Home Buying Process: Part 1 Finding an Agent

Part 1:  Finding an Agent

The first thing to do when buying a property is to find a well-qualified real estate expert to help you with the process.  It is always fun to look for houses on the IPad or smart phone, and really it is ok to go ahead and do that when you decide to buy.  But do not set foot in a house or property until you have found a good realtor to help you. If you are buying in an area that you currently live than you probably already know a good deal about your town.  But a good realtor will know a lot more and be able to assist you throughout the entire process.  If you are moving out of town than it is imperative that you locate a professional in the area you are buying.  The last thing you want to do is waste time looking at properties in an area that you should not be buying.  Or you could end up buying the wrong house in the wrong location.  Home-Buying-101An expert in the area can really help you locate the right property for your family and lifestyle.  But locating a house is just the beginning. A good realtor should be able to provide real value during the entire process.  For example, negotiating, inspecting, financing, and creating the contract.  You can find a good person by searching the internet, making a few phones calls or even meeting with a few different agents.  Now that you know you need help it is important to understand what to look for in a good real estate person.

First, please understand that sometimes less is more.  The agent that sells the most may not be the best fit for you.  Top sellers usually employ a team of agents and they focus primarily on volume.  Top producers are good agents but they may not have a lot of knowledge in some markets.  For example, if an agent sells 200 homes a year spread out over 4 counties it would be almost impossible for that agent to have expert knowledge in all of those areas.   Second, you need to find someone that earns a living selling real estate and works full time in the business.  There are some part time agents that work very well in their market. But you probably wouldn’t hire an attorney that practiced law as a side business.  Would you go to a doctor that that mainly worked as a landscaper and practiced medicine part time?  NO! So why on earth would you buy a house or investment property from someone who “dabbles” in real estate?  It is impossible to be good at something by going half way.  Real estate is a profession just like law, medicine, or finance.  So you need to find a professional and not a part timer.

Lastly, find a person that knows the area you are looking to buy.  The best agent in Atlanta, GA is just about the worst agent in town when they come to Athens to sell a property.  Real estate is a local business that involves high level local knowledge and high level service.  You cannot get either from someone that doesn’t live and work in the area you are buying.  If you keep these three things in mind when looking for a realtor you will likely find a good professional to work with you through the entire process.

In closing, you need to understand that you need help.  It doesn’t matter how smart you are or how much HGTV you have watched.  If you want the process to run smoothly you need a good realtor.  If you have any questions or need help in the Athens area just email or call.

If you have any questions or real estate needs, please don’t hesitate to contact me or visit my real estate brokerage firm, 5 Market Realty.

Location, Location, Location!

Most everyone has heard that the three most important things when it comes to real estate are location, location, location. In reality it is true, true, true. We all understand that real estate in Beverly Hills or Manhattan is generally worth athensdtmore than real estate in Nebraska. But this principle usually applies to even the smallest cities or towns. In the Athens area location and school district directly affect the value and desirability of a residential property. For example, the two strongest residential markets in Athens-Clarke County are the 5 Points Area and the Normaltown/Boulevard Area. Both of these neighborhoods are close to many in town amenities, the university, and are located in strong elementary school zones. In 5 Points we are seeing values above $200 per sq. foot and in Normaltown values are around $170 per sq foot in some areas. There are many factors that can contribute to value but most can be traced back to location

For example, the Watkinsville area has some of the best schools in the state and it is in close proximity to Athens, GA. This creates a strong residential market in Oconee County and makes it desirable. The land can be purchased cheaper and therefore buyers can see a value to living in that area because they can have more house for less money. So if the schools are strong and the location is good why can someone buy more house for less money? Because land is more abundant in that area. The availability of land is directly correlated to the location. There is just not as much land to build or own in Clarke County as there is in Oconee. For example, a condo in the heart of Downtown Athens will be worth more than one located on Epps Bridge because in the downtown location land is scarce. Basically, it comes down to supply and demand. With little supply demand can grow.

Real Estate values are returning in our area and confidence is up with consumers. It is not likely that the market will crash like it did in 2008 but the reality is that trees do not grow to the sky. At some point, the local market will have to slow. It doesn’t mean it will fall but it will not grow to infinity. The best thing to do is to be aware of all the factors in location when buying a property. Make sure the location has a value and will remain valuable in good times and bad. Please understand that popular interior features are always changing when it comes to real estate. There is no way to know what will be the hot new look of a kitchen in 15 years but one can make a reasonable prediction on what locations will still have a high value. In closing, a well located property will sell in a good market or a bad market. So always make location the TOP priority when purchasing a property. Do not get too wrapped up in granite, tile, or other interior features interior. Remember location always wins.

If you have any questions or real estate needs, please don’t hesitate to contact me or visit my real estate brokerage firm, 5 Market Realty.