Where should I buy a house in Atlanta?
September 12, 2010 7:17 AM   Subscribe

Where should I buy a house in Atlanta?

I'm interviewing for a job in downtown Atlanta, and it looks pretty good. I'd like to move quickly on buying a house. Right now I live in Florida, but I've lived in Philly and NYC, so I get the whole city thing. I'd like to live somewhere that's as safe as a city can be, and I have lots of electronics, so I'm not up for break-ins, carjackings and all that stuff I'm reading about, but wouldn't mind the 'good' section of an up and coming neighborhood if that makes sense.

I'd like an historic neighborhood, and an old bungalow that needs no work. This house here is the just the kind I am looking for, and in the high end of my price range but I've read varying opinions on the crime in and around Grant Park. If anyone has the real scoop on Grant Park I'd appreciate it. Because everything else looks cool about GP, but frankly this kind of thing scares the living poop out of me.

I'd like a liberal, eclectic neighborhood, I'm married with four dogs, I work in news, my husband is a musician, and of course would like to buy something that will grow in value and won't be too hard to sell in 5 or 6 years. Dare to dream but a reverse commute would be ideal.

Y'all are always so awesome, have gotten some of the best advice and input of my life here. Anything you can lend about buying a home with the least risk in Atlanta would be much appreciated.
posted by mad_little_monkey to Home & Garden (16 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Yeah, no Grant Park. The people who live there are fiercely loyal, but I had my car stolen there a few years back. So that wouldn't be my first choice.

I recommend, especially since you're looking for that style of house, Candler Park/ Lake Claire. I absolutely loved living there. Very safe, good food, great parks/golf, best school district in the city, walking distance to Little Five.
posted by functionequalsform at 7:24 AM on September 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Take a good look at Oakhurst. It's about a five minute drive from central Oakhurst to the East Lake Marta station, which can take you directly to downtown/CNN without dealing with the hassle of traffic. Great little liberal/eclectic neighborhood center, not as overpriced as Decatur proper, quite safe.
posted by amelioration at 7:30 AM on September 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Thank you VERY much. As tempting as Grant Park is, I'm gonna skip it, these folks and their home video, along with your info is enough. Any other Atlanta advice is truly appreciated.
posted by mad_little_monkey at 7:33 AM on September 12, 2010


I think Oakhurst & Candler Park are great suggestions. I am a renter in Midtown and although I love it here, with 4 dogs you're probably wanting space (not a condo) and Midtown, Virginia-Highland and Morningside, while awesome, have some steep prices for bigger single family homes.
posted by pointystick at 7:39 AM on September 12, 2010


Seconding Candler Park/Lake Claire. I lived on the L5P end of that neighborhood (off McLendon near Elmira) for 7 years, and loved the area. If we were going to move back ITP (Inside The Perimeter) from Conyers, Candler Park is exactly where I'd want to live.
posted by ralan at 7:40 AM on September 12, 2010


I've lived in Grant Park for ages, very near the house you linked. It is a great neighborhood, but if it's not for you, it's not for you. It really isn't that scary though. You should visit in person before writing it off. You could also try Inman Park, which is very similar, but more expensive. They have a stronger security patrol though, if that's your concern. Candler Park is good too.
posted by spilon at 7:41 AM on September 12, 2010


This. Wow. Thank you again.
posted by mad_little_monkey at 7:55 AM on September 12, 2010


I looked at Grant Park when I was buying a house, and the problem I found was that it was an island of gentrification -- the neighborhood is nice, but if you want to go anywhere, you are getting in a car and getting on the interstate.

All of the suggestions above (Candler Park, Lake Claire) are good ones. If you look at a map of Atlanta, you'll see that all of these neighborhoods blend together form an west-to-east corridor following North Avenue/Ponce De Leon until you hit Decatur: Inman Park, Poncey-Highlands, Little Five Points, Candler Park, Lake Claire, Oakhurst. Go north of Ponce and things get more expensive as you hit neighborhoods like Virginia Highlands and Druid Hills.

If your job is in downtown, the commute will be reasonable (all surface streets, a few miles). As far as appreciation, who knows? Georgia had liberal lending laws, and we consequently have a lot of foreclosures. It is certainly a buyer's market right now in Atlanta.
posted by kovacs at 9:59 AM on September 12, 2010


Thank you very much. I truly appreciate all of this fantastic advice, you folks are likely saving me a lot of time and energy. Now I can focus on getting the job ;)
posted by mad_little_monkey at 10:07 AM on September 12, 2010


Wow, that second house you posted is awesome!

I've also been looking on and off at Atlanta real estate from out of state. I'd suggest using bestmetroatlantahomesearch.com (yeah, long name.) I think it has the best user interface of all the real estate searching sites out there. It's very easy to look for specific things in specific places using the "Map" tab, and they seem to have a lot of results.
posted by ohsnapdragon at 10:26 AM on September 12, 2010


Thanks!! I will check it out. I've been finding my way around and lots of help here on this site too. There are tons of short sales and foreclosures going on too. May change my strategy to finding the cheapest house I can find in the area I want to live in. Who knows. At any rate I feel so much less in the dark since posting here. Good luck to you!!
posted by mad_little_monkey at 11:57 AM on September 12, 2010


I used to live in Oakhurst -- it's a great place to live, very friendly. You are still in City of Decatur with excellent schools (mostly). When we were there, there was a dog park, too. A little east of Oakhurst toward the other side of Agnes Scott College is Winonna Park, where the homes were bigger and a bit more expensive. What people think of as the real City of Decatur, closer in to the courthouse on the other side of the tracks, is very safe and you can walk to a zillion restaurants, shops and bars as well as the library and schools and churches and music venues, etc. It means a lot to be near the square, since the city holds lots of celebrations there. I have friends selling their 4 BR, 2 BA house -- they added a 2nd story master suite and have great landscaping and gardens in the back as well as an attached screened porch and large new separate garage (most historic homes in Atlanta do not have a place to put your car other than the driveway or street). It's also close to the Dekalb Farmer's Market which is really a fabulous place to get your groceries. Decatur has a Marta stop under the square (there's also one up a very large hill from Oakhurst) so if you'll be working at CNN it's very easy to get there.

You may also be interested in some of the "new old house" type properties -- houses built with historic look and feel, but with things like mudrooms, closets and larger bathrooms. It's the drawback of the larger homes you'll see -- very few storage spaces. Plus less upkeep with newer construction -- if you work tons or have kids, keeping up a true older home can be a real pain. These new-olds are sprinkled in Decatur, Oakhurst, Ormewood Park, Kirkwood, etc.... all places you'd be looking.

One thing -- schools are everything here. A good school nearby means resale opportunities -- tons of the nicer foreclosures are from young couples who bought nice homes in crappy hoods hoping things would turn around in time for their babies to have good schools. Or to sell in 4-5 years when they needed good schools. Sadly many people are stuck in pocket neighborhoods that look nice but have abysmal schools. We chose to buy in an intown ranch neighborhood with an excellent school and although we don't have that gorgeous front porch I used to have, we have a truly safe neighborhood with lots of great school options and restaurants starting to pop up nearby. I like being in a NH with old, young, middle-aged, etc and where kids ride bikes alone (something I didn't really see in Oakhurst or Decatur).

Don't underestimate the neighborhood pool system either -- they're everywhere around my neighborhood and I think Lake Claire now has one. Decatur/Oakhurst have some as well.
posted by mdiskin at 2:01 PM on September 12, 2010


Thank you - the home your friends are selling is gorgeous! I like the idea of having the option of taking Marta too, I will be sure to check out Oakhurst.
posted by mad_little_monkey at 3:42 PM on September 12, 2010


Putting in a plug for East Atlanta as well. 2 neighborhoods over from Grant Park but a lot less crime. The East Atlanta Villiage is kind of funky bohemian but I have lived here for 20 years as love it. Also have 4 dogs.
posted by shaarog at 6:05 PM on September 12, 2010


You should move between 5th and tenth and Monroe and myrtle near piedmont park

Dog park there, dozens of restaurants and very good walking attractions

Atlanta has *very good* and *very bad* neighborhoods. Do not buy when you first arrive, you have a high chance of missing and hitting a bad one

Biggest park of the city is right above the neighborhood in question

email me at mindbasher@gmail.com if you need any more help
posted by gte910h at 9:21 PM on September 12, 2010


Most of the neighborhoods near Downtown Atlanta have had some crime (car break-ins, minor theft, etc) over the years, even the popular, higher priced neighborhoods like Virginia Highlands. A few years ago, a bartender on Memorial Drive (in between Grant Park and Cabbagetown) was shot and it was amazing how the residents in the neighborhood gathered together and partnered with the Atlanta police precinct, held several fundraisers, etc.

Grant Park is home to lots of professionals and young families and even though there may be a few streets that aren't as desireable, there are plenty of others that are!

I would recommend asking a friend or a real estate agent to give you the tour of the different neighborhoods and if you find a few that you like, go back around midnight and see if you feel comfortable. You can also call the local precinct and the police offers are usually more than happy to give you the scoop on the neighborhood.

Feel free to call or email if you have any questions...

*** I also want to give a plug for Decatur's Oakhurst neighborhood -- historic homes, great police force and very (very) active neighborhood association. I lived there for about 5 years and will probably move back in the next 2 to 3 years!
posted by Kerry-in-Atlanta at 9:37 AM on April 30, 2011


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