Home Buying Basics – Step by Step

Get Pre-approved for a Loan

This has never been more important! Lending guidelines have changed dramatically in 2009. Start off on the right foot by getting pre-approved so we will have no surprises. There is no cost or obligation.   I will be happy to recommend someone to help! Once you are pre-approved, it’s time to go shopping!

Find a Home

There are lots of homes to choose from! Explore Atlanta’s best neighborhoods here.

Write an Offer

Once we find the right home, we’ll do some research to see how long the home has been on the market, what the owner paid for the property and recent home sales for the area. We will use this information (and more) to come up with an offer price. In Georgia, verbal offers are none binding, so all negotiations will be in writing. Our offer will also specify who will pay closing cost. We will also propose a closing date, usually 30-45 days from our agreement date. The offer will also include a time period for inspecting the home, appraisal contingency and finance contingency.

Inspect the House

Our current Georgia Association of Realtor (GAR) contract offers two primary ways to accept a home’s condition.  The primary means is a “due diligence” period. Our contract will specify the number of days for our Due Diligence period. During that time, you have the right to have a home inspection, survey, and depending on the home, even a pool inspection or tree inspection.  Next, we will write up an “Amendment to Address Concerns with Property”.   You can buy a home “as is”, which means you accept the home with all of its faults.  Selling a home “as is” does not relieve the seller from disclosing any known defeats.  It is still highly recommended that you inspect the home with the right to cancel the contract with full return of Earnest money.

Negotiate Repairs

When we’re finished our inspection, we will make a list of the items we would like the Seller to address. This is a second round of negotiations for the home. The Seller considers our repair request, and can accept, reject, or counter it. If the Seller’s response is acceptable, then you move forward to closing. If the Seller’s response is unacceptable, then you have the right to cancel the contract with full refund of your earnest money (in nearly all cases) and start again with finding a home.

Final Loan Processing

Once we’re through repairs, there’s usually about two weeks where everyone else springs into action. The loan officer puts the loan through final underwriting, reviews the appraisal, produces loan documents, and the Seller has any repairs completed that were negotiated.

Walkthrough and Signing

We’ll go back to the house and do a final walkthrough, to make sure that it is in the same condition as when we went under contract then we will head to the closing attorney’s office.

Closing

Finally! You will sign and sign and sign some more papers. Congratulations homeowner!