Quality of Life in Atlanta>Question Details

Alex Jackson, Home Buyer in Atlanta, GA

I'm a renter who loves Inman Park and two places there -- 870 Inman and Grinnell Lofts. Any preference/advice?

Asked by Alex Jackson, Atlanta, GA Sun Jul 26, 2009

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Alex,

I have a secret that's not so secret: Inman Park is my favorite neighborhood in Atlanta. Cool people live there, and from Little Little Five Points to the Inman Park Village redevelopment, it is even cooler than it was 10 years ago. Certainly, 870 and Grinnell have a lot in common, so why not pretend that they are equal.

They kinda sorta are: condos, lofts and townhomes, in any given price strata, in any given geographic submarket, are pretty much the same lifestyle choice, aren't they?

They certainly aren't a real estate investment.

My preference between the 2 is this - I probably would choose the sweetest, most quiet and largest Grinnell loft over the cookie cutter choices across the street, then I would break down my amenities and services per building and per unit square footage and then I would determine if my choice of a Grinnell unit made enough sense as a month to month "subscription" vs. 870's offering.

But, if I were spending your money, and if I had to spend it on a loft, then why wouldn't I cross the tracks and pick up a unique, one of a kind loft at The Stacks in Cabbagetown?

Are you following me?

So,while in Ctown, depending on your sense of adventure, wouldn't buying a single family house in Cabbagetown, even an antique 1/1, make better long term financial sense than buying a condo?

If the last ten years tells you anything, and if the last 2 years are the violent final chapter to the story, then doesn't a single family house make a better investment under the current incredibly good purchasing terms and conditions?
Web Reference: http://intowninsider.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 26, 2009
Alex, I have to agree with Lee Taylor. From a financial side, condo's, lofts and bungalows have been a bear for financing. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have all but pulled out of the condo market and are requiring 10% down. They are making it harder for people to qualify for attached homes (town homes excluded). Most financing that I've had to revert to is FHA financing and there aren't that many condo's that are FHA approved thanks to a HUD glitch a few months ago. Getting a single family detached home with land value is always a great way to go. If you can't find anything at that point, consider a town home. Think condo as a last resort. Regardless of your down payment, just make sure that the lender you choose can run your loan through FHA or Conventional.

How do you know if your condo can be financied? Ask the loan officer to complete a condo questionnaire at the beginning of the process and have their underwriter approve the project. It may cost you a couple hundred bucks up front to do this, but it'll save you a major headache towards the end of the process. Most loan officers don't like doing the questionnaire until the tail end of the loan because they don't like asking the buyer for money before asking for the appraisal money. There are some projects that are FHA approved and some lenders will not require a questionnaire because of it's approval.

For those who used the HUD website for HUD approved condo's, please be aware that this is now a site for DELRAP and pre-DELRAP approval (see link below). This is no longer a site letting you know that the condo is approved. It means it might be approved and must go through the HUD approval process. This can take up to 2 months. Make sure the condo is approved by the lender before moving forward with the contract.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 8, 2010
Alex - two completely different products--much difference in price, upgrades, style, uniqueness and amenities.
I also like Inman Park Vilage Lofts and I think the views (especially from the East facing units) are great.
But I agree with Lee that a single family home is your best investoment for appreciation over the long term--but I realize it's not for everyone's lifestyle. Find a good realtor and check some places out, and they'll help you figure out what the best investment is for you (and your lifestyle) ...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 12, 2010
This will be your home for a period of time. You need to decide. Whatever floats your boat.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 26, 2009
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