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How To Buy A House:
A 12-Step, No-Nonsense Guide
Buying a home is a big step, and we’re here to help! This guide will help explain the purchase process and what you can expect. Buying a home is a complex transaction with lots of moving pieces. We want you to be well prepared when the time comes. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out!
The first step to buying a home is to start saving for your down payment and closing costs. Need some help with building a budget or finding creative ways to save? Check out these links!
The type of loan you qualify for will determine your down payment. Your down payment will depend on your individual circumstances and it’s a great idea to start saving now.
In many cases, who pays for the closing costs (whether it’s you or the seller) can be negotiable, but you’ll want to have money set back in case you have to cover those expenses.
So now you’re starting to save. Great! The second step to buying a home is checking your credit report and credit score.
Your credit report will let you see any problems that need to be addressed, such as credit card debt, outstanding accounts or collections.
www.annualcreditreport.com – You can obtain your report once a year for free!
Your score will determine your interest rate - the higher the score, the better the rate. (The only exception to this is Texas Veteran Land Board loans, which have a set rate). It definitely pays to clean up your credit and pay down any debts because your debt-to-income ratio will affect the type and size of loan you’ll be eligible for.
www.fico.com – For a one-time or monthly fee, you can access your credit score. Many credit card apps also give you access to your credit score.
The third step to purchasing a home is getting pre-approved by a lender. Why pre-approval, you ask?
Well, lending is a complicated business. Not every home will qualify for every loan.
It’s important for us to know what your financing options are when we begin the home search. It will save valuable time and money if we know exactly what to look for.
Pre-approval will also give you a ballpark amount to work with and allow you to begin calculating the adjustments to your monthly budget.
If you’d like, we have an in-house mortgage loan officer specializing in FHA, VA and Conventional Loans. We’ve got you covered!
Visit www.getmeapprovedtexas.com to learn more. The consultation is free and a great starting point. Let’s find out which mortgage will be best suited for you and your needs!
Now that you’ve started saving up, polishing your credit score, and talking to a lender, it’s time to make a few decisions. Tell me, what are you looking for?
You can scroll up to the top of this page to see what’s available in your area and how much you can expect to pay for it.
Here are some things to think about:
Of course, these are just suggestions to get you started and your dream home will depend on your needs and priorities. Whether you’re looking for good schools, access to entertainment, proximity to work, or some land to grow on, we’ll find it and make it yours!
Now that you’ve consulted a lender and decided what makes your dream home... it’s time to pick your Realtor®. Choosing the right agent is an important step! Your Realtor® is your advocate and guide through this complicated process.
Your agent will help you find the perfect property, field all necessary communication, handle the paperwork, and negotiate on your behalf to get the best deal possible.
They will coordinate showings, schedule inspections, and stay up-to-date with your lender.
If you’re considering working with us, know that we will always:
Real estate is all about relationships, and we want to give you the best experience possible.
PS - Using an agent typically won’t cost you a dime! The seller usually pays commission fees.
Now for the fun part - we finally get to look at houses! It’s a bit like Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Some will be too big, some will be too small, and then finally, one will be just right.
During this process, your agent will send you a variety of listings to look through, based on the criteria you’ve provided. If you’d like to do your own research, great! Just send over the information and we’ll arrange the showings.
But if you don’t have that kind of time, that’s why we’re here.
We’ll schedule showings at your convenience, whether that’s mornings, evenings, or weekends. We’re here to make your life as easy as possible - our schedule is flexible!
Once you’ve found your dream home, it’s time to do some homework. Your agent will provide you with the Seller’s Disclosure and any other relevant documents.
The Seller’s Disclosure - It’s illegal for the seller not to disclose any defects or potential problems they’re aware of. The Seller’s Disclosure isn’t perfect, but it’s a very good start and a major deciding factor for putting in an offer.
Lead Based Paint Addendum - If the house was built before 1978, you will also receive information about lead based paint hazards. Read these documents carefully and be sure to ask any questions that come to mind.
It’s important to understand the components of making an offer.
Remember that in real estate transactions, pretty much everything is negotiable! The key element is your contract, which outlines the terms of the sale, including:
We’ll discuss each of these parts in detail to help you craft a solid offer you’re comfortable with.
Prepare for a lengthy and frustrating process. Some sales happen quickly, but that’s not always the case. Stick to your price limits and don’t compromise on the things you can’t live without. It’s not abnormal to put in several offers before making the right deal.
Negotiations are probably the most important part of your home sale.
Sometimes they are quick and painless. Sometimes, they can be complicated and lengthy. It’s important to remember to keep your emotions out of this process and try to remain as objective and rational as possible.
Keep in mind: you and the seller are both working toward the same final goal. They want to sell their home, and you want to buy it.
A seller can either accept your offer, reject your offer, or respond with a counteroffer.
If the seller accepts, they will sign your offer and you’ll enter the option period.
If the seller responds with a counter, you’ll begin negotiations.
Negotiations will be a series of counteroffers that fine-tune your home sale. Your agent will help guide you through this process and advise you when to hold your ground and when to concede.
Once the negotiations are finalized and the final offer has both sets of signatures, the contract is considered executed.
Upon execution, the option period begins. During this time, your agent will schedule home and pest inspections to get a clear picture of what you’re dealing with.
The buyer pays for the home inspection. Expect to spend around $300-$400. This allows you to choose a quality, reliable inspector to uncover any potential structural issues or expensive repairs.
Who pays for the pest inspection will depend on the terms of your sale. This inspector is buyer's choice, too. Expect to pay between $100-$150 if the bill comes your way.
In the event an issue comes up, you can request repairs, a price reduction, or terminate the contract and get your earnest money back (as long as you are still within the option period).
If you do request repairs, just remember it’s exactly that - a request. The sellers are NOT required to honor it.
Once the option period expires and any necessary repairs are completed, all you’re waiting on is final approval from the lender.
It’s important not to open any new credit cards, take on any additional debt, or change jobs until closing day. It could negatively affect your financial standing and prevent your loan from closing!
Now is the time to arrange your homeowner’s insurance and set up your utilities.
You will also receive a copy of your closing documents to review ahead of time. Review these carefully, and if you have any questions, be sure to ask. You should know exactly what you’re committing to.
Once your loan has final approval, your agent will schedule a time for closing day and you’ll complete the final walk through of the property!
Congratulations! Today is the day you get to take possession of your new home. A few things to remember as you approach the closing table:
Allow for plenty of time. It’s wise to take a half or full day in case any issues arise.
Be prepared to sign a LOT of paperwork! You’ll see mortgage documents like the promissory note, truth in lending statement, deed of trust and a breakdown of your monthly payments as well as closing documents such as your closing disclosure, warranty deed or title, and an abstract of title.
Check these documents carefully, and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. It’s very important for all of the legal aspects to be exactly right.
We always try to make sure everything is prepared for closing day, but in the event something comes up last minute, try not to stress. Most last-minute issues are easily resolved.
Ready to get started?
Give us a call at 254-613-6326 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit www.getmeapprovedtexas.com to fill out our short pre-approval questionnaire!