Meet a lender and get approved
Take your w-2, a copy of your bank statements, two years of tax returns, a couple pay stubs and ask them for a letter of pre-approval. If you don’t know a lender a Realtor can usually recommend one they have tested in a previous transaction. This process has lots of benefits. The lender can show you exactly what your buying power is and can help you get an estimate on what your monthly payment will be. Also, when your lender pulls your credit you can get you specific ideas as to how to improve your situation.
Pro-Tip: Your lender may also help you target a monthly payment you’d like to have for your home and work backward from there to the price of the home you should be buying
Get Automatic Market Updates
Take your amount that you are pre-approved up to through your lender to your realtor, then talk with your realtor about your exact needs from a home. You might need a specific area in Austin or a have some floor plan specifications. Your realtor will be able to set you up with automatic updates whenever homes that meet your criteria come on the market!
Respond Quickly and Reconnoiter the Neighborhood
When you get an update that you really like, drive by the home within two days to assess the neighborhood. While you are there assessing the neighborhood, you might be surprised to see other people scoping out the home already. The market is hot and inventory is tight! The people you see there may have already missed their chance at three or four homes. They may have submitted offers that weren’t accepted and are just continuing a process that you are just starting.
Act Quickly or Lose Surely
If you liked the home when you went to drive by it, Immediately request a showing from your realtor. When you get in for a showing, if you like the home, have your Realtor submit an offer. An offer is not a binding contract and a good home often has many offers submitted. There are multiple chances for you to change your mind if your offer is even accepted, most notably during the inspection period. So make up your mind quickly and get that offer in!
Persist and WIN!
Try again! Quite often you won’t get the home that you wanted the first time around. Often you’ll call your realtor for a showing and realize there are already five offers and they stop accepting more in fifteen minutes. Other times they simply don’t pick your offer even if you got it in on time. The important thing is that you are actually in the game instead of just looking at property searches online like a schnook. Keep trying and you will eventually be able to buy a home that meets your needs!