How to Buy a House
If you want to know how to buy a house, you've come to the right place! iHOMESCOLORADO.COM is one of the most trusted places to buy a home in Colorado. We are Colorado's Best Of Zillow Award Winners and have over 1000 5-Star reviews.
When you start thinking about buying your first house, it's easy to let your emotions run the show. Before you know it, you're stalking homes for sale on our home-browsing app, rearranging your schedule so you can do drive-by viewings, and researching creative financing options that would allow you to buy a house with next to nothing down.
It's all too easy to land a house you do not love, and that mistake can affect your happiness in the long run. But understanding the steps of the home-buying process empowers you to make smart decisions about your home purchase. We are excited to help you learn about the steps you can start taking today to buy a home now or in the future.
How to Buy a House
Buying a house takes time. And no house—not even that perfectly cute bungalow on the corner with the fenced-in backyard—is worth jumping into before you're ready.
Do you know what's more important than the house you buy? How you buy that house. We are excited to help you learn the steps you can start taking today!
Use this step-by-step guide and the resources below to buy a house the smart way.
8 Steps for Buying a House:
Start Searching Homes at WWW.iHOMESCOLORADO.COM
Save unlimited homes to learn more about the benefits and features of each house, and it's surroundings.
See homes hassle-free! Test driving homes and neighborhoods can be performed years before buying — schedule showings on-demand or request community information.
Meet with an agent or loan specialist (you can do this before looking, too) There are new programs every day helping people save tens of thousands of dollars. Click here to speak to a specialist: https://www.movemortgage.com/
Submit Offers - Not all offers are the same; learn about strategies to save you money and protect your investment.
Get Your Offer Selected - Your agent will make all the difference in the world. Not all offers will be accepted, and your dream home needs the right representation.
Before you decide to move forward with your purchase, complete a home inspection for safety. Many people do not know how to ensure they are buying a safe investment.
Savings - learn how to make sure you never overpay and take advantage of the short and long term benefits of homeownership.
The decisions you make in the home-buying process can make a difference between a home that's a blessing to your family for years to come and a home that becomes such a financial burden you feel like you can't breathe.
Find expert agents to help you buy your home. (link to our agent page)
Buying a house doesn't have to be a stressful, draining experience. It can be a lot of fun—especially if you're making smart decisions that focus on the long term.
When to Buy a House
First, how do you know it's the right time to buy a house? Before you even think about starting the steps of the home-buying process, there are a few things you should do:
Start searching for homes and saving properties to learn about the market. Many people want to make sure they can see their families living in the area they purchase a home. Talk to our customer care agents and ask questions about the specific homes you are saving. Consider the housing market. If you want to make a smart investment in your home purchase, you need to buy a house that'll go up in value. Talk to your real estate agent about home values in your area and their potential.
If you think it's the right time to step into homeownership, here's how to get started!
Step 1 and 2: Search and Save Specific Homes
Don't shortchange your future by having a short-term perspective. You'll build years of memories in your home. You'll share countless meals in the kitchen and spend hours enjoying warm summer days in the backyard. Searching homes is how you learn about the local markets. Saving specific homes is how you learn about the particular benefits of the area. What is close? What schools are in the area? How will you like living there? The more time you spend learning about the market will answer these questions.
Our customer care team is happy to help you learn about specific areas and the features and benefits of particular homes.
Step 3: Go See Home Tours
Many times people believe they only see homes when they are ready to purchase. We recommend you start seeing homes months before you are prepared to buy. Seeing homes in person allows you to learn about the neighborhoods and how you can see yourself living in your new home. Our agents are happy to show you homes to learn about the market and make smart decisions through the home buying process. When you see a home, you like to schedule a showing on any property.
Step 4: Get Preapproved for a Mortgage and Find the Right Real Estate Agent
The best way to buy a home is with cash, but most people need a home mortgage loan.
How do you get pre approved?
The best way to buy a home is with cash, but most people need a home mortgage loan.
How do you get pre-approved?
In a very quick conversation with you about your income, assets, and down payment, a lender can pre-qualify you to buy a house — the first step to learn about your specific situation. Different programs are available for you. Getting pre-approved takes a little more work. A lender will need to verify your financial information and submit your loan for preliminary underwriting. But it pays off when you begin your home search because a preapproval letter shows that you're a serious buyer.
How do you know which mortgage option is right for you?
How do you know which mortgage option is right for you?
Bad financing turns your most significant asset into a liability. That's why getting the right mortgage is so important! Setting your boundaries on the front end makes it easier to find a home you love that's in your budget. There are many programs available for specific needs, and a conversation with a loan specialist will help you decide which is best for you (there are new programs available every day).
If you need more help crunching the numbers, check out our mortgage calculator. You can play around with the numbers to see how different home prices affect your overall mortgage payment.
How do I find the Right Real Estate Agent
Though your search for homes may start online, it shouldn't end there. You can do a lot of research on your own, but you need the help of an expert when it comes to finding and securing your perfect home.
A specialized agent (ADD NEW LINK) can help you navigate through the home-buying process. In some cases, they may even be able to help you find a house before it hits the market, giving you a competitive edge. And when it comes to making an offer, your agent will negotiate on your behalf, so you don't pay a penny more than you have to.
What should you look for in an agent?
You may know a lot of real estate agents in your area. But keep in mind that not all agents bring the same knowledge and experience to the table. Don't work with an amateur just because they know your cousin's sister-in-law's best friend from 10 years ago.
If you're trying to spend time with a friend or family member, catch up over coffee. Don't work with them to make your biggest purchase. You want an expert who can show you how to buy a home!
We are proud to have helped thousands of families and received thousands of 5-star reviews in the process.
When you're interviewing a real estate agent, don't settle. A true rock star will have:
Specific experience assisting home buyers like you
Full-time real estate experience
Great communication skills
A super-serving attitude that makes you feel like you're their only client
An impressively long list of sold homes every year
Exceptional expertise in your local market
A real pro won't shy away from tough questions. They'll be a mover and a shaker, ready to fight for your best interests as you're searching for the right house and negotiating the terms of the contract. As a home buyer, working with a rock star agent is one of the most significant advantages you can give yourself!
5 Tips to Help You Choose a Great Real Estate Agent
So, now that you know where (iHOMESCOLORADO) to find a great real estate agent, how do you choose the right one for you? You're not going to choose the best one by playing "Eeny meeny miny moe." You need to take the agent interview process seriously. That's right—we said the interview process. Don't forget; this is a huge transaction! The good news is that separating the experts from the amateurs isn't rocket science.
Tip #1: Evaluate Their Real Estate Experience
Remember that you have hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line when you buy or sell a house. You wouldn't trust an amateur with that kind of money. If you want an expert, don't be afraid to set the bar high.
Tip #2: Make Sure They Know Your Local Real Estate Market
Extensive real estate experience is a significant factor, but it's equally important that your agent has helped people buy and sell lots of homes in your area. If you live in Birmingham, Alabama, you want an agent who knows what the real estate market is like in Birmingham. It doesn't do you much good if they know all about real estate in a suburb or a town an hour away.
Here's what to look for to determine whether or not the agent you're interviewing has the local expertise you want:
If you're selling your house (link to sellers guide), a successful agent can afford to provide a full marketing plan and may even hire extra support to make sure home sales don't miss a beat.
When it comes to buying a house (link to video), working with an agent who's an expert negotiator ensures you aren't overpaying on your new place. A high-volume agent also has access to many available homes and may even know about homes before they hit the market.
Are they invested in your local community?
An agent who's sold a lot of homes in your area has proven expertise. But you want an agent who does more than rattle off facts. You can usually tell if they have personal ties to your community and understand what makes your particular corner of the world special. Do you live in a hot market? That makes it even more important to work with an agent who gets it!
Tip #3: Check the Real Estate Agent’s Track Record
It's important to know that your agent is a top performer. You're looking for an agent who prices homes accurately and then gets them to the closing table. A few key metrics can help you know their skill level in these areas. We are proud to have agents who perform 300% better than national averages. You can rest knowing you have a professional working for you at iHOMESCOLORADO.
Tip #4: Learn About Their Customer Service
If you're entrusting a real estate agent with helping you buy or sell a home, you shouldn't have to wait five days for them to return your phone call or respond to a text. These are the questions you need to ask to make sure they're going to be by your side through every step of the process. We pride ourselves on responsiveness and communication. We even communicate over video messaging when not in person.
How do they communicate with their real estate clients?
Communication is critical in any real estate transaction. If your agent isn't responding to you in a reasonable amount of time and it costs you opportunities, you and your agent are missing out!
You need a real estate agent who is both highly responsive and honest to a fault. Look for someone who can be blunt in the most helpful way possible. The last thing you want is an agent who will give you false expectations about your home. Whether you like it or not, it's in your best interest for them to call it as they see it.
Real estate isn't always sunshine and roses, so there's no need to pretend like it is. There will indeed be bumps along the way. When that happens, you need an agent who isn't afraid to get in the bumper car and drive it to the finish line of your home's closing.
Do you have options if you’re unhappy with the job they’re doing?
Be wary of agents who lock you into a lengthy contract that they can get out of—but you can't. If you're required to sign a contract, ask your agent if you can cancel without a penalty if you're not satisfied with their service. And be aware that some agents charge a termination fee to cover out-of-pocket marketing expenses.
Talk with their past clients.
Want to know the good, the bad, and the ugly? Nothing beats talking to a former client about their personal experience with an agent! When you interview real estate agents, make sure they provide a list of past clients for you to contact. Please read our reviews online on our FB Page, Zillow, and Google!
Tip #5: Hire Someone You Actually Like
Expertise matters, but chemistry also matters with home sales. This is a person you're going to spend a great deal of time with over the next couple of months. Even if the real estate agent you're considering checks all the right boxes of what an agent should do, you still need to ask yourself: Is this someone I like and trust? You don't have to be best friends with your agent. It's probably better if you're not. But you do need to gel with them.
Do they make you feel even more stressed than you were before? Do they seem to be dodging your questions and running around like a chicken with their head cut off?
The right agent will make sure you understand the process and carefully answer any questions you have without adding any stress to the mix.
Step 5: Submit Offers
After you've been pre-approved for a mortgage, you're ready for the fun part: finding your perfect home!
Do your homework!
Once you reach this step, your finances should be rock solid, so you know exactly what you can afford. And with a real estate agent to guide you through the process, you have a winning combo for buying a home with confidence!
How can you know you're making a good investment?
When you're looking for the perfect home, it may be hard to imagine you'll ever sell it. But remember, even if you think it's your forever home, you should shop with resale value in mind. Here are some home-buying tips to help you make a smart investment:
Don't compromise on location or layout. These are two things you can't change about the home you buy. No amount of curb appeal can make up for a truly terrible floor plan. And purchasing a great house in a not-so-great neighborhood is a bad idea. If you don't love the location or layout, chances are potential buyers years from now won't either.
Look past the surface. Don't let a lime green bathroom keep you from an otherwise great home. Other buyers may not be able to look past those easy-to-fix details like décor and paint color, which could score you a deal. That lime green bathroom may mean more green in your pocket!
Pay attention to home values in that area. Are they rising or declining? Are businesses booming or closing? You can tell a lot about home values in a neighborhood by what's happening in the community.
Research the school districts. Even if you don't have kids, school districts can be an essential factor when you sell.
Once you've found the right home, it's time to get serious! That means submitting an offer and signing a contract agreement with the sellers.
What’s included in your offer?
Your real estate agent will work with you to submit the perfect offer (link to video). If you end up in a bidding war with other buyers, keep a cool head and put your best foot forward. Things like being pre-approved with your lender, and having a flexible closing date can help make your offer strong. Our agents will make sure you learn specific strategies to help you decide on the right offer.
Sometimes agreeing on terms is quick and painless, but it can also be one of the hardest parts of the process.
If your negotiations get intense, remind yourself that both parties want the same thing. The sellers want to sell their home, and you want to buy it! Sometimes it pays to compromise on little details if that will move the process forward. An excellent real estate agent can give you advice about when to give in and when to hold firm.
Step 6: Get Your Offer Selected
Don’t lose your dream home! Pro Tip: Make sure your agent has specific strategies they take to save you money, win your home, and compete in a multiple offer situation. This step is best explained in a video: add video
Step 7: Get a Home Inspection
Once you get to this step, you'll officially be under contract on your new home! That's something to celebrate. Being under contract also means you're done with the most time-consuming stages of the home-buying process. Cheers to that!
But now that you're under contract, what should you expect? Many times people want to understand better how to know they are buying a safe home. Your main task now is to work through the contingencies in the contract.
Contingencies are simply conditions that must be met for the home purchase to take place. They provide a safety net for you to back out of a sale without losing your deposit if something goes wrong.
Even if you're in a competitive market, don't let your emotions lead the charge. You should never skip these contingencies because they offer essential protection for your home purchase.
As a buyer, you have the right to a professional home inspection before you purchase the house, and you would be crazy not to do it! One of the most important precautions you can take before buying a home because it keeps you from being blindsided by structural issues or expensive repairs. If the inspection reveals significant problems with the house, you can ask the seller to fix the problem, reduce the price, or cancel the contract.
You can also consider getting other professional evaluations like a termite inspection or radon test, depending on the advice of your real estate agent and the age and condition of the home you're purchasing.
Step 8: Never Over Spend. Appraisals!
You did it! All the planning, house hunting, and waiting are over. The final step in the home-buying process is closing on your new place!
If you're getting a home loan, your lender will require an appraisal evaluating the value of the property. An appraisal protects you from paying more than the home's actual value. If the appraisal comes in lower than your offer price, your real estate agent can provide the best guide for what to do next. The best part of buying a home today is you are protected from mistakes of the past!
Before you get the keys for your new home and officially call it your own, you have one more sprint ahead of you: paperwork. That's right! Bring on the hand cramps!
If there are any confusing terms or conditions as you work through the paperwork, don't be shy about asking questions! This is one of the most significant purchases you'll ever make, and you should know precisely what you're signing. We will be with you every step of the way and help advise you through the most challenging decisions.
Once you sign all the paperwork, it's time to breathe a sigh of relief. You're officially a homeowner. Congratulations! The home-buying process may not be easy, but having a beautiful new home to call your own is worth it in the end.