In Atlanta, Seeking a House With Ample Space Indoors and Out. Which Option Did He Choose?

When AJ Dewberry began his search for a new home in Atlanta, he knew what he wanted more than anything else was ample outdoor space.

Having grown up about 40 miles south, in the small city of Griffin, Ga. — technically part of Atlanta’s metropolitan area, but as Mr. Dewberry is quick to explain, nothing like Atlanta — he always felt that being able to get outside in nature without much effort was essential.

“Griffin is the country,” said Mr. Dewberry, 29, the founder and owner of Level 10 Repairs, a popular mobile-phone repair company in Atlanta. “I’m used to privacy, having room outdoors and driving four-wheelers. I know I’m in the city and have to make some kind of compromise, but as long as there’s room outside — that was really important to me.”

In May 2021, he was also approaching his long-held personal deadline of owning a home by the age of 30. He would need a bit more time, but he started putting the pieces in place to buy a vacant lot and build a house of his own. He reached out to lenders, learned about the available options and spent the next year shoring up his credit and savings.

“I’m used to making money and spending money,” he said. “But I know that I need to start building assets with that money.”

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A year later, with bank approval for a $680,000 loan and a smaller cash gift from his aunt, Mr. Dewberry started looking for land. “I figured that with that approval I could really build my own estate and have all the land I wanted,” he said.

But after surveying the possibilities and considering the time commitments, he changed course. “I looked at 12 land lots and realized that wasn’t the fastest route,” he said. “I was ready to be in my home.”

The median home price in the Atlanta area over the summer was about $400,000, said Austin Fleury, a broker with Fleur De Lee Realty, who helped Mr. Dewberry with his search. For $500,000 to $600,000, Mr. Fleury said, a buyer could get a five- or six-bedroom townhouse or condominium.

“I knew that I wanted to still be close enough to downtown Atlanta, have a lot of bedrooms and still have that outdoor, country feel,” Mr. Dewberry said. He began looking at properties that were move-in ready or needed minimal work, and that could one day accommodate a swimming pool.

“The thing about Atlanta,” Mr. Fleury said, “is that it’s flexible that way. We knew that he could get space, a mansion of some kind, and be within a 20-minute drive from downtown, because a lot of places, like Marietta, Decatur, Sandy Springs, are really nice.”

Among his options:

Find out what happened next by answering these two questions:

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