Houston is an incredibly large, diverse city with something to offer anyone looking to purchase. It’s home to a rich culture with over 140 different languages, 2.3 million people, and over 10,000 restaurants! If you’ve decided to settle into your first home in Houston, you’ve made an excellent decision. I’d love to help make this process as easy as possible for you. Here’s what you’re getting yourself into condensed down to 10 easy to follow tips for first-time homebuyers in Houston.
1. Educate yourself! There are classes you can take on the homebuying process, so if you’re an overachiever, this may be a great option for you. Check out the current market, do research, drive around and look at different areas. Keep in mind, regardless of the market, it’s never a bad time to buy your first home. Purchasing is always an investment when you’re educated.
2. Choose a realtor. It may seem like a good idea at the time to pick Aunt Sally because she’s family and has been giving you business cards for years, but you should be selfish here. A realtor is your key to success in first-time home buying. They spent a lot of time and money educating themselves to help YOU, and you want to find the right person. Don’t feel guilty about not settling. Different realtors will likely have different specialties and interests in the Houston area, so keep this in mind when shopping around.
3. Decide what you want. Look at all kinds of styles and architecture and find what you love. Pro-tip: Don’t get so caught up on indoor amenities that you forget about other things that will strongly affect your lifestyle, like noise level and traffic. Consider all that Houston has to offer and what parts of it you want to incorporate in your life. Art, music, culture, food?
4. Figure out what you can afford. Don’t just consider the cost of the home. You’re going to want to consider insurance, repairs, and the down payment (generally 20% of the home cost). Another tip: don’t get caught up on appreciation. LOVE your home!!
5. Go ahead and get pre-approved for a loan. This is going to help you establish a preliminary budget and move your agent in the right direction. Don’t fall into the trap of falling in love with something that’s out of your range.
6. Make an offer. Now you’ve shopped around. Your agent has shown you a variety of properties and… you’ve found the one. Let’s make an offer! Pro-tip: Don’t get hung up on being a “master negotiator” and lose a home you love because you were…stubborn. Be reasonable in your negotiation expectations and trust your agent.
7. Time to get an inspection. This may reveal absolutely nothing; or it may be a game changer. Be prepared for unexpected bumps in the road and trust your agent’s experience.
8. Apply for a mortgage loan and secure financing. Hurray! It’s starting to feel real now. You’re actually going to buy a home. This step can be scary, too. It’ll all be worth it, I promise.
9. Get homeowners insurance. This is another step your agent can probably help you out with. They likely have a list of resources they have come to know and trust. Again, do your research and find what works best for you and your lifestyle. Consider home-auto packages.
10. Close the deal. You have secured financing, gotten your inspection and possibly renegotiated your offer. Consider things you’ll need to bring with you, like your cashier’s check and ID.
And there you have it; everything you need to know about buying your first home in Houston!