Ringing in the New Year with a New House in Denver

New Home for New Years

If you're hoping Santa deposits a new abode under the tree in Denver, now is a perfect time to get ready for what happens next--once he is up the chimney you're alone for mortgages and moving. Even if you have purchased a house previously, it is not a bad thought to freshen up on your home buying and moving skills so when the time comes, you handle it like a professional.

Financial Check-Up in Denver

First, get your finances in order. Unless you are paying cash for a home, you will need a mortgage. While mortgage lending rules have slackened a little recently, you'll still need to have all your financial matters straightened out and tidy before you talk with a loan officer (even a virtual one). Obtain a copy of your credit report to make sure you have not been a victim of identity theft, and make sure all your bills have been paid in a timely fashion. If you see something that does not seem correct, contact the credit reporting agency to report erroneous information.

It is always a great idea to get pre-approved for a mortgage. In some parts of the country the real estate market never slows down, and you want to be ready to present an offer on a home when you find it. Currently, a lot of sellers won’t even consider an offer without a pre-approval from a lender. Don't mix up a pre-approval with a pre-qualification; the pre-approval says that your credit and income are already okay--sometimes already underwritten--with the lender, you just need to find a residence. A pre-qualification reflects that they perused your credit report and if all other factors check out then they'll consider a loan.

I Want....

You want it all in your new house—outstanding schools, outdoor kitchen, open floor plan, mature landscaping, privacy, fabulous neighbors, and low real estate taxes. It is likely that you're 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 get everything you want, so focus 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 five bedrooms, those non-negotiables should be at the top of your list. House-hunting is the ultimate Goldilocks experience, so don't even bother with homes that are too large or tiny, too far off the beaten track, or too expensive.

It should go without saying, but needs to be said anyway, that your significant other must concur with the needs and the wants. If you want a to have an acre for your garden 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 might mean she sold ten houses in ten years) or whose ads are all over billboards. A great realtor is the one that you feel like you can develop a solid working relationship with--after all, you're going to be spending a lot of time together, and she will be acting on your behalf in a large financial transaction. Pick someone who's easy to talk to, that you can trust, and who really listens to what you're saying--if your limit is $350,000, she should respect that.

Your task when you're interviewing realtors is to be honest about your budget and your expectations. If you've been pre-approved for $600,000, do not waste your time or your realtor's looking at houses in the $700,000s. If you're relocating and have one weekend to house hunt, plan so that your realtor has blocked out the weekend just for you.

The internet makes house hunting so easy, you may even find yourself falling in love and making an offer sight unseen. In that event, ask Santa to put some boxes in your stocking.