Buyer's Guide

A Step-by-Step Guide to Buying a Home in GA

Buying a home is one of the most exciting milestones of your life. To prepare yourself for this moment, you need to know what to expect during the process. This step-by-step buyer’s guide created by your Realtor will help reduce the stress of buying a home and help you enjoy the journey.

main image secondary image

Step 1: Research

Do you already know where you want to buy? Do you want a condo, townhome, or single-family home? Which home features do you like and dislike? What’s available on the market now? If you answered no to any of these questions, now is the time to start researching. In addition to looking for homes that interest you, also take note of any changes in asking prices. This could give you valuable insight into housing trends in specific neighborhoods and help you when the time comes to make an offer.

Contact Scott Fine Homes Group or visit our Market Insight webpage for current market information broken down by city and community.

main image secondary image

Step 2: Decide on Your Budget

Notice it reads, "decide on your budget". In many cases, a mortgage company will pre-approve you for more than you’re comfortable spending for housing, which is why you need to determine the monthly payment you feel comfortable with before talking to a lender. This goes for all buyers, whether you are buying a million dollar + home or a first time home buyer. This likely includes doing a full household budget and taking into consideration what changes other than a mortgage payment will occur once you move into your new home. For a first time buyer, you may overlook new expenses like garbage, water, sewer, or HOA fees that could easily blow your budget. For a buyer moving to a larger home, consider cost such as landscaping, property taxes, home maintenance, pool service, heating and cooling, etc.

main image secondary image

Step 3: Get Pre-Qualified

Just because you think you can afford a certain payment every month doesn’t mean the mortgage company will agree. Just as they may approve you for too large of an amount, they may also approve you for a lesser amount or deny you a mortgage altogether. Lack of time at a job, insufficient credit, past bankruptcies, or other financial issues can cause major problems when trying to secure a mortgage. Before you get your heart set on a home, your Scott Fine Homes Group Realtor will want you to talk to a mortgage professional to find out what amount you can qualify for. If you do not have a pre-qualifcation letter from a lender, your offer to purchase a home will not be taken seriously. Speak with one of our lenders to get pre-qualifed.

main image secondary image

Step 4: Choose a Realtor - A Scott Fine Homes Group Realtor

Can you shop, visit, and ultimately make an offer on a home without a real estate agent? Technically yes, but going alone in this highly competitive sellers market will place you at a distinct disadvantage. The most important role our team of Realtors has is to act as your fiduciary. We are there to protect your interest, and only your interest, when we represent you in the purchase of a home. There are dozens of steps before and during the purchase of a home. One misstep or one missed deadline and your risk losing your earnest money and possibly your new home. 

Not only will our team of Realtors help identify properties and communities you might have an interested, arrange home visits, and ultimately handle the offer and negotiating process, but we also have a knowledge of the market and other financial information which the public does not have access. Consider us your "Shepa Guide" in your quest for your dream home.

Our goal is to provide you with the most personalized service that is designed to help you buy your dream home.

Schedule A Consultation
main image secondary image

Step 5: Find the Right Home

This should be the most enjoyable step of the entire process (other than moving in!). Our Realtors will arrange showings of homes and communities you are interested in that are within your desired price range. We love nothing more than taking the time to tour homes that match you and your family's needs. When touring a home together, we are constantly looking for things that might possibly eliminate a home from consideration, i.e. are their signs of water leaks, cracks in the exterior bricks or siding, foundation, sloping floors, poor drainage, termite damage just to name a few.

Do not limit your inspection to the home itself. Make sure to take time to explore the neighborhood and keep an eye on traffic at certain times of the day, the parking situation, and how close it is to necessities like schools and grocery stores.

If schools are a key consideration when purchasing a home, we can add a search filter based on the highest rated schools as ranked by GreatSchools.org.

main image secondary image

Step 6: Make an Offer

Once you have selected the perfect home, now is the time to work with your Scott Fine Homes Group Realtor to craft an offer to "win" the home. In today's seller's market, buyers need to make decision quickly and need a Realtor to guide them through the offer process. In this tough sellers market, our team is winning nearly 70% of multiple offer situations. We know what it takes to win without overextending the financial burden of our clients. 

Realtor-to-Relator relationship is often undervalued when making an offer - particuarily in a multiple offer situation. If the financial terms of all offers are similar, the Realtor will want to work with a Realtor they can trust and will get the seller and buyer to the closing table. Scott Fine Homes Group enjoys an excellent reputation for integrity and protecting our client's interest.

main image secondary image

Step 7: Due Diligence Period - Have the Home Inspected

In most cases, your offer will be contingent on having the home inspected to ensure there is no major structural damage or large repairs needed. We can help you arrange this, and you can schedule it immediately after your offer has been accepted by the seller. With short due diligence periods in today's market, working with a Realtor that has a stable of vendors, like a home inspection company, can mean the difference between getting an inspection done within 24-hours of an accepted offer or no inspection at all.

If there are no major issues, the process goes to step eight. If there is, you can renegotiate your offer based on what needs to be fixed, or you can withdraw it and your finances are protected.

main image secondary image

Step 8: Select Your Loan

Now is the time to go back to the mortgage lender who pre-approved or pre-qualified you and choose your mortgage. You will be presented with various options based on your unique financial situation, including fixed-rate, variable-rate, 15-year, 30-year, or special programs such as VA loans or FHA loans. Work with your mortgage lender to select the option you feel the most comfortable with.

Your accepted offer typically will have a financing contingency period. If you want to change a lender after your offer has been accepted your will have to do so quickly. Your Scott Fine Homes Group Realtor and operations team will guide you through this process.

main image secondary image

Step 9: Get a Home Appraisal - Maybe

If you are a cash buyer you have the option on whether you want to have the home appraised or not.

If you are financing the purchase of your home with a lender, in nearly all cases, you will need the home appraised. An exception to this rule, a lender may waive an appraisal if you are placing a lot of money down on the purchase of your home. The lender may notify you know if a home will need an appraisal at the time they provide you with a pre-approval letter.

If your lender requries a home to be appraised, it is so they have their independent value of it. The appraisal is to ensure that all parties involved are paying a fair price for the house.

In a likelihood, your accept offer has an appraisal contingency period that needs to be managed closely by your Scott Fine Homes Group Realtor and operations team. 

main image secondary image

Step 10: Finish Paperwork

If you are paying cash for a home, there is very little paperwork and closing take can less than three weeks from the time you have an accepted offer.

If you are financing the purchase of your new home, no one looks forward to all the paperwork involved in buying a home, but it’s a necessary part of the process. Fortunately, everything will be arranged by your lender and closing attorney.

When you have signed all the paperwork at the closing attorney's office, due to the due diligence of your Scott Fine Home Group team and our business partners, you will know you are the legal owner of your new home.

WELCOME HOME!

Congratulations!

After signing the final paperwork to complete the purchase, you are now the owner of a new house. All that is left for you to do is move into the home of your dreams. 

My Testimonials

See why our clients love working with Scott Fine Homes Group at Compass.

C

Carmen A.

One of the most important decisions in life is that of buying a home. Equally as important is the agent you decide to work with. For us, our decision to work with Scott was the best decision we have ever made. Scott is extremel...
Read More

B

Buyer

Scott was very professional and knowledgeable with what we were trying to find in our home. He guided us the areas that he thought would be a fit for us. When we found a home that we liked Scott was very helpful with tips and t...
Read More

W

Wylie B.

Scott Einfeldt did an excellent job in listing my home and finding a buyer. My home sale just closed and I very much appreciate the work that Scott did for me in selling it, and I highly recommend him to someone choosing an age...
Read More

B

Buyer & Seller

Knowledgeable, market-aggressive, reliable, thoughtful, responsive, and empathetic: Scott treated my home and investment as if it were his own. He is meticulous and thorough. He does not cut corners. My experience with buying a...
Read More

R

Robert C.

Scott was my agent in the sale of my Lawrenceville, Georgia home. From the very beginning right through closing, Scott has gone beyond my expectations for a real estate agent. This is the fourth house I have sold and by far, Sc...
Read More

D

Dr. Zakiya & Billy R.

We are delighted to have the chance to write a positive review for Scott Einfeldt. Scott is an outstanding, experienced real estate agent. Over the last few months, he helped us with the purchase of our dream home. Immediately,...
Read More

A

Amy B.

Scott is a wonderful partner as a top-notch real estate advisor. My husband and I were crossing the chasm of a giant decision to not only downsize but also embark on a major life change to move from our suburban life to in-town...
Read More

D

David R.

I'm a first-time home buyer, and foreign to this country. When Scott contacted me, I immediately felt comfortable talking to him. He was very professional in explaining in detail what goes on in buying a home, gave me good reco...
Read More

H

Heather E.

I met Scott while visiting an open house he happened to be facilitating for another customer. Because of his professionalism and genuinely kind demeanor, I considered Scott as a candidate to help me find a home. I'm so glad I d...
Read More

C

Chad & Robert K.

We engaged Scott Einfeldt to list and sell our home and we found that Scott brought a very effective combination of sales and marketing skills, with business acumen. Scott guided us through the entire process, from bringing in ...
Read More

M

Maria & Geoff S.

Scott Einfeldt and I worked together for several years at an international consulting company. Scott handled the sales team and I lead the marketing organization. I found Scott to be creative and highly focused on finding new a...
Read More

M

Mari B.

We have used Larian to sell and buy two homes. She was a passionate representative who was extremely accessible whenever we needed her. She was a dedicated and hard worker who went above and beyond at all times in ensuring that...
Read More

G

George P.

I witnessed Scott's professionalism and experience when he was the listing broker for my daughter's condo and the selling broker for her current home purchase. So, it was natural that I would choose to work with him on the rece...
Read More

S

Santiago D.

Scott is fantastic! We have nothing but praise for Scott Einfeldt. We met by chance when he was showing a house for a seller and his friendliness and respect won us over, he quickly became our go-to Realtor®. He was absolutely ...
Read More

B

Buyer

My experience with Scott was excellent we went out twice I believe and he showed me about 12 homes. We tried to get the owner on the first home we choose but they didn't want to come down to the appraised price so I got worried...
Read More

D

Dan R.

As a friend and former colleague I probably initially hired Scott as a favor. Having sold a number of homes myself in the past I always saw the agent role as administrative and difficult to impress. But when he came to me durin...
Read More

S

Seller

Scott Einfeldt was chosen as the Realtor® to sell the house and property next door to my primary residence. I had owned the house for 35 years and spent over $450,000 plus 3 years in renovation to put this unique and desirable ...
Read More

V

Vadim B.

Scott is everything you'd want in a real estate agent. He is experienced, knowledgeable, thorough, and always acts in the best interest of his clients. As a first-time homebuyer, I had a lot of questions, but Scott was there fo...
Read More

B

Buyer

Scott is an amazing Real Estate Agent that my fiancé and I had the pleasure of meeting and working with him on our property purchase transaction in the Brookhaven Georgia area. He always went the extra mile to meet our expectat...
Read More

B

Buyer

Scott helped us out for six months and went and viewed more houses with us than I can count. He was helpful, always prepared, and well-informed about the homes we visited. His advice showed he cared and knew what things to look...
Read More

Work With Us

Scott Fine Homes Group at Compass has built our success on a reputation providing white glove service to every client at every price point.