A Guide to Buying a House in: Georgia
So, you want to buy a house in Georgia. Well, you've come to the right place - we've compiled a little guide to the housing market of The Peach State (one of their nicknames, for the record). We'll go over a few details that could help you make your decision, and as a bonus, we'll throw in a bit of fun stuff. Here we go.
The Most and Least Expensive Cities in Georgia
Before settling on a new house, you first need to know which city you want to move to. Something that helps lots of people decide this is knowing which areas in the state are more/less expensive.
Most expensive cities:
- Sandy Springs
- Johns Creek
Least expensive cities:
That's a good place to start when it comes to crossing off some of your options, especially if this will be a long-term relocation for you. No matter where you choose to buy your new house, you can always find affordable home insurance within our trusted network.
Georgia's Housing Market
Sure, Georgia's got delicious peaches, but does it have a good housing market? The current status of the market in a state is an important factor to many who are dreamin' of buying a place somewhere new. So, let's check it out together.
For starters, the three best places to buy a house in Georgia are Atlanta, Roswell and Savannah. Atlanta's more than just the state's capital, it's also got a great music scene, epic nightlife and lots of diversity. Also, all kinds of events go on in Atlanta, all the time. Home values here average $225,000 currently, and are selling for around $300,000. Renting will cost you about $1,700/month.
Roswell has an "excellent neutral market",,which means that the housing market is in neither the buyer's nor the seller's favor, at the moment. So basically, it's fair game, all around. Why move to Roswell?
Well, it's got a "great sense of community," lots of culture and international cuisine, great nightlife, a huge art scene and historic cobblestone streets. It's also apparently a great place to raise a family. Check. Home values here are about $371,500. Renting costs about $1,500/month.
Don't forget about Savannah, which is said to have a "down-home southern living" vibe. It's also got itself a good, neutral market as of late. Home values here average $129,000, and homes are selling for about $224,900. Renting will cost you around $1,300/month. It's obviously the most affordable option of the three, rent-wise.
Georgia's also got plenty of new construction in progress. You'll see a lot of it sprouting up in the northern half of the state. Many of the new properties are in development in/around Atlanta, Decatur, Athens and Dalton. There's also a good bit underway along the southern half of the east coast of the state - in/around Savannah, Hinesville and Brunswick. So, you've got plenty of options to find yourself a new place here.
Home Property Values and Costs in Georgia
Alright, we've covered WHERE you can find yourself a place, but how much will properties cost, and what are home values like, across the state? We'll find that out, next.
To start off, home values in Georgia currently average about $175,000. The price per square foot averages $116. Homes are currently listed on the market for about $250,000, and are closing for an average of $181,200. Average rent for a house is $1,395/month. And as far as home appreciation is concerned, values are on the rise - they've increased 8.5% over the past year, and are projected to rise another 8.6%.
That's great, but what about the folks who are after apartments/condos? Well, getting a place in Milton will cost you about $1,436/month, on average. In Alpharetta, places are going for around $1,375/month. Dunwoody's got places for an average of $1,341/month. Decatur has places up for about $985/month, and Augusta will save you a bit of green, with places listed for an average of $778/month.
Alright, townhouse lovers, this one's for you. Townhouse rent in Georgia starts from a low end of about $425/month for a one-bed/one-bath place, and hits the high end at around $1,650/month, for a three-bed/two-bath place.
Hurricane Insurance Coverage is Mandatory in Georgia
When you've got your sights set on a new state, it's also important to take into consideration if any policies are specifically required in that area. Do you love hurricanes? If so, that's good - because Georgia does, too. In fact, Georgia's one of the lucky 19 states that require a hurricane deductible as a part of their homeowners insurance policy.
But what does that mean, exactly? Well, basically you'll have to pay your insurance company a certain amount of money before they'll cover any damage to your home dealt out by an angry windstorm. Deductible costs are typically about 1%-5% of the insurance value of the home, but it really depends on where you live, too.
For example, those living in a low-risk area in a smaller/cheaper house might pay $300 towards their deductible, while those living in a high-risk area in a fancy mansion might pay $30,000.
If you'd prefer not to have to pay for hurricane insurance, or deal with the damage they can cause (and who would blame you?), you might want to look into a state that's further from the coast - one that enjoys a nice cushion from other states that are more susceptible to these not-super-fun storms.
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Quality of Schools in Georgia
Before pulling the trigger on your decision to relocate to Georgia (or any other state), it might be a good idea to check out what their school system is like. Luckily it's next up on our overview of the state.
Here are some WalletHub stats about how Georgia schools ranked in the country:
- #38 overall
- #30 on teacher rankings
- #39 on school system quality
- #23 on school system safety
- #15 for largest school systems in the US
Additionally, the Atlanta metro area was reported to be the #24 most educated city in the US, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle. 48.2% of the population in the metro area has a bachelor's degrees or higher.
The top-rated schools in Georgia are the Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, Technology in Lawrenceville, and the University of Georgia in Athens.
Reasons to Move to Georgia (...or not)
OK, the factual stuff is out of the way, so let's go over some fun stuff. Why the heck would people even move to Georgia, at all? Well, don't just listen to us - consider these pros and cons offered up straight from ACTUAL Georgia residents.
PROs (as voted by real-life Georgians):
- Eating all day: For Georgians, lunch consists of tiny snacks, while dinner is a full meal served at midday, and "supper" is a huge evening feast. Food is such a big deal here that it's celebrated all day long. Who could complain about that?
- Ah-mazing nature: Fans of all types of nature will find their personal happy place here. Georgia features not just the beautiful State Botanical Garden, but also several beaches, swamps and forests, including the Chattahoochee National Forest. Pack your camera and your walking shoes/sandals/boots.
- Art: Georgians are crazy for art. The state's home to several art museums, including the Georgia Museum of Art in Athens, the Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville, and the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. Atlanta even hosted a Bridgescape Competition in 2015 to inspire a more eye-catching creative expression for two freeway overpasses in the city's midtown and downtown districts - just to make the city even prettier.
- Sports: Residents of The Empire State of the South (bingo: another nickname) are also serious about their sports. Between the Atlanta Falcons, the Atlanta Braves, the Atlanta Hawks, the Georgia Bulldogs and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, there's really something for fans of all sports genres here.
- Festivals: This place has festivals of all shapes, sizes and varieties - music, seasonal, art, film, beer, culinary - you name it. A couple of the most famous and well-attended are Dragon Con, Summerfest and the Atlanta Film Festival. In summary, if it's a thing you like, Georgia probably has a festival for it.
CONs (also from the mouths of real Georgians):
- Humidity: The Georgia sun can make you soak through your shirt in mere minutes on a hot, cloud-free day - it's THAT intense. Locals recommend that out-of-towners pack extra clothing for visits - they'll need it. Apparently, residents also don't care how far a parking space is from their destination, as long as it's in the shade. They'd rather get the extra exercise than risk second-degree burns from the steering wheel later on.
- Pollen is the new yellow: As in, this place has so much pollen that it coats everything in the color, every year. We're talking cars, rooftops, sidewalks, lakes, pet dogs and your last three newspapers that you thought weren't delivered.
- Mosquitoes: Just as fast as Georgians are biting into their delicious deep-fried goodies, pesky, bloodthirsty mosquitoes are biting into them. Locals joke that the pests might as well be named their official state bird, they're so common. Invest in some bug spray.
- Traffic: Being as Atlanta is a major metropolitan area with so much to see and do, it naturally draws a boatload of traffic to, and around, itself. The state's also home to the busiest international airport in the world. If you think traffic is bad where you live now (and it very well may be), Georgia may be just far too peopley for you.
Stuff to Do in Georgia
So, now you've got some ideas about WHY people move to Georgia. Right on. But WHAT do the people here do? We'll go over a few of the places locals say are must-sees in the area. No matter what you're into, the state's gotta have something that'll appeal to you.
Here are just a few of the state's coolest attractions:
- World of Coca Cola: Invented by chemist Dr. John Pemberton in 1886, Coke was originally a syrup used to relieve headaches. When it married its two long-lost loves - citric acid and sugar - it evolved into its fully realized version as the most popular soda in history. The World of Coca Cola museum details the history of the company. Arrive thirsty for knowledge.
- Jekyll Island: Bought by a group of millionaires from the East Coast who called themselves the Jekyll Island Club, Jekyll Island, AKA Millionaires' Island, was sold to the state of Georgia in 1947 to be used as a state park. It now features campsites, golf courses, beaches and nature trails. There's something for everyone.
- CNN Center: Here's some breaking news for you: the HQ of CNN is located in Atlanta. And this just in - the center features a ride on a huge escalator, as well as guided tours. It also houses the main newsrooms and studios for several of CNN's news channels. You won't wanna miss this one.
- Atlanta Botanical Garden: This beautiful garden showcases impressive, jaw-dropping displays of giant plants sculpted into different types of animals, fruit, mythical creatures and more. As if that weren't enough reason to buy your tickets ASAP, they also hold concerts and offer a wide variety of classes including beekeeping, Tai Chi, art and gardening. Sign us up.
- Walking Dead tours: The most famous current pop culture reference from Georgia is, of course, AMC's megahit “The Walking Dead.” The show is filmed in the town of Senoia, and a dedicated tour group will be thrilled to guide you through several locations showcased in the series. Practice your zombie shuffle and perfect your zombie groans -just in case you run into the real thing.
Time to Settle Down in Georgia
Well folks, there you have it - our little guide to all things related to relocating in Georgia, with an added bonus of some fun insider's info. It's no secret that there's WAY more to say about the state than we could possibly include (plus, no one really wants to read all that), but we're hoping that you've at least gotten some of your questions answered.
If you're thinking Georgia sounds right for you, then load up the car and get on over there. Make sure that your new home is covered with an affordable home insurance policy.