Steps to buy your home in Atlanta
1. Get a loan approval letter
These are the basic documents you will need to get a loan approval letter.
- The last two years of tax returns
- The last three months of bank statements
- Pay stubs for the last two months
- W-2 and or 1099 forms
- Employment and Rent verification
- Fill out Loan Application
- If requested provide authorization for Lender to run Credit check for you the Borrower and Co-Borrower if you have one
Upon providing these documents to a Loan Officer, you should request a loan approval letter.
2. Find a Real Estate Agent
There are many Real Estate agents, you want to hire someone who is professional and works full time in the Real Estate business and is familiar with the area you are interested in buying your home. These are some duties of what a good agent will help you with:
- Find the right home for you
- Advise on the location of the property, find rankings of the local schools
- Submit and offer on your behalf to the seller
- Negotiate the best deal on the property he is found for you
- Negotiate any repairs needed on the home you are purchasing
- Coordinate the work with other professionals involved in the purchase such as: Real estate Attorneys, Home Inspectors, General Contractors, and Insurance Agents
- Solve any problems that come up during and after negotiations.
Good agents will make the buying process smooth and stress free for home buyers.
3. Making an Offer
If you are borrowing money to purchase your home, before you make an offer, as mentioned in step one, you have to have the loan approval letter and needs to be submitted with your offer, this is really important to make sure the seller will consider your offer.
- Request and review the Seller’s Disclosure before making the offer
- Real Estate Agent will write the offer on your behalf
- Add earnest money, usually around 1% of the sales price, some home owners ask for more
- Request a Due Diligence period so you can inspect the house, usually seven to ten days.
- Add a closing date to the offer
- Select an Attorney to do the closing
- The Real Estate Agent will present your offer
4. Upon Approval of your Offer
Once you have agreed the sales price with the seller, your agent should do the following items:
- Order an inspection report
- Submit a copy the contract to the Lender and the closing Attorney
- Order or Request a Termite Letter
- Submit Termite letter to lender
- Negotiate and repairs needed with Seller
- Ask Lender to order an appraisal on the property
- If needed request a property survey
- Get a Good Faith Estimate from Lender to find out how much money you will need at Closing
- Order a Hazardous insurance policy
- Be sure to ask the closing attorney to find if there are any other liens on the property
5. Prior to Closing
Few days before closing your agent should double check the following Items:
- Make sure all negotiated repairs are completed
- Get a copy of final Loan documents and verify all amounts are correct
- Get a copy of the Hazardous Insurance Policy
- Have all contacts for utilities (Power, gas, water, phone, cable)
- Request a one year home buyers protection plan (optional)
- Request home buyer to purchase a certified check for down payment amount
6. At Closing
Buyer should have the following information at closing:
- Arrive at Attorney’s office at least 30 minutes ahead of schedule
- Upon arrival, get a final copy of closing documents
- Review final closing documents
- Have certified check for the down payment
- Have copy of the hazardous insurance policy
- Have a copy your driver’s license or any other state issued identification
- Be sure to add Title Insurance prior to closing
- Make sure to obtain a copy of your home buyers protection plan if you ordered one
- Request any warranties from Home Owner, warranties for units such as: Furnace, Roof, Hot Water Heater, Garage doors, appliances and other items that come with the house
- Get all keys, garage door openers and any other instructions
- on how to operate the house
- Double check to make sure the Title is in the correct name
- Sign loan documents
7. After Closing
Congratulations, you now are home owner, as in most cases, this is probably the largest purchase you have ever made and as such, this will be your biggest responsibility to take care.
At this point I recommend you to review the complete inspection report and address some of the items listed on this report.
Your Real Estate Agent should be able to recommend you contractors that can help you with the maintenance of your home.
Items to keep in mind after closing:
- File for a homestead exemption with your local tax office
- Request your Real Estate agent continue to monitor the value of your property
- Keep you closing documents safe, you will need them again at time of paying your state and federal taxes
- Change door locks if necessary
- 30 days after closing check your local tax office to make sure the property is in your name
This is in a nut shell the process of buying your first home in the Atlanta area. Other areas and or Estates may have different rules and regulations, but the majority of the steps will be the same.