Moving in Alpharetta>Question Details

Joburke10, Other/Just Looking in Alpharetta, GA

accepted a job offer with Dell in atlanta. I want to live in alpharetta or duluth, need some advice what area has best home appreciation

Asked by Joburke10, Alpharetta, GA Sat Jan 28, 2012

I want to find out which area is best for home appreciation, middle age professional, diverse, etc.

Help the community by answering this question:


I don't know that there will be appreciation as it used to be known anywhere around Atlanta for a long time, there are pockets and categories doing better than others but we're a long way from broad appreciation.

I'm a foreclosure appraiser as well as broker, in the field for lenders knocking out a good 40-50 appraisals a month plus client activity, point being I'm immersed in the data every day. Your situation has a myriad of variables to be addressed before suggestions can be made. The data tossed at you also needs to be kept in context as it will vary based on the variables inherent with real estate.

However, doing this for 25+- years and here since '94, I would submit that "up the gut" (up the 400 corridor) remains the strongest metro Atlanta area. You'll be inundated with opinions, but your answer lies in the micro markets that you are looking for, not in the general data. We use data for zip codes as a broad starting point - but you need to get into the micro trends - which we do daily -…

So the answer to your questions lies in the weeds - and like other buyers we work with the direction that's taken depeneds completely on how much information you provide. Our best recommendations come from working with clients that have a clear definition of success.

Have a look at those links and let us know if we can help.

2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 29, 2012
I like Duluth. It's a slower pace. There's no place to eat out, the mall is a good place to be treated as target practice and we have the Gwinnett Gladiators. The traffic driving from Duluth to Alpharetta requires a helicopter. It took me 1 hour to drive 10 miles this morning because of the 5 school zones and 2 car accidents I had to drive through.

I like Duluth because the politics of the city are small minded and more money is spent on the police department and schools than on city growth and infrastructure. The "good ole boy" attitude of the city officials keeps the city from expanding into something like John's Creek, Suwanee or Alpharetta.

Alpharetta, on the other hand offers you the opportunity to pay Fulton County taxes which means you get to pay for the streets in down town Atlanta with pot holes bigger than the little grand canyon of south GA. Ad valorem taxes are higher as well as gas prices and food tax.

You may also want to look at East Cobb or John's Creek (Gwinnett County is east of the river). Another great place is Sandy Springs (Fulton County). If you want to avoid traffic, think about living south of your job so you can drive against traffic. There are lots of back roads in Atlanta to keep you off the interstate and Taladega 400.
Let me know if you need financing for your home. We have a lot of great products including split loans on jumbo properties to avoid higher rates and mortgage insurance.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 1, 2012
We're in agreement on the fundamental facts of real estate, that if you buy in a poor or marginal area (any area where a vacant house would become a crack house fits) then it doesn't matter what the data says or how sound the structure is - my recommendation is going to be pass on it. But then (except for investors) I dont work with clients who seek properties in any area like that, and beleive me, as the former owner of a home inspection company who has done thousands of inspections for buyers all over metro Atlanta, as well as for HUD in the inner city areas, there are a lot of areas that you could not pay me to live and they are not all in the city - there are plenty of suburbs that fit.

We're also in agreement on the lack of professionalism in this industry - and unfortunately 95% of those who are truly good agents dont really have any extra qualifications or skill sets to provide value or distinguish themselves from each other. But the best are better than trying to go it own your own because a recent NAR campaign got it right - home buyers don't know what they don't know.

When the best and only criteria a buyer has available to select an agent to assist with lifes largest transaction is a referral from a family or friend, or a reference like the agent was "nice", that is sad. I haven't met too many agents that are not "nice" but I have met tons who are usless, even dangerous to your financial health.

I'll take a Dr House who is innovative and competant to the extreme, and who tells it like it is, and actually advises clients NOT to buy when appropriate over nice any day!

Suffice it to say, if I was a prospective buyer who was unfortunate enough not to discover or, I would feel fortunate to run across hounddogrealestate. It wouldn't take me more than 10 minutes and a short phone discussion to select one of those two - but then I know what I am doing when it comes to sizing up agents.

Dr House
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 1, 2012
Thumbs up to Bill Polack. He basically hit the nail on the head with the area description and available headaches. Hank knows his data no question about that. Joburke, it would be in your best interest to work with an exclusive buyer's agent that knows the data, the area, and your personal goals. Congratulations on your new job; I know I love mine!
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 5, 2012
Well I agree to a point, and it's a point that we see illustrated time and time again.

Real estate is local and real estate is fixed. How many gorgeous, architectural gems do we see dying on the vine because the market (the data) will always have the final say? You should see the old bungalows I go through for foreclosure appraisals that have the 12' ceilings, heavy mill work, hand cut trim all in states of disrepair and abuse - as nice as they are the cycle has relegated them to crackhouses and shooting galleries.

My point was that I leave the emotional side to all of this to the buyer. I have no idea what motivates each seller - they do. I do however know that my role is to keep them out of trouble and the data is the canary in the coal mine.

I know you do the same from a construction stand point - as do I. But even there we see a difference. We can fix a rotting sill or sagging floor. We're still looking for the fix to this real estate market. I know you agree that you'd buy a home in a great area that needs work before you'd buy a great home in an area that needs work.

I consider current data the single most important thing and the ability of an agent to mine and apply it as the single most critical professional skill. There are no do overs if you end up in a bad area.

And I trust you understand I'm not blasting you because Lord knows you "get it" - The problem remains that we still have far too many dumb unprofessional agents gumming up this business.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 31, 2012
No Hank,

That bullet was up in the air, not aimed at you - I am sure you do what you do well and with competence but you are a data junkie, and I am a architectural junkie.

I didnt say I ignored the data, but it does not need to be carried to the extremes - any skilled realtor worth his salt can do a decent job of assessing a fair price.

However homes are much more than just a bunch of hard data, and my point about concentrating on the qualities of a neighborhood relative to a clients profile along with the feel and design of a home are far more important criteria to the vast majority of home buyers in the vast majority of situations.

If your clients like a heavy spread sheet on each house fine - It may be a good deal, but is it well built and a good investment? My clients are quite happy with my more mainstream knowledge of the markets and comps, combined with my superior abilty to evaluate every aspect of a property from structural conditions, to design, to energy efficiency, to find properties that exceed their criteria and will perform well in all ways long after closing - all they have to do is choose the home they like and they have made a safe and sound investment.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 31, 2012
Good thing I ducked....I think that bullet Bob fired off was meant for me. So let me counterfire....

All Alpharetta zips along with most other Atlanta areas are posted here…

That chart is adjustable, back to several years so we can see the peaks and valleys as well as seasonal ups and downs. This is by zip and be broken down further by price point or other ways. Have a look and tell me how well 30004 is doing. I can filet the data any way desired; macro/micro/inside/outside.....

As far as appraisers and value - agreed; in the end there's a high degree of subjectivity. However, the pools of comps have diminished greatly thus reducing that variable. No longer is there a wealth of data, we're on the other side of the spectrum now and will be for a while.

What I don't agree with and find surpriing coming from Bob is the line ".... there are more important factors about the area and property than waht a bunch of market data might say." Not a fan of that, data is the foundation of everythign WE do. WE keep the data close - the clients handle the emotion and other aspects.

Data doesn't lie and it can be a miserable you know what - the challenge is to use it wisely and objectively - certainly not minimize or ignore it.

Go look at those charts - they're updated weekly -…

0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 31, 2012
Thank You Katherine,

It was a typo, I meant zip 30004, which is on the west side of 400, and has the best recent trending for price performance against all other areas - that is a broad statement, but that is really all you need. People get hung up on micro data obsessions, and guess what, I can shoot holes in that. Valuation is not an exact science, and 4 appraiser will give 4 values on the same property, and with the market continuing to decline making near term forcasts of future real estate values is not possible. That doesnt mean you cant do well, it just means there are more important factors about the area and property than waht a bunch of market datamight say.

What is really important, is finding a great community that has the lifestyle qualities that work, and finding the ideal home that is structurally sound, and has a sound design, and in a good school system, and at todays prices, you can do well over time.

If you plan to buy a home and sell in two years or less and make money, that will be difficult and a hit or miss prospect if you approach the market as a regular owner occupant with a regular agent. If you approach the market with an investor mindset, I can help you have far better performance, in far less time.

Which do you want to be, a homeowner or investor? They are dramatically different creatures.


Robert Whitfield
Professional Buyers Broker
Relocation Expert
New Home Construction Expert
ICC Code Certified Building Inspection Expert
Advantage Realtors
“Luxury Homes, Investments, Property Management & Rehab… Incomparable Client Representation & Due-Diligence”
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 31, 2012
Alpharetta (North Fulton) has been a top selling area since I moved here in 1990. Although, like many areas in and around Atlanta, the market has depreciated here some. I find it has much to offer and have enjoyed living here. There are many other desirable areas that offer great things. I would look up the schools around metro Atlanta as well to see what best suits you and your families needs.

Susi Yarbrough
Managing Broker
OpenHouseAtlanta Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 30, 2012
As always, Hank is spot on. If you want a simple answer: Alpharetta over Duluth in a macro general sense for sure (however, in each area you will find micro markets as Hank described that might be desirable or avoidable depending upon the data). The question is flawed in many ways since you are expecting appreciation in a market that has shown depreciation the past 3 years, not appreciation. Expecting appreciation anytime soon is not realistic.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 30, 2012
We just got a Dell for my son at school. You may want to check the best schools in the area to give you the best idea of where is is the best place to live. The Georgia Department of Education puts a list together for award winning schools throughout the state. Contact me for the list.

Mark Laycock
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 29, 2012
Alpharetta would be your safest bet, overall, but it really differs, depending on your price range and your expectations. The individual subdivision is the most important choice. There are some outstanding buys in the market right now. All the previous answers have good suggestions (although I believe there's a typo in one of the answers, since the zip code 30014 is actually Covington, GA and I think they meant 30004--which is on the east side of Highway 400). The proximity to a highway (in this case Highway 400) is important in Atlanta for resale value since the traffic is a daily struggle. Also you have the issue of taxes and living in Fulton County vs. Gwinnett County.

Finally, you have to find an agent that you connect with, has the experience and knowledge, and has a proven track racord. I have lived in Alpharetta since 1989 and successfully worked with a lot of people who, like yourself, are new to this area. My husband and partner is a native Atlantan, has been instrumental in working with the developers and builders who changed the area from rural to desirable suburbia over the last 35 years. Our goal with clients is to find homes that match their current dreams, that are designed to have the highest resale value, since most are calling us back in a few years to sell when they are relocated.

Finally, the internet is a great place to start your search, but nothing replaces getting in the car, driving the area and getting inside the homes and neighborhoods with a local expert guiding you. Best wishes on your search and please call if we can be of assistance.

Kathy Morrison, CRS
Team Realty Group
Alpharetta, GA
"Our Results Move You"
404-697-4626 (direct)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 29, 2012
Hi Joburke,

Technically, Alpharetta 30014 has the best overall appreciation of any area in Atlanta, but if you make the right investment in Alpharetta, Milton, Roswell, or Johns Creek, and to a lesser degree Duluth, you can do well. The shorter your time horizion is before you might need ot sell, the more precise you will need to be with all your criteria. I would be happy to help you - the due diligence I perform exceeds what is customary or expected of an agent/realtor in our industry and will provide you with all the information you will need to make a sound decision and wise investment.


Robert Whitfield
Professional Buyers Broker
Relocation Expert
New Home Construction Expert
ICC Code Certified Building Inspection Expert
Advantage Realtors
“Luxury Homes, Investments, Property Management & Rehab… Incomparable Client Representation & Due-Diligence”
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 28, 2012
Hi Jo,

How lucky you are to have the opportunity to relocate to the Alpharetta-Duluth area. We have lived here for 16 years and love it! The schools are great and there are many beautiful neighborhoods in all price ranges, convenience to expressways, shopping, gyms, hospitals, entertainment, etc.

Homes have not been appreciating lately in the US,, but when homes start appreciating again, this area will lead the way. The good thing is that it's a buyer's market. Interest rates are the lowest ever. You will be buying at the best time, so you will benefit more than others who bought when prices were higher. Remember the three most important criteria when choosing a home--1. location. 2. location. 3. location! This is one of the best locations in the state of Georgia.

If you want to know more about the area, please call me or send an email. I will get the information to you. Our website is excellent for searching and has lots of information about schools, demographics, etc. I am an experienced relocation specialist and an Accredited Buyers Representative. I would love to give you references and explain how working with an agent who is experienced and knows the area well can benefit you.

Best wishes,
Ruth Honick CRS, ABR, e-PRO, SFR
Associate Broker
Keller Williams Realty Chattahoochee North
800-989-7969 toll free
770-605-3775 cell
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 28, 2012
My name is Ed Converse. I work only with buyers. One of my good friends lives in Roswell and works for Dell. I have lived in Alpharetta for the past 35 years and focus my real estate in the alpharetta,Roswell,Johns Creek area. there are several areas here which have particularly higher apprreciation than others. Also if you have school age kids, some schools are bertter than others. I would be happy to work with you and help you find the perfect solution for your housing. My real estate clients will tell you I find the perfect home for people!
You can call me anytime at 404-936-8980 or emakil me at I look forward to hearing from you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 28, 2012
It depends on several factors, Joburke, such as price range, amenities you expect, the length of time you will stay there, etc. There are some incredible values at Sugarloaf Country Club and Sweet Bottom Plantation, for example, but Alpharetta has great neighborhoods with tremendous upside as well. If you would like for me to send you electronic flyers of some of these properties, please forward me your email address and I will get them over ASAP. If you'd like to see some soon, please call, text or email and I will arrange the viewings. Good Luck!

Michael Hammond
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 28, 2012
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