Why you should use me to buy a home
Even though the Internet gives buyers unprecedented access to home listings, when it comes time to start physically looking at houses you absolutely need an Realtor® who is protecting you. If you simply call the person who's name is on the sign, you need to understand that they represent the seller of the home, not you, the buyer. It is their legal responsibility to protect their client. They cannot help you in many critical ways.
CONTACT ME and I will become your "Buyers Agent", the person who's sole responsibility it is to protect your rights and financial interests.
Before house hunting, get pre-approved
In today's fast paced market no seller is going to accept an offer without a "Pre-Approval Letter" from a lender. They want to know that if they are going to take their home off the market to try to sell it to you, that there is a very good chance that the sale will close (be completed).
If you make an offer without this, they will usually reject it, or worse, accept a competing offer which has an approval. This might mean you losing the house of your dreams.
Please do not to be confused; a Pre-Approval Letter is NOT the same as a "pre-qualification". A Pre-qualification is simply based on a cursory review of your finances. A pre-approval from a lender is based on your actual income, debt and credit history. CONTACT ME and I can give you the name and contact information for several excellent lenders.
Start by confirming your credit
If you will need to get a mortgage to buy a house, you will want to make sure your credit report is as clean as possible. It is amazing how many people's reports contain inaccurate, or erroneous information. Most of these will negatively impact your credit score. When you contact a lender to begin the process of getting a mortgage, the first thing they will do is pull your credit report and look at your credit score. The higher your credit score the lower your interest rate may be.
If you do not have a way to get your credit reports, CONTACT ME and I can help.
You should do this at least a few months before you start house hunting, get copies of your credit report. Make sure the facts are correct, and fix any problems you discover. I will be glad to help you prepare yourself to buy your new home.
Plan to buy a home you can safely afford
The rule of thumb is that most people can afford a house that runs about two-and-one-half times their annual salary. Exceeding this amount does not mean you won't get approved based on overtime, bonuses, second incomes, or your spouse's income. But, what will happen if something changes; a layoff, hours cutback, no bonus? Almost nothing is as emotionally challenging as getting late payment notices, or worse, foreclosure notices. Losing a home to foreclosure is devastating. Today's lenders will not, by law, be able to even consider you for a new mortgage for years.
If you want to know how much home you can afford, use one of many calculators available online to get a better handle on how your income, debts, and expenses affect what you can afford.
See my Resources page for a link to this type of calculator.
Due to my experience, I will be able to help you target the homes you can afford and reduce the time you will need to invest to find the perfect home. I invest large amounts of time preparing to be assured I am showing you exactly the right houses.
Strongly Consider Buying in a good school district
In the Greater Houston area (Katy, Sugar Land, The Woodlands), this advice applies even if you don't have school-age children. The reason; When it comes time to resell, you'll learn that strong school districts are a top priority for many home buyers, thus helping to boost property values.
When we get started with your house hunting I will be glad to help you identify the city, area, and subdivisions that will meet your needs and desires.
Before making an offer
Once we have found your "dream home", you will have to make an offer. This initial offer is important, it sets the tone for all negotiations. Too high and you leave money on the table costing you cash and mortgage payments in the future. Too low and you may get rejected completely costing you the perfect house. This is where my skill as a negotiator is critical. I can advise you on the factors to consider while you decide just what to offer. Visit my Testimonials page and see what a few of my existing clients say about the value of my negotiating skills.
Have any home you want to buy professionally inspected
Sure, your lender will require a home appraisal. That is how the bank determines that their investment (your mortgage) is protected. This is not an inspection!
An inspector examines the house and creates a report highlighting any existing deficiencies, flaws, or broken items in the home. This is critical to you so that you can decide if you want to proceed with the purchase, ask the seller to make repairs, or buy it "As Is".
You certainly do not want to move into your brand new home and discover that it needs a new roof or to have the air conditioner replaced. I can refer you to a number of excellent inspectors.
Should you buy if you may stay on a couple years?
If you do not expect to remain in one place for at least a few years, then owning is possibly not right for you. With the transaction costs of buying and selling a home, you may end up losing money if you have to sell to soon - even in a rising market. When prices are falling, it's an even worse proposition.
With the high rate of relocations in the Greater Houston, Katy, Woodlands areas by corporations this is a factor you will want to consider. Also, many people, if relocated, will have a Corporate Relocation package offered. The benefits may well cover many of your losses, thereby reducing your risk of loss and making buying now more desirable.