Also, with your price range, I would suggest condos and/or townhomes. You can purchase in gated or secured communites with covered parking or parking near your unit or a unit off the ground level.
If you are comfortable with the gritty aspects of the city, I would certaintly recommend to you many neighborhoods: Midtown, Little Five Points, Candler Park, Inman Park, VA Highlands, Old Fourth Ward, Decatur, Kirkwood, and much more. All of these neighborhoods are small communities with character of their own and plenty to do as far as shopping, restaurants, bars, etc. Atlanta has plenty to offer and I love living here, but there are small trade-offs that come with the city and part of that might be the "safe" aspect, depending on your comfort zone.
You have a wide array of choices along the North MARTA line into Chamblee, South near the West End, Eastward into Decatur and in the heart of downtown in Castleberry Hill. Midtown has affordable options too, but in many cases - all over town, you will trade square footage and floor plan, for location, updated finishes and amenities.
Come on down here and get your real estate on.
One thing going for you is the abundance of condos and townhomes that are on the market in the Atlanta area. The over supply of these units drives prices down and thats a good thing for you.
You can also consider purchasing a foreclosure, HUD, or Short sale to get even more for your money.
ERA Sunrise Realty