After her sister purchased a townhome in Alpharetta in 2012, Mandisa Brown knew she wanted to do the same. As she started searching, however, the prices appeared to jump about $5,000 each time a new townhome popped up for sale.
She beat out other buyers by viewing a townhome on her lunch break and submitting a strong offer the same day it came on the market.
Brown, 30, a payroll and human resources consultant for ADP, talked about her three-bedroom townhome in Alpharetta’s Morris Lake community.
Q: Why did you decide to buy now?
A: I was staying with my family in Atlanta, and with interest rates the way they were I thought it was a good time to buy. I put down 20 percent after a lot of saving — as my family jokes, a lot of rice, crackers, milk and water.
Q: How did you start your search?
A: I knew I wanted to stay in Alpharetta, where my sister purchased a home, and my job is in the area. I started looking for a three-bedroom townhouse with a garage and a deck and then found myself running into situations where I might have had to change my search criteria for my price range (mid to high $100,000s).
Q: What was the market like?
A: It was very competitive, and I kept getting into multiple-bid situations. There was even one home where someone offered more than the asking price in the mid $100,000s. I looked at bank-owned homes and a HUD home, which had 21 other bids, and I also submitted an offer without seeing a home first.
Q: How did you move on this home?
A: At this point, I was checking listings several times a day. I saw this at 11 a.m., said I could be on the road at lunch, saw it, loved it and put in the first offer before anyone else could see it. It was definitely overwhelming as a single person going through this, and sometimes I wanted to walk away from the process.
Q: What made you stick with it?
A: Having a good Realtor makes the difference. Rhonda (Hofer, with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties) also assisted my sister. She told me something was going to come my way, not to give up on the garage and to be patient. She was available every day, early mornings, late nights and always responded to my calls and emails. Even when she was out of town, she had a coworker meet with me to see a house.
Q: What did you love about the townhouse? What have you added so far?
A: There’s a great open concept, and I love the kitchen. I’ve added a ceiling fan and little accent touches. I’m from Trinidad, and I have a painting from there that I hung above the fireplace as a touch of home.
Q: What’s a tip for first-time buyers?
A: Don’t be ashamed to ask questions. Ask for everything you think you may want in the closing, like getting the deck fixed (the seller agreed to make repairs). It’s going to be frustrating and overwhelming, but the right house will be out there for you.
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