Moving to East Cobb/Roswell - the usual suspects: schools, traffic, homes (Atlanta: cul-de-sac)
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Moving to East Cobb/Roswell - the usual suspects: schools, traffic, homes
We plan to move from Lawrenceville to East Cobb/Roswell in the near future. Though I'm a longtime Atlanta 'burbs resident (graduated from Parkview), I need some help zeroing in on a good neighborhood/area for us.
The questions from the sticky:
1. Budget - We're looking for something in 200k-230k range, hopefully more towards the 200k end.
2. House/Condo/Townhome? House. 2500 sq ft or under. We love trees and low-maintenance.
3. Employment Status(commute/work from home) Husband works in Sandy Springs off 400 and I work part-time/telecommute to Emory University.
4. Children(public school vs. private) Two children, 3 year old (4 this summer) and 8 month old. Will need good school system and daycare options.
5. Suburban or Urban lifestyle preference or a mix of the two Suburban with ethnic/multicultural diversity, if possible.
6. Easy access to public transit, important or not? Not important, but traffic is a consideration.
7. Preferable demographics of desired neighborhood.
Maybe it is easier to describe ourselves. Very liberal, white, smug, more interested in collecting life experiences than Stuff, but very concerned about the education of our children.
Here is our dream house:
4 bedroom, 2 bath in East Cobb/Roswell area (or if 3 bedrooms, has a dedicated office space). Has an in-law suite or full finished daylight basement. On a wooded acre lot with a privacy fence, located on a cul-de-sac or low traffic road. We like privacy and low-maintenance yards. Located in good school district. Does NOT have an HOA or, if it does, an elective/very relaxed one. Windows/light is very important. Perhaps even has a sunroom. A fireplace is another must-have. Space in garage/basement or outside where a workshop can go. Is between 1700-2500 sq. ft.
Some things we're relaxed about, because we know we can add them later such as a privacy fence or workshop space. We'd be ok with a half-acre lot so long as it was an awesome house. Other things are non-negotiable, such as a fireplace.
Are we smoking something, or is it possible to find such an animal?
With current real estate prices, you can find a lot of what you're looking for in the northern end of East Cobb. I live in the Lassiter H.S. zone and work in Sandy Springs. I did a little bit of looking around on MLS sites and discovered that your wants are not as impractical as I would have thought, pre-recession. See e.g. MLS # 3975600. That's a fairly random pick of a house that seems to satisfy a lot of your requirements.
East Cobb/Roswell is not exactly overflowing with liberals, as you likely know. We're liberal by local standards, and we notice we're in the minority. The schools are great, though, and the wooded 1980s subdivisions are very nice.
We moved from the Tucker-in-Gwinnett area (Smoketree) to East Roswell four years ago. At that time, finding what you're looking for in your price range would have been a pretty tall order. It's still not going to be a slam dunk, but as RainyRainyDay mentioned, it's a lot more feasible than it would have been before the market tanked.
Our neighborhood, Twelvestones, has most of what you're looking for, albeit at a slightly higher price point. Houses are slightly larger (ours was one of the smallest in pure square footage at 2300 before the previous owners finished the basement, bringing it up close to 3000). We paid a whisker under $300K just before the market turned (late 2005). Most of the nearby neighborhoods in East Roswell are similar, ranging from a few that are less expensive through several that are significantly more expensive, though there are some neighborhoods with late 1970s/early 1980s vintage houses, including a lot of contemporaries, that are slightly less expensive. There are places in your price range, albeit mostly on lots of a half-acre or less, in Rivermont, Martin's Landing, Spring Ridge, several of the neighborhoods along Old Alabama between Nesbit Ferry and Holcomb Bridge, etc.
Schools are excellent -- River Eves and Hillside Elementary, Holcomb Bridge Middle, Centennial High. Esther Jackson suffers in test score comparisons because of a higher number of transient/apartment dwelling students, but isn't significantly different from River Eves or Hillside in terms of actual quality of instruction or opportunities for students.
I realize that East Roswell has a reputation for conservative politics and cultural homogeneity, but honestly one look at any of my kids' class pictures would make you realize how misleading that is -- just in our neighborhood of 60 homes, I can think of any number of families with foreign-born members (Cuban, South African, British, Chinese, South Asian, etc.), every major religious group (four Jewish or part-Jewish families, including our own, Hindu, Muslim, Catholic, and several flavors of Protestantism); even politically, while I'd guess based on the election results that most of my neighbors vote Republican, there were a surprising number of Obama signs in the yards around here during the last election season. My older daughter's closest friends include a girl whose father is African and whose mother's family is from Jamaica by way of the New York area, an Indian girl, a girl whose family is South African, and another Jewish girl. My kindergarten daughter's birthday party featured her three closest friends -- one of mixed African-American/Caucasian parentage, one African-American, and one Hispanic (Mexican). The cafeteria at River Eves has flags ringing the upper walls representing all the countries of birth of its students several years ago -- there are thirty or forty of them. If you identified the traits of a "typical" East Roswell resident, they'd probably include "white", "Anglo-Saxon", "Protestant", "conservative", but it's also the case that a random individual stopped in aisles at the Kroger in front of Centennial High might very well be none of those things (though it might be a different story at the Fresh Market over by Newtown ).
Most of the neighborhoods in this area meet your "wooded" criteria, particularly the older ones that are likely to be closer to your price point, where the trees left in place at construction have been supplemented by both natural growth and landscaped specimen trees. Lots may be on the smallish side for your preferences, being closer to a half-acre in most cases (especially in that price range).
The HOA in our neighborhood is optional and exists mainly to maintain the common entryway landscaping and facilitate social events (pool parties for the kids in the summer, Halloween and Fourth of July parades/carnivals, etc.). There are no restrictive covenants and no meddling in the affairs of individual homeowners. The newer the neighborhood, the more likely it is to have a mandatory and aggressive HOA.
If you have specific questions about the East Roswell area, feel free to ask here or DM me.
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