For lack of a better term, we are in a ridiculously challenging market if you are looking for a home. The good news is our economy here in Northern Colorado is good and the population is increasing. Along with that, however, comes a shortage of available homes which makes prices high and creates a ton of competition when writing an offer on a home. Here are some tips for today's market.
This is imperative. It should really be one of the first steps you take. This is simply a short conversation with a lender to give them an idea of your income and debts and they will approximate how much home you qualify for. Even better is to start the pre-approval process by submitting pay stubs, tax documents, etc. so they can actually verify your numbers and get you the most accurate qualification possible.
Stay on top of new listings
A good agent is sending along properties the day/moment they hit the market. In today's market, you usually need to go see a property the day it becomes available as it will get snatched up quick. You can search listings yourself using sites like homesourcenoco.com or coloproperty.com, but make sure you're checking the listings you realtor is sending you each day or week.
Remember that these homes move quickly so its important to be prepared to make an offer ASAP. Sometimes this can feel hasty, but its a reality in our market.
Remember that our market is very competitive. Because of that, its important to make a solid offer. In many cases, especially in Fort Collins, you may need to make an offer for over asking price or get creative with some of the provisions you and your realtor include in the contract. Your agent can help you with their knowledge of creative ways to make an offer more competitive. It's also helpful to have as much of a down payment saved up as you can, but in many cases you can get into a property with as low as a 3.5% down payment.
Keep a level head
Not every house is right for you. Don't get caught up in frenzy of seeing multiple people looking at the property at the same time. But...if it will work for what you want, don't hesitate.