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 Cathy Davis Hall, a Realtor with Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty. In her six years of selling real estate full time, Cathy has sold more than $44 million and completed 43 transactions – in fact, by her third year as a full-time agent, Cathy was not only one of the top 20 agents in Atlanta, but also a member of ABR’s distinguished Multi-Million Dollar Sales Club Lifetime Achievement Award.
Atlanta Agent (AA): We’re seeing data that asking prices continue to increase in Atlanta – is that true in your specific markets? And are prices rising as fast as they have in past months?
Cathy Davis Hall (CDH): Buckhead Village has created tremendous excitement in the Buckhead neighborhood. For the last two years, the project has been in a holding pattern. The original owner got caught up in the recession, and after a company in San Diego bought the property, it took them a couple years to get things going. Now it is completed and is gorgeous with high-end shopping and restaurants all in a walkable environment. This has generated a tremendous amount of excitement in the Buckhead area.
Now that the holidays are over, I am seeing the Spring market start early. Properties are already in multiple bid situations!
Also, with inventory being so low, your property will sell immediately if it’s in good shape and priced accurately – and I will say that in the Buckhead area, people are certainly trying to list their homes for a higher amount than in months past.
AA: What of mortgages? Is lending still overly restrictive, in your view, or are standards right where they need to be?
CDH: I do think lending is overly restrictive. In fact, I just worked with a client who was very well-qualified and has an excellent job. He was attempting to qualify for a small jumbo loan. He owns a place out of the country that is rented, and has been for several years. He lives here in Atlanta, though, and the bank wanted the rental deposits to show that the unit was rented – although the property is paid for, and he did not need that rental income to qualify. He is a very smart, analytical, calm individual, yet he called me and was flabbergasted at all of the paperwork that the bank was requesting.
We are seeing many apartments being built in Atlanta because people cannot qualify for loans. Builders know that so they are constructing apartments instead of condominiums. I knew this would happen, and I hope it will come around, because you find many people who could easily make the payments, yet they cannot qualify for the loans.
AA: Finally, what strategies do you find most effective when negotiating with other agents?
CDH: Open communication with fellow agents is key. Atlanta is a big town but a small community. When I first started in the business, my mentor told me that I would see clients come and go, but the agents remain the same; therefore, it is important to return every phone call and to provide feedback when requested. The deal will get done more often than not, if you are respected, honest, and willing to work with other agents,