Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to Some Frequently Asked Questions

Common Owner Questions

  1. What’s my house worth?
  2. Why is there such a difference between the estimate online and that of an agent?
  3. Should I make repairs or reduce the price?
  4. What should I ask a listing agent?
  5. When does the seller get paid after the sale?
  6. What happens to the mortgage when the house sells?
  7. What happens to the funds in escrow when the house sells?
  8. How soon after buying can I sell if I have an FHA Mortgage?
  9. What are the steps involved in selling a house?
  10. What details are involved in selling a house?
  11. How can I sell a house that needs repairs?
  12. What does the seller pay when selling?

Common Buyer Questions

  1. How do I know if a property is assigned to only one natural gas provider?
  2. How can I search for homes by school?
  3. What school systems serve the citizens of Metro Atlanta?
  4. How can I find a new construction property with a fireplace, pool, basement near a golf course in my preferred area?
  5. Why would I need an agent on a new home?
  6. How do I find homes in Georgia that qualify for a USDA Mortgage?
  7. How to find homes with no Homeowner’s Association?
  8. How do I find homes near good equestrian facilities?
  9. How do I find Active Adult Communities?
  10. How do I move to Atlanta?
  11. How do I find homes for sale in popular Atlanta Neighborhoods?
  12. Where would I find 1920s Bungalows, Craftsmen and Victorian-styled homes in Metro Atlanta?

Common Questions About Atlanta

  1. What are the major supermarket chains in Atlanta?
  2. What major health systems serve Metro Atlanta?
  3. What is the Atlanta BeltLine®?
  4. What’s OTP, ITP, CID, SPLOST?
  5. Where can I learn about local transit options?
  6. How do I know if a property is in an area served by an accredited, well-rated school?
  7. How do I register my child with special needs into a public school?
  8. What is a good source of information on GA Pre-K?
  9. How old does my child have to be to start first grade?
  10. What exactly is the HOPE Scholarship?
  11. What colleges, universities and other institutions of higher learning are in Metro Atlanta?

Answers to Common Owner Questions

What’s my house worth?

While it seems self-serving, the best least costly way to get the most accurate assessment of what your home may be worth is through the help of a local selling agent, one who is familiar with the local sales, has seen the condition of your property and will be objectively truthful with you.

Why is there such a difference between the estimate online and that of an agent?

The online estimate is just that, an estimate based on any number of criteria, including recent sales gathered from their database, public records, etc.  It is unlikely that an agent with one of those firms has visited your property.  In other instances, some companies who advertise on the local airways about the conveniences of a quick, guaranteed sale and other things associated with their transactions are known in the industry for their lowball offers to sellers so that they can return the property to market a month later at the price that the owner should have received in the first place.  It is why some of suggest that owners obtain a second opinion about what their homes are really worth before signing with one of them.    

Should I make repairs or reduce the price?

No two Metro Atlanta Properties or sub markets are the same. It is impossible to fairly answer this question without a reasonable assessment of local sales, the equity and overall condition of one’s home.  While repairs may make the property sell faster, the return on the investment in them may not be worth the bother.  Ask an agent about other options that may be available to arrive at a more informed decision.

What should I ask a listing agent?

First the standard questions…

  • What does the agent think your property may be worth in today’s market?
  • What is the agent’s recommended list price for your home should you list with them?
  • What does the agent believe the expected selling price will be?
  • What has the agent done in the past to get the properties like yours sold?
  • How many days does the agent expect the property to be on market before it sells?
  • With whom will you be interacting during the sales process (the agent or a “team” member)?
  • How many buyers has the agent represented in the last year?

Now learn what the agent knows about the area since this information will be useful in the sale of the property.

  • What schools serve the property?
  • Describe the nearby parks, stores, transit stops, other amenities.
  • How far is this property from major roadways?

When does the seller get paid after the sale?

The closing attorney can write a check to the previous owner for the net proceeds at settlement or wire the funds to arrive into the account the following banking day (depending on the time of closing).

What happens to the mortgage when the house sells?

The closing attorney will pay off the mortgage balances from the sales proceeds.

What happens to the funds in escrow when the house sells?

In most cases, the holder, usually the previous lien holder, will mail the funds to the previous owner shortly after settlement.

How soon after buying can I sell if I have an FHA Mortgage?

FHA Borrowers may sell their home immediately after the purchase if they choose to do so.  In most cases, however, the expenses commonly associated with a sale so quickly after the purchase make such an endeavor costly and unreasonable.   

What are the steps involved in selling a house?

Contact the lien-holders (usually the mortgage lenders) where applicable for the expected mortgage balance amounts to be paid off in 30 days and 60 days.
Contact a few local real estate agents about what your home may be worth and ask for an estimated net-to-seller worksheet.  Then decide if moving forward makes sense, both in terms of the numbers and matches among the agents.

What details are involved in selling a house?

  1. Prepare the property to sell for more
  2. Sign off on listing documents
  3. Keep the property in show condition, make it available for showings frequently, at reasonable times and be gone during them
  4. Be flexible with negotiations
  5. Accept the best offer after everything is explained by the agent
  6. Make the property available for inspections
  7. Interview cleaners, repair persons and movers
  8. After all contingencies expire, start packing
  9. Send change of address to the post office, banking accounts, creditors, insurance carriers, subscriptions, friends, and relatives
  10. Obtain legal, medical and school records
  11. Refill prescriptions
  12. Have vehicles serviced
  13. Schedule appointments with those cleaners, repair persons and movers
  14. Forward mail
  15. Schedule utilities to disconnect a day or so after settlement
  16. Work out how the seller-side documents are to be signed, at settlement or mail-out for signatures at the previous owner’s new location
  17. Work out how keys are to be handed over.

Respond to the agent in a timely manner, ask questions and pursue a mutual respect for one another throughout the entire process.

How can I sell a house that needs repairs?

Share the nature of any repairs that you know of with potential buyers and list the property at a discounted price to account for those repairs.  Consider offering more credibility by having repair estimates justifying the discount amount on company letterhead, even a 203(k) repair loan estimate handy for distribution. 

What does the seller pay when selling?

These are reasonable expectations of the seller’s net proceeds at settlement.

CONTRACT SALES PRICE
- Mortgage Payoffs (including interest accrued since the last payment)
- Any other liens or encumbrances on the title
- Seller contributions to buyer’s closing costs
- Real estate commissions
- Post-closing fees for wiring payoffs to the mortgage company
- Unpaid assessments
- Prorated, unpaid property taxes
- If agreed upon in the contract, HOA Closing Letter and/or Transfer Fees, Home Warranty

+ Prorated, paid Homeowner Association Dues
+ Prorated, property taxes

= SELLER’S NET PROCEEDS

Answers to Common Buyer Questions

How do I know if a property is assigned to only one natural gas provider?

Some areas of Metro Atlanta are served by a single utility services provider while choices are available for others.  Have your agent ask the listing agent about the utilities available at a property being considered.   

How can I search for homes by school?

Pre-built queries are inside the Metro Atlanta County Links.  For more detailed searches, visit my sister site, The Atlanta Home Pages and click on the “Schools” tab.  Check school performance at The Governor’s Office of Student Achievement and student discipline reports at the Georgia Department of Education

What schools systems serve the citizens of Metro Atlanta?

Barrow County School System, Bartow County School System, Cherokee County School District, Clayton County Public Schools, Cobb County School District, Coweta County School System, Dekalb County School District, Douglas County School System, Fayette County Public Schools, Forsyth County Schools, Fulton County Schools, Griffin-Spalding County School System, Gwinnett County Public Schools, Hall County Schools, Henry County Schools, Paulding County School District, Rockdale County Public Schools, Walton County School District, Atlanta Public Schools, Buford City Schools, Cartersville City Schools, City Schools of Decatur, Gainesville City Schools, Marietta City Schools, Social Circle City Schools

How can I find a new construction property with a fireplace, pool, basement near a golf course in my preferred area?

Visit my sister site at TheAtlantaHomePages.com, an MLS search engine for both Metro Atlanta MLS services.  If the property is listed in either MLS, it should be there.

Why would I need an agent on a new home?

On-site agents represent the builder, not the buyer.  Some have told buyers half-truths, outright lies and taken advantage in other ways.  Stories abound, such as one on-sight agent telling a buyer that their property was a premium lot when it was actually next to a retention pond, another that there would be more useful space in the rear than what was actually delivered and so on.  The price of the property will remain the same whether the buyer has representation or not, so it makes the most sense to have that representation since doing so costs the buyer nothing.  Clearly, not doing so can cost the buyer dearly.

How do I find homes in Georgia that qualify for a USDA Mortgage?

Since properties that qualify for USDA financing are commonly in the outlying areas, search for properties at this site in the far outlying counties of Metro Atlanta. In South Fulton County, look for properties in Chattahoochee Hills, Fairburn and Palmetto.  In Cherokee County, look for home in Canton and Ball Ground.  The most success in the search for a property, however, will likely be in counties adjacent to those, perhaps in Walton County, Coweta County and others.

How do I find homes with no Homeowner’s Association?

Please ask your agent to search for homes with no HOA dues reflected in that field.  It isn’t always 100% accurate, but may be a good start.

How to find homes near good equestrian facilities?

Homes near Equestrian facilities are available all over Metro Atlanta, including the Cities of Alpharetta and Milton in North Fulton, Conyers in Rockdale County and others.

How do I find homes in Active Adult Communities?

A local real estate agent can help in the search for active adult communities.  

How do I move to Atlanta?

How to move to Atlanta

  1. Confirm income stability
  2. Establish residency by buying, renting or other means 
  3. Get Driver’s License 
  4. Obtain immunizations for school-aged kids
  5. Register kids in school
  6. Get License Plates within 30 days of establishing residency 

How do I find homes for sale in popular Atlanta Neighborhoods?

How to find homes for sale in or near Acworth, Alpharetta, Ansley Park, Atlantic Station, Avondale Estates, Brookhaven, Buckhead, Cabbagetown, Candler Park, Central Cobb, Chamblee / Doraville, Chastain Park, Decatur, Druid Hills, Dunwoody / Sandy Springs, East Atlanta, East Cobb, East Lake, Grant Park, Inman Park, Kirkwood, Midtown Atlanta, Morningside-Lenox, North Atlanta, Northeast Atlanta, Northwest Atlanta, Northwest Cobb, North Fulton County, Oakhurst, Old Fourth Ward, Poncey-Highland, Sandy Springs, South Atlanta Area, South Cobb, South Fulton County, Sweet Auburn, Vinings, Virginia-Highland, West End

Where would I find 1920s Bungalows, Craftsmen and Victorian-styled homes in Metro Atlanta?

Old Fourth Ward
Kirkwood

Where to find Victorian-Styled homes
Kirkwood
Virginia-Highland

Where to find Colonial-Styled homes
Virginia-Highland

Scroll down the home page at TheAtlantaHomePages to find “Style” menu, make your pick there and find these and other styles available in Metro Atlanta.

Answers to Common Questions About Atlanta

What are the major supermarket chains in Atlanta?

KROGER, PUBLIX, WALMART, TRADER JOES, WHOLE FOODS

What major health systems serve Metro Atlanta?

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Grady Health System, Gwinnett Medical Center, Emory Healthcare, Kaiser Permanente, Northeast Georgia Health System, Northside Hospital, Piedmont Healthcare, WellStar Health System

What is the Atlanta BeltLine®?

The Atlanta BeltLine® is a pathway system of trails connecting grennspace, parks, scenery, dining destinations, murals, neighborhoods and all that is naturally beautiful about the City of Atlanta.

What’s OTP, ITP, CID, SPLOST?

OTP means outside the perimeter while ITP means inside the perimeter.  A Community Improvement District is identified as a CID while a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax is abbreviated to SPLOST.

Where can I learn about local transit options?

ATLTransit hosts links to the following local transportation authorities.

  1. Cherokee Area Transit System
  2. CobbLinc
  3. Georgia Regional Transportation Authority
  4. Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority
  5. Gwinnett County Transit

How do I know if a property is in an area served by an accredited, well-rated school?

Find accredited private and public schools at AdvancED, the Georgia Accrediting Commission, Inc. and the Georgia Independent School Association

Get school ratings at the state level at the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement

How do I register my child with special needs into a public school?

Upon diagnosis, contact the principal, counselor or other administrator at the public school that serves your property about an Individualized Education Program (IEP) as they’re required to develop for students who meet special education requirements.

What is a good source of information on GA Pre-K?

The Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, also known as Bright from the Start

How old does my child have to be to start first grade?

A child must be five years old on or before September 1 to enter a public Kindergarten. The child must be six years old on or before September 1 to enter first grade.

What exactly is the HOPE Scholarship?

HOPE Scholarship – A scholarship in Georgia that rewards academically achieving students with financial assistance to attend a degree, diploma, or certificate program at eligible public and private Georgia Colleges and Universities

What colleges, universities and other institutions of higher learning are in Metro Atlanta?

Agnes Scott College, Atlanta Metropolitan State College, Atlanta Technical College, Brenau University, Central Michigan University, Chattahoochee Technical College, Clark Atlanta University, Clayton State University, DeVry University, Emory University, Georgia Gwinnett College, Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia Piedmont Technical College, Georgia State University, Gwinnett Technical College, Kennesaw State University, Life University, Mercer University, Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine, Reinhardt University, Oglethorpe University, Savannah College of Art and Design, Spelman College, Troy University, University of Georgia, University of North Georgia