The Season For Giving


What a great season we are in! A time to reflect on all the ways we have been blessed and given so much that it overflows with hearts to give to others. We just wrapped up our grateful series on instagram and facebook  - where we shared the many people and companies we are grateful for.  This month we are transitioning into our giving series. Highlighting how we give back to the community and highlighting many worthy Nonprofit Organizations that we love. We would love if you would check them out and consider giving to them. Read below to learn a bit about them, then click the links to learn more and give if you feel so led. We will also be highlighting them on social media this month so make sure to follow us on Instagram @erikabrownandassociates

The URBAN MISSION focuses on advancing the Gospel of Jesus and His Kingdom among communities in Atlanta experiencing the consequences of injustice, oppression, and poverty. oaksATL is our URBAN MISSION initiative focusing on whole-life-discipleship through gospel-centered community development.

Peace Preparatory
Peace Preparatory Academy seeks to be a place that educates the whole child, supports the whole family, and provides growth and change opportunities for the whole community in a high quality, Christ-centered learning environment.

Bearings Bike
Bearings Bike Shop is a youth development organization where kids in Atlanta can earn and maintain a bicycle while developing the skills and character essential to success in adulthood.

Blueprint 58 is a community-based mentoring program in the Adair Park and Pittsburgh neighborhoods of Atlanta. Blueprint 58 is unique in its approach to community development, focusing on both fostering mentoring relationships through the local school, and establishing a healthy and positive presence in the neighborhood.

Raising Expectations
Raising Expectations empowers youth in crises by raising academic, social and civic expectations to facilitate high school graduation and post-secondary plans.

& Campaign
To address the socio-political issues with the compassion and conviction of the gospel

Committed to Communities
A small team of concerned real estate professionals in Southwest Atlanta decided to try and do something about the high number of vacant properties after the mortgage crisis left the area looking and feeling depressed.Today, some 5 years later, Committed to Communities has grown into a full-service, not-for-profit social enterprise dedicated not only to showcasing these same neighborhoods in Southwest Atlanta but also to educating the local community, helping empower renters to become homeowners and experience the wealth in experience and possibly the actual wealth that can be gained, through owning a home.


Sandy Hafeez

Marketing Coordinator for Erika Brown & Associates

Whether in speech or written word, Sandy is a communicator at heart. Her background in public relations, fund development and blogging have fueled her creativity and focus to help others expand their reach via websites and social media. She along with her husband and 2 boys have lived in the Westside of Atlanta for 3 years, and love exploring the many food scenes this side of town has to offer.

A Home By Thanksgiving

That was the goal! Wendy wanted to host Thanksgiving for her family this year and she will!  When we talked to her about her pathway to homeownership she shared the following  .  .  .


“ I wanted to live somewhere I felt safe, that was near my job and plenty of space for my daughter and granddaughter.  I was also tired of renting.  It felt like I was wasting my money. Now i’m excited to be a homeowner investing in my own property.  The process was quick.  Since I knew what I wanted and had a plan and a goal to host my family in my new home by Thanksgiving.  My advice to those who are renting is to buy a home if you’re able - learn from my story - I was paying $1,000 a month for a small apartment when I could have been using that money on a mortgage.”

It was a pleasure working with Wendy! We are grateful that we got to help her achieve her dream.  We can learn a lot from Wendy.

1. Set Goals! Start with the end in mind. For Wendy, it was picturing her family around the thanksgiving table at her new home instead of a cramped apartment. Maybe for you it’s a yard for your children to play in or being able to decorate your home with your style. Whatever it is, keep it in mind so that it will motivate you to move forward.

2. Know What You Want. She knew the location (near work) and space (enough for 3 people). Knowing this goes a long way helping the process qo quicker.

3. Be Financially Wise. We know that some people need to rent for a season but there is wisdom in turning that corner in investing your hard earned money into a home of your own.

3. Choose A Neighbor You Can Trust - Erika Brown & Associates. We were able to help Wendy in her process and we are able to help you too.  Contact us today if you have goals of homeownership.

Sandy Hafeez

Marketing Coordinator for Erika Brown & Associates

Whether in speech or written word, Sandy is a communicator at heart. Her background in public relations, fund development and blogging have fueled her creativity and focus to help others expand their reach via websites and social media. She along with her husband and 2 boys have lived in the Westside of Atlanta for 3 years, and love exploring the many food scenes this side of town has to offer.

2017 Historic West End Tour of Homes Sneak Peak

It is a fun time in the Historic West End these days!! The Atlanta Beltline is set to open late summer along with 3 breweries and a distillery, two new restaraturants, and a housing market that doesn’t look like it’s slowing down any time soon! With the recent record breaking sale of 1174 Oglethorpe at $425,000 everyone in Atlanta has its eyes on Atlanta’s Historic West end!

I read a lot of articles from well-known publications in Atlanta that talk about new developments on the west side and when I scroll down and read the comments although the area has achieved a lot of success over the past 3 years, there is still a very negative view of the West end. The majority of these comments are primarily from people who it seems haven’t been to the neighborhood recently, but nevertheless our neighborhood still has some speculation from outsiders. This is one of the many reasons why the Historic West End Tour of Homes exist!

Check out this sneak peak of a few of the homes that will be featured on the tour. Also, if you’re interested in learning more history on the neighborhood be sure to check out the Insight Cultural Tourism walking tour while your Intown!

The West End Tour of Homes is Saturday, June 24, 2017. Get your discount tickets Here. Use the discount code EBA5off. (The discount expires 6/16/17)

Victorian at 1050 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd SW

Victorian at 1050 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd SW

The Wren’s Nest was the home of Joel Chandler Harris from 1881 until 1908.

The structure is one of only a few remaining Queen Anne Victorian homes in Atlanta. It’s a unique example of upper middle class living around the turn of the 20th century. Today, the home features most of the Harris family’s original furniture and belongings.

The house was named after the  wrens  made a nest in the mailbox 120 years ago. If you visit in the spring, you might see that wrens still make nests in the mailbox.

The museum officially opened as a house museum in 1913, with financial support from Andrew Carnegie, President Theodore Roosevelt, and the fundraising efforts of kids from Atlanta Public Schools. The east parlor served as The Uncle Remus Memorial Carnegie Library until 1930. The books eventually became too heavy for the floor, and the library was moved down the street.

Esther LaRose, Harris’ wife, kept the author’s bedroom intact after his death. It is almost completely untouched to this day, aside from cleaning, wallpaper repair, and the occasional changing of the bed linens.

From The Wren’s Nest Website and Facebook Page

Victorian at 503 Peeples Street SW

Victorian at 503 Peeples Street SW

Nestled on a quiet residential street in Atlanta’s historic West End, Hammonds House Museum  is a unique setting to explore the cultural diversity  and legacy of artists of African descent.

The Museum is the former residence of the late Dr. Otis Thrash Hammonds, who was aprominent  Atlantaphysician  and a passionate arts patron. The Museum opened in 1988 to continue Dr. Hammonds’ commitment to preserving and celebrating art from the African Diaspora, and offers a year-round calendar of fine art exhibitions and cultural programming.

Hammonds House Museum boasts a permanent collection of more than 350 works dating from the mid-19th century by artists from America, Africa, and the Caribbean. Highlights of the collection include 18 works by master artist Romare Bearden and the oldest known painting by acclaimed landscape artist Robert S. Duncanson. Benny Andrews, Elizabeth Catlett, Sam Gilliam, Richard Hunt, Jacob Lawrence, P.H. Polk, Hale Woodruff, and James Van Der Zee are among the scores of important regional, national, and international artists represented in the collection.




Craftsman at 566 West End Place SW

Craftsman at 566 West End Place SW

Formerly 33 Bunker and 33 West End Place, the building permit was applied for on April 5, 1910 and completed August 2, 1910.

Bunker Street was named for F.R. Bunker, a West End City Councilman who lived on Gordon  street  (now Ralph David Abernathy)  on  the  site of West Hunter Baptist church.

Bunker street only contained three buildings, all of which were servant’s quarters  for  Mr.  Bunker’s  household staff. He sold the property to developers Eubanks and Gunn.

The first residents were Harry Cooke  Robert,  his  wife  Myra,  their  three  sons and Myra’s mother, Julia Cole. Harry was a bookseller until 1918  when  he passed the Georgia Bar and became  a  lawyer.  He  practiced  law  for  two  years and then became credit manager for F.J Cooledge and Sons, a paint company.

Julia  died  at  the  home  in  1940.  Harry  died  suddenly,  in  his  office,  in  1943.

Myra Robert stayed in their home on West End Place for the rest of her life, dying in November 1967 at the age of 86. She had rented out rooms in the house for the last twenty years.

Victorian at 1277 Sells Avenue SW

Victorian at 1277 Sells Avenue SW

Formerly 285 and 601 Sells Avenue, this house was built in the 1890s. This area was not a part of Atlanta until 1910; early records are scarce.

In 1899, this property was owned by James S. Nichols, a railroad clerk and auditor, and his wife Jennie. They had three daughters.

By 1901, the residents were Mrs. Minnie Ford, the widow of Charles Ford, and her son Alf C. Ford, a clerk with Hartford Fire Insurance Company. Charles Ford died in 1889 at the age of 27 of consumption.

In 1902, the house was owned by three siblings, Benjamin Ward, Maggie Ward and Josie Ward. Maggie and Josie were both nurses. Benjamin lived to be 87 years old and Maggie lived to be 92.

In 1914, the home was sold for $500 to Leonora Raines. Mrs. Raines was a war correspondent in the early years of World War I. She was arrested as a German spy and subjected to numerous other hardships. She visited many active battlefields for her first-hand, authentic reports. She never moved into the house and it remained vacant for several years.

Walter A. Rhodes, and his wife Josie, bought the house in 1920, and lived there until 1934.

Bungalow at 959 Beecher Street SW

Bungalow at 959 Beecher Street SW

The building permit was applied for on March 13, 1922 and completed July 27, 1922. This home was built as a duplex, containing 12 rooms and 2 bathrooms at a cost of $10,000.

GG Long Co, the builder, constructed more than 150 homes in West End between 1920 and 1922.

The home had many short term residents until Joseph Tommey and his wife, Estelle, moved in as renters in 1930. Joseph was a veteran of the Spanish-

American War, serving for several years in Manila. He was later a baker in Atlanta.They continued to rent 959 Beecher until Joseph Tommey died in 1942. He had lived in the West End community for 28 years.

Later, the extended Bidez family occupied both sides of the duplex. Before moving to Beecher street, RV Bidez, an inventor, built a machine to eliminate radio static, which was a major problem in 1929. He was also a linotype operator for the Atlanta Constitution. His sons served in World War II. Robert received a Purple Heart. Souvenirs he brought home from the front were a .32 caliber Walther gun, a .38 caliber Luger and captured Nazi flags. RL Bidez organized and directed the first student band at Georgia Tech in 1908. The boys learned “ The Rambling Wreck” by ear (the music was not written down until 1912) and were the first to play it at a Tech football game!

Happy Touring!

Appealing Your Property Tax Assessment

Many Atlanta homeowners who have recently received their tax assessments are shocked by the amount. If you are one of those homeowners, there are few things you should know and do moving forward

Be informed on why taxes are increasing so that you can take the needed steps to be prepared in the future.

Some officials are calling for a freeze on taxes this year so that they can revert back to the 2016 amounts and give homeowners more time to prepare for the increase that is most likely to happen in the future

Don’t wait on the possibility of a freeze - if you need to appeal go ahead and do so.

Click here to appeal for Fulton County

Click here to appeal for DeKalb County

 Be sure to check your assessment notice and file by the date printed!

We hope all will go well for you in this process. If you have any questions or need any further assistance feel free to reach out to us!

Rent Vs. Buy

 People often ask me if they should rent or buy a property and there are some advantages and disadvantages to both. It can be a daunting task to determine which is the best way to move forward but hopefully this article will give you some clarity.
someone manages the property for you
if something breaks it’s not your responsibility to fix or pay for it. This reduces your liability and unexpected costs that can pop up.
moving from out of state
 Since buying is an investment, it does take getting a feel for the different areas to be able to make an informed decision as to where you want to buy. This is especially good for someone who gets hired out of state and must move quickly but doesn’t have a chance to research the area they are moving to.

you can make it your own
Many landlords restrict what you can change or modify in the property, so if you don’t like something you’re stuck with it. But even if they did allow you to make changes who would want to spend money to improve a property they don’t own.
Renters are restricted by their landlord on what they can modify on the home, when you own your home you can invest to customize or renovate your home! You can turn it into something which is truly yours that reflects your taste and preference. By doing this you are also adding value to your home which benefits it’s long term value.
tax credit
In home buying you can take advantage of reducing your taxable income by both the amount you pay in property taxes as well as your mortgage interest on the loan. So another disadvantage in renting is that you make your payment but are not able to reduce your income tax by any amount of rent that you paid.
automatic savings account!
What I mean by this is equity (which is the difference in what you owe and what the home is worth) is built up in a home as the market rises and as you pay down the mortgage. Several years ago, a group of families moved into the West End when it had just started to transition. They bought their homes for less than $100,000 and as the area changed, with more and more people moving in, the prices began to rise. They rode the wave up and now there is a home in the area that just went under contract for over $400,000! So, the purchase of a home is one of the greatest investments you can make in your lifetime!

down payment and closing costs
I’ve talked with a lot of people that seem to feel as if buying is out of reach for them, once they hear about the down payment, closing costs, and this mountain of money they seem to need to cover the upfront costs of a purchase. What many don’t know is that there are several down payment assistance programs available where you can get as much as 5% of your purchase price and you don’t have to pay it back! I have a friend that closed recently that only had to bring a little over $700 to the closing table!

being locked into an area and won’t be able to move if I need to.
While this is seemingly the case there are many options available to the homeowner. Depending on the state of the market at the time, they might be able to sell their home and make a nice profit! If this is not the case and they have too little equity built up in their home they can rent it out, cover their mortgage and then some, until the market goes back up.

        Overall I would say that while renting can help you overcome some short-term hurdles, buying is the best long term solution! Home ownership is a great way to build wealth for both you and your family and to stake your claim in real estate. I used to sell cars which are nice to look at but depreciate in value, while homes appreciate in value to the benefit of their owner. Come see me and I’d love to help you in your path to home ownership!