Home Buying Tips

This page includes a lot of Katy home buying tips, but my best tip is: Get the best real estate agent! I would love to help you buy a great home! I specialize in getting home buyers the RIGHT home in the RIGHT neighborhood at the RIGHT price. My clients love me (read testimonials) because they know I’ve got their back! I watch out for defective homes, over-priced homes, and homes that may be difficult to re-sell when the time comes.

I focus on getting you a home that meets your current needs but also is (hopefully) a good long-term investment. I have received the Five-Star Real Estate Agent award every year since 2010 because of my client satisfaction ratings. Less than 1 percent of all the agents in the Houston-metro area receive this honor! (see details)


Less than 1 percent of all agents have received this award for FOURTEEN YEARS IN A ROW!


Duties of Real Estate Agents

The following table compares and contrasts the duties of Buyer’s Agents vs. Listing Agents to home buyers…


List of My Value-Added Services for VIP Home Buyers

My job isn’t “just” helping you find a house to buy…I’m helping you through the entire 2-4+ month process of buying a home. There are over 100 action items on my checklist during the purchasing process. I’m looking out for you every step of the way and keeping my eye on the listing agent, the seller, the builder (if applicable), the lender, the inspector, appraiser, HOA, and the title company. I’m on YOUR side because I’m YOUR agent and have a fiduciary duty to take care of you to the best of my abilities.

I help with house pricing data/analysis, contract negotiations, legal paperwork and deadlines, inspections, appraisal issues, repair negotiations, home warranties, HOA issues, hazard insurance, surveys, title insurance, home warranties, and more. I have the expertise to help solve complicated problems that often occur in the transaction and I work to prevent, to the best of my abilities, you losing your earnest money or worse.

My goal is to make the process as easy as possible and to guide you every step of the way. You’re not trained in all the legal deadlines and requirements regarding Texas real estate, but I am! Real estate is a huge financial and legal commitment. Don’t you deserve to have a Five Star real estate agent on your side?


How I Add Value To Your Home Buying Process

Download Printable PDF

  1. Premium, customized home search based on your criteria and filtering out homes as necessary  (based on my knowledge of school ratings and flood zones). PLUS, my search has the “Coming Soon” listings not available on Zillow, Realtor.com, etc. You can’t get this level of a home search on your own because you don’t have my tools or my knowledge of the area.
  2. Expert counseling on important real estate topics and help with things like obtaining preapproval from lender, understanding agency and representation, understanding the complete home buying process, understanding option periods and inspections, dealing with appraisals, etc.
  3. Preliminary home investigation BEFORE you tour a house, to look for potential defects such as high-risk flood zone, high-voltage power lines, MUD tanks, previous flooding, and other issues…so you don’t waste time touring undesirable homes that don’t meet your criteria.
  4. Detailed home tours (in-person or via VIDEO* for out-of-town clients), where I help identify the features and benefits of each home and neighborhood as well as any potential home defects (so you don’t end up with a “money pit”). You’re probably not familiar with the common house defects in our area, but I am, and I will point them out to you when I see them so we get you the RIGHT house (which includes its CONDITION as much as its APPEARANCE & PRICE).

*VIDEO TOURS: I’ve sold many homes “site unseen” to out-of-state and out-of-country clients, via my HD video walkthroughs (view sample). I will even video the inspector summary and final walkthrough for you. 

  1. Hyperlocal knowledge and expertise so I can tell you about the amenities, PROs and CONs, flood zones, schools ratings, and HOA details of most neighborhoods in this area. Getting detailed information about HOA rules and guidelines can be challenging on your own, but I usually know where to get answers for you. Most of our neighborhoods have Home Owner Associations (HOAs) which help maintain property values.

    “You can’t trust everything you read on the Internet…you need a local area expert. Beware of seriously  inaccurate information that can have very serious consequences to your home  buying transaction.” (read my expose´ on Redfin’s “Flood Factor”)

    sheila cox reviews

Read Sheila’s Client Reviews

  1. My “Ultimate Home Buyer Guide” for THIS AREA (not generic) that includes a helpful “Checklist for Buying a Home” and information about the INs and OUTs of the home buying process here in Texas (including Option Periods which are unique to Texas). Remember that real estate laws are different from state to state.


  2. Detailed pricing data and analysis and expert Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) on the house you select to purchase, so you can make a good decision regarding the price to offer for a home. Pricing homes is my “superpower”! 😊 Texas is a non-disclose state so you can’t get ACCURATE sales data online…and tax appraised values do NOT equal market values in Texas!
  3. Expert contract creation and negotiations to help you make the right kind of offer on the house that you want…especially in multi-offer situations. And to make sure you get as much protection as you choose on the 20+ negotiable items in our contracts and addendums.

“Yes! There are approximately 20 negotiable items to consider when making an offer on a home in Texas. You probably don’t know them all, but I do!” 😊  

  1. Assistance with hiring home inspectors, reviewing inspection reports, and guiding you on necessary repairs/costs so you make the wisest decision in your home purchase. Help getting you OUT of a contract (without losing your earnest money) if/when you decide to do so after inspections.
  2. Floorplans and videos! I can create a floorplan and HD video walkthrough of any home you purchase, whether provided by the home seller or not. These are excellent tools for making plans regarding your new house.
  3. Project management of the legal deadlines and requirements throughout the transaction. You’ve got enough to deal with the packing, moving, and job/school relocation activities. I’ll make sure you meet all the legal deadlines and actions in this 2-4 month process.
  4. Assistance in the title commitment/insurance process and working with the title company (who checks for liens, tax issues, and past due HOA fees on the property). This includes assistance with getting out of the contract (if necessary) without losing your earnest money.
  5. Assistance with home surveys and their impact on your transaction, especially if any encroachments are found and you need to get out of the contract.
  6. Assistance with appraisals and their impact on your transaction. I know how to protect you if the appraisal “comes in low” (which can happen in a super-hot “seller’s market”) so you don’t end up paying a lot more than you expected at the Closing table.
  7. Assistance with Home Owner Associations (HOAs) compliance, documents, fees, deed restrictions, etc.
  8. Help with obtaining home owner’s insurance and flood insurance to protect your investment.
  9. Guidance with choosing a home warranty as needed. (I typically negotiate that the seller pays for your home warranty the first year, to help give you some “peace of mind.”)
  10. Information regarding the utilities (including MUD info) applicable to the home you purchase.
  11. Helpful “Planning the Move” checklist and detailed “Info About New Home,” (which I obtain from the current home owner) that will help make the transition to your new home easier.
  12. Assistance scheduling the Closing and all that involves including scheduling remote Closings, arranging for Power of Attorney forms, scheduling the final walk-through, reviewing the final Closing Disclosure (costs), etc.
  13. “Moving Survival Kit” provided as my Closing gift. This contains the things you will need on your moving day (but are usually packed) such as: soap, trash bags, paper plates, cups, toilet paper, snacks, box cutter, etc. So helpful!
  14. Guidance on your homestead tax exemption and how to apply for it in a timely manner to reduce your property taxes.
  15. A copy of my “Guide to Home Maintenance” and helpful monthly home maintenance reminders (via email), to remind you how to take care of your house/investment!

Whew! That’s way more than “just” showing houses (#4 on list). 😄 


Here are some other articles about “buyer representation”…


VIP Home Finder Service: Buying a Home From Out-of-State

I have helped many home buyers purchase a home here while living out-of-state or out-of-country. You must sign up as a client first.

Here’s how it works:

  1. You get home alerts from my Premium Customized Home Search.
  2. When you see a house you are interested in buying, you contact me to go tour it. I will obtain permission from the home seller to tour the home.

    Please keep in mind it takes approximately 3 to 3.5 hrs for me to do a video walkthrough on each house! 

  3. I video-record a very thorough walk-through of the home in High Definition (including pantry, closets, garage, front and back yards, street view, laundry room…everything!) and upload it privately to YouTube (see sample).
  4. You can view the video and even stop and rewind as needed.
  5. You tell me to write an offer. 
  6. After discussing everything with you, I put your  offer together and send to you for approval and e-signatures.
  7. I submit your offer and we go through the negotiation process.
  8. If the seller accepts your offer, then you hire an inspector and pay by the inspector credit card. I can provide a helpful list of inspectors or you can hire someone else. We will have approximately 7 to 10 days to do our “due diligence.”
  9. I will attend the last 30 minutes of the inspection to get an in-person summary and I will video it for you, if the inspector allows it. You will also get a detailed inspection report with photos.
  10. We will work together to review the inspection results and to ensure that you want to move forward with the transaction after the inspection. If you do not choose to move forward, then I will help you cancel your offer and get your earnest money returned to you.
  11. If you move forward, then I will assist with the other aspects of the buying process (see list above).
  12. You can choose to do a remote Closing (where you are) or you can fly in to do the Closing here. Sometimes only one spouse flies in and signs for the other spouse at Closing (but this requires special approval by your lender and the title company, well in advance). 
  13. I will video-record the final walk-through (if you are not able to be here) to ensure the home is still in good shape before you sign the Closing paperwork.
  14. If you Close remotely, then I can get your house keys and hold them for you until you arrive.

Author of www.KatyHomesForSaleTX.com (so you know that I know this area!)


The one thing I am not allowed to do for you is any property management after the Closing. It is against my brokerage rules because it requires a special kind of insurance (and more) that most real estate agents do not have. However, I can refer you to a property management company.

Also, most home owner’s insurance will not allow a home to be vacant for more than 60 days. Make sure you find out about that during the process.

Here’s what some of my remote home buyers have said about the process with me…








Premium Customized Home Search

If you haven’t already, then send me your criteria for a house by filling out this online form,
so I can help you find the exact type of home you want.
Then you will get automated emails when new homes, that match your criteria, hit the market. My custom search is the most accurate search available! No search you have access to (on HAR, Zillow, Realtor, Homes, Redfin, etc.) is better than my search because my search is directly from the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) which is where all the other websites get their data. (The MLS gets it FIRST!)

PLUS, my search has the “Coming Soon” listings not available on Zillow, RedFin, etc.

And I can narrow down your search result to the school level (and more!) and filter out less-than-desirable areas for you to save you time and effort. Since I am the local area expert, I know which neighborhoods flood (for example) and can filter those out for you automatic
ally. If you find that you need me to revise your search criteria, just send me a quick email and tell me what change needs to be made.

View My Videos About Home Buying

Sheila Cox YouTube Channel
>> Go to my YouTube Channel


When You Are Ready to Tour Homes

When you are ready to tour some homes, then call/text me at 832-779-2890 so we can get you on the calendar and discuss exactly what will be the perfect home for you. As a Katy real estate agent (an expert!) I can narrow your focus and help you find the right neighborhood.

Or you can send me your home criteria here: https://www.katyhomesforsaletx.com/katy-reports-guides/katy-home-search

Once I set up your custom search, then you will start getting home listings via email and you can mark them with Hearts to mark your favorites. A couple of days before our scheduled tour, I make appointments for your Favorite homes and print out the maps, home data, etc. for our tour. On the day of our tour we will meet at my office and then drive the area together so I can tell you about the area and point out various features while also touring homes. This is a great way to find your perfect home!

Helpful Articles About Home Buying

katy real estate market report

Katy Real Estate Market

Real Estate Terminology Buyer’s Market vs. Seller’s Market The  real estate market is constantly changing. The way we determine the type of real estate market we’re in (Buyer’s Market vs. Seller’s Market) is based on the amount of Inventory (homes available for sale) currently available. Six months of inventory is usually ... [Read More]
katy-tx-la-centerra green featured

Self-Guided Tour of Katy Texas

Some people want a self-guided tour of Katy Texas before looking at houses with a REALTOR, so I created this tour to show you around the area. You will start this tour at LaCenterra which is a great place to find a restaurant. Just click each address in the order ... [Read More]
Timeline for Planning a Home Purchase

Timeline for Planning a Home Purchase

Resale Homes Most people need help with the timeline for planning a home purchase, so here's my recommendation. Start with a Deadline. That's the date you absolutely have to be out of your current home/apartment. This Deadline may be the end of a lease or a move-out date for an ... [Read More]
Depositphotos 6841338 xs

Buyer Representation in Texas

The Agent Showing You Houses May Not Be Your Agent Many people think that if a real estate agent is showing them houses, that means the agent is their agent and looking out for their best interests. This is not the case in Texas, which is why the Texas Real ... [Read More]

Checklist of Steps for Buying a Home

This list is not comprehensive. There are a lot of steps that your REALTOR® takes care of behind-the-scenes. Call Sheila Cox for help at 832-779-2890  Buying a home is a serious legal commitment with important deadlines and possibly large financial losses if you do not meet your contractual deadlines (as established ... [Read More]
Depositphotos 12096028 xs1

Do I Need a Real Estate Agent? Maybe I Can Do This Myself

 "That's what I used to think! In fact, before I became a licensed real estate agent, I did several FSBO (For Sale By Owner) sales and THOUGHT I knew what I was doing. But if I had known then what I know now...I never would have risked it. Here's what ... [Read More]

Texas Laws on Brokerage Services & Dual Agency

Does My Real Estate Agent Represent Me or the Seller? When I bought my first house in the mid 1990s, Texas was kind of a "Buyer Beware" state. In fact, a home Buyer could spend weeks looking for a home with a real estate agent, telling her secret information (like ... [Read More]

What To Look for In a Katy Real Estate Agent

What To Look for In a Katy Real Estate Agent Want to know how to hire the best Katy real estate agent?  See below! NOTE: Many of these items are specific to Texas agents. ___ Did your agent give you the "Information About Brokerage Services" notice that is legally required by the ... [Read More]

Sheila Cox – Katy Real Estate Agent – Reviews & More

Client Reviews Here's what clients have to say about Sheila Cox, Katy real estate agent ... [Read More]
Depositphotos 6815971 xs

Who Pays Real Estate Commissions in Texas?

Who Pays the Real Estate Commission in Texas? One of the questions that I'm frequently asked is, "Who pays the real estate commission in Texas for a real estate transaction?" That's a good question! Here's the answer. Please not that the sales commission is NEGOTIATED (not always 6%) between the ... [Read More]
Texas Home Buying Process

Texas Home Buying Process

If you are buying a home in Texas, then you need to learn about the home buying process, which may be different than other states. One thing to consider is that before you even begin the process of searching for a home, you must: Determine how much house you can ... [Read More]
Costs To Buy a Home in Texas

Costs To Buy a Home in Texas

Do You Know What It Costs To Buy a Home in Texas? It’s one thing to want to own your own home…it’s another to be able to afford one. Here is a run-down of estimated costs to buy a home in Texas you must consider...  Understanding Down Payments and ... [Read More]
Depositphotos 7292149 xs

Why You Need a PreApproval Letter & How to Apply for a Home Loan

You need a PreApproval letter to start the home search phase in the home buying process in this area because: You need to know exactly how much house you can afford and a lender is the best source for that information. You won't be able to make an offer on ... [Read More]
cross creek ranch polishing pond2

Katy Flood Zones

People moving to the Katy area are often concerned about Katy flood zones. The good news is that, for the most part and with a few exceptions, most Katy neighborhoods are located out of Special Flood Areas. There are a few areas that are in 500-year Floodplain (yellow zone) and ... [Read More]
Option Periods

Option Period and Fees in Texas Real Estate

In Texas, you can buy an "option period" (usually 10 days) from the seller for $200-$300 that gives you the irrevocable privilege to back out of the sales contract for any reason, and still receive your 1 percent earnest money back. (During this time, the Seller cannot back out of ... [Read More]
Home Inspections for Buyers

Home Inspections for Buyers

Please know that a home inspection is one of the most important parts of buying a home. But it can be overwhelming trying to find a reputable inspector who you can trust. I provide all my buyer clients with a list of licensed home inspectors in the area to make ... [Read More]
Pricing a Home Correctly

Pricing a Home Correctly

Pricing a home is more complicated than simply comparing the list price to the sales price. Clients often ask me how much they should pay for a home, and I tell them, “It depends on how much it’s worth!” For example, if a house is listed at $450,000 and you ... [Read More]

Beware of Internet Real Estate Statistics

The bottom line: No one knows an area better than a local, experienced real estate agent. Don't gamble your biggest investment on automated Internet data. It's Not All About the ZIP Code...Or Shouldn't Be I love the Internet and I'm an information junkie, but I am constantly amazed at how ... [Read More]

About Appraisals and What To Do When One Comes in Low

The Problem Regarding Real Estate Appraisals One troublesome aspect of home buying and selling is how to handle low real estate appraisals.  A real estate appraisal is an estimate of the market value of a piece of real estate based upon a variety of factors.  In the definition above, notice the word ESTIMATE. If ... [Read More]

Home Warranties

When you purchase a resale home, you can purchase a home warranty (a.k.a., Residential Service Contract or RSV) that will protect you against most ordinary flaws and breakdowns for at least the first year of occupancy.  The warranty may be offered by either the Seller, as part of the overall ... [Read More]

Buying New vs. Resale Home

One question that I get a lot is, "What's recommended: buying new vs resale home?" A new home is one that has never been lived in while an existing home has been lived in by a previous owner. There are Pros and Cons either way that you should consider. Here ... [Read More]
Depositphotos 9016536 xs2

What to Expect When You Buy a New Construction Home

So you have put a contract to buy a new construction home with a builder and you can't wait to move in. Buying a home is exciting, especially if you are a first-time home buyer, but buying a brand new home that has never been lived in doesn't mean the ... [Read More]

Katy New Construction Homes for Sale (from home builder)

Many people moving to the Houston area decide they want to live in Katy or Sugar Land because of the great schools. However, they are often surprised to find out that there is very limited new construction in these areas, especially Sugar Land. Sugar Land is completely land-locked by Houston, ... [Read More]

What Is a Real Estate “Closing”?

A real estate “Closing” is where you and I meet with some or all of the following individuals: the Seller, the Seller’s agent, a representative from the lending institution and a representative from the title company, in order to transfer the property title to you. The purchase agreement or contract you ... [Read More]

Buying & Selling Real Estate Is a Huge Investment
Don’t You Deserve a Five Star Real Estate Agent?

Sheila Cox

Sheila Cox Realtor
Author of KatyHomesForSaleTX.com…so you know that I know this area! Winner of Five Star award every year since 2010.


Real estate agents don’t “just” sell houses; we sell a SERVICE to effectively guide home buyers and sellers through the entire real estate transaction, which usually takes several months. We are more like real estate consultants than we are salespeople. That’s probably why 86 percent of all home buyers and sellers choose to hire a real estate agent when buying or selling a home!

Buying or selling a home is not like buying or selling a TV, a computer, or a car. You can’t buy/sell a home on the Internet with a couple of clicks. There are MANY legal aspects, deadlines, and requirements that most people are not trained to handle. What’s more…mistakes along the way can cost you thousands and even hundreds of thousands of dollars. The financial risk is much greater than just about anything else you may buy.

That’s why you need your own dedicated, experienced real estate agent
looking out for YOUR best interests.

Please read the list of my value-added services for home buyers

FREE GUIDES & REPORTS by Sheila Cox, Five Star Realtor

Click Image Below to Download a Guide or Report

katy real estate guide
Katy Relocation Guide
katy market report
Katy Market Report
katy flood report
Katy Flood Report
Katy Schools Report


View Helpful Videos on Sheila’s YouTube Channel

Sheila Cox YouTube Channel

Why You Should Hire Sheila Cox As Your Agent

sheila cox five star realtor5Integrity—I promise to give you candid opinions on all homes and areas so you can make the best decisions. I won’t ignore potential defects that can cost you money, or effect your resale value, in the future…I point them out to you! My job is to protect you, as much as possible, from defective homes while helping you make a sound financial investment. You will get more REAL info from me regarding homes/neighborhoods than you ever had before! (Read client testimonials)

Local Area Expertise—This isn’t just my business…it’s where I work and live (for 20+ years) so I really know the area. I will help you narrow your options and find the best neighborhood for you based on your specifications. For long-term resale value, the neighborhood you choose is just as important as the home you buy. (Download my Ultimate Katy Guide)

Great Pricing Data—I will give you the most in-depth data you have ever seen…to help you make the wisest decisions. This includes a professional CMA when you are ready to purchase a specific home…so you don’t pay too much. You can’t get this level of pricing information anywhere else. (Also see Pricing a Home Correctly)

Premium Customized Home Searches—Yes, you can search on your own, but no other home search available can filter down to the school level…and filter out the subdivisions that may be known to flood. Plus my search includes “Coming Soon” homes not listed on other  websites. (Request a Premium Customized Home Search)

Video Home Tours—If you or your spouse lives out of the state or country, then you will enjoy my detailed video home tours. I have sold multiple homes to out-of-area clients “site unseen” by providing High Definition video walkthroughs of potential homes. My videos show front and back yards, closets, pantries, laundry rooms, and the garage…as well as the entire home. This gives you a complete picture of the house (unlike those silly Matterports). I also point out any potential defects or deferred maintenance that I see. (view sample video walkthrough)

Easier Process—Moving your family (and possibly changing jobs) is stressful enough. I’m your transaction manager and will guide you, step-by-step, through the process so you never miss an important deadline. I assist with inspections, repair negotiations, home warranties, HOA compliance inspections, hazard insurance, surveys, appraisals, title commitment, home warranties, title commitment, and more. (Get Details of My Value-Added Services)

Client Reviews of Sheila

Connect With Sheila