The City of Opelika was founded in 1854. This ‘sister city’ to nearby Auburn is a healthcare and business hub for the surrounding areas of Lee County. Opelika boasts one of the largest historic residential districts and historic business districts in the state. The community focuses on quality of life for its residents and is a leader in technology for city infrastructure, education and recreational activities for families, making it an ideal place to raise a family.

If you are considering a life in Opelika, we have created a destination to guide you in choosing a home, neighborhood, school district and how to take advantage of the amenities for residents throughout the city.

5 Tips Before Buying a Home

Know Your Budget

It is important to know your budget before you start looking for a home. This helps set expectations for the type of house you’ll be looking at and the location. It will also save time when you start your search in earnest. Your realtor will only show you houses that fit within your budget and can focus your search within that budget. It is also important to be “Pre Approved” by a lender before starting your search. This will save time in the process and gives you the confidence when starting a search of just what you can afford. There are many local lenders in the area, which make a difference because they know the community and will create a relationship with you and help guide you through the arduous task of home financing.

Choose a Realtor

Working with a realtor is a must to help you in your search and be your advocate during the process of finding your dream home. Realtors are licensed and must abide by a code of ethics. Meet with your realtor face to face and determine if it is a good fit. You’re about to make the biggest purchase of most people’s lives and you want to make sure you have a good relationship with your realtor and they understand your needs, your budget and will be your advocate throughout the process. Realtors that know your desired area will also be able to find properties through their extensive network so it’s important to ask questions when selecting a realtor.

Creating a “must have” Checklist

Before you start your search, ask yourself what is important in your new home? A realtor can help guide you through a checklist to help narrow down your search. Making sure you know what is important will help you during your search. How many Bedrooms do you need? What part of town do you want to call home? Do you want to walk to downtown or the park? Do you need elbow space?  Is a yard important? Do you need an office? Do you need to live close to work or school?  These questions will define your search criteria and help your realtor find the right home for you.


Make an Offer

Making an offer can be a nerve-wracking experience. It will be important to lean on your realtor during this process. Before you make an offer, create a ‘highest and best’ in your mind in the event negotiations require a back and forth on price. Having your down payment saved and ready will help give you confidence going into this negotiation. Your realtor will help create the offer by looking at the market and comparable recent sales in the area. Also, understand this may not work out and that’s ok. If your offer isn’t accepted, or the counter-offer from the seller is above your budget or someone swoops in with a full cash offer and you lose the house, there will be others! It is difficult to not get emotionally attached to a home before you move in, but with a busy real estate market nothing is final until the contracts are signed.

Get an Inspection

An inspection before closing is a very important part of the process. Inspectors can uncover items that need repair or are not in compliance with housing codes. These types of items found during an inspection can be used in final negotiations by your realtor to reduce the price or have repairs made prior to closing. When making an investment this big, you want to make sure you take precautions against costly repairs.



This content sponsored by Amy Cotney, Realtor. Amy is a “Top 20” Realtor in Opelika-Auburn and can help you find the right home in Opelika-Auburn. Check out her listings here