Thinking about buying your first home? Here are some things to consider before taking the plunge.
Employ skilled professionals.
Sure, you will save a few bucks handling things yourself, but this is likely the largest purchase you will ever make; it's not the time to cut corners. You will miss out on the advice and guidance of professionals who have been through this process hundreds of times before. Hire a Realtor you trust who can then help you select a lawyer, a lender, a home inspector, or any other professionals who can do the homework so you are confident in your purchase.
Know what you can afford.
Many first time home buyers are thrilled when the bank tells them how much they are willing to loan. Just because your bank is offering doesn't mean you should accept. As a rule, it's prudent to take 20 percent less than what the bank offers. That's because you need to consider all the other expenses—taxes, insurance, and other bills. When you take less than the bank will lend, you will end up in a house that is more affordable and leaves you some financial wiggle room. Ultimately, it's up to you to tell your Realtor, your bank, and your loan officer what you can afford—not the other way around. What matters is what you are comfortable paying every month, and that number might be much, much lower.
Leave your heart at the door.
Love at first sight isn't uncommon when home shopping. Often, buyers are looking at homes that are a vast improvement from where they currently live. They walk in and see open-concept kitchens, spacious backyards, finished basements, and they start to forget about all those numbers they crunched to arrive at their budget. Many times, we act as the voice of reason for our clients before they get swept away daydreaming and in over their heads. Another tip, don’t look at houses that are beyond what you can afford; it's the quickest path to disappointment.
Take the house for a test drive, so to speak.
Buying a home is actually more like buying a used car than renting an apartment. You have to really get in there and poke around to make sure everything is up to snuff. We advise clients to use all five senses. Smell the carpets and drapes. Odd odors may be a sign a much larger problem is afoot, like a cracked flue or rodent infestation. Don't be shy about bringing along a flashlights and looking under beds, in closets and up on closet shelves. Open the dishwasher, the dryer and any other appliances the sellers are leaving behind. Ask the neighbors about issues in the neighborhood, the schools, and any safety concerns they have.
Buying a home in metro Denver may be a bit more challenging these days, but it is still possible to find your dream home with the right support. It's never been more important to have an experienced, locally-focused real estate agent to help you through the process. If you want to buy or sell a home in Colorado, contact us to learn more about how we can help.