New Senior Housing in Richmond Hill Georgia

Lets face it, we all get older, as do our parents, and the need for Senior Housing can become an important focus of family conversations.
Senior Housing

Senior Housing – Ashleigh Place

I’ve experienced this over the past few years. My mother cares for her 97 year old mother and I have attempted for three years to relocate an aging father closer to us.  I am so glad to tell you that our Richmond Hill Community has been blessed with a newly constructed and completed in October, 2015, 55 and Older Senior Living Apartment Complex called Ashleigh Place.

Ashleigh Place has truly been a personal blessing and an answered prayer for me and my family.  We recently relocated my father to Ashleigh Place.  They offer handicap units, upper and lower units with elevators, and one and two bedroom units.  Activities are always available, a new telemedicine joint program with Armstrong State University’s Nursing Program as well as food pantry and other specialties for seniors.

I was really worried about the transition for my father. He was used to living on a quiet farm in the “middle of nowhere” with two dogs and no neighbors. Now he would be living in an apartment complex with neighbors above and on both sides of him with their door within a few feet of his unit, but I am here to tell you the trade offs have been positive.  He is closer to family, gets more help and attention as he grows older, still lives independently but has family close by when needed.  It has been wonderful.  So if you are in search of similar needs, feel free to call or email me.

We also offer new construction home plans with two masters for families that need to transition family members into the same household.  Two master suites can be constructed with one offering handicap showers, wider doors, and all the needs to make senior living easier.

If you would like more information on Ashleigh Place Senior Living Apartments, feel free to call me. I would be glad to refer you to the appropriate person and discuss my experiences.  There is an application process involved and it is filling up quickly, but just stay patient with the paperwork.  Each applicant has to submit the same documentation. Its a process that is worth it in the end.

Ashleigh Place is located at 11 Plantation Way in Richmond Hill, GA at the entrance to Richmond Hill Plantation.

All the best, Melanie

Melanie Kramer Keller Williams Realty Coastal Area Partners
912-459-5001 Office
912-658-1390 Cell Direct Melanie Kramer Coastal Georgia Realtor

Savannah Major Employers

Although we are known for our port, tourism and health systems, Savannah’s Major Employers cover a variety of industries.

savannah major employers

Savannah Major Employers

With a new confidence in the job market, the percentage of people relocating for work in the US is on the rise (35% in 2013).

In Savannah Major Employers such as Gulfstream employ upward of 4500 and Memorial Health Medical Center and St. Joseph’s/Candler employ 8900.

Military related employment includes civilian personnel on the bases and can employee between 2000 – 5000.

Retail stores, such as Walmart, Kroger and fast food giants such as McDonalds also fall into the higher employer category, while Target and Publix employee 2000 respectively.

For more information on top employers in the area please visit The Savannah Area Chamber. The Champer shares a breakdown of manufacturing, non manufacturing and educational industries on their website.

If you are relocating to the Savannah / Richmond Hill area I’d love to help you find your perfect coastal empire home. Please contact Melanie Kramer at 912-658-1390 or melaniekramer@kw.com.

Melanie Kramer Keller Williams Realty Coastal Area Partners
912-459-5001 Office
912-658-1390 Cell Direct Melanie Kramer Coastal Georgia Realtor

Selling Your Home During the Holidays

Believe it or not the Holidays are not a horrible time to sell your home.

Life happens – even in the middle of a busy family season! January is a popular time for relocations. Company’s often transfer people to start new jobs or positions the first of the new year. Children are on break in December and free to travel to help their parent’s house hunt.

And this time of year I find myself talking to southern living enthusiasts tired of the cold weather and ready for a warmer winter. Recently I spoke with a resident of New Jersey who has been hunting online for a home in the Savannah / Richmond Hill area. I’m always happy to help our friends that are “over the ice and snow” find the perfect home here in the Coastal Empire.

relocating during the holidays

Buyers during this time of year:

  • tend to have more time to look for houses
  • are often serious and highly motivated

Sellers during this time of year:

  • have fewer houses to compete with
  • must be motivated to sell, the holidays are stressful enough

Tips for selling your home during the Holidays

Decorate your home but be careful not to overdo it. Homes often look their best during the holidays but it is important not to add clutter. Use smaller decorations and simple color schemes. Less is more.

Curb appeal is important this time of year. When the leaves fall and expose more of the home it’s a good idea to do a little fall cleaning when you’re hanging the wreath.

Flameless battery operated candles will create a warm and homey feel. Placed around the home they offer an extra glow that is both safe and welcoming. If you have a fireplace, these candles displayed in the hearth can make a beautiful impression.

Use scents sparingly, especially before a viewing. What smells great to you may not to another and allergies can also be a concern.

Using video to share your home is a great way to capture interest from those house hunters with limited time during the holidays or living out of state and hunting online. This is where I come in.  I have a professional photography session  for each of my listings and use the images to create a video to showcase your home.

Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, or maybe both, I can help lift the weight from your shoulders and make sure you have enough time to enjoy the season.

Please call or email me today for more information or questions about selling your home during the holidays.

Melanie Kramer
Keller Williams Realty Coastal Area Partners
912-459-5001 Office
912-658-1390 Cell Direct

Melanie Kramer Coastal Georgia Realtor

A Better Cost of Living in the South

I’m often asked about cost comparisons between the Savannah, Georgia area and the north east, “Is the cost of living really that much better in the south?”

We touched on the cost of living when we discussed buying a second home in the area…

the cost of living is much lower here. When compared with Newark, New Jersey for example the overall cost of living in the Savannah area is 31% lower*. The cost of housing alone is 58% lower* than Newark. Generally speaking if you’re living on $120,000 in New Jersey you could maintain your lifestyle in Savannah with $82,818.

A better Cost of Living

Breaking Down the Cost of Living in the South

What makes the Richmond Hill / Savannah area so desirable?

Along with the beautiful weather, beaches, and 2nd biggest St. Patrick’s Day festival in the country – we also boast an excellent cost of living.

Forbes lists Savannah’s cost of living to be below the national average and considerably lower than the New England, New York and New Jersey area.

Looking for a home in the Savannah area often means getting more for less.

What does this mean to your pocketbook?

In basic terms, everyday items are a little bit cheaper here. AreaVibes.com notes that both kinds of liquid fuel trend below the national average. The price of gas in the Savannah area averages 1.2% below and the price of coffee averages 3.5% below.

With a longer warmer weather season than our friends in the north east our energy and utility costs run about 5.3% lower than the national average.

Health care and dental costs are also lower. You may also find other self-care costs such as getting your hair styled will save you a few dollars too.

The Richmond Hill / Savannah area can help stretch your retirement dollars too, all while providing the benefits of a top tourism destination – great hotels (for visiting relatives), world class events and a variety of outdoor activities.

Taxes

A tax friendly town can be a crucial deciding factor when planning a relocation or retirement. Georgia does have a state tax on each home you purchase, but what makes it such a great option for retirees is that Social Security benefits are not taxable income and the state also offers exceptions on other types of retirement income.

Check with your accountant for tax information that will relate specifically to your needs.

Property taxes in both Chatham and Bryan Counties are assessed based on 40% of the fair market value of the property. A $240,000 home would have an assessed value of $96,000 for taxing purposes. The final tax bill will be based on the property and any exemptions available. For example, there is a senior citizen discount on property taxes.

Generally speaking, factor in approximately 1% for Bryan County yearly property taxes and 1.5% in Chatham and Effingham Counties for easy round numbers.  All three counties use a mileage rate which equates to about these percentages.  That means you could buy a $200,000 house in Bryan county and the property taxes are $2,000 per year even if you have no senior citizen discount.

Further, if you buy a home in the suburbs of Bryan County (Richmond Hill, GA), your 1% tax bill INCLUDES your waste bill for weekly curbside service, your yearly fire department dues (no separate bill), and your biweekly curbside recycle service (you do not have to sort).  Those “extras” that are included in themselves save you a few hundred dollars each year!

There is no better example than my own:  3.5% home mortgage for 30 years, 1% property taxes on my home, no fire department dues, no waste monthly bill, approximately $45.00 each month for my water useage, no sewage bill, a local electric company (www.coastalem.com) which equates to $9.50 to $11.00 per KWH used.  There are no yearly vehicle emission tests in Georgia.  There are new vehicle purchase taxes and a yearly $25.00 car tag fee.  Not a bad cost of living at all!

A better cost of living equals a great quality of life.

Please call or email me today for more information or questions about your relocation needs!

Melanie Kramer
Keller Williams Realty Coastal Area Partners
912-459-5001 Office
912-658-1390 Cell Direct

Melanie Kramer Coastal Georgia Realtor
*statistics pulled from payscale.com

5 Hidden Moving Costs and How to Lessen the Blow to the Pocketbook

Moving is fun, exciting and… can get a little expensive

Here are five hidden moving costs to be aware of that will help keep your moving budget from getting out of control.

Moving Costs When Coming South

Moving to a new state is often considered a long distance move. This means moving costs will probably be calculated based on weight. Those used to moving across town and paying someone by the hour will find a much different pay scale when moving to a new state.

If this is your first long distance move you may be asking yourself how much does my house weigh? According to Move Source a three bedroom home can weigh between 7,500 and 10,000 pounds.   Taking in to consideration how much your move will weight and how far you’ll be moving is all the more reason to purge before you pack.  With enough notice some centers will come to you and pick up your donations.

Why pay to move things you do not need?!

Be Ready When the Movers Arrive

Save on Moving CostsThe day you’re packing the truck is not the day you should be packing the boxes.

Not having everything ready to load can interrupt the flow of the movers and can slow the process. A 3 hour job can easily creep into double time. Or leave you with a half filled truck while the movers head to another job.   Start with cleaning out your attic, and work down from there.

The cost of boxes can add up. This is a great opportunity to reuse and recycle. Check with local apartments or neighborhood groups that may have new tenants getting rid of their backing boxes. You could save hundreds.

Spices and Cleaning Supplies

It seems to be a universal exercise to dispose of our spices and cleaning supplies before moving to a new home. This is especially true during a long distance move.

Add a line to your moving budget to replace these items. Restocking the pantry and picking up cleaning supplies are often overlooked moving costs that can really add up.

New state, new plate

For some this is one of the first things they do, for others it sits on the back burner until the last minute often gathering late transfer fees in the process.

A quick search on the web can help you determine the costs of registering your vehicle in a new state and county.

In the state of Georgia, vehicles purchased after March 1st 2013 are charged a one-time title ad valorem tax base on the value of the vehicle. This includes owners buying out a lease on a car they’ve been driving for a few years. For more information you can visit: http://motor.etax.dor.ga.gov/motor/MVDOnline.aspx

One More Deposit

Some utility companies require a deposit up front. And that first month you’ll probably be covering utilities for both locations – although you will most likely receive repayment from your previous location utilities it usually comes months down the road.

Keep in mind utilities are not the only ones requiring money upfront; neighborhood groups, home owners associations and local pool or gym memberships may all require some sort of deposit or payment.

Please call me today for more information or questions about your relocation needs!

Melanie Kramer
Keller Williams Realty Coastal Area Partners
912-459-5001 Office
912-658-1390 Cell Direct

Melanie Kramer Coastal Georgia Realtor

 

Hurricanes in the Savannah Area

I’m often asked, “Should we worry about Hurricanes in the Savannah area?”.

It may seem strange, but I can reply that we experience a lower incidence of hurricane activity.

Looking at a map you’ll see that we are not only protected by ample barrier islands, we are also in one of the most western areas on the east coast.

The Georgia Coast

Photo: Google Maps

Georgia has a very attractive coastline; there are just fewer miles of it than our neighboring states. Both Florida and South Carolina have seen their fair share of hurricane activity. The Savannah area has not seen any major devastation from a direct hit (due to a hurricane) in over 100 years.

I did not live here during Hurricane David, a category 2 storm, but many of my relatives did. Our discussions on the storm have lead me to believe that the loss of power was the worst of the issues they had to deal with. No home destruction – no major devastation.

There are those that say we may be over due, but the curved nature of our coast line suggests we’re more likely to experience the reminisce of a bad storm as to receive a direct hit. Data shows that the geographical location of Savannah being further away from the Gulfstream’s warm currents helps as well.  Its over 80 miles to the warm waters of the Gulfstream waters that tend to strength hurricanes and guide them further North.  Distance is on Savannah’s side.

Tropical Storms and Hurricanes

According to hurricanecity.com, the Savannah area has a 70% chance of a tropical storm versus a 30% chance of a major hurricane hit. USAToday gives Savannah the probability of experiencing a major storm (with winds exceeding 111 mph) within 75 miles of the city at 1.3 over a 100 year period.

The most common month for our area to experience a tropical storm is August. That most tropical storms arrive in August is no surprise.  By the time the heat of August hits, most welcome the winds and rains just to cool us off!  In my opinion heat stroke in August is a bigger concern than a direct hit from a hurricane!

What if there is a hurricane?

We have technology on our side. Weather reports and various websites keep us up to date on any storms with the potential of being upgraded or downgraded. These storms do not hit out of the blue like they did to those living here 100 years ago.

My conservative motto has always been to prepare for the worst although my optimistic side looks and hopes for the best!

Here are a couple of my go to sites:

Ready – Government site with great info to help be prepared

National Weather Service – Another government site with great info to help be prepared

WTOC – local news weather watch

Please call me today for more information or questions about your relocation needs!

Melanie Kramer
Keller Williams Realty Coastal Area Partners
912-459-5001 Office
912-658-1390 Cell Direct

Melanie Kramer Coastal Georgia Realtor

Buying a Second Home on the Georgia Coast

Selling real estate in the sunbelt, I often receive  inquiries from clients about the idea of buying a second home.  As New Englanders get fed up with winter snow storms, the idea of living on the southern coast and getting rid of all the snow gear is very alluring. I speak with many New Englanders not only looking for a shorter winter but a better cost of living. Georgia offers both.

second homes in Richmond Hill georgia

Coastal Views in Richmond Hill, Georgia

Owning a Second Home Has its Rewards

Some are unaware of the various tax breaks for second homes.  For example, you can deduct the mortgage interest on your second home if you are not renting it out. Rental properties fall under a different tax structure depending on how many days a year the home is rented but rentals also offer many tax deductions.  We have the buyers consult with their accountant on the details specific to their needs but both are great options.

A second home, aka the vacation home is often looked at as an a place to get a way to support or change your lifestyle but keep in mind, they can be a great investment which is an added benefit. This wide open search based on interests is such a different avenue and opposite of when “Life” dictates where we need to be, how long of a commute, where we needed to be, etc.  Its such a fun process to be able to pick any location for a second home.  Often, criteria such as how long it takes to get there?  Do we have to fly or can we just drive to our second home?  How long is winter? What are the real estate taxes? What is the cost for flood insurance?  This is where an experienced Realtor comes in and I would love to help!

The Richmond Hill / Savannah area offers everything from historic charm to beach front property to the off beat river life. Here, you can live the quintessential southern front porch and iced tea life or experience active outdoor adventures such as kayaking, fishing and various sporting activities or the arts, jazz, etc. Did you know Savannah has a very engaged bicycle community, sailing community, historic society?  Basically, regardless of your interests, we have it!

The cost of living is much lower here. When compared with Newark, New Jersey for example the overall cost of living in the Savannah area is 31% lower*. The cost of housing alone is 58% lower* than Newark. Generally speaking if you’re living on $120,000 in New Jersey you could maintain your lifestyle in Savannah with $82,818.

If you plan to eventually retire or relocate to Savannah or its surrounding areas, I suggest visiting during different times of the year. A week in October and a week in the spring are great times.  Often times, a week or two a year does not give a full picture of the area. For example Savannah hosts the second largest St. Patrick’s Day gathering (truth be told we celebrate for a few weeks) in the country. Events like these do play havoc with traffic, but are also part of the charm and allure of the area.  Be sure to come in the thick of the summer too, to make certain you can handle the Georgia heat.

And let me just address it up front.  I always get asked about the fear of hurricanes.  Did you know that Savannah’s hurricane statistics are better than many near by cities in Florida and the Carolinas?

Please call me today for more information or questions about your relocation needs!

Melanie Kramer
Keller Williams Realty Coastal Area Partners
912-459-5001 Office
912-658-1390 Cell Direct

*statistics pulled from payscale.com

Melanie Kramer Coastal Georgia Realtor

Top Things to See and Do When Scouting a Relocation to Richmond Hill Georgia

You’ve been weighing the pros and cons of relocating to Richmond Hill Georgia for a new job. The last step before making the decision is a scouting expedition to check out the neighborhood and find a new home. Whether you’re coming alone or bringing the family. You might be asking yourself how you can get to know a place when you’re only visiting for a few days?

I know time is precious and the goal of finding a place to live usually trumps everything else.  But setting aside a little time to explore can be fun and offer a much needed break. Richmond Hill and the surrounding areas are rich with history and culture. Just a few minutes down the road, Savannah boasts one of the largest historic districts in the country. The Hostess City’s unique layout offers 22 garden squares to wander through.

You can always take a scenic drive out to Tybee Island and stick your toes in the sand – even during the winter this is worth the trip. On Sundays during the cooler months you can order up all you can eat Oysters at Bernie’s Tybee Island location!

Walking through mainstreet, Richmond Hill, Georgia

Walking through main street Richmond Hill, Georgia

Exploring Richmond Hill Georgia

The Richmond Hill Historical Society building was built by Henry Ford. Ford wintered in Richmond Hill when it was known as Ways Station. He enjoyed the area a great deal and used his time and resources to invest in the local community. Ford built his summer home on the location of the Richmond Plantation, which had been burned during the civil war. When time came to rename the town it seemed fitting to name it after the site of Ford’s home.

Open: Wednesdays – Saturdays 10am – 3pm

Admission is free (donations appreciated)

Enjoy a walk through the 3 mile nature trail at the J.F. Gregory Park. The 335 acre park offers a 10 acre lake where you can fish and canoe, and a great many spots for picnics and sports. The park also plays host to the many community events throughout the year.

Maybe you’d like to spend a few hours winding down or winding up on 18 holes. Richmond Hill offers two courses (one private; one public) within a few miles of one another perfect for both novice and expert players.

Rent a kayak and spend a little time on the Ogeechee River. The 250-mile historic and scenic river runs through Richmond Hill and is excellent for boating, fishing, kayaking, and wildlife viewing.  It also connects to the Atlantic Intercoastal Waterway and a full service Fort McAllister Marina as well as dining by water at Fish Tales and Marker 107.

Camp for the weekend at Fort McAllister State Park and enjoy their civil war reenactments, history museum, cabins, campsites, fishing pier and guided natural trails.

Richmond Hill hosts at least 3 Georgia Department of Natural Resources public boat ramps as well if you like to launch your boat yourself.

Stop by the Richmond Hill Chamber of Commerce and pick up your “Newcomers & Neighbors” guide. It’s a great source of local information about events, the government, as well as education and healthcare resources.  If you come in October, plan to visit the 3rd weekend of the month during the annual Seafood Festival – it’s southern hospitality at it’s finest!

For a sampling of our culture, grab lunch at one of these local restaurants: Smokin Pig, Southern Image, Uptown Deli, Bubba’s Bistro, Molly McPherson’s, Snazzy’s, Oemlet Cafe or Plums Deli.

For local watering holes try Flashbacks, 69 East, Fia Rua Irish Pub, Molly McPherson’s Pub,  Snazzy’s, Fish Tales or Marker 107.

If you have questions about the area, please feel free to contact me and if you consider moving to the area, upgrading to a larger home in the area, purchasing land or investing in a business here, I would greatly value the opportunity to meet with you.

Warmest regards,
Melanie Kramer, Realtor

Melanie Kramer Coastal Georgia Realtor