Houston Home Buying Process: 14 Key Steps Of Home Buying

Step-by-Step Process Of Buying A Home In Houston

Are you looking to buy a new Houston Home? In this Houston home buying article, I’ve outlined the seven main steps in getting ready to make a purchase.

If you’re ready to be a new Houston home buyer and want to know more about what to expect from the 45 – 120 day process, please keep reading this comprehensive home buying process Houston.

For assistance or questions, please contact Paige Martin, Owner of HoustonProperties.com & Broker Associate Keller Williams Realty at Paige@HoustonProperties.com or 713-384-5177.

Home buying process checklist

Step 1: Contact a Realtor

It is easy to get lost in the real estate mix, especially with properties in Houston in such a high demand. You will want to get the best Houston Realtor possible. Start by asking people who have previous working-relationships with great Houston realtors. Check their production (you want someone who sells a lot of homes), communication style, reputation, LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube.

Step 2: Find a Mortgage Broker

It’s critically important to find a good mortgage broker. Here’s an article with 7 tips on how to find a great mortgage broker. In summary, start early, find someone through a good referral and be careful of Big Banks and internet lenders.

Step 3: Receive Your Pre-approval

A pre-approval provides an estimate of what you can borrow. Provide income, debt, and down payment figures. The lender then provides you with an estimate of how much house you can afford. The process should take you a few hours.

Step 4: Meet Your Realtor

Once you know how much home you can afford, your Realtor can give you good recent data on neighborhoods, sales trends, a buyer’s checklist and help you find and screen homes for sale. Get a free market snapshot report on any Houston neighborhood.

Step 5: View Houston Homes For Sale

Buying a home is one of the largest purchases you’ll likely ever make in your life. Review neighborhoods carefully, pick the type of property you want (single family homes, townhomes or condos), and screen for amenities (beds, baths, etc.) Your Realtor can help you filter by area, quality of construction, price, lot value, and construction value to help you find good options.

Step 6: Determine Your Favorite Home

When you see properties you like, add them to your shortlist. Get more details on those homes and get a tour of 4-6 homes at a time (if you see more than that in a session, they start blending together). Pick your favorite and when you’re ready to move forward . . .

Step 7: Make An Offer

Your Realtor should provide you with information on the neighborhood, recent sales trends, a comparable analysis of recently sold homes, and help provide you with guidance on pricing. There’s a 7-point checklist of what your Realtor will need from you to submit an offer.

Step 8: Begin Negotiations

Depending on the market (seller’s market means that you need to be quite competitive; buyer’s market means you can shop for deals) you’ll want to adjust your negotiation style. In most parts of Houston, we’re in a seller’s market – but it is neighborhood by neighborhood dependent. Your Realtor should be familiar with the neighborhood and help you negotiate accordingly.

Step 9: Finalize Terms Of Sale

Depending on the market, finalizing the terms and conditions typically takes between 24-72 hours. Items will include price, financing amounts, inspection periods, closing dates, known repairs, non-realty items. You’ll want to ensure your Realtor guides you through the process and protects your interests.

Step 10: Prepare Contract

The contract is a legal agreement documenting everything in the terms of sale. Both the buyer and seller have obligations, deadlines and penalties for missing these obligations (this is why you need a great team between your Realtor, mortgage broker, inspector and title company).

Step 11: Contract Timeline Begins

The real estate contract will typically contain lots of dates – this is the contract timeline. There may be a deadlines set for inspections, earnest money deposits, applying for financing, appraisals, qualifying for your loan, and closing. Your Realtor should guide you through this process, but you’re responsible for meeting the deadlines.

Step 12: Home Inspections

It is often in your best interest to ensure that the property is structurally sound and in good general condition. You’ll want a professional home inspector to check the exterior, interior, structure, roofing, electric setup, heating, plumbing and insulation of your new house.

Special inspections (e.g. stucco, foundation, moisture, insects) may be needed depending on the property you’re purchasing. Your Realtor should have vendors they work with frequently to help you get a shortlist of qualified resources.

Step 13: Finalize Financing

Typically, the buyer will have a period (“inspection period”) where they can back out of the contract for any reason and just lose their option fee. After this option period ends, normally the buyer is obligated to close on the home in the agreed upon timeline, otherwise they are at risk of losing their earnest money. It’s so important you have a good lender who can meet contract deadlines without causing you stress and headache.

Step 14: Closing

Usually, closing is held at a title company (the firm that guarantees you’re purchasing the home free and clear of any debt or incumberance – and gives you insurance to protect against this). It’s often a 1-3 hour process where they confirm that all of your funds have arrived, all of the conditions to closing and transfer of title have been met, and give you the keys.

You’re done!

Congratulations homeowner, you’ve completed the home buying process Houston! You’ve purchased a new home. Your Realtor should also be make recommendations on movers, housekeepers and service providers that you may need in your new abode.

As with all things, doing the necessary preparation, getting the right information, and finding the best help is crucial.

For assistance or questions, please contact Paige Martin, Owner of HoustonProperties.com & Broker Associate Keller Williams Realty at Paige@HoustonProperties.com or 713-384-5177.

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