The Houston Homebuying Process: Basic Tips for New Home Buyers
Houston is a fast-growing city that checks all the boxes of a great place to call home. A thriving job-market, a beautiful arts and culture scene, professional sports teams, and affordable living options for all ages, it's no wonder people are quickly buying homes in this bustling Texas city. In fact, in 2019 single-family home sales rose 4.8 percent to 86,205.
Whether you grew up in the area or are looking to relocate, we know that the homebuying process can be daunting, especially in a large city such as Houston. To help you through your journey to Houston homeownership, we talked with Shea Homes Houston Marketing Manager, Rebecca Summers, for her best tips navigating the homebuying process!
The Homebuying Process in Houston
Finding your dream home in Houston is an exciting journey, but it can often be overwhelming to navigate, especially for first-time homebuyers. Before you even begin your journey, it's often good to take a step back and understand the full step-by-step homebuying process. Check out our complete guide to the home buying process, which detailing details everything you need to know and can expect about the process, including shopping for your home, securing your mortgage, and navigating a successful move-in. If you have additional questions, our resource guide is also here to help!
1. Feel Confident in Embarking on this Journey
Often the hardest part of the homebuying process is convincing yourself that you're ready to embark on this journey. While it’s exciting to daydream about living in your dream home, we understand that the reality of homebuying can sometimes be overwhelming. An important first step is to understand the advantages that come along with finally owning your own home. Not only do you have greater freedom for personalizing indoor and outdoor spaces, but it can also be a smarter financial investment compared to renting, because you have the potential for tax benefits. If you want more information about the differences between renting and owning, you can check them out in our Rent vs. Own Guide.
Why else is Houston a great city for putting down roots? Rebecca notes that especially for first time homebuyers in Houston, this market remains one of the most affordable in the nation, which ties back into the financial advantage that comes with potential tax benefits. Additionally, there are a variety of programs for first-time homebuyers offered through the Texas State Affordable Housing Commission.
2. Create a Checklist of Home Wants and Needs
Before you begin searching for your dream house, it’s important to understand which home amenities are a "must-have" and which ones are a "nice to have." Here are a few things to consider when creating your home selection checklist:
Space: Know your lifestyle and which types of amenities are required (or not) to best suit that in your needs in your future home. This might be a private pool, a large backyard for kids, etc.
Value: Even your dream home won't check every box on your wish list. You need to decide which aspects of the home are an absolute must-have, whether that's a spacious kitchen, an office space, etc.
Family: 2-bedrooms, 3-bedrooms, or 4-bedrooms? Whether you have kids, are considering starting a family, or just like extra spaces for hosting guests, you need to consider how many bedrooms will best accommodate your future family and guests.
3. Consider the Houston Neighborhood You're Moving Into
Once you know what you're looking for in your home, the next major step is deciding where to start narrowing down your home search. Houston is a geographically large city, so you'll have to consider whether you want to look for homes in the bustling "inner loop," directly connected to city life, or whether you prefer to live in the "outer loop," where you have the potential for more space and privacy. Rebecca gives some good advice for Houston homebuyers when searching considering where you want to live, "Start with a search easily accessible to your employer. Once you have your area narrowed down, think about the things you would like for your community to offer."
Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you decide which neighborhood in Houston would best suit your lifestyle:
Do I want walkability to coffee shops, restaurants, shops, etc.?
How far is the commute to work?
What is the noise level around me?
Are there other kids in the neighborhood?
What are the schools like in the surrounding area?
When discussing Shea Homes Houston communities, Rebecca notes that we "build our Houston area communities in neighborhoods that offer great amenities for residents. Currently, we are building a master-planned community in Del Bello Lakes, located in the area of Manvel, TX." Just 20 miles from downtown Houston, this area has easy access to highway 288, making an easy commute to the nearby Texas Medical Center. In your Houston home search, make sure to browse our full list of affordably designed new homes in the Houston area.
Explore Shea Homes Houston
4. Know the Costs of Buying a Home in Houston
Cost is always one of the biggest concerns when it comes to buying your new home. From home
costs, down payments, and mortgage rates, to credit scores and customization costs, there’s a great deal at play in terms of finances when buying a new home. One thing to consider when buying a home in Houston is that there is no property tax. Property tax, along with interest rates, are a few factors that could affect the overall cost of buying a home in Houston.
It is also important to be fully organized and prepared for the mortgage process. Ensure you have copies of all necessary financial documents, calculate your monthly home payments, and understand the loan pre-qualifications and application process. Feel equipped for the home closing journey with our Five Step Mortgage Process Guide.
Luckily for Houston home dreamers, Rebecca has clued us in that housing in the area remains some of the most affordable in the nation, making this a desirable market for first-time homebuyers. Because of this, real estate moves at a fast pace. If you fall in love with you dream home, you need to be prepared to act quickly! And don't worry, you aren't on this journey alone. Shea Homes has a knowledgeable sales team and the Shea Mortgage team is also available to guide you every step of the way, providing constant communication, home information, and mortgage options.