Article Written By Luisa Shirley
With the lovely weather, big-city culture, and small-yet-distinct neighborhoods, what’s not to love about Atlanta, Georgia? If you’re looking to buy a home in this unique city, we’re not surprised — but buying a home is no small feat. As we all know, it pays to be informed before making any major decisions, as the wrong one could turn out to be very costly in the long run. That said, we’re going to outline what you need to know before buying a house in Atlanta so that you can come into the housing market fully prepared to buy the house of your dreams.
Know what you want and need.
When looking at houses, our writer Shawn Breyer emphasizes that it’s important to ask yourself if your potential house not only has what you want but if it can meet your short and long-term needs as well. While you could have the perfect backyard, it won’t mean much if you’re planning to have a family and there aren’t enough bedrooms in the home itself. Think about your long-term plans and ask yourself if the house can accommodate them, and consider other future changes you might want as well. After all, you may love the house today, but as life goes on, it’s important to make sure your future self will love it, too.
Choose the right neighborhood.
Based on what you want or need, conduct your research on the neighborhood. Work with a realtor to find out which area is best for you, as even if you’ve heard stories from family or friends, doing your own research is still better. While some may prefer up-and-coming neighborhoods, if you decide you want to start a family in the future, an area with solid school systems and nearby establishments may be better for you.
Shop around for good mortgage rates.
The right mortgage rate is what determines the monthly payments you’ll be covering — making it especially important to find what’s best for you not just in terms of interest rates, but other fees, too. Marcus notes that these fees can include loan origination fees and late fees, which could affect your overall cost of borrowing or the amount of money you receive. Indeed, interest rates aren’t everything, as you could have a low-interest rate but high fees to pay, which would make the overall cost of borrowing the same as another loan with a higher interest rate. Thus, when looking at mortgage rates, Forbes’ Aly Yale recommends looking at all the fees, as a lower interest rate could have high closing costs. Moreover, consider hiring a broker to help you out.
Set up your budget.
After shopping around for a mortgage, you’ll also get to find out how much of a budget you have for your house, and with that, you’ll finally be able to determine your overall budget. This is vital, as things can stack up pretty quickly as you buy the house. Aside from closing costs, the types of fees that you’ll pay for during closing include recurring costs, such as property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and prepaid loan interest, and title insurance. Along with these are one-time costs such as inspection, appraisal, and application fees. That said, give yourself a hefty amount of extra money, as CNBC cites that closing fees alone can be anywhere from 2% to 7% of the total cost of your home.
Do not skip a home inspection.
While it may seem tempting to speed up the process of buying your dream home, home inspections are a crucial part of the purchasing process. You get to find out everything you need to know about the house — and what the seller won’t tell you. This includes the repairs that have to be done, along with what the overall condition of the house is. Not only does this keep you informed, but it can also give you negotiating power if there are expensive repairs that you’ll have to shoulder (should you make an offer!).