Every week, we ask a real estate professional for their thoughts on some of housing’s most pressing issues. This week, we talked with Marshall Magaro, a broker associate with Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty in Atlanta. As a broker and attorney, Marshall specializes in marketing, corporate law, drafting and negotiating contracts and agreements, entity formation, and commercial and residential real estate law.
Atlanta Agent (AA): What kinds of homes are your buyer clients interested in purchasing? Are there any particular characteristics that are popular?
Marshall Magaro (MM): I work quite a bit with first-time homebuyers and younger professionals who work in the legal, banking and consulting fields, and they’re looking for homes that are convenient to their work and the city, but still have a neighborhood, residential feel. So if we’re looking at townhomes, the focus is on open floor plans (especially on the main living level), whereas for single-family homes inside the city perimeter, the focus is on turn-key ready properties that do not need much work.
There are many properties that were originally built in the 40s and 50s that have been completely sectioned off, and now need to be gutted and renovated; some buyers will embrace that work, but most want to see that work already done. And finally, something else that’s very important is outdoor space. Whether it’s a backyard, a porch or a deck, it’s very important having a space to entertain.
AA: We often hear about how affordable Atlanta is, compared to other housing markets; what role does that play when working with clients?
MM: Many Atlanta neighborhoods are quite affordable, with their price per square foot being much lower than in other metro areas. Because of that, you have first-time homebuyers entering the fray at a much younger age than you do in Chicago or San Francisco, simply because they can. I just helped a couple find a 2,000-square-foot townhouse in South Buckhead, and it was $400,000; although they’re both lawyers, they would not have been able to find a townhouse for that price in most other city markets.
AA: Finally, how do you position yourself to keep busy for all 12 months of the year, rather than just during the spring selling season?
MM: When you’re truly busy, it’s difficult to go out and meet with people to develop your business. You have the busy period, when you’re going crazy all day long, and it’s actually a little refreshing when business slows and you can take the time to go out, network and meet new clients for the next year’s business.
That said, people mistakenly think that the market dies at certain times of the year, but if you position yourself well, you can stay busy all year round. Even when I’m at my busiest, I make the time to meet someone new, attend happy hours or play a round of golf to acquire a new client.
You cannot get comfortable in this business. If you get comfortable, you’re dead. So if you’re busy for six months, and then take six months off, it’s going to take quite a bit of time getting your business back into shape. You have to stay as active as possible and get your name out as much as possible, during both the busy times and the “slow” times.