Buying a home is an exciting experience, but it’s also easy to get carried away by your emotions and make costly mistakes. To help you get ready for the journey ahead, we prepared this step-by-step buying guide.
Deciding to Buy
1. Be clear about your reason for buying.
This will have an impact on your choice of home and neighborhood, as well your budget.
Some of the most compelling reasons to buy a new home include:
- You need a bigger space to accommodate your and your family’s growing needs
- You want to build equity instead of putting your money in rent
- You’re following a job
- You can now afford your own home or to upgrade to a better home
- You’re a retiree looking to downsize
2. Make sure you’re financially ready.
Crunch the numbers to see if you can afford not only your mortgage payments, but other homeownership costs as well, including closing costs, property taxes, insurance, and monthly maintenance expenses.
Preparing to Buy
- Get mortgage pre-approval.
Many sellers will only show their homes to buyers with pre-approval. Pre-approval will also give you a good idea of how much mortgage you’ll likely get, which you can use in setting your budget.
- Check your credit.
Get a copy of your credit report to find out how you may improve your credit score. A good credit score and credit history, and debt-to-income ratio of about 36% are important in getting favorable mortgage terms.
- Prepare cash for a down payment and closing costs.
To get the best possible mortgage terms, a down payment of around 20% is often needed, but you may still get a good loan with a lower amount. In addition, you also need to get ready for closing costs. The average closing cost in the country is around $7,200.
Finding a buyer’s agent
Whether you’re buying a home for the first time or have done it before, you need to work with a Realtor who will look after your best interests and give you the expert guidance you need at every step of the process.
Ask people you know for referrals and always vet potential Realtors. Work with someone with experience in the area you’re interested in. Check their past achievements and track record, as well as reviews and testimonials from past and present clients. As much as possible, talk to each candidate personally to get a feel of how it is to work with them.
Looking for homes fit for your lifestyle
1. Prepare a list of the things you’re looking for a home
Your list should have two parts – the things you need and the things you want.
The “things you need” include features that you simply can’t compromise on, including the location, the number of bedrooms, storage space, a spacious kitchen, and so on.
The “things you want” include the extras and amenities that you can probably live without but can make living in the home more enjoyable. These include such features as an outdoor kitchen, an entertainment room, a swimming pool, and others.
Provide your Realtor with your list so they can help you narrow your search. In looking at homes, tick off your basic requirements first before going through your “wants”. Look at how much those extra amenities can cost you, then determine if they fit your budget, and if you’re willing and able to pay for them.
2. Choose the right neighborhood
In addition to having good access to work, schools, and other places that are important to you, look at property values as well. Invest in an area with potential growth and where home values tend to rise.
Consider the demographics, as well. You’d want to live near people who share the same interests as you.
Other things to look into include safety, and any homeowners’ association fees and covenants and restrictions.
Escrow and appraisals
When you’ve found the right home, your Realtor will help you come up with a competitive offer price and draft an offer letter with the contingencies you need. Negotiation begins when the seller sends a counter offer.
After you and the seller agree on the price and terms of the sale, you both sign a purchase agreement and the process goes to escrow.
At the escrow stage, you should work on finalizing the financing for the home and removing all contingencies.
Your lender will perform a separate appraisal of the home to determine the loan amount they can agree to. If the appraisal comes up lower than the agreed selling price, your options are to negotiate anew with the seller, pay for the difference from your own pocket, or get out of the sale.
Closing the deal
If everything is in order, the process goes to closing. The lender will release the funds for the home purchase and the title is transferred to you. On closing day, you and the seller sign all the needed documents and pay the closing costs as agreed upon. Once this is done, the keys to the home will be turned over to you.
Before moving in, make sure you’ve done all your sorting and packing, and have made the necessary arrangements with a moving company.
Some precautions to make include changing the locks in your new home, cleaning up, and transferring all utilities to your new residence. Change your address with the Postal Service and leave a forwarding address at your old home to ensure any new mail or package that may be dropped there is sent to your new address.
8 practical and doable ways to save money for a home
Homeownership is a goal many Americans strive for. However, things don’t always go as planned and achieving the dream often ends up being delayed. If you want to be a homeowner, you must find ways to save money and stick to your plan.
Saving money doesn’t have to be hard, either. In fact, there are several simple things you can start doing today. This article details the 8 practical and doable ways to set you on the fast track to owning a home. These include opening a separate savings account, paying for things with cash, and simply packing your lunch.
Things to Know About Real Estate Investing
Real Estate investing can be incredibly lucrative, and it is a fairly secure way to generate long-term profits. Real estate provides a tangible asset, which makes it stand out as an investment option. There are many ways to get involved in real estate investing; however, many beginners are put off due to a lack of information. Here are the essentials you need to keep in mind when buying real estate for investment.
How to choose the best realtor for your real estate needs
If you’re planning to buy or sell a home, one of the first things you should do is to look for a local real estate agent. A local expert who is well-versed in the ins and outs of your area’s housing market can significantly improve your experience by taking out most of the guesswork in a long and thorough process. In this blog post, the Page Morgan Real Estate Group walks you through eight important tips you should remember when you search for an agent to work with. Remember: it takes more than just an impressive résumé to guarantee a productive working relationship.
How to Increase Your Budget to Buy Your Next Home
Buying a home is one of, if not, the biggest financial decision that you will make in your life. Whether you’re buying your first home or you’re on to your next one, it’s important to be financially prepared.
Having your finances in order is especially crucial if you plan on moving to a bigger or newer home. Since these homes tend to be significantly more expensive than a starter home, you’ll need a higher budget.
In this blog post, the Page Morgan Real Estate Team will tell you everything you need to know about saving and budgeting for your next home. We represent homes in Georgia’s Cobb County and the North Atlanta area.
As a company, we have stood by this value through the years – “Above all else, family, knowledge, and integrity.” For the past 25 years, we have walked our clients through the most stressful times of their lives to make meaningful, informed decisions about buying and selling homes.
A guide to virtual home buying
Georgia has reopened and people are slowly going out and about. But if you’re not comfortable with going out just yet, you can still continue your home buying experience within the comforts of your current home. Try virtual home buying. In addition to searching for homes for sale online, you’ll substitute in-person open houses with virtual tours. And for the closing, there’s no need to meet with all parties involved. You can use your electronic signature for the relevant documents. Click here to learn more about virtual home buying and how you can make the most out of the experience for a successful purchase.
How to create a dedicated home office
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, many companies have allowed their employees to work remotely in order to prevent the further spread of the virus.
While there are some who have managed to transition seamlessly into their new work-at-home setups, others may find it a bit challenging. How can you maintain your focus and stay productive when you’re working from home? One of the main things to consider is the location of your work desk within your home.
In this article, we offer a few helpful tips on how you can set up an ideal home office in any part of your home.
Your guide to setting up a workstation at home
Having a defined and dedicated workplace is key to working from home. With a productive and healthy work environment, you can easily focus on your tasks and achieve your work goals. The challenge now comes in creating the right workspace environment. Several factors should be taken into consideration when creating the kind of home office that will effectively boost your initiative to become productive: the location, the type of work you do, the furniture, and the lighting. But once you get these factors down, you’ll have the perfect workspace in no time.
On this page, we offer several helpful tips on establishing a productive workplace at home
Buying a House? Be Ready for These Fees
Buying a house demands a significant financial responsibility. Homebuyers must always keep in mind that there is more to a real estate purchase than paying off the price of the property and the interest on a mortgage. There are several other fees and costs that must factor into the buyer’s budgeting. In this blog post, the Page Morgan Real Estate Group discusses 12 more expenses that real estate buyers must be prepared to pay. The list includes everything from upfront expenses like the down payment, home appraisal, and loan origination fees, to recurring costs like homeowner’s insurance and homeowners’ association dues.
Required Papers to Kickstart Your Mortgage Application
The mortgage application process is one of the most crucial steps in home buying. To avoid any problems and delays, it’s important to provide accurate and complete documentation as required by lenders. This includes proof of income, down payment sources, assets and debts, and other paperwork that details your financial situation and proves your creditworthiness. Many of these documents often take time to complete so it’s best to start early. Talk to your lender about the required paperwork in your mortgage application process and start preparing them even before you go home shopping. As a guide, we have listed some of the most common requirements in this blog post.
What to Ask Before You Seal the Deal on Your First Mortgage
Choosing a mortgage is just as important as choosing which home to buy. But with so many options out there, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Between the interest rates, payment terms, and miscellaneous costs, it can be hard to know if you’re getting a good deal. How can first-time homebuyers choose the best mortgage? The answer is to ask questions—and lots of them. By talking to lenders and probing for specifics, it quickly becomes clear if a given home loan is right for you. In this piece, we highlight the crucial questions that every buyer should ask their mortgage lender before signing the dotted line.
Saving Tips for Buying a New Home
There’s simply no way around it – buyers must be financially prepared for the realities of homeownership in the new normal. With the pandemic affecting jobs, livelihoods, and businesses for the foreseeable future, serious buyers must find ways to build their savings and their credit scores in order to become more attractive to lenders, who are wary of risk during the pandemic.
Best places to buy a home in Georgia
If you’re thinking about moving to Georgia, you won’t be disappointed. Ranked as one of the top places to live, Georgia offers excellent colleges and universities, endless opportunities for outdoor adventures, and easy access to major cities and airports. Georgia enjoys a strong economy and housing market as well, brought about by economic growth and a steady increase in population.
Now comes the challenging part: choosing where to live. While there is an abundance of great cities and neighborhoods in Georgia to live in, we’ve narrowed it down to the best ones. Find your next home in these incredible locations.
Your quick guide to home buying in Georgia
Before you embark on your home buying journey in Georgia, there are a few things about the process that you must be prepared for. For starters, it’s essential to learn all you can about the Georgia real estate market. Like other states in the country, Georgia hasn’t been spared the trend of rising home prices and low housing inventory. Working with an experienced and knowledgeable agent can help you navigate uncharted waters. Next, you’ll need the help of an agent to help you pinpoint the things you need and want in a house. They’ll be your guide so you can quickly drop the options that don’t meet your exact specifications. Learn more about the home buying process in Georgia in this article.
Questions to ask before buying a home
Buying a home for the first time is often a momentous decision. It isn’t something you should rush into or take lightly. Buying a home changes lives – yours and your family’s – and involves one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll ever make. But the pandemic has short-circuited the process, with rock-bottom interest rates and those desperate to escape cramped apartments triggering a buying spree. To avoid feelings of regret after buying a home, it pays to take your time, do your research, and talk with your real estate agent so you can plan your purchase wisely. Prospective home buyers need to ask the right questions before they go shopping. This article lists some of them.
Why buyers should inspect what comes with a home inspection
It’s true what they say that there’s more to a house than meets the eye. When you’re in the process of buying a home, it’s important to know everything there is to know about that property before pushing through with the purchase. That’s where a home inspection comes in. Through the home inspection, you’ll learn about the home’s interiors, exteriors, structure, foundation, and more. A home inspection checklist is a handy tool that allows you to keep track of what the inspector should check both inside and outside the house. Read on to learn more about the importance of a home inspection and how you can prepare for it.
Rookie mistakes to avoid when buying a home
Buying your first home is a momentous achievement and a big investment. It’s natural to feel excited and nervous at the same time. We understand that you want things to go as smoothly and stress-free as possible. With that in mind, here are four rookie mistakes first-time homebuyers usually make and how you can avoid the very same pitfalls. Hopefully, this will help you plan your first home buying experience accordingly and make it a fond memory you’ll always want to remember. For more information about buying homes for sale in Atlanta, GA, don’t hesitate to get in touch with The Page Morgan Team.