By BROOKE GROSENICK
With the inventory for houses being low the past couple of years, buying a house can become a more drawn out process. Laurie Cass has been a real estate agent in the Atlanta area since 1997. She currently works for Remax Metro Atlanta. She has advised many first time homebuyers and former homebuyers on the process of buying a house.
On average it can take about three months to find a house with another four to six weeks to close on it. Sometimes it may take buyers a few years to find a house they like because they may be set on a specific neighborhood or school district and nothing is available.
Beginning steps of home buying
Buying a home can be a scary process for first time buyers. The main steps to buy a home is to get preapproved by a lender to make sure the buyer can afford a house and get an idea of how much money they can spend. Buyers should also determine if they want a condo or a stand-alone structure and then decide what the price point is and what neighborhood they would like to be in.
Once the lender has preapproved a buyer, the buyer should go ahead and contact a real estate agent. The agent will help educate the buyer on neighborhoods and prices; then together they will find houses to look at.
Benefits of hiring a real estate agent
There are many benefits to hiring a real estate agent as opposed to looking for a house by oneself.
“They really try to represent you in a transaction, much like an attorney would represent you in a transaction.” Cass said, “We look out for your best interests. We give you the correct information when you’re trying to purchase a home. We help you through the inspection process, the loan approval, the appraisal.”
There are many different times through the buying process where the buyer needs to be guided and the real estate agent will be there to make sure everything is done correctly, in a timely manner and beneficial for everyone.
When you find a house you like
Once a person has their mind set on a house, there are a couple steps to making sure the house is up to one’s expectations and that they will not be buying the house and fixing it up throughout the years.
Property inspections are a great investment, Cass said, and the inspection will inform the buyer on things like how old the systems are, how the electrical and plumbing is holding up and how old the roof is. Property inspections are not required, but many real estate agents suggest investing the money in them upfront.
There are other inspections that can also be done like termite inspection and radon inspections, but are not as routine.
“Doing an inspection to a home is the best way for you to find out what it’s going to cost you over the next five-10 years just to maintain the home.” Cass said.
Selling a house
Bryant Gresham is a Remax Metro Atlanta real estate agent who has helped sell many houses in his career. Selling a house can be hard for some people because it’s hard for them to separate themselves from their property, Gresham said. Most people believe their house is the best out there, but that can hinder them in the selling process. Gresham provides 10 ways you can make your property more sellable to buyers:
· Take a look at your property like you’re a buyer, invite a friend in to tell you some issues you may have become accustomed to
· Have a professional clean the whole house
· Repair minor inexpensive issues – touch up paint, adjust floor tiles, fix loose doors, etc.
· Buy fresh flowers before showing the house
· De-clutter closets, storage, basements; people need to be able to walk through the house and see the space
· Take some pictures off the wall, but don’t make it look completely impersonalized
· Make the outside of your home appealing – Mow, get rid of dying plants, paint the mailbox, rake the leaves, etc.
· Have the heating and air serviced
· If the house is empty, have the house staged with furniture
· Take some furniture out of the house if the room feels cramped