Through A Relocator's Eyes

Through A Relocator's Eyes

Active retirees and seniors have no shortage of options when it comes to retiring in Atlanta. With choices that span the suburban metro area and head into the gorgeous north Georgia mountains, you won’t have to choose between being close to family, entertainment and the beautiful outdoors — as well as your everyday needs like the grocery store and medical professionals.

Two out-of-state couples shared with KNOWAtlanta why they chose their new communities, and why they think you should consider moving to Atlanta to find your new slice of retirement paradise.

Lake Arrowhead
(770) 720-2700

Patty Alessi and her husband, Bill Kleitz, are both retired college professors from Ithaca, New York. “For many years we had visited our daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren in Marietta,” Patty says. “After retirement, we thought it would be a good idea to have a place closer to them, in addition to enjoying a warmer and sunnier climate.”

Last winter, the couple rented a furnished apartment in Canton for two months to decide if retiring in Atlanta would suit them. “We explored not only Canton, but Woodstock, Lake Arrowhead, Marietta and Kennesaw and also areas within a one to two-hour drive: Ellijay, Blue Ridge, Dahlonega, etc. What we found were friendly people, an abundance of hiking and biking trails and many lakes,” Patty says, adding that she and her husband were impressed with the newness of many of the communities they visited. They were also excited by all of the things to do in many metro Atlanta communities with their restaurants, theaters, comedy clubs and live music venues.

Retiring in Atlanta Lake Arrowhead 1 Patti Alessi and Bill Kleitz on their porch in Lake Arrowhead.

With only two weeks remaining before they planned to head back to New York, the couple saw an internet ad for residences in Lake Arrowhead. “We made an appointment with Lisa Steele, our realtor, who showed us many lakefront and inland properties as well as building lots,” she says. “We fell in love with the Lake Arrowhead area. There were an abundance of on-sight activities that would be at our disposal: tennis, pickleball, swimming, boating, kayaking, walking, biking, hiking, golf, although neither of us golf, and a clubhouse.”

The couple then visited the sales office of Johnson Development Corporation and Majestic Builders and selected a building lot. “We decided that Phase II was a perfect fit for us as we would have a sense of community, which was also an important component for us,” Patty says. “In addition, it provided a convenience for us to walk or bike to hiking trails, the clubhouse and the lake, via the Great Festival Park.”

On Jan. 26, they moved into their new home. Since then, they’ve attended countless functions at the club house, including Reinhardt University seminars, painting classes, concerts, buffets and brunches, just to name a few. “In addition, our children and grandchildren love to visit us, hike the trails, take a pontoon ride on the water or ride bikes in the neighborhood. Even though our home is not situated with a lake view, it has a majestic view of the mountains, quiet and serene,” Patty says. “I would recommend Lake Arrowhead to someone relocating to the area if they would like a sense of community, enjoy outdoor activities and like to discover new areas, easily reachable from north Georgia.”

Lake Arrowhead is an award-winning mountain, lake and golfing community located about an hour north of Atlanta on a 540-acre lake with 21 miles of shoreline, a new golf course and lush woodlands.

Sterling on the Lake
(770) 967- 9777

Sterling on the Lake residents Tom and Irene Chapman hail from Cicero, New York, and moved to the senior living community in September 2014.

Retirees Tom and Irene Chapman live in Sterling on the Lake. Retirees Tom and Irene Chapman live in Sterling on the Lake.

“Our favorite thing about Sterling on the Lake is the location,” says Irene. “ near our daughters, which is why we moved.”

Irene says she and her husband love their wonderful home in Flowery Branch and the many people they have met in the community that they are more than happy to call their neighbors. Now that they live close to their daughters, they get to enjoy all of the community amenities with their family. “Our grandchildren love the slide at the main pool. They also have a great celebration for the Fourth of July and an annual balloon festival, and those are just two examples,” Irene says.

All of the Chapman’s needs are met with just a short drive, plenty of shops and a nearby grocery store, and their doctors are all within reasonable distance for all of their medical needs. “We would definitely recommend living here,” Irene continues. “We like the people we have met, the stores are convenient and it’s easy to head north on Interstate 85 and explore!”

Located north of Atlanta and close to Lake Lanier, Sterling on the Lake is a master-planned community that provides quality of life in an ever-growing area. The community offers a variety of new homes and plenty of opportunities for those 55 and older.

Retiring in Atlanta

Low Home Values:

Statewide, the value of a home in early 2016 averaged $142,700, and the average rent is $1,100.


• Total state and local tax burden in Georgia was 16th lowest in the nation in a 2011 report.

• Georgia’s top marginal income tax rate is 6 percent (which kicks in at $7,000), the lowest is 1 percent.

• Retirement income for people over 62 is exempt up to $35,000 per person and $65,000 for those over 65.

• Social security income is exempt.

• There are a variety of property tax homestead exemptions at the state and local level, based on income and age.

• There is no inheritance tax.

Pleasant Climate:

Classified as humid sub-tropical, summers in Georgia are usually hot and humid, with afternoon temperatures reaching 90 degrees and overnight lows dipping just below 70 degrees. Winters are usually mild, with the average temperature in January reaching 39 degrees.