Interviewing a Web Savvy Listing Agent to Sell Your Home in the Crowded 2009 Atlanta Market

Over the last 24 months, particularly in large metropolitan markets like Atlanta, real estate print media has all but disappeared in favor of Internet promotion of listings and services. Web advertising continues to evolve; the ability of agents to provide enhanced listing details has captivated consumers who want easy access to every bit of online information that can be provided before they get into a car to begin the search. In the crowded 2009 Atlanta market with huge and stagnant inventories, differentiation is crucial. With approximately 45,000 single family homes and 10,000 condominiums available for purchase, there is significant motivation for sellers and listing agents to understand and implement high impact web marketing.

Customizable search criteria, birds eye views, street views, back yards, parking, amenities, questionable structures, bodies of water and topography are information used by enlightened Atlanta area buyers to eliminate properties in an oversupplied inventory. The Atlanta metro area has two MLS systems with significant overlap, so many agents list properties on both. In practice, a Multiple Listing System creates an equal playing field, so to leverage their listings, proactive agents are likely to advertise beyond the content of these systems. Powerful area specific websites, such as The Atlanta Journal Homefinder, Craigslist, Backpage, and Creative Loafing have evolved quickly to include extras like mapping tools and photo tours. However, these opportunities remain underutilized by listing agents, even when the advertising is free.

Specialized Internet marketing is not included in the skill set of most agents. Tech savvy agents who really get Internet marketing and property promotion are unique. An example of the typical disconnect is the property listing website, indexed by the house address url. What buyer knows your address before searching for their target dream home? How many web paths does your listing agent provide to move the buyer toward a site that showcases your home’s most appealing features?

More importantly, how does your agent achieve front page ranking on Google for your home? Occasionally I see listings that have placed an informational link in the private remarks section of the MLS listing, so that it may be viewed only by agents. If that is the sole online visibility of the path to a home’s virtual tour then everybody loses. The consumer browsing on a public access listing website misses some of the most compelling information. When I see this error, I know the agent has limited Internet marketing savvy; the chances of this home ranking high on Google are slim.

Descriptive property pages which achieve a high ranking on Google are not the result of large corporate brokerages which “stuff” listings into national real estate websites. In the large inventory of urban, suburban, and rural Atlanta housing, a home search can quickly confuse and frustrate buyers. The most successful web advertising for your home is a carefully crafted product managed by an agent who knows what really matters when consumers begin the search process. If Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield National Park, The Avenue of East Cobb, or Roswell Square are popular destinations near your home, then the agent will incorporate this information into the web page title to capture additional traffic.

Relevant interview questions to help you identify a web savvy listing agent capable of creating a high impact marketing campaign to sell your home are:

* On which local and national real estate websites will you list my home?

* How often do you update my home’s listing information on these sites?

* What keyword searches can consumers use to find my home on the front page of Google?

* Explain how you incorporate SEO techniques into your overall marketing plan.

* Which Atlanta area specific domain names do you own that help potential clients find my house?

* Do you hire a professional photographer to showcase my home’s interior and exterior?

* How many pictures will appear on my home tour and which websites will display the tour?

* Will you add information to the pictures to create additional interest?

* How many seconds does it take for a buyer to load and view my tour?

* Can the photo tour of my home be emailed?

* Can you show me an example of your high impact listings?

* Will you walk me through the process that demonstrates how a buyer will find my home online?

* Will you show me all the details of my home’s listing profile as the public will view it?

* Will I receive weekly emails showing the number of views of my home’s virtual tour?

In the crowded 2009 Atlanta real estate market, the answers to these questions and the derived benefits are important differentiators between top sales achievers and those who won’t get to the closing table.

Why You Should Sell Your Condo Today

Are you thinking about selling your condo? Now might be the right market-but does that mean it’s the right time for you to sell?

If you bought a condo in Toronto between four and five years ago, you may be thinking it’s a good time to sell. Toronto condo prices, according to the Condos.ca PSF Index, are on the rise: since February of 2017, the average 800-square-foot condo has appreciated by approximately $78,000, and condos that were purchased in 2012 have increased in value by close to $130,000. But does this increasing market mean condo owners should wait until prices climb even higher or sell now?

To Sell or Not to Sell…

As the PSF Index indicates, it’s a good time to sell. The increase in value of your condo means that, if you sell now, you can invest those higher profits into purchasing a new property, allowing you to continue to grow your equity. If that’s your plan, then selling now is smart because it will allow you to enjoy the climbing value of your new property as well. A lot of condo owners are hesitating to sell right now because those values do continue to rise-they could earn a higher resale value by waiting another year to sell-however, it’s important to remember that the rest of the condo market is appreciating in value, too. A year from now, you’ll be facing higher asking prices than you’d be facing today, and that may make your investment less profitable in the long run.

Then, of course, there are those looming price corrections. If the real estate market is experiencing tremendous growth now, is that simply leading to a drop? Price drops are difficult to predict; however, it is also important to remember that high growth leading up to a decrease softens the impact of the decrease (if you earn 15 per cent in market increases leading up to a 10 per cent decrease, you’re still up 5%), which means that, based on Toronto’s high rate of condo market growth (particularly in Toronto’s core), it isn’t very likely for prices to fall below what you initially pay.

The Pros and Cons of Choosing a New Condo

We’ve established that now is a good time to buy, but that doesn’t help you figure out what you should buy. New condo or resale condominium-which is the better investment for you? Here are a few pros and cons of each option.

Pros of Buying a New Condominium:

· Lower purchase price (depending upon market conditions).

· Better choice of locations within the building (if applicable).

· Broader range of options and/or upgrades.

· Less risk of having to undergo costly and intrusive repairs and renovations.

· New home warranty protection.

Cons of Buying a New Condominium:

· You may have to rely on artist sketches and floor plans to get an idea of the finished product before you buy. If this is the case, make sure the unit’s boundaries, location, finishes, materials, chattels, etc. are clearly specified in the purchase agreement.

· You pay your deposit before you move in, which means it may be tied up throughout the duration of construction.

· It may be harder to get a mortgage from a financial institution for an unregistered condominium.

· Construction delays could mean your unit doesn’t get finished on time, leaving you scrambling for short-term lodging.

· If your unit is finished first, you may move in while construction continues in other units, exposing you to noise and disruption.

Buy Before You Sell and Grow Your Investments

It’s important to remember that, just because it’s a good time to sell a condo right now, it doesn’t mean you have to or necessarily should sell. It’s a good opportunity if it’s something you’ve been thinking of doing already, but you also shouldn’t feel like you need to rush to sell your condo in Toronto. In fact, if you are thinking of selling, today’s market provides you with a good opportunity to grow your equity and investments by buying a new property before you sell your old one.

Why is it a good idea to buy before you sell right now? Because today’s market is a strong seller’s market: the low inventory and high demand combine to make selling times quick. For instance, for a condo valued at between $500,000 and $1 million, the average number of days it’ll sit on the market before it sells is 29-and most don’t last that long. All you need to do is use your current property equity to open a line of credit and secure the down payment and purchasing costs into a new mortgage. Once you secure your new purchase, you can easily sell your old condo.

If you buy before you sell, you can take advantage of the increasing condo values by buying your new condo at a lower price and selling your old condo at a higher price. The difference could make an impact on your ability to grow your equity.

What does it mean to grow your equity? It means investing in a higher-value property, so your investment can continue to grow. If you are currently in a one-bedroom condo, look for a larger unit or a two-bedroom for your next investment. You don’t want to move laterally through the condo market, even if the increase in condo value makes it look like a good investment, since the land transfer tax, REALTOR® fees, and legal fees may cut into those profits. Climb the condo market by investing in something with more value to make your investment work harder and more effectively for you.

Alternatively, you could grow your investment by keeping your old unit and renting it out: the current average rental price in most neighbourhoods in Toronto can actually cover the monthly costs of ownership, including your mortgage payment, maintenance fees, and property tax, often with a small margin of profit (which you want to keep to a minimum to minimize taxable income anyways).

Conclusion

In short, it’s a good time to own a condo right now, especially if you are looking to invest in financial growth, whether you are hoping to grow your equity by selling or by renting your current unit.