The Home Buying Process


Purchasing a home can be a stressful event, but with a little planning ahead of time, it's not all that complicated. I’m frequently asked to outline the overall home buying process, so I thought it might be good to top-line that here.  These are my nine steps to purchasing a home.

When you're ready to get started, simply contact me here or send me an e-mail. I'd be happy to answer questions or provide more information.

Step 1 – Think and Talk About It
Think long and hard about what’s most important in your new home. Talk these things over with other family members.  Try to get on the same page together.  Is proximity to work important?  Good schools? Capital appreciation? Think about how you will use your home.  Entertainment? Space for kids to play?  A big backyard?  Think about what features you most need and want in your home?  5 bedrooms? Master bedroom down?  A gourmet kitchen? A pool? Do you want a home nicely updated or would you be willing to save a little money and work with a fixer-upper? How much are you comfortable investing in your home? A quick conversation with a lender can help with this. A good rule of thumb to follow is that your mortgage payment should be around a third or less of your net monthly income.

Step 2 – Talk to a Real Estate Agent in Austin
Hopefully this will be me!  We can book a time together to talk about why you want to buy a home and to discuss some of the things included in point #1 above. We'll talk about everything from neighborhoods, to schools in the Austin area, to the mortgage process, to other economic factors that could affect your purchase today or in the future. I also have a short questionnaire that will help me quickly get on the same page with you. 

Unless you want to pay with cash, I'll also help you start the loan process. There are some very good mortgage professionals in Austin, and I partner with a lot of them, so you'll be in great hands. They can assist you in choosing what kind of loan is best for you and help you get approved.  Visiting with a lender is a critical early step since we will need a pre-qualification or pre-approval letter from a lender to attach to any offer we submit to purchase a home.

Step 3 – Start Our Search
Following our initial meeting, I'll begin looking for houses on the market that are a good match for you. If I haven’t already seen the homes, I’ll preview many of them, narrow our options and throw out the bad ones.  Then we'll set up appointments to view the remaining homes when it's convenient for you.

When we view homes, we’ll discuss the pros and cons together.  It is common for buyers to change their wish list as we view homes and some things, once seen, become far more important than first thought.  If that happens with you, we’ll readjust our search criteria to reflect these new priorities

Step 4 – Understanding the Market
Your understanding of the Austin real estate market is an essential factor in your home search. Only with this understanding, will you be comfortable in making an offer.  And, I can ensure you get that understanding. I will alert you to what neighborhoods are "hot" and require prompt action and others that are "cold" and allow for more consideration.

When we view houses, I'll be sure to tell you when a list price is “out of whack” and has room for bargaining and when I know a home is "priced to sell.” My market knowledge will help keep you a step above the rest through the entire process.

Step 5 – Bingo!  We Found It!
What began as a maze will become clearer and clearer until we find THE one. When that happens, I’ll analyze past recent sales of comparable properties in the area and recommend an offering price and negotiating strategy.  Once we are in agreement, we’ll write up our offer and submit it to the seller’s agent.

When we turn in your purchase offer, most likely you'll want to present "earnest money." This is a cash deposit held by a title company to secure an offer to buy the property.  It is most often put towards the cost of closing. If the offer is accepted by the seller, we should close on the property within 30 to 60 days afterward. This allows enough time for us to arrange mortgage financing.

Step 6 – Negotiate The Deal
Most contracts aren’t agreed to with the beginning offer, and it's pretty common to receive a counter offer. But don't let that discourage you. We'll figure out whether or not to agree to the counter offer, propose our own counter offer, or refuse the seller's offer and move on.

Market circumstances will play a role in how aggressively we negotiate the contract. Once we agree on the contract terms, we’ll do our due diligence which will include our inspections of the property.  If we find major problems during our inspections, we’ll work to renegotiate the terms of the contract or have the option to terminate the contract.

Step 7 – Obtain Financing
Once we sign the final contract, you'll begin working with your mortgage lender to close the loan. It won't take much time at all if you're already pre-qualified, but you’ll want to keep in close contact with your mortgage lender.

Step 8 – Close the Deal
You'll get a Good Faith Estimate (GFE) of your closing costs from your lender within three days of receiving your application.  RESPA requires that this includes all closing costs and be within a strict range of accuracy.  I'll review this estimate with you and be there to answer any questions you may have.

Then we'll close on your new home!  Yeah!  This is the finish line to our long race.  It will likely happen at a title company or escrow office and should be a smooth and easy going event.

Step 9 –Time to Move In
Success! It's time to move into your new home. Enjoy it. And if you have any questions, simply contact me at (512) 480-0848 or
send me an e-mail. I can also help with the moving process.