Tonya  Jones, Real Estate Pro in Powder Springs, GA

What are the first steps in home buying ?

Asked by Tonya Jones, Powder Springs, GA Tue May 14, 2013

Help the community by answering this question:


10 Ways to Prepare for Homeownership

Decide what you can afford. Generally, you can afford a home equal in value to between two and three times your gross income.

Develop your home wish list. Then, prioritize the features on your list.

Select where you want to live. Compile a list of three or four neighborhoods you’d like to live in, taking into account items such as schools, recreational facilities, area expansion plans, and safety.

Start saving. Do you have enough money saved to qualify for a mortgage and cover your down payment? Ideally, you should have 20 percent of the purchase price saved as a down payment. Also, don’t forget to factor in closing costs. Closing costs — including taxes, attorney’s fee, and transfer fees — average between 2 and 7 percent of the home price.

Get your credit in order. Obtain a copy of your credit report to make sure it is accurate and to correct any errors immediately. A credit report provides a history of your credit, bad debts, and any late payments.

Determine your mortgage qualifications. How large of mortgage do you qualify for? Also, explore different loan options — such as 30-year or 15-year fixed mortgages or ARMs — and decide what’s best for you.

Get preapproved. Organize all the documentation a lender will need to preapprove you for a loan. You might need W-2 forms, copies of at least one pay stub, account numbers, and copies of two to four months of bank or credit union statements.

Weigh other sources of help with a down payment. Do you qualify for any special mortgage or down payment assistance programs? Check with your state and local government on down payment assistance programs for first- time buyers. Or, if you have an IRA account, you can use the money you’ve saved to buy your fist home without paying a penalty for early withdrawal.

Calculate the costs of homeownership. This should include property taxes, insurance, maintenance and utilities, and association fees, if applicable.

Contact a professional real estate agent. Find an experienced professional who can help guide you through the process.

Fred Yancy, Broker
Crye-Leike Realtors
(678) 799-4663
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed May 15, 2013
Getting Pre-Qualified prior to beginning the home search is the critical first step for a home buyer. To do this, you would need to submit a Pre-Qualification request along with your financial documentation. The following documentation will be needed:

• Two most recent years of W’2’s/income 1099’s
• Two most recent years of Federal Income Tax returns
• Two most recent pay stubs
• Two most recent months of bank statements (all pages)

A loan officer who does not ask for and properly reviews all of the above documentation is doing no service to you and may not be very experienced. Experienced loan officers know that many issues come to light only once the actual documentation has been reviewed.

A Pre-Qualification is valid for 90 days from the date that the credit report has been pulled. At the time of closing, most documents (i.e. credit report, income/asset documentation, appraisal, etc.). Should anything be older than 90 days, an update will be required. For credit, this is simply the loan officer obtaining a new credit report.

As one of the largest direct lenders in the country, Prospect Mortgage offers one of the largest selections of loan programs available. In addition to the standard conventional, FHA, VA, USDA, and Jumbo, we also offer a wide range on Renovation loan programs. Our Renovation programs include FHA 203K (Streamline & Consultant), HomePath Renovation, and HomeStyle Renovation. In addition, we also have an FHA 580-639 FICO program for borrower with previous credit issues.

Working with a knowledgeable and seasoned loan officer is critical in today's market. Getting Pre-Qualified is the only way for you to find out your options. To get Pre-Qualified for your purchase, you can submit your request online at

Rodney Mason, NMLS #151088
Sr Loan Officer
Prospect Mortgage
825 Juniper St NE, Atlanta, GA 30308
Office: (404) 591-2453
Apply Online at
Licensed in Alabama & Georgia with over a decade of mortgage lending experience.

Prospect Mortgage offers a full selection of mortgage programs including:
Conventional | FHA | FHA 580-639 FICO | FHA 203K Renovation (Streamline & Consultant) | HomePath® | HomePath® Renovation | HomeStyle® Renovation | VA | USDA | GA Dream | Jumbo Financing.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed May 15, 2013
set up an apointment with a few realtors and interview them.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed May 15, 2013

Too many buyers don't consider the important things before entering the process on buying a home. Yes, it's important to get pre-approved and identify an agent and have several locations in mind.....but the process should begin long before this.....

Buyers should by every standard have a basis idea of what they are looking for in their future home. When the buyer says, " I'm really not sure if we want a condo, villa, or single family" brother, you've got your work cut out for you because they are at square one.

We always recommend to our "early on" buyers that they should invest some time creating two lists. One containing all of the things that the new home MUST have while the second list contains all of those things that are UNACCEPTABLE.

Helping customers find their ideal property should be our number one priority but is a process that becomes very complex when the buyer can't articulate what their needs are.


1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed May 15, 2013
Hi Tonya,
If you are NOT paying all Cash, be sure that you are using a Direct Lender, one that works closely & efficiently with their underwriters, processors, etc., so that they can give you a faster approval and close your loan on time.

Before you select your Realtor, it's very important that you create a list of all the cities / areas you would consider moving to, as well as the cities that you wouldn't consider. Be sure to also include all your "must haves", and things you could do without.
For example,: must have a pool, a kitchen with an island and plenty of cabinet space...Things you can do without; 4inch white tile counter tops, old appliances, etc. And of course, number of bed rooms, baths, square footage and price range you'd like to stay within.

This way, once you do select a Realtor with whom you are comfortable with, you can clearly state your criteria so that they will be able to locate and present to you, only the homes that would best suit you (and your family).

Please do keep in mind that a Realtor's job is mostly to assist you in selecting a property, demonstrating it’s features, negotiating the best price for you, facilitating the paper work, and everything else that will make the process as seamless and worry free as possible for you.

Good Luck in your home search!

Aja M.
Realty One Group
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue May 14, 2013
HI Tonya,

If you're paying all cash, you should contact a lender and get pre-approved for your loan. Sellers will want a copy of your pre-approval letter when you submit an offer. And, this will let you know what you can afford to buy.

Once you have your pre-approval letter, contact a local Realtor to assist you in finding your new home. The seller usually pays the commission of both Realtors (the seller's and the buyer's) so it shouldn't cost you anything.

Good luck.

Shanna Rogers
SR Realty
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue May 14, 2013
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