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Atlanta councilwoman likens developers to ‘carpetbaggers,’ urges seniors to not sell

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Southwest Atlanta awaits a full-scale revival, and Joyce Sheperd wants longtime residents to be there for it

A photo of a home in District 12’s Adair Park neighborhood.
South Atlanta homes could see a substantial rise in value in coming years. But who will reap the benefits?
Michael Kahn, Curbed Atlanta

Atlanta City Councilwoman Joyce Sheperd warned District 12 constituents recently to be wary of the unscrupulous developers ogling their properties, according to Atlanta Progressive News.

Property owners in her south Atlanta district have lately been inundated with mailers containing offers to buy their homes.

It’s a process carried out by house flippers from Buckhead to Riverdale and beyond, but District 12 sounds like a special case, a situation certainly exacerbated by the city’s recent purchase of land for the Atlanta Beltline’s Southside Trail.

So, during a “Homeowner Empowerment Workshop” in Southwest Atlanta, Sheperd suggested seniors hold onto their homes while “rich folks and investors and carpetbaggers”—drooling—watch their neighborhoods grow in value.

Sheperd, a fourth-term councilperson who owns a home a block from the Beltline, said she receives an offer to buy her property—with cash—almost every day.

Hungry developers, she said, prey on the elderly who might not know the true value of their houses. “Developers come into our communities… [saying] ‘There’s gold in them there hills,’” Sheperd said, per APN.

To a low-income, long-planted family, an offer for fast cash for their house can seem like a no-brainer.

“People will call you and say your house is $40,000, $50,000, $60,000; and they’re saying they’ll buy your house today, we’ll close in two weeks, and just sell ’em your house,” Sheperd said at the meeting.

However, those tantalizing offers, she said, tend to low-ball the homeowners. And it doesn’t help that Fulton County’s tax assessors might have undervalued a considerable amount of homes in recent years. That gives the impression, to some, their properties are worth less than the free market would offer.

As Atlanta develops, and as the Beltline makes its way through south Atlanta neighborhoods, properties in Sheperd’s district and beyond will continue to appreciate in value, she predicted.

“It’s getting ready to start,” Sheperd said. “Our city is out of recession. We want to make sure there’s a good balance—good stores, good restaurants. We want all those beautiful things we have on the northside of Atlanta on the southside of Atlanta.”

Her longtime neighbors, she said, need to be part of that.