Buying a house can be an overwhelming experience – one you want to get right from start to finish the first time around. Here is a step-by-step guide to purchasing property in Houston.
- Assess your finances
Determine how much you can afford, not just in terms of the initial down payment and monthly mortgage, but relocation costs as well. You might also want to see if you have enough money to set aside for home upgrades.
- Know what you want
Match your finances with the kind of home you are eying. Do you want to own luxury property or an affordable starter home? You can also be more specific, listing desired floor plans and other home features you would like.
- Get in touch with a REALTOR®
Ask contacts about any Houston-based real estate agents they have worked with and liked in the past. If you are starting from zero, search online. Aside from official websites, LinkedIn, YouTube and Facebook are great sources. Look for a highly productive Realtor® – someone who has sold many homes.
- Look for a mortgage broker
Look for a referral as early as possible so that you can get the ball rolling on pre-approval. Get quotes from multiple parties. Choose a broker who has a track record of closing at rates near the quotes they give at the beginning of the process.
- Obtain pre-approval
A pre-approval gives an estimate of the amount you may borrow. After providing information about your income, debt and down payment figures, the lender will tell you how much you can afford.
- Look at listings
After crunching the numbers, you can go over property listings with your agent, who will provide data on neighborhoods and sales trends. Explore neighborhoods, visit homes and see if the amenities are to your liking.
- Make an offer
After zeroing in on your top choices, your agent can advise you on pricing based on recently sold homes in the neighborhood and a comparative market analysis. You can make a viable offer from there.
- Start negotiating
You can shop for deals in a buyer’s market, while a seller’s market will require you to be more competitive when negotiating. In Houston, the market varies depending on the neighborhood.
- Finalize terms and conditions
This part of the process typically takes from one to four days. The terms cover price, financing, inspection periods, non-realty items, closing dates and known repairs. You can prepare the contract once these items have been sorted out.
- Conduct home inspections
An inspector will check the condition of the property to make sure it is in the condition you expect. Subject to inspection are the exterior, roofing, structure, interior, wiring, plumbing and insulation. You might require special inspections to determine the moisture level in the home, the presence of pests and the state of the property’s foundation.
- Secure financing
You can back out during the inspection period and lose your option fee, but once this timeline ends, you must close or lose your earnest money. So, you should make sure to secure financing at this point of the process or preferably earlier.
- Closing on a house
A closing can take about one to three hours. The company will confirm that your funds have come through and that all conditions have been fulfilled. You will sign all the papers turning over the property you. Congratulations! You will finally get the keys to your new home.
If you want to check out some of the most desirable properties in Houston and its surrounding communities, check out our listings.
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