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Answers to some of the questions we hear the most.

Frequently Asked Questions

We can make appointments to see any home on the market. Whether it is our listing, an agent from our, an agent from a different brokerage, new construction, or for sale by owner, we can set up a showing for us to check out the house together.


Today, you also have the ability to see some homes on your own without an agent (i.e. Opendoor, New Construction, some Zillow homes). In these situations, we still prefer you include us in the process - it's hard to advise on a purchase when we haven't seen a property.


In New Construction, there is potential for the Builder to "oust" a buyer's agent if they are not present when you visit the property, so it is always our recommendation to let us know if you're planning to stop by a developing neighborhood. We're here to help, but can only do that if you keep us up-to-date on what you're interested in!

What houses can I see?

Common Buyer Questions

What is the first step in buying a home?

Step 1: Contact a Lender and get pre-approved for a loan. Before you start showings and fall in love with a home, the first thing you should is contact a loan officer and submit the necessary documents to receive a pre-approval letter. This letter will be required by sellers before they accept your offer, so it's best to get this step out of the way. If you want to be connected with a fantastic loan officer, just let us know!

How long does it take to buy a home?

Based on our experience, pre-approved and motivated buyers search for a home for 2-4 weeks. After landing a contract, you can expect another 3-5 weeks until your closing date. Of course, a seller's schedule may dictate your closing date so this can vary. In general, estimate that you'll need at least 45 days from getting pre-approved to moving into a home.

How much do I pay a buyer's agent?

In Georgia, buyers do not typically pay their agent - all commissions come out on the seller's end of a deal. However, buyers are responsible for closing costs unless they negotiate the seller to pay a portion for them. Closing Costs can be conservatively estimated at 3% of the property's purchase price.

What kind of credit do I need to get a home loan?

For most loans, a 620 score is required. However, we're not loan officers. Contact us and we'll get you in touch with someone that can speak with authority on the subject.

How much do I need for a down payment?

Most loans require a minimum of 3% down. Again, we're not loan officers. And, once again, if you contact us about the matter we will get you in touch with someone that can speak with authority on the subject.

Should I sell my home before buying a new one?

Your specific financial situation will likely be the determining factor on this one. There is certainly a benefit to not needing to clean and vacate frequently for showings. However, if you're leaving your home completely empty, it's worth noting that staged homes show better and sell for more and faster than empty homes.


This question, in our experience, is a debatable topic where we can be of more service after you've explained the whole situation we're in. Once we know that, we'll be more able to direct you. For a short answer now, it depends.

How many houses do I need to see before I buy one?

Clark Howard has said you should see at least 100 homes before you buy one. It's worth noting that Clark said 100 homes "in person or online." In practice, seeing 100 homes in person will take you several weeks of full-time house shopping which is not feasible.


On many occasions, we have had buyers loop back around and purchase the first home we walked into together. On others, we've seen 10 or 20 homes before we found the right one. Buyers should see as many homes as it takes to find the right fit. In certain markets, it will take much longer to find. No matter how many it takes, we'll be there with you.

How long can the seller take to respond to my offer?

Buyers indicate within their offer when it will expire. In certain markets, a shorter expiration is necessary. Other times, it's perfectly fine to give the seller a significant amount of time to think about your offer. In general, we provide sellers with 24-48 hours to consider our offers.

How long can the seller take to respond to my offer?

Buyers indicate within their offer when it will expire. In certain markets, a shorter expiration is necessary. Other times, it's perfectly fine to give the seller a significant amount of time to think about your offer. In general, we provide sellers with 24-48 hours to consider our offers.

What if my offer is rejected?

If your offer is rejected, you have the ability to send in a new offer or move on to a new property. Many times, we send offers that don't meet a seller's expectations and is initially rejected only to have the seller reach out at a later time.


The important thing to consider when writing an offer is what you believe the value of the house to be. Real estate is not an industry where buyers and sellers often take advantage of one another. In most cases, a transaction occurs to the mutual approval of each party.


As a buyer presenting an offer below asking price, understand the seller may not be excited about your offer. As a seller receiving an offer below asking price, understand the buyer is just one or two people with an opinion of the property's value - nothing to get in a tizzy about.

Should I buy a home inspection?

We recommend that all our buyers purchase a home inspection on resale homes as well as new construction. We like having that "warm fuzzy feeling" that everything is okay in a house. Home inspections help us have that.

Do I need to do a final walkthrough?

Absolutely. The final walkthrough is what gives us the confidence that a home is still in the condition we expected. Your final walkthrough isn't designed for you to inspect the property once more. We're there to make sure the seller has vacated, removed property that they said they would remove, cleaned up a bit, and that the place hasn't flooded or burned down. If all these things check out, we're on our way to closing! Final walkthroughs typically take 10-15 minutes.

Should I buy or rent?

The biggest two factors in this decision are typically (1) do you have funds to afford the down payment and closing costs? And (2) how long do you plan to stay in the home?


Remember: most purchases will require a 3% down payment as well as 3% in closing costs (though, we can request that the seller cover some of your closing costs).


In home purchases, given normal growth conditions, it's usually safe to estimate that you will be able to BREAKEVEN if you sell the home after 3 years. As home values continue to grow, this growth can usually overcome the amount you pay in closing costs and commissions after 3 years of ownership. If you breakeven before 3 years, you have done very well!

Can you help me find a lease-purchase deal?

We can; however, you should carefully consider supply and demand when you request these deals. Lease-Purchases are significantly less common options compared to outright purchases and rentals. These deals will require more patience and flexibility as owners are harder to come by and their expectations vary greatly.

Do I need an agent to help me buy a house?

Technically and legally, no. You can do it all on your own. There is, however, potential to be taken advantage of if you enter a deal with an unfortunate counterparty.


While real estate agents are not required to go through many years of higher education like doctors and lawyers, to some lesser extent, you can think of buying and selling real estate without an agent like diagnosing your own conditions, prescribing your own prescriptions, or representing yourself in court. Again, while the required training to become a Realtor is vastly less extreme compared to doctors and lawyers, the long-time professionals of the industry have years of knowledge and experience that make them worth their commission.

In addition, avoiding a buyer's agent does not guarantee a better purchase deal. Listing Agreements state that the Listing Broker will share a certain percent commission with a Cooperating Broker (essentially, the buyer's agent) if there is a Cooperating Broker. If there is no other broker involved, the Listing Broker is under no obligation to reduce the total commission due even though they will ultimately keep more. For this reason, an unrepresented buyer does not necessarily indicate a better purchasing deal.

How do I know what to offer?

After deciding that you would like to make an offer on a property, we will complete a comparable sales analysis which estimates the market value of the property. Armed with this information, we will be able to walk through what a good offer for you will look like.


There are other components to an offer, however, that sellers consider and we should too: closing date, due diligence, contingencies, special stipulations, etc. These terms affect a seller's decision regarding your offer as well. We'll walk through all of these together.

Listing agents have varying fees for the work they do based on experience and services offered. The majority of our sellers agree to pay between 5-7% (with most 7% listings being land and commercial listings). Of this, 3% is typically shared with a cooperating broker.

How much do I pay a listing agent?

Common Seller Questions

What can I do to increase my home's value?

The biggest bang for your buck, in our experience, is in updating: kitchens, bathrooms, flooring, and paint. In addition, some of the big ticket items are important to keep in good working condition and without flaws, including: roof, HVAC, appliances, and windows.


Our recommendation is almost always to complete updates a year or more ahead of selling your home (with the potential exception of replacing carpet). This way, you enjoy your updates and increase the value of your home at the same time.

When is the best time to sell my property?

Contrary to popular belief, selling your property in the summertime may not necessarily net you higher price or fewer days on the market. Our data* has shown that average and median home sale prices within a given county vary around 1% and that median days on market change by up to 14 days comparing any two months in a calendar year. From our experience, there are plenty of buyers year-round north of Atlanta to allow you to sell your property anytime of year.


*Data from study of 2019 Sales in Cherokee, Cobb, and Bartow Counties. Data from FMLS.

How should I prepare my home for showings and pictures?

To best prepare your home, we recommend deep cleaning, making minor repairs, staging your furniture, removing personal items, decluttering, reorganizing closets, eliminating odors, upgrading lighting, sprucing up landscaping, power-washing decks and sidewalks, and more.


These to-do's vary between all homes and depend on market conditions. For you, this list may be longer or shorter. We'll help you figure that out once we see your home.

What should I disclose to buyers?

In Georgia, in layman's terms, you are required to disclose to the buyer any defects that are not obvious. For instance, everyone will see an enormous hole in your front door. No one will see that the septic system has a leak. You will need to disclose the leak. When in doubt, disclose. Odds are that your buyer will complete an inspection and the defect will turn up then OR that the defect will turn up after closing. If it found that you intentionally hid a defect, a lawsuit will be in order. It's better to avoid that headache.

How much is my home worth?

When we visit your home for the first time, we will have a general value range that your property should fit in based on our knowledge of the area and recent sales. After seeing your home, we will revisit comparable sales and provide to you an analysis of our findings which will estimate the market value of your property in detail.


We take an analytical, statistics-based approach to valuing homes. We do not pull numbers out of the air. This approach permits our sellers to be confident in their list prices.

Should we make the list price higher than the value so we have negotiating room?

Depending on market conditions, erring too far on the high side can actually have a negative impact on your ultimate sales price. Today, in the early part of 2021, pricing homes right at heir market value tends to net a sale higher than market value (because of the heavy seller's market and overwhelming demand for housing).


At the same time, listing $10,000-$20,000 higher than market value has left homes sitting on the market for more than 60 days and selling $5,000-$10,000 below market value. Why? Because the listings become saturated and buyers assume the home has issues since everything else is selling in under two weeks.


Of course, market conditions are constantly changing. We'll keep you up to date on the best strategy for the current market and your property.

What if I get a lowball offer?

If you get a lowball offer that neither of us was expecting, take it with a grain of salt. There are many reasons we may receive an offer lower than expected: buyer cannot afford to offer full price, buyer wants to complete some type of costly work and won't have funds to offer full-price and complete the work, etc. We're not justifying these low offers, but we do recommend moving on quickly without letting these types of offers hinder your mood.

Should I leave my refrigerator?

Unless you absolutely cannot take your refrigerator with you, we recommend not giving it away. In your Seller's Property Disclosure, you will mark items that you plan to leave with the property. By not indicating that a refrigerator will stay, you have the potential to use it as a negotiating tool later.


For instance, Buyer would like you to complete $1000 of work after the inspection. You own a refrigerator that was $1500 originally. Perhaps we can negotiate to leave the refrigerator in lieu of completing the work the buyer requested.


On the flip side, if you love your refrigerator to pieces, it's fine to take it with you. It is very infrequently a deal breaker.

Should we host open houses at my listing?

Open Houses are essentially a 2-3 Hour showing on the weekend, hosted by our team. If we are expecting many showings at your home, an open house is a great way to generate excitement about your listing and get a large number of showings out of the way at the same time.


Statistically, open houses are responsible for about 5% of sales. That's a low percentage. However, there's still potential there and we like to take every opportunity we can to find a buyer for your home.


At open houses, we even have a chance to locate an unrepresented buyer for your home. In this situation, with our broker's approval, we may be able to reduce the commissions that you will owe at closing.

Home equity is the difference between your home's market value and the amount of all loans on the home. For instance, if your home is worth $400,000 and you have a $350,000 loan, you have $50,000 in equity.

What is home equity?

General Questions

What is a debt-to-income ratio?

Your "DTI" is a ratio between how much you owe each month to how much to make each month. For instance, if your  mortgage is $1000/month and you make $4000/month, your DTI is 25% (1000 divided by 4000). Most often, your goal should be to keep your mortgage DTI below 28% of your pretax income.

What is included in a home's square footage?

Finished space that has heating and air should be included in a home's square footage. Attics, garages, and unfinished basements are not included in square footage calculations but should be noted as well since these things still add value to a home.

What counts as a bedroom?

Ah. The debate of the century. What's in a bedroom? There are5 criteria: at least 70 square feet (with minimum 7-foot width), at least 7-foot tall ceilings, a door, a second exit (another door or a window), and a closet. If the second means of egress is a window, the window must be big enough for you to exit through (typically, 5.7 square feet in a minimum).

What is Title Insurance?

Title insurance protects buyers (and lenders) from issues with a "clear title." Here's an example: a builder buys land to build 100 townhomes. The land is owned by 4 siblings. When the builder purchases the land, the 4th sibling is left out of the deal and doesn't realize the land is being sold. You purchase one of these townhomes. 3 years into the future, the 4th sibling finds out what happens and claims that 25% of those townhomes are on property that belongs to him.


In learning this update, you should be absolutely elated that you purchased Title Insurance because it is designed to protect your investment in this instance.


We always recommend that our buyers purchase Title Insurance.

What is a Home Warranty Plan?

Home Warranties are designed to protect owners from the cost of large repair and replacements within a certain time period (usually, one year). Home Warranty companies offer discounted repairs for numerous components of a home. It's important to read your warranty deal carefully to understand what is covered and the cost you should expect to complete repairs.

How long does a brokerage agreement last?

Typically, an agreement will last anywhere from 3-6 months or more for certain types of listings. If you want or need a shorter agreement, simply request it. We're happy to talk about it.

Can I cancel a brokerage agreement?

Absolutely. If you do not want to work with us anymore, we're not inclined to hold you captive. Just let us know that you'd like to end our agreement. Of course, if our broker is due a commission at the time you want to end our agreement, we do not have the authority to let you go free - you may be held liable for that commission.

What if a home does not appraise at our Purchase Price?

For both buyer and seller, this situation is typically unwelcome. When a property under-appraises, both agents will work to provide the appraiser with comparable sales that justify the agreed-upon Purchase Price. If the price still cannot met, buyer and seller must take one of these steps:

(a) Seller reduces price to appraised value.

(b) Buyer covers difference between appraised value and contract price in cash.

Do I need Home Insurance

No matter who you are, our recommendation is always, "Yes." Home Insurance exists to protect one of your most valuable assets. Without Home Insurance, if your home experiences disaster, you may be completely out of luck. Anyone that has a loan will be required by their lender to hold a Home Insurance policy. 

We are happy to recommend great insurance agents to help with your policy. Let us know if you'd like us to put you in touch!


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