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How We Help Sellers get Top Dollar.

So you want to get top dollar in the shortest amount of time.  Maybe you heard some salespeople claiming that they had some special secret that would allow them to sell your home quickly for full price. Or maybe you heard some agent say that he had a list of buyers just chomping at the bit waiting to buy a home in your neighborhood.  So you're thinking that all you have to do is find the person with the secret formula and sit back and count your money. 

Wouldn't it be nice if it were that easy. But remember, just because an agent has a lot of listings doesn't necessarily mean that they actually get homes sold, let alone sold for a good price. It means that they are good at convincing home owners to list their homes with them.  With enough homes listed, the agent knows that eventually the homes that happen to be priced at market value will sell.  The ones in poor condition or the ones that are overpriced will eventually be reduced in price and then sell.  They just hope that they still happen to have the listing at that time.  Then they take a chunk of their commission and spend it on some more expensive image advertising to get more listings.

Don't waste your time on all the hype and spin.  Quit dreaming about the agent with the special "secret".   Find someone you can trust to give you good advice. 

Find the agent who will help you face the facts and help you do what's necessary to get your home ready to be sold at top dollar.  Marketing and negotiating are just half of the equation.  Price and condition are the things that will determine how fast your home sells.

The following are the steps we use to help you get your home sold.  It's a collection of the small things that together give your home the best chance of being sold  for top dollar.  Sometimes it takes a little luck but most of the time it takes old fashioned hard work.  Create the right strategy and then execute it properly.

Creating the Game Plan 

Before we meet,  we'll send you a package of materials that will help you be prepared for our meeting.  We give you a checklist of all the items we'll need to get started.  We'll also send you some background information so you'll know all about us.  That way we can concentrate on developing strategies that will  get your home sold.

To really help you, we are going to have to get to know you pretty well.  Why are you really selling?  What are your expectations?  Can we trust each other?  At the end of our one hour consultation we're going to make sure you know what your options are.  Sometimes we might advise you not to sell at all.

Recently, a past client called us over to list their home because they were having a difficult time balancing their budget.  They thought that they had to move to a less expensive home to make ends meet.  We were excited about helping them and earning two commissions, one for selling their home and one for helping them buy another home.  But after listening to the details we convinced them not to sell.  Since current interest rates were 1.5% less than their original mortgage rate, they could refinance a higher mortgage amount, use the extra cash to pay off their car loan and credit cards and have their total monthly debt payments decrease by $800 per month.  We didn't make any commissions but we felt good about helping a past client make a good decision.  
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Will Pennies Bring You Dollars?

We will explore the condition of your home with you. Much of what is necessary to showcase your home, we provide at no additional cost to you. Sometimes, however, we may suggest improvements that we know will bring a substantial increase to your bottom line. You can be assured that we will never let you spend any money that we do not feel will bring you 3 to 5 times more than that amount in increased equity.
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What Might We Suggest?

If you have dark, outdated, or worn carpeting, your equity may be diminished dramatically.

Why? When buyers look at your home, they over estimate the cost of necessary changes such as carpeting and paint. For example, buyers may estimate the cost of new carpeting at $10,000. They will want to deduct that amount from the price they will offer you. In actuality, our preferred direct carpet vendors would probably be able to install new carpeting, which will completely transform your home, for under $4,000, and maybe much less. In this case, not installing carpeting could actually cost you $6,000

Or even worse, buyers may totally pass up your home because they cannot visualize what your home could look like with the necessary changes.

Don't Let Your Buyer Be Turned Off an Outdated Color!

If you have dark, dated bathroom tiles, they can be easily and inexpensively transformed into a beautiful white or light color through a process called glazing. Your bathroom can take on a totally remodeled look through this simple process. It really makes your bathroom look brand new for the fraction of the cost of remodeling. The results are truly astounding.

Buyers buy what they see, not what it could be! 
If a home is dirty and the paint is peeling, they don’t say “Gee, all this place needs is a little cleaning and a coat of paint”.  Most buyers instead think “If the owner let this place get run down who knows what kind of shape the structure and the systems are in?”  The only ones who look past the dirt are the investors and bargain hunters and you can be certain that they aren’t going to pay you top dollar.

That is why builders make sure their model homes are impeccably clean and decorated.
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Preferred Professionals!

We work with a team of professionals who together can get your home in tip top condition. Painters, carpet layers, handymen, plumbers, landscapers etc. You'll be amazed at how easily your home will take shape.

Professional Inspection Before Listing

Many people avoid going to a doctor for a check up because they are afraid of the  problems it will reveal.  They might have to face reality and make some changes in their lifestyle.  Same thing with their homes.  All that maintenance that they were sure they were going to do when they bought their home just never seemed to get done.  When your home is going on the market it is time to face reality.  It’s time to make up for years of deferred maintenance.

We recommend getting an inspection done before you list your home.  Sure, a buyer probably will still hire their own inspector but they will have a greater comfort level and will probably be more willing to risk the time and money of putting in an offer.  Most buyers hate the thought of spending $300 to $500 on a home inspection that reveals problems that they aren’t willing to deal with.  They want the inspection for their peace of mind and are hoping nothing bad is found. 

If they get the impression that a house might have problems, they won’t waste their time and money putting in an offer and getting an inspection.  Also, if there are problems that are revealed, you are going to spend a lot less money doing the repairs yourself than what a buyer will estimate that it will take to fix. If there is a leak in the 10 year old roof it might cost $50 to patch it before you put your home on the market.  If that leak is found during the buyer’s inspection, right away the buyer is thinking that the roof is ready to go and it’s going to cost them $10,000 to replace.

We have an inspection company that does pre-sale inspections and will give a one year guarantee to the buyer.  The buyer’s inspector is going to be less likely to bring up frivolous items because he knows he will most likely have to explain them to another inspector.  Most likely the buyer’s inspector will use your inspection report as a guide and basically confirm that any problems initially revealed have been corrected in a professional manner.
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Get the Kids to Cooperate

Getting children in on the game also helps a lot.  We have some tips and a video to help in that area.   How about paying the kids $100 at closing if they have their rooms in tip top shape every day until the home is sold. It would be the best $100 you ever spent. The agent can bring 50 buyers to see a home but if the seller sets an unreasonable price or doesn’t keep the home in excellent condition there just isn’t going to be a sale.
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 What's a Fair Price?

If your home is in top shape, and enough people see it, the only other factor is the price.  Too low and you miss out on thousands of dollars there for the asking.  Too high and buyers move on to other homes and your home starts to get "stale" and begins to get stigmatized for being on the market so long.  Buyers just assume there must be something wrong.  So setting the right price is critical.

Most real estate agents do a CMA (comparative market evaluation).  They find what comparable homes have sold for and try to make adjustments up or down depending on differing features.

Others agents just wait to see how much the seller wants and just go along with it no matter what.  If it’s too low they figure it will be an easy sale.  If it’s too high they figure eventually the seller will lower the price.  In the mean time they’ll have a chance to pick up a customer who calls off the sign in the yard.

We go the extra yard to set the right price

At HomeAtlanta we do our homework and tell it like it is.  We do a detailed CMA and walk you through an analysis.  This is what a buyer is going to do so you might as well be prepared.  If you price it higher than the CMA suggests you’re just hoping that a stupid person will come along and pay you more than it’s worth.  Sometimes that happens but it’s not a strategy to depend on.
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Tour Your Competition

One extra service that seems to help out a lot is taking our sellers on a tour of 10 comparable homes that will be competing with theirs.  You get to see first hand what buyers are seeing and usually it is very easy to see where your home fits in.  You can see what you need to do to make your home be the number one choice on a buyer’s list.  Sometimes you get used to living a certain way and get used to many flaws in your home.  If your home is on a noisy street you block out the noise.  If the paint and carpet get run down you get used to it.  Many times it’s a real wake up call when you see competing homes that look like decorator showcases.

Remember, no one can talk someone into buying a home.  The more people feel pressured by fast talk the quicker they run away.  You have to make your home sing to buyers and make them feel that if they don’t act quickly someone else will beat them out of a great home. 

A good listing agent acts as a consultant and coach.  More like a player coach.  They set the game plan and execute part of it.  But selling a home requires all players to cooperate and do what’s needed to get the job done.
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Lots of Exposure


It seems simple but the right signs can really draw more attention to your home.  Many buyers feel more comfortable when they see a familiar sign in front of a home.  RE/MAX has spent a lot of money enhancing their image and this transfers over to the homes that have RE/MAX signs in front of them. 

The other purpose of a sign is to get buyers to stop and take notice of your home.  We have found that two signs grab more attention than one.  We use a directional, a lenders sign or a home inspection sign to get more attention.  It really doesn’t matter what sign is used except something that will make people slow down and take a look.

Directionals are also very important especially if you live off the beaten path.  There are buyers out there every day just driving around looking for new signs.  You need to make sure they’re directed to your home.
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Professionally Created Brochures

Buyers usually investigate several homes prior to coming to a buying decision. They compare, analyze, eliminate, and analyze again, usually  using the property flyers to help them remember and compare the specific features of each of the homes. When the flyers do not adequately portray the beauty of the home, it is very easy for a home to be eliminated prematurely.

We take great pains to see to it that our listings are given every consideration they deserve by taking the right pictures at the right angles. We create professional brochures  that highlight your home's finest qualities. We get many compliments about how we get the best angles to show your home's best features.

The flyers also go into a flyer box in your front yard.  They try to entice a buyer to take the next step and see the inside of your home.

The flyers also reduce the number of curiosity seekers.  The lookie lues are directed to your home’s web page where they usually can get all the information they want. It’s a hassle showing your home so you don’t want nosey people inconveniencing you.
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World Wide Hi-Tech Internet Exposure

Our listings are well represented on the Internet.  Our  web site , is where we post 12 to 25 pictures of your home.  We take many more pictures but are very careful in selecting only the best ones.  This is very important because sometimes a buyer will pass up seeing a home because of some little detail he sees on an Internet picture. We do not use the 360 degree virtual tours because they tend to distort the image and it is hard to control exactly what is seen.  Sometimes showing too much is worse than not enough.  The purpose isn’t to do a documentary but to create interest in seeing your home in person.  Also the 360 tours just take too long to load creating frustration to your buyers.

Many of our listings attain a high ranking for several good key words in Google and Yahoo. Do a search for "Atlanta home listings for sale"  and one of our listings come up #3 in Google.  Do a search just for "Atlanta home listings" and a listing of ours comes up #6.  You probably found our site doing some sort of search.  

If we can't get your home page very high in the natural rankings, we'll do some pay per click advertising in Google and Overture.  These are the small ads at the top and side of the search engine results.  You can really target buyers with these ads and get great exposure.

Once a web page is created for your home, we can link it to a variety of places: emails to agents or possible buyers, Internet sites such as,,, and Microsoft's, and others. Also, when advertising in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, we can use hot links in online classifieds.

Following are the places on the Internet that your home will show up.

Your home is given a “Grand Tour” on which consists of 6 pictures.  This site gets 20,000 hits per month with 83% of buyers looking at homes that have a “Grand Tour”.

Your home is also given a “Grand Tour” on .  Many out of town buyers go to this site. More and more Internet sites are using as their source for their own home search sites.  and use So having a good presence on provides a very broad exposure on the Internet. 

Your home is also placed on MSN's real estate section.  

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8 Pictures in the MLS database

The MLS allows agents to upload 8 pictures into the database.  We use this to our advantage.  Only about 20% of the homes on the MLS have more than one picture.  Most of those single picture homes are taken by a MLS “photographer” who doesn’t even get out of the car to take the picture.  What an opportunity for you! As we stated earlier, we take a lot of pictures and only use the ones that show the best features of your home.  Agents will be more likely to show your home if they can see a picture showing that it's in good condition.  A big fear of agents showing property is looking bad by wasting a client's time by showing them homes that aren't what they are looking for.  We make sure they see the best your home has to offer.

Weather permitting, we can take pictures on the same day as we list your home and have pictures uploaded to the MLS that same day.  The nice thing about multiple photos in the MLS is that when an agent emails a listing to a buyer, the buyer receives all eight pictures.  When a buyer gets sent an email package of 10 homes and only yours has more than one picture which one do you think will get looked at the most?  Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words.  
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Flyer Express to 1000 agents

A flyer of your home is sent to at least a thousand agents in your market area. Agents working with out- of- town buyers usually are the buyers who will make you the best offer.  They’re on a fixed time table, are usually well qualified and have to decide quickly.

Open Houses

We try to hold an open house within the first two weeks when it's a fresh new listing.  Usually that's when you attract the most people.  If you're lucky in attracting a real prospect, having many people looking at once can sometimes motivate them to act quickly.  Although "for sale by owners" rely on open houses as their main marketing effort, not too many sales actually result from them. Once in a while someone will walk into an open house and actually buy it.  But that is usually the exception.  Most  Realtors hold open houses to try to pick up new clients.  They're hoping to meet a neighbor who is going to sell in the future or maybe they'll meet a buyer who needs the help of a Realtor.  There's nothing wrong with this but a seller should know this ahead of time.  It takes a lot of time and effort getting a home ready for an open house.

Agents usually spend Tuesday afternoons touring other agents' listings.  They call this caravan time.  Some hold luncheons and drawings to entice agents to come and look at their listings.  Unless your home is being shown by appointment only, most agents who have any client that might be interested will probably have taken a look at your home already.  The agents who attend just for the free lunches are usually the ones who have nothing better to do.  It doesn't hurt to have your home on caravan but usually the money spent on lunch and drawings is better utilized elsewhere.
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Great Service Every Step of the Way!

The service must match the product

Consider one of your favorite restaurants that you refer many of your friends to.  It usually not only has great food but it also has great service.  You are treated with respect every step of the way.  If the food is great but the waiter is rude the experience isn’t going to be something that you rave about to your friends.  Consistency is also key.  If the service and product depend on who is working that day, you probably will be cautious about recommending the restaurant.  The key is having systems in place that ensure consistent results.

We constantly work on creating systems in our business that will create a predictably world class experience for every client.  Our goal is to deliver service beyond your expectations because we know that’s what it takes to earn your referrals.
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Limo vs. Taxi

Most real estate agents run their business like a taxi service.  They are always looking for the next fare.  They get you to your destination and then say "next". You probably will never see them again.  It's an experience that you don't go out of your way to tell a friend about.

We run our business more like a limo service.  For about the same amount of money as a taxi, you get a great experience on your way to your destination.  If we perform as planned, you'll probably have such a pleasant experience that you'll want to recommend us to some of your friends.  The next time you want to take a "trip" you'll probably call us instead of looking in the yellow pages for just an ordinary "taxi".  

This allows us to put our time and money into providing great service and allows us to keep improving our systems.
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We'll Get You Through the Turbulence

Anyone who guarantees a totally smooth transaction is either lucky, is very new to the industry and hasn't closed very many transactions, or is just lying to you because they don't think you can handle the truth.

The unpopular truth is that any time you're dealing with people you are dealing with uncertainty.  People sometimes feel they are protected by some words on a contract.  But the truth is that business only takes place if both parties are willing.

We have closed hundreds of transactions and can usually  anticipate problems or "turbulence"  and  take steps to avoid it.  If something unexpected happens we usually have seen it before or at least have heard about it happening to someone else.  We know what to do and who to call. We'll give you a list of 88 types of turbulence that we are looking out for.  If something happens, we'll give you a call and tell you what number we're dealing with.  We'll tell you what changes we need to make to our flight plan and then we'll buckle up and deal with it.  Don't worry.  We won't bail out on you but we'll ask you to stay seated and allow us to do our job.
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Communication Is Key

I've heard it more than I'd like.  Home sellers says that their agent was very nice at first, put a sign and lockbox up and then never was heard from again.  When any complaint is made about their house not selling they are just given the same old line. "You need to lower the price".  

Setting realistic expectations up front it critical to a good selling experience.  If we puff up your home just to make you feel good, who are we really helping?  Sooner or later you are going to have to face reality.  Why not from the beginning?  

Do you want to talk to us everyday or every week?  Different people have different needs.  Just let us know yours.  Do you like phone calls or email?  You might want to know every minute detail or maybe you just want to know when to show up for the closing.  

Tell us how and when you want to be contacted and we'll create a system to make it happen.
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Systems Make For A Smoother Sale

Did you ever think about the fact that when you go to see your doctor, he has a full team of professionals in place to care for you? It would seem pretty strange if he didn't. In fact, imagine this scene: You walk into your doctor's office, and he comes running out to greet you, clip board in hand and asks you to sign in. He then takes you back to the scale and weighs you and records it on your chart. He then takes you back to the examining room to take your blood pressure and check you out. Once he finds you are in perfect shape, he jots down the notes on your chart and re-files it. Oh by the way, he also writes out your bill and waits for you to pay him.

We have a back office team whose primary concern is to see to it that your sale and closing are as smooth as possible. Our staff is trained and in place to handle all of the behind the scene details. Checklists and systems are in place to make sure nothing is overlooked. From switching utilities to making sure you have directions to the closing, our closing department handles it all. This frees us and our agents up so that we are available to do what we do best, personally help you to stage your home and market your home to other Realtors and the public, negotiate the best price and terms FOR YOU and to continually work to improve our service.
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Let's talk

If you read all the way to here we must have connected with you in at least a small way.  It's tough deciding who to trust or not.  Most of the time a face to face meeting answers that question.  Let's set up a time to meet for an hour and see if we can help each other.  Click here


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Where We Do Business

Our market area is in the north metro Atlanta area.  We service Cobb County, north Fulton County, Dekalb County, Forsyth County and Gwinnett County.  We are very familiar with Sandy Springs, Dunwoody, Marietta, Roswell, Alpharetta, Buckhead, and Midtown. 

We have sold homes inside the perimeter and outside the perimeter.  We can't know everything so for clients who want to look for property in Peachtree City, Newnan, Stone Mountain, Douglasville, Macon and areas further out we will gladly recommend a good agent who specializes in those areas.

We help buyers negotiate with builders for residential new construction houses. New houses in Atlanta are hot right now. We can represent you in the purchase of your new house built by any of the following builders: Torrey Homes, MDC Homes, Centex Homes, Pulte Homes, Morrison Homes, Ryland Homes, John Wieland Homes, Winmark Homes, Meridian Homes, John Willis Homes, Benchmark Homes and many more home builders.

We can help clients find short term apartments for rent but normally we don't work with clients who are just looking for rentals.  We do help clients find Atlanta condos.  We can also help you purchase HUD homes in Atlanta.  We are an authorized agent with them and have the HUD key to get into HUD homes.  We have access to foreclosure homes that banks want to sell.

We love showing executive homes and luxury homes. We always like to know how people find our site.  Send us an email and tell us which search term you used. Some terms that we might be found by are realty Atlanta, Ga homes, Atlanta realty, condos Atlanta, Atlanta realestate, Atlanta property, houses Atlanta, Atlanta realtors, Ga houses, or realtors Atlanta.  Maybe you found us by typing in Atlanta MLS listings, or Atlanta MLS search, or MLS Atlanta GA. Hopefully we don't come up under nursing homes or funeral homes.

It is always amazing to me how the Internet can allow total strangers to find each other and build new business relationships.  It truly is becoming a small, interconnected world.


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Call Home Atlanta with any questions you might have. 404-216-0472

Atlanta Home Buyer Rebate

All information about homes from the Atlanta MLS home search engine is input by thousands of individual real estate agents throughout Atlanta and is made available through a service called ListingBook. We provide access to this data for the convenience of our clients.  We have no control over this database.  All information on this web site is copyrighted and intellectual property of It is deemed to be current and accurate, but is not warranted.© 2002. Tim is a licensed Realtor with Atlanta Communities Real Estate Brokerage.

Tim Maitski is a member of the Atlanta Board of Realtors