A New Townhome Has Modern Charm in the Heart of Atlanta

published Nov 12, 2020
Credit: Jeff Davis
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"Homeownership is a freeing experience. You walk in and feel a sense of pride that you own this place together. You can build it and really make it your own."

Name: Kirk, Shanice, and Tatum Brown
Location: Atlanta, GA
Size: 2,074 square feet
Type of home: Townhome
Years lived in: 2

When education professionals Kirk and Shanice Brown decided to make the jump from renting to buying in the fast-paced real estate market of Atlanta, they knew they wanted to stay on the city’s East Side. They loved the convenient location, eclectic neighborhoods, and top-notch restaurants. They also knew they wanted to start a family legacy: a home that was theirs and a financial foundation for their baby daughter, Tatum.

Pazi D., a real estate agent and a REALTOR®, a member of the National Association of REALTORS®, understood exactly. “That’s the approach I attempt to bring,” Pazi says. “I was an investor first. I’m always thinking about the future.” Pazi and Kirk, who knew each other from their days at Georgia State, share a focus on the future in other ways as well, mentoring up-and-comers and serving on various boards and councils, like Emerging 100 Atlanta, which Kirk co-founded. When Kirk reached out about working together, it was both an opportunity to reconnect with a friend and a chance to work with a REALTOR® who was experienced and trustworthy.

Credit: Jeff Davis

A Passion for Atlanta

Pazi and Kirk are both native New Yorkers who fell in love with Atlanta. “I came to Atlanta, and I saw black people doing so well,” Pazi says. “I’d never been anywhere where I’d seen so many people living in big beautiful homes and driving nice cars. Business owners have an idea on Monday and it comes together on Thursday. It was mindblowing.”

Credit: Jeff Davis

As a member of the National Association of REALTORS® and the founder of Pazi Group, Pazi puts integrity first. “Pazi Group has an 88% referral base, so I couldn’t have gotten here if not for taking excellent care of my clients,” he says. “My focus became not just the newest leads or how much money, but how can I serve these people at the highest level?”

At the Pazi Group office, Pazi displayed Kirk and Shanice’s options on a large digital map of Atlanta, zooming in on the East Side and layering the couple’s must-haves until a small number of options remained. “To see that on a big screen and talk us through that process, I was like, ‘This guy is a magician,'” Kirk says.

Credit: Jeff Davis

As they began viewing homes, additional preferences emerged, like modern styles with open-floor plans and details like shiplap. Then, one day, Pazi took Shanice to a new townhome community being built in Grant Park/Boulevard Heights. Shanice called Kirk and told him to get there fast — there were only two units left, one a sale whose buyer had just backed out.

“There’s been an inventory shortage here for several years,” Pazi says. “So whenever you’re remotely interested, you need to jump on it yesterday.”

Kirk and Shanice originally thought they’d buy a single-family home, but they were won over by the townhome’s crisp white exterior, huge kitchen island, and handsome master bath. (The fact that the HOA handled outdoor maintenance didn’t hurt, either.) Kirk was also excited that they would be buying on the BeltLine, Atlanta’s massive ongoing revitalization project of trails, green space, businesses, and housing. In addition to improving their quality of life, Kirk suspected that the proximity to the BeltLine would also improve their home’s value. Pazi confirmed his hunch. “Where do we sign?” Kirk asked.

Pazi wasn’t surprised that the townhome’s combination of spaciousness and city living won the couple over. “There’s a feeling buyers are looking for that they can’t always articulate,” Pazi says. “My job is to help them articulate as much as they can what they’re looking for, but it’s also a matter of being in the house and feeling it. When you get to that house, if it’s 7/10 of what you want, it might still get you to that 10 feeling.”

Once their offer was accepted, Pazi continued to work for Kirk and Shanice. He acted as a fiduciary who put their best interests first. “He was instrumental in helping us find the right lender and navigating that process for us,” Kirk says. It’s all part of his role, Pazi says: “I’m an educator. I want my people to know as much as they can, because they can then make better decisions.”

Credit: Jeff Davis

A lender secured, it was time to close the deal. “On closing day, he asked the right questions to the closing attorneys and made sure we were comfortable in that space,” Kirk says. “He provided this all-around service for us.” Right down to one final celebratory touch: a champagne toast at closing.

Since moving in, Kirk and Pazi’s friendship has deepened — Pazi even attended the couple’s baby shower. And Kirk has been busy transforming their blank canvas into a bright, crisp space that’s modern but still warm and serene, with rich leather chairs, natural wood tables, and metallic finishes.

Credit: Jeff Davis

“Nobody told me how expensive furniture was,” Kirk jokes. “Everyone says it’s never 100% done, and that’s us: We’re always doing things here and there to add to the vibe.” They’re also enjoying being so close to neighbors and feeling a real sense of community — another legacy they can pass on to Tatum.

Says Kirk, “It’s been fun to have space and just feel good as you pull into the driveway and walk into the home, and it has that smell: This is yours.”

Credit: Jeff Davis

Kirk’s Survey:

  • My style: We’d say we have a blend of styles ranging from boho, minimalist, and Scandinavian with modern finishes.
  • Favorite element: The open and airy vibes you feel when you walk in. It’s perfect for having friends and family over and being part of the action no matter where you’re positioned in the home.
  • Biggest challenge: Right now it’s not being able to have friends and family over. But soon enough, that will change and we’ll all be socializing again.
  • Best thing about being a homeowner: Being able to invest in something that will be passed down to my daughter and then to her children. As a Black man, it’s about legacy-building for me, and homeownership brings me great pride and contentment.  
  • Advice for someone buying their first home: First, make sure you do a rate comparison between lenders for the best rates. And second, make sure you put aside money for your furnishings. Furniture prices ain’t no joke!
  • How did working with an agent and REALTOR®, a member of the National Association of REALTORS®, help you find your home? It helped us tremendously. Pazi, a REALTOR® and our friend, provided expertise and professionalism throughout the entire process. In addition to what he brought to the table as a REALTOR®, he really helped us think through the pros and cons of each home that we looked at. He was there with my wife and me every step of the way.
  • What was one frustration in your home buying process, and how did you overcome it? All the documents that the mortgage lender needed every other day — I was waiting for the request of blood samples next! I kid. Although it’s a headache to track down all the bank statements and payroll stubs and write all the Letters of Explanation, we got over it. We realize the importance of underwriters doing their due diligence to ensure they approved a loan that can be paid.
  • Favorite part of your neighborhood: The proximity to everything we love. We’re minutes away from Grant Park, Zoo Atlanta, the Beacon, and all the downtown entertainment attractions for concerts and sporting events. And of course, there are tons of delectable food options all around us. We love it here!
  • Why did you choose your neighborhood? The design and beauty of the build, but mainly because of the neighborhood’s direct connection to the Atlanta BeltLine, the 33-mile loop of a former railroad corridor that circles the core of Atlanta’s in-town neighborhoods. Our new community is building a spur trail that will connect directly from our doorsteps to the Southside Trail, which is really cool. The trail is perfect for our family walks and cycling around the city.

Thanks, Kirk!