Depends on the type of property you are looking for. Alpharetta is awesome but don't rule out nearby cities. Just a little further North or nearby and you'll get more bang for the buck. Also check Cumming, Suwanee (I think they won best city to live a few years ago?), Buford and surrounding area.
Alpharetta is a suburban wasteland. At least I feel that way. You may not get any local character depending on where you live and unless you work in Alpharetta/Roswell you're gonna sit in hellish traffic on the way and back from work. Move downtown.
I think that the main question is why are you looking at Alpharetta? Like some of the others said, there is a lot of traffic and unless you are working in Alpharetta, it may not be the best area for someone who does not like a long commute for a short distance. Property values are higher in Alpharetta than they are in Cumming (about 8-10 miles north) but getting from Cumming to Alpharetta for work will not be fun to say the least. I live in Alpharetta and all that I can say is that I love it here. I work 1/2 mile from my home so I don't see any traffic. My wife works in Gainesville (50 mintues northeast) and she sees no traffic. It is a great community and I wouldn't move anywhere else unless I was moving for a job.....I ramble, back to my main question, why are you looking at Alpharetta?
If you are moving to Georgia for work or something, let us know and we can probably make a suggestion as to what area to look at.
By the way, if you are looking at Alpharetta for work or you will be in Alpharetta a lot, I would not suggest Suwanee or Buford. They are nice area's, don't get me wrong, but getting to and from Alpharetta to these area's will cause you to hit lots of traffic and road construction (that has been going on for like 3 years).
Alpharetta is in Fulton County, and the taxes are much higher to support the beaurocracy of Fulton County. You might want to consider the next county up, which is Forsyth. I live in the Suwanee part of Forsyth County, which is the southeast corner of the county. The advantages are lower taxes. Disadvantages include traffic. I work in Buckhead and my commute is about an hour each way.
I would be working in Alpharetta, and after a few visits I do realize that I will want to live as close to work as possible, I have no interest in a long commute.
We would be looking for a 3-4BR family home/neighborhood, enough yard for kids to play cookie cutter but no McMansions. Don't care for cookie developments where every home is the same floorplan, and we have found a somewhat older area just to the west of 400("Old Alpharetta" perhaps) that we are focusing in on. We might benefit from a market where the "old" houses are newer than anything to be found in our area.
Taxes seem to vary a good bit, even within the county, but are similar to what we are accustomed to now.
Any thoughts on that area, or comments from other relocators on the social or other economic adjustments you had to make.
J/K! I live in Cumming and love it. You're more likely to find a neighborhood like you want here and you're not paying Fulton county taxes. North Fulton pretty much supports Atlanta and South Fulton. Drive a few minutes north on 400 and get in to south Forsyth county at the minimum. What price range are you looking at? You'll get more bang for the buck here plus I hear the schools are better. I don't have kids but that's what my friends tell me.
My father is retired but dabbles part time in real estate so if you need someone to help you find a house let me know.