Buying Your First Home? Know These 5 Things
Here at Urban Nest, we absolutely love working with first-time home buyers. Assisting you on your search for your first Atlanta home, helping you understand the home buying process, and guiding you from house-hunting to move-in day gives us the warm-n-fuzzies.
If you are thinking about buying your first home in the next year, we want you to be fully prepared for this exciting journey. Here are five important things you should know before you start looking for that new nest….
1. Work with ONE real estate agent.
We often receive calls from new home buyers who are working with several agents or just call the agents on the listing signs. If you want to get REAL service and support, we highly recommend that you select one Atlanta real estate agent who will be by your side throughout the process.
Worried you won’t select the right agent? Completely understandable. To make sure you find the “right” one, it’s fairly easy to research local Realtors online. Look at their client testimonials, website, social media, and then schedule a time to talk with three of your favorites. After meeting with them, you will know which one is going to be the best for your needs and personality.
Once you have that agent, they will be dedicated to finding you the right property and negotiating on all the terms of the sale on your behalf. They will also have a solid understanding of your needs, preferences, and deal-breakers (rather than starting over with a new agent each time you go look at a house).
And the big bonus of having a Buyer’s Agent…. they don’t cost you a penny! As the buyer, you don’t pay your real estate agent (unless otherwise stated), the listing agent shares a portion of their commission with them.
2. You need to be pre-approved for financing.
Unless you are paying cash for your home, you do need to talk to a mortgage lender before you start looking at houses. We’ve seen many buyers over the years that didn’t talk to a lender before they fell in love with a home and found out later that they couldn’t afford it. It’s heartbreaking!
A mortgage lender can not only tell you the maximum price you’re approved for, they can help you find the price range and monthly payment that you are comfortable with. They will also find any first-time home buyer mortgage programs that you may qualify for and give you an overview of the closing costs.
Another reason for having an up-to-date pre-approval in hand is so you don’t lose out to another buyer. If you find the perfect house, you will want to get an offer in before someone else gets it, and that pre-approval letter must accompany your offer. We would be happy to provide you with names of mortgage lenders in our area who have provided excellent service to our past clients.
3. There are some up-front costs.
When you find the perfect new nest, and you and the seller have agreed on the price and terms and have signed the contract, you will first need to make your earnest money deposit. This is money you are risking if you back out of the deal for reasons not protected in the contract. Usually, it is between 1% and 5% of the sales price but can be more or less depending on what you and the seller agree to in the contract. Your Urban Nest agent will help you with this during negotiations. Assuming that you do get to the closing table, your earnest money will be applied towards your downpayment.
4. Don’t skip the home inspection.
This cost varies depending on the size, condition, age, and features of the home, but is usually a few hundred dollars. You will need to pay this at the time of service. You may elect to pay for other inspections based on the results of the initial inspection. For example, if the inspector notes an issue with the HVAC system, you may need to pay a service fee for an HVAC contractor to look at the system. You want to get as much information during your inspection period as you need to confidently move forward with the purchase.
5. Remember…. patience is the key!
In this crazy real estate market, most of the Atlanta homes are receiving multiple offers, especially inside the Perimeter. As a new home buyer, you have to be prepared that you may lose one or two bidding wars, and/or you have to be ready to submit a super-strong offer when that perfect home hits the market.
(BTW – We love helping you craft an offer that will make a seller smile!)
Our neighborhood experts at Urban Nest Atlanta will guide you through all of these steps throughout your home buying journey. When you are ready to get started on this new adventure, email us or call at 404-205-8800.