Researching Colorado Springs real estate is a complicated process, and there are many areas to consider before signing on the dotted line. Because today’s market is much improved over years past, sellers have more room to negotiate. As a result, you and your agent need to be prepared. Make sure you’re paying close attention to all the relevant details during the home buying process.
Context is Crucial
One of the biggest mistakes homebuyers make is not thinking about life after the purchase. If you want to be smart about the home buying process, keep context in mind. And for total confidence, don’t limit yourself to what you think will happen. You should think both long-term and re-sale.
The issue for many is that they believe they will only live in their home for a pre-defined amount of time. However, the reality is that job transfers/ PSC happen, children are born, issues arise, and the amount of time you thought you’d be living in your new home suddenly changes. Homebuyers that plan for short term (2-3 years) and long-term holding won’t be as drastically affected by unforeseen circumstances.
Keep Expenses in Mind
A home’s price tag isn’t the only expense to think about. While you may be able to afford the mortgage payment, you still need to budget for property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, utilities, and maintenance. It’s important to think through every area of your life. Will your commute be affected? Will children be forced to switch schools? What are property taxes in the new zip code? In most cases, you can make things work for that perfect home – but it’s best to limit the surprises down the road.
Get Pre-Approved for Your Loan
You’ve probably heard the terms pre-approved and pre-qualified thrown around a lot, but do you understand which is more important? Getting pre-qualified simply means you have provided a Loan Originator some basic information in order for them to determine an approximate qualifying amount and price range for you to start looking at Colorado Springs homes for sale. Virtually anyone can be pre-qualified. Getting pre-approved, on the other hand, is much more detailed and accurate. A lender will cover all your financial information, employment history (2yrs), pull credit, determine a loan program, and run this information through an Automated Underwriting System to gain your pre-approved status. Getting pre-approved can drastically speed up the process, offer you and your agent more leverage when negotiating with a seller and enable you to shop around for the best rates and homes on the market.
Don’t Take Any Chances
For those afforded the luxury of knowing they will be purchasing a home in the future, it’s important to limit financial movement in the months leading up to it. As a rule of thumb, you want to avoid making any major purchases, making any career changes and/or moving assets around in the three to six months prior to purchasing your new home. This financial stability shows lenders you’re reliable and limits the likelihood of amassing debt or depleting accounts.
Needs versus Wants
Buying a home is exciting for everyone. You get a chance at a fresh start and are able to look for features that fit your lifestyle preferences. However, it’s incredibly important to understand the differences between needs and wants. If these two ideas become commingled, the home buying process will quickly turn into a stressful experience.
Needs are those things you cannot live without. This could be a bedroom on the main floor, an office, a fenced-in backyard, or a laundry room. Wants are those things that you would like to have, but aren’t going to make or break your decision. This could include a walk-in closet in the guest room, a Jacuzzi tub, or a long driveway. For other people, this list could be switched. It’s important that each individual family prioritize their needs and wants accordingly.
Hire Your Own Inspector
In the home buying process, the old adage of “don’t judge a book by its cover” is quite true. While a home can look the part, you never know the true story without some further investigation. The lender will require a home appraisal before signing off on a loan, but you should do your due diligence as well. The lender’s appraisal is only worried about whether the house is worth its selling price. You, on the other hand, are more interested in whether there will be costly repairs in the future. Spending some extra money on a good home inspector is always a good idea and highly recommended.
You Can’t Time the Market
Regardless of how hard you try, it’s impossible to time the market. Sure, you might get lucky on occasion, but it’s certainly not a skill you can fine-tune. The real estate market is cyclical, and there are hundreds of unique factors that play into how it moves. By trying to time it, you may miss out on great opportunities while waiting for the perfect needle in the haystack to reveal itself (which rarely exists or happens).
Talk to the Neighbors
Your best resource when buying a house is the neighbors. In most cases, neighbors will shoot you straight and tell you exactly how it is. Plan on having some frank conversations with multiple neighbors before ever making an offer. They can tell you about the composition of the neighborhood, whether the schools are actually good, how safe the area is, and anything else you need to know. Even if you don’t have children, the quality of schools in your district is important. They are a major component of property value in most towns.
Hire a Real Estate Agent
Is it possible to buy a home without professional assistance? Sure. Is it smart? Probably not. There is a reason real estate agents are in such high demand – they are efficient at navigating deals. From finding homes for sale in Monument, CO and Fountain, CO to helping you negotiate a price and close the sale, a real estate agent does more than hold your hand through the process. A good agent facilitates the deal and makes it happen. And depending on how the contract is structured, you more than likely never pay a dime for their services.
Ashford Realty Group – Colorado Springs Real Estate Experts
At Ashford Realty Group, we are one of the premier sources for Colorado Springs real estate. If you are looking to buy a home, don’t underestimate the importance of partnering with a good agent. Register today for the most up-to-date home search and professional guidance in Colorado Springs.