5 Things to Do Before Buying Your First Home

search for houseBuying a home is something that takes planning, preparation, and serious thought. There are many aspects to consider before jumping into the real estate market for the first time, and it is in your best interest to be a well-informed home buyer. Think about these five things before you buy your first home.

1. Timing

The first thing you need to assess is if you are at a point in your life where buying a home is really the best option. Take into consideration your future plans on getting married and having kids. Determine if your job situation is going to be long-term or short-term, and make sure you are and will remain financially stable. It’s also important to think about whether now is the time to buy or rent; if you aren’t sure whether you’ll still want to be in the area in five years, or if you can’t fully commit to buying a home, you may want to rent a place before you jump into anything long-term.

2. What is Available

While you may be reared and ready to start the search for a home, the market may not be on the same page. Make sure you know what you’re looking for in a house, but be prepared to not have all your needs met immediately. Finding the perfect home will take time, and it depends on what properties are available and whether or not they meet your needs, wants, and budget.

3. Mortgages

Once you’ve made the decision to become a home buyer, the next step is figuring out if you qualify for a mortgage and getting pre-approved. Knowing your price-point before you start looking at houses will save you the grief and time of looking at places you can’t afford. Getting pre-approved will also let the seller know that you are serious when you make an offer on a home.

4. Remember Extra Costs

Unfortunately, buying a home comes with many additional costs that you will want to factor into your budget beforehand. The most common cost is the down payment, which is usually a large chunk of money upfront. However, there are also things like closing costs, property insurance, and taxes that will need to be paid upfront as well. It all adds up, so it’s good to know beforehand how much money you will really need to buy your desired house.

5. Be Realistic

Above all, you have to be realistic when it comes to buying your first home. It’s a good idea to know how to bid – have your real estate agent clue you in about smart bidding based on the neighborhood and the seller’s asking price. If you put in a bid that is way below asking price, you probably are setting yourself up for disappointment. Along the same lines, if the market is tight, there will be less negotiating room and a low-ball offer could lose you the house. Keep in mind that there may be other offers on the house, so jumping at the chance to get a smart, sensible bid in will be in the best interest of getting the property you want.

US Housing Market in a Slow and Modest Recovery Heading Back to Normal

According to a Fiserv (FISV) Case-Shiller forecast the market will experience a rise in home prices at an average of 3.3% annually in the coming five year period ending Sept. 2017.

The past five years have been anything but close to normal for the housing market.  2012 was the start to a slow and modest recovery with the year ending in a positive light.

During the past 15 years the housing market has been unpredictable with home sales and prices being crushed by crash psychology or boosted by a bubble mentality.  Since the bubble burst in 2006, home prices fell by 30.5 percent through Sept. 2012’s end.  This was a hard hit for the market, and one that hasn’t looked encouraging until this past year, and the forecast for the coming years.

Late in 2011, markets began to stabilize with a rise in home prices of 3.6 percent between Sept. 2011 and Sept. 2012. According to Fiserv out of 384 metro areas tracked, 62 percent reported a rise in home prices during the same period a year earlier with a rise from just 12.5 percent.

Among price gains some of the biggest were experienced by the hardest hit areas during the housing bust.  For instance, Sa Jose, California experienced jumped 12.5 percent, Detroit jumped nearly 16 percent, and Phoenix jumped nearly 21 percent.

Other areas were not so fortunate.  Long Island, N.Y., for instance experienced a price fall of 8.1 percent.  The median income also lagged in comparison to the rest of the US.  Valdosta, Georgia and Brunswick, Georgia were also down.

The year is expected to continue with an upswing in the housing market.  Home prices are expected to continue to climb in almost all metro areas.  Syracuse, New York is expected to climb 5 percent, Billings, Montana 5.5 percent, Santa Fe, and New Mexico 8.1 percent.

There are some big gains forecasted for the year, which is another contributor to the rise in home sales.

Market trends are positive.  Prices are still affordable.  Interest rates are at an historic low.  Home buyers and investors’ are more confident and housing inventory is in higher demand.

Real Estate Tips

It’s not just about finding perfect home, it is about doing everything in your power to be the accepted offer.  There are a few basic rules to pay attention to so that you don’t end up making a mistake.

Real Estate Basic Rule Tips

Avoid Large Purchases While in the Buying Process

If you have planned your purchase, then you’ve cleaned up your credit to secure the lowest interest rate possible.  Your credit score is now favorable, you owe nothing or next to nothing or you have a maintainable monthly debt.  You’ve made an offer and the buyer has accepted that offer and you feel it’s now time to go purchase that new furniture for your new home.  STOP!  Even if you are paying cash, you don’t want any big changes to any of your accounts- you don’t want your credit debt to change, you don’t want any shuffling of money out of your bank account, or between bank accounts and so on.  If you do purchase, you may run the risk of securing the loan.  Mortgage lenders take a very dim view of adding to or changing your debt structure during the loan process.

Don’t Commit to a Mortgage Loan Based on the Interest Rate

When you shop for a mortgage loan you want to shop interest rate, but, you don’t want to necessarily select the lowest rate mortgage loan.  There are other things to consider aside from the interest rate of the loan and that includes the cost to obtain the loan i.e. points and the monthly payments.  If the loan has an escalating interest rate it can destroy your comfort zone down the road.

Always Have Representation When You Purchase a Home

Always have a professional realtor represent you.  Real estate purchases are a legal process and the role of the realtor is to ensure that every legality is covered and that you thoroughly understand each step of the process.  Your realtor will help you to find your home, negotiate a price, and close the deal.

Have a Property Inspection

A property inspection is essential.  A property inspection will disclose any issues with the property which include sewage systems, HVAC systems, and anything that has to do with the structure of the home and buildings, its safety and livability.  If there is a high risk fire threat then visit the local fire department to discuss any issues.

More Homes Coming on the Market

 

At February’s end, there were only 6,786 homes available on the market in the Denver, Colorado area.  This is the lowest number in available homes for sale in memory.

The start of 2013 was favorable with more new homes coming on the market.  The January and February 2013 new home listing amounted to 8,258 new listings.  The year prior 8,111 new active listings were recorded for January and February.  When looking at unsold home comparisons for January and February 2013 from 2012, figures are down by 32.7 percent.

While the unsold homes on the market are off when compared to the prior year the market is bringing more homes on the market in 2013.   A jump in contracts for homes of 23.9 was reported in January and February 2013 with a total figure of 9,464 when compared to that of 2012, which had a total figure of 7,636.

Other stats show that closings rose to 5,920 from 4,966 resulting in a 19.2 percent increase.

The market has been in a slow and modest recovery.  Now, we are experiencing a record number of sales.  There are a significant number of homes that are being brought to the market and the inventory is quickly picking up.  Homes are being purchased nearly as fast as they are listed.

According to Denver Coldwell Banker’s broker, Chuck Fetterhoff, a client listed his home with their office just under $200K and by the end of the day the house was shown 40 times and had a cash offer of $240K on it.

Lower priced homes are going nearly as fast as they hit the market for substantially more than the asking price.

There are homes that are failing to sale, however, and for these home sellers it is discouraging.  Buyers are grabbing what’s not over-priced and looks good.  Home sellers that appear to be taking advantage of the rise of home prices are often the ones left disappointed.

Those that are pricing their homes at market value or slightly below seem to be getting the quick sale.  Home owners that have their homes listed and they are not selling are finding it beneficial to take the home off the market, spruce them up, and re-list them.

How Do I Find a Buyer’s Agent?

“How do I find a buyer’s agent” is a common question among homebuyers.  Representation in the legal process to purchase a home is crucial for a majority of home buyers.  With that in mind, we thought that we would offer a few top suggestions regarding how to find a buyer’s agent.

How to Find a Buyer’s Agent

•    Ask your family, friends, or co-workers for suggestions about any real estate agents that they may know who they would recommend.
•    Look for realtors in your local area.  Your local paper, the Yellow Pages, and the Internet are all ideal sources to find local agents.  Consider the company’s advertising, their history and professionalism, and any testimonials that are offered.
•    Select a few companies with a solid reputation.  Let the company know what you are looking for in a real estate agent and ask them to make a few recommendations.
•    Interview agents.  Ask questions, and determine their skills.  You should feel comfortable with the agent.

What to Ask a Prospective Agent

Q.  How long have you been a real estate agent?
Real estate agents with experience are typically the best choice.  They have experienced the real estate market’s ups and downs and have acquired the skill to negotiate.  However, you want to be certain that they have the time available to dedicate to your home search- which is often a benefit of a fresh real estate agent.

Q.  Are you a full-time real estate agent?
The benefit of a full-time real estate agent is that their focus is 100% on real estate.  Full-time agents typically utilize the latest technological advancements and developments, as well.

Q.  Have any clients ever filed a complaint?
If you find that a complaint has been filed against them, then ask for all the facts.

Q.  Do you have referrals I can contact?
Ask for references and by all means, call them.

Q.  How much time will you spend with me?
If you are only available on certain days of the week, or certain hours, than you need to ensure that the real estate agent works those hours.

Q.  Do you work as part of a team?
If the real estate agent is part of a team, ask if other agents will be showing you homes, as well.

Q.  How many buyers have hired you in the last year?
If you find that the agent does not have a high volume of buyers he / she has worked with, then this may be an indication that they prefer to work with sellers, which may be where they are best.

Q.  Are you a specialist in the area I want to shop?
Agents that specialize in the area where you are shopping for a home, will be a benefit.  Ask the agent if he specializes in the area and what is his specific knowledge.

Q. Do you work in my price range?
Ask the agent if they work in the price range that you are shopping for.  For example if you are looking for a home in the $200K price range, and the real estate agent work in the high end price range, the agent won’t likely be a good fit.

When you interview agents you should be attracted to their experience, communication, and personality.  Communication throughout your real estate experience is vital.
With the right agent, the buying process is less stressful.

Why Buy a Home Boulder County, Colorado in 2013?

2012 ended with a bang!  The housing market has been making a recovery and statistics show that 2012 has been the best year in years, and the prediction is the upswing in the housing market will continue.  What does this mean for 2013?  It means that 2013 is considered to be the year to get back into real estate.  Going forward, the economic state is in less stress, and real estate is less of a gamble.  In fact, it is on the rise, with many states in a recovery.  This is all good news, and, news that has been long anticipated. The stage is set for a fantastic year for the real estate industry in Boulder County, Colorado and other Front Range areas.

Why Buy a Home in Boulder County, Colorado in 2013?

Boulder County offer residents top rate amenities, lifestyle options that vary, beautiful surroundings, city service, and endless recreation.  Boulder is tucked into the foothills below a rock formation known as The Flatirons.  The town features plenty of unique shops. 45K acres are designated to hiking and biking, kayaking, mountain climbing, and fishing.   Historic structures and modern construction combine to make a town that has retained its roots while entering present day without sacrificing its uniqueness to offer residents a lifestyle that is fresh, with crisp air, and enjoyment.

Every type of individual is welcome.

The community features many annual events like the Colorado Music Festival and the Colorado Shakespeare Festival.  Boulder is considered to be one of the top startup communities in the US.  Boulder has one of the top ranking schools in the nation, a vibrant nightlife, more than 300 days of sunshine annually, world renowned skiing, a variety of restaurants and kid-friendly neighborhoods.  Summers and winters are picturesque, and there is something in real estate for every lifestyle.

With rents increasing, now is the ideal time to purchase a home.  Real estate values are on the rise, interest rates are still low, and the picture is that the housing market will continue to improve, making it a great time to invest.

Homebuyers and investors can still take advantage of low prices that are on the climb.   Unlike the past five years, equity will build much faster in a home, provided the recovery continues.   At the end of December mortgage rates averaged 3.35%.  Rates are rising, and are expected to continue to rise as the housing market continues to improve.  Purchasing a home now can mean thousands of dollars saved in interest and a lower monthly payment.

Home prices posted the biggest percentage gain in over two years. While the prices are rising, great deals are still to be found- and, the projection is that they will continue to rise, so now is a good time to purchase, as home prices are low and mortgage rates are low.

Boulder offers all types of experiences, real estate, and recreation that make life enjoyable.

Boulder County offer residents top rate amenities, lifestyle options that vary, beautiful surroundings, city service, and endless recreation.  Boulder is tucked into the foothills below a rock formation known as The Flatirons.  The town features plenty of unique shops. 45K acres are designated to hiking and biking, kayaking, mountain climbing, and fishing.   Historic structures and modern construction combine to make a town that has retained its roots while entering present day without sacrificing its uniqueness to offer residents a lifestyle that is fresh, with crisp air, and enjoyment.  Every type of individual is welcome.

The community features many annual events like the Colorado Music Festival and the Colorado Shakespeare Festival.  Boulder is considered to be one of the top startup communities in the US.  Boulder has one of the top ranking schools in the nation, a vibrant nightlife, more than 300 days of sunshine annually, world renowned skiing, a variety of restaurants and kid-friendly neighborhoods.  Summers and winters are picturesque, and there is something in real estate for every lifestyle.

With rents increasing, now is the ideal time to purchase a home.  Real estate values are on the rise, interest rates are still low, and the picture is that the housing market will continue to improve, making it a great time to invest.

Homebuyers and investors can still take advantage of low prices that are on the climb.   Unlike the past five years, equity will build much faster in a home, provided the recovery continues.   At the end of December mortgage rates averaged 3.35%.  Rates are rising, and are expected to continue to rise as the housing market continues to improve.  Purchasing a home now can mean thousands of dollars saved in interest and a lower monthly payment.

Home prices posted the biggest percentage gain in over two years. While the prices are rising, great deals are still to be found- and, the projection is that they will continue to rise, so now is a good time to purchase, as home prices are low and mortgage rates are low.

Boulder offers all types of experiences, real estate, and recreation that make life enjoyable.

Top 4 Mortgage Myths

When you shop for a mortgage, you definitely don’t want to be among the million consumers who fall for mortgage myths.  Familiarize yourself with the following myths to help ensure that you obtain the best mortgage possible.

Myth 1

The best mortgage loan is the one with the lowest interest rate.

It is always tempting to pick the loan with the lowest interest rate- BUT, beware!  This could be a mistake.  When you shop loans, there are many things to consider.
Start with the comparison rate, which will help you to understand the true cost of the loan.  The comparison rate will provide you with the information on any upfront fees as well as any ongoing fees that you are responsible for during the life of the loan.  For instance, some loans may offer a low interest rate for a specific period of time, and then increase, while others are initially low and then require a balloon payment.

Myth 2

The best mortgage loan is a 30 year loan.

Among homeowners a 30 year loan is the most popular choice and many homebuyers naturally assume it is the best.  With a 30 year loan the monthly payment is lower than that of a 15 year mortgage, and therefore is most often a more attractable type of loan.  This doesn’t mean that they are or not the best.  It all depends on your situation.  Consider the time that you will be staying in your home.  Most homeowners typically stay in their home for an average of nine years.  Statistics for first time homebuyers show a shorter period of time.  For some homebuyers, an adjustable rate mortgage may be the best choice in a loan.  With an adjustable rate mortgage the loan begins with a fixed rate period and after a set amount of time, the interest rate resets.  Many times the interest rate is lower than a 30 year mortgage rate at the start of the loan, which makes the monthly payments lower.   When the interest rate is adjusted, the monthly payment is determined by the balance of the loan.  If money is applied to the principal then the monthly payment may be lower.

Myth 3

My credit is terrible, no lender will grant me a loan.

Granted, your credit score and rating will influence your eligibility and your loan type, but, bad credit does not mean that you will automatically be denied a loan.  With bad credit you are a higher risk to the lender and chances are the loan you are offered will not be at a great interest rate.  The best situation here is to be honest with your lender prior to them pulling your credit report.  Lenders are typically willing to help their clients to obtain a loan and willing to work with borrowers of all levels.

Myth 4

I’ve been preapproved for my mortgage loan, I am guaranteed the loan.

This is definitely a myth and one that is a common mistake among homebuyers.  Just because you are preapproved for a loan does not mean that the loan is a sure thing.  Why?  A lot can happen from the time that you were preapproved to the time of the actual loan.  If your credit has been negatively impacted in some manner, this could result in denial of the loan.  Once you have been approved don’t make any major purchases or apply for new credit accounts.  Also, be sure to keep your credit as clean as possible.

Can’t Decide Between a Townhome or Single Family Home?

 

Having thoughts about a new single-family home?  Do your thoughts jump to a townhome or condo?  Many homeowners, especially first time homeowners debate between a townhome and a single family home.  There are pros and cons to each, and it will boil down to your criteria in a home.  Each has specifics that they offer- a home with your own yard, a townhome or a condo with extra community amenities within the complex, and so on.

Consider the following when you are trying to determine which to buy, a  condo/townhome or a single family home:

Let’s take a look at cost, first.  Typically, condos and townhomes are less expensive than single family homes.  The cost to maintain a condo or townhome is less as you don’t have to be concerned with the upkeep of the yard or the exterior of the home, and the utilities are normally less costly as the homes are not as big.  Consider your budget which will help you to determine the best choice for you financially.

Location!  As with any property, location is essential and you definitely want a neighborhood that has a low crime rate, and is one that is worth your investment.  If you have children, or plan on having children in the near future, you’ll also want to look at a neighborhood with a good school district.  If your dreams are to live in the heart of the city, then a condo or townhome may be the ideal choice.

Yard and home maintenance will play a major role in your decision, as well.  Do you have children who need a yard to play in?  Do you need a yard to garden?  Do you need a yard for summer entertaining?  Are you ready to keep up a yard?  It is not unusual for homeowners to not want the upkeep of a home.  Also, don’t forget about the maintenance of a home.  When you own a single family home, you are responsible for all the maintenance of the home, so be sure that this is something you are ready for.

Privacy is also a consideration and with a condo or townhome you’ll  need to realize that you won’t have the privacy that you would in a single family home.  You have to share the unit with others.  You’ll share a parking garage, an elevator, an outside area, and so on.
There will also be times when you will hear the neighbors, as well.

Homeowner associations are something that many condos., townhomes  and single family homes now have.  The associations are designed to help keep the neighborhoods maintained, and to pay for amenities that are offered in the unit or neighborhood.  It will be necessary to take into consideration whether you want the control of the homeowners association and whether you will benefit from the amenities.

Lastly, your lifestyle will likely influence your decision.  If you don’t have children, or are retired, then you may be more prone to want a carefree lifestyle  that a condo or townhome has to offer.  Another thing here to consider is pets.  If pets are in the picture, you may find that many condos and townhomes do not allow pets.

Warning Signs of a Bad Neighborhood

When you shop for a new home, the neighborhood is an important consideration.  Knowing the signs of a bad neighborhood can save you from a tremendous amount of heartache, including purchasing a property that is not worth its value.  Following are warning signs that the neighborhood is bad.

Vacant homes. If the neighborhood has a lot of foreclosed, neglected, or if it is vacant you should consider this a warning sign.  Empty homes and buildings can result in a lower market value of properties.

Unkempt yards are another sign of a bad neighborhood simply because this shows a lack of pride on the part of the homeowners.  The exterior of the home should be clean and well maintained.

Also, steer away from neighborhoods that have cars kept on the lawns and that are high in graffiti.

The neighborhood should show signs of residents!  If you don’t see anyone walking around the neighborhood or kids playing then this is a
sign that the neighborhood may not be safe.

Few or vacant businesses. When there are few or vacant businesses in the area, then there are many customers.  This is a sign of a rundown area.  Also, take a look at what type of businesses are in the area.

Property values that show a downward trend. A sure sign that the neighborhood is declining is a decline in property values. You’ll find that when a neighborhood is going bad, the homes don’t appreciate as well.

An unusually high amount of rental properties.  If the neighborhood has a large number of renters, you may find that the neighborhood / homes are not as well maintained.  Renters don’t seem to have the interest in a property like the actual owner.

A lot of police patrolling the streets. One sign of a high crime neighborhood is a lot of police cars.  Typically speaking, it means that there is a high crime rate.  The crime rate is something you always want to check out before you move into a neighborhood.

What to Consider Before You Move to Colorado

The move to any new city is a big move, and Colorado State is no exception.  When you look at Colorado State, you’ll discover many perks to the magnificent Rocky Mountain State you may not have realized.  Many cities within the state offer residents a 20% higher income earning potential than the national income.  When the earning potential is combined with the magnificent amenities of the state, the living lifestyle is unmatched.  Colorado State is an area that is rich in natural landscapes, with the great Rocky Mountains, lakes, rivers, parks, hike and bike trails, skiing, and year round recreation.  It is a “green” state, that is relaxed and down to earth and one that offers a tremendous lifestyle for all stages of life.

Colorado State is the spot for the ideal mug of beer, miles upon miles of hiking trails, friendly people who you would call neighbors, and outstanding venues that provide endless opportunities for entertainment, shopping and dining.  It is culture and performing arts, history and modern day presence, architectural style and flair.  It is about being a naturalist, a professional, a family person, and a retiree, all within an atmosphere that works together to create a spectacular environment. The neighborhoods range from affordable to prestigious and elegant to water front properties to golf communities to condos and nearly every lifestyle between.  It is a fantastic area, especially for real estate.  Colorado State has continued to hold its real estate values, even during tough, economic times, and today, offers some exceptional market values.  The state is filled with ideal cities to live from Denver to Boulder to Colorado Springs to Fort Collins and more.  It is an area that offers first time home buyers a true home, those seeking an investment, an investment, house hunters interested in a luxury home, a luxury home, and the ideal spot to purchase a second home.  Colorado State features modern amenities with year round activities that offer a full agenda whether your level is strictly relaxing in the 300 days of yearly sunshine or a greater magnitude of outdoor recreation, arts, history or culture. It is a state that is robust and dynamic and the reason for it being some of the most sought after real estate in the United States.

Colorado State is often associated with skiing, and it is definitely a world class ski area.  There is more to the state than skiing.  There’s hiking, climbing, mountain biking and water recreation, escapes from the city to green spaces and the natural backdrop of magnificent mountain views.  Colorado State is the ideal place to retire, to raise a family, to practice a career, or to be a bum.  It is everything combined, that makes the state a remarkable state, and one which you’ll find people that work together to offer a sense of community, a protection of the environment, a foundation in life, and a sense of pride that is felt throughout the communities within the state.  It is strictly Colorado and one of the greatest US states, and the primary reason why so many individuals from around the world are attracted to the US state.
Colorado is truly remarkable and a state that offers fresh air, culinary delicacies, outdoor recreation, and a relaxed atmosphere to escape to the sweet comforts of the natural amenities of the universe. It is strictly Colorado State and a state that nearly anyone would be proud to be a resident of.