Buying a home is a process. Even if this is your tenth time purchasing property and you’re a veteran to the industry, you know that it still takes time, a lot of paperwork, planning and organizing to make sure that you’re getting a good deal, that the home is a good investment and that all your financing is complete. Whether you choose to buy a quaint condo in a popular city like College Station, TX or you are interested in a smaller town like Richards, TX, the process of buying real estate is the same.
Richards, TX is a small community located in Grimes County that is just 37 miles, or a 40-minute drive away from Bryan, TX. The town was originally settled in the 1830s, but it was left undeveloped until Brazos Valley was created and the railroad arrived in 1907. The town was heavily populated by residents from the existing communities of Fairview and Longstreet, who also moved their businesses to the new town. Richards was named by the railroad to honor a banker whose last name was Richards. The population in Richards originally boomed as essential businesses were established, but by the time the 1970s arrived many residents were moving away from the small town and getting closer to the bigger cities for more employment opportunities. To this day Richards, TX is a quiet small town with a strong history and is a wonderful place to purchase Richards real estate for anyone that is looking for a vacation property, a secondary home away from the city or land property for development.
Whether you are buying your first home in Richards, TX or looking to build a portfolio of real estate in College Station, TX – we’ve worked hard to put together the ultimate checklist of buying real estate. There are many factors to take into consideration before you make a big real estate investment, but this simple and easy-to-follow home buyer checklist will help keep first time homebuyers from feeling overwhelmed and will be helpful for veteran investors to stay organized throughout the entire buying and financing process.
Find an Agent
First and foremost, it’s important to find an experienced real estate agent who can guide you through the process, offer advice and direction and look out for your best interest during negotiations. Even if you are not ready to make an offer on a home just yet, it’s a good idea to interview potential candidates so that when you are ready you can hit the ground running. Ask friends and family for referrals, look online for highly rated agents in your area and select a few professionals to interview. Once you select the person you would like to work with then you can spend some time discussing your goals, finances and options so you can be prepared to look at properties that fit your needs, make an offer and get through the financing process without any issues.
Talk to a Lender
Always get pre-approved for a mortgage before you even begin looking at houses to buy. There’s no point in looking at real estate if you’re not sure how much you can afford and how much money a lender is willing to give you. You can ask your real estate agent for referrals to a lender they have previously worked with or tap into your personal network for referrals. Once you connect with a lender, they will ask for a lot of paperwork and financial information to help get a clear picture of your finances so they can offer you a pre-approval. They will run a complete credit report, ask for at least two years of tax returns, recent pay stubs, bank statements and more. All of this will help the lender gain a clear understanding of your financial information and they will be able to tell you exactly how much house you can afford and how much money the bank will be willing to lend you based on the information you provided.
Get your Finances Organized
If you are a first-time homebuyer, it’s a good idea to start getting organized in advance for buying a property. A year before you’re ready to buy is a good time to check your credit and make sure that your credit score is in good standing. If your score is low or there are any disputes that need to be taken care of make sure to address them and settle them so that it doesn’t cause any issues with your mortgage lender. A year gives you plenty of time to improve your credit score, pay down big debts and make sure your credit is in good standing. It’s also a good idea to use a simple mortgage payment calculator to estimate how much you can expect to pay monthly for your principal, interest, taxes, insurance and any additional monthly bills. We also encourage first-time homebuyers to organize a down payment plan ahead of time as this will be your largest upfront cost when buying a home. Plan early and start saving so you can be prepared and not feel overwhelmed when it’s time to hand over a big sum of money.
Find the Perfect Property
Once you have your finances in order, have your pre-approval in hand and have bolstered your savings account in preparation for buying your new home, it’s finally time for the fun part! As you work closely with your real estate agent outline a home search that aligns with your budget, lifestyle and future plans. Think about the type of home you want, the neighborhood you want to live in and the types of amenities and upgrades that are important to you. Do you want a condo, single-story home or an expansive estate with stunning views? Do you want to live in a quiet suburban town, a busy city or in a luxurious gated community? These are all good questions to ask yourself and to share with your agent as you look for the perfect place to call home. Make sure to visit open houses in your desired neighborhood, even if you’re not exactly interested in the home itself. Ask the other residents about the neighborhood, see if your agent can find any pocket listings – properties that are available for sale, but are not publicly listed on the MLS. You can also take your search online and look through our featured properties and the MLS for more College Station homes for sale.
Make an Offer
You may end up submitting an offer on more than one property, especially if the market is very competitive, but don’t let that discourage you from continuing your home search. Follow the advice and guidance your agent provides and don’t wait too long before submitting an offer on a property you are interested in. Keep in mind that many buyers are also looking at the same property and they are your direct competition. If you find yourself in a multiple-offer situation, or a bidding war, your best bet is to listen to your agent and increase the price on your offer. You can also include a personal letter about you and your family to the sellers, there are many buyers who are doing this to appeal to the seller in an effort to stand out from the rest of the competition. If you keep getting beat out on homes that you want, you may want to consider looking at lower priced properties that may need some work – this is a good way to save some money on your down payment and monthly payments while also having the opportunity to customize and remodel your new home to your unique design preferences.
Once your offer on a home is accepted you will open escrow and begin the process of purchasing the property. This could take anywhere from 30-45 days, but it could be less or more depending on the financing you are able to secure. Part of this process includes getting a home inspection and doing your due diligence on the property before it officially becomes yours. During this time, you will also go through the mortgage loan approval process where you will directly work with a lender and underwriter to provide more information about your finances until you are cleared to close. As you get your loan approval you will have to sign a lot of paperwork then wire the funds for your down payment and closing costs to escrow before the home officially becomes yours. Once everything is signed and complete – congratulations you are now a homeowner!
Buying a home is a lengthy process and requires guidance and strict organization to ensure that everything runs smoothly without any issues. Working with a qualified and experienced real estate professional can make the difference between enjoying a seamless transaction or losing out on the home of your dreams. If you are interested in buying real estate in College Station, Bryan, TX or the surrounding areas please contact us – we look forward to working with you and helping you achieve your real estate goals.