For most people, buying a home is one of the biggest events in life. The kind of property you purchase can not only impact your financial success, but also affect your quality of life, your stress levels, and the future you’re able to provide for your family. For this reason, first-time homebuyers in and around Houston, Texas must thoroughly research how to get a home loan and how to buy a home. 

There are plenty of tips online, and you can speak to your home loan provider if you’d like assistance with financial aid or if you have any questions about the process. Today, we’ll go through some of the most important factors to consider so you can prepare yourself for this important milestone.

How to Get a Home Loan and Buy a Home in Houston, Texas

1. Start Preparing as Early as Possible

Even if you’re not yet ready to buy your home, it’s worth starting to prepare. You can begin by checking the prices of homes nearby and starting to build up a cash cushion. Unless you’re eligible for a special kind of mortgage, you’ll need at least 10-20% of the total price of the home in cash. What’s more, the closing costs can add another 2-5% to the purchase price, and you’ll need to budget for move-in expenses such as buying new furniture.

Another important way to prepare is to survey and track the market for a few months or even a year before you plan to move. Set alerts on property websites so you can see what new homes are put on the market. It might be worth visiting some of them because this allows you to evaluate the quality and features of the properties more accurately. When the time comes to buy, you’ll know whether a home is overpriced or underpriced.

2. Strengthen Your Credit 

Do you know your credit score? If not, it’s time to check. The three major credit bureaus are Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, and they can provide you with a free copy of your credit report. Check that everything on there is accurate and ask the bureaus to correct any mistakes that could affect your eligibility for good mortgage rates. 

Going forward, make sure you always pay your bills on time, never take on too much debt, and keep all your current credit cards open. When you close credit cards, you lower the amount of credit that’s available to you, which can have a negative effect on your score. If you follow these tips and start working on your credit score a year or more before you plan to buy a house, it’s likely that you can improve it and therefore get better interest rates.

3. Speak to a Reputable Mortgage Lender 

Once you feel ready to start the home-buying process, speak to a reputable lender about your options. Working with someone like Home Loans With Gary and Guaranteed Rate Affinity is almost always the best solution. An experienced mortgage lender will know the local market and the current financial situation in your area, so they will be able to guide you through the process.

You can start by getting in touch, either via the online contact form or over the phone, and asking for a consultation. We will then discuss your situation with you. Remember, the more documentation you bring, the faster we’ll be able to tell you how much you can borrow and what your interest rate will be. Providing accurate information also allows us to assess whether you’re eligible for any financial aid or assistance.

4. Get Your Preapproval Letter 

Finding out how to get a home loan isn’t the only important factor. Instead, you’ll also need to figure out what to do once you’ve received your loan. In Houston, Texas, getting a preapproval letter or another document stating that you’re eligible for a mortgage is a good idea for first-time homebuyers because it proves to the seller that the deal won’t be delayed or fall through at the last minute. 

5. View Properties and Make Offers 

Once you know how what kind of deposit you have, how much you can borrow, and what your mortgage interest rate might be, it’s time to look for suitable properties. You can either enlist an agent to help you, or you can search for homes on websites and in person in your favorite area. Attending as many viewings as possible is important because it allows you to compare the quality of the buildings.

Making an offer on a home isn’t hard. You can submit your offer to a realtor, or you can tell the buyer directly. It’s always best to put everything in writing since this prevents misunderstandings and guarantees that everyone has understood what you are offering.

6. Stick to Your Budget 

Unlike many other financial transactions, buying a house is a very emotional experience. After all, you might spend decades in your new house or apartment, and you might even raise children there. Despite this, don’t be tempted to overextend yourself. Set a limit, and only view properties that are within your price range.

Another issue to look out for is bidding wars. If there are other people interested in the same home, they might try to outbid you. This can significantly increase the price of the property. While it’s sometimes worth paying slightly over market price, don’t go over your pre-set limit because it’s there to protect your financial future.

7. Learn Negotiation Tactics 

The listed price of a home isn’t set in stone, and it can often be negotiated down slightly. You can either ask the seller to lower the price of the home, or you can ask them to include repairs or some of the closing costs in the existing price. Either way, you’ll reduce your overall costs. If you’re not good at negotiating, ask your mortgage lender for tips. They can tell you what to ask for, or they can point you in the direction of a good realtor, who will help you.

8. Get a Comprehensive Home Inspection

No matter how attractive the building looks, never buy anything without getting a comprehensive home inspection and an independent appraisal. A new coat of paint, a thorough deep clean, and a manicured front yard are all cosmetic adjustments meant to make the property more attractive to buyers, but they aren’t good indications of structural integrity.

An experienced home inspector will be able to test all aspects of the property, including the foundations, the physical structures like the walls and roof, the HVAC system, the plumbing, and the electrical system to make sure everything is in good working order. If there are any issues, you can either purchase the property anyway, ask the seller to lower the price, or cancel the transaction and look for a better property.

Purchasing a home is an exciting process, but it can also be difficult if you’re not properly prepared. With the help of a good mortgage lender, first-time homebuyers can make the best decision possible and access the financial aid they are entitled to. Get in touch with us at Home Loans With Gary and Guaranteed Rate Affinity in Houston, Texas to discover how to get a home loan.