BY KAREN LIBIN, KL REALTY
It’s a seller’s market in Boulder County and the Front Range in general. As in the past few springs, we have more buyers than sellers, and the situation does not seem to be getting better–just the opposite. New properties on the market that are priced right are being put under contract almost immediately. Go to an open house of a new property and you will feel like locusts have descended! If you want to buy a house this spring or summer, you need to be ready to make an offer almost immediately after it comes on the market and be positioned as a strong, solid buyer. To do so, you should complete these tasks before going house hunting:
- Determine a budget – Calculate what you can afford and what you’re most comfortable with paying. Like most buyers in Boulder County, you might find you have to spend more than you want to get a property that fits your needs. Figure out what top dollar is for you and, if applicable, your partner so you don’t have to make this decision under stress.
- Get pre-approved for a loan – This step makes your offer more attractive to sellers as they know the sale is less likely fall through due to loan issues. If a seller gets several similar offers, they’re most likely going to accept the one with the strongest financing.
- Find a local realtor – Find a realtor you can trust, has plenty of experience and can guide you through our market’s fast-paced home buying process. This professional also needs to know the local market extremely well; home values in Boulder can change dramatically from one block to the next.
- Determine neighborhood – Schools, walkability, transportation and lifestyle all play into what neighborhoods will work for you. This a more time-consuming process than most people realize so it’s good to do this ahead of time.
- Determine house needs – There’s what you absolute must have in a house and then there’s what you would like. Prioritize your most important items because, unfortunately, chances are you won’t find all of them in a Boulder County home.
- Determine how much remodeling you’re willing to take on – We have a lot of older homes in the area. Figure out how much work you and, if applicable, your partner are willing to take on to make a home what you want it to be.
- Have an emergency fund – Often there are unforeseen expenses that pop up during the buying and moving process. Perhaps you want to paint before you move in or install air conditioning. If possible, put money aside for “just in case.”
- Review offer contract with your realtor – It’s good to fully understand this document ahead of time and make basic decisions with your realtor so you’re not overwhelmed when having to quickly make an offer.