Fed up with skyrocketing rents, noisy neighbors, and no parking? Buying a home could be the best financial decision you make in this lifetime. Before you start house hunting, though, consider the following decisions. A well-thought-out approach can make the transition from renter to homeowner as seamless as possible.
–Research, research, research. Remember, you can change (almost) anything about a house except location. So, narrow down your search to the neighborhoods that work for you. Consider schools, churches, commute time, nightlife, parking, and walkability.
–Sort out your finances. Figure out how much you can afford in monthly payments–and remember, unlike renting, you’ll need to factor in insurance, taxes, HOA fees if applicable, and maintenance. You’re the landlord now!
–Obtain a pre-approval letter from a lender (many times, you will be expected to have this in hand when you make an offer on a house.) If you’re not currently working with a lender, Link will be happy to recommend some for you to consider.
–In a Seller’s Market like we have now (low inventory, lots of buyers), when you see a property that works for you, offer sooner rather than later. In the current market, attractive homes often receive multiple offers within hours/days of listing.
–Decide your bottom line and stick to it. If the seller counters your offer with one that is not acceptable to you, don’t be afraid to walk away. There will always be another house.
–After the inspection, discuss any questions/concerns with your broker. S/he is on your side and will negotiate on your behalf. Make sure you meet all deadlines as specified in the contract. Again, your broker will help you with this. This may be your first time buying a home, but she’s a veteran.
–Congratulations, you’re a homeowner now!
–If your mortgage doesn’t include property taxes and home insurance, set up a savings account so you’re not scrambling when these are due.
–Start a list of competent professionals who can help you with repairs and improvements. For the first year, consider signing up with a Home Warranty company. These companies usually charge an annual fee and a nominal co-pay for service calls, but can save big on costly repairs. Ask you broker to set you up with one of these at closing.
–Make a list of repairs/improvement, and tackle them one at a time. Based on your budget, decide which to do first. A leaky roof will usually take precedence over a Jacuzzi tub.
–If you can, make at least one extra mortgage payment a year. This will save you tens of thousands of dollars over the course of your mortgage. In fact, if you can take out a fifteen or twenty year mortgage instead of a traditional 30-year, you’ll save substantial amounts of money over the course of the mortgage. According to Senior Loan Office Terri Davis of Colorado State Bank, “If you put 10% down on a 300k home, you’ll save $120k over the course of the loan if you pay it off in 15 years instead of 30.” That’s a lot of vacations!
–Heat up the bbq, chill the beer, and celebrate! You now own your own piece of America!
Tired of losing out on properties you fall in love with? A good realtor can make all the difference! Link has over twelve years experience navigating tricky Mile High markets. Let Link Real Estate Group guide you through the challenges of Denver Real Estate!
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