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Old 06-19-2012, 10:30 PM
 
Location: Atlanta, GA
141 posts, read 236,094 times
Reputation: 88

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Quote:
Originally Posted by residinghere2007 View Post
I totally understand your predicament. I went through similar feelings before moving back to the city a few years ago in regards to where to send my son to school. He was 3 at the time and we only had one income and could not afford to live in the areas that are considered the best districts. I did come to the realization and a lot of other parents I know have come to the same realization, that education is more important in the home, the early years of a child's life than what will go on at school, especially at the elementary level (I place more weight on school from grades 5 and up). Also at each school, individual teachers are more important and their programs, how they teach each child, versus their test scores or reputations as "good." I know a few families who children go to "good" elementary schools in particular who seem less satisfied with their child's educational experiene due to what I mentioned above, a focus on test material or the cramming of memorization into their kids, excessive homework (3 hours plus per night for a 2nd grader) and higher class sizes/overcrowding. A lot of what are considered to be "mediocre" schools just have a large percentage of kids who were not taught at home very well before coming to school. I know at MA Jones, my son received excellent instruction from his teachers, even the one I didn't like was decent and he made sure to challenge my son with things that were above his grade level. All the teachers were very attentive to him and nuturing. Even with the bad apple kids I did feel they gave him adequate attention but I wanted for him to have a superior educational experience, which is why we took a chance on the charter school he goes to now and I am highly satisfied with the charter. All charters are not equal either BTW, some are worse than traditional schools and I was hesitant in putting my son in a charter.

A few of the schools in APS I know in particular will not have many changes over the next 4 years. Like I said, the Jackson cluster is growing and there is a lot of talk that they will be a great cluster in the future. There are still a lot of affordable houses in that area and if I were looking for a good school for my kids I would either look there or Riverside/Whittier Mill area, which is zoned for North Atlanta. We were thinking of moving within the city to find a place with a larger yard (we have 2 big dogs that need some space) and was looking at the east, SE, and westside areas due to these school zones. But I will probably end up moving back to Ohio where I'm from before my son hits high school as I'm from a smaller city, like the poster mentioned above and pretty much every school is decent there, plus they have vouchers so I can send my kids to private schools for free.

Residinghere, you're so helpful and so on point about education starting in the home! Not everyone can afford the best schools. It's just reality. As a child I went to an elementary school in a horrible district - the worst rated school district (at the time) in Mississippi, a state not exactly known for it's stellar education system. Most of my teachers were just fine and I had a mother who was committed to supplementing my education at home. I turned out fine. Of course I want the best I can afford with my future family but there's certainly more to schools than test scores.

And I'll definitely have to look more into the North Atlanta school district. It's an area I know little about since it's on the opposite end of town. Thanks again!
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Old 06-19-2012, 10:44 PM
 
Location: Sweet Home...CHICAGO
3,315 posts, read 3,763,475 times
Reputation: 3944
Quote:
Originally Posted by residinghere2007 View Post
I totally understand your predicament. I went through similar feelings before moving back to the city a few years ago in regards to where to send my son to school. He was 3 at the time and we only had one income and could not afford to live in the areas that are considered the best districts. I did come to the realization and a lot of other parents I know have come to the same realization, that education is more important in the home, the early years of a child's life than what will go on at school, especially at the elementary level (I place more weight on school from grades 5 and up). Also at each school, individual teachers are more important and their programs, how they teach each child, versus their test scores or reputations as "good." I know a few families who children go to "good" elementary schools in particular who seem less satisfied with their child's educational experiene due to what I mentioned above, a focus on test material or the cramming of memorization into their kids, excessive homework (3 hours plus per night for a 2nd grader) and higher class sizes/overcrowding. A lot of what are considered to be "mediocre" schools just have a large percentage of kids who were not taught at home very well before coming to school. I know at MA Jones, my son received excellent instruction from his teachers, even the one I didn't like was decent and he made sure to challenge my son with things that were above his grade level. All the teachers were very attentive to him and nuturing. Even with the bad apple kids I did feel they gave him adequate attention but I wanted for him to have a superior educational experience, which is why we took a chance on the charter school he goes to now and I am highly satisfied with the charter. All charters are not equal either BTW, some are worse than traditional schools and I was hesitant in putting my son in a charter.

A few of the schools in APS I know in particular will not have many changes over the next 4 years. Like I said, the Jackson cluster is growing and there is a lot of talk that they will be a great cluster in the future. There are still a lot of affordable houses in that area and if I were looking for a good school for my kids I would either look there or Riverside/Whittier Mill area, which is zoned for North Atlanta. We were thinking of moving within the city to find a place with a larger yard (we have 2 big dogs that need some space) and was looking at the east, SE, and westside areas due to these school zones. But I will probably end up moving back to Ohio where I'm from before my son hits high school as I'm from a smaller city, like the poster mentioned above and pretty much every school is decent there, plus they have vouchers so I can send my kids to private schools for free.
You make great points. It was transferring my daugther to Mary Lin in the 5th grade that set her on the great academic path she is on now.

In terms of what the OP wants for in-town amenities and schools, Virginia-Highland and Buckhead (Sutton, North Atlanta High district) is her best bet. She's just not going to get anything cheap on the home-buying front but another condo. I took a cheap apartment that was 5 cents short from being a dump in Virginia-Highland so my child could be in a great school district--and it was the best decision I ever could have made for her.
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Old 06-19-2012, 10:47 PM
 
Location: Atlanta, GA
141 posts, read 236,094 times
Reputation: 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlanta_BD View Post
I have to agree with Msh.

What you are looking for does not exist in town at that price unless you are ok with renting, or buying a very small condo flat. You say you are fine with 800-900 sq. ft. because you only want to have one child, but trust me, as a family, you will outgrow that space very quickly.

I moved from Avondale Estates to Stone Mountain to Virginia-Highland/Druid Hills because the schools in those suburban towns are horrible. My daughter did horribly in school and had behavioral problems when she went to school while we lived in Avondale Estates. We moved in town to Virginia-Highland, I transferred her to Mary Lin and she became a completely different child. Her behavior changed and her grades shot up. She went to Inman Middle School and is now going into her sophomore year in high school. She has been on the honor roll since middle school, was on the exceptional honor roll during her freshman year, has received many awards, and is taking accelerated math courses for the summer. I attribute that to us moving in town to a really good school district. When I lived in VA-HI, I only saw one bedroom condos for sale at the price you are seeking. Single family homes start at $700k there and a two bedroom condo may run $250k. Since the economy you might be able to catch some deals but because of the area, I doubt it. The schools are great though!

These are the following schools in the VA-HI/Druid Hills Area:

Mary Lin Elementary
Springdale Elementary
Morningside Elementary
Fernbank Elementary
Inman Middle School
Grady High School
Paidea School (Private)

I don't know much about the charter schools because I never felt the need to put my child in one since living in that district.

We live in Buckhead now so she attends North Atlanta High School. Everything is a trade-off. I only want to live in town and because I am a single parent who doesn't make a lot of money currently, I accept that I will most likely not be a homeowner. But I'd rather live in town and have access to all the amenities and good schools and rent than buy in the 'burbs where there's nothing to do, long commutes and ****ty schools.

You have to evalulate what is top priority for you and your future family. Is homeownership that much of priority for what you want? Something to think about.

I can't speak for all major cities, but at least for Atlanta, I've found that living in the suburbs isn't necessarily the key to a better life if you are wanting to raise children. I've experienced more crime and dangerous situations when I lived in Avondale Estaes and Stone Mountain. When I lived in the above-mentioned areas, my place was robbed, I was threatened to be robbed on the street, important documents snatched out of my hands and I left my building, my apartment buidling was set on fire, and another apartment was shot into; and the same weekend my place was shot into, a resident who lived way on the other side of the complex was murdered.

Since living in town I've had no problems at all. None! Heck, I even leave my car doors unlocked; and I've walked to the store or have gone jogging at 10 and 11 at night with absolutely no incident. I would never have done any of those things in Avondale Estates or Stone Mountain.

Thanks for your input, Atlanta_BD! As strange as it may seem, we really are okay with smaller spaces. I grew up in an home that wasn't quite 800 square feet with three siblings. My entire family family shared one bathroom. I realize some people would find that situation unbearable but it's what I've been accustomed to and honestly what we both prefer. For me, more space isn't a major bonus.

I realize with our budget we won't be able to afford the best school district and that's okay with us. Mary Lin/Inman/Grady is an incredible group of schools but it's not what's attainable for us in the foreseeable future. Even renting a home in those areas are expensive. Continued homeownership isn't a necessity for us at all. However, it does seem that the areas with high home costs also have high rents.

And oh my goodness! The crime you experienced in Avondale is horrible. I've lived in Avondale for years and haven't experienced anything like that. I walk my dog all hours of the day and night, often alone, and have never felt unsafe. The worst thing I recall happening here since I've lived in Avondale is a neighbor's car getting stolen.
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Old 06-19-2012, 11:33 PM
 
Location: Sweet Home...CHICAGO
3,315 posts, read 3,763,475 times
Reputation: 3944
Quote:
Originally Posted by starfish27 View Post
Thanks for your input, Atlanta_BD! As strange as it may seem, we really are okay with smaller spaces. I grew up in an home that wasn't quite 800 square feet with three siblings. My entire family family shared one bathroom. I realize some people would find that situation unbearable but it's what I've been accustomed to and honestly what we both prefer. For me, more space isn't a major bonus.

I realize with our budget we won't be able to afford the best school district and that's okay with us. Mary Lin/Inman/Grady is an incredible group of schools but it's not what's attainable for us in the foreseeable future. Even renting a home in those areas are expensive. Continued homeownership isn't a necessity for us at all. However, it does seem that the areas with high home costs also have high rents.
If I as a single parent with little money and no support can live and send my child to school in the best school districts, so can you! I not only did it in one nice neighborhood, I did it in two! I went from VA-HI to Buckhead, which is even more expensive than the latter. You just have to be willing to dig deep and network to find people that can get you into cheap apts in the best areas if you aren't sold on homeownership. That's what I did. I have never owned my own home. You will be suprised at how many cheap places you can find to rent, especially in Buckhead
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Old 06-20-2012, 05:54 AM
 
75 posts, read 156,006 times
Reputation: 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Onthemove2014 View Post
1. Atlanta metro does not have "over 6million people". Try just over 5million.

2. The job market is nothing compared to DC. ATL's economy is in the dumps and not " should recover quickly".
Well, wasn't that helpful advice for the OP. Suggestion: .
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Old 06-20-2012, 06:58 AM
 
2,074 posts, read 2,000,539 times
Reputation: 1425
Quote:
Originally Posted by msh0146 View Post
I don't want to be negative, but here are my $0.02.

What you are looking for does not exist. A hidden gem neighborhood in the city where you can buy a home big enough for a small family in a solid school district for $170K?

Look, this is a major metro area of over six million souls. You might find something like this in Kansas City or somewhere else in flyover country, but in Atlanta? I wish you luck, but I don't think so. I went through similar research while assessing a job opportunity in NOVA just outside of DC and I was stunned by the real estate costs. Large, relatively desirable cities with job markets that either haven't stalled (NOVA) or should recover quickly (ATL) are simply going to cost more.

You may need to re-set your expectations and will need to increase your budget somewhat, I am afraid.

Good luck.
Well said. If what you want existed . . . a lot of us would already live there. "Desireable neighborhoods" are desireable, and people are willing to pay to live there.

In the price range you've given, your only really "good" options are going to be picking an area where the schools are improving, and hope for the best by the time you have school-age children.

Krikwood probably has the best chance of being better in 6 years than it is now. They just hired the principal from Inman Middle over to Coan Middle, which should be a good change. There are oodles and oodles of young families in that neighborhood with kids under 5 that have rolled the dice, and are hoping the schools turn around before their kids need to go there. Community involvement is one critical aspect of school performance, so maybe it'll pan out, since they have that in abundance. The flippers are still very much at work in Kirkwood, so in the mid-high $100k range you may still be fighting investors on a lot of sales who are looking to renovate, expand, and upgrade homes. They have more cash and better buying resources than you will, so it could be frustrating.
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Old 06-20-2012, 07:09 AM
 
Location: Kirkwood
22,159 posts, read 16,163,004 times
Reputation: 4894
Quote:
The flippers are still very much at work in Kirkwood, so in the mid-high $100k range you may still be fighting investors on a lot of sales who are looking to renovate, expand, and upgrade homes. They have more cash and better buying resources than you will, so it could be frustrating.
Old dilapidated homes are being bought weekly and renovated. Deals are still available.
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Old 06-20-2012, 07:14 AM
 
2,074 posts, read 2,000,539 times
Reputation: 1425
Quote:
Originally Posted by cqholt View Post
Old dilapidated homes are being bought weekly and renovated. Deals are still available.
Understood. My point is that competition with investors is a reality in that market. They have significant resource advantages. They know about new listings first, and can bring attractive cash offers.
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Old 06-20-2012, 08:09 AM
 
Location: Kirkwood
22,159 posts, read 16,163,004 times
Reputation: 4894
Quote:
Originally Posted by red92s View Post
Understood. My point is that competition with investors is a reality in that market. They have significant resource advantages. They know about new listings first, and can bring attractive cash offers.
I was agreeing with you, except the investment homes are >$90K to low $100K.
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Old 06-20-2012, 12:56 PM
 
12,917 posts, read 20,990,812 times
Reputation: 4076
Quote:
Originally Posted by Onthemove2014 View Post
Like where?
See the responses you received right after your post.
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