Are you buying your home in Austin? Engel & Volkers can help.

For many people, buying a home can be a stressful event. But with a bit of up-front planning, it isn't that complicated. I like to give buyers an outline of the entire deal so they know exactly what they can expect. Here are my nine steps to buying a home. When you're ready to get started, simply contact me here or e-mail me at . I'm glad to answer any questions you have about this information.

Step 1 – Prepare to buy a home
There are several things you should do before beginning your home search. When you begin your search, you'll want to form a list of items you need to have, plan for what neighborhoods and school districts you want to live in, and begin working on your budget. Ensuring your mortgage payment is less than or around 30 percent of your net monthly income is a good guideline to follow.

Step 2 – Get in touch with a real estate agent in Austin
This is where I can help. I'd be more than happy to arrange a time to get together with you and speak with you about why you want to buy a home and get an idea of your future plans. We'll discuss everything from neighborhoods, schools in the Austin area, the mortgage industry, to any other economic factors that might affect your buying decision today or in the future.

I can also help you get started on your loan. There are some very good mortgage professionals in Austin, and I partner with a lot of them, so you'll be in great hands. They'll help you choose which type of loan is best for you, as well as help you get approved.

Step 3 – Begin house-hunting
After we meet, I'll start finding available homes on the market that suit your needs. I'll get a sneak peek of most of the homes and throw out the duds, and then we'll book appointments to view the houses whenever it's most convenient for you.

As we view homes, I'll point out good features, as well as negative ones. And I'll ask you to talk about things you like and dislike. Frequently, buyers update their wish list as we tour homes and some things become more crucial than others. If that's the case, I'll go back through all the listings once more and narrow it down to the house you've been waiting for.

Step 4 – Know the housing market
Your agent's knowledge of the Austin home market is an essential agent in your house search. And I assure you I'm familiar with all the neighborhoods and schools, and I will alert you to some areas are "hot" and warrant immediate action and the ones that are "cool" and allow for more analysis.

When we tour houses, I'll be sure to tell you if the seller's asking price has room for bargaining or if I believe the home is "priced to sell." When working with an agent, be on guard and make sure you ask plenty of questions, as any real estate agent will convince you they understand the market. If things don't add up, call me at (512) 328-3939 or e-mail me at , and I'll be glad to answer your questions. My market knowledge will keep you a step ahead through the entire process.

Step 5 – Find your dream home
I'm positive we'll find the house of your dreams in the Austin area. When that happens, I'll thoroughly develop your purchase offer. The offer will be tailored exactly to your needs and the home, including some contingencies, such as obtaining financing, carrying out the home inspection, and a clear title.

When submitting your offer, you'll likely need to present "earnest money." This is a cash deposit submitted to the seller to secure an offer to purchase the property and is usually put towards the closing costs. If the seller accepts the offer, we should close within 30 to 60 days afterward. This allows plenty of time for your mortgage financing.

Step 6 – Negotiate
Most deals aren't closed on the beginning offer. It's extremely common to receive a counter offer. But don't let it discourage you. We'll consider whether or not to agree to the counter offer, present our own counter offer, or decline the seller's offer and go on.

Market circumstances determine how aggressively we negotiate the contract. In addition, we'll work within your financing limits. And at the end of the day, we'll put together a contract that is best for you.

Step 7 – Obtain a loan
After the deal is finished, you'll begin working with your lender to close the loan. It shouldn't be a long process at all if you're already pre-qualified, but you need to stay in close contact with your mortgage lender. And I'll handle all the property information your mortgage lender will need to close the loan.

Step 8 – Close the deal
You'll get a Loan Estimate (LE) detailing your closing costs from your mortgage lender within three days of receiving your loan application. The estimate rests on the loan amount, and RESPA requirements mandate that it has to involve all closing costs and fall within a precise range of accuracy. I'll review the estimate and let you know if it all looks adequate.

Then we'll close on your house. This will probably happen at a title company or escrow office and will likely be a smooth and relaxed occurrence.

Step 9 – Move in
Congratulations! It's time to move into your new home. Enjoy it. And if you need anything, be sure to contact me at (512) 328-3939 or e-mail me at .

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