Seven steps is all it takes to buy your first house, but they’re not necessarily simple steps. Knowledge is power, and never has that been so true as it is in the home-buying experience. What you don’t know absolutely can hurt you. Arm yourself with information, prepare in advance for the experience, and your journey to home ownership will be a happy memory.
- Step One: Money matters and credit issues
- Step Two: Pre-Approval is a Must
- Step Three: Working with a Real Estate Agent
- Step Four: The Fun Part
- Step Five: Offers and Negotiations
- Step Six: Inspections, Appraisals, and Title
- Step Seven: Closing Day
- Contact your San Antonio Agent
- Homes for Sale in San Antonio
Step One: Money matters and credit issues
Your credit is an imperative part of your home loan application process. With poor credit, you’re liable to lose out on funding. Before you begin shopping for houses, make sure your credit is in good standing. Review your credit report, dispute any discrepancies, satisfy any debts, rectify any derogatory statements, and go in with clean credit for your loan application.
You’ll need substantial savings for a down payment, unless you’re applying for special loans such as first time home buyer programs where down payments are minimized or not required. Even then, you should have a nest egg for unplanned emergencies. You don’t want to end up house poor, and owning a home is a large responsibility with maintenance and repairs.
Also required in most cases is that the buyer pay closing costs, which can amount to between 1 and 8 percent of the total value of the house you’re buying. Closing costs cover things like appraisals, inspections, commissions, clerical costs, etc. Closing costs are not covered in your home mortgage loan and must be paid out-of-pocket.
Step Two: Pre-Approval is a Must
So many people make the tragic mistake of finding a house they love and THEN applying for their home loan. Sadly, those are also the people who often lose the house of their dreams because the home loan application took too long or proved to be problematic. Sellers are looking for aggressive buyers who are locked, loaded, and ready to move forward quickly.
Pre-Approval accomplishes several things at once: it gives you a realistic idea of your home buying budget, communicates to real estate agents and sellers that you’re serious about buying a home, and it can give you the upper hand when multiple offers come in and other offers aren’t pre-approved.
Step Three: Working with a Real Estate Agent
Your real estate agent can help you with every step of the process to home ownership. They can help you find the house of your dreams, negotiate contracts, refer service providers, and secure your interests in the legal matters. The moment you are pre-approved for a home loan is the moment you should contact a real estate agent.
Step Four: The Fun Part
Shopping for houses is the most fun part of preparing for home ownership. Be realistic with your wish list and your budget, and be prepared to compromise if needed. Don’t be won over by smart staging. Staging is when the homeowner dresses the house up in its Sunday best to tickle your fancy with “pretty”. Curb appeal and a clean environment go a long way, but check the house for cracks in the walls or structure. Check under sinks for damp areas or mold.
Step Five: Offers and Negotiations
Your real estate agent will help you place an offer on the home you decide to buy. Your agent can also help you in the event of a bidding war. Once your offer is accepted, the technicalities get underway.
Step Six: Inspections, Appraisals, and Title
The title on the home you’re buying must be cleared, meaning proof that there are no tax holds or liens prevent the property from legally being sold. Next, to satisfy the bank of the home’s value, an appraisal is ordered. Then, to satisfy the bank (and you, the buyer) that the home is in good condition, an inspection is also ordered. When these items are checked off as complete, it’s time to go to the closing table.
Step Seven: Closing Day
WOOT! You made it! Today is the day the title is transferred, all fees are paid, and the keys are transferred from the former owner to you, the new owner. By this time, the former owner has evacuated the building and have taken their belongings with them. The next time you see that house, it’s yours!
Contact your San Antonio Agent
Give Adrian Garza-Delgado a call today at 210-595-9492 to lean more about the home buying process and tour available homes for sale in the San Antonio area.