Finding the right real estate agent can be an incredibly important step towards buying or selling a home, but there are several things that you need to do before you even think about picking up the phone to call a real estate agent. First time buyers will want to keep these things in mind as they prepare to purchase their first home.
Thing to Know #1: Budget
Before you can do anything else, you will have to decide on your budget. Keep in mind that you will have to pay for more than just the down payment. You will need cash on hand to cover closing costs, inspections, any updates or repairs, and of course, the cost of the move itself. Make sure you have a healthy emergency fund before becoming a homeowner.
While it is not possible in many markets, it is ideal for buyers to save up at 20% down payment before purchasing their home. This eliminates the added expense of PMI, or private mortgage insurance. This type of insurance helps to protect the lender in the event that you default on your home loan, but it typically only applies to homes with less than 20% equity.
Thing to Know #2: Pre-Approval From a Lender
Once you have a budget in mind, you will need to be preapproved for financing on a home. Your lender will take into account your savings, income, and other outstanding debts when deciding how much house you can afford. Paying off debt ahead of time can help you get approved for a more favorable interest rate. Shop around before you settle on a lender. A slight decrease in interest can save you thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.
Thing to Know #3: Timeline
Are you trying to move before the new school year starts or after the current year ends? This can be an important factor to consider if you will be changing school districts when you move.
The housing market in most markets is seasonal, so you will want to keep this in mind when you are planning your home purchase. Like many other areas, Houston experiences a spike in home sales during the spring and summer months. Buyers tend to have the most options during this time period, but you can find a great Houston home any time of the year.
Thing to Know #4: Ideal Area
Explore the various neighborhoods and school districts in your desired area. If possible, visit these areas ahead of time so that you can get a feel for the community. Make sure that all of your favorite spots or necessities can be found nearby. Check your potential commute times so that you do not end up with any unpleasant surprises.
If you are thinking about buying a home in Houston, contact our team at Hunter Real Estate Group. We have years of experience helping people just like you buy and sell homes in the Houston market and we are uniquely qualified to help make sure you have all your bases covered before you start your property search. Call today to set up an appointment.