Our office frequently works with Northeast Atlanta first time home buyers. It’s always a pleasure helping a family find the home of their dreams. The most important thing home buyers can do is to educate themselves about the process of buying a home. We’ve put together a guide to help buyers understand the steps necessary to buy a Northeast Atlanta home.
1. Contact and experienced real estate agent. Your agent will be the person who negotiates your contract for you when you find the right house. An agent with lots of local experience will know the market and be able to steer you toward houses that are fairly priced. Keep in mind that in Georgia, the agents of the buyer and seller do the negotiating for the final contract, so it’s important you have a strong negotiator in your corner.
2. Assemble your documents. You’ll need your tax returns, pay stubs, and any other documents that show your financial situation. Research banks to find a competitive rate, then get pre-approved for a loan. This will help you to establish a budget and know what your monthly mortgage payment would be.
3. Determine your “must haves”. All Northeast Atlanta first time home buyers should determine how big a home they need, their preferred neighborhoods, as well as the price range. Work with your real estate agent to set up an automatic search on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). This will give you immediate notice of when a home that matches your criteria comes on the market. As you tour homes, you’ll also have a sense of what sort of layout would best suit your needs.
4. Once you find the perfect home, it’s time to make an offer. Your real estate agent will help you to craft an offer that takes into account different factors like how long the house has been on the market; whether there are other offers; and how motivated the seller is.
5. After your offer is accepted, escrow is opened. This is a neutral third party that holds and disburses funds as negotiated by your contract. Escrow is typically 30 days long. An inspection and appraisal are carried out during this time. There is a period of one to two weeks called the due diligence period. During this time, buyers may walk away from a house if it is not in acceptable condition or for any reason they decide it’s not the house for them after all.
6. Before closing, do a final walk-through to make sure the house in the same condition as it was at the beginning of the process. Get ready to sign paperwork. A closing attorney, representing your lender, will be present at closing to manage the proper paperwork, transfer the title to the house, and make sure payments are collected and disbursed to the right people and entities. Once the paperwork is signed, the deposit and closing costs paid, you’ll be given the keys.
7. Celebrate! You’re a homeowner!