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Information For Home Buyers

The Role of Buyer’s Agent

In 1993, the state of Georgia introduced the “policy of agency.” Typically, the listing agent represents the seller and the buyer’s agent represents the buyer. Agents can elect to represent either seller or buyer. Agents have a choice! Buyers have a choice!  The seller is paying the commission and it is paid to the brokerage of the listing agent. That brokerage, in turn, pays half of the received commission to the brokerage of the Buyer’s agent. The individual agent is then paid on whatever level has been agreed upon in their office contract.

Should the available property be listed by the office of the Buyer’s agent, the agents can elect to represent either seller or buyer. In such a case, the buyer can have another agent designated to work on their behalf.

Benefit to the Buyer:

  • Total commitment to the Buyer
  • Maximum effort on their behalf
  • Exposure to the entire market
  • Confidentiality
  • Disclosure and loyalty
  • Track record of successful negotiations
  • Privacy for the Buyer
  • Strongest possible protection of Buyer’s interests
  • Mortgage financing

Buyers will save money because we will be fighting to safeguard your interest

Benefit to us as their agents:

  • Buyer loyalty
  • More qualified buyer
  • Buyer educated to the marketplace
  • Peace of mind, less conflict of interest
  • Ability to offer more services
  • Will the Buyer need to sign an agreement?

Now it is state law for the agent to have an agreement signed in the case of Buyer’s Agency. We will extend much effort, time, expertise, loyalty and education to be singularly informed on behalf of our buyers. If you should communicate with another REALTOR®, immediately disclose to them that Carol Bitner is serving as your buyer’s agent, we will not put you under pressure to buy.

First Time Home Buyers

How do I get started?

The first step is to stop and consider whether you are truly ready to make this step. With home ownership comes responsibility, including mortgage payments and maintenance of the property. After deciding that you are ready for the responsibility that owning your home brings, then your next question should be if you’re economically stable enough to purchase. How secure is your employment? Do you have reserves in the event that something breaks? Are you ready to settle down for at least the next three to five years? If you can answer these questions in the affirmative, then you are ready to start the process of buying your first home.

The next step is choosing a REALTOR®. An experienced and qualified REALTOR® will make your home buying process so much more simple, so do your research. Do not simply choose a REALTOR® because their name is on the sign outside the house you are interested in. Your REALTOR® will be with you through the whole process whether you look at 2 houses or 20. It is important that they have a proven track record and knowledge about the process should any unexpected “speed bumps” arise on your road to home ownership.

If I use a REALTOR®, can I still buy a house that is for sale by owner?

Yes, frequently sellers who are not using a REALTOR® to sell their home are more than willing to cooperate if a REALTOR® brings them a buyer. However, be wary of sellers who are not willing to work with REALTORS®. If you choose to buy a house without consultation or representation from an industry expert, then you leave yourself open to many complications and you may not know how to protect yourself from “unethical” sellers. REALTORS® use standard contracts and understand how to use them to represent the best interests of their buyers.

How much do I need to save for a down payment?

With today’s market you would need to talk to a qualified lender. There are great FHA programs that will allow qualified homebuyers the opportunity to buy with 100% financing. (FHA loans have become very easy with a lot less paperwork and hassles for both buyers and sellers).

How do I get pre-qualified for a mortgage?

Pre-qualification, which in today’s marketplace is usually done by mortgage broker, means working with the buyer to determine how much they can afford and which loans are the most likely to be available to them. Loan pre-qualification can save a buyer time and money and can even be a bargaining tool with a seller; however, it is not the same as “pre-qualification approval.” The mortgage broker can often get the buyer a pre-qualification letter. Pre-approval means; that the lender has definitely committed to lending the buyer money once the house, itself is approved. Since it is a much stronger pledge, it is much more valuable negotiating tool. Only a lender can give pre-approval, but I may be able to “push through” a pre-approval from underwriters with as little as a phone call. So when you hear someone talking about “pre-approval” make sure that it is lender pre-approval and know that I can help.

What is escrow?

An escrow account is the money held by the mortgage company to pay your yearly property taxes and insurance premiums. Your monthly payment includes an amount which is placed in this fund. This amount is adjusted on a regular basis as your taxes and insurance increase.

How do I know I am buying a quality home?

Visit the Home inspection section.

How much should I offer?

There isn’t a set formula as to what an initial offer should be. It depends on several factors: how well the home was priced by the listing agent or owner, recent sales in the neighborhood, location, salability, and market conditions. We will work together to evaluate all these factors before making an offer.

How do I know if I am paying too much?

If are being represented by an experienced REALTOR®, several methods will be used to ensure that you are not over paying for your first home. I take care in guiding my clients through the entire process. By the time we find your first home, you will be confident that you are getting a great value.

What is included when I purchase a home (light fixtures, appliances, etc.)?

Each seller offers different items when selling their home. However, if a particular item is important to you (e.g. the refrigerator), then we will include it in the contact when the offer is made. It is up to the seller whether they choose to accept your request, or perhaps they will make a counteroffer and the requested item will not be included in their offer.

Choose Carol To Buy Your Next Home

The best way to find your perfect home is to create a working relationship with knowledgeable agents who are available.  We can offer you many services that will save you time and money in finding the right property . . .

We can provide access to properties on the market which include:

  • Cooperating broker’s inventory
  • Athens Area Foreclosure Inventory
  • Properties in the Multiple Listing Service
  • Unadvertised properties
  • Properties without “for sale” signs
  • Access to most For Sale By Owners

We will provide you with accurate property information, including:

  • Comparable property values
  • Taxes
  • Utilities
  • Zoning
  • Restrictions
  • Association fees
  • Public transportation
  • Location of schools, churches, shopping centers and recreational facilities. A buyer’s guide information pack is available for out-of-town buyers.

We will answer your questions concerning:

  • The purchase agreement and other forms (
  • Loan application and processing (A list of items you will need for your loan application is attached. Also, a list of local lenders who I have found reliable)
  • Settlement documents and procedures
  • A list of Home Inspectors who have been in the business for a minimum of 5 years

Upon selection of property, We will…

  • Write your offer for purchase
  • Negotiate the best price and terms for you
  • Be there with you through the home inspection process
  • Inform you of all needed information to ensure a smooth closing
  • After closing we will continue to be your family real estate consultant

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