How to Build a Community in Atlanta
Whether on the lookout to practice your favorite hobby, network with industry professionals or get to know your neighbors, Meetup is a fantastic resource to build a community in your new home. read more
You know when you’ve found it. You know when it’s right. It speaks to you on a different level, and you feel more content and welcomed than you ever have before. No, it’s not true love with another person (although that is a really spectacular feeling). It’s true love with the city that you realize is home. It’s a place that makes you feel like you belong and allows you to pursue all of your dreams with comfort and ease. It’s a place where you can spend time with family and friends and enjoy every day to the fullest. And for so many people, that place is Atlanta. Here, we talk to three metro Atlanta area residents about what made them say yes to the city.
“I have learned so much, and opportunities have opened in the city that I wouldn’t have otherwise.”
How long have you lived in the metro Atlanta area? I moved to the Midtown area two years ago in November of 2018.
What brought you to metro Atlanta? Having lived and worked in New York City in the ‘80s, I loved the energy of an urban environment. I always knew that once my children were out of school and grown, I would probably return to that city lifestyle. I had lived the past 25 years in Gwinnett County; my children and I had a great life there with wonderful schools and friends. Once my youngest was a senior in college, the opportunity and the right time came along to move to the city. After placing my real estate license with Engel & Völkers Atlanta it just made sense to move closer to the intown market; that decision also served my desire to work around and learn from younger successful real estate professionals. It was the right decision. I am now the listing agent for 40 West 12th, a spectacular luxury condominium being built in Midtown that Engel & Völkers Atlanta is marketing and selling. I have learned so much, and opportunities have opened in the city that I wouldn’t have otherwise. I never want to stop growing and learning!
Where do you live within metro Atlanta? The Atlantic, a beautiful high-rise condominium in Atlantic Station.
When and why did you move to your current residence? When I was host of Atlanta’s Best New Homes TV, we actually featured The Atlantic. I have always loved the building and its access to Midtown and West Midtown. It’s worked out perfectly, especially since my daughter moved to Atlanta after college and is living and working intown only 10 minutes away.
What do you like best about where you live? The convenience of being able to walk across the street to Publix, Gap . Also, I’ve made some interesting and good friends in the building. And the staff is amazing!
What has surprised you most about your local community? Just how much at home I feel and how much I love living in the city. It’s an easier life in some ways, and life here is always stimulating and full of options!
What advice do you have for others who want to either move to or within the metro Atlanta area? Make a list of what you would like to have in order of importance. Atlanta really does offer a wide range of lifestyles both intown or in the suburbs. It’s important to narrow down your objectives and criteria due to the size and real estate options of a city this large. Do you want a house or need the lock-and-leave lifestyle of a condo? Do you want close and walkable proximity to restaurants and shopping? Do you need to consider commute time? Are nearby parks, paths and trails important to you? These are all important considerations in order to maximize your intown living experience. And, finally, take the plunge and enjoy the experience of living in one of the most beautiful and exciting cities in the country!
“We have such friendly neighbors and a great community.”
How long have you lived in the metro Atlanta area? Two years.
What brought you to metro Atlanta? We moved here for my husband’s job and to be closer to our grown kids who live and work in Huntsville, Alabama. We moved from Chandler, Arizona, a suburb of Phoenix.
Where do you live within metro Atlanta? We live in Cumming in the Barrett Landing subdivision.
When did you move to your current residence? We had a rental in Gainesville from August to December of 2018 while we waited for our home to be built. We moved into our new home the end of December in 2018.
What made you decide to choose the community in which you live now? There was great proximity to Big Creek Greenway, which is within walking distance. We also loved the house and floor plan and the lot, which offers privacy and a beautiful view of the woods from our backyard. And we would be near friends.
What do you like best about where you live? The location and the people. We have such friendly neighbors and a great community.
What has surprised you most about your local community? Moving from the desert where the temperatures often reach triple digits, it has been a nice surprise to see how many people are outdoors year-round socializing and enjoying the weather.
What advice do you have for others who want to either move to or within the metro Atlanta area? Work with a realtor and do some preliminary research online to maximize your home shopping experience.
"Brookhaven is the place where you wave to your neighbors and stop for a chat.”
How long have you lived in the metro Atlanta area? 32 years.
What brought you to metro Atlanta? I grew up in Atlanta. I was born at Northside Hospital (and I love that my daughter was born at the same hospital so many years later). I moved to the Northeast for undergraduate and graduate school, but I always knew that I would make my way back to Atlanta.
Where do you live within metro Atlanta? My family and I live in Brookhaven. We absolutely love it!
When and why did you move to your current residence? In 2011. At the time, my husband I and had recently gotten married and were looking for our first home together. We loved that Brookhaven was close to where we both lived before we met, so it felt very familiar. We also loved how centrally located Brookhaven was. We were only a short distance from fantastic shopping at Phipps Plaza and Lenox Mall and so close to fantastic restaurants in Brookhaven, Buckhead and Midtown. We also loved how close Brookhaven was to our parents (20 minutes to East Cobb and 10 minutes to Chamblee).
What do you like best about where you live? I just love what an amazing community Brookhaven is. My family has the most amazing, friendly neighbors. This has helped tremendously while dealing with COVID-19 this year. We have had many socially distanced girls’ nights in our cul-de-sac, and we meet our next door neighbor outside for drinks before football games. Brookhaven is the place where you wave to your neighbors and stop for a chat, find all sorts of goodies left by neighbors on your front stoop and even have the Brookhaven police stop by to deliver T-shirts to your family.
What has surprised you most about your local community? Brookhaven’s growth has definitely surprised me, but in a good way. When we moved here nine years ago, there were only a few restaurants and places to go, and we had to go to Buckhead or Midtown for a great experience. Now, I never want to leave Brookhaven — it has everything we need! I truly can’t think of a better night than dinner on Valenza’s patio or a drink at Arnette’s outside bar. I love that Brookhaven has such a neighborhood feel, but then you can go five minutes down the road and have the convenience of bigger stores like Costco, Whole Foods, Publix and Total Wine.
What advice do you have for others who want to either move to or within the metro Atlanta area? Before you settle on a place to live, make sure you have considered traffic and what your commute to work and/or school will look like. Although metro Atlanta has so many wonderful cities and neighborhoods, the traffic to and from a certain community may be a deal breaker if you don’t like spending a lot of time in your car. Also, use caution when falling for our Atlanta sports teams. They are heartbreakers!
Every couple of years, the UBS Global Wealth Management’s Chief Investment Office releases its highly anticipated Prices and Earnings Report. It helps people have an understanding of the overall cost of living differences between major cities across the globe. It gathers copious amounts of data from places like New York City, Tokyo, Paris and Geneva and analyzes them, looking at earning levels, the costs of goods and services and much more.
From the most recent report, UBS considered the data and asked the question, “Does it still make sense to live near where I work?” Based on the past year, the question has never been more relevant. That’s because millions of people found themselves unexpectedly working at home—and many were given the option to continue doing so for the foreseeable future. With an office commute no longer a key issue, people have more flexibility in terms of where they choose to live. And ultimately, that can affect an individual’s or a family’s overall wealth. Take, for instance, the case study presented by UBS:
Sarah is a 40-year old IT consultant living in New York. She currently makes $200,000 per year, which translates to $128,000 after taxes. Her family’s current living costs amount to about $120,000 per year, leaving them with $8,000 in savings per year. Sarah is thinking about moving her family to a lower-cost area, where she can work remotely and potentially boost her savings. After doing some research, she realizes that Miami’s cost of living is about 25 percent lower than New York City’s, which could allow her to cut her family’s annual cost of living by about $30,000 per year. In addition, lower taxes would result in an after-tax pay increase of about $19,000. Together, these benefits would boost her annual savings from $8,000 (four percent of her pre-tax salary) to $57,000 (28 percent of her pre-tax salary). Assuming a two percent annual increase to her income and her cost of living, this move will help Sarah save $1.64 million more for retirement by the time she turns 65.
With this in mind, KNOWAtlanta Magazine looked at what a move to Atlanta might mean for someone’s wealth. Using the same concept, we looked at the difference between Atlanta and New York City and how a similar relocation could affect your pocketbook both now and in years to come.
Consider a household with a pre-tax income of $200,000. According to NerdWallet, which uses the ACCRA Cost of Living Index from the Council for Community and Economic Research, the cost of living in Atlanta is around 50 percent lower than in New York City. That means that, as an Atlanta resident, your cost of living would be cut by about $60,000. The state’s tax rate would result in an after-tax pay increase of around $9,000. All of this would mean that, instead of saving $8,000 as an NYC resident, your savings would increase to $69,000, or 34 percent of your pre-tax salary.
Depending on the retirement savings plan you choose, your rate of return and how you work with the additional disposable income you generate over time, you could save an impressive amount for your retirement and continue to have an outstanding quality of life in Atlanta. GOBankingRates.com notes that the cost of a comfortable retirement in the State of Georgia will currently cost around $57,000 annually.