Six Steps to Buying a Home
Congratulations! You’ve decided to buy a home in vibrant San Antonio, Texas, or the surrounding natural beauty of the Hill Country. This decision will reap solid financial returns, such as equity buildup, value appreciation, and tax benefits, but it will also be a significant step in creating the life you’ve always dreamed of. The process can be complex, but here is a quick overview of the six steps you’ll need to take:
- Hire an agent
Don’t try to do this alone. The typical real estate transaction involves at least a dozen people, including insurance assessors, mortgage brokers and underwriters, inspectors, appraisers, escrow officers, buyer’s agents, seller’s agents, title researchers, and other individuals whose actions must be smoothly orchestrated. Your real estate agent has a fiduciary responsibility to act in your best interest, and will expertly coordinate all the professionals involved in your home purchase. Don’t be afraid to interview agents until you find the right fit.
- Secure financing
Taking on a mortgage for the first time can be intimidating, but your agent at Carolina Garcia Real Estate Group will walk you through the process. Before making an offer, you’ll need to choose a loan officer or mortgage specialist (we have some suggestions), apply for a loan and get pre-approval, decide how much you can afford, and choose what type of loan you prefer. Although a less-than-perfect credit score won’t necessarily stop you from buying a home, get your credit as clean as possible, and don’t make any major purchases or take on major new debt during the home buying process. Learn more about home financing.
- Find your dream home
At this point, you’ve probably been stalking homes online and from your car for weeks, even months. Even so, you should take a moment and carefully assess what you really want from this new home, in both the short and long term. What are your absolute musts? What features would be wonderful, but aren’t deal breakers? Think about location, size, condition, style, age, neighborhood amenities, and commutes. Be realistic about the market and open to considering less obvious options, including new home construction, condos, and foreclosures.
- Make an intelligent and informed offer – we’ll make sure of it!
When searching for your dream home, you can be a bit of a dreamer. Now that you’re making an offer, however, you need to be all business, and this is where your realtor will be crucial. Your offer will differ based on whether you are in a buyer’s or seller’s market (we’ll offer an assessment). If the property you are interested in is in a hot location, be prepared for multiple offers. Don’t let them deter you – someone has to have the winning bid, so why not you? Also, be prepared to negotiate counter-offers – you and the seller will often be able to come to a mutually satisfying number. Learn how to make an offer!
- Perform due diligence
Unlike most major purchases, once you buy a home, you can’t return it if something breaks or doesn’t quite work like it’s supposed to. That’s why due diligence is so important. A property inspection will reveal any hidden issues that could affect the home’s value (or your comfort level). Check all the lights and faucets. Minor or cosmetic problems can be easily repaired, but if major structural damage is found, hire a specialist to make an assessment. Consider making a request for repair from the seller. Lastly, don’t skip the final walk-through. Make sure all fixtures and appliances are as agreed, and any requested repairs have been completed.
At this point, you can take a step back and let your agent at Carolina Garcia Real Estate group and your lender finalize the process. They will complete a survey, appraisal, title search, and a final credit check. Stay in contact with your agent and return calls, emails, and paperwork promptly. On closing day, you will sign a series of documents that will complete your mortgage and legally record the transaction for public record. Once it funds, you will get the keys (usually the same day) and you can start moving in!