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RacetruckRon
RacetruckRon HalfDork
7/4/20 3:10 p.m.

Looking for some input from the Atlanta GRMers, I know there's quite a few of you guys. Let me preface this a little before I get to the question.

Mrs. Racetruck and I have both wanted to move down south before we even met, we recently tied the knot and have decided to investigate moving south a little more aggressively.  Atlanta is currently at the top of our list because we want to live near a good airport, it has a very strong job market and real estate is relatively affordable.

I have a decent paying job as a mechanical design engineer with great benefits but we both hate the bitter cold winters and you do not get a lot of yard or garage for you money up here.  We originally were looking at the Anderson, SC area since I could do an intra-company transfer to there and keep my benefits, but the job market is pretty narrow there if things don't work out after the transfer.

I know it get's hot down there in the summer. I have no problem with the oppressive Southern summer heat, I grew up working in a greenhouse and doing landscaping during the summer and my wife has been wearing jeans and long sleeve shirts in the +85* weather we have had up in in Wisconsin the last few weeks.

We are planning on spending a few days in the Atlanta area the last week in August to get a feel for the surrounding areas and maybe talk to some prospective employers.  She has been to Atlanta before I have only been through the airport a couple times.  What do I need to know about ATL? Any sights that need to be seen? What would GRM do with 4 days in Atlanta if you were thinking about moving to the area?

 

Shadeux (Forum Supporter)
Shadeux (Forum Supporter) Dork
7/4/20 3:15 p.m.

ATL is a really cool place. I don't live there, but I've been going through the town for about 50 years either by car or plane.

It has just about anything you want in terms of living. Narrowing down what kind of dwelling and amenities you are looking for will help those who live there with their response.

 

RacetruckRon
RacetruckRon HalfDork
7/4/20 3:30 p.m.

In reply to Shadeux (Forum Supporter) :

Good point. We are in the suburbs now, about 25-30 minute drive from the airport.  We have been looking at 3-4 bedroom houses on 0.25 acre or larger lots online in the southern and eastern suburbs Riverdale, Fayetteville, Tucker/Lawrenceville, Lithonia, etc. I know that's a pretty big spread of towns but the metro area is enormous and why we are planning a trip down to actually see the area in person.

SKJSS (formerly Klayfish)
SKJSS (formerly Klayfish) PowerDork
7/4/20 4:09 p.m.

I live in the Atlanta area.  I can't tell you much about downtown Atlanta, as I'm a suburbanite, but what questions do you have about living here?  My office is in Lawrenceville, it's a very nice area. 

I'd start with asking you what type of town are you looking to live in?  Do you want big city feel?  Do you want a crowded suburb?  Do you want a more rural setting?  Atlanta, like many big cities, has a lot of sprawl.  So for example, Lawrenceville is quite nice...very nice in fact, but it's fairly densely populated.  Not inner city populated, but crowded suburb populated.  If you want a less crowded feel, you'll need to get farther away from the city.  I live in the northwest suburbs, in a town called Acworth.  We're far less densely populated than other suburbs, but I'm also about a 50-60 minute drive from the airport...without traffic.

Speaking of traffic, I know a lot of people make a big deal of Atlanta traffic.  Having spent the first 40+ years of my life in the Philadelphia area, I'll tell you that traffic here isn't a ton worse than any other major city.  In other words, we have some pretty gnarly traffic during rush hours, but it's no different than Philly, NYC, DC, Boston, LA, etc...  In the heart of rush hour it could take you an hour to go 15-20 miles, depending on where you are and where you're going, but that would only be if you're in the very worst of it at the very worst time.  My commute is 60 miles each way, using the major highways around here. In the morning I can do it in an hour, because I leave so early.  In the afternoon, leaving my office around 3:30pm, it takes me between 70-85 minutes depending on traffic.  Right now I work from home full time due to COVID, but even under normal circumstances, I only commute twice per week.

Weather here is typical southern stuff.  Summer days average around 90 degrees, and it can be quite humid.  Winter here can get relatively cold, but nothing like up north.  We moved here to get out of the Philly area blizzards and cold.  In the winter, the average high is probably 50 degrees.  Having said that, there are days where it could reach 70, and then there will be some days where the high is only in the upper 30s or low 40s.  I've been here 6 years now and only seen it truly "snow" once.  We got a freak storm that dumped 8" of snow on my house, which was an all time historic records...as in the record for the most snow in the recorded history of my town.  Beyond that, we may see som flurries once or twice a year and that's it.  Snow is truly a 4 letter word here.  It almost never happens, and when it even threatens to snow, everyone panics.  Summer t-storms are common, in fact it's storming as I type this.  But they'll come and they'll go quickly, usually.  The sun in the summer is really brutal, I melt pretty quick in the middle of a July or August afternoon.  You'll get a nasty burn pretty quick if you're fair skinned like me.  At the summer solstice it won't get completely dark until about 9:30pm, which is pretty cool. 

Depending on where you look, real estate can be quite inexpensive here, as are property taxes (at least compared to where I came from).  You can get a 2200-2500 sq ft 3-4 bedroom typical suburban home for $250,000.  Some areas you may get it a bit cheaper, some areas you may pay a good bit more.  It really depends on where you look.  For example, Lawrenceville it would probably cost you a bit more.  I think, though I'm not sure, the southern suburbs of Atlanta are a bit less expensive, as they don't have quite the sprawl that the northern suburbs do.  The farther south you go, the hotter it gets.  I don't know that the southern neighborhoods are all the best neighborhoods, but I don't know much about that area. 

Good race tracks down here.  Road Atlanta, which is in the northeast suburbs, is a must do race track if you're into that.  It's amaze-balls.  I love it.  Altanta Motorsports Park, another good road course, is also in the northeast 'burbs.  Atlanta Motorspeedway is in the southern suburbs.

Let me know what specific questions you have and I'll do what I can to answer.  Oh, we seem to have a lot of good cars on Craigslist too.... 

If you're going to spend 4 days here with the perspective of maybe moving here, I'd spend the days in the neighborhoods you're interested in.  Drive around at rush hour and experience it for yourself.  Drive into neighborhoods and ask people you see walking around what it's like there.  They'll tell you.  Drive from the neighborhood to the local grocery store...heck, just find the local grocery store, the local mall, the local Home Depot.  Get a "lay of the land".  Since you have 4 days, check out several different suburbs that way.  Do a bunch of house tours, even if you don't intend to buy any of them, so you can see what you're money will buy for you.  Don't focus on sightseeing, you can do that after you move here.  Focus on the towns and neighborhoods where you'd want to live and work. 

SVreX (Forum Supporter)
SVreX (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/4/20 4:20 p.m.

^Thats a pretty good summary^

(Northerner here, who has lived in the rural South for a very long time, and will end up in ATL soon)

Purple Frog (Forum Supporter)
Purple Frog (Forum Supporter) Reader
7/4/20 4:34 p.m.

Lots of friends in the Atlanta Region of SCCA.  Best tip I've heard about location:

Buy the home so you are going the opposite direction of the rush hour traffic.  Basic rule live on the downtown side of where you work.  You'll be driving the opposite direction of the mass traffic.   e.g. if the job is in Roswell, then live in Sandy Springs.

I'm a fan of the Woodstock area.  Road Atlanta is my home track and has been since 1970.

SKJSS (formerly Klayfish)
SKJSS (formerly Klayfish) PowerDork
7/4/20 4:39 p.m.

In reply to Purple Frog (Forum Supporter) :

Yep, Woodstock is a very nice place to be.  Pretty centrally located too.

SVreX (Forum Supporter)
SVreX (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/4/20 4:48 p.m.

I'm looking too, so let me piggyback a related question...

I'm wanting to be slightly more rural- not farmland, but maybe 1-2 acres.  My kids live in Tucker and Smyrna (NE and NW).  I'd like to be in shooting distance of them both.  The closer the better.  Max 75 minutes.  $350 max price tag.  No HOA.

Suggested locations?  (Woodstock is on my radar)

travellering
travellering HalfDork
7/4/20 4:52 p.m.

Not a local, as I live in Knoxville TN, where our aspirational neighborhoods are priced like houses over an hour and a half from ATL.  However, I can vouch for several of the outer suburbs as nice places as I have done a lot of bike races around Roswell, Sandy Springs, and the like.

 

 

Saturday Night Live on Atlanta in snow..

spitfirebill
spitfirebill MegaDork
7/4/20 6:00 p.m.

1/2" of ice shuts Atlanta down for a day.  
 

The traffic in town out to 285 (and further out on the interstates) can be horrendous.

In the depressed 80s, Lawrenceville was the fastest growing area in the country. 

I once lived in Calhoun about 1 hour north of ATL in the 60s and loved it.  That's two life times ago though.  

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy UltimaDork
7/4/20 6:30 p.m.

Nope, I'd stay in Wisconsin.  My wife's cousin lives north of Chattanooga and posted this the other day.   Too far south for me.  In fact I'd love to live in Wisconsin.   
 

RacetruckRon
RacetruckRon HalfDork
7/4/20 6:45 p.m.

In reply to Datsun310Guy :

We got 8" of snow on Halloween. I'd trade that for the snakes and rust free cars.

poopshovel again
poopshovel again MegaDork
7/4/20 6:47 p.m.

I can wait, baby. I can wait so good.

RacetruckRon
RacetruckRon HalfDork
7/4/20 6:50 p.m.

Thanks for the info guys. I have been living in the Milwaukee area for the last 8 years. I spent 5 years downtown in apartments and crappy duplexes, we have been living in Waukesha (urban sprawl suburb) for the last 3 years. So somewhere between urban sprawl and a more rural area is what we are looking for.  I don't want to be too tightly packed or be way out in the boonies.

SVreX (Forum Supporter)
SVreX (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/5/20 8:32 a.m.

In reply to RacetruckRon :

Atlanta is the definition of sprawl.

Most large cities have a geographic element that limits their sprawl- a river, an ocean, a cliff, a State boundary, an industrial area.  Atlanta pretty much doesn't have any.  

For example... the 400 corridor toward Cumming.  This was pretty rural 10-15 years ago.  Not any more.  

From center city, you are gonna have to drive about an hour before you hit anything I would call "rural" in any direction.  Further than that to the North.  A little less than that to the South and West.  But 10 years from now, the line delineating sprawl from rural will be at least 30 more miles.  

If you don't want sprawl, Atlanta is the wrong place.

spitfirebill
spitfirebill MegaDork
7/5/20 8:44 a.m.

In reply to SVreX (Forum Supporter) :

Word!  

SKJSS (formerly Klayfish)
SKJSS (formerly Klayfish) PowerDork
7/5/20 9:31 a.m.
SVreX (Forum Supporter) said:

I'm looking too, so let me piggyback a related question...

I'm wanting to be slightly more rural- not farmland, but maybe 1-2 acres.  My kids live in Tucker and Smyrna (NE and NW).  I'd like to be in shooting distance of them both.  The closer the better.  Max 75 minutes.  $350 max price tag.  No HOA.

Suggested locations?  (Woodstock is on my radar)

With those criteria, you're going to have to get pretty far out of the urban sprawl, which as you know extends pretty far.  I haven't looked at real estate in Woodstock, but I suspect you may have a hard time finding something.  Maybe a bit farther north, like Holly Springs or Canton.  If you swing a bit further west you may find something.  But that'll put you farther away from Tucker.  For example, you may find something like that in Cartersville.

classicJackets (FS)
classicJackets (FS) Dork
7/5/20 10:06 a.m.

If you're looking SC, you can look for jobs at Michelin (research headquarters there), and potentially BMW or Volvo as well - Greenville area has done a good job of attracting businesses. 

Grew up in the southern suburbs of Atlanta (Peachtree City). That city itself is a little pricey and fairly boring for a young couple, but you could look into Tyrone which is slightly more rural and closer to I85. Fayetteville I'm sure still has some very nice areas, but generally speaking the crime rate in the city center areas was increasing as I grew up.

Newnan could be a nice area to check out as well. The city covers some busy areas and some rural ones, and is right on I85. Suggestions above for looking further out are good ones. Canton isn't a bad drive in to town but would be painful for the airport. West of the city you just don't hear much about, but I know Villa Rica is out there and may be okay? I've known a few good guys from Carrollton too. In general I think that Riverdale/Jonesboro and much of what's easy of Fayetteville may not be quite what you're looking for. Feel free to PM me for any more questions, my family is still scattered around the area.

SVreX (Forum Supporter)
SVreX (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/5/20 11:07 a.m.

In reply to classicJackets (FS) :

I'm not looking in SC- I live there now. And I don't need a job. 
 

Good word on those towns. Thanks!

SVreX (Forum Supporter)
SVreX (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/5/20 11:07 a.m.
SKJSS (formerly Klayfish) said:
SVreX (Forum Supporter) said:

I'm looking too, so let me piggyback a related question...

I'm wanting to be slightly more rural- not farmland, but maybe 1-2 acres.  My kids live in Tucker and Smyrna (NE and NW).  I'd like to be in shooting distance of them both.  The closer the better.  Max 75 minutes.  $350 max price tag.  No HOA.

Suggested locations?  (Woodstock is on my radar)

With those criteria, you're going to have to get pretty far out of the urban sprawl, which as you know extends pretty far.  I haven't looked at real estate in Woodstock, but I suspect you may have a hard time finding something.  Maybe a bit farther north, like Holly Springs or Canton.  If you swing a bit further west you may find something.  But that'll put you farther away from Tucker.  For example, you may find something like that in Cartersville.

I think you're right. Thanks!

RacetruckRon
RacetruckRon HalfDork
7/5/20 11:23 a.m.

In reply to SVreX (Forum Supporter) :

I had mentioned that I was considering SC as a possibility.  I work for the red tool company and our parent company is based out of Anderson, SC, so an intracompany transfer would be easy button for moving down south.

SVreX (Forum Supporter)
SVreX (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/5/20 11:44 a.m.

In reply to RacetruckRon :

Oh. Gotcha. I missed that part. 
 

(Guess that happens when I steal someone else's thread!)

OHSCrifle
OHSCrifle SuperDork
7/5/20 12:09 p.m.

You've cited economical cost of living and for a major metro area I suppose it still is.

What's your house budget and do you plan to have kids? I've lived in Roswell (northern suburb) for a decade and it's quite nice for a family.. with good public schools. I couldn't afford to move here today. There isn't much open space in this area - in fact any remaining sliver of land is being built on at great expense. Not uncommon to see houses of marginal quality selling in the 500's and higher.

House values in Atlanta are very much neighborhood (and school district) specific. I love the opportunity that a metro area has in terms of jobs but honestly I look forward to moving away from the big city soon after my youngest graduates HS in three more years. 

Originally from Ohio.. I don't love the oppressive humidity and heat - but you can do a lot worse than living in the land of non rusty cars. 

RacetruckRon
RacetruckRon HalfDork
7/5/20 12:25 p.m.

In reply to OHSCrifle :

250k is our max budget for a house. No kids yet but planning on starting a family in the next couple years.  So we have some time to get established in the metro area before we really need to worry about school districts

SVreX (Forum Supporter)
SVreX (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/5/20 12:58 p.m.

In reply to RacetruckRon :

You should think again about Anderson.  The Greenville area is awesome, and your money will go much further.

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