Investing in Atlanta

10 Replies

Hello BP members,

I will be traveling to Atlanta soon and would like to use the opportunity to get familiar with the neighborhoods, rental market, opportunities, making connections with agents, investors, GC's, etc.

I looked at some of nicer neighborhoods of Atlanta and Alpharetta and quite a few of them are on the East side and North-East side. Is Atlanta/Alpharetta area a good rental market? Is it possible to find cash flow deals? 


@Praful S. Most of the growth is on the north end. It looks like a martini glass. Stay always from south.

Hi @Praful S. , Alpharetta is a great area. Great schools, amenities, close to northern Atlanta jobs, the downtown area is exploding with restaurants, bars and shops and is a really cool, somewhat walkable area. It has become a large tech center in Atlanta. I don't research rentals much, so I can't help with the cash flow question, but I know housing in the area is in demand. I have done a couple of flips in downtown Alpharetta that have been successful. Prices in the area are booming and my play is to usually add some kind of value by adding BR/BA.

I live one town north of Alpharetta, let me know if I can be of any assistance.


@Praful S.   Atlanta is growing fast and real estate has appreciated over the last few years.  That said, compared to New Jersey, home prices and taxes remain quite affordable.  Like New Jersey, however, you can't buy well-maintained houses in good school districts with 80% leverage and expect to have positive cash flow from renting them out.  If you are looking for cash flow in today's market, you need to add value through renovation, buy in less-affluent neighborhoods, use less leverage, or some combination of the above.  I do not agree with @Lane Kawaoka 's assessment, though I suppose I live and work in the part of the "martini glass" where the olive would usually go.

Gonna have to disagree with Lane on this one, to an extent. The South parts have historically been rougher, but there is a lot of new activity in the market.

To start: two important terms in Atlanta are ITP (inside the perimeter) and OTP (outside the perimeter). Interstate 285 forms a big loop around the city, and this look is referred to as the "perimeter". Most stuff OTP tends to be a little more suburban, although there is still a lot going on in some of these submarkets, too.

Also another important aspect to the market: The Beltline. It's a large project that is transforming a lot of areas which historically may have been rougher. Any areas close to the Beltline are becoming hotter.

Here are some of the areas I'm somewhat familiar with. This might be a good starting point for you.

Marietta: this is NW OTP. Lots of families, pretty good high schools. Close to Kennesaw State, which is one of the largest universities in Georgia.

Smyrna: a lot of properties here can get pretty expensive, especially for the ones on the NW perimeter getting close to the city. The Home Depot is one of the biggest companies in the area.

Midtown: this is where I live. Several universities are close by, pretty central to the entire downtown area. Lots of downtown business and large corporations naturally.

Virginia Highland: a little East of Midtown. Older, nice homes that tend to be very expensive.

Buckhead: Lots of wealth here. It's a little North of Midtown. Draws a big nightlife scene.

Sandy Springs: quite a few large companies are based up here. It's on the 285 perimeter, basically directly north of Midtown, a little past Buckhead.

East Atlanta (Edgewood, Cabbage Town, Reynoldstown, etc): transitional market which has really blown up a lot. IMO things are starting to get overpriced here, but more experienced investors may have different perspectives.

West Atlanta tends to be more "early transitional" than East Atlanta, which means a lot of areas are hot but may not be overpriced yet. There are lots of submarkets here.

I'm not as familiar with NE Atlanta, but there are lots of submarkets that others have mentioned.

If you're interested in connecting with an agent, one of my good friends is with Sotheby's and does a lot of work both ITP and OTP (particularly on the North side for OTP). He's a top performer in his office and is very knowledgeable about the different submarkets and how the city has been transitioning. Let me know if you want his info.

@Praful S. What are you looking to spend on a rental is the question? Do you want to buy ready to go or are you OK with rehabbing?

Tons of great areas all around Atlanta. I tend to buy up the north - North Western I-75 corridor. Not sure how you can go wrong in Cobb County but again everything depends on what dollar amounts we're talking about.

Alpharetta, Johns Creek and Roswell are all great areas but get ready to open your wallet really wide.

Thanks for your inputs everyone!

@Michael Ehmann Grean insights, I will take some time to digest all the info. 

I know in some markets, duplexes, triplexes and quads may not be as popular and SFH are the way to go for investments. Are these the kind of areas where SFH is preferred over multi's?

@Robert Gilstrap - It really depends on what makes most sense. I can go up to $500K comfortably (maybe even higher by the time I find a property) in terms of downpayment etc.

Would love to meet and connect with a local investor friendly agent!

@Praful S. , from my experience, I feel like it's more SFH than small multifamily. That said, I have come across some duplexes and triplexes in my limited searches, so they definitely exist. An agent might be able to point you to parts of town where those are more prevalent.

Also, if you have $500K to drop, it seems like you could explore the larger multifamily option, too. 

@Praful S. If you need help PM me and I'll get you with an appropriate person.

Do you know why I love mom and pop investors?

They put all their money into one deal (200K+)

And we buy it from them when they screw up.

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