Buyer/Seller…Beware!

  

Our market is doing well- and as you know, anytime the RE Market is well- the predators come out. 

Once again I am inundated with “let me buy your house” mail,emails, calls from newbie investors, calls from sleezy investors and calls from out of the country investors wanting to “flip”…

Some have gotten smarter by saying “Nia, I believe in community development like you, I want to buy houses, fix them and sell them to good people…but I want to do this in an area where I can get a good return….” (Oh, you mean “FLIP”?)

Or …”but I want to do this after I rent it for a while to feel out the market, so I need a good house with very little work “. 

Or my favorite: ” so I need a good house in the Historic West End, with very little work for $20-30k” 

What rock have you been under? Have you not reviewed our recent sales? It is not 2009! 

These calls bother me. 

If you wanted to help communities and really make a difference, why not tackle some of our other blighted locations that are still struggling?  Why come into a community- with momentum and end buyers eligible to purchase these homes, only to obtain a section 8 voucher? 

Do they really think they’re adding value to anyone but self? 

NOT! 

Beware of the predators! If you are struggling in your home and considering a sale, let’s talk- there could be options and programs out there to help you. I will freely help you review all options- you do not have to fall prey to these fast cash offers….your home is a great asset, don’t throw it away! 

Historic Washington Park

2001 Built Home on Lena Street; "Savannah At Washington Park"  During a revitalization phase
2001 Built Home on Lena Street; ” Savannah At Washington Park” During a revitalization phase

Driving past Ashby Street train station will either leave you with a sense of “Hide your kids, Lock your doors”  or it can leave you a bit curious about how this great community appears to be blighted from their major corridor.  The park right besides the train would be welcoming to travelers- if you can excuse yourself to a seat besides the men/women sleeping on them.  But, not only am I guilty of not visiting this park in the past 3years, I’m also guilty of just driving by and shaking my head.  Historic Washington Park has a rich history that will inspire most; we just need to explore and find out more about it without  fear and ignoring the stereotype.

So here it is, information from my favorite source, Wiki:

Washington Park is a historically black neighborhood in northwest Atlanta encompassing historic residential, commercial, and community landmark buildings. It is situated two miles (3 km) west of the central business district of Atlanta. The combination of gridiron and curvilinear streets is a result of the neighborhood having been developed from four separate subdivision plats. One of these plats created Atlanta’s first planned black neighborhood, while the other three were abandoned by white developers and adopted by *Heman Perry, an early 20th-century black developer. Although Perry did not receive a formal education past the seventh grade, in 1913 he founded one of the largest black-owned companies in the United States, the Standard Life Insurance Company of Atlanta.

The development of the Washington Park area is associated with the history of racial segregation in Atlanta. Prior to 1919, Ashby Street functioned as an early “color line” in the city. The area east of Ashby Street was established as an area for African Americans, and the area west of Ashby Street was established as an area for white settlement. Few white families were interested in residing so close to the historically black Atlanta University campus. Any plans for white settlement west of Ashby Street ended when the general manager of the Parks Department of Atlanta designated Washington Park as the first recreational park for African Americans in 1919. The Atlanta Board of Education re-designated Ashby Street School from white to black in that same year. With these two actions, the area west of Ashby Street was abandoned by white developers and this early “color line” was broken.

The collection of historic residences within the district consists of one- and two-story buildings built between 1919 and 1958 featuring exterior wood clapboard or brick veneer. These close-knit residences are fairly uniformly set back near the street-end of their narrow lots. The architectural types represented within the district include English and Georgian cottages, Georgian, American Foursquare, and the bungalow, the most commonly found type. The architectural styles found include Colonial Revival, English Vernacular, and Craftsman, which is the style most widely represented. There were few commercial buildings located within the Washington Park neighborhood, historically concentrated near the edges of the district at the crossroads of major streets, but many of these stores have been lost or altered. A c. 1930 gas station featuring an office block with a canopy remains, as well as a corner store with a large storefront window oriented towards the intersection. Community landmarks include the William A. Harris Memorial Hospital, the Ashby Street Theater, the Citizen Trust Company West Side Branch bank building, and the E.R. Carter Elementary School (formerly Ashby Street School)

One of the focal points of the historic district is the recreational park. Prior to the construction of Washington Park in 1919, there were no recreational parks in Atlanta available to African Americans. The park started with a gift of six and a half acres and expanded to 25 acres (100,000 m2) when completed in 1928. It originally included a swimming pool, dance hall, pavilions, and tennis courts. The Washington Park neighborhood has retained many of its landscape features; however, mass transportation projects, modern residential construction and subsidized housing development have caused the loss of some historic fabric.

More info on Washington Park on Yelp!

Who lives here: Joel Alvarado (Legislative Director for Dekalb County) , Jibari Simama (President of  Georgia Piedmont Technical College)

Hot places to visit here: Tea Cakes Bed & Breakfast

Things to do here:Visit the Natatorium and Tennis Center 1125 Lena Street . I was  nicely surprised when visiting the Natatorium on Ollie Street a few years ago. It was amazing -clean (warm-as I can not take the cold) and empty.

Schools I Love here: KIPP WAYS !!

Homes for sale here and near: Trulia (my website will be complete soon,then  bye-bye Trulia) 🙂

 

*Heman Edward Perry

The leading black entrepreneur was Heman Edward Perry, who developed major black business enterprises in segregated Atlanta during the first quarter of the 20th century. Perry arrived in Atlanta in 1908 after learning the insurance business in New York. He perceived that there were great possibilities for insurance sales in the black community. Perry quickly began an effort to raise funds to finance his Standard Life Insurance Company, which was state-chartered in 1913. This company proved profitable and Perry began to expand into other commercial enterprises, which included banking, printing, and construction. Through these enterprises, Perry initiated a substantial part of the business foundation of the modern black community in Atlanta. Even his subsequent failures did not diminish his major impact in broadening black enterprise and pride in Atlanta

 

NeighborWorks, when Neighbors Work

151025_475277802898_4402781_n

About 3 years ago  I was able to spend a week attending a NeighborWorks community development/stabilization conference and classes.  A few weeks prior, I found out I was pregnant with my 3rd child. I KNEW it would not be easy to attend as all of my pregnancies have been “high risk”, however  “not easy “  was an understatement.  In between violently vomiting (all day “morning sickness”), sharp muscle spasms in my back,  and having a condition which produced excessive  saliva, I was able to network with others dedicated to community development and rebuilding blighted urban areas.  It was one of the most draining and yet- exciting times in my life, especially being that it was held in New Orleans….a city not fully recovered from the Katrina devastation. 

I can not believe that was nearly 3 years ago. Ironically,  like in childbirth the pains and hardship one endures in that time (before and during labor) become a memory, once that which you anticipate has arrived.  Now, it’s just the growing pains.

We have  hundreds of  Non-Profits in the West End of Atlanta and many new businesses come to our NPU seeking support with this status and mission to help rebuild. Most claim to do  community development, or provide homebuyer resources.  Honestly, I have seen very little impact from any agency within my neighborhoods.  Yes, we do have UCDC (University Community Development Corporation) who have successfully participated in the NSP program-  rehabed and resold homes to a few owner occupants. However, the success ratio of these non-profits make it very difficult for me to support them.

 Why are those who have made it their business to redevelop communities limited in their accomplishments? Some will say they are lacking financial resources (grants are limited) and others may be lacking support.  I personally believe the “business” of  community development can not be a 9-5 Mon- Friday business alone.   There were many things I learned during the week in New Orleans,  one thing that resonates throughout my community is that a stabilized safe  neighborhood can not be built without resident involvement.  In our communities, what I do see are  neighbors with no affiliation to anything, nor  “C3’s”   bringing in new residents, orchestrating clean ups, and public safety meetings.

 In that spirit, this January 2013, Area West Realty will  join with  “Committed To Communities” in their event sponsored by The Beltline Team, Invest Atlanta and Wells Fargo Neighborhood Lift on a mission to support our neighbors with their efforts of community development.   During this time, we will showcase available homes,  affordability programs and some of the best features in our communities.  We are making available, the City of Atlanta, bank reps and * RRC for one on one (no-strings-attached) conversations.  We only need YOU

Mark your calendar January 12th for this event. We appreciate our neighbors and will have special “Thank You’s” for YOUR community development efforts.  ( more information to come).

Side Note:

Reynoldstown Revitalization Corporation, or RRC has successfully helped many potential home owners work on their credit, understand the home buying and ownership process.

I  also encourage those in the business, and neighbors NOT in the business,  to invest in additional training at NeighborWorks America.  The information received is priceless, the connections made will change lives.

For information on past Committed to Communities events.

West End…One on One with Mayor Reed

The West End Merchants Coalition Invites you to share in dialogue with Mayor Kasim Reed regarding accomplishments and strategies that will positively effect our community.

 
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
The Empire Board of Realtists

686 Joseph E Lowery Boulevard, Southwest
Corner of Oglethorpe and Lowery Blvd
Atlanta, GA 30310-1890
404.753.4129

7:00 am – Full Breakfast Service and WEMC Meeting
8:00 am – Discussion and Q&A with Mayor Reed

WEMC Current Initiatives
Clean and Green • CID • Holiday Street Decorations

WEMC Contact Information 404-913-0901 • westendmerchants@gmail.com

It is important for businesses, organizations, and affiliates of West End to be present in support of our district. This is an
opportunity for us to reinforce how we can work with City Government to make West End the best that it can be.

…your zip code please..?

Why did the store clerk ask me for this?  More importantly, why was I embarrassed?  I don’t like providing stores with ANY of my information, however in 2006, I HATED to give out my zip code. Among the comments received, “Whoa isn’t that the top foreclosure location?”   Then I would get defensive and explain the mortgage fraud situation – that these homes were all empty and how our communities were robbed of values, neighbors leaving us blighted although it was no fault of our own.  (yes, the entire long story)

However, from the strictly informative side- forget the long story- when I looked up my zip code I was a bit shocked by what I read.  Believe me,I’m not  ignorant about my community but I do not think the numbers paint an accurate picture.  I think these numbers have actually slowed our economic development and revitalization efforts.  On the contrary, we do have resilient neighbors and I am proud to say, despite the Black/White numbers on paper- we are thriving in the Grays!

Here is  information on a few zip codes I service:

30309

30309 is a densely populated, upscale urban zip code in Atlanta, Georgia. The population is primarily white, and mostly single. At $420,800 the average home value here is a bit higher than average for the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta metro area, so this probably isn’t the place to look for housing bargains.The median age here is 33.4. There are 10,415 men and 8,324 women. The median age for men is 34.2 while for women the median age is 32.3.

30310

30310 is a urban zip code in Atlanta, Georgia. Median household income here ($24,604) is significantly lower than US average ($56,604). The population is primarily African-American, and mostly single. The average house value here ($69,700) is significantly lower than in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta metro area as a whole, so this is probably a great place to look for housing bargains.The median age here is 33.2. There are 16,121 men and 17,477 women. The median age for men is 31.3 while for women the median age is 34.9.

30311

30311 is a urban zip code in Atlanta, Georgia. Median household income here ($27,512) is significantly lower than US average ($56,604). The population is primarily African-American, and mostly single. The average house value here ($94,400) is lower than in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta metro area as a whole, so this could be a great place to look for housing bargains. The median age here is 33.9. There are 15,704 men and 19,526 women. The median age for men is 30.7 while for women the median age is 36.4.

30318

30318 is a urban zip code in Atlanta, Georgia. Median household income here ($28,589) is significantly lower than US average ($56,604). The population is primarily African-American, younger, and mostly single. The average house value here ($87,600) is lower than in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta metro area as a whole, so this could be a great place to look for housing bargains.

30327

30327 is an affluent (median household income: $114,674) upscale urban zip code in Atlanta, Georgia. The population is primarily white, older, and mostly married couples. At $541,000 the average home value here is a bit higher than average for the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta metro area, so this probably isn’t the place to look for housing bargains.The median age here is 42.4. There are 10,111 men and 10,892 women. The median age for men is 42 while for women the median age is 42.8

30331

30331 is a rural zip code in Atlanta, Georgia. The population is primarily African-American, and mostly single. The average house value here ($98,800) is lower than in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta metro area as a whole, so this could be a great place to look for housing bargains. The median age here is 32.6. There are 20,112 men and 24,332 women. The median age for men is 30 while for women the median age is 34.8

30344

30344 is a suburban zip code in Atlanta, Georgia. The population is primarily African-American, and mostly single. The average house value here ($86,200) is lower than in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta metro area as a whole, so this could be a great place to look for housing bargains.The median age here is 30.4. There are 17,390 men and 19,363 women. The median age for men is 28.5 while for women the median age is 32.4.

30349

30349 is a rural zip code in Atlanta, Georgia. The population is primarily African-American, younger, and mostly single. The average house value here ($96,100) is lower than in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta metro area as a whole, so this could be a great place to look for housing bargains.The median age here is 29.3. There are 25,720 men and 29,519 women. The median age for men is 28.2 while for women the median age is 30.2.