ALPHARETTA, Ga. — If you’re a fresh college graduate, finding an affordable apartment in north Metro Atlanta might just feel like a wild goose chase.
Let’s say you just got a job in Alpharetta. It’s your first professional job, and you’re excited. You ideally want to live there for a quick commute because you’ve heard about the traffic in and around Atlanta — it could take 45 minutes just to drive a dozen miles.
So, you begin looking for one-bedrooms in Alpharetta, because you’re an adult and you’re tired of living in college housing where roommates have too many people over, live in a pigsty and don’t pay their rent on time.
But, after searching, you start sweating. The price ranges are a little too high for your new salary — way better than working retail but not really good enough to afford living on your own in Alpharetta.
A search on Apartments.com yields a one-bedroom in Alpharetta for $1,300, but you realize it’s for people ages 55 and over. Okay, okay, there’s another with no age requirement for the same price, but you keep looking anyway — you probably need something less than $1,100.
Like other Georgians under 25 years old, you make around $40,000 a year in your entry level job, and that’s about $20,000 less than the median income of residents of Alpharetta, a city that was ranked the most expensive city to live in Georgia, according to Zumper’s “Atlanta Metro Report.”
You’re not the only one facing this conundrum — Metro Atlanta’s 20-34 age cohort by population ranks seventh in the nation, according to the Atlanta Regional Commission.
Cities in a 10-mile radius are a little cheaper — still not within a realistic price range, but eating ramen every day is worth the peace to you, and your parents don’t mind cosigning for a place that requires you to make triple the cost of rent a month.
There’s a “newly renovated” one-bedroom in Roswell for just over $1,200. The area also doesn’t look all that great, after getting a Google Street View, but you have a lot of trust in the world, and you read the reviews anyway. They’re mixed — “awesome” customer service, but some of the units are infested with bugs and mice, with complimentary pictures.
You search Sandy Springs, a little bit farther down the road but not bad. You find a one-bedroom for the same price as the one in Roswell, and you’re jazzed about the in-unit washer and dryer. Again, more positive reviews, but the black mold catches your eye.
A last ditch effort is North Fulton is Johns Creek, but the cheapest one-bedroom is $1,400 — impossible to afford even with a ramen diet, your older brother tells you.
You conclude you need a roommate or two, because you have to consider your other expenses – power, internet, water, health insurance, gas and groceries, and you want to live in a place where you won’t regret a 12-month lease. Having a life would be nice, too — maybe you want to go see a movie or a performance every now and then.
So, the roommate search is on with a new Roomies account and memberships to six different Metro Atlanta housing Facebook groups, to find a suitable stranger to live with amid all the scammers.