The decision to buy a home can be stressful. Follow my quarterly guide, though, and you’ll be on the right path to homeownership without making the common mistakes that first-time homeowners tend to make – especially if they’re not working with the right San Antonio Realtor. I’m here to help you make smart decisions that will ensure the process of finding your perfect home is even more enjoyable.

A Year Out
Knowing your credit score is one of the first steps you should take in the process of becoming a homeowner. Thoroughly reviewing your credit report can help you uncover errors that can be corrected and help you to get a lower interest rate.

Next, you need to determine how much you can afford and then how much you actually want to spend. Take a hard look at your finances and determine the amount of money you are comfortable spending each month on your mortgage. Make a plan for your down payment. Different loan types have different options, so consider this when saving up.

Nine Months Out
Do you want a pool? Open concept floor plan? Nine months out is the time to think long and hard about the features you must have in a home. More importantly, it is also the time to think about the things that you are willing to compromise on. What part of town do you want to live in? How close to family do you want to be? What about your commute? Social activities?

As you figure out your target areas, I will help you find homes and get a feel for the cost of living in those areas.

Now’s also the time to budget for home inspections, home owner’s insurance and property tax. Calculating these costs can help you avoid any surprises when you’re further along in the home buying process.

Six Months Out
Start collecting the necessary paperwork for your mortgage loans. Lenders typically need a few years’ worth of W-2 forms, your tax returns, pay stubs, financial statements and your addresses over the past five years. It can be a lot to collect, so start now and be prepared.

I can recommend lenders, too, and help you select which one will fit your communication style and needs best.

Three Months Out
After finding the right lender for you, it’s time to get pre-approved for your home loan. Make an appointment with your lender to find out how much you can afford to spend on your new home.

Two Months Out
We’ve found a home that meets your needs! It’s time to make an offer! Once your offer is accepted, your next step is to get a home inspection. If your inspection finds some issues that need to be taken care of, let’s negotiate with the sellers to have repairs made.

The Last Month
As your closing date approaches, make sure to double check that all of your financial documents are in order and review your lending documents. I’ll meet with you a few days before your closing date to do a final walk through of the property. This step is to ensure that the home is in the condition that you and the seller have agreed to.

Last, But Not Least
Your last step is to be sure to have the necessary funds for closing costs. Typically a cashier’s check or wire transfer is needed to complete this step.

And with that, the keys are yours!

Let’s get started!

For more home buying (and selling) tips, sign up for my newsletter and download my free Home Buyer and Home Seller checklists!

355 Albany, in Alamo Heights (featured above) is listed by my Nix Realty Company colleague Debbie Turner. This majestic charmer sits high on a beautiful lot overlooking the city. SE facing front lawn catches the summer breeze and fireworks viewing. This spacious home has been meticulously maintained and only owned by two families in 99 years. All the bedrooms are large with an abundance of storage throughout. There is an extensive water catchment system in place with upgraded gutters. Detached one-car garage connected to a versatile office/quarters room w/full bath, is the third bath on the property.

Let’s go see it!

Sign up for San Antonio real estate news you can use!

Did you know San Antonio is growing faster than any other U.S. city? Get the latest insights and tips that will help you make the best real estate decisions. Download our free Home Buyer and Home Seller checklists, too!