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Okay, we hear it over and over again: Don’t live in Clayton County, DeKalb County, or South Fulton. Either the schools are bad, the neighborhoods leave something to be desired, or the crime rate is off the charts—very possibly, all of the above! Just about everyone who reads this forum has been educated on the virtues of moving to North Fulton, City of Decatur, Peachtree City, Buckhead, Tucker, etc. These are the places where you want to be.
Just about all of us will agree that most people want to live in a nice home in a nice neighborhood within a nice school district. However, at the end of the day, it all boils down to how much money you have and how much money you can borrow to buy your home. That dictates what you can afford. You can wish to avoid undesirable areas all you’d like but if those are your only options based on what you can reasonably afford it would be a massive waste of time searching in areas that are out of your price range.
Sure, you could rent in one of the “better neighborhoods,” but I would personally prefer to own my own single-family detached home with a yard in a less desirable neighborhood that I can afford with money saved up in the bank at the end of the month, than to rent in an affluent neighborhood that consumes a huge amount of my net income and leave me eating Oodles and Noodles for dinner and no money in the bank for the light bill. Especially if the less desirable neighborhood is not a war zone, but simply has some problems that can be coped with for an intermediate period of time (5 years or less).
From my perspective, living somewhere you can afford enable you to manage your finances better so you can eventually afford to upgrade to a better home in a better neighborhood. Plus, when the real estate market bounces back for homeowners, you might even be fortunate enough to have a capital gain from the sale of your home that you can use toward the purchase of another. On the other hand, living beyond your means just be buy into a “great neighborhood” may feel good in the short term, but over the long haul it sets you up to be potentially evicted not to mention the worry and anxiety you feel when you’re unsure of how you’re going to come up with all of that next month’s rent that you knew in advance you could not afford in the first place.
Having said all of that for context, I’m starting this thread to voice my opinion that no county is all bad or all good. The best things happen in some of the worst places and some of the worst things happen in the best places. On a gut level, I believe that have got to be plenty of good, decent, hard-working, law-abiding residents who have faith in God or are spiritual, possess family values, have a respect for community and are neighborly, and are civic-minded and politically involved who live in Clayton, DeKalb, or South Fulton County. And, I ‘m sure those good folks probably have a wealth of living experience and input that they could provide to a Georgia newcomer like me who likely to be moving to those areas to have a good lifestyle and a quality living experience.
Examples of things I’d like to know: Where you go to shop if the shopping in your area is lacking? What type of measures do you take to prevent your home from being burglarized or to protect yourself from a home invasion? If you live in an area where your home is affordable, but your commute is awful, how early do you leave to avoid getting snarled in traffic and still make it to work on time? Do you only go out at night on certain days because Friday and Saturday nights are crazy in your neighborhood? Do you own a gun? Do you prefer multiple guns? Do you carry on your person or do you use it as home defense only? What intersections do you consider sketchy and therefore warn people to avoid. Are there certain gas stations that you go to because they’re safer than others? What stores do you avoid because they have bad reputation? Did you set up a town watch program to keep your neighborhood safe? Do you find it is better to socialize with your neighbors or stay to yourself and maintain a low profile? The list of things that could be helpful for a newcomer to know is endless.
While I think I is obviously good advise to steer people away from certain cities/towns/neighborhoods if they can afford to do better, I think we do people on this forum a great disservice when we do not share with them how they can cope with living in those less than desirable neighborhoods if that is all they can afford while they strive for something better.
I look forward to a frank, honest, and enlightening discussion on this subject.
Last edited by neverbored; 09-12-2009 at 02:49 PM..
Reason: A couple minor typos
While we are touring homes, what do your job prospects look like? Honestly I think searching for homes and going through all of that will be a waste of time if you don't have a job. If you plan on moving here without a job, plan to have at LEAST 6 months of living expenses saved up because even though Atlanta is a "hot spot", jobs are still hard to come by.
And, like I said before, you may end up with a job in Alpharetta or some other place that's not in the heart of downtown Atlanta and in that case, commuting from the southside back in traffic is a nightmare.
Please secure a job first before you narrow down things. Where you get a job could change your whole aspect of home buying possibilities.
South Fulton and Dekalb get a worse wrap than they actually deserve. Don't let news stories and second hand accounts from strangers on the internet sway you. Look for yourself. You'll find you will probably be surprised.
South Fulton in my opinion is the best of them all. Check out East Point as well. It's a nice city and it feels more like you are in the City of Atlanta than outside of it.
Rex is cool.My parents have a rental house there.Its in Peachtree Farms Subdivision near Stagecoach and Rex Rd.Nice safe neighborghood.Are you interested in living in the city of Atlanta?I know of some great deals if you don't mind being in a very transitional (okay really hood to be honest.But how much hood can you take?)area
I would include Stone Mountain 30087 in that list of places to visit. It includes Smoke Rise, Deshon and Rockbridge areas. IMO it is the best area of Stone Mountain. Very Nice homes, middle class families, some crime, but probably not any worse than some of the intown "cool" areas. The homes in the area are reasonably priced. The schools are not so great. But my intention is to stay in the home that I can afford for now and utilize private schools. I am not inclined to continue to chase the next great area of Atlanta. Things change rapidly. I have considered moving to a so-called great school district. But by the time my daughter (2 years old) is ready to attend, I am not so sure that the school will be still considered to be good. 11 years ago when I moved into my home, the schools in my district were considered excellent. I don't know what happened. But it seemed to have happened overnight. I would rather stay in the house that I can afford for now and better manage my finances. If the neighborhood changes drastically and crime increases significantly then I will be ready to pack my bags. I live in an enclave of older homes with many of the original homeowners. Though there is crime in the surrounding area, my neighbors are not the people that I want to move away from. Most are professionals and espouse the same family values that I have. I am confident that when I am away from home, my neighbors are looking out for my property and are alert to things out of the ordinary. There a definitely some rough areas of Stone Mountain like around Memorial drive. I don't make it a habit to hang out there. I feel very comfortable in my area of 30087. I am not constantly looking over my shoulder. I do not feel the need to carry a weapon. As far as shopping is concerned, I usually travel to StoneCrest Mall , or Hwy 124 to Webb Gin Area.
I believe that is the responsibility of the people who live in the area to make it a good community. There is no reason Stone Mountain Village (Historic Area) can not become a great destination for little cool shops and restaurants like City of Decatur. There are great older home with character in that area. It is going to take some work like in the gentrified areas of Oakhurst, East Lake, Kirkwood and Decatur. If I did not live in Stone Mountain and know any better. I would be very skeptical of the entire Stone Mountain based on the feedback that you receive on this forum.
I currently live in Clayton County (I think I've posted on one of your threads previously) and I bought a house in Clayton County, because similar to you, I bought into an area I could afford and the house I bought had everything I wanted (new construction, garage, under a certain price point). When I bought the house, Clayton County hadn't lost their accreditation, and since I grew up in Clayton County (before it went downhill), it was home, so I guess there was a degree of nostalgia that played into my decision. I bought the house with a similar mindset; I didn't want my mortgage payment to leave me broke and penniless at the end of the month.
With that being said, here are some answers to your questions:
Where you go to shop if the shopping in your area is lacking? There is a Walmart and a Publix not too far from my house that will do on days when I don't feel like driving. If I do feel like driving and want to stay on the southside, sometimes I venture to McDonough or Fayetteville. If I don't feel like driving but don't want to shop down here, I go to places by my job in Norcross, such as Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Perimeter Mall. I usually take a weekly trip to the Dekalb County Farmer's Market for great produce, meat, and wine selections.
What type of measures do you take to prevent your home from being burglarized or to protect yourself from a home invasion? I have an alarm system, and I live on a cul-de-sac with close knit neighbors. Some people may consider neighbors like that nosy, but I consider them an additional layer of security.
If you live in an area where your home is affordable, but your commute is awful, how early do you leave to avoid getting snarled in traffic and still make it to work on time? Luckily, I work from 7 - 3:30, so I usually leave for work at 6:30 with no issues. The afternoons usually take me about 45 minutes to get home, unless it's raining or it's Friday.
Do you only go out at night on certain days because Friday and Saturday nights are crazy in your neighborhood? No, I feel like if you live your life in fear, you'll never live. But I do spend more time in the city on the weekends than I do in Clayton County.
Do you own a gun? Do you prefer multiple guns? Do you carry on your person or do you use it as home defense only? No, I don't own a gun, but have thought about it once or twice.
What intersections do you consider sketchy and therefore warn people to avoid? None, really.
Are there certain gas stations that you go to because they’re safer than others? Yes, I usually have certain gas stations that I frequent because the clientele isn't as sketchy as others, and there aren't random people outside looking suspect.
What stores do you avoid because they have a bad reputation? I don't "avoid" certain stores, but I do have a "rotation" of stores in Clayton County I go to if I need to, such as the Walmart and Publix mentioned previously.
Did you set up a town watch program to keep your neighborhood safe? I did not set it up, but there is one in my neighborhood.
I understand not being able to afford an expensive home. But it seems crazy to move somewhere dangerous where you have to worry about owning a gun. What price range are you talking about? Even Peachtree City, Ga has some safe areas where homes aren't much over 100k. Shoot. .in beautiful Fayette County in Fayetteville you can get a beautiful home for not much.
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