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 in the contracts that you sign). Always make sure you read the docs you are signing. Discuss deadlines with your real estate agent and put them on your calendar.

Print this checklist and use it to keep track of your transaction.



Contact three or four lenders to determine how much house you can afford. Determine how much money you will need to purchase a new home. Do you have enough? If not, create a budget and start saving now.


Get approved for a loan. Don’t forget to get an preapproval letter! We will need to submit it with an offer to buy a house.


Hire a real estate agent to help you with your purchase. You need a professional looking out for your best interest. Send your Preapproval letter or “Proof of Funds” to your agent (see video).


Do you need to sell your current home? Your agent will help with that too. Get it on the market!


View “Dream Home Alerts” (see video) for homes when they “hit” the market.


Tour homes (see video) until you find the one that meets your specific needs.


Sign the legal paperwork and make an offer to buy the house that you chose. Be prepared to write check for Earnest Money (see video). Be prepared for some back-and-forth negotiations.


Deliver the Earnest Money and Option fee to the title company. TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE! If you don’t deliver the Option fee on time, then you have NO Termination Option.

NOTE: Learn about Option Periods in Texas (see video).


Once the title company “receipts” your Earnest Money and Option Fee, then send the executed and receipted contract to your lender and start the approval process with him/her.


After the sales contract is executed, hire home inspectors to inspect the home as needed (learn more). This will cost $300 to $700 or more, depending on the number and type of inspectors you hire. Depending on the home, you should think about the following inspections:

·     Structural/Mechanical

·     HVAC System

·     Termite/Pests

·     Septic system

·     Pool Equipment

·     Well system

·     Pool Leaks

·     Foundation (especially if previous repairs!)


Hire an appraisal if you are paying cash.

NOTE: View my videos on Pricing and Appraisals to learn more.


Discuss insurability with insurance company and get a CLUE report from insurance agent.


Verify the following if they are important issues to you:

·     Square footage of home

·     Schools zoned to home (but those may change with rezoning in future)

·     Property taxes

·     Crime in area (contact police department)

·     HOA covenants and restrictions (usually online at HOA website)


Negotiate repairs to home as needed. Be realistic…small miscellaneous items should be expected because no home is perfect. Negotiate  big-ticket repairs (if any) or walk-away.


Now that you have exact address, compare mortgages and lenders (at least three is recommended). Choose a lender and mortgage and apply for a loan if you haven’t already. Remember, you have a deadline to meet in the sales contract. Be prepared to pay an application fee (approximately $300) and an appraisal fee (approximately $300-400).


Submit items for your loan application (W2s, tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements, etc) as requested by your lender. Time is of the essence! According to the contract, your deadline for Individual Approval and Notice to a Seller (from lender) is à

If you do not get loan approval, then notify your real estate agent immediately.


Check your Title Commitment  (learn more) in a timely manner when you receive it. You have only a few days to “object in writing.” Make sure your real estate agent receives a copy.


Review the Lender’s appraisal in a timely manner. You have only a few days to “object in writing.” Make sure your real estate agent receives a copy.


Review the survey in a timely manner. You have only a few days to “object in writing.” Make sure your real estate agent receives a copy.


Re-inspect home, if you choose, based on agreed repairs.


Obtain home owner’s hazard insurance. Make sure you get at least three quotes. Notify your real estate agent which policy you choose. Don’t forget Flood Insurance!


Select your residential service contract (“home warranty”) if applicable and notify your real estate agent  (learn more). The title company will order and pay for the home warranty.


Plan your move (get detailed list) and order your utilities to be turned on the day you Close. Always allow a week or more overlap to move out of current home and into new home. Do not plan to Close and move on the same day!


Ask your lender for the amount of money you need to Close. Make sure your funds for Closing are available at local bank. Transferring money from investment accounts can take time…work with your lender and bank and prepare in advance.


Your property MUST reach Lender Approval at least 4 days before Closing otherwise you may not be able to obtain a refund of your earnest money due to default on Closing. If there is a delay in getting the loan, notify your real estate agent immediately.


Make sure your Closing is scheduled. You will need photo IDs, checkbook, and a cashier’s check or wiring instructions from your bank.


You must sign your Closing Disclosures (from lender) at least 3 days before your Closing date or you will not be able to Close on time. If you do not sign the CD in a timely manner, this may put you in default and there could be serious financial consequences.


Get your cashier’s check for funds needed to Close the day before Closing.


Do your final walk-through.


Go to the Closing and bring your funds to Close, a checkbook, and a photo ID for each person (husband and wife). Plan on a 2-3 hour process.


Move into your new home and enjoy!


Make sure you receive a copy of your Deed (from the Title company) within a couple of weeks after Closing. Be prepared for mail “scams” offering to file legal docs for a fee.


Apply for your property tax exemptions as applicable in your state.


Contact three or four lenders to determine how much house you can afford. Determine how much money you will need to purchase a new home. Do you have enough? If not, create a budget and start saving now.


Get approved for a loan. Don’t forget to get an preapproval letter! We will need to submit it with an offer to buy a house.



When you sign up as my client, I will provide this checklist and more in my 30-page Home Buying Tips & Checklists guide.


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…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

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Katy Flood Report
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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)

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