Thinking of Buying? Start Here!!
Buying a home can feel very daunting and overwhelming. The very first thing you NEED to know is that our services for all buyers are free. We do not charge a fee to help you with the entire process. We’ll accept the Seller’s MLS payout as our fee, allowing you to relax and let us help you find the perfect home.
Most buyers in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex start exploring and researching homes long before they contact a professional. We not only realize that but encourage you to research before deciding to reach out to a real estate agent. For that reason, we’ve made our website rich in content and tools so that you can research just about every possible detail about DFW real estate.
Once you’ve decided to contact us for a free consultation, the fun begins! You’ll be paired with a buyer’s agent to discuss things like neighborhoods, home style and proximity to areas that are important to you and then locate homes that match your parameters.
Whether you are buying your first home or purchasing your second home, we appreciate the opportunity to discuss the purchase and guide you through the process.
Once you’ve decided it’s time to start looking for a new home, a smart step is to book a consultation with a buyer’s agent. It’s the perfect chance to discuss exactly what you’re looking for and to get to know each other better, which sets a great foundation for the rest of the process. It’s easy! Contact us today to book a consultation!
So what happens at a buyer’s consultation meeting?
- Discuss Your Goals
When it comes to buying a home, we like to think of it as us working with you, not just for you. Our first priority is learning about you, your lifestyle, and your goals, because buying a home is so much more than simply finding a house that meets your expectations–we want to find you one that exceeds them. We’ll listen to your needs to see how we can help you achieve your real estate goals together.
- Our Plan
Once we’ve discussed what you want in a home, we’ll start the process to get you there by creating an action plan to make sure you love where you live. We’ll give you an overview of the home buying process, so there won’t be any surprises once we get started. Our goal isn’t just to find you a house that you like, but also a community you’ll thrive in. We’ll combine our deep understanding of the local neighborhoods with your real estate goals, and plan one of our Neighborhood Orientation Tours together. We take you beyond the Internet, so you can experience a true day in the life of a local resident. Want to tour with us? You can sign up here!
Let’s take the first step together. Book a Buyer’s Consultation through our chat below.
- Determine you’re “Why”: It’s important to understand “why” you’re buying a house. Is it because you’re tired of paying rent? Is your family growing and you need more space? Are you looking for an investment property to flip or maybe rent out? Are you looking to shorten a commute or find a place with a bigger backyard? There is no right or wrong reason but it’s important to identify what your overall goal is. Without identifying your “why”, you can easily get distracted in looking at houses that distract you and your agent from what you’re really looking for.
- Finances and Credit: After you’ve determined why you want to buy a home, getting your finances in order is a high priority. Your credit has a major financial impact on your mortgage so it’s important to make sure you are reviewing your credit reports to make sure everything is accurate and there are no surprises. For those who have zero to no credit (meaning you may have more of a difficult time getting approved for a loan); try opening up a credit card with a small limit and pay it off every month.
- Meet With a Lender: You need to learn how much you can really afford and one of the best ways to do that is by meeting with your lender. If you don’t already have a lender, make sure to ask your agent who should be able to give you a few referrals. This is a great time to get familiar with the lending process so take the time to ask a lot of questions and really understand lending terminology and the different programs they may offer.
- Get Pre-Approved: Once you’ve discussed with your finances with your lender, it’s time to get pre-approved for a loan. You may hear about being “pre-qualified” versus “pre-approved”, so what’s the difference?
- Pre-qualified: is an approximation from the lender stating what they believe your eligibility for a loan is based on information you’ve provided them. This is not a promise or guarantee of what they’ll lend. It is primarily used for a borrower who is unaware of their lending capacities as a way to get a quick snapshot as to where they stand financially.
- Pre-approval: is when the lender dives deeper into your financial history and is able to provide you a pre-approval letter stating that you do qualify up to a certain amount of money (providing nothing changes since the time the evaluation was done).
- So why is a pre-approval letter beneficial? It shows that you are a credible buyer. When you’re competing against another buyer on a house, you want your offer to be backed by the lender stating you are credible and have the ability to close on the house. Additionally, it will save you time looking at only the houses you qualify for allowing you to spend more time review the homes you actually are considering. It will also allow you to make a more favorable offer by decreasing the number of days it will take to close because you’ve already started the process. Overall, you’ll gain more confidence knowing a lender has already reviewed and approved you and allow you to focus on finding the home that fits your “why”. Remember, you do not have to purchase a house for what you’re approved for. You should find a house that you can comfortably afford!
- Find a Real Estate Agent: A buyer’s agent doesn’t cost you anything and they work for you on your behalf. The seller’s agent is hired by the homeowner to get the best deal for the seller, not you. A buyer’s agent will help you negotiate the best price and terms for the home and many times will be familiar with things you aren’t that can help you get a better deal. Additionally, a buyer’s agent will not only negotiate the lease to get the best contract possibly, they are responsible for things like protecting your personal information, full disclosure on the property, showing you properties you are interested in, connecting you with peoples you may need; such as lenders, city information, inspectors and home warranty companies. In order to protect yourself, you should hire your own agent that works for you. The real estate agent you choose will be your guide through the process. Make sure you interview several agents to find one that works well for you. If you do use the seller’s agent to negotiate your contract, you should be aware you may not be fully represented. You should always have your own exclusive agency contract with your own agent in order to protect yourself.
- Searching For a Home: After you have chosen your real estate agent and a lender has approved you for a certain loan amount, it’s time to discuss what you’re looking for in a house. Your agent should discuss all of the important things you’re looking for, including price, location, bedrooms/baths, neighborhoods, schools, etc…You’ll be set up on an automatic search which will notify you as listings come up for you to review. You and your agent will then identify several homes that fit your criteria and will spend a few days visiting all the homes you are interested in until you find one you are ready to put an offer on.
- Make an Offer/Sign the Contract: There are many different customs and strategies that go into how an offer is given and accepted. Typically, your agent will write up the offer and submit it to the seller’s agent based on the criteria you discuss. Once an offer has officially been accepted by all parties signing the sales contract, there are a few transactions and dates to be aware of. In a typical contract, you’ll have an option fee and earnest money along with several key dates.
- What is the option fee? An amount you pay to the seller for the right to have a period of time to inspect the house and decide if you’d like to move further into the contract or cancel. It gives you the right to cancel out of the contract for any reason. It’s during this time period that you will have inspections done and complete any due diligence on the house. The check for the option (which is typically $100-$500) is written directly to the seller, which they will deposit as soon as they receive it. If you decide to back out of the contract during the negotiated time period, the seller keeps the option fee. If you decide to continue into the contract and eventually closes on the house, the fee can be refunded at closing, depending on how the contract is written.
- What is earnest money? Earnest money (also called a good-faith payment) is an amount of money that is held in escrow and typically applied to the down payment when you close. It is a way for you as a buyer to show how serious you are towards purchasing the property. There are no rules to the amount of money required but typically it’s somewhere from 1% – 2% of the purchase price. If you were to put down 5%, that would show the seller you are more serious than a buyer who may offer less than 1%. Once your offer is accepted and you are beyond the allocated option period (which allows you to exit the contract for any given reason), this money would go to the seller if you were to default or back out of the contract without a reason specified in the contract called “contingencies”. There are several contingencies inside the contract; for example, if you are not able to obtain financing because the property didn’t appraise and you decided to back out of the contract; you would be refunded the money. If everything goes as planned, the money will typically be credited to your down payment for the loan.
You typically will need to write 2 checks; one to the seller directly for the option fee and the other to the title company where the money will be held in “escrow. Your agent will coordinate with the seller’s agent and drop off the checks to the appropriate parties and the agents will open escrow and order title.
- What is opening escrow? When an agent opens escrow, this will be a neutral third party who will facilitate the logistics of paying all parties involved and hold the money until the house closes.
- What is ordering title? Title is the legal ownership to a piece of property. It’s important that you as a buyer are guaranteed the seller does own the property they are trying to sell you. When title is ordered, real estate professionals will search the title records to determine if there are any liens, judgments or any questions to title. Once a review of all the documents pertaining to the title are reviewed, a title company will issue a title policy giving you as the buyer peace of mind regarding the property you are purchasing.
- Home Inspections/Due Diligence and Negotiations: During your option period, you’ll want to hire a licensed home inspector to inspect the home and report back to you any potential problems they see. If you don’t have a home inspector ask your agent for a referral. Start the inspection process as soon as possible to ensure you have enough time to do further analysis or negotiate repairs in case the inspector finds any potential problems. For example, the inspector may point out issues with the roof, foundation or HVAC and you may want to hire a professional within that specific field to further evaluate the problem the inspector saw. Before letting the option period expire, you’ll want to work with your real estate agent and come up with any items you feel the seller should fix or repair and let your agent negotiate with the other agent on the repairs. The seller may opt to credit you money or offer to fix the problems prior to closing. Either way, this will get addressed in the contract so there are no questions.
- Final Contingencies: After the option period expires, there are several contingencies throughout the contract that you and your agent need to make sure are monitoring. These contingencies allow your earnest money to be refunded if there is a problem and you follow the contract correctly. Once all of the contingencies have been removed, completed or past the deadline, it’s a very positive indication the house is ready to close.
- Closing: The last step in the sales process is actually closing on the house. Before closing, you’ll want to set up a time to do a final walk-through. This is your final chance to view the house before you close. Your agent should set up a time for you to view the house up to a day before closing to allow you the opportunity to make sure all of the negotiated items are fixed. For example, if it was agreed for the seller to fix a broken window, your final walk-through would allow you the opportunity to make sure the repair was complete. Prior to actually signing any paperwork, the title company will issue a Closing Disclosure which will explain all of the charges and flow of money. This disclosure should be reviewed by you and your agent to make sure it is accurate. After you have reviewed the closing paperwork it’s time to sign the documents. This can be done either at the title company where escrow was opened or it can be done separately (if you are out of town as an example). Make sure you have a valid photo ID and any necessary funds. After both parties sign the paperwork (the actual deed to sell the house), the title company will facilitate the logistics of receiving the funds from you and your lender, pay off the seller’s existing loan (giving you clean title to the house) and give you the keys to your new home!