Buyer's Guide

A Step-by-Step First Time

Buying a home is one of the most exciting milestones of your life. To prepare yourself for this moment, you need to know what to expect during the process. This step-by-step first time buyer’s guide created by our team will help reduce the stress of buying a home and help you enjoy the journey as much as possible.

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Step 1:

Do you already know where you want to buy? If you want a condo, townhome, or single-family home? Which features do you like and dislike? What’s available on the market now? If you answered no to any of these questions, now is the time to start researching. In addition to looking for homes that interest you, also take note of any changes in asking prices. This could give you valuable insight into housing trends in specific neighborhoods and help you when the time comes to make an offer.

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Step 2: Decide on Your

Notice we said to decide on your budget—not determine how much the mortgage company will give you. In many cases, a mortgage company will pre-approve you for more than you’re comfortable spending, which is why you need to determine the monthly payment you feel comfortable with before talking to a lender. This likely includes doing a full household budget and taking into consideration what changes other than a mortgage payment will occur once you move into your new home. If you’ve lived in an apartment or with roommates, you may overlook new expenses like garbage, water, or HOA fees that could easily blow your budget.

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Step 3: Get

Just because you think you can afford a certain payment every month doesn’t mean the mortgage company will agree. Just as they may approve you for too large of an amount, they may also approve you for a lesser amount or deny you a mortgage altogether. Lack of time at a job, insufficient credit, past bankruptcies, or other financial issues can cause major problems when trying to secure a mortgage. Before you get your heart set on a home, talk to a mortgage professional to find out what amount you can qualify for. This will also be an advantage when you make an offer on a home, as some sellers won’t entertain offers from those who aren’t already prequalified for a loan.

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Step 4: Choose a Real Estate

Can you shop for, look at, and ultimately make an offer on a home without a Real Estate Agent? Technically yes, but why would you when it costs you nothing for agents like us to take much of the stress off your shoulders? Not only will we help identify properties you might be interested in, arrange showings, and ultimately handle the offer process, but we also have knowledge of the market that you don’t possess. Finding the perfect home can be a daunting task, this is where our expertise and wealth of knowledge come into play. Let us show you around some homes that meet your dream home criteria so you can find the one that's right for you.

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Step 5: Find the Right

This should be the most enjoyable step of the entire process (other than moving in!). We will arrange showings of homes you’re interested in that are within your price range. Take notes about what you like and don’t like, and make sure to pay attention to details. Turn light switches on and off, open and close doors, and run the faucets in various rooms. Don’t limit your inspection to the home itself. Make sure to take time to explore the neighborhood and keep an eye on traffic at certain times of the day, the parking situation, and how close it is to necessities like schools and grocery stores.

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Step 6: Make an

Once you have selected the perfect home, work with your agent to craft a fair offer based on the value of comparable homes on the market. Depending on what the home is listed at and whether the current environment is a buyer’s or seller’s market, your offer may be below, at, or even above the asking price. We will be able to help you negotiate if you receive a counteroffer and reach an agreement. At this point, the house will go into escrow.

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Step 7: Have the Home

In most cases, your offer will be contingent on having the home inspected to ensure there is no major structural damage or large repairs needed. We can help you arrange this, and you can schedule it within days of making an offer. If there are no major issues, the process goes to step eight. If there is, you can renegotiate your offer based on what needs to be fixed, or you can withdraw it.

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Step 8: Select Your

Now is the time to go back to the mortgage lender who pre-approved or pre-qualified you and choose your mortgage. You will be presented with various options based on your unique financial situation, including fixed-rate, variable-rate, 15-year, 30-year, or special programs such as VA loans or FHA loans. Work with your mortgage lender to select the option you feel the most comfortable with.

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Step 9: Get a Home

Your lender will have your new home appraised so they have their independent value of it. The appraisal is to ensure that all parties involved are paying a fair price for the house.

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Step 10: Finish

No one looks forward to all the paperwork involved in buying a home, but it’s a necessary part of the process. Fortunately, everything will be arranged by your lender and title company and, when you’re finished, you’ll know you are the legal owner of your new home.

Congratulations!

After signing the final paperwork to complete the purchase, you are now the owner of a new house. It may take a few days for your loan to be funded once the paperwork has been returned to the lender, but once that check is delivered to the seller, you’ll be all set to move into the home of your dreams. 

Testimonials

See why our clients love working with us.
Anna W. & Bob W.

Anna W. & Bob W.

I would very much like to share my experience with Bob Miller as my real estate professional for both buying and selling properties at Reynolds Lake Oconee. First I would like to say that Bob is the consummate professional, and...
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Tina & Kipp P.

Tina & Kipp P.

When looking for an escape away from our primary residence in Atlanta, we decided to find a home in Reynolds Lake Oconee. We connected with Rich Johns and he showed us several available homes but ultimately we decided that a ne...
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The Direnzos

The Direnzos

Chris came into our lives in 2018. He helped us purchase land to build our dream house. He also put us into contact with our builder which worked out awesome. While building we purchased a condo in Reynolds so we had a place to...
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P. Ito

P. Ito

Bob, I cannot thank you enough for selling my home. The attention to detail that you and your team exhibited from start to finish was seamless. Your knowledge of the real estate landscape in Reynolds served me very well and, as...
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Pamela K.

Pamela K.

Rich is extremely knowledgeable about Reynolds Lake Oconee. He helped us find a great condo to purchase and continues to help us explore both properties and existing homes as we think about the future and spending more time in ...
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Jeff & Lauren R.

Jeff & Lauren R.

We used Rich on both the buying and selling end of our home and he truly went above and beyond. Not only is he knowledgeable about the community and home market but he also was helpful, organized, and efficient in many other wa...
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Jim & Linda C.

Jim & Linda C.

We are so in love with the home you helped us find. We told you from the beginning this is where we wanted to be. I think we spent many hours in the back seat of your car (haha). But we’re finally here and couldn’t be happier t...
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M.K.

M.K.

Bob proactively worked with us in our purchase of a lake lot in Horseshoe Bend. He was proactive and highly professional. I highly recommend his services.
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Connor O.

Connor O.

Chris and his team are great! Helped us find the perfect second home for our family! We love where we live!
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Jamie C.

Jamie C.

Chris is knowledgeable, personable, and great to work with!
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Work With

Our network of experienced, service-oriented professionals combines local expertise with vast global connections, the most advanced technology available and unparalleled marketing resources to deliver our clients best-in-class results. Whether buying a home or selling one, work with the best! From Land to Lake Homes...Love Where You Live!™