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Home Buyer’s Guide

Refining the Way Homes Are Bought and Sold in Austin

5929 Balcones Dr., Ste. 300 • Austin, TX 78731 Phone: 512-420-0300 • Fax: 800-948-4045

about goldwasser real estate Leadership team

Realtor Partners ®


oldwasser Real Estate’s REALTOR® Partners are by far the best in the business. The team is recognized by the Austin Business Journal as the number one residential real estate sales team in the Austin metro area, having completed more than 1,000 transactions in just the past two years.

Chad Goldwasser Founder

Greg Cooper Chief Executive Officer

David Schneider Sales Manager

What does that mean for you? A lot of experience on your side of the negotiations in your real estate transaction. Experience alone is not enough to be successful. The entire team is dedicated to continuing education through both real estate seminars and regular in-house training. In addition, the team has earned multiple designations by studying the laws and practices of the real estate industry.

The team is recognized by the Austin Business Journal as the number one residential real estate sales team in the Austin metro area.

Goldwasser Real Estate holds designations in the Council of Residential Specialists; Graduate, REALTOR® Institute; Accredited Buyer Representation; Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist; and Certified Negotiation Expert. They are graduates of the Star Power University and attend team continuing education every week. All agents stay on top of the local Austin market by viewing and comparing properties on a daily basis. They also continually study and research industry trends to determine what the market may hold in the future. There is simply no better qualified nor better prepared team of residential real estate specialists in Austin!

Operations Team


ith many years of experience in real estate, the team of managers assisting in the purchase of your property is among the best! Countless details need special attention during a real estate transaction. Realistically, no one person can be effective in all areas of real estate, including market research, negotiating, and transaction details.

Tara Goldwasser Chief Operating Officer 

Our team’s specialized managers focus solely on each phase of the real estate transaction and strive to be the best in the business at what they do. During the purchase of your home, expect to be in touch with these dedicated professionals as they handle all aspects of the transaction. Home Buyer’s Guide

buying with goldwasser real estate

Your Exclusive Buyer Agent


here are three ways in which you can be represented during the purchase of a new home. Why do people often choose the worst form of representation? Usually because of misinformation about the home buying process. Our goal is to be your Exclusive Buyer Agent and to assist you in making well-educated and informed decisions throughout the home buying process. You can be represented in a real estate transaction in the following ways:

“We can’t thank you enough for all your advice, guidance, persistence, determination, and overall politeness and niceness! It is a bit strange to involve a stranger in as personal a decision as buying a house, but I am very pleased you were with us every step of the way.” —Vilma L. Santos, Home Buyer

The Broker/Agent Represents the Seller (Good for Seller, Bad for Buyer)

This is the agent who has a written agreement to manage the sale of the seller’s home. In addition, if any agent shows you homes without being in a written buyer representation agreement with you, by law they are acting as a subagent to the seller and have fiduciary duties to the seller, not you! In this agreement, the buyer should not tell the agent any information he does not want the seller to know because the agent must disclose to the owner any material information they have.

The Broker/Agent Represents the Buyer (Great for Seller, Great for Buyer)

This is how a buyer is represented when they have entered into a written buyer representation agreement with their Exclusive Buyer Agent. The agent must put the interests of the buyer first and foremost and will provide the buyer with any material information they have about the seller.

The Broker/Agent Acts as an Intermediary (Good for Seller, Good for Buyer)

If the home you buy is listed with Goldwasser Real Estate, then your buyer agent will be assigned to represent you as the buyer in an intermediary capacity. Your buyer agent will still be bound by the duty of confidentiality and will not disclose any of your information to the seller or the seller’s agent.

“The team at Goldwasser Real Estate is spectacular! This was my very first home purchase, and the people at Goldwasser made the experience so pleasant. From my agent to the transaction manager, everyone I dealt with here was attentive, prompt, professional, and very client-oriented. I work in a service-related industry, and it is refreshing to find a company representing itself as a service-minded organization, rather than just a medium between the seller and myself. Many thanks from a very satisfied customer. You all went above and beyond.”

An Intermediary Relationship occurs when one Broker represents both parties in a transaction and assigns individual agents to represent each party exclusively. Each party of the transaction will acknowledge this relationship in writing.

Goldwasser Real Estate •

—David Kirkpatrick Home Buyer

buying with goldwasser real estate

What We Can Help You Buy


ur team of Exclusive Buyer Agents will evaluate your home buying needs in our first meeting with you and will then be better prepared to assist you in your home buying search. We are highly skilled in locating the ideal home for you, whether it’s an existing home, a for sale by owner, or a new builder construction!

Existing Homes

Once we know your wants and needs based on our initial consultation, we spend time previewing properties that meet your criteria. We show you homes listed by any brokerage firm in the Austin area, and we are able to narrow a list of hundreds of properties because of factors such as neighborhood or home features. By previewing properties first, we are able to look at several homes in the time it would take both of us to view just a couple. Other agents may spend your valuable time driving by homes and then telling them which homes you wish to see. Instead, we narrow the list and show you only the most well-kept homes, in the best areas, at the best value, that meet your criteria. The bottom line is to save you time and money!

The bottom line is to save you time and money!

For Sale by Owner

We often work with homeowners who wish to sell their home themselves. In fact, many of our listings are people who have tried unsuccessfully to sell their homes themselves. We maintain awareness of all for sale by owner properties in the Austin area and will be happy to arrange a showing for you. In this transaction, you will continue to be represented by us with our buyer’s representation agreement. It is the seller who loses, as they complete the transaction with no professional representation.

New Builder Construction

Many home buyers are not aware that the representatives at new construction sales centers work for the builder, and do not represent the buyer’s best interests. We have extensive knowledge of area builder reputations, floor plans, and lots, as well as schools, neighborhoods, and amenities. As your Exclusive Buyer Agent, we will negotiate the purchase price on your behalf with the builder and assist you in selecting upgrades. We will work throughout the transaction to ensure everything goes smoothly.

#1 before we get started 


The single most important thing for you to do before beginning your new home search is to select and meet with a mortgage lender. You can find a list of recommended lenders in the service provider list at the back of this guide. It is important to do this before we begin our search for several reasons: 1. It allows you to determine how much your monthly payment will be. 2. It helps us to determine what price range we should stay within. 3. It gives you an estimate of how much money you will need to have for the down payment and closing costs. 4. Most importantly, it helps us to negotiate from a stronger position with the seller. Home Buyer’s Guide

buying with goldwasser real estate

So, You’re Ready to Buy a New Home!

Whether this is your first home purchase or one in a line of several over the past years, we would like to provide you with some basic information up front to prepare you for your search. Buying a home is an exciting process. It is important going into the transaction that you are aware of the costs you will incur when purchasing your home, as well as what your monthly payments will be once you are in your home.

Four Checks Prior to Closing You will need to write four checks prior to closing on your new home. All costs are average and will vary with the price, size, and features of your new home. 1. Option Fee ($100–$500): Payable to seller at receipt of the contract. This will be credited toward your closing costs. 2. Earnest Money (1% of the sales price of the home): Payable to the title company at receipt of the contract. This will be credited toward your closing costs. 3. Inspection ($300–$500): Payable to the inspector at time of the inspection during the option period. 4. Credit Check and Appraisal ($400): Payable to the lender after the option period expires.

Your Monthly Payment—PITI The monthly payment on your new home will include the principal and interest on the loan you receive from your mortgage company. In addition, you will be responsible for paying annual property taxes and homeowner’s insurance. If you choose, you can have your taxes and insurance added to your monthly payment (some loans require this), or you can pay them on an annual basis. The table at the right will give you an idea of the monthly payment you can expect, including your loan principal and interest (P & I) based on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at 7% interest. Taxes and insurance will vary greatly depending on the area in which you live and the features of your home. (Generally, on a $100,000 to $200,000 home, your taxes will range from $2,000 to $4,000 annually and your homeowner’s insurance will range from $300 to $800 annually.) Once you have found the home you wish to purchase, your lender will complete a Good Faith Estimate for you that will better approximate your closing costs and estimated monthly payment.

sample payments Your mortgage payment based on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at 5% interest.*

loan amount

$100,000 $110,000 $120,000 $130,000 $140,000 $150,000 $160,000 $170,000 $180,000 $190,000 $200,000 $210,000 $220,000 $230,000 $240,000 $250,000 $260,000 $270,000 $280,000 $290,000 $300,000 $310,000 $320,000 $330,000 $340,000 $350,000 $360,000 $370,000 $380,000 $390,000 $400,000

monthly payment $537 $590 $644 $698 $751 $805 $859 $912 $966 $1,020 $1,073 $1,127 $1,181 $1,234 $1,288 $1,342 $1,395 $1,449 $1,503 $1,556 $1,610 $1,664 $1,717 $1,771 $1,825 $1,878 $1,932 $1,986 $2,039 $2,093 $2,147

*Monthly payments listed are principal and interest only. Taxes, insurance, and private mortgage insurance (if applicable) are additional.

Goldwasser Real Estate •

home buying process

Home Buying Process Start Phase 1

Start Phase 2

Initial Consultation Information About Brokerage Services Buyer’s Representation Agreement Buyer’s Packet

Order Appraisal

Mortgage Company

Send Loan to Underwriting

Loan Approval Application for Loan Pre-Approval

Credit Report Order Survey

Title Company

Title Search

Buyer Agent Previews Properties Buyer to Arrange for Transfer of Utilities

View Available Properties

Make Offer on Property

Mortgage Company Delivers Final Loan Documents to Title Company

Negotiate Terms of Offer

Final Contract

Title Company Prepares HUD 1 Statement

Buyer to Arrange for Homeowner’s Insurance

Home Inspection

Negotiate Repairs

Buyer Brings Cashier’s Check to Closing Option Period: 7–10 Days

home Ownership


Refer Your Friends and Family to Goldwasser Real Estate!

Option Period Expires

Proceed to Phase 2 

Home Buyer’s Guide

Home buying process

Tasks and Time Frames


e will go through several steps together while finding and purchasing your home. For many of these we simply inform you that the task has been completed for you; however, others may require some work from you. We inform you about every aspect of the transaction and remind you when there are tasks that you should be working to complete. The chart on the previous page shows the flow of these tasks so you can better understand the home buying process.

TASK: Secure Financing TIME FRAME: Before We Begin Looking The first step in buying a home is to obtain loan pre-approval. This provides you with the information you need to determine how much home you can afford and what type of monthly payment you are comfortable with. In addition, many sellers do not consider offers from buyers who are not pre-approved. We work with several lenders who have proven to offer exceptional customer service and competitive interest rates. A list of recommended lenders can be found in the service provider list at the back of this guide. You may use one of these, or you may choose one of your own. Three elements are crucial to the purchase of a home: the down payment, closing costs, and qualifying for a mortgage. Here is a quick rundown of what you should know:

Down Payment Conventional lenders typically require a 20% down payment, although you may be able to find loans with no down payments. With down payments less than 20%, you will likely have to pay private mortgage insurance, which guarantees the lender will be repaid in case of default. Mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and those available to U.S. veterans often require very low down payments. Ask your lender if you can qualify for one of these loans.

At Goldwasser Real Estate, our people make the difference. With a positive attitude and a team atmosphere, we put our clients first.

Goldwasser Real Estate •

home buying process If you have trouble coming up with the down payment, there are some tips to ease the burden: • Start early. Begin saving for a down payment as soon as possible. After a few years, it adds up. • Ask for a Flex 97 mortgage, underwritten by Fannie Mae. It only requires 3.5% down provided that you have good credit. You may be able to borrow that amount on credit cards. • Convert stocks. Consider selling stock for the down payment. The housing market is often a better investment. • Sell an asset. If you have “toys” such as a boat, extra car, or other asset, consider selling it for the down payment. • Borrow from relatives. Today lenders will allow you to use money from relatives as the down payment if it is provided as a gift. Check with your lender for restrictions.

Closing Costs No matter what home you buy, there will be closing costs. These can include discount points, title insurance, escrow fees, attorney fees, a termite report, recording fees, appraisal fees, document preparation fees, notary fees, and loan underwriting fees. Usually, these are due in cash, but sometimes they can be folded into the mortgage.

Loan Qualification Primarily, your income plus the interest rate secured, determines the size of the mortgage for which you qualify. The higher the interest rate, the higher the monthly payment. The higher the monthly payment, the more income you need to qualify for the mortgage. For conventional financing, lenders generally limit the monthly payment to 28% of your gross monthly income. Exceptions can be made depending on individual circumstances. The amount of debt you currently have may also factor in the decision. Contacting a lender before you make an offer on a house may be a good idea. This head start gives you a chance to resolve any problems that may arise without the pressure of contract deadlines. You can also get pre-approved for a loan, which puts you in a strong position if you make an offer on a house that receives offers from other buyers.

TASK: Inspection TIME FRAME: At Acceptance of Offer Upon acceptance of your offer, you will arrange for an inspection of the property. This needs to be completed during the option period so that if something is discovered during the inspection (that you cannot live with and the seller is not willing to fix), you may cancel the contract and only forfeit your Option Fee. The enclosed service provider directory offers a list of inspectors licensed by the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC). The inspection will take two to four hours and you will only need to be present for the last half-hour when the inspector reviews the findings with you. All homes will likely have a long list of minor repairs. However, we are mainly looking for major mechanical or structural defects to the property. The cost of the inspection varies based on the size and features of the home and will range from $300 to $500. This payment is due at the time of the inspection.

Home Buyer’s Guide

home buying process TASK: Prepare Amendment TIME FRAME: Immediately Following Inspection After the Inspection, we will complete an amendment to the contract. This amendment will include any items that were discovered during the inspection that you would like the seller to repair for you. We will negotiate on your behalf with the seller for the repairs you want completed. Once an agreement on repairs to be completed has been reached, you will forfeit your right to the Option.

TASK: Obtain Homeowner’s Insurance TIME FRAME: During Option Period In order to close on your new home, you need to arrange for Homeowner’s Hazard Insurance. You will need to notify your lender of the insurance company you choose, a contact name, and a phone number. The enclosed service provider directory lists names of insurance agents that our clients have used in the past and have been very satisfied with. You may receive a discount by having your car insurance and homeowner’s insurance with the same company, so check with your current insurance agent as well. We recommend that you obtain at least two estimates from different agents and then make a decision.

Your Goldwasser Real Estate agent will work closely with your transaction manager, lenders, title companies, and other parties to ensure a smooth transaction.

“I might have been the world’s most difficult client. It was my first time buying a home, so not only was I nervous, but I changed my mind about what kind of house I wanted too many times to count. When I first sat down with my Goldwasser Real Estate agent, they explained the home buying process and they listened to my needs and wants. They were always there finding new properties and being very supportive. Now I live in the house of my dreams, and I would not have been able to accomplish this without my Goldwasser Real Estate agent!” —Alyssa Wright Home Buyer

“I have now been working for Streetman Homes for almost two years. During that time I have had the opportunity to meet well over 1,000 Realtors. Needless to say, I am always impressed with any agent that I have ever worked with from your organization. I only hope that I am able to live up to half the expectation that your team deserves when working with me in the future.” —Ryan Outlaw Community Sales Manager Streetman Homes Goldwasser Real Estate •

home buying process TASK: Transfer Utilities/Schedule Services TIME FRAME: 2 Weeks Prior to Closing You will need to transfer the utilities to your name before moving into your new home. In order to save money on hook-up fees, call ahead and ask the utility companies to transfer the billing to your name upon cancellation by the seller. In the enclosed service provider list you will find most utility information for Austin and surrounding areas. If you need further information, please call us; we are here to help you.

TASK: Funds Available in the Bank/Ensure Loan Quality TIME FRAME: 72 Hours Prior to Closing Obtaining pre-approval for a home loan is just the first step in funding your loan at closing. Many times buyers plan to use monies from stocks or 401(k) retirement plans as down payment on their new home. If you plan to liquidate stocks or 401(k) to supplement your down payment, the money from the sale of these funds must be available in the form of cash in your bank account at least 72 hours prior to closing. Because a withdrawal from a 401(k) can be a complicated and time-consuming process, we advise you to begin the withdrawal of these funds immediately. On average, one out of five home mortgage loans goes through a quality control check. The lender does this to ensure that the borrower’s financial status has had no change since the approval of the loan was granted. No matter how good your financial situation, lenders strongly advise against changing your financial status from the date of your loan approval. This includes, but is not limited to, applying for new credit, gaining new credit, purchasing appliances, furniture, cars, changing jobs or quitting your job. An appropriate time to make any of the above financial changes would be after the closing and funding of your new home. If you have any questions about your purchase decisions while you are waiting to close on your new home, please consult your mortgage lender for advice.

TASK: HUD 1 TIME FRAME: One Day Prior to Closing One day prior to closing, or sometimes just hours prior to closing, the title company will complete the HUD 1 settlement statement. This is the document that tells us how much money you will need to bring to closing. We will call you with this amount and to tell you the location of the closing. You will then have a cashier’s check made out to the title company in the correct amount. Bring this check along with your driver’s license to closing. You may also be able to wire funds directly from your bank.

TASK: Closing TIME FRAME: Day of Closing You will receive keys to your new home from the seller when the loan funds. You may be able to begin moving in immediately following closing, although some sellers may require that funding go through before you may take possession. Funding usually happens by the end of the business day. The closing will take approximately one hour. 10

Home Buyer’s Guide


Service Providers Air Conditioning

ABC’s AC’s 512-837-9500 Faught Service Co. Inc 512-419-1066 Fox Service 512-442-6782 Tejas Air and Heat 512-282-5339

foundation repair

Bruecher Foundation 512-335-8867

garage repairs

Access Garage Doors 512-345-1113

General Contracting

Appliance repair

CitiCon Construction 512-627-2777

Appraisal services

ATX (rob) 512-339-9600 Austin Custom Tops 512-363-3346 Carlton Widel 830-992-0396 Ceasar Juarez 512-563-4134 Kevin Hennessee 512-745-7132 Midwest Tile & Granite 512-312-2985

Expert Appliance Repair 512-701-6984 (Mike Holmes) Texan Appraisal Services 512-732-0686


Pride of Austin Homes 512-302-9453 Lone Star Construction 512-784-6841


Working Hands Construction 512-419-7650

Carpet cleaning

Doug G’s 512-459-8456 Harper Carpet Care 512-326-1836 Organic Carpet Care 512-203-7051 Wow 512-291-0048


Connie Hess 512-569-7008 LiveClean Cleaning Service 512-299-4070 Sunshine Home Services 512-656-7768

energy & safety audits

Estimating Services Unlimited 512924-2271 Greenlife (next day) 512-410-8525


Perry Wright 512-413-2180


Handyman Service

Brian Love 512-986-0715 David McKenzie 512-653-6901 Fine Handyman 512-626-9960 Handyman Connection 512-470-7661 John Hostralter 512-803-4259 Mario (Painting, General) 512-554-7431

Home Warranty

Home Warranty of America Claims: 888-492-7359 Local Rep: 512-789-5845


Nunnallee Inspections 512-415-5474 Quality Home Inspections 512-894-0404


Damon McNichols 512-799-7031 Oscar Flores 512-636-4246 Gomez Landscaping 512-296-6164 Top Choice Home and Lawn 512-300-4177


Cothron’s Locksmith 512-472-6273

Mortgage Lending

Ameri Pro Funding 512-329-8914 Austin Capital Mortgage (Charlie Cooper) 512-899-2550


Ace Relocation 512-268-5115 Blue Whale Moving 512-328-6688 Central Transportation 512-651-0155 Heavenly Care 512-340-0551 Minor Moving 512-925-3551


Brian Love 512-986-0715 Gourmet Paint Company 512-507-8454 Joe Kasson 512-312-1035 Mika Maintenance 512-350-8351 Scott and Company 512-228-7067 Texas Painting Company 512-339-0848

Pest Control

ABC Pest and Lawn 512-837-9500 Bulwark 512-291-1200 Critter Ridder 512-363-8070

Goldwasser Real Estate •

J&J Pest 512-452-2401


Alan Gardner 512-775-5034 Thunderbird Plumbing 512-378-0566 USA Plumbing 512-797-0614


Austin Custom Pools 512-963-9352 Greenwall Pools (Chris) 512-940-7555 Seasha Pools, Inc. 512-461-3841

property management

Austin Property Team 512-686-5454 Austin Real Pros 512-507-7161 The Property Management Company 512-255-7575


Apple Roofing 512-844-3161 Longhorn Roofing 512-478-2500 Redd Roofing LLC 512-280-6460

Septic Systems

Necessary, Inc. 512-445-2250 Rainbox Septic 512-380-9024

Tree Trimming

Stump to Finish 512-771-6782 Oscar Ponce Tree Service 512-653-1295

Window Washing

ATX Window Washing 512-343-0001 Jim 512-524-0806


Area Utility Providers

Area Utility Providers City of AUSTIN


Austin Energy: 512-494-9400 Pedernales Electric: 512-331-8883


City of Austin Utilities: 512-494-9400


Atmos Energy: 800-460-3030 Texas Gas Service: 800-700-2443


AT&T: 800-464-7928

Cable TV

Time Warner Communications: 512-485-5555 / 800-418-8848

City of BUDA


Pedernales Electric: 512-331-8883


City of Buda: 512-312-0084


CenterPoint Energy: 512-392-6672


Verizon Communications: 800-483-4000

Cable TV

Time Warner Communications: 512-485-5555 / 800-418-8848



Pedernales Electric: 512-331-8883 TXU Energy: 800-242-9113


Cedar Park Water Department: 512-401-5300


Atmos Energy: 800-460-3030 Texas Gas Service: 800-700-2443



City of Georgetown: 512-930-3640


TXU Energy: 800-242-9113 Reliant Energy: 800-218-7130


City of Pflugerville: 512-251-3076

City of Georgetown: 512-930-3640 Atmos Energy: 800-460-3030

Water/Sanitation Gas

Atmos Energy: 800-460-3030


Verizon Communications: 800-483-4000


AT&T: 800-464-7928

Cable TV

Cox Communications: 512-930-3085

Cable TV

Cox Communications: 512-930-3085

City of KYLE


City of Kyle: 512-268-5341


City of Kyle: 512-268-5341



TXU Energy: 800-242-9113


City of Round Rock: 512-218-5460


Entex: 392-6672


Atmos Energy: 800-460-3030


Verizon Communications: 800-483-4000


AT&T: 800-464-7928

Cable TV

Time Warner Communications: 512-485-5555 / 800-418-8848



Pedernales Electric: 888-554-4732

Cable TV

Time Warner Communications: 512-485-5555 / 800-418-8848




Austin Energy: 512-494-9400


ECO Resources: 512-335-7580


Atmos Energy: 800-460-3030

Cable TV

AT&T: 800-464-7928

City of Leander: 512-259-1142 Atmos Energy: 800-460-3030 AT&T: 800-464-7928 Cox Communications: 512-930-3085


AT&T: 800-464-7928

Cable TV

Time Warner Communications: 512-485-5555 / 800-418-8848




Home Buyer’s Guide

Water/Sanitation Gas

Telephone Cable TV

Time Warner Communications: 512-485-5555 / 800-418-8848

Home Buyer's Guide  

All the information you need about the home buying process.