On your mark, get set, GO! That is sometimes how I feel as the Atlanta Spring home buying season approaches…it’s a race to view a home, make an offer, then get told there’s multiple offers and you need to re-submit your offer for a highest and best situation, then cross your fingers and agonizingly wait to hear whether you won the bidding war or not. And unfortunately, if you don’t run to a home to view it during the Spring housing market in Atlanta, you can miss out! Whether you are buying your first home or maybe this isn’t your first rodeo – I’ve listed 3 steps for Atlanta homebuyers to get ready for the Spring housing market.
Step 1: Talk With A Lender
I know, I know. You’ve probably heard this over and over and over again. But it is true – you need to talk w/ a lender for a few reasons. You need to know how much you can be pre-approved for (no sense in shopping for homes that are outside of your budget, amiright?). Also, it’s good to know which lender you are going to work with before making an offer on a home. If we need to make an offer on something quickly, we need to provide a pre-approval letter and it’s way easier to contact a lender you’ve already spent time with to quickly ask for a pre-approval letter written up for the amount you are going to offer. Sometimes you can really lose out if the seller has to wait around for you to provide that pre-approval letter. Also – once you do go under contract for a house –time is of the essence for your lender. They need to start working your financial paperwork ASAP to ensure a timely closing. If you try to shop around for lenders after you are already under contract – you are wasting valuable days and putting yourself in jeopardy of missing critical timelines such as the appraisal contingency period. (The lender has to order the appraisal). One more point before I move on – it’s also nice to figure out which lender you are working with prior to making offers on homes because it just takes a lot of the stress off of you. Sometimes the day you make an offer on the home isn’t the most optimal time. For example, what if you were about to leave town for a work trip (still need to pack in the evening and are boarding a plane early next morning to head into an all-day meeting) but now all of a sudden you have to find the time to talk with 1 or 2 lenders to make a decision on who you want to work with. It can be such a pain to juggle all that! So I repeat –talk with a lender now and thank me later.
Step 2: Talk With A Real Estate Agent
You can search online all day long (and I’ll admit that IS fun to do!) but eventually you are going to need an agent to help show you homes and walk you through the buying process. The last thing you want to happen is a scenario like this: You spot the home of your dreams online and want to run and view it that day because you have a feeling it’s going to sell quickly. But you don’t have an agent. Shoot! If you try to call up a random agent you found online, who knows if that agent will even be available to show you the home at your requested time. And even more importantly, most agents aren’t just going to drop everything willy-nilly to meet with a complete stranger who hasn’t had a real conversation with that agent about their home search. Most agents will not take someone like that seriously, at least I sure won’t! I am, however, more than happy to drop everything for a client who has chatted with me prior to looking. I then know what they are looking for and can help direct them to finding that perfect home. But in terms of getting ready for the Spring market – it is worthwhile to figure out who you want to help you in your real estate transaction ahead of time. Your agent can help you make suggestions on areas you might not have even considered and can also be keeping their eyes/ears out for homes that may not even have hit the market yet. Your agent will also be on their top game and ready to RUN when that perfect home does come along.
Step 3: Start Previewing Homes
You may not really want to seriously start looking until May but it doesn’t hurt to start viewing homes in neighborhoods you’re interested in a few months prior. This will help give you an idea of what you can realistically expect in your price range and if need be, you can adjust your search criteria to help find what you want. This is a good exercise to do because if you do end up adjusting your search criteria, you have done so before all the new inventory has entered the market.
We did see the Atlanta market shift a little bit in 2019 – buyers were able to search a little bit longer depending on the price range and location they were hunting in. However inventory still remains low and I suspect there are still going to be many instances of multiple offers. If you do these 3 steps to prepare for the Atlanta Spring home buying season, you will have a better fighting chance of winning that bidding war. I am always here for questions and have great local lenders I can refer you to. Visit http://homesweethomeatl.com/buyers-guide/ to get started on your home search!