I am a Savannah native and local real-estate expert in Bryan County (particularly in Richmond Hill, Georgia). One of the aspects about my job that brings me the biggest joy is when I am able to connect with buyers and guide them through the process of buying a home. Every single journey is like a private treasure hunt that we go on together. We never know when we first begin just where the journey will take us. But we will know when we find the right one. I have prepared a simple outline for you to help take you through the basic steps of buying a home.
Calculating Your Budget
There has been a big misconception about loans ever since the 2008 crisis. Unfortunately, there still seems to be a lot of buyers who are operating under the misconception that they need to put down 20 percent of the purchase price to qualify for a loan. Buyers should know that it is still possible to buy homes with just 3.5 – 5 percent down. If you qualify for a VA loan, you can still get into a home with no down payment.
Other factors that you should consider when calculating how much house you can afford might include items such as: annual HOA fees and maintenance; homeowner’s insurance quotes; annual lawn maintenance costs; real estate taxes; estimated utilities; and budgeting for some new furnishings to decorate your new home.
Selecting a Neighborhood and Deciding on Individual Style Characteristics
Now is the time to sit down and consider what you need in a home versus what your wish list items are. Narrowing down your absolutes and communicating them to me will help me expedite the buying process for you. For instance, if I know you are only interested in brick, ranch style homes with finished basements, I will be able to narrow my focus tremendously! Are there styles or features that are deal-breakers for you? I want to know all about what you love about a home and why you love it. Conversely, I also want to know all about those home features that drive you absolutely crazy!
Many buyers might think they know what they want but will find themselves falling in love with a home that is completely different from what they outlined on paper! Still, I think it is a worthwhile exercise to consider your lifestyle preferences in the beginning before you start shopping. For instance, if you are a busy professional, a brand new home that will require very little initial maintenance may be the best way to go. If you are a hands-on person who likes the idea of fixing up a home, an older property may be a match in giving you the best deal of your life! Think about the size of your family.
Do you need room to grow or are you down-sizing? Does a neighborhood with tons of amenities and social activities appeal to you, or would you rather find a stand-alone home on a quiet street? Do you need a large fenced-in yard or will you be happy with an open back yard? As a Richmond Hill real-estate expert, I can also answer all of your intangible questions about the best local gyms, schools, restaurants, and recreation opportunities nearby.
What are the actual technical steps and time frame for the buying process?
Once we find the one, we will make an offer to the seller. The seller may accept the first offer, but more likely than not, we will enter into a negotiation stage. Once we have agreed on terms, the next step is to complete a purchase agreement and remit earnest money (this is also commonly referred to as opening escrow). Ideally, you have already been prequalified through a lender and now the lender will arrange for an appraisal and research the home’s title history.
Meanwhile, we need to hire a home inspector to advise us if there are any major issues we need the seller to address before closing. If we have repairs to address, we will enter into another negotiation stage with the seller. Provided that we are able to successfully negotiate once more, we will move on to closing the home purchase. I am often asked how long the process will take. I always want to preface my answer by telling my clients that every case is different, but the ballpark answer is typically 30 to 45 days from completing the purchase agreement.
I recognize that buying a home is probably one of the biggest financial decisions you will ever make. I look forward to working with you and helping you find the right home. Please call (912-441-3053) or email me today to discuss what you are looking for in a new home!