Buying a Home this Spring? Make Sure You Get the Details Right.

Front Door Flowers

Spring marks the beginning of the selling season and is often considered the busiest and best time to purchase a home. As more people look to purchase a home in the coming months, it’s important to understand the buying process. Here are some tips from DORA (Department of Regulatory Agencies) and the Division of Real Estate.

Talk to your lender early in the process. Meet with your lender before contacting a real estate agent to simplify the home buying process. Getting prequalified for a mortgage gives you a solid price range for homes to consider.

Determine your working relationship with your broker. Many homebuyers don’t know that Colorado has two options when it comes to your relationship with your broker – a Single Agency broker (an agent for the buyer OR seller) or a Transaction Broker (for the buyer or seller OR both). A single agency broker will advocate for and work solely on a single client’s behalf. A transaction broker facilitates the sale by fully informing the parties, presenting all offers and assisting the parties with any contracts, including the closing of the transaction without being an agent or advocate for any of the parties.

Understand the real estate contract. An offer for the purchase of real estate must be in writing to be valid. The Colorado Real Estate Commission requires every real estate broker licensee use a contract form approved by the Real Estate Commission, unless the contract is drawn by either the seller or buyer or the attorney for the buyer or seller.

Recognize contingencies in the contract. The contract approved by the Real Estate Commission allows for the buyer and their licensed broker to make the contract contingent on certain items. Contingencies can be items such as the property appraising for the purchase price, approval of financing, a satisfactory home inspection, or the sale of their current residence. It is critical for a buyer to include those contingency items in the contract to eliminate misunderstandings about what circumstances will allow for a successful execution of the transaction.

Meet all deadlines and put down your earnest money. Once your offer has been accepted by the seller, you will put down a good faith deposit, often called earnest money. Both the buyer and seller will need to meet specific deadlines before you close on your home. As a buyer, if you miss a deadline, you might not be able to cancel or withdraw your offer unless you are willing to forfeit your earnest money. Your offer allows you to make decisions regarding when to close on your new property, when you can take possession of that property, and what remedies are available if the contract dates are not met.

This is a lot of information. If you’re ready to get started on the homebuying process, contact us to start with step one and get you pre-qualified today.

Things You Should Do Immediately When You Move into a New Home

Shaking Hands

You have a new home. Here are some great tips for things to do when you first move in to start saving money. Once the boxes are unpacked, tackle these tasks next.

Check the insulation in your attic. You should have about six inches of insulation throughout the attic. If you need more, get more! Click here for a guide from the Department of Energy on proper attic insulation.

Make sure the vents in all rooms are clear of dust and obstructions. Covering vents with anything makes your heating and cooling system work harder. And a quick dusting will help you remove dust and dust bunnies to keep these cleaner. If you need to, have a professional come out and clean all of your duct work.

Mark cracks in the basement with masking tape. It’s not unusual for basements to settle and for the floor to crack. But if you do have a problem with settling and cracking, you’ll want to take care of that sooner rather than later. Cover up the ends of cracks with masking tape. In a few months, if the cracks have grown outside of the original tape, call a professional for some repair work before the problem grows.

Plant some shade trees near your home. Get a natural cooling system working for you. Plant some trees near your house to add shade. Lowering the external temperature of your home can save you from running the air conditioning hard and all the time, when the sun is shining in the summer heat. The sooner you plant them, the sooner they can grow and help cool your home.

If you have to buy new appliances, buy energy efficient. You’ll likely pay more up front for these, but you’ll save money in the end. For example, a refrigerator that uses little energy and lasts 20 years is much less costly over time.

Check your toilets and under-sink plumbing. You don’t want these pipes leaking or discover you have a toilet that is constantly running. A dripping pipe may seem harmless enough, but the cost adds up in water and you may end up creating a mold problem.

Create a home maintenance checklist and run through it for the first time. And then run through it every month. Include things you want to check monthly or quarterly. Check plumbing, vents, outlets, paint, windows, etc. And while you’re at it, include a checklist for changing batteries in smoke detectors, something you should do at least once a year.

These are just a handful of tips to save money. Want more?
Read 18 Things a New Homeowner Should Do Immediately to Save Money.

To Buy or not to Buy? Top Reasons People Become Homeowners

Happy family at home with their dogs

If you’re on the fence about buying a home, you’ve likely done a lot of research on interest rates and home prices, and have heard about lack of inventory locally and across the U.S. What you’re hearing may be enough to make you want to put your dream of homeownership on hold.

Not so fast!

Think about all the reasons that homeownership may be right for you, including the fact that if you wait even a year, it’s predicted that you’ll face higher home prices and interest rates, and ultimately a higher monthly mortgage payment. Here are a few of the top reasons people buy homes.

Pride of ownership. You can paint the walls any color you desire, attach permanent fixtures, and decorate your home according to your own taste. Home ownership gives you and your family a sense of stability. It’s an investment in your future. And a lot of people would say that the independence and sense of accomplishment that owning a home brings is an essential part of their way of life.

Build equity. Real estate moves in cycles, but over the years, real estate has consistently appreciated. As property value increases, you build equity in your home and your home becomes worth more than you owe. If you are renting a home, your landlord builds this equity every time you pay rent, and you get nothing in return.

Have more space. A lot of renters find they are short on space. They have few closets, no yard to call their own, and no attic, garage or basement. Many renters even pay an additional fee for a storage space on or off the property. Homeowners are often glad to have extra storage space, a place for their cars, and a yard to host barbecues, play with their kids or to run around with a new dog!

Make room for Fido. A recent survey by SunTrust Mortgage found that a third of millennials who had already purchased their first home said they were influenced by the need to have space for a dog. Not only do you get more space for your pet with a yard to play in and room to roam about, you can eliminate the pet deposit and monthly fee that a landlord tacks on to your rent payment.

Upgrade to your heart’s content. A lot of renters are not rewarded for upgrading their homes. The landlord may benefit from a fresh coat of paint, new flooring and overall upgrades that make the space a home, but there is no reward for the renter who sinks money into projects that benefit someone else’s pocketbook.

Keep your distance. Even if your new home has a small yard, if you buy a single-family home, you don’t have to deal with heavy-footed clomping walker above you, or the loud talkers below you.

There’s no single reason that makes homeownership the right option. But when you consider all the reasons that are important to you, you really have a reason to buy a home. What makes you want to be a homeowner? Call us today to get on the road to making your dream a reality!

Home Buying Secrets for Any Market

Family With Children And Pet Dog Outside House On Moving Day

There are some good things to do before buying a home, even if you think you are “just contemplating buying.” Especially in a market as tight as the one we are in today, you want to be ready when you find your dream home or you realize you’re ready to make an offer. Here are some home buying secrets to keep in mind. But don’t go it alone. 

1. Don’t go it alone. You’ll want a good team on your side when you make a purchase as big as this. Work with a mortgage loan officer and real estate agent to make sure you’re educated along the way. You want to make decisions thoughtfully and efficiently every step of the way.

2. Keep your money where it is. Don’t make any big purchases or move your money within three to six months of buying your home. This means, even if you’re just thinking about buying, leave your money in the bank. It’s easy to get a good loan and have the necessary paper trail if you don’t make any big financial moves.

3. Get pre-approved. This means a lender has looked at your financial information and has let you know how much you can afford and how much they will lend you. Now is the time to really sit down and go over all fees, interest rates, types of loans, etc. Do this before you start shopping for a home. Make sure you are pre-approved. It is different than pre-qualified.

4. Don’t try to time the market. You’ll never be able to figure out the perfect time to buy a home if you’re trying to time the housing market. The best time to buy is when you find the right home and you can afford it. Like all investment markets, real estate is cyclical.

5. Don’t buy the biggest house. Buy the best! You want a home that is appealing to you and to others when you go to re-sell. Your home only goes up in value as much as the homes around you. You don’t necessarily want to have the most expensive house on the block.

6. Factor in all costs. Don’t forget to include your utilities, taxes, maintenance, homeowners association fees, insurance and all other costs that go into homeownership when you are budgeting for your house. It’s important to be able to pay for all costs, not only the mortgage.

7. Get a home inspection done. OF COURSE, you’ll want to have an unbiased home inspector check out your home. An inspection can save you thousands of dollars, provide you with negotiation options and even help you decide a particular house is not for you. Click here to read more about hiring a home inspector.

8. Bid right. You should base your opening bid on a couple of factors – what you can afford and what the property is worth. Be fair and reasonable. Check to see what other homes in the area are going for, what the square footage is worth, and what could add to the value of the home or take away from the value of a home. Be specific about your number so the seller takes your seriously.

For most people a home is the biggest purchase they will ever make. Make sure you make the right move by being ready when the time is right. If you have questions one of our loan officers would be happy to discuss your questions, concerns and options.