In most markets, including ours here in Atlanta, it’s a seller’s market. But you already knew that! So, if you are a buyer in this market, you could probably use a few extra tools to give you a competitive advantage. Below, I’ve put together a few of my top tools to help you become a savvier, smarter home buyer.
- Know where you’re going – The home buying process is full of twists and turns and a lot of steps. So, if you know where you are in the process you can put your mind at ease and see how close, or far, you are from the ultimate goal of getting the keys to your new home. I’ve created a one-page guide that shows you the process step-by-step. You can grab your own free copy here.
- Get your numbers straight – Before you start looking for a home, find out how much you can afford and run all the numbers so you know exactly the down payment you need as well as how much items such as insurance and taxes will cost for the area you want to live in. A great place to start this process, as well as view other helpful financial calculators, is at SmartAsset.com. Yes, there are other calculators out there but I prefer this one because you can create a profile to save your numbers so you can go back and recalculate or use different calculators without having to re-enter all of your data each time.
- Use the best app – With a robust market like we’re seeing now, you will have the jump on other buyers by using the right search tool to find new listings. I recommend Realtor.com because they have extensive relationships with multiple listing services and have the most up-to-date and accurate data. Not only will this give you a jump on the latest listings, you’ll save yourself a lot of frustration because when the status shows as Active, it’s actually still for sale.
- Crime in the area – Take a look at the crime statistics for a potential new home by visiting SpotCrime.com. There are numerous websites, including the local police department, that may have this data, but I’ve found the SpotCrime site the easiest to use, plus you can create a profile and get crime alerts for your area.
- Know before you buy – Also in the same vein of checking crime statistics, I recommend bookmarking the Sex Offender Database for your area so that anytime a listing comes up that you are interested in, you can also take a quick look and make sure you know who’s in the neighborhood. Also, I noticed in a recent visit to the site that they do offer an app for your phone.
With these tools in your back pocket, you are sure to be a smarter home buyer with a jump on most of the other buyers out there. I pride myself in helping you find the home of your dreams, so if I can help you, please let me know!