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Thread summary:

Moving to Atlanta: cost of living, job market, buying a home, traffic, condos.

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Old 12-01-2008, 02:09 PM
 
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I know that sounds generic, but here's my situation. Me and my Wife live in Northern California. Yes- its expensive as hell as I'm sure countless refugees have told people on this forum. But I'm originally from Tennessee. Both our parents are getting older and We've figured that in a few years, we would move closer. I looked at Raleigh. Too expensive for what it is. We looked and are also considering Austin. TX has really high property tax, plus Austin seems to be turning into Northern California: Expensive. Nashville is also on our list, but the job situation there seems less reliable given our line of work.

So I figured I'd look at Atlanta.It actually has a decent amount of jobs in our field. As a kid, we hated traveling through it because the traffic was awful. I recall last time I went through it 7-8 years ago, it was still bad. But for one thing, its closer to my folks as well as hers. Secondly, I've noticed that the price of decent housing is actually reasonable. Then again, I have no clue what communities they are in, hence whey I'm here.

What reasonably safe areas in and outside of Atlanta are in the 100-200k range and within reasonable commuting distance?Additionally, is it still possible to buy in this range in a more historic, less cookie-cutter Mcmansion suburb? I'm actually perfectly ok with some old 50's house. We commute over an hour each way now, and traffic is pretty nasty out here. Perhaps its the same as there and since I was a kid and conditioned to rural traffic, maybe its not as bad as it really is, at least for me.

Just looking for some general info. Thanks guys!
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Old 12-01-2008, 02:26 PM
 
Location: Atlanta, GA (Dunwoody)
2,047 posts, read 4,214,568 times
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I just moved here myself, so I'm sure others with greater knowledge will chime in. It's really in your best interest to choose your neighborhood based on where you'll be working. Having said that, I'd say your best bet would be Tucker. When we were looking back in the spring we found lots of older 1960s era ranchers in the mid to upper 100s. We eventually bought in Dunwoody, but only because we got the deal of a lifetime. You didn't mention kids, but I was focused on elementary schools and the best ones were Livsey, Midvale and Brockett. I've been in Tucker a lot this fall as my son plays soccer over there, and it's within a nice commuting distance. Most of the homes have big lots and the people are very friendly.
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Old 12-01-2008, 02:39 PM
 
8,862 posts, read 16,019,194 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sliverbox View Post
What reasonably safe areas in and outside of Atlanta are in the 100-200k range and within reasonable commuting distance?Additionally, is it still possible to buy in this range in a more historic, less cookie-cutter Mcmansion suburb? I'm actually perfectly ok with some old 50's house. We commute over an hour each way now, and traffic is pretty nasty out here. Perhaps its the same as there and since I was a kid and conditioned to rural traffic, maybe its not as bad as it really is, at least for me.

Just looking for some general info. Thanks guys!
Metro Atlanta, pop=5,000,000, is comprised of 5/6 counties--Fulton, DeKalb, Gwinnett, Cobb, Clayton and/or Henry and Fayette. Growth is expected in the following areas:

<The counties added to the ARC's Metropolitan Planning Organization are Barrow, Bartow, Coweta, Forsyth, Newton, Paulding, Spalding and Walton. The U.S. census deemed them urban because of population density.>

Traffic can be terrible so it is best to live as close to work as possible. Smyrna/Marietta in Cobb county is an area that you might add to your list.
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Old 12-01-2008, 02:41 PM
 
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TX has really high property taxes but no income taxes -- GA has monderately high property taxes (lower if you live outside of Metro Atlanta) and state income taxes.

Job first -- and then your price range will really put you in the boonies for a house -- unless you are willing to look at condos. Unless you can go to the upper 2ks. I think sometimes people (and I am not necessarily saying you did this) enter Atlanta and a price range into a realty search engine and see lots of houses that look great in their price range without realizing those houses are 60 miles from a major employment center.
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Old 12-01-2008, 03:11 PM
 
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Hi ya'll, thanks for the replies so far. No, we don't have kids and aren't going to have any. Thus we're happy to live in areas that are... un-kid friendly if that means a less expensive price. Yes, I realize that I'm doing exactly like what lastminutemom said, which is to look by price first. So if 300k is what you have to pay to get something decent, then its actually more expensive than Austin, Raleigh, or Nashville.

Again, we have a few more years before we decide, and I imagine the housing bust will make things cheaper between now and then.

Another question: Are any of the outlying metro areas considered major job centers? Atlanta seemed kind of sprawly last time I was there. Its the same here in northern cali and most of the jobs are out in the burbs.
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Old 12-01-2008, 05:05 PM
VJP
 
Location: Decatur, GA
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Yea....having traveled to all the cities mentioned for work many times and having visited friends in each, you'll find the equivalent suburbs most expensive in Atlanta. I am not sure how you found the Cary and surrounding areas more expensive for what it is as you say, compared to an equivalent area in north fulton or east cobb.

That said, 100-200 puts you 40-50 miles from major job centers. even 250 is probably tough to swing, but much much more doable. We never had a huge housing run up to "bust", and you yourself are a prime example of why I think we will be cushioned some, people keep moving here.

You major job centers are going to be downtown, midtown, Norcross west of 85 - peachtree corners, dunwoody, 75&285 area - zip code 30339, Alpharetta - near exits 9-11. You didn't tell us what type of work you do, otherwise I could narrow that further.
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Old 12-01-2008, 05:16 PM
 
Location: Mableton, GA USA (NW Atlanta suburb, 4 miles OTP)
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This...

"75&285 area - zip code 30339"

...would be the Vinings/Cumberland area by the Cumberland and Galleria Malls.
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Old 12-01-2008, 05:44 PM
 
2,109 posts, read 5,444,720 times
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I still find it hard to believe that there are not 100-150k homes in decent areas in Atlanta. I swear that every other site I look at must have hundreds of homes, some even below 100k in what appears to be halfway decent areas.There also seems to be an enormous amount of foreclosures and short sales. Way more seemingly than ever out here in Cali. It appears that from what I am reading, Atlanta is also getting pounded pretty good.

Then again, I don't live there so what do I know? To be honest, Atlanta is probably not the top pick on my list other then it is centrally located between relatives and has more ( not tons) of jobs in my field. But there's no way I'm paying 250-300k for a suburban home anywhere.Especially not if its what exists in my parents area in TN: Cookie-cutter Mcmansions with vanilla colored siding. We have enough to buy in cash what I previously mentioned, so if we were to move to say- Nashville and buy a house but maybe have just so-so jobs, then it wouldn't matter because we would have basically no debt.

I guess I'm just going to have to do like we're planning with Raleigh, Austin, and Nashville: Come and visit and see what the actual situation is before we make any sort of informed decision.
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Old 12-01-2008, 06:52 PM
 
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Quote:
I still find it hard to believe that there are not 100-150k homes in decent areas in Atlanta.
You can find homes in Atlanta in that price range, but primarily they will be older condos and townhomes in relatively decent areas. Go to realtor.com and put in the parameters and you will see.

You can find homes that price range: (100-150K) if you look hard in some areas such as Gwinnett or Cobb. Even Alpharetta has a few homes priced around 150K, but they are either at least 20 years old, very small and in most cases they likely need a lot of work/upgrades.

Given your situation, I would probably want to go to a smaller metropolitan area such as Nashville or Austin. I would do more research online and come back with more precise questions if I were you. I wish I were in your situation
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Old 12-01-2008, 11:37 PM
 
156 posts, read 402,286 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sliverbox View Post
I still find it hard to believe that there are not 100-150k homes in decent areas in Atlanta. I swear that every other site I look at must have hundreds of homes, some even below 100k in what appears to be halfway decent areas.There also seems to be an enormous amount of foreclosures and short sales. Way more seemingly than ever out here in Cali. It appears that from what I am reading, Atlanta is also getting pounded pretty good.

Then again, I don't live there so what do I know? To be honest, Atlanta is probably not the top pick on my list other then it is centrally located between relatives and has more ( not tons) of jobs in my field. But there's no way I'm paying 250-300k for a suburban home anywhere.Especially not if its what exists in my parents area in TN: Cookie-cutter Mcmansions with vanilla colored siding. We have enough to buy in cash what I previously mentioned, so if we were to move to say- Nashville and buy a house but maybe have just so-so jobs, then it wouldn't matter because we would have basically no debt.

I guess I'm just going to have to do like we're planning with Raleigh, Austin, and Nashville: Come and visit and see what the actual situation is before we make any sort of informed decision.
You should definitely visit all of the cities you're considering. I'm not sure why Atlanta's traffic get such a bad rap. It's no worse than any other major metropolitan area. You don't necessarily have to live close to work, but you need to consider the traffic patterns.

Be careful with Raleigh. I've lived there twice. Though it's come a long way, it has a long way to go. The whole Triangle area is like the suburbs but without a urban center. Rush hour in Raleigh is absolutely horrible because the Beltline (around Raleigh) isn't very big and I-40 is the only major traffic corridor.

Good luck with your search.
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