Parents invest in condo for child in graduate school

Kirsten Marciniak was moving to Atlanta for graduate school at Georgia State University, and her parents started to tally up how much they spent on rent during her undergrad years at Florida State University.

“We felt that the amount of money we had spent for rent in undergrad had really gone to waste,” said her mom, Nancy Marciniak. “We thought it would be a great investment.”

Buying a condo in metro Atlanta also made it possible for family bonding as they updated the unit before Kirsten started her classes in August.

The priority

The parents wanted Kirsten to have a peaceful home away from the downtown Atlanta campus. When looking, Kirsten wanted to make sure even the bedrooms had windows, so she wouldn’t feel confined when studying.

For resale purposes, Nancy and her husband, Eddie, decided to look for a condo with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and 1,000 square feet. The unit they purchased has an estimated 1,102 square feet.

The search

Nancy Marciniak, who lives in Weston, Fla., started looking online for properties and agents, and she found Melody Harrison with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.

“When I called Melody, I was very upfront with her. I told her, ‘I live in South Florida. I don’t have the time to go up to Atlanta to look for homes. Will you be that kind of real estate agent that will be my eyes and ears?’” Nancy said. “She said, ‘I will.’”

Harrison toured the units, texted, emailed pictures and called with details, then assisted them in making the offer from Florida. The Marciniaks didn’t see the condo until the week before they closed on the unit.

The home

The two-bedroom, two-bath condo in Sandy Springs was built in 1988. Harrison found photos of another unit with the same layout that had been updated and sold, to help the Marciniaks determine what type of work they needed to do. Units range from the $70,000s-$115,000.

Kirsten’s favorite room is the sunroom, which is furnished with two chairs and a white wicker table. “It’s so open. There’s windows all around it and it faces the beautiful pond,” she said. She adds that she can see deer from her condo.

“I felt like Melody found us a place that was far enough away from the busy city for her to have a little bit of relaxation,” Nancy said.

After closing in July, Nancy and her daughters, Kirsten and 13-year-old Kandace, along with Nancy’s sister-in-law, Lori Lane, made a slew of changes in less than two weeks. In the kitchen, new cabinets and appliances were installed. New tile and a floating vanity was added to a bathroom. They installed engineered hardwood floors and changed out the fans. Kandace painted a wall mural.

“We worked together sometimes until 2 a.m. in the morning, painting and making sure we did it right the first time,” Nancy said. “We taught Kirsten how to put cabinets doors on, how to get the tile off the floor.”

The lifestyle

The condo is close to MARTA, which makes the trip to Georgia State convenient, Kirsten said. She adds that being able to live in the same place in graduate school removes the burden of potentially moving each year. “My parents and my family just mean so much to me,” she said. “They’re always there for me when I need them.”

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