To prepare yourself for your first-time home-buying experience, you need to know what to expect during the process.
Notice I said to decide on your budget—not determine how much the mortgage company will give you. In many cases, a mortgage company will pre-approve you for more than you’re comfortable spending, which is why you need to determine the monthly payment you feel comfortable with before talking to a lender. 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. If you’ve lived in an apartment or with roommates, you may overlook new expenses like garbage, water, or HOA fees that could easily blow your budget.
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, talk to a mortgage professional to find out what amount you can qualify for. This will also be an advantage when you make an offer on a home, as some sellers won’t entertain offers from those who aren’t already prequalified for a loan.
Can you shop for, look at, and ultimately make an offer on a home without a real estate agent? Technically, yes! However, a real estate agent knows how to creatively negotiate on your behalf to win deals, protect your investment, and share expertise that will facilitate a smooth closing. Let’s go see a few homes in your price range, and get the ball rolling!
My Goal Is to Provide You with the Most Personalized Service That Is Designed to Help You Buy Your Dream Home
This should be the most enjoyable step of the entire process (other than moving in!). I will arrange showings of homes you’re interested in that are within your price range. Take notes about what you like and don’t like, and make sure to pay attention to details. Turn light switches on and off, open and close doors, and run the faucets in various rooms. Don’t 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.
Once you have selected the perfect home, we will work together to craft a competitive offer based on the value of comparable homes on the market. Depending on what the home is listed at and whether the current environment is a buyer’s or seller’s market, your offer may be below, at, or above the asking price. My data-driven approach will help inform this decision, and I’ll negotiate on your behalf until you are hopefully under contract!
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. I can help you arrange this, and you can schedule it within days of making an offer. 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.
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 lender will have your new home appraised 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.
On closing day, the buyer and seller will meet to complete the paperwork for the loan, title, and other components of the homebuying process. Get ready to sign on the dotted line and then celebrate! You’re a homeowner!
After signing the final paperwork to complete the purchase, you are now the owner of a new house. It may take a few days for your loan to be funded once the paperwork has been returned to the lender, but once that check is delivered to the seller, you’ll be all set to move into the home of your dreams.
We started working with Casey about 9 months ago to begin the search in Milton for a home with more space. We weren’t in a hurry to find a new home because we loved our current home in Brookhaven so much. We have very specific tastes we know what we like and what we don’t and what we’re willing to invest in. Casey took time to really understand what we were looking for - she never made us feel pressure to move into a house we weren’t sure about- she always had our best interest at heart. We even walked away from a house we had gone under contract for, but Casey didn’t miss a beat - she simply said “It’s not the one and we’ll keep looking”. She event...— Jenn & Luke M.
We’ve retyped this review multiple times because it’s incredibly difficult to put into words just how much of an impact Casey made on our home-buying process. There were so many factors working against us finding our dream home (our budget, a seller’s market, a sought-after neighborhood, etc.), but Casey somehow made it possible. Her industry knowledge, vast network, and “get it done” approach gave us so much confidence along the way. We always felt seen and prioritized, and we saw her go above and beyond for us time and time again. If you’re looking for a realtor who will truly go to bat for your family, you’ll be in great hands with Casey.— Elizabeth C.
If you are thinking about selling your home in the Atlanta metro area your first call should be to Casey Rutherford. We had seven offers on our house in just a few hours after putting it on the market and ended up getting $75,000 over the asking price. We even had a water leak two weeks before closing and Casey was able to get all of our floors replaced which made a stressful situation for us very manageable. Even with this huge problem with our house, we were able to close with the original closing date and the new homeowner was happy to get new floors. Casey was professional, easy to work with, and honest. We 100% recommend her.— Hillis J.
Casey Rutherford is relationship driven and results oriented. Connecting with other top real estate agents is a priority for her, as she uses her professional network to win deals, stay informed of off market and coming soon properties, and to proactively market homes for sale. Her keen eye for design allows her to help buyers envision what a home could like and gives sellers the tools they need to prepare their home for market. Your largest investment is Casey’s largest priority.