Tips for Home Buyers and Sellers in Atlanta

Tips for Home Buyers and Sellers in Atlanta

The bustling city of Atlanta has attracted numerous Americans, from filmmakers and young entrepreneurs to families. It’s easy to fall in love with the city’s abundance of green spaces, award-winning restaurants, and rich history. With some of the highest job growth rates, thriving businesses, and most desirable neighborhoods in the south, it’s well worth making a move to Atlanta. But what should you expect in Atlanta’s housing market? There has been tremendous growth in the market, making it one of the hottest markets in the country today.

The cost of living and home prices attract many buyers to the area, making it an excellent place to sell a home. Atlanta has far more buyers than homes for sale, making it a clear seller’s market. With high demand and low housing supply, homes sell quickly and for more than the asking price. This means different things for buyers and sellers. While selling a house may be relatively easier right now, buyers are at a disadvantage, often finding themselves in bidding wars.

Whether you're buying or selling a house, there are many things to consider, such as the state of the local market, which neighborhoods you’d like to live in, and whether or not your home needs major repairs or renovations. If you’re about to enter the Atlanta housing market, whether buyer or seller, you should consider these essential home buying and selling tips.

Tips for homebuyers

Check your credit score

Your credit score is vital when determining whether or not you can get a mortgage, what type of loan you receive, and what your mortgage rates will be. A higher credit score shows lenders that you are serious about making on-time mortgage payments. Numerous factors can hurt or help your credit score, such as on-time payments, diversified credit lines, and whether or not you have any derogatory marks, such as past-due bills. Someone with a credit score of 700 or higher will likely spend less money each month on mortgage payments than someone who has a score in the mid-600s.

Save for a down payment

Most homebuyers cannot pay 100 percent of the purchase price upfront. If you’re not paying cash, you’ll likely need a down payment to get approved for a mortgage. Depending on the lender, you should expect to put down anywhere from 3%-20% of the purchase price. You should also factor in closing costs. In Georgia, closing costs range from 2%-5% of the home’s value. If you purchase a home for $300,000, you can expect to pay up to $18,000, including the down payment and closing costs. This is why you must make a budget before searching for homes.

Budget for other expenses

The home’s purchase price is only a part of your overall expenses when purchasing a home. Many buyers do not realize that additional costs and fees are associated with homeownership, such as insurance, real estate taxes, homeowners association fees, if applicable, and maintenance. These fees can quickly add up and turn a reasonable monthly price into something less than manageable.

Research neighborhoods

Most cities have their own distinctive communities. Atlanta features a wealth of neighborhoods, each offering a unique style and set of characteristics. Decatur, for example, is part of the metro Atlanta region and offers local art and shops with a small-town atmosphere. Other areas provide a wider variety of high-end shopping and dining, with trendy and modern vibes. Look at the neighborhoods in and around Atlanta to see which one may be the best fit for you. Consider basing your search on commute times, proximity to schools, playgrounds, and other amenities.

Tips for sellers

Know your home’s value

Before listing your home for sale, you’ll want to know its value. While you might be tempted to tack on a hefty asking price in the hopes you’ll sell for top dollar and make a large profit, it’s best to speak with your real estate agent to determine a fair price. Overpricing a home can be detrimental to your sale, as it may be out of the budget for otherwise serious buyers. Also, pricing a home correctly as soon as you go on the market means usually selling for a higher price vs. taking markdowns to get to a sale. At the same time, underpricing your home could cause buyers to hesitate, thinking there is something wrong with the home. Ask your agent for a comparative market analysis and have your home appraised before deciding on a listing price.

Prepare your home

While selling your property as-is in a seller’s market is possible, making repairs and updates is recommended. Use a home inspection to identify your home’s critical issues so you can address them in a timely manner. By making improvements and updates to your home, you are gaining an advantage in a competitive market. Minor fixes, like a fresh coat of paint or switching out lighting fixtures, can go a long way in attracting buyers.

Another great way to prepare your home for showings is to elevate its curb appeal. The first thing buyers will notice is the outside of the house; whether the inside is spotless or not, an unkept exterior will turn them away. Keep your home’s yard and exterior fresh and clean by adding flowers or planters, installing landscape lighting, and highlighting the entryway with a new doormat, potted plants, and more.

Make your home stand out in the market

Once you’ve priced your home competitively and prepared it for the market, it’s time to list your property. The secret to drawing in buyer interest is an enticing listing. Most buyers start their home search online, so it’s important that you have a listing that stands out from the crowd. Hire a professional photographer to take high-quality photos of your home. A virtual walkthrough is another excellent way to add interest, as it allows buyers to gauge the layout of the home better.

Navigating the Atlanta Real Estate market?

The most important thing to do before you buy or sell a house is to hire an exceptional real estate agent to help. An experienced agent will have the knowledge and tools you need to meet your real estate needs. Contact Atlanta real estate agent Sonny Jones today if you’re interested in purchasing or selling Virginia Highland real estate or property in the surrounding areas.
Recommended reading: An Insider's Guide to Midtown Atlanta


Sonny’s passion for real estate is apparent to all who know him, but not all know that this passion lured him away from a successful career in Merchandising and product development.

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