Buying your very first home is a big step in life. After months of thinking it over, you have decided it is
now time to take the leap into home ownership. Don’t let this daunting task overwhelm you. Here are
a few tips to keep in mind if you are a first-time home buyer in the Atlanta area.
1. Set a Budget
Before buying your first home, set a budget that is comfortable and is within a price range you can afford. This helps you narrow down what homes you can look at. Consider any extra fees such as specials on new homes or HOA fees for the neighborhood. Don’t get your hopes up by looking at houses you know you can’t afford, but rather stay focused on houses that are in your budget.
2. Determine a Preferred Neighborhood
Knowing what neighborhoods you love in the Atlanta will help in narrowing down your housing choices. Visit many neighborhoods. Decide what you want in a neighborhood, and go from there. Do you want grocery shops or local stores nearby? Is public transportation important? Do you need top-notch schools? Check out our Community Guides for more information on each area in Metro Atlanta.
3. Evaluate Your Down Payment
Most first time home buyers will have to put down a down payment, which can be as much as 20% of the total price. Know your requirements and be prepared. Also, seek out first-time home buyer programs that will put money towards your down payment or lower your rate.
4. Season Your Down Payment Funds
Some lenders may require your down payment to be in your account for a period of time before they will approve your loan. Have the money in your account for two to three months before purchasing a home to ensure your down payment is considered seasoned.
5. Work with a Trusted Agent
Find a real estate agent in the Atlanta area that will work for you to find the perfect first-time home for you and your family. A qualified agent should have extensive knowledge of the area and a good understanding of the value of homes in the area so you can stay within your desired budget.
6. Make a List of Requirements
Before looking at potential houses, know what you are looking for. What are the must-haves? What are the wants? What do you absolutely not want? Knowing what you want ahead of time will help you avoid wasting time looking at houses that don’t meet the requirements.
7. Be Credit-Ready
Have paperwork ready to go. Get your credit report and any other necessary paperwork in order so that you can pull the trigger immediately when you find a house you love.
8. Don’t Make Large Purchases
Before buying a home, avoid making any large credit purchases. Your credit will be evaluated through the home-buying process, and large purchases could flag your account and put a kink in your house buying plans.
9. Talk to a Lender
Know where you stand with lenders. Ask about your credit score to find out what kind of interest rate you are eligible to receive based on your score. Higher scores will qualify for lower interest rates, but don’t be discouraged if your score is low. There are still options available.
10. Go for It!
You know what you what and are prepared to put in an offer should you find a house you love, so go for it! Begin the search for your first home, and find the perfect home for you with Atlanta real estate expert Andy Crowe by your side.