Michelle Vancil

Basic Home Buying Process

It is important to me that my buyers feel prepared for the process of buying a home. This page covers the basics.

1. Identify your Realtor and select a professional working relationship (Buyer Agency or Transaction Broker). Fairness and honesty prevail in all of our interactions. I am working for you and with you every step of the way.

2. It is crucial for you to contact a lender before embarking on the actual house hunting adventure. Working with your lender, determine what you can reasonably afford. Your lender can present you with many different financing options and tell you what price level each option can produce for you. There is no cost or obligation for this service. Please recognize that you will be shown your maximum purchasing power, but your housing search should focus comfortably below that, at least initially. There is no sense stretching your budget to the limit unless it proves absolutely necessary to satisfy your housing requirements.

3. Define your needs, limiting this category to features you really do need (number of bedrooms and baths, car storage, special features, etc.). The shorter your list of needs; the larger the inventory which will be available to you. That means more and better choices for you. Next, prioritize your desires. “Needs” must be satisfied, while “desires” are features which are additionally sought. Anticipate that you will likely face some compromises with respect to your prioritized desires.

4. Survey the neighborhoods which feature homes within your price range and which potentially fulfill your needs and desires. Remember, you can make a lot of changes to your own property, but it’s much more difficult to change a neighborhood to meet your standards; therefore, neighborhood evaluation is a very important preparatory step if you’re not familiar with the community. Often it’s valuable for you to just drive through the neighborhoods we’ve identified to see if they meet your standards.

5. Begin visiting properties. Comparative shopping is the best way for you to develop a sense of value and, with that, confidence. You should take careful notes about each property so you can continue to make accurate comparisons when the homes tend to merge in your memory (and they will). Even when you dismiss a property from contention, it’s useful to keep it available in your notes for price comparison. Additionally, it’s very valuable if you vocalize your reaction to properties and features so that I can better learn what works and what doesn’t for you. Finally, you must try to minimize the influence of cosmetic deficiencies – most can be remedied relatively inexpensively, leaving you with a home you’re very happy with.

6. There is usually no prescribed timetable for the house hunting adventure. It might be very brief or quite lengthy. Some days may be very encouraging, others discouraging. There are two rules which attach to discouragement. First, do not grow weary and convince yourselves to accept a property just because “it’s the best of the litter.” You are making a significant investment in your future lifestyle. As I’ve suggested, you’ll likely have to accept some compromises, but we want to be certain they’re not going to haunt you over the long haul. Second, and almost conversely, don’t be reluctant to move quickly and decisively if we find ourselves suddenly standing in the right home – good properties move quickly, and discouragement magnifies if we lose a great opportunity for you.

7. I will monitor new listing updates instantly, and as I gain more insight into your objectives I’ll be able to better evaluate and respond to the properties for you. I will post new listings to your “mysite” (your personalized home search site) where you can keep track of all the homes. That way we won’t miss opportunities.

8. We’ll be prepared when the time comes to make an offer, because hopefully you’ll have visited enough properties to develop a sense of value. I will complete a comparative market analysis (CMA) to assist you in your offering price decision. We also have current market statistics to weave into the formula. There are other factors to consider as well. The foremost is your “fervor” for the property – if this must become your new home, then a full price or higher offer is well advised. At today’s interest rates, the $1700 price concession you might have negotiated will reduce your monthly payment by about $10.00. That, in my opinion, does not justify the risk of losing “your home.” If your desire is less strong, however, then your offer can likewise be less strong. As you are deciding on an offering price, please consider two thresholds – price plateaus where we first invite insulting the Sellers and hardening their resistance, and a second where we may avoid a counter proposal because your offer is viewed as fair and the counter proposal as risky. Remember also that the appraisal provides you protection against paying more than the property’s value.

9. The Colorado contract is very Buyer friendly. In effect, your earnest money is not at risk unless you willfully breach the contract. Should unsatisfactory conditions, which cannot be resolved, be discovered during the title or inspection phases, your earnest money is returned. Should you be unable to qualify for financing, your earnest money is returned. I’ll manage all deadlines so you are protected.

10. The only costs to you in advance of closing should be your earnest money (1-2% of the purchase price) and for a credit report, an appraisal, and the inspection. These latter three seldom total more than $1,600.00. Additionally, your lender will have provided you with a Good Faith Estimate detailing what your costs for closing the loan will be. Be certain this document reveals the title company’s closing costs, including any title insurance for the lender and the cost of projected endorsements.

11. With your permission and specific objectives well in mind, I will do all of the negotiating on your behalf. I will make no commitments unless they are precisely what you authorize. I will closely manage the transaction for you through closing, and if necessary beyond. Keeping you well informed is a priority.

Please contact me whenever you have any questions or concerns. I very much look forward to working with you.