Anyone thinking about buying a house in Atlanta will be pleasantly surprised at the many options that are available to them. The city is known for its southern hospitality and great musical heritage, offering residents a nice lifestyle.
As you consider what area you’d like to live in, some of the best neighborhoods in Atlanta are Lake Claire, Chastain Park, Brookhaven, and Candler Park. Local communities are surrounded by fun things to do in Atlanta at places like the Georgia Aquarium, Zoo Atlanta, the World of Coca-Cola, and much more. All of these are great places to buy a house in Atlanta.
Atlanta’s humid subtropical climate keeps local warm and muggy during the summer and then cold and wet during the winter. The city gets an average of 52 inches of rain per year, though it also averages about 217 days of sunshine annually as well.
The cost of living in Atlanta is right around the national average, making it an affordable city for many people. Although rates for local transportation and the housing market are slightly higher than average, newcomers can expect to pay lower prices for other expenses like healthcare and groceries.
While there can be fun aspects to house hunting, learning how to buy a house in Atlanta can also be stressful and overwhelming at times. As long as you follow the right steps, you will succeed and have a stress-free home buying process.
Steps for Buying a House in Atlanta
If you want to purchase a house in Atlanta, there is a set procedure you can follow for it to go well. The better you understand what goes into each step, the more likely you will enjoy finding the perfect location for you. As you follow this process, remember that every experience is different depending on your budget and what you’re interested in.
1. Determine How Much it Costs
As you work to find out how much it costs to purchase a home in Atlanta, you’ll see that there are a handful of things to consider in your decision. It’s important to know how much you can afford as well as what the average prices are around the city.
A typical way to see how much you’re able to spend on a home is by taking a look at your gross monthly income, or the total income you get before taxes and other deductions. When going through the Atlanta home-buying process, it is best to look at properties that will have payments that are less than 30% of your gross monthly income.
You’ll also need to consider what you’ll be paying for homeowners insurance, regular home maintenance, and other typical expenses.
The median home listing price in Atlanta is $418,000, which has gone up about 12% since last year. There is a somewhat competitive housing market in the area. Most properties tend to sell after about 21 days on the market and go for an average sale price of $240 per square foot.
The property tax rate in Atlanta is an even 1%, which means a home that costs $418,000 will have about $4,180 in property taxes.
You can always check out Atlanta, GA homes for sale to see what types of properties you can get for your budget.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Home Mortgage
Before buying a home in Atlanta, you’ll first need to work with a lender to determine how much you qualify for. While you may want to start looking at houses right away, this is a key step to help you narrow down the options that are available to you.
There are multiple types of homes loans available, which typically depend on your income, your credit score, and other factors. These options include:
- Fixed-rate loans: These loans have consistent, predictable monthly payments.
- Conventional loans: Used for anything from home loans to vacation homes and investment properties.
- Adjustable-rate loans: Mortgage loans that let the borrower save money upfront and in the early stages of paying it back.
- Government loans: Make the Atlanta home-buying process more accessible to people through FHA, USDA, and VA programs.
To get pre-qualified so you can buy a house in Atlanta, you’ll need to find a lender and provide them with relevant information and documentation. This typically includes proof of identity, proof of income, verification of assets, and a credit check. They’ll take into consideration factors such as your debt to income ratio, your liquid assets, and how much money you can afford to pay for a down payment.
Once the lender has all of this information, they can also help you determine if you qualify for any national or local first-time homebuyer programs in Atlanta.
The top program in Atlanta is the Georgia Dream Homeownership Program, which offers low-interest financing along with homebuyer education and down payment assistance. Depending on your financial situation, low-income residents may qualify for programs through the local Habitat for Humanity.
Along with local options, people living in Atlanta also have access to national first-time homebuyer programs. One of the most popular resources is through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), which offers qualified buyers loans that only require 3.5% down payments. Other programs include options through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) or the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for military veterans.
3. Find a Reliable Atlanta Real Estate Agent
Many people are unsure exactly what a real estate agent does but they can be one of the most helpful resources when buying a house in Atlanta. Having an enjoyable experience starts with finding the right person to work with through each step.
The benefits of a buyer’s agent extend to nearly every part of the home-buying process in Atlanta. They know what to look for and understand the local market, making it easier for them to give you insights on what is happening and what to expect. They will also help you find locations that match your preferences and negotiate on your behalf once you’ve chosen the perfect place to buy.
When learning how to choose the best Atlanta real estate agent, there are a few things to think about. Take a look at how many years of experience they have and also read through their online reviews from previous clients. You also want to make sure the real estate agent you pick understands what kind of house you want.
4. Search for the Right Home
House hunting can be the most fun part of buying a home for people moving to Atlanta. One of the best things you can do is make a list of property features you want. You’ll need to consider the style of home you’d like to buy and what part of the city you’d like to live in.
Think about what you want the interior of your home to look like. You may prefer to have wood flooring or tile rather than carpet. Other options include the number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, type of kitchen, accessibility, and home energy features.
Along with the interior aspects, other decisions to make about your new home include details about the yard, the roof, and landscaping. Do you want a pool? Or would you prefer to have grassy areas?
As you look at the locations that are on the market, you’ll need to consider the neighborhoods and whether they fit your lifestyle needs. Ideally, people will decide where to live based on proximity to schools, work, and other amenities. Your real estate agent will play a major role in filling all of these needs and showing you the best homes that match your priorities.
5. Make an Offer on the House
Once you’ve made a decision on the Atlanta home you want to buy, the next step is to send the seller an offer. A real estate agent will usually be the middleman between the two parties and negotiate the terms, helping you know what is realistic based on the current market. The offer will be centered around local prices for comparable properties as well as real estate competition and necessary repairs that need to be done.
Within your offer, you’re allowed to make specific requests in regards to things like home repairs or items you’d like to keep at the property. These contingencies will become part of the agreement between you and the seller. If broken, either party is able to withdraw from the contract with no penalties.
When the offer is prepared, it will be submitted as an official contract that the sellers can either accept, reject, or counter the offer. They will decide whether they agree with your requested contingencies or reply with a different offer that more closely matches what they want.
6. Close on Your New Atlanta Home
As soon as the seller officially accepts your offer, the closing process begins as the property goes into escrow. When buying a home in Atlanta, this means that there will be a waiting period as particular conditions are met before a set deadline.
In general, these conditions include any home repairs, a home inspection, and for funds to be made available for the purchase. If any issues are discovered during the inspection, you can request additional repairs be completed before the closing date. They may still accept or reject these revised conditions or provide a counteroffer that offsets the costs for the repairs.
It is highly recommended that when you purchase a house in Atlanta that you do a final walkthrough prior to closing. Once this process is finished, you’ll simply sign the related paperwork and get the keys to your new home.
Need Help Moving after Buying a House in Atlanta?
Although the Atlanta home-buying process can be difficult and frustrating at times, the steps above will help you ease the transition as you find the perfect place for you. When you take some time to consider the costs, the pre-approval procedure, and hire a trustworthy real estate agent, you’ll quickly see how easy it can be.
The team here at Wirks Moving would like to offer our sincere congratulations on buying your new home in Atlanta! If you’ve made this big step, the next thing to do is hire top-rated Atlanta movers who can assist with your relocation. Get in touch with us by calling (404) 635-6683 or take a moment to complete the Request a Quote form above for a free moving quote!