Cindy Shaft is a seasoned real estate agent who can provide common sense consulting for anyone seeking to buy a home in north Atlanta. Specifically, this includes sharing her personal knowledge of the quality of neighborhoods, the quality of local schools, work commute times in metro Atlanta, and many other important details that affect personal satisfaction associated with buying a home. Knowing how the location of your home may affect your post-sale happiness is important.
Cindy Shaft values your total satisfaction from your home purchase.
Get Informed Before You Buy A Home
As a lifelong resident of the Atlanta area, and an East Cobb resident, Cindy knows the north Atlanta area. North Atlanta is one of the most rapidly growing areas in the United States which bodes well for real estate values – if you are well informed. Knowledge of future major highway projects, area crime rates and trends, the “personality” of metro counties.
STEPS TO BUYING A HOME 2015
Making the decision to buy a home is exciting, but if you’re unfamiliar with the process, it can also seem a bit intimidating. Preparing yourself for the purchase and finding the right home can both take time. One of the keys to making the home-buying process easier and more understandable is planning.
Before you even begin to look at houses
- Get your credit in order.Check your credit report, make sure it’s accurate and do what you can to improve your credit score. A higher score will make it easier to get a mortgage at a good interest rate. You can get your credit report free at AnnualCreditReport.com and find tips to help protect and improve your credit score.
- Know what you can afford.Lenders want to see that you will be able to afford your current monthly debt obligations (like car payments and credit cards) and your new mortgage and home ownership costs. A common rule of thumb is the 28/36 rule. Your monthly housing payments (including your mortgage, insurance, and property taxes) should not exceed 28 percent of your gross monthly income and your total debt should not exceed 36 percent of your gross monthly income.
- Be prepared with your down payment.A down-payment is the amount of money that you put down in cash. Some lenders like to see as much as 20 percent of the home’s price as a down payment. If your down payment is less than 20 percent of the home’s price, you may be required to buy private mortgage insurance (PMI), which will increase your non-mortgage housing expense.
- Get pre-qualified for a loan.Shop around with national and local lenders and get pre-approved for a mortgage up to a specified amount. This will give you a good idea of the price range to stay in, and will put you in a stronger bargaining position for negotiating home sale price and terms.
Become familiar with the language of mortgages
- A mortgageis an amount that a lender provides in exchange for a lien on the property. The mortgage is paid back in monthly installments for a specified term, or number of years (10, 15, 30, and 40). There are fixed-rate mortgages, where the interest rate stays the same for the term of the loan; and adjustable-rate mortgages, which start out at a lower interest rate and increase after a specified number of years.
- Settlement or closingis the time when the transfer of property is completed. There are costs associated with closing which may include attorney’s fees, title search fees, and loan origination fees among others.
- Pointsare a percentage of the loan amount that you may pay to get a lower interest rate. For instance, on a $100,000 mortgage, one point equals $1,000. If you choose to pay one or two points at closing, might get a lower interest rate. Alternatively, the lender might pay points to reduce your closing costs in exchange for a higher interest rate.
Understanding the costs
- Fees and closing costs.In addition to the down payment, make sure you’ve got enough to cover fees and closing costs. These may include the real estate fees, appraisal fee, loan fees, attorney’s fees, inspection fees, and the cost of a title search, which can easily add up to more than $10,000—and often run to five percent of the mortgage amount.
- Earnest money.Also called a good-faith deposit, a check for usually 1 percent to 10 percent of the purchase price is intended to show the sellers that you are a serious buyer. The deposit is put into an escrow account. The seller will get money once the deal has closed—you’ll get the money back only if you or the home failed any of the contingency clauses.
- Homeowner’s Insurance.Most lenders require that you have homeowner’s insurance in place before they’ll approve your loan.
Closing the deal
- Come to an agreement with the seller on price and terms—what is included in the sale, when the transaction will be completed (“settlement date”), and whether there are any contingencies tied to the deal, like the sale of your existing home and a satisfactory home inspection.