6 Homebuyer Tips for a Great Deal in Atlanta, GAOctober 20, 2009
There are some bargains in the North Metro Atlanta and Buckhead real estate markets. The following tips will give you the confidence to take advantage of the Atlanta homes sale:
- Research comparable sales. In preparing to make an offer, your REALTOR® should provide you a list of comparable properties that have sold in the neighborhood. During this hypersensitive Atlanta real estate market, I wouldn’t bother going back more than 12 months. It’s these neighborhood “solds”, the more recent the better, that will give you the best idea of a home’s true value.Try to have a basis for your offer. There has been a lot of publicity about the drop in real estate values, but keep in mind, most Atlanta, GA homes have already been reduced in price. If your offer is completely arbitrary, it will be hard for your agent to make effective arguments during the negotiations.
- Research the seller. A good REALTOR® will help you get information from the listing agent. You should be researching the potential home as if you work for the CIA. Don’t be afraid to talk with the neighbors. Try to find out their motivation for selling, their timeframe, their current mortgage(s), how much they paid, what year they bought the house, how much they spent on improvements, do they need to sell before they move, etc…Don’t let a contract fall apart due to minor issues. If your offering a lower price, try to cater the rest of the contract to the seller’s needs. A quick closing date accompanied by a fat earnest money check can often work wonders on the price.
- The standard discount is a myth. Some buyers are very intent on making a standard 5 or 10% discount on their offers. But home prices can vary tremendously and I’ve seen all kinds of discounts and premiums throughout Buckhead. For instance, I sold my personal residence, during this down market, for almost 100% of my asking price. I received multiple offers on our home through innovative marketing, proper staging, curb appeal and a realistic price. I know of another Buckhead home, currently on the market, that is priced for more than double its actual market value. I feel sorry for the seller, because he will ultimately get far less money for his home with this strategy. Take the time to research a property and don’t make haphazard, “standard” offers.
- Contact an experienced mortgage broker. Before you make any offers, get pre-qualified for a mortgage. The mortgage broker can do this in a couple of days, if not, find another mortgage broker. If she can’t provide you a simple pre-qualification letter, then the closing day could be very scary. The letter is important for two reasons:First, it will give you a maximum price range. You don’t want to waste a lot of time looking at homes that you ultimately can’t afford; talk about a discouraging experience.Second, an offer accompanied by a pre-qualification letter will be taken more seriously. If you expect the sellers to bend on the price, then your offer needs to be serious and organized. If the sellers are going to take their home off the market, while it’s under contract, they need assurances that you’re not chasing a pipe dream.
- Get automatic email updates. Every night, I look at the new listings and price changes for Buckhead, Brookhaven, Sandy Springs and Dunwoody. My clients learn about great properties very quickly. If you’re not working with an agent who is dedicated to market knowledge, or you want a backup plan, then sign-up for automatic email updates. Obviously, I’m partial to my website and it’s automatic update feature, but there are many great services available on the Internet.When a North Atlanta home is listed below market value, which is not often, there are usually multiple offers. You want your offer to be first, accompanied with assurances of your ability to close.
- Don’t be timid. Your market research and mortgage preparation should give you the courage to act quickly. The best priced homes won’t stay on the market for very long. Don’t let a great property slip away due to indecision. Your offer should have a due-diligence clause with a “no exceptions” cancellation period. This will give you recourse if you have reservations about the home.
Hopefully, these tips will give you an edge over other buyers in the market. Make sure you do your research and work with a qualified Realtor. If you have any questions about making an offer, or would like to see some homes, please feel free to contact me.