The Home Buying Process in 12 Steps

Here is a review the home-buying process step by step. It doesn’t matter if you’ve bought before or if it’s your first time. There are lots of steps to purchasing a home and it’s always a great idea to get educated or re-educated before you get started! 

We’ll break down each step, sharing who is responsible for what in more detail. 

  1. Reach out to an agent. This should be the first thing you do. An agent will guide you on how to get started. We start with a buyer consult so we can learn all about your situation and the best way to get started. We have great referrals to lenders, surveyors, stagers, painters etc. We have a great team of people to refer you to. 

  2. Consider your financial situation and make a plan. If you are getting a loan, you will need to have a downpayment and then so much in reserves. You will also want to have money to do any desired upgrades and furnish/decorate the house. It is good to keep aside money for emergencies. What if someone got sick or lost their job?  Property taxes can vary. We discuss in our podcast how tax rates can be a lot more in the city of Austin vs other areas of Westlake. This can make a big difference in your tax bill. 

  3. Reach out to a lender if needed. If you are paying cash then all you will need is proof of funds. If you are getting a loan then you will need to start talking to lenders and get pre-approved. When you go to offer on a home, they will require either your proof of funds for cash or your lender's letter. 

  4. Research the area of town you’d like to purchase in. If you are not familiar with the areas, it is best to drive around and get a feel for them. It is best to drive by in the evening or on weekends when people are out and about. Consider your commute times. A lot of websites have great widgets that can help you determine the commute time at different times of the day.

  5. The next step is to start looking at homes. We set our clients up on a search so that they can get alerts as new houses come on the market. Open houses can also be good to visit. If you are ready to make a decision and make offers then definitely it is time to start viewing homes with your agent. If you’re considering new construction take your agent or have them register you! You really need representation in a resale home but also in new construction. The sales agent represents the builder and no one is there to represent you without an agent.

  6. Once you find the right house, it’s time to make an offer. Once the offer is accepted you are officially under contract! You will turn in the option and earnest money to the title company and everything gets started! 

  7. Once you are under contract it is time to schedule your inspection. Your agent can help refer you to great inspectors. Sometimes these negotiations can be harder than the original negotiation. 

  8. Shop for home insurance. It is best to shop for home insurance within the option period. You might learn more about the house from the insurance review. For example, we have learned about water claims that weren’t disclosed.  

  9. Order the survey and appraisal. Sometimes if the survey is new enough, it might be reused. It really is best practice to order a new one. The appraisal is ordered by the lender and is done in order to show the lender that the value is or is not there. 

10. Be sure and schedule for utilities to transfer the day after closing and start to coordinate move.

11. Always do a final walk-through of the property. You will want to see the house vacant and clean and in the condition, it will be passed on to you in.

12. Closing day! Head to the title company and sign the closing documents. A few hours after you’ve signed the deal will fund and the house is officially yours! It is best practice to not plan to move in the house the day of closing. You really can’t control when the house funds and it could take longer than expected. 

The thought of buying a home doesn’t have to come with overwhelm and worry. Finding the right team to guide you through the process is very important. We believe that everyone deserves representation! Our systems and processes make for successful transactions. It’s important to keep everyone informed and communicate with all parties. Having a team behind you helping with all of the details make a world of difference.  

If you’re interested in buying a property in the Austin area, we would love to schedule a pre-consultation phone call with you. Reach out to us at [email protected] or fill out this form here:

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