Which areas should I be looking at in Atlanta and at what price range?

Asked by Jim Hark, 22180 Tue Jan 17, 2012

I'm looking to move out of the DC area to Atlanta. My requirements are as follows:

- Single family house that is not too close to other homes. It doesn't have to be all by itself on a multi-acre lot but I want some some separation from the next closest neighbors so that we can't look into each others kitchens.
- minimum 3 bed, 3 1/2 bath with den, or 4 bed 3 1/2 bath
- 2 car garage, 3 car if possible
- At least two floors, finished basement if possible

Location-wise, a diverse and safe area is desired. I don't want the kid's school to be 99% of any single race. Also, I am willing to pay a premium to be closer to the Atlanta proper area (insider the so called perimeter?) to be close to work. I also want the area to hold its home values compared to other cities in the metro area.
Other questions - what is the home property tax rate? Thanks.

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davidwbrower, , Woodstock, GA
Wed Jan 18, 2012
Welcome to ATL Jim. Hopefully, by now, you've seen a theme developing in your thread of answers. In summary as follows:

1) There are several agents who would like to provide you with real estate service.

2) It might be a good idea for you to hire one of those agents.

3) There are many factors that determine where you should live and an agent to whom you provide as much information as possible can assist you in accomplishing your goal.

4) Some agents know what they are talking about and some do not.

5) It might be a good idea for you to hire one of the agents who has a clue.

I don't work the ITP area and won't pretend to know more about that area than some of the agents who posted here. I suggest you find a connection with a single agent who will represent you well, listen well, and work hard for you to find your home here in ATL. If you want a referral of an agent or two whom works that area, I'd be glad to provide you with a recommendation. Just contact me if I can be of any help. Good luck!
1 vote
Randall Tayl…, Agent, Atlanta, GA
Wed Jan 18, 2012
Hi Jim,

There were many good answers here. But if you want a home for under $500k with separation from other houses, there's very, very little chance you'll find it in Buckhead or Virginia Highlands. Dunwoody or Sandy Springs on the north end perimeter would be your best bets. The schools there are very diverse as well. Morris Brandon and Sarah Smith in Buckhead are great schools but not diverse at all. Brookhaven, just inside the north perimeter is very nice as well. My kids went through the schools in Buckhead and Brookhaven and I was very happy with them. I still have one in high school. Also Dunwoody and Sandy Springs have held their value well through the recession. Prices are down a bit, but not as much as other areas.

Your taxes are going to be in the $5,000 a year range and you probably won't have to worry about homeowner association fees. But that depends on what type of neighborhood you move into.

I'll be glad to help you look at the different areas. I worked as an appraiser for 15 years here and am very familiar with all the areas mentioned by the realtors here. I'd love to share my knowlege of the are with you. It's a great time to buy a home in Atlanta.

1 vote
Sherrie Crow, Agent, Decatur, GA
Tue Jan 17, 2012
Hello Jim!

Wherever you eventually end up, you are going to love Atlanta! It's a great place to live and raise a family.

I am surprised no one has mentioned Decatur, a small community just east of downtown Atlanta. As far as I am concerned, Decatur is the best place to live inside the perimeter, hands down.

Why Decatur? Lots of reasons: Outstanding schools with a diverse population of students/ Walkable neighborhoods with really nice folks all around/ A true town square with a year-round program of concerts and festivals, including the Decatur Book Festival, one of the largest and best in the country/ Tons of fantastic restaurants/ great shopping including several art galleries and cool clothing boutiques/ A large inventory of really nice homes, in a variety of styles/ Easy access to all that Atlanta has to offer: art, theater, music, and more. I could go on and on. Decatur is a true "community" in the best sense of the word.

I am including a link to the City of Decatur web page.

It would be a lot of fun to help you and your family find your new home. Asa 5th-generation Atlantan, I know and love this city. It would be my great pleasure to introduce you not only to Decatur, but any of Atlanta's other unique neighborhoods...... and my tour includes an Atlanta history primer, free of charge!

Sherrie Crow
Keller Williams Realty Metro Atlanta
Web Reference:  http://www.decaturga.com/
1 vote
Jim Hark, Home Buyer, 22180
Tue Jan 17, 2012
I guess my budget is a key piece of information. I'd like to stay under $500k, but what can I get under 400? And in the 400 to 500 range? Additionally, I'd like low HOA (under $100/mo).
1 vote
Lee Taylor, Agent, Decatur, GA
Thu Jan 19, 2012

Thanks for the details and the follow up on price range - that $400-500K range is a sweet spot Intown for many neighborhoods. In particular, that range places a buyer on the edge of some of the finest neighborhoods. Edges can sometimes be a folly. On the flip side, edges are sometimes where the best values can be found.

I gave out a few thumbs up on some really great answers from Sherri, Randall, David and of course, you!

Since you are coming from DC, you know diverse and safe when you see it, right?

Well, Intown Atlanta and Decatur's best neighborhoods are diverse and safe, by most people's definitions.

Consider the following neighborhoods for a little internet research - if you want to meet sometime, then please let me know.

1. Amberwood
2. Echo Lake
3. The Great Lakes
4. LaVista Park
5. Pine Hills
6. Loring Heights
7. Grant Park
8. East Atlanta
9. western Buckhead
10. Sherwood Forest

Each of these will have their own constraints in the $400-500K range - each of the houses in these neighborhoods in your target range may not have all of the bedrooms that you need, or enough garage space, or they may be sitting on a weak lot, or you may find certain public school choices too far out of your minimum expectations - From there, you'll just need to start narrowing the zip codes and submarkets and even the street names, in order to qualify the best of the best for you and your family.

School districts and crime stats have a big role in determining the long term value outlooks for metro Atlanta's neighborhoods.
0 votes
Latisha Thom…, Agent, Atlanta, GA
Wed Jan 18, 2012
Agree last answer, Dunwoody is a very nice area, I really recommend the Cobb Area, which Vinning and Smyrna area which at the tip of 285, Dunwoody puts you in the Dekalb County, I believe the Property taxes are higher then any other county. I would look into if Dunwoody have separate property taxes. Virigina Highland is a very nice community with Atlanta area. Its more on the Downtown East area.
0 votes
Tyler Willis, Agent, Atlanta, GA
Wed Jan 18, 2012
Hi Jim,

There are plenty of areas that would fit your criteria. Your best bet may be the Buckhead area. Also look into the Dunwoody area as well. Dunwoody is just about right on the perimeter.

And I would feel horrible if I did not tell you about the Virginia Highlands area. Great neighborhood, with great schools, and plenty of things to do with dining, shopping and other things.

I would strongly recommend considering VA Highlands and Buckhead. When I moved here from Philadelphia which is pretty similar to DC as far as diversity; I felt right at home here.

Any questions feel free to ask. Check out my listing site as well.

Tyler Willis
Keller Williams Realty Intown Atlanta
0 votes
Latisha Thom…, Agent, Atlanta, GA
Wed Jan 18, 2012
Good Morning Mr. Hark

Atlanta Offers variety area in the Perimeter that will work for you and your family, Especially the Morris Brandon School District which is located in the Buckhead area, this goregous area is gives you a variety level of homes and a wide diverse and safe area. I highly recommend Cobb County which is a lower property tax, just a wonderful city. I know you looking for insider the perimeter which is the 285hwy, cobb county is just off the 285hwy, close to 75hwy and 20. I high recommend this county if you cant located what you want in the Buckhead area. So many foreclosure, I dont think it will be hard for you to locate what you need for you and your family. My daughter attends a Performance Art school in Cobb. I think that is a community within itself, who strive on safety, education.

When you decide on an agent please give me a call. If you I can send you listing on the above property decription you are looking for.

Latisha Thompson
P.I.E Realty, LLC
Web Reference:  http://www.pierealty.com
0 votes
Greta Thomas, Agent, Atlanta, GA
Tue Jan 17, 2012
Hi Jim and welcome to Atlanta. You seem to know what you are looking for which is great but there are still some information that is needed from you, for example the location of your job sight is important to determine the area you might want to live in. I strongly recommend that you hire an agent who will represent you and assist you in finding the right home in the right location. I am not sure how it is in DC but here if you hire an agent you will not usually pay him or her, they share in the commission with the seller's agent, so the benefits to you are great. Good luck! and please consider me when you decide to hire one!
0 votes
Louise Golden, , Atlanta, GA
Tue Jan 17, 2012
Jim, when are you planning on coming to Atlanta ? i have found several homes which will meet your criteria, one of which is on almost an acre lot,and all of them on great schools areas. Louise Golden
0 votes
Louise Golden, , Atlanta, GA
Tue Jan 17, 2012
Hi Jim, From what you describing, I think the Buckhead area, more specifically in the Morris Brandon School District would be your best choice. I have lived in this area for 18years, raised my children here and have been very pleased with the schools, safety , neighborhood, especially because people care so much and get involved . The homes in this area hold their value as good as and most of the time than in most areas. Having sold Real Estate 22 years, I am very familiar with other areas also. Please let me help you find your perfect home. Call or contact me at your earliest convenience and lets get started. Thank You.

Louise Golden
Chapman Hall Realtors
cell 404-357-5551
0 votes
Caroline Gam…, Agent, ALpharetta, GA
Tue Jan 17, 2012
Hi Jim,
Atlanta is a broad and diverse market and most buyers target an area based on their jobs since the traffic here is very heavy or look for the best public schools and work around those areas. The price range is all over the place based on how far away from the city you are willing to live. I have a buyer under contract now on a fantastic 7 year old home with a basement that is a foreclosure for $128,000 right now out in Paulding County and another buyer looking in Cobb County with some of the best schools in Georgia (Mount Bethel , Sope Creek, or Timber Ridge Elementary) for $300,000-$400,000. The ares with better schools closer to the perimeter or inside the perimeter are mostly older homes. Unless you plan to use a private school, you really have to research the quality of the public schools anywere in Georgia. http://www.greatschools.org is a good website or the Georgia Department of Education website. My advice after many years of working the Atlanta market is to focus on a good school district as close to the Perimeter as you can be even if it is an older home. Those areas have held up pretty well in value. Tax rates are high in Fulton and Dekalb Counties and lower in Cobb, Gwinnett, Cherokee, and Forsyth . If you look at homes located in the City of Atlanta/Fulton County , taxes are very high. Call me anytime for information about ANY home on the market here and check out our very unique Buyer Program at http://www.duffyrealtyofatlanta.com. I am a top producing buyer's agent ready to guide you through the process.
Caroline Gamma-Duffy Realty 404-668-9167
0 votes
Stephanie Ke…, Agent, Atlanta, GA
Tue Jan 17, 2012
Hi Jim,

With your request to be inside the perimeter, that will allow you many choices. We would have to consult to determine exact location and price. I would guess $300K-500K to achieve your goal.

It would be my pleasure to assit you with a plan of action to bring this all together. Feel free to contact me to schedule a no olbigation consultation.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Stephanie Kennedy
Managing Broker
Real Bizness Solutions

Visit me on the web to begin your home search 24/7 resource real estate resource center!
0 votes
David Herren, Agent, Atlanta, GA
Tue Jan 17, 2012
Jim, Welcome to Atlanta!

You have given some great criteria, but in order to provide the highest level of service, I need some additional information that may be to confidential to provide in an open forum. Please contact me at 404-425-4945 or by email.
Web Reference:  http://bestatlproperties.com
0 votes
Jeffrey K. C…, Agent, Hiram, GA
Tue Jan 17, 2012
Mr. Hark

Hello and I think you are going to like it here in Atlanta. I think based on the information you have given, Buckhead would be a great area, Virginia Highlands is a great area, and the Collier area would be good too as would midtown. I have worked with a number of folks who wanted their children to go to Sarah Smith Elementary School. I don't know how old your children are, but I am just putting it out there. If I can be of any more assistance to you please contact me at 678-773-0906 or send me an email at jeff.claeson@metrobrokers.com

0 votes
Cheryl C. Lee, , Atlanta, GA
Tue Jan 17, 2012
WOW! Great presentation of your criteria, Jim. And there are so many great options ITP (Inside the Perimeter). Happy to provide more information on various neighborhoods. As an Atlanta native, I would love to acclimate you to Atlanat and help work through all the options/pros/cons of each. An important determinant would be geographic proximity to your planned workplace to minimize commute issues.Let's talk at your convenience.
My best,
Cheryl Lee
Prudential Georgia Realty
0 votes
Michael Hamm…, Agent, Suwanee, GA
Tue Jan 17, 2012
What's your maximum price point, credit and income wise or are you a cash buyer with little upper limit, Jim?

Michael Hammond


0 votes
Adam Morrison, Agent, Atlanta, GA
Tue Jan 17, 2012
Hi Jim, the VA highlands or Buckhead are great areas of Atlanta to live in.

Adam Morrison
Web Reference:  http://adamhmorrison.com
0 votes
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