Getting into the real estate market can be an intimidating one, especially for first- time-home-buyers. As a real estate agent, it is my job to help my clients feel the most comfortable when they are getting ready to look for their first home or when they are deciding to sell their first place. I thought I might take this blog to sit down and answer some questions I have been asked over the years by my first time homebuyers to help those thinking about buying a home prepare to get into the market (and hopefully work with me!).
Homebuyer: This is the first time I am buying a home and I have to say, I don’t really even know where to start! Between finding a lender, choosing an area live and starting to look at homes, I am feeling a bit like my head is all over the place. Where would you recommend I start the process?
My Answer: Start with finding a REATOR who really knows the market and works full time on and in their business. Ask for referrals in your sphere but also search online in the area you think you may want to move to and find a specialist in that area. I recommend interviewing three different REALTORSand asking how long they have been in the Business, if they work with first time homebuyers, why they are a realtor and what types of Buyers they like to work with. Then from there I would search all their profiles online, like LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram to see how they market themselves and what type of person they are to see if you have the same interests. Working with likeminded people can really help the process go a lot smoother. Once you find the REALTOR you want to workwith then ask that REALTOR who they recommend for a lender. Ask them to give you three referrals and then do the same thing with these lenders that you did to find your REALTOR. Once you find your lender then work on getting pre-qualified so you know how much you can afford. Once you have done all that you can start looking at homes.
Homebuyer: I have heard in this market, if you are a cash buyer, you have a better chance at getting the home, is that true? I also have read that many lenders recommend you come to the table with the ability to put 10% of your loan down, what if I currently only have about 7% I can put down, should I wait? I also have some credit card debt and am thinking about buying a new car but some friends told me that I should hold off on making a big purchase before my house and try my best to pay off my credit cards, would you agree with that?
My Answer: No, it's not always true that you cannot win a bid if you don't have all cash. There are ways to win a bid other than just making a cash offer. I recommend hiring a REATLOR who has a lot of experience in negotiations like one who holds a MCNE designation. Regarding buy now or wait... I am a huge believer in owning real estate instead of paying rent so If you are able to buy then I would do this before a new car if your car is still able to get you to where you need to go. Talk to a lender to see where you stand on your credit and if you can get pre-qualified for a mortgage.
Homebuyer: This market seems to always be changing and I keep hearing people talk about the “bubble” that they believe is coming sooner than later. What is your opinion on this “bubble” and should I keep waiting to buy a place or should I try to get in the market when I have the means to do so?
My Answer: The Denver market and economy is very strong and the local and national economists don't see a bubble in our future but more of us evening out. We actually don't have enough housing for our population which is why our prices continue to rise in the Denver market.
Homebuyer: How long does the average buying process take in Denver’s market? From the day I go under contract to the day I receive my keys to my house, how long should I expect?
My Answer: This depends on the lender and when they can get the appraisal done and through the approval process. Every borrower is different on how they get qualified. We only have about 600 appraisers in the Denver area and with refinances and purchases on the rise there is a shortage. Again, I recommend hiring a great REALTOR and Lender who know what they are doing and how to get you to the closing table. To answer your questions thought I just closed on a transaction and we got in done in 24 days from contract to closing. Most of my contracts have been 30-60 days this year but it all depends and there are different variable for each transaction.
Homebuyer: If you were a first time homebuyer, what part of the city would you look in? Where is the area you think you can get the best bang for your buck or where do you think is the next hotspot?
My Answer: Oh gosh there are so many different areas but I feel like if you want to stay close to the city I would look anywhere that is close to our mass transit system and light rail. The neighborhoods I would look at are Globeville, Elyria, Swansea, Sunnyside, Berkeley, Chaffee Park, Edgewater and even into Wheat Ridge, Arvada and Westminster. If you are looking at a little farther out and what to get the biggest bang for your buck I would look at going north east of the city as there is a lot of development happening in the north area and you can get far more for your money. I would look at Northglenn, Thornton and Brighton and downtown Brighton as there is going to be a lot happening in downtown Brighton in the next several years.
Homebuyer: Why should I hire you as my agent? What can you do for me and what can I expect from you?
My Answer: You should hire me as your agent because I am a REALTOR with Denver Metro Association Of Realtors and work in and on my business full time. Not only am I am member of DMAR I also serve on the Market Trends Committee so I make sure that I have my pulse on the market and what the current market trends are. I also have a coach, I am a MCNE (Master Certified Negotiation Expert), I make sure to continue my education in real estate by taking real estate related courses. Additionally I run my real estate business like a true business where I have an assistant and a transaction coordinator to assist me through the process so I am able to give you my full attention from start to finish. My service doesn't stop there as I will continue to service you needs even after you have closed. I will make sure to stay in touch to make sure if there is anything you need that I am always available to answer questions or give advise.
I hope these questions and answers have given some insight to some of you new homebuyers out there about this Denver real estate market. If you have more questions or want to chat more about looking for a home, feel free to shoot me an email or give me a call today I would be more than happy to meet with you!