Friday, September 28, 2007

Artuzzi's Italian Kitchen

Review by Shannon Bradford

My friend Gina and I were hankering for some Italian fare so we decided to try Artuzzi's Italian Kitchen located on Hwy. 92 near I-575 in the same shopping center as our last week's review resturant "Firehouse Subs" (near Kinko's). Let me just say that we were NOT disappointed.

Artuzzi's is really unique and they can only be found in the Atlanta area. (They call it Italian With A Twist) They serve fresh, healthy Italian food quickly. It's not "fast food" but it is served to you quickly. It is also much more moderately priced than some of the more expensive Italian resturants and tastes just as fresh and delicious. Don't be surprised when your food is being cooked with a flame under the sautee' pan. And, yes, you can watch them do it because they have an open kitchen area.

Artuzzi's lends an atmosphere of fun to your dining experience. It's artfully decorated in a modern way with great lighting, lovely tile floors and contrasting paint colors. Seating is spacious and there are plenty of loyal staff members (who have worked there since they first opened 2 years ago) cleaning and serving throughout the dining room.

The tone was set when we arrived as we were greeted by a very sweet, smiling girl, Tammy. She was ready to walk us through the menu, which included pasta, pizzas, sandwiches and salads. Their most popular dish is their Lasagna followed closely by pasta (of your choice) with the Bosco Sauce. (sliced chicken, roasted mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, garlic, scallion, fresh basil, Marsalla wine, cream, chicken stock, Parmesan & Romano cheese.) Is your mouth watering? They also serve beer, wine and some delicious looking desserts. See?

Brian Hazen, who co-owns Artuzzi's with Crawford Humphreys, informed us that not only do they serve fresh food to their walk-in customers, but they also cater and are about to launch delivery service (within a 3 mile radius). I am sure this will absolutely delight the local businesses nearby.

After placing our order of Cheese Ravioli in Bolognese Sauce and a Chopped Mozzamato Salad, we found a comfortable booth near the back and got our drinks from the soft drink bar. Although there was a good crowd of people enjoying Artuzzi's for lunch, there was plenty of comfortable seating - even enough to accomodate several large groups that were dining together.

When our food was brought to us, it looked as delicious as it tasted. And nobody on the staff failed to ask us if we needed anything or offer a friendly smile. That's because they pay their employees a full wage and tipping is optional. Still, many customers leave tips because they feel (as I did) that the service was worth it! Gina even left with a To-Go cup of her favorite soft drink so it didn't go to waste.

If you have not yet tried Artuzzi's Italian Kitchen, may I recommend it to you? They are open for lunch and dinner so you can decide when you want to try something fresh and new. Our lunch was a wonderful dining experience - one that will earn Artuzzi's two new loyal customers. And when you do stop by, tell them that the Bradford's sent you!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Fear the Market? Why?

Yesterday, I came across THIS ARTICLE from Realtor Magazine that I wanted to share with you. It names Atlanta as the #4 top rebound city for the slow market we are experiencing in this country right now. It projects a 5.6% growth rate. Interestingly, all but 1 of the top 10 cities were in the south.

Interest rates for borrowers with good credit and income are at very reasonable rates and easy to obtain. Quicken loans is quoting 6.25% for today's rate (30 year fixed) which is very affordable. Anyone who is renting and has ever considered owning their own home should be excited and motivated to look at properties now! We don't know how long the buyers market will continue but be assured, it will come back around to a sellers market again.

Don't be one of those people (me included) who says "I should have..."! I look around at property that just a few years ago I could have bought (or even did buy and did not keep) for what would be a great deal today and say "If only I had known...". Real estate has always been, and will continue to be a long term, excellent investment that has created more wealth for individuals than any other single vehicle in this country.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, NOW is the time to buy! Give me a call today and tell me if you are looking for your dream home or just a investment that will give you a nice monthly cash flow and I will do the rest. 770.862.8002

Michael Bradford
Southern Prime Realty

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Over 600 property views in 1 week!

The real estate market has changed. We have all heard that and for those of us involved with it on a daily basis know it to be true. As with any business, when your market changes, you have to change with it or risk the chance of being left behind. With that said, I was amazed at the response of a new marketing tool that I have been using with one of my listings. It is called the "Featured Home" on, the worlds' largest real estate web site.

When someone does a search on, they usually start the search by city or zip code. The results of the search "30188" are detailed on this page. It then asks you to choose a search option - either a map or a list. But before you see the list or map, there are 4 homes (of the 8 spots for the zip code) with pictures on the left side which are the "Featured Homes" for this zip code. One of these spots is now mine which I rotate my Woodstock, Georgia, 30188 listings in and out of. But as a test for this first week, I left only one listing all week to see what kind of response I would get. My listing at 204 Whistle Wood Court got 612 property views in the week ending 9/23/07!

Even I was impressed with the results! I may be easily amused, but I am not easily impressed:)

I plan to use the "Featured Listing" on for all my listings. In the age of the Internet where 80% of all home buyers start their search for their next home, it only makes sense to use the tools that will reach this massive audience. If you would like to see your home get this kind of exposure in a "slow market", call me and let's get lots of people seeing your home in a whole new "Featured Home" light.
Call me today and let's talk about real estate. It's one of my favorite things to do! Michael Bradford, 770-862-8002

Monday, September 24, 2007

Household Hints

All New Household Hints

1. Reheat Pizza : Heat up leftover pizza in a nonstick skillet on top of the stove, set heat to
med-low and heat till warm. This keeps the crust crispy. No soggy micro pizza.

2. Easy Deviled Eggs: Put cooked egg yolks in a zip lock bag. Seal, mash till they are all broken up. Add remainder of ingredients , reseal , keep mashing it up mixing thoroughly , cut the
tip of the baggy , squeeze mixture into egg. Just throw bag away when done easy clean up.

3. Expanding Frosting: When you buy a container of cake frosting from the store, whip it with your mixer for a few minutes. You can double it in size. You get to frost more cake/cupcakes with the same amount. BONUS: You also eat less sugar and calories per serving.

4. Reheating refrigerated bread : To warm biscuits, pancakes, or muffins that were refrigerated, place them in a microwave with a cup of water. The increased moisture will keep the food moist and help it reheat faster.

5. Newspaper weeds away: Start putting in your plants; work the nutrients in your soil. Wet newspapers put layers around the plants overlapping as you go cover with mulch and forget
about weeds. Weeds will get through some gardening plastic they will not get through wet

6. Broken Glass clean up: Use a wet cotton ball or Q-tip to pick up the small shards of glass you can't see easily.

7. No More Mosquitoes: Place a dryer sheet in your pocket. It will keep the mosquitoes away.

8. Squirrel Away!: To keep squirrels from eating your plants sprinkle your plants with cayenne pepper. The cayenne pepper doesn't hurt the plant and the squirrels won't come near it.

9. Flexible vacuum nozzle: To get something out of a heat register or under the fridge add an empty paper towel roll or empty gift wrap roll to your vacuum. It can be bent or flattened to
get in narrow openings.

10. Reducing Static Cling: Pin a small safety pin to the seam of your slip and you will not have a clingy skirt or dress. Same thing works with slacks that cling when wearing panty hose. Place pin in seam of slacks and -- ta da! -- static is gone.

11. Measuring Cups clean up: Before you pour sticky substances into a measuring cup, fill
with hot water. Dump out the hot water, but don't dry cup. Next, add your ingredient, such as
peanut butter, and watch how easily it comes right out.

12. Hate foggy windshields? Buy a chalkboard eraser and keep it in the glove box of your car. When the windows fog, rub with the eraser! Works better than a cloth!

13. Reopening envelope : If you seal an envelope and then realize you forgot to include something inside, just place your sealed envelope in the freezer for an hour or two. Viola! It
unseals easily.

14. Hair Conditioner: Ladies, use your hair conditioner to shave your legs. It's a lot cheaper than shaving cream and leaves your legs really smooth. It's also a great way to use up the
conditioner you bought but didn't like when you tried it in your hair...

15. Goodbye Fruit Flies: To get rid of pesky fruit flies , take a small glass fill it 1/2" with Apple Cider Vinegar and 2 drops of dish washing liquid mix well. You will find those flies drawn to the cup and gone forever!

16. Get Rid of Ants: Put small piles of cornmeal where you see ants. They eat it, take it "home", can't digest it so it kills them. It may take a week or so, especially if it rains , but it works & you don't have the worry about pets or small children being harmed!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Firehouse Subs: SERVICE with a SMILE

By: Shannon Bradford

I do love to eat out and I really enjoy trying things that I've never had before. Today, I am reviewing Firehouse Subs.

Michael & I visited the Firehouse Subs at 9745-D Hwy. 92 (near I-575) next to Kinko's. This is a sanwhich shop that was started by real firemen who know how to make delicious, hot food.

When we went in, I really loved taking in the "firehouse" atmosphere. Lots of cool firemen type things everywhere - even the helmets and yellow slickers hanging on the wall. There was also an amazing mural painted on one wall. We also appreciated them having a tv with the news on so we could catch up while we waited for them to deliver our food.

A very friendly girl, Lauren, was working behind the counter and she gave me the lowdown on the menu and what some of the best sandwiches to try were. They are arranged in order of most to least popular. Michael ordered a meatball and I got the steak.

While we waited, we chatted with assistant manager, Michael Pace. He had been there for 12 hours and showing no signs of slowing down. I asked him about the resturant and he told me about how they had just saved the day for a local businesswoman who had placed a catering order with a resturant nearby. An hour and a half before the food was to be served, the resturant called to say that they would not be able to complete the order. She called Firehouse to see what they could do. With only an hour, Michael and his team put together 18 party platters and saved the meeting that this woman had planned with her clients.

Now that is the kind of service we love to see!

Michael and Lauren were both friendly and helpful and we could not decide which of our sandwiches we loved more. But be sure that we will return to Firehouse Subs again very soon.

You can visit them online at where you can place an order, view the menu and nutritional information, and see the various public safety charities they help and much more. You can also call the Woodstock location at 770.928.5636. Tell them that Michael and Shannon Bradford sent you!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Family Tradition: A Cherokee Tradition

by: Shannon Bradford

When I used to live in Canton off Hwy. 140, I would sometimes stop by Family Tradition restaurant for lunch or dinner. I knew it would taste like a meal at Grandma's. They are known for their home cooked meals at very reasonable prices.

Not only do they have a location in the Hickory Flat area on Hwy. 140 between Canton and Roswell (a new building - the old one has since been torn down), but they also have a location off of Towne Lake Parkway at Rose Creek Drive in the Publix shopping center.

I dined there yesterday with my friend Gina. We had a delicious meal, ordering from the daily specials that included chicken & dumplings, fried green tomatoes, beef tips, meatloaf and a variety of fish. Meals come with a meat and either 2 or 3 veggies. The daily specials change but they also have fried chicken, salads, burgers, sandwiches and soups every day. The children's menu includes chicken tenders, grilled cheese, burgers, meat/veggie plate, shrimp and catfish.

Family Tradition has plenty of cozy booths but also large tables. While there yesterday, we saw several large groups dining together. This group, some of Woodstock's finest and bravest, were enjoying their lunch together and we were thrilled to see them there.

(Thank you for your service, guys!)

Both restaurants are open from 5:30 AM (a delicious breakfast) to 8:30 PM Monday through Saturday. Did I mention that they cater? When the food is that good, you almost have to cater!

For more information on Family Tradition Restaurant, you can CLICK HERE or call them at 770-852-2885.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Book Signing by Local Author

Greater Vision Christian Store in Canton will be hosting local author Shelley Hendrix this coming Saturday, Sept. 22 from 1-4pm. Shelley Hendrix is the founder of “Mary’s Vineyard Ministries, Inc.” and the co-creator and main-stage speaker for “The Get Real Conferences” for women. She will be sharing a bit about her life (which is really interesting, I can tell you from first-hand experience) and signing her new book "On Purpose For a Purpose". Greater Vision is located just off of I-575 at the Holly Springs exit. If you would like to be encouraged, you will not want to miss this event!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Organizing Your Closets

Sometimes when showing houses to buyers, I notice that many of them say similar things about all of the houses. Things like, "This kitchen needs to be updated." or "This bathroom is kind of dirty." But one of the things I hear most often is something to the effect of "This closet is so cluttered and disorganized."

It strikes me as funny because if they were to buy the house, the closet would be empty. Yet iin their minds, this is what the closet will look like when they move in. If buyers can't make that distinction in their minds - to have an idea of what they would really be getting, they move on to the next house.

Having organized closets is one of the best things you can do as a seller. You are defining the space for the buyer and they are able to visualize that this is what the closet would look like with their stuff in it. (Even if they wouldn't keep it as organized). Keeping cabinets, drawers and closets organized and free of clutter and dirt is very attractive to all buyers.

For more tips on preparing your home to sell, please call me today at 770.862.8002

How can I serve you today?

Michael Bradford
Southern Prime Realty

Friday, September 14, 2007

Fun This Weekend

If you live in the metro-Atlanta area, I have to tell you that tomorrow (Saturday), you should head down to Six Flags Over Georgia. One of Cherokee County's own residents will be performing. Country sensation and Equity Records recording artist Mark Wills lives in Woodstock, GA and will be performing at 5pm tomorrow evening. Did I mention that I am his real estate agent?
I am taking my family and I hope you'll get a chance to go as well.
If you are not sure you've heard Mark before, here are a few of his videos to refresh your memory:
Don't Laugh at Me:

19 Somethin':

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Workout in Cherokee County, GA

I was recently reading THIS ARTICLE about how many people who live in neighborhoods where it's not easy to walk are not getting enough exercise. This got my mind turning - thinking about a lot of places and neighborhoods in my part of town that people can exercise, play and support the healthy lifestyle that they want to have. I thought, "I'll do a blog about the great places to go in Cherokee where you can workout, walk, take classes and live a healthier lifestyle."

This will be the first of several posts on health and fitness in Cherokee County, Georgia. Without further ado, today's post will be on health clubs and personal trainers.


Gold's Gym has several locations in Cherokee County. There is THIS ONE in Canton and THIS ONE in Woodstock. Both have fantastic, modern facilities and a reputation for body-building excellence.
Fitness 19 at Towne Lake is another great place to workout in Cherokee. They offer month to month memberships and encourage whole families to participate in exercise. I love the concept of taking your children with you to work out because you can set a good example for them about making time to care for your body.
Curves has 3 locations in Cherokee county and 3 more very close to the county lines. This is a special place for women to work out. They offer a 30 minute workout, weight loss classes and a lot of fun along the way.

Anytime Fitness is a new breed of gyms that cater to very busy people. They are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days per year. They also offer personal training and tanning and a staff that wants to see you succeed in your fitness goals.

BodyPlex Fitness is located near I-575 and Hwy. 92. They offer several different fitness classes, including one especially for senior citizens. They have personal trainers and registered dieticians to help you meet your personal health goals. They provide free childcare while you work out.

All About Bodies is a personal training gym/health club in the Towne Lake area. They have a newly rennovated facility, personal training, a smoothie bar and a free e-newsletter.

I found that all of these facilities offer some sort of free trial membership so you can find the one that's right for you without risk or obligation. If you live in Cherokee County or are thinking about relocating to Cherokee County, please visit these sites and check out what they all have to offer. As always, if I can help you with any real estate questions or needs, I would love to serve you. My number is 770.862.5042.

-Michael Bradford
Southern Prime Realty

Friday, September 7, 2007

Cherokee Housing Starts Rise in August

I opened this morning's Cherokee Tribune to read a front page article by Ashley Fuller about how new housing permits have increased in August for Cherokee County, GA. They are not near last years rates, but they are a good indicator that the local housing inventory is shrinking becuase builders feel confident that their new homes can sell.

What does this mean for Cherokee County real estate? Better deals on new and used houses! With the market being so competitive now to get houses sold, there are deals fgalore. It is a buyers market and I can help you find a great deal on the house that will be perfect for your needs.

As a seller, I can help market your house so that you can compete with all of the others out there. I use top ranked websites, Talking House technology, real estate magazine ads and direct mail. I also show the houses that I list.

If I can be of service to you, please do not hesitate to call. You can reach me at 770.862.8002.

-Michael Bradford
Southern Prime Realty

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Your House As Seen By:


Your Lender

Your Buyer

Your Appraiser

Your Tax Assessor

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Homeschooling in Cherokee County

One of the questions that I am often asked about people who are reloacting to the area is if Cherokee County has good schools. Yes! Many of the county public schools are very good. We also have a great charter school and a few really good private schools.

What we also have in Cherokee county are loads of resources for those families, like mine, who choose to take the responsibilty for educating their children themselves. We homeschoolers are a very diverse bunch, but one thing we all have in common is the ultimate goal of providing our children with an excellent education. Cherokee County is rich in opportunities for such families.

Living Science, located off of North Arnold Mill Road, is one such treasure. This is a hands-on study center, not a school. As a Study Center, it is designed to support parent directed education.

The Timothy Ministry is a lay ministry of the First Baptist Church of Woodstock. They partner with the home school parent who wishes to supplement their home education with enrichment classes. The Timothy Ministry is a home school support ministry -- not a full-time school. They meet on Tuesdays for (2) 14-week sessions per year.

Crown Athletics is a a not-for-profit organization created for the benefit of home educated students living in the north metro area of Atlanta who are interested in participating in competitive athletics. They offer ten quality sports programs: football, basketball, baseball, volleyball, soccer, golf, tennis, cross country, cheerleading, and swim, and they have also recently begun a drum corps!

TLC Church Homeschool Classes offer a variety of classes similar to the Timothy Classes. They also offer annual standardized testing and other classes for parents including building and maintaining a portfolio, record keeping and more.

Homeschool Hangout is an excellent store with loads of curriculum and resources. Run by Mr. Hanno Berg, this store is not in Cherokee - but very close. And for families who live in the north end of Cherokee, he also has an Alpharetta location. My wife does all of our school-related shopping here. Not only do they sell anything a homeschooler could want or need, but they also offer classes. You can visit their website to find out more.

The King's Academy is a 2 day per week school that offers teacher-guided lessons and a full curriculum to follow on the other 3 days per week that the students do not meet at the school. This school is a very popular choice with parents and they usually have a waiting list to get in.

There are many other resources, private teachers, tutors for a variety of subjects and classes. This is just a taste of what Cherokee has to offer to the homeschooling family. For more information on homeschooling in Georgia, you can visit either (a Georgia organization) or (the Home School Legal Defense Association) to learn more about laws, curriculum resources and opportunities.

Monday, September 3, 2007

So you want to be an investor?

It always seems to happen. When I meet someone new or I am getting to know an acquaintance, the subject of what we do for a living usually comes up. When they hear I am a real estate agent, these days they act apologetic and say things like "I sorry, it must be tough for you now" or "what do you think the market is going to?" My answer to both questions is the same. "The market has changed but I am very excited about the opportunities available."

This seems to take people by surprise a little because I am very optimistic about the future of real estate. Part of the reason is because I not only sell real estate, I am an investor, too. I also work with other investors and this is a great time to invest in real estate.

A post I wrote about last week (READ IT HERE)talks about how rents are on the increase in Atlanta. Supply of affordable rental housing is low and people will always need a place to live. It is a great time to buy because prices are flat and there is an abundance of houses available. There are still great loan programs available for people with fair to good credit and even FHA programs for first time buyers are starting to get traction again. If fact, I closed an FHA sale on Thursday to a single mom who bought her first home, a 3 bedroom, 2 bath, updated ranch on almost an acre of land in Woodstock. She only neeeded to bring $6,000 to the closing table and was able to walking away with a payment of about $1,000 per month, which included taxes and insurance.

My attention last week was towards renters who may be ready to buy a house and to get them thinking about what it takes to be a home owner. Today, I want to explore the world of investing. When I tell people that I am also an investor, most say something like "I have always wanted to do that but...."

With all of the reality TV shows about "Flipping" properties, I always wonder why more people don't explore what it takes to be an investor. recently had an article about the best markets to be a "flipper" and you can read it here.

I think know why more people don't invest in real estate. The answer, it is harder than it looks! It takes a lot of homework, due diligence and sometimes nerves of steel. At some point, you have to quit analyzing deals and "fish or cut bait" as the saying goes.

If you are wanting to put your money somewhere and let it grow without actively being involved, real estate is probably not the best place for you. But if the idea of being able to borrow money to pay for your investment appeals to you (try going to the bank and asking for a loan to buy stocks or bonds) and you want to either invest for monthly cash flow or long term equity buildup, real estate may be a perfect vehicle for you to use to accomplish that goal.

It's a great time to be a buyer, either as an owner/occupant or investor. I am confident that I can find a property that will meet your needs either way. Call me today and let's spend a few minutes talking about real estate, it is one of my favorite things to do!

Michael Bradford
Southern Prime Realty