Below-market price snags Smyrna buyers

Names: Ken and Julie Segal and their 10th-grade daughter, Jessica. Ken is president of 24/7 Network Stability; Julie is a partner in Hess Segal Group.

The home: A four-bedroom, 2 1/2-bath home built in 1999.

Where: Smyrna's Vinings Pointe neighborhood

Why they sold: The Segals wanted a home with a basement where Jessica and her friends could hang out, and they needed more room for Ken to work from home. They found a new five-bedroom home with a basement and bonus room four years ago in Westbrook Park, an O'Dwyer Homes neighborhood in Smyrna, but they needed to sell their existing home. After putting it on the market then for $350,000 and receiving no offers, they decided to rent the home for three years.

Time on market: 43 days

Original price: $329,900

Sale price: $313,000

What it took: Dropping the price. Working in 2013 with Stacy Galan of Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby's International Realty, they originally listed the home for $329,900, but two weeks later, they lowered the price to $310,000. Galan suggested using a below-market price to see whether they could attract multiple offers, which is what happened. When two offers came in at the same time, they sat with an Excel spreadsheet to crunch the numbers, Ken said. One buyer — who originally had the lower offer — matched what the Segals were asking. They closed on the home in December.

They also kept the house well maintained while renting the property, including having Coolray service the heating and air conditioning and doing annual termite inspections. The home also had a new roof, and they did minor landscaping and painting to get it ready for potential buyers.

Potential stumbling block: The Segals had extensive conversations with Galan about making thousands of dollars in updates to entice buyers, but they did not want to run the risk of investing in changes that potential buyers still may want to redo. "Basically, the decision we made was to price the house below market so somebody could come in and buy the upgrades they wanted," Ken said.

Seller's hint: "Find an agent that's going to tell you the truth and not what you want to hear," Ken said. He adds that sellers should keep focused on why they are selling. They have enjoyed the layout of their new home and gathering with neighbors for holiday parties, barbecues and even to provide meals when babies are born.