what you need to know before buying

(email Mike for his free “Buyer Packet”)

Buyer tips for the Front Range and Boulder Real Estate Market.

Before viewing homes, patient agree on what your goal is – needs versus wants.

Decide what you need, what you would like and what you can live without in a new home. Make a wish list of everything you would like in a home, and rate the different categories in order of importance to you. If you “must have” a view, will you forego a fireplace if you find a home that has almost everything else on your list? These are decisions you will have to make when viewing homes.

The type and size of home you buy will be determined by what you can afford, what meets your needs and the location of the home. What style of home do you want: split level, ranch, townhouse, condominium, etc.? How many bedrooms and baths? Do you need a two-car garage?

Prioritize “needs” then “wants.” Shop for a home that meets the needs and some of the wants.

HAVE AN OPEN MIND BEFORE LOOKING AT HOMES.  Not all of the homes you look at will be decorated to your tastes. Remember that walls can be painted, carpeting can be changed and kitchens can be updated. Try to use your imagination when viewing houses. Look beyond the current owners’ decorating tastes and imagine what your furniture will look like in the house with the walls painted to suit your decorating tastes.

Just as you must picture the positives when viewing homes, also consider the negatives. Some features can’t be changed, unless you want to pay for costly major reconstruction. Basements can’t be added, second stories cost a fortune and even additional bathrooms can be extremely expensive. Also, be aware of where the property line begins and ends. If that narrow driveway can’t be widened because it’s already squeezed between the house and property line, will your large SUV clear the driveway?

Focus on the task at hand. Are you looking for a great deal or a home you can enjoy for many years? Many people miss out on a great home because they keep looking for that deal – while someone comes along and buys the perfect house right from under them.

Quick Tips

  • Determine a radius of how far you are willing to travel to work.
  • Tell your agent what is important to you: transportation, medical centers, schools, etc.
  • Check the noise level – is the property near a highway or interstate?
  • Look at the neighborhood – how do neighbors maintain their homes?
  • Will the children have other playmates in the area?
  • Are you near main travel arteries or commuter vessels necessary for travel to and from work?
  • Make a columnar comparison of the properties with your specific needs and wants and whether each property has them.
  • Rank every 3 houses shown in order of preference. Use a separate list for each spouse, if married.
  • If sellers have children or pets, recognize them and you will be a step ahead.
  • When viewing homes try to hold in emotion and excitement to not tip sellers of your desire to own that specific home.
  • If you see a home advertised in the paper, a yard sign or a For Sale by Owner sign, call your Realtor first.
  • View homes when there is plenty of light; it’s too hard to view homes after dark.
  • Be available to go see new listings as soon as they become available.
  • Ignore furnishings and color. Picture your personal items in the house.
  • Look out the windows. What you see is what you will always see. Make sure you like it.
  • Don’t assume everything you see in the house (drapes, ceiling fans) is being sold with the house. Ask!
  • If you really like a particular property do not place a lot of conditions on the contract because this could cause the seller to reject the offer.
  • When making an offer, make the best down payment offer you can. Your offer will carry more weight, and your payments will be less.
  • Write a personal note to go with your offer. All other factors being equal, sellers will go with the buyers they “know.”
  • Don’t get so emotionally involved with the house that, if you fail to purchase it, it becomes the standard for everything else you look at. This compromises your ability to make a second choice.
  • Contracts should always be contingent on a home inspection, a good investment.

Getting pre-qualified

Most Real Estate Agents recommend that home buyers get pre-qualified with a lender before selecting a home to purchase. This way you will have the best information about the right price range for your pocketbook.

Reasons to get pre-qualified

  • With pre-qualification, you can determine which loan program best fits your need and which programs you qualify for.
  • You will know exactly how much you are qualified for. It’s no fun to find your “ideal home” and then find out you can’t afford it.
  • Your monthly payment will be set. This will allow you to budget your money before making this large investment.
  • It shows you what the down payment and closing costs will be.
  • If you are a first-time buyer, you may be able to qualify for a special first-time buyer program which may allow you to afford more home for your money.

If you feel you would like and can afford a higher mortgage payment but are not able to meet qualifications, co-mortgagor financing may be made available to you.