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 Marc Nicholson, the lead agent of the Remarcable Real Estate Team and an associate broker/owner of Keller Williams Buckhead. A real estate professional since 1979, Marc is a top-producing associate and member of the Platinum Club, and in addition to his CDPE, he is a CRS and luxury home specialist.
Atlanta Agent (AA): We’ve been covering the Millennial generation pretty closely; what kinds of things have you observed, among your younger clientele?
Marc Nicholson (MN): They want to get into houses if they can, but I work in Atlanta’s Intown market, so starter homes are typically in the $300,000 range. So they’re pretty expensive, and the Millennials that I’m working with have family members who help them with some or all of the down payment.
I just worked with one Millennial client, and she wanted an Intown neighborhood that would have walkable features. We ended up finding something in an area that, 10 years ago, I would never have taken anyone there, because it was scary. But now, younger families are moving back in and renovating the houses, and restaurants and businesses have popped up as a result. So, it’s really changing; you even have people in Intown paying $270,000 for a home that needs work.
Another thing that’s very interesting is Atlanta’s “belt-line,” the old train tracks that have now been connected and link to different neighborhoods. Now, you can walk from the Intown neighborhoods – areas that had gone into great decay – to Piedmont Park, and you have the city investing in construction projects to build on that belt-line. You have skate parks, walkways – many other cool, inner-city projects.
AA: Our newest cover story looks at how agents brand themselves in marketing; what do you focus on, when marketing your business?
MN: For my personal marketing, I use direct mail. It’s fallen out of fashion with many agents because it’s expensive, but the beauty of the neighborhoods that I work with around Lennox Square and Buckhead is, by sending direct mail – and I’ve done it for six years, now – I truly reach older homeowners who have a good amount of equity. The people I reach are not on Facebook, and the people who actually list their homes are typically in an older demographic. We do send out e-blasts and use Facebook, which speaks out to a percentage of our market, but my particular business is 50 percent referral and 50 percent direct mail.
The other thing about direct mail is, it takes awhile. You have to send out pieces for six months to a year before you really start getting responses, so most people bail too early. For me, though, it’s been my bread and butter.
AA: Finally, how do you make sure that you a pricing your listings appropriately, when putting them on the market?
MN: When you’re pricing based on recent sales, you want to look at what active listings are selling for. Just recently, I took a listing where the comparables indicated a price of $280,000, but three houses on the street were under contract in the $320,000s. So Intown, that street is really a hot spot, and you’re also pricing based on the comparable rents in the area, because rents have really gone up.