I’ve made my first huge purchase … come Monday morning, I’ll be a homeowner!
Now, don’t panic — I’ll still be in the Atlanta area. I’m actually moving five minutes closer to my office (cutting my daily commute from 10 minutes to a grueling five), so there’s no reason for me to change the blog name or anything. I’m excited for the move, but I’ll be a lot more excited to be done with the process and sitting at a Braves game Wednesday night. The dust should have settled by then.
During the four-month process, I’ve learned that everything people have said about the pain of buying a home is true. It takes patience, a willingness to lose out on a couple of properties, and more patience.
I’m sure Atlanta’s market isn’t identical to other markets, but if you’re a local looking for a new place, here are a couple of tips to keep in mind as you begin your search.
Start looking six months before your lease runs out. At this point, good homes aren’t everywhere. Inventory isn’t great. So you will find yourself looking for months before you find the perfect place, in all likelihood. I started my search four months ago, and I lucked out when I found my townhome almost exactly 30 days ago. Still, my parents opened their doors to me in case I needed to move home for a few days or weeks, so I had a fallback. If you don’t have that, start early.
Short sales are the rule, not the exception, it seems. I had never heard this term in my life before I started my home search. It’s basically the step between a normal sale and a foreclosure, and there are a lot of short sales out there because of the downturn of the economy. Since it’s a bank-controlled sale, there’s no telling how long these sales will take. It could be weeks or months, and every home you like will end up being a short sale. It’s just so typical.
If it’s a normal sale, it’s going to go fast. In the current market, a good property will get four or five offers the same day it goes on the market. The highest bid wins. It’s that simple, yet it’s that difficult for the buyer. My townhome was one of these instances, and I lost a bidding war on a foreclosure before that. You can’t take it personally — it’s just a part of the game right now.
If you’re a fixer-upper type, you will flourish. So many homes on the market need love, attention, and, most importantly, money. If you have the means to fix up one of the foreclosures that have been sitting on the market for months or years, you can make a lot of money in the long run by refurbishing and re-selling a property.
Good luck with your search!