REALTOR® and Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty agent Suzanne Close quoted in AJC article

May 25, 2010

Taken from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Finding the right location, price and size all in one package can be rewarding for a home buyer.

If one of those elements is missing however, the experience can be equally agonizing for a home seller.

Geoffrey and Brenda Smith have been trying to move their two-bedroom, one-bathroom Mountain Park home off and on for two years. They had no idea it would take so long to sell the home.

“The saving grace for us right now is that we have a fantastic renter in there right now,” Geoffrey Smith said. “It is a little frustrating, but having the renter does take the edge off.”

Even with historically low sale prices, there are still some properties that remain harder to sell than others, regardless of price, veteran agents say. And there are challenging properties on the extreme opposite end of the size spectrum, as well.

“The one-bedroom home is hard to sell in any economy and any market,” said Jill Huitron, an agent for Harry Norman Realtors.

Huitron has a one-bedroom, 1 1/2-bath home in Marietta listed for $53,000. The home, which was originally listed for $83,500 in April 2009, hasn’t attracted much traffic.

“I thought surely this last price cut would bring more interest, but it hasn’t,” she said. “Right now it is almost like price doesn’t matter.”

But price does matter, countered Brenda Allred, managing broker for Crye Leike Realtors in the Smyrna/Vinings neighborhood.

“It is all about price,” she said. “The question is, has the price gone low enough to sell?”

Median homes sale prices have fallen in the first few months of 2010, when compared with the same period in 2009, according to reports from the National Association of Realtors. For the first three months of the year, metro Atlanta’s median home sales prices ranked 124th out of 152 metro areas across the country, according to the NAR’s latest quarterly report.

An average of 25,000 homes were for sale in metro Atlanta during the first three months of the year. Those homes averaged 122 continuous days on the market, according to data from Prudential Georgia Realty.

But those days lingering on the market can be considerably longer for cottages and castles, Allred said

“Some mansions can easily be on the market for well over a year,” she said. “The same goes for small homes, unless the property’s price is that magic number. But the trick is only the buyer knows that number.”

Smith hopes $214,000 is the magic number for his Mountain Park home.

“It is a steal at that price,” he said

With only one bathroom, the home is a hard sell, even in a desirable community, said Smith’s listing agent, Suzanne Close, an agent with Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty.

“The air is really thin on both ends of the spectrum right now,” said Close, who should know. She is also the listing agent on Dean Gardens, a 58-acre estate in north Fulton County and priced at $13.9 million.

Dean Gardens has been on and off the market for better than 15 years and has never sold. The asking price for the estate, which includes an eight-bedroom pink mansion, 18-hole golf course and wedding chapel, has been as high as $40 million, but it has been drastically reduced, Close said.

“For an estate this size, the pool of potential buyers is international, but it is also very small because you need a buyer who wants all of this space,” she said. “The same with my Mountain Park listing. The pool is likely local but very small because you need a buyer who will be OK with a one-bathroom home.”

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