Deciding to Buy a Home is an exciting commitment. We make sure the homebuying process is easy and fun so you can start off your homeowner journey on the right foot.
Step 1 – Education
Figure out your Financials 1st
If you are serious about Buying or Investing, you need to figure out your financials first. We suggest talking with one of our Preferred lenders to get the process started and to get Pre-qualified.
Setting up a financial game plan before looking at properties will ensure you understand your budget and price range, how much to save, and this will help you get an idea of how much interest, taxes, and insurance you will be paying each month on your new home.
We also suggest running numbers for maintenance, getting utility estimates, and meeting with your financial advisor to see if there are better ways to allocate your assets and liabilities that you may not have considered.
Knowledge is power, and an informed Buyer has more leverage. We provide data and insight from your local market to help ensure you have the whole picture of opportunities at your fingertips.
You have probably already started to search online and we suggest you begin comparing Price / SQFT and condition of homes in areas of interest to get an idea of how many homes are available and how they compare to your wishlists. We can also provide you with additional Resources and market reports to get a better understanding of the factors that could affect your Real Estate buying power.
Step 2 – Buyer Documentation
We practice Exclusive Representation, which means we have a fiduciary responsibility to serve our clients’ interests “exclusively”. It’s kind of like dating, we only work with clients were all parties have a committed trusting relationship.
Before touring properties, your Real Estate agent will meet with you, go over your Southern Athena Home Buyer Wish List, make a copy of your ID, and have you sign necessary representation documents outlining our roles and responsibilities as your agent.
Then we set you up in our VIP Buyer program, outline your property search and set you up to get instant New Listing alerts and weekly updates.
Once you have worked everything out on the financial side, you will receive a Pre-Approval Commitment Letter drafted from your lender so we can submit it with any offers you make. This will also ensure we are only searching for properties that you can actually afford.
Step 3 – Searching & Touring
We set you up to Get Instant Updates on any property that meets your search criteria.
We provide all of our clients with a “Weekly Southern Athena Update”. Your agent will pull all listings on the market within your search criteria and send you a master list at the beginning of each week. This will help you compare opportunities, and your agent will regularly review and better customize your search criteria based on your feedback to ensure your searching success.
Touring is the best way to get a true feel for a property. Your agent will strategically schedule tours to help you reach your goals. If it is a hot market, you may have a limited window of time to see a property and make an offer, so your agent will be proactive in watching when properties come available and reaching out to schedule tours.
Our agents also provide a safe and secure showing experience with exclusive SentriLock access. If you are seeing multiple properties in one day, they will bring you a Southern Athena Property Tour Notepad where you can list out your personal comments, and Pros and Cons of each property to help you rate and compare all of your options.
Just remember: If you have toured more than 10 properties with no luck, go back to getting clear on your reasons and motivations for Buying in the 1st place. Review past properties and refine any of your wish lists to better discover and provide insight for your search going forward.
Step 4 – Contract Negotiation
It’s go time! Your agent will assist you in preparing an offer for any property you decide to purchase. We will use Tennessee Association of Realtor Purchase and Sale Agreement contracts and forms to present your offer in it’s best light. Your agent will advise you on different offer components and scenarios and how those may be perceived by the Seller of the property.
Before submitting an offer we look to best leverage your position in the market as a qualified Buyer. We compile an accurate picture of the property to help leverage any price adjustments such as previous sales data, property condition, tax records, and market insights. If needed, we also get personal to make it harder for the Seller to say no, and get you to a solid YES.
We find that negotiations go favorably when we have more information than the negotiating party. Your agent practices negotiations daily and will help you develop a strategic plan to get you the most for your money.
Our winning relationships with agents in our market also helps to better serve our clients and ensure your success. Our reputation goes far, as other agents know we play fair and are a pleasure to work with and their deals are more likely to close without legal issues or hiccups.
In most transactions, the Seller will counter, or there may be items that need to be negotiated during contract due diligence. Your agent will help you navigate the pros and cons of different scenarios and ensure that your contract has your interests at the forefront.
Step 5 – Getting to Close
In Tennessee, contracts generally require something in Earnest – a way to show the Seller you are serious and not just jerking them around. Often a financial consideration will be put in your Purchase Offer that is refundable and non-refundable at different stages of your contract. The amount of Earnest included with your offer should be competitive with the local market. (Often around ~1% of the Offer Price.)
During your Due Diligence period, you will be able to revisit the property, complete any inspections, and gain additional requested information from the Seller to inform your final Purchase. Often we will obtain a Property Condition Disclosure from the Seller prior to offer so any major issues are known before your initial offer.
Once under contract, your lender will be provided a copy of your Purchase and Sale Agreement and begin the underwriting process for your loan. They will also inform you of things not to do while under contract like: buying a car, changing jobs, or making any other major expense that may affect your credit or ability to close. A settlement statement will be sent out before closing documenting the final amount of cash you will have to bring to the closing table.
Your agent will document all negotiations and contract changes that occur before, during and after your Purchase. They will make sure you are aware of contract deadlines, when changes can and cannot occur, and protect your interests in Buying the property.
We hope you start packing before you make an offer and definitely prior to close because moving can be a stressful experience for many people and any additional anxiety tends to put added strain on your relationships. We want to make the moving transition as easy as possible and your agent can provide you with Architectural and Interiors resources to help make the move a success.
Step 6 – Closing
Once a property is completely vacated, we will help you complete a final walkthrough to ensure the property is in the same or better condition as disclosed. Sometimes during a move people can scrape floors or damage walls. Plus there may be something uncovered right before closing that you couldn’t see before and want fixed. We would hate for you to miss the opportunity to see your new Home right before your Buy.
You did it! Now it’s time to sign a ton of papers, get your keys, and celebrate. Your agent will schedule, coordinate and document your final purchase closing documents with your Title Company so everything is legal and complete. Then it’s time to party. We suggest taking the day off work so you can start your next chapter in your new home in style.
You’ve made it! The American Dream has come true for you. We believe strongly and passionately in Home Ownership and recognize all of the positive ways that investing in Real Estate affects us as individuals, our families, communities, and country. We are so thankful to be a part of this process with you and want to help you now and in the future with all of your Real Estate needs.
Wanting to remodel, flip, or complete a substantial project next? We have you covered there too! Check out our Architecture & Interiors departments for more information.