There are several factors I look at when investigating a potential new market to determine whether the real estate investments will be worth sinking both mine and my clients’ hard earned money into. Before I buy cash flow properties in Atlanta, or any other area, I look at the industry in the area. I see what’s already there and what is potentially moving into the market within the next few years. Atlanta is the hub of the southern United States. Many flights connect through Atlanta and it is a center for business. Some of the major head offices that call Atlanta home are Coca-Cola, Home Depot, AT&T Mobility, UPS, Delta Airlines and Turner Broadcasting (CNN). In fact, Atlanta has the United States’ fourth largest concentration of Fortune 500 companies and more than 75 percent of 1000 companies have business operations in the metropolitan area. It has a booming airport, a mild climate, great universities and low crime (it dropped 40% in the last decade, according to the FBI) I also examine the employment statistics and whether there is growth in the job market or not. Another important factor is the employment sector – diversity is important. I don’t like to see a one-industry type of town because if that industry sours, the economy in the area takes a dive, no matter what the rest of the country if doing. Employment numbers are picking up in Atlanta, according to the latest numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. When it comes to major metropolitan areas, Atlanta ranks No. 2 in job growth, according to a new study by Arizona State University. When looking at what Atlanta has to offer, median income, crime reports, education levels and the percentage of homeowners vs. tenants are all important factors. One of the most important criteria that my investment properties must meet, whether it is buying cash flow properties in Atlanta or anywhere in the world, is the exit strategy. If I want to keep the property as a long term buy-and-hold rental, my plan will be different than flipping. I always go for as much cash flow as possible, but capital appreciation is key as well. This means that sticking to good neighborhoods, as I have been in Atlanta, will eventually lead to selling to a homeowner, and not just another investor, which is usually what happens when buying in lower socioeconomic areas. And of course, I look at the housing market. Atlanta was hit with the same drop the rest of the country experienced and is now playing catch up to places like Las Vegas, Phoenix and Miami. Atlanta is a great emerging market to get in on because it fits all my criteria for the perfect storm of excellent investment – a surplus of newer built homes combined with a lack of available credit. Add in the fact that previous home owners are now renters, but will eventually be owners again, and you have the perfect recipe for buying great cash flowing properties at bargain prices.  

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