Buying a Home in Georgia: Common Mistakes for a First Time Home Buyer

For homebuyers who have Georgia on their minds, it’s easy to be dazzled by shiny, new construction, large, custom floorplans, palatial properties, or posh city living. The Peach State, with its varied landscapes, rich history, and Southern charm, has much more to offer those looking for a home, and there are some key things first-timers might overlook. This article will cover some common mistakes that a first time home buyer could make when shopping for a home in Georgia.

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5 Mistakes That a First Time Home Buyer May Make When Purchasing a Home

1. Eliminating resale homes

One of the things that makes purchasing a home in Georgia so appealing is the opportunity to buy into a development with new construction. This option is not as readily available in some parts of the country. However, buying a newly constructed home is not as easy as it may seem.

It requires a flexible timeframe and the understanding that many things can and do delay the process. Buyers should consider resale homes as part of their search before looking into new construction. Removing resale homes considerably reduces the options for buyers, and resale homes don’t have the same time constraints. Resale homes have fewer constraints and offer character and unique features. By contrast, new construction builders limit their layouts and design selections. Customizations and extras add to the cost of the home, and these can be amassed quickly. Some buyers believe that an older home equates to problems and maintenance.

In truth, many older homes are built well and constructed from better materials than those available today. New construction isn’t always what it should be. While everything is new, these homes can be finished hastily, with cheap materials, and may lack the finishing touches that were contracted. Buyers looking for a house in Georgia should keep an open mind and not limit their search until they have weighed their options and seen what is already available.

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2. Refusing to compromise

Purchasing a home is among the most costly and important decisions a consumer will make, but buyers should know that the chances of finding a home that checks 100% of the items on their wish list are slim. The perfect property does not exist, and house hunters can miss out on great homes because of a simple failure to compromise. Buyers who remain flexible and receptive and recognize which things are wants rather than needs are more likely to have a successful experience. The best match is the home that addresses the most wants and needs and fits within the budget.

3. Overlooking certain neighborhoods

There are a lot of great neighborhoods in Georgia. House hunters new to the process sometimes do not realize that location and neighborhood are as vital as the home itself. Commuting distance, school districts, area amenities, and crime rates are all things buyers should consider before making an offer on a home. They should ask their realtor about the area and drive through it at different times of the day. A family with young children will likely want to be near other families and prefer a neighborhood with sidewalks and proximity to parks and schools. Failure to consider the location of a home with respect to lifestyle can lead to dissatisfaction once the buyer moves in. 

4. Failing to get pre-approved

This is a big one! A house hunter who doesn’t seek pre-approval is disadvantaged, especially in a competitive real estate market. Pre-approval shows that a buyer is serious about purchasing a home and that they will have financial support from a mortgage lender to do so. Pre-approval in Georgia requires a credit check and documented evidence of income and assets. A buyer with pre-approval knows their budget and can confidently and immediately submit an offer on a home.

The buyer without pre-approval can be in the dark when making an offer and must apply for a mortgage afterward. Skipping this step can cause a buyer to lose their dream home to someone who came to the table with pre-approval. Exciting as it may be to dive into looking at homes, pre-approval should happen first.

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5. Underestimating expenses

A first time home buyer may not know that the cost of the home is only part of the overall expense of being a homeowner. The house may need repairs or renovation. Property taxes vary by county in Georgia, so buyers should ask their realtor about the taxes within their search areas.  Additionally, some properties come with Home Owner’s Association (HOA) fees. General home maintenance like utilities, landscaping, and waste removal should also factor into monthly expenses. No one wants to move into a new home they cannot afford to live in. Researching all the potential costs upfront allows buyers to create a realistic budget and prevent financial challenges.

Avoiding Mistakes When Buying Your First Home

Buying a home in Georgia can be an exciting and rewarding experience with a careful and thoughtful approach. By avoiding these common pitfalls and taking additional precautions with a home inspection, house hunters become homeowners. In no time, sweet tea on the porch of their new property is a reality, and their life in Georgia is just…peachy.