Updated: Nov 16, 2020
For most home buyers—and first-time buyers, in particular, the process of buying a home especially in Georgia can be a stressful procedure. On average, you may end up spending around 4-6 months from the time you start searching to actually moving in. And if there are hiccups along the line, then the entire process can even take longer to finalize.
Knowing the rough timeline of what to expect when buying your first or tenth home in Atlanta can help make the entire process smoother and less worrisome. In this article, you will learn about a typical home buying timeline in Georgia.
1. Find a Local Real Estate Agent (1-2 weeks)
While it is very possible to hire a real estate agent within 24 hours, it is smarter to take your time when searching for a real estate agent. Do some researches, ask friends and family for recommendations, and interview your potential agents to see if they are the right fit for you. Local real estate companies like Georgia Estate can guide you through your entire home buying and selling process.
CHECK OUT: How to Choose Your Ideal Real Estate Agent
2. Get Pre-Approved (1-2 weeks)
Getting pre-approved or a pre-approval letter from a credible lender is usually one of the added requirements by most real estate agents and sellers. Typically, you should be able to secure a mortgage pre-approval letter from a lender within 1-5 business days if your finances are excellent. However, you should reach out to multiple lenders to find the best loan terms.
3. Create Your Home Buying Needs and Start the Search (3-5 Days)
Create a list of the things you actually need in a house. Your list could include a list of neighborhoods (location), number of rooms, and house type. These lists will make it easy for you to search for the right house that fits your needs and budget. More importantly, you should discuss your buying priorities with your agent before the start of the search process.
4. Attend House Openings (1 week - 4 months)
At this point, your real estate agent will start setting up house viewing meetings with sellers of the homes you are interested in. Typically, the timing of this process can vary depending on the situation of the Atlanta market. In some real estate market, you should be able to visit some homes, present an offer that gets accepted that same day. However, in other markets, you may end up spending weeks and months shopping for the right home.
5. Make an Offer and Negotiate (3-5 Days)
When you find the home that fits your potential home criteria, your real estate agent will help you draw up an offer. You will have to wait for the seller to either accept decline or open a negotiation with you. This stage can be quick in a buyer market, but in a seller market, it may take extra weeks to get your offer accepted.
6. Get Your Mortgage Approved (1-2 Months)
If you have been pre-approved for a mortgage, now is the time for you and your agent to start gathering the relevant documents for your chosen lender to start the underwriting process. Depending on your lender and the loan type, you may need to present your credit report, employment and income history, and other relevant information. This is usually the start of the closing process.
7. Wait for the Appraisal (1-2 weeks)
While the underwriting process is underway, your lender will hire a professional appraisal to evaluate the property in question and find out its value. The whole appraisal process is usually scheduled within a week and may take up to three days for the result to get to your lender.
During the appraisal process, you do not have to do anything but wait for a result that shows that the appraisal value is higher than your offer price. If not, your lender may request that you increase your downpayment.
8. Do a Home Inspection (1-3 weeks)
A home inspection is quite different from a home appraisal. A home inspection helps you identify if there are any underlying issues with the property you intend to purchase. Typically, you have around 10-12 days to conduct all forms of inspections on the property.
Depending on the number of inspections conducted, it may take between 24 hours to 72 hours to receive the report. Based on the outcome of the inspection, you may decide to back out of the purchase or renegotiate for a better deal that allows you to cover the repairs.
9. Close on Your New House (1 Day)
This is the final phase of your home buying journey. At this point, you have just one last hurdle to closing on the purchase of your new home. On the closing day which is held at the title or escrow company, you will need to hand in your downpayment, closing costs, and sign several papers before the property title is transferred to you. Once this is done, you are now a homeowner in Atlanta.
When buying a home in Atlanta, you should endeavor to hire a local real estate company to help you with the buying process. Working with a local real estate agent will help you save money, time, and get you the best property deal.