Buying a home for the first time or even the fifth or sixth time can be a daunting experience.
Real Estate laws, rules and regulations are constantly changing. Regardless of how savvy you are, if you didn’t buy a home yesterday – you may soon feel like you’ve never purchased a home before. Compound this with the task of finding a responsive Realtor. I’m not talking about just any Realtor, but rather a Realtor who is genuinely focused on your best-interests and schedule. Someone who exudes honesty and integrity and is willing and able to service your needs efficiently and effectively. If I’m fortunate enough to earn your business, over time we will get to know each other very well. My goal is to not only find you and your family your ideal home, but to guide and council you throughout the process.
I truly want your real estate experience to be a pleasant one. I can identify well with your moving and relocation experience. I’ve relocated several times myself from big moves to smaller ones and from Ohio to Massachusetts to Georgia. I’ve now lived and worked in the Atlanta metro area for 25 years. I know the area very well. If you’re conflicted about where you want to live, I can offer advice based on your unique search criteria and “needs and wants” list as well as commute and lifestyle requirements.
Whether you’re planning to relocate from out of state to the Atlanta metro area, a first-time home-buyer or ready for your second, third or even fourth home, I look forward to assisting you and your family when the time is right for you!
If you’d like a copy of my new book, How to Navigate the Home Buying Process, please click here for your FREE copy.
Finally, use my HOME SEARCH tool on this website to start your search process now! As always, thanks for the opportunity to be of service. I’m looking forward to meeting you and guiding you throughout the process when you’re ready to get started! I’m easily reachable at 404-660-2481.
FAQ for Buyers
This is a complicated question. While there is a ton of information and listings on the internet on sites like Zillow, Trulia Redfin, Realtor.com and others, nothing beats the local knowledge and connections that agents have with what is going on in the marketplace. So, getting in your agent’s car, and going to view properties is still very important! That beats you driving around to open houses and then calling your agent to ask questions. The multiple listing services – First Multiple Listing Service (FMLS) and Georgia MLS (GA-MLS) are still the authority on real estate data. FMLS and GA-MLS are both extremely powerful, the most accurate and offer the most complete data available for searching for your next home. Additionally, the MLS’s offer your agent the most complete market data including properties pending and a history of SOLD property data too. Your agent can set up automatic notification searches for you of properties that specifically match your search criteria. Just ask. One thing’s for sure. You can’t make an informed decision until you’ve seen and visited the good, the bad and the ugly in your price range.
When you sign a contract with a Seller, you’ll also pay a deposit called earnest money. Depending on the purchase price of the house you intend to buy, your earnest money is typically 1% of the purchase price and generally ranges between $500 to $5,000 or more. This payment illustrates that you’re serious about wanting to purchase the house. The earnest money is applied toward the purchase price assuming the deal closes. The higher your earnest money, the more attractive you are as a potential buyer. But, it also comes with risks. You guessed it. You might lose your earnest money deposit if you waive all your contingencies before your due diligence period expires.
In your effort to find a competent and experienced real estate agent, you’ll want to interview several candidates and ask the following questions:
- Is the Agent a Full-Time Realtor?
Make sure the agent works in the field for a reputable broker on a full-time basis. Otherwise, he or she may not be up to date on the fast-changing information and skills required for the job and to ultimately get you to the closing table on time.
- Is the Agent Experienced?
Be sure the agent has been doing the type of work you will need him or her to do for at least a few years. For example, if you are looking for a modest single-family home in the suburbs, make sure the agent has not spent the last five years specializing in working with rentals or mansions.
- Does the Agent Listen and Communicate Clearly?
The agent must be able to understand your priorities in purchasing a home and to tell you what you need to know about a home or homes. For instance, if you tell the agent repeatedly that you must have hard wood floors and a tree-lined neighborhood, and he or she persists in showing you linoleum floors on crowded streets, then you might need a new agent.
- Is the Agent Willing to Negotiate on Your Behalf?
Buying a home requires negotiating skills. Successful negotiations can often save you tens of thousands of dollars. A good agent will remind you that if you decide you MUST have a certain house, you have already lost your negotiating power. If you low-ball a seller and they don’t respond to your offer, it’s time to walk from the deal. You need to be willing to walk away from a deal when the seller doesn’t respond. By returning with a second offer you show your cards to the seller and they then know you’ll pay full price.
- Select an Agent with the Right Credentials – Ask: What Are Your Credentials?
Doctors and lawyers have specialties and so do real estate agents, many of whom get additional training in specific areas of expertise. The alphabet soup after an agent’s name can indicated that the agent has taken classes in a certain area of real estate sales. When working with buyers some of the designations include:
CRS (Certified Residential Specialist): Completed additional training in handling residential real estate.
ABR (Accredited Buyer Representative): Completed additional education in representing buyers in transactions.
SRES (Senior Real Estate Specialist): Completed training aimed at helping buyers and sellers in the 50-plus age range.
Realtor vs Real Estate Agent: It’s important to know not all real estate agents are Realtors. If an agent has any of the above certifications or has an “R” for Realtor after their name they are a Realtor and typically in good standing with the local, state and national real estate associations. If the agent has no certifications and does not call themselves “Realtor”, they typically have not had the highest level of training and are not members of the National Association of Realtors, Georgia Association of Realtors or a local real estate board.
Your relationship with the agent you choose will ultimately be determined by whether you choose to be a “customer” or a “client”. It doesn’t cost you any money to work with buyer representation, so it’s kind of a no-brainer. Most agents will want a client relationship and so should you. If you choose to be a “customer” and there is no agency relationship with the Realtor, then per Georgia law the agent can only provide ministerial acts for you. For example, the agent could provide you an area market comparison for the home you are considering but could not provide any input as to the values of the homes or any interpretation of the information and would not be permitted to suggest any special stipulations that you would want to have in your purchase agreement to protect your best interests. On the other hand, if you have signed an Exclusive Buyer Brokerage Agreement than the agent would be able to provide you with all information and much more during the process of searching for, negotiating and closing the transaction. Your best interests are protected when you are a “client”.