Hi Brandi, I am not a real estate person, just a native Atlantan that is familiar with many areas of Atlanta and thrilled to hear you might be moving here. I have lived in most of the areas referenced by the other replies, Alpharetta, Dunwoody, Carrollton, Windward/John's Creek, Flowery Branch, Oakwood, and now on Lake Lanier in Gainesville. All the comments made are accurate, the schools in Cobb are known to be the best but many other areas have Presidential award winning schools as well (N. Fulton and Forsyth to name two). The traffic is pretty awful. I work from home but travel most weeks. Since I control my schedule (i.e.when to drive to the airport), I can reach Hartsfield Int'l in about 70 minutes and it's 62 miles from my house straight down 400. If you have to be in an office regularly, you will want to be as close as possible. I couldn't say enough wonderful things about the Lake Lanier area in general but it is a bit North of Atlanta and it really depends on the aforementioned work situation. If you want a quieter pace but still near everything (monster outlet mall, N. GA Mtns, Lake) you need you might want to consider the Cumming area of Forsyth county. I believe Forsyth is still the fastest growing county in the country. That's good and bad - great schools, hospitals, shopping, etc but getting busier by the day. Also, Forsyth county is the cheapest property tax and water fee counties in the Atlanta area...you can get almost twice the house for the same amount of taxes that you'd pay in Fulton, Cobb, DeKalb, or Gwinnett. You'll have no problem finding a wonderful home in your price range. One of the other advantages the Atlanta area is that we haven't been hit as hard with the home devaluation as of late. Mainly due to the fact that we didn't have the crazy increases that FL, CA, MA, and other states have seen...just a nice 3-7% increase every year. Of course, lake property is much more expensive but we have seen upwards of 7+% even in the last couple years. This doesn't mean you won't find a good deal...there are still many foreclosures. If you'd like to chat further, my personal email is email@example.com.
Best of luck to you and your family.