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First Steps to Buying a Home

Buying a home is one of the largest investments you will ever make. This process can often be frustrating, overwhelming, time consuming, exhilarating, and buyers quickly learn about market pricing, home inspections, appraisals and mortgages. Lindsay is committed to ensuring that the process is smooth for her clients and that she exceeds their expectations. Her approach focuses on the following Commitment to Clients Success Factors, including:

  • 1. Understanding the lifestyle you would like to have in your new home
  • 2. Assessing your needs and wants in your home search
  • 3. Respecting your time
  • 4. Proactively monitoring the market for listed properties and potential unlisted opportunities
  • 5. Educating you on the home buying process and your rights at every step of the way
  • 6. Negotiating the lowest price with most favorable terms

As a buyer, it is important for you to thoughtfully consider the following steps as you contemplate home ownership and/or begin to navigate through the home buying process. Having a plan and following the below steps can help save time and money.

  • 1. Assess your financial situation
  • 2. Identify your needs vs. wants
  • 3. Get to know neighborhoods and the local market
  • 4. Find a home
  • 5. Understand the due diligence and closing process

Assess Your Financial Situation

Understand your credit
If you suspect that your credit history has some blemishes that could cause problems in obtaining financing, you should request a credit report from at least one of the following three credit bureaus:

Determine your acceptable debt load
Determine how much your mortgage, taxes and insurance can be in relation to your monthly spending, income and overall comfort level. A lender typically uses the 28% formula (your monthly mortgage can't exceed 28% of your monthly income) in approving your loan.

Get pre-approved for a loan
Loan pre-qualification is different from loan pre-approval. Pre-qualification identifies how much you can afford to pay for a house by just examining your income, your debt, your available cash. On the other hand, pre-approval is a more involved process and requires obtaining a commitment letter from a lender saying they have examined the detailed information you have provided them and you are pre-approved for a loan from a specific lending institution for a certain amount. A Buyer with a pre-approval letter is more likely to look like a serious buyer than one without, which can significantly help in multiple offer situations.

Understand the different types of loans available
There are numerous types of loans available; however, it is important to understand which type best suits your lifestyle. Lindsay will work with you and a mortgage broker to educate you on the loan option that works with your needs and goals.


Identify Your Needs Vs. Wants

Generate two lists – one with must haves (Needs) and another list with things that you would like to have, but are not necessary (Wants). Establishing and prioritizing Needs vs. Wants criteria early on will save significant time.

By making an objective "Need List", your house search will stay focused, you will avoid detours looking at houses that do not meet the criteria and you will avoid rushing into buying a house that might not have the needed amenities.


Get To Know Neighborhoods and the Local Market

Spend some time on the internet and driving around in your car familiarizing yourself with different neighborhoods and the type of houses that you might be interested in. This will make it easier for you to communicate your housing and neighborhood preferences to Lindsay. Also, download Lindsay's Free Mobile App so you can not only find what homes are for sale in those areas, but also so you can use the Drive Time feature to find out how long it would take you to get to your chosen locations; like Work, your relatives homes, or your children's schools.

Lindsay will discuss with you and provide you with information to help you to gain a better understanding of various neighborhoods from an asthetic, location and financial (looking at values and greatest appreciation potential) perspective.


Find a Home

Lindsay understands that finding the perfect house could take one month or even one year. You and Lindsay will develop a customized search and notification plan that accommodates the speed with which you want to handle the process. Lindsay utilizes the numerous tools available through Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties to evaluate market trends. Additionally, she uses her community "know how" to apprise you of homes that are not even listed on the FMLS or MLS. Lindsay goes above and beyond in ensuring that your time is not wasted. These efforts often include previewing properties to create photo portfolios online and draft floor plans.


Understand the Due Diligence and Closing Process

Lindsay will use both her contract interpretation and complex negotiation experience as a commercial real estate lawyer to help you understand your rights at every step of the process. Careful review of the Seller's Property Disclosures and comparable market analysis showing what recent comparable properties have sold for are critical steps taken before submitting an offer.

Once an offer is submitted and accepted (likely following multiple rounds of counter-offers), the due diligence period begins. During this period, a home inspection, which is a thorough and systematic evaluation of the condition of the property, is conducted. Lindsay will go over the inspection report with you and help you assess any potential defects in the property as identified in the inspection report. She will support you in deciding which requests for repair, if any, are standard, not standard and inappropriate (deal breakers). By having a real estate agent with strong negotiation skills, you could save lots of money by successfully negotiating for credits and/or repairs to be done by the Seller.

If you are obtaining financing, your lender will have a home appraisal done during the due diligence period. An appraisal is done to ensure that the lender is not loaning you money in excess of what the property is worth.

In order to make the buying process seamless, efficient and enjoyable for you, Lindsay will keep you in the loop at every step of the way by making you aware of any contingencies (such as financing or appraisal contingencies) that are met.

Lindsay will follow the lender's attorney's checklist to ensure that all required information is provided to the attorney handling the Closing. The Closing should go smoothly and you will finally own your piece of heaven.