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Atlanta is becoming widely known as the “Hollywood of the South,” thanks primarily to its booming film industry. The city is also home to one of the busiest airports in the U.S. and is filled with a rich culture of food and entertainment.
It’s also full of affordable homes. Nearly half (45.7%) of the homes for sale in Atlanta are considered affordable for people making the national median household income ($61,372), per an analysis by online real estate brokerage Redfin. The median sales price for single-family homes in the metro Atlanta area was $219,900 in 2018, according to preliminary numbers from the National Association of Realtors.
Combine that with the area’s strong job growth, and Atlanta is a prime location for homebuyers looking to settle down.
Interested in buying or selling property in Atlanta? Consider the following rules of the road before you do.
Home sellers in Atlanta aren’t required to fill out a disclosure form, but they must share any known defects to the property with buyers. At the closing table, Georgia law requires that a licensed attorney be present or involved with closing the mortgage transaction.
Georgia is a non-judicial foreclosure state, which means that if you default on your mortgage, your lender can foreclose on the property without suing you.
The state doesn’t recognize community property, or a law that says every asset acquired by each spouse during a marriage is equally owned by both spouses. Instead, during the divorce process, Georgia courts determine what’s marital property and what’s separate property, including real estate. The courts evaluate several factors, including each spouse’s financial situation and any evidence of misconduct, and consider this information when distributing marital property.
Real estate transfer taxes on a property in the state of Georgia are based on its sale price and calculated at a rate of $1 for the first $1,000 or a fractional part of $1,000, then each additional $100 or fractional part of $100 is taxed at 10 cents.
On a $200,000 home for example, the formula would be $200,000 divided by $1,000, which means the transfer tax would be $200.
The home seller is typically responsible for paying the transfer tax but can negotiate with the buyer to have them agree to pay the tax instead.
The conforming loan limit in Fulton County, Ga., the county to which Atlanta belongs, is $484,350 for one-unit properties. Conforming loan limits are mortgage maximums set by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. They apply to mortgages that are purchased by government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
This Invest Atlanta program offers eligible homebuyers a 30-year fixed-rate FHA or VA loan, plus a 3.5% forgivable grant to help with the down payment and closing costs.
To be eligible, buyers must:
This program provides up to $14,000 in down payment and closing cost assistance to homebuyers planning to stay in their new home for five years or more.
Homebuyers must meet the following eligibility requirements:
Government-sponsored enterprise Fannie Mae offers this program to low- and moderate-income borrowers who have limited access to cash for a down payment.
To be eligible, borrowers must:
The interest rate attached to your mortgage is one of the main costs of borrowing you should pay close attention to. After all, taking the time to comparison shop could potentially save you thousands over the life of your loan.
Mortgage rates are determined by several factors, including your credit score, down payment amount and loan amount. Be sure to improve your credit score and put down as much money as possible toward your home purchase to help you receive a more favorable rate.
It’s also important to gather mortgage quotes from multiple lenders. Take the time to compare mortgage rates, as well as lender fees and other closing costs, before settling on a particular lender.
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