Steps to Buying a Home

Everyone dreams of owning their own home. Searching for the perfect home for your family can be a very exciting, yet anxiety-filled experience. However, if you know what to expect during the home buying process you will be more relaxed and comfortable knowing that we will be by your side every step of the way guiding you through it and looking out for your best interests. Below are the steps to selling to help you visualize what this process looks like. Don’t hesitate to call us if you have any questions and remember we will be there for you every step of the way!


Before the house hunting process begins, it is important to know how much you can afford. Expenses to consider include the down payment, monthly expenses, property taxes, and any home insurance costs. These will all have to be considered before the home buying process begins as they are typically included in your new monthly payment. Since a person’s credit score determines their interest rate, knowing your score ahead of time can help you decide if now is a good time to buy or not. An individual’s debt-to-income ratio must also fall within acceptable limits of the home’s cost. Once you have determined these things, and if you feel that your budget has enough room to afford a new home, then it’s time to look for the right loan.


Different banks and companies will offer different loan origination fees and by shopping around you can oftentimes save yourself a lot of money. Get multiple quotes so you can make sure you get the best rate and terms. Be sure to also check your loan officer’s website for testimonials and information. A good loan officer will offer you many online resources and tools. Before you lock in your rate, be sure to check the daily rate with the rate your loan officer gives you to ensure you are getting the lowest rate possible. Interest rates will determine how much a mortgage will cost each month and come in fixed or adjustable terms. Mortgage lengths can range from 15 years to 30 years. The longer the repayment term, the lower the payments will be. However, the interest accrued will also be higher on a longer loan. Don’t forget to ask for a pre-approval letter so you can include this with any offers you make.


Before you start your home search, it is important to find a buyer’s agent that will be looking out for your best interests so you don’t fall into a money pit or end up paying too much for your new home. A good buyer’s agent will help guide you through the home buying process and can also save you TONS of time and money on the road to your new home. Buyer’s agents are legally bound to help buyers, whereas listing agents—the real estate agent representing the home listing—have a fiduciary duty to the home seller. Your buyer’s agent will also set up home tours, give you insight on any homes you like that you may not be aware of, have knowledge of upcoming listings not yet on the market, help you negotiate the best terms, protect your part in the deal, and give you invaluable advice throughout the process.


Start your home search by using your agent’s website (like this one!) to search the MLS for homes. Agents have a direct line to the MLS, so their websites often update with the newest properties faster than the ‘big name’ sites out there. It also has a My Listing Manager tool that keeps you both in the loop. You can start your search and begin saving your favorite properties to your account and even set up alerts to get new homes and price changes emailed to you. Your agent can then see the properties you have liked and can send potential new properties directly into your listing manager that they think you may be interested in. It’s a WIN-WIN!


There is an art to making an offer on a home. Your buyer’s agent will help you choose the right terms for your offer and will be watching for signs of problems in the home. Listen closely and be sure to ask questions. Be sure to ask for an inspection contingency so if there are major problems, you can back out of the deal without losing your earnest money. A home warranty is also a valuable part of your contract and is a sign of good faith on the seller’s part. You want to make sure all of your bases are covered. That’s where having a buyer’s agent is most valuable: so your rights and interests are protected. With their experience on your side, they will be able to help you negotiate a lower price that sometimes includes concessions or closing costs. Their job is to protect YOU in the contract.


Once your offer has been accepted, you will need a home appraisal. Banks require this so they can make sure the home is worth as much money as they are lending you. You may also need some inspections depending on your loan type. FHA and VA loans have more requirements than conventional loans. This is also the time to have a full home inspection, even if it is not required. A home inspector will go through the home and specifically look for problems and provide you with a full report on everything they find. This will give you the opportunity to avoid major problems and back out of the sale or negotiate repairs without losing your earnest money.


Once the inspections are done, you will more than likely ask the seller to fix some of the issues you found. Keep in mind that they are only required to fix something if the loan terms require it. Be reasonable but firm in your requests. If your seller rejects your request, then it is up to you to decide how to proceed.


The final walk-through is an important last step, even if you are positive you are going to go through with the sale. Walk through and check the agreed upon repairs, make sure everything is in working order and new issues have not popped up. This is your last opportunity to back out. If everything looks good, then it’s time to go to closing!


Before the home is legally transferred to you, the closing process must occur. During this phase, you will sign all of the mortgage documents, pay closing costs, and sign various other legal documents. Your buyer’s agent will be at the closing with you to help you through it all. Once all of the papers are signed and monies are transferred, the keys to your new home are yours! The only thing left to do is move into your humble abode. This may occur immediately after the closing or at the date set in the closing documents.


Depending on how far you’re moving or how much stuff you have, you may require a moving company or a moving truck. Professional movers may seem pricey at first, but when you look at the time and money to get similar results, you may re-consider. Call and set your moving date and start packing! Many places like U-HAUL sell moving boxes that are made to make your move easier. Label everything with what is inside it and what room it goes in. Recruit friends and family if needed.

Bonus Buyer Tips

See What Our Clients are Saying:


It was a positive experience

I have used Barbara twice now and she has been very helpful and responsive in guiding me through both the buying and selling process. It was a positive experience in all aspects.

Bob & Marie T.

Doubt you could do better than Barbara

We’d choose her again as our agent without a second thought. That’s probably the most telling thing. She worked patiently with us for over 2 years to find a perfect condo and we are pretty demanding. She was knowledgeable, careful, thorough and we have complete confidence in her integrity. Doubt you could do better than Barbara.

Orest & Pat M.

We appreciate all your efforts!

We wanted to tell you how much we enjoyed working with you on our purchase. You made our deal come together, and we appreciate all your efforts! We plan to recommend you to anyone who lets us know they want to sell/buy in Port Aransas.

Lucy C. & Thomas L.

She was extremely thorough

We have been spending the Winter months in Port Aransas for over six years. We loved the area so much that we decided to purchase a condo, and were very fortunate to work with Barbara Thrasher. She is an outstanding individual, not only as a real estate agent, but also as a person. She was extremely thorough as well as patient, and showed us close to 20 properties before we made a final decision. Barbara is very knowledable about the Port Aransas area, and was very helpful through out the buying process. She is honest in her dealings, and scores 100% on the integrity scale. We are very pleased that she has continued to be a friend and resource to date. We would not hesitate to highly recommend her to any prospective buyers.

Angelo & Kathlyn R.

Her attention to detail was much appreciated

We have purchased three properties in the past year with Barbara Thrasher as our agent. We were very pleased with her knowledge and her professionalism. We feel that she went the extra mile to insure that our purchases went smoothly and on time. Her attention to detail was much appreciated. We would not hesitate at all to recommend her.

Jan S.

You took care of us

I wanted to thank you for all you did in helping me to find a house on Mustang Island. I came up with this idea and started checking online in various locations, and I must tell you, you were the only one that not only responded, but kept it up. When my daughter and I came to Port Aransas to look at houses, you took care of us and we looked at a lot of homes. I am happy with the house we bought.

George & Melinda R.

She did a great job educating us

Barbara Thrasher, as our Coldwell Banker real estate agent, provided excellent service for our family in the purchase of a new vacation home on North Padre Island. With very short notice, she provided a comprehensive list of properties that were catered to our preferences in price and style. Barbara set up appointments with our limited time frame. She was very knowledgeable about the neighborhoods and important features that are unique to coastal homes such as insurance requirements, decks, and boat slips. The great service continued during the negotiation process with the seller so that our best interests were reflected in the new home contract. She did a great job educating us on the buying process and offered sound advice throughout the process. We feel that Barbara’s local real estate knowledge, friendly demeanor, and patience helped us to make the best home selection possible at a competitive price.