Buyer Resources

Chattanooga Home Buyers FAQs

Buying a home is both thrilling and a bit unnerving, especially if you're a first-time home buyer. But whether you're a novice or seasoned home buyer, educating yourself about the home buying process is a great way to prepare to make a home purchase. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Your Chattanooga Home Buying Questions Answered

library with information booksI've never purchased a home before. Where should I begin?

You've already started in the right place. Researching the home buying process is the best way to become a smart consumer. Beyond gathering information about the basics, here are other actions that you can take:

  • Familiarize yourself with your personal finances.
  • Learn about the Chattanooga real estate market.
  • Review general real estate terminology
  • Carefully review your budget and begin to eliminate as much debt as possible.
  • Have a down payment and earnest money ready when the time comes to act and make your offer.

What do I need to think about before purchasing a home in Chattanooga? 

Again, reviewing your personal finances is a great place to start before searching for a Chattanooga home. It's a good idea to check with a mortgage lender to see how much you qualify for. 

What do I need to bring to the mortgage lender?

Arrange a meeting with a lender to ask how much you qualify for, and when you go to the meeting, bring the following items with you:

  • Annual income
  • Amount of cash you have for a down payment
  • Other home loans
  • Credit card balances
  • Other loan balances (vehicles, etc.)
  • Other factors affecting your income (tax payments, dividends, etc.)

What is pre-qualification? 

Pre-qualification is when you have spoken to a lender about a possible home loan.

business people shaking handsOnce you've provided the mortgage lender with your financial information, they will then give you an estimate of what they believe you would qualify for if all the information you have given them is accurate. Remember though, it does not mean you are qualified.

People often think because they are pre-qualified, they can get the loan when they find the home of their dreams. That's not true.

At this point in the loan process, the lenders have not run a credit check or verified any of the information you have provided. There may be things on your credit report that are inaccurate or that you have forgotten about that may hinder the loan process or affect the loan amount.

Do I need to pre-qualify for a home mortgage?

It's generally a good idea to get pre-qualified. Many sellers actually require a pre-qualification letter with your offer to purchase.

You should have the pre-approval letter in hand when it comes time to make an offer on the Chattanooga home, and as a bonus it typically makes your purchasing offer stronger. 

With all the bad news about mortgage products and home foreclosures, how do I avoid making a big mistake when deciding which type of loan to select?

Once we meet and review your finances along with your Chattanooga home buying needs, you should select a lending consultant. We can recommend several trusted lending professionals.

The type of loan best for you depends on several factors. Here are just a few:

  • How much money do you have for a down payment?
  • How long do you plan to live in the home?
  • Do you qualify for a FHA or VA loan?

There are so many online home listings. Where do I start?

Our advanced home search tool lets you easily sort through available Chattanooga homes for sale to find the one that best matches what you're looking for. 

If you'd like to start smaller, try searching through our featured listings or browsing homes within Chattanooga communities.  

house keys and signing penWhen we find a house we like, how do we buy it?

There are many steps involved but here is a brief overview of the home purchasing process:

You will need an earnest money check to accompany the Offer to Purchase. This may be in the form of a personal check or in some cases, a certified check. A minimum of 1% of the home sale price is adequate in most cases.

When your written Offer to Purchase is presented to the seller, they have three choices:

  • Accept your offer. 
  • Reject your offer.
  • Make a counteroffer.

Negotiations, after the initial written offer, are conducted verbally until an agreement is reached. When the home seller accepts your offer — or you accept their counteroffer in writing — you have a binding contract for sale on that Chattanooga property. Your earnest money will be deposited in the listing broker's trust account to be held until closing.

Want to Learn More about the Real Estate Process?  

Schedule your home buying consultation with us by calling 423-756-2400, and together we will review your needs and your budget to help you find the right home for you.

As your Chattanooga area home buying specialists, we'll protect your interests and manage the details of the real estate transaction on your behalf to your complete satisfaction. Ready to get started? Contact us today!