Of the many factors that influence a new-home purchase, the quality of the area’s schools is always one of the top considerations. Even buyers without children take that element into account when they’re evaluating a home’s resale value.

    Jason Brown and his wife, Jami, could have been the school-minded customer analysts had in mind. The father of three daughters lived in Suwanee for 10 years, but one of the girls was a tuition student in the nearby Buford City Schools.

    “Our decision to move was to keep our girls all in one school district,” said Brown. “We were really happy about how our daughter blossomed in Buford, and because of that, we began looking for a home specifically in the city.”

    There were other criteria for the family as well. A swim and tennis facility was on the list, along with ample square footage that gave everyone room to spread out. A home built with three sides brick was another consideration. After searching for six months, the family found Laurel Manor, a 104-home community of traditional, Craftsman-style homes built with four sides of brick.

    “It was very difficult to find that criteria in the city of Buford, and I didn’t see anything I was excited about,” said Brown. “We knew about [builders] Home south and hoped they would build there, and when they eventually did, we were ready.”

    Brown’s new home matched the quality and size he sought. Laurel Manor’s seven floor plans, priced from $399,900 to $439,900, range from 3,300 to 4,300 square feet, and basement lots can add even more space to the overall size. In addition to the brick exteriors, standard features include stainless steel appliances, granite counter tops, hardwood floors, kitchen islands, detailed trim packages and front porches.

    The neighborhood offers residents amenities a short stroll from their front doors. A lake is ringed by walking trails; a zero-entry pool has a kids’ zone; and a cabana boasts an outdoor fireplace. Nearby are tennis courts and a playground.

    The Browns built a 4,000-square-foot basement plan with five bedrooms and four baths. During the process, they created a cozy living space off the rear deck, adding a fireplace and opting for slate flooring.

    “It’s turned out to be our favorite part of this plan,” said Brown. “We’re out there all the time now. We even have the fireplace going and eat breakfast out there.”

    The best amenity for the family was already in place: the schools.

    “Our girls are now in tenth, seventh and fifth grade, and we’ve found the quality of the education and the commitment to arts and academics are very important,” said Brown. “We feel pretty darn good about our set up now.”

    Laurel Manor

    Location: Buford, Gwinnett County

    Price range: $399,900-$439,900

    Number of homes when completed: 104

    Styles: Craftsman-style traditional

    Square footage: 3,300 to 4,300 square feet

    Lot sizes: 1/4 to ½  acre

    Amenities: swimming pool, cabana, lake, walking trails, playground, tennis courts

    Schools: Buford Elementary, Buford Middle, Buford High

    Getting there: From downtown, take I-85 north to I-985 north; turn right on Friendship Road, exit 8. Take the second right on N. Bogan Road; Laurel Manor is one mile on the left.

    Contacts: Agents Brittney Landrey and Shannon Wilmot, 678-463-2912 or 404-405-0614

    Information: HomeSouthCommunities.com

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