Jeff, Home Buyer in Atlanta, GA

Rockdale/Westside Atlanta

Asked by Jeff, Atlanta, GA Tue Jun 10, 2008

Does anyone know anything about the Rockdale area of Atlanta - not Rockdale county, but Rockdale west of
downtown. My wife and I were really impressed with some newly built homes over there but several industrial eyesores you have to pass on the way to the development may keep us from buying there. Is this area due for a major makeover in the next 5-10 years? If so, seems like buying there could be a good investment.

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I am e-mailing you now, Jeff.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 12, 2008
If this is about buying and living in a great neighborhood with good immediate fundamentals, then choose an unincorporated Dekalb neighborhood in the Sagamore Hills, Briarlake or Oak Grove ESD's over the Westside. Over a Brock neighborhood.

No city taxes if you buy right. No ATL crisis with your money, like I've got in Kirkwood.

What are you getting for $300K from Brock - 8 on Carroll? Not a good buy unless you are a train maintenance enthusiast who doesn't care about long term real estate appreciation. Dupont Commons and Highland West may have some smaller house plans around $300K, but will those be a long term hold?

You might have more projects to do over time than if you bought a brand new Brock property, but your friend's suggestion of North Decatur/North Atlanta will be a better place to see growth in equity, counterbalaned by great lifestyle and great amenties, over the next 20 years.

In defense of Brock - great sales team, great product, commitment to the area, invested in upcoming retail and lifestyle improvements, buoyed by an enthusiasm that is all over the Westside.

Can you bank on the Westside? Sure. Don't overpay - try to get 2006 prices. That's kind of where we stand across town right now.

Buy the one out of 3 that is a good 2008 deal.

You keep doing what you are doing and you will be my first hire when I run for Mayor.
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 11, 2008

I gather from what you're saying about Brock is that yes, they have thought it through and even though it's somewhat less "conservative" to buy in this area, I'm taking a gamble with the best in the business and it's likely to pay off?

I have now gotten mixed reactions from two real estate professionals. You seem to think that Brock is a solid company and isn't leading me astray. The other says 300K is "way" too much to pay for "speculative buying", particularly since you're betting on the actions of third parties like the city of Atlanta to build that park or for Marta to move that bus repair facility from the same road as these houses. He also said that we're seeing new construction drop in value after purchase in this market. That's scary to me. He seems to think Druid Hills/Briarcliff area is a safer place to park your real estate dollars if you want single family close to the city.

I see the merits of both arguments. Now if I could only make a decision!

As for White Provisions, wow that is a pretty small world. I work for Jamestown Properties. But I don't work in acquisitions, development or construction. I just do the accounting for our partnerships. White Provisions happens to be one of them obviously. So you were saying your first hire would be a good CPA huh? ha...

As an accountant I'm not sure I have the authority to give official 'tours' of properties, but I'm always open to discussing real estate over lunch! I'm what you'd call "young professional" but see myself doing real estate on the side throughout my career. Seems like the best place to make real money. Again, I do appreciate your insight and thanks for taking the time to answer.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 11, 2008

Interesting - I've had lots of "it's a small world events" this week and here is another. Back in the 1990's, when I sold commercial roofing for Centimark, Bill Smith was my client. Bill is the brilliant, jack of all trades, race car driving real estate genius who sold the old White Provision property (which served as Atlanta Storage and U-haul and lofts for about 20 years). Bill began his market savvy investing back in the 1980's by buying old, low priced buildings in disinvested areas and starting cash rich storage and U-Haul centers on the premises.

He's the genius who made the BIG money before the market fell apart and when condo and retail developers were overpaying for real estate.

I sold him about $1.2 Million in roofing between 1994 and 1999. All that patched up EPDM and perlite and fiberboard that you are ripping down, that was my old employer's product. Ballasted reskins. EPDM layovers. You are tearing them up. Small world.

I can't wait to see your finished product - great location. Great building.

Ansley Brooks at Brock is one of the finest New Home sales people in the business and Steve Brock is building quality products. They are shooting straight with you and I do not expect Brock to let up anytime soon. Just Brock's effort is making the entire Westside better.

The old golf course plat on Perry. The gravel quarry that will become a park bigger than Piedmont. The new trails. Sounds awesome. The big rail yards will always be there, just don't live TOO close to them.

I believe that when I sell about 1000 more properties, which will happen over about 20 years, that I will be able to ride the Beltline when I'm 62 - to and fro across a 22 mile loop connecting parks and neighborhoods - and that I will often enjoy the Bellwood Park.

I'm paying a lot to live in the City over the next 20 years and I expect that some of our taxes will go towards the Beltline and the new park.

If these opportunities are squandered, then I'll be a jaded man, and I will run for Mayor ready to shake up the mainstream in 2028. My first hire - a good CPA.

Jeff - lets meet at Six Feet Westside for lunch sometime. I would love a tour of the construction site. I still have my old Centimark hard hat.
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 11, 2008
Thanks Lee. It's a tough call, really. My thought is that Brock Built (the builder of these high quality homes) has probably thought it through a little more than I have when they build $300K+ homes in this area. Surely they are expecting some sort of of makeover if they expect their target market to look past the drawbacks of driving past rock piles, razor wire, and train tracks on the way to look at a potential new home.

I work for a real estate investment firm that is redeveloping in the area also - White Provisions, a live, work, play sort of place at 14th & Howell Mill. Also, according to the sales people at Brock, the city of Atlanta is building a park twice as big as Piedmont adjacent to the development (Habershal @ West Highlands), and they also mentioned the Belt Line project including Rockdale as well.

I am absolutely thinking long term - 10-15 years. But I don't know that conservative would describe a purchase here (?). It seems to me like a roll of the dice to expect that these homes will increase in value based on what third parties (i.e. the city, other developers) may or may not do in the future.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 10, 2008

Atlanta's west side is the "terminus" of railroads from points west. We don't have a conflagration like this on the eastside.

You gotta give and take when you look in the area, and you choose based on sound, long term real estate and lifestyle fundamentals.

Parks are looking better.

Neighborhoods like Rockdale are showing signs of renewal - certainly the residential disinvestment trend on our westside of the latter 20th century is turning around.

The upcoming megapark at Bellwood and the possibility of Beltline related development on a wide scale on the westside is very encouraging.

Think Long term. Be Conservative. etc...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 10, 2008
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