Every week, we ask an Atlanta real estate professional for their thoughts on the top trends in Atlanta real estate.
This week, we talked with Zac Pasmanick, a top-producing agent with RE/MAX Metro Atlanta Cityside. An agent in the Metro Atlanta market for more than 30 years, Zac has been involved in more than 4,700 home transactions. With designations that include a CDPE, CRB and GRI, Zac is a Life Member of the Atlanta Board of Realtors’ Million Dollar Club and a Five Star Professional Foreclosure REO Specialist.
Atlanta Agent (AA): We recently reported that, for the fourth consecutive year, Atlanta was Penske’s No. 1 moving destination in the entire U.S. Why does Atlanta continue to attract people?
Zac Pasmanick (ZP): Atlanta has always been a city of opportunity. The difference in 2013 and 2014, versus 10 or 15 years ago, is that most people moving to Atlanta are renting. These are not high-income buyers; these are renters, many of them looking for opportunities.
The biggest housing trend in Atlanta is in-town rentals. Every other month, another high-rise apartment building is announced, or another apartment complex. If you look at the last 10 years and the building permits, you’ll see that they’re rentals, not owner-occupied buildings. So that’s a little deceiving. It’s great for our economy, which has suffered so much through this downturn, but it’s not the greatest news for residential sales. But it’s still a beginning.
AA: What are your strategies for pricing your listings appropriately?
ZP: You need to look at the most recent comps, along with the square footage and the scarcity of inventory; one can always adjust the price down if there are no offers, but to generate nine offers in the first weekend on the market really means you could have asked a higher price.
We are seeing a lot of multiple-offer situations, and in such a situation, we’re moving away from appraisal contingencies. In California, they’ve eliminated appraisal contingencies, because if a buyer over-bids on a property and it does not appraise, they should have the financial ability to purchase it, whether the appraisal comes in low or not; sometimes, the values are moving faster than the comparables, and every appraiser is more on the conservative side than during previous market increases.
But, we are seeing lots of cash in the marketplace. Where the money’s coming from, who knows; however, there’s a lot of cash transactions that are being purchased above the appraised value.
AA: Finally, aside from the rental market, what trends are you paying the closest attention to in 2014?
ZP: I’m focusing on getting listings and prospecting every day. I’m calling past clients, calling leads that are in my system and following up leads diligently. It’s amazing how sometimes, the seller tells me they’ve called three agents, and two have not called back yet.
We’re also very aggressive with our Internet marketing. One of my websites received more than 60,000 visitors last year. Besides my staff in my office, I have a virtual assistant in the Philippines, and I also have a virtual assistant in India. They help me with my SEO, website maintenance and in driving traffic to my website. We’re also big in social media, and are generating lots of business from people who are simply Googling “agents in Atlanta.” All the years of SEO are producing lots of traffic that way.
In the end, there are only three ways to generate business: the first way is to buy it, and that could be with postcards, advertising, marketing or your website; the second is to earn it, and that’s to get on the phone and prospect for it; and the third is to sit and wait for it – and too many agents are sitting and waiting.