Home Buyers


Considering a home purchase?
Just One Call, and everything is taken care of for you.

  • We'll get your wish list, and forward ALL the homes that match your preferences.
  • Showings can be scheduled on short notice, often even the same day.
  • We'll tell you ALL the good and bad of every home, so you can pick the right home for you.
  • We'll put together and negotiate your offers for you.
  • We'll walk you through all aspects of your contract until you're holding your keys at the closing.

Call 770-346-9000.


For a deeper look at the process, continue reading below:

We are North Atlanta home specialists and we look forward to walking you through each step of the home-buying below. We offer prompt and friendly service and will make sure you fully understand the home-buying process from beginning to end. North Atlanta is our prime focus, and we will do everything necessary to help you find the best home for your family at the very best price!

Steps to Buying Atlanta Homes


Deciding to Buy

A home purchase is the biggest financial decision that most of us make in our lives. First-time home buyers and experienced buyers alike, need to make their home purchase decision carefully.

Why Do You Want To Buy?

Over paying rent? Put your money toward your own mortgage instead of your landlord's. Need a larger home? Are you an empty nester looking to downsize? Is this purchase for a land investment or a rental property? Have a clear idea of what you're hoping to accomplish with your purchase.

Has Your Income Grown?

Buying a home can be a terrific investment; whether it is for your personal use, to be used as a rental property as an expansion of your investment portfolio.

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Preparation

Before searching for homes, you need to be prepared.

Build Your House File

A file with all your important financial documents is important to keep. These items will be requested by your loan officer in order to secure your financing.

  • Bank statements
  • Recent financial statements
  • Investments
  • Credit cards and balances
  • Auto loans and balance
  • Recent pay stubs
  • Two years of tax returns
  • Copies of any leases on your investment properties
  • 401K statement(s), mutual accounts, life insurance, stocks, and bonds

List Your Home Needs and Wants

You might make two lists, with the first including your required items (i.e., number of bedrooms, a one story home if accessibility is a factor, preferred location, schools, etc.), and the second list including things that you would like to have (finished basement, in-ground pool, etc.) but you could live without.

Lending

Since your credit score has a huge impact on your home purchase, it is strongly advised to check your credit rating with a lender. The lender will check your credit ratings on all three credit reporting agencies. Be sure to look over your reports carefully to make sure there are no errors.

When searching for mortgage options, be sure to check with more than one lender, and make sure each knows your shopping (see our blog post: Shopping Home Mortgage Loans). This will help you receive more competitive pricing as each lender will be trying to offer their most attractive options to entice you with. We are happy to recommend mortgage providers to you, and honestly, often our lenders will be your best option. Knowing we provide their names to our clients makes each more aggressive in their efforts to take care of you, as not doing so could mean the loss of substantial future business.

Getting prequalified is key, not only because sellers will negotiate more freely with a buyer that they know has been prequalified, but by knowing how much you can afford makes your home search much more enjoyable. The stress of wondering whether if you find a great home you'll actually be able to purchase it can ruin the fun of searching for a property. Do yourself a double favor and get prequalified before you start looking at homes. (see our blog post Learn About Mortgage Loans)

Be Careful With Your Finances

Because big changes in your career or your debt can have such a huge impact on your qualification to purchase a home, this is not the time to change your career or make any large purchases. A change of employer while retaining your same career is not an issue. It is a complete change of career into something new for you that would be a problem.

 

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Choosing Your Realtor®

Purchasing a home is a very important move with complex considerations and substantial paperwork. Most folks only purchase a few homes in their entire lives, while an experienced Realtor can be assisting with several home purchases every month. Having an experienced professional guiding you through all the complicated steps to assure you make no serious and potentially costly mistakes is in your best interest.

When searching for your real estate professional, consider these important things:

  • Work with a full-time agent, who is highly experienced with transactions similar to yours.
  • Select an agent that is familiar with the area that you're interested in.
  • Inquire if the agent will be available evenings and weekends for you.
  • Ask about continuing education that your agent has completed.
  • Use an agent that is tech savvy, to assure you're getting information quickly and accurately.
  • Make sure your agent answers their phone consistently, so you can get your questions answered promptly.
  • Ask for references.
  • Lastly, select an agent that you can tell is paying attention to you and your needs and whom you feel comfortable with.

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Time to go Shopping

Completing the above, you're ready to start looking at homes.

Take a Drive

If you are local, take the time to drive around the communities, neighborhoods, and subdivisions you're interested in. This will help you know you're making the right decision when you find a home you're interested in. If you're not local and do not have the luxury of extra time to drive around, stop locals that may be walking their dog, playing on the tennis courts, etc. and ask them what they like and don't like about the area.

Narrow Your Search

When looking through listings, select the properties that interest you most. You're not going to learn anything visiting properties that you know you would not be interested in. Staying focused on your top picks will help you keep better track of what features were special or missing from the different homes you've seen. Also, speak to your real estate agent about anything that may make selling the property difficult when it's time to move on. You do not want to consider too lightly issues that you can deal with but many others would find objectionable.

Time to Buy

Once you have found the property you'd like to purchase, your real estate agent will help you put together an offer that the seller might consider positively. Often the very best homes are the newest on the market, so putting together an offer that can be negotiated quickly can help you beat a multiple offer situation that will drive the final price of the property up. A listing that has been on the market for some time may be worth an offer that includes a more significant reduction of price or the inclusion of other considerations you find beneficial (more closing costs paid by the seller, annual associate fees paid in advance, etc.).

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Earnest Money (Escrow), Inspection and Appraisal


The Contract and Earnest Money

A fully executed contract (one signed by all parties with no changes) is legal and binding agreement between you the buyer and the seller. The buyer's earnest money is deposited into a secured account.

Here are some tips to help keep organized:

  • Put everything in writing. To assure there are no misunderstanding, all verbal agreements should be put into writing, including all counter-offers and addendum. We will assist you in understanding and completing all the paperwork and make sure you have copies of everything.
  • Follow the contract schedule. As soon as an offer is agreed to and signed off by all parties, the clock starts ticking. There are many responsibilities that you, the seller, and your respective agents need to accomplish in a timely manner. Not paying attention to this can put your contract in jeopardy and possibly lose you money or even the purchase of the home. Listen to your agent and pay attention to each step to make sure they are completed on time.

The Closing Agent

In Georgia, we generally close at a closing attorney's office. The Closing attorney, though paid for in your closing costs, actually works for the lender to make sure the contract is executed exactly as it has been drawn up. Your agent will be reaching out to the closing attorney periodically during the pre-closing time to assure that attorney's office has all the documentation it needs to complete your transaction.

Inspections

Once you have an accepted contract, you will want to get a licensed home inspector to look over the property for you. This inspection period is one of the time-line items in the contract, and the sooner you get the inspection completed the better as negotiation of any issues found also has to be completed within a certain time. Depending on the features of your particular home, there may be more than one inspector you'll want (general home inspector, HVAC professional, pool service professional, etc.). We can recommend several different inspectors.

Upon completion of your inspections, you have three choices:

  1. Accept the home as is.
  2. Negotiate in writing how items of concern will be either repaired, or otherwise compensated (e.g. reduction of price)
  3. Decide to kill the contract

Appraisal and Lending

Stay in close touch with your loan officer/mortgage broker. There are many documents they will need from you to process your loan, and delays in providing that information can delay your closing. The lender will also need the funds to pay for an appraisal (paid for in advance, but reflected in your costs at closing).

The appraiser will verify the value of the property meets or exceeds the price on the contract. This is necessary as the lender will only provide funds for a property worth at minimum the contract price (unless you will be paying the difference out of your own fund).

Property Insurance

Whether your paying for a home in cash or taking out a loan, you want a home owner's hazard insurance policy. With a loan, that insurance is required.

Home Warranty

Home Warranties are available and can protect you from unexpected issues in your home after closing. These warranties are not required, but are often pre-negotiated within your contract that the seller will pay for the warranty for you. If the owner is not paying for the warranty, you can purchase one on your own.

Home Services and Utilities

Time is often required to transfer utilities, so after you have completed your home inspection and have fully negotiated any repairs need, this would be a good time to begin selecting and lining up connection of your home services and utilities. The seller is responsible for the day of closing, so schedule your utilities to start the next day. Verifying this schedule with the seller is always a good practice to make sure everyone is in sync.

Final Walk-Through Inspection

The final inspection is often just a formality, but there have been issues found during the final walk-through that would have been the buyer's responsibility had they not been spotted prior to closing. Upon closing, you have little to no legal recourse against the seller for issues found.

 

Be Prepared

Because there are so many things going on simultaneously from contract to close, don't be surprised if unexpected issues pop up that need addressed. Stay calm, we've dealt with complications for years and have the experience needed to properly address problems and get them smoothed out.

Closing

The closing attorney will oversee the exchange of funds and ownership and will provide all parties involved a settlement statement called the HUD. The HUD summarizes all the financials and will be the main document you take from closing, along with copies of all your loan papers, etc. After the attorney goes over the HUD with you and the seller you will both sign it to verify your acceptance.

After the HUD is signed off and all copies of documents have been given to you, the transaction is complete and you are a home owner.

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It's Time to Move In!



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Only buying a home, or both selling your current home and buying another?
Only Buying Both Selling and Buying

An idea of your needs, and any additional notes:


Buyer Testimonials


  • "There are no areas of improvement for our AtlantaPros agent - she is, in fact, excellent! She is incredibly timely, follow-up is outstanding and she does everything she says she will! Always prepared! Very impressive! I could not have had a better agent. Not only will she be my agent forever, but I will be recommending her to anyone who is looking to buy or sell! She is simply the best!!!"
    Melissa Gillette - Purchaser

  • "Kathy is trustworthy and incredibly skilled. I was anxious about the process of purchasing a home, but her guidance and fun personality made the experience positive, enjoyable, smooth and as unstressful as possible! She was amazingly helpful and sincere throughout the process. I completely trusted her advice and expertise."
    Sara Clements - Purchaser

  • See more from our past clients here: Client Testimonials

     



More Home Buyer Info

Here's a list of some reputable lenders: Get Prequalified Now!


Visit our Library

Below we have hundreds of pages that we've created over the last 16 years to help our visitors.

Buyer Services

Atlanta Homes for Sale

  • Luxury Homes - North side communities with upper-end swim/tennis homes to exquisite country club estates
  • New Homes - JD Power and Associates Report on Atlanta Home Builders
  • Foreclosures - There are many foreclosure opportunities for the experienced savvy buyer

Atlanta Area Info

Building Product Issues

  • Lead Paint - Detailed information regarding Lead Based Paint hazards, precautions in handling and long term effects.
  • EIFS/Synthetic Stucco - Information regarding issues and care of synthetic stucco and "Hard Coat" stucco products.
  • Defective Siding Products - Louisiana Pacific (LP), Masonite Siding, Temple Island, Boise Cascade & others.
  • Polybutylene Plumbing - Product used instead of copper in an estimated 1 of 4 homes during the 80s to early 90s.

Buyer Resources, Tips and Advice

  • Real Estate Q & A - Q & A for both buyers and sellers.  Check here for answers to many of your questions.
  • Other Real Estate Q&A - Includes more categories of questions and answers.
  • Real Estate 101 - Buyer tips, buyer advice and a variety of real estate questions and answers.
  • Real Estate Glossary - From A to Z, most every real estate related term you may encounter.
  • Buyer Tips - Check here for valuable tips to help you best prepare for your quest to purchase the perfect home.
  • Home Buyer Advice - First home? Investing? Negotiating? Find terrific advice here to assist you.
  • Buyer's Agent - New homes or resale - have an Accredited Buyer's Agent working exclusively for you at No Cost!
  • 1031 Exchange - Investors upgrade your properties, expand your portfolios & save taxes with a 1031 Exchange.
  • Condos & Townhomes - A few thoughts about condominium and fee-simple purchasing decisions.
  • Annual Credit Report - Free/No Strings - Free full reports from all three bureaus with no strings (scores offered for fee).

Hotel Suggestions for Buyers Visiting Atlanta


  • Embassy Suites in Alpharetta:
    5955 North Point Pkwy.
    Alpharetta (678) 566-8800

  • Hilton Garden Inn:
    10975 Georgia Lane
    Alpharetta, GA 30022
    (678) 566-3900

  • The Hyatt Place:
    7500 North Point Parkway
    Alpharetta, GA 30022
    (770) 594-8788

  • The Marriott:
    5750 Windward Parkway
    Alpharetta, GA 30005
    (770) 754-9600



Atlanta Communities