Native Denver Area Real Estate Agent & Relocation Specialist RE/MAX Alliance Arvada - Anthony Rael, Denver Realtor

Advice & Counseling for Home Buyers & Sellers - www.anthonyrael.realtor

First-Time Homebuyer Advice

Many potential first-time home buyers ("Property Virgins") feel overwhelmed and think homeownership is an impossible dream.  Well, it's not!  While home prices in the Denver area have increased in the past year, 30-year mortgage interest rates are still very low (4% - 4.75%) and there are several loan options available that require a down payment as little as $500!

The information below will help you gain knowledge about the home buying process and will hopefully give you the courage to keep that dream alive.  The first bit of advice I will give you is to hire a buyer's agent who will look out for your best interests and make sure you are not making mistakes than can cost you several thousands of dollars.  This is the biggest financial decision you will ever make, so it's essential that you work with a professional, trustworthy Realtor who's there for you every step of the way.

As your REALTOR, I'm here to make sure:
   1.  you fully understand what it takes to purchase a home
   2.  you work with reputable mortgage lenders who won't take advantage of you
   3.  you are utilizing every available first-time buyer resource available
   4.  write an purchase offer that protects you before & after the sale
   5.  that all of your questions are answered in a timely & professional manner
   6.  you don't get overwhelmed with the process - I'm here for you!


Steps for First-time homebuyers

Preliminary Footwork
In his 1990 book Washington Homes, author and real estate broker Jim Stacey claims that there are three stages for the first-time home buyer: contemplation, comparison, and commitment.  He urges prospective buyers to get through the first stage on their own, with the help of friends and family members.  The road between contemplation and being ready to commit to buying a house is arduous and emotional, and Stacey has learned that the best use of a broker's time and skills is to enter the fray after buyers have done some preliminary footwork.

STEP 1.
Figuring Out What You Want
No matter how well you can picture your dream house and communicate your idea to me, the house you finally fall in love with may have little resemblance to the image you started out with.  But you have to begin somewhere, and a detailed wish list is a great head start.  Let's say your wish list looks like this, in order of priority:

  • Two bedrooms, two baths

  • Safe, quiet neighborhood

  • Garden

  • Ability to add on

  • No major repairs needed

  • Near close friends or family members

  • Close to downtown

  • Craftsman-style detached home

  • Lots of natural daylight

  • Parking

  • Good investment with excellent resale potential

  • Affordable property taxes

  • Enclosed laundry area

  • Walk-in closet in master bedroom

  • Storage space for lawn/garden and sports equipment

  • Gas hookup for stove

  • Back deck or patio

  • Close to work, schools, church, shopping

  • Finished basement for office or guest room

  • No threat of commercial encroachment

  • Hardwood floors

  • French doors leading to backyard

  • Close to public transportation

Now, how would the list change if you had to settle for only 10 of your wishes in your price range?  If you had to narrow it to five, would your top priorities be different?  When you start looking at houses, this information will be invaluable to a Realtor as he or she matches your requirements to available houses.

STEP 2.
What Can You Afford?
Every market is different, but the first step to answering this question is finding out what you can pay on a monthly basis after you've made your down payment...3.5%, 5%, 10%, or 20% of the purchase price of the house.

Speak to a mortgage loan officer. The best way to learn what you can afford is to get pre-qualified for a loan.  I have excellent resources to local mortgage lenders who will ensure that you get the best loan rates and terms.  Pre-qualifying won't cost you anything and you'll walk away with a good idea of how your income, assets, and liabilities translate into what you can afford, and it can also help your chances of beating out the competition in a sellers market (where there are more buyers than houses on the market).

MORTGAGE LOANS & MORTGAGE REFINANCING

Do the math.  You can also do a simple calculation on your own. Broker wisdom says that monthly payments should be 25 to 33 percent of your monthly gross income. Use my simple loan calculator to get a rough idea.

Take heart in knowing that most first-time buyers are simply getting into the market.  Your dream house may be two or three houses into the future, so don't feel like you have to spend every penny you can afford if it means trading off some cherished freedom.

STEP 3.
Starting the House Hunt
Now that you have an idea of what you can afford, you can focus on whether you're in the market for a condominium, loft,  townhouse, single-family detached home.  Call Anthony Rael at 303-520-3179 and I will help educate you about what to look for and avoid, provide reliable references for other experts you'll need along the line - such as lenders and inspectors - and represent you in negotiations and at closing.

Now you're ready for the fun stuff: pounding the pavement.  If you decide to drop in on an "Open House" or a new home community when I'm not with you, please be sure to tell the salesperson or agent that you are working with me.  It's okay to talk to friends and family about their buying experiences.  People are often surprisingly open about what they've learned about financing, construction (and even themselves) in the course of buying their first house.  However, don't take everything to hear verbatim because you will have your own experience. Finally, don't get frustrated by the lack of inventory, condition of some properties or even the prices - if you are committed to the process, we will find the right property.

If you would like to sit down for coffee and discuss the Denver Real Estate market, just call me anytime at 303-520-3179.  Anthony Rael, RE/MAX Alliance offers professional & trustworthy real estate services to buyers & sellers throughout the Denver metro area including Arvada, Brighton, Broomfield, Denver, Golden, Highland/Sloan's Lake, Highlands Ranch, Littleton, Louisville, Longmont, Thornton, Westminster, Wheat RidgeAdams County, Denver County, Douglas County & Jefferson County.



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Anthony Rael  |  REMAX Alliance - Arvada  |  5440 Ward Rd., #110  |  Arvada, Colorado 80002  |  303.520.3179
Colorado Association of REALTORS Media Spokesperson for the Denver Region Quarterly Real Estate Market Updates
Denver Metro Association of REALTORS - Chairman of the Denver Metro Area Market Trends Committee

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Anthony Rael - RE/MAX Alliance - www.anthonyrael.realtor - 303-520-3179