Opening price point high quality alternitives to renting in Midtown and Downtown

As many know I moved to Atlanta about 6 years ago.   I had negotiated for 3 months of corporate housing, and after my first few weeks here I set out to look into housing options.   What I found at that time was that the rental markets in both Midtown and Buckhead were quite expensive.  I had predetermined that Midtown made the most sense for me.    I really don’t know why I was so quick to shun Buckhead.    At the time I think it was really just mostly the walkability aspect.     Perhaps it was the early experiences in Atlanta.  Staying at the Intercontinental Buckhead, I was rather bored with that area and found it to be rather staid even if showy and somewhat glamorous.

Midtown was of interest having spent my first night in town at fun places like Ecco and Halo.  I mean Midtown was far from what it is today, it is much less built up, but it still represented a superior option for me as compared to the often gridlocked segment of town known as Buckhead.   Inman Park, Edgewood, Old 4th Ward?  Forget about those, there really was not much of any young professional scene in any of these areas.   Sure many young familes were in Inman Park, but it was most definitely not the scene it is today.   Downtown?  Forget about it, homeless and undesirables everywhere.   For sure worse than it is today.

As I started my apartment hunt, it was important to be in the right building around the right people.   I had been in an older walk up in the East Village in New York for most of my 20s, and then a castle deep in the Northern suburbs of Dallas for the past few years.  Yes, it was important to get connected again especially if I was to adapt to a new city.      Of course, at this time I was not a Real Estate Broker.   I looked at many options, from Spire, to 1280 West Peachtree to older building’s units off of Durant and Myrtle.    I remember going to Viewpoint in November of 2008 and the Sales people were still pushing all units starting at over $200k.    As a third home I was reluctant to spend over $200k.   I had been to A Small World social gathering near the pool, and loved the building, but over $200k simply was not going to work for a 1 bedroom.

Realizing that with 20% down up to around $180k I could could afford a 15 year mortgage at a cheaper per month amount then rent I quickly decided I should purchase something.     I mean this was when a 15 year loan was 4.5%, today the rate is around 3.25% as I write this!       So that was just the gross payment which equaled rent.     Every payment was like $500-700 towards principle and the interest and Real Estate taxes were included in the payment.     I mean at this point in my life a i was still a W2 earner.    I always worked to ensure I had two mortgages to write off against the top tax brackets of my income.
So I first went in for a foreclosure at 1280 West Peachtree.   As most of my current clients know, I now really do not like this building.   I submitted an offer for a 20th floor unit around the start of December 2008.     I knew it was not a great building, but thought at around $100k it was a good value.  Later the next day I went to the annual HOA meeting.   I then discovered many of the issues with the building, and why it was around $100k.     To this day I spend a lot of time explaining to people why some buildings are “cheap”.    There are an assortment of hidden and not so hidden risks and costs.    I mean, the crowd of the building was rough too.    I quickly learned it was an apartment building recently turned condo.    I thought to myself, well it is a tough economy and a bucnh of these people have 3.5% down FHA loans.  This place screamed foreclosures.     I scrapped that contract.    Later in the years to come 1280 West had more foreclosures then just about anywhere in Midtown.    To this day when I look at investments, I look for the amount of people who have taken on FHA 3.5% down mortgages as a prime tell as to what investments could have issues in the future.    Moving on….

I went back to Viewpoint and by this point prices had come down.  Under $200k  during this dark financial time of December 2008 was now possible.   Even though the unit here was nearly double the price of a unit at 1280 I knew that it would be a better investment.  I went under contract a few days later, and closed in January 2009.        My monthly mortgage payment is around $1300 a month.  HOA of $280, so all-in $1580.      I now lease that place out at $2200 (furnished), only owe about $100k on it, and it has appreciated about $50k from my original purchase price.
Viewpoint ended up being an excellent Ecosystem for someone moving to Atlanta from out of State.    There are plenty of other Out of State professionals, graduate students, and many international people.    As I look back at many choices over the past 6 years in Atlanta, moving to Viewpoint and living in Midtown remain a few of my top decisions.

Over the past few years i have helped many people buy 1st and 2nd homes.   Many New Yorkers buy, then sell through me, go back up to NY for a few years, then head right back down.   The key to Real Estate, and I know this first hand and well, is to buy it right.  If bought correct, Real Estate offers numerous possibilities.      I wanted to note a few of the best alternatives to leasing in Midtown or Buckhead.  These condos with 20% down should not be more then renting on a 30 year loan.  With a 15 year loan once you account for the tax benefits and principle payments, the net cost of ownership is most certainly lower.     In any case, here are some ideas currently available, but likely not for long!

Peachtree Walk 1/1   $137,900-139,900

Peachtree Walk is a fairly basic condo, but it is steps from all of the nightlife, dining and action of upper Midtown, and represents good value.     There are a couple of 1 bedrooms in the 720-750 sq ft range for under $140,000.

Cornerstone Village 1/1 775 sq ft $139,900

This building has an extra assessment of around $130 a month for 1 bedrooms through 2018.   That has held back values for a long time.   That said, as the assessment comes closer and closer to being finished for all units, the prices are starting to rise in anticipation of a more normalized HOA rate.  A Delta Pilot seeking a 2nd home, really a home base in Atlanta recently used ATL Condo Deals to purchase a unit here.

 Tuscany 1/1 675-693 Sq ft $145,000-155,000,   Corner top floor 2/2 $239,900 

This building has always been a good value proposition and has never had an issue with foreclosures.    I am always impressed with the crowd here, and it represents a good value.    The 1 bedroom is a move in ready unit with hardwood floors and fairly nice finishes.   The 2/2 is a great corner top floor unit with high end finishes and a nice long balcony.   Both of these will not last long.

Plaza Midtown 8th floor 1/1 774 sq ft $189,900

It is rare to find a sizeable glass highrise unit under $200k these days.   This 8th floor unit is listed at $189,900 and represents good value per square foot.

Spire 13th and 14th floor small 1/1 606 sq ft, $169,500-169,900

Under my listings tab you will see the Spire approved Short sale at $169,900.    There is also the same floorplan right above it listed at $169,500.

Viewpoint 1/1 26th floor 704 sq ft, $219,900

This is one of my listings with Bamboo floors throughout and a million dollar view!   It is priced $10,000 less then the same unit (floorplan)  15 floors below it on the amenities level.  This is the best priced unit in the Viewpoint building now.  I have received one offer today for this listing, and expect this to be under contract soon!

 Twelve Centennial Park 16th floor 1/1 729 sq ft $139,900, 30th floor 1/1 730 sq ft $165,000

These are my top picks for downtown Atlanta.  My clients have bought about 10 units here.   Many just to buy and hold.   This is one ofthe nicest and newest buildings in Downtown Atlanta.     Its proximity to Midtown is a plus as well.


For any of these options listed above please feel free to message me for further detail.


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