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 Kaye Walden, a native Atlantan and 14-year veteran of real estate. One of Atlanta’s top experts on shorts sales and REO transactions, Kaye is a member of the Million Dollar Club, and has received the Phoenix Award of 10 straight years. Prior to joining Atlanta Communities, she served on the Leadership Council at Keller Williams West Cobb for seven years, and continues to serve as a leader in the real estate community.
Atlanta Agent (AA): What kinds of challenges have you faced so far in 2014 market?
Kaye Walden (KW): Low inventory has been a huge challenge, and the other has been short sales. I’ve done many short sales, but nowadays, when I get an offer on one, the bank takes too long to approve it, and in the meantime, the original appraisal expires and by the time I get the approval, the investor wants more money, because the market has further recovered and price are higher.
And yes, pricing has also been a challenge, because we were going through such a low inventory stage that people were seeing that they could get more for their house; but now that there’s more inventory on, there’s more choices, and I don’t see the prices going up and people are having to reduce more.
AA: We had an interesting story late last week that looked how even though prices have recover somewhat in Atlanta, it’s still overall undervalued market by historic measures. I’m curious, if your finding that in your particular markets, that prices are still not quite where they were?
KW: No there not. They are trying to get it there but they are rising very slowly, a lot slower than other markets.
I think a big reason for that is the appraisal process, with how the banks put such restrictions and requirements on how they are conducted. And because appraisals have to come from AMCs, you’re dealing with appraisers who aren’t familiar with the area, and the prices come back low.
In the end, it’s a vicious cycle. Buyers are willing to pay the negotiated price, but appraisals are not coming back that way. So what I’ve done is, I’ll meet the appraiser and have my legitimate comps, and I try to consistently do that throughout the listing process and make sure that when we get to this point, he’s on the same page. A lot of appraisers think that agents won’t help them. We’re all in this together – the lender, the agent, the buyer, everybody. If buyers are willing to pay a certain price, then we need support it.
AA: Finally, what is your strategy, when it comes to pricing your listings?
KW: Mainly square footage, because if it’s upgraded, that helps and makes it sell faster, but when it does come down to the appraiser, they care about square footage. I’ve used that process in the last three to four years, when square footage really became the most important metric.