Chris  Schmidt
Chris Schmidt

Essential Guide to Buy a Home in Houston | Top Buyer Questions

buy a home in Houston

Navigating the real estate landscape can be both exciting and challenging, especially in a dynamic market like Houston. Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned investor, this comprehensive guide is designed to answer your top questions and provide invaluable insight to help you buy a home in Houston. 

From understanding the local market trends to deciphering the intricacies of the home buying journey, we’ve got you covered. 

Key Takeaways

  • Renowned for its strong economy, Houston has become a thriving hub for industries like energy, healthcare, and technology. 
  • Setting a budget is a crucial step in the home-buying process. Start by evaluating your finances, including your income, expenses, debts, and savings.
  • Seek guidance from real estate professionals, financial advisors, and mortgage experts to help you figure out how much home you can afford.
  • Securing representation as a home buyer is important, especially in the highly competitive Houston real estate market. 
  • Typically, you should start viewing homes after you’ve secured financing or pre-approval from a lender. 

What Should I Know Before House Hunting?

What Are My Homeownership Goals?

Before buying a home, it’s important to establish your home-buying goals. Why do you want to buy a home, and do you have any lifestyle goals that require a specific type of home? For example, if you have pets, you might need a home with a larger yard. Your goals for homeownership might include:

  • Financial Stability: Finding a home that fits within your budget is important. When you have a mortgage you can pay confidently each month, it leads to greater financial stability and security over time. 
  • Investment Potential: Some buyers see homeownership as a long-term investment since their property is likely to appreciate over time. This means you’ll have greater equity and be able to earn a profit if you decide to sell down the road.
  • Family Growth: Buyers often look for a home that accommodates their current family size and potential future growth. If you’re planning a family, you’ll likely need a larger home with more bedrooms and bathrooms. 
  • Location Preferences: The location of a home, including proximity to work, schools, and amenities, is a key consideration for many buyers.
  • Personalization and Customization: Homeownership allows for personalization and customization, unlike renting. Buyers may have goals related to creating a space that reflects their style and preferences.

What Are My Houston and Neighborhood Preferences?

Before house hunting, make a list of all your neighborhood preferences. Some criteria you can assess include:

  • Local school district. Research the quality of schools in the area. Consider the student-to-ratio, average test scores, and the availability of extracurriculars.
  • Crime rates. Verify that the area has low rates of violent crime and property crime, and how it compares to other neighborhoods in the area.
  • Commuting distance. Consider how far the neighborhood is from your job. If you want a shorter commute, you may have to sacrifice other aspects, like a home with a larger yard.
  • Community atmosphere. Decide whether you want to live in an urban area, or if you prefer a quieter,  more rural environment.
  • Proximity to essential services and amenities. Think about how far you want to live from essential services and amenities like hospitals, grocery stores, restaurants, and shopping centers.
  • Affordability. Make sure the neighborhood is within your budget. Consider expenses in the area such as property taxes, HOA fees, and the overall cost of living.

How Do I Set My Home Buying Budget?

Understand Your Finances

Setting a budget is a crucial step in the home-buying process. Start by evaluating your finances, including your income, expenses, debts, and savings. In addition, think about any changes in your financial situation that you might expect in the future, such as job changes, family growth, or other major life events.

Use this information to find your debt-to-income ratio, by dividing your monthly debt payments by your monthly income to get your ratio. This information is important for lenders, who use it to determine your ability to afford monthly mortgage payments.

Create a Budget Estimate

Decide on the amount you can comfortably put down as a down payment. While 20% is a common benchmark, there are loan programs that accept lower percentages. And if you’re a first-time home buyer, you may be able to pay with zero down.

It’s important to factor in additional costs beyond the home’s purchase price, such as closing costs, property taxes, homeowners insurance, and maintenance expenses.

Based on all of these costs, determine a monthly mortgage payment that aligns with your budget and financial goals. 

Reach Out to a Lender

Reach out to a lender to get pre-approved for a mortgage. This process considers your creditworthiness and provides a realistic budget based on your financial profile. You can then begin house-hunting for homes based on the mortgage amount you’re pre-approved for.

Your lender can also help you investigate different loan programs and interest rates to find the most suitable option for your financial situation.

While it’s tempting to aim for the maximum loan amount, be realistic about your lifestyle and finances– avoid stretching your budget to its limits. Seek guidance from real estate professionals, financial advisors, and mortgage experts to help you figure out what you can afford.

What Questions Should I Ask Home Sellers?

Ask About the Specifics of the Property

When buying a home, asking the right questions is crucial to gather essential information about the property. Some questions you can consider asking home sellers include:

  • Why are you selling the property?
  • How long has the property been on the market?
  • Are there any known issues or recent repairs? Has there ever been water damage, and if so, how was it addressed?
  • What is the age and condition of major systems (roof, HVAC, plumbing, electrical)? Are there security features in place, such as an alarm system?
  • What improvements or renovations have been made to the property? Are there warranties or manuals for appliances and major systems?
  • What are the average utility costs for the property?
  • Can you provide a seller’s disclosure statement?
  • Have there been any insurance claims on the property?
  • What terms are you looking for in the sale? Are there any specific contingencies in the sale contract? Are you open to negotiations, and if so, what terms are negotiable?
  • What is the expected timeline for closing the sale? Are there any specific dates or deadlines I should be aware of?

Ask About the Community and Long-Term Considerations

Asking questions about the community can also provide valuable insights into where you’ll be living. Ask questions like:

  • How would you describe the neighborhood and community? Are there any safety concerns in the area? Are there any neighborhood watch programs or security measures?
  • Are there any upcoming developments or construction projects planned nearby?
  • Is there an HOA, and if so, what are the rules and fees? Are there any pending or planned assessments of the home by the HOA?
  • Are there any community rules or regulations that homeowners should be aware of?
  • What can you tell me about the neighbors?
  • Are there any community groups or associations? Do they host community events or gatherings?
  • How would you rate the local schools? Are there any notable educational programs or extracurricular activities?
  • What amenities are nearby, such as parks, shopping centers, and recreational areas? Are there good dining and entertainment options? 
  • What community services are available in the area, such as libraries, healthcare facilities, and public services?
  • How is the public transportation system in the area? What is the average commute time to the nearest cities and schools?

How Do I Hire the Best Realtor in Houston?

Is it Important to Have Home Buyer Representation? 

Securing representation as a home buyer is important, especially in the highly competitive Houston real estate market. Buying a home is a significant financial transaction. Think of your buyer’s agent as your dedicated advocate throughout the process. 

Their role extends across every stage of the buying journey, from finding properties that align with your preferences to facilitating connections with home inspectors, lenders, and title companies. When you discover a home that captures your interest, your realtor also becomes instrumental in negotiations with the home seller or home builder. 

What Credentials Will the Best Realtors Have?

Top-tier real estate professionals often have affiliations with prestigious national or local organizations like the National Association of Realtors, local real estate boards, or chambers of commerce. They may also have awards from these organizations.

In addition, client testimonials serve as a crucial gauge of a realtor’s performance. Of course, the best realtors should earn predominantly positive reviews. However, it’s important to see how they respond to any criticism in negative reviews. Additional indicators of a realtor’s expertise include certifications and designations such as Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) or Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR). 

If you want to buy a home in Houston, Chris Schmidt and Your Home Sold Guaranteed Realty - Chris Schmidt Team is the best choice. With over two decades of experience and unique buyer guarantees to guide you to your ideal home, buying a home with us is a unique experience.

What Questions Should I Ask Before Hiring a Realtor?

Before hiring a realtor, home buyers should ask certain questions to ensure they choose the right professional for their needs. Asking the right questions allows home buyers to assess the realtor’s qualifications, approach, and compatibility with their needs, ensuring a smoother and more successful home-buying experience:

  • How long have you been a real estate agent? What is your experience in the local market?
  • Can you provide references from past clients?
  • How well do you know the neighborhoods I’m interested in? Can you share insights into current market trends?
  • How do you prefer to communicate, and how often can I expect updates? Are you available on weekends and evenings?
  • Can you share examples of successful negotiations you’ve facilitated? How will you help me get the best possible deal?
  • Can you explain the home-buying process and relevant contracts?
  • How do you handle the legal aspects of the transaction?
  • How do you stay updated on new listings and market changes? What tools and technology do you use for property searches and transactions?
  • What are your fees, and how are they structured? Are there any additional costs I should be aware of?
  • Do you work independently, or do you have a team to support transactions? How will your support team assist in the buying process?
  • What criteria will you use to match homes with my preferences?

What Else Should I Consider Before Buying?

What City and Neighborhood Do I Want to Live in?

Memorial Villages  

This collection of luxury communities includes neighborhoods like Piney Point Village, Bunker Hill Village, Hedwig Village, Hilshire Village, Hunters Creek Village, and Spring Valley Village. Known for its top-rated schools and spacious lot sizes, Memorial Villages is an attractive choice for anyone seeking luxury living in a suburban environment.

Bunker Hill Village  

Bunker Hill Village is a small city within the Memorial Villages district of Houston, Texas. It’s a luxury community and is considered one of the wealthiest areas of the state. With a population of a little under 4,000 residents, Bunker Hill Village is the perfect place for families and individuals. 

Hedwig Village  

Hedwig Village is a community within Memorial Villages, located in West Houston near the Energy Corridor. Established in 1955, Hedwig Village spans just under one square mile and has a population of a little over 2,300. Homebuyers are drawn to Hedwig Village for its peaceful, semi-rural setting, and proximity to excellent schools.

Hilshire Village  

Hilshire Village is a small luxury community located in Harris County, around 18 miles west-northwest of downtown Houston. It has a population of a little over 800 residents and is considered part of the Memorial Villages district. Homes in the neighborhood have large lot sizes and come in a variety of styles. 

Hunters Creek Village  

Hunters Creek Village is a luxury neighborhood that makes up the Memorial Villages community in West Houston. Hunters Creek Village spans about 3.5 square miles and is framed by Terry Hershey Park and Buffalo Bayou. This allows residents to enjoy scenic trails and greenspaces. 

Piney Point Village  

Piney Point Village is considered one of the wealthiest residential communities in West Houston near the Energy Corridor. Encompassing just 0.5 square miles, Piney Point Village lies among Memorial Park and the villages of Bunker Hill and Hunters Creek.

Spring Valley Village 

Spring Valley Village is a community within the Memorial Village district in west Houston. Encompassing 1.4 square miles along Hunters Creek, this quiet residential village has a population of 4,229 residents.

Spring Branch

Known for its suburban character, Spring Branch has historic homes, tree-lined streets, and a mix of shopping plazas. It offers a family-friendly atmosphere, convenient access to downtown Houston, and a variety of amenities that make it a desirable place to live for residents of all ages.


Montrose is a neighborhood in west-central Houston. It’s known for its artistic spirit and cultural diversity, and is considered by some to be the “Heart of Houston.” With a population of a little over 27,500 residents, Montrose offers a dynamic urban living experience.

Houston Heights

Houston Heights is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Houston. Located just northwest of downtown, it’s known for historic architecture and a small-town atmosphere despite its urban and suburban appearance.

Oak Forest

Oak Forest is a residential neighborhood located in the northwest part of Houston. It’s known for its tree-lined streets, large lot sizes, and a mix of mid-century and newer homes. Oak Forest has a strong sense of community and features amenities like parks, schools, and local businesses.

Rice Military 

Rice Military is a popular choice among home buyers because of its inner-loop location, and convenient location just west of Downtown Houston. The community features early 20th-century homes, though recent years have brought an influx of renovated craftsman bungalows and new contemporary townhomes.

River Oaks

Located west of Downtown, River Oaks is a haven for luxury estates, high-rise condominiums, and high-quality amenities, like the River Oaks Country Club. This club offers golf, dining, and social events throughout the year. There are also high-end shopping and fine dining establishments in the area.

Houston Area Suburbs:


Katy is a small city that makes up part of the Houston Metropolitan area. Located just west of Houston along Interstate 10, the city of Katy has a population of 21,894 residents. With its family-friendly appeal, small-town atmosphere, and lively downtown district, Katy offers all the benefits of suburban living to families and individuals alike. 


Located in northeast Houston, Kingwood is a master-planned community spanning over 15,000 acres– the largest community in Harris County. Developed in the 1970s, Kingwood offers extensive amenities like golf courses, trails, community centers, and lakes. 

This collection of luxury communities includes neighborhoods like Piney Point Village, Bunker Hill Village, Hedwig Village, Hilshire Village, Hunters Creek Village, and Spring Valley Village. Known for its top-rated schools and spacious lot sizes, Memorial Villages is an attractive choice for anyone seeking luxury living in a suburban environment.


Summerwood is a master-planned community located in Harris County in the northeastern part of the Houston metropolitan area. The community features amenities like parks, green spaces, walking trails, and recreational facilities, as well as easy access to the Sam Houston Tollway and Interstate 10.

The Woodlands 

The Woodlands is a master-planned community and special-purpose district located about 30 miles north of downtown Houston. It spans over 28,000 acres and has a population of around 119,000 residents. 

What Are The Downsides of the Area I Choose?

Downsides differ depending on the location. However, common drawbacks in many areas of Houston include the cost of housing, the cost of groceries, public transportation, and tax rates. Home buyers are also worried about commuting times, traffic patterns, population density, weather conditions, and noise levels. 

Keep in mind that no location is without its downsides. For this reason, it’s crucial to identify the primary issues that you consider deal breakers. Focusing on these issues and compromising on others ensures you’ll find a home that meets your priorities and preferences.

Are There Future Development Plans and Infrastructure?

Houston has been marked by a history of robust growth and continual development. Renowned for its strong economy, the city has become a thriving hub for industries like energy, healthcare, and technology. 

Houston also has a rapidly growing population. This has caused the city to create urban development initiatives aimed at accommodating the needs of its residents and sustaining its economy. The city’s growth is often characterized by infrastructure improvements, residential expansion, and the construction of commercial areas. 

What Types of Properties Should I Consider?

The Houston area has a wide variety of houses to choose from. Whether you want a lot of space in a suburb, or prefer to be in a high-rise, or in a neighborhood closer to the action, Houston has something to offer for everyone.

Luxury Homes

On average, there are over 300 luxury homes on the market in Houston. The average asking price for these properties is around $2,500,000. The highest-priced property is $15,000,000, while the lowest is around $1,200,000. 

Luxury homes in Houston typically have four to six bedrooms, five to seven bathrooms, and 4,000 to 8,000 square feet of living space. Some of the top luxury neighborhoods are River Oaks, Memorial Villages, Heights, and Montrose.

New Construction

Houston has many custom and new construction homes. Whether it’s single-family homes, townhouses, or condominiums, prospective homebuyers in Houston have many options for new construction. To find the most up-to-date information on new construction homes and custom home builders in Houston, reach out to Your Home Sold Guaranteed Realty - Chris Schmidt Team at 713-322-5604 today. Your Home Sold Guaranteed Realty - Chris Schmidt Team has a full list of current builder incentives – from lower mortgage finance rates to free upgrades, call 713-322-5604 today to get the most current builder incentives.

Homes with Pools

Given Houston’s warm climate, having a pool is a desirable feature for many home buyers. Whether you’re looking at single-family homes, townhouses, or luxury estates, you’ll find a variety of Houston homes with pools. Additionally, some communities and neighborhoods in Houston may offer shared or community pools for residents. 

Homes with Land

While Houston is known for its diverse urban landscape, it also offers suburban and rural areas where larger properties are available. Suburban neighborhoods and areas outside the city center often feature homes with acreage, providing residents with spacious yards or even acreage. 

Condos and Townhouses

Houston has many condominiums and townhomes for sale. Condos, often found in high-rise buildings, offer stunning city views and the allure of a maintenance-free lifestyle. Townhomes, on the other hand, present a more spacious alternative, often featuring multiple stories and private outdoor spaces.  Be sure to read our guide to Downtown Houston Condos and Houston Galleria-Uptown Condos to fully understand the higher end luxury condo market.

When Should I Start Viewing Homes? 

Typically, you should start viewing homes after you’ve secured financing or pre-approval from a lender. Before viewing homes, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of your budget, desired neighborhoods, and the ideal features you’re looking for in a home. 

Once you have a sense of your preferences and have secured your finances, you can work with a real estate agent to schedule viewings. 

Who is the Top Realtor in Houston?

If you’re looking for the top realtor in Houston, Texas, look no further than Chris Schmidt and Your Home Sold Guaranteed Realty - Chris Schmidt Team. We’re experts at the Houston housing market. With years of experience helping home buyers, we know all the historical market patterns and current trends in the area. 

Plus, our unique buyer guarantees like the Buy it Back Guarantee and Move Up Guarantee make purchasing a home risk-free. Our team offers these guarantees because we believe you should have a stress-free home-buying experience. 

Above all, we’re committed to providing high-quality customer service, exceptional communication, and expert negotiation skills. To learn more about working with Your Home Sold Guaranteed Realty - Chris Schmidt Team to buy a home in Houston, call 713-322-5604, send a message to [javascript protected email address], or fill out the form on this page.

More Questions Home Sellers Ask

Is it hard to buy a home in Houston?

Houston is considered a seller’s market, which means there’s low supply and high demand. This translates to higher prices for home buyers. It also means the market experiences faster home sales, since properties are quickly snatched up by interested buyers.

For this reason, some home buyers may find it somewhat challenging to buy a house in Houston. Of course, it’s important to consult with a realtor before buying a home, as market conditions change frequently.

How much is a down payment on a house?

The standard down payment is often around 20% of the home’s value. However, many mortgage programs, especially for first-time homebuyers, offer options with lower down payment requirements, sometimes as low as three to five percent. Some programs even offer zero down.

Is it worth buying a house in Houston?

Whether or not it’s worth it to buy a home in Houston depends on your personal preferences and financial situation. Houston is the fourth most populous city in the U.S. and the most populous in Texas. Its housing market has seen considerable growth over recent years, making it a great choice for home buyers wanting to live in a fast-paced urban environment with a strong economy.

Is it cheaper to rent or buy a home in Houston?

It’s cheaper to buy a home in Houston than it is to rent one. The median rent in Houston is $1,799 per month while the median mortgage payment is around $1,493 per month. In addition, buying a home allows you to benefit from equity over time.

What is the best time of year to buy a home?

Typically, spring and summer are the best times of the year to buy a home in Houston. However, you’ll also face heavier competition from other buyers. On the other hand, winter and fall months have less competition, but there will also be fewer homes on the market. Your realtor can help you decide the right time to buy a home.

Are house prices in Houston dropping?

In recent months, the median sold price for homes in Houston is $315,260. This is a 5.7% decrease from the same point last year.

To Discuss Your Home Sale or Purchase, Call or Text Today and Start Packing!