For the 2010 housing market, recovery – just not immediate – is on the horizon, according to industry professionals monitoring housing developments.
“We’re on our way to recovery,” said Eugene James, director of the Atlanta division of Metrostudy. But, warned James, “it’s going to be a long and gradual recovery.”
In Intown neighborhoods, while homes are selling, “we’re seeing the typical days on market for those homes that do sell at a little over 90 days,” said Rusty Willis, managing broker for the Atlanta Intown office of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.
“Basically, it’s a slow chipping away at inventory,” he added.
What’s more, he said, is “there are still foreclosures impacting the market, and according to the public records, there are more to come. This is true for both single- family homes and condominiums. We’re now seeing foreclosures impact more owners and sellers in the higher-price ranges.”
There is reason to be optimistic, however. For one, first-time homeowners will be encouraged to know that the federal government has extended the $8,000 homebuyer tax credit through April.
“We’ve hit a bottom,” James said. “Things are inching along in an upward direction. Prices are starting to go back up.” At the same time, he’s noticed that “resale inventory is coming down quite a bit.” In addition, “I’m starting to see multiple bids occur on resale foreclosure properties. That’s getting more people off the fence and back into the game.”
James said this is especially true for single-family detached homes and townhomes, while it’s taking a little more time to see things turn around for condominium properties.
In a late 2009 report, Metrostudy – which provides primary and secondary market information to the housing industry and related industries nationwide – examined the nearly two dozen major metro counties, including Fulton and DeKalb. The conclusion: “Demand for new homes will grow when the job market improves,” James said.
Still, he’s convinced that there will be homes coming off the market, even with the record number of unemployed today. “There are going to be people who will want, need and have to buy a house. Those few people will be enough for us to continue to see improvement in the housing market.”
Healthy is how Ken Covers of Fourteen West Realtors in Atlanta referred to the outlook for real estate, the business he’s been in since 2000. “You’re not going to be able to break any records, but I see the market Intown being very healthy,” Covers said.
Covers, who specializes in helping homeowners get their properties ready for sale, believes Springtime in Atlanta makes for “a great time to sell your home.”
In addition to setting the right selling price, he suggests creating a plan before thinking about putting your home on the market.
“I can’t say enough the importance of getting your house ready for the market,” Covers said.
He advises homeowners not to overlook the exterior. From there, “stand in the front door and look at everything we see from the front door looking in.”
Both indoors and outdoors, sellers should be proactive and edit, meaning to get rid of any extra and clutter. Additionally, tackle those deferred maintenance items.
Covers offered this example: “There’s a piece of trim that didn’t get put on. You want to really work at removing the distractions for the buyer. All they should be thinking about is purchasing the house and living their life there, not about completing your unfinished project.”
Maintaining a bit of personality in your home is acceptable, to a point. “It’s important to leave some of your personality in the house, but at the same time you don’t want the buyer to be distracted by your personality and collections,” advised Covers, who sells in the areas of Morningside, Virginia Highland, Sherwood Park and Ansley Park.
Experts also advise that both buyers and sellers alike work with an experienced real estate agent. “In this market, it’s more important now than ever before to have an active and knowledgeable real estate agent,” said Willis. “Experience is a relative term and a buyer or seller should be more interested in any agent’s ability to get the job done. While experience is certainly helpful, evaluate a broker’s current stats for evidence. For sellers, a skilled agent can provide valuable information in positioning a home for sale and getting top dollar in this market and selling the home in a timely manner. For buyers, a skilled agent can provide insight and data to help the buyer feel good about their decision and the property they want to call home.”