By Carolyn Crist
For the AJC
Brad and Sara Wallace’s steps to home ownership included talking to several mortgage brokers and deciding on a budget that uses only one salary for the mortgage. The couple focused on the investment potential and resale value, if they sold in five years, while avoiding neighborhoods with high homeowner’s association (HOA) fees.
Sara, 25, a registered dietitian, and Brad, 28, a sales and marketing representative for a carpet company, chatted about their three-bedroom Acworth home and search with Janice Hayes of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties.
Q: Why did you decide to buy?
Sara: We didn’t want to waste any more money on rent. We heard the housing market was good and decided to find a place that would be a good investment. We weren’t saving money by being in an apartment.
Q: What were your priorities?
Sara: We looked for a good resale value, good location, two-car garage and HOA fees that didn’t eat up our budget. We needed a place in between where we work, and this has good access to I-75. We also wanted green space that we didn’t have in the apartment.
Q: How did you find this home?
Brad: We found this house on the first day we worked with Janice after looking for three months on our own and with another Realtor.
Q: What do you love?
Brad: When I opened the huge walk-in closet in the bathroom, I could see us living here. I loved the shower with a glass door and huge rainfall showerhead.
Sara: I have a passion for cooking and like the kitchen, which has a huge gas stove with griddle, stainless steel appliances and granite counters. It’s a top-of-the-line kitchen that looks as good as my parents’ kitchen.
Q: How was the closing?
Brad: The closing itself was smooth. Janice recommended a couple of mortgage brokers, and I contacted six different banks to get the best rate and cheapest closing costs. When one would give a lower price, I’d contact the others and ask them to match it or beat it. I ended up with two low rates and chose the one with the cheaper closing costs.
Q: What’s a tip for first-time buyers?
Brad: Don’t rush. You can get stressed out if you try to force it. The first two months, I was gung-ho about looking at homes on my computer in my spare time. I was pushing and pressing too much.
Sara: He was tired of us waiting to move and I wanted to find the perfect house, and that caused tension. Most importantly, find an experienced Realtor you trust to help.
At a Glance
Brad and Sara Wallace’s home, built in 2013, has three bedrooms, two-and-a-half bathrooms and 1,900 square feet. Homes in their area of Acworth range from the mid- to high-$100,000s.