INSPIRATION FOR MAY: TRANQUILITY.
The more tranquil a man becomes, the greater is his success, his influence, his power for good. Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom. ~ James Allen
WELCOME TO MY "NEW" REAL ESTATE NEWSLETTER! I have decided to merge my regular blog, "Positively at Home In Gwinnett," with what used to be my Client Direct monthly newsletter. It may include a variety of topics, but the one thing you'll see every month is a summary of LOCAL real estate conditions, and what my gut is telling me about the metro Atlanta and Gwinnett County markets. The photograph above was taken at the Mountain Park Aquatic Center. I'm told that this is a type of Jasmine, which really surprised me (it is not a vine, but a sprawling bush). Combined with the honeysuckle along the walking trail, it creates an intoxicating sweet perfume in the air in May. Lovely!
LOCAL HOUSING MARKET - MY GUT FEELINGS
It's year five of the housing crisis, and I've never done so much research to determine fair market value for listings. I remember the "good old days" when I would list a 2-story house in an established neighborhood, pull up three comparable sales from the last 12 months, and feel pretty comfortable that it would sell in 90-120 days. With so distress properties in every area and price range, sometimes we have to go with our instincts.
The most recent published statistics are for March listings and closings. In general, inventory has dropped. This may mean that the average owner occupants are on the fence about listing in this market, while foreclosures and short sale continue to pour into the market. Because of the same phenomenon, values continue to drop in existing homes, while. new home sales are picking up a little in some areas. I hate using averages, but there's no denying how the average home sale prices have plummeted in metro Atlanta, with median sale prices in some areas under $100,000. On the other hand, in February I began seeing a slight increase in traffic on resale homes, and an increase in new construction.
THE CHALLENGES OF HOME SELLERS
If you are thinking of listing your home, be realistic. I work primarily in Gwinnett County, but the same is true all over metro Atlanta - buyers are shopping for a home online, and they are looking at a LOT of homes before making a decision. Your listings is only NEW for about three weeks. My strong advice is to be 100% ready before listing, because you do not want to waste showings. Make sure that it is clean and in good repair. Pay attention to landscape maintenance, including pruning, mowing, and edging. Take a look at the front door area, as this is where your prospective buyers are standing while their agent is unlocking the lockbox. Does the door need painting? Does it need new hardware? Does it have a fresh looking welcome mat?
If you have the ability to update, it may be worthwhile to do so. If you have not been in the housing market for awhile, I always recommend looking at model homes in a subdivision just over your home's price range (or browse new homes on the Internet). Since most buyers prefer a new house, you may get simple ideas that you can use to update your resale home.
If you do not have money to spend on updates, painting in light, warm colors may make a big impact. If you cannot do that, you can brighten and neutralize the space by minimizing personal belongings (especially family photos and collectibles), and opening or removing curtains and draperies. Especially if you have an older home, think LIGHT, BRIGHT, NEUTRAL, CLEAN!