Understanding the home buying process will arm you with the knowledge you need to buy your Atlanta home with confidence!Chances are, you’ve already started looking for homes online like the vast majority of home seekers. Now you’re ready to truly commit to finding your new home! We’re here and ready to help you and below are the steps we go through to find, make an offer on, negotiate for, and purchase your home. You go at your pace and you control this process – here’s how we work together!
Step 1: Initial Consultation and The Buyers Brokerage Agreement Before we jump in the car, we need to know what type of Atlanta home and BeltLine neighborhood you’re looking for, which we will go over in our initial consultation with the home buyer’s questionnaire. We will discuss your needs and wants and review the market. If you’d like to get started before coming in, you can take a look at our “Features Wish List!”
After our initial consultation, we at The BeltLine Team will send you an exclusive Buyer’s Brokerage Agreement. The purpose of this agreement is to show you that we are committed to representing you and your best interests throughout the process. As your exclusive agent, you agree to work with us in buying your home.
Georgia real estate laws actually require the exclusive Buyer’s Brokerage Agreement prior to performing any act on behalf of a buyer due to Dual Agency Disclosure, which protects sellers and buyers. That simply means that a real estate agent cannot work for both the buyer and the seller of the same property.
For more details, click here for our report, “Buyers – Who Represents You?”
Step 2: Purchasing Power
Next, we will help you select a lender you feel comfortable working with in order to determine your purchasing power. As we talked about under “Affording Your BeltLine Home,” determining exactly how much home you can afford is a critical step that must take place before we even start to look at possible homes. You wouldn’t buy a car without knowing if you could make the payments, would you?
You and the lender will determine your purchasing power by looking at your current income and determining the percentage of your salary that you can comfortably put towards a mortgage. Be sure to request that your lender put together a Good Faith Estimate – a document that gives you an idea of what your monthly payments would be as well as how much cash will be necessary for closing costs, fees, appraisals or any lender-related costs you will be responsible for prior to or at closing. A good estimate of these lender-related closing costs is three percent of the purchase price of your home and will be cash you should be prepared to bring to the table in addition to your downpayment. Your lender will help clarify your responsibilities regarding the financing.
Wondering how much of your salary you can safely put towards monthly mortgage payments based on your current salary? Find out now with our mortgage prequalification calculator. You can also calculate your monthly payments by purchase price.
And please click here for a list of trusted Atlanta lenders!
Step 3: In-depth home search to find your perfect Atlanta home!
Based on your home buyer’s questionnaire as well as information you’ve provided, we will set you up for custom email alerts directly from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) that match your criteria. You can indicate which ones you like, don’t like, and are considering as well as add your own notes in for us to see. You are also welcome to use The BeltLine Team’s search site and send me properties you identify. Upon review, we ask that you pick your top five properties (plus or minus a few), which we will then preview on your behalf before scheduling a tour of the selected properties.
Click here for 7 helpful tips on determining what kind of home is best for you!
And while you’re still searching, please feel free to join our team for monthly, free BeltLine Affordable Housing Tours!
Step 4: Let’s hit the streets!
Next, we set up a convenient time with your schedule to hit the streets and view your selected properties! We will provide you with the detailed property information on each home from the Multiple Listing Service so that, as we go along, you can make notes and rank the properties in order from your most favorite on down. In fact, we even have a handy home comparison chart that you can print here to take with you! We then determine if there is a property you would like to make an offer on and, if so, we’ll want to get to work on writing the contract (called a “Purchase and Sale Agreement) to present to the seller’s real estate agent.
Step 4, part II: Rinse and repeat
If none of the properties viewed fit your desired interest, no problem - we will review your criteria and determine which if we need to change our search parameters. Then it’s onto round two with a renewed email process, identification of additional properties that meet your needs and wants, and a reinvigorated buyers’ tour. We will repeat this process is until we find the right home for you!
Step 5: Earnest money and writing the contract
You’ve found the perfect home – now we just need to write the offer! Together with your direction and our professional real estate advice, we will write a Purchase and Sale Agreement to present to the seller. With the contract, you will be required to submit an earnest money check, usually 1 – 5 percent of the purchase price of the home, to show the seller that you are serious about buying their property. The seller will have the opportunity to review our offer and we can go into negotiations on price and terms of the agreement. Once an offer is agreed upon, then we will review the terms and conditions of the contract in detail and you will officially be “under contract” for your new home!
Click here for the 8 basic items you need to know when making an offer!
Step 6, Part I: Under contract and the Due Diligence Period
You and your lender will work together to submit the full application for your loan. Banks and lending institutions require certain items in order to complete and authorize your loan, for instance: W2’s, check stubs, bank statements, tax return’s, $300 appraisal fee, any savings or investment account statements, authorization to pull your credit report, etc. FULL financial disclosure and cooperation with your lender in a timely manner is crucial at this time.
Step 6, Part II: Home inspections
Within the specified “due diligence period” – the time you have to check out everything about the home to determine any issues – you will want to arrange for a full inspection from a certified home inspector. If significant problems arise, then we then determine how to move forward, with the option to renegotiate terms, accept the property as is, or walk away.
Click here for 4 ways home inspections avert future headaches!
Step 6, Part III: The final walk-through
One of the last events prior to going to the closing table is the final walk-through. If we have negotiated with the seller to make repairs to the home, we will schedule a date to verify all items have been completed.
Step 7: The closing
Prior to the day of closing, we will request the Attorney provides you with a HUD Settlement Statement that details the transaction. This breaks down, line-by-line, who pays what and to whom. Your lender advises you of the amount you will need to pay in closing costs and how the funds will be presented at closing (certified or money order).
A real estate lawyer will have already reviewed all documents to ensure their legality as well as run a title search on the home to make sure the seller has the right to sell the home and that there an no outstanding debts associated with the property. At closing, the lawyer will guide you through signing the documents detailing your title to property and your rights. And then – you get the keys to your new home!
Step 8: Celebration!
Congratulations – you are now a happy home owner! We will help you with moving resources and utility information to get settled into your new neighborhood. We also offer our special home buyers a unique bonus – the resources you need to get connected with resources in your new BeltLine community!