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 Erin Yabroudy, the owner of Erin Yabroudy & Associates and an agent with Dorsey Alston. One of Atlanta’s top agents, Erin is an expert in some of Atlanta’s premier communities, including Ansley Park and Morningside. A graduate of Vanderbilt University, Erin is also very engaged civically, and was chairperson of the 2008 Ansley Park Tour of Homes; additionally, she is a member of the Ansley Park Garden Club, an active member of the Cathedral of St. Philip and a Morningside Elementary PTA member.
Atlanta Agent (AA): We recently reported on the fact that asking prices in Atlanta continue to rise; are sellers getting a bit too overzealous when listing their homes?
Erin Yabroudy (EY): It’s definitely not a buyer’s market anymore. I don’t really see sellers being irrational, though. I think they are realistic, but excited about the shift in our market. I try to prepare buyers and sellers to be realistic. I give them comparables of what is competing with them, and what has sold. So I think people are relatively realistic, even when the market is swinging up.
I do think that people are cautious today, because of the severity of the most recent downturn. And honestly, I see two issues right now in the market. One is inventory, which is a self-perpetuating problem; people hold back and don’t put their home on the market, so there’s low inventory, yet when there’s low inventory, they’re nervous. So that’s one issue, and appraisals are the other. They’re helping keep things in check, but they may be holding down the market a bit too much. Appraisals are based on the past, and sometimes, they don’t keep up with what’s truly the value of the market.
AA: Of the clients you work with, would you say they prefer new homes or existing homes?
EY: My clients, for the most part, buy existing homes and prefer existing homes, because to a great degree, that’s our market in Intown Atlanta. These are older neighborhoods with homes built in the ’20s through the ’50s. There is some new construction. With the downturn, housing starts have just not been there, so there’s not a ton of new inventory to choose from. So, there’s beginning to be some new construction, and it is selling; but, for the most part, my business is re-sales of older homes.
Sometimes the age of the homes works against them, and there are different buyers for different houses. But, the Intown buyer typically has a goal for their home that the suburban buyer probably doesn’t understand. For instance, in the Intown market, the lot size is typically less than a quarter of an acre and the utility bills are higher, but that’s the nature of the market. And even if the home has not been well maintained, you’ll still find buyers who are interested in a big renovation. I have a buyer now who is specifically looking for a home without an open kitchen/family room/living space.
AA: Finally, we’ve been following Millennials quite closely, as they represent the future of housing; what interesting things have you noticed about your younger clients?
EY: They don’t like to have actual human contact; they like to text and use Facebook messaging. At some point, they’ve got to get out and see the house, but communication has been the biggest change, in my experience – how to get in touch and stay in touch with younger people; it’s become very social media/technologically driven.