Home buyers in the greater Atlanta area can choose from some of the most diverse housing stock in the nation. First-time buyers can find homes for under $100,000 in cities like Jonesboro, Decatur and College Park. Those seeking more luxurious residences can look in areas like Buckhead, Druid Hills, downtown Atlanta, or cities like Sandy Springs and Alpharetta, to find homes for $500,000 or more.

When deciding where you want to live, knowledge of Atlanta real estate trends regarding home values and neighborhoods are important considerations. Moreover, you should have clear understanding of what to expect throughout the home buying process.

Rising home values

Atlanta home prices have started to heat up and outperform other metropolitan areas across the country. Research firm CoreLogic notes that Atlanta metro area home prices were up 16.4 percent on average in October 2013 compared to the same time in 2012. Housing supply is tight, so prices have been crunched. For September to December 2013, Trulia reports $238,500 as the median sales price — an increase of 26 percent from the previous year.

Sellers will likely take that as good news, in other words, but buyers have to monitor housing prices carefully in times of tight inventory.

Attractive Atlanta neighborhoods

Part of house-hunting lies in picking the right area. Each neighborhood has its own characteristics. For singles, young couples and empty-nesters, Atlantic Station offers world-class restaurants and entertainment. The housing stock is mostly condominiums, lofts and townhomes, and it’s close to downtown, Midtown, Buckhead, Georgia Tech and the interstate.

For buyers seeking affordable alternatives within the city’s boundaries, the communities of Edgewood, Cabbagetown and Grant Park are experiencing excellent growth. The cities of Brookhaven and East Point are also prosperous, and the area along the Atlanta BeltLine revitalization project also has characteristics that cater to a variety of tastes and budgets.

Buyers who prefer to live in the suburbs will find plenty of value in Roswell, Smyrna, Suwanee and other nearby communities.

Selecting an agent

While most buyers purchase Atlanta real estate without a hitch, some deals can be convoluted and very taxing. This possibility underscores the need to find an experienced real estate agent who watches out for your interests.

Along with intricate knowledge of the in-town neighborhoods and outlying areas, your agent schedules and coordinates home tours. He or she also works with you to prepare the offer and negotiate with the seller on your behalf. Once you have a signed an offer to purchase, the remainder of the process goes as follows:

  • Disclosure review
  • Appraisal
  • Inspections
  • Loan commitment
  • Final walk-through
  • Closing

Your agent can also assist you with finding other service providers, such as an attorney, home inspector or mortgage lender.

If you’re looking for help, Duffy Realty of Atlanta has a staff of full-time real estate professionals that work with both buyers and sellers — empowering sellers with advice on how to improve their homes’ value, and helping buyers navigate the process and avoid buyers’ remorse.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons