Buying a home is one of the most exciting milestones of your life. To prepare yourself for this moment, you need to know what to expect during the process. This step-by-step first time buyer’s guide created by your agent will help reduce the stress of buying a home and help you enjoy the journey as much as possible.
Do you already know where you want to buy? If you want a condo, townhome, or single-family home? Which features do you like and dislike? What’s available on the market now? If you answered no to any of these questions, now is the time to start researching. In addition to looking for homes that interest you, also take note of any changes in asking prices. This could give you valuable insight into housing trends in specific neighborhoods and help you when the time comes to make an offer.
Notice I said to decide on your budget—not determine how much the mortgage company will give you. In many cases, a mortgage company will pre-approve you for more than you’re comfortable spending, which is why you need to determine the monthly payment you feel comfortable with before talking to a lender. This likely includes doing a full household budget and taking into consideration what changes other than a mortgage payment will occur once you move into your new home. If you’ve lived in an apartment or with roommates, you may overlook new expenses like garbage, water, or HOA fees that could easily blow your budget.
Just because you think you can afford a certain payment every month doesn’t mean the mortgage company will agree. Just as they may approve you for too large of an amount, they may also approve you for a lesser amount or deny you a mortgage altogether. Lack of time at a job, insufficient credit, past bankruptcies, or other financial issues can cause major problems when trying to secure a mortgage. Before you get your heart set on a home, talk to a mortgage professional to find out what amount you can qualify for. This will also be an advantage when you make an offer on a home, as some sellers won’t entertain offers from those who aren’t already prequalified for a loan.
Can you shop for, look at, and ultimately make an offer on a home without a real estate agent? Technically yes, but why would you when it costs you nothing for an agent like me to take much of the stress off your shoulders? Not only will I help identify properties you might be interested in, arrange showings, and ultimately handle the offer process, but I also have a knowledge of the market that you don’t possess. Finding the perfect home can be a daunting task, this is where my expertise and wealth of knowledge come into play. Let me show you around some homes that meet your dream home criteria so you can find the one that's right for you.
My goal is to provide you with the most personalized service that is designed to help you buy your dream home
This should be the most enjoyable step of the entire process (other than moving in!). I will arrange showings of homes you’re interested in that are within your price range. Take notes about what you like and don’t like, and make sure to pay attention to details. Turn light switches on and off, open and close doors, and run the faucets in various rooms. Don’t limit your inspection to the home itself. Make sure to take time to explore the neighborhood and keep an eye on traffic at certain times of the day, the parking situation, and how close it is to necessities like schools and grocery stores.
Once you have selected the perfect home, work with your agent to craft a fair offer based on the value of comparable homes on the market. Depending on what the home is listed at and whether the current environment is a buyer’s or seller’s market, your offer may be below, at, or even above the asking price. I will be able to help you negotiate if you receive a counteroffer and reach an agreement. At this point, the house will go into escrow.
In most cases, your offer will be contingent on having the home inspected to ensure there is no major structural damage or large repairs needed. I can help you arrange this, and you can schedule it within days of making an offer. If there are no major issues, the process goes to step eight. If there is, you can renegotiate your offer based on what needs to be fixed, or you can withdraw it.
Now is the time to go back to the mortgage lender who pre-approved or pre-qualified you and choose your mortgage. You will be presented with various options based on your unique financial situation, including fixed-rate, variable-rate, 15-year, 30-year, or special programs such as VA loans or FHA loans. Work with your mortgage lender to select the option you feel the most comfortable with.
Your lender will have your new home appraised so they have their independent value of it. The appraisal is to ensure that all parties involved are paying a fair price for the house.
No one looks forward to all the paperwork involved in buying a home, but it’s a necessary part of the process. Fortunately, everything will be arranged by your lender and title company and, when you’re finished, you’ll know you are the legal owner of your new home.
After signing the final paperwork to complete the purchase, you are now the owner of a new house. It may take a few days for your loan to be funded once the paperwork has been returned to the lender, but once that check is delivered to the seller, you’ll be all set to move into the home of your dreams.
We had a wonderful experience with Laurie and we'll gladly refer her to anyone who is looking to buy and sell in the greater Boulder area. Her experience and knowledge are unmatched. You will not regret working with her, and you will end up with a close friend in Boulder.— BUYER
Laurie guided us through a very difficult home-buying experience. When we were looking, prices were high and inventory was low. She patiently kept us from getting discouraged and finally landed us in a home we are happy with. We couldn't have done it without Laurie.— ERIC J.
The Boulder real estate market is stressful and time-sensitive. Fortunately, we had Laurie Kaufman as our agent. Laurie is knowledgeable, intuitive, supportive, and professional. She was always available by phone, which helped enormously. She was easy to work with and always upbeat, even when we were discouraged. We are newcomers to Boulder County, and she gave us an insider's guide to the city. Laurie is trustworthy and honest and you won't find a better agent in Boulder.— SANDRA H.
My experience was exceptional. Laurie knows her stuff! She found our dream home in less than 2 weeks. Her follow-up is always immediate. She goes beyond her job to help you to make your dream home come true. She always has a great referral for most of your needs. Her attention to detail is impressive. While helping us during a very stressful time she was always calm and positive. I would recommend Laurie for all of your property-buying needs. I cannot say enough great things about Laurie Kaufman and my home purchase experience with her. Thank you again, Laurie.— LISA B.
I was referred to Laurie by two friends of mine who would also purchase houses from her. They had excellent experiences as did I. She is incredibly knowledgeable and informed about the marketplace, and she is also so nice and wonderful and easy to work with. I have already referred her to other people who I know will use her. I have even tried to get people that already have real estate agents to change over to Laurie, that’s how much I like her! She is fun, funny, knowledgeable, and does her due diligence. She caught things that I would never have caught, and she also reviewed in detail things that I did not have time to deal with. If there was a w...— BUYER
Laurie was a great help in my recent move to Denver. She suggested the Lohi neighborhood for me which has proved to be an excellent location, with a great neighborhood feel and close proximity to the nightlife of downtown Denver. I would recommend her to anyone!— BUYER
Laurie Kaufman can say with confidence that Colorado real estate remains a safe place to invest. As your Real Estate Agent, you will realize you are working with a true professional who has your best interests in mind. She guarantees her commitment to you will last far beyond the closing table.