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First Time Home Buyers Do’s and Don’ts

A First Time Homebuyer’s Guide

You’ve been out on your own for a while, secured a great career, and now you’re ready to take the next step in adulthood – Home Ownership. You have heard that real estate is a good investment and home values are on the rise again, so you have decided it’s time to trade in a rent payment for a mortgage note. Before you make the leap, educate yourself on the process and take your time researching your options. Becoming a homeowner is a big commitment and comes with a lot of responsibility. Consider these DO’s and DON’Ts before you purchase your first home.

Do – Know Before You Go

If you don’t have the cash to pay for your home in full and let’s be realistic – who does, it is imperative to get a prequalified mortgage. This should not be a fearful process, but a comforting step. Knowledge gives you power. Not only will you not waste time looking at homes that exceed your means, but you also bring negotiating power to the table over other interested parties. Your closing will also transpire faster and easier when you are pre-approved.

Don’t – Hit The Ceiling

With all the excitement of becoming a homeowner, many first-time buyers begin their search at the top or above their budget instead of at or below their budget. Take into consideration your down payment, home-owners’ insurance, utilities, repairs, and aesthetic improvements you’d like to make. Expenses add up quickly and to ensure some wiggle room with your finances, look at homes that are under your maximum budget.

Do – Your Homework

As you are touring homes, make sure you ask a ton of questions. Bring a pad and paper with you and take note of the different features. How old is the roof? When was the heating and air unit replaced or serviced? Are double paned windows installed? What is the neighborhood like? Is a school system or healthcare services close by important to you? Go online and check out the neighborhood and close by conveniences like grocery stores, veterinarian clinics, and restaurants. Research is helpful with a lot of questions, but don’t be afraid to revisit the homes during different times of the day and explore the various access roads to get you there.

Don’t – Get Emotional

It’s easy to fall in love with the first home you see. Before you decide that is “The One”, tour at least three other homes before you make a final decision. Don’t just consider what your current needs are but think about the future. Are you going to start a family? Are you going to have to care for your parents? Make sure that the home is something that you can grow into over the years instead of making a decision because the wall color speaks to you or the sellers are including a hot tub.

Do – Enjoy The Ride

It’s such a tremendous feeling to know that you will soon own real estate. Even though there is a lot to consider and take in, this is an exciting milestone in your life. Buying your first house can be stressful,

and you will surely travel on a roller coaster of feelings throughout your experience, but ultimately you will come out with a long-term investment and a home you can call your own!

Don’t – Forget

Being a homeowner is a big responsibility. You are now responsible for property taxes, in some cases road maintenance, and of course all repairs to your home. There is no calling a landlord when your hot water heater leaks or your septic tank backs up. It is wise to not pour all of your savings into your down payment so that you have a rainy-day fund when your dishwasher stops working or your chimney needs to be swept.

Do – Select The Best

Choose Nathan Fitts & Team to help you select and secure your first home. As the number one team in Georgia, we love first time home buyers and have the experience you need and deserve to walk you through this exciting and sometimes overwhelming process. With a team of agents and the best brokers around, you can rest assured that we will go above and beyond to make your first home buying experience the best!

Don’t – Settle For Less Seriously, don’t settle for anything less than the best! Let Nathan Fitts & team show you our commitment to first class customer service. We are on your side and have your best interests at heart during this sometimes-challenging process. We commit to communicating with you, being responsive to you, and educating you on your first home purchase. We are happy to provide you with a list of references upon request.

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Buying Rural

Urban vs. Rural

You found it! You and Nathan Fitts & Team have searched for weeks to find that perfect North Georgia Mountain home and, alas the stars aligned, the angels sang, and you are ready to put down an offer. But wait, before you are dazzled by a perfectly manicured yard and the most perfect shade of pale orchid walls, you should consider the differences between urban and rural living before moving to the mountains and sign on that dotted line.

Well Water or City Water?

Many of the homes nestled within the beautiful ranges of North Georgia are often not tied into the municipal water, but instead on a deep well system. While city water is consistent and held to health safety standards, the water that ultimately comes out of your faucet has been treated and purified with chlorine and fluoride. While it is delightful to have fresh mountain water from your own property, you alone are responsible for any maintenance, repairs, and quality of your H20.

Sewer System or Septic System?

Even though your mountain home may have the convenience of city water, unless it is located within the city limits, it is often not tied to a sewer system. Most homes are on a septic system to manage waste and water. As the most eco-friendly option and typically less expensive in the long run, you will have to regularly maintain your septic system and have it serviced every three to four years.

Private Road or Public Road?

There is nothing better than pulling onto your dirt road and knowing that you are almost home. However, that dirt road was most likely created specifically to access property and are often classified as private roads. Where public roads are maintained by the city or county, a private road must be maintained by the resident(s) that own property along the road. Maintenance can include grading, graveling or maybe even paving.

Electric Power or Gas Power?

Winter preparation is essential when you live in the mountains. If your home is primarily electric, make sure that you have a plan to keep you warm in the event of a power outage. If you have a wood burning stove or fireplace, make sure that you have stockpiled enough wood during the summer to get you through a cold winter. Installing a backup generator is always a wise decision and will often provide a return on your investment if you ever decide to sell your home. If your home is run on propane, you want to make sure to fill up your tank during the summer months when the rates are low and head into the winter months with your tank above 80% filled.

City Conveniences or Country Charm?

While Blue Ridge is a growing community, you will have to make some small adjustments in your daily routines. Unlike urban areas, in the mountains, it’s very realistic to live more than fifteen minutes away from the closest grocery store. However, you learn to plan ahead for your grocery trips and keep your pantry more fully stocked with staples. While you won’t find any department stores or a large variety of

national retail chains, you get the good fortune of knowing your local grocer, finding unique apparel in our quaint shops, and purchasing the freshest fruits and veggies from local farmers!

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Building Blue Ridge

Building Blue Ridge

Calling all entrepreneurs!

When considering where to relocate or begin a new business, Blue Ridge, Georgia should be at the top of your list for consideration. Not only is the town breathtakingly gorgeous with a business-friendly environment, but visitors flock to town by the hundred thousands year round. Why? Because Blue Ridge is a uniquely small mountain town, with big city amenities. Only 1.5 hours from metro Atlanta, Fannin County includes the cities of Blue Ridge, Morganton, and McCaysville, and also boarders the town of Copperhill, TN and close by Murphy, NC.

Largely recognized as a tourism destination, the majority of Blue Ridge’s businesses are focused on retail and service industries that cater to a superb quality of life for both residents and visitors alike. Nathan Fitts & Team have put together a list of the top 5 commercial opportunities to consider for your next entrepreneurial endeavor.

250 West First Street

If you are looking for a location in the heart of downtown Blue Ridge, look no further! With over one and half acres of land and several buildings to work with, the property at West First street is your ticket to downtown success! Transform this property into retail space, office suites, open a restaurant or build apartments in the most sought-after city in the mountains.

950 Appalachian Highway

If you want a location that can offer visibility to over 17,000 cars per day, this one and half acre lot with Hwy 515/76 road frontage is ready to be developed. Think big with this property. Perhaps a shopping plaza, a restaurant, hotel, or a business complex would be a perfect fit. Regardless of your choice, this property is a steal for the high traffic location!

45 Bypass Road

Calling all restaurateurs! This turnkey business is ready for you to take it to the next level with your expertise. An established and thriving restaurant, Morganton Grill is conveniently located near the popular Morganton Point Campground with public swimming access, a boat launch, picnic areas, and a multitude of hiking trails around Lake Blue Ridge.

Blue Ridge Dr.

A prime piece of real estate perfect for a retail location, restaurant, or professional office space is available directly in front of Walmart and next to a Murphy USA gas station. A one-acre parcel with paved road access and year-round mountain views, provides you the opportunity to build to suit your needs. With Highway 5 frontage that leads to Fannin Regional and McCaysville, this high traffic area is a gold mine waiting to be developed!

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Cabin Life

Fall in love with the Cabin Lifestyle

It’s almost time for our favorite season…. Autumn! We love the crisp smell of the mountain air, the changing colors of the leaves, and the opportunity to show you some fabulous cabins for you to enjoy this fall season and for many more to come. If you are looking for a private location with spectacular views of the North Georgia mountains, Nathan Fitts & Team created a round-up of the top five must-see cabins of the 2018 Fall season.

1228 Cherokee Lane

Postcard worthy setting, trophy trout fishing on Fightingtown Creek, and conveniently located between historic downtown Blue Ridge and McCaysville, makes this cabin a must see! This two-bedroom two bath home features an open floor plan, two main floor master suites, cathedral ceilings, and a rock gas fireplace. Enjoy mountain views from the sunroom or meander down to the water’s edge and enjoy the bubbling of the rushing Fightingtown Creek.

 

 

991 Garnet

Welcome to your castle on the hill! Enjoy your privacy with this classy home nestled in the woods on one and a half acres of land with year-round mountain views and overlooking the Coosawattee River. This four-bedroom four bath home features a gourmet kitchen, an open floor plan, and upgrades throughout. The finished basement offers a one-of-a-kind media room, a library, and a two-car garage. Enjoy an early morning coffee or an after-dinner drink while relaxing on one of your two decks and enjoy the fauna and flora below.

255 Cinnamon Bear Road

A grand lodge with rustic style is what you will find in this heavenly lodge on Bear Mountain. This smartly designed cabin was made for entertaining with a spacious great room, a chef’s kitchen and beautiful natural stone accents complementing the natural wood interior. Walls of windows offer you glorious mountain views from every level of this four-bedroom four bath estate. A fully finished basement features a game area, wet bar, dazzling custom wine cellar, and hot tub! Your outdoor living space is complete with three levels of decks, an outdoor fireplace, and stunning mountain views!

462 Endless View Road

Endless views are right with this stunner of a mountain retreat! Enjoy the majestic, panoramic mountain views of the Blue Ridge range from almost every room in this four-bedroom six bath lodge. As you enter your gated property, pull up to your three-car garage and step into an open great room with a wall of windows. If you can catch your breath long enough from the spectacular views you can take in the expansive kitchen, a striking floor-to-ceiling stacked stone fireplace and soaring cathedral ceilings. A

fully finished basement with a kitchen, media room, and game room with a fireplace makes it easy to host friends and family. While the indoor living space is nothing short of luxurious, the outdoor living space is just as incredible. Entertaining is easy with an outdoor firepit, a screened in porch with a hot tub, and an enormous patio to enjoy all that nature has to offer!

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Studio Trimble

Designing Blue Ridge

When you are searching for or selling a residential or commercial space, Nathan Fitts & Team is your go-to resource for years of real estate experience, expert knowledge, and outstanding customer service. When you are preparing to stage your home or decorate your home we defer to the experts in the interior design field. Good interior designers are worth their weight in gold because the resources they have at their fingertips along with their keen eye and sense of style ultimately save you time and money with your investment.

We believe in the value of bringing in an interior designer at the beginning of projects. Whether you are building, remodeling, restoring, or just want to create the perfect flow of energy with seamless color palates, your designer is from the beginning to listen to you, guide you, and create an environment that is perfect for you. While there are many reputable designers in and around the area, our go-to company is hands down, Studio Trimble. Nathan Fitts & Team have worked with owner and proprietor, Cindy Trimble, for more than fifteen years on countless projects from conceptual designs, house prototypes, residential developments, neighborhood design, restoration projects, staging, and of course complete interior design projects.

Ms. Trimble began her career in Atlanta graduating with a bachelor’s in history of art & architecture and a minor in business from Emory University. After moving to the Northeast, she went back to school for environmental design and earned a second degree in interior architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design. Cindy launched her career working with architectural firms specializing in large scale commercial properties like hotels & convention centers, hospitals & medical offices, restaurants & nightclubs, churches, and retail malls all across the country. While working in product design for a large furniture company, she found herself back in the Atlanta area working on multiple projects for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.

After the tragedy of 9-11, Ms. Trimble decided she no longer wanted to travel extensively and left her successful firm to retreat to the North Georgia Mountains with her son. Without a clear plan in mind, Cindy immersed herself into the Blue Ridge community by volunteering everywhere she could from the local Blue Ridge Community Theater, the Fannin County Chamber of Commerce, and various other charitable organizations. She has a knack for event planning and has been a key player in the startup of downtown Blue Ridge events like Light Up Blue Ridge, the Fire & Ice Chili cook off, and more.

As community members got to know her and realized the talent, energy, and passion Cindy brought to the table, requests for her design work began to grow. Soon, Studio Trimble opened its doors in downtown Blue Ridge, just two blocks from our current office. Never giving up her passion for community service, Ms. Trimble continues to participate in local events and served as the President of the Blue Ridge Business Association. Additionally, Cindy serves on the Zoning & Planning Board and the Board of Appeals where she gets to be a part of the planning for the future of her beloved Blue Ridge community.

Studio Trimble is a one stop shop for all of your home interior needs. The Studio is brilliantly decorated with a huge selection of fabrics, color pallets, material samples, lighting fixtures, designer furniture, and a wide variety of décor ranging from ultra-modern to rustic chic. Cindy’s son, a graduate of Fannin County High School and a trained Paramedic/Fireman, assists in the family business selling blinds, shutters, and window treatments. Also assisting in the family business are Cindy’s two Corgi’s that come to work with her every day. In fact, Studio Trimble is home to three loving dogs and six awesome humans working together in a comfortable, laid back atmosphere where their creativity can shine. Stop in, look around, meet the team, and consider Studio Trimble for your next interior design needs!

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Meet Kristy Baugh!

Broker, Mother, Wife, Teacher

Classy and sophisticated, Mrs. Kristy Baugh brings energy, dedication, and a passion for customer service to Nathan Fitts & Team. With an unbelievable work ethic, Kristy is up before the rooster crows and once her feet hit the ground running, she’s ready to take on all the various challenges of the day with grace, humor, and compassion.

Kristy began her career in the real estate industry back in the early 90’s alongside her husband, Charlie, when they formed Baugh Homebuilders. A passion was sparked in her and she began to make a name for herself as an agent with Hutson Realty. The couple’s passion for real estate brought their family of three through Cherokee, Cobb, Forsyth, & Paulding Counties, just to name a few, prior to their transition to the beautiful North Georgia Mountains.

With a desire to always learn, Mrs. Baugh earned her real estate broker’s license and for fifteen years, studied all aspects of real estate law, increasing her experience and perfecting her knowledge. Through the years, Kristy has seen a lot of changes in the industry, but it’s just a cycle. What’s most important is service to her customers, because even if sales go up or down, her care for clients is never-ending. Kristy loves that every day is different especially because each day holds the opportunity to help others accomplish their goals. Her favorite challenge is a client that everyone else has given up on. Kristy pulls up her boot straps and goes the extra mile to think outside of the box and make their dreams come to fruition.

Kristy’s husband, Charlie, of 27 years and their daughter, Kimberly, are both in the real estate industry as well. In fact, Kimberly serves as a licensed assistant and marketing coordinator for Nathan Fitts & Team. This isn’t the first time that Kristy and Kimberly worked together though. The family of 3 transformed their family farm into Wolf Creek Estates & Stables Wedding & Special Events Venue while Kimberly was in college. The family loved working together to make countless couples’ dreams come true; however, their passion for real estate ultimately led them to real estate full time, and the farm went back to just housing their four-legged family members – 9 Saddlebred horses, 2 dogs, & a cat… and it will soon be available for your consideration. Stay tuned to an MLS near you!

When Mrs. Baugh is not working, mucking stalls, landscaping, repairing farm tools, or cooking family meals, she serves her heart strings with the youth and children ministries at their church. It’s important to Kristy to be able to make a difference in the lives of children by leading by example and she accomplishes that mission in spades. While this honest, dependable go-getter never lets the grass grow under her feet, she delights in time spent with family & friends, fun in the sun, and exploring new places.

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We Moved Downtown!

Moving on up…to the East side

Whether we are located in the North, South, East, or West, Nathan Fitts & Team loves being a part of the Blue Ridge community! Our new office, located at 3354 East First Street in Downtown Blue Ridge, couldn’t be more perfect. What were the determining factors for our move? There were three big reasons:

1. Space – Because we are the top producing real estate team, we needed more space to accommodate our stellar team members and more importantly for our customers. An open concept work area complete with a large conference room allows for regular communication on available listings between the team and privacy for clients during their real estate transactions.

2. Visibility – Although our previous space was easily accessible from Hwy 515, we were tucked in the back of the plaza and it was challenging for people to find us. Our new location puts us right in the downtown proximity allowing us to be easily seen, easily accessed, and extremely well positioned to show you what an amazing community Blue Ridge is to live, work, and play.

3. Location – As they say, “location, location, location” and we couldn’t agree more. While we were fortunate to have several fast food restaurants close by previously, our new location allows us to be within walking distance to downtown shops and a variety of dine-in restaurants like Blue Smoke BBQ and Chester Brunnenmeyer’s Bar & Grill! The options are endless and we even have the opportunity to work off our meals on the short walk back to the office!

The inside offices are now complete, and you’ll see changes to our exterior soon. We have really enjoyed being a part of Re/Max Town & Country for the last four years, and our whole team is looking forward to a bright future assisting our customers with the care and attention they deserve. We receive new listings every day, so keep checking back with us or let us list your property today!

We invite you to come visit us at our new office. If you are traveling North on Hwy 515 towards Blue Ridge, make a right on East First Street (Bill Holt Chevrolet is on the corner). Travel 1.6 miles and our office will be on the right. If you are traveling west on Hwy 76 from the Hiawassee or Blairsville area, head towards Blue Ridge and make a left on the Old US76 Connector (near Checkers). Then take a right onto Old US76 (near Pizza Hut) and you’ll come right to us. See you soon!

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8 Things Every Retiree Should Have in a Home

You’ve worked hard your entire life, raised your family, and now it’s time for you to retire and enjoy the finer things in life. The North Georgia Mountains are an ideal location to find your retirement dream home and Nathan Fitts & Team are here to help! Let’s take a look at some features you should consider adding to your wish list when you begin house hunting:

1. Location, location, location!

The age-old adage is true, location is everything. The beauty of small town living is that you are close to delicious restaurants, grocery stores, retail shops, and medical services. Not only do you get to enjoy the quaintness of the mountains, but a quick run into town will provide you with city conveniences.

2. Can you hear me now?

When looking for a mountain home, you want to be sure that you will be able to receive cellular reception and high-speed internet. Wi-Fi is a definite necessity for our smart tv’s and smart homes offering conveniences and security features for this day and age. Many North Georgia communities are now part of the North Georgia Network which provides a state-of-the-art fiber-optic network offering high-speed broadband.

3. Let there be light!

Bring the outdoors in with large windows and tons of natural lighting. Not only will this lift your spirits, but you’ll be more active and able to get more tasks accomplished. Not to mention that as we age, it becomes more difficult to see so the lighter the better! Task lighting, dimmable switches, and ambient lighting are also considerations for lighting your new home.

4. No fuss, no stress!

Now that you’ve retired in style, who wants to spend all their time fussing with maintaining your home’s exterior and landscaping? Look for homes with vinyl or brick siding to ensure minimal upkeep. Consider a metal roof. Not only are they low maintenance, but you’ll love the sound of the rain coming down! Wooded lots are ideal options to keep your outdoor workload light. If you do have large grassy areas, consider removing it by paving, graveling or adding a deck to the space.

5. Just say no!

If you were to ask our knees and hips if they want to walk up and down stairs to get to and from the bedroom, they would give you a resounding no! Search for homes with master bedrooms on the main floor to keep those aches to a minimum. While single story living is most desirable, multi-levels work great as long as the master is on the main and your guest rooms are upstairs!

6. Walk on in!

As we mature, traditional tubs become cumbersome to step into and can be dangerous when getting out. Look for walk-in showers with no step or a small step to reduce the risks of slipping. Fortunately, walk-in showers are easier to clean and they look great too!

7. Take it for granite!

Yes, we really meant granite! Granite countertops are the ideal hard surface countertops. Easy to clean and maintain, these durable counters are resistant to heat, scratches, and stains. Not only do they increase the value of your home, but the earthy look and variety of color options will complement both the rustic and modern home styles.

8. Go, go energy!

Select energy efficient appliances not just because of the tax break, but because you will reduce your carbon footprint. Energy efficient appliances use less energy, cuts utility costs, and help to protect our environment.

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Blue Ridge Station

Classy and Convenient Mountain Living!

It has been said that “If you are lucky enough to live in the mountains, that you are lucky enough”. All of us at Nathan Fitts & Team couldn’t agree more! Regardless of what type of home you are looking for in the North Georgia Mountains, we have something perfect for you! Whether you are looking for a full-time residence or a summer retreat, our inventory of listings is sure to please every budget and every style.

 

If you are looking for mountain living with city conveniences, we’ve got a great suggestion for you….Blue Ridge Station! This newly constructed multi-use property consists of retail units on the 1st floor and five loft apartments on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th floors for a total of fifteen. These two-bedroom, two bath lofts are not your run-of-the-mill style units. These lofts were built to display the rustic feel of the mountains coupled with luxurious amenities for your comfort. Three different open concept floor plans allow you to select the layout that best suits your style. Each option offers hardwood floors, a farmhouse sink, quartz countertops, walk-in closets, a laundry room, a private balcony, and natural color palettes throughout.

 

Just picture this: You wake up in the morning and grab your cup of java or hot tea to head out to the veranda for some quiet time. As you sip, you watch the town of Blue Ridge come to life just below. Shops begin to open, and people begin to meander around. You hear the laughter of children excited for a ride on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway and observe couples walking hand in hand down Main Street. After you’ve eaten your breakfast and gotten ready for the day’s adventures, you ride the elevator down to pick up your car from one of your two designated spaces and off you go! Upon your return, it’s time to take Fido out for a walk in the large, beautifully landscaped dog walk area. As you are waiting on Fido, you smell the delicious aromas from the many restaurants conveniently located in downtown Blue Ridge. A quick walk from your loft, you window shop at all the cute stores on your way to Harvest on Main. After a fabulous meal, you decide a nightcap is in order at the Blue Ridge Brewery. After enjoying the nightlife downtown, you only have a short walk back to your spacious home. Just think, this could be YOUR life!

 

Blue Ridge Station is a terrific option for low maintenance living and the rare opportunity to own property in downtown Blue Ridge! Whether the loft is your full-time residence, or you choose to receive income from short-term rentals, Blue Ridge Station is a smart investment for classy and convenient mountain living!

 

 

Photo courtesy of Justin Rush

 

 

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Whose Market Is It?

Real estate is a cyclical business. For months, or even years, conditions may favor the buyer. Then, over time, the pendulum will swing the other way and circumstances will favor the seller. The market forces of supply and demand help determine whether it is a buyer’s or seller’s market. When the supply of homes is high, the sense of urgency for buyers lessens. Because there are more homes to choose from buyers can be more selective and may wield more power during the negotiations. In turn, sellers may need to lower their asking prices to attract consumer interest. Conversely, in a seller’s market, inventory is lower. Buyers have fewer options and the sense of immediacy is heightened. As a result, the number of bids on any given listing may increase, asking prices might rise, and buying terms may become more stringent. A second factor that influences the market is mortgage interest rates. High rates mean it costs buyers more money to borrow from a bank or lender. Higher rates can lessen consumer demand. On the other hand, when rates are lower and buyers feel they can get more for their money it can propel them into the real estate market. If you are considering buying a home it is critical that you determine whether it is a buyer’s or seller’s market. Equally important is to remember that real estate is local. Different factors could make it a seller’s market in one city and a buyer’s in another. To help you determine which conditions prevail examine how long listings are staying on the market, compare that rate to six months ago, and look at whether homes are selling above or below asking price.

Nathan Fitts & Team have an in-depth knowledge of the market in Blue Ridge and the surrounding communities in the North Georgia mountains. By working with Nathan you can rest assured that you will be getting the information to help you make the best informed choice – whether you are a buyer or seller.

We've moved! Our new location is 3354 E 1st Street - Blue Ridge GA, 30513
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