MARIETTA — There’s a shortage of newly constructed and historic homes in Cobb’s housing market, said Johnny Walker, who has been with Harry Norman Realtors for 19 years. Finding the right historic property for your taste and budget can be challenging, but Marietta offers more possibilities than most other Georgia cities and towns.
Walker said homebuyers are willing to wait in line for their shot at the historic homes that line the streets in portions of Marietta, such as Kennesaw and Whitlock avenues.
“There’s a shortage of houses and houses aren’t staying on the market that long,” said Walker, who also began his first term as a Marietta City Council member in January.
Historic homes have character, Walker said, and come with a story.
“There’s a certain group of people that want the historic homes and there’s lots of them in Marietta,” Walker said.
Gerald Algarez is one of those people.
He moved into his 1887 home on Whitlock Avenue several years ago. Owner of Jeweler on the Square for 29 years, Algarez has a passion for antiques and the stories that come with them.
“I saw the potential in renovating it and getting it to look nicer than it was,” Algarez said.
Historic homes often require more work than newer homes, Walker said, because older houses typically have less insulation and older windows and doors that have endured decades of wear and tear.
“It takes a special person to buy one of them, though, because there’s a lot that comes with an old house,” Walker said.
“There’s just a lot of steps you have to go through to get them where they’re comfortable.”
But Algarez was up to the challenge.
He’s turned the home’s 1950s-era bomb shelter into a wine cellar, laid a long red brick driveway and resuscitated a century-old tree in his lawn.
“One really cool thing is we have a cedar of Lebanon tree and it’s over 100 years old, maybe 110 or 120 years old,” Algarez said.
Covered with kudzu and other suffocating vines when he moved in, the tree is now flourishing in the home’s large front yard. It’s one of 10 planted in Marietta at the turn of the century, but now just two remain.
“Now it’s happy and healthy,” Algarez said.
An antiques dealer by trade, it was important for Algarez to find a home that had a past and a story to tell.
“Since I was about 14 years old, I was interested in archaeology and antiques,” Algarez said.
Though historic homes may need more tender, loving care, Walker said, it’s the character the aged houses provide that makes Marietta what it is.
“They’re unique,” Walker said. “They just add to the character of this town.”
David Freedman, chairman of the Marietta Historic Preservation Commission, agrees.
“They provide a sense of place,” Freedman said.
There’s a romance factor, he said, that also comes into play.
“The whole idea of you know who lived in that house and you know what they did, it’s kind of interesting,” Freedman said.