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Your quick guide to home buying in Georgia

Image of step by step process of buying a home in Georgia

With its economically vibrant capital, Atlanta, and its picturesque countryside and suburban neighborhoods, Georgia is one the best states to live in the US. If you’re thinking about moving here, you need to know the key steps of the home buying process.

1. Know what the Georgia real estate market is like

Median home value in Georgia is just around $220,000 according to Zillow. But given that COVID-19 is still having an effect on the economy, homebuyers should also pay attention to the trend of rising home prices and low housing inventory.

In Georgia, average sales prices have increased by 18% to $315,135, according to January 2021 data from the Georgia Association of Realtors. Meanwhile, new listings and inventory decreased by 18% and 51%, respectively.

Like other housing markets in the US, competition in Georgia is fierce. Knowing the Georgia real estate market will help you better prepare financially and mentally for your home buying journey.

Here’s a pro tip: Choose a real estate agent with an extensive history of working in Georgia. They can guide you through the new normal of home buying.

2. Know what you’re looking for

If you’re looking for homes for sale in Sandy Springs, Roswell, Atlanta or elsewhere in GA, know that houses here come in vastly different designs and specifications.

Which is why it’s important to know what you want. It’s tough to come to a decision when you don’t know what you’re really looking for. And given today’s seller’s market, you have to be quick on your feet to beat other buyers to the draw.

A specific set of criteria helps you do just that. List your needs and wants in separate columns. Identify non-negotiables. And above all, write down your main reason for buying a home in Georgia. All will help you focus on houses that help you achieve your goal, not to mention save time.

Looking for a gourmet kitchen? Or perhaps an extra room that you intend to convert into a home office? Whatever’s in your list, share it with your agent who can quickly find properties with your exact specifications or as close to them as possible.

3. Make an offer

As you search the market, you’ll eventually land on a few homes that will win you over. Once you see that all your specifications and requirements have been met, it’s essential to come up with a strong offer as soon as you can.

Write an offer letter indicating your:

    • The amount you’re offering. While an agent may be there to provide advice and guidance, it is mostly up to you to decide how much to offer the seller. You may test the waters with a slightly lower amount and see how the seller reacts to it, or you can come in with a strong offer that will be hard to resist. Discuss the pros and cons of each tactic with your agent before committing to paper.

 

    • Initial or earnest deposit. Indicating the exact amount of your down payment signals to the seller how serious you are about purchasing the home.

 

    • Financing terms. You should also explain to the seller how you plan to pay for the house, whether you’re taking out a mortgage or paying in cash. Mention your down payment details after disclosing your terms.

 

  • Contingencies. Enumerate the contingencies that come with your offer, whether financing, appraisal, or home inspection. These contingencies can be voided once everything is to your liking.
  • What you admire about the house. While the home may be staged to remove all traces of the owner’s personal life, mention features you admire: a nice garden or an immaculate kitchen. Tie them into your love for gardening or whipping up favorite family meals. The owner will appreciate these details because everyone wants to be complimented.

4. Prepare to negotiate

A seller can accept your offer as it is. However, they will usually try to negotiate the purchase terms before arriving at an amount that makes it to the binding agreement or contract. And there are a number of areas where negotiation can take place.

Take for example a home that has received multiple offers. A seller may ask you to raise the initial purchase price if other buyers are offering a bit more. The homeowner may create the necessary conditions to spark a bidding war among buyers. If you play your cards right and work with a skilled agent, you improve your chances of coming out on top.

Additionally, some sellers may agree to pay for closing costs but increase their asking price considerably. Again, there are ways to prepare for this and many other scenarios with the help of your agent. Trust their experience and expertise during this phase.

5. Make it official

Although closing is the last phase of the home buying journey, there are several tasks to complete to make the purchase official. From ironing out the details and finishing touches with the title closing company to signing all the necessary paperwork, it may take you a few minutes to several hours to sign documents during closing day.

An experienced and detail-oriented agent makes sure that closing proceeds without a hitch.

If you’re in the market to buy a house in north central Georgia, agents from The Page Morgan Real Estate Group will make your home buying journey a convenient and unforgettable experience. Call 770.579.5650 or email info(at)PageMorgan(dotted)com. You can also send an inquiry here.