GUIDE TO BUYING

Step 1: Find an agent

One of the most important decisions you will make is finding a buyer's agent. There are usually two agents in a transaction--the buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent. The buyer’s agent tries to get the lowest price and best terms for the buyer. The seller’s agent tries to get the highest price and best terms for the seller. Some buyers believe that eliminating the buyer’s agent and working directly with the seller’s agent will save them money. This could have significant negative consequences and result in a worst-case scenario for the buyer (the seller’s agent keeps the entire commission, buyers have nobody looking out for their best interests, and the seller’s agent is working AGAINST the unrepresented buyer to get the highest price and best terms for the seller). DO NOT PURCHASE A PROPERTY WITHOUT A BUYER’S AGENT. Be sure to engage an experienced buyer's agent like Randall to assist with getting you the lowest price and best terms possible. The seller pays all commissions so it won’t cost you a dime. Click here to find out how Randall can help make your purchase a success.

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Step 2: Get pre-approved for a mortgage

Find a mortgage lender with whom you are comfortable. Ideally they should be located in Atlanta and be recommended by somebody you trust. Randall can refer you to several mortgage lenders if you don’t have one. Talk to the mortgage consultant about the various mortgages available, interest rates, closing costs, mortgage payments, and obtain a good faith estimate. Get pre-approved so you know what your maximum purchase price is. It’s important that you decide on two things before looking for a property: What’s the maximum amount you can spend and what amount would you like to spend.

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Step 3: Narrow your selection

Provide Randall with a general overview of your ideal home. Important things to consider are location, price, bedrooms, bathrooms, school district, and style. Randall will provide you with an overview of homes that meet your criteria. He can also add you to the New Listing Alert program so you’ll be automatically alerted when a home or condo comes on the market that meets your criteria. Click here to get started with that program.

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Step 4: Preview homes

Once you’ve narrowed your choices, Randall will take you to preview the homes that are of most interest to you. You’ll start to get a better feel for what you like, don’t like, and what your money will buy.

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Step 5: Make an offer

After you’ve found the home you like, you’ll want to make an offer. Randall can provide you with a comparative analysis on current sales in the neighborhood to determine a reasonable offer price. You’ll want to thoroughly review the Seller’s Property Disclosure prior to making an offer.

Randall will work with you to decide:

  • Offer price
  • Do you want to ask the seller to pay some of your closing costs?
  • Amount of earnest money. Earnest money isn’t required, but it lets the seller know you are serious.
  • Date of closing (when do you want to move in?)
  • Mortgage terms
  • The conditions of your offer (contingencies for inspection, appraisal, financing etc....)

Generally speaking, anything not attached to the home will go with the seller. If you want any window treatments, appliances, etc… it will need to be specified in the contract.

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Step 6: Negotiate the offer

Randall will work with you to evaluate any counter offer the seller may present.

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Step 7: Fulfill the terms of the contract

Contract terms vary, but in general you may be involved in the following activities:

  • Immediately apply for a loan to begin the mortgage loan process
  • Be sure your loan and appraisal are complete within the contingency period
  • If you don’t already have one, Randall can recommend a licensed home inspector to inspect the home and provide you with a formal report (paid for by the buyer)
  • Obtain a termite letter (not typically done when buying a condo)
  • Order a survey (paid for by the buyer). It is not required but highly recommended for all properties (except condos).
  • Decide if you want to purchase Owner’s title insurance (one time premium paid by the buyer at closing). This is not required but highly recommended to help protect your investment. Be sure to let your mortgage consultant and attorney know well in advance if you want Owner’s Title insurance.
  • Obtain Hazard or homeowner’s insurance. Have your homeowner’s insurance agent fax a copy of the declarations page and payment receipt to the attorney’s and mortgage consultant’s office.

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Step 8: Closing

An attorney will facilitate the settlement/closing of your loan. This will take place at the attorney’s office. The attorney represents the lender, unless the buyer pays cash.

Please keep in mind the following to ensure a successful closing:

  • At least five days before closing, you should have your insurance agent fax a copy of the homeowners insurance declarations page to the attorney and the mortgage consultant. A policy, for 100% of the insurable value of your house, with a paid receipt or invoice, is required at closing.
  • You should have already let the closing attorney know if you want owner’s title insurance.
  • Be sure the utilities are switched to your name (call several days in advance)
  • Unless otherwise instructed by the closing attorney, you should wire your funds to the closing attorney (you must WIRE the funds, do NOT do an ACH transfer)
  • Within about 72 hours of closing, your mortgage consultant will let you know the amount of funds required to close. If for some reason this is not possible, get an estimate from the lender and wire a little additional amount just in case.
  • Bring your personal check book to closing, just in case you need to write a check for something.
  • Bring personal identification to closing, such as a drivers license or passport

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