5 Key Tips for First-Time Buyers

The competitive Austin market has developed into a daunting prospect for some first-time homebuyers. Without experience, you’re at the mercy of seasoned veterans who know how to leverage value out of a deal.

But buying a house for the first time doesn’t need to be scary. Armed with just 5 straightforward tips, you’ll be much better prepared to make sure you have dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s in preparation for a smooth property acquisition.

Here’s what you need to know:

Clear Finances

Buying property is a big fiscal decision no matter how financially sound the investment is. Before you even start looking at which houses you want to buy, make sure all the finances are in place. Make sure you:

  • Compare mortgage rates with national and local lenders. Shop around.
  • Make sure your credit is in good condition to avoid high-interest rates.
  • Know your budget. Reverse engineer the approval. Define how much you can borrow.

Location, Location, Location

Explore the neighborhoods around Austin. Don’t get stuck with the idea of living in one place; Austin isn’t all about living within the city limits.

The suburbs have benefited greatly from Austin’s booming market. There are lovely suburban neighborhoods with modern single-family homes close to Austin, with some easy 20-minute commutes from peaceful locations.

Good Agents

Finding the right agent is one of the most critical aspects of buying a house. An agent will guide and represent you through a process you haven’t gone through before – a process possibly involving the most expensive thing you have ever bought. Having an experienced professional advising you is much more important than a slick salesperson with a lot of pizzazz but not enough years in the business.

You want to find an agent who:

Knows the neighborhood very well.

Knows what’s coming on the market soon – or perhaps which properties are being offered off-market.

Can clearly communicate why they will be a good fit for you.

Has a proven track record with satisfied customers willing to provide references.

Having the right agent represent you can mean the difference between a challenging or a smooth home-buying process. Meet different candidates, ask probing questions and choose wisely.

Be Ready!

In fast-paced Austin, if you snooze, you lose. You need to have all your ducks in a row so that you can provide loan approval within 30 days. Once you’ve made a bid, notify your lender immediately. Stay on top of all your paperwork. Final documents have to be delivered up to 3 days before closing so make a calendar with key milestones and work ahead.

Be Smart!

Once you’re under contract, your option period normally includes a home inspection. Pay detailed attention and work alongside your agent and inspector. You want to get as clear a picture as possible of the detailed state of repair of your (soon to be!) new house. Some pointers:

  • Read the inspection report thoroughly.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask follow-up questions.
  • Get second or even third opinions, and that means be ready to call specialists.
  • Discuss items thoroughly with your agent so you can agree on negotiation points.

This simple process should provide all those would-be homeowners with the confidence to take that first step onto the property ladder.

We hope you found these five tips helpful. It’s always best to get in the right mindset and have a checklist of what to expect. If you’d like an even more detailed guide on buying a home, we have custom-developed a PDF guide to walk you through every step of the process.

Would you like to receive a free copy of our New Homebuyer’s Guide? Simply send your request via e-mail to andrea@harlanrealty.com.

We look forward to hearing from you!