As the song goes, “it takes two to make a thing go right” but when buying real estate, it takes time (and preparation) to make buying a home go right. What can you do to prepare to purchase a home in Austin?
Give Yourself Adequate Lead Time
Allocate sufficient lead time to work through the process. Home ownership is the culmination of a systematic buying process, not a series of random actions. Most people don’t allow ample time to work the process and start trying shortcuts to make up for lost time. Shortcuts cause mistakes and contribute to poor decision making.
How Much Lead Time Do I Need to Buy a Home?
Though lead time varies for everyone, we suggest starting the research process about 6 months before your targeted “move-in” date, especially if you’re a first time home buyer. You’ll need time to learn what you need to do to position yourself to make competitive offers and understand what housing choices are available. Both housing and lending markets change constantly. Understanding what’s going on is vital to your success.
Find a Loan First, Then Find a Home
The first step is getting your financial house in order. Find a reputable, reliable mortgage broker who will spend time educating you on the current state of the mortgage market. (Need a referral? We can send you some great mortgage brokers, just ask!) Mortgage brokers are our lender of choice because they provide a menu of loan programs offered by a variety of lenders that your local bank will not. Your local bank can only tell you what they have to offer and try hard to sell you one of their loan programs, even if there is a better loan program for you at another bank. We think you should know all your options and a reputable, knowledgeable mortgage broker can help evaluate your finances and recommend the right program in this market.
Learning which neighborhoods you like and more importantly, those you dislike, will help save you time when you’re ready to find the home. Make a list of Austin neighborhoods in your price range and spend an afternoon checking them out. Like what you see when you’re driving through? Check out the parks, community pool and other amenities they have. Still like the neighborhood? Check out the local grocery store. Sounds silly, but going to the local grocery store is the best way to see who lives there. Still like what you see? Add that neighborhood to your list. When you’re ready to buy, you won’t waste time looking at houses in neighborhoods that are undesirable.
Shop for the House
Now you’ve done your due diligence, know you are financially ready to buy and have identified neighborhoods, it’s time for the fun part: shopping for a house. We can set up email alerts to make sure you know as soon as a home is listed in your target search area. The best houses are selling quickly, so knowing even a couple of hours before other buyers in the market can be the difference in getting the home and being too late.
Negotiate an Offer
Once you have identified the right property, the bargaining period begins. There is no rule-of-thumb to estimate how much time it will take to negotiate a contract, but there is no binding agreement until both seller and buyer has signed “on the dotted line.” Negotiation time usually depends on how much competition there is for the property, whether the seller is firm or flexible about the asking price and terms, and frankly how much ego is at stake over concessions.
Plan 30-45 Days from Contract Acceptance to Move-In
Even if you found the perfect home tomorrow, it will still take some time to evaluate your inspections, complete an appraisal, generate loan documents and fund your loan. This collection of activities encompasses what is commonly called the “escrow period.” It typically takes 30-45 days to complete the process, close escrow and get the keys. It is also during the escrow period that most of the potential transactional problems can arise and problems, if they arise, eat time.
Give Yourself Time to Complete the Home Buying Process
The bottom line is: arrange your schedule to do what you need to do and allow ample time to work through the home buying process. Remember there are many people involved in the process and they all have a job to do. It takes time.
Hire Professionals Who Can Save You Time
We buy houses every single day and know the Austin area and real estate market well. We can help evaluate your options and save you time in your home search. Our team specializes in representing buyers and can help you save not only time, but money. Check out our Austin Home Buyer Representation Program to learn more about how we’re different than the average Realtor. Then call us at (512) 827-8323 or email us at info@11OaksRealty.com to schedule a no obligation consultation.