Are you new to the housing market or buying for the first time in a while? Colorado has quickly become one of the "go-to" states for those wanting a new lifestyle or change of pace. In fact, Colorado is the second-fastest growing state with over 100,000 people having moved to the area between 2014 and 2015. That number is expected to grow due to the wealth of culture, scenery and job opportunities.
In particular, the Denver housing market is a hotbed of activity.
The national trends site Denver as an example of an ideal destination for millennials. The cities of Denver, Aurora, and Lakewood (along with others in the area) are high on the list of preferred locations from the studies done by Realtor.com. Also, Bloomberg has weighed in, stating there is now a "buyer pushback" on house prices which is helping to make the Denver area attractive (especially for those working in the tech industry).
An article in the Denver Business Journal last October on Denver’s housing market included comments from Alex Villacorta, vice president of research and analytics at Clear Capital, a provider of real estate analytics. "Standout markets like Denver continue to push forward with unprecedented levels of price growth. As demand driven by low interest rates continues to rise and inventory, especially distressed properties, continues to fall short, a perfect storm of market frenzy is created -- leading to incredibly fast turn times for all properties on the market. Affordability should be a top concern for investors in the area -- the area's average home price is currently pushing $400,000 — and Denver's rising home prices may have an expiration date as a potential interest rate increase looms on the horizon. In the meantime, Denver's housing market continues to be a top performer.”
Millennials and first-time home buyers should be ecstatic to see an opportunity in the market after having to ride the storm after the 2008 housing crash. The following tips will help you navigate your way around the Denver housing market so that you're getting as much value as possible.
Get Your Finances in Order
There are a few things you'll want to address before you jump into becoming a first time home buyer:
- Pay down your debts so there's more to go toward the mortgage
- Save as much as possible for a down payment
- Get to know the neighborhood and get a feel for the economy
- It’s better to have a job before you move
- Gather your tax paperwork and other documents for financing. Meet with a lender to establish a plan to make home ownership a reality
- Check your credit rating and make preemptive moves to fix it
Keep yourself educated about the home buying process by reading articles and watching videos on the topic.
Use online tools to get an idea of the home prices in the Denver area. Usaj Realty has a comprehensive website which lists available homes and descriptions of the Denver neighborhoods. Do some research on trends. Are new developments coming? Is public transportation available? How does the school district rank? It’s important to not only think about how you will fit into the neighborhood but how your investment will hold up over time when it comes time to sell.
Find Your Middle Ground
Find a balance between size and the financial investment. Determine what you can afford and what you need in the home. Don't live beyond your means.
Talk with an Agent
Start talking with real estate agents in the area. The agent is there to help you avoid the big mistake of not doing enough research. They'll help you understand the best options for your budget and needs. Check their track record to determine if it will be a good fit for your goals; having an experienced agent is as important as selecting the right home.
Get that Inspection
Always make sure to get an inspection on the house before you sign. This is likely to be the biggest purchase of your lifetime so make sure you know what you are buying. A home inspection is also crucial in the negotiation process to provide leverage on potential price reduction.
Tour the Area
Spend some time in the neighborhood in which you are considering buying. Consider talking up the neighbors while you are walking or driving around. Many people are happy to share their perspective. Your realtor can also put you in touch with people in the community.
Think of the Long-Term
It’s important to think about how long you will live in your home and if any upgrades are appropriate for the property. Calculating necessary improvements and making sure your investment will show a positive return is a key consideration before making an offer. Again, your real estate agent can help prioritize home improvements to make your home as attractive as possible when it comes time to sell.
Usaj Realty is a full-service real estate firm. We believe in adding value to our clients’ lives by providing the highest level of service, fully understanding the Denver market and ensuring all your needs are met. Check us out at usajrealty.com.