When a first time Denver home buyer starts to search for their next home, they usually start online. There any would be home buyer can browse causally at “what’s out there” on the Denver real estate market. That’s a good place to start but any house hunter, first time Denver home buyer or not, must be careful to use a credible website.
Which MLS Search is Best?
You wouldn’t want to use a dubious website to find someone to date online. So, why use one to find your biggest investment? Sites like Zillow and Truilia use old and sometimes even misrepresented information. Sure, much of their data is correct. But, many listings are already sold or removed from the real estate market.
Those sites do not have any access to the Denver MultiList System where Denver Realtors post their listings. Much of their information is second hand. Their revenue is dependent on maximum page views. An active listing gets more page views than an “Under Contract” or “Sold” listing. So, they are very slow to update listing status. Use sites that get their information directly from the source and update in real time, such as this website All Denver Real Estate. Also, you can use Recolorado which is actually owned by the Denver multilist organization of the same name. Realtor.com has the same good information directly from MLS also. All of these websites are owned and controlled by actual Realtors. Listing information is updated every 15 minutes directly from the MLS.
Evaluate On-Line MLS Listings
Next, make sure to look at all the specs online. It’s important to note that the “Above Grade Square Footage” means all square footage that isn’t basement. Also, carefully check out the location to be sure the home isn’t too close to busy road or has views of your neighbor’s living room. “Walk” the property and the neighborhood on Google Maps. Check the schools on www.greatschools.org for school ratings and reviews. Even if you don’t have children, a good school district is important for resale. But, keep in mind that just because a school may be rated a 5 today, in a few years it could be an 8. Parent reviews online can be just as important as current rankings.
You can also check crime rates on www.larryhotz.com or at www.neighborhoodscout.com. The bottom line is, make sure to check out the area before you invest time in going out to see the property and falling in love on line.
Prepare yourself for the online dating syndrome. The photos online look fantastic. It’s you’re dream home. And then you walk in the door and realize, wow, those cameras they use are REALLY good. The best homes either are perfectly represented by the listing photos or sometimes the photos don’t do it justice. Just be aware there are those homes that just are really photogenic, with the help of fancy lenses and filters.
Top 5 First Time Denver Home Buyer Criteria
Once you have a list of properties you would like to see, have your Realtor set up private showings to go see them in person. When you see a house in person, I recommend having your “Big Five” checklist, for example: 1. Garage, 2. Small yard for dog, 3. Good schools, 4. Master bathroom, 5. Large kitchen. The top five things are characteristics you need and want in a home in order of importance. Keep your price range in mind when creating your list. Don’t insist on having a pool and fancy deck in a $200,000 single-family home. If the house doesn’t at least have your top three criteria in this busy real estate market, don’t try to talk yourself into it.
I know that sounds weird but some first time Denver home buyer are shell shocked by the lack of homes for sale and will try to talk themselves into every home. The biggest mistake you can make is talking yourself into putting an offer in on a property you’re less than thrilled about. Don’t act in haste and repent in leisure. No one wants to have 30 to 60 days of sleepless nights worrying about a house and whether it will really work. Fining a home is supposed to be exciting, thrilling even. And if you are concerned you “settled” for less than you wanted the whole time you are under contract, you’re going to have a bad experience. Bottom line here is don’t “settle” for what you really need and want.
Okay, you’ve found it, the home you want! Your first time Denver home buyer search is over. Your furniture will fit perfectly, it has at least your top three of your “Big Five,” and you’re ready to put in an offer. Make sure you understand any of the broker’s notes or contingencies. The bottom line is, make sure you understand exactly what is in your offer. Read it. Ask questions. What is in the offer will govern how the transaction proceeds.
Once your offer is accepted, you will have a few more steps to take with the guidance of your Realtor as dictated by the terms in your contract. The good news is that will be on your way toward living a home that is new to you and belongs to you.