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Old 07-02-2007, 08:55 AM
Location: Atlanta
313 posts, read 1,122,365 times
Reputation: 117


I am a suburban ATL native but have been in the midwest (Motown) for a few years now, but we plan on moving back next spring. I know Atlanta well enough that I do not want to go back to the suburbs (not enough history and character, and I doubt traffic has gotten better in the last few years). I really enjoy the historic neighborhoods you find up here and the walkablitly...we are not into mcmansions or ranch homes, we would love a craftsman style or earlier type architecture.

Our problem is we dont know ITP very well. What areas here have...
Great schools and safety first and formost.
kid and dog frendly (parks and dog parks)
History, culture and character
walkable (not only sidewalks, but somewhere to go too)
we are looking at about 300k for a house.

looking for ideas, thanks!!
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Old 07-02-2007, 09:07 AM
9,124 posts, read 32,098,244 times
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I think you're going to have a tough time meeting all of those parameters once you throw in the last one- the $300k budget. While people will certainly voice their disagreement with me, and post areas that may work, I'm going to say that at $300k you're going to be compromising on either safety, schools, walkability, or some combination of those three.

There's a reason everyone's moving out the suburbs.......

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Old 07-02-2007, 09:11 AM
40 posts, read 333,661 times
Reputation: 73
Default Decatur is Greater!

We live in Decatur and I think it has all you need. The schools are awesome. The K-3 schools use Expeditionary Learning (google ELOB) and the 4th grade and up is in the process of implementing the International Baccalaureate program. Very safe, very walkable (all of my kids walk to school every day) ....and a dog park and a playground in almost every neighborhood. There is always a ton of family friendly stuff going on in Decatur - in fact we get sort of overwhelmed by it at times.

So long as you are in the actual city of Decatur, there are no "bad" schools. They are all pretty much the same academically so you can live where you want. Northside is pretty expensive - especially in the Great Lakes neighborhood - but it is really nice. Oakhurst is historic and more reasonable (though still pretty pricey) and has a really hip commercial node with a popular pizza joint and some other funky restaurants. Winnona Park is also nice. It is a bit more expensive than Oakhurst but less than Great Lakes. Lenox Park is also fun and funky. Glennwood is also really nice but expensive.

The K-3 schools in Decatur are Oakhurst, Clairemont, and Winnona Park (they each have about 250 kids). They all feed into Glennwood Academy which is the 4th and 5th grade school and has about 350 kids). Renfroe is the middle school (about 500 kids) and Decatur High is the high school (about 700 kids).

You really need to make sure you are in the Decatur city limits school-wise though. They have their own school system separate from DeKalb County. DeKalb definitely has some good schools, but it is not good system-wide.

Good luck! If Decatur isn't for you - you'd probably like Candler Park or Lake Claire. They have great schools (Mary Lin, Inman and Grady) and a similar feel to Decatur.
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Old 07-02-2007, 09:15 AM
Location: ga
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sumiller2000, is any community you recommended around 300K? That's biggest question. City of Decatur housing is way over 300K, for example.
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Old 07-02-2007, 09:23 AM
40 posts, read 333,661 times
Reputation: 73
Default Hmmmm.. price is a problem

That is correct, 300K is pretty tough in Decatur. Although I do know of a couple of houses (one in Winnona Park) that are 4 BRs and about $350,000. You will need to get with a realtor that is really familiar with Decatur. I'd drive around and look at realtor signs to find folks with lots of Decatur listings. I could recommend a couple, but I'm not allowed to on this forum. Most people in Decatur do complain about their small expensive houses, but it's a sacrifice that you make for the lifestyle.

There definitely are houses in the $300,000s but you have to really look and you may have to do some updating. I would check Winnona Park, Oakhurst, College Heights and Lenox Park if you are in this price range. These are all very safe neighborhoods. Some of them are diverse but are rapidly gentrifying and have little or no crime problem - except perhaps a little nuisance crime - i.e. don't leave your $500 bike sitting in the front yard unlocked all night. I live in one of the more diverse neighborhoods and we have never had a problem at all.

$300,000 may be totally unattainable in Lake Claire and Candler. They have really gotten expensive lately.

Ormewood Park and Grant Park may work for you too. They have a community charter school that I have heard is good. I have friends who live there but am not as familiar with that area.
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Old 07-02-2007, 09:35 AM
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If you are looking at about 300k for a house, this is going to be tough -- if you can go to 400K it may be a bit easier, but not necessarily much. And it isn't much fun being house poor.

Keep in mind that City of Decatur has very high property taxes and that will definitely put your monthly payments higher than say Cobb or Gwinnett.

I am not a fan of DeKalb schools as a whole, but you might check the areas that feed Livsey or Midvale Elementaries. There may be some houses in the Ashford Park district, Huntley Hills or Montgomery/Nancy Creek. All inside the perimeter.

Finally, as I wrote in an earlier post... you need to decide what makes a school good and acceptable for yourself... if you expect high parental involvement, almost every student college bound, mostly high acheiving children (and families) and consistently high community standards for education, then you need to work to find this. Additionally, if you are planning on public for k-12 then you need to understand that at some of the highest rated elementary schools in the state, a majority of families bail out before public middle school.
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Old 07-02-2007, 11:05 AM
Location: Atlanta
313 posts, read 1,122,365 times
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Is Decatur that much? I thought I saw a few homes on MLS in the high 200's to low 325's in Oakhurst (I just starting looking there)

Decatur really seems to fit what we are looking for.

anyone selling cheap?
I've been through Decatur once, a few years back, and remember likeing it...the only place I know well ITP is buckhead, which is way way out of our price range...
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Old 07-02-2007, 11:16 AM
3,966 posts, read 10,798,205 times
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It is critical (and I am certain that you know this) that you make sure that what you are looking at is really in the city limits. The best way to do this is to search by school... if you go to harrynorman dot com and search for homes then choose school district, I would do Renfroe Middle as there is a Decatur county in Georgia as well.

There are lots of small houses in Decatur, so it is possible that you will find stuff in your price range... only you can decide what you are willing to sacrifice for ITP.

Also, Sumiller will know this -- I am not certain that all neighborhoods are equally safe in Decatur. I know that in some areas, the adjoining DeKalb areas are pretty rough.
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Old 07-02-2007, 11:29 AM
34 posts, read 265,032 times
Reputation: 52
Default Oak Grove/Decatur

There are a few 3BR/2Ba homes going for roughly 300K in the Oak Grove/North Decatur area where I live. (One is on Sagamore Drive, listing @ 299K, one is on Tanglewood listing @ 324K--perhaps they'd cut a deal?) This neighborhood not only has a walking village with pub, pizza place, restaurants, cleaners, walgreens, etc., but it has great schools, and the location is as central as you could get. The kids actually ride their bikes after dark around here (something I haven't seen in decades), or walk together to the village for ice cream. It's wonderful, and because the housing market is slow right now, there are some affordable deals at the moment.

Oh, and back in the '50s the ladies around Oak Grove planted an incredible assortment of flowering trees, which are now mature. In the spring, it's amazingly beautiful. We love it.

Good luck in your move.
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Old 07-02-2007, 11:42 AM
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There are some really cute bungalows in the area. I just recently had a client that I showed things to in Decatur. There are a few places w/in about 5 miles of the square which is a great area to roam around! Decatur also has an area that is being developed around the Talley Street area ( my client is buying one of the lofts in that area) that is going to be really nice. Developers have bought the land around the area for a mixed use concept.
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