The Search: Daughter's needs determine choice

Hurricane Katrina caused wind damage to Patrick Bowen’s home in New Orleans, and he finally was able to get his house sold and move back to Atlanta in 2007.

He decided to rent a condo before buying again, even though Bowen had owned a home in Dunwoody before moving to New Orleans in 2003.

“I had just gone through the turmoil of selling at a loss in New Orleans,” said Bowen, 36, a sales vice president for Midland National Life Insurance Co. “I wanted to sit it out for a while.”

Low interest rates and the buyer’s market prompted Bowen to become a homeowner again. Bowen and his agent, Lane Barr with Harry Norman, Realtors, conducted his search in about 30 days, looking for a home with easy maintenance and kid-friendly features.

“For me traveling and (being) a single dad, I didn’t have all the time in the world to research. The times we went out, she had it all laid out,” he said. "She didn’t try to show me things that either were junk or were way out of the price range.”

They focused on the north Buckhead/Sandy Springs area because of the proximity to his daughter in a shared-custody arrangement.

“It was important to be close to my daughter, also to buy a home that was her home, too,” he said.

No. 1

Basement in Buckhead

The home on Mountain Way N.E. in Buckhead had the three bedrooms and two baths that Bowen desired. There was a basement, another priority on Bowen’s list. The home, originally listed for $400,000, was built in 1960. But the split-level floor plan and hillside lot were a bit unusual, compared to others he had seen on the market.

No. 2

Updated with fenced backyard

The three-bedroom, two-bath home on Powderhorn Road N.E. in Atlanta’s Highpoint Forest neighborhood had new paint, a new roof and was in good condition. The terrace level was finished and boasted storage space. It also had a fenced backyard, which Bowen wanted so his daughter could play, and was on a quiet street. It was originally listed for $375,000.

No. 3

Ranch on steep lot

The three bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath home on Stovall Terrace N.E. in Atlanta’s Stovall Terrace neighborhood had a sunroom, but no basement. The floor plan was appealing, but the steep lot was less than ideal, he said. The home, built in 1964, was originally listed for $450,000, but had been reduced by $50,000. It would have required work, too.

The Choice

No. 2

He purchased the Powderhorn Road residence in May, after holding firm during the negotiations. “There’s a lot of inventory, and people that need to move are willing to make deals because they know there’s lot of choice out there,” he said. “I got a great price on a house that years ago would have definitely cost more.” He has repainted the interior and has plans for landscaping. “I was ready to kind of settle back into a home and create a home environment and good atmosphere for my daughter and really just have that kind of neighborhood feel,” he said.