Spring is right around the corner and so is the start of the season for buying property.

If you are in the market for a new home, now is the time to get prepared.

With housing inventory still low, I expect that we will have a competitive market this spring, so being prepared can make the difference in getting the property you want this spring.

In the following post, I’ve outlined five guiding tips to prepare you to buy this spring.

Location & Style

The first step is understanding how you want to live and the style of home you’re looking for.  By answering these questions up front, we as agents can help you identify property and location that meet your exact needs.  So I recommend focusing on how you want to live. Some of the parameters you want to provide to us as agents are:

  1. Walkability
  2. Proximity to work, public transportation, major highways
  3. Style – condo, house, townhome
  4. Do you want a yard or patio
  5. Does it need to be pet-friendly
  6. Do you have children and if you do you need to consider school districts

Being prepared upfront financially can help expedite the buying process and may get you better consideration from the seller. Sellers will want to move forward with someone who they know will be able to finalize the deal without any issues. Here are some things to consider to prepare:

  1. Understand your total budget including not only the cost of the mortgage but insurance, utilities, HOA dues, maintenance and property taxes.
  2. Shop around for the right lender to ensure you get the best rates and lowest fees.
  3. Get pre-approved for your mortgage
Make a “Must-Have” List  

Understanding that no house is perfect until you make it your own, being able to articulate the things you can and cannot live without in a home will help you narrow down your search and allow you to make to best decision in buying your home.

Find a Good Agent

Finding the right Agent can be crucial in a tight market, a good agent should be able to guide you on the first three points.

Your Agent should have experience and be highly knowledgable of the local markets, based on your location, style and “must-have” preferences.  An experienced Agent can show you the best neighborhoods and properties that meet your criteria.

Additionally, your agent will be able to advise you on the financial process of purchasing a home and can refer you to mortgage lenders and bankers that will work with you to find the right mortgage program to fit your financial profile.

Lastly, your agent should be able to direct you post-purchase with references to moving companies, interior designers, remodeling companies, etc.

Know What to Look at When Viewing Homes

When you begin looking for a home, know what to look for to ensure you are getting what you want. Homes are often staged and issues can easily be overlooked, note that your agent should guide you with this, but it’s good to be knowledgable. Here is a good checklist to start with:

  1. Windows:  which way are the windows facing and do they get the amount of sunlight you prefer
  2. Water damage:  take a look under sinks for leaky plumbing, if there are wooden floors look for warped or damaged areas
  3. Electrical outlets: are there enough and are they in good locations throughout the house
  4. Closet/Storage Space: is there adequate storage space for your needs and are they well positioned in the house
  5. Appliances: are they working and in good condition. How old is the HVAC unit? How old is the water heater?
  6. Rugs:  don’t be afraid to take a peek under rugs to ensure nothing is hidden

I hope this list is helpful as you get started on your search for a new home this spring. As always I am ready and happy to help with your buying needs or answer any questions you have regarding the Atlanta market. Please contact me here if I can be of assistance.