The thought of starting the real estate process of purchasing a home can be a daunting one. So here are our top 5 tips for making the home buying process simple and fun in Dripping Springs and Austin, TX.
1) Call a Lender
Before you pull up the browser tab to look at real estate websites, call a local Austin, TX lender! When you work with a local Dripping Springs real estate agent, they can help you find a lender partner that best suits your needs. Not every lender is created equally. For example, some lenders are better for jumbo loans, some are better for conventional, and there are pros and cons to using big banks. In many cases, a local lender can give you a competitive edge since they're ingrained in the Dripping Springs or Austin community and know many listing agents to whom you'll be submitting offers.
Additionally, knowing your budget is a huge asset as you begin the real estate home search. Knowing your purchase power can ensure you don't get attached to homes you can't afford. And keeping an open dialogue with your lender can ensure that you don't encounter any surprises down the road.
Finally, having a pre-approval letter while shopping for a home provides the assurance that you can submit a complete offer when you find a property you love.
2) Decide on your "must-haves"
I know, I know, you want to start shopping. But, we promise, that the more prepared you are for this process, the less stressful it will be in the long run.
It sounds simple, but many people don't know what they want in a home. Knowing which things are most important to you and any other decision-makers in your household will make the process much less complicated when you start looking at houses in Austin and the Hill Country. For example, is proximity to your job important so that you have more time with your loved ones before and after work? Do you need an additional primary suite for guests or a family member? Are you and your partner on the same page regarding layout, neighborhood, school district, and aesthetic? Sitting down and candidly discussing what each of you wants in your new home is essential. One of our team members even encourages her clients to individually list their top 5 to 10 most crucial needs in a home in order of importance. Once they each have their list, she asks them to compare these lists with the other decision-makers. This exercise can be very eye-opening. Many people assume that their partners are on the same page as them - and, once they start shopping for houses, they realize how different their ideas of "the perfect home" really are.
3) Interview Realtors
Choosing a local Dripping Springs real estate agent may be the most critical step. You and your loved ones will be spending a lot of time with your agent. Ensure that the agent you hire listens to and understands your needs. Ask your friends and family if they have a realtor they love, one they would work with again. Once you have a few names to choose from, you can interview the agents. Have a list of questions prepared for the phone call or in-person meeting. Here are a couple of examples of questions we get asked all the time;
- Suppose we (buyers) submit an offer on one of your (agent's) listings. Will you still be representing our interests?
Knowing the answer to this question sets future expectations. For example, some states allow real estate agents to "work both sides" of the transaction. If the agent does this, it could mean they can no longer represent your sole interests in the transaction and can no longer give you advice and guidance as you move toward closing.
- Do you (agent) work with assistants? And, if so, will you (agent) be the person showing us houses, or will it be your assistant?
It's not unlikely that the agent's assistant will show you a house or two. However, problems can arise when you interview with one agent and then only ever correspond with their assistant. Make sure you know how the agent you hire does business.
Buying a new home is likely the biggest purchase you'll ever make. Knowing that the person guiding you towards your new home is 100% in your corner gives you peace of mind. Not trusting the real estate agent you're working with can lead to a bad situation for everyone in the transaction.
4) Set your search criteria
Once you've found an agent you love, they'll likely invite you to have a conversation about what you need in a home. You're prepared for this conversation because you and your household have already started having these discussions. As people shop for a house, their list of criteria often evolves. It can take seeing something you don't like in one place to decide what you want in the home you purchase. There's an old myth that you shouldn't lay all your cards on the table in front of the real estate agent. But that's only half true. The agent you've decided to work with to purchase your house is YOUR agent. You want to share what you like and dislike about the homes you view with YOUR agent. This open communication ensures that they get to know your tastes and will be able to send you new listings that are more representative of what works for you. A good agent will get to know you, your household, and your tastes. After several showings and they'll be able to send you Dripping Springs and Austin properties you may not have considered.
5) The 80/20 rule
You won't get 100% of what you want in a house. Even if you pick the lot, hire an architect, and design your home from top to bottom once you move in, you'll likely wish you'd done one or two things differently. Knowing that helps you make better decisions. In most cases, people get around 80% of what they want in a house. Remember that list we talked about back in step 2? When you rank your list in order of importance, you get a better idea of what you're willing to forego. Letting go of the expectation that "THE ONE" will be perfect will help you look at all that each potential home offers. Remember, you can change things you don't like, paint, flooring, etc. It never ceases to amaze us what a fresh coat of paint, a deep cleaning, and different furniture can do for a house.
The purchase process should be a fun one. Working with a seasoned agent who listens, is helpful, and represents your best interests will make finding a new home much more enjoyable. The Veritas Group is here for you on your journey in Austin, Dripping Springs, and the Texas Hill Country. Let us know how we can help you with your real estate needs.