Buying a home can seem intimidating, but you don’t have to do it alone. Finding a local lending partner and knowledgeable real estate agent can make the process easier and faster.
Below, discover the simple 6-step process for how to buy a home in Central Texas. (Thinking about building a home, rather than buying? Visit this recent blog to help determine which option is right for you.)
Step 1: Learn what you can afford
Before jumping into house-hunting, you should first establish a budget. At TFNB, we can help you figure out what financing solutions you qualify for, and what that looks like in monthly payments. If you qualify for a larger mortgage, it doesn’t mean you have to utilize all those funds. Decide what monthly payment you are comfortable making and then hunt with that number in mind.
This is a great time to see what homes are in your budget. Look at places online like Zillow or Trulia, or go to open houses in the area.
Step 2: Find a real estate professional
Working with a real estate agent has distinct advantages for homebuyers. These include:
- Market knowledge: An experienced agent understands the local housing market and has connections with other agents in the area. With their help, you can access the best list of area homes. They will also be familiar with local home buying trends and can give you valuable insight on which neighborhoods may be a smart place to buy.
- Negotiating experience: Real estate agents coach you through some of the more tedious steps of homebuying. They can also help you save thousands through smart negotiating tactics during closing.
- Affordable service: When buying a home, using a real estate agent doesn’t cost you. That’s because the seller usually pays their listing broker at closing, who then splits the sum with the buyers’ realtor.
Ask friends and neighbors for real estate agent recommendations, or use a service like myagentfinder.com to locate an agent with experience buying and selling homes in your price range.
Step 3: Look for a home
Through the help of your real estate agent, you can start searching for the home that fits your lifestyle and budget. Of course, it’s not just the house that will be important in your search. You will also consider the:
- Home Owners Association (and related fees)
- School district
- Needed renovations or repairs
- Lot size, and more
Make a list of the features you are looking for and be sure to prioritize them when house-hunting.
Step 4: Place an offer
Your realtor will help you narrow your focus and put in an offer (at an appropriate price) for the house of your choice. After submitting your written offer, the seller may either accept, counter, or decline. If accepted, you can move to the next pre-closing steps. But if the seller makes a counteroffer, you can either meet it, make another offer, or decline it and continue with your house hunt.
Step 5: Complete pre-closing steps
Once your offer on a home is accepted, you’ll finalize your financing solution so you are ready for purchase at closing. You’ll also choose an inspector for your soon-to-be home. The inspector checks the state of the home, ensuring nothing needs to be fixed prior to closing. If something is found during an inspection, you can usually use it to your advantage and achieve better leverage on the purchase price. (See here for a directory of potential inspectors in the Waco area.) Your mortgage lender will also order an appraisal of your house to ensure that you are paying a fair price. Talk to a mortgage officer at TFNB if you would like more information about how we would develop an appraisal of your house.
Step 6: Close on your new home
On closing day, you will bring a certified check for the down-payment and other associated costs; typically, homebuyers pay between two and five percent of the purchase price of their home in closing fees. (So, if your home costs $200,000, you might pay between $4,000 and $10,000 in closing costs.) You will also sign a variety of documents to transfer ownership, receive a new deed for the house in your name, and finally get the keys to your brand new home!
Buying a home doesn’t have to be overwhelming, as long as you take it one step at a time. Partner with a local bank like TFNB to get personalized service and financing support for your next exciting home buying journey!
Reach out to the TFNB mortgage team to set up a meeting or get approved for a flexible home loan today.