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 Jennifer Pino, a real estate advisor with Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty in North Atlanta. An Atlanta native, Jennifer has seen Metro Atlanta grow into a world-class city, and she is familiar with neighborhoods and possesses a deep understanding of each area and how assets like schools and location drive value. Jennifer has a professional background in both finance and interior design, and is an active member of her community, serving as the Chair of the Atlanta Board of Realtors Fundraising Committee to raise funds to support Habitat for Humanity.
Atlanta Agent (AA): Are there any common obstacles that your clients encounter, when going through the homebuying process?
Jennifer Pino (JP): There’s a challenge I’ve noticed more and more as the market has changed, especially with first-time homebuyers – it can be challenging managing clients’ expectations, especially in regards to what they can get for the money.
What happens is, a buyer will hold off on purchasing for a year or two, whatever the reason may be. As soon as they pick up on their house hunting, and they start looking at properties, they say, “Last year, I saw homes that were priced much better than this,” forgetting that the market has continued to moved forward in their absence.
As a Realtor, it can be somewhat challenging to guide them through the process, and unfortunately, sometimes it takes them putting in a lower offer, and losing the deal before they start to realize that they need to pay attention to new, current market values.
AA: What are your expectations for the 2015 housing market?
JP: Based on what’s already happened in 2015, I feel like the spring market has already started. We really hit the ground running. In the second week of January, which was the first full week back without any holidays, I had a listing that, after receiving no showings in December, received seven showings that week. I also had several buyers who had gone dormant for a while, but have now come out of the woodwork and are getting a head start on the spring market. And I’m also hearing from colleagues in my office about many multiple-offer situations.
This activity indicates that the spring market has arrived early, and that bodes very well for our 2015 market in Atlanta. At the same time, I don’t expect home prices to jump significantly. Based on the projections I’ve seen and read, I’m expecting a slow and steady increase. I actually think that’s great, because nobody wants another bubble.
AA: How would you recommend agents acquire an understanding of their local housing markets and all their nuances?
JP: In my specific case, I’m an Atlanta native. At different times, I’ve lived all over the city, and I’ve acquired a great understanding of the metro area through personal experience. As a Realtor, though, there are areas where I sell more than others, and in those areas, it’s very important that I know the nuances of the market. To do that, I attend agent caravans, which my office does every Tuesday, and this is a great way to learn about a specific marketplace. You’re not only going to see new properties, but you’re also going to see things in person that you’re not necessarily going to see in photos online; there are things in a home that translate into value that you won’t see in reviewing a listing. Another, more obvious way, is the exposure to listing inventory you receive when showing properties to buyers.
Also, if you’re just a listing agent, it’s very important for you to get out there and see properties. It’s important to know what the competition has to offer, and the best way to do that is to get inside other listings. I represent a fair amount of sellers and buyers, and it helps in many ways when I’m looking at comps and I’ve already been inside a majority of the properties.