Neighborhood to househack multifamily home in Atlanta,GA?

11 Replies

Hi, I am a new investor and currently looking for an investment property in Atlanta to househack. I just moved to Georgia but travel a lot for work so I am not familiar wtih the area. Any suggestions on which neighborhoods to look into? Thank you.

Hey Johnannie,

First of all it's great to meet new investors looking to invest in Atlanta. The city is definitely growing and the rent market is getting stronger by the day. A little background, I did the same thing as you on June 29th 2017, closed on my first property in SW Atlanta and got 2 random roommates off Facebook. Best roommates I could ask for. I would take them over living with any friends. With the 2 roommates, I've covered each mortgage payment by over $50. I got a contractor to start working on a bathroom addition so I can airbnb my basement about 2 weeks into moving into my new probably. The bathroom addition has really messed up my timeline and the contractor basically told me he is refusing to finish under our written contract so screw me right : ) . Based on my experience when I was looking for an area to househack, I believe South or West Atlanta to be the best area.

Where I currently live is pretty rough. I knew that going into the neighborhood but I also figured that is the only way for me to make any real money. See this for example you buy a home in North or East Atlanta. Probably going to cost ~$250,000 for a nice 3 bedroom in a nice neighborhood were you can charge ~$800/per room. Instead I purchased a home in SW Atlanta - not the typical buckhead/midtown lifestyle we all want. My home is basically 5 bedrooms and I purchased for ~$200,000 for a nice 5 bedroom in a rough neighborhood were I charge $600/per room for the 2 rooms. In the first example you can live rent free allowing you to save up money to buy another property. In the second example you are actually make money if you can rent out the rooms correctly. I'm not saying get a 5 bedroom like me but you can, however, purchase 3  2-bedrooms for around $75,000 - $80,000 a house. Just food for thought. There are also a lot of great first time buyer programs in Atlanta. I got $20,000 of down payment assistance as long as I don't sell the house for 10 years. If you are interested I can definitely point you in the right direction. There are also assistance programs where you don't have to live in the house for X amount of years but you get less assistance.

Hope I was able to provide some guidance. Feel free to ask any additional questions. 

Thank you Kisean! Very helpful. Would you mind sharing how exactly you found a house? Did you use an agent or you looked for it yourself? 

Hey Johannie,

Welcome to GA and investing! :) I'm also a new investor and about to start house hacking in a month or so when I close on a duplex. :)  I found an awesome realtor that typically sticks to E, SE ATL and it's suburbs.  He's been incredibly supportive with my "newbie-ness" and gets that it's about the numbers.  

Are you wanting to live Inside the Perimeter (ITP) of Atlanta (this is referring to the circle 285 makes... took me longer than it should have to figure this out when I moved to GA) or OTP (outside the perimeter)? Also, what are you trying to live close to to? Do you need to be a certain amount of time from the airport or are you completely open? 

Alright I will try my best to hit the highlights of my process. I won't be able to mention everything but the small details are also important so always reach out to someone (BP) for advice. I've learned you can never be too sure as well. I've learned you can ask 2 people the same question and get 2 different answers. Then after you do what they tell you a third person comes along with the right answer.

My goal when searching for a home was to find a home with 5 bedrooms and 10 minutes away from downtown Atlanta.

Why this was my goal?

I've always been super interested in airbnb. I believe airbnb is the best way to do some work and raise a lot more income in order to purchase more properties. Being a close option to downtown Atlanta is perfect for airbnb. Quick tangent. Got in contact with a guy who was airbnbing a tent in a backyard with a shower cabana for $40 on weekdays and $50 on weekends. He was booked at least 20 days a month. Yes I said a tent. A lot more to the Story. Lastly the more bedrooms the more rooms I can rent out.

First, I used a feature on the Trulia app called Price Trends to find the cheapest areas near downtown Atlanta. The feature basically shows a map and colors areas from dark green to dark red. Green being cheap and red being expensive. I noticed the darkest green areas were only in West and South Atlanta. So that is when I began to research. During my research I found out about down payment assistance programs that would basically give me free money for my down payment and closing cost. I ended up getting $20,000 but it depends on how you work the system. Realistically expect 5% of the purchase price of home.

My research also included reading a bunch of news articles and history on SW Atlanta and got to fully understand what was going on in the area. Why house prices were so much lower in these area, etc. I could talk about this for half an hour in itself. So for about 3 months I researched the area. I played basketball at least once a week. I went to different churches in the area. I also went to a community association meeting. After going to the community association meeting and hearing all the developments, I knew I had to buy now cause prices were only going to go up.

To answer your agent question, I realized no agent is going to work as hard as you. I rather not type up the whole situation but if really interested just give me a call. Just know agents are slow and in my experience you end up finding the house and they just guide you after that. I ended up going with the listing agent because I lost multiple deals cause of agents not being as passionate as me. I don't regret using the listing agent at all. I was able to communicate with the seller better and also got them to leave behind all the furniture.

I  ended up closed on the home and got 2 random roommates from FaceBook. I also used FB groups to check rent market in Atlanta as well before purchasing. As well as great resource to find tenants.

There's a lot that goes into the process and I'm definitely not going to type it all up but feel free to get on a call with me.

@Kisean Smith  Congratulations and well done!  I don't understand why more people don't take advantage of these SW Atlanta programs.   Where did you buy?  

@Johannie Keith Uy  Can you narrow your focus down a bit?  Where makes sense to you based upon your workplace and budget?

@Rick Baggenstoss  Ashview Heights - Right across from the AUC (Morehouse, Clark Atlanta and Spelman). Yeah I don’t understand why more people don’t take advantage either. I’ll tell friends and they will still purchase without assistance. It’s free money for not too much extra work. I only put $1,300 of my own money down and ended up closing with immediately 7.5% equity (purchase price - mortgage)/purchase price. 

@Kisean Smith can you send more info on this program ? Didn't you have to agree to be a owner occupant? Are you paying PMI ?

Also what Facebook groups were you using to check rents ?

@Kenneth Hawkins, Jr. yes they do expect the home to be owner occupied. Basically a first time homebuyer program www.investatlanta.com/intown-living/homebuyer-incentives/. However, if I remember correctly as long as you don't own another house on closing date you are fine. The info session provides everything you need to know. Also they do provide assistance up to quadplex assuming you will live in one of the units. Related to the PMI question - I have PMI under a conventional loan. I believe some of their lenders provide options were they would pay PMI. You will notice they have requirements such as you have to use their closing agents and lenders.

Updated 6 months ago

Forgot to answer your question. The main FB groups are Atlanta House Search & Atlanta Rent/Buy/Sell a room/apartment/house/condos/property.

Hi Johannie. I lived in Atlanta for over a decade and went to college around Atlanta so I am speaking from my own experience. Atlanta metro keeps expanding every few years. Right now in the North, Cumming, Georgia is really growing. It is about a forty minute drive North of the city without traffic and up to 90 minutes in rush hour. It is also about 30 minutes from the University of North Georgia and I know many students who look to rent in the Dawsonville/Cumming Area. It is also about a twenty minute drive to the heart of Alpharetta and maybe an hour to the Mall of Georgia in Lawrenceville. You are also about thirty minutes to an hour from several small but beautiful towns (Helen and Dahlonega) and about an hour from hiking in the mountains. You are also on the North side of Atlanta so less traffic when going to Braves Games.

On the South Side, I would recommend looking in the Fayetteville/Peachtree City/Sharpsburg/Newnan Area. In Fayetteville, there is a major movie studios where the film the entire Marvel Series and many other movies. Fayetteville was a good buy about two decades ago, house prices went down in 2008 a lot, but right now they are trying to rebuild. They just built a brand new apartment complex in the town. Peachtree City is an expensive area, but this area has miles and miles of golf cart paths that connect the city so you don’t need a car to drive or walk anywhere. Sharpsburg is a quiet little town mostly made up of families and the houses hold pretty good value there, but houses aren’t on the market very long there usually. Newnan has grown a lot over the last decade, but it is built up pretty well and could be another good investment. It is also about an hour from Columbus, GA and about four down to Jacksonville and the beaches of Florida. There are also several warehouses down on the South Side of Atlanta (I believe in the McDonough area) that may warrant a look. Being on the Southside is also much closer to the airport (you could get there in under 30 from most of these areas I listed above) which could be something that interests you since you said you travel a lot for work.

These areas are just from my experience living there from 2000 to 2014. You also may want to do a lot of research on Amazon. Atlanta is in the running to get their HQ so if they do decide to build in Atlanta, it may impact your decision.

Thank you everyone for your inputs! Will look into the neighborhoods you mentioned. 

@Erin Church , was thinking I wanted to be in the perimeter, but if the numbers don't work, I'm flexible. Preferably close to the airport too! 

@Johannie Keith Uy

I'm a REALTOR in the Atlanta area. I have worked with a number of investors recently, individuals looking to house hack, as well as people looking to downsize or step up. There are good areas all over Atlanta and there are probably multiple areas that might work for you depending on what you want out of the neighborhood. How much money you have for your budget. The amount of work you are hoping or willing to put into the house to get it ready.

I've had some success with house hacking from Marietta, to East Atlanta Village, to Westview. I'd be happy to spend a little time running through the list of questions I use when working with someone new to the area and to share any knowledge I might have from doing the same in the past. Feel free to PM me or I'd be happy to respond here.

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