Selling Metro Atlanta homes has been described as equal parts art and science. Of course, the ultimate goal for any seller is to sell their home as quickly and at as high a price as the market will bear. However, when that doesn't happen it can be frustrating to say the least – especially when other houses in your neighborhood or similar markets sell faster and for top dollar. So, why did that other home sell instead of yours? Let’s take a hypothetical look.
NOTE: Although we never work for sellers or list homes for sale, as exclusive buyer's agents, we can help you by referring you to the most qualified listing agents in the marketplace, due to our experience in working with these agents over the years. Even though we always only work for buyers and never for sellers, we offer these tips to potential home sellers as assistance in the process of selling Metro Atlanta homes in today's market.
Let’s say both your home and the one that sold are in the same neighborhood and are roughly the same size. Since they are very similar in heated square footage, have the same number of bedrooms and baths and other comparable bells and whistles, they should both sell for roughly the same sales price and at about the same time. That’s the normal assumption most homeowners selling Metro Atlanta homes have. When that doesn't happen, the natural conclusion is that your real estate agent is to blame. You wonder if they didn't advertise it well enough or often enough. However, the real culprit could very well be the manner in which your home was offered to the home buying marketplace. Let’s compare the homes in the following scenario.
The home that didn't sell.
Many homeowners make the mistake of not updating their home before they start working towards the ultimate goal of selling Metro Atlanta homes or a home. Let’s say you’ve owned your home for 30 years or more. You’ve raised a family and now are facing the “empty-nester” syndrome. You’ll probably downsize once you sell, but you really don’t have a plan yet. Most experts agree, that contributes greatly to the problem in selling your home. It’s more than just a catchy phrase, but “Sellers who fail to plan, plan to fail.” These homeowners are more likely to go against the grain and “wing it” despite the recommendations of the real estate professionals who encourage them to spruce up the home and make needed repairs and updates to present it in the best possible light. Instead, they elect to list their home “as-is.” Because it’s similar in size and features of other homes in the same price range – only those homes have been updated and prepped better – it gets little buyer interest and almost no activity. The bad first impression implies to some agents and others the house must have hidden issues, as well. The house continues to stay on the market – unsold – until it finally sells at a much lower price than it could have.
The home that sold.
Remember, the home that sold quickly and at the seller’s asking price had many things in common with the one that didn’t. However, its sellers planned ahead, knew what they wanted and executed their plan to perfection. They asked a professional agent what they should do to make their home marketable to sell as efficiently and effectively as possible. They plan to downsize and move to a nearby town to be closer to their children and grandchildren. Their agent implemented a several-month plan to make necessary improvements and repairs to their home. In addition, it gave the sellers the opportunity to plan their transition by having an estate sale and putting excess furniture and other items into temporary storage. They hired a home-staging company to assist with making their home as presentable as possible – including removing their personal items, photos and collectibles – for prospective buyers to “picture themselves” in the home. As a result, once the home was listed on the market it was well-received by agents and prospects alike. In fact, the sellers received several competitive offers from which a cash buyer was chosen and closed the sale within three weeks from the contract date. That scenario is the ultimate goal of anyone selling Metro Atlanta homes.
Why don't all sellers do what they should?
Simply put, because people are different. Some homeowners find that selling their home after living in it for nearly all their lives can be difficult thing to do. It’s a personal decision – and although that’s understandable – it’s a financial decision, too. Their home is likely the largest financial purchase they’ve ever made, which makes it an integral part of their investment portfolio. As such, they should treat this investment like their others, by listening to the professionals who know the market better than they do. In addition, most buyers have a great sense of what they’re looking for in a home – whether it’s their first or fifth. So, unless they’re in the market for a home that needs to be updated and that can be bought for considerably less than others in the market, they will likely always opt for a “move-in ready” home. The point is, as sellers, homeowners need to realize there is less demand for an “as-is” home than there is for one already updated.
Give your buyers what they are looking for.
As mentioned above, most prospective home purchasers don’t want to spend their money or their time on renovation projects. In addition, there’s always something that may come up during the renovation or remodeling that’s unexpected and can add to the expense. So, the moral to the story is to give the buyer what they want – a home they can move into quickly and make the transition as smooth as possible. That’s why the experts suggest painting your home's walls in neutral colors with newly-finished hardwood floors. It will help purchasers adapt their furnishings into the new home with little added maintenance or repairs. After all, when buying a “new” home, isn't that what most buyers are looking for?
See more articles pertaining to selling Metro Atlanta homes in the Atlanta Home Selling Tips section of our site below Atlanta Real Estate Categories in the column to your right.
Remember, we also post tips daily and would love it if you Follow us on Twitter and Find us on Facebook too.
In our Metro Atlanta Real Estate News for December 2013:
2014 Real Estate Predictions
Biggest Challenge This Winter: Lack of Inventory!
How Long Should Selling a Metro Atlanta Home Take?
2014 Real Estate Predictions
National Association of Realtors (NAR) chief economist Lawrence Yun gave some 2014 real estate predictions recently when speaking to the 2013 Realtors Conference and Expo, predicting steadiness in existing-home sales over the next year as prices continue to rise.
Looking over the past year, Yun said he expects existing home sales to be up about 10 percent in 2013 to 5.13 million. Sales in 2014 are expected to hold fairly even at about 5.12 million.
Reviewing price movements, he said the national median existing home price should end this year about 11 percent higher than 2012, climbing to $197,000. Next year's growth is expected to be cut nearly in half at about 6 percent.
Over the past two years, Yun says existing home sales have shown a 20 percent cumulative increase, while prices have gained 18 percent. Meanwhile, incomes have only barely risen, coming up somewhere between 2-4 percent.
Aside from affordability, ongoing headwinds include limited inventory conditions and stringent mortgage standards, both of which are expected to continue as housing starts struggle and business costs remain elevated for lenders.
Sales of new homes are expected to total 429,000 in 2013 and 508,000 next year.
Meanwhile, Freddie Mac has weighed in on 2014 real estate predictions as well, and predicts next year to likely be the first year since 2000 that home purchases outpace refinances.
Predicting exact outcomes for any market is nearly impossible. Uncertain Fed policy and government negotiations over the budget and debt ceiling could disrupt economic activity and throw all these predictions right out the perverbial window in the first part of the year.
Stay tuned to this website and we'll keep you up to date throughout 2014 on Metro Atlanta real estate trends and news that may affect the industry.
Biggest Challenge This Winter: Lack of Inventory
Prospective homebuyers hoping to buy a Metro Atlanta home in the next four months say the lack of inventory is their biggest challenge, but many believe winter is a good time to buy because sellers are motivated to sell and more willing to negotiate.
That's according to a survey of more than 1,300 visitors to realtor.com conducted from Nov. 7-16, which found 45 percent of buyers in the market said there's not enough inventory in their price range.
The survey also found that a surprising number of prospective homebuyers — 19 percent — are planning to do all-cash deals.
Of those planning to buy without taking out a mortgage:
- 29 percent said they are downsizing to a smaller or less expensive home.
- 26 percent are relocating buyers.
- 11 percent are moving up to a bigger or more expensive home.
- 11 percent are buying a vacation home.
While 28 percent said they were planning to buy because they are relocating, 19 percent were existing homewoners downsizing to a smaller or less expensive home, and 15 percent were move-up buyers. Nearly 1 in 5 of those surveyed (19 percent) said they were first-time homebuyers.
There were 2.13 million existing homes for sale at the end of October, NAR said, down 1.8 percent from September. But at October's slower pace of sales, it would take five months for all those homes to sell, up from 4.9 months in September.
Housing analysts generally consider a six-month supply of existing homes for sale as an even matchup of supply and demand — anything less can indicate that demand has outstripped supply.
How Long Should Selling a Metro Atlanta Home Take?
If you're considering selling a Metro Atlanta home, probably one of the questions you're already asking is, "how long should it take?"
In September, the average home took 86 days to sell, down from an average of 116 days one year ago. That's a pretty significant improvement, and the market seems to be getting even better as each month goes by.
Time on the market will vary, of course, depending on many factors. Condition of your Metro Atlanta home, neighboring homes, the job market in the immediate area where your home is located, and many others. But generally speaking, time on the market is down almost everywhere in the country.
The declining inventory of Metro Atlanta homes for sale over the past year naturally creates pressure for buyers to more quickly snap up the inventory that is on the market. This demand has been fueled by huge price changes since the market tanked, historically low mortgage rates, and a slowly improving economic climate.
Many homeowners are still "underwater," unable to sell because, despite rising prices, their Metro Atlanta home is still worth less than they owe on the mortgage. The sluggish job market means fewer homeowners are selling to relocate for work. And tight credit prevents would-be sellers from getting the mortgage they'd need for their next home, trapping them where they are.
As for buyers, they should resist the urge to get into a bidding war or pay prices they're not comfortable with. And most of all, buyers should not feel desperate. More homes will eventually come on the market. On the other hand, prices of those homes and mortgage rates could be a good deal higher in a year or two.
Ever wonder why your Metro Atlanta home isn't selling and others around you are snapped up in a matter of days from the time they go on the market?
While a lot of it has to do with price and local inventory, a whole host of factors can combine to make a home sit and stagnate on the multiple listing service without showings or offers.
Maybe your house is not painted purple, but the longer your Metro Atlanta home sits on the market, the more it gets stigmatized. People start to ask, "What's wrong with that house?" and "Why hasn't it sold?" Here are some possible reasons:
Your Metro Atlanta Home is Priced Too High
Pricing your Metro Atlanta home too high is the main reason a home just sits. Many sellers have unrealistic ideas about what their home can bring, others simply can't afford to take anything less because they are underwater on their loan.
It's always price for condition or price for location. That's one of the main reasons a Metro Atlanta home will just sit and stagnate.
Your Metro Atlanta Home Is Dated
Everybody's taste is different, so less is more when it comes to decor at sale time. Loud patterns and bold colors can be big distractions. Other buyer turnoffs include time-capsule interior treatments such as mirrored walls, cheap wood paneling and 1970s kitchens.
Your Metro Atlanta Home Is In Poor Condition
If a home looks as if it's going to cost half as much to repair or renovate as it does to purchase, it's going to take a long time to move. Buyers are a lot more reluctant to take on a project, especially if there are houses around it that don't need as much work.
The same goes for strong odors in the home, such as pets or mold. Either fix it or chop the asking price to accommodate for someone else fixing the problem.
Your Metro Atlanta Home Suffers From Bad Design
With some homes, it's a strange or inefficient floor plan that may be killing the sale. Cosmetic things like old linoleum floors or a rough interior can be easily fixed. If you have to walk through one bedroom to get to another one, that may qualify as functional obsolescence.
Your Metro Atlanta Home May Be in a Bad Location
You've heard it a million times when it comes to real estate: It's all about the location, location, location. There's not much you can do when your location includes overhead high tension power lines, or you're close to a power plant or waste-treatment facility. If your location just comes down to the neighbors not keeping up their property, you may have some recourse if your Metro Atlanta home is part of a homeowner's association that oversees the neighborhood and takes action if owners allow their properties to become run down.
These are just a few of the many reasons your Metro Atlanta home may be sitting on the market and not selling. If any of these things are things you can do something about, now is the time to take action to correct what you can.
For more tips on selling your Metro Atlanta home, see our section on Metro Atlanta Home Selling Tips to your right under Metro Atlanta Real Estate Categories.