Looking to buy a home in the Austin area? Here are five essential tips for making the process as smooth as possible.

Get Your Finances In Order

Start by getting a full picture of your credit. Obtain copies of your credit report. Make sure the facts are correct, and fix any problems you find. Next, find a suitable lender and get pre-approved for a loan. This will put you in a better position to make a serious offer when you do find the right house. Need help with this? I can introduce you to a local lender.

Find a Home You Can Afford

As with engagement rings, there’s a general rule of thumb when it comes to buying a home: two-and-a-half times your annual salary. There are also a number of tools and calculators online that can help you understand how your income, debt, and expenses affect what you can afford. Don’t forget, too, that there are lots of considerations beyond the sticker price, including property taxes, energy costs, etc.

Hire a Professional

While the home buyers have easy access to home listings, many aspects of the buying process require a level of expertise and local knowledge that you can’t pick up from home listing websites. That’s why you may consider using a professional Realtor. If possible, hire an exclusive buyer agent, who will give you a home buyer rebate. Not only will you have a real estate pro on your side, you’ll get a stack of cash at closing…who doesn’t like that?

Do Your Homework

Before making an offer on a home, do some research to determine the demand for the Austin housing market. Is it more favorable for sellers or buyers? Next, look at sales trends of similar homes in the area. Look at prices for comparables from the last 6 months to calculate a fair price per square foot and competitive offer price. Look at the finish out, condition and overall appeal. Use caution if you want to offer significantly less than list price – you may end up offending the seller. Need help with Austin market data and sold price information? I can help.

Think Long Term

Obviously, you shouldn’t buy unless you’re sure you’ll be staying put for at least a few years. Beyond that, you should buy in a neighborhood with good schools. Whether you have children or not, this will have an impact on your new home’s resale value down the line. When it comes to the home itself, you should hire your own licensed home inspector, who can point out potential problems that could require costly repairs in the future.

Buying a new home or condo in Austin is both exciting and a complicated process. You may consider working with a Realtor professional such as myself – capitalize on over 13 years of experience. Contact me to see how I can help you.