A flipped ranch home in DeKalb County impressed Daniel and Valeria Maxwell with its new roof and HVAC system, hardwood floors, granite countertops and abundance of sunlight.
Working with Brendan Wright of Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty, the couple was surprised to find a renovated single-family home inside the Perimeter in the low $200,000s. Valeria, 27, chatted about their Atlanta home.
Q: Where did you move from?
A: We were actually renting a townhome in Suwanee. That’s where my husband goes to medical school (at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine). I’m originally from Peru. But I met my husband in college. We both went to the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. We moved to Atlanta in August 2011. My mom is a Realtor (in Sarasota, Fla.). For a while she’s been trying to convince us to buy something. The mortgage would be the same as what we were paying for rent.
Q: What did you dream of having in a home?
A: We definitely wanted a house, but we didn’t know if we were going to be able to afford one that we liked in the Atlanta area. We were looking at houses and townhomes. We really wanted all hardwood floors. I can be allergic to rugs, dust and particles. We wanted upgraded features like granite countertops and dual vanities in the master bathroom.
Q: How did your agent help you set priorities?
A: Brendan did something cool. He asked: What are the top three things you want in a house and the top three things you don’t want? The main things were the sunlight and the hardwood floors. We wanted a gas stove or something on a gas line. If we saw a house we liked but didn’t have the amount of sunlight we wanted, he would say, “It doesn’t have a lot of sunlight and that’s in your top three.”
Q: When did you find the home?
A: The weekend of Thanksgiving, there was a new property that showed up. It pretty much looked like the perfect house. Everything was renovated. We went to take a look at it on Monday night. This house just had it all — dual vanities, granite countertops and all the appliances were brand-new. When we saw this house, we were like, “Aah, it’s home.”
Q: How difficult was the financing process?
A: My husband was not allowed to be on the loan because he has loans for medical school. I had two jobs (a sales rep for a health care IT company and a bartender in Buckhead). Right at the last minute, the (Federal Housing Administration loan) became more strict. They only allow you to use the income of your two jobs if you’ve been on those jobs for at least a year, and I had not. I ended up getting a co-signer, which was my mother-in-law.
Q: What advice would you give to buyers?
A: It definitely is a scary process. As scary as it is, don’t settle for something you may not enjoy. Have someone to hold you accountable to what you like and your budget.
Q: What did you like about the location?
A: It’s very close to I-85, if I need to jump on 85 to go to Midtown, downtown or if Daniel needs to go up to school. I work in Buckhead. It was a 30-minute drive. Now it’s just an 8-, 10-minute drive.
Q: Was your mom happy that you bought a place?
A: I showed the pictures. She was super, super excited. Not even hours later, my cousins were calling from Peru, saying, “Oh my God, you’re buying a house.”
At a glance
Daniel and Valeria Maxwell’s home, built in 1956 in Atlanta, has four bedrooms, three baths and about 2,477 square feet. They bought it in January. Homes in their area are in the low $200,000s.