Whether you are considering a home purchase,
or know it’s time to move, REILLY, REALTORS® created this guide to help you evaluate your goals, understand the home buying process, and provide you with helpful resources along the way. While I hope you will find our Buyer’s Guide useful, please remember I’m always available should you have any questions. My goal is to make your home buying experience rewarding and enjoyable!
2. Steps to Buying a Home
3. Financing Overview
4. Choosing a Lender
5. Tips for Home Buyers
6. Touring Properties
7. New Construction
8. Hiring an Inspector
9. Home Warranties
10. Wire Fraud Alert
11. Contract to Close Checklist
There are many factors to consider when choosing where you want to live in the Austin area. One of the biggest for many is commute times - how much time do you want to spend on the road each day? Are you interested in neighborhood amenities like pools, parks, or golf courses? Do you prefer quiet, suburban living or an urban lifestyle? There are thousands of neighborhoods in the Austin area and our Austin Neighborhoods Guide, along with my expertise, can help you learn more about them.
Determining your budget for your home purchase early on can save you headaches down the road. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage will help you decide how much you can spend on a home, and help any offers you make stand out to sellers. It’s also important to consider all the costs of home ownership when deciding how much you can spend, including insurance, taxes and maintenance. Learn more about Financing an Austin Home.
Purchasing a home is typically a long-term investment. Most REALTORS® and real estate experts recommend staying in a home for five to seven years, or longer. Be sure to factor your future plans into your home buying decision, such as starting a family or changing jobs. These life events can have a big impact on whether or not you choose to buy a home. I am happy to share my knowledge of the market and where it appears to be headed - information that can help you decide if now is a good time for you to buy.
If you have children, or plan to in the future, good schools may be at the top of your must-haves for your new home. There are several school districts and private schools in the Austin area. Not sure which school is right for you? Consider scheduling tours of schools on your short list. Many schools are happy to provide tours to prospective parents. Use our Austin School Districts Guide to learn more about school districts in the Austin area.
Depending on your budget, personal preference, and other factors, you may prefer a new construction home over a resale, or vice versa. There are pros and cons to each type of home. New construction homes typically require less maintenance, are easily customizable, and come with warranties from the builder. If you’re looking for a fixer-upper you can make your own, resale homes are great canvases for renovations or complete remodels. You may also find that some resale homes already have desirable features, like pools, that you won’t have to build yourself. I can help you hone in on which type of home is right for you. To learn more about purchasing new construction, visit our Buy or Build a New Home page.
What type of home are you looking for? Where do you want to live? Are you looking for a brand new home, or a fixer-upper? Asking yourself these kinds of questions and others on the previous page will help me understand your home buying goals.
Meeting with a lender is one of the first things you should do before buying. A pre-approval letter in hand will show sellers you are a serious buyer and help your offer stand out.
Our powerful search tools at AustinHomeListings.com make it easier than ever to find your perfect Austin home. You can save your favorites and even set up listing alerts to receive emails when new homes come on the market that match your criteria.
Use our online mortgage calculator to get an idea of monthly payments.
Use my site to search for homes all over the Austin area!
Once you've narrowed down your favorite homes, it's time to start touring them. I will guide you through each of your favorites, and possibly a few I have picked out for you. Together, we will narrow down your list to top contenders.
Once you have identified the house you want to buy, I will help you determine how much to offer based on a comprehensive real estate data review, prepare the contract, review the contract with you, and present it to the selling party.
I will work to negotiate terms that work for both parties, all while keeping you informed. After we reach agreeable terms, the next step is to sign the contract and get ready to close!
I strongly recommend you schedule a third party inspection right away to discover any problems with the home before you own it. We’ll go over the results of the inspection together and address any issues during the option period.
Typically, both parties meet at the title company at different times to sign all required closing documents. As a buyer, you will have quite a bit of paperwork to sign, especially if you have taken out a loan to purchase the property. I will help make sure your closing runs smoothly. Once funding is complete, the home is officially yours!
Visit our Neighborhoods Guide to
learn about over 2,000 communities!
Considering building? Be sure to read our Build Your New Home article!
The lender you choose will be an important advocate for your finances during your home purchase.
One of the first things you should do before beginning your home search is to speak with a lender. A lender can help you determine how much home you can afford and what mortgage is right for you. Your chosen lender will also provide you with a pre-qualification or pre-approval letter to submit with your offer on a home. It is important to consider more than a lender’s advertised rates - a personal relationship with a local representative can make all the difference if financing issues arise. My clients and I have had good experiences with several lenders in the Austin area, and I am happy to introduce you to them! Learn more about Financing an Austin Home on my website.
Cornerstone Home Lending, Inc
Dan Reagan | 512.782.0808 | email@example.com
AMEC Home Loans
Alejandro Juarez | 512.897.4638 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Elite Financing Group
Jorge Aldrete | 512.699.5267 | email@example.com
Your credit plays an important role in your mortgage application. Avoid making large purchases or changes that will affect your finances such as buying a new vehicle, opening a new credit card, or even paying off a balance on a credit card. Talk to your lender before making any purchases that may affect your credit.
Changing jobs before or during the home buying process can make getting a home loan more difficult. Many lenders require at least two years of employment history, and if you are self-employed, you'll need at least two years of tax returns. The more consistent you are in your employment history, the better your application will look to lenders.
Your lender will play a critical role in securing financing for your home. That's why we cannot stress enough the importance of working with a lender you trust, and often that means avoiding big banks where it's difficult to develop a personal relationship. Securing a competitive interest rate should also factor into your lender decision.
Follow these tips for a positive home buying experience!
Your lender should prepare a pre-qualification letter for you that states that you are qualified to purchase a home for a specific dollar amount. Having this letter in hand shows the seller that you’re qualified and ready to buy a home, which will help your offer stand out and look more secure than other offers.
Touring homes is exciting, but it’s a good idea to see several homes before committing to one. I’ll help you create a short list of homes to visit, and guide you through each showing.
An inspection by a professional home inspector will reveal potential problems with the home before you buy it. Later in this document, I’ve listed several quality inspectors who can provide this service to you.
Just like any insurance purchase, it’s a good idea to compare quotes for your homeowner’s insurance before you buy. Most insurance companies will provide quotes online. Be sure to ask for discounts if your home has a security system or other loss prevention features.
You’ve budgeted for your down payment, mortgage, home inspection, and other expenses, but don’t forget about the extra costs that come with buying a home. These costs usually include your insurance, lender and title fees, taxes, and other miscellaneous costs. Leave room in your budget for these extra charges so you aren’t caught off-guard at closing.
When you’ve found your favorite, I’ll work with you to submit a strong offer!
We’ll start with a list of homes to see based on your research and mine, and I will plan out our visits to make efficient use of your time, understanding that we may need multiple days to view the properties in which you are interested.
I will guide you through each home and point out details, including information about the community, schools, and surrounding area. While touring homes, it's safe to assume you are on camera; if you love the property, keep it private while inside so any future negotiations are not impacted. If you don't love it, out of courtesy to the seller, discuss it off premises.
We’ll revisit your favorites to help make your final decision, or look at additional homes as they come on the market. It's okay if you don't find the perfect home overnight - the process can take a few months if you have something specific in mind or a strict budget.
When you’ve found your favorite home, I’ll work with you to bring a strong offer to the table. There will be negotiations, inspections, and paperwork to attend to before you close. Check out our contract to close checklist for all the details!
During your home buying process, you will decide whether to purchase a resale home or new construction. When it comes to new construction, you may choose to purchase an already completed home or a to-be-built home, and the new construction may be either a production home or custom home.
A production home is one built from a variety of pre-designed floor plans with variable options, usually with a large home builder.
A custom home is one that is completely unique and designed specifically for a particular homeowner and home site.
If you choose to purchase new construction, I will be a valuable resource to have on your side. My experience, market knowledge, and contacts allow me to serve as your advocate throughout the building process. I will help you navigate builder contracts, make lot and upgrade selections, understand your lending options, facilitate inspections, and help you prepare for your closing.
Learn more about the types of construction and my role in your purchase on my website.
Your inspector will reveal potential problems with your new home before you move in.
For both resale and newly built homes, hiring a licensed inspector is strongly encouraged! Your inspector will search for visual and structural problems and review everything from the foundation to the appliances. Additional inspections may be necessary for features such as a pool or septic system. Inspection prices vary depending on the home’s size, features, and the inspector, but buyers typically pay between $450-$650. We'll schedule your inspection during the option period, meet with the inspector to go over the findings, and then decide whether to ask the seller for repairs, renegotiate the price, or back out of the contract. Learn more about home inspections on my website.
Leppin Inspection Services | www.leppininspects.com
Scott Leppin | 512.335.0609 | firstname.lastname@example.org
LGM Inspections | www.lgminspections.com
Lance Maddoux | 254.855.8644 | email@example.com
Hill Country Inspections | www.hillcountryinspectionsaustin.com
Richard Craycroft | 512.331.5470 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Having a home warranty allows you to move in with confidence, knowing your appliances and the other major mechanical tickings of your new home are covered. A basic service contract will pay for the repair or replacement of the dishwasher, oven, range, garage door opener, water heater, disposal, wiring, plumbing and HVAC systems. There are numerous licensed providers of Austin home warranties, and we encourage you to shop around or visit the Texas Real Estate Commission's website to find a licensed home warranty company.
When it comes to newly constructed homes, builders typically provide their own warranties. New home contracts generally include one-year coverage for the builder's workmanship and two years for repairs and replacement of failing components such as windows, heating, ventilation, doors and trim, air conditioning, electrical systems and plumbing. More often than not, the builder will also offer 10-year coverage for "major structural defects".
Learn more about Austin Home Warranties.
Always independently confirm wiring instructions, and never trust instructions sent via email!
There are sophisticated cyber scams involving criminals acquiring sensitive personal and financial information, which they use to divert funds related to real estate transactions to themselves. Criminals may hack into email accounts and computer systems, impersonate account owners, and send legitimate-looking emails with fraudulent wiring instructions.
PLEASE NOTE: No one at REILLY, REALTORS® will ever ask you to share sensitive personal or financial information, nor will we ever provide instructions to wire or electronically send funds to anyone, not even a title company.
Your closing agent (e.g. title company representative or escrow agent) is the only person who may request or provide wiring instructions. Never comply with wiring instructions to wire funds or provide sensitive personal information until you verbally verify the wiring request with your trusted closing agent using a phone number you are confident is accurate.
Learn more on how to protect your real estate funds on our blog.
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AUSTIN, TEXAS 78738
512.600.1800 | INFO@REILLYREALTORS.COM
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