Planning to purchase your first home in the peach state? If so, congratulations! Buying your first house is very exciting; however, it’s not a decision to be taken lightly. As I’m sure you know, your home will likely be your largest investment.
To make the home buying process easier for you, we’ve created this helpful guide.
Steps for Buying a Home in Georgia
Check Your Finances
The first step in the home buying process is understanding your financial situation. Specifically, you need to analyze how much you can afford right now. You can do this by assessing your annual income and debt. Note that your expenses won’t just include your mortgage. For instance, you’d need to cover the costs of utilities, home insurance, property taxes, repairs, upgrades, and more.
If you plan to apply for a home loan, you’ll need to have a good credit score. If you wish to increase your credit score we suggest paying off any outstanding debt and reporting any errors in your credit history.
Once you’ve done that you can start saving for your down payment! Most lenders require at least a 20 percent down payment. So, if you were to buy a $400,000 house you’d need to put down at least $80,000.
Now, this is the fun part, start searching for your dream house! If this is your first time then seeking help from a local real estate agent could be beneficial. However, some great resources include Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com.
Once you’ve talked to your bank and understand how much you can afford you can start your search. Having that information will make the house-hunting process much easier. This way you can keep your budget in mind and look at houses you can realistically afford.
Here are some things to consider during the house-hunting process:
- Local crime
- Future Development
- Schools in the area
- Property taxes
- HOA fees
- Current market trends
Lastly, we advise asking lots of questions, taking many pictures, and visiting homes more than once.
Make an Offer
Once you get pre-approved for your loan you can now make an offer on your dream home! To remain within your budget we suggest putting in an offer that’s slightly lower than what you can afford. This way if you need to negotiate and up your offer you can.
Furthermore, you should clarify what in the house is staying and what’s going. For instance, the appliances, furniture, and fixtures are something to ask about.
If your bid is accepted, the inspection comes back clear, and your lender gives you the go-ahead then it’s time to close! This process can take a while as the closing date is determined. Typically the sellers would need enough time to move out before this occurs.
During closing both party’s attorneys fill out the necessary documentation to transfer ownership over to you. Make sure you bring your ID, cashier’s check, and your proof of home insurance.
Buying a home in Georgia can be overwhelming at times but completely worth it. Just relax and take the process one step at a time. Make sure to seek assistance from a local real estate agent who’s familiar with the area and can help you navigate the home buying process.