Looking in Sylvan Hills...

Asked by Michelle A., Atlanta, GA Wed Jul 9, 2008

Can you tell me the pros and cons of this neighborhood? I'm looking for a neighborhood close to downtown and MARTA but the area seems a bit rough around the edges. Thanks in advance.

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Monica Kareem, , Gwinnett County, GA
Sun Jul 13, 2008
Hi Michelle. My name is Monica and I live in Sylvan Hills, across from Perkerson Park. The Good: great price for intown living, great brick bungalows, close to MARTA (actually going to purchase a bike this week and attempt to ride it to work to save money), close to Airport, active neighborhood association (meets last Thursday of every month at 7:00pm at Easter Seals School on Melrose and Victory), close to highways and lots of side streets to skip the highways (Metropolitan turns to Northside Dr. etc), beautiful park, tennis courts, play ground, base ball field, butts up to Capital View neighborhood which is also great. I'm a very extroverted/friendly person so I spent time getting to know my neighbors. We all watch out for each other and that brings a sense of security to your home. There are ALOT of future plans for redevelopment and ALOT of abandoned buildings for that redevelopment. So if you have a long-term goal of sticking it out, you'll eventually see the harvest of your labor!

The bad: lots of vacant homes - draws crime, yards don't look so great, lots of renters. I often find trash in my yard (empty chip bags, soda cans) due to adults and kids having a blatant disregard of personal property and no concept of trash cans. Sometimes I hear gun shot noises (you'll get to know the difference between fireworks and gun shots!), kids like to walk/stand in the middle of the street and then look at you like your have a problem when you drive by. IF YOU CAN DEAL WITH ALL THESE NUISANCES, and that's they are, then you will enjoy the neighborhood.

If you can be a creative problem solver instead of dweller, you will have the ability to make an impact in this neighborhood. When I speak about the BAD issues, I used to live off Ralph McGill and Boulevard in a townhome around Freedom Parkway. I wouldn't even go (and still don't) to the gas station on the corner because of the elements that hang outside and down Boulevard. Yet it's supposidly and nicer area.

I like Sylvan Hills. I've attended neighborhood crime watch/block captain trainings, been part of the SHNA (Sylvan Hills Neighborhood Assoc.), attend NPU-X monthly meetings, know my City Council woman personally. So I feel apart of this community and know alot of people who can help me with anything (yard work, ride to MARTA, to airport, questions about Code Enforcement, traffic light being out etc).

The SHNA started a new Google Group you can sign up on if you want. SylvanHillsGroup@googlegroups.com

Our website for the neighborhood is http://www.sylvanhillsna.org/index.php

I've been in real estate for over 3 years and know alot about SW ATL. Buy a Big Dog and you shouldn't have any problems! I've never had a problem with break-ins and I have a big dog. Get to know all your neighbors. Befriend them. Watch out for each other. Attend the free trainings on code enforcement and crime watch which will help you be alert to suspicious activities. If you aren't used to that mindset, you don't really notice things that would be red flags. Even though I'm 36, I act like the old "nosey neighbor" that has nothing better to do with her time. But ALL my neighbors call me when they notice odd things and we deal with it together.

I wish you much success on your real estate journey. It's definitely an adventure.

Monica Manwaring
404-729-7000 cell
3 votes
Joan Shorter, Agent, Atlanta, GA
Fri Jul 18, 2008
Hi Michelle!
There is so much to consider and I've noticed in addition to "the" list home-buyers have their decision is based on the feeling they get from the house and area. With all you are looking for, you may want to consider East Point and College Park. They both have MARTA stations that are just blocks from the historic neighborhoods, plus shops and restuarants. "Big Box" shopping can be done at the Camp Creek Marketplace which has Lowes, Publix. Old Navy, Barnes and Nobles, Target, etc.

I am quite familiar with Sylvan Hills and it has been "on the cusp" for years indeed. There is a small cool coffee shop and a strong neighborhood organization. However, there have been a number of foreclosures due to investors who do poor renovation jobs or just run off with the $ with no renovation. Unfortunately Atlanta has been blighted with this and that is one reason the lending market is where it is. But I digress. There does not seem to be any more crime in Sylvan Hills than there is anywhere else.

I think it will come down to you finding the home that tugs at your heart and suits your budget.
0 votes
Lee Taylor, Agent, Decatur, GA
Fri Jul 11, 2008
John Adams, Atlanta's real estate guru for the past 20 years, has a recommendation for real estate investors that pretty much holds up everywhere.

If you drive down the street(s) that you are considering at 7:30pm with the windows down, and you feel comfortable, then you should be comfortable living in the neighborhood.

Fraud, amateur real estate speculators and a few other criminals have hurt the area, but not forever.

I believe that the Beltline will happen in 20 years. I believe that in about 7 years Fort Mcpherson will be a remarkable area. I believe that within 10 years, so will Lakewood. Sylvan Hills is a small neighborhood, but it will be positively impacted by Atlanta's population growth over the next few years. People are coming, and Sylvan Hills will prosper over time.

I know the areas that might interest you - if you want a free tour, call me.
0 votes
Greg H., Both Buyer And Seller, Atlanta, GA
Thu Jul 10, 2008
Hey Michelle, I'm glad to help.

Regarding your questions:

Why has it been in transition for close to 10 years? I don't get that and I was hoping that the local realty pros here could help me understand. (GH) I would definitely recommend finding a professional realtor that has worked the area during at least the last eight years and can give you the straight goods. I've seen Ramiro Garcia http://www.dwellintown.com/ on here and he has made some comments indicating he knows the area pretty well. ERA Baker Group (East Point) also works the area. Another realtor that deals with a lot of REO homes is Rick Hale. My feeling is that the area was ripe for transition in the early 2000's when the real estate market was taking off. The speculators, flippers and fraudulant mortgage groups moved in and drove up the prices (and taxes) and the area was really starting to show signs of improvement. Alot of that ended with the subprime crisis. Now its difficult for people to get mortgages and buy homes as the 30310 zipcode is one of the worst for foreclosures and mortgage fraud in GA.

Also there don't seem to be any big box grocery stores, restaurants, or retail shops nearby...is this part of the reason? Is it because of the neighborhood's location around railway and other industry? (GH) Its all about demographics with these kinds of companies. My guess is that they just havent seen enough momentum/penetration in their target audiences to warrant investment. Chicken and Egg kind of thing. Its definitely one of the downsides to the area as there is no central retail district like East Point or College Park.

I'd really like to know what I'm missing so that I can make an informed decision. It seems that I don't have all the facts. (GH) I understand. It takes time. Find as many experts as possible and do alot of research. I really believe the area has tremendous potential if you can handle a few years wait to get a major payback.

One last point - I believe Capitol View has a neighborhood association that meets on a regular basis. It might be worth looking into.
0 votes
Michelle A., , Atlanta, GA
Thu Jul 10, 2008
Greg H. Thank you so much for your input.

The main reasons I am looking at Sylvan Hills is because (1) of the low prices, (2) the brick bungalows (I like old craftsman type homes), (3) a park next to the neighborhood, (4) it's location 5-10 minutes from downtown, and (5) it's location within one mile of two different MARTA stations. With petrol being sky high, I'm looking for a place that will allow me to walk or ride my bike to MARTA and then take the train straight to work during the week. This is only area that seems to fit the bill in terms of price.

Capitol View Manor fits all of the criteria above except #5. It's a bit further from the train stations and I would need to cross a busy street to get there. If that wasn't an issue then Capitol View Manor would have been my first stop. I rode through there once with a friend and it was very quiet...tucked away from the hustle and bustle about it.

To get back to the subject, you mentioned that Sylvan Hills is transitioning. I did a google search on the neighborhood and based on a Creative Loafing article it seems that it has been transitioning since the early 2000s. Why has it been in transition for close to 10 years? I don't get that and I was hoping that the local realty pros here could help me understand. Also there don't seem to be any big box grocery stores, restaurants, or retail shops nearby...is this part of the reason? Is it because of the neighborhood's location around railway and other industry? I'd really like to know what I'm missing so that I can make an informed decision. It seems that I don't have all the facts.
0 votes
Greg H., Both Buyer And Seller, Atlanta, GA
Thu Jul 10, 2008
The Sylvan Hills/Capitol View areas are definitely transitioning..and the prices are beginning to reflect the status. Do your research on the crime etc - CIty of Atl, Trulia, Zillow. As with most of the "rough around the edges" areas, you should look street by street. Sylvan/Capitol View are in a great location with quick access to downtown, major interstates, technical colleges and the airport. My opinion is that the pricing is bottoming out now that most of the speculators and quick flippers are moving out of the market along with the current mortgage issues. There are some great homes, but you will have to have tolerance for the types of activities that can occur in such an area. I looked at Sylvan for a long time and found a neighborhood very close by called Capitol View Manor. (A separate entity from Capitol View) CVM is a real neighborhood with tudor and other style homes and it has limited entrance/exits, whereas Sylvan has main thoroughfares - i.e. Sylvan Road etc. For sure I am biased as I have a completely renovated home for sale in Capitol View Manor near Emma Millikan park. Please let me know if you are interested.
0 votes
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