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Old 12-30-2008, 09:36 AM
2 posts, read 5,525 times
Reputation: 10


To all,

I have spent a great deal of time reading this board since I moved to Atlanta a little over 2 years ago, and this is my first post. I'm not sure that there are many real estate experts here, but a general concensus would be appreciated nonetheless. I purchased a 2700 sq. ft. condo in East Cobb in Sept. 2007 for ~285,000. The neigbhorhood is right next to a country club, the Chattahoochee River, and my unit backs to a beautiful view of the national park. The HOA has since put in all new hardiplank siding, decks, landscaping, windows, and doors in the neighborhood, WITHOUT raising the dues. I personally have put nearly 20,000 in the house, with new granite countertops, two bathroom re-dos, new carpet, new travertine, new paint EVERYWHERE, a very nice stainless steel package, etc. etc. My wife and I loved the unit and were set to stay there for 10 years if we could. Of course, life intervened and I had to take a higher paying job in Kansas City, thus requiring us to move awaway from the property and list it after only owning for a year.

Now, when we purchased the condo, it was bought through foreclosure at 80% of the previous owner's mortgage value, directly from the courthouse steps, thus we thought we had some safe cushion in the event of a market downturn. Of course, we were wrong. We orginally listed for 340,000, at the recommendation of two appraisers and our agent. After months of not showing, we moved it down the equalent of 10% to 320,000 with 9,000 towards closing, and STILL no showings. With 6% reserved for the agent fees, we only have about 3,000 left in equity, which I would be THRILLED to part ways with, if we had anyone looking at our home.

Now, if you've made it this far, I would appreciate some advice on my next step. My current agent has done nothing more to market the house other than place it on the GMLS/FMLS, hold 2 open houses in 4 months, and 1 agent caravan. No print ads, no internet exposure other than her broker's site, etc. I left my wife in charge of vetting potential agents, and unfortunately she picked the wrong one. It could be that my house would possibly move in the Spring if we had a better agent, but I have recently started to consider using a flat fee listing service, so that I can get the list price below 300,000. The final option, and certainly the last resort, would be to remove it from the market and start to lease it out, waiting for a market correction down the road.

It's a beautiful home, that I think of daily now that I am in KC, and I would love to hand it over to someone for the exact note value, even with some cash added to sweeten the deal, but with agent fees running 9,000 per agent, this obviously isn't an option, as no one would find our property on their own. I have no intention of making money on the property, in fact, I would be happy to lose a little. I just would like to be rid of my home in East Cobb so I can be poised to buy in KC when we regain enough for a solid down payment.

Any comments, suggestions, or ideas would be welcome. Experiences with flat fee MLS listing services, with selling your East Cobb home in this market, etc would be welcome.
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Old 12-30-2008, 12:20 PM
2 posts, read 5,525 times
Reputation: 10
Bump, please respond . . . .
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Old 01-24-2009, 10:14 PM
Location: Marietta, GA
9 posts, read 37,089 times
Reputation: 13
I think you should speak with your agent and tell her how you feel. Sometimes a little open communication can go a long way. As an agent in the area myself I can tell you that print ads are virtually useless on most properties; but the Internet exposure is critical; so I wouldn't hold a lack of print advertising against your agent.
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Old 01-24-2009, 10:21 PM
Location: West Cobb (formerly Vinings)
3,615 posts, read 7,778,928 times
Reputation: 830
It is a tough market for condos, but not selling and not getting walk-throughs is a different thing. Sounds like your agent needs a good talking to.

I would tell your agent he/she has one more month to find some potential buyers before you de-list and you will not drop the price further because you don't believe he/she wasn't aggressive enough. Then if he/she doesn't find a buyer I would take your house off the market, and then depending on your situation:
1) Rent the property until the market improves or permanently. You may have to take a hit for a while, however you can carry over any losses on taxes when you sell as long as you are renting at an average market rental price. If not, you can only claim losses for less than 3 years. After a year of renting you will lose the owner-occupied deduction on profits but it doesn't sound like you will make many profits anyway. While in KC, you can hire a management company to manage your property and it is usually only 3-6% of what you get for rent and also tax deductible. Make sure your lease has a no-nonsense eviction policy and that you thoroughly screen the potential tenant.
2) Wait until spring so it wasn't continuously on the market and then re-list it back at a higher price with a new agent. Since that will also correspond with the spring you may have better luck selling the house. Year-to-year you can't say that spring is hotter than winter however on average you can.
3) Perhaps a combination of 1+2 (6 month rental then re-list).

Last edited by netdragon; 01-24-2009 at 10:36 PM..
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Old 01-25-2009, 12:57 PM
Location: LA/ventura
313 posts, read 1,149,139 times
Reputation: 75
What would be the rent cost for a condo like that? and what is the High school for that area?
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Old 02-04-2009, 03:49 PM
Location: Marietta (Cobb), GA
37 posts, read 102,845 times
Reputation: 13
The condo market is very tough and has been that way for a while. I am an agent who works this area and I can tell you that at your current price, you're competing with 4-5 bedroom homes in the same area. It will be very difficult to get out what you put in.

Open houses, print advertising are all a waste of money. They sound good but they're ineffective. You need a comprehensive marketing plan and multi-media internet exposure. It will still be tough to sell but that is your best bet. Go with someone who is fully committed to selling your condo not just listing it. However, I do agree that you should talk with your current agent and express your concerns and give them the opportunity to change their approach. If they won't or you don't feel they are reliable, you need to make a change. The "selling" season is approaching so time is of the essence in my opinion.

Good luck.
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Old 02-05-2009, 01:28 PM
8 posts, read 25,719 times
Reputation: 12
Bottom line is the right price will sell your home. Its not your agents fault. These days about 80 percent of home buyers initiate their home searches on the internet. Where are they searching? MLS and FMLS listings. Virtually any real estate website these days provides searches of one or both of these databases. Getting your home exposure in other ways via the internet is not going to do much. Serious buyers, and agents searching for homes for those buyers, search almost exclusively in the MLS and FMLS. The key factor of those searches is price. Unfortunately in a declining market time is not on your side and you are perhaps even further behind due to an ever increasing price disparity with comparable homes coming on the market.
The fact that your agent did 2 open houses and 1 agent caravan demonstrates her commitment. The value of an open house is dubious at best in the opinion of many experts. Statistically they are not very successful and agent caravans are even worse. Generally they cant hurt though, other than losing some money on cookies, drinks, and a little mud on the carpet from the curious neighbors.
Timing could be part of your problem as there are more favorable times of the year when attempting to sell. If you believe you are priced in line with comparable homes that have sold in your area within the last 6 months then you need to wait. If you are not in line with your comps then you simply will not sell your home. If you believe the savings from using a flat fee listing will allow your home to fall within a competitive price range then you should do that today. In my opinion with you already at the 320k price range I wouldn't do the flat fee unless you can get it under the 300k mark. That would be huge if you can get under the 300k price point because of the way searches are conducted at those even numbers. You will get so much more visibility for your home.
Good luck!
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Old 02-05-2009, 02:40 PM
2,685 posts, read 6,048,359 times
Reputation: 952
If your able to rent it I would consider that option, especially if you like it and maybe someday you would end up back in Atlanta. Otherwise maybe you need to consider lowering the price to what it will actually sell at, you take a loss but this was so you could take a better job elsewhere and in theory you should be able to buy more house in KC now then you could a year ago. Sometimes taking the price cut now is better then losing 6 months of payments and then eventually coming down in price anyways.

As to competing with 4-5 bedroom homes, this is a 2700sq ft condo so for those of us that dont want to maintain a yard it sounds like a lovely home.
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Old 02-06-2009, 06:12 AM
426 posts, read 1,446,552 times
Reputation: 147
"That would be huge if you can get under the 300k price point because of the way searches are conducted at those even numbers."

Pilotnbr1, could you explain?
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Old 02-06-2009, 06:43 AM
Status: "Pickleball-Free American" (set 4 days ago)
Location: St Simons Island, GA
23,464 posts, read 44,100,317 times
Reputation: 16861
Originally Posted by gumboula View Post
"That would be huge if you can get under the 300k price point because of the way searches are conducted at those even numbers."

Pilotnbr1, could you explain?
I interpret that as meaning a prospective buyer is going to input a price range when doing an internet search ie $250-300k. I would guess that range would be a popular one, and having your home listed above that point would present a lot of missed opportunities than if it were priced at $299,999.
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