Deciding to Buy
Are we in a buyers' market or sellers' market?" This is a question that we get asked all of the time. The reality is, while the market does trend one way or another, it is a more personal question you should be asking. "Am I ready to buy or sell
Prepare to Buy
Speaking with a lender and getting a pre-apprioval. This is the very first step of the home buying process. Your lender will help you translate what a home loan means for you on a monthly basis. They will explain the different loan types and programs available for you. They will assist you in setting your home loan budget as well.
Choosing an Agent to Represent You
Buying a property requires making many important financial decisions, understanding complex issues, completing a lot of paperwork, and polished negotiation skills. It helps to have an expert in your corner when undertaking such a large purchase. We can guide you through this process, and also provide you with access to property listings before they hit the general market
Shop to Buy
Prepare a list of “Needs” that is different from desires. This list will help keep you on track when you begin looking. Your agent will set you up with a Client Portal through the Austin Multiple Listing Service (the MLS). This database has the listings for Central Texas from all brokerages. It is the most accurate and up to date home search site. Avoid using websites such as Zillow and Trulia as they are not always accurate and can be used to take advantage of buyers and renters.
Take a drive! Preview the homes’ exteriors, neighborhoods and areas prior to scheduling to see the home’s interior. Once you have narrowed down your list of potential homes- provide them to your agent with ample time to schedule showings with the home’s owners.
Make an Offer!
Once you have picked out the home that is right for you, your real estate agent can help you make an acceptable offer to the seller. A good agent will investigate the potential costs and expenses associated with the new property and look at the area comparables to help find the right price and terms for your offer.
Once all contract terms have been negotiated and agreed upon you will be responsible to provide payments for the Option Fee and the Earnest Money. These can be paid by personal check or cashier’s check. The Option Fee will be made out to the Seller’s and the Earnest Money will be made to the Title Company.
You will also hire an Inspector at this time. An inspection is provided by a third party on your behalf. Your agent has a network of professionals available to you and would be happy to give you a referral if needed. Upon completion of the inspection you can negotiate for the completion of repairs during your option period. You can also terminate the contract at this time and only forfeit the Option Money and Inspection Fee.
Appraisal and Survey
If you are getting a loan on the property the lender will hire a third party appraiser to determine the value of the home. This fee is to be paid by the buyer at the time it is ordered by the lender. Should the home not appraise for the sales price there would be discussion as to what happens next. Additionally, the lender can also require an updated survey if the current owner does not have an up-to-date existing survey that can be used.
Setting up the details
As your closing date is approaching you will need to reach out to your Insurance Provider to insure your investment. The Insurance Company will reach out to your lender for details on your policy. Your agent will have referrals for great providers if needed. You will also need to schedule for your utilities to be turned on and change your address with the USPS (which can be done here: https://moversguide.usps.com/icoa/home/icoa-main-flow.do?execution=e1s1&_flowId=icoa-main-flow )
Be available for any last minute items that might be required by your lender. Plan for your inspector to re-inspect the agreed upon repairs and plan to do a final walk-through 24-48 hours prior to closing. More of a formality than anything else, the final inspection takes place a day before, or the day of the closing. You will visit the property to verify that all is in working order, everything is the same as when you last viewed the property, that there are no extra items left behind, and that everything included in your purchase is still at the property.
Closing and Funding!
If you are obtaining financing, you will have to sign all pertinent documentation required by the lending institution. If you are unable to attend the scheduled closing, arrangements can be made depending on the circumstances and the notice that we receive.
If you are bringing funds to the transaction, you can elect to either have the funds wired electronically into the closing agent’s escrow account, or bring a certified bank check to the closing in the amount specified on the settlement statement.
Two forms of ID may be required at closing, so have those on hand.
The seller should arrange to have all property keys and any other important information for you at the closing, so once all funds have been sent over by the lender, you can obtain them!