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If you’ve been thinking about selling your home in the Peach State, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that home prices here are on the rise: The statewide median sale price is up 3.1 percent year-over-year, according to November 2023 data from the Georgia Association of Realtors (GAR).
The bad news? It may take a lot longer to get the deal done: The length of time homes sit on the market before selling is also up since last year, by a whopping 48 percent. Read on for all you need to know about how to sell a house in Georgia, fast.
How fast can you sell in Georgia?
The pace of home sales in Georgia has been slowing, according to GAR data. Pending sales in November were down 13.3 percent year-over-year, and the median days on market for a single-family home rose from 27 days last year to 40 days this year. Townhouses and condos sold a bit faster with a median of 33 days, but that’s still a 43.5 percent increase over last year.
The key to selling your home quickly in Georgia may be how you price it. While the median home price here in November was $349,900, per GAR, homes priced above $300,000 are the ones that take the longest to sell. The fastest-selling listings, with a median days-on-market of 35 days, were priced between $125,000 and $199,999.
Need to move faster?
If time isn’t on your side, here are a few options that can help put your sale on the fast track.
- Sell for cash: There are plenty of companies that buy houses for cash out there, both big national names and small, Georgia-based options. These companies move with remarkable speed, often making an offer same-day and closing in a few weeks (or even less). This can be a great option for people in a big rush to sell — or for people whose homes are in rough shape, as they buy as-is. But the downside is that, because they need to make a profit, they probably won’t offer you full market value.
- Look into iBuyers: iBuying companies operate with similar speed, and they also make cash offers. Two of the biggest names, Opendoor and Offerpad, operate in the Atlanta metro area (though they don’t buy homes in the rest of the state). However, these companies also won’t offer you top dollar, and they typically don’t buy homes in poor condition.
- Sell as-is: An as-is listing will communicate a clear message to anyone who is thinking about buying your house in Georgia: What you see is what you get. This eliminates the usual back-and-forth negotiations about repairs, which gets you to the closing table faster.
Add some quick curb appeal: Finally, don’t underestimate the power of a good first impression — it can make buyers more inclined to make an offer, faster. There are quite a few simple ways to add curb appeal, such as cleaning your windows, adding a few flower boxes or even just painting the front door.
Other things to consider
Ask yourself these questions before you list your Georgia home:
Are you ready to sell?
Should you sell your house now or wait? It’s a tricky question to answer. The past few years have featured plenty of headlines about record-high prices and low housing inventory — a combination that puts sellers in the driver’s seat. However, higher interest rates are hindering house-hunters, meaning there are fewer qualified buyers out there. And if you plan on buying a new place after you sell your current one, you’ll be in the same predicament they are. With that in mind, consider how much you need to earn from your sale, how much you’ll need for a down payment on your new place and what you will do if you aren’t able to net the sale price you’re hoping for.
Is it worth upgrading your home before you sell?
Think carefully before opting to invest in any major projects to try to make your home more appealing. Sure, your kitchen might seem a bit outdated, but the vast majority of big home renovations don’t recoup their costs when it’s time to sell — and the time they’ll take to complete will only delay your sale further. Ask your real estate agent’s advice on what projects you might be able to benefit from.
What should you repair before selling?
Look around: Do you see any glaring issues that might make a buyer decide your home isn’t for them? Think about anything that would concern you during an open house: a leaky bathroom faucet, doors that don’t close properly, chipped floor tiles. These might be worth addressing, to make sure the home’s first impression is a good one. However, it’s equally important to know what not to fix when you’re selling your home.
Should you pay to stage your home?
When buyers tour a property, you want them to feel like it’s home. That can be hard to envision if it’s stuffed to the gills with your stuff — or if you’ve already moved out and the rooms are completely empty. Staging your home can be a worthwhile investment in these cases, and a professional stager can also help you just generally spruce the place up and make it feel inviting.
How should you price your home?
Your real estate agent’s expertise will be crucial here. Look at comps of recently sold homes to get an idea of what people are willing to pay for a home like yours in your neighborhood. Your agent will also be able to help you understand which features might make your property more or less desirable. For example, if you don’t have covered parking, or if you do have a swimming pool, that will impact how much your house is worth.
What do you need to disclose?
Unlike many other states, Georgia does not require a written disclosure statement from sellers. However, that doesn’t mean you can hide information about the property. For example, if you know the roof has had a leak in the past or that there was flood damage during a big storm, you still have to inform the buyer, but you are permitted to do it verbally. And if you live in a property that is part of a homeowners association, be prepared to hand over documentation about its financial health and bylaws.
When is the best time to sell a house in Georgia?
The late spring and summer months tend to be the best time to sell a house, in Georgia and just about everywhere. That’s when homes typically spend the shortest amount of time sitting on the market. For example, according to Redfin data, Georgia homes spent a median of 53 days on the market in January and February 2023, but just 28 days in June and July.
You’re a homeowner, so you’ve been on the buyer’s end of a closing before. But what’s it like from the seller’s standpoint? The biggest piece of the puzzle to understand is the price you will need to pay to close the deal.
Selling a home in Georgia isn’t all profit. As the seller, you are responsible for paying the real estate agents involved in the transaction — typically 5 to 6 percent of the home’s sale price, which gets split between your agent and the buyer’s agent. So, on a median-priced $349,900 sale, you would likely pay around $19,244 in Realtor fees. Additionally, if you still have a loan on the property, some of your proceeds will go toward paying off your mortgage.
Here are some of the typical closing costs for sellers to budget for:
- Title insurance: While sellers in many states are responsible for covering the cost of title insurance, that’s not the standard in Georgia. Here, title insurance can be paid by the seller, the buyer or split between the two parties, so use your bargaining power to see if you can split it or put this cost in the buyer’s court.
- Transfer taxes: You’ll also need to cover the cost of real estate transfer taxes, the fee for transferring ownership of the home to the buyer. In Georgia, the rate is $1 for every $1,000 of value. So, for a median-priced $349,900 sale, you will need to hand over about $350.
- Escrow fees: Be prepared to potentially pay an escrow fee for management of the transaction’s funds. This cost varies, but you can likely split it with the buyer.
- Seller concessions: It’s common for buyers to request some concessions, such as asking you to cover the price of a necessary repair. You don’t have to say yes, but doing so may help smooth the sale process.
Attorney fees: If you hire a real estate attorney to protect your interests in the deal, which is a smart idea, you will need to pay that fee at closing as well. The amount will vary based on their hourly rate and how much time they spend on your transaction.
Find a Georgia real estate agent
Are you ready to get the ball rolling with your sale? The best step you can take is setting up interviews with a few different real estate agents to find an agent who knows your area well, who you can work well with, and who can help you get the most value for your property.
One thing to keep in mind: Dual agency is legal in Georgia. That means that your agent could also potentially represent a buyer who submits an offer on your home. It’s not necessarily a bad thing — your agent might have the perfect buyer in mind — but it can present a possible conflict of interest. Your agent is required to inform you in the case of dual agency, and you must give your consent.
Georgia state law mandates that an attorney must be physically present at closings. However, this lawyer does not represent the seller in the transaction; he or she is working on behalf of the buyer’s lender. With that in mind, it’s smart to consider hiring your own attorney to represent your best interests as the seller.
Georgia listings sat on the market for a median of 40 days before selling in November 2023, according to data from the Georgia Association of Realtors. Some markets will be faster than that, and the number changes with the seasons — it’s likely to move faster in the spring and summer. If you have no time to lose, look into cash-homebuying companies or (if you’re in the Atlanta area) iBuyers, who can move considerably faster.
The biggest expense you’ll likely have as a seller will be covering the real estate agent commissions for the transaction — typically 5 to 6 percent of a home’s sale price. On a $350,000 home sale, 5.5 percent comes to more than $19,000. Sellers also pay typical closing costs, such as transfer taxes and title-related fees.