Buying a home can be stressful and sometimes overwhelming. After all, it's not something most people do everyday. Here are some tips that should help.
- Know your price limit. Get pre-approved with a local and reputable lender. Ask your agent for a referral. Be comfortable with what that number means in terms of payment and include estimated taxes. If you plan to buy in a neighborhood that has HOA dues (Home Owner Association), be sure to factor that in.
- Make a list of your "Must Haves" and "Nice to Haves". If you are buying a home with someone else, make sure you are on the same page. Discuss it with each other. Come to an agreement and then share that list with your Real Estate Agent. Do you really need 5 bedrooms, or is 4 bedrooms and a bonus room for an office what you are looking for? Do you entertain and like your kitchen open with a view to the family room or is that too distracting for the chef in you and you want a more closed space? Is the basement necessary or will a bonus space for a recreation room work for you? Is a yard with potential for a garden a big deal? If so, you'll want to make sure the yard gets great sun light. Homes are very individual. Share with your real estate agent how you live.
- Use Technology to help. Ask your real estate agent set up an Automated Search for you that will send you listings via e-mail that fit your criteria as soon as they hit the market. Many systems have built in mapping and where you can classify the homes into likes, possibilities and dislikes folders. You can enter notes and your agent can do the same. It's a great way to keep the homes organized.
- There are lots of homes to view online. Once you see one that you are interested in, Google Earth it. Trulia has this feature built in under the map tab. You can type in the address of the home you want to see. Then click the "map" tab and "hybrid view" and zoom in. You'll be able to see what it backs up to or if it's convenient enough for your commute to work. Map it too. Is it the right location for schools, work and the activities you enjoy?
- Do a drive by. Why drive by the home before calling your agent to set up an appointment to view it? You may pull up to it and not like the neighborhood, the slope of the yard, the neighboring homes. Or you may absolutely love it and move it to the top of your must see list! Driving by it also gives you a chance to check out the neighborhood. What's it like when school gets out or on the weekends? Stop and talk to the neighbors while they are out in the yard. It's a great way to get the inside scoop on the neighborhood.
I hope these tips make your home buying experience a little easier and much more fun!
If you are thinking of buying or selling a home in and around Atlanta, GA, contact Jen Bowman, Realtor and Broker Associate with Success Realty. www.JenBowman.com 404-456-5024
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Realtor Jen Bowman is a Broker Associate licensed with teams in Georgia and Florida. She has been featured on HGTV's My First Place, HGTV's Buying and Selling 20 Best Kept Secrets, acted as a consultant for HGTV's Property Virgins and been featured in Inman News - where real estate and technology connect. Jen is a Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist and a member of Keller Williams Realty Luxury Home Division, catering to luxury home buyers and sellers.
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