Felicia Thurman knew for a couple of years that she was going to move to Atlanta and early on, she started researching the area and home prices, hoping to find a deal. She had been saving for her first home for six years.
“The entrepreneur in me said this was the perfect time to buy low,” said Thurman, 28. “If the economy had not been hit, I would have not have been able to afford a house.”
Still, it was “almost impossible” to do a proper house hunt online, said Thurman, who sold her pedicab business in Asheville, N.C., to take a job in the health care technology field in Atlanta. Visiting Atlanta and its attractions was different than looking for a home. She rented a room in a house near Turner Field, which gave her time to discover which communities offered the best location and affordable prices. Assisted by Lucas Carter with Coldwell Banker Buckhead, she narrowed her options to these Atlanta choices.
No. 1: Priced right
A three-bedroom, two-bath home on Moreland Avenue in Atlanta was a hot property for the price point, Thurman said. The location was close to East Atlanta Village and it also offered her must-haves: central air and heat and a dishwasher. She found out about the home, which had hardwood floors and a fenced yard, the day it went on the market. By the time she viewed it, there were already nine offers. The home, built in 1930, was listed for $64,000.
No. 2: ‘Gorgeous’ loft
A one-bedroom, 1 1/2- bath unit in Storehouse Lofts had an industrial look that Thurman liked. The loft on Peters Street in Atlanta’s Castleberry Hill community had granite countertops, an island and maple cabinets in the kitchen, exposed brick walls, a gas fireplace and a stairway leading to a “massive bedroom,” she said. “The walk-in closet could have been another bedroom,” she said. But the loft didn’t have a second bedroom for guests or a roommate. The loft, built in 1940, was listed for $64,600.
No. 3: Vacant (or not?) contemporary
A three-bedroom, two-bath home on Fielding Lane had a “funky” ark shape that Thurman, who originally had not been looking in southwest Atlanta, couldn’t resist viewing. “On a whim, I just drove out to this house. I loved the shape of the house,” she said. But by the time they got to the home, it was dark and the home had no electricity. Armed with headlamps and flashlights, they toured the property. Thurman was amazed with the renovations, which included granite countertops in the kitchen and a jetted tub in the master bathroom. But after hearing an odd noise — shuffling and a door close — while in the basement, they ran out of the home and called the police. The police searched the home, but didn’t find anyone. The home, built in 1976, was listed for $107,500.
No. 3. First, she put an offer on the loft (No. 2), but Thurman said she had a panic attack early the next morning and asked to withdraw the offer. She also put an offer on choice No. 1, but withdrew it because of concerns that she would not be able to use the Georgia Dream Homeownership program to pay her closing costs (she completed a home buyer education workshop and also met other qualifications). Thurman closed on No. 3 in December and the Georgia Dream assistance provided room in her budget to buy a Whirlpool bottom-freezer refrigerator. A Black Friday special at the Home Depot enabled her to purchase the stainless steel version, at a discount.