Let’s face it, moving is stressful. To reduce stress when you’re moving from another state, another part of Georgia or another city or town around metro Atlanta, start by narrowing down the ideal community for you and your family.
For starters, consider your commute. There’s no denying the traffic issues Atlantans face, especially if they live outside the perimeter and commute downtown. If you’re moving because of a job, you may want to consider the time you’ll spend getting to and from work first and foremost. Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s see how you can narrow down your choices so that when you’re ready to look at homes with your Realtor, you can pinpoint specific neighborhoods.
Here are some things to consider when moving to Atlanta:
- Do you have children or are you planning to have children anytime soon?
Research the school systems. Even if you’re single, living in an area with a much sought-after school system raises your property value. Great Schools.org is one resource – http://www.greatschools.org/
- What type of home do you want? Are you interested in a single-family home or an apartment, townhouse or co-op? Do you want acreage or no maintenance? Match your home to your lifestyle. Are you looking for home with historic charm, or new development? Do you like the protection of an HOA, or want more freedom?
- What does your ideal community have close by? If you’re an outdoorsman, own a boat or love to mountain bike, you’ll want to be closer to lakes, forests and parks. If you love to eat out and shop, maybe you’ll want to be closer to stores and restaurants, maybe even have those amenities within walking distance of your front door…
- What are the redlines? Allergy sufferers or asthmatics may want to avoid industrial areas. Noise haters may want to steer clear of high traffic roads, highways, even college campuses… decide what’s a deal breaker for you.
- Other considerations: be sure to review an area’s crime rate, police coverage, fire protection and location of medical facilities. If you are older, or have older parents living with you, a hospital nearby may be a must-have on your list.
Once you’ve narrowed down the areas based on the research and criteria above, there’s no better way to get a true picture of the neighborhood than to visit it (and you may want to visit during the weekend, and weekdays at different times of the day if possible).
- What’s your first impression? Are the streets wide and well lit? Are they clean and well maintained? Are the homes and businesses kept up or run down? Do people look happy, friendly and energetic?
- Picture yourself here. Do you see your family having dinner at the local café? Are the kids excited that the school has a big playground? Do you see yourself working out at the gym?
- Talk to people! What better way to get a first-hand impression. Visit the local market and strike up a conversation with another shopper. Talk you your waitress, stop at a house that is for sale and greet the next-door neighbors…
- Watch out for redlines and warning signs…. Are there several houses for sale on each block? Are homes and businesses vacant? Look for things that may cause your home value to decrease over time.
Once you’ve found the perfect community, you should apply some of the same principles to finding your ideal home.
- How much can you afford to spend on a home? Use The Mortgage Guys handy mortgage calculator to see how much you can afford. Apply Now for pre-approval to boost your bargaining power on the new home.
- Compare your loan options. Read our Mortgage Basics blog post to find out what mortgage is right for you. http://www.mortgageguysatlanta.com/2011/12/19/mortgage-basics/
- Find a licensed Realtor in your ideal community to help you find the perfect house!