Here’s a step-by-step guide to the home buying process in Colorado
- Get mortgage pre-approval
Before going home shopping, it’s best to first get pre-approved for a mortgage. Pre-approval is a good way to find out how much home you can truly afford. You can use the pre-approved amount in setting your budget and limiting your home search only to properties that fall within this budget. Additionally, most sellers today will only show their homes to buyers with pre-approval.
- Work with a Realtor
The Colorado market is highly dynamic and competitive. Working with a Realtor will help ensure you don’t lose out on any opportunity. This is especially true if you’re eyeing a home in the luxury market. An experienced Realtor can help you find the perfect property faster, and with their negotiation skills and knowhow, they can help make sure you close the best possible deal.
- Make a list of the home features you want
List down the features that you must have and the extras that you want to have. The must-have’s are your non-negotiables, such as the size of the home, the location, the number of rooms, and others. The extras are features you’d want to have to make your stay in the home more enjoyable. These include entertainment rooms, spas, swimming pools, and similar features. Your Realtor will use this list in looking for homes with the best potential.
- Go to home viewings
Home viewings will give you a better idea on how it is to live in a home, as well as the chance to inspect a property as closely as possible.
- Make an offer
Once you find a home you love, your Realtor will help you draft an offer letter that includes your offer price, all the needed contingencies, and any sweeteners that could make your offer more attractive than the competition’s. Negotiation typically follows an offer, with your Realtor taking the lead in communicating with the seller or their representative on your behalf.
- Go to escrow
Once you and the seller agree on a price, you both sign a sales contract and the process goes to escrow. Your down payment is held at escrow while the title company performs a title search and does the work related to the sale and the transfer of titles.
- Sign off on the disclosure
The seller is required to provide a disclosure detailing the condition of various parts of the home. Any water rights and the presence of a water well in the property should also be disclosed by the seller. Sign off on the disclosure once you find everything in order.
- Arrange for a home inspection
While not a legal requirement, a home inspection will help protect you from defects in the home that may not have been part of the disclosure or were overlooked. If problems are found in the inspection, you can still negotiate with the seller regarding the needed costs of repair.
- Finalize the financing
Complete all the paperwork needed by the lender to finalize your mortgage. The lender will be conducting their own assessment of the home. If the assessment falls short of the selling price, you may negotiate with the seller for a lower price or pay for the difference from your own pocket. You may also have the option to walk out of the deal.
- Close the sale
Once the bank releases the funds for the sale and the money is transferred to the seller, you and the seller sign on the closing documents. On closing day, you need to pay the closing costs, any balance on the down payment, and any additional expenses, such as property taxes and paid-in utilities. The title company records the transaction and the keys to the home are turned over to you.
Guidelines for first-time homebuyers
- Make sure you are financially prepared for homeownership
Keep in mind that your monthly mortgage amortizations are just part of the cost of owning a home. In crunching the numbers, you also need to factor in a number of expenses, including:
- Closing costs
- Insurance costs and property taxes
- Home maintenance costs
- HOA fees, if applicable
- Look into your financing options
Lenders offer numerous loan packages to homebuyers but the standard types of loans are:
- Fixed-rate mortgage
- Variable rate mortgage
- Jumbo loan
First-time homebuyers may also qualify for government-sponsored loans that require little to no down payment, such as FHA and VHA loans.
- Get your credit score in order
Get a copy of your credit report and look into ways to improve your credit rating. Pay all or most of your outstanding debts, make sure your credit report is accurate, and avoid large expenses and loans in the meantime to keep your credit score favorable.
- Work with an experienced Realtor
You need to work with a real estate professional who can guide in one of the single biggest transactions you’ll make in life. Get in touch with Randa & Company Properties here or call us at (720) 244-1796.