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 Christina Bach Norman, a buyer’s agent with Collette McDonald & Associates with RE/MAX Around Atlanta. Born and raised in South Florida, Christina worked as an attorney for more than 10 years before relocating to Atlanta. She is also a professional actor and a member of SAG-AFTRA, and she is heavily involved in Atlanta’s growing entertainment industry.
Atlanta Agent (AA): What markets in and around Atlanta are seeing the most activity, in your experience? Why?
Christina Bach Norman (CBN): The areas with the most activity are the ones that have everything to offer, such as close access to transportation, good schools, entertainment, dining, and so on. We’re seeing an explosion of growth in places like Brookhaven, which has a young, energetic vibe but also access to those transit networks. Another busy area is Midtown. There are many Atlanta residents who want to downsize, but they move to Midtown because they still want to be close to the action – and there has been so much exciting revitalization in Midtown. Additionally, there will always be interest in Atlanta’s suburban communities, such as Dunwoody, Sandy Springs and Alpharetta, which have beautiful homes, great schools and large employment hubs.
It really is a matter of preference, when it comes to which of those areas consumers choose. Some want a single-family home with a yard, while for others, interest is stronger for city areas where you can walk to all the entertainment and dining. And that trend toward walkability is something I see continuing into the foreseeable future, because it’s not only young people who want that lifestyle; many older Atlantans want to downsize and be closer to all the amenities.
AA: What are some of the most important trends you’re seeing in real estate?
CBN: One that is very close to my heart is the large influx of people with the rapidly growing entertainment industry in Atlanta. I’m one of them. I’m a professional actress, and I moved here to be closer to all the new TV and film and commercial projects. There are many actors and industry professionals I meet who are moving here permanently, and there are others who travel and work in many markets, yet want to invest in property here in Atlanta because they spend months at a time working here. I meet people every day, both behind and in front of the camera, who want to invest in real estate here.
And the great thing about Atlanta is that it is so much more affordable than the New York or LA market. So as an actor or crew member, it’s very appealing moving here. And beyond actors and crew members, Atlanta’s affordability also plays a factor when people decide to establish new production companies or movie studios; they’ll need employees to run those companies, and there have been so many moving here for both the industry tax credits and the low cost of living.
AA: Finally, how do you approach negotiations with other agents?
CBN: I have been an attorney for 10 years, so I draw heavily from my legal experience when approaching any negotiation. What I’ve found is, good negotiations start way ahead of time. You need to have good relationships with the local community of professionals. You want to establish yourself as a knowledgable, ethical agent who is reliable, so people look forward to working with you.
Now, once you get to the negotiation, I make sure my client is very well informed about the process and local market. That is key, because they are making decisions. And though I am always extremely prepared and representative of my client’s interests, I keep the negotiation process friendly and productive with other agents.