Step 1 – Know what type of agency relationship you need.
The different types of agency relationships are, Seller's Agent, Listing Agent, Buyer's Agent, Dual Agent, Designated Agent, Subagent and Transaction Agent.

If you are unfamiliar with these terms, I recommend reading “The ABC's of Agency.” Prepared by the Georgia Association of Realtors, this two-page PDF document fully explains Real Estate Brokerage Relationships.

Step 2 – Work with a real estate professional. See our home Buyer Services

Step 3 – Get Pre-qualified for your loan.
Talk with a loan officer at your bank, credit union, or mortgage company to determine what price range of homes you should be looking for. Shop lenders to find your best rate, but do not have more than three lenders pull your credit report. Too many credit inquiries may actually lower your credit score. Make sure to get a loan pre-qualification letter from your chosen lender.

For more information about mortgage loans, download and/or print this great PDF document prepared by the Federal Trade Commission. See Looking for the Best Mortgage.

Step 4 – Got Cash?

You will need to have some cash available for expenses, such as earnest money, home inspection, termite inspection, and an appraisal. You will also need 2.5% – 3% of your mortgage (loan) amount for closing costs. Closing costs include lender and attorney fees, pro-rated property taxes, title search, title insurance (always buy title insurance for yourself), recording fees, etc. Your lender must give you a “Good Faith Estimate” estimating of your closing costs within three days after applying for your loan.

 

Step 5 – Start looking!

Call Lynn or myself and/or open a free Property Search account on this website. Remember, as your “Buyer's Agents,” all the home buyer services Lynn and I offer are 100% free, and we will be happy to show you any listing in Whitfield, Murray, or Catoosa county.

 

Step 6 – Be Realistic.
It is rare to find a home that exactly matches your “dream home” ideals. It helps to prioritize the home features you must have vs. the features that would be nice to have. Generally speaking, when you find a home with 80%-90% of the features you need, make an offer!

Step 7 – Be Prepared to Act Quickly!
It is not unusual for below market value homes, such as bank owned foreclosures to quickly receive multiple offers. By the time you have gone home to think about it, your dream house may be under contract with another buyer. That’s why defining the home features you must have ahead of time is so important. When you find the right home, don't delay, make an offer!

Step 8 – Making an Offer.
When you're ready to make an offer, Lynn and I will provide all the legal documents you need; including the Purchase And Sale Agreement. We will go over each legal document, step-by-step, making sure we answer any questions you may have. Then Lynn and I will present and negotiate your offer. Along with your offer, we will also include a copy of your earnest money check.

Earnest money is an indicator to the seller that you are sincere (earnest) about making the purchase. This money is held in an escrow account and is refundable to you if your offer is not accepted or if the contract should fail to close through no fault of your own. At closing, this money is normally applied towards your closing costs.

Step 9 – Call your lender.
Notify your loan officer that your offer has been accepted so he/she may begin the loan process, lock in your interest rate, and send you an updated good faith estimate showing the amount of your monthly mortgage payment along with an estimated amount of money you will need to bring to the closing.

Don’t make any major credit purchases once you have begun the home buying process. Lenders always do a final credit check before funding the loan – if your credit score has changed for the worse, it could affect the funding by changing the interest rate, or make you ineligible for the loan.

Imagine buying new furniture for your new home only to find that you no longer qualify to buy the home. It has happened. Don’t let it happen to you! Put the credit cards away until after closing.

Step 10 – Home Inspection.
When your offer has been accepted, we suggest you arrange for a home inspection. If you wish, Lynn and I can provide you a list of ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors) home inspectors. The home inspection should cost around $300 – $600 depending on the size of the home. This is truly money well-spent. If the inspection report indicated items that need to be repaired or replaced, Lynn and I will negotiate to have the seller perform the repairs and/or replacements. If the seller is unable or unwilling to do so, you will have the option to cancel or proceed with the sale. If you choose to cancel, your earnest money will be refunded.

Step 11 – Allow Enough Time.
Plan your time-line. Be aware that it can take lenders 3 – 4 weeks to get your loan through the approval and funding process – longer if you choose an internet-lender or out-of-state lender. If you need to vacate another residence, give yourself at least a month-and-a-half to find and close on your new home. You may also want to allow another week to clean and paint your new home before moving in.

Step 12 – Get ready to move.
Notify your phone company, utilities (power and water), garbage pickup, post office, newspaper and magazines, friends and family, and moving company. Don't forget to change your mailing address.

Buying a home can be very stressful, but it doesn’t need to be. Make a list of all the things that you need or want and carry it with you to refer to. Once we have a contract in place, we will give you a list of all the items that need to be done and the key completion dates. We will help you arrange for the inspection(s), get the utilities turned on, even help you find a mover should you need one. We will be there to help guide you through all of the above making sure your home purchase as stress-free as possible.