Q & A: Houston First-Time Home Buyer

Buying a home for the first time can generate a flurry of mixed emotions. Feeling excited one moment, and frightened the next. A sense of ultimate individual achievement usually consumes the mind of the first-time homebuyer – as it should. However, even after saving enough money for a nice downpayment, things can quickly turn into a nightmare without some considerable thought. Making a mistake is never part of the plan, but it can and does happen. More often than not it’s with a first-time homebuyer. Our ULR agents answered a series of questions for the eager first-time homebuyer to consider.

Q: How early should I get approved for a loan when buying a home? 

A:  A pre-approval is good for 60-90 days, however you can chat with a lender as soon as you start thinking about buying. They can recommend potential changes to be made on your finances that can put you in a better position to get a good rate. Short answer – as early as possible!

Q: How much can I afford? How does a bank decide if I get a loan or not and for what amount?

A: We recommend you talking with multiple mortgage lenders to search for the best rate/service. We have some local mortgage bankers that we can recommend. After collecting some information about your financials and discussing your wants and needs, your lender will provide you with a pre-approval.

Q: What can/will my real estate agent do? Not do?

A: Your Realtor will hold your hand through the whole process from pinpointing neighborhoods, looking at homes, submitting an offer, working through inspections, renegotiating the contract, all the way to closing!  We are happy to answer ANY questions.

Q: How much should I offer?

A: Your Realtor will provide you with comparable properties recently sold in the area to work with you to come up with the best price to offer.

Q: Can I make an offer that’s well below the asking price?

A: We will do our best to advise you on the market. Currently our market is busy and driven by multiple offer situations, so offering below ask price may not always be the best move. There are always exceptions to this, though.

Q: Are there any other offers on the house I want to buy?

A: Your Realtor will be able to find out what the situation is, many times the multiple offers come same day.

Q: I’ve got a deal with the seller. Now what?

A: We recommend you get an inspection. The title company will do most of the work. You will want to check in with your lender and make sure they continue to have everything they need. Again, your agent will be there to help you along the whole process!

Q: When can I move in?

A: It varies, but typically you can move in on the day of closing. There are a few exceptions to this.

Q: What are closing costs or how much are closing costs?

A: Closing costs vary as they are a negotiable number when working out a contract. Your lender should give you a “Good Faith Estimate” that will provide you with general numbers.

Q: What are the tax implications/benefits? 

A: The tax implications vary as much as the types of houses do.  For your specific situation you should speak with a CPA.  Generally speaking, tax laws in America are vary favorable to home ownership and most of the time buying a house offers the homeowner opportunities for tax deductions.  As of January 1, 2013, homeowners will want to consult their CPAs on the specifics of the new tax law.