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Between 2017-2018, almost 76,000 new citizens put down roots in metro Atlanta. What’s bringing them here? For starters, the city’s booming tech industry, award-winning neighborhoods, and a community focus on sustainable growth are all big draws.
But home prices are increasingly less affordable, as buyers raise their standards for what they’re willing to purchase. Millennials—who statistically favor move-in ready homes—represent 36% of all home buyers in 2019.
We’ve spoken to some of Atlanta’s top agents who shared all the tricks they’ve learned to lock down a sale, from simple projects to get your home out of the ‘90s to strategies to avoid a moving-day disaster. These hacks, along with a top-performing real estate agent, will position your home to get the buyer seal of approval without you having to invest in an HGTV overhaul.
Show off your home’s unique benefits with interior feature cards.
Stacey Wyatt at Keller Williams Realty Consultants
Stacey earned the Best of HomeLight 2018 Award for being in the top 1% of agents in his area. He sells 78% more properties than the average Roswell agent and is a Luxury Home Specialist.
“95% of the time the agent that shows the house represents the buyer. And oftentimes they may not know or have time to understand everything the home has to offer.
“So from a marketing perspective, we use what we call ‘interior feature cards’ to point out features of the home that buyers might not notice right off the bat. Take heated flooring, for example. There’s typically just a small switch that controls the floors and if you’re showing the house in the spring, you may not have the floors on because it’s warm outside. A card placed near the feature draws attention to it and provides a little explanation for how it works.
“That’s really the job of the listing agent—to be able to point out all those features and benefits, like heated floors, because there is some perceived value with that if you’re comparing home to home.“
Negotiate for temporary occupancy to avoid any moving mishaps.
Janice Overbeck at Keller Williams Atlanta North
Janice is a Relocation and Retirement Specialist who sells 71% more properties than the average Marietta agent.
“I try to get my seller clients temporary occupancy for a few days after closing.
“I’ve sold hundreds of homes, and I’ve seen buyers die the day before closing, I’ve seen trees fall on houses right before closing, I’ve seen deals fall apart. You don’t want to spend all that money moving until you’ve closed.”
Invest wisely in making your basement a selling point, not a liability.
Andy Peters at Keller Williams Chattahoochee North
Andy is a Certified Distressed Property Specialist and sells 77% more properties than the average Atlanta agent.
“If the basement is unfinished, we want to address any structural or water intrusion issues. If a seller told me that were a problem, I would suggest we go ahead and get that fixed. Get a warranty on it, something that we can convey to the buyers. That solves an objection before it can happen. And it shows the buyer that you care about your property, you’re not just going to let things go. Buyers don’t want to be surprised by things during the inspection period.
“I would also want the basement to be cleaned and vacuumed as well. And I would love to see a stager or professional organizer come in and make sure it doesn’t have stuff all over the floor. Things are up in racks, you can clearly see the perimeter of the space, you can see how big it is. I think that’s important in a basement.“
Steer clear of baiting buyers into a bidding war with your list price.
Trent Aldridge at CityMax Realty Inc
Trent sells properties 62% faster than the average agent and has over 16 years of experience. He is a condo specialist, having sold 135 more condos than the average Atlanta agent.
“We’re in the South and people are less aggressive about negotiating than they are in the North. In the South, people get really turned off by a lot of tricks in terms of underbidding to get multiple offers. That could hurt your seller in the long run, because I think that is a major turn off.
“We’ve got several buyers where, if they even hear a property’s got multiple offers they won’t even want to see it. They don’t want to get their hopes up, they don’t want to get involved in the games.”
Avoid inspection surprises by tackling water intrusion issues before you list.
Marc Takacs at Keller Williams Midtown – Atlanta
Marc has over 15 years of experience and sells homes 65% faster than the average Atlanta agent.
“We’ve had a really wet year so any house with a crawl space probably has signs of water intrusion or water in it. It’s a huge one.
“We don’t necessarily recommend the huge $10,000 encapsulation project, but we do recommend it get addressed, normally by a combo of French drain, landscape, grading, and a sump pump to address the problem before selling.”
Divert attention from your home’s age with these minor modern updates.
Kelly Allen at Keller Williams Realty Atl North
Kelly has over 20 years of experience and 748 transactions under her belt. She earned the 2018 Best of HomeLight Award for being in the top 1% of agents in her area and is a Seller Representative Specialist.
Kelly recommends her sellers do a few quick, cost-effective, and impactful home updates to attract buyers:
- Paint over interior walls:
“Grays are going away— I would focus on white. We have our interior designer come in and she will pick paint colors, making it so easy for our sellers.”
- Replace dated light fixtures:
“We see a lot of ‘90s brass. Super shiny, and it can really date a space. You can replace a chandelier for $200, and it becomes a really wise way to spend your money.”
- Swap out old doorknobs, cabinet handles, and faucets.
“You go from a disappointing feature to a ‘Oh, wow!’ And if we can create as much of those ‘Oh, wow!’ moments as they walk through the house, then maybe the buyer won’t care so much that the entire home isn’t updated.”
- Refresh cabinets with paint:
“Transform a dark kitchen (with cherry or oak) for the price of painting cabinets.”
Set buyer expectations by creating detailed, accurate listings.
James Carswell at Keller Williams Realty Southeast Region
James has over 18 years of experience and has sold 81% more properties than the average agent.
“A lot of sellers have things that they’ve done to the home or they know certain things about the home that I may not know. So I try to have a conversation with sellers to see what they’ve done to the property.
“Then, when I get ready to go write the remarks or put in the description of the property, I try to include as much of that information as possible that I think would be worthy of putting out there for the buyer to see.
“Since we’re out there working with those buyers, we know what the buyers are looking for and we’re also getting a lot of feedback from other listings that we may have posted. So we have all of this information that we can use when we’re getting ready to list the property.”
Position your home to sell in its best possible condition.
Sarah Stovall at Century 21 Results
Sarah is a SFH expert, working with 76% more single family homes than the average agent. She has over 17 years of experience.
“You’ve got to position yourself in the market to get the most exposure, to get the most traffic and to get the highest yield on your biggest asset.
“I tend to look at what homes are pending, rather than just sold, because that gives you an idea of what’s going on today. We talk about price, location, and condition.
“I can’t move you. So the two things that we can control are price and condition and we need to find that right price for the condition that your home is in. That doesn’t necessarily mean that your home is in bad condition. It will just mean the price has to reflect the condition that your home is in currently.”
Solidify a buyer’s first impression with these must-do curb appeal projects.
Janet Weidmann at Keller Williams, First At
Janet has over 22 years of experience and sells homes 76% faster than the average Roswell agent.
“Window cleaning is absolutely important. You also want to remove screens because it becomes the difference between looking at a foggy lens and clear lens.
“Limb up the trees so that you can see the house and remove bushes that are encumbering upon the windows, especially when you can’t see the windows because the bushes are too high. Then, add small bushes to make it feel like a brand new house.
“Put a fresh coat of paint on the front door and then put a flower pot next to the door. You want to do this because while that agent is trying to open up the lockbox, the buyer who’s standing directly behind them will be moving their eyes all over the front door, the windows, and the yard. Just taking it all in. That’s their very first impression.”
Leverage your agent’s deep local network to find a buyer.
Cleve Gaddis at RE/MAX Center
Cleve has over 19 years of experience and 1,068 transactions under his belt.
“We have a database we’ve been keeping up with for 15 years. So, I know which agents are most likely to sell property in each area. And I know this because I have a geo-coded database of agents based on where they live and work.
“Then I overlay sales data on top of that, so I know which agents have sold properties in the past. This allows me to concentrate my marketing on the agents who are most likely to have a buyer prospect that will be interested in our property.”
Small fixes and an agent’s wealth of experience help you sell successfully in Atlanta
Population is increasing all over metro Atlanta, with the top three hot spots being Atlanta proper, Fulton, and Gwinnett counties. To sell successfully in Atlanta, however, it’ll be up to you and your top agent to frame your home in its best light and find that perfect buyer willing to pay the top price for it.
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Editor’s note: Agent quotes have been edited and condensed for brevity and clarity.
Article Image Source: (Adam Goldberg Photography/ Shutterstock)