Our First Time Home Buyer Checklist

At Pauly Presley Realty, we understand that buying your first home can be a daunting experience. Not only do you have to find a home that’s right for you, but understand the many complexities of the Austin real estate market. The home buying process itself is also exceedingly complex, with paperwork, negotiations, and countless decisions that can be difficult to make on your own.

In light of these facts, we thought it could help to give our clients a list of steps to make the process easier. Which is why we made this short, simple, and straightforward first-time home buyer checklist to streamline the process for you. 

While the following steps are in no way everything you’ll need to do when buying a property, they can give you a solid starting point for what you’ll need to do so that you complete the process successfully. They’re also a great way to start a dialogue with your significant other, family, or potential roommates about what’s important, and what your goals are. 

How To Buy Your First Home in Austin in 10 Simple Steps

Use this checklist to help prepare for your first home purchase in Austin, Texas and feel free to give us a call if you have any questions or concerns. One of our professional Austin Realtors is happily standing by to help make your first time home purchase a stress-free experience.

1. Determine Your Budget

Guiding Question: How much can you afford to spend? 

Consider the costs of taxes, insurance, utilities, and other home maintenance and repair expenses that you’ll be responsible for. Do some research to figure out what you can afford and create a realistic budget.

Keep in mind: The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recommends that you spend no more than one third of your annual gross (pre-tax) income on housing. This is why many apartment complexes require that you make 3 times the monthly rent in income, and why many Realtors recommend you put a 20% down payment on a property—if you have the financial means. Not only does this lower your monthly payments, but it also gives you instant equity should you ever need to borrow against your home. 

Use our monthly mortgage calculator to see what you can afford.

2. Find the Right Location

Guiding Question: What’s the best neighborhood to live in, based on my needs, preferences, and lifestyle?

Determine how far you’ll need to commute to work, the quality of nearby schools, and the local crime rates. You can use a variety of online resources to help you get a better understanding of the area, including our Austin neighborhood guide for families.

3. Research Austin Neighborhoods

Guiding Question: What amenities should I look for in my new neighborhood?

Consider things like walkability, neighborhood amenities like stores, parks, and restaurants, and access to entertainment. Look for a neighborhood that has all the things you want and that you’ll be comfortable living in.

Pro tip: there are a wide variety of online resources that can give you a better idea of what’s available in each neighborhood of Austin, including our very own Austin neighborhood search tool.

4. Consider Your Needs

Guiding Question: What features should I prioritize when searching for a new home?

Decide how much space you need, how many bedrooms and bathrooms you want, and what other features that you’re looking for. It can also help to consider how long you expect to live in your new home, as this can help determine how much home you really need.

If you’re a newlywed couple, for example, you may want to account for your significant other, and quite possibly any visiting family. If this is your forever home, however, make sure you have space for your kids, visiting family and/or friends, as well as for entertainment, hobbies, or work.

5. Get Pre-Approved

Guiding Question: What do I need to get pre-approved for a loan?

Before making an offer on a home, you should speak to a mortgage lender to determine your eligibility for a loan and to get pre-approved. This will help you see what you can realistically afford and make the process of finding a home you can afford, and buying one, significantly easier.

6. Search for Homes

Guiding Question: What online resources are available to search for homes?

Use online listings to find the best homes that meet your needs and budget, or speak to a Realtor who can help you with your search. Just be sure to look at a variety of options in different neighborhoods before you decide on what home is best for you.

7. Schedule Home Tours

Guiding Question: How can I learn more about the homes I’m interested in? 

Once you’ve found homes that you’re interested in, you should schedule tours of each property. During the tour, you should take detailed notes on each home so you can remember what you did and didn’t like about it. If you’re working with a Realtor, this can help them narrow down your search and find the absolute best home for you.

8. Negotiate and Make an Offer

Guiding Question: What best practices can I use to make a competitive offer on this home?

Found a home that you love? To make the best offer and get the best deal possible, work with a professional real estate agent at Pauly Presley Realty. With years of experience in the industry, one of our agents can negotiate with the seller to get you an offer that’s competitive yet still within your budget. 

9. Get an Inspection

Guiding Question: What should I look for in an inspector?

Before you officially close on a home, it’s important to have a professional inspector check the home for any potential issues. This will help you know whether it really is the perfect home for you, as well as what to expect in terms of maintenance and repairs after you move in.

10. Close the Deal

Guiding Question: What paperwork do I need to sign before I can move into my new home?

Once you’ve negotiated and made an offer, you can finally close the deal. Sign the paperwork and move into your new home!

Search for homes for sale in the Austin area.

Work With A Professional Austin Realtor

Are you in need of professional assistance when it comes to securing a home for sale in Austin? Look no further than the real estate professionals at Pauly Presley Realty! Whether you need help finding a home that meets your needs and budget, or negotiating an offer for a home that you love, we can help! 

Our experienced team of real estate agents can provide you with guidance, support, and resources to ensure that you find the perfect home. From understanding the local real estate market to researching which neighborhoods best fit your needs, we’ll work with you at every step of the way! We can also provide you with important questions to ask potential real estate lenders and home inspectors, so that you not only find a home that you’ll love, and that fits your budget as well.

Contact us today to learn more and get started on your first time home buying journey!

Learn More About the Home Buying Process

Want to learn more about the intricacies of the Austin home buying process? Check out our comprehensive Austin Home Buyers Guide to learn everything you need to know.