciate Some Art. Each year in October, the Paulding Fine Arts Association holds its Annual Fall Festival, which features a variety of arts and crafts both for sale and on display. Held on Main Street, the popular festival provides entertainment on two stages throughout the day and also has a face painting station, bounce house and slide for children, and just a bunch of good old family fun. Enjoy a meal from a food truck for lunch, or purchase a painting or pottery for your house from one of the local vendors.
  4. See a Free Outdoor Concert. During the summer months, residents can enjoy a series of free concerts at Veteran’s Park, located in front of the Paulding County Courthouse. The free concerts typically include tribute bands, such as Sons of Sailors, which pays tribute to Jimmy Buffett and Domino, a tribute band for Van Morrison. Bring your lawn chairs and arrive early to get the best seats.
  5. Attend the Annual Pickers Day Sale. Pickers Day is really just a fancy word for community yard sale, but we won’t tell if you don’t. Over 90 vendors typically participate in the annual event with yard sale hunters gathering by the dozens to search through a variety of treasures from antique furniture and china to vintage jewelry and old silverware.

Are You Thinking of Moving to Dallas?

kristen-reed-cartersville-realtorWhether you’re ready to get out of the hustle and bustle of Atlanta or want to purchase a small house for your child to live in while they attend college, Kristen Reed is ready to help you find the home you’re looking for.

Homes in Dallas and throughout Paulding County are selling fast, so sign up today to ensure that you start receiving free listings of homes as soon as they go on the market. You’ll always know what’s available and never have to worry about missing a new listing again.


For Sale by Owner: What You Need to Know About Pricing Your Home

When it comes to selling your house, the first thing you have to decide is where to set your asking price. This amount will not only impact the amount of time it takes your home to sell, but also how much money you will walk away with.

The problem is that if you set your price too high, the excitement that is generated when a new house goes on the market will start to decrease after you reach the first two or three weeks of showings.

After about 21 days, the interest begins to disappear and the demand to see it is just about gone.

To avoid this happening, you need to have a sales strategy.


Determining Your Sales Strategy

When you think about it, selling a house really isn’t much different than when you sell a car. We all know that the price the seller is asking is really just the starting point for negotiating.

Unfortunately, that is where the similarity between selling a house and selling a car ends.

We know that when a car dealer puts the sticker on a vehicle, it is usually for a price that is higher than what they really expect to get. They do it that way though because the dealer knows that a buyer is going to negotiate the price down.

You may think that you can use this same strategy on your home if you price it higher than you expect to get, but in reality, this is really the worst thing you can do.

In fact, most of the time if you ask too much for your home initially, this will result in a final sales price that is actually much lower than your home’s estimated market value.

Why Overpricing a Home Almost Never Works

Have you ever wanted to purchase a shirt or pair of shoes at a store, but couldn’t make yourself buy them because they cost too much? Instead, you probably decided to wait because you knew that at some point, the item was going to go on sale and would cost a whole lot less.

Homebuyers are the exact same way. They will pass on an overpriced home because they know that the seller is eventually going to cut the price. When the seller does finally decide to lower the cost, however, the house has been listed for a good while and now the buyer assumes that something is wrong with the house.

And the house sits there again. So, the seller lowers the price a little bit more.

Eventually, the price of the house will get low enough that the buyer is going to get a great deal. The seller, on the other hand – well, not so much.


Choosing the Best Selling Price

The housing market in the Metro Atlanta area is hot right now. You may think that you can name your price and it will sell.

If only it were that easy…

The first thing to realize is that what you “need” to get for your house doesn’t matter. It also doesn’t matter how much you want to walk away with when you sell your home.

To actually determine the best selling price, you have to take a good hard look at your home and how it compares to the housing market in your area. You’re also going to need to know whether it is a buyer’s market or a seller’s market. Before you do that though, you have to determine your home’s estimated market value, or rather, an estimate of what your home is really worth.

There are a few different ways you can do this.

Get an appraisal. Although hiring an appraiser will cost you some money upfront, it is considered the best way to get the most accurate idea of the current value of your house and how much your house is going to sell for.

An appraiser does this by examining your home to determine its condition, then adds in the value for additions or upgrades you might have done to your property, such as having an in-ground swimming pool or finished basement.

Once the appraiser has the information about your house, they compare it to similar houses that have previously sold in your neighborhood or the surrounding area and arrive at an estimated value for what your home should be worth when you sell it.

Use an online tool to estimate home value. There are a variety of online tools that can give you an idea of your home’s value. Zillow and Redfin are two of the more popular ones. These tools work by accessing public data and then run it through a computer model to derive at an estimated value.

While these online tools will give you a ballpark figure, it is important to realize that they don’t normally take into account any upgrades you have done to your house or property and the data does sometimes contain errors that can give you a higher or lower value than what your home is actually worth.

Talk to a real estate agent. When it comes to knowing what houses are selling for in your area, who knows better than your local real estate agent?

Real estate agents not only know how much homes are selling, they can also provide you with a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA), which is a report that tells you how much your house is worth.

This report can tell you how many comparable homes in your area are currently for sale, how many are set to close, and most importantly, how many have sold and for what price.

It is important to realize that while a CMA is not as detailed as an actual appraisal, it does provide more details than most online tools offer, and unlike an actual appraisal, the cost of a CMA is usually free. 

Have a Contingency Plan

Once you have used one of these methods to determine your best selling price, you may find yourself tempted to “set it and forget it.”

Unfortunately, that doesn’t always work. That is why it’s important to have a “Plan B.”

Determine ahead of time what you will do if you have no offers or no showings after your house has been on the market for a month or two or three. When will you lower it and by how much?

This can help you keep your expectations in check and save you time down the road.

Are You Ready to Sell Your Home?

kristen-reed-cartersville-realtorSelling a home by yourself is hard. If you don’t need to get rid of your home quickly, however, I would say you could certainly give it a try. Before you do though, I would encourage you to talk to a real estate agent, so that you know the ins and out of selling a house.

I understand if you feel like you need to give it a try, but selling your home with an experienced real estate professional is almost always the best way to get top dollar for your home.

If you’re interested in selling your Cobb County home, give me a call today at 770-480-7879 and let’s discuss your options. I look forward to helping you.