If you’ve been looking to buy a house, you’ve probably noticed the prices of Atlanta homes are on the rise. While this is good news for sellers and for the economy, it presents a challenge to those in the market. Don’t get discouraged — get educated.
The median sales price of a home in the Atlanta region was $227,000 in July 2014, according to the Atlanta Board of Realtors. That’s a 7.1 percent increase from the year prior, when the median cost was $212,000.
While Atlanta home prices continue to climb, there is some good news for buyers: More homes are on the market, giving house hunters more options. In fact, the ABR reports that the number of available houses is almost at the balance point — the number considered to be the optimal amount for a healthy housing market and economy. These statistics cover 11 counties: Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Paulding and Rockdale.
As you begin the mortgage application process and start looking at houses, you can help prepare for rising prices in a few ways:
- Getting prequalified for a mortgage loan: You’ll provide proof of income and debt, and the lender will examine your credit history to determine whether you’re credit worthy — and, if so, how much they’ll loan you. In a situation where house prices are increasing, aim for a house that costs a bit less than the amount your lender has qualified you for; that way, you have some breathing room.
- Being ready to pounce!: It will be more important than ever to work closely with your real estate agent. Keep a close eye on new listings, and if something catches your eye, stop everything and go give it a look. Then, if you like it, make an offer right away.
- Making a strong offer: Now’s not the time to lowball or play guessing games. If you’re making an offer on a newly listed house, expect to have competition.
- Not complicating the offer: Don’t ask for minor repairs or to have the walls painted or the flooring replaced. You want your offer to be as attractive as possible.
- Working with a good real estate agent: You want an agent who is skilled at negotiation, especially in the current climate.
- Making a large, earnest deposit: This shows good faith, and the more money you’re able to put into this deposit, the more consideration the seller will likely give you.
Although prices for Atlanta homes are moving on up, mortgage interest rates are still some of the lowest in past decades. Now’s still a great time to buy.
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