Your first priority in buying a new home should be to find a suitable real estate agent. Your Realtor should be someone you get along with personally as well as professionally. He should show a commitment to working for you and going that extra mile when necessary. It is very important that you get along with your Realtor since you will be spending a great deal of time with him in the future.
Once you find a Realtor whom you feel comfortable with, you should sign a Buyer's Representation Agreement with him. This document states that you are committed to your Realtor and he is committed to you. Your Realtor can work as a buyer's agent or as an intermediary. If he is working as a buyer's agent, he represents you exclusively whereas if he is an intermediary, the Realtor acts as a liaison between the buyer and seller. Signing a Buyers Representation Agreement will give your Realtor confidence in your commitment to him and, this in turn, will cause him to work harder for you.
The next step in the home buying process should be to get fully approved for a home loan. Getting fully approved for a loan has the same effect as turning you into a cash buyer. Sellers and listing agents are more likely to take your offer seriously if they know you are completely approved to buy their home. Also, approval lets you know exactly how much home you can afford and may allow you to lock onto a low interest rate.
If your Realtor is a member of a computerized loan origination system, he can also act as your loan officer resulting in "one stop shopping.". Through this program, your Realtor can often find low interest rates as well as a variety of programs.
After you have been approved for a loan, it is time to start looking at houses. Since you know what you can afford, you need to choose the other factors that are important to you (area, size, number of bedrooms, age, etc.). Using these factors, your Realtor will perform a search in the Multiple Listing Service to find homes that meet your criteria. After touring these homes, you can narrow it down to the neighborhood and home you like.
Once you find a home you like in your price range, you make an offer. After the offer has been negotiated and accepted, it is sent to the title company along with an earnest money check. At this point, the title company begins processing the paperwork to issue a title commitment. A title commitment states that the tittle to the home is free and clear. Getting a title commitment when buying a home helps avoid costly legal problems later.
Once a contract has been accepted, you have a certain number of days to get the home inspected. Your Realtor can provide a list of certified inspectors.
After inspection, the home needs to be appraised for the mortgage company. If the home appraises for the sales price, the mortgage company will usually give full loan approval for the home.
Once this is done, the title company orders the survey. If the survey is satisfactory to the title company and the buyer, a closing date is set. At closing, the papers are signed to transfer the ownership of the home to you.
We would like to thank Deep in the Heart of Texas Realty for the article. Please visit their website at www.realtyaustin.com.