Atlanta real estate: Overview for buyers, sellers

File image of a for sale sign.

The Atlanta real estate market has had its ups and downs, but there are plenty of resources for buyers and sellers to study before making a property transaction.

Many Atlanta real estate market experts have likened the market to the pre-2009 housing boom. The area's median home price in 2016 was more than $180,000, close to 7 percent higher than it was during the property boom of the early 2000s.

Following local realtors and real estate agencies can also provide insight into Atlanta's real estate market. Atlanta Fine Homes manages a blog, offering the latest tips and trends

Those studying the Atlanta real estate market can consult real estate websites such as Trulia and Zillow to research buying and selling trends, along with current home prices. Curbed also offers potential buyers and sellers reports on the current Atlanta real estate market, including hot neighborhoods and where deals can be found.
General information for sellers

Home sellers in Atlanta should be prepared to capitalize on the uptick in home sales by readying their homes and protecting themselves.

It goes without saying that keeping your home clean and well-maintained makes it more attractive to buyers. Even though the selling process is a pain, the extra work will be worth it in the end.

Be flexible when it comes to home showings. It isn't always easy to keep a home available when you're living in it, but availability is crucial to homebuyers who want to view properties at their convenience. Take into account Atlanta's notorious traffic and be forgiving if potential buyers show up a bit late.

Sellers, especially those who are not listing through a real estate agency, should do research to offer their homes at a fair and competitive price. For those seeking to make a quick sale, time on the market is everything.
General information for buyers

Buying a home can be a daunting experience for both first-time buyers and those looking to upgrade their space. The best way to arm yourself from sticker shock and information overload is to anticipate the questions and glean as much information as possible ahead of time from those who are experts on the Atlanta real estate market.

Buyers should know the typical disclosures that sellers are required to make about their home so they can ask informed questions when touring metro Atlanta homes. It's also important to be aware of home inspections and title searches and who is responsible for paying for them.

Don't forget closing costs: Often a buyer can ask that sellers pay closing costs but whether that's an option or not, you should always know about the fees involved, such as taxes and settlement fees.
A mortgage loan checklist for buyers

Once you put in an offer for the home of your dreams in Atlanta, you should be prepared for the mortgage application process. Make sure to gather the following:

  • Verification of income: This includes W-2 forms, recent pay stubs and tax returns for the past two years. Self-employed buyers should have profit and loss statements and tax returns for the current and previous two years. Buyers should also have proof of additional income, such as Social Security payments, overtime, bonuses and commissions.
  • Verification of assets: This includes bank accounts, savings bonds, stocks, investments and copies of titles to any motor vehicles paid in full
  • Information about the purchase: This includes a copy of the ratified purchase contract and information on any deposit made to the seller to secure the home
  • A list of debts: This includes credit card bills, consumer debt, evidence of mortgage or rental payments and copies of alimony or child support