After you make the initial decision to buy a house, it’s not uncommon to want to go straight into visiting open houses and spending hours clicking through online listings. But slow down and hold onto your craft beer for a minute to think about everything that goes into the process. Before you can even open up your Internet browser to look for homes for sale, there are a few, potentially long-term, steps that you should complete. Read more and contact an experienced real estate agent in Fort Collins.

Improve Your Credit

This is a short to long-term step that no one really looks forward to tackling, but it can make a huge difference when it comes time to apply for a home loan. A short-term solution, if you can manage it, is to pay off a large portion, or even all, of your credit card debt. This could help improve your score quickly. Other, long-term solutions include making more than the minimum payment and always make it on time. Don’t just open up new accounts simply for the sake of having more credit, this strategy could end up backfiring. The key to improving your credit score is narrowing your debt to income ratio.

Save, Save, Save

This is another long-term strategy that takes time and determination. Saving money can be done in small and large ways, both of which will add up to you having more money for a bigger down payment, meaning you have smaller mortgage payments, and who doesn’t want that? So when you want to purchase the Red Rocks tickets, the ski or snowboarding passes, or when you want to spend the afternoon at an Old Town brewery, think about the amount of money that won’t be in your savings account. Save money specifically for a downpayment, put money in your savings account, and save up for closing costs for when you reach the end of the process.

Get Pre-Approved

This one may be more obvious, but it’s nonetheless important. If you’re meeting with real estate agents, one of the first things they may ask you is how much are you pre-approved for. When you know this, it will make searching for a home much easier. Without being pre-approved, you could risk falling in love with a house only to find that you won’t be able to afford it. And with Fort Collins real estate market, this may be easier to do than you would think.

Find a Real Estate Agent You Can Trust

Another step that will make the process much easier is finding a real estate agent you feel comfortable with and someone you can trust. Buying a house can be complicated and is full of paperwork negotiating, and involves a variety of people as well. Make sure you’re working with someone who knows the Northern Colorado real estate market and someone who is comfortable negotiating and dealing with various people, from banks to contractors.

Buy a House You Can Afford

This goes back to saving money for a down payment. If you take the time to save up enough money, it may make a house that is slightly out of your reach more attainable. However, make sure that you’re doing the math to figure out your monthly payments. The last thing you want to do is spend a year saving money, buy a house that you love, but find out that the payments are more than you can actually handle. Yes, you want to buy a house, but you also want to have a life outside of the house too.

Location

There are a lot of really great locations in Northern Colorado, from Breckenridge to Fort Collins to Hillrose, and more. But within this range of locations, the price, the amenities, the neighborhoods, and drive to work will also have a range. When you’re visiting homes to buy, really think about what it would be like to live in that location. And not just the town or city, think about where the home is located. Is it close to work? Grocery stores? Schools?

If you’re planning on starting the home buying process, work with a trusted real estate agent at Ascent Real Estate Professionals. Call us today to get started.