Buying or selling a home in Austin? John Horton Realty can help.

Buying a home is intimidating for most people. However, with some up-front planning, it isn't that confusing. I like to give buyers an outline of the whole deal so they understand exactly what to expect. Below are my nine steps to purchasing a home. Should you have any questions about any of this information or if you're ready to get started, you can contact me here or e-mail me at .

Step 1 – Get ready to purchase
There are a lot of things you'll want to do prior to beginning your home search. When you start your search, you'll probably want to make a checklist of features you want to have, get a plan of what neighborhoods and school districts you want to live in, and begin working on your budget. Keeping your mortgage payment around 1/3 of your monthly income is a good principle to go by.

Step 2 – Communicate with a real estate agent
That's where I come in. We can book a time to meet so we can talk about your real estate needs and get an idea of your future plans. We'll talk about everything from neighborhoods, school districts in the Austin area, the mortgage industry, to any other economic factors that might affect your purchase today or in the future.

I'll also help you begin the loan process. There are some very good mortgage professionals in Austin, and I partner with a lot of them, so you can rest assured that you're in great hands. They'll assist you with determining which type of loan is best for you and help you get qualified.

Step 3 – Start your home search
Following our initial meeting, I'll start finding houses on the market that are good for you. I'll get a sneak peek of many of the houses and remove the duds, and then we'll book appointments to tour the homes whenever it's convenient for you.

As we view the homes, I'll point out positive features and negative ones. I'll even ask you about things you like and don't like. Usually, buyers amend their list of must-haves as we tour homes and some things become far more essential than others. If such is the case, I'll search the listings one more time and trim it down to the house of your dreams.

Step 4 – Get a grasp of the housing market
An agent's knowledge of the Austin market is a leading agent in your house search. And I assure you I'm familiar with all the neighborhoods and schools, and I will let you know some areas are "hot" and demand immediate action and some that are "cold" and allow for careful examination.

As we view houses, I'll be sure to tell you when the list price has room for negotiation and when I trust the home is "priced to sell." When working with an agent, be on guard and be sure to ask a lot of questions, as any real estate agent in Austin will claim to know the market. If it appears they don't know everything, call me at 512-834-1600 or e-mail me at , and I'll be glad to answer any questions you have. My understanding of the market will help you stay a step ahead through the entire process.

Step 5 – Find the home you've been looking for
I'm sure we'll find your dream home in the Austin area. When that happens, I'll meticulously create your real estate purchase offer. The offer will be made to suit your needs and the home. We'll include some contingencies, such as getting financing, carrying out the inspection, and a clear title.

Upon presenting your offer, you'll want to present "earnest money." This is a cash deposit made to the home seller to secure an offer to purchase the property. The amount is typically put towards the closing costs. If the seller accepts the offer, we should close on the property within 30 to 60 days afterward. This allows necessary time for your mortgage financing.

Step 6 – Negotiate
Most deals aren't closed on the initial offer – it's really common to receive a counter offer. Don't let it discourage you. We'll talk about whether or not to accept the counter offer, submit our own counter offer, or refuse the seller's offer and move on.

Market circumstances determine how aggressively we negotiate the contract. We'll also work within your financing budget. And at the end of the day, we'll create a deal that's best for you.

Step 7 – Obtain your loan
Upon finishing the contract, you'll begin working with your mortgage lender to close the loan. It shouldn't be a long process at all if you've been pre-approved, but you need to keep in close contact with your lender. And I'll care for all the property information your mortgage lender needs to close the loan.

Step 8 – Close the deal
Your lender will provide you with a Loan Estimate (LE) of your closing costs within three days of getting your loan application. You'll get a Loan Estimate (LE) of your closing costs from your mortgage lender within three days of receiving your loan application. This estimate is based on the loan amount. RESPA requirements require that it has to involve all closing costs and fall within a narrow range of accuracy, and I'll analyze the estimate and let you know if everything looks permissible.

Then we'll close on your home. This will probably happen at a title company or escrow office and will most often be a smooth and peaceful event.

Step 9 – Move in
Congratulations! It's time to move into your new home. Enjoy it. And if you have any questions, be sure to call me at 512-834-1600 or e-mail me at .

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