1. Start your San Antonio home search online. It's by far the most convenient and efficient way to view available homes, get an idea of pricing, the style home you like and the features you want, areas you want to live in, and more. The best places to search are Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, and local Realtor websites, though not necessarily in that order. It's important to note that in many markets only Realtor.com and your local Realtor websites have a direct feed to the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) with the most up to date information on homes that are available.
2. Now that you've browsed homes online and probably fallen in love with a few of them and want to see some of them make sure you are able to purchase one! Yes, this is where we strongly suggest you contact a mortgage professional and get pre-approved for a mortgage. If you don't already know an outstanding mortgage pro contact your favorite Realtor; they will have 2 or 3 they have confidence in you can contact. Believe it or not this is a pretty painless process that doesn't take very much of your time at all. Want to know what is VERY painful? Going out and viewing your favorite homes, writing an offer, and then finding out you don't qualify for a mortgage at all or for as much home as you want to buy. So please, don't skip this step.
3. Contact a Realtor so you can view homes and have representation should you decide to make an offer. By the way, did you know REPRESENTATION FOR THE HOMEBUYER IS FREE and should not cost you one single penny! Many Realtors tend to assume that all homebuyers already know this but in fact many buyers do not. After all, the home seller has their own representation through the listing agent. Shouldn't YOU have representation to even the playing field? Here's how it works. The homebuyer and their Realtor typically sign a Buyer Representation Agreement that says that their Realtor (the one showing you homes) will represent ONLY the buyer's best interest in the purchase of a home. This includes information, advice, and negotiating the best price and terms of the home the buyer wants to buy. And again, the home buyer pays their Realtor nothing. So who pays the Realtor fee? The seller does through their agreement with the listing agent. The primary exception to this is if the buyer CHOOSES, for various reasons, to hire and pay their Realtor a negotiated fee for their services.
4. Now it's time to find a home or homes that you are interested enough in to make an offer. It's often best to have a backup home or two in case you are unsuccessful with your first choice. In fact, in a "seller's market" there may be more homes than homebuyers and homes that are priced well and show well often receive multiple offers, including offers OVER the asking price. However, if we are in a "buyer's market" you will have many homes to choose from with little competition and will have the upper hand in negotiations. So ask your Realtor what kind of market we are in and what options you have. Then find that home that you will love and secure the contract!
5. With your contract on a home secured it's time for a home inspection by a licensed professional home inspector. He (or she) will thoroughly check the house out for any problems and put them down in a report with pictures for you to view. You and your Realtor will go over the report and decide whether there are any items important enough to you to ask the seller to repair. This is a negotiation and their is usually some give and take. During this time you will be in what's called in the contract the "Option Period." The option period is a negotiated number of days for a negotiated price (say for example 7 days for $100) in which you can choose to opt of the contract with no further obligation nor penalty and receive your earnest money back. You would only lose the $100 in our example. Assuming that their is nothing horribly wrong with the home as revealed in the inspection report and that any requested repairs are negotiated to satisfaction you will move into a somewhat "quiet period" between now and the closing date.
6. During the "quiet period" much will still be happening. A survey may be ordered. The appraisal will be done. There will be a lot of communication between the title company, your lender, and your Realtor to make sure that all goes smoothly. If problems arise with your loan, the appraisal, the property, or anything else we will all work together to solve them.