Services for our Buyers
Select The Right Realtor® for Your Needs
All of our sales associates are licensed full-time agents with the expertise, experience and training essential to your buying success. They are bound by a strict Code of Ethics, well versed in the buying process and dedicated to making it as simple and hassle-free as possible. An added plus is that we have offices throughout the south central area which means that your Heritage Texas Country Properties Sales Associate will know the market where you want to buy.
Know Your Price Range
Determining your buying power; that is, your financial reserves plus your borrowing capacity, is key to your eventual property search. How much you can afford depends on many factors. These include your income stream as well as your monthly expenses, credit score, funds available for a down payment, and current interest rates.
Know What You’re Looking For
Now that you know what you can afford, the next step is determining what you want in a country property, farm or ranch. Clearly, needs come first. Those are the items that you cannot live without – whether it’s an agricultural exemption, wildlife exemption, the number of acres, privacy, a water feature or a large home on the property with lots of bedrooms or baths for friends and family. Living in a particular community or county or some other critical feature. Next, decide on all those things you wish for, relative to style or amenities, but may opt to forego (a pond, guest house). This will help you narrow the field and decide where and which type of property best suits your needs.
Know The Location That’s Best For You
There are many things to consider when choosing an area out in the country, not the least of which is location, location, location. But other factors include the price of its properties; the community, if applicable; property taxes; restrictions; area amenities; even the commuting distance to and from work or schools. Because Heritage Texas Properties has offices throughout the south central area including Brenham, Bellville, La Grange and Round Top, we are well equipped to provide first-hand and detailed information about all counties we serve and the communities, discuss their subtle differences, and show you what they have to offer.
Know You’re Qualified For a Loan
It may give you, and any prospective Seller, great peace of mind to know your borrowing power before you begin your property search. In fact, it’s not unusual for a Seller or his agent to request a pre-approval letter when an offer is presented. For this reason, it is a good idea to connect with a mortgage lender and get pre-approved for a loan. Your Heritage Texas Country Properties sales associate will guide you through this process and urge you to talk to several lenders to compare costs, interest rates and negotiate the best possible deal.
Begin Your Property Search
Equipped with all this advance preparation and knowledge, you are powerful and ready to begin your property search. Your Heritage Texas Country Properties sales associate will help you handle the details, guide you through the process and make the search experience so much easier. Since we’re well-acquainted with the communities you’ve chosen and have your price range in mind, we can search the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and TXLS for properties that meet your criteria – be it acreage, size, style, features, location, accessibility to larger cities, transportation, or other personal preferences – and schedule showings on your timetable. Sometimes the type of property you are seeking is available but not actively advertised in the market. Because our sales associates live, work and play in the communities they market and have a better understanding of the area in which they are selling, they may have information not readily available to all. Our ease of access plus our knowledge of communities and market pricing will save you valued time and greatly expedite the property search process.
You may also find it helpful to utilize our interactive online search program that offers consumers the opportunity to do customized and ongoing searches for farm and ranch properties, plus auto-notification of market changes. Potential buyers can bookmark specific properties or communities or counties from their search results or even schedule showings.
Our Website keeps consumers automatically informed on the newest listings as they come on the market and allows you to save five different searches — different neighborhoods, different price ranges, different property types, etc. as well as add, change or delete searches. New information is emailed to the consumer automatically when changes occur or open houses are scheduled. It starts working immediately and can be edited at any time. Those who choose not to be emailed may simply log into the program and view the information onscreen.
Make An Offer
When you’ve found the property of your dreams and it’s time to make an offer, your Heritage Texas Country Properties sales associate will advise you on all the details needed to make a fair offer, guide you through the process, handle all the paperwork, answer your questions, and present the offer on your behalf.
Texas Realtor® groups, working with legal counsel, have developed promulgated forms that are appropriate for real estate transactions in our state. Such documents include numerous sale conditions and their wording should be carefully reviewed to assure that they reflect the terms you want to offer. Your Heritage Texas Country Properties agent can explain the general contracting process in your community as well as his or her role.
While much attention is spent on offering prices, a proposal to buy includes both the price and terms. In some cases, terms can represent thousands of dollars in additional value for buyers – or additional costs. This is why terms are so important and should be carefully reviewed.
You sometimes hear that the amount of your offer should be a certain percentage below the seller’s asking price or another percentage below the price you’re really willing to pay. In practice, the offer depends on the basic laws of supply and demand. If many buyers are competing for properties, then sellers will likely get full-price offers and sometimes even more. If demand is weak, then offers below the asking price may be in order.
Negotiate The Contract
More often than not, the negotiating process is a back and forth communication that requires excellent negotiation skills where a clear understanding of all the terms and conditions is crucial. The value of having a trusted Heritage Texas Country Properties sales associate working on your behalf to reach an agreed upon price and terms cannot be overstated. There are countless factors involved in the negotiating process, including but not limited to price, financing, terms, date of possession and often the inclusion or exclusion of repairs and furnishings or equipment.
In a typical situation, you will complete an offer and your Heritage Texas Country Properties agent will present it to the owner and/or the owner’s representative. The owner, in turn, may accept the offer, reject it or make a counteroffer.
Because counteroffers are common (any change in an offer can be considered a “counter-offer”), it’s important for buyers to remain in close contact with their Heritage Texas Country Properties Sales Associate during the negotiation process so that any proposed changes can be quickly reviewed.
When the details of your property purchase have been agreed upon and the Earnest Money contract delivered to the title company, there is much left to do. With a negotiated agreement in hand, it is time to initiate an evaluation of the property. The contract should provide a period of time for you to complete appropriate inspections of the property before you are bound to finalize the purchase.
Your Heritage Texas Country Properties sales associate can advise you as to which inspections are recommended or required, then help you find qualified professional inspectors, organize the time and date of those inspections and take care of all the details. Typical inspections ordered from one or more professionals are structural – which generally includes mechanical, plumbing, and electrical, but these may be done separately – and termite. Additional inspections will be required by your lender including a survey to determine boundaries and an appraisal to determine value.
Structural inspections are particularly important. During these examinations, an inspector comes to the property to determine if there are material physical defects and whether expensive repairs and replacements are likely to be required in the next few years. Such inspections for a single-family property often require two or three hours, and buyers should attend. This is an opportunity to examine the property’s mechanics and structure, ask questions and learn far more about the property than is possible with an informal walk-through.
These inspections help you avoid purchasing a property damaged by termites or in need of major repairs. A suggested list by inspectors of minor repairs, however, is quite typical and buyers may request they be made in advance of the sale or that a consideration in price be made so that buyers can make those repairs after their purchase. Whichever you choose, those conditions should be conveyed and negotiated with the Seller via your Sales Associate.
Learn Other Critical Details
You will also want to see a preliminary report on the title of the property. Title indicates ownership. The title to most properties will have some limitations – for example, easements (access rights) for utilities, oil and gas leases, mineral rights issues. Your Heritage Texas Country Properties sales associate can help you resolve any issues with the title company that might cause problems at a later date.
Your Heritage Texas Properties Sales Associate may already be familiar with current real estate values, taxes, utility costs, municipal services and facilities, and aware of deed restrictions that could affect your decision to buy.
Also, if you choose a property in an area with mineral or surface rights issues, your Sales Associate will suggest an attorney that is familiar with the area to make sure you have a clear understanding so you can review it before closing.
Make An Application For A Loan
As soon as you have done due diligence and determined that the property is right for you, the final process of obtaining financing begins. If you have not already connected with a mortgage lender and gotten pre-approved for a loan before you began your property search, your Heritage Texas Country Properties sales associate will guide you through this process, help you understand different financing options and direct you to several qualified lenders to compare costs, interest rates, negotiate the best possible deal, and tell you what personal and financial data to bring with you when you apply for a loan. Once the lender is chosen, it is important for the Buyer to make loan application within the time frame specified in the Earnest Money Contract. When final loan approval is obtained, your Heritage Texas Country Properties sales associate can assist you in arranging for property owner’s insurance and other necessary details prior to closing.
Close On Your Purchase
Your Heritage Texas Country Properties sales associate represents you and your best interests through the closing. Your sales associate will confirm that all contract and amendment conditions have been met or completed and review a closing checklist; assist in scheduling and conducting your final walk-through prior to closing; review closing figures, closing documents and the title insurance commitment with you so you will know what to expect during the closing process; and, finally, attend the closing to answer any questions or deal with last-minute issues.