Real Estate Information

Supporting Life's Major Moves in Augusta

Carey Miller


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 32

Earnest Money versus Down Payment

by Carey Miller

It does not matter if you are a first time home buyer or you have bought houses frequently, the terminology can get confusing. Everyone is talking about money, and everyone is talking about YOU giving THEM money! The lender is talking about points, interest rates, appraisal fees, escrow balances, monthly payments, and cash to close. The real estate agent is talking about inspection fees, down payments, and earnest money deposits.

What is the difference between Earnest Money and a Down Payment?

Earnest Money is kind of like a security deposit, it is meant to demonstrate that the buyer is serious and is in good faith planning to purchase the house. It's purpose is to make sure the buyer has some skin in the game. It puts pressure on the buye that r they can't just change their mind for no reason and walk away from the contract leaving the seller with a house that my have had repairs done at the buyer's request and a house that has not be on the market for the length of the home being under contract. At closing, the earnest money is put toward the buyer's down payment.  If the buyer changes their mind after the due diligence period, the buyer may not be able to get the earnest money refunded and the seller will be able to keep the earnest money as damages. Typically, if the seller terminates the transaction, the earnest money will be returned to the buyer. 

Down Payment is the amount of money a buyer puts towards the purchase of the house. 

  • If you buy a house for $200,000 and you put down 3%, you are putting $6,000 towards the purchase price and mortgaging $197,000.  A 20% down payment would state a buyer is putting $40,000 towards the purchase price and financing $160,000. 

Different types of loans require different down payments and rates may vary depending how much you put down. Here is an example from August Mortgage Company:


If a buyer puts down less than 20%, they are required to purchase mortgage insurance. There are two types of insurance: 

  • PMI--Private Mortgage Insurance--This is paid to an insurance company, normally on a monthly basis. 
  • FHA Insurance--this is paid to the Federal Government. A buyer with an FHA mortgage will pay an upfront fee plus monthly payments.

A qualified lender can explain the best type of loan for each buyer.

**Picture courtesy of Dreamstime.

Weekly Neighborhood Tour | Savannah Rapids Park

by Carey Miller

Neighborhood Tour--we are here today at Savannah Rapids Park, located in Columbia County. 3300 Evans to Locks Road | Martinez GA

Weekly Neighborhood Tour | Hammond's Ferry

by Carey Miller

Weekly Neighborhood Tour | Hammond's Ferry--We are previewing the Hammond's Ferry neighborhood in North Augusta, SC. This neighborhood is on the Savannah River and offers a unique experience with a mix of commercial properties, restaurants, homes, apartments, and townhomes. The new baseball stadium will be built in walking distance.

Weekly Neighborhood Tour | Augusta Canal

by Carey Miller

Weekly Neighborhood Tour | Augusta Canal --we are continuing our series on fun recreational things to do in the area. I am writing my bike today on the Augusta Canal towpath.

Have you ever wondered what your real estate agent does when she isn't showing you homes or listing your property.....stay tuned to see.....the "wishful" life of a real estate agent!

Listing Process--This is how it works!

by Carey Miller

Staging Checklist--Do these before you List!

by Carey Miller

You find a House, You write a contract, now WHAT?

by Carey Miller

Preschools in the Augusta Area

by Carey Miller

The Augusta area has many options for Mothers Day Out and Preschool Programs. It is best to check with each of them to see who will have the availability that best fits your needs, their start and end times vary as well as the days of the week their programs are open. Their annual registration periods are normally in the late winter to early spring and do fill up quickly.

Abilene Baptist Church

First Baptist of Augusta

First Baptist of Evans

First Baptist of North Augusta

Grace Baptist

Redeemer Presbyterian

Open Door Preschool

Trinity of the Hill Methodist Church

Wesley United Methodist Church

You have a Contract, now what?

by Carey Miller

Let the fun begin!

Sellers--You thought the hard part was preparing the house to list, finalizing the list price with the listing agent, enduring endless showings while you drove the kids and dogs around the neighborhood, and then negotiating the offer.

Buyers--You thought the hard part was looking at Zillow and real estate websites until you were blind, looking at tons of homes with your agent, and then negotiating the offer.

Now the sleepless nights begin.....everyone has work to do now.  This is also the period where there will be a lot of questions from both sides and patience is a necessity. The MAIN RULE THAT EVERYONE NEEDS TO REMEMBER IS---you are trying to buy or sell your home, that is the end goal, you don't have to like the other party, you don't have to agree with them, and you will at times need to separate your emotions from the transaction. I as your agent will help with that portion. I am here to represent you as my client, it doesn't matter if you are on the buying or selling side, it is important for your agent to always be professional and help their clients work through the transaction. There will be discussions on when repairs are to be completed by, what time should the closing be to satisfy everyone's schedules, where did the seller purchase item X, in case the buyer needs to buy a replacement or by additional material, and discussions on who and how repairs will be completed.

The Buyers need to:

  • Schedule inspections, attend inspections (if possible), and negotiate repairs with the seller.
  • Work with their lender to get them all the necessary paperwork
  • Set up Homeowners Insurance for the new house
  • Set up utilities for the new home, change addresses on bills, and etc.
  • Schedule movers

The Sellers need to:

  • Negotiate repairs with the seller, this may require calling several contractors to get quotes and then scheduling work to be completed (electrician, plumber, handyman, window company, flooring company, landscaper, and etc.)
  • In some cases schedule termite inspections or HVAC inspections
  • Scheduling utilities to be turned off,
  • Scheduling movers
  • Coordinate moving and doing any agreed upon items such as carpet cleaning or having the home professionally cleaned.

The steps of Buying or Selling:

  1. Get an agreed upon contract
  2. Get through the Due Diligence Period
  3. Get through the Appraisal and Lending Process 
  4. Repairs are completed and verified/agreed to by buyer
  5. CLOSING!!!


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 32

Contact Information

Photo of Carey Miller Real Estate
Carey Miller
Blanchard and Calhoun
1202 Town Park Lane, Suite 201
Evans GA 30809
Mobile: 706-993-7321
Office: 706-868-1000