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Brookhaven versus Morningside

My dilemma is probably not uncommon: I absolutely adore Morningside, its elementary school, the vibrant community and the intown yet open lifestyle. However, the high prices [we are a single income household at the moment] makes us feel squeamish at the prices and what they get you, the upheaval lately we hear about in Atlanta Public Schools, and the compromise you have to make on square footage and layouts [bedrooms in basements/attics] makes us concerned. For this reason we're looking at Brookhaven. While we love the houses, floor plans, and Montgomery Elementary is an excellent school, we are nervous about the investment in Brookhaven and what the community is like.

So to put it simply, my questions are:

1. Is purchasing a home in Brookhaven a safe long-term investment?
2. What's the community like in Brookhaven, is there a sense of community, knowing one's neighbors?
3. Any areas in the Montgomery Elementary school district that are better with community than others?
4. If you live in Brookhaven do you go intown and still take advantage of all there is to offer like Fernbank, the zoo, etc?
4. Has anyone gone from suburbia and the comforts of "normal" floorplans to a tighter more expensive spot in Morningside, what has the adjustment been like? Do you miss the space, etc?

Thank you so much, we are so torn because we love Morningside so much, but the house we love is a 3/2 for 500K and we can get a lovely 5/4 in Brookhaven with a huge backyard but a rather drab looking subdivision and can't seem to decide what we should pick because no matter what we're compromising.
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January 30 2012 - Atlanta
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Wow, that's a lot of questions! I think only you can really answer them, because a home is VERY personal, and YOU are the one who has to live with your decision.

I know one couple who moved from suburbia to intown, and they love it. However, they both work in Midtown, and have no plans to have children. Personally, there is no way I would give up suburbia for a house anywhere in town; I'd rather make the drive on the occasions when I need to be there and have the amenities I get in the communities out here(pools, tennis, walking trails, parks, etc). BUT, again, TO EACH HIS OWN!!!! That's what's right for me, only.

Make your decision on what feels right for you, and you alone, and don't look back.
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January 30 2012
I think it wise to ask the questions. Morningside has a very distinct feel that you captured quite well in your comments. That appeal is definitely an important part of the draw. 

I agree with the previous post that only you can really make the comparison, but the differences are distinct. Over the weekend, I was showing a few houses in Garden Hills and Brookhaven. I am struck by my clients' comments based on yours. They could not get past the fact that Brookhaven felt like suburbia to them. In fact, the quote was, "if we are going to live in suburbia, let's just move to the country." 

While extreme in concept, I understood the sentiment. The quaint nature of Morningside and Garden hills are quite distinct, and Brookhaven may not have that piece. However, in my experience, that neighborly aspect can be had. That is really not so much dependent on an area, as it is the people making the effort. Kids most definitely are the way to the parents so to speak. Each afternoon, the younger kids in my neighborhood congregate in my front yard. Consequently, most of their parents do too. It was not always this way, but by being present and available, it has just come together.

Bottom line, if you need the "space", there is good value in Brookhaven. But, community must be built over time, not inherited.
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January 30 2012
Depends on what is the most important to you. I have been the city type all of my life. I like to be near and search for new restaurants and shopping and other neighborhood events. Those things are more prevalent Intown in my opinion. Some think that the more suburban communities are the best place to raise children, but there are many parts Intown that filling up with young professional families. 

But if square footage is more important and you plan on growing your family more so I would go Brookhaven. Have your realtor show you some homes in both areas and maybe take you on a tour of the neighborhoods so that you can really come to a thought out decision. 
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January 30 2012
 
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