Atlanta’s 2020 residential real estate market perseveres as one of the most vibrant and competitive in the nation due to tight inventory and historically low interest rates. Savvy sellers are taking advantage of this time and getting more for their homes than ever before. But not all homes will enter into a coveted bidding war. Price, condition and marketing are the primary factors in how fast and for how much a home sells for. We offer the following tips that have proven to be effective and within most seller’s control.

  1. Assure it’s as ‘move in ready’ as possible. What does this mean? Well, basically this entails checking off as many items on the ‘honey do’ list you have probably procrastinated on for years. Fix leaks, squeaks and creaks and anything else which will be one less item a new buyer has to worry about or negotiate in the offer.

  2. Spend some money. The last home we moved out of was practically my dream home by the time we pulled out of the driveway the final time. We had painted the interior, replaced the carpeting and installed upgraded countertops and a tile backsplash. And although it cost time and money completing those items, it was well worth it as we had multiple offers within days. Plus there are now concierge type services that will actually pay for renovations upfront and you pay them back when the home closes. Check out for details.

  3. Clean and de-clutter. There is nothing that is more of a turn off to a prospective buyer than a dirty and overcrowded home. The eyes will immediately be drawn to dust bunnies, carpet stains and Hummel figurines. Either knock this out yourself or hire a professional cleaning and/or de-cluttering service. As precious as your family photos are, take them down. Love collecting knick- knacks from all your exotic travels? Time to put them in storage. Remove as many items as you can from countertops and organize your closets, cabinets and drawers as they will likely be opened in showings to gage the space. The cleaner and more spacious your entire home feels, the better.

  4. Stage the home. This not only involves furnishings but also other elements that subconsciously play into the decision making. The first home I ever bought was a cute ranch that needed a lot of work. But my first impression was one of peace and joy. Why? The owner was baking bread. Brilliant!! I fell in love. The second time we came out there was no bread baking and I definitely felt less enthused, though we still bought it. Burn a candle in a glass jar if you will only be gone for a short time in between showings. Or use a plug in with a seasonal or vanilla scent. As far as the furnishings go, you may need to store some items along with your knick-knacks mentioned above. Minimalism is your ultimate goal and if you don’t know where to begin, hire a professional stager. They can either work with what you already have, or bring in some of their own furnishings and decorations. This will make a huge difference in how your home shows.

  5. Curb appeal. First impressions are critical in this market. Paint your front door, replace your doorknob if it needs updating, and don’t overlook a simple doorbell replacement if your old one is cracked. Remove all the screens on the front of your home (store them in the garage or attic) and pressure wash the windows. Add some inviting color to the front either with seasonal flower beds or potted plants. And if your welcome mat is faded or dirty, by all means replace it. This is probably one of the cheapest upgrades you can do that has the highest return on value.

  6. Price it competitively. Research the homes that are comparable to yours in the same or surrounding neighborhoods that have sold within the last 3 months or less. Compare the condition, upgrades, lot, etc. to determine a starting list price. A real estate agent familiar with the market can be invaluable here as there can be some tricky adding and subtracting for different features per comparison. If you price it too high, not only will there not be a bidding war but it might not appraise and then you may be forced to either lower it or refund the buyer’s earnest money and start all over again. Homes that sit on the market for too long or go off the market and then come back on can carry the stigma that something may be wrong with them. Price it too low and you could be leaving money on the table. Priced just right AND you’ve done all the aforementioned work to make it ‘move in ready’? That leads us to the last step…

  7. Put it on the market later in the week, on a Thursday or Friday as most showings happen over the weekend. You should have professional looking pictures showcasing all your hard work entered into a listing service as well as a glowing description of your home with the price and any terms you wish included. If you are using a local Realtor, this means FMLS and GAMLS (First Multiple Listing Service and Georgia Multiple Listing Service), and as soon as your home is ‘live’ on the market other real estate agents and their clients will know about it in real time. If you choose to list your home For Sale By Owner, be aware oftentimes services such as Zillow lag behind sometimes by days. In today’s Atlanta real estate market, if an agent knows they have a ‘move in ready’ home, they may include in the listing remarks something to the effect of ‘Offers will be accepted by Monday at 9am. Bring highest and best!’

And then it gets fun! After many showings over a short period of time, you are likely to enter into a multiple bid scenario for your home and then you will have the enviable job of deciding which offer works best for you. Sometimes it may be an all cash offer for the listed sales price with no appraisal contingency, or other times it may be a conventional loan offer for over asking price and the buyers waive the due diligence period. Whatever you choose, congratulations and job well done…you have sold your home faster than most people can imagine!

By Holly A. Morris, Realtor

The Meridian Real Estate Group

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