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Ready for the Real Estate Rebound?

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With a real estate market finally on the upswing, residential properties in Gwinnett are once again becoming hot commodities.

Affordability Factor
Conditions are right to buy a home. “Today it’s cheaper to buy than to rent,” says Greg Shumate, CEO and managing partner of BrandMortgage. “Waiting won’t benefit you. All indications are that prices will step up and interest rates will rise.” His advice is to get pre-approved with a lender and line up financing, as one-third of recent residential real estate contracts represent cash transactions and many others are offers with no financing contingency.

Positive Sales Trend
Gwinnett’s residential inventory and sales cycles are out-pacing the rest of the state. “Now’s the time to take advantage of this rare market condition that gives you a competitive advantage on both the buying and selling end,”# says Greg Cantrell, founder and CEO of Living Stone Properties. The Georgia Association of REALTORS® reports that sellers are realizing an average of 93.3 percent of original asking price and seeing declines in average days on the market.

Today’s Hot Properties
“Location still drives home buying decisions,” says Mark Richardson, vice president of development, Richardson Housing Group. “Now more than ever before, buyers are seeking affordable homes near quality schools with access to jobs.” He feels current home sales trends are due to limited inventory and young buyers competing for affordable new homes. “It’s rare that one of our spec houses lasts beyond the sheetrock stage,” Richardson adds. “Usually, by that time, they’re sold.”

Make Your Move
Now is a great time to sell. “We’ve seen a dramatic shift in the housing market over the last several months indicating good news for sellers,” says Brian Sutherland, producing production manager for LoanSouth Mortgage. “Favorable circumstances for both buyers and sellers – at the same time – don’t often happen.” Buyers need to understand financing options available to them and sellers should determine an effective list price to attract more buyers.

Going, Going, Gone!
Forget the “low-ball” offer strategy. “It’s a different market today, with the lowest inventory we’ve had in years,” says Dawn P. Gober, broker/co-owner, RE/MAX Five Star. “For homes priced right, you won’t have time to “think about it.” I can call in the morning to check availability and to schedule a showing that afternoon,” she explains. “Then by the time I show the home to the buyer, there could already be multiple offers.”

Secure Financing Early
Prepare, whether you’re purchasing or refinancing. “If you’re buying, have a letter from a lender stating that you’re pre-qualified up to the offer price or they will toss out your offer,” advises Jon Bodan, president, The Perpetual Financial Group, Inc. Also, he warns not to fall for low “teaser” rates that may not make sense for your situation. For homeowners upside down in their mortgages, he suggests speaking with a reputable broker about “relief” refinance programs.