B U Y E R'S T I P S
Before you even begin looking for the home of your dreams, there are a few things you should do first. Advanced preparation will help make the home buying process smoother and much more efficient.
Organizing Your Finances
- Get a free credit report here.
Make a household budget and figure out where money is coming from and where it is going (income vs. bills/debt).
Begin to gather items such as: last 3 years of income tax returns, bank statements or the last 3 months, current copies of pay stubs, records of any past derogatory credit history that has since been paid off, and records of any supplemental income you may have. If you are self employed, you will need all business records and income tax returns for the last 3 years.
If you have been divorced or filed for bankruptcy, make copies of the complete settlements.
Pay off minor debts if possible and do not incur new debt.
Be Aware of Financial Plans for Certain Professions
Many lenders offer special programs for specific service industries and professionals such as teachers, police and firemen, doctors, etc. Be sure to check and see if you qualify for this type of loan during your pre-qualification process.
Benefits of Working with a REALTOR
- They can help you sort out your financial situation and offer advice on what exactly you can afford.
They can use the MLS and numerous other sources to find information on properties listed for sale that might suit your needs.
They can organize appointments with home sellers so you can view homes that you are interested in.
They are knowledgeable about the paperwork you will need to fill out when making an offer.
They will help in the arrangement of financing.
They are skilled negotiators.
Most home buyers will need a loan in order to purchase a house. It is practical to go ahead and get pre-qualified with your lender before you actually start looking. During the pre-approval process the lender will verify credit worthiness and determine the price range of houses you are qualified to purchase. There are numerous benefits to starting an application at this time while you are deciding what to buy.
Benefits of Pre-Qualifications
- Peace of Mind: If you are pre-approved, that’s just one less thing you have to worry about while you’re looking for your new home.
Save Time: Once you are pre-approved, you will know what you can afford so you won’t waste any time looking at homes that you aren’t qualified for.
Negotiating Power: The listing agent will actually expect to see a pre-approval letter submitted with the offer. If there are multiple offers on a property and you haven't been pre-approved your offer will be less appealing.
Once you’re pre-qualified, or at least have the pre-qualification process started, it’s time to start shopping for your new home!
FIND THE RIGHT HOUSE
Links to Central Texas School Districts
1111 W. 6th St., Austin 78703
Del Valle ISD
5301 Ross Rd., Del Valle 78617
Serves parts of eastern Austin & the suburb of Del Valle
Dripping Springs ISD
P.O. Box 479, Dripping Springs 78620
601 Camp Craft Rd., Austin 78746
Located in West Austin
P.O. Box 351, Elgin 78621
Serves the northeast suburb of Elgin
Hays Consolidated ISD
21003 IH-35, Kyle 78640
Serves the southern suburbs of Buda and Kyle in Hays County
Lago Vista ISD
P.O. Box 4929, Lago Vista 78645
Serves the western suburb of Lago Vista
Lake Travis ISD
3322 RR 620 South, Austin 78738
Serves the western suburb of Lake Travis
P.O. Box 218, Leander 78646
Serves parts of northwest Austin and suburban Leander and Cedar Park
312 Murray Avenue, Manor 78653
Serves parts of eastern Austin and the suburb of Manor
1401 W. Pecan St., Pflugerville 78660
Serves parts of northern Austin and suburban Pflugerville
Serves parts of southwestern Austin and suburban Dripping Springs
Round Rock ISD
1311 Round Rock Ave., Round Rock 78681
Serves parts of northern Austin and suburban
San Marcos Consolidated ISD
501 S. LBJ Dr., San Marcos 78666
14401 Ranch Road 12, Wimberley 78666
Are you curious to know what is located near your area of interest? Are you wondering what the crime statistics are for that area? If so, here are some helpful links for you to explore.
• Day Care
• Crime Stats
Loan Application Process
Now that you’ve found the ideal home in the perfect location that is affordable to your financial situation, it’s time to finalize the loan application. The mortgage loan professional will assist you throughout the loan application process. Once your home is selected, your offer is accepted and the contract is written up, the lender will provide you with a GOOD FAITH ESTIMATE of estimated closing costs for your purchase. At this time, the lender will run a credit report, order an appraisal of the property, verify debt ratios to income, and assist you with any additional requirements.
Once you’ve found a home that you would like to purchase, it is important to have an inspection.
- First: Your Own Basic Inspection
- Foundation: Look for obvious cracks or shifts in the foundation.
- Roof: Does it appear sturdy and solid? What is the overall appearance?
- Evidence of leaks: Check all ceilings and areas around windows. Check inside as well as outside. Attic: How does the interior of the roof structure look? Is there enough insulation? Does the attic offer storage area?
- Workmanship: In general, is the quality up to your standards?
- Apparent energy efficiency: Does the house appear tightly sealed?
- Electrical: Do all of the switches and plugs work?
- Plumbing: Check for proper functioning and any unusual noises.
- Appliance condition: What is the age and condition of the stove, dishwasher, refrigerator (if included), etc.?
- Heating/cooling system: Do these systems seem to be working?
- Exterior: Is the house going to need repairs or paint soon?
- Lot: Does the drainage appear good—and away from the house? Are there any trees encroaching on the roof or foundation?
- Landscaping: Look for native landscaping. It is much easier to maintain.
Finding An Inspector You Can Trust
- What is the inspector’s experience? How many years have they been in the business and how many inspections do they do a year?
- Exclusively inspections? You should look for an inspector who only does inspections, not just inspections “on the side”.
- What type of report? Will it be written or oral or both? Will the report contain suggestions for fixing any problems found?
- How long will it take? Depending on the size of the house, a good inspection should take between 2 and 4 hours.
- What certifications do they have? Your inspector should be ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors) certified.
- Does the inspector have Errors and Omissions Insurance? Should there be an “error or omission” in the inspection (if the inspector misses something), this gives you some level of protection.
You should then have a whole house inspection performed by a reputable inspector. It is much better for you in the long run to spend the $200 - $500 that a good inspection costs, instead of later spending thousands of dollars on repairs they would have found.
Homeowners insurance is important to carry because it insures your home AND the things you keep in it. Damage caused by most disasters is covered, but there are a few exceptions such as floods, earthquakes and poor maintenance. Additional policies are required for floods and earthquakes, and proper maintenance is the homeowner’s responsibility. Also covered is protection against liability for accidents that injure other people or damage their property.
Tips for Purchasing Homeowners Insurance
- Call for insurance quotes early. The age and location of your new home will be a factor in the cost of your insurance policy. Please notify the title company once you have selected your insurance carrier.
- Insure your new home for its full replacement cost. (See what is required by the lender.)
- Many insurance companies offer better rates if a home has modern heating and electrical systems, smoke detectors, security systems, & dead-bolt locks.
- Make certain your policy indexes the replacement cost to the actual regional increases.
- Be aware that valuables such as fine art, jewelry, furs, coins, etc., might need additional or separate coverage.
- Investigate your options. Umbrella disability and mortgage disability insurance may be helpful.
Do you have a question about buying a home or selling yours? Or, if you have any other questions or comments, then feel free to e-mail or call using any of the information below. You will get a response as quickly as possible.
5611 Hwy 290 West
Austin, TX 78735
The information herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. However, no investigation has been made to determine the accuracy of such information. No person or entity should rely on the accuracy of this material without conducting a thorough, independent investigation of same. JW Properties has no liability expressed or implied relating to this information.
Waterfront For Sale site 2
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