Four trips from Oklahoma result in multiple Atlanta offers

Prices escalated while Rick and Lisa Thomas searched for a place to settle down in Atlanta.

The Thomases were moving from Oklahoma for Rick’s job as a professor at Georgia Tech. Rick, 41, took four trips to Atlanta, writing offers on more than one property. Homes were more expensive here, especially in hot markets such as Brookhaven, where they focused because of the public schools for their son, 6-year-old Eli, and access to MARTA for Rick’s commute.

During the three-month search with Patricia Berholtz of RE/MAX Metro Atlanta Cityside, they considered these properties.

No. 1

Not for sale – yet

The four-bedroom, four-bath townhome in Brookhaven’s gated Dresden Creek neighborhood wasn’t on the market, but their agent was planning on listing the property. The brick front, covered porch and two-car garage were appealing. Since the townhome currently was a rental, the hardwood floors were in bad shape. The townhome was built in 2007 in the neighborhood, which has a pool.

No. 2

Remodeled traditional

A three-bedroom, three-and-a-half bath townhome in Brookhaven’s Chalfont neighborhood boasted granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. Extra spaces included an upstairs loft and finished lower level. Plus, the homeowner’s association fee covered front lawn maintenance. The home, built in 1990, was listed for $454,500.

No. 3

Four-level townhome

A five-bedroom, four-and-a-half bath townhome, also in the Dresden Creek neighborhood, charmed them with features such as French doors and a double-sided fireplace between the living room and kitchen. The townhome also had been updated with new carpet and paint. The townhome, built in 2007, was listed for $459,900.

The Choice

No. 1. They originally put an offer on No. 2, but withdrew the offer after an inspection identified repairs that appeared too costly for them. Their full price offer on No. 3 was beaten by another buyer, as they had experienced with other properties. “When you find something you like, you better write the offer right then,” he said. “I basically took my offer from the other house and brought it over to this house.” Then the closing fell through three times. Lending guidelines required them to wait until Rick received his first paycheck from Georgia Tech to close, he said. Also, when the company managing the homeowner’s association changed, they had to wait for residents’ dues to be paid up. “It was very stressful,” Rick said. They experienced Southern hospitality when a colleague, who was out of town while their closings were delayed, let them stay in his Midtown condo and save on hotel expenses. They closed in August and moved in while having the floors redone. Although they sacrificed yard space with a townhome, the couple is happy with their location. “We’re a pretty short drive to just about anywhere we want to go,” Lisa said.