Buyers: You have several main ingredients to consider.
The first step is to talk with a banker or a mortgage broker. It’s important to know what you can and want to spend on a new home. You may qualify to purchase more than you actually want to spend. I recommend talking to at least two or three lenders to find the best loan program and interest rate for your needs.
Don’t forget to figure insurance and taxes into your payments – and also the money you will need for maintenance and utilities. If a client comes to me before taking these steps, that’s the first action I’ll have him take. It’s very easy to get carried away when looking at homes, but you want your new home to be affordable and within your budget.
2. Real Estate Agent
Finding a realtor is your next step. If you are looking for a horse property, it should be someone who has an understanding of horse properties. Your realtor should also understand some of the terminology; for example, knowing the difference between a paddock and arena, or between a barn and a three-sided shed. A horse-savvy broker will notice things such as poor drainage, over-grazed pastures, loose fences, poor stable design, and horse booby-traps.
In choosing an agent, you want someone you like, who is well qualified, and preferably a realtor. Those agents who are members of the National Association of Realtors (NAR – www.realtor.org) are governed by a written code of ethics that others are not. Buying a house is probably the most expensive item you will purchase in your lifetime, so work with an experienced realtor. Once you decide to make an offer on a property, there is a lot of paperwork, due diligence deadlines, and appointments. Your agent will assist you with all of this.
It’s in your best interests to have a realtor working directly for you as your agent, versus calling the listing agent to show a property to you. Your agent has your best interests in mind when negotiating pricing, inspections etc.
3. Other Considerations
I recommend hiring a property inspector to go thru the home/property. Additional inspections may be necessary for a more complete picture of the condition of the home; i.e. roofing inspection, termite inspection, foundation engineer, electrician or plumber. A survey for acreage properties is also highly recommended.
If there are mineral or water rights being sold with the property, you may want an attorney to review them. Mineral rights can be severed from the land without county recordings. The title work may show that mineral rights have been severed or if there are historical or current mineral leases. It’s important to understand this as surface owners and mineral owners are rarely the same.
Keep in mind the wildfires and floods that have hit Colorado in recent years. It’s important to know if your desired property is in a flood plain or an area at risk for forest fires. Property insurance can be difficult or expensive to obtain in both cases. A good realtor will point out these potential hazards.
I hope these suggestions will help if you are planning to buy or sell a property – I wish you the best of luck!