Buyers Tips

Know what you can afford: The first step in buying a home is to understand what you can afford. Meeting with a qualified mortgage professional can help you with this process. They will analyze your credit score and income and determine the amount of money that you qualify for. Once you understand this make sure that number is something you feel comfortable with paying each month.

Needs versus wants: Make a list of your needs & wants. Remember a need is different than wanting something. Needing 3 bedrooms versus wanting a granite countertop are different. Understand which items you absolutely have to have and which ones would be nice to have. This will help narrow your list down.

Location & neighborhood: It is good to narrow down your search to a few housing neighborhoods that make sense. If you have children it will be important to keep in mind the schools and district the home falls in. Research and talk to others and learn which neighborhoods are popular.

Do not settle: Look at as many houses as you need until you find the house that speaks to you. After you look at several houses it will give you a good idea on what you like and do not like. This will help to define your Needs versus Wants list.

Narrow your list down: After you have looked at many houses make sure to narrow your list down. Keep a running top 3 “best house” list and when you look at a new house ask yourself “does this house belong in my top 3”? Once you feel comfortable with your top 3, go back and revisit them. Rank each of the top 3 against your Needs versus Wants list, and determine which house ranks at the top.

Bank owned homes: Buying a bank owned home can be a great way to get a home at a very good price. However you need to understand that you are buying the home “as is”, and the bank will not make any repairs. Secondly typically bank owned homes sell fast so if you find one that you like you need to jump on it.

Use a home inspector: It is important when buying a home that you use a home inspector. They will go through the property in great detail and indentify any major issues. You can use their report to ask the seller to fix any of the “major items or defects”.

Check the sewer line: In Colorado it is common for sewer lines to have cracks which can be avoided by spending a few hundred dollars to inspect the line.

Negotiate, negotiate, and negotiate: When buying a home it is important to negotiate to get the best deal possible. When making an offer on a house, it is important to know how long the property has been on the market, how many price reductions the property has undergone, what similar houses have sold for in the same neighborhoods, and how much it will cost to fix items.

Use a buyer’s agent: Remember using a buyer’s agent to help in this home buying process does not cost you any money as real estate commissions are paid by the seller. Find an agent that you like and works hard for you and isn’t afraid to negotiate.