Are you thinking of buying a home? In Durango? Buying a home here is not unlike buying a home anywhere else in the United States except for the fact that homes are in high demand and the supply is low.  If you’ve ever been to Durango, you can immediately see why you would want to buy a home here!

Before you begin, have you thought about what you want? Is it a beautiful view of mountains or stunning meadows?  A new home in town so you can keep tabs on the latest and greatest?  Or are you the type who loves restoring a fixer upper to its former glory?  Regardless of your preference, here are some things we think every home buyer needs to know and that may even make the entire process a little easier, a little more fun and all-around quicker.


Most Buyers, whether first-time or experienced, want their trusted Realtor to help find the right home, negotiate the price and the terms, ensure the home is a good value, assist with the paperwork included in making the offer, the final agreement and escrow, etc.  Where does that leave you in the process?  Here’s what you can do!

You can bring more leverage to your offer with a Pre-Approval letter from your Bank or Mortgage Lender.  A Pre-Approval letter is a written commitment, but not a guarantee, of your overall credit worthiness.  It is determined by such factors as your verified employment, income, additional financial resources and credit report and is, overall, a far more comprehensive endeavor than a Pre-Qualification letter. With a Pre-Approval letter and possible competition for your prospective new home, your Seller’s realtor will recommend you as the stronger buyer. 

You can make escrow much easier by not making changes to your credit. Every lender pulls Credit Reports and relies heavily on your automated credit score.  Applying for new credit, closing credit accounts or increasing your debt load can all adversely affect your credit store.  Additionally, adding debt can increase your debt to income ratio and put you out of the running for the financing you need.  Unusual deposits or withdraws will require a paper trail because the Lender will ask you to substantiate changes that appear out of pattern.  Major job changes or major purchases should wait until your home loan closes if you’re able.

You can learn how to look at a house.  Just because she’s ‘pretty’ doesn’t mean she’s sound. There’s an enormous difference between aesthetics and structural repairs like the foundation, the roof and the lines of a house. Has that stunning living room, inviting bedroom and functional kitchen distracted you from the dip in the roof line? The crack, or worse, the chasm in the foundation?  Unless your realtor is an inspector or a very experienced former contractor like myself, don’t buy a home without an inspection.  Conversely, while it is to the seller’s advantage to enhance everything inside and outside (especially the ever-important curb appeal), don’t reject a house outright just because it’s Cinderella’s ugly sister.  If the house you’re looking at is in a good neighborhood and has good ‘bones’, the rest is makeup.  In fact, you can even use the unkempt appearance of your prospective home as a negotiating tool for a lower price.

You can Keep your thoughts to yourself or save them till you get home.  Nanny cams and recording devices are everywhere these days and that sweet Teddy Bear on the bed isn’t really a Teddy Bear and the key on the hook doesn’t open anything.  Comments about the seller’s puzzling design choices, wallpaper patterns and taste levels might be the very thing, if overheard, that tanks your offer or at the very least hurts your negotiations.

You can rely on your Realtor instead of on major websites like Zillow, Trulia and Redfin to determine the price of a house.  While those sites can be an excellent source for estimates by using info on comparable sold homes and square footage prices, they don’t know what upgrades and changes have been made to a home.  Your realtor is your best source for the most reliable price and able to help you make an offer that suits each individual home and help you structure the offer to make it the most attractive.

You can make reasonable offers.  Who doesn’t want to brag about that amazing steal they just made? Know that low ball offers are high risk offers and can be not only insulting, but a waste of time.  Do you really want gamble losing not only the home, but the neighborhood amenities like great schools, convenient shopping, quiet streets, beautiful landscaping, nearby dog parks and a host of other factors?

You can sell your home first! Contingency offers dependent on you selling your home first are nearly always rejected without a counter.  Have your Pre-approval letter ready, your deposit and the ability to make a serious offer effective at signing.  If you can’t sell your home first, at least have it listed with a local Realtor.

You can be a great buyer! Great Realtors love to help people find their new home.  And finding your dream home and negotiating a good deal is really exciting.  But they’re human too and they enjoy and prefer working with people who have reasonable expectations.  Older homes can have both old-world charm and real-world needs.  While newer homes have modern conveniences, they may also have landscapes that take years to mature or backyards that are considerably smaller.  Help your Realtor help you successfully close the deal on your new home.

So now that you want to buy a home, we hope that you know even more than you did before.  Buying a home can be extremely rewarding and a little intimidating, but knowledge is the key that can unlock the door to your new dream home.  For a free estimate on what your home’s worth or to find your new dream home, please call me any time at (970) 403-4008 .