Buying a home is the core of an American dream. Every day, a lot of people plan to take one of the most important decisions in their lives of buying a home. It is good to be excited and emotional about owning your own home but it is imperative to understand that this decision needs a lot of work and research. You can’t just wake up one day and decide to buy a home.
Before entering in the process of buying a home, you need to feel confident. Whether you’ve bought a home before or not, home buying process will be different every time because the real estate market keeps changing.
You need to remember that it is your money at stake and you have all the rights to know what’s going on. If you think an agent or a broker or someone else isn’t doing his/her job properly, you need to speak up. If you have any queries in your mind, get the answers from those who are involved in the buying process.
Some of the basic steps of buying a home in every state are similar but there are some differences too. We would like to walk you through the entire process of buying a home in Texas:
DO YOUR RESEARCH
You know what kind of home you want. Research shows that 90% of the homebuyers use internet to search homes. This shows that potential homebuyers are more interested in doing their own research online rather than using old traditional methods. The research also shows that 36% home buyers found their homes online, which they’ve bought eventually.
Apart from looking for homes online, you can also look for the requirements for buying a home. What do you need, what kind of documents you might require and most importantly, which neighborhood suits your requirements.
As a part of your research process, you can also meet housing counseling agencies in your area. If you have any queries, these are the experts who can guide you about the HUD guidelines and answer your questions.
REAL ESTATE AGENTS
The next important step is to find a real estate agent. Usually, an agent represents a seller and they get their commission once the deal is closed. There are many buyers’ agents too who solely represent the buyer. But you need to ask them who they would be representing and unless, there is a written agreement, you should assume that the agent represent the seller. The research shows that 89% of the home buyers who looked for homes online contacted the real estate agent.
There are different ways of finding an ideal agent who can help you find good deals:
- Ask for referrals from friends and family. This is the ideal way of finding a good agent
- You can also look for agents’ information on Texas Real Estate Commission website. Look at their previous sales or how much he/she knows about the market. Ask questions and see how he/she responds. Do they sound motivated?
- Select few properties you like and contact their agents. Meet them and see how motivated they are. If the response isn’t positive, it’s not a good idea of moving ahead with the deal because they might create issues in future.
- Work with an agent you have worked before successfully
GETTING LOAN FOR THE PROPERTY
Before making an offer to a property, you need to have proof of funds and pre-approval letters from your mortgage broker or company. A mortgage broker or mortgage agent is someone who will help you in getting your loans accepted. They usually work on commission basis but if they are asking for a hefty advance fees, you need to stay away from them.
A lot of homebuyers contact the mortgage or lending companies directly. It is also a good idea but if you think it’s too much or you aren’t getting any satisfactory response, you can work with a broker.
There are different loan options available in Texas for prospective buyers. You can do your research online or by asking questions to figure out which loan option is right for you.
The State of Texas requires the seller to fill a seller disclosure form, which has all the details about the condition and different features of the property.
Being a buyer, you shouldn’t only rely upon the disclosure form. Hire a professional home inspector who could inspect the property. Once the seller accepts your offer, you get a specific amount of time to get the home inspected. This is one of the most important steps in the home buying process. Whether you are buying a new home or an old one, get it inspected by a certified home inspector. They will give a home inspection report with all the details about repairs needed by the property. Work with an independent home inspector who is unbiased.
WORK WITH AN INDEPENDENT TITLE COMPANY
A title company is someone who conducts research about the legal status of the property. They will check:
- if there are any issues with the title insurance.
- Whether the seller has the legal rights of selling the property
- if there is any unpaid tax or mortgage or liens attached to the property
You will have to pay for the title insurance while getting all these things checked and it might be rolled in your loan amount. Do no skip this step even if you know the seller personally. This is for your own safety.
CONSULT AN ATTORNEY
An attorney is a legal representative who will represent you during the real estate transactions. They might be expensive but it is important to take some legal advice in understanding the terms and conditions of a real estate contract. This becomes all the more important if you are working with a seller’s agent. You need someone who is able to guide you without being biased towards the seller. You can also find an attorney who specializes in real estate. You can find a list of Texas real estate attorneys here
READ THE CONTRACT THOROUGHLY
It is extremely important to read all the terms and conditions of the real estate contract. Written terms are the most important terms in the contract and they are the ones that matter. Don’t rely upon verbal promises. If the seller or the agent has promised anything, it needs to become a part of the real estate contract.
The real estate contract used by the Texas agents can be found here
Sales Price is an integral part of the contract. This is your final chance to review it. Do not buy the home at a sales price which isn’t affordable and realistic. Don’t go beyond your budget. You will always need to have cushion for other emergencies. Do not use up all your savings.
These are some of the basic steps of buying a home in Texas.