Grad student narrowed search to be close to school

Andrew Sanders’ plan to ride his bike to Georgia Tech reduced his search within five miles of the Atlanta campus. He also looked for a property with enough space for roommates to help cover his expenses.

Sanders, working with Amy Bubes of Harry Norman, Realtors, purchased an updated three-bedroom townhome in Atlanta’s McGill Place. Sanders, 24, who is pursuing his Ph.D. in aerospace engineering, chatted about the home.

Q: Where were you moving from?

A: I was moving from Atlanta to Atlanta. I had been doing the on-campus graduate apartment, but they were a little pricey. I thought about other options – finding a different place to rent, or buying a property and renting it out to my friends to live there with me. I would give them a decent price and cover my expenses. If you have resources to be able to get the property and you're going to be there for three or four years [as a grad student], that makes sense.

Q: What could you afford?

A: Up to $200,000. I have pretty good credit starting out. My parents were willing to help me out with about half of the property. I went in with the mentality of "I wanted a two- or three-bedroom condo or townhouse under this amount of money. If I can't find that, I'm just going to get an apartment."

Q: Why did you want to bike to school?

A: The main reason is just to kind of force myself to do some activity each day. On top of that, parking passes are relatively expensive. Then I guess just being green and saving the environment.

Q: Did you find a lot on the market near Georgia Tech?

A: Not a whole lot. As far as in areas that would be safer for young students, there might have been a total of seven properties we looked at over a course of three weeks.

Q: Did you avoid certain areas because of concerns about safety?

A: It was a concern. I would look at the map and see that it was a little further south in the city and in some areas that were less desirable. I could nix them without going to look.

Q: What renovations did you like?

A: I think the wall between the dining area and the living area had been taken out. That was definitely very nice because it opens up and allows a lot of natural light into the dining area.

Q: What’s a tip for first-time buyers?

A: You really have to check every day and be up-to-date on the new listings, especially if you're looking for certain requirements. The property that we did buy, we looked at it the day it was listed. On the first day, six contracts were put in.

Q: How did you get it?

A: We had a very strong cash offer.

At a Glance

Andrew Sanders’ townhome, built in 1987, has three bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths and about 1,500 square feet. He purchased it in July. McGill Place townhomes range from the low to high $100,000s.