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How long does the buying process take?

This is one of the most often asked questions from buyers. The problem is, there is no simple answer. Everyone’s journey is different.

But, some general guidelines are:

Strengthening Credit/Saving for Down Payment: Up to 1 year.

Finding the Right Home: 1-2 months.

Binding Agreement to Closing Date: 30-45 days.

For more details on how long the buying process takes, check out my blog post here.

What’s the difference in an appraisal and an inspection?

Buyers and sellers often get the home appraisal and the home inspection mixed up. Both involve an expert visiting the home and making and giving their professional opinion. However, a home appraisal and home inspection are different professions, just as the appraisal and inspection serve very different purposes.

The primary purpose of a home appraisal is to determine the market value of the home. The appraiser will do a site visit at the home, measure square footage, research comparables, and submit an appraisal report with an opinion of value. The appraisal report will be used by the buyer’s lender to determine whether to approve financing to a buyer. If the contract price exceeds the appraised value, the lender won’t approve financing for the contract amount.

The purpose of a home inspector’s visit is to evaluate the home and look for defects, wear and tear, damage, hazards, and other issues that could affect the buyer’s investment. An inspector will examine all areas of the home and will test systems (like air conditioners and furnaces) and appliances. The inspector is hired by the buyer to protect the buyer’s interests.

Though very different, both the appraiser and the inspector play an important role in the homebuying process, and they can give buyers the confidence that they are making the right decision to buy or walk away from a home.

When I’m searching for properties online, what does “contingent” mean? What does “pending” mean?

These terms both mean that a property is under contract. Under contract means that a seller has accepted an offer from a buyer to purchaser their property. Contingent means that some condition must be met before the sale can be finalized. Typical contingencies include due diligence, financing, and appraisal. A deal that is truly pending means that all contingencies have been lifted and the property is just waiting to close.

Who pays the agent’s fees?

In Georgia, in a typical real estate transaction, it is customary for the seller to pay all real estate commissions.

Who pays the closing costs?

In Georgia, in a typical real estate transaction, the buyer is responsible for all attorneys fees, title fees, government recording fees, transfer taxes on the sale, and lender fees. However, it is not uncommon for a buyer to request during negotiations that the seller to contribute money towards these closing costs.

I am interested in foreclosures. How can I find out more about those?

Many foreclosed properties that are for sale are marketed in the same manner as a traditional sale. Many are listed in the MLS and you may not even know they are a foreclosure until you check the tax records and see that they are lender-owned. An important thing to note when viewing properties online: on many sites, when you see a “foreclosure” you are likely seeing properties that are going to auction or for sale on the courthouse steps. You can often find details on those properties but most must be purchased for all cash, as-is, and usually with no right to inspect or even view the property. In cases where these homes do not sell at auction, the banks will then list the property with an agent in a traditional manner.

What is due diligence?

This is the period in which the buyer must do their homework and make a final decision on if they want to purchase the property or not. Some things we advise our buyer to do during due diligence are research the area, neighborhood, schools, and crime activity. Additionally, this is the time period in which the buyer will conduct their home inspection and any other inspections on the property they may want to do.