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How to Buy a House in Georgia

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Home to a growing tech scene, nationally-ranked hospitals and Fortune 500 companies, Georgia offers a wealth of opportunities. 

Ready to find a home of your own in the Peach State? Follow this guide to how to buy a house in Georgia. 

Step 1: Consider Current Georgia Mortgage Rates

Before you start home shopping, it’s best to get pre-approved for a mortgage. How do you choose the best mortgage? Interest rate is an important factor. Even a small interest rate difference can save — or cost — you thousands over the life of your mortgage.

Mortgage rates change frequently — sometimes multiple times in a day. When you get mortgage quotes from lenders, try to get them all on the same day so you can make an accurate comparison. 

Lenders change interest rates to reflect what’s happening in the economy. When the economy isn’t doing well, lenders tend to lower interest rates to entice consumers to borrow. When the economy is bustling, lenders tend to raise rates since there’s more competition for funds. 

At Benzinga, we update our rates frequently so you have the most relevant information. Here are the current mortgage rates in Georgia.  

Loan Type Rate APR
30-year fixed 3.531% 3.626%
15-year fixed 2.955% 3.146%
7/1 ARM (adjustable rate) 0% 0%
5/1 ARM (adjustable rate) 3% 3.124%
Rates based on an average home price of $225,000 and a down payment of 20%.
See more mortgage rates on Zillow

Step 2: Pick a Mortgage Lender in Georgia

Where should you start when it comes to lenders? Here are Benzinga’s top 3 picks for Georgia.  

Avg. Days to Close Loan
30
Minimum Credit Score
580

Best Overall: Quicken Loans®

Quicken Loans makes the mortgage process easy. You can view its rates online and get a personalized quote. Service is also available by phone or chat. 

Quicken Loans offers award-winning customer service, so you’re supported throughout the mortgage process. Its stellar service makes it an excellent choice when it comes to lenders for first-time buyers. You’ll find a wide range of home loan products, including conventional, FHA, VA and USDA loans. 

Avg. Days to Close Loan
30
Minimum Credit Score
620

Best for Veterans: Veterans United

Veterans United is an excellent lender choice for current service members and veterans. It’s the top VA lender in the country due to the outstanding service it provides. 

Its customer service representatives are available 24/7. Veterans United also has advisors from every military branch to ensure it’s meeting the needs of clients. It offers extensive educational materials online so you can learn more about the home buying process. 

Veterans United specializes in VA loans. It also offers conventional and FHA loans. 

Avg. Days to Close Loan
30 – 40
Minimum Credit Score
620

Best for Self-Employed Professionals: Luxury Mortgage

Luxury Mortgage offers an impressive range of mortgage products. Its bank statement qualifier mortgage can be a good fit for self-employed professionals. 

The bank statement qualifier mortgage means you can qualify for a mortgage based on your total bank deposits. Why is this important? Your total deposits reflect your actual income, which may be more than what’s reflected on your tax returns. That means you may qualify to borrow more. 

Luxury Mortgage works with borrowers who have credit scores as low as 580. It also offers asset qualifier, FHA, conventional and jumbo home loans. 

Step 3: Find a House

Once you’ve found a lender and been pre-approved, the next step is to find a home. Many home buyers find it helpful to work with an experienced real estate professional. Even though you have to pay a commission, it’s often worth it for local expertise. 

A good real estate will do a significant amount of legwork to help you find a home. You can also search local listings. As you look for homes, keep your budget in mind. Avoid the temptation to look at homes outside your budget. When you buy a home, you also have to pay taxes and homeowners insurance. You’ll also need to budget for repairs, upkeep and improvements. 

Before you start looking at homes, clarify your priorities. Is living in a great school district important? Do you prefer a 1-story home? Do you want to be walking distance from the grocery store? Do you want to live close to work? Make lists of what you need in a home and what you’d like in a home and compare the homes you see to your list. 

Once you find a home that fits your budget and checks off the items on your list, it’s time to make an offer. 

Step 4: Make an Offer

You’ll want to give careful thought to how much you offer. Your real estate agent can provide advice. You want to consider:

  • The asking price
  • The local market
  • The age and condition of the home
  • How long the home has been on the market

Next you’ll submit a formal offer. This is typically done on a standardized form. In most cases, you’ll submit an earnest money deposit. This is a small percentage of the purchase price that is held by a 3rd party until the sale closes. It shows the seller you’re serious and counts toward your down payment and closing costs. In most cases, if the sale falls through, your earnest money deposit will be returned, but check with your real estate agent or a real estate attorney to confirm. 

Once you submit your offer, the seller may accept it, reject it or make a counteroffer. If you get a counteroffer, you can accept it, reject it or make another counteroffer.

It might take a few tries, but with patience and persistence, you’ll find the right home and the right seller. Once you do, you’ll sign a purchase agreement and start the closing process.  

Step 5: Closing Time

Closing on a home is a process with several moving parts. On your end, you’ll submit your formal mortgage application. You may need to provide additional documentation and answer questions from your lender. 

While your lender is reviewing your application, you’ll want to order a home inspection. While it’s not always required, a home inspection allows you to know exactly what you’re buying. Look for an experienced home inspector with excellent reviews. 

If the home inspector uncovers serious issues, you may be able to withdraw from your purchase or renegotiate your terms, depending on the terms of your purchase agreement. 

You’ll also need to purchase homeowners insurance. This is a requirement of most lenders. 

Your lender will typically order an appraisal. This is when a third party evaluates how much your home is worth. Your lender wants to confirm that the amount that they’re lending you is appropriate. 

Once your lender has reviewed your application and received your appraisal, it will make a decision about whether to approve you for the loan. You’ll have a final meeting to sign your loan documents and pay any funds due. Once that’s all finished, you’ll get the keys to your home. 

Move In Day in Georgia

Buying a home is an involved process, but it’s worthwhile in the end. Once you have your keys, you can move in and make a home. 

Make sure you know how much your mortgage payment will be and where to send it. Set money aside for potential repairs and update your license and registration if you’re moving from out of state. 

Once you’re all moved in and have most of your boxes unpacked, relax and enjoy all the Peach State has to offer.