Buying a home can get quite detailed. Here are the steps to take to ensure you’re prepared for the exciting road ahead.
Decide What You Want
Before you start looking, make a list of what you want. Then assign each item a priority. Some areas to consider are:
- Location: How close do you want to be to your job, shopping, the kid’s schools, or entertainment?
- Type of home: A single-family house typically provides the most space and gives you fewer restrictions on customizing your home. But a condo offers amenities without yard work—for a price.
- Age of the home: Existing homes have mature yards and established neighborhoods; however, they require more maintenance. Although new homes aren’t always without problems, they usually require less maintenance initially. Of course, you may have to put in landscaping and endure nearby construction.
Know What You Can Afford
Consider these factors:
- Downpayment: Most loans require a downpayment. The amount varies, but 20% of the purchase price is typical. If you’re a first-time buyer or fall below certain income thresholds, you may qualify for affordable-housing programs. Generally, a higher downpayment means better loan terms and a lower interest expense on the mortgage.
- Qualifying for a loan: A lender will determine how much he thinks you can afford based on your income, employment history, education, assets (e.g., bank account balances, other property, insurance policies, pension funds), and debt. Check your credit report before the lender does to clear up any problems.
- Your comfort level: You don’t have to spend $200,000 on a home just because the lender says you can afford a $200,000 home. Do some math and determine what you’re comfortable spending.
Make an Offer
You’ve figured out your home-search criteria and what you can afford. Now find a house and make an offer. Your Texas REALTOR® is invaluable in this part of the process that involves many steps, including:
- Preparing a contract and the myriad details on it
- Handling negotiations with your best interests in mind
- Juggling inspections and option periods.
Unless you’re paying cash for the home, you’ll need a loan. Keep in mind the true price of financing goes beyond the interest rate alone. Consider items such as points, total lender fees, term of the loan, and penalties for early payment. The lender will likely require an appraisal to verify that the home is worth the cost of the loan as well as a physical survey. Repairs may be required. Insurance must be purchased. All these conditions and others must be satisfied before a transaction can close.
Close the Deal
After weeks or even months of research and decision-making, you close the transaction, usually at the title company’s office. The title agent ask you to sign many, many documents and will explain each one. You’ll present a cashier’s check to the seller, sign another document that itemizes closing costs (the lender will have given you an estimate in advance), and pay your share of the closing costs. In return, you will receive a deed, transferring ownership rights to you.
Selling a home can be complicated—you’re not only selling one property but likely trying to find a new place to live. Here are some steps to take to ensure you’re prepared.
Find a Texas REALTOR® Why? A Texas REALTOR® will save you time and money by setting the correct price for your home, marketing and showing your property, advising you about the pros and cons of offers submitted for your home, helping you negotiate favorable terms, and , and negotiating on your behalf. Ask your friends and relatives for their recommendations, or use the Find a Texas REALTOR® search. Sign a Listing Agreement The listing agreement allows the Texas REALTOR® to sell your home during a given period and compensates him when your home sells. The amount of compensation, the length of the listing period, and other terms in the agreement are negotiable. Set a Price If you ask too much, you may not find a buyer. If you price the home too low, you’ll cheat yourself out of money. Websites with quickie value estimators aren’t the way to determine the value of your home. Go to the only people with the data and the expertise to accurately read your market: Texas REALTORS®. Market Your Property In preparing your home for viewing by prospective buyers, remember that people buy on emotions. Your home has to feel right, or buyers will look elsewhere. Look at your home objectively and listen to suggestions from your agent about ways to make your home more appealing, such as cleaning, de-cluttering, removing personal items like pictures, making cosmetic repairs, etc. And talk to your Texas REALTOR® about his or her plans to advertise your listing and show your property. Consider Your Options When a buyer makes an offer, what do you do? Your Texas REALTOR® will help you review it and understand the pros and cons. If you’re lucky enough to have more than one offer, he or she will discuss your options to do what’s best for you. Once an offer is accepted by you and the buyers, the buyers will perform inspections and finalize the deal.