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Georgia Home Buyer Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How to Buy a Home in Georgia

Buying a home in Coastal Georgia is easier than you may think!  Here are the most frequently asked questions by our clients on buying a home in Georgia when represented by a Realtor.

 

Lender Pre-Qualification in Georgia

What's the first step in buying a home?

The first step in buying a home is to get pre-qualified for a home loan with a mortgage lender. 

 

Why should I get pre-qualified?

Once pre-qualified you'll know how much home you can afford, and your monthly mortgage payment, including property taxes and homeowner's insurance.  This will allow you to begin your home search with confidence! Your lender will also help you determine which loan program, including VA, FHA, USDA, or Conventional loan is right for you.

 

Why do I need a lender pre-qualification letter?

Once you find the perfect home, your lender pre-qualification letter is included with your purchase offer to inform the seller that you're qualified and ready to purchase the home. 

 

Closing Costs in Georgia

What are closing costs?

Closing costs are those associated with the purchase of a home.  They include items such as the home appraisal, property taxes, homeowner's insurance, lender fees, closing attorney fees, and state and local taxes, etc.  Your lender will breakdown and explain costs in your closing disclosure.

 

How much are closing costs?

The amount depends on variables such as the sales price of the home, property taxes, insurance, etc.  Your mortgage lender can estimate closing costs the home you're interested in.

 

Who pays closing costs?

Closing costs are paid by the home Buyer.  However, Buyers can sometimes negotiate a contribution at closing from the seller.  

 

Earnest Money in Georgia

What is earnest money?

Earnest money is offered by Buyers as 'good faith' of their intention to purchase the home.  Although it's not a legal requirement in Georgia, it's common practice.

 

How much earnest money will I need?

There is no set amount for earnest money.  It can be whatever amount both Buyer and Seller agree to. 

 

What happens to my earnest money when I purchase the home?

Earnest money is applied to Buyer closing costs.

 

What happens to my earnest money if I don't purchase the home?

If home Buyers terminate the purchase agreement during the due diligence option period, financing contingency period, or appraisal contingency period, their earnest money is returned.

 

Due Diligence Period in Georgia

What is the due diligence period?

This option period is the home Buyer's opportunity to examine the home, assess the home's condition, and decide whether or not to proceed with the purchase.

 

How long is the due diligence period?

The due diligence period can be any number of days agreed to by Buyer and Seller.  

 

What happens during the due diligence period?

We strongly recommend that Buyers hire a home inspector to examine the home and provide a written assessment of the home's condition.  Additionally, the Buyer should personally inspect the home and investigate any concerns.

 

What if I have concerns about the home during the due diligence period?

Home Buyers have the option to negotiate concerns with the seller, including home repairs or other seller concessions.

 

Can I cancel during the due diligence period?

This is the Buyer's option period.  Home Buyers have the right to unilaterally terminate during the due diligence period, without penalty. Earnest money is returned to the Buyer.

 

Home Inspection in Georgia

What is a home inspection?

A home inspection is a limited visual inspectiongeneral assessment of the home's condition.  The home inspector will provide an opinion on the home, including potential concerns, in the form of a written report.  Home Buyers can utilize the report as a tool to better understand the condition of the home. Additionally, Buyers should personally inspect the home and investigate any concerns. 

We strongly recommend the home inspection be completed during the due diligence period, allowing the opportunity to negotiate repairs, additional concessions from the seller, or unilaterally terminate the purchase agreement.

 

Who orders the home inspection?

The home inspection is ordered and paid for by the home Buyer during the due diligence option period.  

 

How can I find the right home inspector?

Choosing a qualified and experienced home inspector is key. Browse our directory of home inspectors to help find one that's right for you.

 

Financing Contingency Period in Georgia

What is the financing contingency period?

If home Buyers are turned down for a loan by their lender, they can terminate during this period by providing a loan denial letter to the seller.  Earnest money is returned to the Buyer. 

The Buyer's rights under the amendatory clause exist even after the expiration of the financing contingency period for VA & FHA loans.

 

Home Appraisal in Georgia

What is a home appraisal?

A home appraisal is a standardized third-party assessment of the home's value.  The appraiser independently determines the reasonable or fair market value of the home, ensuring that Buyers don't pay more than the home is worth and lenders don't lend more than the home is worth.

 

Who orders the home appraisal?

The home appraisal is ordered by the mortgage lender, and should be completed within the appraisal contingency period for both United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Conventional loans.  

 

Appraisal Contingency Period in Georgia

What is the appraisal contingency period?

If the home's appraised value is less than the purchase price, home Buyers have options during the appraisal contingency period:

Negotiate the Price. Buyer can attempt to renegotiate the lower purchase price with the seller.

Pay the Difference.  Buyer can chose to pay the difference in cash, at the closing.

Terminate. Buyer can terminate the purchase agreement, without penalty.  Earnest money is returned to the Buyer.

The appraisal contingency period does not apply to VA & FHA loans because the amendatory clause prevents Buyers from being compelled to pay more than the appraised value of the home.

 

VA Amendatory Clause in Georgia

What is the VA loan amendatory clause?

When Buyers choose to finance their home purchase with a VA loan, a qualified appraiser determines the home's reasonable value by completing a Veterans Administration (VA) appraisal.

The home Buyer's loan amount cannot exceed the VA appraised value. If the loan amount does exceed the appraised value, Buyers have options:

Negotiate the Price. Buyer can attempt to renegotiate the lower purchase price with the seller.

Pay the Difference.  Buyer can chose to pay the difference in cash, at the closing.

Terminate. Buyer can terminate the purchase agreement, without penalty.  Earnest money is returned to the Buyer.

 

FHA Amendatory Clause in Georgia

What is the FHA loan amendatory clause?

When Buyers choose to finance their home purchase with an FHA loan, a qualified appraiser determines the home's reasonable value by completing a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) appraisal.

The home Buyer's loan amount cannot exceed the FHA appraised value. If the loan amount does exceed the appraised value, Buyers have options:

Negotiate the Price. Buyer can attempt to renegotiate the lower purchase price with the seller.

Pay the Difference.  Buyer can chose to pay the difference in cash, at the closing.

Terminate. Buyer can terminate the purchase agreement, without penalty.  Earnest money is returned to the Buyer.

 

Home Buying Questions?

Experienced and highly-rated local Realtors are here to answer all your home buying questions. Contact us today to find out how we can help you find the perfect coastal Georgia home in Savannah, Brunswick, Kingsland and neighboring areas. 

Newest Homes for Sale in Coastal Georgia

$1,295,000
5 Beds 3 Baths 1645824 MLS
WELCOME TO YOUR DREAM HOME....Located in the gated Hampton Plantation neighborhood. Entering this stunning home, you'll find a perfect blend of elegance and comfort that is truly a feast for the eyes. Complementing your living experience is a magnificent solarium, a serene sunlit retreat that offers golf course views (11th hole). Adding to the charm and beauty, a stunning Swarovski crystal chandelier graces the dining room area, creating an enchanting space for hosting formal dinners and creating memorable experiences. The culinary space boasts new sleek quartz countertops and backsplash, offering a chic and contemporary aesthetic. Both the microwave and wall oven are convection ovens! 5 BRs PLUS an upstairs Bonus Room! The square footage has increased from listed amount due to the owners converting a large unfinished walk-in area upstairs into a bedroom and bonus room making it heated and cooled. This additional space has NOT been updated to the overall square footage number and should now be around 4,065 but buyer should have verified. (3,489 is County tax footage number) TONS of storage in this house!! MULTIPLE UPGRADES: Completed in the past two years include in 2024 new laundry room sink; heater/fan in master replaced; shake shingles painted / in 2023 orange and lime trees added; new roof; bonus room divided and fifth bedroom added with huge walk-in closet (adding heated/cooled living space which raised the overall square footage); irrigation well motor replaced / in 2022 Invisible Fence hardware installed in garage (new underground wiring still needed); GENERAC whole house generator installed along with 250 gallon propane tank (buried); garage floor redone with Shark Coat; interior staircase and railing designed by homeowner and rebuilt; all bathrooms refurbished; all ceiling fans (except living room and solarium) replaced; all new doorknobs, hinges and electronic locks added. Plantation shutters throughout. Golf and social memberships available to purchase from King & Prince and purchase may include golf; pool; pool club house and tennis courts.

149 Rice Mill, St Simons Island

Listing courtesy of Coldwell Banker Access Realty BWK.

$328,500
3 Beds 3 Baths 1645852 MLS
Welcome to Fox Run, a great community in a PRIMO location; schools, sports complex, sidewalks for long walks & biking, parks, shopping, restaurants, etc. are all at your fingertips & nearby FLETC, Interstate 95 & Hwy. 17 are a quick jump away. This one owner 3 bedroom, 3 full bath home has been well maintained and is only in need of minor paint touch ups or for you to put your own spin on it with a new color palatte perhaps. Easy living means there's a spacious primary on the main level, along with a guest bedroom, guest bathroom & dedicated laundry. The second level of the home would make a great guest suite or home office and there's loads of storage with additional walk in attic space. High ceilings, wide hallways, custom mouldings, & lots of natural light give it a breezy open feel. The French doors leading to the outdoor space continue that vibe, giving you the choice of shade or sunshine & space to dabble in the dirt if desired. The seller is providing a 1 year home warranty with the sale of the home, the HOA fees in the community are very reasonable ($2,457.08 annually..breaks down to $204.76 mo./ paid quarterly) for living in a gated community with great amenities (pool, lair, exercise room) and the home is located in a desirable X flood zone. There's alot to love about this home & the Fox Run community. Call to schedule a showing and see if this beautiful home is the one!

127 Coyote Lane, Brunswick

Listing courtesy of BHHS Hodnett Cooper Real Estate BWK.

$334,700
4 Beds 2 Baths 10279861 MLS
Welcome to your dream home! This beautiful nearly new property (2022) is filled with upgrades. The beautifully enlarged porch, now a spacious 18x20 retreat that has been thoughtfully screened in. The owner has made this home move in ready with blinds, gutters, the water purification system, and the electrical upgrades in the laundry room for a freezer. The coastal charm of the board and batten siding and low-maintenance cement board exterior give this home a timeless appeal that will never go out of style. Enter the 1812 SF interior has a spacious layout. The split floor plan offers privacy, while the luxurious LVP flooring throughout the home (no carpet) is easy to maintain. The heart of the home is the open concept living space. The kitchen boasts an impressive island, granite counters, stainless steel appliances and pantry. The French doors lead to the extensive screened lanai, a true retreat overlooking the vast 174' backyard. This lanai will be your favorite spot in the house. The primary bedroom features a trey ceiling and en-suite bath with a walk-in shower, double vanity and the walk-in closet connects directly to the laundry room. Everything is easily accessible. With an attached two-car garage with wood siding interior walls and door accessing the side yard. This home is truly a gem and is ready for its new owners to move right in. Don't miss your chance to own this incredible property that offers the perfect combination of functionality, style, and coastal charm. Schedule your private showing today and start living the life you've always dreamed of.

114 Eva Drive, Saint Marys

Listing courtesy of Watson Realty Corp..

$334,700
4 Beds 2 Baths 1645966 MLS
Welcome to your dream home! This beautiful nearly new property (2022) is filled with upgrades. The beautifully enlarged porch, now a spacious 18x20 retreat that has been thoughtfully screened in. The owner has made this home move in ready with blinds, gutters, the water purification system, and the electrical upgrades in the laundry room for a freezer. The coastal charm of the board and batten siding and low-maintenance cement board exterior give this home a timeless appeal that will never go out of style. Enter the 1812 SF interior has a spacious layout. The split floor plan offers privacy, while the luxurious LVP flooring throughout the home (no carpet) is easy to maintain. The heart of the home is the open concept living space. The kitchen boasts an impressive island, granite counters, stainless steel appliances and pantry. The French doors lead to the extensive screened lanai, a true retreat overlooking the vast 174' backyard. This lanai will be your favorite spot in the house. The primary bedroom features a trey ceiling and en-suite bath with a walk-in shower, double vanity and the walk-in closet connects directly to the laundry room. Everything is easily accessible. With an attached two-car garage with wood siding interior walls and door accessing the side yard. This home is truly a gem and is ready for its new owners to move right in. Don't miss your chance to own this incredible property that offers the perfect combination of functionality, style, and coastal charm. Schedule your private showing today and start living the life you've always dreamed of.

114 Eva Drive, St Marys

Listing courtesy of Watson Realty Corp.

$869,000
4 Beds 4 Baths 1645968 MLS
A unique opportunity to own a rare property. Lovely Landscaping of Woods, Tulip trees, mature Japanese Maples,and Brick and Stone hardscape surround this European Cottage style home. A two level Koi Pond greets you with the sounds of multiple fountains. Relax on the Rocking Chair Wrap Around Front Porch then step into the inviting Foyer. A Sitting Room and Living Room on each side of the foyer have full length windows with woodland views and a wood burning fireplace. Further in the Dining Room and Kitchen have antique wood and beam ceilings. This first floor area leads to the Happy Place - an oversized Enclosed Porch with room for seating, dining, and TV viewing, also with wood and beamed ceilings. Continuing on the first floor through the cheery Breezeway you come to The Annex. Here there is another oversized Living Space with room for multiple Seating and Dining areas and perfect for TV viewing. Up stairs of the Annex is a bedroom with two big beds, living space and space stubbed in for a bath. The Annex (approximately 1500 Square Feet) could be used in many ways -a first level Primary BR or a private mother-in-law suite with its own entrance, parking and lock out. The Second Level of the Main House contains a spacious Primary BR and Bath both having wood and beamed ceilings and custom arched wood doors. BR2 has a raised ceiling and custom stained paneling and trim. BR3 has custom paint finishes and its own bath also. There's more! An outdoor paver patio surrounds the Pool (in excellent condition). The Patio, Pool and Outdoor Spaces are all protected by a handsome Screen. The hot tub Porch is surrounded by planters with ferns and Japanese Maple. This space includes a Grand Brick and Stone wood burning Fireplace that is sure to be the setting of family portraits for years to come. Multiple fountains are throughout this space. And finally, to make all your dreams come true, a FOUR CAR Garage! Two interior bays can hold an RV or Boats. Doors on both sides of these bays allow you to drive through. The drive through leads to a fully paved area the length of the lot approximately 150 feet by 35 feet to a Gate opening to Charleston Street. This spot could easily hold a dozen tables, a Band and a dance floor for outside parties! The possibilities are endless. This property is PRICED TO SELL. Today's construction cost could be double the price offered. Hurry. But be sure to have plenty of time when you view this unique property, there's so much to see!

150 Butler Lake Drive, St Simons Island

Listing courtesy of eXp Realty, LLC.

$449,900
2 Beds 3 Baths 1645963 MLS
When only the best will do, you owe it to yourself to see this one of a kind, meticulously designed, spacious end unit villa in desirable Barkentine Court on Saint Simons Island. The villa has been completely transformed into a spacious 2 bedroom retreat and features 2.5 baths with office, terra cotta courtyard, and screened in porch off the back. Natural light flows through the villa and highlights an expertly designed gourmet kitchen with island and new cabinetry which includes a pantry, farmhouse sink, Bosch dishwasher, stainless steel appliances, double oven stove and quartz countertops. The large and bright master suite features shiplap on walls, oak flooring, a designer created walk in closet as well a completely remodeled master bathroom. The flooring is all new with the downstairs featuring designer tile flooring and the upstairs featuring all oak flooring. NO CARPET HERE. Other features include new HVAC (2 years old), new roof, plantation shutters, recessed lighting, and JELD-WEN vinyl framed windows. Barkentine Court is a pool community and features an easy on and off the island location. Pictures cannot capture all the special details here. This is a must see in person. Call to schedule your showing today. Bike or ride the golf cart to the beach in just a few minutes. One assigned parking spot but plenty of unassigned parking as well.

108 Barkentine Court, St Simons Island

Listing courtesy of Coldwell Banker Access Realty SSI.

$450,000
3 Beds 2 Baths 1645924 MLS
Discover the unbeatable combination of affordability, convenience, and comfort on St. Simons Island! This charming 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom house offers perfect island living in the popular Glynn Haven neighborhood. X-Flood zone, no flood insurance required, and no HOA! Situated mid-island, you'll enjoy easy access to nearby restaurants and shopping, making everyday life a breeze. Step inside and discover the fantastic floor plan designed for modern living. The main level features a convenient primary bedroom with a connecting bathroom, alongside a spacious living area adorned with a vaulted ceiling and cozy fireplace. Whip up culinary delights in the kitchen, complete with granite countertops and a convenient built-in corner dining bench with storage. Step outside to your fenced-in backyard with a covered patio, perfect for outdoor relaxation and entertainment. Upstairs, two additional bedrooms share a bathroom, providing ample space for family or guests. With a durable metal roof and HVAC system both installed in 2019, along with a freshly painted exterior and a new grey vinyl fence, this home is move-in ready and ensures worry-free living. Take full advantage of the new neighborhood park featuring a playground and dog park, adding to the allure of this unbeatable deal. Whether you’re seeking a primary residence, second home, or investment property, this island haven is the perfect choice. Check out the virtual tour at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cm0aCCvvXL0

305 Palmetto Street, St Simons Island

Listing courtesy of BHHS Hodnett Cooper Real Estate.

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