The Mortgage Process

Unless you plan to pay cash to buy a house, it’s a great idea to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you begin looking for properties to purchase. In order to make an offer on a property, you will need a pre-approval letter from a lender, so you’ll have to go through the mortgage pre-approval process one way or another. Our real estate agents in Austin suggest starting the pre-approval process sooner rather than later; it not only gives you buying power, it also helps you narrow down your search.

1. How much will you need to put down on a property & how do different down payment amounts affect your mortgage rate & any PMI (Mortgage Insurance.)
2. What do prospective monthly payments look like for different-priced homes?
3. How do different down payment amounts affect your monthly payment for a specific price point?
Answering these questions helps you determine your price range and gets us off to a great start on your search.

If you would like a referral to a great lender, just let us know.

When looking for a lender, we recommend the following:
  • Go Local!

    Local mortgage bankers rely on referrals to get most of their business, so they have to protect their local reputation. A local loan originator (LO) will be much more motivated to close your loan on time & with little hassle than someone in Hoboken, NJ.
  • Use an LO & bank that specializes in mortgages.

    These types of LO’s are typically 100% commission jobs. So, they’re highly motivated to get you approved & to make sure your loan closes on time.
  • Use someone w/ an online social media presence, specifically with reviews.

    If your lender is rated well on Yelp, Google+, or AngiesList, that the lender will want to protect his/her rating (and hopefully get a new, positive review from you.)
  • Stay away from national retail banks

    Like Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Chase, etc… You might already bank w/ a national bank, and it might seem natural to go to them for a mortgage. In our experience, their mortgage departments are typically staffed with lower-paid employees who aren’t heavily incentivized, which means they have little motivation to do a good job for you.

If you’re hesitant to speak with a lender now, you can get started on your own by taking the following steps:
  1. Check your credit score at CreditKarma.com. Typically, you’ll need at least a 660 to qualify (with some exceptions for FHA & VA financing.) The higher your credit score, the better rate the bank will offer you. You’ll get the most attractive rate with a 740+ credit score.
  2. Use an online mortgage calculator or download an app to your phone. Make sure that it calculates Principal, Interest, Taxes, & Insurance (PITI) which is your total monthly payment. Bear in mind that Texas has higher property taxes than most calculators will assume. For Android, we recommend using Karl’s Mortgage Calculator and we recommend the Quicken Loans app (though we strongly recommend against using Quicken Loans.)
  3. Calculate your Debt to Income Ratio (DTI.) This is your total monthly debt load (student loans, car payments, minimum credit cards, etc) divided by your monthly pre-tax income. Your lender will approve you for roughly 50% DTI, so you can add in prospective mortgage payments (PITI) to get an idea of what you’ll qualify for.
As you can see, the mortgage pre-approval process can be a little complicated, which is why we think it’s best to speak with a lender early in the process. We’re happy to help in any way we can! Give us a call at 512-883-5445!
Sources: [1] Credit Karma [2] Bankrate – Mortgage Calculator With Taxes And Insurance [3] Dr. Calculator – Karl’s Mortgage Calculator [4] Quicken Loans Mortgage Calculator App
Buyer Resources
First Time Home Buyers CLICK HERE
Relocating To Austin? CLICK HERE

2300+ Client reviews!

Meaghan Marks was not only my realtor, but my biggest advocate and support while selling 2 of my homes at the same time. I had never sold a house before, so having a realtor that held my hand was very important to me. There were struggles with the buyers, and she walked me through all the lingo and curveballs along the way, allowing me to ultimately make the best decisions for ME and my situation. Throughout the process, Meaghan not only was patient and professional, but she was kind and fun to be around, making the stressful seem seamless. If you want a friend who has your back and helps you navigate buying or selling a home, Meaghan is your girl!

Tammy was so helpful during our home buying process. We really appreciated how invested she was in us finding our first home. Would definitely recommend!

Selling our house with Bramlett Residential was a great experience. Our realtor, Craig, was not only patient and thoughtful but also an expert in our neighborhood. Throughout the process, he served as our advocate, ensuring we felt confident and supported every step of the way. Craig was a true professional, prioritizing our needs and concerns. He and the team took a lot of the stress out of the process.. I wholeheartedly recommend Bramlett Residential to anyone looking to buy or sell a home.

Bramlett Residential Real Estate group was great! Our realtor, Simon Vand was super helpful and made our first home buying experience a lot of fun. We are thankful we had such a friendly agent and strongly recommend using him in the future!

Becky Welch is an excellent realtor and a joy to work with! She was super organized and helpful, guiding us through the process of finding and buying a home while minimizing our stress. She took the time to understand what we hoped to find and sent us regular email updates on new listings that met our criteria to help narrow our focus. She sent us expert video walk-throughs of homes we liked online to save us time, and was patient as we searched for months to find that “needle in the haystack” that met our unique needs. She ran detailed comp analysis on homes we liked, which helped us find a good investment that appraised above our purchase price. Once we made the offer, she expertly negotiated the contract terms and post-inspection amendments based on our input and provided solid advice, follow-ups & reminders from contract to post-closing. Becky’s referrals for a great home inspector and handyman/contractor were much appreciated. She even arranged foe one of her favorite roofers to make minor repairs at no charge, as she helped us estimate repair costs identified in the inspection. Becky went above & beyond to make buying our home as easy and painless as possible, interfacing with the title company, lender and selling agent to help keep our closing on track. Becky’s extensive Austin market knowledge and contacts, her strong work ethic and her calm and friendly demeanor make her the perfect partner to help buy a home! She guided us through an epic search to find the right home in the right neighborhood at the right price, and I’m now blessed to call her a friend!

Our experience working with Barrett was nothing less than amazing. He first came on our radar when he sold a house on our street before it hit the market. When it came time to sell our house, Barrett came prepared with market analysis data and confidence that he would sell our house quickly at a strong price point. Barrett was not pushy and
always gave us the necessary data to make informed decisions. His recommendations on painters, handymen, landscapers, stagers, and photographers were all a pleasure to work with and truly got our house looking its best. We received multiple offers within the first few weeks, and Barrett helped immensely throughout the process to ensure
everything went smoothly. And it did. Thank you, Barrett! It was then a no-brainer to work with Barrett on our new home purchase. Again, Barrett worked within the parameters we gave him. Originally, we thought that central Austin would no longer be an option with our growing family. Barrett was able to locate a new construction home in
Tarrytown that met our needs and then was able to negotiate to stay within our budget. We couldn’t be happier about our new home. Barrett was fantastic to work with both selling and buying. Highly recommended.

Barrett did a great job for us in many ways. His knowledge of the area (west, southwest Austin) was very helpful to us as we wanted to locate near our children and near a golf club. He advised us on clubs (he is uniquely qualified to do that!) and helped us identify the neighborhoods we were interested in. He worked tirelessly to show us houses and
was always helpful and knowledgeable. Most importantly, he spotted the house we bought before it hit the market and alerted us immediately. We couldn’t ask for more from a Realtor. He was a pleasure to work with. We felt he was a straight shooter and a good listener. We would definitely recommend him to friends.

If I was going to sum up my experience with Barrett in one word, it would be ‘Professional.’ I personally think this is the best compliment you can give to someone for their job. Barrett was always available and responded to every call or text very timely, and even if he didn’t have the answer immediately and needed to rely on others for the
answers, he would set expectations on when I could expect an answer and eventually provide the answer needed. This was our first home buying process, and both my fiance and I felt comfortable with Barrett throughout the entire process. During every walkthrough we had, he did a great job of answering any questions we had and was
careful not to force his opinions on the house unless we specifically asked for his opinion. He let us know what to expect during each step of the process and made sure we felt comfortable, and never made us feel rushed. I really can’t say enough about my experience with Barrett, and I am grateful for having worked with him. I would absolutely
recommend Barrett to anyone and plan on working with him again in the future.

We, honestly, cannot say enough about Barrett. Knowing he had experience with relocation companies, and his superb knowledge of our neighborhood is what sold us on him. He answered every call, text, and email professionally and on time. This was our first time working with a relocation company, and Barrett took the time to explain
and guide us through the entire process. It is so important to have a good working relationship with your Realtor, and we feel very fortunate to have worked with him. We can only hope to find someone close to Barrett in Washington State when we decide to buy here.

My experience with Barrett Sandefur has been absolutely amazing! Barrett’s knowledge of current market conditions, housing trends, and the best way to navigate the home buying process in the ever-changing Austin marketplace was invaluable. Being a first-time home buyer made for a high-stress situation, but with the help of Barrett, everything came together seamlessly. Having a great realtor can make a world of difference when looking for your home, and I can not think of a better person to have walked me through this process. From taking me to countless house showings, answering many questions and phone calls, to helping me secure my perfect first home,
Barrett consistently made my home buying process run smoothly. Thanks, Barrett, for being my realtor of choice!

I have worked with Barrett Sandefur on three properties, both as the buyer and the seller. It is by far the best experience I have ever had with an agent. He is always on top of everything, communicates well, and makes the process easy. I recommend him to anyone looking to buy or sell a home in Austin.

I had a great experience working with Barrett. I found him to be very proactive and knowledgeable. His proactivity was key, both in terms of finding a great opportunity before it hit the market, but also by reaching out with helpful info or check-ins as we moved from offer to closing. His market knowledge was very helpful, both in terms of helping me understand the neighborhood and opportunity, but also talking through potential improvements to the house and what they could net me in terms of an estimated value and rents.

Click Here to Read All Reviews