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House-flying money

Don’t look at homes you cannot afford. Many buyers make the mistake of not knowing how much they can comfortably afford in advance and wind up looking at homes that they ultimately can’t get. While that would seem to be harmless, it’s really not – if you’re looking at more expensive homes to begin with, you’ll be disappointed by the homes you actually CAN afford.

Which brings us naturally to another common mistake – don’t have unrealistic expectations. If you’ve started out looking at more expensive homes, you’ll start to expect some of those features, even if you can’t afford them. Know your price range, and then know what you can buy and where you can find it. With a small budget, you won’t be able to buy a big home in the most popular neighborhoods. I find that Zillow has helped us in this regard: homebuyers now can see, before I’m even consulted, how much homes cost in a given neighborhood.

Get caught up, but not TOO caught up, in resale value. If you don’t need a great school district, don’t buy a home just because it is in a great school district – you don’t need it.  And school districts change – boundaries and quality both change. So the great school district today might not be the best in five years. Conversely, an up and coming school district could be your best buy. And remember, your home is where you are going to live. Just because you can get a great deal in a bad area of town doesn’t mean you want to live there.

Sometimes buyers get too caught up in worrying about what OTHER buyers want. Consider what YOU want and find it. IF that’s what you are looking for, there are and certainly will be others like you out there to purchase it when you’re ready to sell.

Exceptions here are the tough resale items noted in my last blog post on “red flags.” If you fall in love with a red flag home, fine – just know that your price should take into account the fact that the home will be tougher to resell. But also keep in mind that the serious but FIXABLE problem can be your absolute best value when purchasing a home.

Finally, don’t think you can do it on your own. In Georgia, the Seller pays both agents’ commissions. A good buyer’s agent can save you time and money and negotiate expertly on your behalf, and more than pay for themselves. Your home will be one of the largest investments you will ever make – hire an expert to help!


Mary Anne Walser is a licensed attorney and full-time REALTOR, serving buyers and sellers in all areas of Metro Atlanta. Her knowledge of residential real estate and her legal expertise allow her to offer great value to her clients. Mary Anne serves on the Committee that drafts and reviews the contracts utilized by all REALTORS in the State of Georgia. In addition, she is a member of the Atlanta Board of Realtors, the Georgia Association of Realtors, the State Bar of Georgia and the Georgia Association of Women Lawyers. Contact Mary Anne at 404-277-3527, or via email: maryannesellshomes@gmail.com.