Reprinted from the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Sunday, September 7, 2014. By Lori Johnston
On Janice Scalzo’s trips to visit her niece, she saw Atlanta as a youthful place, with professionals in their 20s and families with babies and toddlers. Scalzo wondered if she would find friends who were retired, if she moved from St. Petersburg, Fla. She discovered more friends than ever and a cheaper cost of living, due to Cherokee County’s tax breaks for homeowners age 62 and older. Assisted by Kathy Kirby Seger with RE/MAX Around Atlanta, Scalzo purchased a Woodstock home that is just 6 miles away from her niece and that she could lock and leave to travel. She chatted about her home in The Woodlands.
Q: Where were you moving from?
A: Florida was my last stop. I have lived all over the United States. I was widowed in New Jersey about 5 ½ years ago. I moved to Florida because of my mother, who at the time was 91. I did not take to Florida very well. My niece is here is Roswell. She said, why don’t you try up here?
Q: Did you buy right away?
A: I rented in Roswell. I made the most wonderful friends. I thought, well, time to put down roots.
Q: Where did you look?
A: I started looking in the Woodstock area primarily because of the senior tax breaks.
Q: What were you seeking in a home?
A: I looked at all one levels because the knees go at that stage of the game. I looked online and I picked out maybe about 10 houses. Then I did my own reconnaissance. I took all of those addresses, so I plugged them in my navigation system. One weekend, I just went to all of the addresses. That eliminated a lot. As much as they look like they do on the Internet, you get into the neighborhood and it’s a different feeling. I pulled in The Woodlands and I thought, OK, this is great. So I called Kathy. We came to this one and I said to her, “Am I supposed to say this to you? But let’s not look any further.” There’s not one compromise I had to make.
Q: What did the home have that you wanted?
A: It had the gas stove. It had the wood floors. It had the move-in ready paint. The gal from whom I bought this house cherished this home. I promised her I would cherish it as much as she did. All I had to do was place my furniture.
Q: What’s a tip for meeting friends when moving into metro Atlanta?
A: I went to the Alpharetta-Roswell Newcomers Club ( arnewcomers.org ). You have to get out there and get yourself in the community. My friends are just so wonderful.