Roaring Fork Homebuyer’s Guide
The Roaring Fork Homebuyer’s Guide was assembled to give you the confidence, education and tools you need to successfully purchase your home. If you’re like most people, buying a home represents your single biggest investment and also debt. With that being mentioned, the home buying process can be one of the most exciting but also stressful experiences you ever go through. This can be true whether you have purchased many homes or you’re looking to buy your first property. The real estate market is saturated with both endless opportunity and potential risks. There are many factors to consider and many decisions to make when the time has come to purchase real estate. When buying, it’s crucial for you to have all the available resources that allow you to make a well-informed decision on purchasing. That’s also why you should enlist the help of a trusted REALTOR® who’ll be able to provide you with expert consultation at each step of the buying process. These are the steps in finding and purchasing a home:
- Define Goals, Research Options, Make Plans
Buying a home is a HUGE decision and so it’s very important for you to educate and prepare yourself as much as possible. First, this means clearly determining why you’re buying and what kind of home you’re looking for. Since buying and financing a home are so closely related, it also means examining your current financial situation and projecting how much you can afford. Once these questions have been answered, you’ll be in a better position to research your housing and mortgaging options. You will also be able to create an action plan and timeline for moving forward. You may want to do this yourself, but you may also benefit by consulting an experienced REALTOR® right from the start.
- Contact A REALTOR®
Buying real estate is a complex matter and there are so many factors to consider. There are no two homes or transactions that are alike. However, with all the unique opportunities and potential pitfalls of the real estate market, it’s even more important for you to contact a REALTOR® once you’ve definitely decided to buy. In choosing a REALTOR® to guide you through the property search, financing, negotiation and transaction processes, you should consider their local market knowledge, experience and track record.
Shawn’s TIP: Many buyers don’t understand they don’t pay a commission to their REALTOR®. Commission is almost always paid by the sellers. This is more reason to choose a realtor to represent and guide you through the buying process because in most cases their expertise is FREE to you!
- Get Pre-Approved For A Loan
Generally, it is recommended that you get pre-qualified for a loan before you start viewing homes with the serious intention of buying. Many REALTORS® will not show property to potential clients until they are pre-approved. The pre-approval process involves meeting with a lender and authorizing them to examine your current financial situation and credit history. Based on the findings of this examination the lender will provide you with a document that details how much you can borrow to buy a home. We strongly encourage you to shop locally when meeting lenders because they are the most informed on the market, down payment assistance programs, economic factors and much more unlike big corporate or online lenders.
Shawn’s TIP: Meet with more than one lender to make sure you are confident in your decision. Interest rates are important but so is your personal connection to your lender.
Here are some referrals for local lenders in The Roaring Fork Valley:
Bay Equity Home Loans
970-309-6850 – Phone
970-257-9989 – direct
970-270-7143 – cell
NMLS # 657843
- View Homes And Select “THE ONE”
The simplest way to look at this is that the key to your home search is knowing what you’re looking for. Among other things, that means identifying between “must-haves” and “like-to-haves”. Here are a few recent facts about the search process that might put your buying experience in perspective:
- Almost 90% of buyers use the Internet to search for homes
- The typical buyer searches for 12 weeks and views 12 homes
- 81% of buyers view real estate agents as very useful in the search process
Shawn’s TIP: Ask your REALTOR® if they can give you access to the local MLS so you can search property listings with accurate and real time data just like realtors can.
This is one piece of the puzzle but it’s also important to go view homes in person. While their property details may seem similar online, homes can actually be very different in terms of layout, design, craftsmanship and other aspects. In addition, you should ideally view homes with the help of a REALTOR® who’ll notice things you might miss, provide expert analysis, and act as an impartial sounding board. This is one thing The Roaring Fork Homebuyer’s Guide editor views as a common mistake among buyers.
- Make An Offer And Negotiate With The Seller
Once you have found the home you’d like to buy, it’s time to make an offer. Your local REALTOR® has access to the contracts that are used for transactions in your area. These contracts enable you to specify a sales price and also include many clauses for various terms of purchase. You should carefully review these clauses with your REALTOR® to ensure that they express your desired offer. In addition to drawing up the contract, your REALTOR® will be happy to address all your questions about the offer process. Once the offer is written and signed, your REALTOR® will present it to the seller and/or the seller’s representative. Generally, the seller can accept your offer, reject it, or counter it to initiate the negotiation process. Counter-offers with deadlines for responding and meeting conditions will be exchanged between you and the seller until a mutually-satisfactory pending agreement is reached or the negotiations fallout. The Roaring Fork Homebuyer’s Guide strongly suggests you let all negotiations be handled by your REALTOR®.
- Secure Your Financing
Once a pending agreement is signed by all parties related to the transaction, it’s time to go back to your chosen lender to finalize your mortgage details so you can close the deal. This means finalizing your down payment, interest rate, regular payment schedule and any other financial conditions associated with the closing of the transaction. As noted in the section on loan pre-approval, if you’ve already been qualified with a lender for a certain loan and home purchase, this phase of buying your new home should be a relatively straightforward experience.
- Close The Deal
If you have taken care of everything connected with purchasing your new home throughout the contract process, the experience of taking ownership will be a very fun day for you. Key steps to the closing, also referred to as the “settlement”, include:
- Getting a Title Search – A historical review of all legal documents relating to ownership of the property – to ensure that there are no claims against the title of the property. It is also necessary to purchase Title Insurance in case the records contain errors or there are mistakes in the review process.
- The Final Walkthrough – you’ll be given the chance to look at the home to make sure it’s in the same condition as when you signed the sale agreement. This typically occurs 1 or 2 days before closing.
- The Closing – In most cases on the closing date you will go to the chosen title company office to verify and sign all the paperwork required to complete the transaction. The settlement will include paying your closing costs, legal fees, property adjustments and transfer taxes. At that point, you’ll receive the property title and copies of all documentation pertaining to the purchase of the property. Oh, and one more thing – you’ll get the keys. In most cases, Possession Date will fall within a couple days, at which point you’ll be able to move into your new home.
After reading through the Roaring Fork Homebuyer’s Guide, we hope you are now prepared to tackle the challenge of buying a home. When the time is right, contact Shawn Manwaring and he would be honored to represent you through the process.
Shawn Manwaring, REALTOR