Atlanta, GA

Want to Take Advantage of the Current Seller's Market? A Local Agent Tells You How

Zachary Walston

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The housing market is white-hot. This is not a traditional seller's market either. The combination of low inventory, record-low interest rates, and high buyer demand is causing the best homes to sell quickly.

Not all homes are a guaranteed sale, however.

If you really look closely, you’ll notice something pretty interesting happening. Homes are either going the first few days they are on the market, or sitting for weeks or even months, then selling well under the listing price. - Lindsay Walston

I recently spoke with Linday Walston, a real estate agent based out of Atlanta, GA, about the current market. She has seen many houses sell $50,000 over list price, but she has also seen houses across Atlanta sit with little action.

Is this an Atlanta-specific phenomenon? No.

A hot market does not guarantee a sale. You still have to set yourself up for success to win as a home seller. Lindsay shared with me some strategies that work well in Atlanta and will apply to any market.

#1 - Price it Right

The current demand has driven up home prices, but pricing your home well over local comparable sales to ‘see what you can get can backfire in a big way. - Lindsay Walston

Pricing is the most common reason a home sits on the market for longer than it should. You have a narrow window of maximum opportunity - generally considered to be the first two weeks on the market - where you will have the most attention on your home. If you spend those two weeks overpriced, traffic will be lower, and you will be much less likely to receive an offer on your home. After this period, your home will have to undergo price adjustments before you finally sell, potentially resulting in less money in your pocket than if it was priced correctly from the beginning.

Working with a local real estate agent who is a market expert can help you get it right the first time and sell for the most possible money.

#2 - Prepare Your Home

Eliminate clutter and make necessary repairs to show your home in the best possible light.

Take some tips from professional stagers and remove excess items or furniture, neutralize colors, and put away most personal items to give your home maximal appeal to buyers. Consider things like shifting furniture placement to better define areas of the home and help buyers understand exactly how to utilize that space.

Consider hiring a professional stager, especially if has been a while since you’ve updated your home. After all, staged homes have been shown to sell an average of 73% faster than empty homes. - Lindsay Walston

#3 - Insist on a Professional Photographer

Most buyers decide whether or not to view a home exclusively on the photos and videos posted online. Poorly lit or DIY photos will not present your home in the best possible light and may cause a potential buyer to decide pass before booking an appointment.

Lindsay has lost count of the number of Atlanta homes with low-quality photos that kill a home's sale potential. If you scroll through a real estate website or phone app, it won't take you long to find offputting pictures.

Pictures of corners of a room and spaces that appear dark or filled with clutter do absolutely nothing to attract you to a home. Your goal with the online listing is to draw as much attention to your home as possible. The more interested buyers, the higher the likelihood that you receive an offer at or above the list price. - Lindsay Walston

Some agents, like Lindsay, pay for professional photos and a virtual tour for all properties they list. Good agents know the cost is well worth it.

#4 - Choose the Right Day for Your Listing to “Go Live

Typically, Wednesdays or Thursdays are the best days for a listing to hit the market. This allows buyers to find the home to tour and to maximize attention generated moving into the weekend when a lot of buyers are doing the majority of their searching. - Lindsay Walston

If your real estate agent is planning on hosting an open house, hitting the market in the middle of the week allows for potential buyers to plan accordingly. Your go-live day can be the difference between a quick sale and sitting on the market for an extra week. Make sure your home is prepped - including repairs and staging - before it officially hits the market. You want to be ready for immediate home-showing requests.

#5 - Be Ready to Go

Most buyers don’t want to wait to move in so be sure you are ready to move out within 30 days of your home hitting the market. While you can set up a temporary occupancy agreement, this is often considered a concession for buyers, so you might have to make compromises elsewhere, such as the sale price. - Lindsay Walston

In this market, provided you follow the previous advice from Linday, you have a good shot at a quick sale. Lindsay is seeing most well-priced Atlanta homes sell within three days of being on the market. If you don’t have a new home to move into, look into storing your furniture in a storage unit or a temporary apartment or hotel room until your new home is ready. Even if you already have a new place to go, make sure you start to look into moving companies ahead of time so that you have a game plan for move-out day.

If you set yourself up for success in this current market, be prepared for multiple offers. It’s a great problem to have but remember that not all offers are created equal, and it’s not always the highest price that makes for the best offer. Have your agent walk you through not just your net sale price but also any contingencies or special stipulations in the contract that could cause hiccups later. It doesn’t matter how high the offer is if it doesn’t close.

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I am a physical therapist, researcher, and educator whose mission is to challenge health misinformation. You will find articles about health, fitness, medical care, psychology, and professional development on my site. As the husband of a real estate agent, you will also find real estate and housing tips.

Atlanta, GA
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