No. 5: Dream about a home in Dahlonega—Then Get Real
Imagine the perfect house you’d love to live in when you buy a home in Dahlonega. What will it look like from the street as you pull into the driveway? Or would you rather hear the crunch of gravel as you approach a home that can’t even be seen from the street? What about the size, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, a porch or deck? Fireplace, kitchen island, garage? Would your dream house be new construction or older, with a little more “character?” What about the view?
Really spend some time thinking about what features and attributes you and your family want in a new house. Consider your needs now and in the future. What might change that would impact your choice? Last of the kids leaving home? Starting a family with babies to come? Will you need a separate living area for aging parents one day? Do you plan to stay in the house as you get older?
Now that you’ve let your imagination run, come on back to Earth. It’s not realistic to think you’ll find everything you want in any one house. You’ll probably have to compromise a little. So, this is where you begin to make separate lists: wants, must-haves and deal-breakers. You won’t believe how helpful this is when you start house hunting.
No. 4: Check your credit report.
While you’re dreaming, go ahead and get serious about the serious stuff. Check your credit score now to see if there are any opportunities for quick-fix improvements. Is all the information on the report correct? If there are negative strikes against you that are in error, make it a priority to find the documentation needed and have them removed. See whether there are balances you could pay down or debts you could pay off to reduce the amount of your liabilities and help you qualify for a loan.
No 3: Review your financial plans and budget.
Meet with a mortgage lender or other financial professional for advice. Work together to figure out how much you should spend to buy a home in Dahlonega. How much of a down payment will you have? What’s the most you should borrow to stay in line with your other financial goals? Get pre-approved for that amount so you’ll know what price range to look in. Trust me: You don’t want to fall in love with a home you can’t afford! And no one wants to spend a lot of time showing properties you won’t be able to get financing on.
No. 2: Do some homework.
Do some homework. Do a little research on the housing market in Dahlonega. You don’t need to become an expert, but do take time to browse the Internet, at least, to get an idea of what kinds of properties are out there and what pricing is like to buy a home in Dahlonega. If you’re nearby, drive around the community to see what areas you like best. How do the prices compare from one area of Dahlonega to the next?
And the No. 1 Most Important Step to Take When You’re Going to Buy a Home in Dahlonega:
Select the best real estate agent you can find. You’ll be doing yourself a big favor if you work with a qualified, experienced Realtor who knows Dahlonega from end to end. A knowledgeable agent will support you through the process of buying a house—answering your questions, setting appointments, recommending home inspectors, negotiating prices and terms, managing documents, lining up closing attorneys and taking care of other nuts and bolts. Plus, professional agents often have networks of real estate colleagues to talk about the local market with and can sometimes find homes for sale to show you before they’re even on the market!