Foreclosures, short sales ample in priority school district for family

Buying a home in Atlanta didn’t happen immediately for Michael and Krista Rouse.

Krista first moved down, from Richmond, Va., for her job in spring 2011. She stayed in hotels for about five weeks while she researched metro Atlanta elementary schools for their daughter Elaina. One favorite site was, which provided test score comparisons and parent reviews.

“Once we picked the school to be in, we ended up picking a place to live,” said Krista, 39, senior product manager for The Weather Channel.

After Michael and Elaina moved to Atlanta that summer, they rented a single-family home because they didn’t want to carry two mortgages since their home in Richmond hadn’t sold. When the Rouses set out to buy in the Davis Elementary School district in Marietta, assisted by Jennifer Johnson with Harry Norman, Realtors, they found short sales and foreclosures in east Cobb County.

No. 1

Fixer-upper foreclosure

The five-bedroom, three-and-half-bath home on Marietta’s Sawyer Trace offered a private backyard and 9-foot ceilings on the first floor and an unfinished basement. The basement gave them plenty of space to do things they wanted, but never had room for, such as having a home gym, Krista said. But the home in Marietta’s Windsor Oaks neighborhood needed a lot of work, with leaks and other issues in all of the bathrooms and kitchen. They also would soon need new windows. The home, built in 1989, had an interesting price history. It was a short sale in fall 2011, listed for $225,000, but then the bank foreclosed on the home, and it was relisted for $268,000.

No. 2

Stunning visuals

The five-bedroom, three-and-a-half bath home on High Rock Terrace in Marietta offered fantastic views of Stone Mountain and Atlanta from its beautiful decks, Krista said. The home, in the Highland Pointe neighborhood, had new carpet and appliances, plus granite countertops and hardwood floors. The basement was finished, too. It was built in 1987 and was listed for $264,900. The home was a foreclosure, but the bank could not locate the foreclosure deed to file with the county to be able to provide a title to the property.

No. 3

Great neighborhood, but big problem

The Creekside Oaks neighborhood was the initial attraction to this five-bedroom, three-and-a-half bath home in Marietta. “It seemed like all the neighbors knew who was there. Our daughter would feel comfortable playing in the cul-se-sac,” said Michael, 39. Summit Way was a picturesque tree-lined street, and the home had a flat yard, which was a rarity in their search area. But the polybutylene pipes presented a problem because their loan would not let them close until the pipe issue was fixed. The home, built in 1990, was listed for $284,900.

The Choice

No. 1. After they were unable to reach an agreement on the piping issues with the relocation company selling No. 3, they entered into a bidding war for the fixer upper. Their $270,000 offer got them the home, and they closed in February. “It couldn’t have come soon enough for us,” Krista said.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.