3 Questions to Ask Before You Buy Your First Home

3 Questions to Ask Before You Buy Your First HomeHunting for your new home can be a confusing process. There are countless factors you need to take into account to ensure your new location fits your family’s lifestyle and preferences. In their excitement, first-time home buyers can easily overlook some essential points about their potential property.

When you’re searching for your new residence, ask these questions to get exactly what you’re looking for.

Am I Financially Ready For A New Home Purchase?

It takes more than money to find the right home. Your credit rating is an important factor in your ability to secure enough funding to finance your dream. Check out your credit score before you buy to make sure you won’t have to settle for less.

Some of the things you have the greatest control over include:

    • Payment history
    • Credit utilization ratio
    • Debt-to-income ratio

Even with a large down payment, having a questionable credit history can endanger your chances of qualifying for mortgage loans. Spend some time shining up your credit report for the best results. Getting a pre-approved home loan is a great way to find out how much house you can afford before you start shopping.

Is This The Right Neighborhood For Me?

No matter how beautiful the structure itself is, your house won’t seem like a home unless you’re comfortable with the surrounding neighborhood. Take a walk around your potential block to assess the area and compare it to your needs.

    • For families with children, are there high-quality schools in the area?
    • Do your neighbors’ homes seem well-kept?
    • What amenities (dry cleaner, grocery stores, parks, etc) do you want in your community?
    • How do the roads and sidewalks look?

Before committing to a purchase, visit the home at different times of the day to get an idea of what you might have to live with.

Am I Ready To Settle Down?

Align your home purchase with your future goals. If you know you’re planning to move out-of-state in the next several years, take that into account when shopping for a home. Will you be able to sell quickly enough before you leave? Or do you plan to retain ownership of the home and rent it out while you’re away?

Think about the directions your life might take in the next 5 to 10 years. By looking ahead, you can make a better plan for the best home you can afford which will accommodate you and your family in the years to come.

Buying your first home is a major decision. Knowing your goals, desires, and abilities before agreeing to a purchase a home will make you the most comfortable moving forward.

One of the best partners in your home purchase process will be your trusted mortgage professional. Be sure to make contact as soon as you are considering a new home purchase to start the pre-approval process.

Mistakes Seasoned Home Buyers Often Make

Mistakes Seasoned Home Buyers Often MakeIt’s not uncommon today to move several times during adulthood, whether across town or across the country. Seasoned home buyers have been through the real estate process, often more than once. However, even if the home purchase has become routine, there are mistakes that can be avoided.

Stuck In The Past

The real estate market doesn’t stand still. It cycles and shifts, which is why it’s often recommended to rely on a real estate professional for an understanding of the current market. Home buyers with property purchased ten years ago, likely won’t have the same experience buying today. Don’t get stuck in the past, thinking the process will play out the same. It may, but it’s important to be ready for changes.

Skipping Homework

Whether upgrading to a larger home to accommodate a growing family or downsizing as the nest empties, it’s essential to do the homework before placing the current home on the market and committing to a new one. Certain homework needs to be done before beginning the buying process, especially if the purchase is reliant on the sale of the current home.

  • Determine if buying with cash or need to sell current home.
  • If need to sell current home first, will seller of new home offer contingency?
  • Is a flexible timeline needed for closing on current home/buying new?

Working out these types of critical details, even for seasoned home buyers, can be daunting, which is why it can be helpful to have a trusted real estate agent.

Allowing Emotions To Lead

Maybe the current house wasn’t the “forever” home. Seasoned home buyers, just like first-timers, can find themselves lost in emotions when searching for the perfect house. It’s a pitfall every home buyer should work to avoid. The home may have some of the exact features desired or be in the ideal location, but if it doesn’t fit the budget or has other issues, it’s not the right one.

Overextending Resources

Home buying is an exciting experience and it can be easy to become caught up in the process. However, overextending resources can make life after the purchase difficult. To help protect against overextension of resources later, always factor in the following when buying a home:

  • Budget
  • Time
  • DIY Abilities

Overextending on budget can directly affect the ability to make any needed repairs and if schedules are hectic, there might not be enough time for projects. In addition, it’s important to honestly take stock of DIY ability, and it’s okay to acknowledge that some jobs/repairs will require professionals or some level of assistance.

The key for seasoned home buyers, as well as first-timers, is to never be afraid to ask questions, make lists, and rely on professional help from a real estate agent.

Lastly, it’s important to meet with your trusted mortgage professional to get pre-approved for your new loan and to learn about your financing options.

Why It’s Critically Important To Have A Home Inspection

Why It's Critically Important To Have A Home InspectionMany home buyers have found the perfect house, signed on the dotted line and may think they’ve watched enough home improvement shows to know if the home they’re getting is in good shape. Unfortunately, some buyers make the mistake of skipping a home inspection in order to save a little cash.

Even if a home has already stolen your heart and you’re ready to pay for it as-is, you need to bite the bullet and hire a home inspector to let you know what repairs and financial repercussions await you.

Why You Should Hire A Home Inspector

You might know a thing or two about home remodeling and repairs. However, most people are not experts on the inner workings of a home. That is why it’s important to hire a professional to search for potential furnace issues, electrical wiring mishaps, plumbing weaknesses or roofing deterioration to name a few.

While a home might look like it’s in perfect condition on the surface, there could be major issues hiding beneath its façade. That’s why it really is imperative for your safety that you hire an inspector to scrutinize the bones of your home. Understanding any imperfections may also help you budget for immediate and future repairs.

When to Schedule the Home Inspection

Once you’ve signed a purchase contract, you’ll want to schedule a home inspection before the inspection period has ended. Even though you’ve signed the offer, an inspector could just find something that you just cannot live with or afford to fix.

While you would normally schedule an inspection after you’ve signed a contract, it’s important to have an inspector or two picked out beforehand. Ask your real estate professional or friends and family for referrals and then contact the inspectors for pricing and a list of what they will and will not cover at the inspection.

Once again, remember that the cheapest price may not be the best deal on home inspections.  Have a good understanding of what, and who, you are investing in.

Even if you do know a lot about the structure, plumbing and wiring of houses, don’t let your ego get the better of you. It’s important to shell out the additional money to hire an inspector and cover your assets. You’d hate to end up with a home that needs major renovations and not have known about it.

For more information on hiring a professional for your Colorado Springs home inspection or for a referral, please call today!

Why It’s Critically Important To Have A Home Inspection was written by Diane Beaumont.

What Women Want In Homes This Mother’s Day

Home-Ideas-Mothers-Day-2013Whether you’re looking to buy a new house this month or do a little remodeling, take advantage of the opportunity to give the mom in your life a present she’ll appreciate every day.

Below are a few ideas for housing priorities and renovation projects that typically rate high on women’s wish lists for their homes.

Open Living Areas

The open floor plan is usually a big plus for any mother. They want to be able to cook dinner in the kitchen while monitoring their children’s schoolwork at the dining table.

So look for a house that affords this visual luxury or consider the generous gift of getting dirty and knocking down some walls.

Large Closets

What woman doesn’t need more room for her clothes, shoes and purses? If you’re looking at houses, keep in mind how much closet space will work for your wife or mother.

If it’s not enough, see if there’s another area you could convert to create a custom closet. Another great gift would be to upgrade your mom’s closet with a new shelving and organizing storage system.

And great storage doesn’t stop in the bedroom. Most women like to keep the family’s things organized and put away, so think about upgrading some of the other cupboards and closets in the home as well.

Low-Maintenance Living

Some women are expert gardeners or love home-improvement projects; however, many just want to leave those tasks to someone else.

Many moms love easy-to-wipe-down granite counters and hardwood floors.  These can be beautiful and functional home upgrades all at the same time.

And especially if you’re shopping real estate for an elderly mother, consider looking at Colorado Springs homes that are new construction, have easy-to-care-for landscaping and maintenance-free siding or brick.

Easy-to-Use Security System

While security is important to everyone, it ranks high on most women’s list of priorities. As a Mother’s Day gift, research providers and have a security system installed.

Whether your mother is living alone or your wife is worried about the family’s safety, this practical present will give everyone peace of mind.

Make a big gesture this Mother’s Day by giving the woman in your life that renovation project she’s been pining over.

And, if looking at buying a new home, keep in mind what’s important to Mom.

Finally, if you’d like more tips on Mother’s Day home shopping or upgrades, call your favorite real estate professional for the best advice.

Benchmark Colorado

5 Quick Tips To Get A Better Price On Your Home Purchase

Negotiating Tips For Your Home PurchaseWhen you are looking to buy a home, it is important to keep in mind that no real estate price is set in stone.

There is always room for negotiation, and with the right techniques you may end up saving thousands of dollars on your dream house.

However, it can be tricky to get the right reaction when you are negotiating.

Here are a few tips that will help you to haggle your way to the best deal.

Find Out The Seller’s Motivation

If they really need to move and sell the property, it will be easier to convince them to negotiate on price or other deal points.

For example, they might be relocating for a job or the house might be close to foreclosure, which would give them the motivation to sell quickly at the price you offer.

Investigate How Long The Property Has Been On The Market

If the seller has been trying to sell the home for several months or longer, they will be much more receptive to competitive offers than a seller who just put their house up for sale last week.

Research Comparable Properties

Find out the price of recently sold properties in the same area that are comparable to your prospect.

This will give you an idea of how much you should bid on the house.

Knowledge is power in any type of negotiation, so arm yourself with as much information as possible.

Keep Your Cool

Even if you are absolutely head-over-heels in love with a property, refrain from showing your excitement to the seller.

You could lose any advantage you might have in negotiation if you let the seller and their agent know how much you really want the property.

Don’t Offend

Be careful not to bid too low. Sometimes sellers are offended by low ball offers and will refuse to work with you afterward.

Even when you are just attempting to get the home for a great price, the seller may become offended, which will leave you disappointed and empty-handed.

These are just a few tips to keep in mind for getting a great deal on your dream house.

If you’d like more help negotiating the price of a Colorado Springs home, please contact a licensed real estate professional for more information.

4 Critical Tips When Purchasing Woodland Park Foreclosure Real Estate

Buying A Home In ForeclosureBuying a foreclosed property in Woodland Park and the surrounding area can be different than buying other types of real estate.

In many cases you will be able to get a fantastic deal on a home, but you will need to go through quite a bit of work and negotiation.

Here are four tips to help you navigate the foreclosure buying process:

Find the right real estate agent

The first thing to keep in mind is that your real estate broker will deal directly with the bank that owns the foreclosed property.

The bank has the final say in whether they’ll accept your bid – so you want an agent who has developed a good relationship with them.

Know that cheap doesn’t mean good value

Sometimes the tiny price tag on a foreclosed property can be very tempting, but make sure you are asking questions about the value and the potential expenses of the house.

Will it require extensive repairs?

Will you be able to find a tenant?

Does the property have potential for appreciation over time?

Perform a house inspection

If the previous owners were foreclosed on because they couldn’t make their mortgage payments, it’s possible they didn’t have enough money to give the home the proper maintenance it needed.

Make sure you have the property inspected by a professional to spot any problems.

Take extra care if the house has been empty for a while, as there could be problems with plumbing, insects or mold.

Look for intentional damage

Keep in mind that many owners were forced out of their property by the bank, so they might have removed as many appliances, light fixtures and other items as they could which usually means the house is stripped bare.

The previous owners might have been angry and felt justified in damaging the property.

Make sure to do a thorough inspection to find out what appliances you’ll need to buy and messes you’ll need to clean up.

If you are considering buying a home in foreclosure, you could possibly get a great deal on a house with a lot of potential.

Make sure you follow these tips and contact your licensed and trusted real estate professional for more information about buying a foreclosed property.

3 Top Tips To Selecting The Right Colorado Springs Home For Your Family

New Home With FamilyWhether you are moving to a new house with children or you are buying your first Colorado Springs home with the intention of raising future little ones there, many factors will come into play when making your decision.

You will want to find a house with the right size and layout, that has a suitable number of bedrooms and bathrooms, is in an excellent neighborhood and has all of the local amenities your family will need.

Here are three important factors to consider during your new home search:

Location

Take a look at the area where the property is located.

Is it close to a school that your kids can attend when they are old enough?

Is there a playground where they can play with their friends?

Are you near any convenient shopping areas or stores for picking up groceries?

Location is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a place to raise your family.

Neighbors

Take a look at the demographics of the neighborhood.  You may want to spend some time walking the neighborhood and learning about the surrounding area.

Taking evening walks in the neighborhood might allow you the opportunity to meet other people who are living there and learn what they think is important about the area.

If it has mostly young families around the same age as you, your children will likely have plenty of neighbors to play with as they grow up.

Affordability

You may think that spending as much as you can possibly afford on an expensive home is the best thing for your kids, but you might be wrong.

In fact, you could end up stressed out from working too hard to make your mortgage payments and feel like you never get enough time to spend with your family.

Another option would be to buy a more modest house that you can reasonably afford and have more time with your children.

Choosing the right place to live is difficult. It might take a while to find the right house, but when you do, it will be worth it.

When you do, you will have a wonderful place to fill with love and memories, where your children can grow up in peace and happiness.

If you’ve been seriously contemplating purchasing your first home, or possibly the next home, the best thing you can do is contact a licensed real estate professional to determine what is available in the market that would fit your needs.

For more information….