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Buying a House in Georgia: An In-Depth Guide

A good real estate agent is important to help you navigate the complicated process of buying a house. Learn about what’s involved with buying a house in Georgia and how to find the help you need to make the process go smoothly.
A good real estate agent is important to help you navigate the complicated process of buying a house. Learn about what’s involved with buying a house in Georgia and how to find the help you need to make the process go smoothly.

Buying a home is an exciting journey. There are a thousand little steps along the way. That means that there are a thousand things that can go wrong — or right if you have the right guidance.

Keep reading to get a general overview of what to expect when buying a house in Georgia.

How to Find a Georgia Buyer’s Agent

There’s a reason that 87% of buyers use an agent to find their perfect home.

Buying a home consists of far more than just finding the right property (already a tremendous feat in itself). It also involves making sure you get a good price, being prepared for the taxes you’ll have to pay, negotiating with the seller (and coming out ahead), and finding the right financing.

A good real estate agent can help you with all of this. When choosing a real estate agent, there are a few traits you should keep in mind.

You want a hustler. A good agent will actively find the perfect property, not wait for it to magically appear. You also want an honest, trustworthy agent. They are your support in what is often the largest transaction that you will undertake.

You also want an agent who understands the local housing market and has plenty of connections. They should also be a shrewd negotiator. Coming out on top during the negotiation process can save you thousands of dollars.

You can do the digging on your own to find an agent or you can let Clever connect you with a knowledgeable agent in your area. As an added bonus, Clever Partner Agents in our network offer a buyer’s rebate that you can take as points on your mortgage or use to help cover closing costs.

Interested to learn more about buying with Clever? Want to meet up for a no-obligation consultation with a realtor in your area? Dive in here!

Learn More: What Does a Real Estate Agent Do for a Buyer?

Georgia Housing Market Forecast for 2019 — and Beyond

Is it a good time to buy in Georgia? Let’s take a look at the market to find out.

The median home value in Georgia is $187,700. This is a little less than the national median home value at $226,300.

However, the market is hot and prices are on the rise. In the last year alone prices went up 10.5% and Zillow expects to see them go up another 7.2% over the next year. That’s good news for you as a buyer. You’ll be building equity quickly.

In Georgia, homes spend an average of 87 days on the market. This is a few days less than the national average of 93.

It is very much a seller’s market, which can put you at a disadvantage as a buyer. You could lose out on an opportunity because you were too slow to put in your offer. Plus, you have less power at the negotiation table.

Unless, of course, you have a good agent at your side. A motivated agent will make sure you’re the one whose offer arrives first. And a shrewd one will ensure that you don’t get the short end of the stick during negotiations.

Best Time of Year to Buy a Home in Georgia

In general, the most inventory is available in the spring. Sellers know that buyers generally aren’t on the prowl during the cold winter months and are too busy during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.

Spring is the perfect time for many buyers, so they can move during the summer when their kids are out of school and they have plenty of time to get settled before cold weather sets in.

However, because buyers are plentiful during the spring, prices tend to go up.

The main issue for buyers during the winter months is the lack of inventory. It’s harder to find what you're looking for when there are fewer options available.

However, there is good news for buyers in Georgia. Perhaps because of the mild climate, inventory stays rather steady year round, with the lowest inventory generally in January.

This makes late summer/fall and even part of winter a good time to buy in Georgia. There's still a fairly good selection of homes, but you'll have a good chance of getting a better deal.

Learn More: The Best Time to Buy a House in Georgia

Calculate Your Property Taxes in Georgia

Property taxes are calculated based on the assessed value of your home. Then that value is multiplied by the area’s mill rate to determine your tax bill. One mill is equal to 1/10 of 1 cent, which works out to $1 for every $1000 of property value.

Communities set the mill rate according to their revenue needs. Thus the rate can vary widely depending on location. For example, property taxes in Fulton County (Atlanta) are assessed at 1.144% or $2,860 on a $250,000 home. But for that same $250,000 home in Chatham County (Savannah) you would pay 0.928% or $2,320.

Learn More: How to Calculate Property Taxes

How Much Are Closing Costs for Home Buyers in Georgia?

There is a lot of paperwork that needs to be done and details that need to be taken care of when you purchase a house. All of that costs money and is wrapped up in your closing costs.

Many closing costs have to do with your loan. For example, the loan origination fee and points on your mortgage.

All in all, you should expect to pay roughly 2-4% of the purchase price in closing costs. This means that on the average sale price in Georgia of $186,700, you could expect to pay between $3,734 and $7,468.

Taxes are another consideration that you should keep in mind. The rules for transfer taxes vary widely by location. This is because they are charged by local entities at the state, county, and municipal level.

The state transfer tax of approximately 1% in Georgia is typically paid by the seller. During negotiations, however, the parties may agree to the buyer taking on that cost. Plus, there is variance on the county and municipal levels if applicable.

A local real estate agent will be able to give you an idea of what to expect in your particular area.

Learn More: Who Pays Closing Costs on a House?

Clever Will Help Pay Your Closing Costs!

All in all, closing costs can feel like a heavy burden when you’re already worrying about taking out a mortgage and all the expenses that go along with that.

How would you like some help with those closing costs?

Clever Partner Agents offer a $1,000 home buyer rebate back to buyers that purchase a home over $150,000. For homes over $500,000, this rebate can be an even more lucrative 1% of the purchase price. You can use this money to offset your closing costs.

Ready to get connected with a knowledgeable, local real estate agent? Fill out our online form for your no-obligation consultation today!

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Jamie Ayers

Jamie is the Director of Content at Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you with top real estate agents and helps you save thousands on commission. In the past, Jamie has managed columns for clients in a variety of leading business publications, including Forbes, Inc., CEO World, Entrepreneur, and more. At Clever, Jamie's primary goal is to provide home sellers, buyers, and investors with the information they need to successfully navigate the ins and outs of the real estate industry.

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