Holidays in Chattanooga

Chattanooga is a wonderful place during the holidays. Street lights along Broad Street and Brainerd Road,as well at the Walnut Street Bridge seemingly overnight sprout snowflakes and wreaths. The Tennessee AquariumRuby Falls and Rock City are strung with thousands of lights. Cars sprout antlers and red noses and the whole city seems in a good mood.

There are so many things to do in Chattanooga over the holiday season, but there are several “MUST Dos”.

The Grand Illumination and Lighted Boat Parade

I am a sucker for fireworks and Christmas lights.  The Grand Illumination and Lighted Boat Parade offers BOTH! The Tennessee River becomes a parade route with boats decorated with everything from subdued white lights to gloriously tacky colored lights and blow up snowmen.  Crowds gather to watch the parade and countdown to the illumination of the large tree on the Chattanooga Riverfront.  Santa comes in all his glory and the Christmas season is announced with fireworks.   While the parade is best viewed from the Walnut Street Bridge, you can buy hot chocolate and other treats at local restaurants including Blue Plate and Cold Stone Creamy.

Gingerbread Houses at Creative Discovery

Schedule the mess somewhere besides your house and create a memory with your kids. The Creative Discovery Museum offers gingerbread workshops now through December 22nd.  Everything you need to create a masterpiece is included.  Contact the Creative Discovery Museum at (423) 648-6045 to make your reservation.

North Pole Limited Adventures Train Excursions

 Tennessee Valley Railroad does kids and holidays right. Enjoy a trip to the “North Pole” pulled by a real train complete with engine and caboose. Refreshments, storytelling, caroling, visits by Santa Claus are all included in this very exciting return to childhood. Contact Tennessee Valley Railroad now through December 22nd   at 423 894-8028.

Santa Pub Crawl

The Salvation Army offers two opportunities to give back on December 14th. These are the  family friendly Rudolf Run 5k and the Santa Pub Crawl. Do both and help make someone’s Christmas a little better.  The pub crawl is a fun exploration of Chattanooga’s local pubs with merry makers dressed in all manners of holiday attire from Christmas Footie Pajamas to Santa Outfits.  Participants are asked to bring one unwrapped gift for a child.

Santa at The Choo Choo

Santa is everywhere this time of year, but the very best one is in the lobby of the Chattanooga Choo Choo hotel.  His sleigh is parked and ready for your child to share their Christmas wish and his elf is ready to create a photo memory for you.

There are so many amazing things to do over the holidays from parades to parties.  In the next few weeks, I’ll post about a guide to where the best lights are located and where to find the best locally made gifts. Happy Holidays from Chattanooga Property Shop.

Chattanooga Local Beer Breweries

Chattanooga, like many towns in the United States, has caught the craft beer fever. Traditionally larger cities such as Boston (Harpoon) and Atlanta (SweetWater) have been where microbreweries popped up, however Chattanooga is holding its own.  Home to the Southern … Continue reading

Chattanooga and North Georgia Wineries

Georgia Winery

Chattanooga is a food loving city. And what goes with food? Wine, of course!  Chattanooga and North Georgia are home to numerous vineyards and wineries. Georgia first farm winery is located just down the road from Chattanooga in Ringgold, GA. … Continue reading

Retirement Tax benefits of Chattanooga/ North Georgia

The Tennessee/North Georgia area is one of the most beautiful areas of the country. The landscape is absolutely gorgeous and the proximity to both Atlanta and Chattanooga give it the best of both worlds when it comes to shopping, health care and culture.  Considering retirement to the Tennessee/Georgia area, but not sure which state to buy a home in? Tax information is something to think about.  Retirement Tax benefits of Chattanooga/ North Georgia  is information you should have.

retirement in tennessee/ north georgia

But long enough that you should retire smart

 Retirement Tax benefits of Chattanooga/ North Georgia 

One of the top 10 states for tax friendliness, Georgia law creates a great environment for retirees. Social Security income is exempt, and so is up to $35,000 of most types of retirement income (your pension and investments, therefore are safe). When you reach 65 and older, the 2013 exemption is $65,000 per taxpayer. Income tax in the state is relatively, low ranging from 1-6% based on income. The statewide sales tax is 4% which is one of the lowest in the country. Full-time residents qualify for a homestead exemption, and residents 65 and older may qualify for additional deductions from property taxes. Georgia does not have an inheritance tax.

Tennessee is more of a mixed bag when it comes to retirement taxes. The state has no broad-based income tax, though the state does levy a 6% tax on stock dividends and interest income from bonds and other investments, however the first $1,250 ($2,500 joint) is exempt. Sales tax is one of the highest in the country coming in at 9.44% on average statewide.  There’s no state income tax, so salaries, wages, Social Security benefits, IRA distributions and pension income are not taxed. Property tax in Tennessee is 25% of appraised value, and while Tennessee does not offer a homestead exemption, there is a tax relief benefit for citizens 65 and older. Legislation was recently passed to phase out inheritance tax by 2016, however, currently it ranges from 5.5% to 9.5% based on the value of the property.

As you can see, both states offer benefits to retiring in the area. Chattanooga Property Shop can help you find the perfect property in either state you decide is right for you.

Relocation Tips

Relocating to a new town can be very exciting. New is always an adventure with places to explore, culture to learn and people to meet.  The act of relocation can also be a little daunting and very stressful. Whether moving for a new job, retirement or just a change of pace, here are some relocation  tips to make the transition easier.

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BEFORE YOU MOVE

#1 Have a financial plan. Often moving has surprises. The movers under quoted your move, deposits for utilities are required, your mattress fell off the truck, your over wrought dog bit your child and you have to visit the ER (this really happened)…all of these have happened and could happen to you. Budget for emergencies that could pop up.

#2 Purge while packing. Moving is a great time to get rid of things you really never use or really don’t need. Moving to Tennessee from Minnesota? Ditch the snow blower. Are your kids 15 and you still have boxes of baby clothes; donate them to a local charity BEFORE you move. Paring down not only saves you money, but it saves you stress while unpacking in a new home.

#3 Hire good movers. Whether relocating to a new part of town or across the country, you want your things to be well cared for. A little research and a good contract with a moving company can be your saving grace. Cheap does not mean bad, but it does not always mean best. The Better Business Bureau and social media can be very helpful in picking the right moving company for you.

#4 Take a test drive.  Arriving in your new town at 10pm and looking for a grocery store or pharmacy can be daunting. If you have the opportunity, take a weekend to test drive your new town. Where are the places to get bagels? Where is the movie theater that has the best movies? Where are the local gyms, hair salons, churches etc?  Knowing the lay of the land before you get to your new town can make the transition a little easier.

#5 Make a friend.  Transferring for a job? Retiring?  Make a friend in your new office that you can ask questions about your new town.  Your real estate agent could be your new best friend. Have someone you can call to ask for recommendations.  When I moved to Chattanooga, my real estate agent became my new best friend for the time before I moved. This was before cell phones and the internet and it was great to have a real person’s take on what part of town I should look to live in and what was the best pizza to order for moving.

AFTER YOU MOVE

#1 Get a hobby. The sooner you join the community the better. Gyms, service organizations, book clubs, neighborhood bunco groups; whatever you are interested in…joining a social group can make your transition into your new town much easier and faster.

#2 Learn the lay of the land. Living in a town that is prone to traffic jams, learning how to get around on back roads has made all the difference in my life. When my husband and I moved away after college, we pinned a map on the wall in our office and referred to it before we went anywhere. This was before GPS, but it was an invaluable tool. Learning to get around in your new town can make it feel like you have lived there forever instead of feeling like a tourist.

Chattanooga Property Shop has decades of experience living in the Chattanooga area. Let our knowledge and experience make your transition an easy one.

Retirement fun in Chattanooga

Retirement does not mean the end of the fun. More like the beginning. Chattanooga has been named in the top 10 places to retire in the country and for good reason. Life is fun here.

Outdoor enthusiasts move to the area for hiking, kayaking, climbing and cycling. The Chattanooga Bicycle Club promotes riding by offering weekly lead rides and two major cycling events each year. Chattanooga has some of the best roads to ride on, with hills, flats and mountain climbs available all over town and the outlying areas. Members become like a family and often ride together weekly.

One of the best places to kayak and SUP (stand up paddle board) is the Tennessee River. Every morning, on my way to work, I pass kayakers and paddle boarders loading and unloading their vehicles with their kayaks and SUPs. The access to the water in Coolidge Park and I have noticed that the median age is about 50. What better way to start your day than watching the sunrise on the water with the bridges in the background.

After all the exercise and joy rides, dining in Chattanooga is a huge reward. Over the past few years, connoisseurs of all types of food have found a place to hone their loves in Chattanooga. From Northern Italian to burgers, Chattanooga is home to numerous independently owned restaurants.  High end restaurant Alleia, which specializes in Northern Italian cuisine offers a family style five course dinner with wine suggestions once a month that rivals dinner in major cities such as New York and Chicago.  Terra Mae and Easy Bistro, both in downtown Chattanooga have offered special dinners featuring bourbon and specialty liquor pairings as well. Learning about wine and food could become your newest hobby.

retirement fun Chattanogoa

Music and art are big features in Chattanooga. All summer long, the Chattanooga river front becomes home to music festivals and Saturday night free music performances. The 3 Sisters Music Festival draws families and music lovers for two days of top notch music by nationally and world known performers. The Hunter Museum of American Art is home to not only many beautiful works of art, but also features speakers and community nights for the enrichment of Chattanooga.

City planners had the idea to make the city better for its citizens, feeling that a better place to live would make it a better place to visit. Cleaning the environment, investing in making the city safe and a draw for culture and business were the goals.  The payoff has been great, for residents and tourists alike. The accessibility of the city, the variety of things to do outside and the great arts community make it a wonderful place to live and play.  Chattanooga Property Shop can help you find you the perfect home to start your fun.

Chattanooga,TN Top 10 Places to Retire

Chattanooga, TN was just voted in the top 10 of places to retire by several sources including USNews and World Report and Where to Retire magazine. While there are many factors included in the criteria used to decide what cities were included in the lists, housing is one of the top.

Chattanooga has two major things going for it when it comes to purchasing housing in general, but for retirees specifically. Cost and variety. Chattanooga has a relatively low cost of living compared to many major areas on the country (10 % less than the national average).  Housing in Chattanooga reflects this lower cost of living with the median home price being $140,000.  A home in Chattanooga with similar amenities in Atlanta or Nashville could cost as much as 50% more.

Variety of housing is the fun part of retiring. Chattanooga offers many types of housing choices to suit the numerous types of retirees. Those urbanites who are looking to retire to a more rural life can find land to suit their desires. Whether looking to become gentlemen farmers or just have a few acres to play around on, there are many farm and land options within 30 minutes of downtown Chattanooga. Folks looking for something with less maintenance have never had more options than are currently available today. Condos in downtown, North Chattanooga, the Southside and other areas around town give more choices than one can possibly imagine.Homes in established neighborhoods with excellent homeowner associations convenient to shopping and green spaces are an option as well.

Chattanooga top 10 places to retire

With advantageous tax situations in Tennessee for retirees, living in Chattanooga enables “more bang for your buck” when it comes to buying a home. The possibilities are endless. While the decision to buy a house can be a stressful one, those retiring in Chattanooga can take comfort in the knowledge that the decision was a good one.

*This post originally was posted on our  blog.chattanoogahomessale.com page