Welcome to Home Buying 101

Eric Vaughn and the #revsells team understand how to navigate the Athens, GA real estate market — they are specialists in the field. From beginning to end, Eric will help you find and purchase your dream home by guiding you with compassion and expertise. Call Eric today.

Eric hopes you will find this information helpful and contact him for further guidance


Take some time to read through this information about the buying process. It is important to know that every real estate transaction is different and that these are my opinions. The following lessons are what Eric feels all buyers would benefit from learning, whether for the first or the fifth time.

As a first-time home buyer in the Athens, GA real estate market you may have a long list of wants and wishes. You will soon learn about compromise — even if purchasing new construction — but we are here to advise you when the decisions become tough. Our extensive sales record and real estate expertise allows us to look at such situations objectively and guide you through making choices that must be made now and concessions that can be made in the interest of finding a home or keeping a deal together. We like to focus on “what you can’t change later.”

Not a first-time home buyer? It may have been so long that you have forgotten how the process works. That is totally fine! We work with the most seasoned buyers and find ourselves explaining concepts sometimes already mastered by first-timers. Perhaps you were not involved in your last purchase or a major life event has you purchasing on your own for the first time. We are here to anticipate your questions and we will answer them over and over again — as often as we have to. It is crucial that you understand the process, even if you are dutifully represented by the best real estate agent in all of Athens, GA. While we can’t anticipate every question or overload clients with every detail of the process (it is a learning experience) we do our best to ensure they feel comfortable taking the leap.

Our number one goal is to understand the needs of our buyer clients, including their financial situation, family makeup, potential needs in the future, etc. Perhaps you have a home to sell before you can buy. We are here to assist with all of your real estate needs. Once we have a solid understanding of your wants and needs, we address financing.

In today’s competitive real estate market it is more than ever to have your finances (and mortgage financing) in order, with a plan of action and a pre-approval letter ready to accompany any offer. Some buyers are disappointed to find they are not eligible for a loan equal to what they expected. Speaking with a mortgage lender and understanding your purchasing power will enable us to begin the home search.

With your maximum budget, “comfort budget” plus your lists of must-haves we will begin scanning the market for suitable homes. While no client is the same, nor is each transaction, we like to begin with a wide “sweep” of available inventory. We will email this to you for your review and feedback. This will help us fine tune our understanding of what will make you happy. We can continue to scan the MLS and send you listings as they appear. Some may be spot-on and others may be far from what you expressed. We may surprise you with something of interest. We are here to show you the obvious and not-so-obvious options. The home search can take weeks or it can take months, depending on your requirements and the market conditions. We have worked with clients for years before finding their dream home. From beginning to end we will help you find and purchase your dream home by guiding you with compassion, persistence and patience.

If you have special circumstances regarding your move, let’s discuss your situation in detail and formulate a game plan. Perhaps you have a home you must sell in order to buy. We do an excellent job at coordinating the simultaneous purchase and sale of clients’ homes — it is a more seamless process and we’re pros at juggling.

When one or more suitable homes comes available, we will make arrangements to see the home. While it’s best to be practical, it’s also important to keep an open mind. Don’t be so quick to rule out a house based on one or two factors. Each time we show a home to a buyer client we learn more about our clients and their wants, needs and opinions — often we discover factors that had never been considered. Maybe a garage isn’t a must-have!

Armed and ready with a pre-approval or proof of funds letter in hand, we prepare a contract for your review before submitting to the listing agent or the seller if unrepresented.

We will walk you through the process again and explain the terms of the purchase contract. We prepare contracts on pre-printed forms provided by the National and State Association of REALTORS®. These forms are continually reviewed to ensure the public is protected. There will be many components of the offer that are situational, including purchase price, closing date, contingencies, etc. There are also “standard” bits we write into all contracts to protect our clients.

We will explain in further detail the course of action should your offer be accepted or countered, if you enter into a multiple offer situation or otherwise. Each transaction is unique. Once a contract is accepted by all parties, the “clock starts ticking” and we get to work before your due diligence runs out!

  • What purchase price would you like to offer?
  • Do you need assistance with closing costs? Are you going to ask for closing costs to be paid by the seller, and how much?
  • How much earnest money are you prepared to pay to secure the contract?
  • When would you like to close? Take possession?
  • How long do you need for due diligence i.e. inspection, estimates?
  • What closing attorney would you like to use? 
  • Are you obtaining financing and what are the terms of your loan?
  • Do you need other protections included, such as a contingency which allows you to sell your home before buying?
  • Are there special stipulations you would like to write into the contract?

Here are a few items Eric will assist in arranging following a binding agreement:


Eric Never Stops Working for You

Should you choose to have an inspection, Eric will attend the entire inspection on your behalf. You can come to some, none, or all of the inspections and meet the inspector. Eric never recommends foregoing an inspection (even on a new home) and Eric highly recommends attending at least part of the inspection. Note that most inspectors will not release the home inspection report until the bill has been paid. Most inspectors will take a check at the inspection or allow you to pay online. The report is available typically within a day of the inspection. Eric asks that you share the report with him so he may review and provide his feedback based on the circumstances of the transaction, including the listing agent’s negotiating style, the seller’s financial situation or ability to coordinate repairs, or the need or extent of repairs needed (if any.) Once you are comfortable with your request, Eric will send a formal request to the seller, asking for repairs or a combination of repairs, additional closing costs or a price reduction. Eric will advise you further when appropriate.


Fast, Slow and In-Between

From binding agreement to closing is sometimes called “from contract to close.” This time can be fast and furious i.e. inspection, contractors, and due diligence. Other moments feel like a waiting game. Once Eric is certain you are moving forward with a sale, Eric will alert your lender to order the appraisal (assuming you are obtaining financing.) This can take one to two weeks.

Eric will have written in a contingency that allows time for the bank to have the home appraised. As part of his persistence, Eric will ensure the appraiser gets to the property and returns the report as quickly as possible, staying on top of things for you all along the way.

Find Your Dream Home

Home Search

Here are a few tasks you can tackle as Eric satisfies other contingencies:


Closing on Your New Home

Provided there are no special circumstances related to yours or the seller’s situation, a closing should take place 4-6 weeks after binding agreement. This allows enough time for the lender to process the loan and for the closing attorney to do title work. It also gives both parties time to prepare for the big move. Protracted closings pose risk in that there is more time for an issue to arise.

You should plan to attend closing on the scheduled date. You may not have the option to sign papers in advance or remotely due to time restrictions related to title work, loan funding, etc. You will need two forms of ID.


The Home Stretch…

Just as Eric prefers to work with local lenders he knows and trusts to honestly and reliably make it to the closing table, Eric enjoys working closely with a short list of closing attorneys in the Athens, GA area. You are entitled to choose whomever you’d like, but you may defer to Eric or browse his Vendor List for a list of attorneys. Eric will stipulate the attorney when writing the initial offer. The choice of the attorney is customarily that of the buyer.

Inevitably there will be a few issues after move-in. Eric is prepared and available to assist in any way he can. Rely on his Vendor List to address some of these post-move-in punch items.

Work With Eric

Get assistance in determining current property value, crafting a competitive offer, writing and negotiating a contract, and much more. Contact me today. #revsells

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