10 Things You Need to Know about Buying a Home in Athens, Georgia
- Real estate agent services are free to buyers In Georgia, the seller traditionally agrees to pay all the realtor fees for both agents. Be sure to get your own real estate agent to represent your side of the transaction and ensure your interests are protected. Remember, the listing agent has been hired by the seller.
- Pre-qualification is essential A lot of the mortgage calculators online can be misleading, especially if they are factoring in a large down payment. It’s important to discuss your budget with a lender to make sure you are shopping in the right price range. Your mortgage will likely have the property tax and home owners insurance included in escrow. Be sure to ask how much that will be. Beyond your budget, you will want to discuss the types of loans available to you. Both you and the home you chose must qualify for the type of loan you utilize. Your real estate agent can give you guidance on what loans a home qualifies for. Even if you’re certain of your budget and loan type, having a prequalification letter in hand will ensure that when you find your perfect home, you will be able to immediately write an offer to make it yours!
- You can eliminate 60% of the homes you love without ever stepping foot inside. A good realtor will ensure the photographs and description of their listing highlight the positives and downplay the negatives. I always encourage my buyers to drive around the neighborhoods and view the exterior before we schedule a showing. Not all yards are ideal for your needs, and not all neighbors keep their yards up the way you’d like to see every day on your drive home.
- Parents and friends can steal the joy out of your dream home. Say it isn’t so! You’ve been searching and have finally found the one- the home that you love, and logically you’d like to bring mom and dad or your best friend in to have a look. This always seems like a fantastic idea, and sometimes it truly is. Be prepared, though, for them to not see it in the same light you do. They haven’t seen the other 100 homes you’ve sifted through, and they will likely have unrealistic expectations of what you can afford in the current market. I’ve seen well intentioned loved ones talk the buyer into getting a larger, nicer, and more expensive house than their budget was comfortable with.
- You can buy a home with no money down Seriously. $0 down. And I’ve actually had buyers leave the closing table with a check! Ask me how I can make that happen for you.
- Stalking is a good thing. Have you ever lived in an apartment and wished you’d done more research before signing the lease? Yeah, we’ve all been there with the noisy neighbors and the midnight barking dogs. Make certain you’re an informed buyer. Drive through the neighborhood at night to check out the noise level. Search Georgia registered sex offenders. Go onto google earth and see what backs up to the property that you’re not seeing from the road. Google the address or the neighborhood name to see if anything pops up in the news or police blotter. Drive through the neighborhood after work or on the weekends and talk to your future neighbors about how they like living there. You won’t regret having that information before you purchase!
- Know your utility rates Your mortgage is only part of your monthly housing costs. Ask you realtor to get the utility info and the average costs for the last 12 months.
- Choose a local lender Having a lender that you can sit down with in person is essential to your sanity. All the ones I use in the Athens Ga area actually give you their cell phone numbers to be reached until late evening. This becomes important when we need to know what your mortgage payment will be to decide your offer amount (once you find your dream home after 5pm). It’s also important when you need to sign something or have questions about the seemingly endless documents they ask you for. A good local lender will typically attend the closing to make sure no questions go unanswered!
- Do a final walk through immediately before closing Seriously, do the final walk through immediately prior to closing. I knew one realtor who had the septic system flood the basement two hours before closing. Things happen, but it’s important to keep your liability to a minimum. It’s always easier to postpone a closing until repairs are complete than to close and try to get the previous owners to come back and fix it.
- Choose a realtor who has your best interests in mind Whatever realtor you choose to guide you through your home search, be sure your needs are their focus. If you feel like you’re dealing with a used car salesman, run away! Finding the perfect home for you, that meets your needs and your budget, is the only thing that matters. This is an important purchase, likely the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought, and you owe it to yourself to find an agent you trust.
If you’re searching for homes in the Athens GA area, we’d love to help you. Call,text, or email us us today.