If you are buying a home for the first time, congratulations! This is a very exciting time for you but we understand you are venturing into new territory! Below are some helpful hints and common mistakes to avoid when buying your first home in Denver, Colorado.
“Is this home a short term real estate purchase less than 5 years, 5-10 years or 10 years or more?”
Below are some basic questions and answers to get you started:
Why is it important to hire a professional realtor?
Just like lawyers are trained to guide and protect their clients, so are professional Real Estate Agents.
How much does it cost me to hire a professional Real Estate Agent?
Nothing! In the state of Colorado, the seller pays for the buyer’s agent.
How do I determine what is most important to me in my first home?
We recommend making two lists: On the first one include items you must have (number of bedrooms, a certain location, any accessibility needs (ie. one story, main floor bed & full bath, etc.)) The second list is your wishes – things you would like to have but that are not absolutely necessary (a large yard, corner lot, extra bathrooms, etc.) Realistically, for first-time home buyers, you may not get everything on your wish list, but it will keep you on track for what you are looking for.
How do I know how much I can afford and what extra costs I need to budget for?
After our buyer consultation, we will refer you to our trusted lending partner who helps you determine how much you can afford to comfortably pay for a home and help you to get pre-approved for a mortgage. You will also want to account for the additional costs of homeownership such as property taxes, homeowners insurance, maintenance and upkeep, and HOA fees. We can help determine roughly how much these items will be during our search process as they may change from neighborhood to neighborhood and house to house.
How to start searching for the right area/city?
During our buyer consultation, we will determine what is most important to you in your first home and identify some areas that might be a good fit so you can begin to narrow down what towns/neighborhoods would best serve your lifestyle priorities and budget. We also recommend asking around and driving around town to see what areas give you the community feel that you are looking for.
Why do I need to get Pre-Approved for a mortgage?
Once you have hired a mortgage broker, the next milestone is to apply for and be approved for a mortgage of a certain amount. This will help you to tailor your search to homes you can actually afford AND having a pre-approval letter assures sellers you can afford their home should you make an offer. Costs for pre-approval are generally nominal and lenders will usually permit you to pay them when you close your loan.
What is the best way to start researching neighborhoods?
During your buying consultation, we will ask a lot of questions about what you are looking for in your new home and your new community. Pair this with how much you can afford and this will really start to narrow down the geographic area you will want to focus on. We recommend driving through the neighborhoods to get a feel for the area, what businesses are there, people you see out and about, etc.
We also recommend if you see an open house, pop in and check it out! Bring our business card with you and share it with the showing agent to let them know you are represented and then ask them questions about what they like about the neighborhood. They should be able to share insights about the area that may not be obvious to the eye.
What is the best way to search for homes?
After your buying consultation and once we have narrowed down the list of specifics and some areas to watch, we will set up a “Saved Search” for you. This search will pull directly from the MLS and send you updates based on your specific search criteria. If we see something that we think would be a good fit we will reach out and ask if you would like to go see it, and vice versa.
When touring a home, what should I be looking for?
If you are touring a home you have usually determined that it fits the criteria on paper that you are looking for. Enough bedrooms, a good neighborhood, the right price range, and usually you have also looked at photos to make sure aesthetically the house is pleasing to you. There is an old saying that when you find the right house, you will just know and we have found often times that is the case. Explore the layout of the rooms, are the size and scale functional to how you live? What is natural light like? Is there ample storage? Is it located on a busy or noisy street? Can you visualize what the home would look like with your décor? Can you picture yourself living there? If there are any cons to the home weigh those with the positives and see what wins out. Some things that may not have been negotiable before may be offset by some positives you didn’t even know you were looking for.
Writing an offer
What does being “In Escrow” mean?
All the above may seem rather overwhelming. That is why having a professional represent you and keep track of all the details for you is highly recommended.