Buying a Home in Atlanta Georgia Today
I have outlined a basic process for home purchase in the Atlanta area. I have tried to be as simple and straightforward as possible primarily to help the first time home buyer, so forgive me if I seem to oversimplify the process.
Figure Out How you are going to pay your new home!
Budget--How much home can you afford?
Figuring out how much you can comfortably pay each month is a very important first step in buying a home. There is a big difference between what you can afford according to the bank, and what you really can afford. I depends first and foremost on your lifestyle and spending habits! Frequently banks will lend you more than you may be comfortable with! Make a list of your regular expenses, utilities, car payments, credit cards etc. Include incidentals like Starbucks and movie nights. Figure out how much you have left for a mortgage payment.
Once you know how much you have to work with the next step is to check your credit. Loans differ widely depending on your credit. Find links to the major credit reporting agencies and related info.
A breakdown of some common loans and pointers on how to shop for financing. Fixed rates, adjustable rate mortgages, interest only loans, stated assets and stated income, B and C paper, credit challenged loans, 100% loans vs. Down payments, ... Pro's and Con's of what is available.
Loan Calculators - Information on how to figure your loan payment. Input a loan amount and interest rate and see what your payment is. ..or work the numbers backwards!
Predatory Lending - A subject no one likes to think about, the subject of the unscrupulous lender practices and how to protect yourself from them. Application - OK you have picked the best loan for your situation. Gather your paperwork together, make application, and get a loan approval. A brief description of what the average lender expects to look at and what you should expect from the application process. Sample applications. This way when you find a home you can make an offer with pre-approved financing, subject only to inspection and appraisal. This can give you an advantage in a multiple bid scenerio.
Appraisal- What is an appraisal? Who pays for it? What to look out for with Appraisals. Loan Underwriting - How is the loan processed? How long does it take? What happens next if you get turned down for a loan?
Step 2 . Find a Home
How do you actually find a good house? Many people start by searching the various multiple listing services online. This site obviously has a lot of tools to aid in that process.
Areas - The city of Atlanta is huge with many different areas. If you are new it can be overwhelming. Atlanta is quite hilly and the topography means that the streets are not laid out in a grid. Three major interstates intersect in downtown Atlanta and several major railroad tracks crisscross the city. The roads wind down the ridges and valleys creating a lot of cul-de-sac neighborhoods. Some say Atlanta's streets are nothing more than paved pig paths. The city is covered with trees and there are many areas where you feel like you are in the woods, just blocks from the skyscrapers. I have broken Atlanta into two major areas: ITP and OTP (Intown Areas or "Inside the Perimeter" and Suburban cities or "Outside the Perimeter). From there I have created neighborhood pages for many of the popular intown areas, and city pages for the suburban Atlanta cities. . Amenities - What comes with the home you are looking at? Schools, City Services, neighborhood associations, Condo associations, what is your comfort level, how much fixing up do you want to do, what are the pro's and cons of a new home? Home Search - How do you find that perfect home? Pros and Cons for hiring a Realtor.
Agency--Who represents who?
Who are these Real Estate Agents and who do they work for anyway?
But what happens when you find a home you like?
It's is helpful to understand the process for buying a home that is listed with a Realtor. The agent with the sign in the yard is the Listing Broker. They work for the Seller and have an agreement with the Seller that they are the only Broker that the Seller will work with in selling. In Georgia the buyers are deemed to have the right to have an Broker representing their interests in the transaction. And every home that is listed in either the FMLS or Georgia MLS has an agreement that the Listing agent will split their commission with the Buyer's agent automatically. So when you are looking at a home listed in the multiple listing services, you can and should have an agent represent you, and it won't cost you anything for that!
We are able to make sure that you have an experienced licensed propfessional there to help you with every step pf the process!
Step 3 . Make an Offer
In the Atlanta market when you make an offer with a Realtor it is on a eight page Purchase and Sale Contract approved by the Georgia Association of Realtors. It goes into great detail about the transaction and spells out all of the terms and conditions of the sale. Generally the Buyer's agent prepares the contract according to the Buyers terms.
Factors Affecting the Initial Offer
How Much Should You Offer? Comparable Sales in the Public Record Comparable Sales in the Multiple Listing Services Comparable Sales - Pending Transactions Other factors Influencing Your Offer Price
Step 4 Offer/Counter-offer Process
Well you have made an offer. If the Seller accepts it without change, signs it and sends it back congratulations! you are Under Contract! If not...you are in the "Offer/ Counter-offer Process" How does it normally work?
Writing an Offer to Purchase Real Estate Earnest Money Contingencies in a Purchase Offer Disclosures Financing Contingencies Inspection Contingency Condition of Property Sale of another Property Closing the sale of another property already under contract. Clear title Amendments Multiple bids? Time Limits? Original Contracts Outs? Acceptance Date Binding Agreement Date
Step 5 Inspections
Choosing an inspector Environmental Issues Asbestos Lead Based Paint Radon Mold Misc. Contaminants Understanding the inspection report Negotiating repairs or canceling contract.
Step 6 Processing the Loan Through Closing
Supplying necessary documents to the Lender and the Attorney Appraisal Contacting the closing attorney Order Survey Title Work Title Insurance for the Lender Title Insurance for the Owner Homeowners Insurance Final walk through
Step 7 -- Possession
Possession before closing Possession after the closing FAQ's
Step 8 -- Post Closing
Homestead exemption Housewarming Party