Tips for Buying a Home

buy a homeWhen buying a home, the key to a successful transaction, if you are not a professional home buyer, is to work with professionals. Work with a Texas Realtor – and of course we can help. They will help you find and negotiate the best deal. They will make sure that the process is exactly followed, providing you with a trouble-free and surprise-free experience. Work with a reputable and reliable title company. Use a competent and honest mortgage company if you are not paying cash.

1. Financing. Know in advance how much you should pay, and how you will pay for it. If you are not paying with cash, have the financing approval lined up n advance.

2. The contract. In the state of Texas, it all starts with a contract on the current TREC (Texas Real Estate Commission) contract form. If mineral rights are to be excluded from the sale, use the current TREC form.

3. The offer. When buying a home, the only way to make sure you are offering the right price is to compare to other recent home sales in that same area. We prefer the same subdivision, and within the last 6 months. If the property is bigger or smaller than area comparable home sales (also known as comps), adjust accordingly. Remember that the “wet areas”, such as bathrooms and kitchens, are worth more than other rooms. If the property is in worse condition than comps, adjust for the repairs needed. Use your own judgment.

4. The agreement. Once a price is agreed to, and both signatures are on the TREC contract form, you have an executed contract. If you agreed to an option clause, you have that defined amount of time to inspect the property and exercise your option to not buy the property. Outside of the option, you are obligated to deliver on your commitment to purchase the property for the agreed price at the agreed time.

5. The inspection. Unless you are a professional home buyer, always use a professional inspector. Their job is to provide you with every discoverable defect, issue, or potential problem with a house. Your job is to understand the report and to determine if the price you are paying is reasonable, given the condition of the house.

6. The title company. It is critical to choose the right title company. As a disinterested third party, they are bound by law to facilitate a fair transaction and to protect against issues with the title.

7. The appraisal. Your finance company orders the appraisal. You can make sure that this happens – and you need to make sure that the appraisal is ordered as quickly as possible. Neither you nor the finance company can specify a specific appraiser or influence the results. You have the right to request a second appraisal if you feel that the original appraisal is inaccurate.

8. Insurance. When buying a home, allow yourself plenty of time to compare insurance and make a decision on coverage for your new home. Insurance is required by all lenders the moment you close.

9. Utilities. Allow a week before closing to transfer utilities in your name.

10. Closing day on buying a home. Prepare for closing by bringing a cashier’s check or wiring instructions for the down payment and closing costs. Bring photo ID and allow plenty of time to arrive and sign the documents.