What is the best neighborhood in Atlanta? If you ask this question you are bound to get a multitude of responses, but how do you choose the right neighborhood for YOU? A good real estate agent should be able to help narrow down the options, which is why it is important to choose a Realtor who specializes in the areas you are interested in. There are a few things to consider that can help you and your agent funnel down to a handful of select neighborhoods that will likely be a good fit.

If you are moving from another state, this is especially important. Many people believe that you need to rent for a year before purchasing in a new city. I disagree. I think you can find your ideal Atlanta neighborhood by answering a few questions and talking to an experienced Realtor. 

Answering these 7 questions, with the help of your agent, should leave you with 3-5 neighborhoods that fit your lifestyle, budget, and risk tolerance. 

Are Schools Important?

A lot of people would say that schools are always important, regardless of wether you have children or not, because homes in good school districts tend to hold their value. While that is often true, there are a lot of fantastic neighborhoods in Atlanta that don't have highly rated schools. In fact, most of your better investments have poorly ranked schools because the neighborhood is still improving. However, if you have kids and/or you like to play it safe, you will want to choose a neighborhood that has good schools already such as Virginia Highland, Ansley Park, Candler Park, Sherwood Forrest or Inman Park. If you want to live in an area with fantastic schools, you'll want to live in the city of Decatur. Needing or wanting to live in an area with good schools can narrow your search considerably, so it is a great place to start.

Do I HAVE to Live in the City?

While the focus of this post (and my expertise) is primarily to help narrow the "in town" neighborhoods of Atlanta or "inside the perimeter" as we say, I find that many people begin their home search in the city and ultimately purchase a home outside of Atlanta proper. If you already know you don't need a lot of walkability and you don't care if you live in the city, it's a good idea to look in the suburbs. You will get more for your money the further out you go. In fact, if you know you don't mind living in the suburbs, I wouldn't even bother looking in the city. Finding the right Atlanta suburb is a post (maybe 2) in itself. I will post about that later, but the short answer is that it is very school, crime, and commute driven-especially as you go outside of I-285 or "the perimeter". In the meantime, feel free to call or message me if you have questions about the suburbs. 

Is Walkability Important to You?

If you want to live in an area where you can walk to coffee shops, bars, and restaurants, that is a great way to fine tune your home search. You'll want to live in neighborhoods such as Virginia Highland, Inman Park, Old Fourth Ward, Candler Park, Grant Park, Peoplestown, and parts of Buckhead. Atlanta is becoming much more walkable, but there are still many areas, even in the city, where you need a car to do everything. Lake Claire, Grove Park, Oakland City are a few examples of neighborhoods that are awesome but fairly car dependent. If walkability is important, what would you like to be able to walk to? Are you happy to walk to a coffee shop or do you want to be able to walk to work? Shopping? Deciding how walkable and bikeable you need your lifestyle to be can often narrow down your search tremendously. A good real estate broker with knowledge of the Atlanta, Intown market should be able to guide you towards the level of walkability you need in a neighborhood. If not, I find the the walk score to be a good resource.

Who Do You Know?

This one is often overlooked, but it can greatly enhance your life to live near close friends and relatives. If you are moving from a different city, you may want to consider living in a neighborhood where you already know people. You will get settled in faster and quickly meet new friends. However, carefully consider if you have the same lifestyle as your friend. Buckhead is a great neighborhood, but you may find that the laid back, quirky ambiance of Candler Park is much more your style. Is Grandma going to help with the kids? If so, you'll want to be within 5-10 miles from her house. Atlanta has a lot of traffic (even on the weekends), so it's unlikely you will spend much time with people who live more than 10-12 miles away from you. 

Where Do You Work?

Speaking of traffic, you probably don't want to live more than 10-15 miles from work. Traffic can be brutal and certain areas should be eliminated from your search if they are too far from work. Atlanta is an eclectic, large city, so you can usually find a great neighborhood that is reasonably convenient to work. Don't bother looking in areas that create an excessive commute. Waze is an excellent resource for determining your commute during your actual commute time. You create a planned route, and it tells you what your commute will be if you leave your house at a specified time. Do you plan to take public transportation to work? If so, you'll want to live near a Marta station, if possible. 

Are You Looking For A Condo, Townhome, or Single Family Home?

Many neighborhoods in Atlanta aren't very dense, so if you plan to purchase a condo, you will be limited to Midtown, Virginia Highland, Grant Park, Inman Park, Buckhead, Old Fourth Ward, Candler Park and just a couple of other neighborhoods. There are more neighborhoods with townhomes and single family detached homes, but of course they are more expensive. Midtown and Buckhead will offer the largest selection of condos to choose from. 

How Much Can I Spend?

This is obviously one of the quickest ways to narrow your search. Like most cities home prices are rising rapidly in Atlanta, so talk to your Realtor about neighborhoods that fit your budget and lifestyle. 

While there are likely many other factors you'll want to consider while searching for your ideal Atlanta neighborhood, these questions will narrow your search down to just a few neighborhoods, in most cases. Moving to Atlanta from another city shouldn't be overwhelming. Most cities have similarities, and a great broker will be able to match you to your perfect neighborhood if you provide them the right information. 


What is your favorite Atlanta neighborhood and why? Let me know in the comments. I'm sure others will find it helpful as well.