The Ultimate Buyers Guide
THE PREP WORK
1. Decide You are Ready to be a Homeowner
This is a huge step in anybody’s life and it needs to be treated as such. Don’t buy a home because it’s a buyer’s market or just because of low mortgage rates. Buy a home because you want to be a homeowner. Buy a home because you’re settling down and need a place for live for at least five years. And only buy a home if you’re financially ready.
The general rule of thumb is to look at homes that are two to three times your annual income, however this truly only depends on the amount you are approved for in step 3.
2. Save, Save, Save and Build, Build, Build.
Two of the biggest factors that any mortgage officer will take into account is how good your credit score is and how large of a down payment you have saved. So, the key thing about a down payment is to remember it must be in a bank account. Mortgage officers are all about paper trails so if you happen to just have $10,000 cash lying around, PUT IT IN THE BANK! Second, the higher your credit score, the more likely you are to receive a higher loan amount with approval.
3. Get Pre-approved
So, all of the hard work from step 2 should now translate into actually speaking with a lender. Every lender evaluates each case based on financial information such as W2s, bank statements, and credit scores. The most tedious part of this step is rounding up all of the documents and getting them to the lender in a timely manner. Therefore, organization is key and be sure to ask for a list of all of the documents up front so you can get started as soon as possible. If you have kept up with your documents so far, this shouldn’t be too terribly difficult. Instead, you can spend more time talking to several different lenders and finding the one with a reputation for good customer service and timely closings. You’ll likely have a lot of questions—like how long the process will take and what the qualifying guidelines are—so choose a lender that answers them all satisfactorily.
4. Consider a Buying Agent
Yes, it’s possible to find a home on your own. However, for such a large commitment, recruit some professional help. They will notify you of open houses, connect you with reputable lenders, negotiate, recommend vendors such as a plumber or electrician, and helps you through the details of the entire process from start to finish. Also, it is very important that you realize that in most situations, sellers listed with a Realtor will pay a buyer’s agent fee. Yep you heard that right, it doesn’t cost you anything to have an agent assist you in buying a home!
5. Decide Must-Haves and Nice-To-Haves
Examples of must-haves might include the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, proximity to work and other places you frequent, and access to your preferred school districts. This could help you make a decision on a neighborhood. Check out our blog on Choosing The Right Neighborhood for helpful insights. You might also have a strong preference on the amount of outdoor space a house offers, and whether it’s move-in ready. Things that shouldn’t be on your must-have list? The way a house is decorated, well-manicured landscaping, a pool—or anything else you can easily fix or install yourself. Another key part of this step is making sure your loan amount and your must-haves align. Are you aiming too high or too low?
Check out the Exceeding Expectations Page in this guide to learn more about us when considering a buyer’s agent.
6. Put in an Offer
This could be the part where a buyer’s agent is extremely handy because You don’t want to low-ball your offer, and risk losing the home to another buyer or insult the seller—but you also don’t want to pay more than is necessary. Considerations like neighborhood, days on market, and other offers are apart putting in an offer, so be sure to do your homework and be open to negotiating.
Your monthly house payment includes more than just the principal and interest on your loan. Ask about taxes, homeower association dues, homeowners insurance and utility bills.
7. Utilize the Option Period
The Option Period in Texas is a specified number of days set forth in a real estate contract which allows the buyer to terminate the contract for any reason. The Texas Real Estate Option Period:
- Provides security for the buyer.
- Has an agreed-upon number of days.
- Starts at the beginning of the purchase contract period
- Requires consideration – a non-refundable fee paid to the seller called the Option Fee.
- Can be extended by mutual agreement of the buyer and seller.
Check out our blog, Option Period: A Simple Guide, for more information
8. Close the Deal
If you’ve efficiently taken care of everything connected with purchasing your new home, the experience of taking ownership will be a positive joy with no surprises. Key steps to the closing, also referred to as the “escrow” or “settlement”, include:
Getting a Title Search – an historical review of all legal documents relating to ownership of the property – to ensure that there are no claims against the title of the property. It is also necessary to purchase Title Insurance in case the records contain errors or there are mistakes in the review process.
The Final Walkthrough – you’ll be given the chance to look at the home to make sure it’s in the same condition as when you signed the sale agreement.
9. Sign the Papers and Get the Keys!
Typically, on the closing date you’ll go to a title company’s office to verify and sign all the paperwork required to complete the transaction. The settlement will include paying your closing costs, legal fees, property adjustments and transfer taxes. At that point, you’ll receive the property title and copies of all documentation pertaining to the purchase. Oh, and one more thing – you’ll get the keys
10. Make Your House a Home
“A house is made of bricks and beams. A home is made of hopes and dreams”
-T. Harv Eker
HOW THE TRIANGLE TEAM EXCEEDS EXPECTATIONS
Triangle Realty conducts extensive comparative market analysis research. We offer a professional opinion on list price to ensure a quick sale at the best price possible. We always hire a professional photographer in order to put the best foot forward in showcasing your property. We then utilize the photographs in our marketing plans we personalize for each of our clients.
The marketing plan includes all of the steps we take in order to effectively market your home. This includes:
- Magazine and Newspaper publications
- Social media targeting
- Occasional video production
- JUST FOR YOU
Triangle Realty has monthly service listing reports that will keep you in the loop on what is going on with your property. With our local, friendly service, you can rest assured that your home is in good hands. We are a trusted face in the community and we want to make this a good experience for everyone involved!