Graduate embraces homeownership in Alpharetta

Dan Ellis knew he wanted to buy a home, but as a 2013 college graduate, he wasn’t flush with cash to make the big purchase. Ellis, 23, saved money by living with his parents for a while, enabling him to strike and purchase a property when he found a home for the right price in north Fulton County.

Ellis, 23, a specialist with UPS who graduated from Georgia College, chatted about his two-bedroom single-family home in Alpharetta.

Q: How did you start your search?

A: First I gave my real estate agent (Bill Marsh of Keller Williams Realty) some parameters. I work off Ga. 400 Exit 5. I told him I'd like to preferably be between Exit 5 and Exit 11, so I'm in decent proximity to work. Then I would like to have decent square footage but not an overwhelming house for myself. I didn't need 2,000 square feet and four bedrooms.

Q: What was the top of your budget?

A: I really wanted to stay between $140,000 to $160,000 price range.

Q: Did you find a lot of options on the market?

A: There actually was. It was interesting. The first day I had a list of about seven homes, mostly in the Roswell/Alpharetta area. The home I ended up purchasing was the last home that I looked at on the first day.

Q: Did you encounter competition for the home?

A: When we pulled up there were already some people looking inside the home. When we went to leave, another set of people was coming to look at the house. It was a Saturday, the first day the home had come on the market. Then the next day was Sunday. It had been raining heavily. The backyard kind of sloped toward the house. I thought this would be a good time to check and make sure there were no potential water issues. Yet another set of people were looking at the house. My real estate agent and I, we kind of knew if this was the house, we needed to strike quickly.

Q: How did you move on the home?

A: We drafted a proposal that night to send to the other real estate agent. Luckily the real estate agent that represented the sellers didn't take an approach like, "We're going to accept offers on this date and evaluate and take the highest one." No other offers had come in yet. They came back with a counter offer and other counter. Then it was a done deal.

Q: What did you love about the house?

A: Obviously the location fit my criteria. It was on Exit 11. It was close enough to work and close to the interstate. It was in a nice neighborhood that was very well kept up. Within the house, it has very high ceilings. Upstairs there's this kind of loft area. I said, that's perfect for an office. That's exactly what I turned it into.

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

A: Get a very thorough inspection of the home. I thought an inspection would be a waste of money (costs vary, depending on the location, age and size, but generally range from $300-$500). An inspection can tell you a lot about the home that you would not know otherwise. You end up saving more money than it would cost you.

At a Glance

Dan Ellis’ home, built in 1995 in Alpharetta, has two bedrooms, two baths and about 1,115 square feet. He purchased the home in July. Homes in the Avensong neighborhood have been priced from the mid $100,000s to low $200,000s.