Years of living in Georgia, first growing up in Decatur, then renting a house in east Atlanta, made buying a first home in Atlanta no question for Rachel Kaney.
“I love the city of Atlanta. I don’t plan on going anywhere,” said Kaney, 30, who works in education.
Working with Laura Green of Keller Williams Realty, Kaney found short sales among the options in the DeKalb County community of Kirkwood.
Century-old, but updated
The three-bedroom, two-bath bungalow on Hosea Williams Drive offered one more bedroom than Kaney thought she would be able to find intown, in her price range. The “super cute” property had undergone renovations, Kaney said. Features included 10-foot ceilings and hardwood floors. But the house was located near a busy intersection, she said. Built in 1910, it was listed for $115,000.
A three-bedroom, one-bath home on Delano Drive had a deck, sunroom and open kitchen that Kaney thought created an easy flow for entertaining. The house had the fewest number of bathrooms among her choices. It also needed thousands of dollars in repairs and updates. The home, built in 1932, was listed for $125,000.
A two-bedroom, two-bath home on Warren Street was a property that Kaney immediately liked. The home oozed with curb appeal, especially with the big front porch, she said. “It was what I had envisioned when I thought about my first house.” The partially finished basement and attic opened the possibility to creating more space inside. But the house also needed immediate renovations, which would add to the cost. Built in 1915, it was listed for $119,900.
No. 2. Kaney originally placed an offer on No. 3, but she was outbid and decided not to counter. Meeting the neighbors confirmed that choice No. 2 was the home for her. “I felt like I was friends with the neighbors even before I purchased the home,” she said. She had to wait a year because of the short sale process, which involved waiting for two banks to agree on the purchase price. “There were times when I thought, ‘This isn’t worth it; I will just go with something else.’ Then I was thinking, ‘I’m getting a great deal on the house and the neighborhood is worth it,” Kaney said. The $15,000 she received in down payment assistance through the Neighborhood LIFT program, offered by Invest Atlanta and Wells Fargo, created room in her budget for renovations.
After buying the home in 2012, she spent about $30,000 to fix it up. Repairs included adding new steps to the porch and stairs to the deck. She also put in a master closet and repainted the entire house. Now, she enjoys walking with her 1-year-old lab, Ajax, in the community and socializing with her neighbors casually and during planned events such as progressive dinners. “I’ve become a part of the Kirkwood community, and my neighbors are great,” she said.