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Old 02-01-2010, 03:34 PM
Location: Durham, NC
5 posts, read 8,714 times
Reputation: 10


I'm originally from Iowa and currently living in Durham, NC. There's a very good chance I'll be getting a job in the Atlanta area in the next 2 months and was looking for some info on nice places to live in the Atlanta area. It seems that some people think there are no good places to live near Atlanta (I can't believe that to be true) so I'm trying to get some honest answers.

Here's some info about me/my situation:
-I'm a 25 year old male
-I'm single with no kids, so schools aren't terribly important right now
-I'll be looking to buy a house for probably around 200k, though maybe not for about 6 months after the move (so I'll need to rent for awhile)
-My job will more than likely be downtown
-It seems that crime is a problem in a lot of the areas around Atlanta. I'd like to find a "safer" area where crime isn't outrageous

Thanks for all your help. I've been doing as much research on my own as I can, but would love some first-hand knowledge and opinions. If you need any further info from me, just let me know. Thanks again.
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Old 02-01-2010, 07:52 PM
Location: Atlanta/Decatur/Emory area
1,320 posts, read 3,878,980 times
Reputation: 496
It will depend a lot on the type of place you want to live. If you're looking for a "big city" experience you could get a condo in Midtown for $200k. If you prefer a more suburban experience, you could find a small house in North Decatur for $200k. And there are plenty of safe places all over the city. It will be helpful to know what type of property you're looking for (condo, townhome, house) as well as what kind of area you want to live in (walking distance to bars & restaurants? close to parks? quiet suburb?, etc.) The closer in you are, the less space you will get for your money but it sounds like all you "need" is a 1 bedroom, is that what you're looking for?

Since you're thinking of renting first, you might still want to try to zero in on a neighborhood so you can test it out before you buy.

Also, just an FYI as far as timing, it is widely believed that interest rates will go up in the near future (although probably not terribly, just to to 6+% range). Also, don't forget the $8,000 first time homebuyer federal tax credit that's available now. In order to qualify, you have to close on a house by June 30th but you have to have gone under contract by April 30th. If the tax credit or low interest rates are important to your ability to buy, you might want to consider doing enough research on homes to forego the rental period.
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Old 02-01-2010, 09:00 PM
Location: Durham, NC
5 posts, read 8,714 times
Reputation: 10
Sorry, that was my first post on this site so I wasn't entirely sure of what info to put in it.

I'm definitely looking for a detached house once I buy. I don't want to be in the heart of downtown. I'd love to buy straight away once I get there, but the job I'm going to have pays significantly more 6 months or so after I start (~25% more) so I don't know if I'll be able to get enough of a loan until after that raise. I'd love to get the tax credit and low interest rates (I've been looking to buy for almost two years now but keep relocating), but don't want to get into something I don't like just to buy a house.

As far as neighborhoods, it'd be nice to have a short trip to some restaurants/bars and shopping (groceries at least), but it doesn't have to be walking distance. I don't mind having to commute to work. I don't really care whether it's a "quiet" suburb or someplace with a little more "action" (nightlife, etc). If you have examples of both types of places, that'd be great.

Like I said, I've done some research on my own. I've looked at some houses on various websites (realtor.com, coldwellbankeratlanta.com, etc). It's just a little hard because when it lists the city it's in, I have no idea what that means as far as crime, nightlife, parks, neighborhoods, etc, etc, etc.

Right now I'm in a fairly "general" search mode. My main priorities are detached house, some semblance of a yard would be nice, and low crime. Parks, restaurants, wild nightlife, etc would be great, but they aren't deal breakers at this point.

I know that's pretty general, and maybe not very helpful, but I'm kind of just looking for some more specific places to look for houses. Searching the whole Atlanta area turns up a lot of results, but isn't terribly helpful. I've found place after place that when I look up the city, the crime rate is 2 and 3 times the national average (which frightens me a little). Maybe that's not that bad, but it seems high. Any help is appreciated.
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Old 02-01-2010, 09:38 PM
Location: Atlanta/Decatur/Emory area
1,320 posts, read 3,878,980 times
Reputation: 496
Well, I'll tell you about my part of town because it's one of the few close-in areas where you can actually find a detached house for around $200k. It's the North Decatur (30033) area (I'm particularly fond of the Medlock Park area, but I'm a native so I'm rather biased). Great things about it:

It's convenient to City of Decatur (which is much more expensive to buy into) -- 5 minute drive
It's a fairly quick commute downtown (15-20 minutes up to 30 minutes during rush hour)
It's close to Emory University (lots of college types around here)
Plenty of shopping, restaurants, grocery stores, etc. (Decatur has great shops & cafes or you can to "mall" at North DeKalb or Northlake or "shopping center" at Toco Hills)
There are 2 good parks in the Medlock area -- Medlock Park (which has multiple baseball fields and is the home of several area leagues) and Mason Mill Park (which has a big tennis center and a dog park)

What you'll find here in your budget:

a 2 or 3 bedroom detached home with a decent sized yard
may or may not be renovated
probably with carport

You've probably already found this resource, but, at least in DeKalb county you can keep an eye on crime issues by using crimemapping.com. I get e-mail alerts daily for all crimes within a 2 mile radius of my home.

There are lots of areas around the city you might like. I'm sure other posters will chime in on their favorites. If you have any questions about the Decatur/Emory area, feel free to DM me.
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Old 02-02-2010, 05:32 AM
8 posts, read 10,940 times
Reputation: 10
You sound like a candidate for East Cobb county "Marietta" <-- emphasizing EAST. I also live in East Cobb 30 year old male. Decent house nothing out of the ordinary paid about $140 ish. For 200k you could find a really nice place. Downtown ATL is about 25 mins with no traffic. With traffic about 45 mins. Plenty of shopping, bars, movies, malls etc. Safe yada yada. For 200k your gonna find that cobb county is the closest to ATL and best priced
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Old 02-02-2010, 02:15 PM
Location: Atlanta, GA
30 posts, read 42,262 times
Reputation: 28
You might also want to consider Smyrna Vinings. It's on the west side like Marietta, but a little closer in (and in some areas maybe a little pricier). I also think Decatur is worth a look as well as a cute community called Whittier Mill Village inside the perimeter. I think you are wise to rent first, because you can take some time to see what areas you like. When I moved here, I rented for six months and then purchased a house.
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Old 02-03-2010, 06:37 PM
Location: Durham, NC
5 posts, read 8,714 times
Reputation: 10
Thanks for all the help guys!! I've been looking in the areas you've mentioned and have found a lot of, what look to be, good places. Even in Decatur (which is supposed to be one of the more expensive areas you mentioned) there seem to be a lot of good options for my price range.

I had a quick question. Are there better areas around Atlanta, in general (not specific suburbs, just north, south, east, west)? I only ask because some of the places I found listed as Decatur (which shows on google as east or slightly northeast of downtown) are south of 20 and don't look terribly far from college park. I don't mean to generalize or stereotype, but if Ludacris is rapping about it, I'm guessing it's not the greatest area. I'm just wondering if there is any advice like "don't look south of 20" or "stay east of 285" or anything like that. Thanks again for your help. You've been great.
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