Saturday, May 29, 2010

Dating Rules of Atlanta Real-estate! The Good, The Bad and The Butt Ugly!

OK, so its almost the end of May and yes the year is dashing past us ever so quickly! So you may be asking where I've been, have I taken ill or injured my fingers or even if I've given up on the quest to blog myself into the memories of modern society here in the deep south (Atlanta GA). Well, no one is that lucky, I'm still here though my focus on updating this page has given way to more romantic pursuits of seeking my true place in life, somewhere where I can safely nestle myself in the comfort one calls home. Don't get me wrong, I've enjoyed my brief time here at the Couer De Allene but it's time to move on and find a place of my own. Luckily there is ample opportunity for those of us with a bit of daring and the patience that would qualify one for sainthood. I've done my homework on this and I'm happy to tell you young urban pioneering types who want to go ITP (inside the perimeter) that there is an abundance of opportunity waiting for those of you who are curious and motivated. Currently the City of Atlanta has over 15 different grant, down payment assistance and urban renewal and redevelopment programs. Basically if your willing to roll up your sleeves and put in some time, effort and a minimal amount of money you'll be able to find a home ever so humble! So I'll tell you my story of dating in this real-estate market and you can figure out where and what you may want to do from there!

I, like any young eager suitor looked around town at a fevered pitch for several months determined to breach the threshold of as many available properties as possible. I wasn't too sure exactly what I wanted at first since there were so many options in the market these days. So I looked at them all, the abused foreclosures, the comely attractive short sales and yes even those high priced Betty's that had been completely renovated and were as polished and new as the day they were first built. I really couldn't afford those high priced uptown gals strutting their stuff in those neighborhoods where taxes were a quarter of my yearly income! So I settled my gaze upon what I considered valuable which was location, location and location with a bit of room to breath and privacy enough to lounge in my bathrobe or less if I were so inclined. What I was looking for was access to transportation, shopping and entertainment of all sorts. I also wanted some room to grow, spread out and expand if needed. What I found were several interesting candidates which I set about wooing and went on a series of extensive dates with before making any suggestion of a proposal. Where I'm at currently is in an awkward place, torn between the affections of two possible long term lovers. Of course only one will finally take my affections, where we will tie the knot at a real-estate closing, pre-nuptials and all. Drum roll, and the final two contestants are!

A lovely older gal built in 1907, large spacious with tons of potential for fixing up, renovating and expanding. She sits in a viable business district only a block from Marta and is smothered in grants from ADA (Atlanta Development Authority). I fell in love with her before I even went inside, with her Arts and Crafts charm, her looming presence above the street and granite stone work. The only down side to her was that she was holding out and playing hard to get. She was a "short sale", promising everything and yet not giving one hint of mutual affection. She would take some time to convince that I was really the one for her. The problem is I wasn't so sure I had the patience or stamina to endure a relationship like this again. She was in the clutches of another, one who held her mortgage (Satan) Bof A. True I have little or no affection for their corporate structure and communications has been abysmal. 3 months later this was to the point where I was ready to move on, done, quit, finished!!! So I went in search of another feeling rejection and frustration! I still longed to make her mine but knew I needed to let go and move forward in my search. Life is too short to spend on unrequited love!

A true Arts and Crafts transitional home built in 1902. She has the Arts and Crafts details with the grand Victorian floor plan. It really was a marriage of the best of both. She has 3 floors and a full basement. The top floor has a large 1200 sq foot space which is ready to go as a studio the day I would move in. She also has 3 working fireplaces and a great double lot with the largest oak tree I've ever seen on the planet and I've seen some big ones. I'd buy this property just to protect that tree which must be at least 300 years old. She's quite grand but needs some TLC.
She also has great potential for generating income and paying for herself, plus she is already on the national historic registry. Something about a church and the founder of the church getting it's start there. Maybe that explains all the extra parking, something not often found in an urban area! Priced well under 100K, need I say more!

I ran into several other very attractive and yes similar properties. Some on lovely streets but needing far more work or for far more money or none of the advantages of location. So I kept looking.

Finally I came across another who made my heart leap. It was by accident that I found myself in a lovely old neighborhood with wide tree lined streets, charming Arts and Crafts homes and very well situated right in the middle of the city. It seemed to be the best of everything I was looking for. Shopping, coffee shops, and yes even a bit of entertainment and access to transportation. She had many of the qualities of my previous love, with her commanding view over the street, open light spaces and even the possibility to expand a bit. She was also totally redone, dressed to date and even marry after the first kiss! She is all brick, solidly built but graceful, refined and well breed with just a bit of that sexy slut thrown in. She sports a lovely modern kitchen, great bathrooms and even a charming breakfast nook with all the old original built in cabinets and paneling. Simply lovely! She had a heftier price tag as well but sat only one block off the Belt-line access. The neighbors are quite, and keep good care of their homes. She seems like a great long term investment and yes I could be very happy with her. She's still within my financial target range and affordable though I would still like to be a fair bit lower in my obligations each month. She isn't as spacious as my previous love interest and she doesn't hold the financial possibilities the other does but she is in far better shape! She is also less of a prima-donna and requires less maintenance and attention.

This charming brick bungalow was built in 1920 and sits in the charming WestView Neighborhood. Originally asking 125K, things are looking more affordable and true love is setting in. Ain't she sexy!

I love this style house with the carriage porch, sitting high above the street which is quite and less traveled. The only thing this house needs is some low maintenance landscaping and a privacy gate across the drive to keep unwelcome visitors away. The front yard will be planted in shrubs sporting thorns, just to keep the curious away! Step into my garden uninvited and it will get evil on yoo ass!

There is a great porch to sit out on to catch the afternoon breeze. The all brick face makes her a very low maintenance lover which I need at this point in my life. After all I want to put paint on canvases and make some art, not paint a house!

So here I am, trying to make up my mind! Over time both have made significant advances toward me, prices have been lowered, paperwork has been completed, attorneys have approved the final sales and all seems to be ready to move forward with either. Hard choices have to be made, and they are mine to make! Who will it be? Who will win my true love!

Well I guess you'll have to stay tuned! Things are going to start moving a lot faster over the next few weeks. There is much to do but let me assure you that which ever one I choose, I'll be very happy and would have never dreamed that I would have been so lucky to have called either mine! I'm going to let you know right now, I'm going to do everything I can to encourage all of you to look for a great place just like these on the West End of Atlanta. It's a transitional area,
true, and the sooner I get your creative butts over there with mine the quicker we make it one of the coolest areas of the South to live in! The City, bless their little pea picking hearts has other plans of coarse. They will try and steer you into one of their buddies luxury condos or some nonsense. The fact is that they are selling whole lots of these homes to developers who will mow them down and put up crap housing that no one wants to live in. That's why the city is making the effort to bail their butts out with all this grant money. Politics as you may have guessed!
What I would like to find is a core group of people committed to bringing these homes, neighborhoods and creative culture and flavor back to this city. We have the talent, we now have the resources (money) and even better if its not our own and with a bit of determination and vision we can make this a much better place to live! Maybe I'll run for office, that would scare the shit out of them, a white boy from the West End! How crazy is that!

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