Atlanta, GA is full of good bargains for investors to choose from whether you are looking for a single family home to rent, rehab, hold on to or turn around and sell. There are over 2,947 bank owned homes in the area right now according to Realtytrac.com. If you are looking for auction properties, there are 1,921 homes heading to trustee sale. According to Trulia.com, the average list price for a home in the Atlanta area is $503,428, the median sales price is $190,000, and there are currently 5,579 resale and new homes for sale. The median number of days on the market is 79.
While you may find competition for bargain priced REO homes in the Atlanta area, there are still some great bargains on short sales and non-distressed resale homes to be found as well. Motivated sellers have now priced their homes to sell. Short sales are getting approved and closing quicker. If you are lucky enough to secure a home at an Atlanta foreclosure sale, you know you truly found a treasure.
Most investors will tell you that some of the best bargains on foreclosed homes are at foreclosure auctions. Although auction homes are not for everyone because they do come with some risk, and you need cash to purchase. If you do decide to purchase a home at an auction and you are a new investor, take someone else with you who is experienced at bidding on homes at auctions because the pace moves fast, and you don’t want to get caught up in the excitement of a bidding war to find out later that you over paid for the property.
Here are some overall tips to help you find a cheap investment opportunity in the Atlanta area:
- Work with a local Atlanta Realtor.
- Register online at various auction sites so you are alerted when a home becomes available in an area that you are interested in.
- Check the local newspaper.
- Go down to the County Recorder’s Office and compile a list of homes that have recently received default notices and then contact the owners to see if they want to sell to you
- Drive by neighborhoods and look for distressed vacant homes or bandit signs indicating the home is a REO or short sale.
- Talk to for sale by owners.
- Talk to family, friends, neighbors and anyone you meet. Hand them your card and tell them you are an investor looking for homes to buy in the Atlanta area
- Join investment clubs and talk with other investors they may know of opportunities that you don’t. You may even want to team up with another investor.
Focus on purchasing cheap homes that need minor cosmetic repairs and not major system replacing because the latter will cut into your profit margin. Replacing roofs and electric and plumbing systems can be expensive. Short sales and resale homes are usually in better condition than foreclosure auction or REO homes because the owner or a tenant is usually living in the home and maintaining it. If you can do the repairs and rehabbing yourself, even better. Otherwise, get three bids from contractors and check their references. Stay within your budget. If you buy wise and do your due diligence, you will be able to reap the rewards of your investment down the road because you know you own a property with built in equity.
Overall there are signs of improvement in the Atlanta housing market with prices stabilizing. Nationally, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) announced that contract signings increased in July in all areas across the nation except the West, which is experiencing a severe shortage of inventory. The inventory shortage is helping to bring prices up a bit. The NAR believes this shortage combined with high buyer demand for affordable homes is yet another sign that home sales are rebounding.
Buyers have been taking advantage of historically low interest rates, with the average 30 year fixed mortgage hovering below 4%. The recently released Standard & Poor’s/Case Shiller index reflects a year-over-year increase for the first time since September of 2010. Although the housing market has not fully recovered from the past five years, there is optimism that home prices have bottomed out and the real estate market is rebounding. There were 2.4 million homes for sale in July, which was down 24% from last year. There is a 6.4 month inventory if sales continue at the current rate.
Atlanta is one of the best places to invest in cheap homes with the opportunity to lease your bargain or to rehab and resell it. Whatever you decide to do with your Atlanta property, you know you are getting a great investment that will bring you a high rate of return down the road. With cheap and affordable inventory and low interest rates, it couldn’t be a better time to invest in Atlanta homes.