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Old 01-10-2010, 02:19 PM
 
21 posts, read 43,045 times
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Hi there! I've just been browsing through the posts and all here, as my husband may possibly be getting transferred shortly to Atlanta. I'm trying to figure out if it would be worth it for us economically to go through selling our house (in the Boston area), which has lost a lot of its value, same as with everyone and everywhere else. Everyone in the north always loves to say money goes farther in the south, but I don't know if that's necessarily true. Is there any way I can find up to date/accurate info on the average cost in the Atlanta area for vital things like electricity, groceries, cable or satellite TV, telephone, cell phone, gasoline, etc?

I'm also trying to decide where we should look for housing, and what I will do about my own employment situation if we do move. We're both in our mid-30s and would love to get away from the snowy New England winters. The rents in the Boston area are outrageous. We paid $1200 for a 1 bed/1 bath 600 square foot apartment in a suburb 15 miles south of Boston. And housing prices have dropped just like everywhere, but it's still hard to find a even a nice, small 2 bedroom/1 bath home even an hour outside of Boston for less than $250,000.

I read through the sticky on this forum about people considering relocation, so here goes:


1. Budget
I'm currently self-employed, so my job would move with me (at least at first), and my husband would probably remain at his same salary, so I guess we'd be at about the same income level we are now, which is roughly $65k combined. We're doing okay on that amount up here, even being in notoriously expensive Boston, although we're going to take a bath on our townhouse if/when we sell it - even if we were to rent it out we wouldn't get enough rent to cover the mortgage - so that could be a factor.

2. House/Condo/Townhome?
I think we'd want to rent at first, until we're sure we're going to make the move permanent. We have a 25 pound dog, so it would have to be somewhere pet-friendly, but other than that we don't have too many requirements. I'd love to have a yard, even a very tiny one, for privacy and for the dog, but I know that might be very hard to find in a rental.

Once we know we'll be staying in the area we'd look to buy, probably a small house or a condo/townhouse in a large complex (we live in a small townhouse community now, and we find at least up here the larger complexes have more $ to work with, use professional property management companies instead of being owner-managed, and are run more efficiently.)

3. Employment Status(commute/work from home)
I currently work from home doing editing, proofreading and transcription, but living in a new area I'm thinking it'll be hard to meet new people if I'm at home all the time, so I'd probably want to find something at least part-time, and maybe even some volunteer stuff. I have a masters degree in English and creative writing, and a long previous work history in the insurance industry (personal lines), but I am open to lots of different fields (current job market being a factor of course).

3a. Work location (if not working from home).
My husband would be working out of Kennesaw. We'd probably like to live in the most cost efficient area without creating too much of a long commute for him.

4. Children(public school vs. private)
We do not have any children.

5. Suburban or Urban lifestyle preference or a mix of the two
We're both used to the suburbs, so that's probably what we'd be more easily able to integrate into.

6. Easy access to public transit, important or not?
Not a deal breaker, but would definitely be a plus. I hear traffic in the Atlanta area is very tough (I've heard it's worse than Boston, which is really saying something!) Also, I don't like to drive in Boston because it's so easy to get lost and end up in a bad area, and I'm assuming Atlanta or any other major city would be similar. Whenever possible I like to take public transport into major cities, but I don't mind driving around the suburbs.

7. Preferable demographics of desired neighborhood.

We're not too picky. Family neighborhood would be nice, or an area that's on the quiet side. We're pretty laid back, and we currently live in a small townhouse community that's occupied mostly by either families or young professionals. We probably wouldn't want to be near too many college kids or anything, or any areas known for late-night noise or parties.

8. Airport access, important or not?
Since almost all of our family and friends would be in New England we'll probably have out of town visitors throughout the year, so it would be nice to be able to get to and from the airport without too much trouble.

Any advice anyone could offer would be extremely appreciated!
Thanks!!
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Old 01-10-2010, 03:34 PM
 
3,647 posts, read 4,745,245 times
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Hope the following information is helpful.

2. There is a wide range of housing available in the Kennesaw area that will fill your present and future needs. I'm not knowledgeable on the current rentals available, but another poster will see this and provide specific information.

3. Plan on volunteering at first. The job marketing is recovering slowly here. Your editing work sounds very interesting.

3a. You will be moving into a work/ living situation many people would love to have. By working and living in the Kennesaw area, your husband's commute will be short.

5. Kennesaw is the heart of suburbia. There is a regional mall and ample shopping. Barrett Parkway is the key shopping area. Cobb County has an excellent park and library system. You will also be close to many recreational opportunities. Lake Allatoona and Lake Acworth are a few exits north and the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield is between Kennesaw and Marietta. Marietta is the next town south and the county seat. They have a beautiful town square with theatre, shopping and dining.

6. MARTA, the public transportation system for Atlanta, is not in the suburbs. From what you have described, you will not be going into the city on a regular basis. Cobb has a transit system but I am not very familiar with it. Again, another poster can provide information. From your location in Kennesaw it will be easy to drive to daily activities in the area. Most of what you need will be in Cobb County. Yes, traffic is heavy, especially during rush hours. Being from Boston you will adjust quickly. There is a service that links up with MARTA but it's only available Monday through Friday and has limited hours. However, if you can fit your needs around the hours, Xpressga is great. They have spacious coaches with reading lamps and electrical outlets for some seats. See Xpressga.com. You'll find that there is a lot of resistance to public transportation in the suburbs, which is unfortunate.

8. The airport is a good distance away. Again, we have regular posters who are familiar with the routes and times to the airport.

Please DM me if you need more information and good luck.

Last edited by antiquesmountainapache; 01-10-2010 at 03:37 PM.. Reason: organization
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Old 01-10-2010, 04:21 PM
 
Location: Dunwoody,GA
1,991 posts, read 4,748,600 times
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Keep in mind that Kennesaw is home to a good-sized University, so you would want to survey the area carefully to check the student population of any neighborhood/apartment you look at. I would suggest driving through the area around 10 PM on a weekend to check noise level. This suggestion comes from personal experience; neighborhoods in a college town that look sedate during the day can be party central at night!
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Old 01-10-2010, 06:36 PM
 
3,647 posts, read 4,745,245 times
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Good suggestion, but Kennesaw isn't the typical university in a college town like Athens Georgia. For years it was a commuter college. There are a few dorms on campus now, but I believe most students live in apartments or commute. Some of the students on the forum can provide us with more information. To the OP Writer 01, don't let this concern you. Kennesaw has many office parks and is a huge shopping area, as I mentioned in my first post. There is a large subdivision near the college, but it has also been there several years. Many Kennesaw addresses are miles from the college. KSU is located off of Chastain Road, which is a long, major east/ west surface road.
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Old 01-10-2010, 07:00 PM
 
1,209 posts, read 3,496,467 times
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I doubt if any of the following will be that much cheaper -- "electricity, groceries, cable or satellite TV, telephone, cell phone, gasoline, etc?" (In metro Atlanta I usually pay: Electricity + gas with heat/cool = $200 - $300. DIRECTV with mid level programming: about $75 with HBO; Cell phone: 2 basic AT&T phones $80)

The big draw to Atlanta is lower-priced housing, plus in the past decades there was high growth with employment. In the near future, GA and Atlanta are expected to lag the nation in terms of growth.
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Old 01-11-2010, 07:32 AM
 
21 posts, read 43,045 times
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Thanks, this is all the kind of info I was looking for!
Other than Kennesaw what other areas would you suggest we look at for both renting and buying? If someone could give me the names of some surrounding towns I'd be grateful - also, is Alpharetta very far from Kennesaw?

FromGA - is $200 to $300 for electric & gas with heat and cooling for an entire home (meaning central air conditioning and heating an entire house?) Right now I pay that much each month for all electric, and I have a separate thermostat in each room so I only heat the rooms I'm using, and we have window a/c units that we only use in one or two rooms for about 2 1/2 months a year. If I had to heat every room all the time my electric bill would be over $400 monthly. So I'm thinking I'm in a good situation up here but if I lived in a different home I'd probably be paying more.
Up here we have cable with HBO for $100 and Verizon cell 2 lines $112. We got rid of our land line phone because it was so darn expensive.

What about taxes? Up here we have excise taxes we have to pay yearly on our cars. MA sales tax last year increased to 6.5%. And my property taxes - don't even get me started. We pay over $2300 a year on an 1100 square foot townhouse in a town almost an hour outside of Boston.
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Old 01-11-2010, 12:46 PM
 
3,647 posts, read 4,745,245 times
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From what you have described, Kennesaw is your best bet. You will be living and working in the same area and this is the key to any type of "normal" life in metro Atlanta. You probably think I am kidding, but I know many people who would just about saw off their right arm for such a setup. Rule out Alpharetta -- the commute is too far and congested. There are plenty of homes for rent and purchase in Kennesaw that will meet your needs. Have you visited the area yet? There's nothing like actually seeing a place first hand.

One factor that is very confusing to residents considering a move is the unincorporated area of a county. For example, most of east Cobb County is not within the city limits of a town, but the addresses are listed as Marietta. A good many of these areas are closer to Roswell (which is in Fulton County) than Marietta, but there has to be an address for mail delivery. A chunk of West Cobb is the same. There are Kennesaw addresses but you are not in a city limits. These are excellent areas to live in and it sounds like they would meet your needs. Construction is fairly new, there is a regional library (Cobb County has four), a YMCA and the newer parks operated through the Cobb County Recreation Department are also located here.

In the northern half of Cobb County (north of Highway 120, which is Roswell Road/ Roswell Street, Whitlock Avenue and Dallas Highway) the three towns -- Acworth, Kennesaw and Marietta -- all run together. This entire area of Cobb is very suburban and safe. West Cobb isn't built out quite as much as East Cobb. If I were coming into an area with no ties and your requirements, I would look at the northwestern quadrant of Cobb County first (north of Hwy 120 and west of 41). The deciding factor, for me, would be access to the airport.

I think you will like the area. My former boss (the entire department was abolished) was from Boston and she is very happy here. When I have a chance this evening or tomorrow I will DM some links about the county and the cities.

Last edited by antiquesmountainapache; 01-11-2010 at 12:49 PM.. Reason: grammar
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Old 01-11-2010, 01:51 PM
 
1,209 posts, read 3,496,467 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by writer01 View Post

FromGA - is $200 to $300 for electric & gas with heat and cooling for an entire home (meaning central air conditioning and heating an entire house?) Right now I pay that much each month for all electric, and I have a separate thermostat in each room so I only heat the rooms I'm using, and we have window a/c units that we only use in one or two rooms for about 2 1/2 months a year. If I had to heat every room all the time my electric bill would be over $400 monthly. So I'm thinking I'm in a good situation up here but if I lived in a different home I'd probably be paying more.
Up here we have cable with HBO for $100 and Verizon cell 2 lines $112. We got rid of our land line phone because it was so darn expensive.

I dont believe I have ever paid just $200, so I would say $220 - $325 for central heat / air electricity + gas in a 3-level townhouse. Have thermostats in the middle and top floors, so I turn up/down as appropriate. $225 is if weather is moderate, and I manage the thermostats reasonably.

To be exact my AT&T cellphone was $82 this month (basic, calls only, no data plan). $77 for DIRECTV (middle level pgmg + HBO) These are probably the same nationwide?

We live in Fulton county / Alpharetta area. Car tax was probably around $350 (per year) for a 3 year old car. Fulton county property taxes are fairly high, and the property tax is around $3100 on a 275K property. Kennesaw area may be lower?

If you DM me a list of expenses, I can tell me how it compares.

Atlanta is a reasonably good city, with its postives and negatives. Does your husband have a choice in the matter of the move? Can you rent out your townhouse, and test it out here?
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Old 01-11-2010, 02:23 PM
 
Location: East Cobb
2,206 posts, read 6,064,524 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by antiquesmountainapache View Post
One factor that is very confusing to residents considering a move is the unincorporated area of a county. For example, most of east Cobb County is not within the city limits of a town, but the addresses are listed as Marietta. A good many of these areas are closer to Roswell (which is in Fulton County) than Marietta, but there has to be an address for mail delivery. A chunk of West Cobb is the same. There are Kennesaw addresses but you are not in a city limits. These are excellent areas to live in and it sounds like they would meet your needs. Construction is fairly new, there is a regional library (Cobb County has four), a YMCA and the newer parks operated through the Cobb County Recreation Department are also located here.

In the northern half of Cobb County (north of Highway 120, which is Roswell Road/ Roswell Street, Whitlock Avenue and Dallas Highway) the three towns -- Acworth, Kennesaw and Marietta -- all run together. This entire area of Cobb is very suburban and safe. West Cobb isn't built out quite as much as East Cobb.
This is a very helpful, clear and accurate description, except for one thing. It leaves out the northern part of East Cobb, which is where I happen to live. The northeastern corner of Cobb County has Roswell mailing addresses. Your comment "A good many of these areas are closer to Roswell (which is in Fulton County) than Marietta, ..." is particularly true of this area, and in fact the zip code is Roswell 30075. Nonetheless we are in Cobb, not Fulton.

Having added this geographical note in the interest of completeness and accuracy, I would nonetheless recommend to the OP that she restrict her housing search to Kennesaw and the surrounding areas. There are lots of good choices there. Commuting from my area (the "Roswell" part of Cobb) would be horrible, and there's no need to consider it.
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Old 01-11-2010, 03:20 PM
 
3,647 posts, read 4,745,245 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RainyRainyDay View Post
This is a very helpful, clear and accurate description, except for one thing. It leaves out the northern part of East Cobb, which is where I happen to live. The northeastern corner of Cobb County has Roswell mailing addresses. Your comment "A good many of these areas are closer to Roswell (which is in Fulton County) than Marietta, ..." is particularly true of this area, and in fact the zip code is Roswell 30075. Nonetheless we are in Cobb, not Fulton.

Having added this geographical note in the interest of completeness and accuracy, I would nonetheless recommend to the OP that she restrict her housing search to Kennesaw and the surrounding areas. There are lots of good choices there. Commuting from my area (the "Roswell" part of Cobb) would be horrible, and there's no need to consider it.
Indeed you do have Roswell addresses. I didn't want to confuse the out of state poster any further with our interesting geography and mailing addresses! There's a subdivison out your way that is in Cobb and Cherokee Counties. One end is off of Jamerson Road (close to Kell High School, which is Cobb) and the other comes off of 92 (Woodstock Road, which is in Cherokee).To further confuse posters and readers, Roswell, at one time, was in Cobb County.

I agree with you. I wouldn't commute from the "Roswell" part of Cobb to Kennesaw either.

Last edited by antiquesmountainapache; 01-11-2010 at 03:27 PM.. Reason: to add information
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