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Buying Tips

Getting Started

Nancy is involved in the entire process when you purchase a home through her. We will assist you in gaining a clear understanding of the entire home buying process and will work with you to understand your criteria and special needs. We provide valuable information regarding location, community, schools and builders to help make your home buying experience informed and pleasurable. As a homebuyer you have the right to have a professional real estate agent represent you and serve your best interests.

Georgia State law requires that you be informed of all forms of agency:

  • Listing Agent represents the seller only
  • Buyer’s Agent works with and represents the buyer
  • Dual Agent works with both buyers and sellers, representing both (This form of agency is also practiced when two agents work for the same company.)
  • Designated Agent works with either buyers or sellers, representing either – not both

Before you begin going out to look at homes to purchase, you need to be pre-qualified or pre-approved. Sometimes this can be done with a simple phone call. An offer to purchase and contract carries more weight when you have a letter of pre-approval.

  • Pre-qualified: You qualify for a specific loan amount based on a review of your income and debt ratio.
  • Pre-approved: In addition to a review of your income and debt ratio, your credit report will be ordered and considered in qualifying for a specific loan amount.

Selecting a Lender

There are hundreds of lenders available offering an endless number of loan options. Nancy and her partner-agents are highly knowledgeable and, upon request, they can provide suggestions to assist you in this process. You will want to determine how much you can afford to borrow, based on your personal financial situation. Mortgage bankers and brokers will likely ask you to document your income and debt.
  • The Mortgage Lender usually loans you money from his company (i.e. bank) and typically offers several set programs with specific guidelines.
  • The Mortgage Broker works with many different lenders and facilitates numerous types of loan programs.

Finding Your New Home

When you purchase a home through us, you can expect us, as your Buyer’s agent, to listen to your specific criteria and special needs to help you select the perfect home for you and your family. We are knowledgeable about the many neighborhoods and communities throughout Atlanta. Based on our research, you will begin visiting many homes; some you may have requested and some that seem to fit your criteria. We will schedule appointments for these showings and personally take you to each one. As you tour these homes, select the ones you like and envision yourself and your family living in them. After several of these outings, you will easily be able to make a decision.

You may find a home that is being sold by its owner without the benefit of being listed with a real estate agency. We endearingly call these homes, FSBO’s. You may request that your agent contact the home’s owner to view the home. Often, the home’s owner will allow this and pay the selling side of the commission to us. Never hesitate to involve us! This is when you are most likely to need the help of Nancy and her professional team the most.

Buying Your New Home

This is the one! You have found the perfect home for you and your family. Now, with us as your buyer specialist, you will review the listing price and decide what amount you would like to offer for the home. We will help you prepare an offer to purchase and contract, including any appropriate addenda. Your offer must be accompanied by earnest money, which is considered a deposit made in good faith to show that you are serious about purchasing this particular home. We will present your offer immediately.

In a perfect world, your offer would be accepted immediately, but in reality, you can expect a counter offer – unless you have offered to pay the asking price. These negotiations are usually done verbally but can be done in writing. This often takes several days. Once you have agreement on all the terms of your contract, you will be ready for the final steps.

Inspections

For your protection, we will recommend several different types of inspections. Inspections are performed at the buyer’s expense. These are not required unless specified by your lender (i.e. termite inspection), but they are very important to protect you and your new investment.

We will help you set up the necessary inspections and will be present during the inspections.

  • Home Inspection – This inspection covers the entire home including structural, drainage, plumbing and mechanical systems.
  • Termites – In Georgia, this could be one of the most important inspections you will need.
  • Radon Gas – This inspection looks for trapped radon gas, which is found in slabs and basements.
  • Mold – This is a relatively new inspection for the Atlanta market. This inspection looks for toxic mold growth that could be hazardous to your health.
  • Well & Septic – If this inspection applies to the particular home you are purchasing, it will verify the quality of your water and identify any need for repairs or cleaning of the septic system.

Repairs that are identified as a result of these inspections are negotiable with the seller. Please be cautious not to confuse required repairs with cosmetic repairs. Sellers are not required to make cosmetic repairs unless otherwise agreed to in the original contract.

Appraisal

Your lender will order an appraisal as part of the loan process. A house will almost always appraise for the contract price, or higher. In the unlikely event that it does not appraise for the sale price, you may choose to re-negotiate your contract or withdraw your offer.

Walk Through

As the new homebuyer, you are entitled to a walk through 24 hours in advance of your closing. This is where you ensure that the home is in the same or better condition than when you originally selected it. This also provides the opportunity to verify that all requested repairs have been made. This is extremely important since a closing constitutes acceptance of the property in its current condition.

Closing

The real estate closing attorney will review the final numbers with you prior to the closing. At closing, you will sign the necessary paperwork that is provided to the attorney by your mortgage lender. We will help you prepare for your closing, reminding you to arrange with your bank to provide you with certified or wired funds; to verify that you have homeowner’s insurance; and to bring personal identification, such as your driver’s license, with you to the closing. We will also discuss your purchase of title insurance. We attend your closing, answering questions and providing support at one of the most important meetings you’ll ever attend!

Congratulations!

This is where you get the keys to your new home and you can move in. Now you can celebrate!