How to Buy a House in Northern Colorado
Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or a veteran homeowner, understanding the home buying process is a rewarding experience. It’ll calm any home-owning fears you might have and it’ll explain what factors go into play when you decide to purchase a new property. So, with this quick guide, I want to personally help you understand how: a real estate agent can help you, what price range you should look at, and what your last steps should be to buying a house.
First Steps: Where to Start
Most people come to me with a list of houses they want to look at, and though there’s nothing wrong with that, sometimes I come across interested buyers who can’t afford the home of their “dreams.” It’s never a pleasurable experience explaining to someone they have been rejected on their mortgage loan. To make sure you are setting yourself up for success, talk to a mortgage lender and get pre-approved for a loan. This will give you a ballpark estimate of what price range you should be looking at.
To get started on the right foot (for buying a house), here’s my suggested list of first steps you should take:
- Start saving money for the upfront costs of buying a home (such as a down payment)
- Talk to a mortgage lender & get pre-approved for a loan
- Contact a local real estate agent and discuss what type of home you’re looking for
- View and visit homes for sale
- Choose a home and make an offer
- Be ready for negotiations
- Sign the paperwork and close the deal
Plan Ahead: Set a Budget
When I talk about setting a budget, I mean both in the preliminary sense and for buying a house. Purchasing real estate has a lot of upfront costs, and it often catches people by surprise. So, my first suggestion is to set yourself a budget for expenses and start saving money every month. That way, the down payment, closing fees, and moving expenses don’t shock you (and they can range in the thousands of dollars).
Secondly, set a budget on the price tag for homes you’re looking at. A lot of us want the million dollar ranch, but we can’t afford it. Understand how much your monthly mortgage payment will be and make sure it won’t put you into a financial strain. And don’t forget to count in the cost of utilities, property taxes, and home maintenance. All these costs add up and you want to make sure you have the budget for them. (In general, mortgage experts suggest that your monthly mortgage payment not exceed 28% of your gross monthly income.)
Prep for Action: Find a Home
It’s easy to boil down a house to the number of bedrooms and bathrooms it has, but we all know it’s much more than that. Finding the right home is like finding the right movie. You need to enjoy it, love it, and want to watch it over and over (i.e. live in it for years).
With our website, you can narrow your search by city and neighborhood. When you see a property you like, you can view images of the interior and exterior. You can also see where it’s located and use our Maps Tool to see which schools, grocery stores, and businesses are nearby. Lastly, you can make an account and save the homes as favorites. That way, you can come back to them (cause we know you’ll have more than one favorite). Plus, we can send you suggested properties you might like based on your favorites. To start searching for a new home, click the button below:
Understand: How an Agent Can Help
Yes, it’s easy to find a home for sale on the internet these days. What’s not easy is understanding the paperwork and timing needed to complete the purchase of a house. That’s where a real estate agent can come in handy. They are essentially your partner in buying a home. They will make sure the contract/deal is in your best interest and will guide you on what to do every step of the way. They will sync all the third parties needed to complete the deal as well (i.e. mortgage lender, inspectors, lawyers, etc).
Treating you as a partner, rather than a transaction, has been the motto of the Remax Alliance Team for years. We understand that buying a house is both a big financial and emotional decision. We want to help you buy a house from more than this blog post. Give us a call and compare our ratings/success with other brokerages in the Colorado area:
Get Serious: Make an Offer
Once you’ve found a house you like, it’s time to make an offer. Sometimes homeowners will negotiate on the price. Sometimes they won’t. It’s a matter of timing and consulting your agent. But if you want to do some research on your own, here are some quick tips to finding out how much to offer on a home:
- Look at what similar homes are selling for in their area
- Use a home valuation tool on his address
- Read your agent’s Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)
Again, keep in mind that the market sets the price. Values swing up and down depending on when you buy and the type of homeowner you’re facing. Always talk with your agent about offer strategies.
If you have questions on what you read (or on items we didn’t discuss in this article), feel free to contact us, and we’ll answer them as soon as we can. The Remax Alliance Team is made up of local real estate experts that span across Fort Collins, Loveland, Windsor, Longmont, and other Northern Colorado towns.