Ringing in the New Year with a New House in Denver
Financial Check-Up in Denver
First, get your finances in order. Unless you're paying cash for a house, you'll require a mortgage. While mortgage lending rules have relaxed a little recently, you will still need to have all your money matters straightened out and tidy before you discuss anything with a loan officer (even a virtual one). Request a copy of your credit report to ensure you haven't been a victim of identity theft, and confirm all your bills have been paid on time. If you see something that does not seem true, contact the credit reporting agency to report inaccurate information.
It's always a great idea to get pre-approved for a mortgage. In some regions of the country the real estate market never slows down, and you should be ready to submit an offer on a residence when you find it. Anymore, a lot of sellers won’t even acknowledge an offer without a pre-approval from a lender. Do not mix up a pre-approval and a pre-qualification; the pre-approval shows that your credit and income are already okay--sometimes already underwritten--with the lender, you just need to find a house. A pre-qualification shows that they pulled your credit report and if all other factors line out then they'll consider a loan.
You want everything in a new home—the best schools, outdoor kitchen, open floor plan, modern landscaping, privacy, friendly neighbors, and low real estate taxes. Chances are you are going to have to make a few adjustments somewhere, so proceed and compile your wants list and your needs list, and see where the two intersect. Regardless of your budget you are not going to find all of the things that you want, so concentrate on your needs. If you need to be in a certain school district, or you need to be within a few miles of the airport, or you have five kids and need as many bedrooms, those non-negotiables must be at the top of your list. House-hunting is the ultimate Goldilocks experience, so don't even bother with residences that are too big or tiny, too far off the beaten track, or too expensive.
It should go without saying, but needs to be said anyway, that your family needs to be on the same page with the needs and the wants. If you want a large yard and your spouse would be happy with a high-rise, work out those specifics before your realtor turns into a mediator.
A Great Real Estate Agent in Denver
A wonderful real estate agent is not the one who is a "million-dollar producer" (this could mean she sold ten houses in ten years) or whose face is all over billboards. A great realtor is the one that you feel like you can develop a comfortable working relationship with--after all, you are going to be spending a lot of time together, and she will be acting on your behalf in a large financial transaction. Look for someone who's easy to talk to, that you can trust, and who really listens to what you are saying--if your limit is $350,000, she should respect that.
Your responsibility when you're interviewing realtors is to be truthful about your budget and your expectations. If you've been pre-approved for $600,000, do not consume your time or your realtor's looking at houses in the $700,000s. If you are relocating and have one weekend to house hunt, plan so that your realtor has blocked out the time just for you.
The internet makes house hunting so easy, you may find yourself falling in love and making an offer sight unseen. If that is the case, ask Santa to put some boxes under the tree.