For many first-time homebuyers, buying a home can seem overwhelming. We asked our network of Colorado REALTORS® to share their very best advice for first-time home buyers.
Remember, this advice is coming from local experts who know this market better than any national website. So, what did our local experts have to say to first-time home buyers? Here are 6 pearls of wisdom from Colorado real estate brokers:
Starter homes are selling like hot cakes, and you need to be pre-approved ASAP. Get yourself ready to view homes as soon as they hit the market, so can make a decision on short notice. Be prepared to make an offer more than listing price. Do your research beforehand and know what neighborhoods you want to live in, what your max commute is, and what schools you want your children to go. Don’t forget to communicate with your lender.
Having trouble narrowing your focus? Work backward.
Buying a home is a process of elimination, not selection. You eliminate those properties that don’t fit your criteria to eliminate or funnel out. Then, you will be left with properties that fit your criteria. It works!
Don’t go at it alone.
Buyers – Do not ever contact or use the seller’s listing agent for anything. They have a legal and fiduciary responsibility to represent the seller’s best interests, not yours. Always have and use your own Buyer agent to get information about a property you might see online. It doesn’t cost you anything, and they are your best resource.
Remember: This isn’t your “forever home.”
Keep an open mind, and think outside the box. Your first home will not be your ‘forever home.’ It will not have everything you want, but it is an important stepping-stone to your future real estate investments. Also, remember you will be competing with lots of other first-time homebuyers, as well as investors, for top properties. You and your agent will need to be proactive and creative in order to successfully compete and win the bid.
Give your budget top priority.
For first time buyers, financing and budget advice need to take precedent. Their first home will not necessarily be their ‘forever’ home, and their qualifying loan limit may push them to entry-level properties, such as condos or town homes. They should consider adjusting their needs and wants to compensate for that. Further, first time buyers need to financial plan for home ownership. They need to consider a budget beyond the mortgage. Things like a broken furnace, appliance or even ongoing maintenance can catch first time homeowners off guard if they haven’t planned accordingly.
The most important process we go through is to understand the entire buying process. An A-Z of purchasing a home will explain what happens each step of the process, including loan options, what to look for in a home, the under contract steps (which include inspection, appraisal, insurance, title insurance, loan approvals). Even though looking at homes seems like the fun thing to do, take time to learn what to expect. You will gain much from this time and finding a home will be done with less stress and much more appreciation as a knowledgeable buyer. This will give you an advantage over other buyers when you write an offer.
These are great pieces of advice for any first-time home buyer! Thank you to all the Colorado brokers that responded with their wisdom and expertise. If you’re in the market for a home, we encourage you to contact one of these experienced professionals to help you through the process.
Originally published May 5, 2016 — Updated May 16, 2019