The pummelled economy has been a dark cloud for many involved in the buying and selling of real estate. However, Gainesville real estate executive Frank Norton Jr. said Tuesday that the glut of foreclosures hitting the market may actually be more of a silver lining than one would think.
"This is a time of great opportunity," he said. "We would even say unprecedented opportunity, with the convergence of great wealth and stress in this marketplace."
With a look to the bright side of foreclosures, Norton and company have put together a foreclosure buying seminar aimed at educating those poised to take advantage of these market conditions.
Norton, president of Gainesville-based The Norton Agency, said he and his staff have received a lot of requests for foreclosure information during the last six months.
Having to answer all those questions on a one-on-one basis lead to the development of a seminar that would "separate the fact from the fiction," Norton said.
One of the issues Norton hopes to illuminate is unrealistic expectations.
"You’re not going to be able to buy things for 50 cents on the dollar," he said. "The banks are still focused on recovery. They make a small discount to move that property."
Though Gainesville isn’t seeing the kinds of rock-bottom foreclosures that are popping up in parts of Atlanta, that doesn’t mean good deals aren’t to be found, Norton said.
"We’re seeing anywhere from a 10 percent discount down to maybe a 35 percent discount," he said.
But buying the right property at the right price is only the first step, Norton said, and that’s where the seminar comes in.
"There are people who are getting great deals, and there are also people who are getting stung," he said. "We think we’re going to be successful in educating the public."
Norton said he envisions the seminar as the first in a series of monthly or semi-monthly informational meetings.
And while he doesn’t think Realtors will be dealing with foreclosures for the next five or 10 years, they’re here for now and therefore present a great opportunity for buyers.
The seminar will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday at The Norton Agency Oakwood office, 4004 Mundy Mill Road. For more information, call 770-532-6366.