Buying North Texas Real Estate
What are the first steps to buying a home? The task can be daunting but can also be very rewarding and kind of fun. Prepare in advance. Know the type of real estate you desire and your purchasing timeframe. Do you have the money for a down payment? Ah, it always boils down to money. Or does it? Depending on certain factors, loan programs often only require a 5 percent down payment. Some programs even offer zero down. And what about closing costs? Several innovative loan programs also underwrite closing costs.
So, potentially, you can get into a home with very little out of pocket cash! Of course less money down can mean higher monthly mortgage payments. Always consult with a Realtor® and a qualified mortgage loan officer. Always remember that it may be possible for your realtor to negotiate with the seller to pay some of your closing costs.
How Do You Choose A REALTOR®
The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) includes 1 million brokers and salespeople who are bound together with a strong Code of Ethics, extensive training opportunities and a wealth of community information. NAR members are routinely active in the local schools, neighborhood activities, city leadership and more.
So, do I really need a realtor you ask? As easy at it seems at times, buying and selling real estate is a complex matter. Almost like finger prints, no two real estate properties are alike. Even identical models on the same street can differ in terms, inspection requirements or results, location on the street and so on. The same goest with transactions. In this maze of forms, financing, inspections, marketing, pricing and negotiating, it makes sense to work with local Realtors® who serves your area or geographic region.
Where to start your search? The best place to find a reputable Realtor® is referrals from other Realtors® or trusted friends, lenders, attorneys, financial planners and CPA’s. Other sources include open houses, local advertising, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other websites. Feel free to interview Realtors® so you can be sure to pick the one that best fits your situation.
Some Realtors® represent sellers while others represent buyers. Each realtor will explain the options available, describe how he or she typically works with individuals and provide you with complete agency disclosures as required in your state. The state of Texas allows you to work with a realtor to help you sell your home and then also use the same realtor to buy your next home. Your real estate agent can help you negotiate closing times and move-in dates for selling and buying. Believe it or not, this can be the most challenging part so if one agent represents you on both sides, it can make the process of buying a home run much smoother.
Your realtor should provide you with information detailing current market conditions, financing options and negotiating issues that might apply to a given situation. During your time in the marketplace your agent should keep you updated and alert you to each step in the transaction process.
Types of Loans
As stated earlier, loans with zero to 5 % down are a viable option. With less than 20 percent down, most lenders will want the mortgage guaranteed by an outside third party such as the Veterans Administration (VA), the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). A private mortgage insurer (PMI), is required by lender to protect against any mortgage defaults.
How’s your credit? If you want the best market rates, you must have a good credit rating. Be certain your credit cards, installment payments, rent and mortgage payments are current at all times. Tip: To keep lenders happy, its a very good idea not to buy a car or make any large purchases during your underwriting process.
First-time buyers Contrary to popular belief, many think that a “first-time buyer” is someone who has never owned property before. However, under most state programs, the term refers to those who have not owned property within the past three years. These programs often feature smaller downpayments and below-market interest rates. Speak with your Realtor® for more details and requirements in your area.
Always get pre-qualified whenever possible. Your mortgage broker can help you become pe-qualified and also provide you with a pre-qualification letter. Not only does this help you know what price of home you are qualified to buy, but it makes the offer process go more smoothly. If the seller knows you are a ready willing and able buyer, they are more likely to accept your offer over in a more timely manner. Mortgage financing can be obtained from mortgage bankers, mortgage brokers, savings and loan associations, mutual savings banks, commercial banks, credit unions, and insurance companies.
How Do You Make An Offer?
Your Realtor® will assess the current market condition to help determine if it is a seller’s market or a buyer’s market. Also taken into consideration, is what the house has to offer. What is the age of the home? Does it have recent upgrades? Is it in a desirable school district? What is unique to this particular home? Once you and you agent have decided on a fair offer, your Realtor® will present the contract to the owner’s representative. The owner may accept the offer, reject it or make a counter-offer. During the negotiation process, be certain that you are available–phone is fine–so you and your Realtor® can make timely solid decisions which could lead to buying a home!
Once the offer is accepted, what is the next step? A home inspection. Your agent can recommend a reputable inspector in your area. Be certain your inspector is thorough and has a proven track record. Sometimes surprises happen upon move-in, but a good inspector will catch most issues in plenty of time to be addressed in time for closing.
Home warranties for existing homes are typically a one-year service agreements purchased by seller but are also sometimes offered by the seller. In the event of a covered defect or breakdown, in most cases, the warranty firm will cover its cost. The homeowner is usually required to use subs (repairmen) chosen by the home warranty company. These warranties are renewable each year. Be sure to read the fine print and ask your Realtor® for advice before buying a home warranty. With the right home warranty company, this coverage can prove to be quite worth it.
Before closing, it is customary for buyers to be allowed to have a final walk-through to be sure the property is in good condition and all issues addressed. At the title company, pages of documents will be waiting to be signed. All the papers will have been prepared in advance by the closing agent so all you really need to do is be ready to listen and sign away. Be sure to bring your driver’s license. The title company is required to verify the identity of the sellers and the buyers usually by a copy of their driver’s license or passport.
Buying a home can be one of the most rewarding milestones of your life. A place to make memories and raise a family.
At Specialized Realty Group, we specialize in you. CONTACT US or drop by our offices in Flower Mound, so we can get started on a free comprehensive market valuation of your home. To learn more about buying a home or selling a home in the current Texas housing market, call Specialized Realty Group broker, Justin Bailey, directly at 940-489-4140.
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