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What You Need to Know About Buying Your First Home When You Don’t Know Where to Start

Every home owner has been there. Maybe you’ve been renting for a few years in a apartment or a condo, or perhaps you’ve even rented an entire private home. You have a friend who’s recently moved into a new home they’ve purchased, and when you go out for dinner or coffee with coworkers or friends, some start discussing how they’ve looking at purchasing a new home for the first time.


Though renting can be great too, you’re missing out on all of the extra amenities and financial benefits that come from owning a home, especially if you’re buying a home in Blue Ridge, GA. A monthly mortgage rate can actually be less expensive and more cost effective than paying rent, and with the help of Blue Ridge real estate agents, you’re able to acquire more square footage for less money. Just the idea of starting the process to buy a new home can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be.


We broke down what you need to know about buying a home, especially if you’re a first time buyer (because let’s be honest, school taught you pre-calculous and how to analyze 20th century literature, but no one ever explained how buying a home actually works).


Use a realtor who can become your home-buying guru


The most important thing to know is that you do not have to go about doing this yourself. Think of it like this: working with a trusted north Georgia real estate agent is like bringing on a team captain who will walk you through every step of the home buying process and help you protect your investment. Though you have thousands of details to consider when looking at homes themselves, it’s the financial decisions and contracts that can be the most overwhelming factors. Realtors help you understand the current market in your area and will be your voice when negotiating those contracts.


Odds are that you’re not an expert on required home inspection services either, simply because you’ve never had to go through this process before. And that’s ok! When you’re buying a home in Blue Ridge GA, realtors are able to help you understand a timeline for needed inspections, who should be responsible for paying, and if there are any potential problem areas to be aware of in a home. The last thing you want is to purchase a home that has a hidden, costly problem that will affect you in the coming years, and having a Blue Ridge buyers agent on your side will act as an advocate for you and your purchase.


When we’re presented with a contract that we don’t fully understand, we might assume that there’s nothing we can do, or should do, to alter it. If I’m told by a mechanic that my car needs additional inspections, and I don’t fully understand what the inspection does or how often it’s required, I’m likely to agree to the additional costs even if it wasn’t something I needed to do. But if I had someone on my side who was an expert on the condition of my car, that person could help advocate for me and negotiate a better deal to save me money, while still ensuring that my vehicle is completely safe to drive.


In the same way, a realtor is going to be your expert on the local market, your home inspection and paperwork guru, and an all-around ally to lead you on your home-buying journey.


Understand the commitment of buying a home


This might seem obvious, but it’s incredibly important that you understand the full commitment that you’re making when you decide to buy a home. Yes, you can eventually resell your new home and move to a new property that better suits your future circumstances, but buying a home is not as simple as renting or leasing. Before you start the process of buying a home in Blue Ridge, GA, you’ll want to do your own research and understand the community and available housing options that best meet your needs. Only you know what your true priorities are when it comes to finding that perfect fit in a new house.


If you’ve already become interested in a few specific properties, put effort into researching the costs of any needed repairs or remodeling projects. Understand the full picture of what you’re taking on as a new home buyer. Your Blue Ridge real estate agent can help you of course, but buying your first home is a big deal, and that commitment is not to be taken lightly. At the same time, buying a home is a potentially a very special milestone in your life, especially if you’re looking to raise a family (but we’ll talk more about future needs later).


Financial security and pre-planning


Having a better understanding of your financial needs and what benchmarks you need to reach within your savings is also crucial in the early stages of the home search process. Even if you’re months or a year (or more) away from buying your first home, it’s never too early to start strengthening your credit score. Paying credit cards bills on time and in full will help you raise your score. Opening new cards to acquire more credit isn’t the way to do this either. Stick to using one or two cards, and always submit payments on time.


At the same time, it’s important for you to build a savings account, where you are able to set aside money for your down payment and any other closing costs. Do research in your area and talk with a Blue Ridge buyers agent to learn more about expected fees and estimated down payments for homes in your price range. You can also use tools online to help you in the process.

Another step in the pre-buying process is to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Getting pre-approved and working out what you can afford monthly is a significant step in ensuring you’re ready to take on this commitment and shop for a house you’re excited to fall in love with.


Think “big picture” and long-term lifestyle


Your Blue Ridge realty team wants you to have the best possible home buying experience, and as a first-time buyer, you’re going to have dozens of questions along the way. When you’re considering homes on the market, remember to think about the bigger picture. How might your lifestyle change in the next decade? What kind of a home layout would best fit your future needs as an individual or as a growing family? A home that may seem like it fits your needs now, may not be right for you in a few years. Take this “big picture” mindset into consideration when looking for homes and touring them with your north Georgia real estate agent to ensure it’s the best possible fit for you.


Though buying a home may still seem daunting, by doing research on homes in your area, strengthening your credit score, understanding what you want in a home, and meeting with your realtor, you will enjoy being able to shop the market and find the perfect house to name your home.

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Why Real Estate Photography Can Make the Difference for Potential Buyers

As all great real estate agents know, the best way to sell a home is to give the buyer a reason to fall in love with it. The percentage of potential buyers who shop for homes online before seeing them in person grows each year, and in 2016, it was reported that 80% of all home buyers do most of their searching online.


Put yourself in a home buyer’s shoes. If you were looking for a new place to live and the home was described in the listing as having four bedrooms, a finished basement and a spacious backyard, but the only photo available online was of the living room, you’re likely going to pass on considering the home as an option. You might search the address in Google and virtually stand in the front yard to see the home’s exterior, but unless you can check out bedrooms, bathrooms, the kitchen, and other primary living spaces on the website, you’re going to be disinterested.


For younger home buyers, having fewer photos also gives the impression that the agent isn’t as well organized, or that he or she doesn’t give 100% effort to the listing, which would be a huge turn-off. Now you’ve got disinterested buyers who could have been a great fit for the home, but because they are under the impression that the agent isn’t thorough or tech-savvy (or worse, that the lack photos means the agent is trying to hide a problem) they’ll most likely never request a tour or step foot inside the house. Be proud of your home and what it has to offer, and don’t let a lack of photos sway someone into thinking that you’re hiding an issue.


How buyers find and tour Blue Ridge homes digitally


When a buyer is looking for a new home in the Blue Ridge area, he or she is going to start in a few common places: using a search engine, looking to social media, or inquiring from a friend or home owner in the area. If you’re using a search engine to find a home, chances are that you will be brought to a local real estate company’s website or to a national site like Zillow or Trulia. Looking through pages and pages of homes on a website is convenient for the buyer, but it also becomes easy for your house to be viewed as just another line on the page. As users, we are much more likely to interact with, share, and follow up on a post that has detailed descriptions and photos that give us the sense of what the entire property has to offer.


On social media sites, the photo of the home is what occupies the most space in your post, followed by a short title and one-sentence description of the home itself. Posts are often shared by friends and commented on with reactions or questions about the property. For people who know of friends that could be a good fit for the home, the social media user can simply tag their friend in a comment or share it to their page as well. The photos are what entices people to click on the links and explore the listings, but if you don’t include photos that are presenting homes in the best light, your post will be passed over and won’t be shared between friends.


How to ensure you’re presenting homes in the best light


Fear not, you definitely don’t need high quality camera equipment to get the best photos of your home, but there are several things you should be doing to ensure that you’re presenting homes in the best light, and we mean that both figuratively and literally. If you are looking into purchasing a new camera though, consider also getting a tripod to help you with stability and clarity when snapping pictures.


We’re getting ahead of ourselves a little bit here though, because the first step of any good photo shoot is to prep the area to look its best. Cut the grass, clean up clutter from countertops, vacuum the carpets, remove any items that might be too personal. For example, if you want to show off your gorgeous fire place, but have a large family portrait hanging above the mantel, consider swapping the photo out if you don’t want the portrait to be made public on real estate websites. Another great reason to declutter or to not have detailed decorations is that it allows the person viewing the photos to imagine his or her own stuff set up in the home.


Choose a day that’s sunny and bright, with great natural lighting to support your home’s best features. You’ll want to shoot photos of the outside of the home, showing off accessibility features and any other central details, such as the driveway, garage, patio, or landscaping. Don’t forget to show off the backyard too!


Inside the home, your photos should highlight main living spaces and features that would be attractive for the buyer. If your description promotes amazing cabinet space and a large pantry, show them off in your photos! The same goes for closets and bathrooms. Making sure that you include areas that are great for family gatherings, as well as storage spaces and other amenities.


If you advertise your home as having four bedrooms, don’t just include a photo for one of them! People want to be able to see and get a feel for the size of each room, and that includes closet space and bathroom access. Bonus rooms, finished basements, and office spaces are attractive to buyers too, and it’s important that your photos show potential buyers that the home will make for an easy transition.


Particularly with mountain homes and cabins, photos should include the greater landscape or the view if you think it’s something the buyer would like. Outdoor living spaces, like porches, firepits, hot tubs, and grilling areas would also be great additions to your photo gallery. Don’t forget the main real estate marketing goal: show someone why they should fall in love with your home.


How photos can help increase leads


Largely because of social media, real estate marketing has shifted to include digital postings, along with mobile-friendly content, photos and video. We are more likely to watch a video or stop on a picture when we’re scrolling through a social media site, more so than we might read text or click on an outside link. Buyers are doing research online and many want to feel as though they’ve taken a virtual tour of the home before they schedule time to tour it in person or attend an open house.


When a potential buyer can see themselves living in the home, or know of someone who would be a great fit for the property, they will want to interact with the listing, talk with their agent, and communicate with the realtor to tour it in person and learn more. The digital landscape has become crucial to selling a home, but you’ll also have buyers who are more educated about the property, which in the end, will be much more valuable for the realtor.

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Lifestyle & Views in Blue Ridge GA

The Real Estate market in the Blue Ridge GA area is continuing to grow. This is a great time to buy or sell a home as we roll into the winter months with many people looking to sell properties before the end of year and others looking to purchase in the same time frame.

There are so many ways to enjoy the area! To make the best of your move there are a few things to think about.

Blue Ridge Lifestyle

Most people when looking for Real Estate in Blue Ridge GA assume the only styles are traditional “cabin” and log homes. This is not the case! In Blue Ridge there are a variety of properties for sale to include lake front, mini-farms with rolling pastures, Toccoa River front, and so much more. These are all terrific options for buying real estate in the Blue Ridge area. All of these property types are part of the Blue Ridge lifestyle which is that of relaxed yet still modern living. Blue Ridge has a variety of outdoor activities such as rafting, tubing, hiking, boating, and scenic tours. This is only a small part of the Blue Ridge lifestyle as the community and city of Blue Ridge are equally as beautiful and full of adventure. Be sure to check out all of the restaurants & boutique shops – all are unique to this area. A great resource for where to eat, what to do, and where to stay is the Fannin County Chamber of Commerce.

Are you looking for lake front properties?

Lake Blue Ridge is accessible from both Morganton and Blue Ridge making it an ideal area for a variety of budgets and styles. The Lake Blue Ridge eastern side, primarily accessible from Old Highway 76 and Aska Rd., are typically modern rustic cabin style homes featuring a variety of amenities including gated access and deeded lake access. These properties are as unique as the leaves being built by a variety of custom home builders including Big Dawg Builders and High Country Builders.

The western side of Lake Blue Ridge, located primarily in Morganton, is an excellent option for those looking to purchase rental investments or live full time in a more budget friendly area. These homes are a variety of styles ranging from traditional to modern rustic cabins – a property type for every preference and budget range.

Lakefront properties while varied in style typically are on the market for very short times due to the limited availability and gorgeous views.

Are you looking for a creek or river view?

Sometimes creek front and river front properties, while still on the upper end of prices, are the most affordable type of waterfront real estate in Blue Ridge. These typically cabin style homes make for excellent investment properties having a high rental value due to the versatile nature. Creek and riverfront cabins make excellent honeymoon destinations and weekend fishing getaways. The Blue Ridge creeks and rivers range from small branches up to the Toccoa River and Fightingtown Creek – both of which are perfect for outdoor activities and peaceful rushing water life.

While property on Lake Blue Ridge is limited and nearing 100% developed there are hundreds of lots available on the variety of rivers and creeks. Land/Lots/Acreage can range from less than $50,000 to well over $150,000 depending on the proximity to town and what type/area/length of water feature is available. Many of the homes located on Fightingtown Creek and the Toccoa River are within 5-15 miles from downtown Blue Ridge yet boast privacy and seclusion.

What qualifies as a mountain view?

Most Real Estate in Blue Ridge GA feature some time of feature or view – the most coveted being the long range mountain view. Mountain views in Blue Ridge GA while plentiful are becoming more and more scarce for purchase as vacant lots are being purchased by investors and building companies to build new cabins. These views are classified as year round, seasonal, long range, and traditional.

The best combination for beautiful serene living are year round long range views which feature boundless mountain tops often extending into Tennessee and North Carolina. Most long range mountain views are found toward the top of a mountain but do not necessarily need to be far out of town. A great example of of property close to Blue Ridge with an endless view is 352 Endless View Rd – Check out the listing by clicking here. You can also see the Matterport virtual tour here!

Traditional and long range year round mountain views usually incur a higher price tag due to their highly coveted nature. An excellent way to stay toward the lower end of your budget while still getting a gorgeous home is to look for properties with limited mountain views such as seasonal or less than 30 degrees field of view.

Mountain view properties in Blue Ridge GA can be found in most every area and property type! This is great for buyers because you’ll find homes in most every price range and style. A couple great areas to check out are Cherry Log, Cashes Valley, and Cohutta Ranch!

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7 Reasons Why You Need An Agent Instead of Trying For Sale by Owner

7 Reasons Why You Need An Agent Instead of Trying For Sale by Owner


If you’re thinking about selling your home, you might still be on the fence about whether to hire an agent to help you sell, or if you should try selling by owner. Though it’s up to you how to go about the process of selling, there are some major benefits to using an agent that will help you save time, increase the value of your sale, and support buyer confidence. Here are just a few ways an agent can help make your home-selling experience less stressful while ensuring you get the most value on the market.


7) An agent is an expert for real estate in your area, like Blue Ridge


This is at the top of our list at number seven, but it’s one of the most important factors to consider. Even though you may be keeping up with recent sales in Blue Ridge and watching trends in the market, a real estate agent is going to be the most knowledgeable about what you can do in your home to help it sell faster and at a higher value.


6) Access to the Multiple Listing Service, like North East Georgia MLS and Georgia MLS (Atlanta)


An agent is going to help you sell your home faster because he or she has access to the Multiple Listing Service, or MLS. The MLS is a database of all the homes for sale in your area, and when your home is listed in that database, all other potential homeowners’ agents will be able to see your home as an option.


This expedites the “word of mouth” process and helps others see that your home is also being sold with help from an agent. For buyers using a real estate agent, that person could be more interested in showing their clients homes that are being sold with help from an agent rather than from a family who’s trying for sale by owner.


Effective agents in the Blue Ridge/Tri-State area subscribe to the North East Georgia MLS and Georgia MLS which doubles the coverage in which your home is displayed.


5) They’re in-the-know on code regulations and zoning laws


You might know everything about events in your neighborhood, the quality of the schools, and where the best markets are, but an agent is going to be your trusted source for all of the local coding laws and zoning regulations that will apply to your residence. This is especially important when looking at different types of properties such as cabins and mountain homes in the Blue Ridge area.


Making sure your house is up to code will make the selling process much smoother and will give buyers confidence when they make offers to buy your home. If something isn’t up to code, like the entrances, foundation, roof, wiring, flooring, or plumbing, you’ll want to have someone on hand who can point out what needs to be repaired, and what doesn’t, helping you increase the value of your home and keep repair costs from exceeding what they need to be.


4) Inspector and contractor referrals


After your agent helps you evaluate your home, he or she might find something that needs to be addressed further before introducing your home to potential buyers. That’s where their knowledge of professional inspectors and contractors in the area will come into play. Having an agent is kind of like having a guide through the home selling process, a guide who doesn’t want you to waste money or find yourself in a situation where you’re in over your head. Having their knowledge of how to go about prepping your home for sale will be a huge help and will save you time and money.


3) Networking with other agents and potential buyers


Not only should your agent know of well-reviewed inspectors and contracts, but he or she will also have a trusted network of other real estate agents and potential buyers. Rather than depending on your own advertising and word-of-mouth, your agent is going to be able to reach out to other agents with which he or she has built a relationship.


If your agent has facilitated positive home sale experiences in the past for other agents and their clients, those agents will likely want to work with your agent to help find the right buyer for your home. In addition to the MLS list, your agent will make sure your home is visible on the market and attractive to buyers.


2) Official and professional price negotiators


One of the most challenging tasks as a seller is to know the best asking price for your home. You might be able to be a pretty good judge based on what other homes similar to yours are selling for in your area, but you might not be taking amenities, aesthetic appeal, remodeling, and other factors into account. If you post an asking price that’s too high, you’re going to keep yourself on the market for a longer period of time, wasting your own time, when you’ll likely wind up with lower offers in the near future.


But at the same time, you don’t want to start your asking price too low, because you might not realize that certain upgrades and additional features in your home, that were missing from a comparable home a few blocks away, might make your house worth more than you previously thought. Having an agent evaluate what your home is worth and come up with a pricing plan for buyers is a huge part of what an agent’s role is in the selling process, and it’s one of the most crucial reasons why having input from an expert is ideal.


1) A stress-free selling experience


Overall, the absolute best reason to use an agent is to make the sale of your home be as stress-free as possible. Of course selling your home will involve some stress and decision-making, but having an agent to guide you through the entire process is invaluable, and though having an agent might seem like an extra expense on the surface, his or her expertise and connections will help save you time and money overall.


Because you’re only going to sell just a few homes, or many just one home, in your lifetime, it can be a daunting task. Using a real estate agent who is aware of current trends and issues in your community, and is helping families sell and buy homes each week, will be a tremendous asset to you in your own experience. There’s a value in what you’re getting from your agent that goes beyond a price tag, and the confidence and security an agent can provide your family will make the sale of your home a positive experience.

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4 Blue Ridge Driving Tours For Nature Lovers

Many visitors to the Blue Ridge area love to go explore the outdoors on foot, but we know that hiking is not everyone’s favorite summer vacation activity. If you want to experience the beauty of the area (without working up a sweat), we’ve got you covered with some incredible driving tours. Always remember to bring trash bags with you if you’re planning on getting out of your car to hike in the woods, and use your best judgement when walking near any wet ground or rocks! Many of these tours bring you past buildings and bridges that are well over 100 years old and up to altitudes of over 2,000 feet!


For more specific driving directions, information about each stop on the tours, and a visual map, be sure to click on the link for each driving tour on the list!


The Twin City Discovery Tour starts on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway Line and leads you North along the winding Toccoa River to reach Horseshoe Bend Park, the perfect place for a picnic lunch or scenic photography session. You’ll then move along up to the Old Railway Bridge, the Toccoa & Ocoee River Outfitters, and McCaysville City Park, all of which split the river and provide amazing views.


Later in your journey, you’ll continue North to the border of McCaysville and Copperhill to visit the Railway Station and the Concrete and Steel Bridges, along with the Maloof Building, the Abernathy Building and Copperhill’s City Hall.


If you’re feeling more adventurous, the tour then leads you past the Tennessee Copper Company all the way up to the Ducktown Basin Museum and Burra Burra Mine. End the day with the final stop: the Ocoee Whitewater Rafting Center where you can get wet and enjoy the river’s wild (or not so wild) ride!



The Fannin County Town & Country Driving Tour has fewer stops, with more driving time in between destinations, but the country views are worth it and you’ll quickly become an expert on all that Fannin County has to offer.


You and your family begin the tour in the heart of Blue Ridge and then drive Northwest to McKinney Crossing and Higdon, then through the Devil’s Den to Cashes Valley! From there you will navigate your way back to the main highway and head North to Epworth, following by a trip all the way over the Tennessee border, but not before stopping in McCaysville!


Up in Tennessee, you will explore the Copper Basin along the Ocoee River before driving Southeast to the Mineral Bluff. Heading toward Lake Blue Ridge, you’ll then drive to Morganton where you’ll be greeted by amazing views of the lake. If you’re in the mood for water sports, relaxing, hiking or great food, you’ve come to the right place!


The last stop on the tour brings you South to Dial Valley and then ends near the Stanley Creek, just a few miles from Highway 515.




Get ready to drive through the mountains as you follow Highway 60 in a counterclockwise circle around Blue Ridge. Driving South on Aska Road, you’ll pass Harmony Church and keep driving until the first stop at the Deep Gap Trailhead. At the top, you can see Springer Mountain, which is where the Appalachian Trail begins!


As you continue on your journey, you’ll come to the next stop: the Toccoa River Rapids, a popular spot to view the pristine waters. You might even see some trout fishermen who are eager and competitive with fly fishing. Drive a bit further along Stanley Creek Road, and you’ll be able to get out at hike a series of trails (based on your ability level) to Fall Branch Falls.


On the next part of the tour, you’ll go back in time to see some of the historic buildings that Blue Ridge has preserved, including the Shallowford Bridge from 1920, the VanZandt House, the Cochran-Davenport House, and the Chastain House.


If you are looking to relax on the river, the Toccoa Valley Campground is a great place to rent a tube, kayak, or canoe and bring the tour to the water!


What we love the most about this tour though is that one of its final stops is at the Serenberry Vineyards outside of Morganton. It’s only open from Thursday-Sunday, but the barn is almost 100 years old and it now serves as a tasting room for the vineyard. End your tour at the Blue Ridge Lake and Dam with over 100 miles of shoreline!


Before starting your journey through the Cohutta Wilderness, be sure to check ahead of time that the roads are open. Start at the stunning Mercier Orchards that produce over 20 varieties of apples, along with cherries, berries, peaches, and wines. You’ll then pass by McKinney Crossing, a house over 100 years old; the Mr. Morian Baptist Church, which has been in operation since 1858; and Watson’s Store, which has also been on site for over 150 years!


With an altitude of 2,700 feet, Watson’s Gap will bring you up toward Conasauga then onto Dyer Gap, a named for a pioneer family that is still living in the area. If you’re up for a challenge, you’ll then drive to the South Fork Trail, which will lead you on a three-mile journey up to the top. Don’t forget your water, sunscreen, a picnic and a camera!


Jacks River Fields over to your left also provides picnic tables for your family to enjoy a lunch outside in the mountains along a pristine trout river. Continuing along the winding road, you have access to the Mountaintown Creek Trail (over 5 and a half miles), Three Forks Mountain (a 7 mile hike on an abandoned roadbed), and the Mountain Creek Overbed — with a view that is not to be missed!


You can also visit Betty Gap, which has trails that are a bit easier to navigate and follow the Conasauga River, and the Chestnut Lead Trail, a short hike that’s under 2 miles and easy to navigate for families. If you’re looking to spend a night in the wilderness, the Ballfield Group Camping Area and Lake Conasauga Recreation Area are the two final stops on this tour, both of which are excellent spots for camping!


You’ll then drive back in the direction from which you came to get back to the highway (and civilization)!


You can print out the maps or download them to your phone from the amazing Blue Ridge Mountains App!

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12 Unique Restaurants To Visit In Blue Ridge!

The Vault Blue Ridge Bar & Grill

The Vault Blue Ridge has created a menu of dishes using the finest seasonal produce. Taking inspiration from around the world, all the dishes on our menu are created with Southern style. Using incredible Georgia produce, meats and fish are prepared on site every day, and paired with ingredients so good they really speak for themselves. They have created true Southern style dishes including a variety of brunch, sandwich, and grill items. The Vault Blue Ridge is also one of the few locations staying open late to accommodate local customers who want a late night bite and drink! The Vault is definitely a bar & grill worth checking out.


Black Sheep Restaurant Bar & Patio

The Black Sheep restaurant looks to be the oddball of Fannin County and wants to make a memorable dining experience for you and your family, without passing on the luxuries of Southern cooking. What makes this restaurant so unique is its knack for fusion meals, including Asian tuna nachos, venison chops, and sweet bacon mac n’ cheese. This twist on comfort food is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and the covered patio area is also the perfect spot to relax and enjoy a glass of private label wine! The new owners, Anthony and Brandon, have done a phenomenal job re-tooling the menu and creating a truly unique fine dining experience.

Blue Ridge Fry Shop

The Blue Ridge Fry Shop located right in the heart of Main Street is best known for its perfectly fried pork, chicken, and catfish sandwiches that are coupled with crispy french fries. Even the dessert is fried (although there are a few salads on the menu)! You won’t want to leave without sampling a fried pie or churro, especially without some extra caramel or chocolate.


Boat Dock Bar and Grill

Located on the water at the Lake Blue Ridge Marina, the Boat Dock Bar and Grill offers classic lakeside burgers and fare that’s affordable and family-friendly. The lakeside atmosphere sets it aside from other sandwich and salad restaurants, allowing you to watch the boats and watersports in the marina. If you’re looking to be a little more adventurous with your drink of choice, be sure to try one of their original cocktail creations!


Chester Brunnenmeyer’s Bar & Grill

This rustic American bar and grill in downtown Blue Ridge is conveniently located on the corner of East Main and Depot Street. The menu is both regional and seasonal, changing throughout the year to bring you the best of what Blue Ridge has to offer. The ambiance of the bar is a perfect balance of elegance and comfort, providing a space for you to relax and enjoy some out of the ordinary beverages. Will you be having a glass of the Wookie or the Brewnenmeyer Mary? You might just want to sample both. And be sure to ask your server for more information about the history of bar, which has been family owned and operated for three generations!


Iron Bridge General Store & Cafe

Located right on the winding Toccoa River, the family-owned Iron Bridge General Store & Cafe is a one-of-a-kind stop for anyone passing through the Blue Ridge area. Fresh baked pies, hot apple cakes, and homemade doughnuts are only a few of the mouth-watering desserts baked on site. You’ll feel as though you’ve been transported to an old time country store with first class hospitality and a slice of pie that’s just won first place at the county fair. The cafe also sells juicy burgers, fries, pulled pork sandwiches, and many other classic comfort foods.

Mountain View Orchards & Cider House Cafe

The Cider House Cafe describes themselves as being “that little place in the mountains that feels like home.” Open for lunch and dinner daily, the menu offers an array of meat and seafood, including burgers, shrimp, salads, and local trout. The magical dining experience comes from the view of the orchards and mountain side. You’ll eat a delicious meal in a spot that’s tucked in the rolling orchards up on the hillside. Oh, and don’t even think about leaving without having a tall glass of the apple cider!


Taste of Amish

Not only is Taste of Amish a highly-recommended, unique place to dine, but it’s also a fresh food market stocked with incredible local items. The sandwich shop located inside the market is always a popular spot for grabbing a fresh, healthy lunch before heading out to explore the Chattahoochee National Forest. You can also purchase jams and jellies, meats, fresh cheeses, and bakery goods, along with handmade soaps and other Amish remedy products. Explore a Taste of Amish in the South and sample the exclusive organic foods you cannot find anywhere else in Blue Ridge!

The Boro Inn Irish Pub
Cead Mille Failte! The Boro Inn’s Irish Pub, named for the Boro River in Ireland where the family first opened a pub five generations ago, will treat you like one of their family! You’ll be able to enjoy Irish ales, ciders, lagers, stouts, international beers, spirits & wines, along with soft drinks and Irish food. The culture infused into the restaurant is found through music and storytelling. It’s not uncommon to hear a song, sonnet, poem, or story about Irish history while you’re dining or meeting new mates. It doesn’t matter how far you’ve traveled from, when you enter the doors at The Boro Inn Irish Pub, you’ll be treated like a local.


The Copper Grill

Have you ever wanted to dine in two places at once? At The Copper Grill, you can technically cross that goal off your bucket list! The restaurant sits on the border of Georgia and Tennessee, and offers juicy hand-crafted burgers and large servings of french fries that are perfect for munching as you move across state lines. The sandwiches and chili are also not to be missed! The grill is popular among locals and very convenient for families traveling through the area.


Toccoa Riverside Restaurant

One of the most scenic dining experiences on this list, the Toccoa Riverside Restaurant puts you and your family in the heart of Blue Ridge. Easily accessible, but nestled along the side of the river, you’ll be able to watch wildlife, hear the moving water and smell the fresh scents of the mountains as you catch up with family and friends. For over 20 years, the restaurant has served thousands of patrons who are delighted by the live bluegrass music and local cuisine. The views are unmatchable and the serenity is the perfect addition to any vacation.

VanZandt’s Riverwalk

We’ve saved the most unique Blue Ridge dining experience for last (and not just because they’re listed in alphabetical order). At VanZandt’s Riverwalk and Restaurant, you can actually go tubing or kayaking down the river in the afternoon. Rides last for 3-5 hours depending on the pace of the water, giving you plenty of time to digest VanZandt’s famous upside down burgers, cinnamon pancakes, or club sandwiches. You can find VanZandt’s on Newport Rd in Blue Ridge, and shuttles are provided for those who want to enjoy the afternoon lounging on the water!

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Top 10 Reasons to Retire in Blue Ridge, GA


Nestled in the Northern Georgia Mountains at the start of the Appalachian Trail, the town of Blue Ridge is a popular destination for singles and couples looking for a serene and eventful place to retire. With it’s central location, affordability, optimal weather and local happenings, Blue Ridge, GA should be at the top of your retirement city list!


10) Accessible for friends and family to visit

Even though you may be choosing a new home that takes you away from family and friends, you’ll want to make sure that it’s easy for loved ones to visit. It can be expensive to travel to seaside communities, and many other popular retirement cities often include a very long drive, which can be difficult for grandkids to handle. Blue Ridge, Georgia’s convenient location allows residents to feel like they’ve traveled to a getaway location, without being too far out of reach. Blue Ridge is less than a 2-hour drive from Atlanta and Chattanooga, with the drive from Knoxville under 2.5 hours. Blue Ridge is also just 3 hours from Greenville, SC! For guests traveling from further away, there are several small airports in the area, in addition to larger airports in those surrounding cities.


9) A community with welcoming traditions

No matter your interests, the Georgians of Blue Ridge have a seasonal traditions and annual events that you’re sure to love. The area is often the home to music festivals, traditional fruit picking activities, cook-offs, fairs, art shows, and other events that have the power to bring the community together.


8) Beauty of season changes without extreme winter

One major reason that people relocate when they retire is they want to escape winter weather. Winters can be especially dangerous for older adults, and you’ll definitely want to move to a place where you won’t worry about shoveling feet of snow or scraping up ice on your stoop. Summer all-year round isn’t ideal either though, and that’s one of the top reasons why Blue Ridge, GA is such a popular destination. The summers are more mild than other neighboring southern cities, the fall is absolutely breathtaking, and you’ll still experience winter without the added hassle or dangers. The region does see some snow, and there are opportunities for winter sports, but the snow and ice is mostly found in higher elevation.


7) Outdoor lifestyle

Have you never gone hiking or trout fishing? Maybe you’ve never been camping or haven’t tried the latest arts and crafts trend. Blue Ridge is welcoming to everyone, and you don’t need to be an expert to enjoy all of the adventures, but be ready to bring your social life outdoors. You’ll love being able to have a relaxing day on the lake, ride the historic Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, or go camping in the wilderness that’s not so far from home. Blue Ridge also takes concerts and movies outside, and you can even experience a Drive-In that’s been in operation since 1955!


6) Housing choices you’ll love

Whether you’re looking to live in a quaint cottage, a log cabin, a suburban home, or an apartment, Blue Ridge has many residential choices to meet your needs. You can live up in the mountains, along the river, or close to town, putting you in the middle of what you enjoy most. The architecture style of homes in the area is also very diverse, and you’ll be able to find something that suits your taste and feels like home! Because it’s also a vacation destination for many families, your loved ones will also be able to find the perfect accommodations nearby (or with you) when they come to visit!


5) Fun recreational activities

Blue Ridge, GA is guaranteed to get you up and moving! With all of the activities to try and things to do, you’ll be active all year round and not only in warmer months. Hiking and exploring scenic routes are always popular, and if you’re more adventurous, you can go biking along one a new trail, go tubing down the river, go horseback riding through a trail, or even zip-line through the trees!


4) Cost of living is affordable

While many popular retirement destinations also offer gorgeous scenery and lots of local happenings, most of them also come with a hefty price tag. One of the reasons we love Blue Ridge, GA is that the cost of living here is much more affordable. According to AreaVibes, the cost of living in Blue Ridge is 13% lower than the national average and Georgia state income tax is 55% lower than the national average, which means you’ll be spending less on living expenses and activities. When friends and family come to visit, they’ll also be able to find affordable hotels, cabins or homes to rent.


3) Positive attitudes and spectacular hospitality

Southern hospitality is no joke! Blue Ridge is a community where everyone says hello to one another and residents are eager to welcome you to town. You’ll be able to connect with other residents and enjoy outdoor activities and events as part of a community. Kindness and friendly attitudes can be found at every turn, and if you’re arent originally from the South, you’ll love experiencing the charm and hospitality of what it means to be a Georgian.


2) Amazing local food

When moving to any new place, food is one of the most important factors to consider, and Blue Ridge does not disappoint! Some of the most popular places in town include a locally-sourced and farmed all-day breakfast joint, a gourmet chocolate and fudge shop, a fine dining restaurant with amazing riverside views, and tons of delicious comfort food. Not to mention, all of the local breweries and wineries offer opportunities for tours, sampling, and enjoying the scenery while munching on cheese plates and sipping your new favorite local beverage.


1) Easy to be social with others

It’s important for new retirees to be active in their communities and have ways to socialize with other residents and retirees. With lots of festivals, events, fairs, concerts, plays, art shows, and recreational activities, you’ll feel like you’ve become part of the Blue Ridge family in no time at all. Residents often spend time at local eateries or by making a picnic outdoors, and you’ll enjoy playing golf or participating in other games and activities with new friends.

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Fun In Blue Ridge, Georgia: 10 Activities For The Whole Family

Summer is made for family vacations and Blue Ridge is the perfect destination to explore, relax, and create memories. The area has a diverse array of indoor and outdoor activities for even your littlest adventurer. The rich history of the area and scenic getaways allow for family experiences that you cannot find at an amusement park. Here are 15 popular attractions and activity ideas for families visiting this season!


The Lilly Pad Village is the perfect vacation retreat away from your non-stop weekly routine. Described as a “piece of Heaven, away from highways, parking lots and traffic,” there is a focus on calmness and restfulness. With activities like gem mining, fishing, mini golf, and family-friendly hiking, the Lilly Pad Village describes itself as a “destination for laughter and smiles where you can spend an hour or an entire day, leaving stress behind.” There are even a few cherished pets on the property who love welcoming new guests to the pristine grounds to enjoy the beautiful mountain views.


For kids over the age of 12, whitewater rafting in the Blue Ridge Mountains is an exciting way to spend the morning or afternoon. You can choose between several outfitters (click the link above for more information about locations, directions and pricing) on the Toccoa, Occee, and Hiwassee Rivers. Did you know the rapids in the Blue Ridge Mountains are a favorite destination for rafters worldwide? Adventure writer Kim Urquhart calls it “a paddler’s paradise …loved for its size and power, constant flow rate and continuous waves and holes”. More than 300,000 people experience the excitement of rafting each year — and it’s one of the safest ways to explore the waters.


Family-owned and operated by the fourth generation of the Mercier family, the orchards have been a fantastic way to create memories with your family and enjoy the local produce of Georgia for over 70 years. The Mercier Orchards offer U-PICK events with fresh strawberries and other in-season fruits, have an on-site Bakery & Deli featuring fruits from the orchards, a Market Store, and even have a new Farm Winery!


The easiest way to cruise on the lake with younger children, pontoon boats require little to no experience and allow for kids to move around, unlike kayaks, tubes or paddle boards. You can even take the pontoon boat out and park it to enjoy lunch on the lake. Holding up to 8 guests, these are ideal for larger families or who want to keep everyone together on the same boat (something you can’t do with tubing or kayaking). Make your reservations ahead of time to ensure that a boat will be ready for you and your family, pack a bag with sunscreen and snacks, and bring a cooler!


If you want the full relaxation experience, tubing down the river is absolutely the way to go! Depending on where you’re staying in the Blue Ridge Mountain area, we’d recommend you find the tubing company that’s most convenient for you and your family! There are six popular tubing spots on the river, run by: Cool River Tubing, Rolling Thunder River Tubing, Toccoa River Tubing Company, Toccoa Valley Campground, Toccoa Wilderness Tubing, and VanZandt’s. Some tubes offer closed-in bottoms or ways to attach tubes together for younger children, but others do not, so be sure to choose the tubing itinerary that best meets your needs!


New and inexperienced riders will feel comfortable riding horseback (or on ponies) at this one-stop adventure outpost. The grounds are well-kept and safety is always the first priority, making it a prefered stop for families in the area. If you have more experience and would like to trot or try a more advanced ride, horseback tours through the hillsides of the Cohutta mountains are also offered, where you’ll even pass by “bubbling creeks and streams.”


Located only six miles from downtown Blue Ridge, the Blue Ridge Zip Line and Canopy Tours adventure course will build confidence in adults and children alike. With a mile of zipline and a series of in-air obstacles (they have different levels of challenges), this go-at-your-own-pace adventure in the trees is something your family will remember for years to come. Choose to do the zipline tour or the challenge course and feel the fresh air of the Blue Ridge Mountains in your face!


Visit one of America’s oldest copper mining communities in a museum that includes over 150 years of history. The hour-long tour is ideal for kids who love minerals, geology, or seeking out interesting historical artifacts. They also host a kids carnival each spring, along with pancake breakfasts, summer gatherings, and fall crafts festivals. The mining community is all about family, and they invite your family to discover more about the long-standing history of the industry.


There’s a new museum in town called Expedition Bigfoot and its calling upon kids who are interested in the legend of Bigfoot to help crack the case. The museum is North Georgia’s “biggest” family attraction that focuses on both entertainment and education.  They display genuine Bigfoot artifacts, life sized exhibits, photos, sketches, large up to date sighting maps, and the World’s only Bigfoot Research and Tech Vehicle. They even have a Bigfoot reference library! Can you solve the mystery?


Take a journey back in time to the days of drive-in theaters and watching films from your car (and we don’t mean on your smartphone or tablet). At the Historic Swan Drive-In, which has been in operation for over 60 years, you’ll feel like you’re in another decade while watching movies under the stars. Yes, you even tune your car radio to a specific station for the movie audio! They also have a full concession stand with comfort food and treats. Visit their website for directions and movie schedules.


No matter what your family is interested in doing when on vacation in Blue Ridge, Georgia, there is an experience or adventure that is sure to meet your needs and create memories for you and your children that will stay with you for years to come!

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Buying A Cabin in Blue Ridge GA With Resale Value in Mind

Buying a cabin in Blue Ridge GA is one of our biggest investments and some of us are doing it more than once during our life – that is surely something to be proud of! Like many things in our life that have changed dramatically, so did our home style preferences and every day life. Most of us don’t stay in one house for the full duration of our lives whether it be due to career or life changes.

Our modern dynamic life style and economy, calls for flexibility, mobility and frequent changes. People are following their jobs and careers even if it means moving from one side of the nation to the other. Others are needing to get away from the suburban lifestyle and retire or vacation in a more remote, close knit mountain community like Blue Ridge GA.

When we decide to buy a cabin in Blue Ridge GA we need to think in terms of sort to medium range periods of time and that should bring us to consider the resale value of our home in the future. Buying a home with good resale value might take a little longer, and it might take a bit more work on your part, but you’ll love the payback later, when it sells quickly and puts extra money in your bank account. It is also important to consider the opportunity to make an investment in a Blue Ridge cabin for the use on rental programs. Rental cabins in Blue Ridge GA have an extremely high rate of return and contrary to many other cities they stay booked 60%-90% of the time, we have found.

The first consideration should be your family needs but it’s good to keep an open mind about what might suite future buyers or rental opportunities as well.

The most important three factors are: location, location and location…!

Indeed, it’s first thing to consider when looking for a home. So, what makes a good location?

There are some general elements which are obvious like:

  • Does the area have easy and fast access to the downtown Blue Ridge areas, hiking, fishing, biking, and other outdoor adventure areas?
  • It’s wise to pick a cabin that is located relatively elevated above the area, that can provide two advantages: a flow of good air and a nicer view.
  • How many neighbors are adjacent to you and/or across you in proximity, off course the less the better.
  • A cabin located at the end of the access road will suffer less noises from the neighbors and their guests, but have a harsher access type, such as gravel or dirt roads.
  • A cabin with a eastern or western mountain view will receive sunlight at different times of the day, which can be very bright. A mountain top Blue Ridge cabin may have more light and air.

The size of the lot, its shape and the square footage of the cabin itself:

  • The majority of buyers in the Blue Ridge area are 2nd home or retirement, so consider a cabin with an open mountain view or a river view.

There are many other environmental aspects to consider with respect to personal preference like a high mountain top area vs. close proximity to the City of Blue Ridge, quality of amenities in the neighborhood, and proximity to outdoor activity hobbies.

In addition to these external considerations there are many important internal elements that can make a cabin quality higher and buyers are always looking for, such as:

  • Closets, lots of closets and with as much additional storage space as possible.
  • Light and bright – Homes with lots of natural lighting are very popular.
  • Split bedroom plans, with bedrooms on each end of the home, are increasingly popular with buyers.
  • If you live in a scenic area, having a view can help you sell.
  • Plenty of bedrooms and bath rooms.
  • Large and convenient kitchen with as many cabinets and as much cooking space as possible.
  • The tendency to work from home calls for a suitable room to be set as a home office, as well as a stable internet connection.
  • Laundry and dryer machines located at the same level as the bed rooms.
  • A master bedroom on the main floor is often important.
  • A spacious basement is a plus.

Features to avoid

  • One bath homes sell for significantly less than homes with at least two baths and they take longer to sell, unless the cabin is setup to be a romantic getaway vacation cabin rental in Blue Ridge GA.
  • Electric baseboard heat and electric ceiling heat are not as desirable as central heating systems. A fireplace in the living room is a plus, especially when real wood. Most buyers prefer real wood fire places in traditional Blue Ridge mountain cabins.
  • Tubs and showers in outdated colors, or scratched from years of improper cleaning, might be hard to change without ripping out doors or walls. The preferred style is a stone or neutral tile colored walk in shower.
  • Popcorn ceilings date a cabin , you know, those bumpy ceilings that were so popular in the 1970’s. Vaulted ceilings with visible wood runners and roofing structure are often a popular style in Blue Ridge cabins.

Your first objective is to buy a home that’s right for you, but do consider its resale value before you make the final decision, especially if you know you’ll move again within three to five years. A careful purchase now will help give you extra funds to move up with the next time you buy a home.

Home Inspections

Depending on the type of financing you choose, there should be either 2 or 3 separate inspections on the home you want to purchase. The first should be your own basic inspection, the second should be a professional whole-house inspection by a reputable person. Should you select a government loan (FHA or VA), the third inspection should come at the time of the appraisal, which to some degree amounts to a “mini-inspection.” Do not, however, rely on this appraisal as your only inspection of the property!

We cannot emphasize enough the value and necessity of an extensive home inspection. Many home purchasers, either in the desire to save the $200 to $500 that a good inspection costs, or due to simple ignorance, have spent enormous sums of money repairing items that any good home inspector would have pointed out. Any offer to purchase you make should be contingent upon (subject to) a whole house inspection with a satisfactory report. Do not let anyone not the agent, not your family or friends, and especially not the seller, dissuade you from having the property thoroughly inspected! Not only will you sleep much sounder after you have moved into the cabin, a professional inspection can give you an escape hatch from a contract on a defective cabin. If the contract is written contingent on an acceptable inspection, any defects in the home must be either repaired or monetarily compensated for.

If you are not satisfied, you have the option to cancel the contract.

Buying a Home in Blue Ridge GA

While buying a primary home, and even second home, can be a daunting and stressful task our office and team are available to walk you through the process and make home buying in Blue Ridge GA as painless as possible. Nathan Fitts has over 20 years of experience in North Georgia real estate and with an knowledgeable support staff we here to help. Don’t buy a home in North Georgia without talking to us first!

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Finding Your Ideal Home in Blue Ridge, GA

The purchase of a home in Blue Ridge GA is a exciting time in anyone’s life, especially if it is your first home. Naturally you want to find the best home that suits all of your needs, and your budget. This is a purchase that requires planning on every aspect. The last thing you ever want to do is impulse buy a home, only to find out later that there are problems with the home or that it does not suit your needs.

OK. Now its list time. Sit down with pen and paper and start planning out what you need in a home. Don’t be afraid to think big, but stay within reason. Remember if you think you need a high mountain view or Toccoa river view but can only spend $150,000.00 chances are you will be disappointed. Things like number of rooms, or a fenced yard, or proximity to work and schools should be the priority at this stage. You can also make a list of things that you would like to have in a home. In the case where you are buying a second home or rental property you should tailor your search in Blue Ridge GA to match the optimal criteria for that specific use. This is where you can let your imagination run wild.

Consider all the aspects of the Blue Ridge area. Talk to some of the people that live here, and ask if they like living in the area. The long-term residents are a great source of information, and if they are to be your neighbors, get to know them! Also be sure to find out about the schools and recreational programs in the area if you have children. Another good thing to look into is the kind of commute you can expect to deal with getting to work every day. If there are major congestion problems between the area and the home then you might want to consider a different location.

With these things in mind you can now begin to look at the available homes in Blue Ridge GA. When you have found something that suits your needs and wants, its time to start your homework on the home itself. If you’re not already working with a Buyer’s Agent it is key to do so. Having a Buyer’s Agent ensures you are being represented with your best interest in mind – strictly speaking, do not work with an agent willing to dual represent. Buying homes in Blue Ridge GA and finding homes for sale in Blue Ridge GA can be a daunting and challenging task if you’re not assisted by someone familiar with the area.

Never forget; this is likely the largest purchase you will ever make; this could also be a substantial investment opportunity in Blue Ridge GA. You can not afford to not be picky!