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Houston real estate process: step-by-step guide for buyers

Houston Real Estate Process: Step-By-Step Guide for Buyers

While purchasing property can be extremely exciting for Houston home buyers, it can also be very daunting.  This especially holds true for home buyers who are purchasing houses for the first time.  Even though the Houston real estate process may seem overwhelming to buyers, it is important that you know it isn’t as difficult as you may think.  In fact, if you look at the entire process step-by-step, you will be able to see that buying real estate is rather methodical and not as scary as you may have previously assumed.

Below, 2M Realty has outlined the entire real estate process so home buyers have an actual idea of what is entailed in purchasing property in Texas:

  1. The very first step in the real estate process is having a solid understanding of your finances.  You need to know the strengths and weaknesses of your financial situation before you start looking for a new home.  Are you wondering why this is so important?  The simple answer is that if you understand your economical situation, you will know what you can afford and the budget you are working with before you start viewing properties.  We recommend that you pull your credit report, as well as your spouse’s credit report, and start reviewing your financial history immediately.  Tip: dispute any inaccuracies on your credit report, especially inaccuracies that may be lowering your credit score.
  2. Now that you know your budget, the next step is getting pre-approved for a home loan.  You can work with your current financial institution or you can shop around to find lenders that are offering low, long-term rates on home loans.  During this step, you may also consult with your real estate agent as he/she may have relationships with mortgage lenders who are trustworthy.  Tip: getting pre-approved for a home loan makes you more attractive to sellers who are looking to close transactions quickly.
  3. After you have obtained pre-approval for your home loan and have identified your budget, it is time to start creating a “dream list”.  What do we mean by “dream list”?  Simple, we mean putting together a list that identifies all the features your dream home should have.  For example, how many bedrooms and bathrooms do you want?  Do you need to be close to area schools?  Are you looking to purchase a newly constructed home or do you want to renovate?  Tip: list your “must haves” so you know what to look for before you start viewing Houston homes.
  4. Alright, so you have your dream list and you are ready to start house hunting. While this is the most exciting part of the real estate process and something many home buyers are ready to plunge into, it is important that you know a real estate agent can make house hunting easier for you.  How?  Well, a Houston realtor can show you properties that are tailored to your specific needs and will also have great insight of neighborhoods and communities.  Tip: an experienced realtor can reduce the time you spend searching for your dream home by showing properties that are suitable for you and your family.
  5. The next step in the Houston real estate process is making an official offer and this is truly where your real estate agent will come in handy.  Once you have found the home of your dreams, your realtor will construct an offer which will be sent to the seller for review.  Tip: realtors have vast knowledge of your state’s real estate laws and understand contingencies, which is why they are the right professionals to draft your offer letter.
  6. If your offer gets accepted by the seller, the property will be inspected and appraised.  You can work with your real estate agent to determine which tests will be conducted on the home and how investigations will commence.  The inspection and appraisal of your new home must be completed before a final contract is signed.  Tip: should you find there are things wrong with the property, you can inform the seller and possibly renegotiate the asking price with help from your realtor.
  7. After inspections have been completed and everything is cleared, you will enter into the final phase of the real estate process – closing.  During closing, the seller transfers ownership of the property to you after a final contract is signed.  You will also have to do things like purchase title insurance, pay closing costs and complete paperwork such as a warranty deed, proration agreements, a settlement statement, a name affidavit and an abstract of title.  Tip: during the closing phase, your Houston real estate agent can help you select title insurance and will also ensure that all paperwork and transactions are handled smoothly.
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