The Essential Coweta County, GA, Homebuyer's Guide
Buying a home is a big step. For most people, it will be the largest financial transaction of their lives. So, naturally they want to make sure they get it right.
Even for experienced homebuyers, the process can be more than a little daunting and overwhelming. After a few weeks or months, the temptation to just take the first home that comes a little close to what they want is almost too much to resist.
But we don’t want you to do that. That’s why we’ve put together this essential Coweta County, GA, homebuyer’s guide.
Before you get to the actual home search and certainly before you plunge into the buying process, you need to think carefully about a few things, So let’s take a look at the preliminary considerations for homebuyers in Coweta County.
First, you need to take the time to sit down and really think about what your goals and motivations are. Are you, for example, really ready to buy – or would renting be a better option.
“The first thing you’ll need to determine is what your long-term goals are. Then, consider how homeownership fits in with those plans. Some folks are simply looking to transform all those ‘wasted’ rent payments into mortgage payments that actually lead to owning something tangible – equity, baby! Others see homeownership as a sign of their independence and enjoy the idea of being their own landlord. Then, there’s the issue of thinking of buying a home as an investment.”
Features: Want-to-Haves and Must-Haves
Similarly, as a Coweta County, GA, homebuyer, you need to get clear on what you have to have and want you’d merely like to have when it comes to features in a home.
“While it’s good to retain some flexibility in this list, you’re making perhaps the biggest purchase of your life; you deserve to have that purchase fit both your needs and wants as closely as possible. Your list should include basic desires, like neighborhood and size, all the way down to smaller details like bathroom layout and a kitchen that comes with trustworthy appliances.”
You also need to find out exactly how much your lender is willing to lend you. Knowing exactly what you have to spend on a home will save tons of time and effort because you will know what kind of homes, where, and in what price range to shop for.
Getting pre-approved will let you know how much you can borrow. And it will also give you more negotiating leverage because you’ll be perceived as a serious buyer.
What You Can Actually Afford
Doesn’t because you can borrow a certain amount (as indicated in your pre-approval letter) doesn’t mean you really should.
“[S]ometimes a bank will give you a loan for a more expensive house than you really want to pay for. Just because a bank says it will lend you $300,000, doesn’t mean you should actually borrow that much. Many first-time homebuyers make this mistake and end up ‘house-poor’ – meaning after they pay their monthly mortgage payment they have no funds left over for other costs, such as clothing, utilities, vacations, entertainment, or even food.”
When buying a home in Coweta County or anywhere else, you’ll need some cash in reserve, that is, some pretty serious savings? There’s the down payment (anywhere from 3.5% to 20% of the purchase price) and closing costs, among other upfront, one-off expenses. Are you ready for these expenses?
You can, of course, always open a dedicated savings account for this purpose. There are, however, other savings vehicles that may be more effective depending on your purchasing timeline.
“When it comes to investing with an eye toward purchasing a home—a short-term goal—one of the biggest challenges is keeping savings in an accessible, relatively safe vehicle that still affords a return. If you have one year to three years to realize your goal, then a certificate of deposit (CD) may be a viable option. It’s not going to make you rich, but you aren’t going to lose money either.
“The same idea can be applied to purchasing a short-term bond or a fixed income portfolio—it will give you some growth but also protect you from the tumultuous nature of the stock markets
“If the home purchase happens in six months to a year, then you are going to want to keep the money liquid. A high-yield savings account could be the best option. It’s important to make sure it is FDIC insured so that if the bank goes under you can still have access to your money up to $250,000.”
A Good Local Agent
We’d be remiss in our Coweta County, GA, homebuyer’s guide if we didn’t mention the benefits of using a real estate agent who knows the local market well. The benefits of using an agent include, among others:
- Helping locate homes that actually meet your needs and within your price range
- Meeting with you to view homes
- Negotiating the best deal possible
- Making counteroffers and getting concessions
- Protecting you from being taken advantage of
- Assisting with the completion of the mountain of paperwork
- Guiding you through the whole complex process
When it comes to house hunting/home shopping, you’ll want to “take advantage of all the available options for finding homes on the market, including using your real estate agent, searching for listings online, and driving around the neighborhoods that interest you in search of for-sale signs. Also, put some feelers out there with your friends, family, and business contacts. You never know where a good reference or lead on a home might come from.”
It’s also a good idea to have your agent with you when you attend an open house or viewing. Your agent can find flaws and problems that you’d likely overlook on your on.
Making an Offer
Once you’ve found a home that ticks all the boxes on your must-have list and as many as possible on your like-to-have list, it’s time to make an offer.
When you make an offer on a home, “the seller will either accept your offer or issue a counteroffer. You can then accept, or continue to go back and forth until you either reach a deal or decide to call it quits.”
Once you and the seller have reached an agreement, you’ll put up an earnest-money (or good-faith) deposit, a sales contract will be drawn up, and the deal will move into the escrow stage. “Escrow is a short period of time (often about 30 days) where the seller takes the house off the market with the contractual expectation that you will buy the house – provided you don’t find any serious problems with it when you inspect it.”
Getting an Inspection
The next step in the buying process involves a home inspection. For there may be problems with the home that you haven’t seen or can’t see, and it sometimes happens that sellers don’t make a full disclosure. So the inspection is for your protection.
“Even if the home you plan to purchase appears to be flawless, there’s no substitute for having a trained professional inspect your potential new home for the quality, safety, and overall condition. If the home inspection reveals serious defects that the seller did not disclose, you’ll generally be able to rescind your offer and get your deposit back. Negotiating to have the seller make the repairs or discount the selling price are other options if you find yourself in this situation.”
The final stage in the home-buying process is closing – that point at which dotted lines are signed, money changes hands, ownership is transferred, and you get the keys to your new home. Some of the typical things involved in closing (things that will cost you and the seller) are:
- An appraisal
- Title search
- Document signing
- Paying remaining fees
- Obtaining private mortgage insurance (if the down payment is less than 20%)
Buying a Home in Coweta County, GA
Now we come to buying a home in Coweta County, GA, specifically. And there are a few things you need to know and keep in mind.
As is currently the case in most markets across the country, home prices in Coweta County are continuing to rise. This phenomenon is chiefly the result of low inventory and high demand. “From 2019 to 2020, the median sales price in Coweta grew 10 percent, . . . and volume was up, with 3,573 units sold in 2020, compared to 2,942 in 2019.”
In addition, bidding wars are now more common. “As more people want to live in Coweta, tight supply has led to bidding wars with multiple offers just a day or two after a home goes on the market, and buyers having to make split-second decisions on whether or not to put a contract on a particular home.”
What does this mean for homebuyers in Coweta County? According to this source, they may have to settle. “You may, the Newnan Times-Herald avers, have “to buy a house that doesn’t really meet your needs – because you have to take what you can get.”
But it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way.
Lean on Your Local Agent
If you lean on the expertise of your Coweta County agent, you’ll be far more likely to find a home that meets your needs and checks your boxes. Your local agent will have access to for more listings – some of them not available to the public – than you’d have access to own your own. In short, your agent will have her finger on the pulse of the local market.
In addition, with low inventory and rising prices, your agent’s negotiating skills will be more valuable than ever. And that’s especially the case if you’re considering new construction, the price of which has skyrocketed owing to the dramatic price increases in building materials.
Ultimately, then, with a Coweta County, GA, agent you may not merely have to settle after all.