Alan Mizell, Realtor®
C - (832) 656-8324 O - (713) 777-7653 firstname.lastname@example.org
STEP ONE: CHOOSE A BUYER’S AGENT
Consider choosing a full time Realtor® who is dedicated to work tirelessly to help you find the right home, to help you navigate the sometimes complicated process of purchasing your new home, to negotiate the best possible price, and ensure success in one of life’s biggest decisions and transactions.
In a buyer’s or a seller’s market, you need and deserve a professional who works on your behalf and provides a full spectrum of services. By entering into a Residential Buyer/Tenant Representation Agreement with your broker as a Buyer’s Agent, the broker will fully represent your interests, provide factual information about a property, help you evaluate the property’s strengths and weaknesses, and negotiate to get you the best price and most favorable terms for your real estate purchase. Your broker will show you properties that are listed with any real estate firm, and will arrange a showing with a seller if you are considering a home offered as a “For Sale by Owner.” Considering new construction? You will want to register your Buyer’s Agent with the builder in a new community when you first visit the community.
Without the professional representation afforded you by a Representation Agreement, Texas law states that only the seller is represented, and there is no one who is looking out for your best interests.
Your broker’s commission is typically paid by the seller or the new home builder and is detailed in the Residential Buyer/Tenant Representation Agreement that your broker will review with you and you will both sign.
STEP TWO: HELP YOUR BROKER GET TO KNOW YOU AND WHAT YOU WANT
What do you consider to be “must haves” in your next home? What are the items you can’t live without? Do you need four bedrooms or a home office? Would you like a spacious deck or a 3-car garage? Think about your needs and wants, decide which items belong on the list, and then communicate them to your broker before you start searching for a home.
During the search, your needs and wants may change so be sure and communicate that to your broker if that is the case. Here are some of the items you may wish to consider:
• Location? Inside the loop, suburban living, historic neighborhood?
• Which school district? Or how far from a specific school?
• What type of home? Detached single family, townhome, or high rise living?
• How many bedrooms and bathrooms?
• Single story or multiple stories?
• What style home? Traditional, charming older home, contemporary, or new construction?
• Do you want “move-in condition” or a “fixer-upper?”
• How much work are you comfortable doing yourself? How much are you willing to pay for someone else to do the work?
• Any specialized rooms? Media room, great room, art studio, playroom, exercise room, or home office?
• Is resale price or long-term investment potential important to you?
• Which nearby shopping, entertainment, and recreational opportunities do you desire?
• Do you want access to community services and amenities like public transportation, an airport, parks, or running and bike paths?
STEP THREE: MORTGAGE PRE-APPROVAL
Today, more than ever, it is vital to make a good financial decision when purchasing a home. It is imperative that you consult with a reputable and experienced mortgage broker or loan officer at the beginning of the home buying process. If you do not have a preferred lender, your broker will be able to recommend several that they have found to be knowledgeable and trusted by other clients.
In today’s market a seller wants to know that you have the financial ability to complete the purchase of their home. You can determine this by getting pre-approved for a mortgage before you start your home search. In as little as 15 minutes, you can know the maximum home price for which you have been approved by your lender. If you would feel more comfortable with a price or monthly payment that is lower than your maximum, be sure to tell your lender and broker right away.
Your lender will need to run a credit report to show what options are available to you. Results are kept strictly confidential. A pre-approval helps you and your broker know what price range to be looking at so that when you find the home you want, you can feel confident making an offer. In many instances, it can give your broker more negotiating power on your behalf and can give you an advantage against the competition in a multiple bid situation.
Once you are under contract, you will need to make a formal loan application with the lender you have selected. At that time the lender will run a full credit report and ask for items such as employment verification, copies of pay stubs, bank and investment account statements, income and asset verification documents, tax returns, and loan statements, so be prepared to provide these in a timely manner.
Work closely with your lender to find a loan program that works best for you. They will present and discuss a number of options, such as variable or fixed interest rates, and varying loan terms, typically 15 or 30 years. Remember that your lender is there to help you.
Lenders are required to provide you with Truth in Lending Disclosures so you are aware of what your estimated closing costs will be based on the loan program you decide on. Be sure and get a copy of this. Closing costs include can include things such as underwriting and recording fees, prepaid real estate taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and closing fees, which are in addition to your down payment.
STEP FOUR: FINDING A HOME
The home search process is a collaborative effort between you and your broker. Your broker has extensive knowledge of the real estate market and will start searching for homes that meet your criteria. This will primarily involve a daily search through the Houston Association of Realtors® Multiple Listing Service, commonly referred to as the MLS. Showings will be arranged with the listing broker or brokerage firm by your broker.
If you find a property you like on your own, either on the Internet, through an open house, or from seeing a