1. Hire the Right Broker Colorado real estate law is governed by the Real Estate Commission, a division of the Department of Regulatory Agencies. Colorado real estate laws require an agent to disclose the type of agency relationship that exists between a real estate salesperson and a buyer. Unfortunately, this disclosure is usually presented only after a buyer is sitting down in a salesperson’s office, or they have already begun discussing a property the salesperson has listed. To protect themselves, buyers should first seek a broker who can unconditionally advocate their interests, including helping them negotiate the lowest price and best terms. This can only be accomplished by seeking the services of an Exclusive Buyer’s Broker.
2. Get Pre-Qualified for Financing This is more important now than ever before. Many buyers cost themselves time and money by locating a property first, then applying for a loan. Savvy buyers get pre-qualified by a lender before the search begins. Going to the bargaining table pre-qualified is like having cash in hand, and sellers may be more amenable to a lower price if they know the buyer is already qualified. Part of the negotiation could include a quicker closing period, which is also desirable to many sellers. Furthermore, if there are competing offers, sellers will most likely take the one that has financing in place. Buyers should also know what they can (and can’t) afford beforehand, as looking for a property in too high of a price range is a waste of time, while looking for a property too low in price may eliminate the perfect match.
3. Review HOA Documents Nearly every property is subject to some type of homeowners association (HOA), dictating how the property can be used and enjoyed via a set of HOA documents. These need to be carefully reviewed, as they could be in direct conflict with the very reason a buyer would want to purchase the property. Furthermore, if the association has annual meetings, request and review the HOA meeting minutes from the last two years, as well as the HOA budget, covenants and bylaws. You’ll then have a good idea of the pulse of the association, points of contention, and what potential capital improvements (additional costs) there could be in the near future.
4. Get the Property Inspected Anxious buyers may want to skip a property inspection to save some time and a few bucks in acquisition cost, but hiring a qualified inspector to inspect the property before closing is good insurance that there will be no hidden surprises after closing. This is also an opportunity to negotiate repairs with the seller prior to closing.
5. Negotiate Everything Buyers may think the only thing to negotiate is price. Although that is an important aspect of the purchase, it is not the only one. Earnest money, financing costs, closing costs, possession, upgrade allowances and many other items can be negotiated. Your broker should discuss these with you.
6. Don’t Waste Time - Make an Offer In any market, it is important to make an offer as soon as you pinpoint your property. Waiting a few days to gather more information often gives other buyers time to step in ahead of you. An offer can be made contingent upon time to conduct additional research until you become more knowledgeable about what you are buying. If what you find out is unacceptable, you can then cancel the contract without penalty.
7. Hire a Steamboat Lender Buyers may initially want to go to a lender they have used before, only to find out at the eleventh hour that the lender cannot make the loan because the property type is out of their specialty. Whether buying a condominium, single family home, vacant land or ranch, you’ll want to work with a lender who specializes in Steamboat properties.
8. Openly Communicate with Your Broker Depending upon the type of agency relationship you have with your broker, this may be difficult. The fact is, the more you can openly discuss your needs, desires, motivations and personal circumstances, the better your broker will be able to help you locate the right property and craft the right offer. To do this means you first engage a broker who can guarantee they will act as your fiduciary at all times. You certainly don’t want to disclose your personal situation to someone who could possibly have the property of your dreams listed - thereby representing the seller. The only way to insure your interests will be protected at all times is to work with an Exclusive Buyer’s Broker.