Expats moving to Atlanta will be spoilt for choice when it comes to accommodation. From urban living downtown to family living in the outer suburbs, there are ample options for suitable housing in Atlanta at a reasonable price.
Types of accommodation in Atlanta
Atlanta offers a variety of accommodation and different types of housing can be found, depending on the area of the city.
Areas close to the city centre are generally more expensive than those outside the city limits, but the available amenities vary. Those living in town will have access to many entertainment options and restaurants, and their commute times will be shorter, while those living further afield will have access to good schools and wide open spaces, but will possibly find themselves having to endure a lengthy commute.
These are popular with young professional Atlantans. Modern self-contained units within a larger building, apartments can be found all over Atlanta. They tend to be one of the most affordable options, and are a particularly popular choice within the downtown area where space is limited.
Condos are a happy medium between houses and apartments. New arrivals will find this option allows them to have a little extra space along with the benefits of communal living. Condos are self-contained units within a bigger complex where residents share a range of amenities including communal swimming pools, gyms, gardens and laundry facilities.
Newcomers looking for a bit more space will find a huge variety of houses, particularly towards the outskirts of town. From classic and colonial style mansions filled with character to minimalist modern designs, there is something to suit everyone's tastes. Most of the newer housing will be found in outlying suburbs.
Factors to consider when house-hunting in Atlanta
Expats moving to Atlanta need to decide on the type of accommodation they are interested in and which area they would like to live in before their search begins. Factors to consider include budget, lifestyle and proximity to amenities.
It's not easy to live in Atlanta without a car, and with heavy traffic congestion, expats looking for accommodation in Atlanta need to consider the proximity of their home to their workplace, public transport, schools, shops and any other important amenities. If looking to live in the city centre, new residents should always find out what parking is available in or near a residence, as parking can be limited in the city.
Finding accommodation in Atlanta
The easiest way to find property to rent or buy in Atlanta is online. There are many online property portals that list both short and long-term rentals, while individual housing estates and complexes also have websites where it’s possible to view floor plans, lists of rentals and purchasing options.
Expats can also work through a local real-estate agent to assist in the house-hunting process; agents can often negotiate on their client's behalf and sort out all the necessary paperwork.
Renting accommodation in Atlanta
There are many rental options in Atlanta, with both furnished and unfurnished accommodation being available in the city.
Making an application
Once prospective tenants have found a property to their liking, they’ll need to express their interest either to the agent or the landlord directly. The first step to securing a rental property is normally to tender a lease application. Credit checks and background checks will also be done, and applicants may be asked to supply references from previous landlords. Once these have been verified, the tenant and landlord can go ahead and sign the lease. For those moving to Atlanta from outside of the US, it's best to try and open a US bank account and have a social security number set up before applying for a rental property.
Rental contracts are usually valid for a year, but tenants will have the option to renew at the end of the initial term. At the discretion of the landlord, it may be possible to request a shorter lease. Tenants who want to negotiate any aspect of their lease should do so outside peak holiday season when there isn't as much demand for holiday rentals.
Prospective tenants will be required to put down a security deposit to secure the lease on a property. These rental deposits are fully refundable once the lease terminates, provided that the property is left in an acceptable state. For this reason, it is important to carry out a detailed inventory at both the beginning and end of the rental term, as damages will be deducted from the deposit.
Renters need to pore over the terms of their lease agreements to determine which utilities are included. In most cases, the landlord covers standard utilities such as water and electricity. Optional extras such as internet, cable TV and landline telephone services are usually for the tenant's personal account.
Buying property in Atlanta
Foreigners are able to buy property fairly easily in Atlanta, and this option is becoming increasingly popular with expats looking to live in the city for the long term.
Expats are able to apply for mortgages, as long as they can prove that they are both legally resident in the US and financially able to commit to the purchase of a new home.
►For information on the city's various neighbourhoods, see Areas and Suburbs in Atlanta
Are you an expat living in Atlanta?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Atlanta. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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