Whether you're a first-time home buyer or an experienced real estate investor in Atlanta, it is important to not only choose an experienced agent, but also to be an informed buyer.  Come into the process prepared with the knowledge and equipped with the tools to make a confident home buying decision.

1. Where Should I Start?

  • Organize and review your finances. Set a budget and figure out what you will be able to afford for a down payment. Use our mortgage calculator to get a better idea of your estimated monthly payment. 
  • Start researching the many communities in and around Atlanta, and narrow down your neighborhoods based on your most important preferences.
  • If you're a first-time buyer, you might want to get more information first!

2. How Do I Know What to Look for in a Home?

  • Determine your non-negotiables; your top 5 items for your home that you will not negotiate on/that your agent should not show you if they don't match you non-negotiable list. 
  • Take into consideration what's important to you - proximity to amenities, school districts, yard sizes, commute, highway access. This will help you find a neighborhood.
  • Review home features you NEED vs. those you WANT - from size to style to overall condition. Having a good idea of what you're looking for will save you time and tours of homes that don't meet your criteria.
  • Browse our Atlanta featured listings, or start searching homes by amenities and features.

3. Why Should I Use a Realtor?

  • A good Realtor can guide you through the financial and legal complexities of the Atlanta real estate process.
  • A local Realtor will be a Atlanta expert and can provide vital insight into its neighborhoods and communities.
  • A Realtor can help you find the right price range for your income and finances and can explain the pros and cons of different types of mortgages.
  • A Realtor will answer all your questions and guide you through the complicated paperwork.

4. Where and How Can I Get a Loan?

  • Mortgage loans are typically available through banks, credit unions, private mortgage companies, and government state lenders.
  • Your Realtor can help connect you with lenders. You can also shop for lenders on your own, making sure you take some time to search around and compare rates. Calling local government agencies can also be a good idea to find out more about programs that might be available to you.

5. What if I Have Bad Credit or No Down Payment?

  • You might qualify for a federal mortgage program or local home buying assistance program.
  • The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) helps home buyers by offering insured loans. This means that if the buyer defaults, the lender will still get their money. Insured loans encourage lenders to work with more buyers regardless of their credit or available down payment.
  • Many state and local governments offer additional programs for buyers who meet various criteria or are buying within individual communities.
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also offers many assistance programs to home buyers.

6. Once I Find My Home, What Will I Have to Pay Up Front?

  • Earnest Money: This is the "security deposit" you pay when you submit your offer to prove to the seller that you are serious. After your offer is accepted, it is applied to your down payment or closing costs.
  • Down Payment: This is a percentage of the cost of your home. The amount will depend on your loan; government programs can help you decrease this amount.
  • Closing Costs: These are typically low for buyers and represent the fees associated with paperwork and lender charges.

7. What Other Costs Will I Pay?

  • Other costs can include utilities, HOA or condo fees, and property taxes - which are typically included in your mortgage payment.
  • Ask your Realtor about additional fees associated with your particular home, community, or neighborhood.

Still Have Questions?

Buying your first home can be a complicated process, and there is much to ask and learn. Do not hesitate to contact us today and ask any questions you many have on buying a home in the current ATL market. Also, continue to check out the resources available on our site. 

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