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Old 06-17-2013, 06:55 AM
Location: Atlanta, GA
1,050 posts, read 1,681,991 times
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I personally prefer living intown. To be honest... this may sound horrible... I never gave much consideration to my children. My mother always said, "children adapt." Living any further north of Dunwoody would be impractical for us being that I work downtown and my wife in midtown. I regularly take day work trips to cities in the Great Lakes area(specifically Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago) so being close to the airport is essential. We regularly go out during the week. I don't believe in letting children stop you from living your life. OTP is more family oriented. Neither I nor my wife grew up in typical family oriented areas so I guess it just does not appeal to us. We prefer a private school education, so no educational gain.

I will admit I am jealous of the taxes OTP.
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Old 06-17-2013, 07:18 AM
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I agree with GeorgiaLakeSearch. We've chosen to stay intown. When we think of moving, we think of moving to a small town, maybe out of state, not an Atlanta suburb (husband works from home, so no commute problem, although near an airport is nice). It isn't the restaurants we would miss, but our many family members and long-time family friends who live within a 5 mile radius of where we are now. To me, seeing their smiling faces on a daily basis beats any size house or any low tax bill. Buckhead is home and an outer suburb would make me miss my peeps more than being out-of-state. It would give me a so-close-yet-so-far-away feeling.

We like private school also, and when we do look at smaller towns, we look for ones with great private schools. If we needed to use public, we'd stay put and go with North Atlanta--and if that didn't go well, move to Riverwood area.
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Old 06-17-2013, 07:57 AM
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This reminds me of the debate people living in New York City have- it's great until you have more than one child and are crammed in a small one bedroom apartment paying $3,000-4,000 a month in rent. Lots of people move out to Connecticut or Westchester for space and schools. Some can't break away from the city and end up paying for private schools. It all depends on income, priorities and lifestyle choices.

Same here in Atlanta. Lots of great urban/semi-urban neighborhoods and lots of great suburban areas, too. I love living in Roswell and think it is amazing for families with a fabulous park and rec department, kids' sports, day-camps, nature center, pools, spraypark, concerts and a restaurant row of non-chain, award-winning spots to enjoy with or without kiddies. Come during the monthly Alive after 5 to see what suburbia is really like.
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Old 06-17-2013, 08:20 AM
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Atlanta intown isn't as much of a crunch as manhattan. We live in a leafy neighborhood with acre lots, a public swimming pool and park we can walk too (or drive to with our picnic :-) ) . It is expensive yes, but not nearly as expensive per sq ft as Manhattan--I lived in the west village and Brooklyn before kids so I know what people deal with there...
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Old 06-17-2013, 09:13 AM
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It is expensive yes, but not nearly as expensive per sq ft as Manhattan
It's still too expensive for most people. Most people who want to live in a leafy neighborhood with access to a swimming pool and park aren't going to be able to afford Buckhead. It sounds like the OP can, but that is an exception and not a rule.

It's like wondering why all Angelinos don't live in Palos Verdes or Malibu.
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Old 06-17-2013, 10:38 AM
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I can't imagine anyone having regrets about moving to the ATL's beautiful suburbs. They have so much to offer, and at a very reasonable price.

That being said, we are personally sort of stuck on intown living. Part of it is what AtlJan said -- we love being close to friends and family. For me personally, the other big plus is the amazing convenience of everything. You can get to half a dozen great grocery stores within in a few minutes. There are also tons of wine stores, movies, doctors, churches, museums, parks, hotels, schools, shopping centers, restaurants, golf courses, airports, you name it, within a few mile radius.

I also like having public transportation available. Although I don't use it every day, there was a period a few years ago when I was unable to drive and transit really came in handy.

Ansley really hit the nail on the head. It depends on what you want at a given point in life.
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Old 06-17-2013, 11:51 AM
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Yes, ATLTJL, Buckhead home prices may be too expensive for some, but there are a ton of $1M+ homes in the suburbs (houses in St Marlo mentioned previously run from ~ $600K on up) so obviously it's not just affordability but other lifestyle concerns drawing people to the outer suburbs. . .
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Old 06-17-2013, 12:58 PM
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We made a compromise move from in-town to the perimeter area a few years ago. I do not regret the move. But I do see downsides: (1) While there are definitely good restaurants, there aren't the same neighborhood joints I was used to frequenting (the Oakhurst/Decatur places where kids are welcome, but they don't hand you coloring sheets and crayons at the door). (2) I actually have to get on the highways, which I really don't like. I don't know what I would do without my traffic apps to guide me on which route to take home if I have to be driving at 5:30. (3) I miss certain kinds of diversity. I am thankful that my kids' school is racially/ethnically diverse. But I am sad when we are in midtown and my daughter laughs to see a guy wearing a skirt walking down the street. (Boy what would she do if she saw Baton Bob!)

And there are unexpected upsides: (1) Farmer's Markets/CSAs etc. are not in-town exclusives! Dunwoody, Brookhaven, even East Cobb have good ones. Ditto for the now ubiquitous food trucks. (2) The zoo, aquarium, children's museum aren't too far away for a quick morning visit with the kids. And it is fun to take Marta with kids because it is actually useful, not just for the novelty. (3) I worried that things would be so spread out that we become anonymous. Definitely not the case. I guess anywhere you live your general range is just a few miles. So we see neighbors and friends wherever we go, just like we did living in-town.

It will be an adjustment though. And shop around carefully. I think the personality of the suburbs varies even more than the personality of in-town neighborhoods.
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Old 06-17-2013, 01:37 PM
Location: Here
418 posts, read 902,682 times
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I finally have internet access again...there you have it, old infrastructure of living in town I suppose. This has been a very good thread and I appreciate all the previous posters that responded, esp ATLTLJ.

There's so much to like about the northern burbs and there's so much to like about living intown. I can see us doing both so that's why this decision is tough for us. We have a very comfortable mortgage and even with the kids' private school tuition, we're doing fine so hence no urgency. But, we also don't need to be in VA-Hi area either and while I appreciate what is around us, we don't take advantage of it at all. Like AnsleyPark, our big outing is a trip to Costco in Brookhaven, otherwise, we're hanging out in the backyard pool and taking bike rides on the belt line. Having more open greenspace and some semblance of calm would be a nice change. Then again, as friends have pointed out, the grass is brown on the other side too. So while I appreciate what we have, our lifestyle is not the 20/30s-yr old bar hopping night scene.

I will admit that the thought of getting stuck on a highway seems awful but have you ever try to run errands around rush hour intown. I imagine it's about the same.

ATLTLJ, you asked what I did for a living. I head up a team of sales and service people in the asset management industry. I technically office in Boston and am there periodically. Admittedly, that's also a reason why we haven't moved yet on the offchance that I'm pushed to relocated back north. I feel confident enough that they need me more than I need them so I'm not worried. However, I will say that staying intown does afford us location and potentially easy sell if worse comes to worse.
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Old 06-17-2013, 04:08 PM
Location: Morningside, Atlanta, GA
280 posts, read 387,566 times
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Originally Posted by gumboula View Post
We made a compromise move from in-town to the perimeter area a few years ago. I do not regret the move.
That was our original plan when we bought a small house in Morningside 18 years ago. Morningside was at that time cheaper than areas around the perimeter. We had 3 kids who were 1 through 6 and sent them all to Morningside Elementary, which did not have the reputation that it has today, but had already improved. We planned to move for middle school and our house doubled in value allowing us to move where we wanted (We have many friends and family around the North Perimeter and OTP and loved the Roswell/Sandy Springs/East Cobb area). However, the money and time we saved from our short commute made up for the increase in property taxes. We looked for a new home larger and more lovely (couldn't be more wooded), but the mock commuting really scared us and made us consider how much time we would be taking away from the kids. So we stayed.

With our low mortgage, we could afford private school when our eldest turned out to be academically gifted. We didn't have a basement play room and my boys shared a bedroom, but we always knew what the kids were doing in the house (which sometimes made us unpopular when they were teenagers). We did not hit the restaurants much, but lived at Fernbank, the Botanical Gardens, and Woodruff Arts Center! Our youngest became interested in theater and was able to bike over to the Alliance and see the shows for free as an usher. We joined the Piedmont Park pool and enjoyed the members hours. We refianced and paid for college. Our cars hit 10 and 13 years and had under 100K miles on them and we handed them down to the kids. Now we have all three out of the house (but only one graduated and gainfully employed!) and we really have been enjoying not only the restaurants, but new things developing around us (The Beltline, the galleries, the spoken word series (like Write Club), and cycling events (like Streets Alive)). While the house is small, there is plenty of room now (we are going to expand the family room for parties and gatherings once college tuiton is no more) and hopefully, we will stay here until retirement!

While it may not work out for others (we got fairly lucky where and when we bought), staying was a great choice for us. But for someone starting out, these little intown homes can be good choices. It just depends what you want.
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