This Step-by-Step Guide Walks You Through the Texas Homebuying Process
Are you getting ready to buy a house in Texas? If so, here’s an easy guide to homebuying in the Lone Star State. This outlines each key step you need to complete, explaining how to do it without a realtor, so you can buy your dream home.
Specifically, to buy a home in Texas without a realtor, you’ll need to:
- Nail down your budget.
- Find a mortgage lender & get your pre-approval.
- Look at listings.
- Tour homes in person.
- Make an offer.
- Get a home inspection & appraisal.
- Take out the mortgage loan.
- Close on your new home.
Now, let’s take a closer look at each step in the Texas homebuying process, so you know what they all involve — and what to do at each phase.
Step 1: Nail Down Your Budget.
What are your target listing prices? How much can you put down? And what can you afford to pay for the monthly mortgage?
If you have a really clear idea of these numbers upfront, you can start zeroing in on the best mortgage loan options and housing inventory for your budget. Also, as you think about your budget for buying a home, keep in mind that:
- You’ll need to factor in housing-related costs, like homeowners’ insurance.
- There are homebuying programs available for those with little to no money to put down. So, be sure to do some research and explore your options.
Step 2: Find a Mortgage Lender & Get Your Pre-Approval.
Shop around for financial programs and interest rates at different lenders, so you can find the best mortgage deal. Once you find a lender and program you’re happy with, apply for a mortgage preapproval. This preapproval can be incredibly helpful when it comes to establishing:
- Your creditworthiness and financial backing to buy a house in Texas
- You as a serious buyer who’s ready to make legitimate offer
While a preapproval can give you the upper hand in a competitive market or a bidding war, it can also expedite the mortgage process later when it’s time to take out the loan.
To get a mortgage preapproval, you’ll need to hand over various financial documents to your lender of choice, including (but not limited to):
- Bank statements
- W2s or other tax records
Step 3: Look at Listings.
Now it’s time to start shopping for homes! Start with online listings and virtual tours to narrow down the options you want to see in person. As you look at housing inventory online, think about the neighborhoods and any of your must-have features, like:
- School districts and childcare options
- Shorter or minimal commutes
- Easy access to freeways or highways
- Community amenities and safety ratings
Step 4: Tour Homes in Person.
Once you’ve short-listed the homes you want to check out in person, plan a visit to an open house or set up an appointment to tour the home. As you look at homes, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:
- Take your own pictures and/or videos of the home for future reference.
- Test the appliances, toilets, water pressure, and security system(s).
- Be sure to look at storage space, closets, and pantries.
- Check out and ask about the neighbors and neighborhood.
- Bring at least one friend or family member with you to check out the house and give you a second opinion.
- Visit any houses you’re seriously interested in more than once. Second or third visits can reveal a lot more that you may have missed the first go around.
Step 5: Make an Offer.
When you find a house that you want to buy, it’s time to put in an offer. Good offers balance several factors, from the asking price and the market to the demand for the home you want and more.
If you know the seller has certain needs concerning the sale — like the seller needs a quick escrow or the seller wants to stay in the home for a certain period of time after the sale — you can factor in those terms as well to sweeten up the offer. You could also offer to share or cover the closing costs.
Step: 6 Negotiate.
If your first offer is rejected and you still want the house, you’ll want to negotiate with the seller to see if you can come to mutually agreeable terms for the sale. As you approach homebuying negotiations, it’s crucial to remember that:
- The price of the home is not the only bargaining chip you have. Again, the terms of escrow and closing costs can be two key points of negotiation that could help get your offer accepted.
- There are other houses on the market, and you need to know when to walk away. In other words, know how much you’re willing to concede or give to make the deal happen — and know when it’s time to move on.
- Buying a home isn’t just one of the biggest purchases you may make in life. It can also be a really emotional process. So, knowing what you’re willing to give and not give upfront can help you stay focused when negotiations start getting tense or you’re feeling really invested in buying a specific house.
Step 7: Get a Home Inspection & Appraisal.
Good news — the seller accepts your offer, and you have a tentative deal to buy a house! Now, it’s time to for the home inspection and the appraisal to verify:
- The condition of the home: An inspection could reveal hidden issues you wouldn’t be able to see during home tours, like problems with the plumbing, the roof, or the home’s foundation.
- The value of the home: The appraisal will evaluate the home’s price as compared to its fair market value, based on comparable homes and recent sales in the area. This can help you figure out if the home is actually worth the purchase price. Consequently, many buyers make the purchase of a house contingent on the results of the appraisal.
Step 8: Take Out the Mortgage Loan.
If the inspection and appraisal come back and everything looks good, then it’s time to get the mortgage and move forward with the homebuying process.
If you completed Step 2 above and got your preapproval, this step can go a lot faster, as the lender will already have completed the initial steps of the process (and they already have your financial records to proceed).
Step 9: Close on Your New Home.
Closing involves completing all of the paperwork and administrative work necessary to finish the deal, get the seller their money, and transfer the property to you. As such, you and the seller will likely be working with the lender and the Title Company through the closing process. Generally, that process will involve:
- Signing mortgage papers: You may sign these documents at the lender’s office or virtually. Sometimes, it takes a couple of days for lenders to process this paperwork.
- Paying closing costs: You and/or the seller will cover these costs, based on the terms of purchase. These costs tend to include the appraisal fees, property taxes, and more.
- Transferring the property title: Depending on the area and the property, it may take a couple of weeks (or more) for the title transfer to be completed.
Usually, closing on a home in Texas can take from 7 to 60 days, depending on whether any issues arise during the title search or other phases of the process.
Buying or Selling a Home in Texas? Get Cash Back at Closing
Whether you’re buying or selling a home in Texas, you can get experienced help and cash back at closing when you work with the 5-star Realtors® at New Home Gurus. We can guide you through the process, helping you with offers, negotiations, and closing. Plus, we’ll split our commission with you at closing!
Home sellers who work with New Home Gurus can get back an average of $4,500 to $12,000 at closing.
How Much Cash Can You Get after Closing?
Call (281) 668-8124 or Contact Us to Find Out Now
We are standing by, ready to answer your questions and explain the details of our commission-sharing program.