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The first step in purchasing your home is to ensure that you are professionally and legally represented by a Designated Buyer Broker (ABR - Accredited Buyer Representative). Traditionally, being properly represented and in working with your Buyer Broker, the seller of the home (home, condo, townhome) you will ultimately purchase will pay all real estate commissions. You, as buyer, will typically have no liability to be responsible for commission to either the seller's broker (agent) or your Buyer Broker (agent). It is advised that you establish this in writing with your Designated Buyer Broker during your first meeting, a sit-down meeting, with your agent (Buyer Broker).
Your Designated Buyer Broker (your agent) will assist you by recommending a state approved Mortgage Loan Originator who will walk you through the process of loan application and validating your acceptable credit rating record. At his time of having aligned yourself with a Mortgage Loan Originator and having your credit rating accessed, your Mortgage Loan Originator can and will draft a Mortgage Pre-Approval Letter exhibiting the anticipated maximum home price for which you may secure a mortgage loan. Upon securing your Pre-Approval Letter, your Mortgage Loan Originator will be able to provide you with written estimates of your total monthly payments (PITI - Principal, Interest, Tax & Insurance) at varied purchase levels either at your maximum estimated Pre-Approval Level or below. I personally do not recommend a "Web Based" Mortgage Loan Lender; however; I do recommend sitting directly in front of a Mortgage Loan Originator and securing important loan information vs. having a web based or phone based relationship with your Loan Originator.
A monumentally important factor within the process of securing your Mortgage loan and purchasing a home is to ensure that your credit score is totally acceptable and that no unauthorized use of your identity or unknown or unauthorized charges have been made on your accounts. The premier Consumer Advocate in Georgia, Clark Howard, recommends 2 resources for checking your credit report scores on a Free Basis which may be considered. Clark Howard recommends Credit Report (which is an entity authorized by Federal Law) and/or National Credit Report. You can conceivably save substantial money with a lower interest rate by protecting your credit report data and by keeping the scores totally acceptable not only when securing a Mortgage Loan but also on car loans, credit card rates, insurance premiums and other loans as well. By checking your credit reporting scores, you will typically be provided data posted and maintained by 3 primary reporting entities including Equifax, Experian and Transunion. Lastly, you may consider the ultimately most protective technique (per Clark Howard) in protecting your credit scores known as placing a Security Freeze (or Freezing) on your credit. This way no unauthorized party can secure new accounts against you or your spouse unless you approve their access to your credit records. Should you want a new account to be initiated, you may elect to Unfreeze your credit scores to a specified lender or entity for a very temporary time frame.
You may have assumed that the process of home selection would be swift and simple and to be a quick process. The typical home buyer in this day and age will buy their first home or will sell a home and replace it every +/- 8 to 10 years. Home buyers need to be professionally represented when purchasing a home. Having your own dedicated Designated Buyer Broker at no cost to you is the proverbial "Free Lunch". Where else may you receive free professional services by a state licensed professional who will solely represent you and not the Seller with your paying absolutely nothing? Nowhere!!
Let's say you have been referred to or otherwise secured your Designated Buyer Broker (ABR - Accredited Buyer Representative) of choice. Your Buyer Broker initially will have the initial sit-down meeting with you and initiate the Buyer Brokerage Agreement exhibiting that this real estate professional now represents you and not the Seller within the scope of a home purchase. This means among other things that you do not visit a new home subdivision without your Buyer Broker and not disclose in writing (sign-in book) that you are represented by a Buyer Broker. This also means that you do not drive into a neighborhood and call homeowners who are selling For Sale By Owner or call a listing agent whose sign is in the front yard to get home information or access to a home. This also means that you do not knock on the door of any home and ask the owner to let you in or ask the owner questions about the home, neighborhood or area. Your Buyer Broker, being your exclusive representative, will be able to secure all information regarding these homes and make arrangements as necessary for establishing appointments for you.
Here is a selected list of topics to be considered prior to your Buyer Broker submitting a purchase offer on your behalf as follows:
* Pricing - Your professional Buyer Broker will not "push" you to purchase a home at your very highest pre-approved purchase level. You may elect to purchase a home priced at the full level of your mortgage loan prequalification amount, or you may prefer to purchase at a level of only 50% to 80% of your purchase ability based on your personal financial plan and goals. You must be totally comfortable whatever your pre-approval purchase level!!
* Location - You may need relatively quick access to the workplace, or to shopping, or parks, or interstate highways, or relatives or to friends. You may want to even locate in the fastest paced, progressive growth area. This is a very personal decision!!
* Schools - The safest home investment is, other than in selected urban areas, typically in consideration of the quality of the schools whether you are a first time buyer, repeat buyer or senior citizen seeking a suitable, quiet, carefree lifestyle. Why does a senior citizen need to consider the quality of schools? The answers - Homes in neighborhoods serviced by National Schools of Excellence or State Schools of Excellence typically have greater appreciation (value increase) rates and sell much more quickly with far less Seller effort than homes in neighborhoods without the highest quality schools.
* Neighborhood Amenities - Optimal amenities may include swimming pool, tennis court or multiple tennis courts, clubhouse, tot lot, walking trail, attractive neighborhood entrance, nature areas or other common areas. Like schools (above), amenities more often than not imply a much greater appreciation rate and a much shorter time on the market to sell as opposed to neighborhoods with limited or no amenities.
* Home Architecture/Style - Another very personal topic!! In Georgia, and in progressive neighborhoods, a more traditional or craftsman style home is always a favorite! These homes may offer 3 or 4 sided brick and/or stone exteriors, 3 or 4 sided frame (hardiplank - cement siding), 2 or 3 car garages (possibly side entry), basement or non-basement configuration, beautiful front elevation with multiple roof gables, and architectural roofing material. Most purchasers prefer 9' minimum ceiling height, 2-story foyer, kitchen overlooking the family room, master bedroom on the main level or additional bedroom on the main level with a private full bath. The choice is yours to make!
* What will your Buyer Agent be focused upon before and after you secure a purchase contract? They will be wanting to fulfill all of your personal priorities in finding "Your Perfect Home". Upon finding the best candidate home for you, then expedience will be needed by both you and your agent to ensure that a competitive home purchaser does not secure a purchase agreement on your 1st choice in a home. Prior to submitting an offer, your buyer agent will secure a copy of the property boundary survey (if available) as well as a seller completed and seller signed Sellers Disclosure Statement for your review. Your agent will also secure sales data for the neighborhood to assist in determining the logical value of the home. By the way, upon submitting a purchase offer, your Buyer Agent will need to provide the seller's agent with your mortgage loan pre-qualification letter and a copy of your earnest money check. Upon reaching a binding sales agreement on the home, your Buyer Broker will commence a process of forwarding all documentation to both your mortgage loan originator for processing as well as the office staff of the closing attorney. At that same time your Buyer Broker will book a time and date acceptable to you for closing the transaction. Next, your Buyer Agent will book an inspection of the home with a Georgia licensed home inspector. You may certainly attend the inspection, and you will be provided a full comprehensive copy of the inspection report. Your agent will draft an Amendment to Remove Inspection Issues outlining corrections you may be requiring the Seller to perform prior to closing. Upon arriving at a mutual agreement relative to the inspection issues, you will receive a copy of that fully executed document. Concurrent to many activities cited above your Buyer Broker will be coordinating with the mortgage lender to ensure that the process is going totally smoothly including but not limited to securing an acceptable appraisal on your home!! You, as Buyer, will have made arrangements with a moving and storage contractor. After closing, guess what? You receive the home keys!! You move in!!!! Congratulations!!
I hope the above information will prove to be beneficial to you, your friends, family and associates. When you are in need of professional real estate services, either buying a home (home, condo, townhome) or selling a home (home, condo, townhome), please contact me anytime!!
Licensed Real Estate Broker
CRS, ABR, e-PRO