On today’s episode of the Wiser Wealth Management Roundtable podcast, the team speaks with Tom Townsend of Townsend Realty Group. The team discusses the real estate trends in metro Atlanta and other topics like investment property strategies, purchasing a second home, and what to look for when choosing a realtor.
The local real estate market in metro Atlanta has been very strong recently due to high demand and low inventory, along with low mortgage interest rates.
Location is very important in residential real estate. Northwest Atlanta (Cobb and Cherokee counties) are high-growth areas, with homes priced $350K and below being in high demand. In the market today, as long as the home is priced right and the condition is good, you have a hot property. With residential properties, if something is not selling, it is usually due to the condition of the home or it is not priced correctly. Tom finds that one question sellers often ask him is if they need to update or renovate a home in order to sell it. Tom says renovating allows you to attract a larger pool of buyers. The less you have done on your home, the smaller the buyer pool. Homes priced in the $650k-$1.5M range, are much more likely to sell in the Vinings/Smyrna area and would be a tougher sell in north Cherokee County.
Trends in the market
With more people working from home, buyers are wanting additional space for a home office. If there are two working adults in the home, they need two office spaces. We have also started to see more multi-generational families living together. These buyers are looking for homes with separate rooms instead of open living spaces. Baby Boomers are retiring and downsizing or rightsizing their homes. They are looking for one-story homes with masters on the main. For Millennials, some have been hit hard by the economy and are unemployed, so many are putting home buying on hold. Interest rates are a major play in real estate right now and experts are saying that low rates are probably here to stay.
What are the trends with investment properties?
Institutional companies are still buying single-family homes and renting them, which is good for the rental market. We don’t see rents going down anytime in the next five years. If you are considering buying a single-family home as a rental property, Tom suggests looking at homes less than $250K, with 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, and in a good school district.
There are a number of new technology companies that are entering the market to buy homes directly from sellers. These firms will offer to buy your home and also buy your next home and rent it to you. There is a convenience cost to this, but it is very economical. These firms are backed by big investment firms and Wall Street allowing them to borrow large amounts of money. These companies then leverage their access to capital to buy homes. There are some sellers who do not want the hassle of selling a home and have put a price on that hassle of around $6-8,000. There is also a way for an agent to be involved in the process of selling your home to one of these companies. And, it is always good to have an agent advocating for you. There are dozens of these companies now that you can compare offers from. The agent can help negotiate on behalf of the seller.
Another trend is that people are looking to escape the city and buy a second home. This is being fueled by the increase in people working from home. Tom says the North Georgia market has been very active this year due to this trend.
What should you consider when selecting an agent?
There are more agents working in teams now and this helps with efficiency and service levels. Teams are better able to support clients and make sure nothing falls through the cracks. The marketing of homes has moved online, away from print-like flyers and newspapers. Online presence is very important. When speaking to agents, find out what their online strategy is. It should include various channels, paid advertising, and agent websites as an authority portal. Agents usually have at least one full-time employee who focuses solely on online/digital marketing.
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