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?
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.
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) ...