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First Steps To Buying A House In Austin & Surround Areas

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first step to buying a home

​A Breakdown On The Steps To Buying A House

Watching the video above on the ​first ​steps ​to ​buying ​a ​house will get you familiar with the entire process. Please keep in mind that not all steps are covered and depending on your situation there may be more or less steps.

One this is for certain, having someone in your corner giving you good advice & looking after your best interest will save you time, money and a whole lot of stress. When you want to buy a home in the central Texas area I'd love the opportunity to interview for the job.

As a Austin REALTOR I service all of the central Texas area and my focus is to provide you with the best experience possible. I could go into detail and start selling myself by listing all that I can do but I think it would be more effective if we meet. If you are reading this and wondering if I am the right REALTOR for you, give me a call @ 512-809-0091 or fill out the contact box above or below.

You can use these steps to buying a home for the first time or if you have purchased a home in the past. Below is a breakdown of each step for those that like to read. 

Step #1: Find out what you can afford

Steps To Buying A House

Your first steps to buying a house will be to figure out what you can afford. When you get pre-approved with a lender they often times will give you a maxed out amount which may not always be what's affordable to you. 

The goal is to buy a home but still have money for your other bills & some left over to still have a life. A good lender will council you through this and come up with the right mortgage that fits your budget and your personal life. 

I also recommend making an application with at least 2 lenders & compare what they can do for you. Just as it is with REALTORS, not all lenders are the same. There are a lot of programs available to home buyers and you'll want to make sure you pair up with a lender that help you take advantage of them. 

Step #2: What is your ideal home?

Number 2 on the steps to buy a home is to figure out what your ideal home looks like. Imagine how many rooms you need, garage space, size of the yard and so on.

When I start working with anyone looking to buy a home I have them fill out a dream home form. This form will help you really narrow down what you will love to live in and call home. 

It's a good idea to go over this form with everyone who will be living there and your REALTOR. This creates a really good discussion about what you want & most importantly, what you don't want. 

Time, effort and money will be saved when you take this step seriously. Besides, you might not see your dream home if you're busy seeing homes that are not part of your narrowed list. 

Step #3: What area do you want to be in?

Steps To Buy A Home

Number 3 is not the first step in buying a home but is a step you'll want to consider closely. Once you've narrowed down the type of home, you'll then need to list the certain areas you want to be in.

Perhaps you want to be close to your work for commute or want to be in a great school district. Sometimes the area the home in is more important than the type of home. You could always remodel a home in the perfect location to make it exactly what you want it to be.

This is also where partnering up with a REALTOR that is familiar with the area becomes VERY valuable and this is especially true if you are moving ​to Austin. When you know almost nothing about the place you're moving to, you can lean on your REALTOR to be your eyes & ears.

By the way, I've lived in the Austin area since '92 so I am very knowledgeable about the area and would be a huge asset to your Austin home search.

Step #4: Start seeing homes in person

These are not just steps for first time home buyers & anyone can get value from them. Step number 4 is no exception and is a required step for first time & seasoned home buyers alike. 

There are many ways to find homes for sale in Austin & the surrounding areas. However, nothing compares to stepping foot in a home & imagining yourself living there. 

I do not recommend seeing homes until after you've been pre-approved and familiar with the next steps to come. Here is why, imagine stepping into the home you just fall in love with. You then decide to make the application, provide all the required docs and go back to make an offer only to find out an offer has already been accepted and now will probably be sold to someone else. 

When you are ready to start seeing homes, I will schedule the showings and provide access to the home when it's convenient for you. I am very flexible and will get you in ASAP. Most of the time if you are interested in the home, someone else is too. 

While viewing the home I will let go off and explore the home at your leisure while I quietly shadow you & point out areas of interest. All important info will be available to me during the showing and I can provide guidance on the condition & price of the home based on my experience.   

You can "go it alone" and contact the listing agent although they work for the seller and you are going to want someone in your corner looking after your best interest. 

first steps to buying a house in Austin

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Step #5: Make an offer

Making an offer is very important and probably one of the more emotional of the steps to purchasing a home. This is where you get to decide what you want to pay for the home and terms of the sale. 

There is A LOT that goes into this step & I like to take this step slowly to make sure you understand exactly what's going on. I want you to be confident about moving forward in such a way that feels right. 

Sometimes we will go over the contract multiple times until you get it completely so DO NOT hesitate to ask any & all of your questions here. This is important stuff.

On that note, there is more than one way to make an offer and almost everything is negotiable. I think & work very creatively to get the price & terms you want. Negotiating is part of the process so don't feel bad if your offer gets rejected or countered. Also, this step works differently when buying a new home. 

Step #6: Get the home inspected

first steps to buying a house

Congrats on getting your offer accepted and now you'll want to make sure there is nothing majorly wrong with the home which leads into step 6, getting the home inspected. 

Even brand new homes just built will need to get inspected and at times have major issues. An independent third party inspector will comb through the entire home to revel what can't been seen with our untrained eyes. 

Your standard home inspector most likely is not a trade expert so if he finds a defect on the roof (for example) you'll want a licensed roofer to come out and give their expert opinion. 

Also, not all inspectors are created equal so you'll want to do your research to make sure they do not cut corners. I have a few inspectors I often refer my clients to because they've proven to me their due diligence and commitment to doing the best inspection possible. You are free to choose whoever you want or to even not have an inspection at all. The cost of the inspection comes out of pocket to you. 

Step #7: Request repairs (If Needed)

All resell homes will have something that will be noted on the inspection report. The job of the inspector is to find things to put into his report, including cosmetics so don't be surprised when you get the report. 

The main focus now is to now dive into the report and single out the items that are either a health concern, safety concern or a glaring cosmetic concern. Then you will draft a repair request amendment & send it over to the seller or listing agent.

Some examples of things typically repaired are the A/C system, roof, electrical, water heater, drywall holes, conveyed appliances, plumbing and so on. The extent of the repairs depends on what matters most to you and the structure of the sale. Some homes for sale are sold "As Is" so a credit from the seller or price reduction can be negotiated. 

​It's also important to note that some homes are ​meticulously cared for and ​repairs may not ​be needed.

Step #8: Have lender order appraisal (If financing)

After you've negotiated any repairs or credits, you are now onto the final steps to buying a house. This is when you tell your lender to order the appraisal. This step is only necessary if you are financing the home.

The appraisal is required for and purchase that is being financed. The lender will contract out a third party appraiser to inspect the property and give their opinion on what the home is worth. 

This is done to make sure you are not overpaying for the home and protect the lender from making a loan where you will be severely upside down. When you are paying cash you are free to over pay as much as you like. 

The goal here is to have the appraisal come in at or above the contracted sales price. For example, if the contracted sales price is $100,000, then you will want the appraisal to be at or over $100,000. ​

If the appraisal comes in lower, you can still buy the home but now you will have to pay the difference between the appraisal and contracted price. For example, if the contracted price is $100,000 and the appraisal comes in at $95,000 you will then have to bring an extra $5,000 at closing to make up the difference. 

​As your REALTOR I will work closely with the lender to make sure the appraisal gets ordered on time so that we meet contingency deadlines. I also always do a CMA (comparative market analysis) on any offer we make so that we don't have appraisal issues down the line.

Step #9: Work w/ lender for final approval (If financing)

One of the final steps to buy a home is to work with you lender towards closing in step #9. This is only necessary when you are financing the purchase. If you are paying cash then this does not apply to you and you can move onto closing.  

There will be a bunch of back and forth with the lender to gather all of the final documents to submit to the underwriter. The underwriter is the last stop for final approval of the loan and if your lender has been on top of everything from the start this should not be a big deal.

Typically they will re-verify employment, bank statements and your credit profile to name a few. It will all depend on how they process the loan and every lender is different. If we experience a speed bump and the lender requires more time to get everything in order, we can always extend the closing date. The best thing to do, I do a great job at this, is to stay on top of the lender & make sure there is constant communication.

​It is possible the sale can fall through due to the lender not processing the loan correctly so it's important to choose the right lender from the start. 

Step #10: Close on your dream home

first step in buying a home

All of the hard work is done and now you can close on your dream home. This is the final one of the steps to buying a home and it's the most rewarding.

This is where you sign all of the paperwork & pay whatever is due. The home doe not officially become yours until the seller has signed and the lender has funded the sale. When both parties sign (buyers & sellers) & the lender wires the money, the house is now yours, congratulations.

Usually this day is the culmination of months of hard work and a huge sigh or relief can be had. Personally, I get great joy from the smiles and high fives from the people I help. Buying a home is a special time in a families life & I love being a part of it.

​Many people had the dream of owing their own home and for most of them, that dream is closer to reality than you think. 

​Have questions? Don't hesitate to give me a call @ 512-809-0091

​Sure, there is a commission I earn by guiding you through the steps above ​and to me it's much more than that. ​​It's about helping families make the best decision and the satisfaction when I've help play a role in achieving your goal of buying a home no matter how long it takes.

I am 100% serious when I say that I'm all about service. I never use any high pressure sales or obligate you just for advice. I believe in earning your business every single day and I invite you give me a shot at being your REALTOR. 

​When you are ready or have a few questions give me a call to test my sincerity @ 512-809-0091.