Thinking of buying a home in the Houston, TX area? Here’s our step-by-step guide on the best way to buy a house.
Deciding to Buy
Whether you’re a first-time or repeat buyer, it’s extremely important to make sure you’re ready for what’s probably the single biggest purchase you’ll make.
Here are the factors to consider in making the decision to buy:
- How long will you be staying in the area?
Generally, buying is more cost-efficient than renting if you plan to stay put for three years or more.
- Are you financially ready?
Look into your present and future financial situation. If you’re still paying off other debts, such as a car loan or a student loan, crunch the numbers and see if you can afford to pay a home mortgage on top of these.
Consider, as well, that homeownership comes with other cost, including insurance, repair and maintenance, property taxes, HOA fees, and others. You would also want to have enough funds left over to build your savings.
- Do you have enough cash for a down payment?
The down payment depends on the type of mortgage you obtain, but typically, it’s about 20% of the sale price.
Making the preparations to buy
When you’ve made the decision to buy a home, take the next steps to prepare for the purchase.
- Decide on the type of property to buy
Your choices include a single-family home, a townhome, or a condo. Look into new construction vs. older homes as well. Consider the pros and cons of each one and see which best fits your lifestyle, budget, and preferences.
- Decide on the area or neighborhood
Do you want to live in a downtown area or city center, close to offices and amenities like shopping centers and restaurants? Do you prefer the tranquility of a suburban community? If you have a family, consider their needs, as well, such as proximity to schools, nearby parks, and other factors.
- Check your credit report
Get a copy of your credit report and find out how you can improve your credit score. Keep in mind that the higher your credit score, the better the mortgage terms you can get from a lender.
- Get mortgage pre-approval
Pre-approval is important for two reasons. First, most home sellers will only show their properties to buyers with pre-approval. Second, pre-approval gives you an idea of how much home you can truly afford, which you can use in setting your budget.
Find the right Houston area Realtors to work with
Working with a real estate professional is crucial to get the best results. Here are some tips on finding the right Realtor:
- Get referrals from family, friends, and other professionals
- Check with your local business bureau if a Realtor has been the subject of complaints or disciplinary actions
- Look into the agent’s credentials and track record. You’d want to work with someone with proven success in the type of property you want to buy and the area you want to move into
- Interview several agents to determine who you feel most comfortable working with
As an experienced Realtor who has been specializing in Houston, Texas real estate for over 14 years, I gladly offer my services and look forward to hearing from you. Call me at (832) 381-4121 or get in touch here.
Start looking for a home
- Make a list of the features you want in a home and separate them into two categories – the features you can’t compromise on, and the extras that you’d want to have but can live without. The first includes details like the size and location of the home, the amount of storage, and so on. The second is for amenities like swimming pools, entertainment rooms, chef’s kitchens, and others.
- Provide your agent with your listof preferences. Be as detailed as possible. For example, if you’re looking for a Mediterranean home design or houses in Houston, TX with a pool, let your agent know about this. Do your own search as well – the internet is a good place to start – thenask your agent to arrange viewings of the homes you like.
- Once you’ve found the right home, your Realtor will help you make a competitive offer with all the needed terms and contingencies.
Escrow, appraisals, and closing
- Once you and the seller agree on the price and terms of the sale, you enter into a real estate purchase agreement. The down paymentis paid and the process goes to escrow
- Have a professional inspector go through the property to determine its true condition. If significant problems are found, you can negotiate with the seller about who pays for the cost of repairs.
- Comply with all needed paperworkto finalize the financing. The lender might also require you to obtain title and property insurance.
- The lender will conduct an independent appraisal of the property.If the appraised value is lower than the agreed selling price, your options include re-negotiating with the seller, accepting the price as is, or getting out of the sale.
- If everything is in order, the lender releases the funds for the purchase, the title is transferred to you, and escrow is closed.
- Before moving into your new home, notify the utility companies about the transfer. Change your mailing address with USPS, your credit card providers, and others.
- Arrange for a moving service before the big move
- As an added precaution, change the locks in your new home
- Establish everything you need in the new home, such as WiFi and security
- Enjoy your new home!