"Ask an agent"

Buyers market aids seller

For the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Kirsten Conover, an Atlanta Realtor with Prudential Georgia Realty Midtown, has been selling real estate for four years. She answers questions about the realities of today?s housing market.

Q We hear the expression, ?It?s a buyer?s market.? Does that mean sellers are at a disadvantage?


A Not necessarily. Sellers that are moving up to a higher-priced home have a great opportunity to also save money. For instance, if they take 10 percent less for the sale of their home, they will usually be able to get that same savings or more on the new, higher-priced home they are purchasing. They will actually come out better financially because their savings are greater than their loss.

So it really presents an opportunity for the seller to do well?

Absolutely. Once they sell, they can move into another home that has higher future appreciation potential. They can start building higher equity by moving from a two-bedroom, one- bath home to a three-bedroom, two-bath, or from a less desirable school district to a more desirable one. And they can take advantage of interest rates that are well under 5 percent.

So selling now is a good idea?

Moving now will get you into the lifestyle you have been dreaming about! Perhaps the thought of raking leaves and exterior maintenance is weighing you down. Why not sell now and start living in the condo or townhome of your dreams? Maybe you?ve always wanted a gorgeous garden. There?s a beautiful cottage somewhere just waiting for your green thumb. Bottom line ?- the real estate market is what you make of it.


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Worried About Selling Your Home Fast in Today?s Sluggish Housing Market? Don't Be.

You?ve heard the reports. After five consecutive years of record sales, the housing market has lost its momentum. Here in the South, the median price of an existing single-family home is down a few percentage points from a year ago. And although you?ve been thinking of purchasing a new house for a while, you are nervous about selling your current home in today?s climate. Don?t worry ? the news is good in and around Atlanta. With a little effort, you can make your house shine above all the doom and gloom hanging over the slumping real estate market.

To Stage or Not to Stage:

If you watch HGTV, you are probably familiar with the term "home staging," the art of furnishing and decorating a home to enhance the the overall appeal so that you can sell it quickly and for the highest price.

A 2007 HomeGain survey of 2,000 real estate agents nationwide found that sellers using professional staging services received an astounding 343 percent return on their investment.  A $100,000 home can be staged for as little as $800, which is much less than the typical first price reduction.  Moreover, on average, staged homes sell up to 50% faster than unstaged homes.

Kirsten Conover, a certified relocation specialist for Prudential Georgia Realty, has seen the magic of staging first hand.  "I inherited unhappy clients from another company's agent. Their house had been on the market for two years, and they were making two mortgage payments each month," Conover said.

Although she had never used a home staging service before, Conover decidedto contact Kathy Nielsen, owner of Georgia Interior Solutions in Marietta, for help.  Aftera quick walkthrough, Nielsen developed a home staging plan, inclusive of furniture and accessories, to complement the style of the home.  She also advised Conover on paint color selection, lighting and other needed improvements.  The actual staging was completed in just one day.

"The house was spectacular after the staging, and even I wanted to move in," Conover remarked.  We received a full-price offer before I had a chance to list it on the FMLS.  Two weeks later, we we under contract and my clients were ecstatic."