Find Your Dream Home

For Buyers

Welcome to Home Buying 101

We are so excited you’ve chosen to work with Eric Vaughn and the #revsells team in your home buying journey.


Take some time to read through this information about the buying process. It is important to know that every real estate transaction is different and that these are our opinions. The following lessons are what we feel all buyers would benefit from learning, whether for the first or the fifth time.


If you are considering buying a home in the Athens, GA or Greater Athens area, we hope you will find this information helpful and contact us for further guidance.

Athens, GA Real Estate Simplified


As a first-time home buyer in the Athens, GA real estate market you may have a long list of wants and wishes. You will soon learn about compromise — even if purchasing new construction — but we are here to advise you when the decisions become tough. Our extensive sales record and real estate expertise allows us to look at such situations objectively and guide you through making choices that must be made now and concessions that can be made in the interest of finding a home or keeping a deal together. We like to focus on “what you can’t change later.”


Not a first-time home buyer? It may have been so long that you have forgotten how the process works. That is totally fine! We work with the most seasoned buyers and find ourselves explaining concepts sometimes already mastered by first-timers. Perhaps you were not involved in your last purchase or a major life event has you purchasing on your own for the first time. We are here to anticipate your questions and we will answer them over and over again — as often as we have to. It is crucial that you understand the process, even if you are dutifully represented by the best real estate agent in all of Athens, GA. While we can’t anticipate every question or overload clients with every detail of the process (it is a learning experience) we do our best to ensure they feel comfortable taking the leap.


Our number one goal is to understand the needs of our buyer clients, including their financial situation, family makeup, potential needs in the future, etc. Perhaps you have a home to sell before you can buy. We are here to assist with all of your real estate needs. Once we have a solid understanding of your wants and needs, we address financing.

Offers, Financing, Inspections. Oh My!


In today’s competitive real estate market it is more than ever to have your finances (and mortgage financing) in order, with a plan of action and a pre-approval letter ready to accompany any offer. Click here to visit our page dedicated to home financing, including recommendations for local lenders we know and trust. Some buyers are disappointed to find they are not eligible for a loan equal to what they expected. Speaking with a mortgage lender and understanding your purchasing power will enable us to begin the home search.


With your maximum budget, “comfort budget” plus your lists of must-haves we will begin scanning the market for suitable homes. While no client is the same, nor is each transaction, we like to begin with a wide “sweep” of available inventory. We will email this to you for your review and feedback. This will help us fine tune our

understanding of what will make you happy. We can continue to scan the MLS and send you listings as they appear. Some may be spot-on and others may be far from what you expressed. We may surprise you with something of interest. We are here to show you the obvious and not-so-obvious options. The home search can take weeks or it can take months, depending on your requirements and the market conditions. We have worked with clients for years before finding their dream home. From beginning to end we will help you find and purchase your dream home by guiding you with compassion, persistence and patience.

Every Real Estate Transaction is Unique


If you have special circumstances regarding your move, let’s discuss your situation in detail and formulate a game plan. Perhaps you have a home you must sell in order to buy. We do an excellent job at coordinating the simultaneous purchase and sale of clients’ homes — it is a more seamless process and we’re pros at juggling.


When one or more suitable homes comes available, we will make arrangements to see the home. While it’s best to be practical, it’s also important to keep an open mind. Don’t be so quick to rule out a house based on one or two factors. Each time we show a home to a buyer client we learn more about our clients and their wants, needs and opinions — often we discover factors that had never been considered. Maybe a garage isn’t a must-have!


Armed and ready with a pre-approval or proof of funds letter in hand, we prepare a contract for your review before submitting to the listing agent or the seller if unrepresented. Read about FSBO and Agent Representation.


We will walk you through the process again and explain the terms of the purchase contract. To review a sample copy of the Purchase and Sale Agreement click here. We prepare contracts on pre-printed forms provided by the National and State Association of REALTORS. These forms are continually reviewed to ensure the public is protected. There will be many components of the offer that are situational, including purchase price, closing date, contingencies, etc. There are also “standard” bits we write into all contracts to protect our clients.


We will explain in further detail the course of action should your offer be accepted or countered, if you enter into a multiple offer situation or otherwise. Each transaction is unique. Once a contract is accepted by all parties, the “clock starts ticking” and we get to work before your due diligence runs out!

Below is a list of some basic items to consider when preparing an offer:

  • What purchase price would you like to offer?
  • Do you need assistance with closing costs? Are you going to ask for closing costs to be paid by the seller, and how much?
  • How much earnest money are you prepared to pay to secure the contract?
  • When would you like to close? Take possession?
  • How long do you need for due diligence i.e. inspection, estimates?
  • What closing attorney would you like to use? (See our list of recommendations)
  • Are you obtaining financing and what are the terms of your loan?
  • Do you need other protections included, such as a contingency which allows you to sell your home before buying?
  • Are there special stipulations you would like to write into the contract?
Eric Vaughn and the #revsells team understand how to navigate the Athens, GA real estate market — they are specialists in the field. From beginning to end, the we will help you find and purchase your dream home by guiding you with compassion and expertise. Call Eric today.

Here are a few items we will assist in arranging following a binding agreement:

  • Provide you with a fully binding copy of the executed contract
  • Schedule a home inspection (See our list of recommended vendors)
  • Notify your lender/financial institution and provide the executed contract
  • Request a revised pre-approval letter and provide to listing agent and seller
  • Collect an earnest money check from you (this is immediately deposited into a trust account and returned to you at closing in the form of a credit.)
  • Notify the closing attorney/provide the contract and any amendments
  • Schedule builders/contractors or other such vendors whose input weighs heavily on your decision to move forward with the purchase
  • Send you an Important Dates email so you can keep track of deadlines

We Never Stop Working for You

Should you choose to have an inspection we will attend the entire inspection on your behalf. You can come to some, none or all of the inspection and meet the inspector. We never recommend foregoing an inspection (even on a new home) and we highly recommend attending at least part of the inspection. Note that most inspectors will not release the home inspection report until the bill has been paid. Most inspectors will take a check at the inspection or allow you to pay online. The report is available typically within a day of the inspection. We ask that you share the report with us so we may review and provide our feedback based on the circumstances of the transaction, including the listing agent’s negotiating style, the seller’s financial situation or ability to coordinate repairs, or the need or extent of repairs needed (if any.) Once you are comfortable with your request, we will send a formal request to the seller, asking for repairs or a combination of repairs, additional closing costs or a price reduction. We will advise you further when appropriate.

Fast, Slow and In-Between


From binding agreement to closing is sometimes called “from contract to close.” This time can be fast and furious i.e. inspection, contractors, due diligence. Other moments feel like a waiting game. Once we are certain you are moving forward with a sale, we will alert your lender to order the appraisal (assuming you are obtaining financing.) This can take one to two weeks.


We will have written in a contingency that allows time for the bank to have the home appraised. As part of our persistence we will ensure the appraiser gets to the property and returns the report as quickly as possible, staying on top of things for you all along the way.


See our Mortgage 101 for information regarding appraisals.

Here are a few tasks you can tackle as we satisfy other contingencies:

  • Stay in communication with you lender and underwriting!
  • Send anything your lender requests as quickly as possible.
  • Clear your calendar for closing. It should take an hour.
  • The closing date should be firm, and you should plan to attend that day.
  • Contact your insurance agent. (See our Vendor List)
  • Set up utilities to begin the day of closing. (See Vendor List)
  • Contract movers as quickly and practically in advance as possible. They book weeks or months in advance. (See Vendor List)

Provided there are no special circumstances related to yours or the seller’s situation, a closing should take place 4-6 weeks after binding agreement. This allows enough time for the lender to process the loan and for the closing attorney to do title work. It also gives both parties time to prepare for the big move. Protracted closings pose risk in that there is more time for an issue to arise.


You should plan to attend closing on the scheduled date. You may not have the option to sign papers in advance or remotely due to time restrictions related to title work, loan funding, etc. You will need two forms of ID.

The Home Stretch…


Just as we prefer to work with local lenders we know and trust to honestly and reliably make it to the closing table, we enjoy working closely with a short list of closing attorneys in the Athens, GA area. You are entitled to choose whomever you’d like, but you may defer to us or browse our Vendor List for a list of attorneys. We will stipulate the attorney when writing the initial offer. The choice of the attorney is customarily that of the buyer.


Inevitably there will be a few issues after move-in. We are prepared and available to assist in any way we can. Rely on our Vendor List to address some of these post-move-in punch items.

  • We will monitor any other deadlines related to the contract including financing and appraisal contingencies.
  • We will also ensure any repairs requested are being handled in time for closing or per the contract.
  • We will facilitate any communication between you as the buyer and the closing attorney as they will need to collect documentation from you just as your lender may.
  • We will accompany you to closing where you will sign documents with the attorney. Closings typically last an hour (less if the transaction is a cash sale.) This is an excellent opportunity to ask the seller any questions you may not have been able to answer on your own. We also recommend trading contact information at this time.

We are committed to providing excellent service throughout the homebuying process which includes being available and of assistance far beyond closing. We take pride in the bond we create with our clients and we make a concerted effort to maintain those relationships whenever possible. In most cases, our buyer clients become our neighbors and friends.