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 Jim Gibson, a broker associate with Harry Norman, Realtor’s North Fulton office. A guild member of the Institute of Luxury Home Marketing, Jim has sold every property he has listed since 2010, and he is in the top 2 percent of all Atlanta agents in sales volume.
Atlanta Agent (AA): In general, how do you feel about the state of the market?
Jim Gibson (JG): It depends on the price range that you’re in. Right now, if you’re a buyer for under $500,000, it’s difficult to find a really nice house, because that market is very tight.
If you’re in the market for $500,000 to $1 million, it’s a little better, but if you’re in the market for $1 million-plus, you have quite a few choices, and you can buy one of those luxury prices for way less than you’d pay to build it.
AA: Are there any challenges that you think the market still needs to work through?
JG: The U.S. economy needs to get straightened out. I deal with high-net-worth buyers and sellers, and these are savvy people. Many of them are dependent on a solid, forecastable economy, and right now, they are having a hard time feeling secure – hence, those mid-markets being soft.
They’re very frustrated because on one hand, they feel insecure, but on the other hand, they realize they’re buying houses for 25 percent less than it costs to build them, and mortgage rates on jumbo loans have been so low, it’s practically free money when you count inflation.
AA: Finally, your listings are on the higher end of the market; what’s your approach in marketing such nice properties?
JG: For one, I actually market them. So many agents have a great listing presentation, but they think marketing is simply putting a property into the MLS; if you’re dealing with a luxury property, though, you’re dealing with a high-net-worth client who may come from anywhere in the world, so if you’re not prepared to market internationally, you’re giving up the opportunity to market to people who may help you get the desired price for the property.
It’s easy to list a luxury property and call yourself a “luxury agent,” but to truly categorize yourself as such an agent, one actually has to sell the listings!