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Home Buying Guide

In Buyers, Guides by Doug Phelps

View & Download Guide in PDF Format

The 4 Phases in Home Buying

Home is from where our daily lives begin each day and end each day. If you are like most people, you might be nervous about the process, anxious about moving, stressed about money, concerned about the future. I understand; I’ve been there myself and also have helped many people to successful outcomes.

1 - IDENTIFY AND UNDERSTAND YOUR NEED AND WANTS

Every successful purchase begins with defining what you need (a home for you and your family) and what you want (everything else!). Combining both definitions leads to the best possible outcome.

2 - PINPOINT OPTIMAL FINANCING

Home is from where our daily lives begin each day and end each day. If you are like most people, you might be nervous about the process, anxious about moving, stressed about money, concerned about the future. I understand; I’ve been there myself and also have helped many people to successful outcomes.

3 - FIND THE RIGHT HOUSES FOR YOU

The data I access and share with you gives you virtual "keys" to the doors of desirable homes. You look initially inside from the comfort of your computer screen. I contribute my resale market insight, data-backed market trends, and new construction expertise to your search. Then, when we find ones that you want to see, I set up the personal visits.

4 - NEGOTIATE AND COMPLETE A FAVORABLE DEAL

You're ready to buy—now what? As your Buyer Agent, this is when I roll up my sleeves and advocate for you throughout contract negotiations all the way to closing. I provide you with detailed information on the property to help ensure you get the best possible price and terms.

Buying a home requires striking a deal beyond price — possession terms, inclusions, inspection contingencies, appraisal, and much more. The Buy and Sell Contract typically requires over 200 information items, and sale price fills in only one “blank”. The other represent significant opportunities to make the contract safer and more favorable for you.

Promoting your best interests every step of the way, I help you separate your “must-haves” from “nice-to-haves”. I lay out your options on every negotiated point — from the most aggressive stance to the position least likely to raise a red flag from a buyer.

Then, fully informed, you decide on the best strategy for you.

Envision the Lifestyle You Want

BASIC HOME FEATURES

  • Do you prefer a single-family detached home, or an attached townhome or condominium, or another type of property?
  • Desired number of bedrooms and baths?
  • Preferences regarding kitchen, dining, family rooms, etc., and preferred home layout?
  • High-priority home features, such as kitchen appliances, fireplaces, etc.?
  • Other types of rooms needed (a home office, or hobby space)?
  • Storage spaces (closets, basement, outdoor shed, etc.)?

OTHER HOME PREFERENCES 

  • Ranch, 2- story, multi-level, etc.?
  • Age of construction?
  • Remodeled or renovated?
  • How important is energy efficiency or other “green home” features?

NEIGHBORHOOD / LOCATION

  • Commuting considerations (to work, school, shopping, recreation, etc.)?
  • Proximity to desirable features (community center, gym, hospital, light rail, highways, etc.)?
  • Views – how important is it to find your ideal view (the mountains) or avoiding a bad one (the highway)?

RELATED COSTS

  • Homeowner Association Fees
  • Property Taxes

LOT CHARACTERISTICS

  • Size and shape, including the back, front, and side yards?
  • Landscaping considerations – the need for open play areas, privacy, patio space, decking, garden, extra parking, etc.?
  • Home orientation – is it important for you home to face in a particular direction?

LIFE AT HOME

  • If you'll be sharing your home with children, pets, live-in parents or other adults, how does this impact your housing preferences? Both now and in the future? (For example, pets may require a fenced-in yard; older parents may dictate one-floor living.)
  • Hobbies or leisure activities to consider?
  • Proximity to neighbors?

TRADE-OFFS

  • How much do you want to invest in a home beyond the purchase price, either in terms of renovation and “sweat equity”, if you can't find exactly what you want?
  • Are you willing to consider other neighborhoods that provide better affordability?

RESALE

  • How long do you plan to live in this home? How does this impact the type of home you will buy, how much you'll spend, and your choice of location?

Home Shopping Strategies

There are several ways to be on the lookout for homes for sale. These can be from behind a computer or behind the wheel. Combining both will lead to the best solutions for you and your family.

ONLINE HOME SEARCH ON DOUGMOVESYOU.COM

This automatic search is your very own “portal” to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) with instant and accurate data on available homes.

Tap or click here to go to search page and begin or continue your home search.

ONLINE HOME SEARCH FEATURES

  • 100% Mobile Friendly
  • Access anywhere you have an internet connection
  • Search using any criteria
  • Save homes
  • Share homes
  • Rank homes
  • Keep notes
  • Save Searches
  • Create your own Just Listed Email Property Alerts
  • See Property Recommendations from Doug

ALL OF WHICH I REVIEW AND USE TO ASSIST & EMPOWER YOU ON YOUR HOME SEARCH JOURNEY!

PREVIEW NEIGHBORHOODS

When you don't know where you want to live, schedule a few hours on an evening or weekend and go discover neighborhoods in areas that interest you. Check out the restaurants, drive through the residential areas, figure out where the grocery stores are... you get the idea. Can you envision your life in the neighborhood?

HOME FOR SALE SIGNS

When you see any real estate “For Sale” sign and want some information, please call or email me right away. I will get you details.

INTERNET & ADS

When you are searching the internet, or see an ad that interests you, please get me the information. I will follow up and get the details you need. Beware – Zillow & Trulia sometimes advertise properties as “Available” when they've already been sold. It is better to search DougMovesYou.com, REcolorado.com or Realtor.com.

OPEN HOUSE VISITS

Visit any you want. Tell the agent hosting the open house that you have an agent (this will keep you from undue pressure).

Denver Metro Schools & Crime

Public School Districs

The Best School Districts ranking provides a comprehensive assessment of the overall experience of a school district. This grade considers key factors such as the strength of academics, quality of teachers, school resources, the quality of student life, as well as student and parent reviews, to measure the overall excellence of the district.

To see all the rankings and to get more information: https://k12.niche.com/rankings/public-school-districts/best-overall/m/denver-metro-area

Decisions are yours as to where you live or where your children attend school. It is important that once you locate a house, neighborhood, or area that you determine if the school system is satisfactory to you.

Additional websites to research schools are:
Colorado Department of Education – http://www.cde.state.co.us/schoolview/performance
Great Schools – www.greatschools.org
Also, https://www.niche.com

Crime

It seems all areas have some level of crime. How much crime is too much crime for you? The local police department has statistics on crime rates and types in various areas. Two helpful websites to answer questions and many others about particular communities are www.crimereports.com and www.homefacts.com.

MEGAN’S LAW

There is a federal law called “Megan’s Law”. Megan was a small child who was molested and murdered by a convicted and released sex offender who resided in her neighborhood. The law stated that people living in a neighborhood have the right to know if such a person is residing in the neighborhood. You may want to check this through the local police jurisdiction, who are required to keep lists of these people.

The Family Watchdog website allows you to type in a street address to see if there are any registered sex offenders in the area: www.familywatchdog.us.

Lender Interview Cheat Sheet

GETTING PRE-APPROVED AND WHICH LENDER SHOULD YOU USE?

The mortgage industry is heavily regulated and it is imperative that you select a competent and reliable lender that will work meticulously with you all the way through closing. Local lenders are best able to do this.

A quoted interest rate should not be your only consideration.

TAKE 15-20 MINUTES AND CALL A LENDER BEFORE FILLING OUT AN INITIAL APPLICATION. HAVE AN IDEA OF YOUR CREDIT SCORE AND YOUR AVAILABLE FUNDS.

You are interviewing them to see what they have to offer you. If you are comfortable working with them, then move forward with completing an application. You can do more than one application without impacting your credit. Your lender selection is critical and the wrong decision could cost you extra money. If possible, meet the lender in person.

HERE ARE SOME QUESTIONS YOU CAN ASK:

LENDER SPECIFIC

  • What kind of loans do you offer
  • Do you understand a Colorado real estate contract, and the importance of deadlines?
  • What are your specific Lender costs and fees?
  • Are you equipped to approve loans in-house?
  • How much time do you need to fund a loan?
  • What is your availability and how do you communicate?

    LOAN SPECIFIC

    • What kind of loan would you recommend for me?
    • What are the advantages and disadvantages of this loan program?
    • What is the current interest rate?
    • What is the Annual Percentage Rate (APR)?
    • What are the discount points and origination fees?
    • What are all the other costs of the loan?
    • If the rate is adjustable, how will the rate and loan payment vary?
    • What are the qualifying guidelines for this loan?
    • What is the required down payment for this loan?
    • Is there a prepayment penalty?
    • Will mortgage insurance be required?
    • What documents will I need to provide?
    • Will the lender guarantee the Loan Estimate of settlement charges and loan terms?
    • When is the loan rate locked? Is there a fee for the rate lock?

    Helping You Get Home

    PARTNERS SERVING YOU

    As you proceed through your real estate purchase, professionals in other fields may be necessary. Decisions of the specific professionals are yours to make. We gladly give you names of professionals in various service areas for which we have some knowledge – those used by other clients or been suggested by other brokers or other sources. This list is a starting point. You may hire any professional of your choice. Be sure they are licensed and qualified. We cannot guarantee the outcome or level of any services provided. You need to be comfortable with the professionals you select, whether from this list or any other source.

    LENDERS
    THE RIGHT LENDER WILL MAKE – NOT BREAK – THE DEAL FOR YOU

    • MICHELLE ODDO | LEADER ONE | 720.738.1080
    • BRENT OSLAND | MODERN MORTGAGE | 303.956.5993
    • JEFF ARONHEIM | CITYWIDE HOME LOANS | 720.200.5464
    • REBECCA HANSEN | GUILD MORTGAGE | 720.746.4066

    HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE
    SEEK COUNSEL EARLY IN THE PROCESS TO BE SURE THE PROPERTY IS INSURABLE AT THE LOWEST COST

    • JEREMY BURKETT | TOWN & COUNTRY INSURANCE | 303.388.7216
    • RICHARD WHITE | FARMERS INSURANCE | 303.988.8300

    APPRAISERS
    THE LENDER NORMALLY ORDERS; IF BUYING WITH CASH OR SELLER-CARRY FINANCING, BUYER SELECTS

    • MATT GEORGE | EAGLE APPRAISALS | 303.721.7007
    • MARK WHITMAN | WHITMAN APPRAISALS | 720.870.3585
    • ROBIN ANDERSON | ANDERSON APPRAISALS | 720.363.1776

    TITLE COMPANIES
    SELLER OFTEN SELECTS – TO PROVIDE A TITLE INSURANCE POLICY FOR YOU

    • LAND TITLE GUARANTY COMPANY
    • FIDELITY NATIONAL TITLE COMPANY

    REAL ESTATE ATTORNEYS
    LEGAL COUNSEL FOR THE TRANSACTION AND INSPECTION OF TITLE

    • BUDDY NOEL | NOEL LAW OFFICE | 303.882.1408

    HOME WARRANTY COMPANIES
    WARRANTY POLICIES FOR CERTAIN MAJOR & MINOR SYSTEMS; RESEARCH CAREFULLY

    • FIDELITY NATIONAL HOME WARRANTY
    • BLUE RIBBON HOME WARRANTY
    • COLORADO HOME WARRANTY

    HOME / OFFICE ORGANIZATION
    TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR NEW SPACE

    • MICHELLE SANTAFERRARO | ORGANOMICS | 720.252.4533
    • KAREN GILMORE | ORDEROLOGY | 503.516.5160

    ** PROPERTY INSPECTION RESOURCES CHANGE FROM TIME TO TIME; ASK ME FOR REFERRALS **