Whether you’re tired of renting or you’re moving to a new town, buying a new home can be stressful – especially in a big city like Atlanta. There are many diverse neighborhoods and various things to do around the city. You’ll feel like you don’t want to miss out on any of it!
However, there are numerous things to consider before you make that final step. To make the process easier, here are 12 tips for buying a home in Atlanta.
12 Atlanta Home Buying Tips
Have a Good Credit Score
If you’re considering buying a house, take a look at your credit score. Ultimately, this will determine the type of loan you can get. A low score indicates to a lender that you’re unable to pay off what you owe.
To make sure that you get the best mortgage and home insurance rates possible, check to make sure your credit report is accurate. If it’s incorrect, reach out to a proper financial institution to have it corrected.
So, some general tips include paying off your credit card bills on time and keeping your balances low if possible.
Save Up for a Down Payment
Most homebuyers don’t have enough to pay 100 percent of the purchase price upfront. However, to get approved for a mortgage, you’ll need some sort of down payment. Depending on the lender, you could expect to put down anywhere from 3-20% of the agreed purchase price.
You’ll also have to factor in closing costs. In Georgia, these costs can range anywhere from 3-5% of the home’s value. So, for a $300,000 house, you may have to pay close to $18,000 for a down payment and closing costs. So, it’s important you figure out your budget before you start looking!
Save Up for Other Expenses
There are numerous other expenses that go into purchasing a home. So, it’s a good idea to save up for things like inspections, appraisals, HOA fees, and insurance. Plus, you’ll want to have enough money saved up to cover any emergency repairs or other necessary expenses.
Get Approved for a Loan (If Needed)
Many banks and financial institutions can determine if you’ll be approved for a mortgage before you actually apply. While the true amount of your approved mortgage may vary, you can at least get an estimate of your home buying budget.
Know What You Can Afford
Just because you’re approved for a certain amount on a mortgage loan doesn’t mean you should use it all. Carefully consider what kind of monthly payment you can afford and use that figure to find a house in a price range you can afford.
Make a List of What You’re Looking For
Know what you’re looking for in a house before you set out on buying a home. Do you want older home or a new construction? Hardwood floors or carpet? Do you want a house that’s move-in ready or are you okay with a fixer-upper? Making a list of things that you absolutely want in a house will make the process easier for you.
Cities both inside and outside of the I-285 perimeter have their own distinctive communities. If you like local art and small shops instead of big chain stores, you may feel more comfortable in Decatur. If you’re not so much a fan of the city, try downtown Marietta. Looking for a variety of markets and restaurants? Try Doraville or Duluth. If you like upscale stores with a modern look, try Sandy Springs or Alpharetta.
There’s a variety of neighborhoods that locals know and love for different reasons, and most of the suburbs surrounding Atlanta are within close driving distance to all the best attractions. So, research a few locations to see where you’ll be most comfortable. It may even be a better idea to base your home search off of your work commute. In Atlanta rush hour traffic, it can take double the time to get to your destination, so, plan accordingly.
Consider It a Long-Term Investment
Buying a home is a big step from renting. Therefore, consider how a home will fit your needs for the next 5 to 10 years. If you want to start a family, a two-bedroom/two-bathroom home may suit you now, but not as your family grows. Of course, things happen, and you can always sell your home to accommodate life changes. Just make sure you have a solid starting point as you search.
Explore Your Options
When touring places and attending open houses, feel free to ask your realtor questions. Gather brochures and weigh the pros and cons of the houses you like. As you can imagine, your memory can get a bit jumbled so it’s important to make note of the houses you view.
Have an Inspection
Before you go through with the purchase, schedule a home inspection with a reputable company. There’s usually a grace period after an offer is made on a home where a seller will allow the buyer to conduct an inspection and back out if necessary. The seller may agree to adjust the price or pay for repairs if issues are found.
Keep an Emergency Fund
Saving up shouldn’t stop after purchasing a home. There are a number of maintenance expenses that come up throughout the years you’re living in the home. So, continue to save up for things like renovations, repairs, inspections, permits, and other expenses that are a part of homeownership.
Additionally, make sure that you have enough saved up to cover your homeowners’ insurance deductible if you have to file a claim. There’s a certain amount that your insurance carrier will require you to pay before they agree to cover the remaining cost.
Finally, you’ll want to have the right Atlanta home insurance to properly protect your asset. Consider the risks you face in your area, and express those concerns to your insurance agent. Make sure that your policy can rebuild your home’s structure and replace your belongings if a disaster hits. Pick a policy that can cover you if someone is hurt on your property – even if it’s a worker. Plan to add extra coverages depending on the various features of your home and any life changes that you may go through.
It also helps to shop around for coverage. Different insurance companies assess risks in different ways; plus, rates and discounts can vary from carrier to carrier. We know how hard it can be to get home insurance quotes on your own, though. That’s why our insurance experts at Atlanta Insurance are here to help! Give us a call today, fill out our online form, or LiveChat with an agent today to start getting free, easy homeowners’ insurance quotes.
For more information on the average cost of home insurance in Georgia, refer to our blog.
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