Have you decided that this is the year to buy a home? With affordability at record highs and interest rates at record lows, this is indeed a great time for many people to become homeowners.
Here are some things you need to start doing NOW so that when you find the home you are searching for, you are ready.
1. Find a Qualified Buyer’s Representative. It is imperative that from the beginning of the process, you have an advocate who will represent your interests, and ensure that you find the right home and pay the best price possible. Look for an experienced agent who knows and understands the local real estate market and can navigate you through each step of your transaction.
2. Check Your Credit. If you are going to need a mortgage to buy a home, having a good credit score is imperative. Higher credit scores mean lower interest rates and lower mortgage payments. At www.annualcreditreport.com you can pull a copy of your report from each of the 3 credit reporting agencies for free once a year. Look over each report in detail and make sure the information is all correct. It takes some time to get incorrect information fixed, so it’s best to start as early as possible.
3. Talk to a Lender. Even if you aren’t ready to sign mortgage papers, it is always a good idea to get in touch with a lender early. They can also help with pulling your credit report, and can give you advice about anything you can do to improve your credit score. They can also give you an idea of what you can afford and what your monthly payments will be, so you are sure to be looking only at homes in your price range. You will need to submit a pre-qualification letter with any offer you make, so get this part done ahead of time. Contact us if you would like a recommendation for a good lender in the Boulder area.
4. Make a List. This is the time to sit down and make two lists. First, make a list of the criteria that you NEED. Things like a certain number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and garage spaces. Maybe you work from home and need space for a home office. Or perhaps you must have a fenced yard for pets. These are the items that are non-negotiable. Second, make a list of the things you WANT in a home. If you love to cook you may want an updated kitchen or a gas range. Maybe you love a certain style of home, or specific furnishings like hardwood floors or a gas fireplace. It is important right away to understand your needs vs. your wants. Ideally you may be able to find all of both, but typically some sacrifices will need to be made. This list will help you stay focused on the qualities that are the most important.
5. Research, Research, Research. Now is the time to start learning about the area that you are interested in. Websites like www.education.com and www.greatschools.org can help with school information and ratings. Do you like to play outdoors? Find out what parks and trails are in the community. Love to dine out? Find out about the nearby restaurants. Research commute times to work and school. The more you know and understand about the community before you start looking at houses, the better equipped you will be to make a decision when the time comes. If you are looking for a home in the Boulder or Broomfield area, our community pages are a great place to start.
You have done the work, now it’s time to start looking at houses. Schedule a time to sit down with your agent and share your wants and needs with them. Make sure they are in contact with your lender and know how much you can spend. Find a time to start touring houses, and be sure to keep communicating with your agent while you are looking so they understand what you like and don’t like about the homes you see.
The home purchase process can be intimidating, especially if you haven’t done it before (or in 10 years). By taking these steps, when you find the house of your dreams, you will be ready and able to make it yours.
Colorado Landmark, Realtors
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