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Where real estate expert says to look for best-valued homes in metro Atlanta

Competitive market shows few signs of slowing down, realtor Cheri Benjamin said

ATLANTA — Anyone in the market to buy a new home could easily get discouraged by the competition. A local real estate agent tweeted a home in Suwanee got more than 155 offers, and 19 of them were $150,000 over the asking price.

In what's considered a seller's market for homebuying, success in signing a contract could easily hinge on a zip code. 

Realtor Cheri Benjamin said to get the most house for one's money, look south of Atlanta or along the I-20 corridor. 

“Areas like Riverdale and Stockbridge, we’re seeing an incredible amount of equity that those earners are gaining down there," Benjamin said. "Where your money goes a lot further, I still believe that if you look at I-20 and you go east or west, you’re going to get a lot more home for your dollar.”

Benjamin suggested Conyers and Covington, along with Carrollton and Douglasville, as areas around the metro that could offer more bang for the buck. She said homes in Alpharetta and Sandy Springs were also seeing their value skyrocket, with some earning at least a 15-percent increase in equity in just over a year.

Tamecia Carter, a mother of four, has been looking to buy her very first home for the last two years. But she has run into several roadblocks in the process. She's been outbid on several offers by up to $15,000. Homes she's had her eye on have gone up in price, even the eyesores.

“House hunting is supposed to be fun," Carter said. "But not for me so far. You bid, put in your offer, walk the home, fall in love with it and it’s like they accepted a cash offer. It kind of puts your spirit down a little bit. A house won't be move-on ready. You've got to repaint, replace the carpet, and dthey still want all this money."

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Benjamin advised getting a good realtor for guidance during the homebuying process and sorting out finances before beginning the process of submitting an offer. She said appraisal contingencies or gap coverage could save prospective buyers from overpaying too much for a home.

"Do not panic buy. The worst possible outcome is buyer’s remorse caused by overspending after losing out on a few multiple bid situations," Benjamin said. "Start early and you have to look very often. Don’t sit on the sidelines waiting for prices to drop. We don’t foresee that happening at all. Get yourself preapproved and understand your budget.”

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Carter said she would continue to stay aggressive despite a competitive market. With interest rates said to increase soon, she knows she cannot afford to wait much longer to buy.

"Don’t give up," Carter said. "Keep saving and keep trying. That’s where I am. I have never been a give-up type person, and it teaches my kids to never give up. Just keep working and have faith.”