Congratulations! Whether you are a first time home buyer. The information we present will lead you step by step through the process of buying a home. If you have purchased homes previously, this information will educate you regarding changes in the process and required forms. Please feel free to contact us at anytime with questions or for additional information:
Locating a Realtor is Step 1 in the process of buying a home. Visiting Service First Realty is a great start to locate an agent as well as a home. The name Service First Realty was selected because professional service is our goal. The Realtors at Service First Realty are highly trained and protecting the integrity of the transaction is critical to us. Your rights as a Buyer are protected. Realtors have a legal obligation to represent clients in a manner that puts the client’s interest first at all times. At Service First Realty, Inc., this is not just a theory, it is an action.
Once the decision has been made to purchase a home and Step One , locate a Real Estate Professional to represent you is done, Step Two is locating a lender you feel comfortable with. A lender will ask you questions concerning your employment, bank accounts and credit. Information provided to a lender is confidential. He or she will not disclose this, and it is essential to provide accurate information. He or she will help you determine the price you are comfortable paying for a home and discuss various financing options with you. Your Realtor will provide references for two or more lenders if you request these.
Step three is the home search. A Buyer’s Agent assists with the home search. The area and the home’s price are the top search criteria. Other factors such as style, number of bedrooms, lot size and neighborhood amenities are then considered. It is helpful to list your top criteria and to rate each home you visit on these criteria. This evaluation, photos and any notes you take are helpful at the end of the day.
When you have located a home that meets your criteria and one you would feel comfortable living in, it is time to look closely at the Seller’s Property Disclosure. This document provides information on the home. General as well as more specific information concerning the roof and home’s systems is disclosed. It is required by law that a Seller must provide this information unless the property is a foreclosure or for some reason is being sold “as is“. For new construction, there is a New Construction Disclosure and a specific Disclosure for Condominiums or Attached Residences as well.
After locating a home, Step Four is to determine a fair offer price. Your Realtor will provide information on what similar homes have sold for recently in the area. This information, along with any obvious expenditures that will have to be made on the home, are considerations in determining what you are potentially willing to pay for a home.
An offer is submitted on a Georgia Association of Realtors (GAR) Contract Form. This offer is dated and has a specific response time. If a response time is ignored, an offer is no longer legally considered a valid offer. If you are interested in a home, do not ignore response dates and times. The initial offer, many times, is followed by a Counter Offer. This process may go back and forth several times. Once both Buyer and Seller agree to specific terms and sign a counter offer form, a Binding Agreement has been reached. You must realize when you make an offer that the Seller may not respond at all, or you may never reach an agreement. If you cannot reach an agreement you feel is positive for you, you will have to be willing to walk away and continue your home search.
When a Final Agreement has been reached, a proposed closing date is specified as well. This is Step Five in the process. When a Sales Price and Final Agreement are negotiated, a Due Diligence Period is determined as well. This Due Diligence period is an important legal protection for the Buyer. It may be ten days, twenty-one days or any negotiated time frame. This is negotiated along with the home’s price. The primary purpose of the Due Diligence Period is to allow the Buyer to have a Home Inspection conducted as well as any other property inspections the Buyer chooses to have done.
The Home Inspection is Step Six in the process of buying a home. When the inspection(s) are complete, an Amendment to Address Concerns of the Property is completed by the Buyer and submitted to the Seller. This must be done and any repairs agreed upon prior to the end of the Due Diligence Period. If this is not resolved, the Buyer may submit a Termination and Release Form to the Seller prior to the end of the Due Diligence Period. If this is done, the contract at this time becomes void. If the Due Diligence Period lapses without the concerns being negotiated or a Termination and Release Form being sent, the property is assumed purchased “AS IS”.
A Final Agreement typically has one or more specific forms or amendments as attachments. Two common ones are referred to as Contingency Forms. These forms are intended to primarily protect the Buyer but protect the Seller as well. Two common Contingency Forms are:
The Financial Contingency Form is to protect the Buyer if for any reason the lender does not approve the home loan. The decision has to occur during this contingency period and must be accompanied by a letter from the lender stating why the loan was denied. The Buyer is able at this point, to terminate the contract . The time frame for this contingency is negotiated as well.
The Appraisal Contingency protects the Buyer if the home appraisal is determined to be lower than the agreed upon sales price of the home. If this occurs, the Buyer will submit an Amendment to Reduce the Sales Price. If the Seller does not agree to do this, the Buyer can terminate the contract.
In addition to the contingency forms, there are various Amendments and Exhibits that may become a part of the contract as well. Two examples of these include the Seller’s Property Disclosure and if applicable, A Home Owner’s Association Disclosure.
The Seventh Step is a final walk through prior to closing to see that all agreed upon repairs have been completed. With New Construction, there is a Final Walk Through a few days prior to closing followed by a second walk through the day before or the day of closing. Buyers may choose to have an inspection on New Construction as well.
Step Eight is the closing. Your lender will keep you informed as to what you will need to bring to the closing. Do not hesitate to ask any questions you may have during closing. It is the Closing Attorney’s job, and role, to answer these. You may take possession immediately of your new home or you may allow the Seller a 48 hour move out period.
Purchasing a home should be a pleasurable experience. With a Realtor working for you, you will be able to enjoy the home search and be assured your investment as well as your rights are protected .