Colorado Springs is a great place for buying a new home. Unfortunately, purchasing a home for the very first time can be a stressful experience. Here are some tips for streamlining the process so you can find the home you’ve always dreamed of.
- Hire a good agent. There is a lot to learn about the home-buying process and plenty of complex paperwork to go through. An experienced real estate agent can help make the process a lot easier and a lot more affordable.
Since you will be working closely with your agent, it’s important to find someone you get along with well. The agent should also be highly skilled, motivated and extremely knowledgeable about Colorado Springs and the surrounding area. This will help you target the right home in the right neighborhood. It will also help keep costs down, especially if the agent is very familiar with the local market and available home inventory.
- Know what you can afford. Before you begin looking for your dream home, you need to have a clear idea of your price range. Use a home affordability calculator to help you determine how much you can safely afford to spend without taking on too much unwieldy debt.
- Get pre-approved. Sellers typically will not accept an offer unless you have a lender’s letter stating you can acquire the financing required to close the deal. Having a pre-approval letter makes you look more serious to sellers, giving you an advantage over buyers who have yet to take this key step.
- Look into local financing programs. Even if you have your finances in order, you may still have trouble coming up with a down payment. Fortunately, there are a number of first-time homebuyer programs available locally and statewide.
Before you start browsing for homes, check to see if you might qualify for a first-time buyer program available through El Paso County. You should also look into one of the following programs available to qualified first-time buyers looking to purchase a home in Colorado Springs and other Colorado communities.
- Colorado first-time homebuyer programs
- Colorado Housing Enterprises, LLC
- Colorado Housing Assistance Corporation
- CHAC Down Payment Assistance Program
- Colorado Housing and Finance Authority
- National first-time homebuyer programs
- Budget for closing costs. In addition to securing money for a down payment, you will need to budget for closing costs. This will generally run between 2% and 5% of your loan amount.
- Pick the right neighborhood. Even if a home is perfect, the actual neighborhood could be a bad fit. So be sure to:
- Research local schools, even if you do not have kids, since schools affect home value.
- Look at local crime and safety statistics.
- Map the nearest pharmacy, hospital, grocery store and other amenities.
- Explore the neighborhood at different times on various days to check out noise, traffic and activity levels.
A good local agent can help give you invaluable input about specific neighborhoods, but only if they specialize in Colorado Springs real estate.
- Stick to your original budget. Since it’s easy to fall in love with an overpriced home, it’s best to only look at properties that cost less than the amount you were approved for. Although you may be able to afford your preapproval amount, it won’t account for other monthly expenses that come with homeownership. Shop with a firm budget in mind to avoid getting in over your head.
- Don’t just buy a home for today. It’s easy to focus on properties that meet your existing needs. If you plan to start a new family or expand your existing one, however, it may be better to buy a larger home you can grow into. Always consider your future wants and needs when deciding between available properties.
- Act fast. Colorado Springs real estate moves quickly in many areas because of limited inventory. It’s best to check out any newly listed homes that interest you as fast as possible. If a property is listed on a Monday, don’t wait until Friday to look at it. If you hesitate, you risk losing out to a more ambitious buyer.
If you’re thinking of buying your first home, contact The Wheaton Team. Over the past decade, we’ve established a well-earned reputation for specializing in residential real estate throughout Colorado Springs and all of El Paso County. Let us help you find the home of your dreams.