Purchasing a house in LaGrange GA is a critical milestone, but the process can take time.
The local economy, market conditions, your financial situation, and other factors affect how long it would take you to find the perfect home and its price. Fortunately, homes stay on the market longer, giving you enough time to find an excellent deal.
Knowing the steps to own a house ensures you can navigate the complicated process fast and smoothly. So, what are the seven steps to getting a home in LaGrange?
Step 1: Set Aside Money for a Down Payment
The down payment is the first part of the house’s purchase price you will pay at closing. The mortgage lender pays the rest.
The typical down payment in Georgia is 20% of the purchase price. However, you can leverage other options to lower the down payment amount.
Take advantage of these loan facilities:
- Veterans Administration (VA) loan—A VA home loan requires no down payment and offers competitive low-interest rates.
- Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan—An FHA home mortgage is a government-insured loan that requires a low down payment of 3.5%. It also requires low minimum credit scores, making it an attractive offering for first-time homebuyers.
- Conventional loans—A conventional mortgage is a home buyer loan not secured by the government. Instead, the loans are available from credit unions, banks, mortgage companies, and other private lenders at a low minimum down payment of 3%.
Other programs that can assist with the down payment on a home include:
- The Georgia Dream Homeownership Program
- The Georgia alternative programs for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
Step 2: Get a Mortgage Pre-Approval
A pre-approval mortgage letter lends you a certain amount of cash for the home purchase. The letter shows a seller you are serious about buying the property and in a financial position to make an offer.
Most sellers of cheap houses for sale in LaGrange Georgia require pre-approval before they can show you a home. However, you do not need to choose a lender right away. It is better to compare the pre-approval amounts and interest rates from multiple lenders so you get the best terms possible.
Mortgage pre-approval requires filling out a mortgage application and providing your financial situation details. Information that determines your pre-approval amount includes:
- Your total income
- Personal debts such as student loans, personal loans, auto loans, and credit cards
- Cash reserves to cover the down payment and closing costs
Step 3: Choose the Right Neighborhood
The home’s neighborhood is just as important as its features and layout. Consider the factors below when deciding the best LaGrange neighborhood for you.
The budget narrows down your search to neighborhoods in your price range. Past home value trends will also give you an idea of the home’s value in a few years. A neighborhood within your budget may offer a huge return when you sell.
If the properties you want are beyond your budget, you can always look at LaGrange, GA houses for rent. The strategy gives you more time to save up and improve your financial situation.
The Local Lifestyle
Now that you have neighborhoods within your budget, evaluate how each meets your preferences and needs. Finalize the list by considering factors such as:
- Your daily commute
- Amenities and restaurants
- School districts
- Crime rates
- Transportation options
This resource about LaGrange in Georgia is an excellent starting point for your research.
Step 4: Find a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is a key component in your home buying process. Your agent will find and show you properties and is also an expert on buying a home in LaGrange, Georgia.
The best real estate agent will:
- Make offers
- Negotiate contracts
- Navigate the closing process
- Recommend service providers, such as inspectors and title companies
However, take your time to research and interview several agents. Pay attention to:
- Number of years in the field
- Experience in handling transactions within your price range
- Individual complaints and reviews
- Number of transactions they handled over the last year
- Their overall scores
Step 5: The House Hunt Begins
Searching for old and new homes for sale in LaGrange GA is the fun part!
You get to explore different houses and discover what you want in your home. To help you with the process:
- Prioritize your wants vs. needs
- Study the current housing inventory
Step 6: Making the Offer
It is time to make an offer when you find a house that fits your needs. The real estate agent can help you draft an interesting offer that convinces the homeowner to sell.
Homes in Georgia stay on the market about 28 days before going under contract. However, the market experiences seasonal changes, with homes getting snatched up slower in some months.
Your offer should include common options, such as:
- Paying for the closing cost out-of-pocket, but the seller covers some costs for you—seller concessions
- Credits against home repairs instead of the seller making and paying for them
- Inspection contingencies that allow you to change or withdraw the offer in case of major problems
- A letter to the seller to appeal to their sentimental side
Step 7: Prepare for LaGrange Housing Inspections and Appraisals
These appraisals and inspections help you evaluate the home’s condition and value it before purchasing. You can also use this step to renegotiate contract terms in case of the unexpected.
A licensed inspector checks the condition of the property, including:
- The foundation
- HVAC system
- Electrical system
Note that Georgia is a “buyer beware” state, so consider inspections and tests beyond the norm. These tests can save you from greater future expenses and health hazards.
The recommended Georgia-specific tests include:
- A radon test
- Termite and other pests inspections
An appraisal determines the property value. When using a mortgage to purchase a home, the lender will order an appraisal to confirm the home’s value.
Buying a home in LaGrange GA is an exciting opportunity to enjoy the legendary Southern hospitality and unique culture. The last step is closing by finalizing the mortgage and transferring property ownership. However, set aside at least 3% of the purchase price for closing costs!