So you are ready to stop browsing and start owning! Congratulations! There are a myriad of reasons that may motivate you to make your way to the buyer’s table; your family is evolving, a new job, the desire to invest, a good market, a lifestyle change, etc. But how does it all work? They don’t teach this in school, and the whole process, at times, can seem daunting to the untrained eye. In order to clear up some of the confusion, below is a brief summary of the Home Buying Process in Atlanta.
NOTE: It is customary in Georgia for the Seller to pay the commission. So as a Buyer, our expertise and services are free to you!
Speak with a mortgage lender – This is the first and most essential step! There is no cost or obligation involved. It is very important to know from the beginning what you can afford, and what that looks like in the form of monthly payments. Your lender will help you understand what is required and provide you with a Good Faith Estimate of your closing costs and how much you will need to bring to closing. I would be happy to recommend some quality lenders who specialize in everything from general first-time homebuyers, jumbo loans and even special physician programs.
NOTE: Watch out for Online Lenders, from our experience it is best to work with a proven individual who is accountable and accessible.
With all of today’s technology it seems like every week there is a new app or website designed for searching properties. With so many sources of data it can seem overwhelming at times. A good agent will help you decipher all of the noise and make usable data out of it.
Our goal is to allow you to become the most informed buyer out there. We can set up custom searches, based on your criteria, with the most accurate, up-to-date listing information. We also network with other agents, neighbors, and friends to find properties that are not yet on the market. At your convenience we can set up appointments to view your prospects. Once we have found “the one” it’s time to make an offer!
Make an Offer
So you have found a property you would like to call “Home” and are ready to make an offer, but now what? We are here to help. Once you have identified a property match, we will begin our homework. We will review comparable sales to determine our own valuation. Once we have a number in mind, we will discuss how to structure an offer to reach your goals. We will work together throughout the negotiation process, discussing all the factors affecting our efforts including the current market condition, competition, our intentions etc. The Seller can accept, reject or counter our offer. We will go back and forth until everyone comes to a mutual agreement.
NOTE: Each Buyer and Buying experience is unique, we are sensitive to that, and are here to advise and guide you through the process.
Congratulations! We are officially under contract! Now the wheels are in motion and we are on our way to the closing table, but there are still some important checkpoints we need to get through first. We will provide a list of important dates and events so that everybody is on the same page and send helpful reminders along the way.
Don’t buy a lemon! 99% of our contracts have what is known here in Georgia as a “Due Diligence Period”. The Due Diligence period takes place immediately after going under contract and is a time during which the Buyer can have a professional home inspection, and negotiate for any necessary repairs. Along with standard home inspections, Buyers can conduct surveys, foundation analysis’s, pool inspections, contractor meetings, etc. During this time the Buyer may terminate the contract for any reason with full refund of Earnest Money.
Buyers are encouraged to attend the last portion of the inspection to review the findings with the inspector and ask any questions they may have. Afterwards, the inspector will provide a written report detailing the findings which we will then review together and prepare an “Amendment to Address Concerns with Property”. Our goal is to come to come to a fair and reasonable agreement for any repairs by the end of our Due Diligence period.
NOTE: Home inspections typically cost between $300-$600 depending on the size and age of the property. We would be happy to recommend some quality inspectors.
Final Loan Approval
One Step Closer – After the Due Diligence period ends, things seem to slow down a bit. You will need to continue communicating with your lender to ensure all required documentation has been provided, but the majority of the heavy lifting is over. Your loan officer will order and review the appraisal. Your loan will be going through underwriting, and the Seller will be completing any negotiated repairs.
NOTE: The importance of a lender who is accountable and prompt is never as evident as it is during this stage of the contract.
Preparing to Move
Connect Utilities – We will communicate with the Sellers to provide any current utility information, shutoff dates, etc. to help enable a smooth transition. There is a service provided by AllConnect where you can call one number (877) 343-1962 or connect online and they give you all the utility options for your property, help you compare plans and connect all your utilities at no charge.
Schedule Movers – Schedule a moving company or bribe your friends and family with treats, it’s time to start packing!
Pre-closing Walkthrough – We will conduct a pre-closing walkthrough, usually the day of or day before closing, where we will visit the home to ensure everything is in the same condition as it was when we went under contract.
The big day is finally here! Closing typically takes about 1 hour, and will take place at the attorney’s office. I will attend closing with you and ensure you understand the settlement statement. After signing a few (hundred) documents, it’s official! Congratulations to the new homeowner!