Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you may ever make. Not only are you choosing your home, and the place in which you will live, you are most likely investing a large portion of your assets into this venture. The more prepared you are at the outset, the less overwhelming and chaotic the buying process will be. There are many different types of loans available these days and you need to find the one that is right for you. I can provide you with names of several lenders that provide loans that will suit your needs. Please know, I do not get any "kick-back" for you using a certain lender. I only get peace of mind knowing they will do you right and we will have a smooth transaction. Please see the financing page for more information on loans and the loan process, including a mortgage calculator.
When buying a home in Bastrop County Texas, it usually costs nothing to hire a real estate professional to help you find and purchase a home--your REALTOR® will likely get a portion of the commission the seller pays to his REALTOR®, which is pre-determined in the seller’s listing agreement. The only time it would cost you is if you dealt with a For Sale By Owner property when the seller would not pay the agent. In this case, your agent should have your approval BEFORE you proceed. I have never met a seller who would not pay an agent to bring them a buyer, but I am sure they exist.
Determine how much money you can raise for your down payment and how much you can afford to pay on a monthly basis. Go to a lender to find out the size of mortgage you qualify for and get pre-approved. Better yet, use a mortgage broker/banker to find you the best mortgage rate possible. When calculating the costs of home ownership, remember to plan for homeowner's insurance, property taxes, private mortgage insurance (if required), utilities, repairs, and maintenance. We have a basic mortgage calculator on the Financing page that will help you get an idea of mortgage payments.
Determining how much cash you will need on hand to purchase is dependant upon a number of variables. You will need your down-payment (whatever you and your lender decide upon). You will be required to put down earnest money (1% of the offer usually), and the Option Money ($100 - $200). You will be responsible to pay for your own inspections - home, septic (if needed - and possibly pumping it for the inspection), and termite (inspections est. $400 - $1000). Some of these may be required by your lender. Also you will be responsible for pay the appraiser in advance usually ($400 - $600). Lastly, if you are paying your own closing costs you will need that on hand at close. Be sure to discuss this with your lender.
Any purchase offer you make should be contingent upon your approval of a qualified home inspector's report, even when buying a new or almost new home. I can provide a list of local inspectors, or you can contact the Better Business Bureau or check the local Yellow Pages. Even if your lender does not require it, you may want to consider conducting a full land survey--property line disputes could potentially cost you thousands down the road, and are typically not covered by title insurance.
I usually recommend purchasing a 10-day Option Period when making an offer on a home. In this area it usually costs $100 and is given directly to the seller. It is non-refundable, but if the purchase goes through it can be applied towards the purchase. It “buys” you 10 days to have your inspections and/or surveys completed, and allows you to back out of the contract with for any reason within the 10 day period.
It's up to you to tell your agent what you want and how you want to be involved in the home search process. Some buyers prefer their agents to handpick properties for their consideration; others want to receive the hot sheets on a daily basis so they can comb through the new listings themselves. You should listen to your REALTOR®'s advice, but always remember that you're the boss. And speaking of bosses, it's a good idea for ALL decision-makers to visit the properties your REALTOR® shows you.
Good communication is the cornerstone of any successful relationship. You can count on me to provide you with the information you need on a schedule and in a manner that suits you best, and you will always have 24 X 7 access to a wealth of online resources through your private Web page. If need be, you can get in touch with me day or night via e-mail, text, or phone.
Every one of my clients is unique, and that is exactly how I treat him or her. I'm proud to say that a high percentage of my business comes from past clients-from people who choose my services time and again. I don't measure my success by sales, but by the relationships I build along the way.
Before you shop:
Be a smart consumer. Learn the financing basics. Know how to shop for a home loan that's right for you.
Get pre-approved. This takes very little time and lets you know the price range that fits your lifestyle.
Know what you want. The last thing you need is to close a deal and realize you bought a house you don't want. Ask yourself what you're looking for in a home, before you shop. Think about size, commute time and necessary repairs.
Keep your debt load to a minimum. Don't make major purchases or incur any additional debt until after your purchase. Pay down credit cards and don't apply for new ones. Remember, financial institutions evaluate your financial situation on your gross monthly income. Your total monthly house costs should not exceed 28 percent of your gross monthly income.
Be prepared to view new properties quickly. Sometimes homes sell quickly, so be ready to make fast decisions. Be accessible to change the terms.
Have instant access to your agent. Instant communication can mean the difference in purchasing the property of your choice.
Before you buy:
Submit a strong competitive offer. Your REALTOR® should be able to tell you what percentage of the asking price most homes in the area are selling for.
Include a substantial earnest money deposit. Sometimes offers are accepted based on the amount of the deposit.
Try to minimize the number of contingencies. Fewer contingencies mean a stronger offer.
Hire an inspector. A professional building inspector will make sure the house of your choice is in satisfactory condition.
Check zoning regulations and covenants. Good residential neighborhoods will be zoned to keep out commercial and industrial users. Read any restrictive covenants and make sure they fit your lifestyle.
Request an updated property survey. Be sure it clearly marks boundaries. Check for problems.
Make sure you know what stays or goes. Your contract should be very specific about which items (appliances, etc) are included in the sale.
Get agreements in writing. Make certain verbal agreements are written into the final contract to avoid any stressful and expensive issues later.