Updated 8/2/16; originally published 7/12/15
- Whether it’s your first time or tenth time, buying your home is a major event, and different every time. Surrounding yourself with knowledgeable professionals is essential to getting the most out of the experience.
- These steps are just the tip of the iceberg, but a great overview to get started with. Included are lots of links to more detailed content to get you on your home buying journey!
- Need more? Get the book on buying in the Fort Hood area – the Ultimate Fort Hood Home Buying Guide – for free.
Never bought a home before?
Wondering how to do it “correctly”, to ensure you find the right home for you, with your interests protected throughout the process?
Welcome to the Hood Homes Blog and my 9 step guide to buying a Fort Hood area home!
“But I don’t even know if I want to buy, yet!”
Even if you are still deciding between renting and buying, a quality real estate agent, or Realtor®, will help get you the information you need to make that decision. They can let you know what you can expect in the area for your budget, and what other considerations about the process that may impact your decision making.
If you are in Central Texas, I happen to be a Realtor® and would love to help however I can. If you are looking elsewhere, a good place to find a Realtor® is talking to friends and family in the area for recommendations.
“But I STILL don’t even know if I want to buy yet!”
And you can’t make that decision until you know what your options are. Nothing yet has cost you a dime – we are just in the information gathering stage. When talking to a lender, you will discover what loan types and rates you can qualify for, what a hypothetical mortgage payment would be, and compare those number to what you would pay in rent for a comparable home.
- 5 tips on choosing a lender (Fort Hood style)
- Budgeting your monthly mortgage payment in Killeen, TX
Oh, and talking to a lender does not commit you to that lender, so don’t sweat whether the lender is the “right one” yet. We can shop lenders better once we are further in the process.
Often, local lenders are the most responsive and easy to work with. A local Realtor® can refer you to several lenders depending on your circumstances. Local Credit Unions can also be good sources for mortgages.
You STILL may not know if buying is the right decision. But again, you won’t know until you know what your options are.
- Why a Realtor can’t find your home
- Why you shouldn’t use Zillow or Trulia to search homes near Fort Hood, TX
Your Realtor® will likely be your #1 resource. Let them know what your priorities are, and they will come up with some ideas and suggestions. But that doesn’t mean you can’t look yourself! Browse homes on sites like www.realtor.com for more home ideas in your area!
Step #4. Choose a home!
Your Realtor® can’t do this one for you, though they can get as much information about the homes as you need to make a decision to move forward. This is all about what fits your tastes, your needs, and your budget best.
Step #5. Make an offer and negotiate!
Hey, your agent is back in action! At this point, your agent can research market information to come up with a reasonable value for the home, irrespective of the listed sales price. Based on the home and the market, your agent can recommend how to proceed. In hot markets, you may have to act fast and be seller friendly if you want the home. In slower markets, it can be buyer friendly and you may be able to get more concessions from the seller. Let your agent know what is important to you and decide jointly on the path forward.
The seller may accept your offer, counter, reject, or do nothing. Depending on their response, it may be time to begin negotiating. Remember that sellers are people, too. Obviously both sides are trying to get the best deal, but if you are difficult or insulting, it can sour the relationship and make the process that much more difficult. Trust me, whether the seller likes you or not can be worth $1000s at the end of the day.
Once you’ve both signed an offer, you have an executed contract!
Step #6. Do your due diligence!
You will likely have negotiated an option period of a week or two for you to do your due diligence, to include ordering inspections (general, pest, septic, well, and any others as applicable), verifying leases if applicable, and finding out anything else about the property that might be a red flag. During this time, you can walk away depending on your local laws for just about any reason. After this time, walking away will usually breach the contract, and be a big no no.
Inspections are out of pocket expenses, so be prepared to spend at least a few hundred dollars. Better to spend a few hundred now and discover that the home is a lemon, than finding out you are now the proud owner of a disaster house.
Step #7. Get insurance!
Again, your Realtor® will be able to recommend some insurers. If you have a lender, the lender will require proof of insurance before you can close. Once you’ve found an insurer, simply give them your title company and lender information and they will work out the paperwork to start your insurance on closing day.
Step #8. Close!
The closing day is the day when you will officially become the new homeowner. It is also the day everyone pays or gets paid. In Texas, the title company will hold onto everyone’s money and then disburse it to whomever is supposed to get it. You and your spouse will have to sign. Usually it is done in person, however it can also be done remotely with a notary.
Usually a few hours after signing, all the money is disbursed and you get keys to your new home!
Step #9. Move in!
Congratulation! You have a new home, all yours!
Right after closing, it is recommended you get your water, electricity and gas turned on right away. You should also get the home rekeyed at the earliest opportunity. If you felt your agent was helpful, help them back by asking where you can submit a review, and also referring friends, family and colleagues!
This is a WAY oversimplified overview of the process, of course. There are all sorts of fun issues that also apply, like the title commitment, survey, walkthroughs, appraisals, certificates of eligibility and other important elements. And those are just if the deal is “normal”. Your Realtor® is an important resource to ensuring you are educated and comfortable with the process throughout.
You may have noticed that a Realtor® was heavily involved throughout the process. It is not necessary to use a Realtor® to buy a home, however there are few good reasons not to use one. The seller or builder will pay your agent’s commission, so there is no cost to you to have a Realtor® at your side giving advice and looking out for your interests.
Ready for more? Download my Ultimate Fort Hood Area Home Buyer Guide that I wrote myself, getting in deeper to the nitty gritty of what to expect in the Killeen, Harker Heights and Copperas Cove housing markets, and how to get the best deal for you and your needs.
Brian E Adams, REALTOR®
StarPointe Realty Central Texas LLC
Licensed in the State of Texas